Celebrating a Year of Giving with Disney Parks

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Experiences

2020 has been a year of unexpected challenges, but throughout it all we’ve tried to find ways to contribute to our communities across the globe. As we look back on this year, we’re grateful for our cast and community partners who came together to help make a difference. With a little magic we’ve been able to offer support to our communities around the world.

Let’s take a look back at just a few of these moments from 2020:

Around the world, Disney has shared over 880 tons of food to support those in need. From more than 145,000 pizza meals donated from Disneyland Paris, to pineapple, sweet rolls and more from Aulani Resort, contributing to our local communities continues to be a commitment of ours, including Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort.

During the pandemic, we found ways to help our local healthcare heroes. Earlier this year, Disney introduced non-medical, reusable cloth face coverings featuring fan favorite characters in the U.S. As part of the launch, one million face coverings were donated to MedShare and profits from the sales of the cloth masks raised an additional $1 million for MedShare to support the medical community’s ongoing efforts to provide lifesaving care to those in need. After receiving a suggestion from nurses at hospitals, Disney Parks donated over 250,000 rain ponchos globally to help healthcare heroes protect their clothing and prolong the use of PPE during busy times, as well as N95 masks, hygiene caps and more supplies for hospitals.

Celebrating the holidays may have looked a little different this year, but making them special for those in need brought joy and inspiration to our communities. This year, shopDisney.com, Disney stores across the U.S. and World of Disney stores at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort collected 90,000 toys for Toys for Tots to help bring joy to children in need this holiday season. Meanwhile, at Walt Disney World Resort, chefs dished up hundreds of tasty Thanksgiving meals o support the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. This holiday season, Disney Cruise Line teamed up with local community partners in The Bahamas to provide thousands of holiday dinners to families in need. And at Disneyland Paris, cast prepared 50,000 Christmas ornaments to brighten up 150 French and Belgian hospitals this winter.

We also worked to spread joy by delighting fans and families wherever they may be. To ignite curiosity and inspire creativity at home, Walt Disney Imagineering rolled out Imagineering in a Box in five languages, along with Ride & Learn videos and Disney Paper Parks.

For those who dreamed this year of a brighter tomorrow, Disneyland Resort VoluntEARS provided more than 50 virtual workforce development sessions to hundreds of Anaheim students to help them learn how to build a professional resume. Disney Cruise Line awarded scholarships to four female cadets to attend the maritime academy in Nassau. The scholarships, one for each of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, include two years of study at LJM Maritime Academy and one year of service aboard a Disney ship. This scholarship program is part of a larger collection of initiatives Disney Cruise Line has implemented to inspire future maritime professionals and support communities across The Bahamas. 

Walt Disney World Ambassadors Marilyn West and Stephen Lim packing supplies at A Gift For Teaching

At Walt Disney World Resort, we collaborated with A Gift For Teaching to donate thousands of needed school supplies for teachers, and Disneyland Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort each shared more than 13,000 toys and activity items with local hospitals.

To celebrate International Children’s Day in June, Shanghai Disney Resort opened a space-themed Disney Fun House at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, bringing happiness and unique Disney experiences to children and families. We are also working with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to share one million books with kids across the country, and will continue to deliver more through the holidays and into the new year!

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of working together with Make-A-Wish®, we’ve granted some unforgettable wishes. Recently, six-year-old Maria had her wish to be a princess granted, enjoying a virtual royal visit – all in Spanish – from Princess Belle. And earlier this year we celebrated a very special Super Bowl victory, as 10-year-old wish kid Nathaniel became the first wish kid to join a Super Bowl MVP parade down Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom Park! And with your help, we’ve unlocked over $720,000 to further wish granting, with the release of the Wishes Come True Blue color collectionMickey Mouse vintage holiday plush and Disney Parks Wishables. We’re so honored that together with Make-A-Wish we have granted more than 140,000 life-changing wishes. 

In 2020, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products donated more than $30 million in food, products, and supplies as part of Disney’s overall COVID response efforts. From food and supply donations to activities and performances to enjoy from home, we’ve been able to share the joy of Disney with fans and families – not to mention virtual volunteer opportunities for our cast members and continuing to find innovative ways to grant wishes and make magical moments possible with nonprofit partners like Make-A-Wish.

Thank you to our guests and fans for helping to make a difference this year. And a special thank you to our cast members around the world, who create magical experiences not only in our parks and resorts, but also in their local communities through their charitable contributions of time and talents.

We can’t wait to continue to share the magic with our communities in 2021. From all of us at Disney, happy holidays!