Our job here at DFB is to give you all the best advice for your Disney vacation planning (and we LOVE doing it!).
But did you know that there are some BIG name celebrities who ALSO have lots of Disney knowledge? Some of them might be pretty surprising!
You might love Idina Menzel as Elsa or James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, but you may not know that these other celebrities once worked in the Disney Parks long before they were stars!
While you may know him as the voice behind the Genie or — if you’re a super-fan — Professor Brainard, Disneyland knew Robin Williams as one of its Jungle Cruise Skippers back in the day. We can only imagine that he was the best Skipper EVER with his ability to voice act and make everyone laugh! (We wish we could hear some of the wildly hilarious improvisations we imagine he would do as he drove the boat!!)
We can just hear him saying, “Thank you for choosing Jungle Cruise for all your travel needs. Don’t stand until the boat has come to a complete stop. Thank you. Goodbye now.” in all that glorious Genie fashion.
Could you imagine Mrs. Doubtfire showing you the Backside of Water?? How cool would that have been!
Another comedian, Steve Martin, worked in Disneyland for eight years when it first opened. However, he wasn’t necessarily the “funny guy” while he was there like you’d expect. Martin first sold guidebooks and twirled souvenir lassos in Frontierland before becoming a magician at the Magic Shop on Main Street, U.S.A..
He’s stated that he knew “every nook and cranny of the shop” during his time there. Martin actually started to develop some of his iconic comedy as he watched Wally Boag, who was the Golden Horseshoe headliner. He even created his famous “excuuuuse me” line based off one of the performers he knew in Disneyland!
If you went into the Magic Shop in the early 60s you could have seen a trick from one “wild and crazy guy!” Cool!
Those Skippers are on a roll! When Kevin Costner worked as a Jungle Cruise Skipper in Disneyland, he ended up meeting Cindy Silva, who was a character actress. They got married in 1978 after working at Disney and literally ended up having real-life Disney fairytale.
Costner didn’t do too shabby after leaving his Skipper job behind! After all, he became one of the biggest movie stars out there!
All we have to say is appreciate your Jungle Cruise tour guides because you never know where their paths to success may lead them! 😉
If you think Michelle Pfeiffer looks like she could be a Disney Princess, you’re not far off! During the 70s, she performed in the Main Street Electrical Parade in Disneyland (some of you may have seen her live)!
She also went on to play the Queen Ingrith, Aurora’s future mother-in-law, in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
While Pfeiffer can definitely act, she can sing as well, so maybe she is an IRL Disney Princess after all!
We’re feeling on “Top of the World” knowing this next Disneyland Cast Member! Richard Carpenter, one half of the iconic brother-sister duo The Carpenters, used to work in the parks. We’re not surprised to find out he played the piano on Main Street for everyone to hear.
He got his start in music early by working at Disneyland (and could probably even play “When You Wish Upon a Star” like nobody’s business).
Later in his career, The Carpenters returned to Disneyland to film the music video to their hit song “Please Mr. Postman,” featuring multiple characters and Disneyland attractions.
On the opposite coast, Wayne Brady worked in Disney World when he lived with his grandmother. Since Brady is a comedian, singer, and actor, it shouldn’t be too surprising he was a character performer in Disney World! He was actually friends with Tigger!
And in case you’re wondering how hot it can be in Orlando while you’re “friends” with a character, Brady recalls passing out from the heat while working one day, and having to be carried away from a parade! Eek!
He kept working with Disney later in his career voicing characters on Sofia the First and Phineas and Ferb.
While you might know him as one of the hunky guys from the Backstreet Boys, Kevin Richardson was also a Disney World Cast Member! On top of being a character performer, Richardson also worked as a backstage tour guide at one point. Obviously, he must really know the ins-and-outs of Disney (do you think he’d want a job at DFB?).
Richardson also got a fairytale ending when he met his wife Kristin Willits who was also a character actress in the parks. He worked at Disney World all the way through 1993 before shifting his career to focus on music.
Wow, you never know what future celebrities you might be meeting in the Happiest and Most Magical Places on Earth! We REALLY wish we could have seen the stars on this list in action as some of the awesome Disney entertainers that make the parks magical. Don’t you??
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Do you know any other celebrities who worked at the Disney Parks? Let us know in the comments below!