Each year, Disney cast members volunteer to bring a bit of Disney magic to children undergoing treatment in hospitals all around the world. It’s a part of our heritage dating back to the 1930s, when Walt himself took Disney characters and animators on outreach visits. This commitment continues today through a number of programs, including the annual distribution of themed care packages delivered to more than 400 children’s hospitals in the U.S. and Canada.
Last month, Disney VoluntEARS from Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort delivered packages of toys, games, books and movies to patients at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and Nemours Children’s Hospital. For the first time, these included exciting new merchandise featuring characters from Star Wars and Marvel – even an exclusive Marvel mini-comic created in partnership with the Association of Child Life Professionals showcasing the strength of friendship.
The deliveries are an annual tradition, but they’re just a small part of what our cast members do to support children throughout the year. Here’s a look at some of the ways our amazing cast brought smiles to young patients last month.
Cast from our Animals, Science and Environment department hosted interactive animal encounters as part of a monthly program at three hospitals in Central Florida, teaching children how we take care of the residents of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In California, VoluntEARS hosted special games and activities at local hospitals, supporting the healing process with a bit of fun.
In China, cast members helped transform the Shanghai Children’s Hospital of Fudan University’s inpatient area into a Chinese New Year celebration, delivering winter vests, blankets, thermoses and hundreds of handwritten postcards with well wishes for the New Year.
VoluntEARS from Disneyland Paris made a surprise visit with Mickey and Minnie Mouse to the pediatric department of Robert Ballanger Intercommunal Hospital Center, where they led patients in making fun balloon animals.
Walt’s legacy also lives on in the Company’s 36-year partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, making more than 9,000 wishes come true each year, of which 7,900 are granted by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
To learn more about citizenship efforts at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, visit our website and keep an eye out for more stories about our Disney VoluntEARS on the Disney Parks Blog.