Disney Channel Stars Join Inaugural ‘Magic of Healthy Living’ Weekend at Epcot, March 18-20

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Fifty young essay contest winners, their families, Disney Channel Stars and Disney characters celebrate and explore a world of flavor and fun at Disney Magic of Healthy Living – The Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort March 18-20, 2011. The setting for the two-day event is World Showcase at Epcot where the “Healthy Living Champions” will participate in a one-of-a-kind “TRY-athlon,” an imaginative, colorful and inspiring course around the “world” to discover new ways that “healthy” can be fun and easy. The weekend, the first in an annual series of Disney Magic of Healthy Living special events, will also include spectacular opening and closing ceremonies full of magic and surprises.

The guests of honor for the weekend (ages 8-14) 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 all kind of activities from all parts of the planet:

  • TRY-athlon activity #1: “Play-Your-Way” – Fun and creative games from different countries, including Chinese jump rope, South African “keep away” and Spanish “dodge ball.”
  • 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 Captain 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.
  • Spectacular opening and closing ceremonies with surprise guests and entertainment.

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) and Caroline Sunshine (‘Shake It Up’)

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 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, Family.com/healthymagic, offers healthy living advice and resources, including delicious recipes.

The Disney Magic of Healthy Living initiative builds on The Walt Disney Company’s landmark 2006 nutritional guidelines associating Disney brands and characters with a more nutritionally balanced range of foods. Disney Magic of Healthy Living takes that commitment to the next level, enlisting many of the Company’s assets and multi-media platforms to inspire kids and help reinforce the work of parents.

“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 twelve 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 16th, 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.

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