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.

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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.