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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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Walt Disney World Resort Donates $866,000 Worth of School Supplies to Central Florida Students

posted on August 20th, 2015 by Andrea Finger, Director of Communications


Being married to a high school algebra teacher, I completely understand how much work it takes to get ready for school. I also know that unfortunately, some of my husband’s students don’t have all the supplies they need. But some of my fellow cast members are doing what they can to help.

Over the past few weeks, thousands of Disney VoluntEARS have been picking up extra folders, pencils, pens, composition notebooks and more to help more than 100,000 Central Florida students begin the school year successfully.

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Through this Back-to-School Supply Drive, students will receive over $866,000 worth of school supplies, including more than 60,000 backpacks. All of the supplies will be distributed locally by A Gift For Teaching (AGFT), which is a nonprofit organization that provides free school supplies to local students to help their students in need.

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In addition to donating school supplies, hundreds of cast members spent countless hours sorting pens, crayons, notebooks and other school items at AGFT’s warehouse in South Orlando. They also answered phones during a telethon hosted by WKMG Local 6 to raise funds for the nonprofit’s supply efforts.

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All supplies donated will ensure students, families and teachers can focus on the same goal: a successful start to the 2015-2016 school year!

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Apply Now For Disney Dreamers Academy

posted on August 5th, 2015 by Geoffrey Pointon, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


“The era we are living in today is a dream coming true.” This is one of my favorite quotes said by Walt Disney, a man whom I consider an expert dream-maker because I truly believe that our era is changing the world. With a universe of possibilities, any dreamer can make a difference, which is why Disney Dreamers Academy is selecting 100 high school students to participate in an innovative, outside-the-classroom, educational mentoring program.

Steve Harvey Welcomes the 2015 Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort

High school students nationwide can apply now thru October 30 at DisneyDreamersAcademy.com to be among 100 selected to participate in this year’s 2016 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE. Applicants must answer essay questions relating to their personal stories and their dreams for the future. Students are selected based on a combination of attributes, including a strong character, positive attitude, and determination to achieve their dreams.

Entering the search for its ninth class of Dreamers, Disney Dreamers Academy continues to hold true to its mission to inspire and fuel the dreams of teens, help them discover a world of possibilities and help them prepare for the future. Each year, students participate in hands-on, full-immersion workshops related to a variety of career paths, ranging from animation to zoology. Each participant learns important skills such as communication techniques, leadership values and networking strategies.

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Select Disney Dreamers, along with a parent or guardian, will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, where they will participate in life-changing sessions while surrounded by the creativity and innovation represented in Disney theme parks around the world. Disney Dreamers Academy will take place March 3-6, 2016.

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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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Disneyland Resort Celebrates 60th Anniversary and Announces Million Dollar Dazzle Program Benefiting Local Nonprofits

posted on July 17th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


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Sixty years ago today, Walt Disney dedicated his dream project: Disneyland – a land beyond the boundaries of the motion pictures with which he’d made his reputation, a park where families and guests of all ages could be immersed in worlds of fantasy and adventure.

As part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, we announced this morning that we will honor 60 years of Walt’s dream with our Million Dollar Dazzle program. Each month during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the Million Dollar Dazzle Crew will surprise one or more Southern California nonprofits with a $60,000 gift, totaling more than $1 million. Girl Scouts of Orange County was surprised with the first gift at the ceremony today.

Check back later today for video from this special ceremony!

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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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Disney Cruise Line Crew Members Give Back to Port Communities

posted on June 30th, 2015 by Rebecca Peddie, Manager, Public Affairs


Disney VoluntEARS Month at Disney Cruise Line is a unique opportunity for shipboard crew members to give back to communities in different ports of call around the world. More than 150 crew members across all four Disney ships participated in Disney VoluntEARS Month in May, demonstrating that we all have the ability to make a positive impact.

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This May, 10 organizations from five communities in Central Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean benefitted from more than 450 volunteer hours. Crew efforts impacted charitable causes focused on areas including education, health/wellness and animal care/rescue.

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Each year, the cast and crew at Disney Cruise Line provide thousands of hours of community service – from raising funds for disaster relief to spreading Disney cheer in children’s hospitals around the world.

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Disneyland Resort, Angels Baseball and Anaheim Ducks Make A Difference in Anaheim One ACT at a Time

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


Last year, I told you about the Disneyland Resort, Angels Baseball and the Anaheim Ducks joining together to provide more opportunities to thousands of Anaheim youth through a collaboration called Accelerate Change Together for Anaheim (ACT Anaheim). To kick off ACT Anaheim, our three organizations committed $3 million over the span of three years for the creation and expansion of youth programs with local nonprofits.

