Harnessing the Sun to Power Disney Parks Around the World
by Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks
As we celebrate Earth Day, I wanted to share some of the amazing work being done around the world to power the magic by harnessing the sun! I am incredibly proud to share that we’re continuing to make tremendous steps towards reducing our carbon footprint at our global parks and resorts with new solar facilities coming online around the world.
While using solar energy may not be a new concept, we are pushing the boundaries in our unique Disney way, including solar panels atop our most famous attractions at Disneyland Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and a solar farm in the shape of Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World Resort. And coming soon are solar canopies at Disneyland Paris that will provide shelter for 9,500 guest vehicles, a facility that will power ~70% of Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island in The Bahamas, and two colossal solar facilities coming to Central Florida. To put all of this into perspective our Disney Parks, Experiences and Products solar portfolio around the world can produce enough energy to power eight Magic Kingdom Parks at Walt Disney World Resort.
Pretty cool, right? Through the innovative use of space, and with a touch of Disney magic, we are using the sun to conserve energy and power up in a responsible manner. Let’s take a tour around the world to see our solar arrays in action.
Powering ~70% of the island’s power, Disney Cruise Line will soon bring online 4,320 solar panels at Castaway Cay.
Walt Disney World has been basking in the glow of the Sunshine State and using solar energy for several years, and today, Walt Disney World and Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) are teaming up with local utility partners in Central Florida to develop two new 75MW solar facilities, which are expected to come online in approximately two years.
These new solar projects add to a not-so-hidden Mickey shaped solar array, built in collaboration with RCID and Duke Energy, sharing that authentic Disney flair across 22 acres of land, as well as the massive 270-acre, 57MW solar facility built in partnership with RCID and Origis Energy USA. When combined, Walt Disney World’s total solar facilities will produce enough renewable energy to power up to 40% of its total annual energy consumption.
Disneyland Paris is setting the standard for solar energy in Europe – working on one of the largest solar canopy plants in collaboration with Urbasolar. These solar canopies will provide practical and innovative use of 67,500 solar panels sitting atop an outdoor guest parking lot.
Hong Kong Disneyland is also setting an example locally, serving as home to the single largest solar panel site in Hong Kong. Across 20 attractions and buildings, the park has installed over 5,000 solar panels.
Soaking up the California sunshine, atop the Radiator Springs Racers attraction sits 1,400 solar panels that help power the magic at Disneyland Resort.
And solar power energizes Tokyo Disney Resort, generating enough power to fuel the iconic Dreamlights Parade with solar panels installed at eight backstage locations across the resort.
Since 2009, Disney has operated under a long-term vision to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions, and we’re just getting started. Our new set of ambitions goals commit us to achieve net zero emissions for our direct operations by 2030.
To learn more about how we help protect and celebrate the magic of nature not just during Earth Month, but all year round, be sure to tune into my Instagram handle, @DrMarkatDisney. Together, we can take better care of the world we share.