Disneyland Ambassadors Tell Their Stories
Back in May, I was able to attend a special Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Merchandise Event. It was held a couple days before the official Celebration kickoff. The event took place at the Disneyland Hotel.
There were lots of special merchandise available plus a couple panels to attend. One of them was the Disneyland Resort Ambassador Panel. Comprised of several former Disneyland Ambassadors, they got to tell some great stories of what brought them to Disneyland, some interesting stories from their year as Disneyland Ambassador, and some special memories.
After 10 years, Walt Disney decided that he needed some help. The Disneyland Ambassadors are "Emissaries of Goodwill,” media representatives and as official hosts to Resort guests".
Since 1965, only 1 or 2 Disneyland Cast Members have been chosen to fulfill this role. Here is a video I took to capture. Sorry it is in the wrong view. I captured it as a live stream using Periscope. It was a Periscope video that I had saved on my iphone. The video is just a little under 60 minutes. Each has interesting stories, especially Connie Swanson (1966). She was the last Disneyland Ambassador personally chosen by Walt and she shared several stories about her interaction with him.
The following video features these former Disneyland Ambassadors: Quinn Shurian (2009-2010), Matt Ebling (2002), Heri Garcia (2001), Bonnie Delhoy (1994), Melissa Tyler Wakerman (1985), Emily ZInser (1972) and Connie Swanson (1966). Current Disneyland Ambassador, Allie Kawamoto was the panel moderator.
My favorite antidote is when Connie Swanson recalls: "I remember Walt would write stuff down on napkins then tuck it into his pocket. I always knew there was magic on that written napkin."
Here are some photos I took of the different outfits that the Disneyland Ambassadors have worn. So fun to see how the look and program has evolved. Several former Disneyland Ambassadors brought in their official outfits and personal momentos of their tenure.
As the panel spoke and interacted with each other, you could tell how much of a family they are. When you consider that in the 50 years of the Ambassador program, there are very few chosen out of the thousands of Cast Members Disneyland has been employed in that time frame. It is a very rigorous process to apply, interview and be selected.
If I have to pick a favorite Disneyland Ambassador, I would have to pick Heri Garcia (2001). You see, I was one of Heri's managers at the time he went through the process and was chosen as Ambassador. I remember the pride of the our fellow Cast Members at our attraction (Innoventions). We took over the balcony on the Main Street Train Station to position ourselves to cheer Heri on. It was quite a celebration when we heard his name called.
Disneyland Ambassadors are a special group of people who had a special job of connecting with the local, national and international worlds.