“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney
Everyday, Walt Disney World Resort cast members work to make Walt’s dream a reality by delivering outstanding customer service to guests. But, as in any organization, there are always a few people that have a little something extra.
If you have visited Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and entered through the front doors chances are you received a hello, a smile and possibly a hug from 88-year-old Richard Gerth. For more than 22 years as a cast member, Richard has greeted thousands of guests and assisted thousands of brides with wedding photos on their special day.
In a way Richard has become an attraction of his own. As guests make plans to ride Space Mountain, see characters and catch parades and fireworks, they also make plans to stop by and say hi to him. Recently, while standing in the resort lobby with Richard, two generations of one family reflected on all the years they have greeted each other on vacation. After commenting on how their trip to Walt Disney World Resort would not be complete without seeing him, one guest said to me, “Richard is the Grand (Floridian).”
Richard is not only a legacy to the Grand Floridian and to thousands of guests, but also a legacy to The Walt Disney Company. He credits two things for his success, longevity and “I was blessed with a good smile.”