Walt Disney WorldŽ Resort
January 10, 2014
Land of Avatar Gets Underway at Disney
Construction of the largest expansion in the history of Disney's Animal Kingdom began this week with a ceremonial groundbreaking on the new AVATAR-inspired land. In this photo illustration, leaders from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Lightstorm Entertainment were joined by a Na'vi, showing the scale of characters from the "AVATAR." When the expansion is complete in 2017, guests will encounter the Na'vi, fly with banshees and see the amazing world of Pandora at night. "Disney's Animal Kingdom is already home to some of our guests' favorite attractions," said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "With AVATAR, we are adding a spectacular new world and an exciting set of attractions unlike any our guests have experienced. The expansion now underway will make the park a true full-day, must-see experience." 
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Disney Donations Exceed $36 Million

As part of ongoing efforts to help build better futures for children and families in Central Florida, in 2013 Walt Disney World Resort donated a record $36.5 million in cash and in-kind support to local nonprofits. This represents an increase of almost $6 million from 2012. The record amount included funding for programs that offer basic needs assistance, education and youth development, as well as resources for local hunger-relief efforts, conservation initiatives and help for U.S. veterans, among others. "With nearly 70,000 Cast Members who live and work in Central Florida, we are committed to helping improve the quality of life in our region," said Nancy Gidusko, director of community relations for Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Cast Members also supported local community initiatives by donating more than 308,000 hours of service in 2013.

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Disney Cruise Line Boosts Local Economy

Three Disney Cruise Line ships are based in Port Canaveral for the first time, which not only means more options for seafaring guests, but also brings a sizeable economic benefit to the local economy. According to a study by Martin Associates, the addition of a third ship in Brevard County for the first part of 2014 creates approximately 1,000 new jobs in the region and boosts the economy by an additional $100 million. Two Disney ships homeporting in Port Canaveral already generate more than 4,000 jobs and contribute more than $450 million to the local economy.

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Disney Celebrates UCF Knights' Victory
Cinderella story or Knights tale? Both stories will be celebrated this weekend at Magic Kingdom Park when the University of Central Florida (UCF) Knights parade down Main Street, U.S.A to celebrate their recent victory in the Fiesta Bowl. As underdogs, the hometown football team capped off a magical season with one of the biggest upsets in Bowl Championship Series history. The 2 p.m. parade on Sunday, Jan. 12, will feature UCF coaches, players, cheerleaders, dancers and the marching band. 
Marathon Provides Economic Boost to Central Florida

One of the region's largest sporting events, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna is underway, drawing runners from around the globe to Central Florida.
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Meet the Animals Born in 2013 

An endangered zebra, a rare stork and hundreds of sea turtles were among the animals born at Walt Disney World Resort in 2013.
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Cast Members Offer New Year Wishes

From American Sign Language to Zulu, Walt Disney World Cast Members reflect a global culture with their Happy New Year wishes. 
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Did you know...

During 2013, Walt Disney World Resort collaborated with several wish-granting organizations to grant more than 7,000 wish trips for children with life-threatening medical conditions. 
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