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NEWS: ‘Volunteer Family of the Year’ Commemorated at Disney Springs

The Walt Disney Company and Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, hosted “Family Volunteer Day” activities at Disney Springs to celebrate the power of volunteerism. Thousands of Disney cast members and guests participated in events with local nonprofits that encouraged families to volunteer in their communities. Catch all the details below.


The Aguirre family of McAllen, Texas, was chosen as the first Disney and Points of Light “Volunteer Family of the Year” following a nationwide search conducted on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The Aguirres started their organization after daughter Emily asked how they could help the homeless in their community. What started as a small family volunteer project has now grown to a volunteer group of more than 100 people delivering 40 meals a day to people in need.

Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek honored the Aguirre family today during an inspiring ceremony at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Speaking at the event, Chapek said the power of volunteerism is the ability of one person, or one family, to make a difference in their community and help change the world.

“That’s why each year, our cast members dedicate hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours and why today, at Disney sites around the world, cast and guests are participating in volunteer activities as part of Family Volunteer Day,” Chapek said.

Disney and Points of Light have inspired more than 3 million hours of service through the Disney Family Volunteering Reward Program, which grants Disney theme park tickets to eligible U.S. nonprofits and schools for hosting family-friendly volunteer projects.

Since the program launched in January 2018, more than 700,000 families have volunteered and more than 8,500 nonprofits and schools have participated, including more than 1,700 that had never hosted family-friendly volunteer projects before.

To learn more about the Disney Family Volunteering Reward Program, visit

Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities across 37 countries and with partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 5 million volunteers in 20 million hours of service each year. They bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, go to

Watch the entire ceremony below:


After the ceremony, we joined other families at Volunteer Village, near Once Upon a Toy. We spent some time celebrating Family Volunteer Day by helping out at three different stations. First, we wrote a postcard for Operation Uplift, built a hygiene kit to help clean the world, and did a nature activity with the Disney Conservation Fund.

These activities were a lot of fun! Get a look at today’s activities in our Instagram Story highlight!

RELATED ARTICLE: Top 15 Questions & Answers About Disney Springs

By Mike and Jamie Sylvester

Tremendous shopping for shopaholics to simple window shoppers; Irresistible dining for foodie gurus to sticky-fingered toddlers; and outstanding entertainment for music groupies to passersby. Disney Springs… a mecca of all things above and what we call the “unofficial 5th park” located on Walt Disney World property. It’s no wonder that as Disney Springs gains popularity, the questions about it increase as well. Check out these top 15 questions and answers that we hope will help make your Disney Springs experience an enjoyable one!


1 – How Much Does It Cost To Visit Disney Springs?

Zero! Zilch! Nada! Parking (minus valet) and admission are totally free at Disney Springs. You can explore Disney Springs all you want and not spend a dime if you’d like. That would be a challenge however as shopping and dining beckon around every corner!

2 – What Days/Hours Is Disney Springs Open?

Disney Springs is typically open Sunday through Sunday (so, every day of the week) from 10:00 am to 12:00 am. Keep in mind hours do vary per establishment. For example, even if you are allowed into Disney Springs at 10:00 am, you likely won’t be able to grab a bite to eat from many table and quick service locations until closer to 11:00 am. Disney Springs also operates much like a Disney Park where it is open for holidays.

3 – What Do The Different Sections Within Disney Springs Mean?

Much like the Disney Parks, Disney Springs has four different sections which include Marketplace, The Landing, Town Center, and West Side. Each of these areas holds different shopping, eateries, and entertainment. The Marketplace is usually more familiar to people as it holds much of the same restaurants and shopping from when Disney Springs was Downtown Disney. The Landing edges the water and has awesome lounge and dining intermingled with a few shops. Town Center is the place for shoppers to be with a couple of great dining options. West Side is known as the entertainment hub and night crowds… much like The Landing. These areas flow into one another beautifully and many don’t even notice they’ve entered into a different themed area.

4 – Where Do I Park?

If you are driving into Disney Springs for the first time, chances are you’ll be impressed with how well Disney laid out their parking! From very noticeable directional street signs to named parking garages and lots, we’ve been very pleased with parking. Two parking garages are available which include the Lime Garage (Marketplace) and Orange Garage (West Side). The West Side of Disney Springs also has ground parking available in lots called Grapefruit, Watermelon, and Strawberry. Our favorite locations are either of the two garages as they are centralized to Disney Springs as a whole.

