Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle

Walt Disney World Greeter Inspires Guests

posted on October 16th, 2009 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Imagine never having a bad day at work. Walt Disney World Cast Member Art Lark says he hasn’t had one in 16 years — so, it’s not too surprising that guests from around the world look forward to seeing him. What’s surprising is how many there are and what they’ll do to see him.
Art Lark, Greeter, Walt Disney World

Art’s job is to make sure you have a good day when visiting Disney’s Beach Club Resort. And judging by the amount of people who are inspired to exchange online stories about him, share photos and even plan trips to say hello — he’s pretty good at what he does. The resort greeter has a growing online following that he just recently found out about.

“Art is a legend,” Walt Disney World Cast Member Lynde Dodge says. “He has kept Walt’s promise to our Guests and made memories for so many that last generations.”

The 63-year-old started at the resort’s front desk until a manager asked if he’d like to greet Guests. He said he didn’t think he’d like it but quickly realized that it was a perfect fit — like a glove, he says.

“When you’re doing something that you truly enjoy and are truly passionate about and when you’re given an opportunity — it’s easy,” Art says. “It humbles you because, to know that you’re thought of in that regard by so many people, it makes you want to make sure you don’t do anything to disappoint. I’m the one who has been blessed.”

He says his secret to success is being authentic. “People can pick up when you’re phony or pretending,” he says. “Find something you’re passionate about and do it.”

You should know that during my last visit with Art, he announced that he’s retiring. When asked what he’ll miss most, he smiled and said, “everything.”

Art is a “Disney Difference” and the first of an ongoing series featuring selected Cast Members.

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Filed: Cast Member Profiles, Disney Differences, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

29 Comments

1

Suzannah from FL on October 16th, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Count me in as someone that’s been affected by Art’s heartwarming personality! I first remember him when we moved down to Florida in 1995 and my whole family was working as Cast Members. After we left our name tags behind, we saw him as we brought our family members through the parks for our wedding in 1996, our first son to the Parks in 1999, our daughter in 2000 and our newest child, born in 1998. Without even knowing it, Art has witnessed the birth and growth of our family — and he had something wonderful to say each time we passed. Art is truly the pinnacle of Cast Member magic and we hope to be able to thank him in person as well!

2

Jessica from AL on October 16th, 2009 at 5:33 pm

My family has been fortunate enough to be able to meet and greet with Art many times on our stays at the Beach Club through the last decade. Art always has a smile on his face and is great with the kids. Art is a treasure and he will be sorely missed on our next trip to the Beach Club.

3

Scott on October 16th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

I’ll be staying at the beach club next week! I hope Art is there to greet us. He has always been a part of the Disney experience for our family, and he has made the Beach Club all the more memorable for us when we stay there. Hopefully we’ll get one last chance to start our trip with a welcome from Art.

4

Jackey on October 16th, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I have either stayed at The Grand or The Beach Club since I was little. The Beach Club just wont be the same without him.

5

Diane from MA on October 16th, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Art is a true Disney treasure. I can only hope that other CMs there have taken a page from his book!!! There is nothing more magical than walking past Art and getting that wonderful smile and a cheery ‘have a good day’ from him. I was happy to be able to chat with him on many occasions. A true gentleman.Hopefully Art will have everything he could ever wish for in his retirement. Thanks Art!!!

6

Masayo on October 16th, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I know nothing about Art himself but I DO know his smile and welcoming very warm, kind and generous attitude and that’s pretty enough to know him I believe. It was a pleasure and honor for me to meet him in the lovely lobby at Beach Club resort. Art is a special treasure for everyone who have visited Beach Club Resort, maybe even those who haven’t, too. Because if you are reading this now you know he’s special.

Thank you SO much Art for making everyone’s day happier and more magical one.

I wish him a very magical happy retirement.

Domo from Japan.

7

Victoria on October 16th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Art will be sorely missed by our family on our next trip! Best wishes in your retirement Art!

8

Brittney on October 16th, 2009 at 7:51 pm

What a wonderful post!! I’m excited to hear that this type of article will be a feature!! I can’t wait to read about more featured Cast Members. I LOVED this.

9

Keith on October 16th, 2009 at 8:29 pm

I love Art! He’s a great guy and I wish I generated as much warmth as he does.

