Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park

Disneyland Resort Cast Members Grant $820,000 to Southern California Nonprofits

posted on September 23rd, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort cast members are giving 114 Southern California nonprofit organizations a total of $820,000 in grants through the Disney VoluntEARS Community Fund!

The program is funded entirely by cast members through regular payroll deductions or one-time donations. Those who contribute during the year have the opportunity to nominate an organization for a grant up to $5,000.

This year, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Disney VoluntEARS, 10 of those organizations each received an additional $25,000, including the Esperanza Entertainment Unit at Esperanza High School in Anaheim. See their reaction in this video!

Other organizations that received the special $30,000 grants include:

  • Beckstrand Cancer Association, Newport Beach
  • Boys and Girls Club of Tustin, Tustin
  • California Women’s Recovery/The Lynn House, Costa Mesa
  • The Children’s Bureau of Southern California, Huntington Beach
  • Ontario USO, Ontariov
  • Orange County Educational Arts Academy, Santa Ana
  • Orange County High School of the Arts, Santa Ana
  • Rancho Los Amigos Foundation, Downey
  • San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team, San Dimas

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Every Role a Starring Role – Carthay Circle Restaurant Hostess at the Disneyland Resort

posted on September 19th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Sara Curtis has a starring role as the first cast member guests encounter when they enter the Golden Age of Hollywood at the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge. Among her duties is hosting a new daily tour of the restaurant’s landmark building and its décor, telling the story of the relationship of the Carthay Circle Theatre to The Walt Disney Company. See how Sara helps evoke the grand elegance of a classic movie premiere in this “Every Role a Starring Role!”

Check out these posts for more “Every Role a Starring Role”:

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Disneyland Resort Cast Members Celebrate Milestone Service Anniversaries

posted on September 17th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Walt Disney once said it takes people to make the dream a reality. Recently, the Disneyland Resort treated cast members who have dedicated 10 years of service to the Disneyland Resort and every five-year milestone anniversary thereafter to an evening of special entertainment, food offerings and exclusive access to attractions in Adventureland, Frontierland and New Orleans Square, hosted by Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier.
Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier and Cast Member Mark Taul at Celebration of Cast Member Milestone Service Anniversaries

The Disney Parks Blog caught up with cast member Mark Taul at the event, who was celebrating his 45th service anniversary and is a recently named recipient of The Walt Disney Legacy Award, the highest honor cast members, crew members and Imagineers can achieve at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The award recognizes cast members who consistently inspire others, go out of their way to create happiness for guests and team members, and find new ways to deliver Disney magic. Each recipient is nominated and selected by leaders and peers and receives a signature blue name tag allowing them to be recognized on an ongoing basis.

When did you start working at the Disneyland Resort?
I started working at Casa de Fritos in Disneyland park during the holiday season in 1967. Currently I am a food and beverage operations manager.

Is there a particular memory that stands out over your 45-year career?
I would have to say meeting my wife, Sandra, at Casa de Fritos. We have been married for 39 years and have three lovely adult children. My two daughters work at the Disneyland Resort.

What was your favorite part of the service anniversary celebration?
If I only had one favorite I wouldn’t be doing the celebration justice. What really stood out to me was the chance to meet my fellow cast members’ spouses and partners. The food was over the top and having a reception at the Blue Bayou Restaurant for the 40- and 45-year cast members really made me feel special.

What was your reaction to receiving The Walt Disney Legacy Award?
Anyone who knows me knows that I like to talk, so several colleagues pointed out that I was speechless after receiving the award. With only 75 new recipients at the Disneyland Resort out of 25,000 cast members, it makes me stand a little taller when I come to work!

Did you always want to work at the Disneyland Resort?
I only intended to work at the Disneyland Resort as a way to get through school. However, I realized that I wanted to work at a place where the whole goal is to make people happy, so 45 years later, I am still enjoying it as much as ever. Thanks, Walt!

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Disneyland Resort, Wyland Help Launch Adopt A Channel Program

posted on September 13th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort, Wyland Help Launch Adopt A Channel Program

At the Disneyland Resort and throughout our parks and resorts worldwide, it is important to us to find new ways to sustain our environment and conserve our natural resources. That’s why earlier this week, Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier and Director of Environmental Affairs Frank Dela Vara joined Marine Life Artist Wyland and Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach to help unveil Adopt A Channel, a new, countywide program that promotes environmental stewardship to keep our waterways clean!

Throughout Orange County, Calif., more than 350 miles of regional flood control channels provide a vital service of protecting life and property from flooding hazards. Unfortunately, these channels collect trash, debris and other pollutants, which, if not removed, end up in the Pacific Ocean.

Over the last year, the Disneyland Resort piloted the program, adopting a two-mile section of the Anaheim-Barber City Channel that flows west of the Disneyland Resort to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. To date, nearly 600 pounds of trash and 12,000 square feet of graffiti have been removed.

OC Public Works is now expanding Adopt A Channel countywide to give other organizations and individuals an opportunity to Adopt A Channel in Orange County and keep our ocean healthy!

