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Theme park cast member stories: In remembrance

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Published: July 6, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Each Monday I write a story about my time working as a cast member at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. I try to be at least a little bit funny, but mostly I write to give fans an opportunity to see what life is like for park employees, and to give current and former employees a chance to share their memories of working in the parks, as well.

Austin WuennenbergToday, though, I'm in no mood to be funny. Like many former and current Disney cast members, I'm heartsick today over the loss of Austin Wuennenberg in yesterday's fatal crash on the Disney World monorails.

So today's cast member story is left as a memorial for Austin. If any TPI readers knew him personally, you are invited to share a story in the comments. Otherwise, we'll use this post as an opportunity to send our condolences, and thanks, to his family, friends and fellow cast members.

Readers' Opinions

From Gareth H on July 6, 2009 at 9:10 AM
My deepest sympathies go out to all Family, Loved ones, Friends and Cast Members who knew this young man.
From David Graham on July 6, 2009 at 9:25 AM
Thoughts and prayers go out to family, friends and fellow cast members.
From Lee Phillips on July 6, 2009 at 10:13 AM
My heart goes out to the family, friends and fellow cast members of the victim. What a tragic accident...
From Don Neal on July 6, 2009 at 10:15 AM
Very sorry to hear about all of this. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. And best wishes to the Disney "family" of team members as they work through all of this and try to move on.
From William Clark on July 6, 2009 at 10:29 AM
I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the family as well. These cast members work tirelessly to ensure that the guests have an enjoyable and memorable experience in the parks. Without exception I always have. Many times have I marveled at the efficiency of the Disney transportation cast members. They are quite simply the finest in the world when it comes to moving massive crowds of people.

Austin I salute you sir.

Rest in Peace.

From Joshua Counsil on July 6, 2009 at 10:33 AM
Good call, Robert. Hearts out to the family, friends, and co-workers.
From Raymond Sydowski on July 6, 2009 at 10:44 AM
My condolences to his family, friends and fellow Cast Members.
From Ben James on July 6, 2009 at 11:00 AM
My thoughts are with the family in this difficult time. I am also sending my thought to his WDW Family as they are also grieving the loss of a close friend and colleague.
From James Rao on July 6, 2009 at 12:27 PM
Ditto to what everyone has already written. Add five more prayers (one from each member of my family) to those already extended on behalf of the Wuennenberg family.
From TH Creative on July 6, 2009 at 12:46 PM
Warmest regards and prayers from a fellow college program student.
From Raul Araoz on July 6, 2009 at 2:02 PM
Nothing I say or do can alleviate the pain and anguish that the friends and family of Mr. Wuennenberg are going through. I can only offer my sincere condolences and deepest gratitude for a man who made the world a happier place for millions of people.
From Amy Tupper on July 6, 2009 at 3:24 PM
My thoughts are with Austin's family, as well as his friends and WDW co-workers. It's clear this young man loved his job and was a wonderful person. I'm sure he will be honored properly.

My thoughts are also with the driver of the Pink monorail, who must be feeling terrible after this incident.

From on July 6, 2009 at 3:39 PM
HI I just wanted to say that I rode up front once with Austin he was very kind and even gave my dd a hug when we left. My heart goes out to his family from mine. & thank you Austin for adding to our Disney magic!
From Anthony Murphy on July 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM
He has a couple of fbook memorials as well and his very own profile.

I will keep his family in my prayers along with him. Its really sad time at the Happiest Place on Earth


From Amanda Jenkins on July 6, 2009 at 6:47 PM
Many prayers from the Jenkins family go out to this young man's family and friends. I know from my own life that God is the only one who can bring some peace through this loss. I would also like to send a "thanks" for his work and effort to make the happiest place on earth a little happier.
From Beth Olliges on July 6, 2009 at 8:02 PM
My heart goes out to everyone whose lives have been touched by this terrible tragedy -- the families, Cast Members, WDW visitors who were on the monorail and those who witnessed the crash... so many people are feeling so much grief and heartache right now. I will be keeping everyone in my thoughts and prayers.
From John Charlton on July 7, 2009 at 9:23 PM
To everyone touched by this tragedy, the prayers and thoughts of my family go out to you. While no words can relieve your grief and heartache at this difficult time, please know that we mourn your loss with you. God bless you, Austin. With deepest sympathy - The Charlton Family
From Gareth H on July 8, 2009 at 2:14 PM
After seeing the recent news footage with a guests video inside the cab and checking through my recent Disney trip pictures I am saddended to realise that my ride in the Monorail cab, just a few weeks ago, was with Austin.

I remember him being friendly and polite and extremely professional, obviously a guy who loved his job.

It was a pleasure to have travelled with this young man.

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