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Military Musicians, Disneyland Resort Band Together to Celebrate Independence Day

Dani Decena

by , External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort

Fourth of July is a holiday for family and friends to celebrate American traditions together: barbecue, fireworks, and for some, an icon of American nostalgia: Disneyland!

The Disneyland Resort ushers in the Independence Day weekend with music from two military bands—the California Army National Guard 40th Infantry Division Band from Los Alamitos, CA and the 1st Division Marine Band from Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA. These bands are renowned for their musical excellence and tour nationally throughout the year. Military performance groups have had a great historical presence at the Disneyland Resort beginning on July 17, 1955 when a Marine band performed for the opening ceremony. Guests visiting Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks from July 2-4 will have the opportunity to experience their performances and enjoy a diverse mix of genres from ceremonial to jazz and rock.

But it takes another kind of band to bring these performers to the resort—a band of cast members known as guest talent coordinators. Guest Talent Manager Mitch Mocilnikar has a passion for this piece of Disney history, as he and his team played a pivotal role in building the relationship between Disneyland Resort and military bands in recent years. With many partners like those in Entertainment Operations, Mitch helped incorporate military bands into the longstanding tradition of the flag retreat ceremony at Town Square in Disneyland park on special holidays including Veterans Day and Independence Day.

“We have a great relationship with our military,” Mitch shared, emphasizing that the bands look forward to performing every year.

In a tradition Walt Disney started, the Disneyland Resort has long supported the military and even has a Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) called SALUTE, dedicated to advocating for cast members who are actively serving or have served. With recent events like “Go for Broke Spirit,” in partnership with COMPASS (the Asian American and Pacific Islander BERG), at which two Japanese WWII veterans from the 442nd Army Regiment shared their stories, SALUTE provides opportunities for cast members to become more involved with the community and learn about military history.

“Military bands have a long history of tradition, excellence and precision,” shares Marine veteran and SALUTE BERG leader, Ariel Elias. “During my time in the military, I was always in awe and felt proud that our military bands had a longstanding history since the inception of the military branches. Now, our cast members and guests will have the special opportunity to see and hear those bands that inspired us many times before.”

Ariel Elias (middle, second row) and SALUTE BERG leaders meet 1st Division Marine Band

Ariel Elias (middle, second row) and SALUTE BERG leaders meet 1st Division Marine Band

Overall, these bands bring entertainment and celebration to the guests, thanks to the cast members who welcome them to the Disneyland Resort in this time-honored tradition.

If you happen to be visiting Disneyland Resort during the Fourth of July weekend, be sure to check out these performances. And, be sure to visit throughout the year to see future performances from additional military bands!

The 1st Marine Division Band marches down Main Street U.S.A (photo from 2018)

The 1st Marine Division Band marches down Main Street, U.S.A (photo from 2018)
Military band conductor performing in front of crowd at Disneyland park
Saturday, July 2

Disney California Adventure Park

Hollywood Backlot Stage – 12:30 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM
California Army National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division Army Rock Band

Sunday, July 3

Disneyland Park

Town Square Train Station – 2:10 PM
California Army National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division Band

Town Square to “it’s a Small World” Parade Route – 2:20 PM
California Army National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division Band March

Disney California Adventure Park

Paradise Gardens Bandstand – 7:00 PM, 8:00 PM
1st Marine Division Brass Band

Monday, July 4

Disneyland Park

Town Square Flag Retreat Ceremony – 4:30 PM
1st Marine Division Band – Parade march to follow

Fantasyland Theater – 7:15 PM
1st Marine Division Groups – Popular Music Group, Brass Band, & Ceremonial Band

Disney California Adventure Park

Avengers Campus- Avengers Headquarters – 12:40 PM
1st Marine Division Band

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