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Disneyland Resort Cast Members Grant Nearly $2.2M to Southern California Nonprofits Since 1997

posted on November 21st, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Cast members say that one of the best parts of working for the Disneyland Resort is the encouragement we receive to give back to our communities.

This year, Disneyland Resort cast members granted 85 Southern California nonprofit organizations a total of $415,000 in grants through the Disney VoluntEARS Community Fund (DVCF). That’s nearly $2.2 million since the program’s inception in 1997!

DVCF 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 of their choice. The organizations, from local schools to social service agencies, received up to $5,000 each. Organizations that received a grant this year include American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Club, Make-A-Wish and Sam Dimas Mountain Rescue.

Check out the video below and watch Christine Ludin, a hotels cast member at the Disneyland Resort, present $5,000 to the Southern California Special Olympics!

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Disney VoluntEARS, American Heart Association and Walt Disney Elementary School Build First Teaching Garden in Anaheim

posted on November 7th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


I recently joined my teammates and fellow VoluntEARS, representatives from American Heart Association (AHA) and Walt Disney Elementary School teachers, students and parents to build the first AHA Teaching Garden in Anaheim, Calif., funded by the Disneyland Resort. Developed using AHA science and nutrition guidelines, as well as information shared by gardening and education experts, the garden is a learning laboratory where students plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and, in the process, learn the value of healthy eating.

Some of us built planter boxes and planted herbs and vegetables, while others painted a mural, rocks and trash cans to beautify the garden. In just a few hours, we created a great new space where parents will continue to work alongside teachers and students to sustain the garden for at least three years, with supplies provided by the Disneyland Resort.

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I am so proud to have been a part of this effort and make a difference for the community at Walt Disney Elementary School.



See the posts below for more Disney VoluntEARS events:

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disney Vacation Club Sales Associate

posted on October 8th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


As a Disney Vacation Club Sales Associate, Jose Colon has the opportunity to listen to guests share favorite Disney Parks vacation memories, tell them how Disney Vacation Club could be a part of their next vacation experience and provide assistance to them while visiting the Disneyland Resort. In this “Every Role a Starring Role,” see how Jose shows guests the exciting vacation possibilities that await with Disney Vacation Club.

See more episodes of “Every Role a Starring Role” here:

Raise Funds and Spirits for CHOC Children’s During 24th Annual CHOC Walk at the Disneyland Resort

posted on October 7th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Nothing makes me more proud to be a Disneyland Resort cast member than seeing the positive impact we make in the community, which is why I am excited to invite you to support this year’s CHOC Walk!

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Bright and early on October 12, nearly 15,000 “CHOC Walkers” from throughout the world, including children, family, friends, nurses and doctors who have been impacted by Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children’s), will line Main Street, U.S.A., for the start of the 2014 CHOC “Walk in the Park,” presented by Disneyland Resort. The 5K pediatric walk will take walkers through Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure park and Downtown Disney District – before opening to the public. Last year, the event raised $2.1 million, and since its inception in 1990, has raised more than $22 million.

The Walt Disney Company has a long history of supporting CHOC Children’s, beginning in the early 1960s when Walt Disney helped advocate for a children’s hospital in Orange County, Calif. This relationship has continued to grow, including a $5 million donation from the Disneyland Resort in 2012. As part of that gift, Walt Disney Imagineering brought the world of “Finding Nemo” to life in the CHOC Children’s second-floor lobby with an experience that includes the interactive “Turtle Talk with Crush” show – just like the one in Disney California Adventure park – a mural and 180-foot-wide mobile!

Even if you can’t attend the event in person, you may register as a “Sleeping Bear” and donate through October 31. To register to walk, visit www.chocwalk.org. Registration closes at 3 p.m. PDT on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District

Disneyland Resort Cast Members Help Make Cinderella’s Crystal Coach Accessible to Guests with Mobility Disabilities

posted on September 12th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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Oregon couple Larry and Kelcie Ragsdale had the wedding of their dreams at the Disneyland Resort last week. The young couple’s lives changed in an instant when Larry’s car was hit by a drunk driver the night he was going to propose to Kelcie. He survived the crash but was left with severe head trauma that requires him to use a wheelchair. Thanks to their generous community, the couple was wed in a beautiful Disney Fairytale Wedding. The bride- and groom-to-be were transported like royalty to the ceremony in Cinderella’s crystal coach, thanks in part to the cast members who make up the CastABLE diversity resource group (DRG).

As you may have read in a recent Disney Parks Blog post about our military DRG, SALUTE, these groups serve as resources to the company and our cast by sharing the unique perspectives and contributions that diverse communities can offer. Cast members in CastABLE often work with Disney designers and technicians to ensure accessibility for guests with mobility disabilities. These cast members also worked with the Disneyland Resort Entertainment, Safety and Disney Fairytale Weddings teams to customize Cinderella’s crystal coach to allow for a portable lift system to transfer a person with mobility disabilities into the coach.

The team not only looked at safety requirements with the design of the ramp, transference and familiarization with the horses drawing the carriage, but also focused on staging the coach and beautifying the railings to ensure that the experience adds to each couple’s special day.

“They had already done a really good job of modifying the coach,” said CastABLE’s Michelle Beausoliel-Smith, part of the testing team. “We helped them better understand how a person with mobility issues would use the system. It is truly gratifying as a cast member and to be able to participate in those feedback sessions, and know that in a small way I’ve helped someone’s wedding dream come true.”

