LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 3, 2006 — With the pomp and circumstance fitting of a Disney tradition, the 2007 Walt Disney World Ambassadors – the 36th team to represent the resort, its Cast and Central Florida – were named this morning before a cheering crowd of Cast Members at the Innoventions Fountain Stage at Epcot®.
Lowell Doringo, a Houston, TX native, and Michael Kelley, a Gravette, AR native stood on stage among the group of seven other anxious finalists before their names were announced as the 2007 Ambassadors by Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts President Meg Crofton.
The prestigious honor of being selected as a Disney Ambassador began during the 10th anniversary of Disneyland, when Walt himself was overwhelmed with many requests for media interviews, so he selected the very first Ambassador in 1964 and the tradition has continued ever since. Serving as the face of the company and good will ambassador to the world brings a tremendous amount of responsibility as they will participate in more than 1,000 events including Cast Member recognition ceremonies, grand openings, marketing events, special promotions and media interviews, plus they will host dignitaries and other VIPs at Walt Disney World Resort. This distinction affords them the full-time honor to represent the Walt Disney World Resort to Cast, Central Florida and the world from January 1 through December 31, 2007.
“I offer my warmest congratulations to the 2007 Walt Disney World Ambassadors who have the honor of representing the proud heritage of our company, the world renowned spirit of our Cast and our Central Florida community,” Crofton said. “Wherever their duties lead them, our Ambassadors will make magic for countless Guests and Cast Members.”
The new Ambassador team will represent the company during the “Year of a Million Dreams,” an 18-month celebration that runs through 2007.
Doringo began his career with Disney in 2001 as a participant in the College Program, where he worked as a Merchandise Host in the Adventureland/Pirates of the Caribbean Pavilion at the Magic Kingdom. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin in Communications Studies, Doringo returned to Walt Disney World in 2003 as a Guest Relations Host at the Magic Kingdom. Since then, he has held several positions at Walt Disney World including his current role as an Associate Facilitator at the Disney Institute.
In his spare time, Doringo gives back to the community through volunteering at Give Kids the World, a local non-profit resort in Central Florida that helps make the dreams of children with life threatening illnesses come true. He currently resides in Orlando, FL.
Kelley began his Walt Disney World career in 1994 as a participant in the College Program, where he worked at Disney MGM Studios as a Transportation Host. Graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Arkansas in May of 1997, Kelley returned to the company as a visual display artist for the merchandise division of Walt Disney World Attractions. Since then he has held several positions including his current role as the Guest Service Proprietor for Discovery Island/Camp Minnie-Mickey at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
In 1999, Kelly was recognized for exceptional contributions to the Walt Disney World Resort when he was honored with the Partners in Excellence award, which is considered to be the most prestigious award that a Cast Member can achieve during their employment. Kelley is also an active member of Disney VoluntEARS, where he has the ability to help positively impact his community while furthering the traditions and ideals of The Walt Disney Company.
The Ambassador selection process involves a series of interviews with fellow Cast Members and executives where candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate the depth of their Disney knowledge and their passion about being a Disney Cast Member.
The Ambassador program began in 1965 with Walt Disney, who selected the first Ambassador to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of Disneyland.
PHOTO: Meg Crofton pictured with 2007 Disney Ambassadors Lowell Doringo and Michael Kelley, and the 1971 Walt Disney World Ambassador Debby Dane Browne.