On the Pulse Tragedy and How You Can Help

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Hi everyone. I know this is a break from our usual policy of sticking to theme parks and other travel destinations. However, the tragedy that occurred in Orlando over the weekend hit us all very hard–we have employees, researchers, and many friends that live in the Orlando area. Beyond that, I feel that it is all our duty as Americans, as people, to do whatever we can in the face of these acts of hatred.

Our community of readers, fans, and subscribers has always been friendly, inclusive, and helpful. This is the time for that to continue and strengthen. Both of our current authors of Best Week Ever–Julia and Dani–are Orlando locals and both contributed to this post.

After this, we will mostly be returning to our regularly scheduled theme park and travel items. We have always treated travel as an adventure and escape, and continuing to discuss it is one way we can help, however slight that help may be. Be excellent to each other.

– Brian McNichols, Blog Manager 


For my Best Week Ever article that would have run later this week, I spent the past couple days enjoying the amenities of a Grand Villa at Saratoga Springs, exploring Disney Springs, and living the laid back Florida life that so many of us know and love. With my in-laws on the way to the airport, I opened my laptop to start writing up that Best Week Ever, only to be stopped short by the headlines, tweets, Facebook notifications, and more all jumping to the forefront on my Sunday morning computer screen.

By this time, there will be so much said about the dozens upon dozens of vibrant lives cut short or altered forever due to the act of a hateful murderer at the Pulse, and yet no amount of words can ever truly be enough to ease the pain of those who are grieving and hurting. We say (and we do so with deep conviction) that our thoughts and prayers are with those families because we wish we could make it better, and because we don’t know what else to say, knowing we can’t make it right.

Some of the lives lost were tourists, seeking to enjoy a night of fun in The City Beautiful. Some were our friends, family, loved ones, co-workers, and more, relaxing from another week of Florida life. Every single one has loved ones. Every single one has a story. It is my hope that those stories can be shared as a celebration of life far more powerful than the tragedy of their deaths.

For those who will not live to see another sunrise, their best week ever is one in the past, shared and talked about and remembered by those who love them.

For the rest of us, once we have been able to grieve in our own way and in our own time, we honor the memory of those lost by bringing joy and magic back to the World and our world.

This week was not the best week ever for many people in the Orlando area, because it is impossible to say “mass shooting” and “best week” in the same breath. And yet, even in the midst of the tragedy, we saw people in all walks of life coming together to show that Orlando has some of the best people ever. First responders, medical professionals, and regular citizens on the street providing immediate care for those in need. A reporter holding a mother desperate to find news about her child. Social media filled with phone/Twitter/Facebook trees and prayer trees to help people find out about their loved ones. Lines at blood banks that stretched hundreds deep—so many that most were filled to capacity and had to turn away donors for that day. People who came out to those blood drives to provide sunscreen and water and other supplies for those waiting in line. Local businesses rallying support for everyone from the affected families to the first responders and beyond.

Cast Members are often reminded that they make the magic for the guests. In this town, where the Cast Member spirit extends far beyond those who work at Walt Disney World or in the tourism industry, we know that we all have an interest in making the magic for each other.

The Best Week Ever series will return next week, as we continue to find ways to make and share magic with readers far and wide. In the meantime, wherever you are, take some time to make magic for each other.

For more information about how to provide tangible help to those affected by the Pulse nightclub shooting tragedy, here are some resources.

For locations to donate blood in the Orlando area, visit or

Financial donations for the victims and their families can be made to the GoFundMe accounts created by Equality Florida at or The Center at

 Counseling resources are available by dialing 211 or through the Orlando LGBT community center at 407-228-1446

And to report suspicious activity, call Florida’s See Something/Say Something hotline at 855-FLA-SAFE (855-352-7233)


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Julia Mascardo

Former writer, editor, and social media manager of TouringPlans. Embarking on new adventures with husband, kid, and cats.

18 thoughts on “On the Pulse Tragedy and How You Can Help

  • This was beautifully written, Julia. Thank you for sharing it.

  • On the subject of giving blood, it worth noting that blood bags have a shelf life of only 42 days.

    A person has to wait anything from 56 to 112 days to give blood again (depending on type of donation).

    Some of the victims will need blood after 42 days.

    To keep a steady level in the banks it’s worth considering waiting till later on to give blood. Information may be available as to the levels in the banks, I’m not sure how it works in the US as I am from UK.

  • Very well said & very thoughtful for TouringPlans to be so considerate. That makes another reason that I am a subscriber. Keep up the great work, team. Blessing to all!

  • So happy to see this addressed in this forum, in such a sensitive and touching post.

  • I am glad you took the time to post – we all have heavy hearts and are thinking about all of the people impacted by this violence. We have to be kind to one another and stand strong in the face of terror.

  • Thank you for this post! My heart is breaking, I can’t believe how those closer to this are coping. Love and comfort to all!

  • My heart aches for the victims, survivors, and family. Also for Orlando as a whole! We will be there very soon! Love to all the Disney family!

  • Sometimes words just fail me. Be kind, be nice, be safe…

  • Hello, touringplans & all,

    While planning a trip to Orlando by the end of 2016, my sister told me about you. Congratulations on this post. We are from Brazil and even if we expect magic from Orlando we can not close our eyes to this sad sunday.
    Yesterday the cable news TV dedicated the whole day to Orlando, and it meant a lot to see how the city answered with compassion and love.
    Only love will heal us. And i believe posts like yours help us to try to be better persons everyday. A lot of prejudice was and is present everyday everywhere (one country is better than the other, one person is better than the other…), and only with the love that join us all, that we all deserve, this will change.

    My prayers to all of you in Orlando
    more love to the world today, tomorrow and always!

    Thank you! Gabriela

  • Thank you for labeling the event for what it is…mass murder. It is pretty disturbing how American media tend to label these horrible acts euphemistically as simply “tragedy” or “shootings”. It is murder. Now if we could just get them to label the real threat we have behind these actions, it would go a long way toward making this a safer world for the non-fanatical and well-adjusted people in society.

    • Exactly Keith! Even our President will barely call it what it is!

    • What real threat is that? I assume you mean the insane proliferation of assault weapons? Or is it the fanatical homophobia predominant in American culture?

      • Neither….it’s Islamic terrorists. And they don’t always use assault weapons…sometimes it is box cutters or passenger jets. And wanting to kill all homosexuals is only a small part of their fanaticism…they want to destroy all aspects of Western civilization (including homosexuality, feminism, capitalism, etc.) And name one country that you think is better to live in for homosexuals? Unfortunately, you don’t seem to be paying attention like too many Americans. Here is some enlightening reading for you:

      • That’s enough, there are other places you can argue about this. The point of this post was not to assign blame.

      • What’s to argue about? We are not assigning blame. We all know who did it.

      • Just to be clear, I am referring to ISIS.

      • Yeah, we got it. What I was trying to nicely say is that the purpose of this post was to express the feelings of the authors and to encourage people to come together in support of victims. The comments of which are not going to turn into an attack zone against anything–good or bad. Please do not continue and a response, even to this reply, is not necessary.

  • Thank you so much for this.

    In the UK and my heart is breaking a little at the news. J K Rowling has taken to Twitter to say one of the chaps was working at the Wizarding World.

    The newspaper and TV ‘news’ here is a mixed bag of appropriate & knee jerk Islamaphobia unfortunately, I hope (but doubt) it is better there.

    Love and best wishes to anyone that has lost someone xxx

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