Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

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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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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New Chef at Disney’s PCH Grill at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel Spices Up Menu

posted on August 12th, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


After a few years working with catering, Mark Buan is excited to be back in a restaurant kitchen at Disney’s PCH Grill at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel at the Disneyland Resort.
“New

“I love trying something different, and sharing discoveries with a team,” says Chef Mark. In his first two months at Disney’s PCH Grill he’s not reinventing the menu, but he’s added a new favorite: the PCH Mesa Burger – a 1/3-pound Angus burger topped with Pepper Jack cheese, roasted Anaheim chili, barbecue sauce and an onion ring, served on a hefty pretzel roll.
“PCH

The California native says he’s also hoping to add more seasonal dishes to the menu, and describes his culinary style as “melting pot.” He loves the idea of taking a childhood favorite and serving it with a modern twist “to trigger great childhood memories.”

Watch for new dishes on the PCH menu as Chef Mark settles in. Meantime, we asked him five fun questions:

  1. What are some of your favorite dishes to prepare? Simple Filipino dishes such as chicken adobo. And tacos, with everything made from scratch, from the taco shells to the beef to the salsa. Also anything sautéed; I just love the action of using a sauté pan.
  2. Favorite spice? Toss-up between cumin and paprika.
  3. You run a restaurant, but what do you cook for your family? Meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes.
  4. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be and why? A doctor. My mom was a doctor; I would like to have followed in her footsteps.
  5. Your secret culinary indulgence? Bacon is good with anything!
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Q&A With Disney Parks Ambassadors at D23 Expo 2013

posted on August 11th, 2013 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


This afternoon, Disney Parks Ambassadors from around the world spoke at the D23 Expo 2013, produced by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, at the Anaheim Convention Center. Before they took the stage, we had the chance to ask a few questions of current Disney Parks Ambassadors Sachiko White, Megan Navarette, Antonella Giallombardo, Jonathan Rabeute, and Tye Arnold about the history of the program and their own experiences as Ambassadors.

Disney Parks Ambassadors at D23 Expo 2013

What inspired you to become a Disney Ambassador?

Tye: After becoming a leader in the company and seeing the impact I could have in my local area, I thought being a Walt Disney World Ambassador would give me an even greater platform to recognize our cast members and to share the amazing stories from our guest experiences.

Sachiko: I saw it as an opportunity to serve, learn more about, and sing the praises of a company that has been extremely good to me, while learning new skills and applying existing ones in new and interesting ways.

What has been your favorite project so far in your term?

Jonathan: I’ll always cherish the magical moment that was to meet and interview Disney Legend Alan Menken when he came to Paris … he played and sang “Be Our Guest” for the two of us. Truly magical!

Megan: It’s really difficult to pick a favorite as each event is special for its own reasons, but the events that have stood out include hospital visits with Mickey Mouse, the Walt Disney Legacy Awards reception and building a playground with KaBOOM. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities this role presents, and constantly pinch myself as if I am dreaming.

Antonella: We’ve had the opportunity to spend shadowing days with our fellow cast members (I love these moments because we can meet people, know more about their passion and talent and of course their jobs!), to give classes about Walt Disney’s life and career, to perpetuate Disney values to our local communities along with the Disney VoluntEARS, and to interview people such as Dr. Jane Goodall.

With the 50th anniversary of the program approaching, what is the most interesting piece of Disney Ambassador history you’ve learned?

Tye: Having spent time with Debby Dane-Brown, our first Walt Disney World Ambassador, I’ve heard great stories about the expectations of her role back in 1971. She shared with our team about the time she had an appearance on the TV show “To Tell the Truth.” The show had a panel of celebrity judges that had to distinguish which person out of a group of three was telling the truth about the real Debby Dane (Brown). Debby walked out and said “Hello, I’m Debby Dane (Brown) and I am the 1971 Walt Disney World Ambassador.” Then a second young lady came out and said the same thing, and then a third. She shared fun memories of this appearance as it was a way that the country learned more about this new “Disneyland of the East.”

Megan: I love the story of the beginnings of the Ambassador program. There were so many exciting and significant things happening at the company with the release of “Mary Poppins,” the tenth anniversary of Disneyland and the New York World’s Fair – it would have been fun to be a part of it all.

What does it mean to you to be part of the legacy of the Disney Ambassador program?

Jonathan: It is a great honor being part of a legacy that Walt Disney initiated himself. It’s a dream come true that we are living every day of this experience.

Antonella: I feel extremely honored and lucky to be a Disney Ambassador. I grew up watching Disney cartoons on television. When I started working at Disneyland park 7 years ago, I was proud to be a cast member and to share the Disney values with our guests. Today, when I see our guests’ reactions when they ride an attraction or watch our nighttime show, “Disney Dreams!,” with tears in their eyes, I can’t stop thinking that all this started with a man and his dream of amusement park. Thanks to all the cast members, Walt Disney’s legacy is perpetuated all around the world.

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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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Every Role a Starring Role – Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room Hostess at Disneyland Park

posted on June 25th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room debuted as an engineering marvel featuring a musical journey to the South Seas. Today, the attraction continues to enchant guests and instill pride in the cast members who work there, like Enchanted Tiki Room Hostess Em Hantke. In this “Every Role a Starring Role,” Em talks about her duties and passion for a place where birds still sing and flowers still croon – 50 years later!

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disney PhotoPass Photographer at the Disneyland Resort

posted on May 30th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


In this “Every Role a Starring Role,” we’ll zoom in on Disney PhotoPass Photographer Savina Hernandez, who is on the other side of the lens to talk about Disney PhotoPass Service and her experience capturing guest memories at the Disneyland Resort!

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Horticulture Planner

posted on April 30th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Earth Month may be wrapping up, but keeping the Disneyland Resort landscape fresh and maintained is a year-round operation! In this installment of “Every Role a Starring Role,” cast member Greg Vierkant explains how he helps every inch of Disneyland Resort horticulture look “show ready” through careful planning!

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Every Role a Starring Role – Radiator Springs Racers Electrician at the Disneyland Resort

posted on March 29th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Radiator Springs Racers recently embarked on its millionth trip through Radiator Springs, thanks in part to cast members like Joe Shanahan, who helps maintain the ride vehicles. Hear from Joe about his role as an electrician for the attraction in this installment of “Every Role a Starring Role!

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Main Street Opera House Host

posted on February 18th, 2013 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort cast member Nick De Prez spends more time than most with the Great Emancipator, President Abraham Lincoln, as a Main Street Opera House Host. Hear from Nick about his role in The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, a historic landmark in the development of Audio-Animatronics technology, in this Presidents’ Day installment of “Every Role a Starring Role!”

 
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