Cast Member Receives Disney Heroes Award for Role in Highway Rescue

Cast Member Heroes Award
Credit: Disney

Disneyland Cast Member Ray Banales typically has uneventful drives home from his late-night custodial shifts around the Disneyland Resort, but on one evening last fall, this was not the case at all. On September 16, 2021, Banales was driving home as he saw a car lose control, swerving and eventually stopping in the middle of the highway. Quick to act, Banales pulled over with his hazard lights on, and managed to make his way through traffic to get to the stuck vehicle.

Credit: Disney

Banales spoke with the Disney Parks Blog on the events of that evening saying, “I was terrified, but I tried my best to get the driver to get out of the car while other cars almost hit us. After he was finally able to get out, the car went up in flames.”

Banales stayed with the driver away from the vehicle that became engulfed in flames while he called 9-1-1 and waited for medical help and police to arrive on the scene. He agreed to take part in a media interview at the time, which led to word of his courageous act making it around his hometown and Disney Cast Member community.

Credit: Disney

“The following day, someone shared it with me, and then it kind of snowballed from there,” Banales said, “Reception was very positive, and I had people sharing it with me all over social media.”

Marybeth Miller, one of Banales’ leaders from his work location at Disneyland Park learned about the brave rescue he had undergone from a fellow Cast Member who was inspired by his actions. As a result, Miller nominated him for the Disney Heroes Award. The award serves to commend heroic acts performed by Disney employees (including Cast Members, crew, Imagineers, and anyone who works for the Walt Disney Company.) Employees can be nominated by their colleagues for performing life-saving actions or reporting life-threatening issues both at work and in their local communities.

Credit: Disney

Miller shared her thoughts on Banales receiving the award, “We have some of the most amazing human beings who have chosen to be cast members and they bring our focus on Safety to all aspects of their lives, allowing them to impact not just the guest and cast experience, but also the community experience in a positive way. Ray’s actions came from a place of genuine care and concern for humanity.”

Banales received his award during a ceremony last month with his family and coworkers in attendance. He was extremely grateful for the reward and remarked, “If this had been me and I was the one that was in an accident, I would want to think that someone — maybe not everyone — but at least one person would stop and see if I was OK.”

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.