In a tradition created by the World Waterpark Association in 2010, Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon water park welcomed hundreds of kids for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. Hundreds of sites host such an event in an effort to help promote water safety and prevent drownings. This morning, before the Disney water park’s opening, 650 kids from Central Florida learned how to swim!
Walt Disney World’s Director of External Affairs Tajiana Ancora-Brown offered this about the event:
They’re learning safety skills. They’re learning about all sorts of things that might inspire them to do more outdoor activities. Get to swimming. Play in the water.
The large Typhoon Lagoon surf pool served as their training area, though the wave simulator was certainly off while these newbies splashed in the water. Guests of Typhoon Lagoon’s World’s Largest Swimming Lesson were welcomed by Disney Ambassadors Ali Manion and Raveon Redding. Mickey Mouse himself even showed up to support the surf pool swimmers, wearing a blue Hawaiian button-up and teal board shorts.
While I have no doubt that Mickey Mouse is somehow qualified to oversee the Disney Park waves, former Olympic swimmer and silver medalist Maritza Correia McClendon also graced the water! Of course, Disney lifeguards were on duty and teaching Guests as well. In the surf pool, kids from six nonprofit organizations sorted into groups to work on their skills and confidence in the water.
Here’s what Olympian McClendon shared,
For me this is a passion. Sixty-four percent of African American children don’t know how to swim and 40% of Hispanic don’t know how to swim. So my passion is to make sure that kids who look like me all across the country know how to swim.
Spectrum News 13 notes that McClendon was the first Black woman to make a U.S. Olympic swim team, which makes her presence even more powerful for participating communities.
Hopefully, those kids took the rest of the day off on every Typhoon Lagoon water slide and the lazy river for a job well done!