Julie Ernst, a teacher at John Marshall Elementary School in Anaheim, Calif., purchased two piano keyboards seven years ago with a grant from the Disneyland Resort to start a music education program. Today, the elementary school has a complete lab of 34 keyboards and a full-time music teacher, and this year received a visit from members of the National Association of Music Merchants.
Disneyland Resort CREATE (Creative Resources Enabling Arts through Education) grants have provided Orange County teachers with classroom materials that support visual and performing arts projects for more than 20 years. In the 2014-15 school year, CREATE grants funded 131 schools with 249 arts and music projects, benefiting more than 42,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students in Orange County.
“Music can make a difference in the lives of our students in Anaheim,” said Ernst. “Attendance rates are up, student success is increasing in all curricular areas, staff is proud, discipline issues have dropped, and I am one happy teacher!”
Three Disneyland Resort cast members, Alexys McCoy, Joleen Piser and Ashley Parrish, have completed their six-month journey to become certificated culinarians with the American Culinary Federation. The trio earned the certification by participating in the Disneyland Resort Culinary Apprentice Program that provides 1,000 hours of diverse, hands-on training for cast members who are aspiring chefs.
Alexys, Joleen and Ashley rotated Disneyland Resort dining locations every two weeks, learning new culinary skills from preparing signature sauces at Carthay Circle Restaurant to baking bread at Boudin Bakery. The apprentices said the exposure to so many styles of food, equipment and cooking techniques in such a short period of time has been hugely beneficial.
Chef de Cuisine Bill Orton, who oversees culinary training, chef recruiting and special dietary programs at the Disneyland Resort, developed and leads the Culinary Apprentice Program, now in its second year.
“It is so rewarding to see our cast members learn and grow,” said Chef Bill. “Teaching is my favorite part of being a chef. There are only a few apprenticeship programs available in this county; I am honored to be leading ours.”
As my colleague Melanie shared last year, Disney VoluntEARS joined representatives from American Heart Association (AHA) and Walt Disney Elementary School teachers, students and parents to build the first AHA Teaching Garden in Anaheim, Calif., funded by the Disneyland Resort. Since the build and initial planting in November, the garden has continued to serve as a learning laboratory where students nurture growing plants, harvest produce and, in the process, learn the value of healthy eating. Today, I am excited to share that Disney VoluntEARS and more than 700 Walt Disney Elementary School students recently participated in the Teaching Garden’s first Heart Healthy Harvest Day!
Along with harvesting the garden boxes during the event, students tasted new fruits and vegetables and even learned about a unique form of composting that uses worms to recycle organic materials into soil. Each class also planted new vegetables for harvest later this spring.
“The Walt Disney Teaching Garden is a unique and natural learning environment that has given our students a first-hand experience of the seed-to-table process, while providing them with invaluable insight into the importance and appreciation of nutritious and healthy eating,” said Walt Disney Elementary School Principal Teali Fielder.
Looks like the students are really looking forward to their next crop!
A record 500 Disneyland Resort cast members volunteered more than 39,000 hours of rehearsal time to produce the 17th annual “Flashback,” held at the Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure park last week. The musical production, in which cast members produce and perform mini-musicals for family and friends, raised $25,000 for ACT Anaheim (Accelerate Change Together).
Performances were themed to various Disneyland Resort celebrations: “Blast to the Past,” “Circus Fantasy,” “Year of a Million Dreams” and “Show Your Disney Side.” Several participants also volunteered time to teach song and dance numbers to children at the West Anaheim Youth Center, one of ACT Anaheim’s grant recipients.
“Since Flashback’s launch, we have dedicated close to $300,000 to local charities within Orange County and Anaheim,” said Flashback co-creator Glynn Alsup, an attractions area manager. “ACT Anaheim is a great way to touch many of those charities at the same time. It truly is a valuable organization that goes to some great causes.”
Disneyland Resort cast member Freda Hardison is responsible for the inventory planning of toys, such as the popular “Build Your Own Lightsaber,” for merchandise locations at the Disneyland Resort.
