More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Magic Kingdom Park Cast Member Moves, Shakes and Celebrates; Main Street, U.S.A., Hostess Makes Guests Smile and Loses 60 Pounds in the Process

Walt Disney’s spirit of showbiz and entertainment extends far beyond a specific job classification at Disney Parks. When he created Disneyland Resort, Walt wanted everyone working there to entertain guests no matter what their day-to-day duties were. And to this day, we are called “cast members” instead of “employees”; we each have a “role in the show” rather than a “job.”

In fact, when he famously said, “You can dream, create, plan and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality,” Walt was describing that foundation. It was part of his vision behind “The Four Keys” for a great guest experience: 1) Safety, 2) Courtesy, 3) Show and 4) Efficiency.

One of the shining examples of these “Basics” for a great guest experience is found in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. Her name is Barbara, and she is a Main Street, U.S.A., Hostess. But she has taken her Hostess role and added quite a few twists (and turns…and spins…and several other moves!) to it. She has gained quite a few fans through the years with her dance moves during the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party that is performed several times on most days in Magic Kingdom Park.

In fact, her dancing has not only led to smiles on guests’ faces, it had another positive result. A few years ago, Barbara made the commitment to lose weight. And by creating her high-energy dance steps and celebrating with guests in the interactive street party, she has lost a total of 60 pounds since Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! debuted.

Recently, I decided to shadow Barbara as her “dance apprentice.” And despite my earlier dance attempts while eating The World’s Hottest Pepper and learning from Irish dancing pro Sarah at Raglan Road, there was no way I could keep pace with Barbara as she joined the festivities with Mickey, Minnie, stiltwalkers, dancers, the emcee and the guests who took part in the fun. She was a bundle of energy and kept a smile on her face at every turn.

It’s easy for her, she told me. “I am having so much fun out there. I love to share it with our guests. That’s why guests visit and that’s what makes the magic for me.”

Barbara is an inspiration to me. In my opinion, she embodies the spirit of a cast member that Walt Disney envisioned all those years ago.

Have you seen Barbara in action? Or do you have another cast member that sticks out in your mind as going above and beyond with some of the same “Basics”? Please share with us in the comments.


  • Wow, I think it’s great that Cast Members get praise and recognition like this. I always find Cast Members to be very polite and courteous and are always willing to go that extra mile to put a smile on someone’s face. If I could, I would leave my career and become one. I just don’t think Disney would have me!

    Thanks to all Cast Members past and present who have made my visits magical.

  • Barbara was our double-decker bus driver in February 2011, and also helped us pose for a great Photopass shot on the bus. We were so excited to see her again this March, and I’m excited to see her get the recognition she deserves. Barbara, people like you are what makes Disney World the Most Magical Place on Earth!

  • It makes me so happy to see you featuring another awesome CM (I hope, someday, to join their esteemed ranks…maybe someday…)!! You go, Barbara!

    When “awesome CMs” is the subject, a bunch of people in specific come up. Unfortunately, I don’t know the names of some of them 🙁 I feel terrible about that! But I will NEVER forget them. <3

    1) In one of my first trips to WDW, I was at the Imagination Institute quite late, right before Epcot closed (I believe it was Extra Magic Hours) and just sort of chilling in the lobby area when a CM came up and asked if I wanted to take a closer look at the Info booth and other things in the lobby. It was AMAZING and I took tons of pictures (including one with him, but his name tag is obscured!)

    2) Another II CM let me wear her Imagination Institute labcoat last year. Since that is one of my favourite attractions I was incredibly honored by her kindness.

    3) We always have good waiters and waitresses, but one stands out – a very jovial lady named Crystal who was our server one time at the Ohana Breakfast. She made a bright morning even brighter, and we took a photo to remember her by as well!

    4) Uncle Dale from the 50s Prime-Time Cafe! He was our server one year and was unforgettably awesome, and then, the next year, even though he WASN'T our server, we saw him and were all "UNCLE DALE!" and he came over to check on his "extended family". Uncle Dale, you ROCK! We've got a photo with him, too. 🙂

    5) "Master K" from the Sci-Fi Drive-In. I honestly think this sounds better with no context at all. 😉

    I could go on and on…thank you, Cast Members, for acting as our guides into a world of pure magic. <3

  • As an annual pass-holder and as someone who has been visiting the park since my infancy when it opened in 1971, hands down Barbara is the embodiment of the Disney Spirit. I can say nothing more highly than that. She is amazing! She is funny! She brings real Disney Magic to every moment with her.

