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Disneyland Resort Cast Members Honored for 50 Years of Service

Disney Cast Life Author Jordyn Watts

by , Internal Communications Manager, Disneyland Resort

Six of our Disneyland Resort cast members were recently joined by friends, family, their leaders, and none other than Mickey Mouse himself aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat to celebrate an incredible milestone—five decades of service!

Watch the video to share in their special celebration, then keep scrolling to learn about these amazing cast members, their memories and insights from more than 50 years of dedicated service.

Martha Blanding

Started: May 1971, as a Disneyland park Tour Guide
Current role: Senior Manager, Disneyland Resort Merchandise Special Events

  • One of the first Black women in resort history to be a full-time VIP Tour Guide, as well as the first Black female buyer and first Black female manager
  • Hosted celebrities including Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Diana Ross, Elton John, Magic Johnson, the Jonas Brothers and Julie Andrews
  • Co-founded PULSE, a Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) for Black cast members and employees

“It’s not like going to work. I enjoy everything about what I do – the good and the bad. I just choose to always smile and laugh through it.”

~Martha

Dean Yamada

Started: June 1971, at Refreshment Corner
Current role: Theme Park Duty Manager, Disneyland park

  • Helped open Tokyo Disneyland in 1982
  • Planned and opened the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, the largest parking structure on the West Coast at opening
  • Has served as a theme park duty manager for 17 years, leading cast members through emergencies, special events and grand openings

Patti Oltman

Started: June 1971, as a waitress
Current role: Retail Allocator

  • Held 13 roles across 50 years, including helping open the Indiana Jones Adventure, Mickey’s Toontown and Critter Country
  • Helped with the opening of Tokyo Disneyland, including managing food, equipment and staffing of a corporate event for more than 5,000 guests
  • Creator of multiple cast resources including the Disney Loss Prevention guideline

“I’ve always had someone to lift me up here. From birthday parties to baby showers, to bittersweet memories like Roy Disney passing away … everything we’ve celebrated and endured has helped us form a deep camaraderie and friendship.”

~Patti

Sue Clements

Started: July 1971, as a Wardrobe Attendant
Recently retired after serving as Manager, Disney Look and Cosmetology

  • Officially began on Disneyland park’s 16th anniversary, spending 47 of her 50 years in Costuming
  • Additionally served three years as Operations Manager of Show and Parades for Disney California Adventure park

“Even though there have been so many changes over time and the resort has expanded, the ultimate goal of providing fun family entertainment has stayed the same throughout my 50 years.”

~Sue

Dave Brizic

Started: July 1965, in Security

  • Has served his entire Disney career in Security, beginning the year before Walt Disney passed away – and even saw Walt walking Disneyland park frequently
  • Worked in Fantasyland the day Walt dedicated the opening of “it’s a small world” in 1966
  • Met his future wife, a fellow cast member, in 1967 – and married her in 1968
  • Drafted and served in Vietnam in 1968, returning to Disneyland park in 1970

“The friendships I developed with people I worked with kept me coming back. I became part of a group of 12 Disneyland Resort Security Officers … we met weekly for years and still meet up occasionally today.”

~Dave

Vic Polwektow

Started: 1966, at Plaza Inn

  • Was able to interact with Walt on many occasions while dining at Plaza Inn, as it was his favorite restaurant
  • Has worked in Costume Issue since 1978 — 43 years!
  • Married a fellow cast member, Gail
  • Successfully learned every cast member’s name who came into Costuming

“The thing I love most about working at Disneyland is all the friendships I’ve made over the years.”

~Vic

Comments

  • Oh my goodness Martha Blanding! How exciting!!! This is Aileen Dooley (Addie maiden name) I worked at Merchandise Services many years ago when Martha was a buyer and I was reception. Martha a big congratulations we are so excited for you, hope Disney spoiled you!!
    My husband Larry and I wish you all the best!
    And thanks for coming to our wedding in 1983!!! haha

    Aileen Dooley

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