Saturday is Earth Day, and Walt Disney World is celebrating!
Animal Kingdom is marking April 22, which is also the theme park's birthday, with its annual Party for the Planet. This year, however, the celebration will be expanded to three days: April 21 through 23.
Guests are encouraged to connect with nature by engaging in fun activities in every land of the park. There are more than two dozen family friendly games and special interactions with animal-care experts planned throughout the park. For example, in the Oasis, guests can select one of ten different animal cut-outs (while supplies last) to enhance their photographs and raise awareness of the animals Disney is helping protect through the Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time initiative. Guests are encouraged to share their photos on social media with #DisneyAnimals At Flights of Wonder, those who arrive early can meet a Disney veterinarian and take part in special conservation-themed pre-show.
Disneynature is the sponsor of the Party for the Planet, and several activities focus on its newest film, “Born in China.” Look for:
** Along Maharajah Jungle Trek in Asia, guests can take part in an activity focused on snow leopards. They also can pick up a free activity packet (while supplies last) based on the film.
** Disney PhotoPass photographers will take special Magic Shot images based on “Born in China” and have fun Earth Day props to be used to enhance photos.
(For more on the movie “Born in China,” look for my review on Saturday.)
For other fun party activities, check the Party for the Planet Times Guide available at the front of Animal Kingdom. There will be vendors in Discovery Island invited to the park just for the Earth Day celebrations; face-painters and caricature artists at Conservation Station; and sweets including a chocolate cupcake with chocolate mousse fillings and buttercream icing at Creature Comforts in Discovery Island and panda-themed cookies and candy apples at Zuri’s Sweets in Africa.
Earth Day also will be celebrated throughout the weekend at Epcot. Most of the activities will be located inside The Seas with Nemo & Friends and in the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Center. At the Festival Center, several nonprofit organizations will give free presentations:
** 11 a.m.: Colors of the Wind: Florida’s Birds of Prey by the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
** Noon: Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife by the National Wildlife Federation
** 2 p.m.: Hawks, Eagles and Owls - oh my! by the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
** 3 p.m.: Planting for Pollinators – Saving Bees and Butterflies by the National Wildlife Federation
The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion will have special activities set up for guests. In past years, these have included displays that help children learn how turtle excluder devices protect sea turtles and how conservation efforts save coral reefs, manatees and sharks.
Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival also is hosting a citizen-science project in which guests can help identify which plants attract the most butterflies. According to the Disney Parks Blog, “Last year, Epcot guests observed a butterfly garden at the festival and recorded which plants attracted the most butterflies. Because of this research, we identified two native plant species – blanket flowers and chapman’s cassia – as butterfly favorites! We shared that data with the Disney Horticulture team members, and they are planting more of these flowers to attract butterflies around the Walt Disney World Resort. This year, we are testing a new suite of plants at the Flower & Garden Festival, and we need your help to determine which ones our native butterflies like best! This is a fantastic activity for guests of all ages, and families can participate together.”
Earth Day Weekend is a great time at Walt Disney World for families to learn about various aspects of conservation and planet stewardship.
The previous post in this blog was Tips for Disney's 2017 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend -- The Dark Side.
The next post in this blog is Review: Disneynature’s Born in China.