I was recently asked to give feedback on my time with the Walt Disney Company, here are some of my answers:
Which job did you work as a cast member?
I was blessed to have the opportunity to intern on Disney’s Photo Imaging team, as a PhotoPass Photographer. My home park was Epcot, however I also picked up shifts at the other parks.
What’s the most fun thing to do during opening/closing procedures?
I loved greeting the first guests on the “backside” of Epcot by the Fountains of Nations. Generally there was a surplus of time to do fun and creative shots with no one in the background. During closing procedures, if you were at an outside location sometimes you could do shots with the gorgeous Florida sunset. One location, “C-Spot,” Epcot’s character spot always ended the day with a magical moment. Sometimes it was asking the last guests to stay a bit longer or a special guest during the day was invited back. Making special magic moments for guests could bring a tear to every eye in the room. Sometimes that last guest was a prince or princess sponsored by Make a Wish.
Do you have any unique memories from your time as a cast member that you’d like to share?
Hard to say just a few, there were countless wonderful memories. Many times on my day off I would wake up early and go to Studios by myself and ride the Rockin’ Roller Coaster and the Hollywood Tower of Terror until the wait got long. I would go back home to sleep and venture “around the world” later in the day with some of my coworkers; those were great days! One of my most cherished moments was my very last night in Epcot where I had a magical moment with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Donald – balled my eyes out and left part of my heart there that night. I also vividly remember being one of two grand marshals of Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade – twice!
I’d also like to add two special off-property Disney memories:
1. During my trips to Disney in 3rd grade with my mom, I recall we were in C-Spot and she said “you should get a job here at Disney.” 14 years later I would!
2. When in Bolivia, my first trip in summer 2010, I met a 4 year-old boy at a local shop. My friend and I were there buying birthday party supplies for my orphanage. We just kept smiling at each other and spoke a little Spanish since I didn’t know much at the time. Then right as we were leaving he gave me a Princess Jasmine sticker. Fast forward seventeen months later at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party I dressed up like Princess Jasmine and waited to meet her. I got the costume spot on that many in line thought I was her!
What do you miss about the job and what don’t you miss?
The daily Disney magic! Everyday I got to maximize my energy, meeting hundreds of people from all over daily and smile really big. “Uncle Walt” once said, “you can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” I truly felt as though he was on property, that he lives within each cast member. I loved feeling that connection and it was a blessing that my role never felt like work.
There’s nothing like witnessing a little princess look up at Mickey for the first time or seeing a Make a Wish superhero met all of their best friends (Mickey and the gang) at once. In those moments, that’s where my spirit remains. I don’t miss Orlando, because I felt there wasn’t much beyond the Disney bubble, however I miss the smiles found there!