Something I hear quite often from parents when discussing dining for their Disney vacation is their desire to offer healthy food choices to their kids and to eat healthfully themselves. I am so glad to be able to assure them that they won’t have to worry about spending their week consuming junk food! It is a common assumption that because the Disney
During my last several visits to Walt Disney World there has been a noticeable difference in the food choices available throughout the resort. In both the parks and the resort hotels, several healthy menu items have filled in for standard “theme park fare” of sugary sodas, french fries and hot dogs. At table service and quick service restaurants as well as at snack kiosks, guests can choose fresh fruit, low-fat milk and yogurts, steamed vegetables, and whole grains for the opportunity to eat as healthfully as they would at home while on vacation–something that is always a challenge while traveling!
These fantastic food options have been introduced to the Disney Parks as part of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living Campaign that the company introduced back in 2010. According to Disney, the Magic of Healthy Living is “an initiative that aims to create healthier generations by making healthy lifestyles, simple and fun. The program reinforces parents’ efforts around nutritious eating, physical activity, and other simple ways kids and families can be their best.”
The campaign’s influence can be seen throughout the Disney company. With it’s Mickey Check logo, parents can choose items in the grocery store that they can be confident have met the nutritional guidelines Disney established in 2006. Products to be marketed on Disney television channels geared specifically toward children will need to meet these guidelines if companies wish their products to be advertised.
In addition to offering healthy food options and creating nutritional standards, Disney is encouraging kids to try new foods and activities with their TRYit! campaign. Disney says, “The Magic of Healthy Living TRYit! campaign encourages kids and families to TRY new foods, fun moves, and simple ways to be their best. The campaign comes to life on-air, online, through live events, and more, with inspiring ways to make nutritious food and physical activity simple and fun.”
Most recently, Disney Chefs created a plethora of sampler dishes throughout the Garden Marketplace at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival to give kids the chance to try a variety of foods around the World Showcase pavilions. And just this past spring Disney announced three winners of it’s Tryathalon contest in conjunction with Disney XD and DisneyXD.com. The program, which is scheduled to air on Disney XD on Monday, August 13 at 8:00 p.m./EST, will feature the winners Javon, Julia and Stephen as they team up with some of the Disney XD stars and a few NFL, WNBA and NBA athletes to participate in a “triathlon with a twist” which includes a series of games designed to challenge kids’ skills and encourage teamwork. Viewers at home are invited to participate in an online version on DisneyXD.com where they can create their own games and print instructions to then use with their own friends.
In an age of ever-increasing exposure to technology and screen time and with childhood obesity becoming epidemic, a cause our first lady has made her own, I am very happy to see Disney joining forces with parents and other companies to encourage kids to make healthier lifestyle choices by getting out, getting active, and eating healthfully. Disney is an industry leader in so, so many ways and one can only hope that the company’s impact on marketing, consumer and pop culture and family life will be both positive and far-reaching!