What was your role at Disney?
Kaitlyn: I was an Entertainment cast member (aka character performer).
Jessica: I was Quick Service Food & Beverage Cashier in Magic Kingdom.
Catherine: I was a merchandise hostess on Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom.
Samantha: I worked attractions in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland.
What skills did you gain from your job that have lasted with you through your career?
K: Definitely flexibility, being able to adapt to any situation. Also, non-verbal communication! Being a performer I had to focus a lot on body language, and now I am always aware of how to communicate without even saying anything.
J: Patience. Since I worked in food stands in the most crowded part of the resort, virtually every guest I interacted with had waited in a line, so they had no patience for me! That means I had to have extra patience on my part to ensure I made each guest feel valued.
C: Working in such a high volume area like the Magic Kingdom you learn really quickly to be flexible, think on your feet, and problem solve – skills that are definitely important in the day to day life of an RVE Program Manager.
S: Communication for sure. When a guest at Disney approaches you, they could be having the best day of their life, or the worst one. Learning how to quickly understand their needs and respond with the most effective tone and message has carried through virtually everything I do.
What are some unexpected ways your time at Disney prepared you for a career in events?
K: Being adaptable in all situations and handling frustrated guests. For example, I was a greeter for a 7-hour long line to meet Princesses’ Anna & Elsa and had to figure out how to keep each guest happy and entertained.
J: Learning to smile through very tough days! When you have a physical job (moving boxes of food prep and standing all day), and you have to still have a magical attitude, you build up endurance to smile through the worst of things!
C: Learning to expect the unexpected! Theme park guests can throw some of the most out of the box questions and requests at you, so creative problem solving for situations I could have never anticipated is a skill I learned and use every day in my role.
S: A silly one is just being able to stand on my feet for long hours in heat, rain, cold, etc. After working 16 hours of Main Street crowd control on New Year’s Eve, any shift seems possible.
Disney is known for its high standards of excellence and emphasis on making magic. How do you bring those ideals into your role here at RVE?
K: Looking at the details in everything. Think about your event as a ride with the full 360 experience. What are they smelling? What are they walking on? Picture your event as a Disney experience!
J: Thinking about magical moments. How can I make that one magical moment for each guest so they can remember this experience? Keeping that in mind while working through the overall logistics and ensuring every single guest at the event can have that magic.
C: From my time at Disney, I am always looking for ways to bring touches of magic into an event – from big wow factors to small touches that only a few people might see but really tie everything together. I think that attention to detail and going the extra mile to make an event magical for the guests is what sets it apart and ultimately makes it a memorable experience.
S: Disney taught me that it is people that turn dreams into reality. I really focus on making sure everyone on the team has what they need to succeed, whether that is just words of encouragement, snacks and water, or a break from the situation.
PS! Program Manager Catherine also worked as an event planner at Disney, including Disney Fairy Tale Weddings, Executive Events, Press Events, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Tradeshows, Merchandise events and events for the local/social market. Her experience taught her how to set the bar higher and higher with each event, and lead with a creative mindset. Learn more about Catherine here!