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Realityland's David Koenig

Disneyland's First Cast Member Passes Away

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Disney Legend Milt Albright, officially considered the first person ever hired to work at Disneyland, died last Monday at the age of 97.

Although he began working for the park in 1954, as manager of the accounting department (initially, himself), he had actually been hired as a junior accountant for the Disney Studio in 1947. But early in 1953, he caught wind that an amusement park was the in the works and that it would feature a miniature car ride.

A car buff, Milt spent nights and weekends working for eight months in his garage to construct his own fiberglass car.
“I hauled it to the Studio,” he recalled. “Walt drove it, but didn’t think much of the design. Nevertheless, it made an impression him, and eventually I was transferred to the payroll department of Disneyland Inc.”

He was eventually moved to work out of Anaheim, and became known as an idea man (he referred to himself as an accountant with “a healthy dislike for figures”), helping to create such promotions as Grad Nite, Date Night, and the Magic Kingdom Club.

In 1957, he was appointed manager of the new group event area, Holidayland. The land’s first private event was among Milt’s most lasting memories: “I remember the first picnic… only too well. We served beer then and there was only one small restroom for the ladies and one for the men. The wait for the ladies room was an hour long. I’ll never forget the look of disbelief, shock and dismay on Walt’s face as he came up to survey the incredible sight… the longest queue line in the park—the ladies restroom!”

When Holidayland closed in 1961, Milt moved to group sales and in the late 1970s, he was appointed manager of special projects-marketing. He retired in 1992 as manager of guest communications.

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Updated 04-13-2014 at 04:31 PM by David Koenig

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