At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, supporting local communities is in our DNA, especially during the holidays. The tradition dates back to Walt Disney himself, who in 1948 helped create the now famous Toys for Tots train logo still in use today. And as our parks have grown throughout the years, so too has the continued dedication of our cast members! In 2016, Disney VoluntEARS donated more than 214,000 hours of community service to benefit nonprofit organizations and enrich the lives of children and families around the world.
From collecting toy donations to making magic for children in hospitals and decorating hundreds of cookies, here’s a look at how cast members shared the joy this holiday season.
The Disneyland Resort brought the spirit of the season to Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Accompanying Disney characters in their holiday finest, Disney VoluntEARS helped children decorate gingerbread cookies to embellish a giant gingerbread castle made by the Disneyland Resort.
Walt Disney World Resort VoluntEARS collected more than 25,000 gifts for children in Central Florida as part of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign. A group of VoluntEARS even set off to deliver hundreds of the gifts aboard a Disney’s Magical Express Bus in celebration of the momentous occasion.
In Shanghai, Disney VoluntEARS helped decorate the corridors of local children’s hospitals to create merry and bright memories for children and their families. They also decorated a dazzling Christmas tree to be featured in the Pudong Special Needs School, where more than 100 students enjoyed a special photo moment with Santa.
At Tokyo Disneyland, VoluntEARS brought the joy of the holidays to children at the Aiji-no-ie Orphanage. Patients and their families at Siu Lam Hospital in Hong Kong were also surprised with a special visit from Mickey Mouse and Hong Kong Disneyland VoluntEARS bearing gifts.
Disneyland Paris VoluntEARS hosted a traditional Christmas brunch for more than 250 children from local community centers including holiday treats, face painting, balloon sculptures and a festive concert.
In Hawaii, Disney characters joined VoluntEARS from Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, spreading holiday cheer to children and families at two local hospitals, posing for snapshots and sharing countless unforgettable moments.
Disney Cruise Line crew members spent time ashore with children in port communities across the Bahamas and the Caribbean, with extra help from Mickey and Minnie, and Disney Vacation Club cast members gave hundreds of children a few extra merry and bright memories, in addition to donating more than 150 handmade chew toys for furry friends at a local animal shelter.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts VoluntEARS are committed to bringing positive change around the globe, donating hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours each year to the communities where they work, live and play. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog to see what our Disney VoluntEARS do next in 2017.