Some Disney Cast Members leave behind them a legacy that spans well beyond their career in the Parks, with years of magical memories created for Guests visiting from around the world, and in the case of Alex Stromski, 21 years of service with the U.S. Navy.
Alex Stromski enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the end of World War II, a career that led him to attend flight school with Neil Armstrong before he became one of the most renowned astronauts of all time. He later served in Korea and Vietnam before he retired from the service in 1967.
Before retiring from the workforce altogether, Stromski was employed in a handful of jobs. And when retirement came, he continued to feel the desire to help others and set off to pursue a full-time role as a Cast Member at the Walt Disney World Resort.
For the final 13 years of his life, Stromski enjoyed working in the Most Magical Place on Earth, even with his 170-mile round-trip commute to work from his Ormond Beach home, ready to greet every Cast Member and Guest with a smile and to create happiness for everyone around him.
At Walt Disney World, Stromski worked at Pinocchio Village Haus in the Magic Kingdom where he traded his naval callsign “Stop Sign,” for a more magical one. As he often shared with Guests and his fellow Cast Members, “I earned a new callsign: Gepetto.”
His work at Pinocchio Village Haus quickly led to life-long friendships with his colleagues. In remembering Stromski earlier today, the Disney Parks Blog even noted how he would assist other Cast Members when they were struggling and in need of a friend. In the face of hardship, Stromski would say, “Ask yourself this question: will it matter 50 years from now?”
As a naval veteran, Stromski regularly attended the Flag Retreat ceremonies in Magic Kingdom Park, where Guests of honor included veterans who themselves were visiting the Park with their own families and friends. In April of 2021, Stromski was honored with his own flag retreat ceremony, and given the flag that flew above the Magic Kingdom that day.
As Stromski’s popularity continued to grow on social media, and as more Guests recognized him from the Flag Retreat ceremonies in the Disney Parks, he began to attract visitors to his work location at Pinocchio Village Haus who would stop by to thank him for his service.
Within the past couple of months, Stromski let his leaders and Cast Members at Pinocchio Village Haus that he would soon be entering hospice care. While the news was understandably difficult for his team to hear, they responded with light and positivity by sharing that he was the first recipient of 2022 of the Walt Disney Legacy Award, giving him a blue nametag in recognition for both his service to the company and to his country.
As Stromski’s time to spend with family and friends began to grow shorter, he made a request to his hospice medical team that his medications and schedule be adjusted so that he could visit Pinocchio Village Haus to spend one last morning with his team and offer them comfort during this difficult time. When he arrived at the restaurant, was greeted by his colleagues, with any coming in early or on their day off to spend time with him.
During his emotional visit with his team at Pinocchio Village Haus, Stromski told Cast Members, “It’s up to you, now. Greet the guests and make their day magical.” Before preparing to head out from his final visit with his team, Stromski recalled a phrase from the beloved Disney and Pixar film Coco (2017), and he asked his team to “Remember me.”
Stromski’s family then shared that he passed away peacefully, on August 6, 2022, surrounded by his loved ones.
We at DisneyTips will always remember him for his service and are keeping his family in our thoughts during this difficult time.