Back in 1955, every kid in Orange County wanted to be part of that newly opened Magic Kingdom in Anaheim called Disneyland. Local boy Tom Nabbe not only got to be a “newsie” in those early days, his red hair and freckles eventually caught the eye of Walt himself.
Almost before he knew it, twelve-year-old Tom Nabbe was moved to an Island in the middle of Frontierland and answering to the name Tom Sawyer!
While it was clearly a role with a time limit, as the years went by Tom didn’t let the fact he’d “aged out” keep him from remaining a part of what Walt was up to. After leaving the Island, he became an Attractions Host and gradually moved his way up in the Disneyland management team.
When it came time to open that new park in Orlando, Tom made the trip. And it went so well, he stayed on to help get the Magic Kingdom going and then open Epcot in 1982—eventually becoming such a key part of Disney Parks’ distribution system management team that he went to Europe to help launch Disneyland Paris in the early 1990s. Clearly, Tom Nabbe had a solid streak of what Walt would call “stick-to-it-ivity.”
Now retired, Tom was named a Disney Legend in 2005 and just last year wrote a book—From Disneyland’s Tom Sawyer to Disney Legend: The Adventures of Tom Nabbe— filled with his many years of memories wrapped around carrying on Walt’s vision. He’s been honored with a Window on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and was named a Disneyana Fan Club Legend in 2006.
On Sunday, November 6, Tom will be addressing a group of fellow former Cast Members—the Disneyland Alumni Club—and regaling us with a few of those stories, many of which will no doubt include some of us.
Come meet Tom and relive the magic of those creative early Disney Parks days when we meet at JT Schmid’s at 2610 E. Katella Ave. in Anaheim. Doors open at 1 p.m. and we’ll get things rolling at 2 p.m., so come prepared to hang out, meet Tom, reminisce, and have a great afternoon.
Tickets can be bought on the Disneyland Alumni Club website (for Will-Call) until the day before.