Happy Earth Day! From recycling initiatives to animal conservation, Orlando theme parks are definitely on board with implementing sustainability into daily park operations. In honor of the the celebration of our great planet, take a look at how our favorite local theme parks do their part in preserving the planet.
Universal Orlando Resort
NBCUniversal as a whole has a Green Is Universal initiative that spans across the entire corporation, from film and television to the theme parks. For the theme parks, the main focus is conservation, recycling, education, and developing attractions as environmentally friendly as possible. Universal Orlando Resort has taken many steps to practice sustainability throughout its theme parks and resorts.
- In 2016, more than 20% of the resort’s total waste was diverted, including 1,541 tons of organic food waste.
- The parks save 2.6 million kilowatt-hours annually due to switching to LED lighting.
- There are more than 2,500 recycling bins around the resort as well as three on-site processing areas for recycled materials.
- All of Universal Orlando’s on-site resort hotels are certified by the Florida Green Lodging Program, which recognizes hotels that have made a commitment to protecting Florida’s natural resources and instituting environmental practices in the five areas of sustainable operation (communication/education, waste reduction/recycling, water conservation, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality).
- The resort’s diesel vehicles, like trucks, buses, and the resort water taxis, run on a more environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel.
- Universal restaurants use recycled cooking oil and excess food is donated to Orlando’s Second Harvest Food Bank.
- Environmentally friendly horticultural practices include using coffee grounds to supplement the nutrients in potting soil and replacing fertilizer and insecticides with fish oil and ocean solution.
Despite its controversial image over the years, there has been a great effort by SeaWorld to focus on conservation, education and animal rescue. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has donated over $14 million to support animal conservation projects all around the world, such as coral reef restoration, preventing coastal erosion, and habitat protection. Inside the parks, the focus is on rescue and rehabilitation, conservation education, research, and habitat protection.
- Food for both the animals and the humans at SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove is sourced from responsibly managed sustainable fisheries.
- Produce for the parks’ restaurants are sourced from local farms when possible, and the menus have been expanded to feature more plant-based options.
- Reusable plastic cups made from plant based material
- Fountain drinks are served in paper cups made up of 85 percent renewable resources; the park uses 14.6 million paper cups yearly!
- Dinnerware and utensils are made from sugarcane and vegetable starch.
- Park shuttles are powered by hydrogen fuels.
- Around 50% of the park’s waste is recycled
- There are recycle locations next to every trash can around the park.
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World is an industry leader when it comes to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The main focuses of the Disney company are water/energy conservation, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, waste minimization, and ecosystem conservation. The company also actively supports more than 330 animal protection non profit organizations in 115 countries through The Disney Conservation Fund, which provides over $30 million annually.
- In 2017 Disney reduced their new emissions (from attractions, hotels, restaurants and stores) by 41%. Their goal is to reach 50% by 2020.
- Disney diverted 46% of waste from landfills and incineration in 2017. Their goal is divert 60% of waste by 2020.
- Walt Disney World is an “energy star partner” with energy saving fixtures installed all over the property.
- 98% of the signs, decorations and Christmas trees in the parks use LED fixtures
- Illuminations: Reflections of earth uses environmental-friendly lasers that save around 64,000 watts of power each show.
- The external lights for landmarks like Cinderella Castle, Tree of Life, and Spaceship Earth are turned off or dimmed during non operational hours.
- During the holidays, Cinderella Castle is decorated with more than 170,000 white led lights, only using the energy equivalent of 4 coffee pots.
- There are more than 1,500 fuel efficient vehicles in use across the parks, from golf carts to monorail trains.
- Disney World’s approach to water conservation includes using less water when possible and maximizing use of reclaimed water. 30% of the park’s overall water needs and 80% of irrigation uses reclaimed water.
- Around 1/3 of Walt Disney World Resort’s 40 square miles of property is dedicated as a wildlife conservation area.
- Disney stores’ merchandise bags contain 100% post-consumer materials that are made from low density polythylene, so they release 60% less carbon dioxide during production
- Walt Disney World Resort hotels are also certified by Florida Green Lodging Program.