We had the pleasure to speak with Pam Nelson, a 50-year service cast member at Walt Disney World Resort, and we can assure you that she is the light of Disney Event Group and beyond. Pam started working in Costuming for parades at Magic Kingdom Park for opening day in 1971. Just a senior in high school, she never thought her career would lead her to where she is today, but Pam smiled and mentioned how she came to Disney for a 6-week seasonal job during the holidays to earn some Christmas money and still is working for Christmas money 50 years later.
Pam currently works at the Disney Event Group office, where they imagine magical events for companies and groups, including a full costume and cosmetology area and even a floral shop full of delightful scents. Pam was all smiles throughout the day and even more so when she shared her memorabilia of her time here at The Walt Disney Company.
From the opening day pin to her legacy award, Pam saved photographs, buttons and nametags to bring back memories of each role she’s had.
“I’ve worked every attraction in Frontierland except the Riverboat. From there I went out to the parking lot, which was trams, buses and so on. I worked in Casting for five years, I was part of the group that helped hire the cast of EPCOT while also doing orientation for new cast members. I then transferred over to media production, which was a new department that transferred from California to here [Florida], and eventually found my way to Disney Event Group, where I’ve been for the past 25 years.”
The Disney Event Group collaborates on client conventions, weddings, boardroom executive meetings and more to bring pixie dust to each event. They prepare everything from start to finish, from floral and costumes to media and graphics.
Pam told us a story about how a client asked her to bring in elaborate décor for a holiday event. Pam loves a challenge and found beautiful, festive decorations for the occasion and was even able to locate a few lifelike, life-size reindeer for the client. She explained how, “they [clients] always try to throw something at me that they think I won’t find, but so far so good.” That’s the magic of the Disney Event Group. Pam best put it, “There’s never two days alike. There’s always something new and I never get bored here.”
Pam has made magic in a variety of roles here at Walt Disney World throughout her 50-year journey but recalled how she never imagined she’d work here so long. “I don’t regret a minute of it,” said Pam. “I don’t think I’ve ever not liked what I do, so how can I not like coming to work? I love all the cast that I work with and because of that I have lifelong friends. They are like family.”
“It’s hard to fathom that I’ve been here for 50 years. To come into this building and to see all it has to offer is an awe moment for me. I love to show people this building alone, much less going into the parks and seeing guests’ reactions. There’s so much going on here, how could I not like it?”
If you’ve ever worn a Disney nametag, you can share your cast member memories with a special line of “I Earned My Ears” GIPHY stickers for each decade. Just search “WDW50Cast” for these and more 50th anniversary designs in Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat stickers and start creating!