Thursday, December 20, 2007

Theme Parks and Carbon Footprints

It's official -- the fam is going to Disney for an overnight trip. I'm not going to say what day it is because it's embarrassing to admit you are a Floridian going to WDW on one of the busiest days of the year; in my defense with planning this trip, it was the only day (ironically enough) that we could get a room at the Florida Resident rate.

After our last trip to Disney, which I chronicled here, I've been thinking about how we could reduce our carbon footprint while at the park. I really did go to the TerraPass website to see if they had a "theme park" category for carbon offset; alas, I was disappointed.

Apparently, Universal Studios made a big to-do about their own efforts to reduce carbon emmissions with a "Green is Universal" festival in November. According to Green Living Online, Universal is the first theme park to "convert to green fuel and will be reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 260 tons annually." In addition to using biodiesel and ethanol in their diesel and flex-fuel cars on the property, Universal is also looking at ways to use the vegetable oil they're recycling in other vehicles. Universal is going to have vegetable oil-powered vehicles! That's so hippy-dippy, it's amazing.

So why isn't Disney doing the same things? I don't know if they are or not, so I went to the Disneyworld website and finally, after a little hunting, found a FAQ about just that question:

Q.What does the Walt Disney World Resort do to help the environment?
A. Environmentality is an attitude and a commitment to our environment, where we, as the Walt Disney organization, actively seek ways to be friendlier to our planet. We're committed to making smart choices now to preserve our world for the future. We encourage environmental awareness among our Cast, our Guests and the community.
For more information, please contact:

Environmental Initiatives
Walt Disney World Co.
P.O. Box 10,000
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000
I don't know if "environmentality" is a word, but I guess it is now since Disney flaks have used it in a FAQ. So, anyway, I wrote them a letter and sent it off yesterday:

December 19, 2007

Dear Environmental Specialists,

Our family will be traveling to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World on XXXXXXX, and will be staying overnight. I would like any information you have regarding your environmental initiatives and what ways our family could make less of an environmental impact during our stay. In the interests of disclosure, I write a weblog on environmental living and will be chronicling this trip as part of a series of posts regarding carbon footprints and theme parks.

Thank you for any information you can provide and have a happy holiday.
We'll see if they can get it together to send me something in the next week -- I realize that's kind of asking a lot of Environmental Initiatives at WDW because they're probably located in a broom closet somewhere on Tom Sawyer Island and have to walk all the way to Main Street USA just to make a copy or send a fax, much less send information on living green at Disney. Also, we're coming up on "The Hammock" as the old man calls it -- that week between Christmas and New Year's day where any semblance of a workplace sort of disintegrates (at UF they just close the entire campus). I'm sure Disney, as anywhere else in the U.S., is similarly affected by "hammock-itis."
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