Hundreds of yellow rubber ducks, decorated by Disneyland Resort cast members, recently waddled their way over to the “it’s a small world” canal for the annual Duck Races during the resort’s 67th anniversary festivities. The beak-to-beak competition was set through none other than the treacherous “it’s a small world” canal.
From bedazzled beaks to hand-painted feathers, cast members duckorated their rubber ducks according to various categories; including “Most like Donald Duck,” “Most Disney Themed,” “Favorite Attraction,” “Superhero” and “Least Sea-Worthy.”
From artistic twists on the Haunted Mansion to a duck swimming in a mobile order bread bowl, cast members spent the morning running from table to table, snapping photos of the dapper ducks’ creative designs. Awards were given for each appearance-based category as well as for the ducks who placed first, second and last place in the beak-to-beak race around the canal before the theme park opened.
“The fact that cast members get to take a little yellow duck and let their creativity loose — it always blows my mind,” says Fantasyland Retail Manager Tamarah Mack. “The ducks let them express that creativity.”
Beginning in 2008, the duck races were initially limited to attractions cast members from “it’s a small world.” In 2011, Tamarah was one of many who helped expand the event resort wide and ever since then, it’s been a cast member favorite. Proceeds from the annual event have been donated to numerous nonprofits including Toys For Tots, Make-a-Wish and this year’s charity, Goodwill Orange County. The popular Disneyland Resort tradition has even been adopted by Disney Cruise Line.
“The duck races are so special because it brings everybody together. We get to meet cast members from all walks of the resort,” says Tamarah. “It’s that energy that comes alive when everybody is here and cheering on the ducks.”