December 27, 2012

MouseMail - Walt Disney World Update for Community Leaders
December 27, 2012

  A Letter From Meg Crofton

PhotoDear Friends and Community Partners,

Walt Disney once said, “My operations are based on experience, thoughtful observation and warm fellowship with my neighbors at home and around the world.”

Today, this idea embodies the efforts throughout Walt Disney World to keep Central Florida a thriving, vibrant place. We continually strive to be an active and responsible neighbor and proudly invest in nonprofit organizations that make life better for children and families. In 2012, Walt Disney World contributed more than $30 million in cash and in-kind donations to community endeavors, including local hunger relief efforts and nonprofits supporting children. In addition, since 1995 more than 250 Florida-based programs have received a total of nearly $4 million through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, which the Florida Wildlife Federation named 2012 Corporate Conservationist of the Year.

Our Cast Members are eager to be involved with our community. This past year alone, Disney VoluntEARS performed more than 215,000 hours of service, which includes the record success of our Cast’s annual Back-to-School Supply Drive.

Throughout the year, we welcomed our Central Florida neighbors to unique experiences across our resort, including interactive summer camps for children promoting wildlife conservation and a special sneak peek of New Fantasyland for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. At our Disney Career Expo, our Cast Members offered valuable career advice to more than 300 U.S. veterans as part of our Heroes Work Here initiative.

People truly are the key to creating Disney magic. Across Florida, the total number of jobs created indirectly and directly by the operations of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts tops 160,000 – that’s more than one out of every 50 jobs statewide. For example, this year, we opened Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and New Fantasyland – two projects that created more than 1,600 operational jobs for Cast Members and 1,400 construction jobs.

As we do this, we strive to be a safe, inclusive and responsible company.

On behalf of the more than 66,000 Cast Members who work and live here in Central Florida – thank you for being our friends and neighbors, and allowing us to be yours.

All the best,


Meg Crofton
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Operations -
United States & France


  Disney VoluntEARS Donate Record 35K Toys for Local Kids

PhotoSpreading holiday cheer to local families in need, Walt Disney World Cast Members donated a record 35,000 toys, books and games to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. This year, the Marines registered more than 13,000 families and nearly 30,000 children in Orange and Seminole counties. “These are families in need who are counting on the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve this holiday season,” said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Hoagland. “We are grateful not only for the donations from Disney VoluntEARS, but their time as well.” Disney VoluntEARS donated more than 7,000 hours helping Marines with everything from registering families to sorting and packing the gifts. Click HERE for story and video.

  Cast Members Dress 1,500 Disney Bears

PhotoSporting ballerina tutus, cowboy outfits and holiday sweaters, 1,500 stuffed Duffy the Disney Bears put smiles on many children’s faces as part of the Salvation Army’s Dress-A-Bear program. The stuffed bears were donated by Walt Disney World Resort and dressed by Cast Members who challenged their creative costuming skills, continuing a long tradition of supporting the initiative. “These bears bring so much joy to children who may otherwise receive very little,” said Jaylen Christie, public relations coordinator for the Salvation Army. “The hard work and unwavering dedication of Disney Cast Members who dress the bears is something that we really appreciate.” Disney VoluntEARS also donated and filled more than 100 stockings with toys.

  VoluntEARS Bring Holiday Cheer to Ronald McDonald House

PhotoDecking the halls with garland and decor, Disney Cast Members shared the joy of the season with families at theRonald McDonald House near Florida Hospital for Children. “What impressed me was that the Disney VoluntEARS really cared about the house and the families,” said Chris Muszynski, volunteer manager for Ronald McDonald House. “There was a genuine, heartfelt approach to the project.” For Disney VoluntEAR Mary Ann Douglas, this was a way to give back. “I know what it’s like to be a kid in the hospital during the holiday season,” said Douglas. “Being able to help decorate and to add some cheer during such a difficult time was my way of showing appreciation.”

  Girl’s Wish to Visit Magic Kingdom Comes True

PhotoLast Christmas, 3-year-old Gracie was so sick with leukemia, she didn’t open her presents until February. This year, she’s marking the holidays with a visit to Magic Kingdom, meeting her favorite princesses and posing in front of Cinderella Castle. “After she saw the castle on TV she said ‘I want to go there,’” said Gracie’s mother, Robin Harris. Thanks to a friend who wrote to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Gracie’s family is spending the holidays at Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee. Each year, Walt Disney World Resort collaborates with nonprofit wish-granting organizations to bring joy for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Last year, more than 7,000 wishes were fulfilled. For more information about the Disney Wish Program, click HERE.

  Local Students Appear on The View

PhotoA group of students from Orlando Repertory Theatre experienced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Academy Award winning actress Whoopi Goldberg and participate in a travel segment for ABC’s “The View.” “This opportunity gave them confidence and a sense of accomplishment by being present in an arts forum, said Gary Cadwallader, education director at Orlando Repertory Theatre. “It was good for them to see an actor of that caliber as a real person.” The REP serves local children through various initiatives, including a theatre program supported by Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants. “The View” segment aired earlier this month and can be seen HERE.

  Disney Recognized as One of Florida’s Top Job Creators

PhotoFlorida Gov. Rick Scott and Enterprise Florida recently recognized Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as one of the state’s top job creators. “For more than 40 years, Disney has been one of the state’s most important economic partners,” said Gray Swoope, Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida. In 2012, growth at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, including the openings of New Fantasyland and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort added thousands of operational and construction jobs. Currently, more than 66,000 Cast Members work in Central Florida.

  Disney Hosts Don Quijote Awards

PhotoWith more than 1,000 guests in attendance, Walt Disney World Resort recently hosted the 15th Annual Don Quijote Awards Gala. Disney executives helped present awards to Juan Luis Guerra for his outstanding career as a singer, songwriter and philanthropist and to Central Florida community leader Lizette Valarino for Lifetime Achievement.” In its 15-year history, we’ve seen this event grow into one that not only unites our community, but also recognizes outstanding talent, perseverance, vision and achievement in a way that inspires us individually and collectively,” said Eugene Campbell, vice president for Domestic Minority Business Development for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Read more.

  Want to Know More About Our Community Initiatives?

Walt Disney World Resort now has a Facebook Page to connect with community leaders who share a passion for making Central Florida an even better place to live, work and play. Click HERE to like the “Walt Disney World in the Community” page and follow the company’s efforts to make a difference, working closely with others throughout the community.

© Disney

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

© 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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