Meet the ‘Club 55ers’

Betsy Villalobos

by , Senior Manager, External Communications, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products

Few people can say they worked with Walt Disney when he was launching his dream of Disneyland park. Those cast members have a special bond, and on July 17 a group of them known as “Club 55ers” joined the Resort’s 55th anniversary celebration.

Club 55 was officially founded in 1970 by Van France, a former manager of Disney University. The chief qualification for membership? A paycheck from Walt Disney dated 1955.

Over the years, club members have held reunions to share experiences and stay connected. Each Club 55er has a unique connection to the Disneyland Resort and personal memories of Walt Disney. Club 55 includes past Disneyland Resort leaders such as Jack Lindquist and Ron Dominguez, and entertainers Bill Sullivan and Wally Boag. The club currently is composed of approximately 20 members, and some were working at Disneyland park on opening day.

In the video below, the following club members share their personal Disney journeys.

  • Ron Dominguez, former Executive Vice President, Walt Disney Attractions
  • Bob Penfield, former Disneyland Project Manager
  • Marty Sklar, former Executive Vice President and Disney Imagineering Ambassador


  • Great to see the history makers and hear their stories! So when is the “Disney History Makers” double disk DVD going to come out?

  • in my opinion the best video and most likely the best piece ive seen on this blog!!!

  • Does this meanm that Jack Taylor is no longer with us? I loved working with him in merchandise on Main Street in the mid-80s

  • That was such a sweet video <3

  • Hey: I worked at Disneyland for 23 years. I know Bob and Ron personally. Bob and I worked together on many projects including Toyko Disneyland. These three gentlman are the greatest that Disney ever had. I wish them well and good health. It was good to see them on the video. I miss that place alot and have lots of good memories.

  • My Grandfather was a Club 55 Member. He was in the Original Disneyland Marching Band. I have all of his things from 1955 as well his Club 55 Ring. Which Only Members have from 1955! One of the most personal items I have is his Original Disneyland Brass name tag.

    My mother work in Disneyland in the 1960’s over at Hills Brothers Coffee. (which is now Disney Showcase) I was a third generation Cast Member. I was the opening crew for 50th Anniversary on the Disneyland Railroad. July 17, 2005.

    I hope someday my children will be there for the 100th Anniversary of Disneyland.

  • Those guys were so fortunate to have been at the right place at the right time. And it’s obvious from the video they know and appreciate that fact.

  • Mary from Santa Barbara, CA…

    WOW!!! What a magically story….It brought tears to my eyes!!!
    (former Cast Member at the Disney Store 1996-1999)

  • Nice video. We all owe a lot of thanks to these original folks as well as the new cast members who do their best to make the parks magic.
    I grew up down there too and loved going to Disneyland every time that my brother and I could beg our parents to take us there. I still go as often as possible because of the wonderful cast members and ambiance in the park.

  • After seeing this video, it makes me proud to be a Cast Member and work for such a wonderful company that cares about its Club 55ers and all Cast Members (as mentioned in the video). That window on Main Street, U.S.A. dedicated to all Cast Members makes me smile 😀

  • Very nice..

    This is the kind of behind the scene news that is great to see on the blog.

  • That was such a cool video. Can’t wait to visit in August. 🙂

  • Wow! Disneyland has always had an extra little sparkle and mysterious charm that the other Disney Parks don’t quite have, and now we know why! Thank you for such an amazing Disneyland video!!!

  • This is the reason why I want to work there, I want to be a part of helping create the magic 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing this video.

    I’m glad to see DLR management acknowledge and honor the members of Club 55. These people were there from the start and laid the foundation upon which all Disney Parks have been built upon.

    Congrats and a big “thank you” to all the Club 55ers!!!

  • I grew up in So. CA. My parent lived on the same bock as Disney Land is before I was born.

    I had the pleasure of visiting the original Disney Land Park in the late 1960s and again in 1971. The experience was just awesome.

    I had the pleasure of visiting Disney Wold Park in the early 1970’s and it was spectacular.

  • That was a great video. 🙂

  • WOW, what a great story! I really enjoy the history lessons and the people involved.

    Thank you

  • Great Video, The cast members are what make Disneyland the greatest place on earth.

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