The sun beat down Thursday on another picturesque day worthy of a Sunshine State postcard.

That’s excellent news for the new giant solar farm at Walt Disney World Resort, a facility on 270 sprawling acres that’s roughly the same size as two Magic Kingdoms put together.

“It goes straight into powering the magic in our parks right now — as we speak, it’s happening,” said Angie Renner, environmental integration director at Disney parks. “We’re really proud of it.”

Disney gave journalists and bloggers a behind-the-scenes tour of the solar panels Thursday in honor of the upcoming Earth Day.

At any moment, more than 500,000 panels that came online in December produce enough electricity to run two theme parks. Under pristine sunny conditions, up to 25 percent of Walt Disney World Resort runs on solar power, company officials said. It comes as the company seeks to reduce emissions by 50% in 2020 compared to its 2012 levels.

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The solar farm, a sea of black panels, feels far from Disney World. The farm is to the east of a busy State Road 429 and near Disney’s wetlands and open lands, although there are luxury townhomes across the street.

It’s not Disney’s first foray into solar energy.

In 2016, famous Mickey Mouse-shaped panels went up near Epcot.

But not only is the new 50-megawatt farm considerably larger and more powerful, the panels move to follow the sun. The Mickey solar panels remain stuck in one position.

It sounds like floors creaking in an old house as the panels slowly rotate slightly toward the hot sun.

“I happen to drive by this every day. My view in the morning is different from my view in the evening when I’m going home,” said Renner as the panels face east in the morning, are almost flat by noon and then turn to the west as the sun sets.

Overnight, they shift back to the east to be ready for another day. If a hurricane strikes, the panels should be able to withstand the winds by going flat, officials said.

Construction on the farm began in June with up to 400 workers on site at one point, said Scott Shively, a managing director at Origis Energy, a large solar development company.

Origis built the panels on land owned by Disney’s government, which purchases the energy back that’s generated. Shively and Disney declined to say how much it cost to build the solar farm.

Each panel produces about 120 watts.

“You multiply that by half a million — that’s a lot of energy,” Shively said.

The electricity goes back into the grid at Reed Creek Improvement District, which is Disney’s government and handles its infrastructure needs.

During the year, the panels will generate the most energy during April and May, although even on cloudy days, the panels will still generate power, just not as much, officials said.

The facilty also fits into bigger conservation efforts, company leaders said, pointing to a basin system used for reusing water so it’s not wasted and planting flowers to attract bees and butterflies.

“We’re constantly looking at trying to do better,” said John Giddens, a director at Reedy Creek Energy Services. “I think you’ll see more in the future.”

Got a news tip? grusson@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5470; Twitter, @GabrielleRusson

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