While the enchanting atmosphere of Disney Parks brims with magic and joy, Memorial Day serves as a gentle reminder to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by fallen U.S. military heroes in their service to our nation. It’s also a time to pay homage to the families they have left behind.
Since its founding, the Walt Disney Company has consistently strived to honor national veterans, the military, and their families. Walt Disney (the man) has a long documented history of admiration for the military and patriotism, much of which is on display throughout Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, and other Disney theme parks.
In observance of National Military Appreciation Month and Memorial Day, members of Disney’s SALUTE Veteran Employee Resource Group had the privilege of extending a warm welcome to Gold Star families at Magic Kingdom in collaboration with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS is a nonprofit organization that offers support services to the loved ones of fallen service members, commonly known as Gold Star families.
Hailing from various parts of the country, these Gold Star families came together to share their stories and support one another.
They were welcomed to the Magic Kingdom by various Cast Members, including U.S. Navy veterans Cappy Surette, Jason Ketelsen, and Susan Finnigan.
“It was a tremendous honor for TAPS to be welcomed to the Magic Kingdom by Disney SALUTE,” said Diana Hosford, Vice President, Sports & Entertainment of TAPS. “Our group of nearly 50 young adults, who all lost a military loved one, had a day in Walt Disney World to connect, bond, and share. Starting the experience with the Disney SALUTE team of military veterans recognizing the fallen was very meaningful.”
Disney also paid tribute to fallen heroes this Memorial Day weekend by setting up “Missing Hero tables” at Disneyland Resort hotels and selected backstage locations at Walt Disney World Resort. These tables are reserved as a mark of respect for the courageous and selfless American military personnel who sacrificed their lives in service to their country or went missing in action, never returning home. Each table is set for one, to remember the heroes no longer with us.
Disney’s Military Discount
In addition to the efforts to honor the fallen this weekend, Walt Disney World always offers a discount to active and retired members of the military, including the National Guard, Reservists, the US Coast Guard, the US Space Force, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). More information on Disney’s military discounts can be found here.