Celebration at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa Honors 2018 Disney VoluntEARS of the Year and 10 Million Hours of Volunteer Service Around the World
ANAHEIM, Calif. June 8, 2018 – From building playgrounds to packing military care packages and providing meals for the local community, the 2018 Disney VoluntEARS of the Year were recognized by Disneyland Resort President Josh D’Amaro at an awards reception on June 7. Each year, Disneyland Resort cast members spend more than 85,000 hours at 240 local events—making a difference in Orange County.
The Disney VoluntEARS program began at the Disneyland Resort in 1983, and is celebrating 35 years and 10 million hours of volunteer service around the world. At the Disneyland Resort, Disney VoluntEARS have collected more than 400,000 toys for Toys for Tots, packed over 183,000 food boxes at the Orange County Food Bank and raised more than $1.6 million for CHOC Children’s during the annual CHOC Walk in the Park.
“I am very proud of our Disney VoluntEARS for selflessly sharing their time, energy and passion with our community for the past 35 years,” said Josh D’Amaro, president of the Disneyland Resort. “By extending the spirit of the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ beyond the boundaries of our property, Disneyland Resort cast members and their families continue to make Orange County a better place to live.”
Disney VoluntEAR of the Year: Megan Matsumoto
Megan Matsumoto, a Disneyland Resort sketch artist, volunteered more than 100 hours in 2017. A dedicated volunteer with the Sertoma Baseball and Softball Camp for deaf and hard-of-hearing youth, Matsumoto often volunteers at the camp before her work shifts. She also volunteers at Disney-sponsored KaBOOM! playground builds, and devotes her weekends months at a time to other Disney VoluntEARS events including the Anaheim Fall Festival and Inside the Outdoors Foundation’s Earth Day beach cleanup.
Disney VoluntEAR Team of the Year: Design & Engineering CANstruction Team
For 10 years, the Disneyland Resort Design and Engineering CANstruction team has planned, designed and built a Disney-themed structure made entirely from canned goods for display at South Coast Plaza during CANstruction Orange County, a design competition benefiting the Orange County Food Bank. The team’s structures have resulted in donations of more than 60,000 canned and packaged goods, or the equivalent of more than 32,000 meals.
Disney VoluntEAR Family of the Year: The Iwasaki Family
In 2017, Laura Iwasaki, a lead security specialist at the Disneyland Resort, and her family attended 12 Disney VoluntEARS events, spending time together while packing military care packages and walking to raise funds for various charities. Last summer, three generations of the Iwasaki family participated in the quarterly food-packing event at the Orange County Food Bank.
The recipients were presented with an award and a $2,500 charitable contribution from The Walt Disney Company toward a nonprofit organization of their choice. Matsumoto, the Design & Engineering CANstruction team, and the Iwasaki family will make their donations to Giving Children Hope, Orange County Food Bank and Taller San Jose Hope Builders, respectively.
ABOUT THE DISNEYLAND RESORT
Located on approximately 500 acres in Anaheim, Calif., the Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure park – plus the Downtown Disney District comprised of unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s three hotels are the 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the 973-room Disneyland Hotel and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. With 30,000 cast members, the Disneyland Resort is Orange County’s largest employer and generates $5.7 billion for the Southern California economy. The Resort has welcomed more than 800 million guests since opening on July 17, 1955.