As the Disney Ambassador program celebrates its 50th anniversary, Walt Disney World Resort has presented two Cast Members with the golden opportunity to serve in this highly revered and sought-after role.
Fifty years after Walt Disney created the company’s unique Ambassador tradition, a ceremony was held at Epcot on October 10, 2014, naming Caitlin Busscher and Nathaniel Palma to represent nearly 70,000 Cast Members in sharing the magic, inspiration and optimism of Disney throughout the resort and community. Prior to their roles as Ambassadors, Caitlin Busscher worked in costuming at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, while Nathaniel Palma worked in entertainment at Magic Kingdom Park.
“This morning we selected the two Cast Members to whom we will entrust 50 years of Disney tradition, five decades of excellence and half a century of service to our Cast and Guests,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “They will have the honor of representing nearly 70,000 Cast Members for whom the Disney brand is something that lives in the heart.”
The 2015-2016 Disney Ambassador team members received their official pins as part of the announcement, which was cheered by friends, family, fellow Cast Members and more than 40 former Disney Ambassadors on hand for the 50th anniversary celebration. During the ceremony, five former Ambassadors – each representing a decade of the time-honored program – shared memories of their once-in-a-lifetime experiences in this prestigious role. Walt Disney World Resort joined Walt Disney Parks and Resorts around the world in announcing their new Ambassadors with ceremonies and fanfare.
Caitlin Busscher grew up in Connecticut and began her Disney career in 2010 as a research specialist, interviewing hundreds of guests about their vacation experiences. She was later a guest talent coordinator for both the Candlelight Processional and The American Idol Experience, roles in which she discovered a passion for helping others achieve their dreams of performing. This led her to Walt Disney World Entertainment, where she became a costuming leader, working at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! and the Jedi Training Academy.
Born in California just a few miles from Disneyland Resort, Nathaniel Palma moved when he was young to Mexico, and traveled with his family around the world, becoming fluent in a number of languages and acquainted with a wide variety of cultures. His first Disney role was with the Disney Store in West Hartford, Conn. before moving to Central Florida where he accepted a role at Walt Disney World. Most recently, he was a performer and trainer in entertainment at Magic Kingdom.
Today’s ceremony was the culmination of an intensive two-month search for candidates who demonstrate knowledge of Disney heritage and, most importantly, enthusiasm about Disney Cast Members, guests and the community. Each year, thousands of Cast Members are invited to participate in the Ambassador selection process, which includes several rounds of interviews and, for the finalists, an opportunity to interact with Cast, visit non-profit organizations, and refine their presentation skills.
Following a two-month training, the new Ambassadors will begin their busy two-year term, which lasts from Jan. 1, 2015 – Dec. 31, 2016. With more than 3,500 events to attend throughout the year, the Ambassadors will be responsible for duties such as hosting Disney VoluntEAR events, making appearances with Disney characters at community presentations, serving as master of ceremonies at park events and recognizing Cast Members’ milestones and achievements.