Disney's U.S. theme parks are closed, but the company has found a way to transform one of the parks' signature items into a tool to help those on the frontlines in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
Amid an ongoing shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical professionals, Disney Parks donated 150,000 rain ponchos to MedShare, a humanitarian aid organization, for distribution to hospitals in need. According to the Disney Parks Blog, the idea was inspired by nurses across the country who found that rain ponchos can protect their clothing and prolong the use of PPE while also freeing up gowns when needed.
Plastic ponchos are a fixture at Disney parks, particularly Walt Disney World in Florida, where the tropical climate brings afternoon storms throughout the busy summer vacation season.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we've seen before," said Charles Redding, MedShare CEO and President. "We have to find ways to pool our resources and work together to help the healthcare workers who are doing their very best to treat patients and contain COVID-19. We appreciate Disney partnering with us to support hospitals and healthcare workers on the frontlines."
Disney Parks also recently donated 105,000 N95 masks to the states of New York, California and Florida, and is finding other ways to give back, including donations to local food banks at Walt Disney World, Disneyland in California and Disneyland Paris.
RELATED: Disneyland and Walt Disney World Are Now Closed Indefinitely Due to Coronavirus
On March 27, the Walt Disney Company announced that both the California and Florida resorts will be closed indefinitely amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The parks, which closed in mid-March, were originally planning to reopen at the end of the month.
The company shared the announcement in a statement on their official Twitter last week, writing, "While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains The Walt Disney Company's top priority."
On Sunday, Disney Parks shared a "virtual viewing" of their new Magic Happens parade on YouTube in order to "bring a little joy, a little fun and, yes, a little magic" into the homes of fans that can't currently visit Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
"So sit back, relax and watch from the comfort of your couch as some of the most awe-inspiring moments from classic Disney stories unfold before your eyes and ears-all set to an unforgettable score co-composed by singer-songwriter Todrick Hall," the post reads.