Some Original Staffers Say They’re Still Happy To Work At Disney World After 50 Years : NPR

Celebrating 50 years as original employees of Walt Disney World are (from left) Chuck Milam, Earliene Anderson and Forrest Bahruth.

John Raoux/AP

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John Raoux/AP

Celebrating 50 years as original employees of Walt Disney World are (from left) Chuck Milam, Earliene Anderson and Forrest Bahruth.

John Raoux/AP

ORLANDO, Fla. — Applying to be one of the first workers at Walt Disney World, high school graduate George Kalogridis made a split-second decision that set the course for his life: he picked a room where prospective hotel workers were being hired.

Chuck Milam got a tip about a job opening from a transplanted Disney executive whose new house he was landscaping. Earliene Anderson jumped at the chance to take a job at the new Disney theme park in Florida, having fallen in love with the beauty of Disneyland in California during a trip two years earlier.

At the time, the three were among the 6,000 employees who opened the Magic Kingdom at Disney World to the public for the first time on Oct. 1, 1971. Now, they are among two dozen from that first day still employed at the theme park resort as it celebrates its 50th anniversary on Friday.

Over those decades, Disney World added three more theme parks, two dozen additional hotels and grew to have a workforce of 77,000 employees as it helped Orlando become the most visited place in the U.S. before the pandemic.

What never changed was the original employees’ devotion to the pixie dust, the dream machine created by Walt Disney and his Imagineers.

A Disney representative presents the three with special 50th anniversary name tags.

John Raoux/AP

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John Raoux/AP

A Disney representative presents the three with special 50th anniversary name tags.

John Raoux/AP

“Disney has been my love, and it still is,” Anderson said recently before starting her shift in merchandising at a Magic Kingdom hotel. “I love Disney.”

The employees who make up the 50-year club say the theme park resort has allowed them to grow their careers and try on new hats. Kalogridis worked his way up to be president of Walt Disney World and Disneyland in California. Milam went from a warehouse worker to a buyer of spare parts for rides and shows.

Forrest Bahruth joined the workforce at Disney World in January 1971 as a show director, responsible for staging and choreographing parades and shows. He was also given the opportunity to help open other Disney theme parks around the world over the past five decades.

“There are people all over the world who get up to go work. They’re unhappy about it. They don’t really like their jobs,” Bahruth said. “As you can tell from us, there’s an enthusiasm. We are privileged to be at a place where we love what we do.”

Some Disney World history

There was no guarantee that Disney World was going to be a success 50 years ago. Walt Disney, the pioneering animator and entrepreneur whose name graces the Florida resort, had died in 1966, just a year after announcing plans for “the East Coast Disneyland.” The company had quietly acquired 27,000 acres (11,000 hectares) of scrub land outside Orlando for around $5 million via secret land purchases using fake names and shell companies.

The job of shepherding the project to Opening Day fell to his brother, Roy Disney, who with other company officials convinced the Florida Legislature to create a quasi-governmental agency that would allow Disney to self-govern when it came to matters of infrastructure and planning. Roy died almost three months after Disney World opened.

Just weeks before opening, construction at the Magic Kingdom was controlled chaos, and it seemed impossible that it would all come together in time.

“It was like an army of ants. Everything was under construction. Interiors were still being put in. Roofing was still being put on top,” Bahruth said. “There was painting, landscaping. Things were arriving by the moment. It was like trucks going everywhere.”

Bahruth rehearsed performers through parade choreography down Main Street, which cut through the center of the Magic Kingdom and resembled a turn-of-the-century small town from Walt Disney’s childhood. Even though he was a busser, Kalogridis was drafted into laying down sod outside the hotel he was working in, hours before Disney World’s grand opening.

Memories of opening day

Two things have stuck in the memories of the longtime employees from that opening day. The first was the photo. It was an image of thousands of Disney World workers standing in front of the iconic Cinderella Castle with Mickey Mouse and other costumed characters holding hands in front. Two weeks later, it was featured on the cover of Life magazine.

“They brought all the characters up, staged them first, and then they tried to keep all the different workers together based on the color of their costumes,” Milam said. “If you were from Fantasyland and in yellow, you would go over there.”

The second was the parade. It featured a 1,076-member marching band conducted by Meredith Wilson, the composer of the Broadway show, “The Music Man.” There were 4,000 Disney entertainers marching through the theme park, a mass choir and trumpeters from the United States Army Band. Hundreds of white doves were released into the air, and less environmentally friendly, so were thousands of multi-colored balloons.

“It was the biggest thing I had ever seen,” Bahruth said.

Only around 10,000 visitors showed up on that first day — which at today’s much larger Walt Disney World would represent about 90 minutes’ worth of visitors entering. It wouldn’t be until Thanksgiving 1971, almost three months later, when Disney executives had an answer about whether their new resort would be a success; that’s when cars trying to get into the Magic Kingdom stretched for miles down the interstate.

“It was very clear after that first Thanksgiving, that the public definitely liked what we were doing,” Kalogridis said. “That first Thanksgiving, that was the moment.”

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They were controversial from the start and are being used as a ‘rubbish tip’ – but now they’re set to stay

They were controversial from the start… and now they’re set to stay.

Modal filters’ installed in the streets – in an attempt by Manchester council to ease traffic – weren’t particularly well received in Levenshulme.

The 14 plant filters were installed across the south Manchester neighbourhood in January as part of a six month trial for an ‘Active Neighbourhood’ project that’s been a long time in the works.

READ MORE: Confusion, controversy and quiet chaos erupts on the streets of Levenshulme

The plans for the project included improved road crossings, traffic calming measures to improve air quality and ‘strategically placed’ planters to be used as road filters.

The planters marked the starting point for the trials.

Now residents are coming to terms with the fact they’re set to remain in place for good after the news was confirmed by the council on Tuesday.

A protest of fly-tipping on Manor Road East
Fly-tipping on Manor Road East

But just hours after the announcement, the planters on Manor Road East, which residents say ‘block a main road to the tip’, were hit by fly-tippers.

Heather McDonagh shared photographs on the Facebook group One Levenshulme.

She said: “No one looks after the planters. They’ve become rubbish bins.

“We knew this would happen. It’s the main route to the tip.

What do you think of the planters? Have your say below

“It’s not just the fly-tipping. The planters are just reciprocals for rubbish. They’ve made the problem worse.”

Residents were concerned the filters had been installed without much instruction to road users.

Following the fly-tipping, one person posted: “That’s disgusting! But like you say, what do you expect when you block a main road to the tip?!”

Following consultations, which saw thousands of residents take part, the filters on Henderson Street and Manor Road East will be changed.

Manchester council say they have taken people’s feedback on board and where possible, considerations are being made about how the filters alter people’s behaviour on roads.

But it has not been revealed what the changes will be.

Items discarded as main route to the tip is blocked
Items discarded as main route to the tip is blocked

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, executive member for environment, said: “The trial of the Active Travel Neighbourhood scheme was incredibly valuable in our understanding how people travel in the places they live, as well as how we can create places that are safe and prosperous to live in.

“Thanks to the thousands of people who took part in our consultations we have begun the steps to permanently put this scheme in place.

“We’ll now work with our partners to put together a design which works for residents, and fulfils the goals of Active Travel Neighbourhoods.

“This is a collaborative approach between ourselves and residents and I look forward to taking our final design to them when completed, later this year.”

The initial designs for the proposed next steps have been agreed by ward councillors of both Levenshulme and Burnage and have now been submitted to Transport for Greater Manchester for review.

A similar project by the Levenshulme Bee Network was scrapped by Manchester council last year following concerns of how the scheme would be rolled out.

The locations of the filters:

Buckhurst Road
Cardus Street (North)
Delamere Road and Gordon Avenue
Dorset Road
Caremine Avenue
Guildford Road
Henderson Street (location to be changed slightly in response to feedback from residents)
Longden Road
Manor Road East (location to be changed in response to feedback from residents)
Mayford Road
Molyneux Road
Osborne Road
Portville Road and Randolph Street
Victoria Road

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CDC Warns Americans Against Travel to Canada, Even if They’re Vaccinated

Right now, Canada is in the throes of a third COVID-19 wave and is reportedly on track to outpace the U.S. in terms of its rate of new infections relative to the overall population. Worse yet, the country is seeing significant outbreaks of dangerous coronavirus strains that are more transmissible than the original virus and potentially even vaccine-resistant.

