Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team visit the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children throughout the year, bringing exotic animals to spread joy to the children in these hospitals and enable them to focus on the fun instead of their illness.
In addition to the various critters that bring joy to these local hospitals, famous Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale also also make the rounds to bring smiles to the children’s faces.
Says Gabriel Burns, a Cast Member who has taken part in this program on several occasions:
When Mickey Mouse walks into the room, you don’t feel like you’re in a hospital anymore. It’s really incredible. Pluto, Chip ‘n Dale and other Disney characters have the unique ability to help the kids forget what’s ailing them. I’ve seen Pluto lay on the floor next to a 4-year-old cancer patient during his chemotherapy because the young boy typically holds his Pluto plush doll on the floor during his treatments. The child was smiling, and his mom was crying because her son was happy.
This program helps continue the long standing tradition the company has had of compassionate support towards kids. In fact, Walt Disney himself was known to visit children in local hospitals and spread his own bit of Disney magic, and that tradition continues to this very day.