Class of 1955 Bob Penfield Shares His Story About Being “The Last Original Disneylander”

Class of ’55 graduate Bob Penfield is convinced his life has been charmed. During his 42 years with Disneyland, he always seemed to find himself in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. Bob shares his journey, and the story of the world famous theme park he grew up with, in his new book “The Last Original Disneylander – Stories & Secrets from the Last of Retire of the First to be Hired.”

Similar to Walt Disney’s humble beginnings, Bob was raised in a small Midwestern town, then headed for the sunshine and opportunity out West. Blessed with an insatiable curiosity, days after graduating from Anaheim High School he went looking for summer work at the strange new amusement park being built down the road. He lucked into a job days before it opened, starting in July of 1955 as a ride operator on Disneyland’s Carrousel.

Three days later, he was named foreman of the Snow White ride and, as soon as he turned 21, was promoted to management. He later transferred into the Facilities Division, where he got the opportunity to explore and examine every square inch of the park. Along the way, he also enjoyed side trips to help open Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics, and the New York World’s Fair.

After working in a variety of positions that gave him the opportunity to explore every square inch of the park, he retired in July of 1997, as the last of the original employees. His intimate knowledge of the park, its history, and its amazing cast of characters provides a unique, up-close look at the creation and operation of the world’s most beloved vacation destination.

He continues to be actively involved with Disney, regularly participating in promotional events for the Company, organizing a monthly breakfast club for retirees, and serving as “keeper of the flame” for “Club 55,” the group comprised of fellow longtime cast members who started in 1955.

Today, much of his efforts go into promoting the Walt Disney Birthplace Museum in Marceline, Missouri. Proceeds from his book sale will, in fact, go toward the restoration of a Midget Autopia ride, which Walt donated to the city in 1966. His book may be purchased at

Tom Nabbe ’61- Disney’s Original Tom Sawyer


Photo from an article in the Saturday Evening Post, June 28, 1958 issue.

Life’s been one big adventure for Anaheim High’s Class of ’61 graduate Tom Nabbe. The fun really started when his family moved to Anaheim just down the road from where Disneyland was being built. 

A 12-year-old red-headed, freckle-faced boy, Nabbe was selling newspapers at Disneyland when he heard that Walt needed someone to play the role of Tom Sawyer. Tom pestered Walt until he got the job. Nearly fifty years later,  Tom retired as a Disney Legend.

The story of his amazing career, which began as a fantasy and ended as the embodiment of the American dream,  is now available in his book:  “From Disneyland’s Tom Sawyer to Disney Legend: The Adventures of Tom Nabbe.” 
The book is available via his website or via in paperback or Kindle Edition.




Grad Remembers Time as 1960’s Peace Corps Volunteer

AHS Class of 1962 graduate David Macaray is a playwright and author who recently published a new novel about his time spent as a Peace Corps volunteer in India in 1967-68

Titled “How to Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows: Adventures in India: Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims When the Peace Corps was New,” the memoir describes his youthful time in India with disarming honesty. [Read more…]

Anaheim’s Sheila Taylor Lowe (’67) Featured Author for Library Fundraiser

Anaheim High’s Sheila Taylor Lowe (’67) will be one of three award-winning writers featured at the Sunday, March 19, Anaheim Public Library Foundation Mystery Authors Luncheon and Silent Auction.

The Whodunnit?-themed event will be held at the Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort. A silent auction begins at 11 a.m., followed by the lunch and author program at 12:30. Tickets are $60 per person or $550 per table of 10. Reservations, due March 10, may be made by contacting

Like her fictional character Claudia Rose in her award-winning forensic handwriting mysteries series, Sheila Lowe is a real-life forensic handwriting expert, as well as the author of the acclaimed The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis, Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous, and Handwriting Analyzer software.

Her six-book mystery series are inspired by actual cases she’s become involved in as a handwriting expert. The series titles include: Poison Pen, Written in Blood, Dead Write, Last Writes, Inkslingers Ball, and Outside the Lines. 

She’s also published What She Saw, is a standalone novel of psychological suspense that follows a young woman through the terrifying labyrinth of amnesia.

Lowe holds a Master of Science in psychology and lectures around the country and in Canada and the UK. Her analyses of celebrity handwritings are seen throughout the media. In addition, she is president of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes education in the area of handwriting. To learn more about her work, visit: