Katie Barnes is a senior set decorator at Walt Disney Imagineering but she was also diagnosed with a rare kidney disease and spent about seven years in and out of CHOC (Children’s Hospital of Orange County) for testing and treatment, beginning when she was just 18 months old. Given her past, she jumped on the opportunity to work on art direction and installation of interactive Disney artwork designed to ease the stress for children and families at children’s hospital around the country.

  • The Disney Parks Blog shined a spotlight on Barnes and her work today.
  • The project on which Barnes is working is part of the Company’s $100 million philanthropic initiative to reimagine the patient journey in children’s hospitals.
  • Teams from every line of business across The Walt Disney Company, including Walt Disney Imagineering, came together to deliver solutions that are simple for hospitals to implement, sustain and scale.
  • In collaboration with Disney’s Enterprise Social Responsibility group, Imagineers work with hospitals to enhance the hospital environment by introducing visually stunning murals (as long as 54 feet at CHOC) of favorite characters that brighten corridors and come to life when viewed through the Disney Team of Heroes app.
  • Other elements include magic windows, magic art, and play spaces that draw the patients into the enchanting world of Disney storytelling; Disney-themed Starlight Gowns and care packages inspired by favorite characters; complimentary access to movie and TV content through the Disney Movie Moments program, Disney+, and DisneyNOW apps; and children’s hospital-centered Disney Institute training and themed staff badges to enhance the engagement between the patients and care givers.
  • Disney’s commitment to children’s hospitals, and CHOC, in particular, dates back to 1960 when Walt Disney joined a committee to help open the hospital.
  • The Disneyland Resort continues to sponsor the hospital’s major annual fundraiser, CHOC Walk in the Park, which has raised millions for healthcare programs, education and research for children in Southern California.
  • The resort has contributed to major construction and additions to the hospital over the years, often brings Mickey Mouse and other characters to the hospital to visit patients, and together with Pixar, created the interactive “Turtle Talk” show in the hospital’s lobby, providing moments of joy for CHOC patients and families.
  • Take a look at Katie at work in the video below:

  • You can support CHOC by getting involved in the virtual CHOC Walk.
  • This year’s event is being held this Saturday, May 22 in a virtual format.

What they’re saying:

  • Katie Barnes, a senior set decorator at Walt Disney Imagineering: “The first time I walked in, the memories came flooding back. The idea that I would have the opportunity to be part of bringing smiles and positivity to not just the children here who are going through such a difficult time, but also to the families and the staff, well, it’s just really special.”