On Oct. 13, 2018, Disney Internships and Programs participants volunteered to walk in solidarity and pride at the Come out with Pride parade in downtown Orlando. This fun and moving event is held every year to celebrate the LGBTQ+ and ally communities around Central Florida. The Walt Disney Company is deeply committed to the fostering of an open-minded and inclusive culture and celebrating the magic in each and every one of us! To demonstrate this steadfast commitment to both The Walt Disney Company’s cast and the communities we support, the parade featured a full contingent of cast members from all over the company.
To begin the afternoon’s events, Walt Disney World Resort 2017-18 Ambassador Brandon Peters pumped up the crowd of Disney VoluntEARS with a few stirring words. “You are the ones who make the magic,” he said. “I’m so proud to work for an amazing company that is inclusive of everyone and that actively works to show the world what love is.” He also introduced Marilyn West, one of the new 2018-19 Walt Disney World Resort Ambassadors, to a sea of applause and cheers. Both Brandon and Marilyn led the Disney group in a horse-drawn carriage! What’s more, the horses came from our very own Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. We truly were a pixie-dusted bunch!
When the parade began, a few Disney Internships and Programs participants had the privilege of holding The Walt Disney Company banner at the front of the parade! VoluntEARS were also asked to hold Mickey-shaped signs that showed off every facet of our company, and they were also encouraged to wave, cheer and pass out pride-themed Mickey stickers as they walked along the route. As we walked to some of our favorite Disney tunes, it was truly inspiring to hear the shouts of “We love Disney!” and to see the smiles on people’s faces as we handed them a Mickey sticker. It’s true what they say – everyone loves a Mickey sticker!
The parade wound just over a mile around Lake Eola park, and then it was time to pack up and head home. While our feet were tired and our cheeks hurt from smiling all afternoon, our spirits were high! Hugs were shared amongst cast and parade-viewers, tears were shed and the love of our amazing company was surely felt. It truly was an experience unlike anything I’ve done before! I can’t wait until next year’s parade. Happy pride!