For years, makers, charities, and non-profits like Magic Wheelchair have been making holidays, conventions, and Halloween more inclusive by creating elaborate rolling costumes for fans who use wheelchairs. Disney is now following suit with kits that make it even easier to turn wheelchairs into fantasy rides, with matching costumes for children who use adaptive devices.
The costumes that Magic Wheelchair has helped bring to life are usually jaw-dropping custom creations that turn wheelchairs into everything from Jedi starfighters to time-traveling DeLoreans. But the non-profit relies on donations and volunteers to design and build these special costumes, which often take weeks to create. Translation: they’re expensive to make. At $50 each, Disney’s new wheelchair covers, currently available in Incredibles 2 Incredimobile and Cinderella’s Coach designs, are considerably more affordable and easier to install.
Made from stiff felt printed with custom artwork, the decorative panels include various sections of hidden plastic piping which adds rigidity, and they attach to wheelchairs using adhesive fabric strips. They’re specifically designed for manually-operated wheelchairs with 24-inch wheels, and because they inhibit regular use of the chair, they do require a separate operator to push.
Disney is also selling matching Incredibles 2 and Cinderella adaptive costumes, as well as a Toy Story Buzz Lightyear version. The $50 costumes are specifically designed for children who use wheelchairs, with roomier, longer legs, stretchable fabrics, an opening in the back so they’re easier to put on and take off, and hidden openings in the front to accommodate medical equipment.
The initiative is a welcome one (even if no one really knows what Halloween will look like or how it will play out in a couple of months) but Disney isn’t the first company to make accessible costumes and wheelchair cosplay available to a wider audience. Last summer Target revealed its own line of adaptive cosplay would be available, including wheelchair covers and costumes with removable accessories (such as tails or wings) and is further expanding that line this year.
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