Dear Walt Disney World Officials:
While strolling through Animal Kingdom with her family last week, Enviro-Girl listened to many cast members give lectures on the importance of nature conservation. They exhorted her to recycle, reuse, reduce--all Good and Important lessons. She admired Disney World's extensive efforts to help save the animals and their habitats.
Enviro-Girl noticed the low-flow faucets, the water-saving toilets and remarked on how tidy everyplace looked with the convenient trash barrels at every stop. The theme parks' 3-D movies had her return the 3-D glasses to reuse again at the next show. Mass transit was encouraged and convenient to use. Buffet-style dining was prominently featured everywhere--a less wasteful way to feed the masses and yes, cloth napkins further reduced her family's footprint during their stay at Walt Disney World.
When Enviro-Girl arrived she ordered a "counter service" meal for her family. She watched the cast member prepare her sons' sandwiches and wrap them in paper. Then to her shock he put the wrapped sandwiches in individual Mouse-Ear-shaped plastic plates. He pulled out individually packaged carrots and individually packaged grapes and added them into each mouse ear. Then, to Enviro-Girl's horror, he covered the Mouse-Ear-shaped plate with a Mouse-Ear-shaped plastic top. He put the entire triple-packaged meal into a plastic bag. He then directed Enviro-Girl to select a bottled beverage from the cooler. She unwrapped each family member's meal from 4 layers before they could eat it--and then? The same process was repeated for every counter service meal her family enjoyed throughout their stay.
In Enviro-Girl's room there was no option to reuse towels and bedding. Housekeeping came every day and cleared them out--replacing both "dirty" and clean towels on a daily basis. That's a whole lot of laundry and labor. Enviro-Girl is used to and even expects only the towels on the floor to be replaced and washed when she stays in a hotel. Not the entire suite's worth.
Enviro-Girl mentioned that throughout the park trash barrels kept the grounds clean. But Enviro-Girl never saw any receptacle to recycle the dozens of plastic bottles her family drank out of. And there were many, many bottles because Walt Disney World has an exclusive contract with Coca-Cola--both fountain and cooler options only included their brands of soda and bottled tap water. Unless they were enjoying table service or drinking out of glasses in their suite, Enviro-Girl's family ended up with disposable plastic cups or bottles and had no alternative than to put them in the trash.
Enviro-Girl realizes that Walt Disney World is a mecca of conspicuous consumption. Still, Walt Disney World could practice what it preaches in Animal Kingdom--she suggests these cost-effective and simple things to make the entire dominion of Walt Disney World greener and cleaner:
* supply full housekeeping upon request only--and ask guests to reuse their towels and only leave them on the floor if they want them washed and replaced
* provide recycling containers so guests CAN recycle the bottled beverages you & your friends at Coca-Cola corporation peddle throughout the parks and resorts
* reduce packaging by eliminating at least 2 (preferably 3) of the plastic layers on the counter service meals.
These steps would save you electricity, water, labor and packaging costs in addition to conserving resources and helping the environment. These savings, while unlikely to be passed along to your customers, could further pad your pockets in these hard times.