We continue to celebrate the cast members of the 1971 class and this week we want to recognize Ben Skelton, a cast member who has been working at the Walt Disney World Resort for over 50 years. Ben began his journey to Disney before the lagoon of the Seven Seas filled with water and eventually headed to the Magic Kingdom parking lot and moved to the Fantasyland attractions in 1975.
Before driving trams to and from Magic Kingdom Park, Ben was part of the Grand Opening of the Magic Kingdom on October 25, 1971 and sang in the 1,000-piece choir. “After that, I decided to stay in the company for a year, which became 50. As the years went by, my passion grew to offer guests and casts.”
Ben’s first attraction was 20,000 leagues under the sea at Magic Kingdom Park and he has been trained in all of Fantasyland’s attractions, including the newest ones. However, nothing can surpass his favorite attraction, “it’s a small world.” It is an attraction that brings back so many fond memories and that Ben has brought many magical moments to the guests who visit it. “I have trained many other cast members [“it’s a small world”] and it is one of my favorites because of the history behind it and because I have been able to see it change over the years, and I also have the original score of the dedication of the grand opening ”.
Some of Ben’s favorite moments throughout his career were when he trained other cast members. “Promoting a diverse and inclusive environment by introducing all cultures to attractions for over 35 years is one of my favorite experiences,” Ben said. “Including the relationships built with international cast members who still maintain contact today.” Inspiring others to not give up and not be afraid to improve both at work and personally is something Ben has incorporated into his role since he began his career at Disney and a trait that was really powerful when he talked to him.
When asked what it has been like to experience all the different changes over the years, Ben was overjoyed. “Seeing how this little company got so big changed my life and gave a lot of joy to me and the cast members around me, especially because I was able to see how my kids grow up with the company and I was able to enjoy of the parks as much as I did. ”
To learn more about Ben, be sure to check out “The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 Years of Walt Disney World” at Disney + (subscription required).
If you’ve ever used a Disney name tag, you can share the memories of your cast members with a special line of GIPHY “I Earned My Ears” stickers for each decade. Just search for “WDW50Cast” these and more 50th anniversary designs on Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat stickers and start creating!