If you’re going to be around Walt Disney World this weekend, especially Epcot, keep an eye out for Disney Channel stars as they help kick-off Disney Magic of Healthy Living – The Weekend. But if you can’t make it, don’t worry. We’ll be on hand to capture the private opening ceremony.
(Above: Actress Jennifer Stone from the Disney Channel series “Wizards of Waverly Place,” joins actor Kenton Duty and actress Caroline Sunshine, both from the Disney Channel series “Shake It Up,” and Disney Chef Jens Dahlmann shoot a public service announcement at Epcot. The announcement is called “Try New Foods” and will air on the Disney Channel. Photo by Gene Duncan)
Fifty young essay contest winners, their families, Disney Channel stars and Disney characters will be on hand for the inaugural event March 18 to 20, 2011. The setting for the event is World Showcase at Epcot, where the “Healthy Living Champions” will participate in a one-of-a-kind “TRYathlon,” a course around the “world” to discover new ways that “healthy” can be fun and easy.
The guests of honor for the weekend are children ages 8 to 14 who are winners of a national Disney Magic of Healthy Living essay contest. The youngsters shared their own fun ideas for leading healthier lifestyles at home, in school and in their communities. The essay contest is a key component of Disney Magic of Healthy Living, a multimedia initiative designed to partner with parents in their quest to raise happy and healthy kids.
Disney Channel stars and Disney character coaches will lead The Weekend TRY-athlon, which features activities from all parts of the planet:
TRY-athlon activity #2: “Pass the Plate”
A lunchtime challenge with Disney World chefs guiding families in preparing quick, balanced and healthy meals.
TRY-athlon activity #3: “Bouncing Around the World”
A hunt for playmates in the countries of Epcot World Showcase led by, among others, the Mad Hatter and Capt. Jack Sparrow.
TRY-athlon activity #4: “Garden of Possibilities”
Walt Disney World flower and garden experts guide the kids in planting a variety of vegetable gardens, including a special Italian pizza garden.
Disney Channel Stars, who will act as coaches for The Weekend event, include:
• Kenton Duty: Shake It Up
• Daniel Curtis Lee: Zeke and Luther
• Jennifer Stone: Wizards of Waverly Place
• Alyson Stoner: Phineas and Ferb, Camp Rock 2
• Caroline Sunshine: Shake It Up
Disney Magic of Healthy Living launched in September 2010 with a year-long series of healthy living public service announcements on Disney television and radio networks featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Disney Channel stars. It also features two websites, one geared for kids (Disney.com/healthyfun), the other offering healthy living advice and resources, including recipes (Family.com/healthymagic).
In a special taped message, to be delivered during The Weekend event, First Lady Michelle Obama congratulates the essay contest winners for setting a healthy example: “I love hearing your ideas about eating better and staying active. You are showing that eating right and exercising aren’t just good for you, they’re also a lot of fun.”
“Disney has always been a champion for the happiness and the well being of kids, parents, and families,” said Kevin Callahan, vice president, Corporate Citizenship. “We want to inspire kids and parents and show them how to weave fun and simple healthy living practices into the fabric of their everyday lives.”
Disney Magic of Healthy Living will share the magic of The Weekend with the Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. Four hundred and fifty Mom bloggers and their children will have the opportunity to experience first-hand what Disney is doing to champion fitness and nutrition for the entire family. Also during the fun-filled weekend, kids and families can sample a nutritious array of fresh produce from a variety of vegetable gardens and fruit trees as part of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
Healthy living goes hand in hand with staying active, and that’s why Disney Magic of Healthy Living is partnering with KaBOOM! to build 12 play spaces and learning gardens in under-served neighborhoods around the country. As a prelude to The Weekend festivities, one of those playgrounds will be built in Orlando on March 16 with the help of community partners and Disney VoluntEARS. The Walt Disney Company has donated more than $1 million to KaBoom!, the non-profit organization whose mission it is to have a play space within walking distance of every child in America.