Disney World Donates Its Extra Food After Shutting Down Park [Updated]

Update, March 17, 2020: After photos of its large weekend crowds drew criticism on social media, Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, has also made the decision to shut down its theme parks. The closure began yesterday, and the plan is to stay closed until March 31. In addition to the parks, Disney affiliated hotels around the resort will close beginning March 20, which gives tourists a chance to make alternative arrangements.

And like Disneyland, Disney World is left with a lot of leftover food it didn't plan on, so according to a press release, this food will be donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. It's part of Disney's ongoing Disney Harvest program, the press release explains: "Launched in 1991, Disney Harvest collects excess and unserved food from locations throughout Walt Disney World, delivering it to feeding programs across Central Florida."

When it comes to the amount of food prepared and sold at major tourist attractions, the numbers are pretty staggering. "The Disney Harvest Program at Walt Disney World Resort collects and distributes more than 823,000 pounds of prepared, unserved food annually," said the press release. "In the last year alone, these donations provided one million meals to people in need."

So, for anyone currently consoling a tantrum-prone child who has just been told their trip to Disney World is postponed, if all else fails, try telling them that their churros and Dole Whip might now go to a family grateful for the assistance.

Original post, March 16, 2020: Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, closed its gates on Friday, announcing the entire park would shut down until the end of March due to COVID-19 concerns. This is a good preventative measure, and one that's setting an example for other resorts and tourist destinations nationwide. But when a park that accommodates 65,000 visitors on a normal day (and can occasionally reach peaks of 80,000) suddenly closes to the public, what happens to all the food that's been ordered to feed the crowds?

CNN reports that Disneyland has committed to donating its excess food to Second Harvest Food Bank, an organization committed to ending hunger in Orange County. The donation is well timed, since the food bank recently posted on its Facebook page, "We anticipate an ever-increasing need for food among low-income families, seniors on fixed incomes, and individuals as businesses and schools close." Disneyland didn't specify how much food it was giving away, but said in a statement that the donation included "dairy, fruit, vegetables, packaged goods and banquet meals." If any of these things are shaped like Mickey Mouse, all the better.

This is part of an ongoing relationship between the resort and the food bank: last year, Disneyland donated 20,000 meals to Second Harvest.