ANAHEIM, CA: The Walt Disney Company announced a new safety campaign last week that will use the popular Lion King characters to target kids visiting its theme parks with messages about accident prevention.
Dubbed "Wild About Safety," the new initiative is part of an ongoing effort that started a year ago with the hiring a chief safety officer and the release of the company's first report on safety issues. Those moves were in response to a number of high-profile accidents at Disneyland that caused the media and some patrons to question the company's response to such concerns.
Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, and Walt Disney World in Florida have all been updated as part of the campaign, with more than 10,000 signs featuring the characters Timon and Pumbaa giving safety tips using kid-friendly messages such as "no stampeding." The campaign focuses not only on rides, but also on behavior at hotels and on park grounds.
"The signage is not just a sign [showing] the characters. They're actually storytelling signs," explained Disneyland's manager of publicity John McClintock. "They're kind of jokey, but they also have a serious message."
The campaign will also utilize theme-park maps, trading pins, and activity books.
McClintock said the drive is intended to be a permanent part of park operations, but will be periodically updated. It was developed in house by Disney's safety office.
Disney also recently announced that it had won passage of federal legislation that creates a no-fly zone over its California and Florida parks as a safety measure. While the company cited September 11 and terrorist issues when announcing the ban, critics charged that it was only an attempt to limit fly-over banner advertisers from targeting Disney guests.