How to Travel Green on your Walt Disney World Vacation

Going ‘green’ on your vacation can save you money and help save the planet. It’s getting easier and easier to make the choice to be green too. For travel to Walt Disney World you actually have a lot of options.

Over the last few years Disney has made a concerted effort to green all of their hotel properties by meeting Florida’s Green Lodging program requirements. There are also a few simple steps you can take to stay green while celebrating your Magical Vacation.

Getting to Orlando the Green Way:

The first step in planning your green Disney vacation is to book green travel.

  • Make a carbon offset payment or travel with a company that does. Carbon offsets are not as expensive as you might think, often costing just $10 to $50 a person for a plane flight.
  • Travel via train. When you share your travel with other passengers, you’re cutting down on your fuel consumption by sharing it with others.
  • Rent a small car or rent a hybrid car. Even if you plan to drive, you might consider renting a small car if you have a gas guzzler. Plus you save on wear and tear on your own vehicle extending it’s life.
  • If you do drive your own vehicle. Don’t use luggage racks and keep everything inside to reduce wind resistance and improve gas mileage.

Where to Stay and Play the Green way:

Stay in one of Walt Disney World Resorts hotels that have a Palm from the state of Florida, Green Lodging program.

All-Star Music Resort
All-Star Sports Resort
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Beach Club Resort
Beach Club Villas
BoardWalk Inn
Caribbean Beach Resort
Contemporary Resort
Coronado Springs Resort
Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Polynesian Resort
Old Key West Resort
Pop Century Resort
Port Orleans Resort
Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Wilderness Lodge
Yacht Club Resort

You can find other Central Florida hotels that have been certified green by the state of Florida here.

When you check out make sure to provide positive feedback. Give your hotel kudos for doing the green thing.

Being Green Starts Before you Leave home:

  • Pack Light. Lighter suitcases equates to less fuel being consumed by the airplane. See Lani Teshima’s excellent Travelite site.
  • Check your water heater and turn it to “Vacation” the lowest lowest setting. Put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror to remind you to reset it once you get back.
  • Adjust your thermostat or turn off off AC/heat if your home doesn’t have pets or plants.
  • All appliances that aren’t keeping food cool, including cable converter boxes, toasters, and TVs, should be unplugged as they can draw as much as 40 watts of power per hour even when they’re off.
  • Switch your icemaker to off (usually by lifting the wire) to prevent flooding in case it breaks while you’re on vacation.
  • Have a waterbed? Turn down the heating.
  • Stop delivery of your newspaper. If you can’t, then donate it to a school or library during your trip.

Turn your Hotel Green:

Even if you have the best green habits at home you shouldn’t forget to bring them with you to your hotel room.

  • Reuse towels instead of having them washed every day. A neat trick to keep track of which towl belongs to which family member is to bring a handfull of safety pins and colored beads. Attach a pin and bead to each towel with a designated color for each guest in the room. Make sure to remove the pins before checkout.
  • Set A/C to 80 while you’re out having fun. Some of Disney’s rooms do this for you automagically now. Ask about it at check-in.
  • Turn off all lights and unplug electric devices when you leave for the parks in the morning.
  • Close drapes to keep room cool, or open to heat room up in winter
  • Keep your showers short to conserve water.
  • Bring a few reusables from home to use on your vacation.
    • Use toiletries from home and don’t open any of the ones the hotel provides.
    • Bring your own plastic drinking cups to reuse in hotel instead of the disposable glasses provided.
    • Bring Water bottles to refill while in the park (in FL you might want to bring a Britta Water filter)

There’s an alternative to packing life’s little necessities on every trip: Try a service like Owner’s Locker. If you’re a frequent visitor to Central Florida take a look at this great service.

Being Green In The World

When visiting Walt Disney World, they make it easy to be green.

  • Whenever possible, use Disney’s buses or monorails or if you’re off property use the shuttles or public transportation instead of a taxis or rental cars. If it’s practical, walk or bike.
  • Eat at restaurants that source local products. Disney grows some of their own product for the restaurants in ‘The Land’.
  • Consider a ‘Voluntourism‘ experience.

Being green at the parks

  • Only take one “times guide” and “park map” per family per park.
  • While at Disney’s Animal Kingdom make a contribution to the Walt Disney World Conservation Program and wear your button proudly to provide awareness to other travelers. You may also want to visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch for an extra dose of environmentallity. (Actually you can find conservation messages all over DAK without looking too hard.)
  • Make sure to take advantage of the recycling opportunites in the parks by disposing of bottles in the recycling cans.

I’m always looking for more tips. Please add your best in the comments below.

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10 Responses to How to Travel Green on your Walt Disney World Vacation

  1. Jeremiah says:

    Great post! It is nice to see Disney taking steps to green up their parks and hotels-I would love to see more recycling options at the hotels and parks (other than Animal Kingdom, which has made environmentality a core theme).

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  7. Gray says:

    Terrific advice, John! Disney is doing decent baby steps at being green, but there’s room for improvement there. They still don’t have enough bottle/can recycling bins in the parks. I remember looking around one day for one and not seeing any, but seeing plenty of trash bins. Also if they want people to reuse their own water bottles, they’ve really got to do something about the taste of the water that comes from the fountains–it’s disgusting. But at least they’re trying. And yes, anyone who cares about the environment and sustainable agriculture must go on The Land ride. Very interesting stuff!

  8. Jennifer says:

    Carefully consider souvenir purchases: Is this item really something you’ll cherish when you get home? Consider souvenirs which have a useful function, such as housewares or clothing (as long as you’ll really wear it), rather than yet another plushie (Lord knows I have too many of those myself).

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  10. Amphigorey says:

    There are so many simple things you can do!

    When you make purchases, try to use a bag you already have. That way, you’re not stuck with eight plastic Disney bags at the end of the day. Even better – if you know you’re going shopping, bring your own cloth bag.

    If you plan to eat seafood, bring along a Seafood Watch Card. These are handy wallet-sized guides that help you make sustainable seafood choices.

    Avoid buying multiple bottles of water; reuse what you have, or bring a durable bottle and refill it throughout the day.

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