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Celebrating 40 Years at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 30th, 2011 by George A. Kalogridis, President, Disneyland Resort

George Kalogridis Celebrates 40 Years at Walt Disney World Resort

As most of you know, Walt Disney World Resort turns 40 soon. And it’s no coincidence I’m celebrating my 40th anniversary with Disney as well, along with nearly 100 other cast members who opened Walt Disney World Resort in 1971, and continue to work for the company today.

I still remember my first interview, standing in the heat, in a queue that went on for what seemed like forever. I listened as the people in front of me and behind me talked about how they just came off the Apollo program in Cape Canaveral. So there I was, fresh out of high school with my diploma and those around me had just sent men to the moon! I thought I didn’t stand a chance!

As luck would have it, I did get the job and was hired as a busboy at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Two days before opening day, I took my mother to a cast open house where the first attraction we rode was ‘it’s a small world’ and I remember thinking how amazing it was. It’s still one of my favorites today.

I’ve had countless memories and incredible experiences over the last 40 years including opening Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, working at Magic Kingdom Park for the Bicentennial celebration and at Disneyland Paris for its 15th anniversary, as well as being part of the openings of Epcot and Disney California Adventure. The same excitement I felt on my first day has continued to grow and has carried with me through the many years and experiences but I’ll never forget where my journey began. I’m proud to still keep in touch with some of those first cast members I worked with at the Contemporary Resort.

As I reflect on my career and those of many colleagues I’ve grown with in this organization, I can say with certainty the reason so many have stayed through the years is due to the values we share with the company and one another – two things you simply cannot duplicate. I can’t imagine having spent the last 40 years anywhere else – and I look forward to our road ahead.

Congratulations on 40 years, Walt Disney World Resort!

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Filed: Disney History, Walt Disney World Resort



Bruce from MD on September 30th, 2011 at 11:04 am

40 years my how time flies by. Wish we we there but will be soon.


Joy on September 30th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Congratulations on your 40th anniversary!


Brian from IN on September 30th, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Congratulations on your anniversary, George! °o°


Friend on September 30th, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Congratulations and hang in there George! Just think of all that has been accomplished in those 40 years with Disney and what’s ahead.


Jeff from OH on September 30th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Congratulations to both you and Walt Disney World for 40 years!


Gabriella from BC on September 30th, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Happy 40th George and Walt Disney World!! Wish I could be there celebrating with you!!


Zachary on October 1st, 2011 at 7:20 am

Can’t wait to be there for the anniversary!


Paul on October 1st, 2011 at 10:20 am

Congrats on 40 years, George, and thanks for doing an awesome job at the DLR!


Rory on October 1st, 2011 at 11:25 pm

George – Thanks so much for all you’ve done and in keeping Walt’s (and Roy’s) spirit alive. We look forward to a renewed pride in the original Magic Kingdom under your leadership.Thanks again…


TRACEY from TX on October 2nd, 2011 at 11:39 am

40 something is the magic number these days! Sadly we did not get to attend WDW’s 40th but next weekend will be at Disneyland Sat Oct 8th for my wife’s 45th bday! Woot!