Bringing the Magic of Animals and Nature use to be a hands-on experience for kids facing serious illness. Prior to the pandemic, Dr. Scott Terrell, director, Animals & Science Operations, and his animal care team visited AdventHealth for Children, Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Nemours Children’s Hospital with animals such as rabbits, hedgehogs, and birds that brought joy and a welcomed distraction from treatments and the stress of a hospital stay. Disney Parks Blog gave us an update today on the new post-pandemic way they are now interacting with these same children.
Animal care experts would introduce children to these small animals and talk about how they sometimes receive medical care – similar to what they may go through during their experience – aimed to reduce their anxiety and show them the animals were in good hands, just like they would be.
The reimagined version of this program virtually connects the magic of nature to children through a series of new videos featuring animals found in our parks and important conservation messages. Then, one of our talented Animation Experience character artists leads them through a learn-to-draw experience of a beloved Disney character – like Dumbo and Simba – inspired by those same animals. With special donated sketch paper and comfort toys like Dumbo plush at their side, patients across Central Florida children’s hospitals are experiencing moments of joy and inspiration as they create their very own masterpieces featuring these adored Disney characters.
This new program – perfectly timed with our Earth Month celebrations – creatively combines our rich legacy of caring for the environment with our ongoing support in local children’s hospitals and helping to reimagine the patient experience. It’s safe to say that I am wild about the devotion and commitment our cast members have for sharing the magic of nature with everyone and inspiring kids, families, our own Disney cast and communities around the world to make the world a better place.