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Disneyland Article
Meet Maynard Smith The 25-Year Disneyland Employee Who Is An Attraction Himself

Tomorrowland
ID:
TMS-4041
Source:
Orange County Register
Author:
Marla Jo Fisher
Dateline:
December 31, 2018
Posted:
January 09, 2019
Status:
Current
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It's unlikely that anyone who met Maynard Smith at Disneyland would forget him. Whether he's working at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hosting as his "evil twin" at the Haunted Mansion, Smith brings his many comical voices and a unique presence to work on every shift.

He's so popular, in fact, that his fans created a Facebook page called "Maynard, the amazing Disneyland Castmember!" with 2,050 members where people share photos, videos and memories of enjoying him at the park. "He's quite a character," said Jordie Poblete, "He's not the typical hourly cast member."

Smith, who's middle-aged, said he grew up in Garden Grove and attended Garden Grove High School, where he discovered that it was fun to clown around. He first went to Disneyland as a child and began working at the park in 1993, recently celebrating his 25th anniversary. He initially studied art but then became a trained voice-over actor with more than 50 characters.

Since he went to work at Disneyland, Smith said he always enjoyed his job as an attractions host, where he can interact directly with park visitors, rather than moving into the entertainment division - even though his fans would tell you that he's entertainment all by himself.

"He plays a whole bunch of roles at the park and you don't know what kind of personality you're going to find," Poblete said. "But I don't think he's a scripted guy. He likes just being off the cuff."

Disney expert Todd Regan, described Smith as a "Disneyland classic."

"His larger-than-life personality has practically made him an attraction for many repeat guests to seek out," Regan said. "You frequently hear guests say things like "Oh, we have to do Tiki Room, Maynard's working." Back in the day, he'd often serve as Jungle Cruise Skipper - he was hysterical. If they made a reality TV show about Disneyland, Maynard would certainly be one of the breakout stars."

Over the years, Smith has worked at the Country Bear Jamboree, the Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland and elsewhere. He said his "professor twin" worked Honey, I Shrunk the Audience in a white lab coat, amusing the crowd. He spent more than 10 years as a skipper on the Jungle Cruise, wearing a rubber alligator attached to his shoulder and remembers meeting his share of celebrities.

The late comedian Robin Williams heard him do a routine in front of the Tiki Room, he remembered, and replied back, launching a back-and-forth that resulted in a "whole cannibal routine when we were like two kids playing," Smith recalled. In another instance, he recalled recognizing the late singer Michael Jackson, who arrived at the park disguised in a turban that covered his face, colorful robes and shiny golden Aladdin-style shoes.

"People saw the spectacle but no one knew who he was," Smith said. "But I had heard earlier in the day that he was there." He also remembers meeting Tom Hanks and family at the Haunted Mansion, and inadvertently scaring his young son when he went into his "evil twin" routine.

When he's not working at the Tiki Room or the Haunted Mansion, Smith can be found other jobs, including crowd control. In his off time, he lives in the mountains where he paints abstracts and spends a lot of time reading.

"This place is meant for storytelling," Smith said. "I just happened as a storyteller to walk into a place that was meant for storytellers."
 
Attractions Referenced

Astro Orbitor

Country Bear Jamboree

Enchanted Tiki Room

Haunted Mansion

Honey, I Shrunk The Audience (Magic Eye Theater)

Jungle Cruise

 
Lands Referenced

Tomorrowland

 
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