A lot of people wonder, where do these people start out from? Do they just wake up one day and say, “I want to be like Walt?” Maybe it’s something more and they are born with pixie dust in their veins. No matter how it all begins for each person, there is one thing they all share; they want to make every person’s dream come true and a moment to live the magic that One Man’s Dream created.
How it started for me was simple. I grew up watching Vault Disney in the evenings with my “poppop”, singing in a pretend mic to Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, and trying remember each and every seven dwarfs name to fire off to anyone I could, proudly. I told my mother quite often I was going to grow up to be a Disney princess. She would always chuckle at me knowing the dreams of a child quickly change from day to day. Although, she learned later that just wasn’t the case with this little girl.
My first trip to Walt Disney World would be a memorable one at that. Little did I know it would all really start coming together then. I told myself I was going to find out some way, somehow, how to become a Cast Member there. We were staying at Coronado Springs Resort thanks to a conference my mother had to go to. The day she had a class I dragged my poor step-father through Downtown Disney looking for an information booth to ask where the Casting was. Once I had directions, we treaded about two blocks to Casting from Downtown Disney. Walking up to that large building was something more than just knowing this was it, it snapped something inside of me that was almost pushing me in there.
Once inside I noticed a mural on the wall of Walt Disney sitting on a ledge drawing. A steady incline was ahead leading up to a front desk. It felt like a hundred years was passing me by as I walked slowly up that ramp taking in the characters drawn on the wall to give a sense of them lifting off of Walt’s drawings. I looked up to see that I was nearly at the front desk. A few people had papers in hand and were chatting back and forth. The gentleman at the desk seemed to wonder what this young kid was doing in swim shorts and a towel around the neck. From somewhere deep inside me I took a deep breath and simply asked, “How do I work here?” I thought the gentleman was going to fall over stunned. He then chuckled and grabbed some papers from his desk. He walked me over to a corner and gave me information on the Disney College Program and explained that in about three years this is what I could do. I thanked him a moment later and skipped happily down the ramp back to the outdoors. Those few papers I held close to me and never let go of for just over those three years more.
In 2005, I applied for the College Program at Walt Disney World. The day of my interview was mindless. I was driving up with a good friend, and fellow SR member, to Bellevue Community College for the final moment of truth. We must have spent three hours there before the time arrived to meet with the recruiter. I shook from head to toe going in there, unsure of what to say, what to do. We all sat down in the group interview, my friend included. During that time he went one by one with questions for us until the question of all questions arose….”Why do you want to work for Disney?” My answer, you ask? “Because those are my glass slippers!” I thought he was going to fall of his chair laughing and I was red in the face from my answer. After some explanation of the College Program and a few moments later, he paused. “You know, I don’t usually do this on the spot,” he started, “so please keep this quiet when you leave here. But, I am taking you all to Disney World!” The excitement exploded in that room then. I was so excited I threw my head back in tears and smacked the wall behind me. The recruiter started to cry too with joy and asked if I was ok. I laughed and cried all at once, I couldn’t contain my emotions. My dream had come true! I was going to Disney World to hold the magic that I admired so much in Walt Disney himself! How could this be happening? Tears streaming down my face and trying to contain myself as requested, my friend and I walked around the campus for a moment trying to take in all that just happened. I called my mother a few moments later in joy and glee. “Mom?” my voice shook, “I did it! I’m going!” She started to cry with me and the emotions just happened to spill out all over again.
The car ride home was full of “oh my words” and “what just happened” exclamations. The next few months were a blur getting ready to leave for Florida. But June 26th, 2005, we took off on our flight to Orlando, Florida to begin a magical adventure I could never forget.