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Disney and Public Health


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It’s been three months since I arrived at Disney. The time has gone by so incredibly fast but I still have three more months to get through!
I feel I have learned a lot about myself having lived with seven other girls, worked fifty hours a week in retail, and enjoyed time in the parks by myself. But, that’s a story for another day. Right now I want to talk about Disney and public health.
I am a strong believer in the idea of a community coming together to prevent illness and innovate for a healthier planet. Disney is a huge community that spans globally. Disney sets standard for customer service, entertainment, and maybe one day health.
A few years ago, at Disneyland in California, there was a measles outbreak. Understanding that thousands of people from all over the world come together at these parks, it’s not surprising when people get sick. I, myself, caught a really bad cold a few weeks back probably because of how busy I am and the amount of germs I am exposed to every day.
There are a few simple things Disney does now that help prevent the spreading of diseases, with room for improvement of course. One thing the company does right are hand sanitizer stations every so often throughout the park and back stage. However, I wish there were more. Disney also created the magic band which is an extremely smart idea from a health stand point. It eliminates all form of money and tickets thus eliminating a way for germs to be shared. The only thing that people touch when using their magic band would be the finger print reader, which can be disinfected regularly. The magic band stays on the wrist keeping it away from gross places like used tissues in the bottom of a pocket, or an unwashed hand.

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Disney also has a very well trained custodial staff that, for the most part, stays on top of keeping the parks and resorts spotless.
Changes I would like to see are door handles that you use your wrist to open, more hand washing stations or hand sanitizer dispensers near food venders, and, in a perfect world, required vaccinations.
In a perfect world, Disney would be self sustaining. They have the money to do so. There are a few places I’ve seen with solar panels but think of how cool it would be it ride The People Mover and know it was powered by the sun or the wind!

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Something that Disney really needs to change is how they recycle. So much cardboard, paper, and plastic is thrown away every day in Mouse Gear alone. I cannot even fathom what the amount of trash that is produced park wide. It’s a simple change that could impact the environment greatly as well as raise the bar for environmentalism in large companies.

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In Animal Kingdom, plastic straws are banned. This is because if one got into an animals enclosure it could kill them. But it’s strange to think we don’t take that into consideration when we are talking about the wild animals where the straws end up after we throw them out. Disney should completely switch to paper straws. It would be an easy transition that the three out of the four parks could make and then it could slowly happen in other parks such as Disney Paris and Disney Tokyo.

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This one time, I saw a man try to recycle his plastic Starbucks cup but the lid was too big to fit in the whole, so he through it out instead. I was so angry. It takes two seconds to remove a lid and recycle each part separately.
Disney also uses a lot of plastic bags. But that’s just a huge thing I can’t think about because I’m the one bagging stuff. They do offer a reusable bag option but it costs about five dollars. If we could lower the cost to a dollar, I am sure more people would be more than happy to buy a reusable Disney bag that is sure not to rip.
Disney parks have water fountains around every so often, and a free cup of water is available per request. But how cool would it be to eliminate soda from the parks, and just give out free reusable water bottles at the resorts! We could compost food, switch to silverware instead of plastic, and maybe one day, start planting trees everywhere. I think about how healthy the planet could be when water is the most consumed dink in the world, recycle bins out number trash cans, and sustainable energy is make affordable and accessible to all.
Disney is capable of so many innovating environmental changes, it just needs someone with the drive and passion to make it happen.

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