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Wildlife Wednesdays: Fun Abounds When Kids, Disney Parks Cast Members and Animals Connect During Hospital Visits

posted on June 26th, 2013 by Allyson Atkins, Education Manager, Disney's Animals, Science and Environment


It’s fantastic being a Disney cast member, and no days are better than when a group of us get to take some of the animals from Disney’s Animal Kingdom to visit with the kids at three local Florida hospitals (the third was just added this year).

Fun Abounds When Kids, Cast Members and Animals Connect During Hospital Visits

Each month, with the support of Walt Disney World Resort Community Relations, Disney’s Animal Programs and Entertainment cast members partner to bring some wonderful programs to kids, ranging from toddlers to teenagers. The programs include educational presentations, interactive activities, animal encounters and special appearances by Disney characters. And for kids who are unable to leave their rooms to attend a program, we make individual room visits to bring the fun to the kids.

The kids really get into trying to figure out which animal is the fastest, strongest, largest, etc., during our “Awesome Animals” program. And they are amazed at what animals can be found right in their own backyards during our “Backyard Buddies” program. Another favorite is the “Caring for Animals” program – there are nods of understanding all around when kids learn that our animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom undergo many of the same procedures when they are cared for by our veterinary team as the kids do when they receive care from the hospital medical team.

Fun Abounds When Kids, Cast Members and Animals Connect During Hospital Visits

During these visits, it’s hard to say who has the better time, us or the kids!

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AquaDucky Derby on Disney Ships Benefits Make-A-Wish International

posted on June 6th, 2013 by Rebecca Peddie, Manager, Public Affairs


Duckies, duckies everywhere! Thousands of ducks decorated by Disney Cruise Line guests and crew members on all four ships swirled through the ships’ pools and water coasters recently to take part in the first “AquaDucky Derby” rubber duck races to raise nearly $14,000 for Make-A-Wish International.

Aboard the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, rubber ducks were placed at the top of the AquaDuck and with the crowd counting down and the sounds of “Wipe Out” playing over the sound system, 10,000 gallons of water rushed into the flume sending the ducks racing through the water coaster’s tunnel and around the ship’s upper decks before splashing down at the finish line.

Aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, guests and crew voted using applause for the unofficial best decorated duck while One Direction’s song, “That’s What Makes You Beautiful,” played in the background. For the official race, guests and crew splashed and kicked a current to carry the critters to the opposite side of the Goofy pool.

All funds raised from the duck sales are being donated to a very worthy cause – Make-A-Wish International, an organization that grants wishes for children facing life-threatening medical conditions in 48 countries outside of the U.S. Since the first-ever official wish experience 32 years ago, Disney has helped grant more than 81,000 wishes globally and is involved in nearly 50 percent of the wishes granted each year.

The events saluted the 30th anniversary of the Disney VoluntEARS program, which provides opportunities for Disney cast and crew members to donate their time to worthy causes around the world. Events like this are just a small part of Disney’s commitment to give back to local communities through in-kind donations and the efforts of Disney VoluntEARS. In 2012, Disney Cruise Line cast and crew members completed 75 community outreach projects and donated more than 4,500 hours of personal service to nonprofit organizations, working both onboard the ships and in communities across Central Florida, The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line provided more than $640,000 in charitable and in-kind donations to organizations supporting children, families and the environment.

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Disney Cruise Line Shares Magic in Barcelona Hospital

posted on June 4th, 2013 by Rebecca Peddie, Manager, Public Affairs


Last week, I had the pleasure of telling you about the “PaintFest at Sea,” a Disney VoluntEARS program held in coordination with the non-profit, Foundation for Hospital Art. The event brought crew members and guests together on the Disney Magic’s transatlantic sailing to paint a 72-panel mural featuring characters from “The Little Mermaid,” in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Disney VoluntEARS program.

Disney Cruise Line Shares Magic in Barcelona Hospital

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 Cruise Line Shares Magic in Barcelona Hospital

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.

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Creating More Magic at Sea on Disney Cruise Line

posted on May 30th, 2013 by Rebecca Peddie, Manager, Public Affairs


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’s transatlantic 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.
Disney Cruise Line Crew Members Accompanied by Mickey Mouse Painting a Mural Featuring Characters from 'The Little Mermaid'
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.
Disney VoluntEARS Are All Smiles After PaintFest at Sea, Which Brought Guests and Their Families Together With Crew Members For a Great Cause
See the podcast of the painting here. Look for coverage of the mural delivery and installation on my blog post next week.

