Disney Cast Members and Animals Bring Smiles to Local Children’s Hospitals

Filed in: About WDW, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Making a Difference

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., October 7, 2014 – Cast Members from Disney’s Animal Programs are bringing the wonder and joy of nature and wildlife to local children’s hospitals.

Each month, animal care experts visit the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, and Nemours Children’s Hospital, presenting themed programs to children ranging from toddlers to teenagers. Each program includes educational presentations, interactive activities, and animal encounters.

“Too often children in the hospital focus on routines like taking the next dose of medicine,” said Christina Anderson, child life specialist at Nemours Children’s Hospital. “Disney is providing Nemours patients with an opportunity to break away from that cycle and just have fun like any other. In addition, these visits provide great entertainment for the siblings of our patients, who often receive less attention than a child with an illness.”

During each themed program, children take a closer look at some of the aquatic friends that inhabit the oceans and the fantastic animals that munch on the tallest trees. The curriculum teaches children learn how caring for animals at Walt Disney World Resort can be relatable to what they may undergo in a hospital. The presentations and activities enable children to listen to the heartbeat of a snake, study x-rays of bats and turtles, and discover how they administer anesthesia to animals.

“As Cast Members, we know we have the ability to make dreams come true for children and their families. It’s our passion to connect people to wildlife and inspire them to care about our natural world,” said Courtney Carroll, manager for the Guest Animal Experience Team. “We are so honored to be a part of a program that brings smiles to these children’s faces.”

Walt Disney World Resort supports environmental projects and animal-related organizations, as a community member and through volunteer service. For more than ten years, these visits have further provided children with life-threatening medical conditions the opportunity to see some of Disney’s most beloved characters such as Nurse Minnie, Chip ‘N Dale, Meeko, Pluto and Donald Duck.