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Disneyland Resort Million Dollar Dazzle Crew Hits the Road, Surprises Next $60,000 Recipient

posted on August 27th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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You may remember that on July 17 we announced a special philanthropic program in honor of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration called Million Dollar Dazzle. Once a month during the celebration, our Million Dollar Dazzle Crew is surprising local nonprofits with $60,000, amounting to more than $1 million.

Last weekend, the Million Dollar Dazzle Crew showed up to a regularly scheduled Disney VoluntEARS event at the Orange County Food Bank with the surprise $60,000 for the nonprofit that runs the food bank, Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAPOC).

Disney VoluntEARS were in place packing food boxes when Disney Ambassador Allie Kawamoto and the Million Dollar Dazzle Crew came in and announced that our second Million Dollar Dazzle gift was to benefit CAPOC’s Family Resource Centers, offering services from homework assistance for children to free lunches for senior citizens.

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“We have a really difficult time fundraising for our Family Resource Centers,” said Buddy Ray, executive director of CAPOC. “It’s easier to raise funds for the food bank because everyone understands what that is. This makes a world of difference for our entire nonprofit. Families are getting quality services that make a difference in their lives.”

Disney VoluntEARS from the Disneyland Resort have supported CAPOC since the early 1990s with quarterly food packing events. This gift represents a new way in which the Disneyland Resort is supporting CAPOC. Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog to see which local nonprofit will be surprised next by our Million Dollar Dazzle Crew!

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Julie Reihm Casaletto Honored as a 2015 Disney Legend at D23 EXPO

posted on August 17th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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Julie Reihm Casaletto, who was selected to be Disney’s first Ambassador in 1965, was honored as a 2015 Disney Legend at the D23 EXPO, along with eight other beloved contributors to the Disney Legacy. Julie was one of five finalists in the fall of 1964 competing to become Miss Disneyland Tencennial for the park’s 10th anniversary, when the Disney Ambassador program was introduced to help Walt Disney represent Disneyland park throughout the world.

During her tenure, Julie was featured in a special 1965 TV episode of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color,” in which she appeared alongside Walt Disney as he showed viewers upcoming concepts for Disneyland attractions. “Working with Walt was a super learning experience,” Julie shared. “His creative genius often came with a boy-like excitement of discovery.”

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When it came time to decide whether the Disney Ambassador program would continue, Julie shared her thoughts with Walt. Both agreed the program was a special opportunity for future emissaries of goodwill to share the joy and magic of Disneyland with the world. Today, the Disney Ambassador program has been introduced across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Julie has become the model upon which decades of Disney Ambassadors have patterned themselves.

“My purpose was to share the joy, hope and happiness of Disneyland to communities around the world,” Julie said. “Those unforgettable experiences have continued to influence my life and career. For decades, Disneyland has been the pixie dust of my life. I consider Disneyland and all of its wonder to be home.”

Learn more about the 2015 Disney Legends here.

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Show Operations Host

posted on August 3rd, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort cast member Adam Rieders helps create a smooth experience for guests watching the “Paint the Night” parade and “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular. You may have met Adam already if you have been to Disneyland park recently to watch these new nighttime shows for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, especially if you showed up early to choose your spot.

Adam says while his role can be challenging, he is lucky enough to experience these shows nearly every night, and one of his favorite parts is watching the reactions of guests. Now it’s your turn to watch Adam in this “Every Role a Starring Role!”

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Cast Members Enjoy Exclusive Surprises During Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

posted on July 31st, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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We’ve been dazzling guests with surprises since the launch of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – and as part of “60 Days of Dazzle,” our cast members are being surprised, too! Exclusive opportunities for us are one of my favorite parts of working at the Disneyland Resort. Here’s a look at how we are being dazzled during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration:

  • Through August 15, the Diamond Mine Cart, a specially wrapped van covered in magnets, is traveling around backstage areas for cast members to pull a magnet and discover giveaways including games and movie tickets.
  • Cast members are experiencing “Random Acts of Magic” by having their lunch and coffee tabs picked up at cast dining locations periodically. Often, this is done for 60 cast members at a time.
  • Fun photo opportunities, daily treats and commemorative items rounded out “cast appreciation week” for the 60th anniversary.
  • Nearly 3,000 cast members were picked up from their parking location in a Cast Cab, presented by Alamo, and driven to work while being treated to snacks along the way. Their drivers were dressed in chauffeur attire!

“Our cast members create happiness every day for our guests,” said John Van Winkle, cast activities programs and operations manager. “This is our way of creating some magic for them during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration and letting them know how much they are truly appreciated for all they do.”

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First Disneyland Resort Million Dollar Dazzle Gift Benefits Girl Scouts of Orange County’s Comadres Outreach Program

posted on July 24th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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As Erin shared last week, Girl Scouts of Orange County was named the first recipient of our Million Dollar Dazzle program. Each month of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, we will select one or more local nonprofits that enrich the lives of children and families and surprise them with a $60,000 gift, amounting to more than $1 million.

We surprised dozens of Girl Scouts at a special breakfast at The Golden Horseshoe with a check presented by Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier, Disney Ambassador Jessica Bernard and, of course, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse! The funds will support the organization’s Comadres outreach program which helps the Girl Scout experience transcend language and cultural barriers for girls in low-income neighborhoods.

“Girl Scouts of Orange County is thrilled to receive the first $60,000 gift,” said Nancy Nygren, CEO of Girl Scouts of Orange County. “The funds will be used to recruit and train volunteers who can facilitate the Girl Scout experience for girls in low-income areas while strengthening families.”

Stay tuned in the coming months for updates about other nonprofit organizations that will be surprised as part of Million Dollar Dazzle!

