Retired Disney cast member brings magic to children’s stories

‘Equity Ben’ now hosting cooking classes online

Disney fans are likely familiar with “Equity Ben,” but now he’s becoming more popular for some of his kid-friendly online content.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Disney fans are likely familiar with “Equity Ben,” but now he’s becoming more popular for some of his kid-friendly online content.

Benjamin Ptashinsky was a Disney cast member for 15 years, performing in the Frozen Sing-Along show and has also been a professional comedian for nearly 20 years. Then last March he was furloughed.

“It forced me to spend time with family and I had an Oprah ‘a-ha!’ moment and realized I needed to be home with my family,” he said.

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Ptashinsky said when Disney asked him to return, he respectfully declined and opted for retirement.

Now he’s a full-time dad and content creator. Part of that content, he says, was inspired by the children who used to visit him at Disney.

Last March, he began reading Ben Time Stories online and continued nightly for a full year.

“You read all of these books, they’re so much fun. They’re so silly and they’re not real,” he said. “So they teach kids great and valuable lessons, but the one lesson I found missing in these children’s books is life isn’t always perfect. You can have a bad day and that is A-OK.”

Ptashinsky wrapped up his nightly reading with the debut of his children’s book “GoodyBen Makes Lemonade,” which is available for purchase on Amazon.

“It is illustrated by a furloughed performer named Candace Neal. She is just stunning and wonderful. The book teaches children you can have a bad day and that is OK.”

The book features his young daughter.

“She is in the book and is so ecstatic when I get to read this book to her every single night. Her copy is torn to shreds because we have read it so many times,” he said. “Her copy was our first copy. This book is a really great way for her to realize sometimes things just don’t go your way. ‘I’m sorry kid, you didn’t eat your dinner, we can’t go to the park after dinner,’ and that’s just life. And she’s learning through living life that it’s OK.”

Ptashinsky says the key to reading at home with your kids is to make it fun.

“Just go to your local library, you don’t even have to do it in person, and you can grab books directly online and they ship them to your house for free. Just pick fun books that are exciting to your kids. There are so many books out there that are fun to read, engaging and will definitely put a smile not only on your child’s face but your face as well,” the father said.

Ptashinsky has wrapped up daily Ben Times Stories and is now offering cooking classes on his Instagram @EquityBen. He cooks every Monday and Thursday and says the recipes are easy to follow along for anyone 13 and up or anyone who just wants a laugh.

“March last year I was thrown into being a stay-at-home dad. I lost my job, we lost our nanny, I lost my sanity,” he said. “And so, to provide for my family, I started cooking and very quickly realized this is funny. Because I’m just following the directions on the recipe and I don’t know what I’m talking about!”

Ptashinsky says teaching children to prepare healthy meals early pays off in everything we do.

“Because if we don’t know how to take care of ourselves especially with healthier options, we can’t enjoy other aspects of life. I used to be about 400 pounds and I’ve realized very quickly after losing all the weight, you can still eat those kind of foods in a lightened up, healthier fashion and that makes the other things you do in life so much better.”

You can keep up with everything Ptashinsky is doing on his Instagram page @EquityBen.

About the Author:

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.