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‘Stock Up’ on Good Cheer and Do Good at the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort

posted on November 25th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


You know that feeling you get on Christmas morning when you discover your stocking filled with goodies? What if you could give that gift to someone AND make a difference for the children of Anaheim?

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I stopped by The Stocking Project chalet in the Downtown Disney Winter Village and had that same feeling when I saw their handcrafted stockings, filled to the brim with gifts from Downtown Disney District businesses! As John mentioned last week, Working to Give is selling these one-of-a-kind gifts, stitched by local artisans. The best part is that all net proceeds from your $99 stocking purchase will benefit ACT Anaheim, which supports much-needed youth programs in our community.

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The Downtown Disney Winter Village is open Monday–Thursday, 3–6 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 2–11 p.m.; and Sunday, 2–10 p.m.

Don’t miss this opportunity to create some holiday magic … and give a gift that gives back to our community!

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Filed: Community Outreach, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District

Top 5 Ways the Disneyland Resort Saluted Veterans for Veterans Day

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


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At the Disneyland Resort, we have a long-standing tradition of supporting our military servicemen and women. Here are the top 5 ways we saluted veterans this Veterans Day:

  1. Our latest Million Dollar Dazzle gift of $60,000 was given to Habitat for Humanity of Orange County yesterday to help provide new homes for local veterans.
  2. Retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Juan Valdez, a recipient of the Purple Heart, was our guest of honor during the “it’s a small world” Holiday lighting ceremony.
  3. Medal of Honor recipient Sammy L. Davis, whose heroic actions inspired parts of the movie “Forrest Gump,” was recognized at the flag retreat ceremony on November 5.
  4. The Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend once again benefits the Anaheim 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit Adoption Committee, which supports real super heroes at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County. (If you are a race participant, stop by the Health & Fitness Expo to write postcards and prepare care packages for troops overseas.)
  5. Cast members who are veterans, including our diversity resource group SALUTE, took part in a special flag retreat ceremony for Veterans Day.
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Last Call to Submit Applications for First Class of Disneyland Resort Dreamers & Doers; Applications Due by November 20

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


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Are you an exemplary Orange County, Calif., high school student driving positive change in your home, school or community? Now is the time to be selected as part of the first class of Disneyland Resort Dreamers & Doers and have the opportunity to earn a $1,000 grant for your school, or be selected to receive a Disneyland Resort weekend package to enjoy!

A couple of months ago, I shared a video with you about a few students and what they DREAM about, and what they DO to make those dreams a reality. I know there are many young people out there with similar stories to tell about the great things they’ve accomplished, whether that be by conserving nature, inspiring others to be creative or live healthfully, or bringing hope and happiness to the community.

The application window is drawing to a close! If you or someone you know is making a difference in your community, apply by November 20 by submitting a completed application to your high school’s main office. We can’t wait to hear your stories!

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Every Role a Starring Role: Disneyland Resort Mechanical Engineer

posted on October 23rd, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort Mechanical Engineer Natasha Pavlovsky visited Disneyland park for the first time after moving to America from Russia 20 years ago.

“We were smitten by the atmosphere of happiness and joy, bright colors and music and the variety of attractions and shows,” Natasha said. She was inspired to apply to work at the Disneyland Resort.

Today, Natasha says the variety of mechanical systems used at the Disneyland Resort makes working here an engineer’s dream job. Learn more about Natasha and her role in this “Every Role a Starring Role!”

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Filed: Cast Member Profiles, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

25th Annual CHOC Walk in the Park Returns to the Disneyland Resort on October 11

posted on October 2nd, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


On Sunday, Oct. 11, the 25th annual CHOC Walk in the Park supporting CHOC Children’s will return to the Disneyland Resort during the Diamond Celebration.

Since its inception, CHOC Walk in the Park has raised nearly $23 million for CHOC Children’s, supporting a variety of patient and family programs, as well as education, research, and the development of the latest technologies to advance the health of CHOC patients.

Here are the top three ways you can help support CHOC Walk this year:

1. Sleep in and make a difference as a “sleeping bear”
Registering as a “sleeping bear” is a great way to raise funds and earn CHOC Walk rewards all while sleeping in on Sunday morning.

2. Party with your ‘ohana at the CHOC Walk Ambassador’s Luau at the Disneyland Hotel on Saturday, Oct. 10
Have you practiced your hula dancing lately? This new event is hosted by the CHOC Ambassadors, six courageous children who represent all the other children at CHOC and their medical journeys. Enjoy live Polynesian entertainment, luau-inspired food, face painting, a silent auction and more. The CHOC Walk Ambassador’s Luau will take place from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom in the Disneyland Hotel.

