I love traveling to Orlando, Florida to visit Disney World and Universal Studios over spring break. This year I noticed something that made me love the theme parks even more. Their commitment to sustainability and going green was apparent everywhere you looked.
The first park I went to was Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you haven’t been, it’s like a giant zoo with a Mount Everest-themed roller coaster, water rides and a daily parade of your favorite Disney characters. One of the main goals of the park is conservation. In the back of the park is a large wildlife preservation that is home to lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles as well as many other African animals. You can go on a “safari” through the preservation, and the “tour guide” explains the how many species like the white rhino have been hunted for their ivory tusks and how Disney’s wildlife conservation fund is working to protect them. At every animal enclosure in the park, a Disney representative is there to inform visitors about how cool the animals are to try and cultivate an early appreciation in the park’s youngest visitors. They also only use paper straws at the food venues, so they aren’t harmful if they accidently get dropped into the enclosures.
The next park we went to was Disney’s Epcot. It’s divided into two parks “the Land” and “the World Showcase.” The land has a ride with Ellen Degeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy that enforces the importance of developing alternative forms of energy, and a ride through it’s fruit and vegetable garden that shows you where they grow the produce for the park. It also happened to be the Flower and Garden Festival there and they had signs explaining the importance of protecting the natural environment and how-to guides to build your own garden.
At Universal Studios, they had a program called “Green is Universal” which was posted on all there bright green recycling bins throughout the park. In “Seuss-Landing,” the gift shops had Lorax t-shirts with green slogans on them.
Disney also had as many recycling bins as trashcans, which made buying so many water bottles to drink that much better. The only thing I believe both theme parks could improve on is having water bottle refilling stations so you don’t have to buy so many plastic bottles.
So if you’re looking for someplace that fun and trying to be green, just head south to Florida.
By: Bridget Vis