Ray Sidejas, operations manager of custodial guest services at Disneyland Resort, has been keeping “The Happiest Place on Earth” clean for 46 years. His colleagues joke that when asked about retirement, Ray would always say, “I’ll retire in two years.” Then six months or a year later, Ray would give the same response. Evidently, when Ray retired last week, those “two years” finally arrived.
We recently sat down with Ray to talk about his career. It’s obvious when speaking with him that he’s the champion of cleanliness at Disneyland Resort and my guess is Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs is making the same observation in this photo with Ray.
Did you ever see Walt Disney in the park?
Every once in a while I would and I’d think, “That is Walt sitting on a park bench and I’m going to walk right by him.” He would acknowledge the cast and say, “Good morning.” We would all say, “Good morning Mr. Disney,” because we didn’t know what else to say. It’s funny when you saw him on TV you would have an image of him always in a gray suit. To actually see him in a canary yellow sweater and brown trousers was quite surprising.
You received a Walt Disney Legacy award. What do you think your legacy will be at the Disneyland Resort?
Walt always had high standards and would say, “You have to give the guests everything that you can give them – and even surprise them; give them things they don’t expect and you will be successful.” I think my legacy will be continuing that effort.
What is one of your fondest memories from the early years of your Disney career?
Working with Club 55 members. They got their start with Walt Disney and captured his spirit by working closely with him.
Part of the magic of Disneyland is leaving the park late at night, after 60,000 guests have been through the park… And it’s spotless. I love how the park is always so clean all through the day. A huge job well done.
Some people go to Disney b/c of the characters and some b/c of the rides and shows. I love all those things too but I actually go to Disney in large part BECAUSE of the custodial care and customer service!! For those of us who are caregivers to the mentally disabled, life can seem chaotic and unmanageable at times. But when I go to Disney, everything is so clean and orderly that it gives me a sense of calm that I need so that I can go back and help and serve the disabled again. I truly get my batteries recharged at Disney because of the custodial care!! It just good for people psychologically to be in such a clean and beautiful environment. You can’t know what you mean to the caregivers of the world who need to escape to such a tidy little piece of paradise for their nerves and well being. I can not thank you and your department enough.
Congratulations on so many years of service. Each guests can clearly see the amazing and hard work of your role. Enjoy retirement!!
Ray is one of the many reasons why there will only be one Disneyland. Thank you for giving so much to such a magical place that can never quite be matched.
The thing that sets Disneyland apart is how clean and beautiful the park is. Thank you for providing that experience for may guest over the years. I hope you have a wonderful retirement!
One of the things that has always separated Disneyland from the rest of the amusement park pack is its cleanliness. It may be unheralded when its done right, but it’s also truly something that you notice the absence of when it’s not there in other parks. So job well done and on to a deserved retirement.
I love these stories of people who’ve worked in the park for these many years! Congrats Ray! Hope you enjoy retirement! You deserve it.
Back before he was a Skipper, John Lasseter claimed in interviews his first-year Disneyland job was also in custodial, sweeping the streets–Said he loved it; it was a great chance to see all the passersby, and for kids to think he was part of Main Street.
No job, like no actor’s part, is too small 🙂
Thank you for keeping the Park so beautiful and clean Ray!! Your efforts and commitment are treasured and certainly don’t go unnoticed. Happy Retirement!!
Congratulations to Ray! Great job… Enjoy retirement… =) I would LOVE to have the opportunity to work with Disney one day.