Opening Indy and More
Article and photos by Anne Josephine
I have been with the Disneyland Resort on and off since around the first Fantasmic! show premiere, and cumulatively, over 10 years in a variety of roles. I have done many things from roles in Entertainment, a Lead and Trainer in Special Events off-property, to guest-facing roles such as Attractions and Hotel Guest Services.
What I love most about my job are the people I meet around the world, as well as our fellow Cast Members. Thanks to the Disneyland Resort, I have many lifelong friends, including my best friend who now lives in Canada, whom I used to work with on the Haunted Mansion.
One of my favorite Guest interaction stories is getting a letter from a guest overseas in Asia, who took to the time to write to City Hall about how her and her family had an exceptional time at Disneyland, and it was their first time. I was fortunate enough to be able to help them out that day, while they had some issues when the Indiana Jones Adventure went 101, during the opening days of the attraction. I made sure than they were able to come back when we were operational, and arranged other adventures for them to participate in while they waited to return! Back then, the lines were 8 hours long when Indy first opened, minimum. So, if you come to Disneyland for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, it is imperative that you get to ride your favorite attractions!
When we had a picnic many months later for the Indiana Jones Adventure opening crew, this story was mentioned (to my surprise) and the then-President of the Disneyland Resort called me up, and read the letter from the aforementioned guests to the whole picnic event! I went home that day feeling proud, with my new Indiana Jones Adventure Opening Crew engraved temple in my hand.
I have been fortunate to be able to work in a variety of roles and experience many aspects of operations on stage, as well as backstage over the years. One of the things I am most proud of, is being the first (outside of Management and Leadership who had been trained on the attraction) female Cast Member to work as a Captain on the Mark Twain. If I recall correctly, I was the only one – for at least a year or even up to a few years.
I was also in the first group of 7 women (I believe it was 7 anyway!) to work on the Jungle Cruise, around the same time period during the mid-90’s. I also worked as a Lead on the Toy Story film premiere in Hollywood, where, at the El Capitan, we turned the Masonic Temple next door into the Toy Story Funhouse. The first of many Disney Films to have such an arrangement where you can play, eat and watch a live show after experiencing the movie next door!
Perhaps the day will come where I will be able to come back to Disneyland and work in my dream role in Entertainment, once the pandemic subsides, and can help create more magic for our guests.
In the meantime, I am studying to be a Cybersecurity and IT professional, where I can expand my love and knowledge of computers, tech and video games.
Do you have a story to tell? We love telling stories, and particularly ones from you. It could be of your time as a Cast Member – what you did, your experiences and even some fun anecdotal things. Of course, we want photos with the stories. Email: email@example.com.
February 18th, 2021