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Special Olympics World Games ‘Flame of Hope’ Journeys Through Disneyland Resort

posted on July 20th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Last night, the Disneyland Resort hosted the “Flame of Hope,” currently making its way through 127 cities and communities in California en route to the Special Olympics World Games opening ceremonies in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 25. The torch shined brightly even in the rain, and I was encouraged to see so many guests brave the weather to watch Special Olympics athletes carry the torch down Main Street, U.S.A. to a ceremony at the Downtown Disney District.

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The Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg for the “Flame of Hope” represents the culmination of similar events around the world on its journey to the Special Olympics World Games. In May, the torch made its way to the Walt Disney World Resort during a Unified Relay Across America, going through Epcot and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.

More than 30,000 volunteers, including Disney VoluntEARS, will support the Special Olympics World Games. ESPN is the official broadcast partner of the Games, and will be covering the Opening Ceremonies, plus sharing highlights throughout the event.

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Filed: Community Outreach, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

‘Paint the Night’ at Disneyland Resort is First Disney Parks Parade to Offer Audio Description and Handheld Captioning for Guests with Visual or Hearing Disabilities

posted on July 14th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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If you have seen “Paint the Night,” you know that the parade illuminates Disneyland Resort with more than 1.5 million LED lights, bringing music, magic and brilliant color to our guests. What you may not know is that for the first time Disney engineers have made the parade available through both Audio Description and Handheld Captioning, making the new nighttime spectacular a more inclusive and memorable experience for guests with visual or hearing disabilities.

This service works by providing guests a small, handheld device that utilizes Disney-patented, wireless technology which enables the device to know its location in the park and triggers pre-programmed actions. For example, during “Paint the Night,” guests with visual disabilities who use the device hear descriptions of the visual elements of the parade. The device receives signals from each parade float as it passes by, prompting it to play pre-recorded audio that describes the float. The device, available at City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A., and offered at no cost with a refundable deposit, also provides amplified audio for assistive listening.

Disneyland Resort continues to offer these and other services for guests with disabilities for several shows and spectaculars, including “World of Color – Celebrate!” in Disney California Adventure park and “Fantasmic!” in Disneyland park.

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Local Students Shower Disneyland Resort and Its Cast Members With Thousands of Birthday Wishes

posted on July 13th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Nothing makes a birthday celebration more special than a few heartfelt birthday wishes — except maybe several THOUSAND wishes! Well, that is exactly the magic our cast members felt when thousands of Anaheim elementary school students showered Disneyland Resort and its cast with birthday cards for a very happy 60th. With a touch of magic and a little help from some beloved Disney friends, this video brings to life some of the children’s cutest creations as they make their way to our cast.

Students from kindergarten through sixth grade got into the spirit of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, creating birthday cards that feature drawings of everything from birthday cakes to favorite characters and attractions, along with sentiments that express just how much they treasure their visits to the Disneyland Resort. On July 17, these dazzling creations will be on display throughout the Resort for cast members to enjoy. I can’t wait to open mine!

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Every Role a Starring Role – Aviator at Soarin’ Over California at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on July 6th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Welcome aboard, flight enthusiasts! I’m Kevin, your in-flight entertainment for the next 3-4 minutes. As many of you know, we immerse our guests in the rich history and vibrant surroundings of the state of California when they visit Disney California Adventure park here at Disneyland Resort. As an Aviator at Soarin’ Over California, Ryan Adams has the unique role of preparing guests for an exhilarating flight through some of these iconic sights, sounds and smells of California — all within a few minutes! We now invite you to sit back, buckle your seat belts and remain seated as we prepare for lift off into this episode of “Every Role a Starring Role!”

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Disneyland Resort Seeking Influential High School Students in Orange County, Calif., to be Recognized as First Class of Disneyland Resort Dreamers & Doers This Fall

posted on July 1st, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Are you or someone you know a high school student doing good in the Orange County, Calif., community?

Whether focused on helping their families, classmates or community causes – Orange County high school students are asked to nominate themselves for their good deeds and service. From tutoring younger students, to leading a food drive, to starting a recycling program or helping with a sick or elderly family member – Dreamers & Doers applicants make a positive impact in their community.

Beginning September 8, Orange County high school students can apply to become the first class of Dreamers & Doers, the newly announced Disneyland Resort philanthropy program aimed at recognizing exemplary high school students who take action to improve their community, home or school by conserving nature, inspiring others to be creative or live healthfully, and bringing hope and happiness to the community.

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If the name sounds familiar to you, that’s because Walt Disney World Resort has been recognizing Dreamers & Doers in Central Florida for more than 30 years. We are thrilled to now bring this recognition to the Disneyland Resort community in celebration of our 60th anniversary.

Get involved now!
Students interested in applying to become a Dreamer & Doer this fall are encouraged to use summer break to get involved and make a difference, and even showcase how they are making an impact by submitting videos of their work in action. Select videos will then be part of a final video highlighting the program, which will be shown here on the Disney Parks Blog and in various other social media channels. Instructions for submitting videos can be found here. Submit your videos by August 2!

More about the program:
Every high school in Orange County will have the opportunity to select one to two of their school’s Dreamers & Doers applicants, who will receive two Disneyland Resort Park Hopper tickets. From this group, 60 “Shining Stars” will be selected to receive a $1,000 grant for their school and be invited to attend a celebration luncheon where additional surprises will be announced, and six top-ranking students will be designated as “Luminaries” who receive a Disneyland Resort weekend prize package to enjoy with their families. Disneyland Resort also will host a symposium for all “Shining Stars,” providing an opportunity to discuss issues that affect students and create solutions they can implement in their schools and communities. Click here for more information about the Disneyland Resort Dreamers and Doers program.

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