Disney World Surprises U.S. Military Service Members And Their Families

Walt Disney World is truly a magical place and their flair does not end at the rides and the events, the food or the how they bring characters to life, but to how they maintain a longstanding tradition of honoring the United States military.

The legacy continued ahead of the opening of the new Toy Story Park.

The franchise invited a group of United States military servicemen and women and their families to have an early access adventure to a park themed around the iconic 1990s film.

“As many readers know, support for the military is a longstanding tradition that dates back to Disney’s earliest days. And that legacy continued when Walt Disney World Resort surprised some special military families with the chance to be among the first guests at Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios,” Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director for Disney Parks, said of the event.

Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products said he wanted to help give back to military service people who sacrifice so much for the country.

“Our military keeps us safe, keeps up our ideals and we, in turn, have a responsibility to them and their families, who often times are separated, to make sure they can have a magical time whenever they come through our gates,” Chapek said.

The new park is centered around Andy’s toy chest with each of the classic characters including Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Slinky Dog, and even the Green Army Patrol.

For those interested, attendees can sign up and enlist the Green Army Patrol. Expect a number of “drills” and exercises, People reports:

“We set up a boot camp,” says Vazzana. “We invite anyone who wants to play with us to become a Green Army soldier. They take an oath and have a series of really funny exercises.”

There’s another change to the troops: “soldiers” are now free of the mesh face covers worn by previous performers at the theme park.

“Now everyone’s able to talk and interact,” says Vazzana. And the land’s three stars — Woody, Buzz and Jessie — are free to roam in ways characters at the other Walt Disney World parks are not.

“They’re not hidden away in rooms,” says Vazzana. “They’re alive. I’m thrilled about that accessibility.”

Check out these photos, obtained via Military Times:

Military families greet Green Army Men during a special advance preview of the all-new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort. Inside the 11-acre themed land, guests are meant to shrink to the size of toys and experience the larger-than-life outdoor setting of Andy’s backyard. (Disney)

The VIP military families were among the first to experience the Slinky Dog Dash coaster, one of two all-new attractions at Toy Story Land. The family-friendly coaster zips riders around on the back of the popular pooch made famous as a 1950s iconic toy. (Disney)

Marine GySgt Harry Johnson and his daughter ride Alien Swirling Saucers as part of a special advance preview of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On Alien Swirling Saucers, guests climb aboard their rocket ships and swirl about trying to get caught by the ominous Claw from the Toy Story movies. The ride features multi-colored lighting, music and sound effects. (Disney)

Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products Chairman Bob Chapek and Walt Disney World Resort President George A. Kalogridis welcome U.S. military personnel and their families to a VIP preview of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. The 11-acre themed land has its grand opening on Saturday. (Disney)