She also volunteers time with our Diversity Resource Group (DRG) PULSE to provide cultural insight about the African American community. DRGs are composed of cast members from all lines of business who provide enrichment, awareness and education to support the diversity goals and objectives of the Disneyland Resort.
In this “Every Role a Starring Role,” Freda talks about the various steps to merchandise planning and how she also helped the Disneyland Resort celebrate Black History Month.
Cast members from the North American Tour of “Newsies” taught guests dance sequences inspired by the musical’s production number “Seize the Day” at the Downtown Disney District yesterday – all part of the “Get Up and Go” wellness program.
The program is part of the national tour of “Newsies,” in which cast members visit select schools and after-school programs to promote healthy lifestyles through dance, exercise and a well-balanced diet. The cast also share personal stories about how staying active helped them achieve their goals.
The Disneyland Resort invited community groups including the Anaheim Ballet, the Wooden Floor and several local high schools to participate. The national tour of “Newsies” will run at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles from March 24 – April 19.
In recognition of Black History Month, 16 guest choirs representing nine Southern California cities will lift their voices at the sixth annual Celebrate Gospel at the Disneyland Resort.
For the first time, performances will take place inside Disneyland park at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree from noon to approximately 8 p.m. on February 21, and are included with theme park admission.
Participating choirs have a rich history within the community and several have been featured as talent in national television shows and recording projects. Come share their passion for gospel music!
Date: Saturday, February 21
Location: Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, Disneyland park
Noon – 3:30 p.m.
- Moreno Valley College Gospel Singers (Moreno Valley)
- Rock Boy Fresh (Rancho Cucamonga)
- Ty Snow & Xtreme Purpose (Pasadena)
- Amazing Gospel Choir (Los Angeles)
- Angelic Choir (Hawthorne)
- New Generation Choir (Tustin)
- Voices of the Word (Moreno Valley)
- Spiritual Truth (Tustin)
4:10 – 7:40 p.m.
- LA Inner City Mass Choir (Inglewood)
- Project Purpose (Los Angeles)
- Christian Community Center (Los Angeles)
- Divine Deliverance Ministries Mass Choir (Los Angeles)
- Lorenzo Johnson & Prazium (Los Angeles)
- Greater LA Cathedral Choir (Long Beach)
- Friendship Mass Choir (Yorba Linda)
- Destiny 24 (Los Angeles)
Schedule subject to change.
When we set out to film an “Every Role a Starring Role” about the talented team who cares for the topiaries of the Disneyland Resort, the words “topiary engineer” did not come to mind right away – at least for me! Turns out, that is the job title of Sarah Day and a nod to her skill of maintaining the resort’s “living” topiaries.
The first topiaries inside Disneyland park debuted in the 1960s, and the sea serpent outside of “it’s a small world” has been there since the 1980s. Most of the topiaries there have been a part of the Disneyland Resort for more than fifteen years! What’s your favorite topiary at the Disneyland Resort?
The Disneyland Resort was honored last week with a Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) for waste reduction efforts. In the last 10 years, the Disneyland Resort has doubled the amount of waste diverted from landfills with the long-term goal of achieving Zero Waste – a designation already awarded to Circle D Corral by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and one of the success stories noted in the GEELA nomination.
From the 4.4 million pounds of food scraps processed into animal feed annually, to the 20,000 pounds of partially used bathroom amenities collected at Disneyland Resort hotels for Clean the World Foundation, to the donation and repurposing of gently used shoes, costumes, furniture and decorations, and much more – the Disneyland Resort is doing its part to reduce, reuse and recycle.
The Disneyland Resort also was a 2009 GEELA recipient for sustainable practices, which included the drought-conscious way water-based attractions are drained and refilled working with the Orange County Water District.
The Disneyland Band officially opened the 2015 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show being held at the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend. The NAMM Show is the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry.
Yamaha, the official sponsor of musical instruments to the Disneyland Resort, helped make the appearance possible. Guest conductor Mickey Mouse also joined the performance, which included musical numbers ranging from jazz to classic Disney tunes.
In addition to sharing their commitment to music education at the NAMM Show, the Disneyland Band is performing a dozen community concerts for second-grade students in Orange County, Calif., which they have done for more than 30 years!