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.”
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:
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
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”!
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.)
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.
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.