Arneil the French Quarter Greeter Celebrates 30 Years at WDW

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The Sassagoula Sentinel
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Arneil the French Quarter Greeter Celebrates 30 Years at WDW

Unread post by The Sassagoula Sentinel » June 11th, 2017, 4:32 pm

[Posted by friend-of-the-site Steve Denney]

Congratulations Arneil!

On June 20th, Arneil, the instantly recognizable and very popular Greeter at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, will be celebrating 30 years as a Walt Disney World Cast Member. Arneil, who is a Viet Nam veteran, came to Disney from Illinois in 1987. He began working at EPCOT Center as an Attractions Host in Future World at what was then called World of Motion (which later became GM’s Test Track.) He also worked at the much-missed Horizons attraction before that too closed.

In 1990, when the Walt Disney World Yacht and Beach Club Resorts first opened, Arneil became one of their original Bell Services cast members. He remained there for sixteen years, subsequently transferring to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in 2006.

After nearly five more years at Wilderness Lodge, Arneil was encouraged by his friends in Disney management to take on the role for which he has since become so well known. In 2010, Arneil created the colorful “Monarch of the Mardi Gras” persona for the many guests arriving, departing or just passing through the lobby at Port Orleans French Quarter.

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Anyone who takes a few minutes to stop and chat with Arneil will quickly appreciate that he loves people, and particularly enjoys the opportunity to interact with all of the diverse cultures and backgrounds that are represented by Disney guests.

Although his first name is of Scottish origin – he is named after a family friend in Glasgow – Arneil is primarily of Dutch heritage. It doesn’t take much encouragement for him to share his Dutch roots with anyone who is interested, and you’ll find that he has some interesting, and famous, ancestors.

Arneil is an avid reader with a keen interest in history and languages, so it should not surprise anyone to know that he speaks several languages fluently, including Dutch, Flemish, German and Afrikaans. But what may not be so obvious is that he is also able to greet guests in more than a dozen more languages. Saying “hello,” “goodbye,” or simply exchanging well wishes in such diverse tongues as Spanish, Hindi, French, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Italian, Vietnamese, and Arabic has become second nature for him, and an integral part of his Mardi Gras persona.

Arneil, with his plume-adorned top hat and clad in the bright green, gold and purple of Mardi Gras, has become an iconic presence in the French Quarter lobby, often the first cheery face that you see on arrival, and the last to wish you “Bon Voyage” as you depart.

I encourage you to stop and chat whenever you have the time, and especially if you happen to be at French Quarter on Tuesday June 20th don’t forget to congratulate him on thirty years with Walt Disney World, a milestone certainly worthy of recognition and appreciation.

Incidentally, although Arneil may not be a member of these forums, he does read the posts from time to time - so, if you have any comments, memories or well-wishes for him, post them here or on this Facebook thread and we’ll make sure he sees them.

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Last summer, I wrote a short song for Arneil which I presented to him at the end of one shift, along with a copy of the lyrics as a keepsake. The acoustics of the glass and tile lobby were not exactly conducive to getting a studio-quality recording with non-professional video gear, but a few attempts later in Scat Scat’s we got something that while maybe not technically perfect seemed to capture the spirit nicely. You’ll note that Arneil was quite familiar with the lyrics by then, and started acting them out as we went along!


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MardiGroggy
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Re: Arneil the French Quarter Greeter Celebrates 30 Years at

Unread post by MardiGroggy » July 6th, 2017, 10:23 am

It was a magical day for our genial French Quarter host, Arneil, as he celebrated 30 years as a WDW Cast Member on June 20th. Several of us "regulars" were there, but we were not really sure what to expect, as any recognition of such events by Disney management is often done completely "backstage." In this case, however, I think they knew that some of us were "lurking in the lobby" in hopes of getting to join in the celebration. At about 10:15am, French Quarter General Manager Punam Dayabhai-Jairambhai led an entourage of FQ cast members into the lobby to make a public presentation to Arneil to begin his celebration. We were, therefore, able to join in the festivities and Arneil was able to show off his Jiminy Cricket statue and his 30 year certificate. He was also able to make a few brief remarks to the assemblage and we were able to grab some photos. Then they took him backstage for some additional "cast member only" time, in which I am told some special cheesecake was a central feature. Our thanks to Punam for giving us the chance to share in the excitement of the day. Here's to many more magical years, Arneil!

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Arneil replaced his 25 year pin with his new 30 year pin on his nametag (top left corner):

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Lots of folks have been following this on Facebook, where Andre posted photos on June 20th, and many of the guests passing through the lobby took time to congratulate him, even before and after all of the obvious celebrations were over. Don't forget to share your thoughts with him here or in person when you visit. Anything posted here will be forwarded on to him.
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

Feller
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Joined: July 27th, 2017, 4:19 pm

Re: Arneil the French Quarter Greeter Celebrates 30 Years at

Unread post by Feller » July 27th, 2017, 4:32 pm

Arneil is always a joy to see and talk too. He is also the first cast member we look forward to seeing.

Meg9514
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Joined: July 22nd, 2017, 3:44 pm

Re: Arneil the French Quarter Greeter Celebrates 30 Years at

Unread post by Meg9514 » July 27th, 2017, 8:08 pm

This is so cool! Since I have never been to Port Orleans I had no idea there was such a legend working there! I'm definitely going to stop by and chat with him on our next trip. This, to me, embodies Disney and what they're all about. Awesome!

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