Disneyland Monorail

Welcome to the Plaza Inn at Disneyland Park

posted on February 4th, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


When I think of the Plaza Inn on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland park, I can virtually smell the fried chicken … yum! However, there’s so much more to this iconic restaurant if you take the time to look around when you stop in. The video below features Steve Valkenburg, who has had the pleasure of working there for more than 30 years, along with historical footage of Walt Disney describing what would eventually become one of his favorite restaurants in Disneyland.

What’s your favorite feature at the Plaza Inn?

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Filed: Cast Member Profiles, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Disney Cast Members Create An ‘Extreme Village Makeover’ for Give Kids the World

posted on January 24th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Earlier today, a group of our Walt Disney World Resort cast members were featured on “Good Morning America” helping to create an amazing magical moment for Give Kids the World, a local nonprofit that has provided vacation experiences for thousands of children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Disney Cast Members Create An ‘Extreme Village Makeover’ for Give Kids the World

Shouting “Move that bus!” dozens of cast members helped unveil a Give Kids the World “Extreme Village Makeover” on live TV. For this one-of-a-kind project, Disney cast members dedicated countless hours to redesign and renovate the building. This beautifully re-imagined space features a registration area and lounge, as well as a floor-to-ceiling inspirational mural created with hundreds of photos of personal moments between volunteers and families.

The Walt Disney World Resort and its cast members have been involved with Give Kids the World for more than 25 years, with the resort donating theme park tickets or providing Disney character entertainment, and cast members volunteering their time through the Disney VoluntEARS program.

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Chef de Cuisine Bill Orton

posted on January 23rd, 2014 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Chef de Cuisine Bill Orton oversees culinary training, chef recruiting and special dietary programs at the Disneyland Resort, including a new Culinary Apprentice Program he helped develop!

As the first three cast members selected for the program, Chefs Albert Esparza, Joanna Aguayo and Sean Harper are about two months into their six-month journey to become certified culinarians with the American Culinary Federation, learning culinary skills at a different Disneyland Resort dining location every two weeks.

The three chefs will learn how to create everything from pasta with clams at Wine Country Trattoria to fried pickles at Carnation Café, and also will spend a week at an outdoor vending location. Chef Bill explains more about the program and his role in this “Every Role a Starring Role!

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Silhouette Artist

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


In 1974, Harry Brice, a former artist at the Silhouette Studio in Disneyland park, said, “Anyone can cut a silhouette, but it takes practice to capture a good likeness of a particular subject – that’s what makes producing silhouettes an art.” At the time, it was estimated that Harry was “the fastest snip in the West.”

Today, cast member Bonnie Elliott, who worked with Harry, and a select few silhouette artists in Disneyland park carry on the rare trade and create one-of-a-kind keepsakes for our guests. In fact, Bonnie can cut up to nine profiles in a single portrait! Watch Bonnie in action in this “Every Role a Starring Role!

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Every Role a Starring Role – ‘World of Color’ Stage Manager at the Disneyland Resort

posted on November 27th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort cast member Adeena Welle oversees the daily operation of “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure park as its stage manager. Part of the show’s original programming team, Adeena has one foot in the creation of the show and one foot in the operation – getting to run it and maintain it for our guests. In this “Every Role a Starring Role,” Adeena explains her responsibilities and gives us a peek into the wonderful world of stage management!

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Celebrating ‘Artists Among Us’ at the Disneyland Resort

posted on November 14th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort cast members bring the magic of storytelling to life for our guests every day, but their creativity doesn’t end there. In fact, many cast members put their talent and energy into creating unique and extraordinary art! Recently, the Disneyland Resort Line, our publication for cast members, put out a call for original artwork that reflects what cast members love most about the Disneyland Resort.

Nearly 75 submissions were received, ranging from acrylic paintings and cartoon sketches to shadow boxes and hand-woven baskets. Here is how some of the “artists among us” expressed their visions of the Disneyland Resort!

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John Agnew, Attractions
John’s acrylic painting was selected for the cover of the Disneyland Resort Line. John explains that the couple riding King Arthur Carrousel is modeled after him and his wife. As they catch their reflection in the mirror, they are seen in their younger years. John says, “What I love about the park is that it is timeless … in your heart, you never change age.”

