Nearly half a century ago, Julie Reihm-now Casaletto- was bestowed the honor of being the first Disney ambassabor. The role, initially part of the "Tencennial" celebration of Disneyland, was created to put a face and a name to the park.
History of the Ambassador Program:
The year was 1964 and the tenth anniversary of Disneyland Park was fast approaching, Mary Poppins was showing in theaters, the 1964-65 New York World's Fair was in full swing and "Project X,"which later became the Walt Disney World Resort, was in the planning stage. With so much to done, Walt Disney's free time to keep up with media interviews and event requests was limited. Walt wanted to do something special to help celebrate the tenth anniversary of Disneyland Park. Hence, the Ambassador Program was created.
Opportunity of a Lifetime:
Julie's first role at the Disneyland was as a tour guide during her first summer of college. Little did she know she would soon be a legendary part of Disneyland history. Walt personally selected Julie to represent Disneyland and the thousands of cast members working at the park.
"Being selected as the first Disney ambassador was a tremendous honor and very exicting," said Julie. "Knowing that I would travel the world, filming with Walt for the "Wonderful World of Color' and representing Walt as his personal representative to his friends, I felt the magic and glow of pixie dust."
Working with Walt:
One of the most unique opportunities Julie had was interacting with Walt. Julie mostly admired Walt's attention to detail. For example, "On the first day of filming for "Worlderful World of Color,' Walt noted that he and the director had personalized chairs on the set. He also noted that there wasn't a personalized chair for me, as he said,'my co-star.' He shared this detail with two stagehands, and in no time at all a chair with "Julie" was on the set.
Advice for the Future Ambassadors:
For aspiring Disney ambassadors, Julie shares this piece of advice: "Follow your dream! Representing the Disneyland Resort opens doors to fellow cast members and to people all over the world. Your experiences will be memory makers, for you will represent a gaint in the world of enterainment and happiness."