Walt Disney World Through Our Eyes and WDW’s Sustainability Focus

Although my children had been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the summer of 2011, they had not truly had a Disney experience yet.  That day was mainly about seeing the animals and  a little healing for a Mama.  While the kids had a blast with the animals, Addie was not 2 and Austin was only 3.  The only character that Austin met, while Addie napped was Pluto.  So this was their first, true encounter at Disney.

Addie being only a day from of 3 and Austin 4, they were the perfect age to really be captivated.     Since Walt Disney is the largest media and entertainment company in the world, I couldn’t go to Disney without thinking about their sustainability.  I know, that is the farthest thing from the average person’s mind while visiting Disney, but I was interested in finding out some of the things  Disney focuses on to lessen their environmental impact.  First though, let me share with you part of our day!

We started our day off at the Magic Kingdom.  It was a hot August day but that didn’t stop the excitement.  Addie had one thing on her mind that she had been speaking of for weeks, meeting Mickey and Minnie.  That was it!  Well, the Dumbo ride was also frequently requested, but meeting Mickey and Minnie was Addie’s heartfelt desire.  For this Mama, no matter what, we were meeting Mickey and Minnie.

Although the times just blur together, there was a fun, upbeat, wanna tap your toes parade about 1:30ish that headed down Main Street.  The kids loved seeing all the characters but it wasn’t close enough for my little girl!  Off we headed to part of the new Fantasyland area where the Dumbo ride awaited us.  Daddy and Pops decided they would wait out this one, but managed to snap a few photos as we were getting started.  I think Addie would have been content to stay here and just continue to ride if it were not for the fact she still had yet to meet Minnie and Mickey and Mickey.

Austin spotted Barnstormer and knew he had to ride.  He had never been on anything even similar to a roller coaster but he was not scared in the least.  Addie was too short to ride so we sat that one out.  It was fun waiting and watching to see which set of cars her brother would be on.  When his finally arrived he smiled from ear to ear his entire ride.  That was AMAZING he said as he ran to Addie!  He couldn’t wait until Addie was tall enough to ride with him!  He was sad that would not be this trip.

Just as any summer day in Florida, then the rain came!  It sprinkled and then poured back and forth on us all afternoon.  We managed to get in several rides but did not meet the characters.  Addie was heartbroken.  I had a plan to head over to Epcot where I knew we could count on meeting Mickey & Minnie, no matter what the weather was like!  Be sure to check back next Tuesday and I will share those photos then!

Both of the children loved the Carousel!  They named their horses, Austin choose “Yee-Haw” which made us chuckle but they had a blast and we enjoyed the slow pace of it for the few minutes of he ride.  Actually they loved it so much, and a great thanks to the rain, we were able to just re-board for another go-round!

Walt Disney World’s Sustainability

The Walt Disney Company has always had a strong conservation focus that began with Walt Disney himself .  Disney recognizes that sustainability is an ever-evolving process requiring constant change.  They are always looking for ways to become more efficient, from the small changes to large-scale changes.  Disney is actively making changes daily as a company, but also hope to inspire others to do so as well.

Conservation

Back in 1995, the company established the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund  to support the work of organizations that are positively impacting wildlife, ecosystems and communities around the world.   During 2011 the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund awarded $2 million to conservation projects in 40 countries around the globe.   Since this Conservation Fund was established in 1995, they have awarded nearly $18 million to support conservation programs in 111 countries.

Animal kingdom
In an effort to utilize all waste, even the unique waste from Disney’s Animal Kingdom was put to good use.  In 2011, the manure from Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Tri-Circle D Ranch was sent to a compost facility and produced more than 8,800 tons of compost.  No wonder they always have such amazing vegetation!

Decreasing their Carbon Footprint

Back in 2008 and 2009, Disney set many long-term environmental goals.  Recognizing that man is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that are in turn responsible for climate change, one long-term goal that was set in place was to have zero-net direct greenhouse emissions, and they committed to get to 50% of that target by 2012.   Although I didn’t get an update on the progress, I will let you know as soon as it is released where they currently stand on their goal.  They have made many changes to drastically reduce their carbon footprint.   Many of the vehicles used in the parks are clean fuel vehicles.  The Disneyland Resort steam trains have even been retrofitted to run on bio-diesel gleaned from used cooking oil that is recycled into bio fuel from their food operations.

DRR 4 Ernest S.Marsh

By Steven Ewald [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
 

Decreasing Energy Consumption

When we think of Disney World, we think big!  Can you imagine the impact that could be made with small changes you and I are encouraged to perform in our own homes?  In an effort to reduce electricity usage, they have made simple changes.  By changing thermostat temperature points, putting in lighting sensors and CFL bulbs and shutting down the lights on park icons like Cinderella’s Castle and Spaceship Earth after hours, the company has made great strides to reduce their consumption.

Spaceship Earth 2Katie Rommel-Esham [CC-BY-SA-3.0-us], via Wikimedia Commons

As a result of its extensive efforts on monitoring and reducing energy and water use throughout the resort, the Walt Disney World Resort has received the EPA’s “Energy Star Partner” designation.  Here are a couple of fun facts about the changes that have been made and their amazing impact!

  • As a result of the 2011 WDW lighting retrofit program, the Walt Disney World Resort conserved enough energy to operate Big Thunder Mountain for more than three years.
  • Even Cinderella Castle glows “green” during the holidays with more than 170,000 LED white lights that uses the equivalent energy of only four coffee pots.

Does that inspire you to make simple changes?

Be sure to check back on next Tuesday to see part 2 of our day at Disney World when we finally met Mickey & Minnie and to learn more on what the Disney company is doing to become a more sustainable company!

I was provided with tickets at a Media rate.  I was not obligated to write about my experience.  All opinions expressed, as always are my own. 

Comments

  1. says

    A trip to WDW is something I really, really would like to do!!! On my bucket list still. Looks like you all had a blast!!
    Kinda awesome they run those on bio-fuel!! Good for them, set the example!!

  2. says

    We have only been to WDW once and it rained the entire day… but the kids loved it. I never knew how sustainable Disney was either and am excited to read about it. How awesome that you were able to put such a great, green twist on the most magical place on Earth! :)

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