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Like many people who grew up in Florida, I’ve been visiting Walt Disney World for as long as I can remember. It was a dream come true for me to be able to work part-time for the company last summer as a Merchandise Hostess, and it’s an experience I love talking about. 

Disney had started reopening many stores and restaurants when I was originally hired, which made the experience even better, in my opinion. Due to the number of available roles, I got to pick my location; this is something that I wasn’t expecting, but that I’m thankful for. I ultimately chose to work in Hollywood Studios, so I’m a little biased now when I say it’s my favorite park. As cheesy as it sounds, working there really allowed me to develop a new appreciation for the park. It makes sense for an insane amount of work to go into keeping the parks running from open to close but experiencing it firsthand put even more of this into perspective and made me more grateful for my experiences as a guest. 

During this constant hiring period, I also met so many new people who were either re-hired or just starting with the company as well, which was nice, because it meant we were all learning from each other. The people I met while working for the company are one of the things I’m most grateful for and they always made late shifts more bearable. Everyone has not-so-great days, of course, but most of the time we were all excited to be at work, and I never stopped smiling, whether I was “on stage” or not.

That’s the best way to summarize my experience. The atmosphere ensured it never really felt like work, and, call me crazy, but there are still days when I would rather be working than visiting as a guest. Even restocking the shelves at the end of the night didn’t usually feel like work with the music still looping through the park.

The guests I met during my time with the company also made it more fun – I always enjoyed talking to guests about where they were from, their favorite memories from their trips, or what they were looking forward to doing that day. It seems so simple, but conversations with guests are responsible for some of my favorite memories from the job and made some extremely stressful days better. (In conclusion, be nice to cast members whenever you visit the theme parks!)

Overall, I only have good things to say about the company. Everything was just starting to get back to some sense of normal and the parks were constantly busy when I was hired, but I never felt like I was thrown into any situations I didn’t know how to handle. My managers cared about where you were trying to go with the company and consistently tried their best to help us during chaotic nights. Everyone working in my area of the park was supportive and looked out for each other, and I believe this is largely responsible for my view of working for Disney World. I’m so grateful for the experience, I hope to work for the company again in the future and encourage anyone considering working at Disney World to go for it! 

Maggie is a sophomore at University of Central Florida studying Marketing with a minor in Mass Culture and Collective Behavior. She is an avid lover of coffee, cats, and indie music, and you’ll often find her reading at a local coffee shop, exploring Orlando, or going on spontaneous road trips with her friends.
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