Purple Heart Ceremony Held for Disney Cast Member at EPCOT

15 days ago in "The American Adventure (Pavilion)"

Disney Cast Member Receives Purple Heart at EPCOT's American Adventure Pavilion
Posted: Thursday June 27, 2024 2:!2pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

In a ceremony at EPCOT’s American Adventure pavilion, John Arant, a senior manager of casting services at Disney and U.S. Army veteran, was awarded the Purple Heart Medal. The event took place early Wednesday morning before the park opened.


Arant was honored for his bravery and injuries sustained during his service in Mosul, Iraq, in 2007. The Purple Heart, established in 1782 by General George Washington, is America’s oldest military award. Today, it is given in the name of the President of the United States to those wounded or killed in action.

The medal was presented to Arant by Jenn O’Rourke, a Disney Institute business transformation manager and Major in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Arant’s family and fellow Disney cast members, including many military veterans, attended the ceremony. Arant wore his Army service dress uniform, and the event was set against the backdrop of the “Portraits of Courage” exhibit, featuring over 60 paintings by former President George W. Bush, honoring post-9/11 veterans.

Arant joined The Walt Disney Company in 2019 through the Heroes Work Here initiative, which aims to hire, train, and support military veterans.

This ceremony reflects Disney’s long-standing respect for military service, a tradition dating back to its founders, Walt and Roy O. Disney, who both served in World War I.

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TrainsOfDisney15 days ago

Not meant as a criticism but I’m surprised this wasn’t done at Main Street at a Flag Retreat.

DCBaker15 days ago

Here's video of the ceremony if anyone wanted to watch:

Brian15 days ago

Somewhat related. https://disneyconnect.com/disneyworld-press/release/disney-cast-member-awarded-purple-heart-at-american-pavilion-in-epcot/

TrainsOfDisneyJun 08, 2024

It’s very fitting… not sure anything could be more fitting - but it’s not an ideal place for a few reasons. That is a temporary display (“temporary” at Epcot can be a long time of course - but that gallery rotates frequently).

dreamfindingJun 08, 2024

Well, I think the context of the art that just got installed is fitting for the American Adventure… The Native American display does need to stay. Plus, installations like these usually aren’t permanent.

castlecake2.0Jun 08, 2024

Yahhhhh I’d prefer this in the actual gallery

EricsBiscuitJun 08, 2024

They should have replaced the American Heritage Gallery exhibit instead of the classic Epcot Center art! Ayayay

dreamfindingJun 08, 2024

IIRC, they had some different artifacts on display. I believe one of those was Louis Armstrong’s trumpet. It was more of a traveling display that eventually ended up in Downtown Disney.

DisneyDreamerxyzJun 08, 2024

I remember when the movie Soul came out weren't all the paintings about jazz history ?

aladdin2007Jun 08, 2024

Im surprised as well, it seems a bit jarring in the rotunda,,thought for sure it would go in the gallery,,,at the same time still glad to have the native American exhibit. But your right.

jeanericuser001Jun 08, 2024

That would explain the smell. 🤮

TrainsOfDisneyJun 07, 2024

The only downside of this - these replace the semi-permanent paintings of American History that set the tone and story of the American adventure. These modern paintings slightly clash with the rest of the Rotunda. The gallery space is where I assumed this was going - that has always been rotating exhibits. The positive side is, we have two exhibits - the President George Bush paintings and the Native American artifacts and exhibit.

Jambo DadJun 07, 2024

This deserves everyone’s thumbs up. 🥲