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Disney’s cast members are known for their excellent guest service, but did you know they also donate a significant amount of time and money via the VoluntEARs program. The holiday season VoluntEARs brings extra cheer to Central Florida non-profits with more than 36,000 new toys for Central Florida children, a $30,000 gift to Community Hope Center to help homeless families in Osceola County and countless other efforts across the community. These actions reflect Disney’s ongoing support to help local organizations that aim to brighten the lives of children and families.

During this past month, Cast Members have collected and donated thousands of new toys, games, books and plush dolls to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots to benefit children in Orange and Seminole counties. In addition to collecting toys, Disney VoluntEARS have also given more than 6,000 hours to help the Marines register families for the annual giving campaign and sort and pack the toys.

“Through these combined efforts, we hope thousands of children in Central Florida will be surprised by at least one present during the holidays,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of community relations for Walt Disney World Resort. “We also hope that by giving their own time, Cast Members will inspire their children, family members and friends to remember kids of all ages during this season of sharing.”

The annual toy drive’s national campaign also received $200,000 from The Walt Disney Company as part of Disney’s long-standing support to the organization—which dates back to 1947 when Walt Disney designed the original Toys for Tots logo that is still used today.

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Long time readers of The Disney Blog may remember that I worked at Give Kids The World from 2005 to 2009. As you might expect, it was rewarding work making once in a lifetime dreams come true for children. Unfortunately, life-threatening illnesses don’t go away when the economy tanks and the need for GKTW Village remains.

Last week, I was invited back to tour the village as part of Blogger Bash 2013. A group of about 50 bloggers, some coming in from other states, were able to see many of the resort’s features and experience a little of what the GKTW’s many thousands of volunteers provide on a daily basis.

The families that visit Give Kids The World are given the chance to escape from the troubles & treatments that surround them as they face the challenge of overcoming a life threatening illness in one of their children. A stay at GKTW Village is free for the family and includes tickets to Central Florida’s best attractions, meals at the Village, and so much more.

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Orlando tennis fans get out your checkbooks for a good cause. Former world No. 1s Venus Williams and Andy Roddick will headline the Mylan WTT Smash Hits charity night of tennis co-hosted by longtime friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King on Sunday, Nov. 17 at the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. The event is hosted locally by Robert and Tricia Earl.

Last year’s Mylan WTT Smash Hits in Pittsburgh raised a record $1 million, bringing the 20-year total to more than $11.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities since 1993. This year’s 21st annual event will benefit EJAF and the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida. A portion of the funds raised at the pre-match VIP Reception and Auction will be specifically targeted for local programs.

“For more than 20 years, Mylan WTT Smash Hits has been one of the most rewarding and meaningful events in tennis,” said King. “Having both Venus and Andy as part of this year’s event and returning to the Orlando area will help us continue the momentum we set with last year’s record-breaking event.”

“It is always such a great pleasure to co-host this wonderful event with my dear friend Billie Jean King,” said Sir Elton John. “I’m so pleased that we will be teaming up with the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida to raise awareness about the continuing challenges of the HIV/AIDS epidemic both locally and nationally and to raise urgently needed dollars for community-based HIV prevention, education, treatment, and care services. I urge all of the tennis fans and concerned citizens in the Greater Orlando area to support this event and bring their families for a wonderful evening of tennis for a great cause.”

Tennis action is set for 6 p.m. ET with the pre-match VIP Reception and Auction kicking off at 4:30 p.m.