Disney Parks Honors Veteran Cast Members on Veteran’s Day
First and foremost, I want to wish a Happy Veteran’s Day to all who have served and who are currently serving our great country. The sacrifices you and your families make are without measure. Disney Parks is also honoring Veteran Cast Members today by the following:
Veteran’s Day Flag Raising Ceremony at the Magic Kingdom
While every morning at the Magic Kingdom magical, this morning there was just a little extra magic in the air with a special Veteran’s Day flag ceremony. While the flag raising ceremony occurs daily, today;s featured a rife and drum, honor guards representing the Walt Disney World security team, Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Reedy Creek Fire Department. They all marched in procession down Main Street U.S.A. to Town Square for the hoisting of our nation‘s colors as the sun shined on Cinderella Castle in the background.
In attendance was Walt Disney World Security Manager, Mike Viola. Mike has been working for Walt Disney World for five years after serving 31 years in the U.S. Navy. His wife, Leslie, was also in attendance, who herself served 20 years years in the Navy and worked as a Walt Disney World Security Investigator.Both Mike and Leslie have been visiting the Walt Disney World Resort since they said “I do” in 1992!
Since Mike and Leslie were married, they have been deployed a combined seven times. They always have looked to Disney as a way to keep their family connected when they are apart by watching their favorite Disney movies at their separate locations but at the same time. They also made plans for a visit to Walt Disney World when their deployments were over to keep them focused on their reunion.
Mike said, “I work at Disney because of the joy this company has brought to not only my family but tens of thousands of other families who visit every day.”
Thunderbirds Fly Over Walt Disney World to Honor Veterans
Just a few weeks ago, the United Air Force Thunderbirds flew over EPCOT and Walt Disney World to kick off National Veterans and Military Families Month. The flyover was to honor military veterans including Cast Members as well as those who fell in the line of duty.
Take a look at this amazing footage below:
A Salute to Veterans in the Magic Kingdom and The Seven Seas Lagoon
Did you know that both Walt Disney and Roy Disney served in uniform during World War I? In fact, Roy was recovering from an injury at veterans’ hospital when Walt visited him with the idea of what would become The Walt Disney Company.
To honor their service to our country, and of course, for creating our happy place, you will find statues of both Roy and Walt Disney on both ends of Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
While the statues of Roy and Walt are pretty recognizable there is also another tribute to Veterans on the Seven Seas Lagoon that goes unnoticed by most Guests and even Cast Members. Navy Admiral Joe Fowler and Army General Joe Potter were each essential to the creation of The Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. To celebrate their dedication to The Walt Disney Company and our country, Disney named the Seven Seas Lagoon Ferryboats after them in 1997.
Thank You Veterans!
One tradition Cast Members who are Veterans at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have enjoyed the annual character sketch featuring various Disney Characters saying “Thank You for Your Service” each year. About 20 years ago, the tradition began at the Disneyland Resort when the Entertainment Team created a sketch and gave it to Cast Member Veterans after the annual Veterans Day Flag Retreat ceremony. The tradition expanded to the East Coast and Walt Disney World and this year’s print features Chip & Dale offering a hearty salute to those who have served our nation.
For a special Veterans Day salute, log in to your My Disney Experience account for a special message! We thank all Veterans including Cast Members for their service!
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Image/Source Credit: Disney