The Important Women of Disney World’s Past and Present
March is Women’s History Month, and there have been a lot of celebrations around Disney World! We’ve seen a whole Women of the Galaxy Star Wars merchandise collection, fun artwork in Disney Springs, limited-time treats, and so much more.
Now, Disney is taking a look back on the Women of Walt Disney World, so let’s dive into it!
The Women of Walt Disney World
Disney recently posted about the women of the past and present at Walt Disney World. Inspiring women have helped create magic at the resort for 50 years now!
Disney took a look at a handful of the women who have played key roles and have contributed to the company over the past 50 years, so let’s take a look.
Peggie Fariss works for Disney for 50 years, starting out at Disneyland Resort and moving to Florida to help start on Walt Disney World. She was one of the few women who were on the team for Magic Kingdom!
After that, she became a Creative Development executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. Here, she was crucial to designing EPCOT, including Spaceship Earth and the World Showcase.
Disney says that Peggie’s “approach to creating different thematic tones for each pavilion or scene within the attraction helped establish some of the immersive experiences we know and love today.” She actually lead the research for Spaceship Earth and helped make sure every scene had authenticity and detail.
Even after retiring, Peggie continues to serve as an inspiration to women in her field and at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Kartika Rodriguez has also made history at Disney World! She is the first Black woman to lead one of Disney World’s four theme parks as Vice President of EPCOT.
She has been working at Disney for 20 years and constantly leads in fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. She has opened a lot of doors for other women to follow in her footsteps!
Kartika along with Melissa Valiquette, Sarah Riles, Jackie Swisherm, and Linda Reid are all-women team leading all four Disney World theme parks!
Morgan is a software developer at Walt Disney Imagineering. She supports attractions both at Disney World and at other parks around the world!
Morgan is inspired to help the next generation of young women and STEM storytellers. She recently participated in the annual Spark STEM Fest at the Orlando Science Center.
She and other engineers introduced young students to careers in the field with hands-on experiences!
Her advice to younger girls interested in STEM-related fields was “not to be afraid to try new things and look for opportunities to get exposure to skills and classes you wouldn’t normally take.” She herself found computer coding due to an error in her high school schedule!
Flo Park is an industrial engineer at Walt Disney World. Her work is vital in making sure that all of the guests have a great experience in the parks!
Flo has also served as a mentor to other women and is a great example of the importance of diversity in technology and engineering. She is even one of the four women that comprise the leading IE teams at the parks.
Flo said, “As a woman in STEM, Women’s History Month means more than a time of recognition … it’s also a time for reflection. I celebrate the month by recognizing the powerful women in my life and recognizing underrepresentation in multiple spheres. I celebrate all those that are living their full selves, consequently showing me what I can achieve with my own future!”
Meg Crofton was the first woman to become President of Walt Disney World Resort in 2006! Then, she made history again as the first women president of Disney’s Parks and Resorts Division, which oversees Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, and Disneyland Paris.
She has devoted her career to uplifting and encouraging other Cast Members to go for leadership roles, and was known as a mentor to many people. Meg was honored on Main Street, U.S.A. with a window dedication and display above the Emporium.
Carol Stein has been a pianist at Disney World for over 30 years! She puts her own spin on Disney classic songs and also performs original compositions. That along with her humor has made her a very beloved presence in the parks!
Carol has brought joy to so many guests throughout her career. She said “Making music is my way of making magic. It’s how I give back to the world one day at a time.”
Carol is one of many Cast Members that guests have seen perform throughout the years, alongside other women like Debbie Johnson, who is a Voices of Liberty singer.
Heather Will-Browne became the first woman on the horticulture team at Disney World! She’s been with Disney since 1971 and is known for here expertise.
Heather played a very important role in creating and maintaining the landscapes and gardens throughout the Disney World parks and resorts. Her contributions and accomplishments as a woman have helped pave the way for other women in the company and inspired future generations to follow her lead!
These are only a handful of the thousands of amazing women from Disney’s past and present that are making their mark. If you want to learn about more of them, you can check out the women of Disney World’s Ambassador Program and learn more about 6 women who are Disney Parks innovators.