Disney Cast Member Awarded Purple Heart at American Pavilion in EPCOT

In a ceremony held on the morning of June 26, at Walt Disney World Resort, U.S. Army Veteran and current Disney cast member, John Arant, senior manager of casting services for Disney Experiences was presented with the distinguished Purple Heart Medal.

Under the rotunda of the American Adventure pavilion at EPCOT, Arant was recognized for military valor and the injuries he sustained during active service with the U.S. Army in Mosul, Iraq in 2007.

Surrounded by his family and fellow Disney cast members, many of whom are veterans themselves, Arant received the Purple Heart from fellow cast member, Jenn O’Rourke, a business transformation manager at Disney Institute and a Major in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

Amidst the backdrop of “Portraits of Courage,” an exhibit featuring over 60 paintings by President George W. Bush honoring post-9/11 military veterans, Arant was also presented with an American flag that flew over EPCOT in his honor, along with messages of appreciation from former President George W. Bush, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, and Disney Experiences Chairman Josh D’Amaro.

“Receiving the Purple Heart is a tremendous honor, and I am humbled that my service is being recognized in such a meaningful way,” Arant said. “I could not be prouder to be a Cast Member because Disney ensured this medal was awarded in a fitting ceremony in front of family, friends, and other cast members. Disney’s commitment to our military, veterans, and their families has been strong for over 100 years and today is another great example of just that.”

The Purple Heart stands as a symbol of bravery and sacrifice, originating in 1782 under the leadership of General George Washington to honor the heroic acts of soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

Today, this medal is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to those who have been wounded or killed while serving in the line of duty.

With this recognition, Arant joins Disney Legends including songwriter Robert Sherman and voice actor Paul Frees, who are also recipients of the Purple Heart for injuries they sustained during World War II.

Arant served nearly seven years of active service in the U.S. Army and later joined The Walt Disney Company in 2019 as part of Heroes Work Here, a company-wide initiative to hire, train and support military veterans.

The Walt Disney Company was privileged to honor Arant for his service, and extends a heartfelt thanks to him and his family. The company is grateful to all veterans who have courageously served their country and those who continue to serve today.