Martha Blanding has had more than a few peoples’ dream jobs.
Blanding has worked at Disneyland for 47 years. In 1971, she became the fourth Black person ever to work as a tour guide at the resort. A 20-year-old Cal State Fullerton student at the time, she took the job to help her parents pay the tuition.
“Working here, we had to learn a spiel to talk about all the different lands in the park when you would go on your tour,” Blanding explained to In The Know. “And we had to say it verbatim. I memorized it once. Then after that they told us that we could change it to fit our personality and I did. So I had fun with it.”
After four years as a tour guide, Blanding entered the merchandising department as a junior buyer and a supervisor at the Emporium. It was her first time as a manager and it was at one of the busiest stores in Disneyland. Today Blanding thrives as the senior manager of merchandise special events.
“This is my niche. This is where I am supposed to be,” Blanding told In The Know. “I love it. It’s different every day and I love it.”
Retirement is a dirty word to Blanding. She has no plans to retire and doesn’t want to hear a word about it. Over the years, she has become a symbol of hope and inspiration in her community.
“I was born in South Central Los Angeles so for this to happen for me, I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart,” Blanding told In The Know. “Disney has been very good to me. They know that I am a proud Black woman and I stand for what I believe in. I am proud to work here and I will tell that to anybody.”
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