In 1966, Louise Stewart and Cindy Vallerga-Brown were just out of high school, and transplants to Southern California, when they decided to apply for jobs at Disneyland. The two 18-year-olds — who didn’t know each other at the time — were offered positions as ticket-takers at the Disneyland Resort Main Entrance and eagerly accepted, thinking it would be a good job to have while in college. A half-century later, these good friends are celebrating their 50-year service anniversaries together at the Disneyland Resort.
“We’ve been through so much together,” says Louise, who on March 5 became the first female Disneyland Resort cast member to mark 50 years at the resort. The two women were honored at a celebration in the Main Street Opera House in March, days before Cindy marked the same service anniversary milestone earlier this month.
Both women cite many of the same career highlights, chief among them meeting Walt Disney when he stopped by to personally thank them for working on a holiday. “I didn’t even realize it was him until he walked away and I saw a little boy ask for his autograph,” Cindy says. “I had only seen him on black-and-white TV!”
Another memorable moment they share was being surprised with the Walt Disney Legacy Award in 2011, the program’s inaugural year. “It’s still an unbelievable honor to know that people see us in this light,” Cindy says.
Both women worked at other jobs outside of Disney over the years, but they never left the jobs they loved and eventually went full time. Cindy became a vacation planner and moved to a ticket booth, while Louise continued as a greeter/ticket taker. Neither has any immediate plans for retirement.
“I’ve always liked working for the Disneyland Resort. The difference is that now, I love it,” Cindy says. “This was my summer job. It’s just been a really long summer.”
Congratulations to you both!! What a heartwarming story about your achievements! That’s so cool that you met Walt Disney and that he personally came to thank you for working a holiday! Now that shows the caliber of man he was and I am sure that you both are as well!! Again Congratulations!!!
What a wonderful story!!! Congrats to you both!
Congratulations! I remember Louise from my early years working at Disneyland. I’m happy to see you still enjoying what many of us consider our years there as the best job we ever had.
So great!.. Thank You ladies for making us smile today. Congrats on 50 Years of Wonder!
I absolutely love this! It’s amazing to be able to find a company that you want to stay with for so long, and even better when that company is Disney.
Congratulations to both ladies, and wishing you both many more years at Disneyland. I’m sure you both have made many visitor’s days even more magical. What an awesome job it must be to work at Disneyland. Again Congratulations!
Wonderful story. It’s always great to see cast members that have a real sense of pride for Disneyland and the resort in general. 🙂
These ladies are absolutely wonderful. I had a pleasure to work with them at the Main Entrance. Congrats ladies on your 50th year! I wish you many more. ??
So, so happy to see this story about these two beautiful first sights so many Guests see. As a longtime former Cast Member myself it was my honor to be trained as a ticket seller by Cindy and to be greeted by Louise so many times. What a fun feature and thank you for posting it.
We will be traveling to Disneyland in June. Hope to see the two of you. What a wonderful story! I’m sending my wishes for many more years of happiness.
How would I contact Kevin Rafferty, Jr?
Wow, congratulations ladies!! Here’s to many more magical years at the Disneyland Resort!! 🙂
What an amazing story! It is wonderful that they are being honored together. I couldn’t imagine a better job that working in a Disney park, I am so glad they have had a happy career!
Awesome story! Wishing them minnie more magical yEARs 🙂
That’s so awesome…and I recognize each of you as having helped my family and I through the entrance on numerous occasions. Kudos for your great personalities, work ethic and passion.
What a great story! Congratulations ladies on doing what you love to do the most! Happy 50 years and to many more! ?