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Party for the Planet Archives

April 20, 2015

Walt Disney World to celebrate Earth Day 2015 at Animal Kingdom, Epcot

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Wednesday 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. Most of the activities are based at Rafiki's Planet Watch, so those interested should head to the back of the park, where they will take a short train ride to the festivities.

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There, guests will find several opportunities to learn about and celebrate the Earth. Through Saturday, April 25, visitors can meet and take photos with Rafiki and Jiminy Cricket. The latter, a character from 'Pinocchio,' usually only comes out for special occasions, so this is a somewhat rare appearance. Also through Saturday, guests can have their faces painted or a caricature drawn -- for a charge.

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Want to learn a little while celebrating? Cast members who work on conservation efforts around the world will have displays and presentations. Plus, research stations will showcase behind-the-scenes footage from Disneynature's 'Monkey Kingdom' that shows how technology is used to enhance conservation efforts. (For every ticket sold through April 23, Disneynature will make a donation to Conservation International to help protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats. My review of the film can be found here.)

In past years, a series of hands-on activities were designed to help kids learn about various aspects of conservation and planet stewardship. From discovering how to shop for products that are Earth-friendly to identifying animals in the wild, kids traveled around the park, collecting prizes that together formed a wildlife tracking kit. It was a clever and fun educational exercise. My fingers are crossed that the stations will be back this year.

Animal Kingdom again this year hosts artists who specialize in landscapes and nature designs, and their work is available for purchase through Earth Day. There also will be Disney Earth Day merchandise for sale on Wednesday. And what birthday would be complete without a cupcake? A cute Worms & Dirt confection is for sale on April 22 at Kusafari Coffee Shop and Bakery and Isle of Java.

An Earth Day Times Guide will be available at the front of park with all the day's special activities.

Earth Day also will continue to be celebrated at Epcot. Most of the activities will be located inside The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Displays throughout the pavilion -- many of which also can be seen on World Oceans Day on June 8 -- help children learn how turtle excluder devices protect sea turtles and how conservation efforts save coral reefs, manatees and sharks.

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At one booth inside The Seas, a cast member will explain how The Walt Disney Co. is helping to protect coral reefs near Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line's private island in the Bahamas, by relocating sea urchins that help control the algae there. At another, guests will learn that they can contribute to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund's sea turtle conservation efforts through the Adopt-A-Nest Program. They can do so at the gift shop at Epcot's The Seas with Nemo & Friends; the Out of the Wild shop at Animal Kingdom; and at Disney's Vero Beach Resort.

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Finally, be sure to check out the sand sculpture that showcases Disneynature's "Monkey Kingdom" at the World Showcase Outpost. It's been completed this week as an early Earth Day present!



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April 21, 2014

Celebrate Earth Day 2014 with Party for the Planet at Walt Disney World

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To celebrate Earth Day, Walt Disney World is bringing back popular activities from past years -- and adding a few surprises -- at the resort on Tuesday.

The biggest celebration, Party for the Planet, takes place at Animal Kingdom, and the activities are included with regular admission to the theme park. As guests enter the park, they will again see displays of wildlife-friendly backyard habitats and be encouraged to collect a free postcard. The postcards are a visual reminder of where to find the Earth Day activities and, in years past, guests were invited to mail them for free at several special mailboxes located throughout Animal Kingdom.

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This year, most of the activities are concentrated at Rafiki's Planet Watch, instead of extending into the Asia and Africa sections. The supermarket game has moved to this area of the park, which is accessible by a short train ride. Kids are invited to "shop" at a store and asked to find the items that are most Earth-friendly. At the end of the activity, cast members explain how to choose "green" products to make a difference for wildlife and nature.

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The other stations will allow participants "to discover new ways to spend time in nature, talk to cast members who work on conservation projects around the world, participate in a variety of nature activities - including activities focused on brown bears - and find out more about the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund," wrote Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment.

In addition to the hands-on activities focused on brown bears -- which are the subject of Disneynature's new film, "Bears," that opened April 18 -- the animals will be represented in the designs offered by face painters and caricature artists that will be at Rafiki's Planet Watch on April 22.

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There will, of course, be special merchandise to mark the occasion, but perhaps the most-sought-after will be the safari-costumed Duffy the Disney Bear sold only at Animal Kingdom through April 30. One dollar from each sale will be donated to the National Park Foundation through Disney's Worldwide Conservation Fund to celebrate "Bears." (If you see the movie during its opening week, Disneynature makes a donation to the National Park Foundation through Disney's Worldwide Conservation Fund.)

