D23 Gold Members with Charlie Ridgway

Go Inside D23 Members’ Lunch with Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway

On Friday, March 18, 40 D23 Gold Members and guests met inside the The American Adventure Parlor at Epcot for the Central Florida debut of D23’s Lunch with a Disney Legend series. With the 45th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort on the horizon, it was the perfect time to meet one of its founders and biggest champions: renowned press agent and Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway.

Charlie Ridgway

As they entered the elegant, colonial-era space—used by VIPs including President Ronald Reagan—D23 Members were greeted by 2015–16 Walt Disney World Ambassadors Caitlin Busscher and Nathaniel Palma, who hosted a question-and-answer session with Charlie. Recalling memories from his more than 60-year association with Disney parks, Charlie answered members’ inquiries about his interactions with Walt Disney and the moments surrounding the creation of the all-new amusement enterprise, Disneyland. Charlie even shared stories about the extravagant opening ceremony of Pirates of the Caribbean, which he orchestrated in Anaheim 49 years prior to the day!

Charlie Ridgeway with Walt Disney World Ambassadors, Caitlin Busscher and Nathaniel Palma

Afterward, D23 Members proceeded to the main dining room, which offers a breathtaking view of Epcot. There, Charlie dined with a small group of guests at the Disney Legend Table, as representatives from Walt Disney World joined members across the room—including Caitlin, Nathaniel, and a surprise visit by the first Walt Disney World Ambassador, Debby Dane Browne.

D23 Members with special gifts

During a raffle opportunity after the three-course luncheon, six lucky D23 Members won an autographed copy of Charlie’s book, Spinning Disney’s World. And as a special thank you to commemorate the memorable afternoon, each guest received a signed print of Charlie’s window on Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom Park.