Keith from Celebration

10

Jeff on October 16th, 2009 at 9:12 pm

We stayed at the Beach Club 9/19 – 9/29. When Art saw my Birthday pin (and ears!), he would say to me “Steak and lobster for you today! No hamburgers!” He made my day memorable. Towards the end of our trip, I decided I wanted him to sign my autograph book and get a picture, but he must have been off those days as I didn’t get a chance to see him again before we left. His smile and genuine well-wishes was indeed magical and one of the most memorable parts of our stay there! Best wishes, Art! You made a difference.

11

Minesh on October 16th, 2009 at 9:41 pm

It’s cast members like Art that make Disney such an amazing place. I’ve only been to WDW once in my life but cast members like Art make the desire to come again, and again, and again, and again even more desirable.

12

Bonnie from CA on October 16th, 2009 at 10:05 pm

I second Brittney…what a great idea to showcase cast members and Art was the perfect first choice. Happy Retirement Art, you will be missed!

13

Shelley from VA on October 16th, 2009 at 10:10 pm

This a example of the sincere magic of Disney in human forum. I have never met this gentlman while during my stays at WDW, but I will say that for Disney they had a gem.

14

Larry from MD on October 16th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

I’ve had the great pleasure and honor of knowing Art for nearly the whole time he was the Greeter at the Beach Club, as an occasional guest who could NEVER pass up talking to him, and as a friend who has been in touch once in a blue moon. Truly, while I am happy for Art and wish him nothing but the very best in his retirement, I am also saddened by knowing that he won’t be there on my next visit to give his jaunty salute and warm smile to welcome me home. For truly, having stayed at various hotels both on and off property since Walt Disney World opened, NOWHERE has felt like home the way that the Beach Club has, and so much of it has been due to Art’s warmth.

The Beach Club resort will go on and, probably if nothing else than the memories, will continue to be my resort of choice, but it will never truly be the same without Art. Art, for all that he has done to brighten the visits of thousands of visitors, and as a true ambassador for the Disney Spirit that Walt wanted his theme parks to convey, is a truly unique individual. He is a Disney icon for so many of us. While the position of Greeter has been and will be filled by others, and many of them will come over time to be as memorable in their own right, they will each be “Greeters for the Beach Club”, but there can be no “replacement” for Art. For his fans, he is a true Disney legend, recognized by so many for his smile, and known to millions from his appearances on Disney Vacation Planning DVDs and on some of the Disney Resort episodes with Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel. For us, there will forever be only one Art, who we will continue to think of fondly and often, and miss seeing him welcoming us home.

For all of us who have benefitted so much from knowing you, Art, let me wish you the very best, and know that you’ve got many friends whose lives you’ve touched in a positive way over the years.

15

Jacqueline from IN on October 17th, 2009 at 2:02 am

Yes! We love Art! Thanks from Jeremy and Jackie!

16

John from FL on October 17th, 2009 at 7:44 am

I have had the privilege of seeing Art several times a week and can not tell you what a pleasure it has been. I love watching him share his infectious smile with everyone he sees.

I have also enjoyed my time talking with Art. In addition to being warm, caring and passionate about what he does, he is also very savvy and has quite a good feel for business.

john

17

Stefanie on October 17th, 2009 at 8:57 am

Maynard is a Disneyland cast member who also has an outstanding online following. On stage in front of guests, he is always totally in Character. We were fortunate to get a picture of him with my wife when we attended the first Happy Haunts Ball (2001?) at Disneyland. We still display it proudly in our house to this day. His commitment to the guest experience is a perfect example of all of the cast who make it worth our while as a family to visit Disney Parks each and every year. Maynard, thanks for all that you do – and thanks to all the other cast members who make the magic.

18

Lea on October 17th, 2009 at 9:45 am

I have never been fortunate enough to meet Art. I was hoping I would be able to meet him when we visit Beach Club for the first time next month. I was so upset when I heard he would be leaving before we arrived. But from everything I have ever seen or read about Art, he was the true epitome of Disney service. His dedication to Disney and to excellent service is one that should be studied and admired. Best wishes to Art in all his future endeavors. I know he will truly be missed by all who knew him (and even those who never had the chance)!