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Guests who will be at Epcot on Tuesday also will find an Earth Day celebration at The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Displays throughout the pavilion -- many of which also can be seen on World Oceans Day on June 8 -- help children learn how turtle excluder devices protect sea turtles and how conservation efforts save coral reefs, manatees and sharks.

At one booth inside The Seas, a cast member will explain how The Walt Disney Co. is helping to protect coral reefs near Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line's private island in the Bahamas, by relocating sea urchins that help control the algae there.

disney-protecting-coral-reefs.jpg

At another, guests will learn that they can contribute to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund's sea turtle conservation efforts through the Adopt-A-Nest Program. They can do so at the gift shop at Epcot's The Seas with Nemo & Friends; the Out of the Wild shop at Animal Kingdom; and at Disney's Vero Beach Resort.

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The adoption program, which launched on July 5, 2007, offers guests adoption packages for $50 that include a Disney Worldwide Conservation Hero Button, a "Finding Nemo" themed keychain, and an adoption certificate that lists the species of turtle and the date the eggs were laid in the nest. Guests can use their certificate numbers to track online their nest's success and possible hatchings at http://www.nestingturtles.com/adoptanest/

Proceeds from the program benefit turtle and beach conservation efforts throughout the state of Florida.



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April 23, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom Celebrates 15th Anniversary on Earth Day

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On Monday, Disney's Animal Kingdom celebrated two festivities -- Earth Day 2013 and the theme park's 15th anniversary.

The day began with an opening ceremony at the Tree of Life that featured Josh D'Amaro, Vice President of Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment, as speakers. Because this was open to the public -- and held before rope drop -- it garnered quite a crowd as fans gathered to celebrate and park-goers waited to be let into the rest of Animal Kingdom. The highlight was a performance of The Lion King's "Circle of Life."

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Of course, the day featured special anniversary merchandise, including free commemorative maps and buttons to all guests. The line to purchase items such as T-shirts, Vinylmation figures and pins at Creature Comforts stretched to two hours at one point. Didn't make it to the anniversary party? One T-shirt design is available at DisneyStore.com through Thursday.

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Disney's Wildlife Conservation Fund offered an anniversary button to all those who donated $1 or more to the charity. Disney matches all donations to the fund at 100 percent.

Animal Kingdom also hosted artists and photographers who specialize in landscapes and nature designs, and their work was available for purchase on Earth Day. And what birthday would be complete without a cupcake? This cute Worms & Dirt confection is for sale all week at Kusafari Coffee Shop and Bakery and Isle of Java.

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Throughout the park, visitors were able to learn more about Disney's conservation efforts with special displays. Perhaps the most fun for younger guests, though, were the five Party for the Planet stations that helped kids learn about various aspects of conservation and planet stewardship through hands-on activities.

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In Asia, the booth was located at the end of the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Kids were invited to "shop" at a store and asked to find the items that are most Earth-friendly. At the end, cast members explained how to choose "green" products to make a difference for wildlife and nature. In Africa, at the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, kids followed five simple clues to learn how to identify animals in the wild. Of course, one was dung, which had the children around us laughing. No surprise there since bathroom humor always is a hit among the younger set.

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Rafiki's Planet Watch hosted the other three Party for the Planet stations, and they were inspired by Disneynature films. Outside the building, guests could learn about flying creatures ("Wings of Life"). One neat tip a cast member suggested was to place a light under a sheet to attract bugs for observation. And she demonstrated devices to capture and study crawling insects, too. Inside, kids could play a computer game that helped them understand behaviors of cheetahs and lions ("African Cats"), and another tactile game to learn how chimpanzees create tools from objects they find in nature ("Chimpanzee").

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Along the way, kids were invited to address postcards to friends and family and drop them in mailboxes, and Disney would take care of mailing the cards for free. Also, kids who completed the activities at each station were given a prize, and, together, the five prizes formed a wildlife tracking kit.

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For a theme park that has spent the past 15 years promoting the safekeeping of the planet and its inhabitants, Monday's Earth Day events certainly were a natural fit.

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About Party for the Planet

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Party for the Planet category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Harambe Market is the previous category.

Rafiki's Planet Watch is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.