WASHINGTON and BURBANK, May 15, 2003 – As part of its ongoing commitment to the USO and U.S. service men and women, DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Company, will present Disney’s “Armed Forces Sneak Peek PremEARS” in partnership with the USO. The show includes a visit from Mickey and his friends, followed by a sneak peek premiere of Disney Channel’s original movie “The Even Stevens Movie.” Local Disney VoluntEARS and Radio Disney will participate in the events. The tour will kick off May 17, in celebration of Armed Forces Day, and will conclude June 10.
The USO selected these bases, which were major deployment sites for Operation Iraqi Freedom:
- o May 17 — Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
- o May 19 — Camp Lejeune, N.C.
- o May 23 — Fort Stewart, Ga.
- o May 27 — NAS Pensacola, Fla.
- o May 29 — Barksdale AFB, La.
- o June 2 — Fort Hood, Texas
- o June 6 — Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz.
- o June 10 — Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“The USO is grateful to Disney for its impressive and longstanding commitment to our mission. This relationship truly benefits the men and women of the armed forces and their families worldwide by helping the USO provide vital morale-boosting services,” said The Honorable Edward A. Powell, USO president and CEO.
“The USO provides an invaluable service and Disney is committed to doing its part in supporting that effort through activities such as special screening events, complimentary theme park tickets for active personnel and our correspondence campaign with troops overseas,” said Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Disney Cruise Line also will help by showing support at numerous special events with bases in proximity to Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, including MacDill AFB, Patrick AFB, and San Diego Naval Base.
Disney’s “Armed Forces Sneak Peek PremEARS” is part of an ongoing commitment to support U.S. service men and women, and their families. The scope of Disney’s efforts include several initiatives through various company affiliates, including ABC, Inc., ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Consumer Products, Radio Disney and The Walt Disney Studios.
DisneyHand and ESPN serve as USO World Sponsors and, as such, have provided more than $1 million in financial aid and in-kind support to the USO.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts recently announced that “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” will be offered through December 19, 2003, by both the Disneyland Resort in California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and June 19 through December 18, 2003, by Disney Cruise Line. Active duty U.S. military personnel, with proper U.S. military identification, are eligible, including active members of the U.S. Coast Guard and activated members of the National Guard and Reserves. The program offers them the opportunity to enjoy complimentary, multi-day admission into Disney’s U.S. theme parks, and is extending special offers for family members and friends. Plus, qualified members of the U.S. military are eligible to enjoy special savings on Disney resort hotels and on Disney Cruise Line vacations.
DisneyHand has donated more than 200,000 videos and DVDs to families and personnel on U.S. military bases around the world and has provided a combination of first-run movies and library classics for troops, and “ESPN The Magazine” continues to donate editions to U.S. troops overseas. Further, ABC-TV’s Drew Carey, star of The Drew Carey Show and Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and former member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, has visited and entertained troops on USO tours several times over the past two years and Aaron Tippin of Lyric Street Records also has been on numerous USO tours to entertain the troops, performing his patriotic hit song, “Where the Stars & Stripes & the Eagle Fly.”
Disney employees continue the tradition of running Disney’s Operation Uplift, through which employees send messages of support and thanks to U.S. service men and women. Disney’s Operation Uplift was founded in 1995, following its successful trial during Operation Desert Storm.
In March 2003, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine introduced “Jocks to GIs Direct,” an e-mail-based, one-to-one pen pal program that puts professional athletes and coaches in touch with military personnel in the Middle East and other overseas bases. Tiger Woods, Los Angeles Laker Shaquille O’Neal, New York Yankee Roger Clemens, Washington Mystic Chamique Holdsclaw, Atlanta Falcon Michael Vick, New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel and players Tiki Barber and Michael Strahan, Houston Texan David Carr, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden and Golden State Warrior Adonal Foyle are participating, and the athletes and coaches will conduct live chat sessions at appropriate times, available exclusively to military personnel stationed abroad.
To learn more about Disney’s outreach efforts, visit www.DisneyHand.com.