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Rubber Duck Race Benefits Charity at the Disneyland Resort

posted on May 13th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Rubber Duck Race Benefits Charity at the Disneyland Resort

Hundreds of rubber ducks raced around the world for a cause at the 5th annual “it’s a small world” duck race! Cast members sponsored and decorated the ducks to raise more than $1,800 for Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire before Disneyland park opened for the day.

The cast fundraiser carries forward the attraction’s legacy of supporting children, dating back to the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair when it was created in honor of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

While cast members waited anxiously to see which rubber duck would race through “it’s a small world” fastest, we sent along our camera to capture the journey and winners!

Read more about community outreach at the Disneyland Resort in these posts:

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Inspiring Classroom Creativity with Disneyland CREATE Grants

posted on May 9th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Seven teachers at Paul Revere Elementary School in Anaheim applied for and received Disneyland CREATE Grants this year to fund a variety of visual and performing arts projects, including theatrical puppet shows.
Inspiring Classroom Creativity with Disneyland CREATE Grants
Students at nearby Adelaide Price Elementary School are learning to read and play music on recorders also funded by a Disneyland CREATE Grant.
Students Learning to Read and Play Music on Recorders
And they are learning with new art supplies like paints and a drying rack.
A Student Learning With New Art Supplies Like Paints and a Drying Rack
The Disneyland Resort funded more than 350 visual and performing arts projects at local schools this year, inspiring creativity in nearly 75,000 Orange County, Calif., students! Since 1994, the Disneyland CREATE Grants program has contributed more than $1.5 million in needed classroom funding!

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Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Disney VoluntEARS at Disney Parks

posted on May 2nd, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Sharing the magic in our communities is part of our legacy and culture, and this month Disney VoluntEARS are celebrating 30 years of serving kids and families.
Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Disney VoluntEARS
The Disney VoluntEARS program dates back to the Disneyland Resort where, in 1983, a group of cast members formed a team focused on community service. Today, cast members around the world donate their time and expertise to make the world a happier place. Special activities will take place around the world and throughout the month, but here’s a look at some of this week’s festivities honoring this milestone anniversary.

  • At the Disneyland Resort, thousands of cast members participated in the VoluntEARS’ anniversary kick-off celebration that showcased 10 local non-profit organizations to highlight some of the ways that VoluntEARS are benefitting the community. There were even opportunities for cast members to lend a hand – from helping the Orange County Food Bank prepare bags of fresh produce for local families to making blankets for women receiving assistance from MOMS Orange County.
  • And at Walt Disney World Resort a group of cast members gathered for a pep rally to honor the VoluntEAR of the Year and VoluntEAR Team of the Year, and to gear up for a month’s worth of VoluntEAR opportunities, happening each day in May. Here, cast members and Walt Disney World leaders share the excitement of what it means to be a VoluntEAR, and how important (and fun) it is to give back.

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Ten High School Seniors Receive Disneyland Resort Scholarships

posted on April 26th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disney Ambassador Megan Navarette gave ten exceptional Orange County, Calif., students quite a surprise last week. Unbeknownst to them, she led a Disneyland Resort prize patrol into their classrooms to announce that each will receive a $7,500 scholarship from the Disneyland Resort to pursue his or her future education goals. Along with the congratulatory prize patrol was our camera crew to capture their priceless reactions!

Since 2006, the Disneyland Resort Scholarship Program has granted more than $425,000 to graduating Orange County, Calif., students, who are selected by a distinguished panel of community leaders for their leadership, academic excellence and contributions to the community. Learn more about all 10 of this year’s recipients here!

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Disney Cruise Line VoluntEARS Salute National Literacy Month

posted on April 3rd, 2013 by Rebecca Peddie, Manager, Public Affairs


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.
“Disney

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.
“Disney

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:

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Disneyland Band Concerts Mark 30 Years of Educating Local Youth

posted on March 20th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


For 30 years now, the Disneyland Band has traveled to various venues throughout Orange County to educate more than 1.5 million second-graders about the history of the American Band. In fact, I remember attending the Disneyland Resort Salutes the American Band concert series when I was in elementary school! (Who can forget a field trip to see Mickey Mouse?) To celebrate the milestone anniversary, a few of the people who make the experience possible explain the program and its importance in this video!

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