February 8, 2013

MouseMail - Walt Disney World Update for Community Leaders


 New Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis Arrives in Central Florida

PhotoMonday marked the first day on the job for George A. Kalogridis as the fifth president of Walt Disney World Resort. After spending the past several years as president of Disneyland Resort, the Polk County native and University of Central Florida graduate returns to the place where he started his Disney career in 1971 as a bus boy at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. During the first few weeks back in Central Florida, Kalogridis will be focused on getting reacquainted. “It’s great to be back and I look forward to seeing so many friends and colleagues from across Central Florida,” said Kalogridis. “I appreciate the close connection our company has with the community and the many ways our Cast Members come together to help make our region even better.”

 Runners Make Marathon Trek to Disney

PhotoMore than 56,000 runners from across the country and around the globe visited Central Florida to participate in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. Ranked among the most popular destination races, the four-day event has grown from 5,500 runners in 1994 to more than 130,000 athletes and spectators this year, making it one of the largest sporting events in Central Florida. “The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend gives travelers another reason to visit the region, which has a positive impact on area hotels, restaurants, retailers and more,” said Faron Kelley, director of marketing for Disney Sports. The event is one of five endurance races planned for Central Florida this year under the runDisney banner.

 Condé Nast Traveler Honors Disney Cruise Ships

PhotoAll four ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet have been recognized among the top large cruise ships in the world in the most recentCondé Nast Traveler 2013 Readers’ Poll. The Disney Magic ranked #1, with the Disney Wonder, the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy close behind. “We’re thrilled that the experiences our Cast and crew members deliver at sea continue to be recognized as outstanding by our guests,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. Disney Cruise Line has received more than 100 awards from the travel industry since first setting sail in 1998. Read more.

 Disney VoluntEARS Help Clean Brevard Coastline

PhotoWith gloves, plastic bags and a commitment to the environment, more than 100 Disney VoluntEARS from Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line recently spent a day clearing more than 250 pounds of trash along the Brevard coastline. Disney VoluntEARS worked side-by-side with volunteers from Keep Brevard Beautiful, the US Coast Guard and the Canaveral Port Authority. “Our organization depends on the support of groups like the Disney VoluntEARS to help keep our beaches clean, litter free and safer for our wildlife,” said Denise Song, volunteer manager with Keep Brevard Beautiful. Read more.

 Imagineers Bring Disney Touch to Second Harvest Food Bank

PhotoInspired by the Disney film Mickey and the Beanstalk, 30 VoluntEARS from Walt Disney Imagineering took a seed of an idea and brought it to life on the walls of the new distribution center under construction at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Stretching along the 170-foot hallway, the mural starts with a small series of vines and expands to a massive beanstalk, representing the collective impact of volunteers. “Through their hard work, Disney VoluntEARS have transformed our volunteer areas and made them come alive,” said Dave Krepcho, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Set to open Mar. 6, the $15 million facility will provide hunger relief for thousands of Central Floridians. Last year, Walt Disney World Resort contributed $500,000 to the expansion. Read more.

 Local Girl Scouts Learn Bird Watching from Cast Members

PhotoMembers of four Central Florida Girl Scout troops joined Disney Cast Members for a day of fun and learning during the third annual Walt Disney World Holiday Bird Count. Hosted by Disney’s Animal Programs, the event taught participants about birds found in Central Florida during the winter and how to recognize various bird calls in the wild. “The girls had an amazing time,” said troop leader Mariana Ordaz. “It was an exciting experience for them and they learned so much from Cast Members.” The group counted more than 100 different species and over 16,000 birds. The information will be shared with conservation organizations, enabling them to follow trends in bird populations and help focus conservation efforts. Read more.

 Disney Photographer Helps Make Girl’s Wish Come True

PhotoWhen most kids dream about visiting Walt Disney World, they envision meeting Minnie Mouse, riding Dumbo the Flying Elephant or walking through Cinderella Castle. But 7-year-old Sadie had a unique wish: to be a photographer at the resort. Sadie received a lesson from Disney photographer Olga Thompson, who showed her how to use a professional camera to take pictures of her family. “A child’s imagination is the heart of their wish,” said Kathryn Vroman, president and CEO of Make A Wish-Central and Northern Florida Chapter. “Our goal is to bring each child strength, hope and joy through their wish experience and we could not do that without the support of local organizations such as Walt Disney World.” Last year, Walt Disney World hosted more than 7,000 wish trips for children through various wish-granting organizations around the world.

 Disney Supports Statewide Coalition Against Texting and Driving

PhotoA number of prominent businesses and associations, including the Florida Sheriff’s Association, AAA, Florida League of Cities and the City of Orlando, announced their support for new legislation in Florida that would prohibit motorists from texting while driving. Walt Disney World Resort supports the efforts of the statewide coalition. Disney already has a policy prohibiting Cast Members from texting while driving at work. Read more.

 Disney-Sponsored Eagle Award Recognizes Entrepreneurs

PhotoCelebrating diversity in Central Florida’s business community, Walt Disney World recently hosted the African-American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida’s 2013 Eagle Award Ceremony. The annual event, held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, recognizes the achievements of local African-American business owners and
entrepreneurs. “We are fortunate to live in a community where African-American entrepreneurs and companies can thrive,” said Dr. Robert Spooney, president of the Chamber. The group also recognized Cast Member Angeline Aguayo for her exemplary service to the organization. Read more.

 Governor Reappoints Cast Member to Early Learning Coalition

PhotoFlorida Gov. Rick Scott recently reappointed Betty Lowery, manager of community relations for Walt Disney World Resort, to the board of directors of the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County. The non-profit organization provides leadership, guidance and support to parents and educators to ensure every child is fully prepared to enter school ready to learn. Last year, the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County helped 8,200 families receive affordable, safe and reliable childcare and enrolled more than 12,800 kids in the voluntary pre-kindergarten program.

© 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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