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ICYMI: Life at Disney with Cast and Fans at D23 Expo

Kaitlyn Woollen

by , Digital Employee Communications Specialist

Cast members took center stage on the D23 Expo floor like never before. For the first time ever at D23 Expo, cast member, crew member, Imagineer and employee stories jumped off the Life at Disney walls, giving fans the opportunity to get a taste of Disney life. As fans entered the booth, they received an honorary nametag before embarking on a journey following the footsteps of The Walt Disney Company employees.

With a spotlight on cast stories, the booth highlighted how programs such as Disney on the Yard, Disney Aspire, our business employee resource groups, and even celebrations including The Walt Disney Legacy Award and service celebrations impacted their career journeys while showcasing the unique perks and resources you can only find at Disney.

The booth became a popular place to snap a few selfies and say hello to company leaders and our global Disney Ambassadors, including Natacha Ralfaski, President of Disneyland Paris, who stopped by to look around and take a few pictures. The 2022 global Disney Ambassador team not only took photos with cast and fans, but also hosted an impromptu jam session with Brittney Mendoza, singer and Disney employee, and Aulani Ambassador Kanoa Kawai taking lead on his ukulele. The session concluded with a group sing along to “it’s a small world” that ended with applause from those watching in the booth.

One of the most unique attributes of the booth is how it came to life with cast members and employees working the various sections. The booth gave them an opportunity to showcase how these exclusive Disney programs have impacted their career journey and personal life. 

“It was an honor representing cast members in the [Life at Disney] booth and highlight the company’s enduring admiration for veterans and military families,” said Cappy Surette, Senior Manager of Executive Communications and Public Affairs and co-chair for SALUTE. “It was a value that resonated with so many Disney fans who stopped by the SALUTE table to eagerly sign cards for deployed military servicemembers. While there, many lingered to share stories of their connection to the Armed Forces or appreciation to Disney for taking care of the troops. It was a special way to connect with Disney’s greatest fans on another level.”

While cast shared their stories and experiences at the booth, another group created new memories and friends. We invited one cast member from each site across the globe for an opportunity that could only happen working at the happiest place on earth: attend D23 Expo. These cast members were part of a unique Cast Life experience and met our current and original Disney Ambassadors and experienced panels of their choosing, including A Boundless Future: Disney Parks, Experiences and Products as well as Disney Parks Through the Decades: A Disney Ambassador Perspective.

“Being invited to the D23 Expo was an amazing experience,” said Sam Quick from Disneyland Paris. “Getting to meet cast members from around the world and share our stories was so much fun, and I’ve definitely made friends that I’ll keep forever!” 

“Our group of invited cast members are all amazing. It was great to hear stories from each as we hung out together throughout the long weekend,” shared Joe Vecciarelli from Walt Disney World. “We are planning to keep in touch, and I know we will be meeting again as we all visit their parks in the future.”

D23 Expo wouldn’t be complete without everyone coming together. On Saturday, the Disney Ambassadors welcomed more than 100 Disney Parks, Experiences and Products employees from around the world to the #DisneyCastLife Meetup right outside D23 Expo. Some of the very first Disney Ambassadors and executives even joined in on the fun!

The weekend brought a ton of announcements about The Walt Disney Company including new experiences coming to our parks and resorts. Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, announced that Disneyland Resort will begin the Disney 100 Years of Wonder celebrations with two new nighttime spectaculars. Stay tuned for more D100 moments starting in 2023 and be sure to follow our Disney Ambassador accounts to catch up on the D23 Expo events and stay up to date on more #DisneyCastLife stories:

@DisneylandAmbassador | @WDW.Ambassador | @DLPAmbassador | @HKDLAmbassador | @AulaniAmbassador

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