5 Tips to Make Your Disney Trip Greener

They may be the most magical places on earth, that's true, but are Disney parks environmentally friendly? In a world where we need to be hyper-aware of reducing waste, embracing renewable resources, eliminating pollution and mitigating our carbon footprint, it’s our responsibility to keep these things in mind at all times – not just when it’s convenient!

So, not to be a sensationalist, but let's face it: vacationing takes a toll on the environment. Driving long distances, flying on planes, eating fast food on the go, buying souvenirs, we may end up KonMari'ing within a year - all these things add up to an impact on the environment, so it's important to consider traveling in a greener way. If the Magic Kingdom has been a focus of your travels, it pays to look for ways to make your Disney trip as sustainable as possible.

Thankfully, it's easier than you think! By keeping a few tips in mind and being willing to put in a little extra effort for Mother Earth, you can make your magical Disney adventures on Earth even sweeter.

1. First of all, YAY: Disney has made efforts to protect the environment

Let's pay attention: Disney is actually making some valiant efforts to go green at its theme parks, so visiting their parks is starting to become a more sustainable option. In February 2019, a 270-acre solar farm shaped like—you guessed it—Mickey Mouse's famous ears officially began generating electricity. This massive collection of solar panels is located next to Epcot and will reportedly be able to generate enough electricity to operate two Disney parks. “We are working toward three main environmental goals,” Angie Renner, director of environmental integration at Walt Disney World Resort, explained in an interview with Clean Technica. "We will divert 60% of waste from landfill by 2020, reduce net emissions by 50% by 2020 (compared to 2012 levels) and reduce water consumption across the board."

These environmental initiatives aren't limited to Disney World in Florida. “In Tokyo, Disneyland’s Power Parade light show is powered by solar panels on the roofs of eight buildings, generating more than 600 kilowatts of electricity,” The New York Times reports. “In Europe, Disneyland Paris uses geothermal energy. Powering two of its theme parks and one hotel, Disney also announced in July 2018 that it would phase out non-recyclable plastic straws at all of its parks by mid-2019. Considering the park's huge impact and the public's growing concern about environmental issues, these are definitely smart moves by Disney. Thumbs up for this!

2. Go paperless and get your tickets via the app


Little things add up! For example, by purchasing your tickets (or FastPass) through the Disneyland app, you can avoid picking up paper tickets at the gate or print your tickets at home - just scan the barcode on your phone. Additionally, the app shows you a full-time GPS so you know where you are, gives you estimated wait times in lines for attractions, allows you to browse menus and even order at restaurants within the parks and find your favorites Take pictures of your character.

3. Choose eco-friendly accommodation

When booking a hotel, be sure to check the green rating before making a decision. If you're visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, California, check out the California Green Lodging Directory provided by the state's Department of General Services to help you choose eco-friendly accommodations. If you're visiting Disney World in Florida, check out the full list of green lodging options in the state's Orlando area (note that all Disney World hotels are on the list).

4. Remember green transportation

This applies no matter where you travel. Taking public transport (or better yet, renting a bike so you can get in some exercise and enjoy the local scenery during your breaks!) is always a better alternative to driving. Thankfully, Disney makes this much easier with its own transportation system. “The entire Disney bus fleet, approximately 330 buses, uses R50, a cleaner renewable diesel (RD) made from used cooking oil and non-consumable food waste,” The Mouse Experts states on its website explained above.

5. Have reusable items ready

With tens of thousands of visitors coming to the park every day, you can imagine the amount of trash that accumulates. You can do your part to reduce pollution by investing in a set of portable, reusable utensils (this eco-friendly and affordable bamboo set is a great option), and if you want to take extra steps, Bring a small bamboo bowl or plate to your room. Many of Disney’s food items are served in single-use plastic bags.

Don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle and refill at the filtered water fountains scattered throughout the park. When it comes to Disneyland water bottles, water bottle slits will not only save you tons of cash, but they will also help you stay hydrated and eliminate the need for more plastic waste.

Finally, if you plan on buying souvenirs or stocking up on snacks, bring a reusable, easy-folding tote bag so you don't need to accept any plastic or paper bags in the park.