Today, I am thrilled to show you the magic we shared over the weekend when Disney VoluntEARS, along with beloved Disney characters, assisted in delivering and hanging the mural at the Hospital General de Catalunya. The mural delivery and hospital visit showcases just one way Disney Cruise Line is committed to giving back to communities in ports of call around the world.
Scott Feight, executive director of the Foundation for Hospital Art, told us this was one of the largest murals they have ever created. “Seeing the reaction of the children here today showcases the true power of our mission of utilizing art to uplift the spirit and support healing in hospitals around the world,” he said.
Disney VoluntEARS also visited with the children in the hospital, which is one of many community outreach projects taking place to deliver toys and smiles to deserving children in the port communities along Disney’s Mediterranean itineraries this summer.
Nearly 300 Disney Cruise Line guests and crew members are able to showcase their artistic talents while volunteering for a great cause this week aboard the Disney Magic’stransatlantic crossing to Barcelona, Spain, in an event called PaintFest at Sea. Through a partnership with the Foundation for Hospital Art, the fun-spirited group is painting 72 canvases during that will be assembled into a 9-foot tall by 24-foot long mural.
The mural, featuring characters from “The Little Mermaid” and designed by Disney artist, Don “Ducky” Williams, will take more than 500 hours to complete, and will be a fitting salute to the 30th Anniversary of the Disney VoluntEARS program. When the ship arrives in Barcelona on Saturday, the mural will be presented to a local children’s hospital near the port.
See the podcast of the painting here. Look for coverage of the mural delivery and installation on my blog post next week.
Wow, I can’t believe it is already May! I hope everyone had a wonderful April and made time to get outside in honor of Earth Month. Throughout the month, Disney Cruise Line guests and crew took part in organized “Walk for Wildlife” events on-board our ships and at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, doing their part to raise awareness and inspire others to connect with nature.
More than 350 people participated in this annual event supporting marine conservation projects through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF). Disney Cruise Line also made a $5,000 donation to DWCF in honor of all guests and crew who sailed on-board for Earth Day. It’s a tradition we are proud to support every year.
Looking at the photos, I know everyone had a great time taking part in these special events that allowed both guests and crew to come together for a great cause. If you could “Walk for Wildlife” on-board one of the Disney Cruise Line ships or at Castaway Cay, which would you choose?
Some of my most cherished memories from when my children were young are quiet times spent together reading a good book. Reading aloud gave us a chance to bond over favorite stories, while instilling a love of reading that continues today.
Crew members from Disney Cruise Line ships recently made memories of their own, saluting National Literacy Month with special visits to schoolchildren in our ports of call. Taking place as part of the Disney Reading Together program, these visits brought Disney VoluntEARS to read with children in Grand Cayman, St. Thomas and Nassau. And while the efforts were designed to promote literacy and inspire children to enjoy reading, I really think that our crew most enjoyed getting to spend quality time sharing stories with young readers.
Since launching 10 years ago, our Reading Together program has taken crew members into schools to read aloud, inspired cast and crew members to make personal donations through book drives, and has helped to distribute more than 7,000 books to children in communities across the Caribbean and the Bahamas.
Taking time out to read together can make a big impact – both on the children and the adults that share the story.
I’m sure the crew can’t wait to return to read with the schoolchildren again. Do you have a favorite Disney story you enjoy sharing with your family?
To read more about other ways Disney VoluntEARS and Disney Cruise Line give back, see the posts below:
We’re thrilled that the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Fantasy, earned the top honor – Best Large Ship – in the Cruise Critic 2013 Cruisers’ Choice Awards this week.
The Disney Fantasy also received the top spots in four other categories – Large Ship Best Cabins, Best Entertainment, Best Public Rooms and Best Service. Winners were selected based on reviews submitted by cruisers for sailings taken in 2012. Thank you, fans!
See more from the Disney Fantasy in the posts below:
Disney Cruise Line crew members who donated their time as Disney VoluntEARS put smiles on the faces of more than 2,600 people in less than a week in nine of the port communities that our ships call home.
Officers and crew on all four ships collected toys to benefit the US Marines Toys For Tots Foundation, while crew members living on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, delivered 1,200 storybooks to children in the surrounding Abaco Islands.
Throughout 2012, Disney Cruise Line cast and crew members contributed more than 4,500 community service hours, supporting a number of causes benefitting children and families, as well as the environment.
How does your family give back during the holiday season?
For more of how Disney VoluntEARS and Disney Cruise Line gave back this year, see the posts below:
These are just a few of the reasons Disney Cruise Line was recognized as the No. 1 Cruise Line in the Large-Ship category in the Condé Nast Traveler 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards. Our cast and crew members are honored to know that our efforts have helped provide a unique vacation experience where families can reconnect, recharge and relax together.
Now with four ships in our fleet, families can sail to more destinations with Disney than ever before, from a port close to their own backyard. Where would you like to go next?
Read the posts below for more updates from Disney Cruise Line:
Readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have named Disney Cruise Line the No. 1 Large-Ship Cruise Line for Families for the fourth consecutive year as part of the “World’s Best Awards 2012”! This is also the eighth consecutive year Disney Cruise Line has been ranked to the top five cruise lines overall.
Our cast and crew members are passionate about surprising our guests with a magical experience at sea, so it means a great deal to us that we have exceeded your expectations. We would love to know – what is your favorite family memory from a Disney cruise?
Check out these posts for more news from Disney Cruise Line:
One of the best ways to learn to care about the environment in your community is to take a “deep dive” into understanding local species and their natural habitats. That’s exactly what children from the Abaco Islands did recently when they visited Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, to learn about stingrays and conservation.
The children were participants in summer eco camps hosted by Friends of the Environment, a local non-profit focused on environmental education. With the support of Disney Cruise Line, Disney’s Animal Programs, and Science and Environment, local children participated in the week-long camp, where they learned about the ecosystems in their own community. The students then made their way to Castaway Cay where the education continued. While on the island, children were able to join stingrays in the water to learn about these fascinating creatures. They were also able to explore the island’s nature trails from the observation tower and engage in an overview with the onsite Disney’s Animal Programs animal care expert to learn about the research being done on Castaway Cay to protect marine habitats in The Bahamas.
Hosting these children on Castaway Cay is only one example of the community outreach work Disney Cruise Line does in The Bahamas and other ports of call. We’ll continue to share similar stories in the coming months so be sure to check back.
What activities have you done this summer to better understand local species and natural habitats in your area?
Check out these posts for more news about Disney’s community outreach efforts:
Approximately 300 volunteers + six hours = one shiny, new playground!
More than 150 Disney Cruise LineVoluntEARS joined an additional 150 volunteers from the City of Rockledge to construct a playground in Rockledge, Florida, this past weekend.
In cooperation with KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to preserving play for children, the group labored in the heat and humidity, transforming an empty 40-by-60-foot piece of property into a children’s wonderland of slides, climbing walls and zip lines.
Crew Members from the Disney Fantasy joined in the effort, coming off of the ship in nearby Port Canaveral to roll up their sleeves while the ship was in port.
Disney is a KaBOOM! National Partner, supporting its vision of safe play places within walking distance of every child in America. Since 2011, Disney has pledged more than $3.5 million to help build playgrounds and gardens across the country with the participation of thousands of Disney VoluntEARS. By the end of the year, Disney will have helped KaBOOM! build nearly 30 playgrounds nationwide!
Although the heat was sweltering and our Disney VoluntEARS shirts got a bit “grimier” than we’ve ever seen them before, we were proud to contribute to something that will bring joy and happiness to families for many years to come.
Check out these past posts about our Disney VoluntEARS: