Since 2013, the Exchange and The Walt Disney Company have teamed up to bring magic and wonder to Soldiers, Airmen and their families around the world with first-run movies and advance screenings; Disney merchandise; and Disney-themed events for military kids at Exchange locations.
Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull honored Disney executives at the Exchange’s Dallas headquarters on April 11. Those honored included Ken Caldwell, Senior Vice President and General Sales Manager; Mary Tallungan, Executive Director of Non-Theatrical; Ruth Walker, Vice President of Cinema Partnerships; Matt Kalavsky, Vice President of Sales Strategy & Non-Theatrical; and Ann Marie Webb, Senior Manager of Non-Theatrical.
“Thanks to the terrific team at Disney, the Exchange provides a small taste of the magical Disney experience to service members around the world,” Shull said. “Premiering Disney blockbusters downrange for our Warfighters, so they can enjoy these movies just like Americans do back home, is something only the Exchange can offer.”
First studio for first-run movies
The Walt Disney Studios was the first studio to bring first-run movies to Exchange theaters in the continental U.S. in 2013. The studio also provides advance screenings of first-run movies for service members and families at Exchange theaters in the U.S. and overseas, even in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The Walt Disney Company is honored to serve military service members and their families, who work so hard to protect and preserve the freedoms that we all enjoy,” Caldwell said.
The relationship extends beyond the theater.
In 2014 the Exchange began prominently displaying Disney merchandise at the Exchange shops, starting at 15 of its stores worldwide. Now, 77 Exchange main stores worldwide have the concept, which showcases products featuring Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters, including dolls, action figures, role play items and clothing, as well as toys and other merchandise tied to current theatrical releases and television content.
Disney merchandise can also be found on ShopMyExchange.com.
In addition to Disney movies and merchandise, a special collaboration between Disney, Hasbro and Marketing Plus enabled the Exchange to bring a little bit of the Disney magic to Exchange events worldwide since 2015.
This initiative began when Jedi at the Exchange premiered, similar to the Jedi training that all kids can experience at Disney theme parks.
In 2017, superheroes helped military kids get fit with Marvel Super Hero training at Exchanges, which goes hand in hand with the Exchange’s BE FIT program. For 30-40 minutes, military children wield Thor’s hammer, smash with Hulk’s fists and deflect villainous attacks with Captain America’s shield, burning calories and learning about good habits like nutrition and doing well in school.
And, this past March the Exchange hosted Disney Princess parties to celebrate Month of the Military Child.
“It’s a privilege to work with Disney to make these memories happen for those who defend our Nation and their families,” Shull said. “This collaboration represents the Exchange delivering the very best to Soldiers, Airmen and military families.”