A lot of people refer to themselves as "Disney families," but the Bundeys—Alex, his mother Kaye, his father Art, and his brother Ajay—take it one step further: not only are they all Disney fans who visit the parks, but they've also worked there, in front-line and managerial roles.
This is a story of love, family, and magic...
With those words, Alex Bundey begins this one-of-a-kind Disney memoir, written in turn by him and his family members, starting with his father's employment in the entertainment department at Epcot in the early 1980s (thus launching a 32-year career).
From hunkering down in the Magic Kingdom during Hurricane Frances, to being picked as member of the opening team for Hong Kong Disneyland, to teaching cast members at Disney University, to working on attractions like Living with the Land, the Bundeys' decades with Disney were exciting, wide-ranging, and most of all, the best times of their lives.
First Visit to Walt Disney World
Applying to Walt Disney World
Starting to Work for the Mouse
Trouble on Pirates
Brown Derby / Disney Performers
First Disney Job
Trench Coat Stories
Clarence “Ducky” Nash
Getting a Drink
Main Street Electrical Parade
Mickey's Jammin’ Jungle Parade
Hong Kong Opening Day
Japan and Tokyo Disneyland
Singing with Bruce
Favorite Disney Character
One Hour in Time
Future Disney Family
Meeting Mr. Disney
What is it like when your entire family grows up pixie-dusted with Disney, your parents work for Walt Disney World, your brother works there, and you end up working for the Mouse as well? That is one of the questions that Alex Bundey answers with stories from each member of his family that provide different perspectives on their Walt Disney World experience.
I have known the Bundey family for roughly two decades and I worked with Kaye Bundey, the best manager I ever had at Disney, at Disney Adult Discoveries, the department of Disney Institute that created and instructed backstage seminars for guests and special clients, as well as with her on the old Disneyana conventions. My brother, Mike, worked with Art Bundey for years in Entertainment.
The Bundey family share stories I have never heard before even though I have known them for years and I learned quite a few new things as well about Disney. For those who have never worked for Disney but always hoped that one day they might, this book gives an insider’s look at what it is really like to be a WDW cast member in a variety of different areas.
These are not the stories you will find in any other book. Since the Bundeys have worked at WDW for decades, they talk about beloved attractions that are now extinct, working on opening-day events including Hong Kong Disneyland, insights into hurricane misadventures, and heartwarming interactions with guests including two different ones involving trench coats that will make your eyes moist.
These are their personal stories with interesting details that reveal the day-to-day aspects of being a cast member that can only be found here. As I glided through these anecdotal encounters, I had a big smile on my face and was nodding my head because it all seemed so similar to what I had experienced myself as a cast member at WDW.
The entire tone of the book is friendly and welcoming just like the family themselves. It is as if you are sitting in their living room after a wonderful dinner and they are laughing about some of the adventures they had earlier in the week. Each story sparks another memory and another with such warmth that you end up feeling that you are part of the family.
Life at the Mouse House is far from perfect, as I quickly discovered for myself, but this book does not dwell on any of those negative aspects, such as scheduling challenges and personality conflicts with superiors.
Instead, the Bundeys focus on the delightful, positive moments in a conversational manner where you feel comforted that even the worse possible disasters will have a happy ending.
This wonderful book of magical memories made me laugh and cry because the Bundey family is so authentic and embody the very best of what it means to be a Disney cast member.
Growing up Disney gave the Bundeys a unique opportunity and insight into WDW and we can all be grateful that Alex got his family to share some of that “Disney happily ever after” with all of us in this unique memoir. Congratulations, Alex, for writing a Disney book that no one else could ever do.
Now it’s time to jump in and discover a Disney that most of you never knew.
This is a true story of love, family, and magic. My mom, Kaye; my dad, Art; my brother, Ajay; and myself have all worked in various roles for the Disney company. But the story starts even before we came to work for the Mouse, before we became a family—when my parents were both small children.
The love contained in this book is more than just our family. It includes some of the special guests we’ve had the privilege of meeting or knowing. Some of those interactions are in this book, and that’s where the magic lives. If you are one of the people making magic, or a guest willing to trudge through the rain just to ride a much-anticipated attraction, or if you are the family that waits in line to get a hug from a favorite character, then you share this love and are part of my extended family.
The goal of sharing these memories is to add more happiness into your day. It’s about the magic my family has helped create.
Alexander Bundey is a cast member at Walt Disney World. This is his first book.