Monday, May 19, 2008

A Disney Legend: Milt Albright

As the Disney Legend's website says, the Disney Legend award was created "to acknowledge and honor the many individuals whose imagination, talents and dreams have created the Disney Magic" There have been 216 Disney Legends awarded since the inception of this award in 1987. Many of the names on this list are known to most Disney enthusiasts, but for every well known legend there are 10 that you might have never heard of. These are their stories.

Milt Albright has a very distinct title among many. Milt is the very first Disneyland employee on record. But that is just the middle of the story. Milt Albright came from Missouri in the footsteps of another famous Missourian, Walt Disney. Milt started at the studios as a junior accountant in 1947. His job was basically writing out and delivering the checks to most of the people in the studios at that time. Even to Walt Disney. On some occasions they would share a story about Missouri. One of Milt's hobbies was automobiles. In 1953 he used that hobby to design a car for the new Disneyland Park that Walt was working on. As the story goes, Walt was not to impressed with the car, but he was big time impressed with Milt. Walt hired Milt Albright as the first Manager of Accounting for Disneyland. And that was it, Milt was the very first employee at Disneyland. There were other things for Milt in the Disney Company. In 1957, Milt was the manager of the short lived Holidayland. Holidayland was part picnic grounds, part circus, part corporate function area. Some of the Mickey Mouse Club members would perform here when not shooting the show. It's now the Disneyland employee parking lot. Per Milt, “It wasn’t any one thing that killed Holidayland. It was just the combined effect of a whole lot of things.” It closed in 1961. After Holidayland, Milt moved into Guest Services part of the company. While there he founded the Grad Night tradition at Disneyland. The first Grad Night was on June 15, 1961. Milt also developed and presented the Magic Kingdom Club, a chance for Disney park goers to get various discounts in the parks. Another major project of Milt's was the Disney News magazine which each Magic Kingdom Club member automatically got. The first issue came out in Dec. 1965. Milt's last position with the Disney Company was Manager of Guest Communications. He retired from the park in 1992. Milt is a Member of Club 55, the club for the original Disneyland employees. He received his Disney Legends award in 2005 and even has a window on Main Street in Disneyland.

"Milt Albright, Entrepreneur. No job too big, no job too small."

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