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By:  Tangled Diva
While exiting my favorite ride at Disney—Rock’n’Roller Coaster—I ran across a kiosk selling jewelry.  When I started perusing the selection, the Cast Member running it came over and told me about the jewelry.  The jewelry is made of old Disney guide maps and outdated paper products collected at Walt Disney World.  They then ship them to Uganda, Africa where they are hand rolled and made into water resistant beads.  They are then returned to Epcot where they are assembled to make very reasonably priced necklaces and bracelets.  I was already considering purchasing a bracelet, but after learning its origin, I knew I had to have one. 


I never cease to be amazed with the things Disney does, but this especially amazed me.  They took something that would have been easy to just throw away and provided jobs for people that might not otherwise have them.  This made me wonder what else Disney does to give back.  So, I started digging…

You’ve likely noticed that just about everywhere there is water at Disney parks, people throw coins in it.  One of the most popular spots for this at Walt Disney World is Cinderella’s fountain (Snow White’s fountain at Disney Land).  The old adage is that by throwing a coin in a fountain and making a wish, your wish will come true.  But, did you know that your coin can also help another’s wish come true as stated on the placard at Cinderella’s fountain–“Your wishes will help the dreams of children come true.” 


I did a little research and found that the coins from the fountains as well as all the coins thrown in various waters at Disney parks are periodically collected and given to various charities and non-profit groups.  In fact, it is estimated that between $50,000 – $100,000 is collected annually from the “wishes” tossed in the waters at Walt Disney World.  They get so many coins that they actually have a system in place to collect them.  They have vacuums that collect the coins, then they are chemically cleaned, rolled, packaged, and used in Disney parks to make change.  While the coin itself is recycled in the parks, the cash value is donated.  Among the charities that benefit from these donations are:  Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund, little league teams, girl and boy scout troops, and numerous public schools.  So next time you are in the parks and your kids are begging for money to throw in the water to make a wish, not only encourage them to do it, but also use it as a learning opportunity to teach them about what it means to give back.

Disney even has a group called Disney VoluntEARS.  This group has partnered with American Red Cross to help people prepare for disasters, partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of American to hold a virtual school supply drive, volunteered at children’s hospitals, and so much more.  Click here to learn more about all the amazing things this organization is doing.

Also, if you watch the Disney Channel at all, you’ve likely seen one of their commercials with Disney Channel actors giving back.  Some of the things that they have done include planting trees, building playgrounds, helping after natural disasters, cleaning beaches, and much more.  They partner with other children/teenagers in the area to work on the projects and encourage viewers to do the same in their areas.  Often, they even give information on how to find places to volunteer in your area.

I am sure that the things I have mentioned are just scratching the surface of all the efforts Disney takes to give back.  Like they always do on the Disney Channel commercials, I encourage you to find ways to give back too.  Whether it be getting involved with the VoluntEARS or finding ways to do random acts of kindness in your own area.  You never know the difference you can make in someone’s life.  I mean who would think that coins thrown in a fountain would amount to tens of thousands of dollars to charities.  You may not be able to change the world, but you can make a difference in one person’s life!