NewsCovering Colorado


Snowball Express brings gold star families to Disney World

The Gary Sinise Foundation covers food, park passes, hotels, flights, and more for Southern Colorado families
Snowball Express passengers leave for their trip to Disneyworld
Posted at 2:23 PM, Dec 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-04 16:23:57-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — On Saturday, families who have lost a loved service member in active duty since 9/11 were treated to a Disney World vacation from the Gary Sinise Foundation.

The Snowball Express program hopes to give families a community of shared experiences while creating new memories during the holiday season.

40 people arrived at the Colorado Springs Airport on Saturday to celebrate with several therapy dogs from the go team, the Combat Veterans Association, and a volunteer American Airlines crew.

These families will get an all-expense-paid trip to Disney World including flights, hotels, park passes, and food. They will meet with 800 other people to tour the parks together.

Jessica Leinbach and her daughter Arianna lost their father, Michael, in 2019. They say that they're looking forward to sharing a community
during this vacation.

"Even though everybody's there for a really tragic reason, there's something beautiful about being with people who know what you're going through, even if they're not talking about it, there's just that understanding, you know?" said Jessica Leinbach.

Arianna is excited about the trip too, but sad for the reason why.

"She's been super excited, she always says she's excited but obviously sad why we're going. But I think it's exciting because she'll finally be around some people, other kids who are going through a similar... even as a mom, meet up with other parents who are going through that transition too," said Leinbach.

The families will be traveling until Wednesday, December 7th.

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