A Real Disneyland Character
by Mark Eades
Some teachers in school are real characters. In Tim Strauch II’s case, he was one—a Disneyland character that is.
Actually Tim, 44, played several Disneyland characters during his time as a Cast Member in the Entertainment Department from November 1996 to January 2001, including Pluto, Buzz Lightyear, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Eeyore, Rafiki, Geppetto, C3P0 and his first one, Br’er Fox.
Tim got the performing bug from his father, who was a professional clown for parties and events while also working as a teacher by day. At the age of two,
Tim first visited Disneyland. Even though he lived in the Sacramento area, Tim loved Disneyland so much that as a Cub Scout he sold enough “Scout-a-rama” tickets to win a free trip to Disneyland four years in a row. He even told a cousin who went with him on one trip that one day he was going to work there.
In 1989, Tim submitted his first Disneyland application while attending junior college, planning to get a job there and finish his schooling at California State University, Fullerton. But that dream did not happen, so he went back home to Sacramento and attended California State University, Sacramento instead.
After graduating with a degree in Communications, Media Production, he set off for Hollywood to find a career in show business.
Initially, Tim got a job in Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Character Department, while going on job interviews and auditioning for roles in television and films. Thanks to that experience, in 1996 he landed an audition to be a character at Disneyland. “I’ve never felt more confident in an audition,” he said. He got the job and was made a Cast Member in Disneyland’s Entertainment Department. His first day as a Disneyland character on stage was on his birthday in 1996, in the role of Br’er Fox.
Meanwhile, Tim continued to audition for acting roles or a position in television production, but that proved to be a struggle. “I knew it would be a hard field and I gave it my best. But I wasn’t as successful as I thought I could be,” Tim said.
Tim had done some teaching side by side with his dad, Tim Strauch, Sr., and decided it was fun, so he went back to school to get his teaching credential. He moved back up north and started teaching at Community Outreach Academy Elementary School in McClellan, California, where he lives today with his wife of 14 years. As a teacher, he’s received a Teacher of the Month award handed out by the local ABC News affiliate, along with other honors.
But Disneyland is still in his heart and he fondly remembers his many Disney character roles. “The experience is one that will never leave me,” he said. “I wear my Disneyland Entertainment ring everyday and I’m proud to say I worked there.”
This profile is part of a series featuring former Disney Cast Members being written for the Disneyland Alumni Club. These stories reveal the role working for Disney has played over the years in shaping the lives of the people who help "make the dream a reality," as Walt would say.
In honor of the 60th anniversary year of Disneyland in 2015, the Disneyland Alumni Club is reaching out to former employees, whether retired or younger, who may not be aware of the organization. The Club was started in 1983 by Disneyland executives Van France and Dick Nunis as a way to help Cast Members stay in touch after moving on to other careers. Is that you? If so and you'd like to take part in the Club's private celebration next August—or participate in their many other activities and benefits, please visit www.disneylandalumni.org and join today.
Here are some previous stories about Disneyland Alumni:
This article and photographs are copyright 2014 by Mark Eades, all rights reserved. Used by permission. Photographs supplied by subjects are used by permission, all rights reserved.