LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., July 23, 2015 – Al Konetzni has given Disney fans millions of magical moments. In fact, you might say he could even document more than 9 million of them.
Nine million classic Disney lunch boxes were sold based on Al’s clever design. The merchandising wizard, known as the “idea man” created a now collectible lunch box that looked like a yellow school bus. It featured several Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Jiminy Cricket, Goofy, Pluto and Pinocchio. That 9 million figure doesn’t include all the other great designs the “idea man” turned into Disney toys, clothing, jewelry and more during his Disney career from 1953 to 1981.
It was only fitting that the Walt Disney World Resort return the favor with a magical moment for Al on his 100th birthday. Knowing that Al had a big birthday coming up on May 19, Guest Experience Services partnered with the Epcot team, including General Motors at Test Track, F&B, Disney Photo Imaging, and Epcot Ops Planning to create a celebration that touched the family members, Guests, and Cast who were present. It also brought a tear to Al’s eye.
During the celebration in the General Motors Lounge at Epcot, Al, who was born in Brooklyn, told stories of his long life. He also received an Honorary Ambassador for the Day pin, colorful “Happy Birthday” Mickey ears, a Romero Britto Donald Duck desktop statuette, an authentic character lunch box he designed, and a cake shaped like his famous lunch box.
Retired Vice Admiral Al Konetzni Jr. said his father loved it all. “This was fantastic. Just enough to keep him talking about it for weeks!”