We were invited to cover the Marine Toys for Tots distribution event at Typhoon Lagoon in Walt Disney World yesterday, which included a short presentation. 900 families from the Central Florida area stopped by to pick up toys! Marine Toys for Tots has been a partner with the Walt Disney Company for 75 years, starting in 1947 when when Walt Disney and his animators created the Toys for Tots train logo that is still in use.
Here are our photos and video from yesterday!
Our video is of the entire presentation.
A display featuring a variety of toys was set up. Many of these toys were donated by Cast Members and Walt Disney World guests. Disney VoluntEARS (Cast Member volunteers) were on hand to distribute the toys to families. Toys can still be donated on shopDisney through December 24th, 2022 as part of the Ultimate Toy Drive.
Walt Disney World Ambassador Raevon Redding hosted the presentation.
Redding said this was the first distribution event ever at the Walt Disney World Resort. And a lot of toys were collected! “At Walt Disney World alone, our Cast Members and guests have donated more than 40,000 toys to families in Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties”.
Redding introduced Cappy Surette, who is a Navy veteran and a Walt Disney World Cast Member. Surette told the audience, “It’s events like this that really make me as proud to be a Disney Cast Member as it is to be a veteran of the U.S. military”.
He also said, “Two veterans – an Army general and a Navy admiral – both pretty much built Walt Disney World fifty years ago, which is pretty amazing. And their names are honored on two ferry boats that sail back and forth across Seven Seas Lagoon. So hopefully next time you go to the Magic Kingdom, you’ll have the opportunity to ride either the Admiral Joe Fowler or the General Joe Potter”.
Surette recognized Lieutenant General James Laster, who is the President & CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation with a military challenge coin minted “in recognition of Disney’s enduring respect for those who serve in uniform and their families”. The coin also commemorates Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.
Laster shook hands with Mickey.
Surette also awarded Laster with a Mousecar, which Redding explained is “an award shared amongst our Cast and organizations for making a positive impact within the people and the community that’s around them”. Laster talked about the history of Marine Toys for Tots, which you can see in the video above. He also mentioned that Walt Disney is who gave Marine Toys for Tots “our name and our symbol, and we have been close to Disney ever since”. Laster said that as of now, they have reached over 281 million children nationwide.
Laster’s award “will go right on my desk”.
Mickey posed with Cast Members after the event, before moving to a photo spot for families.
Redding posed first.
A large group of Disney VoluntEARS gathered together next. Their shirts now say “100 Years of Wonder” as part of the 100th Anniversary of the Walt Disney Company.
Mickey stood in the middle of the group.
Families then started driving through to pick up their toys.
Santa Mickey started greeting at his photo location. We were given a chance to meet him before families drove over.
Mickey posed next to a sleigh full of wrapped presents.
He picks up one of the gifts.
Our group posed with him.
Walt Disney World Ambassador Raevon Redding also was on hand.
We were there for a bit as Mickey started meeting with families – not just with kids, but some adults who were picking up the toys on their own. It was a special time for families to have photos with Mickey.