LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Nov. 11, 2018) – Sunday afternoon, Walt Disney World Resort commemorated Veterans Day with a special flag retreat ceremony to honor active-duty military and veterans in Magic Kingdom Park. This was followed by a special procession down Main Street, U.S.A. featuring more than 100 Disney cast members who have served in the military.
Two Disney cast members with prior military service were selected by their leaders and peers to be part of the event’s Honor Guard where they received special recognition. This included leading the procession down Main Street, U.S.A and receiving U.S. flags which were flown over Magic Kingdom in their honor. The two cast members honored were Laura Nugent, a recently retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel who now serves as the Operations and Logistics Manager for the Disney Institute and Derek Smith, a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer who is now a Coordinator with Walt Disney World Resort Security.
The Magic Kingdom flag retreat ceremony is one way Disney thanks veterans for their service, sacrifice and dedication to protecting our country. It is hosted every day of the year, but Disney takes the opportunity on Veterans Day to honor cast members who have served in the military as well.
“I was humbled to be selected to be part of Disney’s Honor Guard at this year’s flag retreat ceremony,” said Nugent. “This is my first Veterans Day as a retired military officer, so it is even more meaningful for me and my family that Disney chose to thank me for my service this year.”
As a company founded by two brothers who served their nation in uniform during World War I, The Walt Disney Company has always had a strong connection to the armed services. Disney’s Heroes Work Here continues that proud legacy with a company-wide initiative to hire, train and support military veterans. Since the program’s inception in 2012, Disney has hired more than 10,000 veterans for roles throughout the company and helped an additional 15,000 former military service members find career opportunities outside of Disney.