19

Ann on October 17th, 2009 at 10:26 am

Good Luck Art! You will be missed! I always enjoyed your smile & knew you would brighten my day each time I saw you! Greeters will come & go but Greeter Art holds a special place for all the guests who have been blessed enough to meet Disney’s 2nd best kept secret! Thank You so much for all you have done sharing your wonderful infectious zest for life & being a true Disney Ambassador! May your guests be able to continue to do as you did for us! SMILE & SHARE A SMILE!

20

Chris on October 17th, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Art may be retiring, but his friends and fans aren’t going away! Share the love with Art by becoming a Facebook fan. Just search for “Art the Greeter”.

21

Barbara on October 17th, 2009 at 6:46 pm

My mom and I had the pleasure of making Art’s acquaintance several years ago. He is truly one of a kind. He makes everyone feel like a VIP! Good luck and God bless.

22

Debbie from CO on October 17th, 2009 at 10:06 pm

We have stayed at the Disney Beach Club Resort many times and always look forward to getting that great big smile and greeting from Art. He would always give us such a welcoming feeling. He will be so very missed when he retires. Art thank you for blessing us with your presents, your smile and your warm handshake.

23

Jeni Lynn on October 18th, 2009 at 11:09 am

Our family had the pleasure of meeting Art for the first time this past summer. There is something in his pleasant smile and calm demeanor that immediately puts any frazzled nerves (that I usually have from the strain of long-distance travels) right at ease. Yes, I might have driven 13 hours straight through the night and looked like a nightmare as I initially entered Disney’s Beach Club Resort lobby; however, Art’s warm welcome, bright smile and calm composure completely put me at ease. My children felt like they were meeting a celebrity, the “Captain of The Beach Club!”

24

Peter on October 19th, 2009 at 11:48 am

We were lucky enough to meet Art a few years ago. A fantastic man with a genuine warmth. He was one of the things that made the Beach Club special. The Disney difference was epitomised by this wonderful human being.

Both my wife and I wish Art a very long and happy retirement.

Cheers
Pete & Sharon, Folkestone UK.

25

Louis on October 19th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Art was not only a fixture at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, but a true gentleman and exceptional Cast Member. We as Guests were fortunate to have met a man who loves his role as much as he did, and who helped make magic for thousands of families from around the world.

Hope you don’t mind me sharing this with other friends and fans of Art, but I was able to interview him on one of his last days at the Beach Club.

Thank you, Art. You will be missed.

Lou
WDWRadio

26

Beth from MI on October 19th, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Art is not just a greeter but he is the Captain of our trips to the Beach Club and an endeared friend. From the first visit my husband and I made on our honeymoon to every twice a year visit we have made since then I have taken the time to find him daily or he has often greeted me! We love him as a friend everytime we come home. I will cherish the photos we have taken during each of our visits with you. I am only heartbroken that we can not make it before he retires for one last hug. He is my friend and I will miss him dearly. HAPPY RETIREMENT ART – WE WISH YOU THE BEST!

Love & Hugs,
Beth & Tim

27

Sharon from NY on October 20th, 2009 at 4:22 am

We have very many happy memories of “Captain” Art. A visit to the Beach Club was never complete without having Art greet us. He was also a pleasure to trade pins with, and always would try to find that special pin that we were looking to trade for.
Our best memory of Art would have to be the morning after we were hunkered down in the Beach Club overnight to ride out Hurricane Charlie a few years ago. Despite all the confusion and damage from the storm, Art was there at his post, in full uniform, that next morning greeting everyone and hoping that they all made it through the storm alright!
Thank you for some very magical moments, and for many pleasant memories. All the best to you in your retirement, Art!

Sharon and Jay
Seaford, NY

28

Karen from MA on October 20th, 2009 at 7:36 am

I’m so sad to see Art retire…..he epitomizes the Disney magic. As soon as we see his smile, the vacation starts for us. We’ll be there, at the Beach Club, on Friday. I hope he’s there so I wish him a happy, healthy retirement. We’ll miss you, Art!

29

Nicholas on October 20th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I’m so glad I got to visit with Art last month, and to introduce a couple new friends to him. He was at lunch when we stopped by the BC, but because of a happy coincidence, we were delayed a bit, and Art came back on stage while we were waiting. It was meant to be.

I’ll miss Art, but I am convinced we have not seen each other for the last time.

29 Comments