Boise Paper is a paper manufacturing company that brings together employees and stakeholders every 18 months for their CHOICES Sustainability Summit. This spring, 250 attendees from the company, business community and education/law sectors met at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim. The three previous events were held in Denver, Chicago and Boston.
“The objective is to bring like-minded people together to discuss sustainability and achieving our sustainability goals,” says Denise Tripamer, marketing manager and program planner. “We thought that Disney would be a great venue and location to attract a large audience. It turned out to be a wonderful draw. This was our best attended event so far.”
The highlight was the Disney Sustainability Walking Tour behind the scenes at Disneyland Park. The group learned about the interconnected water management systems for the “big water” attractions like Rivers of America and Jungle Cruise. Disney reps showed off the park’s transportation network, some of which runs on biodiesel fuel sourced from the restaurants’ waste oils. Materials for venues like Frontierland were repurposed from the Circle D Corral working ranch, and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage’s nine-million gallon lagoon was resurfaced with 30 tons of recycled glass.
“They took us through both parks and highlighted all of the key elements planned into the design,” says Tripamer. “So it was a great activity for our attendees, some of whom had never been to the parks before, to look at all the efforts put in place in such a large area.”
Tripamer asserts that part of the reason for the large attendance was because many attendees invited their families for pre/post stays, available for the same group rates as the event. Plus, Disney provided discounted park passes.
“Access to the parks is very convenient,” she says. “It’s a short walk from the hotel to park grounds.”
The 948-room Grand Californian features 20,000 sf of group space including the 12,000-sf Sequoia Ballroom. Tripamer liked being able to host most of her events in the ballroom, which she says provides a welcome sense of privacy. She also used the large landscaped courtyard for a welcome reception and Disney’s nearby World of Color fountain show for an upscale evening function.
In a post survey, 97% of participating attendees rated the hotel very high; 93% rated the F&B very high.
“The hotel was fantastic,” says Tripamer. “The overall appearance was very welcoming, very warm, very clean. But not overly Disney, so it caters to adults as much as families.”
We asked Tripamer for her favorite part of the program.
“My favorite part: We achieved our goals with the number of attendees,” she says. “From an attendee perspective, probably both the Walking Tour and World of Color.”