Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park

And the Winner of Disney’s Planet Challenge Is….

posted on April 15th, 2011 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line


The winning class for the 2011 Disney’s Planet Challenge goes to…. the Year 6 class of Cayman Prep & High School in the Cayman Islands! The young environmental champions were honored aboard the Disney Magic cruise ship in Grand Cayman last week for their class project focused on protecting the threatened swallowtail butterfly, an endemic species found only in the Cayman Islands. Disney Captain John Barwis and Captain Mickey Mouse held an official ceremony for the students and their teacher, Andy Jones, onboard the ship to recognize their outstanding environmental achievements.

As part of their class project, the students raised funds and awareness of the native swallowtail butterfly and its habitat, in addition to planting lime trees, which provide food and shelter for the butterfly. They also distributed and planted lime seeds across their community in an effort to grow even more trees, which will provide the butterflies with a safe habitat for years to come.

Disney’s Planet Challenge is a yearly program aimed at inspiring students to be good stewards of the environment and empowering them to make a difference. Sponsored through a relationship with Disney Cruise Line and the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Department of Education and Department of the Environment, the community outreach and educational program is just one of the ways that Disney Cruise Line continues to inspire positive action and minimize its environmental impact both aboard and ashore.

In the spirit of Earth Month, we wanted to share a few environmental initiatives and facts that you might not know about Disney Cruise Line. Our focus remains on utilizing new technologies, increasing fuel efficiency and minimizing waste. Did you know?

  • Environmental officers are aboard all Disney ships and are ranked amongst the most senior leaders aboard the fleet. They’re responsible for fuel efficiency, minimizing waste and promoting conservation of water, ecosystems and energy.

  • All Disney ships have a 100 percent non-toxic hull coating which reduces surface resistance in open water.

  • Disney Cruise Line eliminates more than 1,200 tons of metal, plastic and paper from traditional waste streams and recycles it each year.

  • The Disney Wonder recently “plugged-in” at the Port of Los Angeles, utilizing this new technology for shore power and reducing air emissions while in port.

  • The Disney Dream features technology to determine accurate energy management which maximizes the heating, ventilation and cooling systems based on real-time requirements. As part of this system, guest staterooms self-adjust when unoccupied and return to the desired temperature upon a guests’ return.

  • Cast and crew members have donated more than 4,500 hours in the port communities Disney calls home, including giving back to local nonprofits, hosting annual walks to raise funds and awareness for conservation programs and leading shore cleanups, that to date have removed 31,000 pounds of trash and debris from beaches and fragile waterways.
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More Disney Magic for Boys & Girls Clubs Children

posted on February 4th, 2011 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line


Boys & Girls Clubs Children Lorenzo White (13), Germaine Childs (9) and Tyasia Childs (6) Posed with the Giant Sailor Mickey Mouse Balloon

Last night, four families from Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida got a chance to attend the Orlando Magic-Miami Heat basketball game at Orlando, Florida’s Amway Center.

Prior to the game, Boys & Girls Clubs children Lorenzo White (13), Germaine Childs (9) and Tyasia Childs (6) posed with the giant Sailor Mickey Mouse balloon located outside the Disney Atrium at the new Amway Center. The family recently sailed onboard Disney’s newest cruise ship, Disney Dream, as part of a special Benefit Preview Cruise which raised $750,000 in support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.

As a “Champion of the Community” and the “official cruise line of the Orlando Magic,” Disney Cruise Line was featured prominently throughout the game, including the 65-foot-high Sailor Mickey Mouse balloon from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which made its first non-parade appearance in Central Florida last night and was located outside of the Disney Atrium.

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Disney Friends for Change

posted on January 25th, 2011 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line


This past weekend, Disney Friends for Change took over private island Castaway Cay in the Bahamas for a special PaintFest project with Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. The event included children from the organization who sailed aboard the special Benefit Preview Cruise, bringing together community leaders and invited guests to help raise $750,000 for Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.

Disney Friends for Change

Disney Channel stars Brandon Mychal Smith, Doug Brochu and Allisyn Ashley Arm were on hand representing Disney Friends for Change, a multiplatform initiative that empowers kids and encourages them to help the planet. Together Friends for Change stars, children from Boys & Girls Clubs, Disney Cruise Line VoluntEARS and Mickey Mouse himself took part in painting the giant mural.

Disney Friends for Change

Composed of 24 individual hand-painted panels that fit together to form an eight foot by nine foot mural, the paints and supplies used were in keeping with the environmental initiatives of the program. For example, all the paint was water-based, non-toxic and actually recycled from previous painting projects, while the paint brushes were also washed afterwards to be reused on future projects. In line with the Friends for Change initiative, the focus of the mural states, “Real Friends + Real Action = Real Change.” The mural will be donated to a Boys & Girls Club location in Central Florida to inspire children to continue to make a difference for our planet.

Disney Friends for Change

Check out this video of the Friends for Change project and hear from the Disney Channel stars and Boys & Girls Clubs children first hand on their involvement.

