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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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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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Filed: Community Outreach, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

VIDEO: World Oceans Day at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on June 11th, 2015 by Todd Apo, Director, Public Affairs, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa


“Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono” – the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. This is our Hawai’i state motto, and it holds special meaning for all of us here in the 50th State. Through it, we have a glimpse of the importance that Hawaiians put on the land and environment. With our recent celebration of World Oceans Day at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, we wanted to share a little bit more about how we celebrate mauka to makai – from the mountains to the sea – perpetuating our environment. From guest activities to our VoluntEARS programs, caring for our island home remains a focal point in all that we do. Enjoy this video, and aloha!

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Team Disney VoluntEARS Raises More than $30,000 for Cancer Research and Runs Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort

posted on June 3rd, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


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Over the past few months, I’ve had the honor to join a group of Disneyland Resort cast members who have come together to accomplish a healthy goal while supporting a great cause. 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.

Team in Training is an endurance sports training program that has raised more than $1.4 billion for blood cancer research since it began in 1988. This season marked the first corporate team at the Disneyland Resort to support this organization, and Team Disney VoluntEARS already has plans to continue its fundraising efforts while training for the upcoming 2015 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon!

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Please join me in congratulating my amazing team and in wishing them the best as they continue their training and fundraising. Go Team!

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Disney’s 60th KaBOOM! Playground, Largest to Date, Built in Anaheim in Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Disneyland Resort

posted on May 5th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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Last weekend, we built Disney’s 60th – and largest – KaBOOM! playground nationwide at Twila Reid Park in Anaheim, Calif., in honor of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. The playground is inspired by drawings created by kids in the Anaheim Achieves after-school program, and includes a disc golf course, a zip line, horseshoe pits, a giant “fun web” and, of course, swings and slides!

Disney VoluntEAR Shira Wolf was one of more than 700 volunteers who installed the playground in eight hours. She told us, “KaBOOM! playground builds are my favorite Disney VoluntEARS events because they are so much fun and give us a chance to come out and be active with the kids and families in our community. I love it!”

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In addition to Disney VoluntEARS, organizers from KaBOOM! and volunteers from the Anaheim Family YMCA, city of Anaheim, the Corporate Volunteer Council of Orange County and Anaheim residents helped build Disney’s eighth KaBOOM! playground in Orange County, Calif. They also installed more than 20 benches, painted three murals and planted several trees.

Since 2007, Disney has been committed to creating playgrounds where children and families can play together and be active. This commitment is an extension of our Disney Magic of Healthy Living, an initiative designed to help parents raise healthy, happy kids and make healthier lifestyles fun. By the end of 2015, Disney’s support will bring the magic of play to more than 83,000 children and families across the country!

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Top 5 Ways the Disneyland Resort Inspired Kids to be Champions of the Environment this Earth Month

posted on April 30th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


As Earth Month comes to a close, here are the top five ways the Disneyland Resort connected children in Orange County, Calif., to nature and inspired them to be champions of the environment this Earth Month!

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  1. Disney VoluntEARS, kids and families collected more than 100 bags of trash at Huntington State Beach, an event organized by Inside the Outdoors Foundation (ITO). The Disneyland Resort sponsored ITO with a $20,000 donation to support ongoing environmental field trips for students and activities like the beach cleanup.
  2. The Disneyland Resort sponsored Anaheim Community Foundation’s Spring Fun and Eco-Fair at Anaheim’s Oak Canyon Nature Center, where kids and families learned ways to reuse, reduce and recycle. The $20,000 donation helped make possible a mobile eco-fair that visited 10 Anaheim parks, schools and neighborhoods.
  3. Disney VoluntEARS supported environmental awareness events including the country’s largest Children’s Water Education Festival that the Disneyland Resort helped present at the University of California, Irvine, and MUZEO’s TrashARTist Challenge featuring student art made mostly of recycled materials.
  4. Students from Costa Mesa High School’s Environmental & Marine Academy took an environmental tour of Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park.
  5. The Disneyland Resort invited 140 children from eight Boys and Girls Clubs in Orange County to screen DisneyNature’sMonkey Kingdom” at AMC Theatres at the Downtown Disney District.
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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Disneyland Resort in the Community

posted on March 14th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


This week, Kevin Rafferty, Jr., showed us some fun ways that the Disneyland Resort is helping its local community in Southern California.

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In his recap of the recent 17th annual “Flashback,” Kevin told us how a record 500 Disneyland Resort cast members volunteered more than 39,000 hours of rehearsal time to produce the popular show, which raised $25,000 for ACT Anaheim (Accelerate Change Together).

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And in his post about the new Teaching Garden at Walt Disney Elementary School in Anaheim, Calif., Kevin gave us an update on this project in which Disney VoluntEARS joined students to enjoy the garden’s first harvest.

Want to learn more about how the Disneyland Resort impacts its local community? Check out the Disneyland Resort in the Community Facebook page!

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Students Harvest First Crop from Walt Disney Elementary School Teaching Garden Funded by Disneyland Resort

posted on March 12th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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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!

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Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Supports Toys for Tots

posted on December 26th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This holiday season, Disney VoluntEARS continued the 60-year tradition of supporting the Toys for Tots campaign by collecting gifts for children around the globe.

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Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort VoluntEARS supported the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots annual drive. These cast members donated more than 6,000 hours of service to help sort donations and distribute toys to families in need. Disney Cruise Line hosted toy drives onboard their ships, at their homeport in Port Canaveral, Florida and in their shore-side offices. VoluntEARS at Disneyland Paris hosted “Mission Noel.” At this event, they wrapped gifts for children from local communities who were invited to the park for Christmas Eve brunch. In total, our cast members donated more than 40,000 toys, books and games.

Toys for Tots is just one example of how we at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts enrich the lives of kids and families around the globe. Through contributions, collaborations with local organizations, in-kind gifts and volunteerism, we help make lasting and positive change in the world. To learn more about citizenship at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, visit http://aboutdisneyparks.com/citizenship.

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Filed: Community Outreach, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Resort, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort