Disney is a multi-generational household name, sparking nostalgic and joyful memories for anyone and everyone. Disney is childhood and adulthood magic, Disney is sore feet and happy hearts, is creativity and ingenuity, is princes and princesses and their songs.
Shani and Scott Wolf, and their two sons, live their own Disney story. The Wolfs (telling their tale with a multitude of photos) met as young employees of Disney. Shani started as a park cast member in 1987, going on to work throughout the park in “cross-training” for her role as a University leader at Disney University. Scott worked in the Disney Studios as an assistant producer for TV animation. Scott also wrote articles for This Day in Disney. At the Studios he always got, and still gets, a special feeling walking around there, where Walt worked.
“Without him, my kids wouldn’t be here, because that’s how I met my wife,” he said. According to Scott, they met while he was at Disneyland, and she worked at a store called The Emporium. “And then I met her…I’ve long heard, if you haven’t found what you want at Disneyland yet, stop at The Emporium – they have everything!”
For Scott this rang true, as he found Shani there. Scott and Shani moved away from their jobs with Disney, but maintained a connection as freelancers.
On Friday, July 31, Murrieta’s Chamber of Commerce hosted a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony for Shani Wolf’s Disney Vacation Planner business. As a Disney Travel Specialist, Shani provides travel agent services to those seeking a Disney adventure, whether in the parks, on a cruise, or one of the many other Disney travel opportunities; she has access to special deals and bargains. Her services are free, and she assured laughing guests, “but, as long as you book through me, I get my commission and all is well!”
This being the year of Disney’s 60th anniversary, the Wolfs offered the Murrieta community insight into the behind-the-scenes development of Disney, and a sense of Walt’s own values, as both a visionary and hands-on creator. Disney memorabilia and relics filled the chamber’s event room; costumes worn by stars, such as Fulton Burley of the original Golden Horseshoe Revue, and design pieces from historical Disney employees such as Harriet Burns.
Scott centered on Walt Disney himself, the man who achieved so much. “If you asked Walt the secret to his success, he would have said it was the people working for him,” he said.
Walt pulled from a “reservoir of talent…if he saw something you could do, and have fun, and really do well, that’s what he would have you do,” Scott said. No matter where the employee was originally assigned.
One such cast member, interviewed by Scott, was Blaine Gibson, an animator and sculptor. Gibson created the trademark sculpture of Mickey and Walt, “Partners.” Walt gazes and gestures to the happy people, holding Mickey’s hand, who looks up to Walt with admiration.
Scott continued to walk listeners through other members of Walt’s “reservoir of talent.” Wally Boag – vaudeville performer and original member of the Golden Horseshoe Revue, X Atencio – animator turned writer, Burns – designer, and seemingly a part of every attraction. Scott is connected to and has interviewed all of these individuals, many of whom were around from the beginning of Disney time.
Scott said, “the Disney magic keeps people going.”
Shani and Scott, along with their sons, continue to delve into the Disney lifestyle, visiting Disney destinations, sharing history and the Walt “Disney way,” and giving the valley a resource through which families may create their own Disney story.
Visit Shani’s website, www.shaniwolf.com for more information. Call (855) 989-4040 to bring this presentation to your own event, or to book a Disney travel experience.