The cast member’s mother inspires Plaza Point at Disneyland Park

When Dawn Pipal-Keehne, the Disneyland resort improvement manager, began working with her team on the decoration of Plaza Point, the new holiday store on Main Street, USA, in Disneyland Park, run by an owner fictional and highly traveled who loves all things Christmas. returning to his mother, Evelyn.

“My mother only lives on vacation; it’s an eternal childhood and it decorates the house weeks before Christmas, ”Dawn said. Her mother, who grew up in Puerto Rico, came to the United States with the traditions, recipes, and stories she would weave at the family’s festive Christmas celebrations in Simi Valley, California. As Dawn continued to explore the plot created for the store by Walt Disney Imagineering, “I kept thinking, that sounds not more like my mother! ”

In fact, the owner of Plaza Point is Miss Evelyn Toro, as evidenced by the gestures with her head and her Puerto Rican heritage, subtly scattered throughout the store. Best of all, Dawn managed to keep it a secret from her mother, revealing it to her in an intimate moment shortly before the store officially opened.

“I can’t believe it,” Evelyn Keehne (top and top photo with Dawn) said in tears as she looked incorporated into the entire decor. “Seeing my Puerto Rican heritage represented here is amazing. When my dad came back from the war, Puerto Ricans didn’t even have permission to shop or eat in New York City, so watching this at Disneyland, a place where everyone and all the kids can see it, well, it’s pretty amazing for all latinos. I would love to come here every day! ”

As the fictitious owner of the store, Evelyn Toro (her maiden name) has been edited in photos and illustrations since the early 1920s.th century, depicting the shop owner’s travels around the world, during which he collected unique pieces of holiday decor that are now used to decorate the store. Among the subtle heads are a statuette depicting the Day of the Three Kings, which Dawn grew up celebrating (also known as Epiphany) and a box of grass for the camels of the Kings that she would put to bed. There is a fictional cover of the Puerto Rican magazine with an illustration of it on the cover; more flame plates real Evelyn is famous for, along with coquito, the coconut egg drink that generously abounds in her guests during the holidays.

“If you look around the room, it’s her love for the holidays, the culture and the diversity, and that’s really my mom,” Dawn said, recalling that her family’s door was always open to everyone who didn’t had nowhere to go. for the holidays. “It’s a love letter I sent myself for that inspiration and for the holidays to be so magical as I grew up.”

Imaginary Kim Irvine said that making a real person inspire the background story added an extra dimension while working on the project. “A background story helps to inform how the wallpaper can be, the finishes, the color schemes and even the music,” he said. “And here we have this wonderful Victorian lady who loved every holiday and collected all these treasures from around the world to share with the people of Main Street, USA … Having Dawn’s mother as inspiration makes her even more special “.

Plaza Point Holiday Shoppe

While Plaza Point shows diversity and inclusion, Dawn acknowledges that it was a decorating challenge due to the lack of representation in authentic Victorian-era decor. As a result, Disney artists created nutcrackers, Santa Claus and cherubs with various skin colors and an illustration of the window showing two women holding hands while skating on ice (see right, above ). For Dawn, who is raising two children with his wife, the representation is more than a recognition of the LGBTQ community; it was a way of representing herself in her work.

The project team behind Plaza Point
The project team behind Plaza Point

“The beauty is that by adding the key to inclusion, it opened the door for my team to talk about all of our own stories and how we can represent our own cultures in our work,” Dawn said, referring to to the priority of the company in creating a job that encourages the cast to be its true self. “I don’t know if we’ve never had permission to do it before, but this has been a fantastic trip.”

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