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Disney Powers Up EV Charging, Solar Adoption At Theme Parks

It’s been described as “the most magical place on Earth.” It attracts around 58 million visitors every year. Four theme parks represent a media company that has stood the test of time. You know the place: Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. 

The park is pretty car-friendly. However, electric vehicle (EV) car drivers can now join in on more of the fun, with the park announcing expanded EV charging stations. It’s one aspect of the company’s plan to reduce emissions at Disney properties. 

By 2030, the company hopes to reach net-zero emissions for direct operations. Its impact web page stated, “The Walt Disney Company is committed to protecting the planet and delivering a positive environmental legacy for future generations as we operate and grow our business.” That includes sequestering emissions from park patrons.

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In October 2022, four charging sites were added at Disney Springs, its entertainment and shopping venue, behind Cirque du Soleil in the Watermelon surface parking lot.

Through a partnership with ChargePoint, Disney World added Level 3 fast-charging stations — four more will be coming later. These chargers can give EVs up to 20 miles of range per minute, depending on the voltage of the vehicle’s battery. With all the Level 3 chargers having 65-kilowatt charging capabilities, this would significantly reduce the time tourists would have to spend charging their cars.

Finding chargers at the Orlando Disney World — many of them ChargePoint stations — is made easier by downloading the ChargePoint app.

Visitors can see which stations are in use and can set reminders once one opens up. For Disney Springs and some of the resort areas, guests need the ChargeUp app

Both can be loaded with credit card information to pre-pay for charging. It costs about 40 cents per kilowatt and $18 per hour 20 minutes after charging is concluded. Disney controls the pricing, while ChargePoint operates the stations.

All four theme parks at the Orlando Disney World (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios), Disney Springs, and Disney Coronado Springs Resort have EV charging stations set up. However, they are sparsely sorted throughout the park properties, with accessibility a big problem for EV drivers. They were also only Level 2 chargers, meaning they take longer to fully charge a vehicle, only giving back 30 miles of range per hour

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At parks abroad, Tokyo Disney plans to enact measures to lower Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 51% in 2030. An eight-year plan was developed to ensure economic security, make the park more eco-friendly, and promote diversity in the workplace. The Japanese Disneyland aims to be carbon neutral by 2050

In Europe, Disneyland Paris recently installed 46,000 solar panels in new canopies covering the parking lot. According to fan blogs, the French park has yet to construct more charging stations, with only four available. 

Video Courtesy @jamesongoeselectric

“With the first section of the solar canopy plant that has come online, we have reached an important milestone and another step forward in the implementation of this project, which is at the heart of Disneyland Paris’ environmental strategy, aiming for a significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and a full decarbonization of its energy supply,” said Damien Audric, director of development and environment at Disneyland Paris.

Disney’s worldwide sustainability efforts are well underway. It will be interesting to see how the media giant will continue to fight climate change — emissions reduction, conserving energy and water conservation, and waste reduction — to help keep the planet “the most magical place” to live.   


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