The trend is so worrisome that U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated Canada’s travel advisory (a Level Four—the highest possible risk category) to include a warning that even fully vaccinated Americans should not risk venturing north of the U.S. border. The change was made on the same day that the CDC released new travel guidelines for vaccinated Americans in which the agency said that those who are fully vaccinated can safely move about the country.


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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“Because of the current situation in Canada, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Canada,” the website now reads. “If you must travel to Canada, get fully vaccinated before travel. All travelers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands.”

For a full year now, the Great White North has kept its case counts comparatively low while the health crisis in the U.S. continued to escalate. So, what happened?

Firstly, the pandemic situation in America is finally improving, thanks to a massive nationwide vaccination campaign and the government’s having secured an ample supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, while our northern neighbor’s vaccination efforts have trailed behind those of many other nations.

The U.S. has thus far managed to get roughly 19 percent of its population fully vaccinated, while Canada can say the same of only about two percent of its population. The National Post reported that, as of April 6, roughly one-third of Americans had received at least the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, while only 16 percent of Canadians had gotten at least one dose.

Young woman getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Young woman getting vaccinated against COVID-19. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/Geber86)

Johns Hopkins University’s dataset this week revealed that the U.S. was seeing about 196 new COVID-19 cases per one million people per day, while in Canada about 180 new cases per million people were being added daily (based on a seven-day rolling average). Noel Gibney, a professor emeritus in the faculty of medicine at the University of Alberta, said that it’s almost certain that Canada will surpass the U.S. in terms of community spread in the next few days.

The infiltration of more contagious, and possibly even more deadly, viral variants is being blamed for causing Canada’s third COVID-19 wave. According to a Vice report, Canada is one of the world’s only countries to be battling significant outbreaks of three different variants at the same time.

In Alberta, experts believe that the B.1.1.7 U.K. variant has almost entirely replaced the original COVID-19 strain. The P1 variant that emerged in Brazil—which has reinfected people who have previously contracted and recovered from COVID-19 and may be vaccine-resistant—is also spreading in Canada, as is the B1351 variant that first came from South Africa.

Just as Americans are being warned to stay away, Canada’s health officials are also beseeching Canadians to avoid nonessential travel within the country; although experts are saying that tighter travel restrictions may not be enough at this point to contain the spread of the highly transmissible variants.

Ashleigh Tuite, an infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, remarked on the variants’ prevalence within Ontario, “It’s incredibly widespread, so I think there’s merit in restricting movement between areas…But as a way to control the spread of variants? That ship has likely already sailed.”

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Coronavirus news: Brits to apply for travel permits to prove they’re on essential journey | UK | News

Under coronavirus restrictions in the UK, holidays abroad are banned until at least May 17 with any travellers forced to self-isolate for 10 days and under-go triple testing. But new rules introduced now require Britons to show proof a journey abroad is essential after Mediterranean countries opened up for those vaccinated.

The travel permits were unveiled on Friday, six weeks after Home Secretary Priti Patel hinted they would be needed.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has warned prospective travellers those without a permit and supporting evidence would be slapped with a £200 fine.

The DfT also suggested they could bar rule-breakers from their flights, and shared police are increasing patrols at ports and airports.

The three-page “travel declaration form” asks people to set out their reason for having to go abroad during the travel ban and to bring “evidence” such as an employer’s letter and professional ID card if their justification is work.

READ MORE: Covid breakthrough: Variants ‘VERY unlikely’ to delay end to lockdown in boost to Britain

The move prompted anger from Tory MPs, with Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, telling the Telegraph “it’s time that we were starting to get rid of intrusive regulations” as cases fall, “not bringing in new ones”.

He said: “This threatens to be yet another bureaucratic nightmare which will limit people’s freedom, give too much control to the state and will achieve nothing whatsoever in the control of Covid.”

A DfT source defended the permits and said: “They are not designed to catch people out.

“It’s to put front and centre of people’s minds that they should not be travelling at the current time.”

It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock shared coronavirus cases across the UK had fallen by a third and deaths were down by 41 percent.

Yesterday saw the UK record another 5,947 cases and 236 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus.

In total, the UK has recorded 4,207,304 cases and 124,261 deaths.

Yesterday also saw the UK vaccine figures reach 21,358,815 first doses administered and 1,034,068 second doses given.

In total, the UK has administered 22,392,883 vaccines, and has given the jab to around two in five adults across the UK.

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