April 23, 2013

MouseMail - Walt Disney World Update for Community Leaders
April 23, 2013

 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Marks 15th Anniversary

PhotoWith Earth Day as a birthday, Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrated 15 years of connecting guests with nature by hosting various events and experiences across the park. The celebration began early on Earth Day with a special opening ceremony at the Tree of Life. “For the past 15 years, Cast Members have been engaging our guests with the experiences and animals that make this park unique,” said Josh D’Amaro, vice president of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “Our goal for each guest that visits us is to connect them with the beauty of the natural world and instill a desire for them to conserve and protect wildlife and wild places when they return home.” Read more.

 Cast Members Connect With Nature During Earth Month

PhotoWalt Disney World Resort is celebrating Earth Month in a variety of ways. Spreading the message to “get outside” and connect with nature, Disney Cast Members have been planting butterfly gardens, revitalizing local parks and green spaces and participating in other conservation-related activities. Guests have also been inspired to join in the fun during a series of Earth Month events and activities across all Walt Disney World theme parks. For more information about conservation efforts around Walt Disney World Resort, click here.

 Party for the Planet Marks Earth Day

PhotoGuests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom were treated to special conservation activities during Party for the Planet, the largest Earth Day celebration in North America. Guests learned ways to make their backyards more wildlife-friendly and how to purchase environmentally friendly products. Children learned to observe and identify animal tracks and clues through Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. The event is promoted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as a way to bring millions of visitors together to connect with wildlife. Read more.

 Disneynature Releases “Wings of Life” Film

PhotoIn addition to the great outdoors, nature lovers can also experience the environment with a microscopic view provided by the latest Disneynature film. Called “Wings of Life,” the film presents an intimate look at butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, bats and flowers, showing how one-third of the world’s food supply depends on these incredible – and increasingly threatened – creatures. “Wings of Life” is narrated by Meryl Streep and is available on Blu-ray combo pack, digital and on demand.

 Disney Wilderness Preserve Celebrates 20 Years

PhotoThe Nature Conservancy is celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Disney Wilderness Preserve this month. Located south of Walt Disney World Resort, the Preserve was created in the early 1990s when The Walt Disney Company donated 8,500 acres to The Nature Conservancy as part of a visionary approach to responsible development and mitigation. ”Now more than ever, we can see that The Disney Wilderness Preserve is a great success and a shining example of good land stewardship,” said Bob Bendick, director of U.S. government relations for The Nature Conservancy. Read more.

 Local Youth Embrace Outdoors During Conservation Camp

PhotoBy the time most people started celebrating Earth Month, a group of 40 children from Orlando had already spent one week learning about the environment as part of Spring Conservation Day Camp at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The kids connected with nature through scavenger hunts, recycling activities and field trips. They were also introduced to animals from five different continents. “It was a true learning experience for them,” said Brenda Scott, regional facility manager for the Rosemont Community Center. “They came back more aware of the importance of keeping a clean environment and being good to animals.” A Disney Helping Kids Shine grant provided funding for kids to attend. Read more.

 Disney Awards $1.5 Million to Local Nonprofits and School Districts

PhotoLocal groups that provide children access to school readiness programs, summer camps, music education, food and shelter were among the recipients of $1.5 million in Disney Helping Kids Shine grants. Disney’s signature giving program is expected to impact 70,000 children in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties. “This grant will help us continue to operate a state-of-the-art technology program and enhance a growing performing arts initiative at our Walt Disney World Clubhouse,” said Gary Cain, president and chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. Since 1972, Walt Disney World has awarded more than $15 million in grants. Read more and watch video here.

 Disney Supports Hispanic Business Expo

PhotoHundreds of Central Florida job seekers recently met with professional recruiters from Walt Disney World Resort and other local businesses as part of the Hispanic Business and Consumer Expo at the Orange County Convention Center. As a title sponsor, Disney has been involved since its inception, providing employment and networking opportunities for attendees. “Disney is one of the most important economic engines in Central Florida,” said Diana Bolivar, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. “They are a true partner to the Hispanic Chamber and through their support, we are able to connect our community to jobs and business growth opportunities.”

 Disney Supports Arts Through Florida Film Festival

PhotoFilmmakers and movie enthusiasts from more than 20 countries were drawn to Central Florida for the annual Florida Film Festival, which received sponsorship support from Walt Disney World Resort. This is just one of many ways Disney supports the arts in recognition of the positive impact they have on Central Florida’s quality of life. “Disney’s sponsorship shows its support for independent film and the arts in general in our area,” said Jeff Spoeri, director of development for the Enzian Theater, Eden Bar and Florida Film Festival. The nine-day festival featured 170 films and several workshops including one focused on “Creativity and Technology” sponsored by Disney.

 Looking for “Dreamers and Doers”

PhotoDo you know a local student trying to make the world a better place? The application process for the Disney Dreamers and Doers program is now open at public and private schools in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties. Students are encouraged to nominate themselves to be selected by their principal as the school’s Dreamer and Doer. Those selected will be reviewed by a panel of Disney judges, who will choose 18 Shining Stars from elementary, middle and high schools in the five-county area, as well as the Florida Virtual School. Students are encouraged to apply through their schools by April 26. 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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