An Interview with a Disney Diva

Think you’re Disney’s biggest fan? You may want to think again. Sophomore Theatre major Katie Dumas could give any fellow mouse-lover a run for their money. As we drive back from a lovely 4 hours at ‘The Most Magical Place on Earth’, caramel apple in hand, we get to talking. All. Things. Disney.

How would you classify your love of Disney?

Ohhh man. I mean you called me a ‘Disney aficionado’. I just call myself… Disney OBSESSED. It’s truly an obsession. It makes me very, very happy. Not only does it make me happy, but it’s practical. Because I also conveniently want to go into entertainment and there’s no better company in the world.

If you had to narrow it down, what are your favorite things to do in the parks?

I love people-watching, but my favorite thing to do is meet characters. And I liked to do this even before I started to become friends with people who are ‘friends’ with the characters. My roommate is friends with one, and I have quite a few friends who are just always in the parks and in costume. I can go surprise them on the weekends and it’s a lot of fun. But even before I had those connections, I loved meeting characters because I just thought it was the coolest thing that you get to be treated by a princess all day by other princesses. They’re the most beautiful people you will ever meet! I think the people are what makes Disneyland magical. It doesn’t matter how high tech the attractions are. It’s the people. Not only the characters, but also the character hosts. If you have a really great character host who asks the character you’re meeting really awesome questions, you get more engaged in the character’s story rather than just taking a boring picture. 

And your favorite character and why?

My favorite Disney character of ALL TIME is Eeyore. He’s been my boo since I was in diapers.

Can you tell us some interesting tidbits about the park?

Maybe I could talk about the history of the park. It’s really important in comparison to the rest of the Disney parks globally. It is Walt’s park. It’s the only park that he actually walked through and experienced himself. It’s really awesome because I feel like I’m always learning new things. Even years and years into this obsession. Early teens, I started to care about the history of the park and not just ‘Wow! It’s my favorite movies come to life!’, but I still feel like I’m learning new things. To be able to ride rides that have been classics for over 50 years… that’s pretty cool.

Do you have any tips and tricks for going to Disneyland, or spending a day in Disneyland?

I think it varies if you’re an annual pass holder and if you’re only going for one time in your entire life. I would say if you’re only going once in your entire life, ride the classics because that’s what it’s famous for. It’s really awesome to say that you’ve seen them, say that you’ve ridden them, and then also to truly appreciate them because they really are quality pieces of art in addition to being fun. There’s detail in everything. And eat a lot of food!

Where are your favorite spots to grab a snack?

The Jolly Holiday Bakery on Main Street. Gotta have a Dole Whip Float!

Are there any secrets you could let us in on?

In Fantasmic, when Maleficent, as a dragon, sets fire to the water towards the end of the show, there’s a layer of coffee creamer on the water that flows just for that bit. Because coffee creamer is flammable, there’s only that little bit that catches on fire. Then it gets burned up and that’s that. The water puts it out so it’s very safe. And also kinda quirky. 

What would a typical day look like for you as you plan to head off to Disney?

If I go to Disney on a day I have class, it’s almost always a Wednesday. So I have a couple of theatre classes in the morning, and that’s my major, so those are always my favorite classes. Then I’ll have maybe a women studies class in the afternoon, probably give a presentation. Then by about 5pm, I’ll be texting people to see if they want to come with me, just to give them a chance to take a half an hour nap, eat dinner so we don’t have to spend money on food at the park if we don’t want to. I’m usually at the park by 6:30pm. That’s a lot of fun ‘cause it’s just beautiful at night. I am only there for about 3 hours, because the park usually closes at 10pm during weekdays. I usually watch the fireworks with my friends, or ride all of my favorites by myself. It’s like a little excursion. It’s not like I get back and am disgustingly exhausted. I can still do homework when I get back if I feel like it. I go about 2 times per week.

How would you say this “obsession” fits into your goals for the future?

It’s good to already know the ins and outs of park operations and that kind of thing and, just because I go so often, I have so many friends that work for the company. I do want to enhance park operations later in life. Designing a show or a parade at some point is just… hashtag goals. Hahaha. So seeing the trends. What do guests want to see this year because it’s the 60th anniversary? Well, they’re expecting a lot of new things. Never-before-seen things maybe. So the park is rolling out this and that, and it’s good to watch those trends and to know what to expect and to perhaps predict what guests might want in 20 years, when maybe I’ll be the one who’s in charge of putting together the latest and greatest events and attractions.

We certainly believe in you, Katie! After all, "this whole thing was started with dream and a mouse!"