Thousands of Disney Cruise Line guests and crew members recently volunteered their time on all four ships to take part in the first “AquaDucky Derby” rubber duck races in the ships’ pools and famous water coasters to raise nearly $14,000 for Make-A-Wish International. The events saluted the 30th anniversary of the Disney VoluntEARS program, which provides opportunities for Disney cast and crew members to donate their time to worthy causes around the world.
The one-of-a-kind fundraiser brought together crew members and guests, who purchased yellow rubber ducks to decorate and then enter in a water-filled race aboard the ships. Races took place in Goofy’s Pool on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, while those onboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy utilized the AquaDuck, the sea-going water coaster exclusive to Disney Cruise Line. All funds raised from the duck sales are being donated to Make-A-Wish International, an organization that grants wishes for children facing life-threatening medical conditions in 48 countries outside of the U.S. Since the first-ever official wish experience 32 years ago, Disney has helped grant more than 81,000 wishes globally and is involved in nearly 50 percent of the wishes granted each year.
According to Christiaan Abbott, Cruise Director aboard the Disney Dream, “Having our guests take part in this first-ever AquaDucky Derby has definitely made it especially unique. You can feel the excitement in the air. The entire shipboard community of guests and crew came together to have fun for a great cause, and the reaction from the crowd has been incredible.”
Events like this are just a small part of Disney’s commitment to give back to local communities through in-kind donations and the efforts of Disney VoluntEARS. In 2012, Disney Cruise Line cast and crew members completed 75 community outreach projects and donated more than 4,500 hours of personal service to nonprofit organizations, working both onboard the ships and in communities across Central Florida, The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe. Additionally, the line provided more than $640,000 in charitable and in-kind donations to organizations supporting children, families and the environment.
About Disney VoluntEARS: 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the Disney VoluntEARS program, organized to provide opportunities for Disney cast members, crew members, Imagineers and employees to contribute their time and talents to help strengthen communities around the world. Since 1983, Disney VoluntEARS across Disney’s many business units, including Disney Cruise Line, have given more than 7.5 million hours of volunteer service in more than 40 countries worldwide. That’s the equivalent of one person volunteering for 855 straight years! Projects include everything from bringing Disney characters to share smiles and laughter with children in hospitals and care facilities to participating in beach cleanups, leading reading programs and building community programs.