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During its first grant cycle, ACT Anaheim awarded $1.5 million to 10 nonprofits, which provided enhanced and expanded services to nearly 2,500 Anaheim youth. ACT II was announced earlier this month to the tune of $2 million for 14 nonprofits. We’ve already exceeded our initial goal, with ACT Anaheim funding a total $3.5 million to local nonprofits in just two years thanks to additional individuals and companies who have joined the cause!

Here is a look at some of the achievements ACT Anaheim recipients made with the help of those first funds:

  • Through GOALS’ (Growth Opportunities through Athletics, Learning and Service) Special Sports program, GOALS teens play hockey, volleyball, soccer and other sports with their buddies with disabilities from the Orange County Adult Achievement Center.
  • Anaheim Family YMCA teens explore all kinds of activities, including snorkeling and archery, at Camp Fox, an overnight summer camp.
  • Anaheim high school students prepare for college and careers through the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Career & College Access Immersion Program at the Tiger Woods Learning Center.
  • Anaheim junior high school students create their own superhero identities as part of Girls Inc.’s Mind+Body program focusing on fitness, nutrition, body image and stress management.
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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on June 7th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, Mickey Mouse and the “Happiest Balloon on Earth” were in Sacramento to celebrate as the California State Senate and Assembly proclaimed June 1, 2015 as “Disneyland Day!”

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During the day, the “Happiest Balloon on Earth” floated over the Capitol lawn before Mickey Mouse and Disney Ambassador Allie Kawamoto visited young patients at UC Davis Medical Center. Disneyland Resort’s visit included a stop in West Sacramento, where 500 volunteers from Disney, KaBOOM! and the city of West Sacramento built Disney’s largest KaBOOM! playground ever.

Check out Kevin’s original post for more images and details of the day.

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We also unveiled a new, extraordinary entertainment experience for guests of all ages coming to Disney Springs called The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort.

The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort is going to be a one-of-a-kind destination featuring hands-on activities that put families and guests of all ages right in the middle of NBA game action. You’ll be able to explore inside the world of professional basketball with numerous interactive experiences and enjoy a restaurant and retail store.

Check out our original story for more details about The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Behind the Scenes of Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park with Walt Disney Imagineering – Matterhorn Bobsleds recently reopened at Disneyland park, following a refurbishment that brought many new creative elements to this classic attraction – including a whole new look for its most famous resident, the Abominable Snowman.

See an Exclusive Sneak Peek of ‘Ant-Man’ at Disney California Adventure Park Starting June 19 – Soon, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the next evolution of Super Hero when the Bug’s Life Theater at Disney California Adventure park hosts a sneak peek of the high-stakes, tension-filled adventure, “Ant-Man”!

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park? – This week was the anniversary of the opening of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park here at Walt Disney World Resort. How well do you know this park? Give your knowledge a test!

Rhino Kiama Makes Her Big Debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Earlier this year, thousands of you voted to name our female baby rhino Kiama. She has been growing rapidly – gaining about three or four pounds a day – and now you can see her during your next adventure on Kilimanjaro Safaris!

Team Disney VoluntEARS Raises More than $30,000 for Cancer Research and Runs Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort – While training together for the 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon, Team Disney VoluntEARS raised more than $30,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through the organization’s Team in Training program.

Six Scrumptious Desserts Debut for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – It’s a party, so you’re allowed to eat dessert first. For the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, here are six new sweets for 60 years, and they’ll stay on the menu throughout the celebration.

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June 1 Proclaimed ‘Disneyland Day’ at California State Capitol

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


One week after the launch of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration in Anaheim, Mickey Mouse and the “Happiest Balloon on Earth” arrived in Sacramento to celebrate as the California State Senate and Assembly proclaimed today – June 1, 2015 – as “Disneyland Day!”

June 1 Proclaimed ‘Disneyland Day’ at California State Capitol June 1 Proclaimed ‘Disneyland Day’ at California State Capitol

Disneyland has been part of the fabric of California for six decades, and marking this special milestone by bringing the magic of Disney to the State Capitol makes it all the more momentous. I’m told seeing the “Happiest Balloon on Earth” float over the Capitol lawn was pretty incredible!

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Disneyland Resort’s visit to Sacramento went beyond the Capitol and into the community with a visit to UC Davis Medical Center, where Mickey Mouse and Disney Ambassador Allie Kawamoto visited young patients. It also included a stop in West Sacramento, where 500 volunteers from Disney, KaBOOM! and the city of West Sacramento built Disney’s largest KaBOOM! playground ever. Following the build, Disneyland Resort made surprise donations totaling $10,000 to Club West Teen Center and Yolo County Children’s Alliance.

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“Disneyland Day” festivities concluded with a special screening of Disney “Tomorrowland” for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students who attend an after-school program at Club West Teen Center in Sacramento.

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