(left to right) Charles Ridgway, Forrest Bahruth, Heather Will-Browne, Darlene Kennedy, Kevin Myers.
On October 1st, 2011 I had the immense privilege to interview four Magic Kingdom opening day cast members. Each brings their own interesting stories and passion for making the magic.
Author Charles Ridgway, former Director of Walt Disney World Public Relations and Disney Legend for four decades of service to “the Mouse” (Hometown: Chicago) – Before moving from California to head the Walt Disney World publicity staff, Charlie Ridgway worked for Walt Disney himself at Disneyland in Anaheim, where he hosted media interviews and set up photo shoots with Walt and Mickey. When the Magic Kingdom first opened, Ridgway says, there was still some tweaking and problem solving to do. The parking lot trams “didn’t have enough power to go up the hill to the Ticket and Transportation Center arrival area,” he recalls. “There was lots of construction yet to go, wires hanging, walls not finished.” And he remembers the Flag Retreat ceremony brought to the Magic Kingdom from Disneyland: each evening a flock of pigeons flew in a white cloud from Town Square to Cinderella Castle and back. “Walt liked to say at Disneyland, ‘If you have pigeons and balloons, you can’t go wrong.’ Park officials eventually ended the tradition out of concern for the birds and the environment.
Three more below the jump: