Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and Disney have partnered to help families connect with the outdoors. The organization sponsors several fishing and boating experiences at Walt Disney World Resort through its Take Me Fishing campaign.
Disney’s approach to nature and conservation efforts fits well with the non-profit organization’s interest in raising public awareness of these activities, and vice versa. In RBFF hopes its Take Me Fishing experiences at Walt Disney World (WDW) as well as its alliance with The Walt Disney Company, will introduce more people to fishing and boating.
Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) enjoys the “rare opportunity as a non-profit to focus on the future” of the industry, RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson told a small group of invited media during a May press trip held at WDW. RBFF’s priorities include drawing new participants and future generations to these activities.
Working with Disney is intended to help with those goals. After the partnership’s first year, the two organizations have learned those guests who boat or fish at Disney are twice as likely to fish and boat at home and twice as likely to visit TakeMeFishing.org.
Fishing and boating at Walt Disney World with Take Me Fishing
WDW’s boating and fishing experiences are designed to appeal to beginners as well as to more experienced anglers and boaters, with an added focus on family fun.
- Three locations at Walt Disney World Resort (WDW) currently offer Take Me Fishing branded guided fishing (catch-and-release) experiences: Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside.
- Disney guests can be introduced to fishing basics through a cane pole experience at The Fishin’ Hole at Port Orleans – Riverside. Dockside fishing is also available at Fort Wilderness.
- Take Me Fishing is featured through co-branded boating experiences include, among other options, renting two-person “Sea Raycers” at various locations around WDW. Other boat options include kayaks, sailboats and pontoons.
- Guests can enjoy some dry-land fun with “Take Me Fishing Challenge” at Fort Wilderness, an introductory “casting mat” experience designed especially with younger guests in mind.
RBFF emphasizes that fishing and boating encourage people to get outdoors, get physical, and get connected with nature.
“[They are the] No. 2 gateway activities into nature, after running. And how many 6-year olds love running?” Peterson joked during his presentation. He noted 46 million people participated in boating and fishing in 2013, noting 78% of these people participate in other outdoor activities.
Disney’s and TakeMeFishing.org’s overlapping goals are not focused solely on increasing awareness of fishing and boating opportunities at WDW. The two organizations also want to encouraging people enjoy such activities at home.
One reason? Fishing and boating enable what Peterson has called “conservation through participation.” One hundred percent of fishing license funds, for instance, benefits conservation funds. It’s an activity that when people participate, their dollars go directly back to the natural resources being used to help to ensure their enjoyment by future generations. Doing so is good for the environment; it’s good for everyone.
Disney and Take Me Fishing focus on people connecting with nature, conservation
RBFF’s goals of increased outdoor activity and active conservation fit well with Disney’s own interests. Mike Benn, Director of Alliance Development for The Walt Disney Company (TWDC), says Disney shares some common ground with RBFF, calls the partnership a “natural fit” between brands. Both focus on engagement with nature, conservation efforts, and helping people build fun memories.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (WDPR) aims to help 35 million kids and families connect with nature and outdoor experiences by 2015. It’s a number the company not only expects to meet but to exceed. Disney has already set a larger target for 2015-20 of more than 37.5 million people.
Allyson Atkins, an education manager for Animals, Science and Environment of WDPR, notes the company has its own rich, long history with conservation efforts and initiatives. Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund, and its support of various causes, has a two-fold mission: 1) protecting the planet for future generations and 2) helping kids develop lifelong conservation values. DisneyNature films – such as 2015’s planned release of “Monkey Kingdom” – has its roots in Walt’s True-Life nature documentaries.
Atkins noted Disney Parks continually tries new approaches and develops new experiences to promote conservation efforts and increase guest engagement with outdoor experiences. At such places as Epcot’s The Living Seas pavilion and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney utilizes the power of storytelling and offers guests immersive experiences.
And, as with RBFF, Disney encourages guests to connect with nature and conservation at the next level: their everyday lives. The company seeks to provide tools and resources to assist in that and to raise awareness of the benefits of doing so.
“Who goes home and does more at home?” Atkins said the company asks itself. “What are [we] sending guests home with?”
Disney helps take Take Me Fishing beyond the “World”
Take Me Fishing sponsored fishing and boating experiences at WDW offers personalized, safe and fun experiences for beginners as well as more seasoned participants. But Disney’s relationship with RBFF also actively promotes the Take Me Fishing campaign beyond “the World.”
RBFF is the only WDW partnership, of 40, that includes the organization’s URL on co-branded experiences. Once at home, guests can continue to learn more at TakeMeFishing.org. The site is filled offers a range of information, from a Fishopedia and boating basics to how-to videos and a Little Lunkers section designed for children. People can use to site to access information about fishing and boating in their state. There’s also a Spanish-language version, Vamosapescar.org.
For its part, Disney Media Networks is using their platforms to promote Take Me Fishing. Radio Disney, which reaches 31 markets, will run promotional spots. Radio Disney’s 2014 Community Events in Florida and Texas, states RBFF has focused on for the recent launch of its Hispanic outreach campaign, will include some Take Me Fishing fun – including some “Phineas and Ferb” tie-ins.
Speaking of Disney’s popular “Phineas and Ferb,” RBFF and Disney’s efforts to raise awareness of the Take Me Fishing campaign also include a series of promotional spots featuring Phineas and Ferb, a cartoon that enjoys broad audience appeal. The adventurous brothers that headline series are shown” in cross-branded spots showcasing boating and fishing as summer fun. These spots will run on the Disney Channel and Disney HD.
Disney also promotes Take Me Fishing through Oh My Disney, using curated blog posts to feature the site, and in the mobile-app puzzle game Where’s My Water?
DISCLOSURE: Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation provided transportation, accommodations, meals and excursions at the Walt Disney World Resort as part of the Take Me Fishing media trip. I was not required to write this article and all opinions are my own.