From the moment you set foot on Disney property, food is everywhere. From ice cream to burgers, there are plenty of options for any palette and budget. But what happens when these offerings run out? For example, what if they run out of Mickey Mouse shaped churros?

The “how much did it cost to go to disney world in 1971” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer is, “it depends on how much you want to spend.”

What Happens To All the Leftover Food From Disney Parks?

During Earth Month, Disney Parks is thrilled to inform visitors about the company’s extensive efforts to eliminate food waste at all of its locations around the globe, as well as how they can help make their park visits as environmentally friendly as possible.

To that purpose, Disney has created the Disney Planet Possible initiative, which covers not just food waste diversion but all of the company’s efforts to create a more ecologically balanced and sustainable future.


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Every Disney park, as you can expect, generates a massive quantity of food every day. From the popular outdoor vending products (churros, pretzels, popcorn, turkey legs, and more) to the diverse menu of gourmet restaurants, there’s something for everyone.

What happens to the uneaten perishables and leftover food scraps that unavoidably result from feeding thousands of people every day?

The lifetime of leftovers and unsold delicacies is far from ended when food has passed from field to kitchen, as it turns out. Those edibles are given a second chance of life, feeding hungry folks and even creating electricity to power park operations.

Furthermore, diverting food waste from landfills helps to solve food insecurity and renewable energy while also preventing organic decomposition, which releases greenhouse gases 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

“We are dedicated to decreasing food waste throughout Disney Parks with a goal of zero waste to landfill,” said Chef Michael Gonsalves of Walt Disney World Resort. “To help with this, we attempt to divert as much food waste as possible.” It’s one thing to raise the bar on food quality and innovation, but it’s even more crucial to examine our carbon footprint and its global consequences. If we want to see our planet survive for decades to come, everyone on it should have the vision and devotion to strive toward sustainable zero-waste models.”

trash, waste, recycling, receptacles, Disney Parks, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, food waste, Disney Planet Possible Disney Parks’ ‘Disney Planet Possible’ initiative includes separate garbage receptacles. (Disney Parks provided this image)

Reclaiming Food

Food scraps may be gathered from designated “organic” trash receptacles and utilised in a variety of ways (this is where guest involvement comes in). Recyclable leftovers may be used to make items that aid in the feeding of farm animals. The portions that can’t be utilized as feed at Walt Disney World in Florida travel to an off-site composting facility, where they naturally break down and are turned into a nutrient-rich soil material that may be used as fertilizer for plants or agricultural operations on-property or elsewhere. In fact, only in 2021, the Walt Disney World Resort composted 15 million pounds of useless food trash.

If you’ve ever taken the Disneyland Railroad’s Grand Circle Tour, you’ll notice that the scent of fries follows you around. That’s because the resort’s five genuine steam trains (along with the Mark Twain paddlewheeler) operate on biodiesel, which is made from the cooking oil used in the resort’s restaurants and replaces around 200,000 gallons of petroleum fuel each year.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Disneyland Resort the “Food Recovery Challenge Award” as well as the “SEAL Business Sustainability Award” for environmental endeavors in food waste management for its eco-conscious inventions so far.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Disneyland diverts organic waste to the government’s anaerobic digestion facility—360 tons in 2021 alone—using several procedures to convert food scraps into useable energy. In addition, using a process known as biomethanization, Disneyland Paris converts up to 93 percent of its food waste into recovered energy.

The figures on food waste in the United States are astounding. Every year, more than a third of all food produced in the United States is thrown away. It was the most often landfilled and burned substance in the nation, accounting for 24 percent of landfilled municipal solid waste and 22 percent of combusted municipal solid trash, respectively. The amount of water and energy consumed to produce that useless food is staggering—enough to serve nearly 50 million households, an agricultural land area the size of California and New York combined, and enough fertilizer to grow all of the plant-based foods for human consumption in the United States.

Disney, VoluntEARS, volunteers, warehouse, packaging, packing, foods, meals, donations, hunger relief Disney VoluntEARS sorting and packing food for donation at a warehouse. (Disney Parks provided this image)

Efforts to End Hunger

Meals that make it to the kitchen but aren’t served are given to local food banks and distributed to needy families via hunger-relief organizations. Since the outbreak started in March 2020, Disney Parks has provided over $14.6 million in food to hunger-relief groups across the globe, the equivalent of almost 2.1 million meals.

Walt Disney World Resort contributed more than 550,000 pounds of unsold cooked goods to Central Florida’s Second Harvest Food Bank in 2021. Disney VoluntEARS worked about 3,000 hours organizing and packaging meals and food supplies to be distributed around the area to make it happen.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida Chief Development Officer Greg Higgerson remarked, “We’re tremendously grateful for the support Walt Disney World Resort and its Cast Members have offered us over the years.” “Thanks to your funding, we’re one step closer to filling the gap in Central Florida’s unmet needs.”

Also, over the course of 2021, California’s Disneyland Resort provided over 90,000 meals to the surrounding community, while Hong Kong Disneyland partnered with Foodlink Foundation to create the Disney Meal Box Express. Since June 2021, roughly 12,500 healthy, freshly cooked meals have been prepared, packaged and delivered to those most impacted by the pandemic across four Hong Kong districts through the program. Over 200 Disney VoluntEARS and members of the park’s Food & Beverage team come together weekly to make it happen.

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The “midway to main street” is a restaurant located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The food served at the restaurant includes dishes such as turkey legs, corn on the cob, and Mickey Mouse shaped cookies. All of these items are leftovers from other restaurants inside Walt Disney World.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Disney do with uneaten food?

A: Disney does not give uneaten food to the homeless, but instead recycles or composts it. This is because they are trying to be a more environmentally conscious company and do their part when it comes to keeping the planet clean.

What does Disney do with left over food?

A: Disney does not have a formal policy for left over food. Some of the restaurants will donate their excess or unused ingredients to local charities and organizations to use in cooking classes and other programs that provide meals for those in need, while others volunteer with food banks on an individual basis.

Does the food grown at Disney go to waste where is it used?

A: Disney isnt exactly vegan/vegetarian, so their food can go to the landfills.

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