Disney’s Conservation Efforts and Earth Day Re-Cap at Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Conservation Efforts and Earth Day Re-Cap at Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is often the forgotten Disney Park. Even with all the hype surrounding Pandora which opens in a month, you rarely find that the park is crowded. This past weekend, Animal Kingdom celebrated Earth Day and the anniversary of its opening 18 years ago, but it was slightly overshadowed by the Star Wars Themed Run Disney event. Even with all the commotion in the surrounding area, that didn’t stop my friends and I from planning celebrations and making it a point to spend the day exploring and photographing this beautiful park and learning about the conservation efforts Disney has implemented through educating guests who visit. Here is the re-cap of what you can expect if you visit Animal Kingdom on Earth Day next year, and some of the initiatives you can take part in right now.

For the first time ever Animal Kingdom hosted its first three-day Party for the Planet Celebration, which had my friends and I pumped. When we arrived around noon Animal Kingdom was definitely not crowded, which was great for our pictures, but a bummer in the bigger scheme of things because we had hoped to find more of an interest drummed up in celebrating and conserving the planet. If Pandora is as big of a hit as Disney projects it to be, then maybe next year’s attendance around this time should be peak. Part of the celebration included more than two dozen stations with activities for guests to learn about the habitat and ecosystem of corresponding areas around the park. The Oasis, Discovery Island, Africa, Asia, and Dinoland U.S.A. had Cast Members set up to answer questions and encourage making a positive difference for wildlife worldwide, many of the stations promoted Disney’s Conservation Fund, and provided guests with information on the Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time initiative that helps protects wildlife. Cast Members distributed cut outs to guests in 10 different fun animal shapes that could be used to tell the story of a day at the park. If you search social media using the hashtag #DisneyAnimals you can find some pretty impressive pictures courtesy of creative guests who took full advantage of the Disney goodies. Overall, the Party for the Planet Celebration was a low-key mosey in the park that left us all wondering what more we could do to protect the planet and educate others.

Coincidentally, DisneyNature released Born in China, their new documentary film that followed the stories of three animal families in some of the most extreme environments on Earth Day, and I found out that for everyone who sees DisneyNature BORN IN CHINA during opening week (April 21-April 27, 2017), DisneyNature will contribute $.20 per ticket to World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US) through the Disney Conservation Fund, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $100,000. The donation directly benefits wild pandas and snow leopards. If you already went to the theaters to experience this grand journey into the wilds of China, then rest easy knowing you made a contribution to the World Wildlife Fund. If you weren’t able to get to the theater, there is still plenty you can do to help.

First, check out the website for the movie : http://nature.disney.com/born-in-china
If you have little ones, or you are a teacher that wishes to help students in grades 2-6 learn about the importance of protecting and preserving the planet, there is a downloadable Educator’s Guide that walks you through lesson plans and activities that introduce students to a variety of topics such as biodiversity, learned behaviors, communication, the Earth’s systems, habitats and ecosystems and much more. There is also an activity packet for download that reinforces the idea of conservation through fun crafts, puzzles and games.

Second, read about the environmental stewardship at Disney to learn how the happiest place on Earth does their part to protect the planet. You can find information here: https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/environment/
The Walt Disney World Company realizes how important it is to make an effort in keeping Earth Alive. So, it’s important to evaluate your carbon footprint and if you feel the need to contribute to these efforts, choose to make some changes that can help move you and your loved ones in a direction that puts less strain on our resources, thus improving the chances to preserve the planet.

Finally, make it a point to stop by locations at Disney parks that collect funds for conservation efforts. There are places outside of Animal Kingdom where you can learn about the environment and Disney’s efforts to help wildlife. Some of those place include The Land at Epcot and The Living Seas. There are locations to donate your spare change, and whether you believe it or not, every single penny counts when you think about how many people visit Disney parks in one single day. If every person who visited the parks put in a penny a day per park, we would see thousands of dollars raised in a single day that go towards protecting wildlife, funding research, and creating programs and initiatives that are sustainable for future generations. Now, there is a penny for your thoughts.

Erika’s shop can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/imagineering.emporium/.


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