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Disney Dream Benefit Cruise Raises $750,000 for Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida

posted on January 21st, 2011 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line


Days after christening the Disney Dream, Disney Cruise Line is helping dreams come true for thousands of children in Central Florida.

President Karl Holz presented Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida with a check for $750,000

During a special sail-away ceremony held today, Disney Cruise Line leaders led by President Karl Holz presented Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida with a check for $750,000 to kick off a two-night “Benefit Preview Cruise” aboard the newest ship in our fleet.

Abram Family

As part of this sailing, 45 children from local clubs had the opportunity to experience this special two-night cruise with their parents and chaperones, along with all the unique new experiences aboard the Disney Dream, such as the AquaDuck water coaster.

Disney Cruise Line’s donation represents the continuation of a relationship between Disney and Boys & Girls Clubs that began more than 50 years ago when Walt Disney was made an honorary member of the national board of directors. In 2008, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida opened the Walt Disney World Clubhouse Branch in Orlando.

Several Disney Channel stars representing Disney Friends for Change, are also sailing on the weekend cruise.

During a visit on Saturday to Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, Boys & Girls Clubs members will join cast members Brandon Mychal Smith, Doug Brochu and Allisyn Ashley Arm to paint a giant mural that will be donated to a club location.

We’ll have a special report from the island next week so check back on the Disney Parks Blog for all the details.

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Disney Dream Commemorates Maritime Plaque Exchange with Governor

posted on January 7th, 2011 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line


Today the plaque and key exchange for the Disney Dream took place, commemorating the ship’s inaugural call on Port Canaveral in an official maritime ceremony. Newly elected Gov. Rick Scott, along with other local officials participated in the event with Disney Dream Captain Tom Forberg and Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz.

Disney Dream Commemorates Maritime Plaque Exchange with Governor

In keeping with tradition, Karl and Captain Tom hosted the port officials and community leaders for the official ceremony in the ship’s grand atrium lobby. Plaques and gifts were exchanged amongst the leaders and Captain Mickey was also on hand to celebrate the occasion.

Disney Dream Commemorates Maritime Plaque Exchange with Governor

As Disney’s newest and largest ship, the 130,000-ton cruise liner will call Port Canaveral home and sail three-, four- and five-night Bahamian itineraries beginning with the ship’s maiden voyage on Jan. 26. In order to accommodate the new and larger Disney Dream, construction enhancements were made to extend the dock facility and expand the terminal to allow for the additional guests. Port Canaveral also constructed a brand new multi-level parking structure that connects the terminal via a sky-bridge walkway.

The launch of the 4,000-passenger ship is expected to bring sizable economic benefits to the region including nearly 450 jobs and thousands of additional cruise guests.

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Disney Cruise Line Takes Helm of Disney Dream

posted on December 10th, 2010 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line


Raising of the Disney Cruise Line Flag

Disney Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Disney Dream, from the Meyer Werft shipyard this week in Bremerhaven, Germany. The traditional maritime ceremony included the lowering of the Meyer Werft flag and raising of the Disney Cruise Line flag on the mast of the ship. Captain Mickey, Donald Duck and the crew members of the Disney Dream joined the celebration.

Captain Mickey, Donald Duck and the Crew Members of the Disney Dream

As part of the event, president of Disney Cruise Line, Karl Holz, and managing partner of Meyer Werft, Bernard Meyer, signed the official documents transferring ownership of the Disney Dream from the shipbuilder to Disney.

President of Disney Cruise Line, Karl Holz and Managing Partner of Meyer Werft, Bernard Meyer

The milestone officially closes the book on the ship’s construction journey, and signals its readiness to welcome guests on its maiden voyage, set for January 26, 2011, from Port Canaveral, Fla.

Captain Mickey and Donald Duck with Managing Partner of Meyer Werft, Bernard Meyer, and President of Disney Cruise Line, Karl Holz

Captain Tom Forberg will now take the helm of the Disney Dream for Disney Cruise Line. Soon the ship will set sail from Bremerhaven on a transatlantic voyage, and will arrive at its home in Port Canaveral on January 4, 2011.

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Surprise! You’re Going on a Disney Cruise!

posted on December 8th, 2010 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line


Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida

“Surprise! You’re going on a Disney cruise!” Imagine hearing those words from the president of Disney Cruise Line. That’s exactly what happened to the children who gathered at the Walt Disney World Clubhouse of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida in Pine Hills last week.

As Disney Cruise Line prepares to bring its newest ship – Disney Dream – online, a special two-night and invitation only preview cruise will take place on Jan. 21, 2011, in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. As part of this one-of-a-kind sailing, 100 percent of the cruise fare will be donated directly to the organization, while select Boys & Girls Clubs children and their families from Brevard, Osceola, Orange and Seminole counties will have a unique opportunity to sail onboard.