Watch this video and visit http://ocwatersheds.com/programs/waterways/adopt_a_channel to learn more.

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Disneyland Resort Honors Medal of Honor Recipient Jay R. Vargas

posted on August 28th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort Honors Medal of Honor Recipient Jay R. Vargas

During the daily flag retreat ceremony at Disneyland park earlier this week, the Disneyland Resort honored retired Marine Col. Jay R. Vargas, who received the Medal of Honor from President Nixon in 1970 for his actions during the Vietnam War. The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor a service member can achieve in the U.S. Armed Forces. There currently are only 79 living recipients.
Disneyland Resort Honors Medal of Honor Recipient Jay R. Vargas

Vargas and his family drove down Main Street, U.S.A., in the Main Street Fire Engine before being led by the Disneyland Band into Town Square, where the colors were retired in honor of all members of the military.
Disneyland Resort Honors Medal of Honor Recipient Jay R. Vargas

Vargas and his wife, Dottie, spent their honeymoon at the Disneyland Resort and were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary! Have you seen or been a part of the flag retreat ceremony lately?


Read on for more posts about Disney Parks and military veterans:

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Band Conductor Art Dragon

posted on August 22nd, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Earlier this year, I told you about the 30th anniversary of the music education concerts that the Disneyland Band performs annually for Orange County second-graders.

Throughout that time, Disneyland Resort cast member Art Dragon has been a member of the Disneyland Band, serving as conductor the past two decades. In this “Every Role a Starring Role,” Art talks about his role conducting 15 talented musicians who perform more than 1,000 concerts at the Disneyland Resort every year!

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Disneyland Resort Canoe Races Celebrate 50 Years of Cast Camaraderie

posted on August 7th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


This summer, 80 teams of Disneyland Resort cast members raced around the Rivers of America during one of the oldest and most beloved cast traditions: the Disneyland Resort Canoe Races.

Cast Members, Imagineers, and Employees of The Walt Disney Company Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Disneyland Resort Canoe Races

Now in their 50th year, the canoe races began in 1963 when Ray Van De Warker, foreman of the Indian War Canoes attraction, observed a guest canoe filled with athletes charging around the Rivers of America. Ray and Jungle Cruise foreman Bob Penfield debated how fast their teams could get around the river and a challenge was set forth between the Frontierland cast and Adventureland cast. That summer ignited a cast tradition that has spread to the Walt Disney World Resort, Toyko Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Joins the Canoe Races Tradition

“I had no idea the races would ever be this successful … they’re world famous now,” said Penfield, who is retired after more than for 42 years with the Disneyland Resort. “The camaraderie and teamwork that forms from participating in races is outstanding and leads to a lot of great memories and friendships.”

Cast Members, Imagineers, and Employees of The Walt Disney Company Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Disneyland Resort Canoe Races

Cast members, Imagineers and employees from all over The Walt Disney Company participate in three divisions: Men, Women and Coed. This year’s champions crossed the finish line this morning before Disneyland park opened. Congratulations team OAR Lords (3:57), team DC Anchor Ladies (4:26) and team United (4:12) for winning the 50th annual Disneyland Resort Canoe Races!

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Every Role a Starring Role – Mark Twain Riverboat Captain at the Disneyland Resort

posted on July 26th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


I love the scenic views of Disneyland park from the decks of the Mark Twain Riverboat. My favorite view is of the Disneyland Railroad chugging next to the “Twain” as they align with each other along the Rivers of America and whistle hello. Of course, the cast member and guests with the highest vantage point are those in the wheelhouse, like Mark Twain Riverboat Captain Jen Holst, who talks about her duties in this “Every Role a Starring Role!”

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Then & Now: Celebrating 58 Years at the Disneyland Resort, Part 3

posted on July 17th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Rounding out our three-part “Then & Now” series celebrating the 58th anniversary of the Disneyland Resort is this image of a Tom Sawyer Island River Raft journeying across the Rivers of America.
“Then

Then: Cast member Karen Marshall waves to guests in 1987.

Now: Karen Marshall, guest experience services, chats with Kevin Concepcion, Pirates Lair Rafts lead. Karen, who has worked at the Disneyland Resort since 1972, said, “I have many great memories from when I started working at Disneyland park so many years ago. Back then, I never could have imagined all of the changes that have taken place. It has been so much fun watching the Disneyland Resort grow and offer more amazing experiences for our guests to enjoy.”

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Then & Now: Celebrating 58 Years at the Disneyland Resort, Part 2

posted on July 15th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Continuing our three-part “Then & Now” series celebrating the 58th anniversary of the Disneyland Resort is this image of the Jungle Cruise.
“Then

Then: A Jungle Cruise skipper unloads a boat in 1965.

Now: Jungle Cruise Skipper Randy Grant carries out the same duty. “I’m enough of a dreamer that I understand the concept Walt had for the park,” Randy said. “I think he would be pleased that the Disneyland Resort is still growing. It proves his idea and his dream correct, that this is a place where people can be a kid no matter what age they are.”

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