Disney Avenue Podcast – Show #19 – Interview with Two WDW Cast Members from the Early Years

Written by Keith Mahne. Posted in Features, Keith Mahne, Magic Kingdom, The Disney Avenue Podcast, Walt Disney World

Published on March 05, 2016 at 10:08 pm with No Comments

Welcome to another exciting episode of the Disney Avenue Podcast. For our very first show of 2016, we are joined by R.J. and Suzanne Ogren who are two former Walt Disney World cast members. They are about to blow you away with some amazing stories from their incredible careers working at the vacation kingdom. R.J. painted Animatronic figures and “plussed” attractions. Suzanne drove monorails, marched in parades, and entertained as Sleepy the dwarf, among other things. Together, the Ogren’s brought their unique skills to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom during its formative years. \

DA Podcast Cast Members

R.J. and Suzanne at Disneyland, Christmas 1965

As their brand new book states, R.J. and Suzanne were indeed “together in the dream”: their adventures as husband-and-wife cast members spanned the backstage areas of iconic attractions, Main Street parades, and Disney executive offices. They worked with celebrities, Disney artists like Marc and Alice Davis, and the fun-loving, creative geniuses who called the “Animation Art Studio” home. R.J. was a Disney artist and took care of Walt Disney World’s Auto-Animatronic figures and show scenes. Some of the jobs he was tasked with were things like working underwater at the old 20,000 Leagues attraction, aboard the pirate ship in Pirates of the Caribbean, and in the “jungle” of the Jungle Cruise…

RJ collage

R.J. at work as a Disney artist for WDW

Suzanne’s Disney career involved “being friends” with some of Disney’s most beloved characters like Sleepy the dwarf, Smee from Peter Pan, and as a host at the Haunted Mansion…

Suzanne collage

Suzanne in just a few of her many roles as a WDW cast member including Sleepy

Their new book that is available now is titled Together in the Dream: The Unique Careers of a Husband and Wife in the Early Decades of Walt Disney World and I can’t wait for you to hear more about that as well. You’ll read stories such as how Disney trains its monorail drivers, and the surprisingly rigorous tests they must pass to qualify, life in the “Dwarf unit” and the tight-knit group of cast members who perform as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the Magic Kingdom, why some Animatronic characters don’t wear pants, and even about that time R.J. had to repair a bullet hole in the Haunted Mansion. Make sure to grab your copy today at ThemeParkPress.com or on Amazon.


So friends, sit back and relax as we listen to the incredible stories and history of R.J. and Suzanne Ogren in this fantastic episode of the Disney Avenue Podcast…Enjoy!


The Disney Avenue Podcast would like to thank our producer Geren Piltz and our graphic designer Brian Vermillion for their contributions to this show!







About Keith Mahne

Keith Michael Mahne is the founder and editor of DisneyAvenue.com and the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four. Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true everyday. Keith is proud to be a part of the MiceChat family.

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