5 – What Are My Disney Resort Transportation Option?

If you are a Disney Resort guest, Disney offers bus transportation to and from their resorts for guests needing the lift. If you are staying at Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, or Saratoga Springs Resort, you can also catch a boat to and from Disney Springs!

6 – Can I Park At Disney Springs And Take A Disney Bus To The Park?

Unfortunately, no. The Disney transportation out of Disney Springs only goes to Disney Resorts and not to the parks. If you are however already at a Disney Park and would like to go to Disney Springs, Disney transportation will take you from the parks to Disney Springs… but it’s a one-way trip.


7 – Are Disney Gift Cards Accepted?

Mostly, yes! Disney Gift Cards are accepted at most venues located at Disney Springs. If there is a specific restaurant, shop, or entertainment venue you are planning to use your Disney Gift Card at, we recommend checking with that location in advance. While this is Disney property, several of the venues are independently owned.

8 – Can We Use Our Disney Dining Plan To Pay For Meals?

Numerous table and quick service locations throughout Disney Springs accept the Dining Plan. Just like the Disney Gift Card, we’d recommend checking with your restaurant destination of choice before dining to be sure they accept your Dining Plan.

9 – Are Magic Bands An Option As A Method Of Payment?

If you are a Disney Resort guest and have set up your Magic Band to act as your wallet, you will be pleased with the number of places you can tap your Magic Band to pay at Disney Springs! Most locations offer this easy way of paying for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

10 – Are Coupons And/Or Discounts Available?

If you are an Annual Passholder, Disney Vacation Club member, Disney Visa/Chase Cardholder, or Tables in Wonderland member, you can expect discounts on merchandise, dining, and entertainment in some cases! Some of the independent retailers will run special deals or offer coupons available at their websites or on their apps that can be used in the shops at Disney Springs.

11 – Are Disney Characters At Disney Springs?

On a rare occasion, Disney Springs will roll out the red carpet for special character appearances. At the present time, however, Disney Springs does not have any regular character meet and greets as you’d find in the theme parks. While there are no Disney characters, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear is available for pictures at the Coca-Cola Store and the pictures will show up in your MyDisney Experience App.

12 – Is All Merchandise Available Disney-themed?

No, not at all! Actually, we wish Disney Springs had even more Disney-themed merchandise! You can expect to find most of the Disney inspired shopping in the Marketplace section which includes World of Disney and the Art of Disney to name a couple. The Town Center shops offer more of an outlet feel with trendy, name-brand boutiques.

13 – What Is The Best Restaurant?

Ugh! Don’t make us choose! While we can’t decide on one absolute favorite restaurant, we will say we can’t get enough of Morimoto Asia, Raglan Road, Earl of Sandwich, The BOATHOUSE, and Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza. Our kiddos would say T-REX is their favorite but not so much for us parents!

14 – What Are The Best Snacks?

If you have a sweet tooth, check out Sprinkles… especially their Cupcake ATM! You can’t go wrong with the covered in goodness fries available at The Daily Poutine. And if you want a beverage to go with your snack, check out our favorite beverage stop – Dockside Margaritas.

15 – What’s New?

This is the ever-changing question that is hard to keep up with all the growth Disney Springs has and is undergoing. Top highlights to know right now is that Cirque du Soleil is currently closed to make way for a new show! There are new restaurants opening all the time. And the latest buzz is about The VOID! Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire by ILMxLAB. The VOID offers a cutting-edge hyper-reality experience that we thought may be the most impressive attraction Disney has ever built. Check out our review by clicking here.

We hope we’ve been able to answer some of your questions about Disney Springs. #ThePlaceToBe!

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


About Cindy E. Nykamp

After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Cindy wears many hats for As a content creator, she has written over six hundred articles providing news, tips, planning and more, for trips to Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line to our followers. She directs a team of authors to bring our fans up to date information so that they can have the best Disney vacation experience. Cindy manages's Instagram account, sharing photos and videos to bring some Disney magic into our followers feeds. She is also our chief photographer and has her photos featured on the official Walt Disney World Instagram account. Finally, Cindy regularly represents at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, she gets an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World and passes this information and tips to our followers.