Beyond the rides and movies, there’s a special Disney magic that few experience, but is very real. Read on to explore the REAL Magic of Disney.
The REAL Magic of Disney
At a recent Disney Social Media Moms conference, we had the pleasure of hearing from Bob Chapek, the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He said, “There is an intangible and real feeling that sets Disney apart from everyone else.” Anyone that has been to one of the Disney parks or on a Disney cruise can understand what he is talking about. That intangible and real feeling, and the imagination and the feeling of happy excitement, could easily define the magic of Disney. But, there is more. Much more.
What is the REAL Disney Magic?
The REAL magic of Disney is in what the corporation gives back to communities around the world. It is in the wishes they fulfill for thousands of children with life-threatening illnesses and their families each year, and in Disney’s commitment to provide comfort, happiness, and inspiration to kids and families around the globe. At our conference, we met John Breckow, Director of Corporate Citizenship for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. He claims to have the best job in the world, and after listening to him speak, we agree. John oversees the philanthropic and giving efforts across Disney Parks worldwide. Here is just a glimpse of what we learned about the REAL magic of Disney.
Disney Play Rooms in Chinese Children’s Hospitals
- Walt Disney himself visited children’s hospitals in his day, taking Disney characters and animators with him to cheer up hundreds of sick kids.
- When the Shanghai Disney Resort opened in 2016, Disney donated $3.1 million dollars to fund a five-year program to provide 50 Disney Play Rooms in children’s hospitals across China.
- There are now Disney Play Rooms in Nanjing, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.
- The colorful play rooms are designed with a focus on the mind-spirit-body connection through play therapy and play curriculum.
- Shanghai Disney Resort VoluntEARS (Disney cast members and their families) donate their time to bring smiles to children and families during their hospital stays.
Disney and The Make-A-Wish Foundation
- The Walt Disney Company partners with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant hundreds of thousands of wishes for children with medical conditions.
- 200 hours goes into making sure each wish is a personalized and special experience for each child and his or her family.
- Studies show the child’s medical conditions improve after receiving taking a break from the stress, and having a fun time with their family. If that isn’t REAL magic, I don’t know what is!
- Disney has put together some magical campaigns to get the community involved in helping more children have their wishes come true. Do you remember the #ShareYourEars campaign? Disney encouraged everyone on social media to share pictures of themselves with Mickey ears using the hashtag, and donated $5 for every photo shared. They had an incredible response with almost 1.8 million photos posted across social platforms!
photo credit: Walt Disney Co.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse Visits
It was touching to learn that Corporate Citizenship for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts often sends Mickey and Minnie to bring hope and encouragement to people that have been hit with a natural disaster or tragedy. These are not stories we hear on the news. These are behind-the-scenes efforts to do what Disney does best – bringing magic to children and families.
Help for the victims of Hurricane Harvey
When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas, Mickey and Minnie visited schools, shelters, and families. Disney raised more than $15 million dollars to support relief efforts.
Hospital visits after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting
Two weeks after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival that left 58 people dead and 851 injured, Mickey and Minnie visited six Las Vegas hospitals. By this time many of the injured had left the hospitals, but the heroes of that night – the doctors, nurses, and medical staff – had been through so much. You can see in the photos how it brightened the day of these wonderful people as Mickey and Minnie came to their work stations.
Mickey, Minnie, and the team from Corporate Citizenship for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts listened to stories from that horrific night. A man that was over triage at one of the hospitals the night of the shooting hugged Mickey for a solid minute. He told John that he needed a reminder that there was still good left in the world. It was a gift of comfort and happiness to well-deserving people who worked tirelessly to save lives.
Want More Disney Magic?
On land or sea, check out details on these magical Disney experiences!
- Pandora – The World of Avatar
- Toy Story Land coming to Walt Disney World!
- The Disney Dream
- Best Disney World Restaurants
- Disneyland vs. Walt Disney World
- 10 Insider Tips for Visiting Disney’s Castaway Cay
If you need some inspiration and a reason to believe that dreams really do come true, grab a box of tissues and read these wish stories. What we’ve shared here is not even the tip of the iceberg.
To learn more about the charitable giving of The Walt Disney Company, click here.
The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is a conference by invitation only for Social Media Influencers that we paid a fee to attend. We received complimentary items, special discounts, food, and entertainment so we could experience the magic of the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disney Cruise Line. We were not required to write about our experiences and all opinions are our own.