The Mousekeeters are finally coming home for a grand reunion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the show’s debut episode and the 90th birthday of Mickey Mouse himself. Featuring cast from all seven seasons of the Mickey Mouse Club, #MMC30 is organized and produced by alumni Dale Godboldo, who is behind the Always In The Club Foundation, and Chasen Hampton in support of Give Kids The World Village, and onePULSE Foundation. Hosted by Joey Fatone, the event is happening on May 18-19 at Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, FL.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down for a series of interviews with some of the Mousekeeters who are going to be part of the event. You may remember Tasha Danner who was an MMC regular from Season 4 to 5. Here she talks about her experience in the Mickey Mouse Club and the many things that she’s been up to since.
Tell us the story of how you became a MMC member.
I, like many other of the Mouseketeers, was a child actor and I had done some commercials and some theater and had an agent in New York. But I lived in Indianapolis and my agent in New York let me know about auditions that were happening in Indianapolis, so I actually auditioned in Indianapolis through my agent, got the callback, got another callback, ended up in L.A. with I think Dale [Godboldo] was at that. We were in L.A. at the same time and went through that big round of auditions. Then, I guess probably about a month after that, I got the call. I remember the story of that because I was on the phone with my boyfriend and I asked the casting director who called me to hold because I had to actually speak to my boyfriend. So that was the fun story of that. 13 years old—what can you expect from a 13-year-old?
What is your favorite memory of the MMC?
Well, one of my favorite memories is I always loved the backstage stuff. I mean, the onstage stuff was really fun, but we just had so much fun in our dressing rooms, waiting. And Marc is one of my favorite people. He still is to this day, Marc Worden. He used to just make us laugh in our dressing rooms and he would always play pranks. He was just one of the sweetest, kindest people but also just irreverent and funny and ridiculous. Yeah, every time he was back in our dressing rooms, he would make us laugh. So I think that’s my fondest memory: just him being back in our dressing rooms and consistently making us laugh—literally on the floor laughing.
What was one of the most important lessons that you got from that experience that helped you get to where you are today?
The lesson of hard work and just how, if you work hard at something, you get far. Also just loving something—that if you love it enough, you enjoy the hard work. I think that’s something that I still have today. In everything that I do in life, there are points where it’s really, really hard, but if I enjoy what I’m doing, then the hard work is worth it in the end. For sure.
Tell us what you’re doing as an entrepreneur or business person today.
I am definitely doing what I want to do in a myriad of different directions. I’m working for a non-profit and we help homeless families who are experiencing homelessness—help them find housing and get back into housing, which is really close to my heart. Living in Portland, you see a lot of the effects of high housing costs, and you know how that’s causing a lot of homelessness. So that’s really close to my heart.
I also run a business that helps farm and create agriculture for local communities. So we do a CSA, which is a community-supported agriculture program and that’s also near and dear to my heart. We also hold events for yoga retreats, meditation retreats, spiritual retreats where people could come out and connect to nature, which in our urban-driven world is a really rare thing. So I love that we have 80 acres and people come out and hold groups and connect to the land. That is awesome.
I’m also getting my degree in Political Science and working to help empower women. I’m writing a big thesis right now on women’s empowerment and education and how that will help climate change. So that’s fun, too. Lots of stuff going on right now. And also, when I have time, I do musical theater because, of course, singing and dancing and acting are still huge parts of my life. I love it so much, so I am very active in the local theater community here, as well.
What would you say to an aspiring entrepreneur to become successful in today’s age of tech and media? Please share tips.
That’s a really good question. I think you have to stay focused on your passion and not let all the outside noise distract you because in this day and age, it’s really easy to worry about what other people are thinking and if you do that too much, you’ll lose focus on your goal. You can’t please all the people all the time, especially I’m learning a lot about politics and how, if you have a goal and you have something that you are moving towards, there’s going to be people who are ecstatic about what you’re doing and there’s going to be people who are really, really opinionated and have a negative view of what you’re doing, no matter what it is, even if it’s helping homeless people or doing something that overall looks like an amazing thing. Everybody has their own opinion. So I think that one point of focus and just knowing in your heart that what you’re doing is right, whatever it is—whether you’re entertaining people or starting a business or doing non-profit or philanthropic work—and staying focused on that and not letting all the outside noise distract you from your goals is huge.
Why is it important for you to participate in the MMC reunion event? Why would someone want to attend as a guest?
It’s going to be kind of epic. It’s going to be historic. We’ve had little mini-reunions here in there where we get together and we go watch someone in a show. We were all living in New York, so we want to go see Tony [Lucca] or people who live in LA help support each other, which is amazing. But we’ve never met each other on this scale. And I think I’m so amazed that they got Joey [Fatone], our friend from high school who’s going to be there. That’s going to be amazing, like a nice tie-in of our childhood friend.
It’s just going to be a historic event. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s not. I think that’s true. It’s going to be a historic event where we are all coming together, helping support each other in our aspirations— everybody has different things going on. Some people are still in the music business and acting. Some people are really entrepreneurial and doing philanthropic stuff. I think that support is going to be really apparent and people want to be a part of that. I’m just amazed at the scale of it because it kind of started out like, “Yeah, whatever. We’ll get together.” And now it’s this huge thing. I don’t think I could miss it. I feel it’s just something. It’s, like, my childhood friends. It’s good people. I want them there with me. So yeah, I’m just really, really excited. For sure.
Outside the world of Disney and the MMC, who is the one person you’d like to meet someday? You never know who might be seeing this!
Ah, that’s such a hard question to give without any warning. I love musicians and I love female musicians, so I can’t pick one. I have to pick three. I have to say, Brandi Carlile because she’s my hero and I love every single one of her songs. Patty Griffin because I am singing one of her songs, hopefully, at the event and I sing her songs on the piano constantly. Just her spirit and her songwriting move me. Sara Bareilles because I didn’t know that she was connected to this at all. But Waitress is one of my favorite musicals and I am in love. And you know, Lin-Manuel Miranda? Because of him. So four. I can’t pick just one.