September 6, 2012

MouseMail - Walt Disney World Update for Community Leaders


September 6, 2012

 MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kicks Off College Football Season

PhotoNearly 20,000 football fans gave a boost to Central Florida’s economy this past weekend during the 8th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney. Televised live on ESPN, the gridiron battle at the Florida Citrus Bowl saw the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats become the first team to ever win back-to-back MEAC/SWAC Challenge games. “We’re proud to sponsor the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, which brings bowl game energy and excitement to Central Florida at the start of college football season,” said Belinda Frazier, senior manager of Minority Business Development for Walt Disney World Resort. “Besides increasing spending in local venues during Labor Day weekend, this game and the events tied to it shine a national spotlight on our region and demonstrate our support of the African American community and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” Read more.

 Fan Day Spirit Soars at Walt Disney World


Gearing up for Game Day, fans of the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats and Alabama State Hornets let their competitive spirit fly as part of a special Fan Day at Walt Disney World Resort. Bethune-Cookman head football coach Brian Jenkins kicked off the festivities at the first-ever MEAC/SWAC Challenge Pep Rally at Downtown Disney, which included appearances from players from both schools. Later that afternoon, the Wildcats and Hornets took Epcot by storm with a parade of marching bands, drill teams and cheerleaders. Watch video here. 

 Local HBCU Legends Honored During MEAC/SWAC Festivities

PhotoOne carries the distinction of being the first player from a Historically Black College and/or University (HBCU) to be drafted into the NFL, while the other has been a priest for 52 years. In recognition of their contributions on and off the field, Central Florida community leaders Jack “Cy” McClairen and Rev. Canon Nelson W. Pinder were among those honored during the MEAC/SWAC Legends reception at Disney’s Atlantic Dance Hall. McClairen currently works as senior associate athletic director for Bethune-Cookman. Pinder has ministered around the world and recently celebrated 52 years as an Episcopal priest at Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando. Learn more.

 Central Florida Students Score Advice from ESPN Career Panel

PhotoKicking off the MEAC/SWAC Challenge activities, more than 750 Edgewater High School students got a chance to receive career advice from prominent sports personalities and executives as part of the ESPN 101 Career Panel. ESPN Sports Commentator Jay Harris, SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp and MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas spent the morning talking with students about how they can turn their passion for sports into careers. ”If you dedicate yourself, are committed, and take pride in your work, you will go places,” said panelist Latria Leak, community relations and cause marketing manager for the Orlando Magic. Read more.

 Collegiate Dreams Lead to Disney Careers

PhotoAs student athletes, band members and dancers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities participated in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, some were creating what could be the first of many Disney memories. Like these students, several Cast Members had their first Disney experience through events tied to the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. “Education and football have taken me above and beyond things I never thought were possible, including working here,” says Derrick Johnson, guest services manager at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Grambling State University grad. Read more.

Also Making News…

 Diverse Suppliers Leave Mark on New Fantasyland

PhotoWhile sponsorship of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge is one of many ways that Disney demonstrates its commitment to diversity, a team of Cast Members works year-round to help minority- and women-owned businesses succeed. During the expansion of Fantasyland, minority-owned businesses such as THOR Construction have provided their expertise. THOR helped build the bridge that will take guests to the new attraction, Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid. “The expansion of Fantasyland provided us an opportunity to contribute our skills to a milestone project while continuing to employ dozens of Central Florida workers in the field of construction,” said Rodrigo Barbosa, vice president of management for THOR Construction. Read more.

 Students Gain Leadership Skills from Service Academy Grads

PhotoDisney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts recently hosted the Super Reunion II conference, honoring graduates from all five service academies who broke race and color barriers in their professional careers. Conference attendees also offered 150 middle and high school students from local organizations the opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills during a Youth Inspiration Day. “They were exposed to successful individuals and their legacies of hard work and dedication. We are thankful for the opportunity to share this experience with our young people,” said Allie L. Braswell, Jr., President and CEO of Central Florida Urban League. Read more.

 Disney Donates Funds for New Osceola Library

PhotoWalt Disney World recently donated $150,000 to the Osceola Board of County Commissioners for a public library project currently under way in Celebration. “Disney offered a gift that will enrich Celebration and the surrounding communities for generations to come,” said David Barnett, library contract manager for Osceola County. When it opens early next year, the new 10,000-square-foot building will house more than double the number of books, computers and other public resources available in the current facility. It will also feature a children’s area, meeting space for groups and a dedicated area for teens. Read more.

 United Way Campaign Gets Help from Disney Cast Members

PhotoThe Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) fundraising campaign doesn’t start until Oct. 1, but the work has already begun for two Disney Cast Members. Heather Switzer and Sean McNally were recently selected as “loaned executives” to assist HFUW with its annual community fundraising effort. ”I am very excited to represent Disney and to have the opportunity to work with Heart of Florida United Way to help make a difference for the Central Florida community,” said McNally who works at ESPN Wide World of Sports.  Read more.

 UK Foundation Presents Gold Autism Award to Disney

Photo“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they are at the park. I want them to feel they are in another world.” Quoting some famous words from Walt Disney himself, Ivan Corea presented Walt Disney World Resort with the Gold Autism Award on behalf of the United Kingdom Autism Foundation. “Disney World makes it possible for my son and other guests to truly enjoy their time in the parks because of its excellent attention and service,” said Corea. Read more.

© Disney

MouseMail is a periodic news brief for Central Florida business, community and government leaders, produced by Walt Disney World, Co.

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