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Reuben Jackson, Food & Beverage
Reuben used a stylus and tablet to create this submission inspired by his father, who recently passed away. Reuben says, “May 29, 2013 was the last day I saw my father, and we spent the day here at Disneyland. My illustration depicts family, love and that priceless memory you get with loved ones when visiting ‘The Happiest Place on Earth.’”

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Kat Valencia, Food & Beverage
Kat draws inspiration from Disney artists Marc Davis and Mary Blair, as well as her two favorite attractions, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. Kat aspires to one day develop storyboards for Walt Disney Studios. She says, “I remember growing up watching Disney [animated] films and thinking ‘That’s so cool, I want to do that!’”

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Michael Laverty, Merchandise Planning
A self-taught artist, Mike has been perfecting his woodworking skills for 15 years, creating such items as desktop clocks shaped like watches – featuring Disney characters. He says he uses his art to relax, while also spreading joy to others. “I just hope they walk away with a smile,” he said.

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Bob Rhodes, Food & Beverage
Bob created this clock inspired by the evil queen’s magic mirror on the wall. He said, “Our family loves ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’ the Arribas Bros. glass shop, and the old clock shop that used to be on Main Street, U.S.A. Coming to Disneyland with my family gave me the inspiration to be an artist.”

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Tour Guide

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


Ever wonder how trick-or-treating originated or where the Jack O’ Lantern came from? Just ask Disneyland Resort tour guide Josh Salas, who stars in this Halloween Time installment of “Every Role a Starring Role” featuring the “Disney’s Happiest Haunts” Tour!



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

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Checking In With the 2013-2014 Walt Disney World Ambassador Team

posted on September 23rd, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Ty Arnold Assisting with the Animal Programs Team at Disney's Animal Kingdom

My fellow Disney Parks Blog author Erin Glover recently shared an interview with the Disney Parks Ambassadors from around the world. Being a former Walt Disney World Ambassador, I enjoyed reading about their experiences as it reminds of my time serving in one of the most amazing roles at Disney. I recently caught up with 2013-2014 Walt Disney World Ambassadors, Tye Arnold and Rich Tamayo, to hear about how their first year has progressed.

Rich Tamayo with 25 Year Cast Member, Berbino

What is one word that describes your experience as a Disney Ambassador so far this year?

Tye: I would say, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” I couldn’t think of just any ordinary word to sum up this role of a lifetime. We’ve met many interesting and talented people, and love sharing those interactions with others. Just recently, we saw a tiger at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park have a dental procedure done by the talented Animal Programs team. That was an amazing thing to see!

Rich: I choose ‘humbling.’ As Ambassadors, we celebrate our cast members’ various achievements. For our first service anniversary celebration earlier this year, I recall meeting Berbino who was celebrating his 25th year with Disney. Tye asked him about his career history, and we thought his response would include a long list of locations where he worked. Much to our surprise, Berbino had spent all 25 years as a steward at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. He was an instant celebrity to us.

The Walt Disney World Ambassador Team Worked with KABOOM! to Build a Playground

The Walt Disney Company celebrated 30 years of the Disney VoluntEARS program this past May. What has been your favorite volunteer experience this year?

Tye: One of my most memorable VoluntEAR moments was helping build a playground in a partnership with the KABOOM! organization. Along with cast members from all areas of the Resort, we built a playground in less than six hours for a local community! While it was a lot of work, the sense of pride after seeing the finished product will remain with me for a lifetime.

Rich: I loved visiting the Walt Disney World Boys and Girls Club in Pine Hills outside Orlando, Florida. During our visit, we learned how this club positively impacts the lives of the children it serves. We had a great time with the kids making crafts, helping them with homework and playing games.

Checking In With the 2013-2014 Walt Disney World Ambassador Team

What has been the most surprising part of your role as a Disney Ambassador?

Tye: The most surprising part of being a Disney Ambassador was the tremendous honor I felt from the moment I first wore the Ambassador pin. While Rich and I may serve in an official capacity, we know that each and every cast member represents the legacy of Walt Disney every day.

Rich: I was surprised by the number of cast members who have worked for Disney for 25 or more years. These special cast members paved the way for the rest of us, and are a big reason why guests enjoy visiting Walt Disney World Resort year after year.

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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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