Larry and Kelcie Ragsdale Have the Wedding of their Dreams at the Disneyland Resort Larry and Kelcie Ragsdale Have the Wedding of their Dreams at the Disneyland Resort
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Every Role a Starring Role – runDisney Event Manager

posted on September 11th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


From helping with the initial course design to ensuring every last race day detail is in place, runDisney event manager Shannon Abeyta and her team work year-round to ensure “every mile is magic” during Disneyland Resort race weekends. See how Shannon’s work came to fruition during the 9th annual Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend in this episode of “Every Role a Starring Role”!


For more from the “Every Role a Starring Role” series, check out the posts below:

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KaBOOM! Play Together Tour Powered by Disney Parks Kicks Off in Anaheim This Weekend – Coming to Cities Across the U.S.

posted on August 12th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


From coast to coast and points in between, the KaBOOM! Play Together Tour Powered by Disney Parks will travel to six cities across America to inspire fun-filled family play! This free event kicks off in Anaheim, California this weekend and is the perfect opportunity for families to connect and spend meaningful time together.

Just last week, I had the chance to watch a few of my fellow cast members and their families test this unique experience. It was great to see them take on the playful obstacle course – from creating team flags that represented their families’ personalities and then raising them when they completed the course in the spirit of family pride, to building a tunnel they could all climb through to the next obstacle and solving a tricky puzzle – they worked together and had fun.

Check out the video below to see some of the families in action!

I hope you have a chance to join in and play with your family at one of the stops below. To reserve your time slot visit kaboom.org/playtogether or register on-site the day of the event. The dates and locations of each tour stop are:

  • Anaheim - Center Street Promenade, Saturday & Sunday, August 16-17
  • Sacramento - Adjacent to State Capitol Bldg., Wednesday, August 20
  • San Francisco – Marina Middle School, Saturday & Sunday, August 23-24
  • Chicago - Lincoln Park, Grove 2, Saturday & Sunday, August 30-31
  • Atlanta - Old 4th Ward Skate Park, Saturday & Sunday, September 6-7
  • Kissimmee, FL – Mill Run Park, Saturday & Sunday, September 13-14
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Every Role a Starring Role — Disney University Traditions Assistant

posted on August 7th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


When attractions cast member Alyson Clancy isn’t sending guests on adventures in Frontierland or Adventureland, she welcomes new cast members to the Disneyland Resort as a Disney University Traditions Assistant. In this role, Alyson teaches the Traditions course, our version of first day orientation. See how Alyson inspires new cast to create happiness and bring magic to our guests in this episode of “Every Role a Starring Role”!

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The All-American College Band Returns for the Summer at Disneyland Resort

posted on July 22nd, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Now in its 44th year at the Disneyland Resort, the fan-favorite All-American College Band is back to entertain guests with their signature dance moves and memorable tunes, including Disney favorites like “Under the Sea” and the latest hit, “Let it Go.” The All-American College Band, composed of college students from across the country who have competed for a coveted spot, provides a hands-on music education experience that prepares them for careers in the music industry.

This summer, the students are joined by a series of successful music mentors, such as Sal Lozano, a band alumnus who played for hit TV shows such as “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol.” The current program is directed by former band member Dr. Ron McCurdy, who teaches jazz at USC’s Thornton School of Music.

If you haven’t yet experienced the energy the All-American College Band brings to the Disneyland Resort – you’ll want to make sure you check them out. Below is a video highlighting the Band’s 40th anniversary celebration – take a look!

The band plays at Disneyland Resort Tuesdays through Saturdays until August 15:

  • 1:50 p.m. – Hollywood Backlot Stage, Disney California Adventure park
  • 4:30 p.m. – Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland park
  • 5:10 p.m. – Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A., Disneyland park
  • 6:00 p.m. – Main Street, U.S.A., Disneyland park
  • 7:15 p.m. – Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A., Disneyland park

(Times and locations subject to change.)

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Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort SALUTE Military Cast Members With New Diversity Resource Group

posted on July 11th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Hello, I’m Melanie! My colleague Kevin Rafferty, Jr., who has brought you “Every Role a Starring Role” for the last few years, is on a special assignment and has temporarily passed me the baton to bring you Disneyland Resort cast and community news. One of my favorite experiences as a Disneyland Resort cast member is watching Main Street, U.S.A. don its iconic red, white and blue décor each summer, offering a month-long celebration of our nation and those who defend our freedom.

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This July is especially momentous for cast members with connections to the military as SALUTE, a new diversity resource group, officially launched yesterday at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts with patriotic ceremonies on both coasts. Cast members participating in SALUTE will help provide a military perspective that will enhance the cast and guest experience.

SALUTE is an extension of Disney’s longstanding support of the armed forces, which dates back to Walt Disney’s service in the Ambulance Corps during World War I and his brother Roy’s service as a petty officer in the Navy.

SALUTE is the sixth diversity resource group at Disneyland Resort and the seventh for Walt Disney World Resort. These groups serve as resources to the company and our cast by sharing the unique perspectives and contributions that diverse communities can offer.

Additional diversity resource groups on both coasts include:

  • CastABLE: Promoting respect, equality and an appreciation of people with disabilities.
  • COMPASS (Community of Pacific Islanders, Asians and Allies): Enhancing cast, guest and community relations through Asian and Pacific Islander cultural awareness and business practices.
  • FAMILIES: Focusing on family-related interests. (Walt Disney World Resort only.)
  • HOLA (Hispanic Organization for Leadership Advancement): Promoting Hispanic/Latino heritage and cultural exchange.
  • PRIDE (People Respecting Individual Diversities in Everyone): Serving gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender cast members by providing resources, learning opportunities and a supportive network.
  • PULSE (People United to Lead, Serve and Excel): Developing cultural, educational and professional opportunities for cast members of African heritage.
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    Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort