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Happy New Year 2024 from Walt Disney World Resort!

Dear Central Florida Friends,


The holiday season is always a special time of year in our community. I love seeing all the smiling faces and festive decorations around our neighborhoods, from Lake Eola to Give Kids The World Village. I hope you are enjoying this time with friends, family and loved ones.


Over the last few weeks, you may have seen some of our 80,000 cast members participating in longtime holiday traditions like serving meals at Coalition for the Homeless on Thanksgiving Day, distributing thousands of toys to families in need alongside the U.S. Marines as part of the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive supporting Toys for Tots and more. We were also honored to surprise Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida with a donation equaling 400,000 meals!


In total, our Disney VoluntEARS will finish the year with over 200,000 hours. We’re incredibly proud of them and how their support has helped organizations in our community make meaningful impacts in people’s lives.


As we quickly approach a new year, I’m reflecting on all we’ve accomplished together in 2023. Here are a few of my favorite memories:


  • Supporting Public Education: We enjoyed the company of many community colleagues as we opened TRON Lightcycle / Run, and commemorated the moment with a donation to help enhance STEM education in Orange County Public Schools.
  • Granting Wishes: More than 50 incredible wish families took part in “Once Upon A Wish Party,” our largest wish-granting event ever. They attended a royal ball where everyone received the royal treatment and made memories that will last a lifetime. Several cast members told me it was one of the most moving and inspiring events they’ve supported at Disney.
  • Supporting Nonprofit Initiatives: This fall, we recognized 19 nonprofit organizations who create positive change in Florida as this year’s Disney Grant recipients; the donations totaled $1.5 million! These funds will combat homelessness and hunger, support workforce development programs and help with other important efforts.
  • Creating a Healthier Planet: As part of Disney Planet Possible, we donated an additional half a million dollars to five conservation organizations in Florida. This year also marked the 25th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and to date, the Disney Conservation Fund has provided over $125 million to support the critical work of nearly 600 organizations around the world.
  • Working Toward Affordable Housing: We continue to move forward with developers on work around an attainable housing community in Central Florida. In addition to providing approximately 1,400 units, this community will create new jobs as part of construction and operation. 

We are proud to be part of this community and all we’ve been able to achieve with other leaders here. Just last month, Oxford Economics released a study showing that Disney’s annual economic impact in Florida for fiscal year 2022 was $40.3 billion. That number translates to hundreds of thousands of jobs, more opportunities for small businesses and shared prosperity across our region. All of it is accomplished alongside you: our peers and neighbors. Together, with hard work and positive energy, we have made our community – and our state – stronger.


Truly, it is our honor to share these moments with you. I’m excited about all that’s ahead in 2024, and I hope to see you soon. Here’s to another year of magic together!


Happy New Year,

Jeff Vahle

President, Walt Disney World 

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