    Barbara, girl, you ROCK!!! My family is very grateful for all the magical moments you have given us. You are in our prayers. May God bless you so you can continue to bless all the guests you come in contact with!!!

  • I haven´t met Barbara. But last October I went with my husband, my two kids (we try to go every year to WDW), my sister , her husband and her two daughters (it was their first trip and my older niece was turning 7 during the visit). And during the Dreams come true parade, Cinderella (who is my older niece´s heroine) saw the Happy Birthday button in her dress (of course, she was dressed as Cinderella) and waved at her and talked to the Prince, who bowed in her direction. That girls face was a poem!! She turned to me and only managed to say “Auntie, Cinderella said hello!!!” I was trying to hold back my tears of emotion because that day, Cinderella made Mia´s day, a day she would remember forever!!! Thank you cast members for living and making the magic last forever!!! As you can imagine, I´m a WDW fan and I always tell my friends it is “my very own happiest place in the world”!!!

    • Rossana, thank you for sharing such a great memory. Cinderella and the rest of our Disney Princesses certainly have quite the eye to spot little birthday princesses in our parks. Our best to Mia; it sounds like she had a wonderful birthday.

  • I so hope Barbara is there when I visit next summer. She is amazing and is exactly the kind of cast member that made me want to work for Disney myself. I did the year-long international program eight years ago and still have such fond memories of all the people like Barbara I met along the way. It’s that kind of spirit that makes a visit to Disney feel like I’ve come home.
    Thanks for sharing the video, Gary.

    • Thanks for sharing your memory as a Cast Member, Katherine. It’s great after all this time you still remember the impact that people had on you during your year here.

  • What can I say except…… that’s awesome! I haven’t seen her, but will look for her next time. Keep up the good work Barbara!

  • Barbara is terrific. I high-fived her in October and watched her have a great time.
    This is how all our jobs should be – fun!

  • I love this parade! Barbara and the rest of the MSC parade are amazing. I don’t care how HOT it is outside they are making sure your time at WDW is just as special as any other day. I drug my 4 year old at the time up and we danced the whole time. My personal belief is these people are busting their butts to make sure we have a great time so we are going to show our appreciation!

  • Awesome! Now THIS is why I keep coming back to Disney! People like Barbara and all the cast members, performers, in-park musicians/bands (LOVE these, esp. steel drums in Animal Kingdom, and the Jammitors in Epcot!), etc. that I love seeing when visiting the parks. These people and their positivity (and often showmanship!) really MAKE the experience!

    (BTW, this post will hopefully help me convince my sister and her family, who haven’t visited WDW, to go! I hope Disney keeps on encouraging excellence and great cast members. So much of the in-park experience is found beyond the lines/attractions!)

    Thanks, Barbara and Gary!

  • We ran into Barbara a couple of years ago and we have never forgotten her. She is a bright, shining star and whatever Disney is paying her they should double it! Her love of the job just shows.

  • I have noticed Barbara on several occasions. It always looks like she is having so much fun. I had no idea that she was this famous! Way to go Barbara!

  • Barbra is amazing! Seen her in action a few times over the years and she always brings a smile to my face. Most definitely continuing the Disney spirit and I hope she keeps it up for many years to come! We LOVE you!

    Southampton, United Kingdom

  • I’ve seen Barbara on many occasions! I had always thought about jumping rope on Main Street until my last trip in January. We are regulars at WDW, and it was my last trip before a year long deployment over here in South Korea. With my wife and friends on top of the train station looking down, I asked Barbara if I could jump rope before the parade. She said “Of Course!” with a smile. She and another CM started swinging the rope and I started to jump…not over the rope… So to help me out Barbara handed off her end of the rope to someone else and jumped in with me. It was great! Afterwards, she gave me a little card saying that I jumped rope on Main Street and I ran back up to my seat on top of the train station. Little did I know, my wife took a few dozen pictures and a friend of ours caught the whole thing on video!
    A BIG THANKS to Barbara for creating another Disney memory! We’ll do it again when I come home for a little R&R!

