Disney Fan Gets Royal Treatment with Special Princess Tiana-Inspired Bionic Arm 

Walt Disney World Resort - Disney fan Elisa was gifted the first-ever bionic arm cover inspired by Disney’s Princess Tiana

Dreams came true in the bayou when 9-year-old Disney fan Elisa was gifted the first-ever bionic arm cover inspired by Disney’s Princess Tiana—along with a full, VIP experience fit for royalty—just in time for the opening of the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction in Walt Disney World Resort.

Elisa, a devoted Princess Tiana fan, has always been proud of her congenital limb difference, which she calls her “lucky fin.” As she traveled from her home in Georgia to Walt Disney World Resort, she had no idea that she was in for the surprise of a lifetime: her special Princess Tiana-themed cover from Open Bionics, followed by a day chock-full of magic.

“It’s going to be great for Elisa,” said her mom, Nathalie. “I think she’s going to enjoy seeing Princess Tiana and showing her the new arm cover.”

Adding Disney Magic to Bionic Arms

9-year-old Disney fan Elisa was gifted the first-ever bionic arm cover inspired by Disney’s Princess Tiana

Surrounded by the ambiance of their royally themed guest room at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, Elisa, her parents and her two younger siblings kicked off their adventure with the big reveal of her new arm cover.

Created just for children like Elisa, the cover is decorated with Princess Tiana’s signature colors and floral details, adorned with just the right amount of sparkle.

“Tiana is strong like me because she faces all her dreams and tries to make them come true,” explained Elisa. “I’m excited to show my friends my new cover because it’s Tiana and I like Tiana.”

Display of first-ever bionic arm cover inspired by Disney’s Princess Tiana

Having received her first bionic arm about one year ago, Elisa knows exactly how it works. The multi-grip prostheses, called a Hero Arm, uses electrodes to send signals from her muscles to the fingers, telling them to open, close and move. It’s meant to improve mobility and quality of life for people with limb loss or limb difference.

Elisa’s Adventure Through the Bayou

After Elisa donned her new cover, the family was surprised with roleplay costumes, accessories, toys, t-shirts and other goodies, before hopping over to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort for even more fun.

Disney fan Elisa on Tiana's Bayou Adventure

Here, Elisa and her family were among the first to ride Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, as part of a special sunset soiree ahead of the attraction’s official opening on June 28.

After a thrilling ride through the bayou, the family caught up with a key player in developing the attraction: Carmen J. Smith, SVP, Creative Development – Content, Product & Inclusive Strategies, Disney Experiences.

“Princess Tiana is both a dreamer and a doer. And that’s what you do – you draw and do all kinds of wonderful things,” Carmen said to Elisa. “We want you to feel happy, a sense of celebration, and in ways that many people may never be able to. You’ve got Tiana right with you, and Tiana’s special.”

9-year-old Disney fan Elisa with Princess Tiana

Finally, the celebration concluded at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where Elisa and her family finally met the heroine herself, Princess Tiana!

Embracing the Hero Within

This special moment is the latest example of Disney’s collaboration with healthcare company Open Bionics, which develops medical devices that enhance the human body, including the Hero Arm for people living with a below-elbow limb difference.

“What we’re doing for Elisa is just another example of how we like to go above and beyond, and make our users feel special and feel like the heroes that they are,” added Emily Shannon, a clinician at Open Bionics.

Disney-themed covers for bionic arms: R2-D2 from Star Wars

Since 2016, Disney has been helping add an extra touch of magic to the Hero Arms through fun, Disney-themed covers for bionic arms featuring beloved characters and stories such as R2-D2 from Star Wars, Disney’s Frozen, and more.

Elisa is proud of her unique identity, but some children with limb differences can feel self-conscious or ashamed of their disability.

“A lot of my patients who are kids have told me, and their families have told me, that they feel left out or get bullied or feel ostracized from their peers because of their limb difference,” Emily shared. “Open Bionics is so good about flipping that narrative and showing these kids it’s okay to be who you are, it’s okay to embrace what makes you special, and you are your own superhero.”

The special Disney-inspired covers emphasize that a child’s uniqueness is their superpower. Rather than hiding their limb differences, kids can feel proud to show them off, while bringing a part of their favorite Disney stories along with them.

“We want to make sure that we meet our guests, our consumers, and our viewers where they are. For us to have this relationship with Open Bionics that gives young people, people of every age, an opportunity to walk alongside a character that they love, that they enjoy and brings them a sense of inspiration, it is just absolutely amazing. To bring that kind of joy and fulfillment is priceless,” added Carmen.

Family with Carmen J. Smith, SVP, Creative Development - Content, Product & Inclusive Strategies, Disney Experiences

At Disney, we uplift stories of people with disabilities around the world. Through transformative storytelling and a focused approach, Disney is specially positioned to honor the diversity of the disability community and create a sense of belonging, so the magic is accessible to all.

To learn more about Disney’s commitment to amplifying underrepresented voices and untold stories, visit reimaginetomorrow.disney.com.