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Pedro Guerrero: The Unsung Hero who Walked Walt Disney’s Dog on the Costa!

November 8, 2023
Pedro Guerrero, the hotel bellboy who walked Walt Disney's dog on the Costa

On Tuesday, 7th November 2023, Pedro Guerrero Gil, a regular at the Casino de Marbella, warmly greeted the photographer before settling down for his usual afternoon game of dominoes or cards. Now 82, Pedro, who was once the top salesman at Hotel El Fuerte, fondly recalls the Marbella of his youth, before it became a bustling tourist hotspot.

Born during Spain’s post-war era, Pedro experienced the hardships of the time, including widespread hunger. He has also witnessed Marbella’s evolution from a humble fishing village to a renowned coastal resort. Among his many tasks at El Fuerte, one of the most peculiar was walking Pluto, the dog of Walt Disney.

Pedro began his career at the El Fuerte hotel in 1957, having started working at a young age. His first job was at La Jaula, near the bus stop, where he washed dishes and ran errands from the age of nine. He later moved to El Comercial hotel upon its opening and spent a significant amount of time there.

Pedro’s next job was at El Puerto bar, located near Verdaguer chemist’s. He fondly remembers it as the best restaurant in town, which was eventually taken over by the former head chef of the Marbella Club. Pedro also worked at El Rodeíto, owned by the second Marquis of Ivanrey, Ricardo Soriano, a tourism promoter and mechanical engineer known for his sports and aeronautical car designs.

At El Fuerte, Pedro worked with Don José Luque, who was renovating the house of Doña Elvira Vidal, a pioneer in Marbella’s tourism industry. After her husband’s death, she had to transform her large estate into a guesthouse due to financial constraints. This guesthouse hosted many intellectuals and artists, including Alfonso de Hohenloe, Jean Cocteau, and Edgar Neville, who were just beginning to discover Marbella.

When Pedro was 14, Don José noticed him and decided to hire him at El Fuerte. Pedro’s job was to attract guests to the hotel, many of whom were weary from their journey from French Morocco. Pedro’s efforts were so successful that José Luque’s son often refers to him as the first salesman of El Fuerte.

In 1958, Walt Disney stayed at the hotel for a week and asked for a bellboy to walk his dog, Pluto. Pedro was assigned this task and was generously tipped by Disney. Pedro fondly remembers Pluto as the best-trained dog he had ever seen. After his stay at the hotel, Disney moved to Villa Coneja, opposite the Marbella Club. Pedro would deliver any mail that arrived for Disney, who would often invite him to eat under a pergola. Despite the hardships of the time, Pedro looks back on these memories with a sense of nostalgia and pride.

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