Disneyland Resort has won the 2009 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), California’s highest and most prestigious environmental honor. The award recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership for voluntary achievements in conserving California’s resources, protecting and enhancing the environment and building public-private partnerships. Governor Schwarzenegger recognized Disneyland Resort and 14 other GEELA recipients at a reception at the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2 in Los Angeles on September 30.

I applaud the Disneyland Resort for their wonderful commitment to our state’s commerce and environment. They are an inspiration to many and I thank them for their outstanding leadership.
Governor Schwarzenegger

© Copyright Disney

© Copyright Disney

This honor recognizes Disneyland Resort’s ongoing commitment to developing socially responsible and environmentally friendly practices that promote environmental protection and economic growth. We are proud of our commitment to exploring and implementing new technologies and practices that further the environmental legacy left by Walt Disney.
Frank Dela Vara, director of environmental affairs and conservation at Disneyland Resort

Award recipients are chosen in 10 different categories based on their strength in eight specific areas including results, transferability, environmental impact, resource conservation, economic progress, innovation and uniqueness, pollution prevention and environmental justice. Disneyland received the award for several sustainable practices implemented at the Resort, including the environmentally conscientious efforts to refill the Paradise Bay at Disney’s California Adventure; the use of the Resort’s processed cooking oil to fuel its steam train locomotives; and the water and energy conservation features incorporated in the Resort’s new central bakery.

Paradise Bay Refill

Last year, the water in Paradise Bay at Disney’s California Adventure Park was drained to perform the detailed work needed to prepare for “World of Color,” a new nighttime spectacular that will debut in spring 2010. In partnership with the Orange County Water District (OCWD), the water was sent through OCWD’s new state-of-the-art Ground Water Replenishment System, instead of being released to the ocean through storm drains. The water went through an extensive purification process before it was stored in Orange County’s underground water basin, which added to the County’s overall water reserves. When the lagoon is refilled, clean water from the aquifer will be used.

Disneyland Resort proactively reached out to us to determine the best way to drain and refill their lagoon and together, we came up with a solution that minimized impact on the local water supply. We commend its effort to recycle water and its longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship.
Stephen Sheldon, president of OCWD

“Although this process took additional time and resources, it allows us to refill the lagoon in a manner that is respectful of the environment and mindful of the community’s future needs,” said Dela Vara.

Disneyland Railroad Steam Trains

In a move that allows the Resort to save approximately 200,000 gallons of petroleum diesel per year, Disneyland Railroad’s steam boilers are being fueled by a special biodiesel made from the processed cooking oil used in restaurants throughout the Resort.

“We have been recycling our used kitchen grease for years, but this innovation took recycling to another level,” said Dela Vara. Disneyland Railroad’s five trains had been using a soy-based biodiesel to fuel their steam boilers since April 2007. The cooking oil-based biodiesel continues to reduce emissions by up to 80 percent. Disneyland Resort’s Mark Twain Riverboat also uses the special cooking oil biodiesel.

Central Bakery

A new 10,000-square-foot eco-friendly central bakery opened at the Disneyland Resort in March 2009. The facility boasts not only 8 million products produced annually, but also its numerous environmental features. The reach-in refrigeration, cooking equipment, dishwashers and ovens are Energy Star-rated. The roof is filled with tubular skylights, mirrored inside, that direct sunlight into the building during the day, reducing the need for electric lighting. Big, double-paned windows let still more light in while insulating the facility from heat.

In addition to saving energy, the building uses porous asphalt paving in the parking lot, which captures, filters and returns rainwater back into the ground, serving as a natural recycling system. Water reduction is also achieved with an underground sprinkler system that is used for the surrounding landscape. The system prevents water evaporation and works on a time clock with humidity sensors.

What’s more, the bakery diverts waste from landfills by recycling products such as old breads and baked good as well as leftover dough, flours and grains into environmentally viable products such as livestock feed.


The Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards program was established in 1993. The award program is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Natural Resources Agency in collaboration with the State and Consumer Services Agency, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

For more information on GEELA and this year’s award recipients, visit the Cal/EPA Web site:http://www.calepa.ca.gov/Awards/GEELA/.

About the Disneyland Resort

Situated on approximately 500 acres in Anaheim, Calif., the Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland Park (the original Disney theme park) and Disney’s California Adventure Park – plus the Downtown Disney District comprised of unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s three hotels are the 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the 969-room Disneyland Hotel and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. With 20,000 Cast Members, the Disneyland Resort is Orange County’s largest employer and a $3.7 billion annual contributor to the local economy. The Resort has welcomed more than 550 million guests since opening on July 17, 1955. For detailed information about the Disneyland Resort, please visit www.disneyland.com.