Orange County

For Disney’s workers, the magic doesn’t stop at the gate

BAY LAKE, Fla. — It’s the little things, but it’s also the big things.

For Disney, its enormous workforce -- the largest single-site employer in the state -- means it can take on major challenges and projects in the community.

Read: Volunteers set to make improvements to Give Kids the World Village

But the special place the park holds for many families means Disney can also do the small things that have a big impact, like granting a wish.

“When you think of Disney cast members, they’re here to make magic; it’s really a part of who we all are and what draws us to working here,” Disney cast member Tajiana Ancora-Brown said. “The Disney volunteer program gives those cast members an opportunity to take that part of who they are into the community and be a part of causes that are meaningful and have a real impact.”

One of the places where Disney has had a major impact in Central Florida is the Kissimmee-based Give Kids the World Village.

For more than 35 years, Disney employees have volunteered at the Village, working with families of children with critical illnesses.

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Due to the pandemic, more than 4,000 wishes for kids were put on pause, prompting Disney to help set up the first ever “Night of a Million Lights” at the Village to raise money to continue fulfilling wishes once travel resumed.

For Disney cast members, the volunteer program allows them to have a direct impact in the community they call home.

“It can be something as simple as giving blood, or volunteering a weekend, we want to be a force for good,” Disney employee Steven Miller said.

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The program was created in 1983, spans 42 countries and contributed almost $3 million in grants in 2019. Volunteers have contributed 12 million hours of service.