Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Eco-Friendly Disney Vacation Tips

You don’t have to be a “crunchy mama” to enjoy an eco-friendly Disney vacation.  Here are some tips on enjoying a greener vacation.

Conserve water: Choose to reuse linens and towels.  Do you really change yours at home daily?  I certainly don’t.  Disney has an immense irrigation system that uses reclaimed water the keep all the vegetation lush.  Even knowing this and that there are low flow toilets and shower heads in most guest rooms, we still keep the flushing and showering to a minimum. 

Recycle:  There are recycling bins in every guest room, and containers throughout the resorts and parks.  Even if you don’t think it’s necessary to use the bin in your room, be mindful that there are cast members who hand sort out recyclables.  Save them a little time and sort the items yourself by using the bins.

Resort Mugs: Use them whenever possible while at your resort. If you don’t have to use a disposable cup, why should you?  Also consider bringing a reusable water bottle with its own filter.  This will save you a few extra bucks on water as well. Filters help improve the taste of the water from fountains.  To keep it cold, bring reusable ice cubes.  Since all of the Value Resorts are getting refrigerators (all other resorts already have them), you have a way to keep them cold, and no excuse not to do it!

Don’t take extra supplies: Folks take the cute Mickey stamped soaps, shampoos and lotions all the time.  Housekeeping cast members replace whatever is missing. I cringe every time I see a parent grab a handful of napkins to use during a meal, then leave the unused stack on the table. Think of all the energy being used to make the things we take for granted. Use only what you need, and don’t take extras.

Keep the room temperature at a reasonable level: Why burn energy to cool/heat your guest room and you are not there?  Turn it off when you leave the room.  It will cool down or heat up when you quickly when you return to your room.

Turn off lights:
  Disney has done an awesome job replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use about 20% of the energy of old bulbs, but it’s still a waste to leave them on when you aren't in the room.

Use reusable shopping bags: While the bags given at the many shops are made from recycled plastic, why not bring your own reusable bags from home to keep all of your magical souvenirs in? In the past, I've picked up some while shopping at my local Disney store for around $1.  Bring them with you on vacation and use them for items not being sent back to your resort room.   No reusable bags? Just put your items in a backpack. 

Change transportation habits: Whenever possible use the monorail and boats or walk.  They use up much less energy, and emit less carbon than the buses.

Buy Eco-Friendly souvenirs:  Interested in a t-shirt? Check to see if it comes in organic cotton.  Look for stuffed toys also made from organic cotton and jewelry made from sustainable sources.

Don’t throw away maps and other printed materials: If you aren't planning to recycle the paper, use the maps, napkins, fast passes, park tickets, etc., in a scrapbook to remember your awesome vacation.  We recycle all of our receipts after we've returned home and recorded our spending.

Stay crunchy, friends!

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