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Disney SALUTE: Celebrating Women’s History Month with Special Promotion Ceremony

Cappy Surette

by , Manager, External Communications at Disney Parks Experiences and Products and co-chair of the Veteran Business Employee Resource Group known as “Disney SALUTE”

We’re thrilled to celebrate Women’s History Month, and we can’t think of a better way to recognize this moment by highlighting the women in our Armed Forces. We recently had the honor of thanking U.S. Navy Cmdr. Laura Stegherr for her contribution and service to our nation with a very special promotion ceremony held recently at our American Adventure Pavilion at EPCOT.

EPCOT Vice President Kartika Rodriguez speaks at U.S. Navy Cmdr. Laura Stegherr’s military promotion ceremony at the American Adventure Pavillion in EPCOT

EPCOT Vice President Kartika Rodriguez speaks to U.S. Navy Cmdr. Laura Stegherr’s military promotion ceremony at the American Adventure Pavilion in EPCOT

While an event such as this is not something we’re able to host routinely, Laura had previously served in the Navy with a member of our SALUTE team, and we were delighted to help make this moment extra special for Laura and her family. 

The traditional ceremony began with the national anthem, followed by the publishing of the order promoting her to the rank of Navy Commander and the reaffirmation of the oath to serve our nation. Accompanied by her family, Laura delivered remarks to honor the occasion and her husband Chris and mother Kathleen pinned her new rank on her uniform. Rounding out the ceremony, her young son Jack gently placed her new Commander cover atop her head.

Left: Disney Cast Member and Veteran, Cappy Surette administers the oath of office with U.S. Navy Cmdr. Laura Stegherr. Right: Laura’s family pins on her new rank.

This time-honored military tradition was attended by members of Disney SALUTE, a veteran affinity group dedicated to honoring and celebrating our active military members, Veterans and their families.  Also participating in this event was EPCOT Vice President Kartika Rodriguez.

“The opportunity to recognize members of our armed forces is truly magical,” said Kartika.  “The American Adventure Pavilion is the perfect setting to celebrate Laura and her family who have dedicated their lives to serving our nation. The women in our military continue to set an example for us all with their valor, leadership and patriotism.” 

American Adventure Pavilion in EPCOT

Laura is an accomplished Navy public affairs officer having served nearly sixteen years ashore, at sea and around the globe. She’s had duties including the Pentagon, the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti and aided disaster relief in Japan. Most recently, she served with Carrier Strike Group Four, working to ensure Sailors are trained and ready to deploy around the globe.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Laura Stegherr and members of the Disney SALUTE Veteran diversity group
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Laura Stegherr and members of the Disney SALUTE Veteran diversity group

Laura shared thoughts on what this promotion meant to her.

 “Wearing this uniform and this new rank today is about the women and men who broke down barriers and made it possible for me to serve and to continue to do what I love to do. Today is truly about them.”

She also thanked Disney, as she shared, “Disney has always held a very special place in our hearts,” said Laura. “From coming to Disney as a young girl, to celebrating our honeymoon, and now having the privilege of bringing our son Jack. Celebrating this milestone as a family here at Disney, after deployments and months at sea, truly feels like a homecoming.” 

Please join us in congratulating Laura on her military promotion. Thank you for allowing us to celebrate with you at Disney and letting us be part of your family’s story! For more inspiring stories like Laura’s stay tuned to the blog and @DisneyParks on social!


  • Thank-you U.S. Navy Cmdr. Laura Stegherr! We appreciate your bravery, valor and service! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

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