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?