Disney vacationers spend days, weeks, and months planning how to cut costs for their travel endeavors. But there is one cost few travelers think about: the environmental cost. Travel hurts the environment, but there are things you can do now to lessen the impact you have wherever your travels take you! Take these actions to make some magic for Mother Nature!
Tree of Life/Natalie Koch
FOOD AND DRINK
Bring and use a refillable water bottle
Disney World allows non-glass water bottles into their parks, so you can fill it up with ice water and be good to go for the day! I personally recommend using an aluminum bottle (like a Hydroflask or Swell bottle) because those keep the drink cold for 24 hours, which comes in handy in the Florida heat. When you’re running low, quick service restaurants will provide you with a free cup of ice water. Sunshine Seasons in EPCOT, Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Animal Kingdom, and Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom are among the wide array of quick service locations that can provide you with a free cup of water. I also like to pour whatever water I have leftover from my meal at a restaurant into my bottle, or ask for a new glass and dump all of it in.
Bring reusable utensils, straws, and tupperware into the parks
Consider packing a small set of utensils in your bag for the day! It removes the need to use plastic utensils that will end up in the trash, and you can simply rinse them afterwards or wipe them off. If you are going to have a large meal, bring tupperware to store extra food until you can put it in the fridge as leftovers! It saves reduces plastic waste AND provides you with another meal!
Refuse single-use straws or bring reusable straws
There has been a lot of talk surrounding straws lately. They are undoubtedly harmful to aquatic life, and there are easy ways we can reduce our dependence on them. You can tell your server or quick-service cashier to leave out straws from your drink orders, and just sip from the cup. I like to keep a reusable glass straw with my utensils to use when I need it! There are many quality options online for a reasonable price. Just by speaking up when you order and expressing that you do not need a straw will help!
Disney announced at the end of July that the company would be phasing out single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers by mid-2019 (USA Today). This will not be an immediate change but it will greatly reduce the amount of plastic waste produced by the parks (this will go into effect in all parks except Tokyo).
IN YOUR HOTEL
Reuse shower towels
This is one I live by. Unless the towel is unusually dirty, I will hang it up on the door to use another time. It is one small action to help reduce the frequency that resort staff have to use energy to wash towels. I also keep my bed sheets clean so that they only need to be changed at the end of my stay.
Reduce water waste
Taking shorter showers and not leaving the water running… all things we have heard before. I for one am guilty of using too much water when at a hotel because technically I am not “directly” paying for it. But the environment definitely is. Overuse of water resources is felt no matter where it is coming from or who is paying to use it.
Separate recycling and trash in your room
All Disney resorts encourage recycling, so be mindful of where you dispose your bottles, paper products, and other recyclable materials. Each room will have a small informational sheet about their procedure for collecting recycling. If you are staying off-site, check in with the front desk if the information is not readily available!
Turn off hotel room lights when not in use
Another self-explanatory tip. Save electricity if you do not need it!
Use reusable travel-sized product containers
Disney hotels now have large pump bottles of their shower products to reduce plastic waste. If you have specific products you must use, consider bringing them in reusable containers (you can pick those up at your local CVS, Target, or similar store).
IN THE PARKS
Utilize free transportation and walking
Guests staying at on-property hotels have access to the free Disney bus service that will take them to the parks! Plan ahead for time and enjoy the lovely narration during your drive (one of my favorite parts of Disney transportation). Using communal transportation reduces overall emissions entering the atmosphere if you were to drive a separate car or take a ride service! Monorails, boats, and foot traffic are also environmentally-friendly ways of getting where you need to go! Your mileage on this tip may vary depending on your own personable ability to get around. So if this tip is less applicable to the way you are best suited to explore Disney, that is okay! There are always more ways to help the environment, like by...
Recycling what you can in the parks
Look for clearly labeled recycling bins and put any paper or plastic products in! Taking a moment to think before chucking everything into a trash can will greatly impact the amount of trash produced.
Even the smallest action can cause a larger change. Many may not like to “be responsible” while vacationing, but the earth depends on us to be mindful of our actions. Vacation destinations like Disney are making it easier and easier to do our part so that we can spend more time having fun! I implore my readers to make a few small changes during their next journey, whether it takes you to Disney or somewhere else, and return home knowing that in your own way you have begun living a greener lifestyle!
I want to hear from you! How do you remain mindful of your environmental impact when traveling? Did I miss any tips? Which one of these will you try on your next trip?