    • What a fantastic memory to share; thank you so much. I didn’t realize Barbara also is a jump roper, but it’s not surprising. She has endless energy. I’ll have to try some jump roping next time!

  • Barbara is AMAZING! We have been traveling to WDW every 6 months for the last 6 years. In that time, we got engaged, honeymooned, had babies…she has watched my 2 young boys grow, celebrated their birthday’s with them and REMEMBERS our NAMES! She is the first person my 2 and 4 year old boys want to see when we get to the MK and like when “Mommy dances with her” during “Move It, Shake It” We LOVE Barbara!!!

  • We have a very blurry picture of Barbara from 2009. She was fantastic. We hope to see her later this year.

  • Way to go, Miss Barbara! And Gary, I have to say: you have the best job in the whole world! Keep moving and shaking guys!

    • Thank you Denise. Although I am not sure how much moving and shaking I can do at Barbara’s pace. She is a dancing dynamo!

  • Barbara is awesome!!! I have had so many magical moments with her. I can remember riding the double decker bus with her driving on Christmas morning singing Christmas carols down Main St. Walt would be so proud of Barbara!

  • I’m so happy that Barbara is getting the recognition she deserves, she’s an absolute inspiration to everyone and always so happy to see you! We first noticed her a few years back when she would precede MISICI up Main Street & round the hub and she was immediately a much-loved a highlight although initially we only knew her as ‘that lady with those funky moves’. Later, we were thrilled to see she’d been moved up into the heart of the parade-party action and that was even better because that’s where she belongs.

    Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It is just so much fun, it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can get up there and do your thing with the performers from stilt walkers to dancers to the Characters, the MC, and even the characters on top of the floats take time to wave, pose for pics, blow kisses and make you feel really special and unlike CDCT & DEP it’s not passed you by in a rush but lets you really get into the action. Just watching kids of all ages (and adults too) mingling with the show always gives me an incredible lift of positive feelgood Disney energy.

    Long may Barbara continue doing what she loves to do and making so many people smile. We hope very much to see her in action again this coming Christmas season, she’s a Disney treasure. <3

  • I feel that every castmember who is stationed on the parade route, works on an attraction on the parade route, or just crossing the parade route should some how be doing a dance related to the parade/event.

  • Definitely going to be on the lookout for Barbara when we go end of April. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing!

  • Barbara is rocking it, but does anyone know Lonnie from The American Adventure at EPCOT? He knows everything about the parks and resort, has worked there since who knows when, and always greets every guest like its his home. GO LONNIE!

    • @LK, @Stephanie and @Marshal from FL:

      Thank you for sharing your great Disney memories of Joseph at Disney’s All-Star Resorts, Scoop at the Magic Kingdom park and Lonnie at The American Adventure. We’ll make sure they see your wonderful compliments.


  • WOW! It’s so awesome to see Barbara on the Disney Blog!! My family all have very fond memories of Barbara because she gave us a guided tour up and down main street USA last year when we were chosen to be the opening family. She was the most genuine, kind, fun, and energetic person- she even helped us make some great poses by moving it and shaking it a bit for our pictures in front of the castle! She didn’t know it, but we were going through a very difficult and sad time and she wrapped us so completely up in the magic that we were able to let go, live in the moment, and enjoy the thrill of that whole experience. If you read this Barbara… thank you SO VERY MUCH for sharing your JOY!

    • Katherine, thanks for sharing your wonderful Disney Parks memory. We’ll make sure the Barbara sees all of the wonderful comments posted here.

  • We enjoyed watching Barbara when we were at Magic Kingdom in early Feb. She’s a hoot!

  • holy cow! good for her! that has to be the most fun way to lose weight. shes awesome i cant wait to look up more videos of her!

  • Barbara seems like the reason we go to WDW over and over, for the Disney magic that the cast members make happen every day! Our family LOVES Scoop the reporter on Main Street. He has made my 11 year old daughter’s trip every time we see him! He really personalizes the experience and is so fun, that’s what the Disney magic is all about!

  • Will be looking for Barbara in June!! What a delight! There is also a cast member named Joseph who does maintenance at the All Star Resorts, he is very entertaining – pleasant and plays his harmonica for you just to make you smile! Barbara and Joseph, two cast members I know of that make Disney what it is!

