Disney is about as American as it gets. Walt loved his country, and his patriotism is reflected greatly throughout his theme parks. When America found itself in the grip of global tyranny during World War II, Walt used his studio and his to support war efforts. This is why Disney is synonymous with the idea of Americana. It’s also a big part of the reason Mickey Mouse is such an iconic American figure. Politics aside, the United States of America relied heavily on Walt Disney during World War II to help share information and garner support for war efforts.
“After the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States’ subsequent entry into World War II, Disney’s studio lot in Burbank was requisitioned as an Army anti-aircraft base. In response, Walt Disney and his staff pledged their unfaltering support to the war effort. The studio devoted over 90 percent of its wartime output to producing training, propaganda, entertainment, and public-service films, as well as publicity and print campaigns—and all without profit. The Walt Disney Studios even deployed a group of artists, including Walt Disney himself, to Latin America on a Goodwill Tour.” – National World War II Museum.
Disney continues to show heavy support for military members and veterans. With varying discounts and promotions, military families and veterans can take advantage of cheaper rates and special ceremonies at Walt Disney World. One particularly popular way Disney recognizes veterans is during the retreat of the American flag each day at Magic Kingdom. A veteran is identified as “Veteran of the Day” and asked to help retire the symbol of freedom for the evening. The event takes place each day (weather permitting) at 5 p.m. at the entrance to Main Street, U.S.A. The pledge of allegiance is said, and the American flag is lowered to the sound of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
This reflection and appreciation of not only our country but the sacrifices made by so many to ensure our safety means a lot to Guests, veterans or not. Recently Walt Disney World has had the pleasure of including a very special veteran, Dorothy “Pat” Rudd in the ceremony. Rudd is a 101-year old World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy. Not only that but Pat took full advantage of President Roosevelt’s Public Law 689. This law allowed women to serve in reserves to the Navy over the coarse of the war along with a six month stay. Even, more impressive, Patt was one of the first 200 Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services (WAVES) and deployed to Hawaii were she care for wounded troops and taught reading and writing.
Susan Finnegan (U.S. Marine Corps), leading project manager for Disney marketing, had this to say about Patt.
“Pat’s unwavering spirit and commitment to duty are an inspiration to fellow servicewomen. It was an honor to be able to join my fellow veterans here at Disney to help celebrate a trailblazer and hero like Pat.”
Here at Disneydining.com, we recognize the significance of Pat’s willingness to blaze a trail for other women to act in military service. Bigger yet, we acknowledge her selflessness in offering her time and self to such a noble cause as supporting combatting troops during one of America’s bloodiest wars. Pat
‘s voluntary service directly led to the signing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act by President Harry S. Truman. This act, largely based on the successful mission of WAVES, was the catalyst that allowed unrestricted access to servce full-time in the military. We thank Patt for her integrity, honor, selfless service, and loyalty to the United States of America.