Q&A: A Summer of Smiles with Holiday Inn Kid Ambassador, Gaten Matarazzo of Stranger Things

By | July 11, 2017 |
Above: Gaten gets ready for Chocolate Milk Happy Hour at Holiday Inn New York Manhattan-Financial District.


You might know him as the funny and lovable character Dustin Henderson from the hit series Stranger Things. But Gaten Matarazzo’s newest role includes Kid Ambassador for Holiday Inn. Gaten hit the road with us this summer to spread the word about special events at participating Holiday Inn hotels, like Chocolate Milk Happy Hour and Scholastic character breakfasts — all part of bringing more #SmilesAhead to our youngest of guests.

We got the chance to ask Gaten about his experience with Holiday Inn this summer, his best travel tips, and a bit more about what makes him smile.

      Above: Gaten enjoys his time at Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach.


Joy of Travel: Hi Gaten! We’ve enjoyed having you as our Kid Ambassador this summer. You traveled to Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach to kick off Chocolate Milk Happy Hour, and to Holiday Inn New York Manhattan-Financial District to attend a Scholastic character breakfast and even host your own talk show via Facebook Live. Do you have any other travel plans for the summer?

Gaten: I will mostly be home this summer, but I do plan to travel to some very cool places. Denver, North Carolina, California, and Mexico City!

JOT: With your job, you must travel a lot. Do you have any tips for how to best enjoy a trip and a new place?

Gaten: When I travel I always make sure to bring a good book with me. I’m coming to the end of the Harry Potter series now and it’s really exciting! I also always pack a swimsuit, you got to check out the pool!

Above: It wasn’t all work and no play for our Kid Ambassador. Gaten enjoys an impromptu swimming session at Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach.


JOT: What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?

Gaten: My favorite place that I have visited so far is Paris, France. It’s such a beautiful and historic city. I enjoyed the food, the people, the sights, and hearing the language. My visit there inspired me to take French this year in school!

JOT: Beyond traveling, Stranger Things seems to have given you some cool opportunities. What’s been your favorite part of it all? And do you have any part you don’t enjoy as much?

Gaten: The coolest part of it all has been meeting incredible people like President Obama and all of the fans of Stranger Things. The most difficult part is being away from home and missing my big family.

JOT: You have such a fun personality — you really light up a room. Tell us, what makes you smile?

Gaten: My brother and sister and family definitely make me smile. We have a lot of fun together. When I’m away from home, it’s my friends on the show and fans that I meet that bring a smile to my face. There’s always something to smile about.

Above: Gaten meets Clifford the Big Red Dog at Holiday Inn New York Manhattan-Financial District at a Scholastic breakfast.


Many thanks to Gaten for being such an amazing Kid Ambassador and for being so fun to work with!

Learn more about our Summer of Smiles events here. And in case you missed it, you can still view Gaten’s LIVE broadcast where he interviewed special guests, did dramatic readings of favorite children’s books and more.

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