Latest Disney World News 12-14-11

Season of Sharing Shines During the Holidays and Beyond

Throughout the holiday season and all year long, Walt Disney World Resort shares its magic across Central Florida as part of its commitment toward improving the lives of children and families. The “Season of Sharing” is an effort to make the holiday season a little brighter for those who need it most. From Disney chefs preparing holiday meals at Coalition for the Homeless to Cast Members outfitting 1,500 teddy bears for the Salvation Army, Disney’s charitable outreach is making a difference during a time of need. Read more.

Disney Cast Members Donate 30,000 New Toys

One of the highlights of “Season of Sharing” is the Toys for Tots campaign, organized by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Hoping to spread holiday cheer to families throughout Central Florida, Walt Disney World Cast Members collected more than 30,000 toys for this year’s drive to benefit children in Orange and Seminole counties.   “Without Disney, we wouldn’t be able to help as many families as we do each year,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Anthony Ruggiero. Watch a video here.

Second Harvest Receives Early Holiday Gift

During a special performance of the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, Disney announced a $30,000 donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s Kids Cafe. Kids Cafe provides daily meals to 900 children across 13 different after-school sites. “This donation will help our Kids Cafe program give parents and caregivers an additional way to ensure that their children receive hot and nutritious meals,” said Dave Krepcho, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Read more.

Groundbreaking Kicks Off Construction of Four Seasons Resort

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts began construction of its luxury resort at Walt Disney World Resort during a groundbreaking ceremony with joint venture partners Silverstein Properties and Dune Real Estate. The 444-room resort will create approximately 2,000 construction jobs and hundreds of resort positions when open. “It is truly a one-of-a-kind project, and Central Florida will be a valuable addition to our family of resorts, particularly since this is a destination our guests already enjoy,” said Kathleen Taylor, president and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Read more.

Disney VoluntEARS Help Clean Up Coastline

“It might seem small to pick up a few bottle caps here and plastic bags there, but when hundreds of people are focused on this, it means a world of difference,” said Pat Brown, executive director of Keep Brevard Beautiful. More than 300 Disney VoluntEARS learned that first-hand when they joined Ocean Conservancy, Keep Brevard Beautiful and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida to pick up nearly 2,000 pounds of trash and debris last month along four miles of Brevard County coastline. The event was part of the world’s largest volunteer effort to improve the health of the ocean and waterways. Read more.

Disney Conservation Biologist Earns Prestigious Nomination

Protecting endangered species is a passion for Anne Savage, Ph.D., a senior conservation biologist at Walt Disney World Resort. Savage was nominated recently for the Indianapolis Prize, the most prestigious award for animal conservation. Traveling around the globe, Savage has made significant advances with endangered species, ranging from 1-pound monkeys to 7-ton elephants. “I’m just so thankful that I get to spend each and every day working to protect endangered species and helping others to realize that everyone and anyone can truly make a difference for wildlife,” she said. Read more.

Disney Leader Honored As Hispanic Community Champion

Eugene Campbell, vice president of domestic minority business development for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, was honored as the 2011 Hispanic Community Champion during the 14th annual Don Quijote Awards. Campbell was one of five honorees announced during the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event, which recognizes business excellence, dedication to service and outstanding professionalism in Central Florida’s Hispanic community. Humbled by the award, Campbell (pictured top row, fourth from left) gave credit to his team members for their efforts to support the growth of Hispanic business in Central Florida.  Read more.

Disney Executive Joins National Travel Marketing Group

Randy Garfield, president of Walt Disney Travel Company and executive vice president of Worldwide Sales & Travel Operations of Disney Destinations has joined the Brand USA board of directors, representing the attractions sector of the travel and tourism industry. Seeking to draw more international visitors to the United States, Brand USA is drawing on top travel and tourism industry experts as it gears up to launch the nation’s first tourism marketing campaign.

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