Members of the Mickey Mouse and a Member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida

Disney Cruise Line president Karl Holz broke the news to 45 children from Clubs across Central Florida, plus 24 of their parents and chaperones, announcing that they would be joining him aboard this special preview cruise. Cheers erupted and the room was suddenly filled with excitement, disbelief and even a few tears! Captain Mickey stopped by for the celebration and posed for photos with everyone, including Gary Cain, the president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, and Rick Continelli, senior vice president of sales and travel operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Rick, who was a former Boys & Girls Club member himself, is now an active corporate board member with Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.

Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida Are Surprised with a Disney Cruise

The evening proved to be a memorable one for the children who are now eagerly looking forward to spending time with their families aboard the Disney Dream. The Benefit Preview Cruise is just one way that Disney Cruise Line is dedicated to helping children fulfill their own dreams in the communities we call home. This special cruise opportunity continues the longstanding relationship between Boys & Girls Clubs and The Walt Disney Company, which started more than 50 years ago when Walt Disney was made an honorary member of the organization’s national board of directors.

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Disney Dream Arrives in Hamburg

posted on November 22nd, 2010 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line


The Disney Dream

Very early this morning, around 3 a.m. (German time), the Disney Dream cruise ship arrived in the port of Hamburg, Germany, where it will undergo a brief dry dock this week. This is part of the test-and-adjust phase of the construction process, and another step in the ship’s journey to completion. Afterward, the Disney Dream is scheduled to sail to Bremerhaven, where shipbuilder Meyer Werft will officially deliver the ship to Disney on Dec. 9.

The Disney Dream

The Disney Dream recently completed its float out and conveyance along the River Ems to the North Sea, where over the last two weeks it has undergone sea trials. In Bremerhaven, final supplies will be loaded, and the remaining crew members will board the ship before it sets sail for its home in Port Canaveral, Fla. The ship is scheduled to arrive just after the New Year, with its maiden voyage departing on Jan. 26, 2011.

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Disney VoluntEARS Extend the Magic to German School Children

posted on November 4th, 2010 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line


Update – 11/09: We’ve added new video showing how Disney VoluntEARS extended the magic to school children during our recent “float out” celebration in Papenburg, Germany.

The Disney Dream cruise ship recently stole the show in Papenburg, Germany when it floated out of the building dock at the Meyer Werft shipyard, marking a major step in the final construction of the ship. However, it was the 400+ school children from the local community who ended up being the stars of the weekend.

Continuing the Float Out celebration, Disney VoluntEARS hosted some 400 children and families from the local communities for an exclusive showing of the Disney film, “Beauty & the Beast” at two local theaters in Papenburg and Leer. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were on hand to welcome the children and introduce the show, while VoluntEARS helped serve movie snacks and popcorn.

Disney VoluntEARS Serving Movie Snacks and Popcorn'

Dedicated to giving back to the communities in which they live, work and play, Disney Cruise Line cast and crew members took this unique opportunity to share the Disney magic with children in the region known as the birthplace of Disney’s newest ship — Disney Dream. For an area that is steeped in ship building tradition, it is no surprise that Meyer Werft is one of the main employers of the area.

Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse at an Exclusive Showing of 'Beauty & The Beast'

Local school children attending Pestalozzischule and Johannesburg schools, both in Papenburg, and Greta-Schoon-Schule and Pestalozzischule in Leer, received commemorative tickets to attend the special events on Sunday.

Commemorative Tickets for the Exclusive Showing of 'Beauty & The Beast'

Disney VoluntEARS continue to be a positive force in over 20 communities that Disney Cruise Line frequents, offering opportunities for cast and crew members to give back and volunteer for worthwhile and meaningful causes.

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Disney Cruise Line Voted #1

posted on October 13th, 2010 by Christi Erwin Donnan, Manager of Public Affairs, Disney Cruise Line


That’s right, No. 1! Disney Cruise Line was named the top cruise line by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine last night at the 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards ceremony in New York City. Samantha Brown, renowned travel expert and television host on The Travel Channel, presented the award to Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz at the gala.

Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz

While Disney Cruise Line has received over 50 different awards since the company’s beginning in 1998, this award marks a first when it comes to recognition of this caliber. The award is part of the magazine’s annual readers’ survey that recognizes the best in travel for resorts, destinations, airlines, cruise lines and car rental agencies. Disney was honored in the Mega-Ship category.

In addition, the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine also recently named Disney Cruise Line the Top Family-Friendly Large-Ship Cruise Line in their 2010 World’s Best Awards poll.

As Karl commented during his acceptance remarks for the Condé Nast Traveler award last night, this recognition is a testament to the cast and crew members who make the magic happen for our guests, “We build spectacular ships, explore exotic destinations and deliver entertainment that is uniquely Disney, but what our guests remember most is the personal touch that only our crew members can deliver.”

To that, I echo Karl’s remarks and offer congrats to my colleagues both ashore and aboard for achieving this incredible honor!

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