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April 2, 2011

DGTG Exclusive News Alert - Sustainabilty and Disney Parks: What Does the Future Hold?

As you may or may not know, I pride myself in trying to live as "green" of a lifestyle as possible, and it feels good to encourage my blog audience to do the same!  I try to watch what I eat and tend to only buy Organic and local products when they are available!  One thing I have noticed at Disney, is that there seems to be a lack of Organic food choices on Disney property, even though the company seems to be taking leaps into a "greener" direction.  I have noticed recycling bins around the parks and many reminders around the resorts, encouraging guests to "Be Green."  I even observed a Cast Member sorting cans from an Epcot trash receptacle, transferring them to the recycling container...... But what about the food??? As a restaurant owner myself, I realize that the use of eco-friendly foods and practices in my kitchen is not only important to the enviornment, but is also trending in the food-service industry. These are practices the consumers WANT to see me implementing in my business!

  Last month at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, I wanted to find out more about Disney's take on Environmental Issues, and was given the opportunity to find out more in a question/answer meeting with Disney's California Grill Chef, Brian Piasecki.

Disney Go To Girl: "Where does Disney stand on the topic of Organics and Sustainability, especially in Disney signature kitchens?"

Chef Piasecki: "We are really starting to get serious about it now.  Let me give you an example of just how serious:  I went through an exercise just a couple weeks ago where all the Signature Chefs, Chefs de Cuisine on property had to go through all of the menus, identify EVERY seafood item on the menu, and then use the tools at Monterrey Bay, which is a sustainable fishery website, that really focuses on the Global Impact and sustainability of fishing practices around the world. We had to identify where our fish actually came from, and then what our plan was if it was on the endangered list. So the goal was by the end of the year, we need to transition away from some of this stuff. Having the big Sushi presence over at the California Grill with a lot of ingredients from Asia, we were able to identify some things that were red flags for us and really look at it and say 'OK, how do we transition away from this product?  The trend is there. The focus is there, and we are trying!"

According to Chef Piasecki, Disney's Victoria and Albert's, and The Wave are two restaurants offering organic and local menu options. Stay Tuned for an upcoming review of Victoria and Albert's!

And speaking of food, have you ever wondered what happens to all uneaten food prepared by Disney restaurants?  I was pleased with the answer I received from Disney World Public Affairs:

 The Disney Harvest Food Program collects food that has been prepared and not served, donating almost 50,000 pounds of edible food each month.

Disney Harvest Truck (Photo Courtesy of Disney PR)

Excess prepared food from locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, that has not been previously served, is picked up and distributed by the Disney Harvest truck in cooperation with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

“Over the years, the generosity of Walt Disney World and its Cast Members has provided thousands of meals to our hungry neighbors in need.  We hold the program up as a model of the many mouths that can be fed with a deeply involved and committed community leader, like Walt Disney World.”  Said Dave Krepcho, Executive Director, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

After reading through documents on Disney World's Enviornmental Overview and Enviornental Stewardship I wasnted to share a few of my favorite facts: 
The Company's commitment to the environment dates back to its origins and founder, Walt Disney. Walt's pioneering foresight set the stage for a strong emphasis on care for the environment, which was evident from the filming of the True Life Adventure documentary series through his ideas to incorporate conservation into the Walt Disney World® Resort master plan.
So in closing, I want to take this opportunity to say "Thanks" to Disney for making a difference!  I was so pleased with everything I found concerning Disney's stand towards Environmentality!  I commend them for making strides in the right direction and am excited to see where this commitment takes them!

  • More than 18,000 tons of materials are recycled every year at the Walt Disney World® Resort, and recycling bins are provided in each of the guest rooms at its hotels. The Disney Harvest Food Program collects food that has been prepared and not served, donating almost 50,000 pounds of edible food each month.
  • Disney's "Culinary Conservation Committee" was created to implement wise purchasing practices and menu creation which ensures, for example, that the oceans' fisheries continue to flourish by making smart seafood selections.
  • The Walt Disney World® Resort follows a rigorous program of conservation that ranges from using low-flow shower heads, to reclaiming waste water, to designing buildings to be energy efficient.
  • Of the more than 40 square miles at Walt Disney World Resort, nearly one-third of the property has been set aside as a dedicated wildlife conservation area.
  • Even Cinderella’s Castle glows "green" during the holidays with more than 170,000 LED white lights to glisten the Castle, using the equivalent energy of only 12 microwave ovens.
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's BoardWalk Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts were each awarded the prestigious Florida Green Lodging designation by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, having demonstrated their commitment to protect Florida's resources through a defined set of environmental practices which addresses five areas of concern including water and energy conservation, education and awareness, waste reduction and indoor air quality. These efforts include but are not limited to:
  • Encouraging Guests to minimize environmental impact through re-use of towels and linens during their stay
  • Over 5 million plastic Guest Room key cards are recycled each year
  • Automatic lights, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL's) and CO2² sensors have been installed throughout the convention center
  • Recycling bins located in meeting planner offices and speaker ready rooms
  • Water conservation efforts including low flow showerheads and toilets
  • Composting of food waste not donated to Second Harvest
  • Employee training on recycling and resource conservation
To read more about Disney's commitment to the Enviornment Click here! Please do yourself that favor! I was amazed with what I read!

Disclosure:  I paid a fee to attend this conference, but with my registration, I received hotel accommodations, park tickets, select meals for myself and family, as well as AMAZING Disney swag!  I was NEVER asked or encouraged to write about any of my experiences at the conference, but LOVE Disney and couldn't wait to share with my audience!  I am not affiliated with Disney.  All thoughts and opinions are genuine and purely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Walt Disney Company!


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TTownTiffany said...

Great article Amanda! I didn't know about the Disney Harvest program. Very cool. It's wonderful to see Disney making these efforts!

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