The holiday season is a time of wonder and remembrance. This past week, the Gary Sinise Foundation was honored to host more than 1,800 children and spouses/guardians of our fallen military heroes at our Snowball Express "Disney in December" Event. Over the course of 5 days, these deserving families were given the opportunity to make new memories, experience the magic of Disney World, and connect with the only people who truly understand the healing journey they are on...each other.
The magic began from the moment they arrived at the airport. Our presenting sponsor, American Airlines, welcomed families with fully decorated terminals and planes and American Airlines personnel who volunteered to ensure these families had a wonderful experience as they traveled to Orlando, FL. After arriving in Florida, families were greeted by none other than Mickey and Minnie!
Thousands of people come together to make this the experience of a lifetime. Our wonderful volunteers hosted numerous activities in our lounges, allowing families to form new bonds with each other and create connections that will last a lifetime. We are forever grateful to our volunteers for donating their time and energy to create such a joyful environment for these special families.
This annual event is about honoring those lost while supporting the families left behind. In the Remembrance Garden, families have a quiet place to sit and spend time with their hero. The road to healing is long and should never be traveled alone. It is our solemn promise to our fallen heroes that we will support and uplift their families this day and every day.
The Walk of Gratitude at Disney’s Magic Kingdom began down Main Street, USA, where cast members lined the street, greeting them with a hero's welcome as families made their way toward Cinderella’s Castle. There, with the help of Disney magic, families sent messages of love and remembrance to their fallen hero.
No Snowball Express Disney in December would be complete without a rocking performance by Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band! As they entered the concert venue in EPCOT, families were given a red carpet welcome by members of the Patriot Guard Riders. And when Gary and the LTDB took the stage, there was endless dancing, hugs, and smiles as far as the eye could see!
On behalf of Gary and all of us at the Gary Sinise Foundation, we would like to send our warm thanks to the following sponsors of our Snowball Express Disney in December Event. Thanks to our presenting sponsor, American Airlines, and our corporate partners at Amazon, American Tire Distributors, Aston Carter, E. & J. Gallo, KPMG, Owens Corning, Patriot Guard Riders, Regal Cinemas, Sunbelt Rentals, Veterans United, WoodmenLife. And a special thanks to our sponsor and host, Disney.