  • I didn’t know her name until I read this article but I always look for Barbara at this parade! LOVE HER and she brings extra fun to Main Street! So glad she is recognized by so many!

  • She was our double-decker bus driver in January!!!! 🙂

  • I hope to meet her when we visit next spring (2013)! I love this story… thank you for sharing. Disney Cast Members play a huge part in creating the wonderful atmosphere in your parks :)!

  • Barbara is just as much a part of the Magic Kingdom as it’s a small world and The Haunted Mansion. I can’t imagine a trip to the Kingdom without seeing her out there embodying the perfect projection of a positive image and energy.

  • Oh my well isn’t life magical, my husband and I actually met Barbara when we were there in December 2011! Wow it really is a “Small world afterall!” Can’t wait for our return visit this December.

  • I would love to meet her when we go to Walt Disney world on April 15Th she seems like so much fun !!!! Good for her for losing all that weight and still doing it !! And bonus points cause she lost it doing something it looks like she loves !!!! WAY TO GO BARBARA !!!

    • Shelby, be sure to catch the “Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party” when you visit. Check the Times Guide for that days’ show times and get a good viewing spot near Cinderella Castle. If Barbara is working that day, most likely she will be out in the middle of the street inviting guests to dance with her in the interactive portion of the show. So get ready to dance, join in the fun and tell her I said hi.

  • It’s been 22 years since my parents last took us here, now as adults, with my children we were there two weeks ago. My mom ONLY talked about the Electric Parade… we loved it.
    BUT her new favorite was the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Parade! I mean we CRIED the WHOLE parade!
    Your cast, made EVERYONE feel like they were special. Characters POINTING right to the kids, watching my husband and son dance with Woody… I mean we were there to Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, 1st visits, and you ALL made it SO special for us.
    Thank you SO much Disney <3

    • The entire cast of the “Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party” is so talented. They are simply amazing and keep the party going. It’s one of my favorite shows at Walt Disney World Resort; it’s fun to dance in the shadow (literally) of Cinderella Castle.

  • We were picked to be the First Family in the Park this past February and Barbara escorted us down Main St. in the fire engine. She was wonderful!!!

  • I had the pleasure to work with Barbara and share with her during my college program … She inspired me to give my best to the guest and do a better job every single day!!! I really enjoy my time working in PAC with her!!!! without any doubt she is one of the best cast members at Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World!!!!

    • Tatiana, thanks for sharing your memory. It’s great to hear that Barbara has a positive effect on everyone she is around, including cast members and guests. I don’t see how anyone can have a bad day with her around to provide so many smiles.

  • ROFL! Gary you are hilarious, I only wish I could have been on Main Street to witness your awesome dance skills first hand. Keep your videos coming, my family & I love them!

    • Valerie, you are too kind. With a dance inspiration like Barbara, it’s hard not to want to get up and move, shake & celebrate! I’ll tell you, though, I had to take a break a couple of times during the performance. But she just kept going! I am glad you and your family enjoy our videos. There’s definitely more fun to come.

  • Oh my goodness! We have a video of Barbara from our trip last year and STILL talk about how awesome she was! I am so glad you guys featured her, she was the highlight of the parade. We love you Barbara!

  • Barbara made our holiday!!

    Instead of putting the fire truck away she took it for one more trip up mainstreet. And finally after complaining for years my dad got to ring the fire bell.

    Later in the day we were able to celebrate and dance the day away with her during the parade!!

    A true disney star making dreams everyday!

    Thanks Barbara
    Keep up the good work – if you can call it that!)

    • Barbara, I think you hit it on the head. That is one of the beautiful things about Barbara and her role. I don’t think she considers it “work” – she truly loves it and soaks in every second of joy when she can interact with our guests.

  • We danced with her in December 2010 and rode the train with her this past February. She is a HOOT!!!!! Part of what makes WDW magical.

  • we just saw Barbara in March, was very impressed with her joie de vivre at the park during the parade!

  • I LOVE this, we have video of Barbara from January. She is pure awesome!!

    • Thank you Amy for your comment. Being able to see the smiles Barbara brought to guests’ faces along Main Street, U.S.A. was something I will always remember.

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