Featuring the latest in pediatric clinical technology and soothing, kid-friendly environments, today’s opening of the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children ushers in a new era of children’s health care. The state-of-the-art facility offers patients a unique experience where kids are the main characters.
To mark the momentous occasion, hundreds of community leaders and medical professionals gathered for a moving ceremony on the front lawn of Florida Hospital for Children. Several pediatric patients shared their inspirational stories of hope and perseverance before being joined on stage by Mickey Mouse. A performance of an inspirational song punctuated by a colorful burst of confetti, served as a reminder that all patients are unique and receive a personalized experience at the Walt Disney Pavilion.
“A hospital can be an overwhelming place, and we have worked very closely to learn how to make each experience special,” said Marla Silliman, administrator of Florida Hospital for Children. “Our mission is to provide the best care possible for our patients. I believe that we have achieved our goal by creating a hospital that brings world-class physicians, top-of-the-line technology and a truly patient-centered experience for children all under one roof.”
Disney executives, including Bob Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, toured the new hospital along with Florida Hospital executives and were greeted by children in the hospital who thanked them for their commitment to children’s health care.
“As a company with more than 62,000 cast members in Central Florida, we care deeply about the families in this community and are proud of our collaboration with Florida Hospital,” said Bob Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Disney Imagineers worked closely with the hospital to create a truly unique environment for pediatric patients and their families that we hope will inspire courage and comfort to those who seek care here.”
The Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children is a seven-story facility that creates a relaxing environment and brings some of Disney’s special magic into the hospital. When patients walk in the front door, they are greeted by several popular Disney characters in a one-of-a-kind interactive lobby created by Disney’s Imagineers. Inspired by the soothing environment of nature, the lobby features beloved and nurturing Disney characters such as Timon and Pumbaa from “The Lion King,” Flounder and Sebastian from “The Little Mermaid,” Rutt and Tuke from “Brother Bear” and Baloo from “The Jungle Book.” Walt Disney Imagineers designed the space to complement the hospital’s healing environment where young patients are supported by caring medical professionals, along with family and friends.
The Walt Disney Pavilion is comprised of 200 pediatric beds, a dedicated pediatric Emergency Department, an advanced 81-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and pediatric surgical suites. The nature themes that are featured in the lobby, which include the ocean, savannah, jungle and mountains, are carried throughout the hospital and incorporated into the artwork, design, family waiting areas and more. Each floor has its own theme to help transition patients and families to a relaxing environment beyond the walls of the hospital. There are even custom scents on each floor to match each of the themes.
Throughout the design process, Florida Hospital also enlisted the help of its Family Advisory Council, which is an advisory group of past patients, parents and staff that offers feedback on the hospital. The Council contributed ideas on the layout of patient rooms, helped design the unique “family zone” waiting areas and even tested out various chairs and pull-out sofas that were incorporated throughout the hospital.
“It was extremely important that our patients and their families have a voice in the design of this new facility,” said Tim Burrill, assistant administrator at Florida Hospital for Children. “Their feedback and input has helped us better understand their needs and led to some great new ideas such as our ‘family zones.’ Instead of traditional waiting rooms, we created themed areas for families to gather, grab a snack and recharge without leaving the patient unit.”
The more than 90 highly trained pediatric sub-specialists at Florida Hospital for Children cover over 30 pediatric sub-specialties, including Central Florida’s only Pediatric Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program. But it is not just the high level of care these physicians provide that makes this hospital unique; it is the child-centered experience that adds a special touch.
Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Resort
With help from a world-famous mouse, dozens of eager children and a shower of confetti, officials opened the doors to the welcoming, new lobby of the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children and unveiled the first physical milestone of the hospital’s innovative model of pediatric health. The entrance serves as a gateway to the remainder of the children’s hospital where the smallest patients from around the world will receive superior treatment and care from renowned physicians.
Inspired by the soothing environment of nature, the lobby features beloved and nurturing Disney characters such as Timon and Pumbaa from “The Lion King,” Flounder and Sebastian from “The Little Mermaid” and Rutt and Tuke from “Brother Bear.” Walt Disney Imagineers designed the space with these thoughtfully chosen characters to complement the hospital’s healing environment where young patients are supported by caring, medical professionals, along with family and friends.
“Our goal is to create a therapeutic environment that reflects the type of attention and care children and their families receive during their visit,” said Marla Silliman, administrator of Florida Hospital for Children. “With this captivating entrance, we hope young patients overcome the apprehension of a hospital stay by engaging them in a world of fantasy, imagination and adventure.”
“I didn’t feel like I was in a hospital,” said Kyle Bennett, a 6-year-old boy from Orlando. “‘The Little Mermaid’ section of the lobby was my favorite part and I loved scaring the salmon away.”
The lobby of the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children features several interactive activities and experiences that children of all ages can enjoy to ultimately enhance patient experience. For example, kids can fish for virtual salmon, step into a safari to touch and illuminate markings on a cave wall, generate jungle sounds on musical step pads, swat chirping bugs that glow during an engaging game that tests memory skills or play in a magical world of bubbles and dancing creatures from under the sea.
“This lobby was created with all the care and attention to detail that we devote to an attraction in our theme parks,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “It’s a place to leave worries behind and replace them with immersive, interactive fun. We’re delighted to have helped create a calm and relaxing environment for the children and families who will come here for care.”
As part of a part of a $10 million commitment by Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Worldwide Outreach, the lobby represents the first in a series of significant milestones for the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children. Construction and renovations are currently underway and will continue throughout the year to complete units and patient rooms. By early 2011, the addition including seven stories and more than 200 dedicated pediatric beds, will open featuring concepts, colors, sounds and themes inspired by the lobby design. While patients, families and visitors will enter through the lobby, the same calming and reassuring atmosphere will be reflected throughout the entire Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children facility.
Florida Hospital is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to help complete the development of the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children.