Rhonda Wood speaks for the trees. As a Disneyland Resort urban forester and 25-year cast member, it’s her job to protect and maintain the nearly 16,000 trees around the resort, representing species from all over the world.
From tiny mugo pine trees that bring scale to the miniature villages dotting Storybook Land Canal; to the towering redwoods that bring the majesty of northern California to Grizzly River Rapids, these trees play a significant role in the park’s landscape, whether as a historical tribute or as a land’s key narrative element.
And for our guests and cast members, these trees often hold emotional meaning – proposals, happy family memories, and so much more happen under the shade of Disneyland Resort’s trees.
When one of the trees at Disneyland Resort completes its circle of life, they are typically converted into mulch to help future plants grow. There are few options to salvage the tree … until Rhonda and her team had a bright idea to give them a second life!
“I’ve been here for 25 years, I started off as a gardener and a climber pruning trees, and getting rid of trees never gets easy,” Rhonda said.
At D23, we announced that Rhonda’s vision was coming to life. Disney is teaming up with urban forestry innovators Daniels Wood Land to salvage end-of-life trees and transform them into one-of-a-kind, keepsake Disney products. End-of-life trees need to be removed for safety reasons, but this is an innovative way to give the trees – which often hold sentimental value for guests and cast members – a second life, while also supporting Disney’s sustainability efforts by upcycling a natural material into unique consumer products.
“These are living elements that have been in the park for generations, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to create a program that can give those trees a new path,” she adds.
To further extend the magic, we’re making a $25,000 donation to the nonprofit TreePeople to help them plant and care for trees in mountains and urban neighborhoods throughout Southern California. We’ve worked with this amazing organization for nearly 25 years and are excited to help them continue their important efforts.
We gave away the first 1,000 pieces of unique wooden medallions made from salvaged wood to fans at D23. Do you want a little bit of the magic? You can find these products on sale now at select Disneyland Resort galleries.