Kiss Goodnight vigil at Magic Kingdom honors victims of Orlando tragedy


You don’t think of memorial tributes and Disney World together. That’s because Disney wants guests in the park to forget the outside world and obvious memorials would pull them away from the fun.

So when a group of fans started to organize a vigil in conjunction with Saturday night’s Kiss Goodnight at the end of the Saturday night operating day at the Magic Kingdom, I was a big worried about what Disney would do.

Although they did not organize or sponsor the event, it turns out Disney participated in a few key ways. These include: they allowed the event to continue, which they didn’t have to do, after the park closed they circulated the colors of the rainbow on the castle (although I believe this is part of the regular show), and they gave vigil attendees a gift of a Disney pin. They also allowed cast members whose shift had ended to attend the vigil in their costumes.


The Kiss Goodnight is a special moment played most nights at the Magic Kingdom, its way of saying goodbye to guests. As the park closes for the evening, Cinderella castle lights up with special sequence and a two-minute show begins. The idea from organizers was to show up as fans and show support from the Disney community to the victims, their families, and the greater community of Orlando. It spread through social media and many guests showed up with glow sticks, battery powered candles, and banners of support.

At the end of the night a group of about 500-750 guests and cast members stood silently through the kiss goodnight, holding up glow sticks and cell phones, paying tribute to those who died needlessly at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. And most continued to linger as the Kiss Goodnight repeated two times.

Finally, as guests began to clear the hub and exit the Magic Kingdom, cast members handed out rainbow colored Mickey Mouse shaped pins (plus a few other designs). A surprise and a nice touch from the park.


If you were at the Kiss Goodnight tribute, what are your memories of the event? If you weren’t able to make it, do you feel that Orlando has begun to properly heal?

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

10 thoughts on “Kiss Goodnight vigil at Magic Kingdom honors victims of Orlando tragedy

  1. Kitty

    Sure I’ll take the flak for saying it.

    This doesn’t belong in the parks because It seems more like a reason to gather than a way to honor.

    What happened at the bightclub was horrific. It was fueled by hate and opened many people’s eyes to the reality of our current situation. BUT… When you’re on vacation then are we really selfish if we want to be away from reality for a few days?

    When Alan Rickman died then I thought it was a nice tribute when guests did that wand thing. Rickmans depiction of Snape was the backbone of the entire film franchise. If he failed the entire series may not have worked.

    But then they did it again for the victims of a religion fueled terrier hate crime? how is that related?!? What about soldiers who put their real lives on the line by saving real people and getting shot at with real bullets. Is the proper tribute to fallen heroes to “raise our plastic sticks in the air”?

    And now at Disney then we’ve got more tributes for no other reason than “we’ve got a large crowd so let’s commandeer it”.

    Now. I know I’ve offended many already but there is truth on the other side of the fence that isn’t buried in insensitivity. But selfishness is a two way street.

    1. John Frost Post author

      People grieve and communities heal in different ways. It does not take away from what you think that these Disney fans choose to come together at the park.

      Also we don’t know the motivations behind the attack yet. We do know that the attacker showed no signs of being radicalized. I personally doubt it was religious fueled hate in the way you’re implying, but rather inner demons driven by a religion that is intolerant of homosexuality and the attacker who should have been treated for mental troubles, not handed a gun.

    2. Sean

      Every day at the Magic Kingdom the military is honored during the flag lowering. This tribute was a one time thing because the community has been hurting. Grief counselors have been on call and brought in to help the cast deal with this. Ask almost anyone and they have either been to the club or knows someone who has been there. Ask almost anyone and they either know someone who was at the club that night or knows someone who knows someone. Please don’t try to tell us that we shouldn’t be grieving because there are soldiers who willing signed up to serve in war have been killed in combat. This wasn’t combat. This was a night out with friends. Please don’t tell us not to share in the grieving in our community.

    3. Disney Mike

      “What about soldiers who put their real lives on the line by saving real people and getting shot at with real bullets.”

      Wow. The people in that club had lives that were just as real as any soldier’s. And the bullets they were shot with were just as real. That’s what’s so offensive about your post.

    4. Antroine

      I can tell you from my time of living in Orlando for 5 years and having many friends and associates work for Disney. This hit the Orlando community and tbose employees and friends at Disney EXTREMELY hard emotionally. Not sure if you are an Orlando local and/or gay or straight but I really don’t think some people from the outside looking in TRULY understand how hard this hit Orlando locals! I live in Vegas now and grieved so hard about this and I am not a very emotional guy AT ALL but Orlando as a local when I lived there and Pulse left an I removable love for that city and the community there.

      So I think the tribute they did was extremely classy and from the heart. Like others have said, there are probably a very few especially between 18-35y/o Disney employees who have not been to Pulse or had a close friend go to Pulse at one time or another. Pulse was and has been a true sanctuary for the LGBT community and their allies to get a way from the stress of the outside and enjoy 3-4hrs of just a great time with others.

    5. Annette Robidoux

      Disney did not commandeer anything. Guests did. Disney allowed it to take place, and showed their guests and the victims respect, and rightfully so.
      A Disney cast member was killed , and many friends of cast members and people not only around Orlando but across the world. You think an Alan Rickman tribute was fine, ( because he was the backbone of a film that made the company money????) but not a tribute to 49 lives lost in and around the Orlando / Disney area? Wow.

      Also… the 49 people killed WERE real people killed with real bullets. There is a time and a place for everything. This was the time, and the place for this vigil.

  2. Al G.

    WDW is an escape for most, but it is also a major employer in Orlando. At least one cast member died in the worst shooting in US history. I applaud Disney for quietly taking the lead in the vigil. Hopefully this will help in some small part with the healing process.

  3. Barbara

    I thnk what Disney did was a lovely thing to do…yes, they want to have a “magical place” but everyone there knew what had happened…can we really just put our heads in the sand and pretend it didn’t? I can’t imagine how the cast members….many who knew someone…or even grieved about what happened in the community they called home…managed to “put on a happy face” and do what they do best…serve the people who come to Disney World. Thank you Disney…for allowing this to happen…for giving 1 MILLION to the community to help the families…and agreeing to match funds raised by cast members as well.

  4. Gary Pearson

    The Kingdom might be Magic but the real world is never too far away- as was witnessed by the shootings in Orlando and the horrifying alligator attack at the Grand Floridian. I applaud Disney for doing something at the park in remembrance, or letting something happen because of this horrible tragedy. Disney wants to not be political because fans belong to different political parties, income groups, sexual orientation, races, religions, but there is a time for companies to step up and do what is right. The shooter’s motivation was hate against LBGT people. LBGT people have been HUGE supporters of Disney over the years. They go to the movies, they attend the parks, they buy the merchandise and they are cast members doing everything from cooking and cleaning to starring in their productions- in parks- in films- creating attractions- everything. I want Disney to go farther. They recognize that guns have no place on their property, in their parks or resorts. But what about the rest of Florida and the USA? I am a Canadian and a member of DVC. I am seriously considering not returning to Florida until the gun laws are changed to have some reasonable measures like the banning of assault weapons- stringent back ground checks- waiting periods and so on. The NRA likes to tell you that such things don’t work, but you only have to look at every industrialized country on Earth where there are more stringent gun controls and they simply don’t have these mass shootings with the frequency and severity of what the US has. There is no gate, no bag check, no preventative security at Disney Springs and we know it was considered as a target. The only way for Disney to protect its guests is to join the fight for sensible gun control. As others have pointed out, thoughts and prayers are no match for a guy filled with hate carrying an assault weapon. Disney literally dodged bullets this time- what about next time?

Comments are closed.