7 Ways You Never Knew Disney Was Eco-Friendly

The happiest place on Earth is working toward becoming the most sustainable place on Earth! Here are seven cool ways Disney is eco-friendly!



One of my favorite fun facts about myself is that I used to work at Walt Disney World! How many people can say that?! I worked as a custodian in both Typhoon Lagoon and Magic Kingdom with the Disney College Program. And while I absolutely loved the atmosphere and the company, I didn’t quite enjoy that particular job. I mean, it’s not the most glamorous position, so to speak. Someday I’d love to work for Disney again, just doing something a little but different! But, I digress.


It Starts With Training


The training for all new Disney employees cast members is quite extensive. It lasts, if I remember correctly, something like 3 weeks. Learning fun trivia at Disney University is definitely cool, but practicing the correct way to tie a garbage bag does get a little old. (In case you were wondering). And while training most certainly varies based on the role, the concept of The Four Keys is universal to all cast members.


The Four Keys are:


  1. Safety

  2. Courtesy

  3. Show

  4. Efficiency


Essentially, The Four Keys are what guide cast members in creating an amazing experience for guests. And as a cast member, you live and die by those 4 ideals. I’m kind of kidding, but also not really – they seriously talk about these a lot. But the one that’s important to this post is efficiency. And it actually has two meanings!


For one, it means doing your job and working with fellow cast members in the most efficient way possible. But it is also a reference to the Walt Disney Company having a commitment to environmental stewardship. This commitment goes back to the way beginning, as Walt Disney himself once said, “conservation isn’t just the business of a few people. It’s a matter that concerns all of us.” Preach, Walt, preach.


Long-Term Goals


This commitment is no joke, as evidenced by these pretty intense long-term goals, which are:


  1. Zero net greenhouse gas emissions

  2. Zero waste

  3. Conserve water resources


Who knew that the happiest place on earth was working toward becoming the most sustainable place on earth, right? Disney has instituted tons of sustainable measures in working toward these goals which may surprise even the biggest Disney buffs!


Here Are 7 Ways Disney Is Eco-Friendly:


1. Those little shampoos and soaps you get in your hotel room? Disney donates those!


You don’t have to feel too guilty about leaving half-used shampoo containers in your Disney hotel rooms, because they won’t go to waste – Disney will donate them to the Clean The World Foundation! This organization gives hygiene products a second life by donating them to communities in need, all while saving unnecessary waste from entering a landfill. In 2012, Disneyland Resort alone donated 20,000 pounds of bathroom amenities to the organization.


2. They’re actively reducing their net emissions


In 2017, the company reduced their net emissions by 41%. One of the ways they did this was by converting the Walt Disney World transportation fleet to a renewable diesel made from used cooking oil and food waste! This cut their transportation emissions in HALF. By 2020, they are hoping to reduce net emissions by 50%.


3. They increase their use of reclaimed water in order to reduce their use of potable (meaning safe to drink) water


In 2017, the theme parks and resorts reduced their potable water use by 129 million gallons, which is enough to fill The Seas with Nemo & Friends Aquarium in Epcot 22 times! In addition to that, the Walt Disney World Resort uses 2 billion gallons of reclaimed water annually for things like washing buses and cleaning streets. THIS amount of water is enough to fill Spaceship Earth approximately 129 times!

4. They’re energy efficient


The Walt Disney World Resort is a certified EPA “Energy Star Partner” thanks to their commitment to energy-saving practices. They use LED fixtures in all the holiday signs, decorations, Christmas trees, and even Cinderella Castle, which, during the holiday season is adorned with 170,000 LED lights. All of their energy-saving measures combined saves the equivalent of operating Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for over 3 years.


5. They’re serious about recycling


The company prevented 46% of recyclable waste from ending up in landfills in 2017. And those iconic Disney merchandise bags we all know and love are made from 100% recycled materials!


6. They have a cast member volunteer organization


It’s called VoluntEARS (get it?) and since 2012, it’s contributed 3.4 million service hours to causes like education, health, environmental preservation, and social services.


7. They’re committed to doing even more


In the summer of 2018, Disney announced a plan to eliminate all single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers by 2019. That would amount to a reduction of 188 million annually.

How You Can Help!


This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Disney’s commitment to efficiency and sustainability. And while they do a great job, it’s up to us to do a great job too! Things like bringing your own reusable water bottle and opting out of getting your hotel towels washed every day can make a big difference. But if you’re serious about becoming a more sustainable traveler – check out this post for tips for packing an eco-friendly toiletry bag!


And hey, in addition to all this good stuff, did you know that Disney is a huge player in animal conservation efforts too? They are! So much so, that I wrote a whole post about just that, which you can find here.

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