Introducing Serena Arvizu and Shannon Smith-Conrad, your new Walt Disney World Ambassadors! It was an incredibly special and exciting morning at EPCOT as we announced this new team surrounded by hundreds of cast members, family, friends and Ambassador Alumni – including our very first Disney World Ambassador, Debby Dane Browne. As a former Ambassador myself who now gets to lead the Ambassador Program in Florida, it was so inspiring to see nearly 30 other alumni come together to celebrate and help pass the torch to Serena and Shannon.
Serena and Shannon will represent our more than 75,000 Disney cast members here in Florida and are stepping into the Ambassador role during a monumental time for our company. As we usher in the next 100 years of magic, we have so much to look forward to and be excited about. And, as we just heard at Destination D23 a few weeks ago, our Imagineers are dreaming big right now, with more projects underway in the next decade than at any point in our history at Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
Here at Disney World, our new Ambassadors will help us celebrate significant milestones with our guests, cast and community, including the opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom, the debut of a new fireworks nighttime spectacular coming to EPCOT, the groundbreaking of a new affordable housing development in Central Florida and more. If that’s not all, Serena and Shannon were selected just in time to be part of our next attraction opening – Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana – opening at EPCOT on Oct. 16!
Both Serena and Shannon got their start with Disney as Disney College Program participants. Serena worked as a hostess at The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom, while Shannon worked in Attractions and Transportation. They both fell in love with Disney on their programs and knew they had found their home. Serena and Shannon also participated in Professional Internships with the company and Shannon is a recent Disney Aspire graduate. Now, they get to embark on an exciting new journey with Disney together.
The Disney Cast Life is full of many rich traditions, one of the longest being the Disney Ambassador Program and the selection of a new team every two years. It first began back in 1965 with Walt Disney himself when he introduced Julie Reihm as the first-ever Disney Ambassador. Now, nearly 60 years later, the program has grown to include a global team of Ambassadors who represent thousands of cast members around the world and play a key role in bringing the magic of Disney out into the community.
Throughout the selection process which included more than 300 applicants, you could feel the passion that Serena and Shannon have for empowering, motivating and energizing our cast members. Their enthusiasm for bringing cast together is palpable and they’ll have so many opportunities to do just that with all that’s on the horizon for our resort. They’re ready to step into the role, continue the Ambassador legacy and keep inspiring that sense of pride in what it means to be a Disney cast member here at Disney World and across Florida just like those who came before them did.
Ali Manion and Raevon Redding, our 2022-2023 Walt Disney World Ambassador Team, will be by this new team’s side over the next few months, welcoming them to the role and showing them the ropes. So, don’t worry, they aren’t going anywhere just yet!
Ali and Raevon have done a tremendous job as Ambassadors and are the perfect duo to help this new team as they have brought so much joy to so many during their term – myself included. I can’t wait to see what exciting adventures are ahead for them, and I know their futures are bright. This is just the beginning!
Be sure to stay tuned to the blog and follow @wdw.ambassador on Instagram for updates as the new team starts their journey and Ali and Raevon share some of their favorite memories from the past two years. I mean, they were part of some iconic moments – like the 50th Anniversary celebration.
Join me in wishing congratulations to our newest Disney Ambassadors, Serena and Shannon, and another huge thank you to our outgoing team, Ali and Raevon.