More Behind the Scenes Stories

Meet the Animal Experts at Disneyland Resort

Betsy Villalobos

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

Did you know that behind the Rivers of America lies a five-acre ranch where all of the animals you see at Disneyland park live? We call it Circle D and it’s been in business since 1954, when it was set up to begin training horses for the Main Street, U.S.A. carriages you still see at the park today.

This month, we’d like to introduce you to our animal experts who devote their time to making sure that our animals are happy, safe and well. Meet Maggie Gitchen and Gina Mayberry, our ranch managers, both of whom have called Disneyland park home for many years and have incredible stories to tell about the history of Circle D and Disneyland park. Check out the video below to hear from our very own animal whisperers.


  • Hands down my dream job since I was a little girl!

  • Thanks for the great video!

  • As a “horse person” this video was really cool!

  • As I as watching the video it brought back so many memories. I remember riding on the stagecoach and riding the burros. It was great. I still enjoy and always will being able to go to the Circle D to see the animals.

  • Riding the Horse-Drawn Streetcar and visiting Big Thunder Ranch are regular parts of my visits to Disneyland. I’ve come to know many of the cast members who work there and I really appreciate Disneyland spotlighting them. They are truly special people working with truly special animals. Yay for the Circle D!

  • This is my dream job! If I lived in LA I would totally try to get a job working at the Circle D.

  • I absolutely love the goats! Its one of my favorite things to do at Disneyland!!

  • How do I get this job?!

  • How do I get this job?!

  • I love Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch petting farm! The goats are hilarious to hang out with.

    But my favorite thing at the petting farm is at Christmas when they bring in Santa’s real live reindeer down from the north pole. Unlike the chatty and perky goats, the reindeer are very quiet and rather noble. Bravo to Disneyland for keeping live animals on display in Frontierland, aside from the gorgeous horses at work on Main Street USA.

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