3. Put on your walking shoes and join us at the CHOC Walk on Sunday, Oct. 11
The walk covers three miles through Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park, where you’ll get a special peek at the magic of the Disneyland Resort before the parks open to the general public.

Tickets and registration for these events are available at CHOCWalk.org. If you are joining us for these events, share your experience with #CHOCWalk!

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Filed: Community Outreach, Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts

Literacy Project Foundation Surprised with $60,000 in Next Chapter of Disneyland Resort Million Dollar Dazzle

posted on September 25th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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Last weekend, I joined our Million Dollar Dazzle Crew as we pulled off a textbook surprise by announcing the Literacy Project Foundation as the latest recipient of a $60,000 Million Dollar Dazzle gift from the Disneyland Resort. The nonprofit organization offers a reading program at no cost in many Orange County, Calif., elementary schools and after-school programs that helps disadvantaged youth improve their reading skills.

We were scheduled to present Disneyland Resort tickets to once-struggling readers at the nonprofit’s annual gala when we made the exciting announcement.

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“This gift enables us to reach even more at-risk youth,” said Sue Grant, executive director of Literacy Project Foundation. “For many years, the Disneyland Resort has supported us with ticket donations and materials for our participants, and this donation is certainly one for the books!”

The Million Dollar Dazzle Crew will continue to surprise local nonprofits with $60,000 each month of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. I look forward to sharing the next recipient soon on the Disney Parks Blog!

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Top 10 Ways the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Celebrated 10 Years and Running

posted on September 9th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


  1. The 10th annual Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna hosted more than 29,000 runners from across the nation and 28 countries.
  2. Anaheim Community Foundation (ACF), the celebratory charity of the race since it began, was awarded $10,000 to support Anaheim student participation in after-school programs.

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  1. Local runner James Lander from Fullerton, Calif., ran and won the 10th annual Disneyland Half Marathon presented by Cigna, with a time of 1:08:56.
  2. Over the last 10 years, runDisney events in Anaheim have generated approximately $900 million in economic impact for the local area.
  3. More than 400 “legacy” runners ran this weekend, completing all 10 Disneyland Half Marathons since the inaugural race.
  4. Momoko Tanaka from Urayasu-shi, Japan, came in first place for the women, finishing in 1:21:30 and marking the first time in the race’s history that an international runner has won.
  5. Runners celebrated with a specially-ticketed 10th anniversary party, where they experienced select attractions and entertainment in Disneyland park including the “Paint the Night” parade.

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  1. Ten members of Project S.A.Y. (Support Anaheim’s Youth) participated in the Disneyland 5K. Project S.A.Y. is one of many free programs for Anaheim youth in middle and high school made possible through ACF.
  2. Last year’s female champion, Jennifer Berry from Denver, Co., beat her prior year’s time by 12 seconds, finishing in 1:23:21.
  3. In the coming years, the four runDisney race weekends in Anaheim are expected to generate an estimated $250 million annually in economic activity for Orange County, Calif.
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Calling All Orange County, Calif., High School Students: Applications Now Open for the First Class of Disneyland Resort Dreamers & Doers

posted on September 8th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


As I mentioned earlier this summer, Disneyland Resort is looking for exemplary Orange County, Calif., high school students driving positive change in their homes, schools or communities to represent our very first class of Dreamers & Doers this fall. 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.

This new program inspired us to seek out some of these influential students who captured their stories in action. From stuffed animal drives for homeless children to clogging classes for the disabled, I was overwhelmed by the amazing things these young people are accomplishing. Take a look at this video and find out what they DREAM about and what they DO to make their dreams come to life!

If you or someone you know is making a difference by conserving nature, inspiring others to be creative, live healthfully or bring hope and happiness to the community, apply now to be a Dreamer & Doer by submitting a completed application to your high school’s main office through November 20. Each Orange County high school will have the opportunity to select up to two Dreamers & Doers.

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Every Role a Starring Role: Tiki Juice Bar Hostess at the Disneyland Resort

posted on September 4th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


One of my favorite snacks at the Disneyland Resort is a Dole Whip from the Tiki Juice Bar. The popular treat has been served at the Tiki Juice Bar since 1976 when the location was first sponsored by Dole with the Enchanted Tiki Room.

With the summer heat, we wanted to spotlight Tiki Juice Bar Hostess Jenn Pitoniak, who helps serve more than 960,000 Dole Whips each year at the Disneyland Resort! Learn more about Jenn’s role in this “Every Role a Starring Role.”

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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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