Tuesday, July 7, 2015

She's served Disney World customers for 40 years

Walt Disney World celebrates its 40th anniversary Saturday, and Mickey, Minnie and the gang aren't the only ones who have been working at the Orlando vacation destination all this time. Southwest Philly native Bobbi Ferrilli has been a cocktail and restaurant server since day one.

She's served Disney World customers for 40 years

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Bobbi Ferrilli, then Barbara Lashley, in 1971.
Bobbi Ferrilli, then Barbara Lashley, in 1971.
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Walt Disney World celebrates its 40th anniversary Saturday, and Mickey, Minnie and the gang aren't the only ones who have been working at the Orlando vacation destination all this time.

When Southwest Philadelphia native Barbara Lashley moved to Miami in 1969, she had never heard of Orlando. Two years later she was working opening day as a cocktail server at Disney's Contemporary Resort and can now be found working as a server at Cap'n Jack's Restaurant at the Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Now known as Bobbi Ferrilli, she has made lasting friendships with her customers over the years, many of whom start a conversation with her about Philadelphia, which is listed on her name tag.

Bobbi, who grew up at 64th & Buist, never dreamed that being so far from home, she would meet a man from 64th & Lindbergh, but she and Paul Ferrilli just celebrated their 30th anniversary, renewing their vows with Elvis in Vegas.

Bobbi gets Christmas and birthday cards from repeat Disney customers, but in the early days she was sure she would be fired after she spilled an ice tea on Roy Disney, Walt's older brother. Keeping it Philly-real, Bobbi told Disney it was his fault because he was talking with his hands and knocked into her.

Disney agreed and told Bobbi she was doing a great job.

Bobbi also met Michael Jackson at Downtown Disney just before "Thriller" was released and waited on Jimmy Stewart and Fred MacMurray, among other stars. She said she loves everything about her job, especially getting to know her customers. She is one of 144 employees who have worked for Disney since the park opened in 1971.

Read more from our column in Wednesday's Daily News.

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