It was a pleasure teaming up with the National Football League this past weekend to welcome families of fallen military heroes to Magic Kingdom as part of a special, fun-filled trip to Florida. The military families came to us from across the country as part of a special NFL Pro Bowl experience organized by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors or “TAPS” for short. During the families’ visit to Orlando, we were honored to treat them to a full day at Walt Disney World before the NFL hosted them for the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium on Feb. 4.
A special weekend full of Football and Magic
TAPS is a nonprofit organization that provides support services to the loved ones of fallen service members, also known as Gold Star families. It was a humbling experience to welcome this incredible group back to Disney World and make some magic for them once again. Honoring families who have given so much in service of our country is part of our Disney values, so it was an incredible privilege to be able to provide them with a special welcome to the Most Magical Place on Earth alongside the NFL.
On hand to help welcome the families of the fallen and the TAPS team were Mickey Mouse, our Walt Disney World Ambassadors and members of our Disney SALUTE veteran employee resource group who understand the loss of fellow service members due to military-connected service.
We were incredibly moved listening to the families share beautiful moments honoring and remembering their fallen hero. While one can never know how others feel or process loss, it was an honor to help make these families’ time at Walt Disney World extra special as they created new and unforgettable memories.
“At TAPS we honor our fallen heroes every day,” said Diana Roday Hosford, TAPS Vice President, Sports & Entertainment. “We appreciated celebrating the life and service of all our loved ones with the Disney SALUTE team and all the cast members who made us feel like family when they welcomed us to the Magic Kingdom. Our time in Walt Disney World brings such joy and happiness to our TAPS families, it’s always very special to be here.”
“Our parks are places that create happiness for all who visit, especially military families who can just enjoy being together in between times of extended separations,” said Walt Disney World Ambassador Serena Arvizu. “Being able to show support and provide this magical space for families to heal is one of the best parts of working for this company – it’s the Disney difference in action.”
Disney’s enduring salute to military service
The Walt Disney Company has long admired and honored military service throughout our 100-year history. All our cast members who helped bring this special opportunity to life for these special families were proud to carry on this tradition of saluting those who serve in uniform and their families – it’s what being part of the Disney Cast Life is all about.