Imagine a party where Magic Kingdom Park closes early just to celebrate Walt Disney World cast members and their years of service. For decades, honoring service anniversaries has been a tradition many look forward to year after year, to celebrate both cast and the magic makers who bring these gatherings to life. This is a night where honorees gather with their loved ones and celebrate their accomplishments, where we observe fifty years of magic in a once-in-a-lifetime party under the EARidescent glow of Cinderella Castle. This is a Disney Service Celebration.
Taking place at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts around the globe, Service Celebrations are festivities honoring cast members with milestone anniversaries, starting with their 10th year of service. At Walt Disney World Resort, Service Celebrations date as far back as the early 1970s, and they continue to honor the dedicated work and legacy of cast members to this day.
This month, Walt Disney World Resort will close Magic Kingdom Park early not once but twice to honor cast member anniversaries from both 2020 and 2021. It’s not easy to pull two back-to-back park-wide celebrations during Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, but there’s an excellent team of cast members that have the planning down to a science.
“Service Celebrations are a time-honored tradition that are unique to the Disney cast member experience,” says Dar Stewart, vice president, learning & development, organizational development, workforce solutions at Walt Disney World Resort. “It’s an honor and privilege to be part of the team that brings these celebrations to life each year.”
Planning for a Service Celebration is a year-round endeavor. The cast activities team works with dozens of cast members from all different lines of business – from food & beverage and entertainment to transportation, security and beyond, who all put their heads together to produce a magical evening for honorees. This includes access to nearly all attractions at Magic Kingdom Park, rows of delicious buffet-style dinner and desserts (including some famous “Legendary Shrimp”) and multiple DJ parties and character greetings throughout the park.
“It’s a lot of work bringing these events together,” explains Rebecca Godsil, a project manager behind Service Celebrations and 15-year cast member. “But watching all of our plans come to life and seeing everyone enjoying themselves always makes me teary-eyed with happiness.”
Want a peek at these magical events? I’ll capture some cast member stories both nights, so keep an eye right here on Disney Cast Life for more during this year’s Service Celebrations!