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Do you believe in magic?

Make a wish and hold on tight

By Bethany Cobbs
On September 21, 2014

At Disney World each cast member (employees) has the opportunity to make “Magical Movements” for guests. A Magical Moment is any memorable experience and or lasting impression that we provide for guests. I have a few Magical Moments that I would like to share, but before I do I think I should probably talk about PAC a little more. 

My role (job) is called PAC, parade audience control. This is not and would probably never be my first choice in jobs at Disney World but like any job there are good moments and there are horrible moments. About an hour and a half before each parade a meeting is held where park attendance, weather, challenges, changes and or observations from the previous night are discussed. At this meeting we are also given our positions and responsibilities for that parade, and in the evening, for fireworks.

 At Magic Kingdom the parade route goes from the main entrance in Town Square to Splash Mountain in Frontier land and we (PAC) divide it up into two different areas. West side is everything from Frontier land to the bridge to the left of the Castle and South Side is from the Castle down Main Street to the entrance. Everyone, including myself, likes West a lot better than South; the West side is A LOT more laid back and I guess, a little easier, which is why people like it better. Guests on the West side are even more laid back on the West side as well as more polite and cooperative. Set up and break down is also all done together on West. 

Then there’s the South side: it’s always crazy! I understand people want to be by the Castle, especially for fireworks, but guests will cram on top of each other into small areas trying to get parade spots as if the parade only goes down Main Street and by the Castle. Asking people to move over or on to the curb (some people think they can stand or run into the street during parades, funny) or keep walking through a walk way is like saying the most offensive thing you could possibly say to them! Then you encounter guests who do not speak English, or at least that’s what they want you to think. Usually working in PAC we will ask someone something 2-3 times; if they don’t listen after the third time we get another cast member, coordinator, manager or security guard to step in. sometimes that does the trick, sometimes we learn that that particular guest speaks perfect English and they don’t want to do what you are asking them to do. Or they really don’t speak English and you get cussed out in a different language. Set up and break down is on your own on the South side, occasionally people will come and help as they go or if they have time but the only thing that is hard and stressful about South set up is that you have to move super-fast! 

But the guests who do what you ask, are polite, understand that our job is hard, and the ones who we get to interact with and make a positive impact on their experience make all of the bad moments so small. There are times when interactions take a positive turn and become “Magical Movements!” There are a few moments that stand out that I wanted to share; the cool thing about Magical Moments is that both the guests and the cast members usually end up happy and smiling. 

  • The first was something really small and quick but I think is so cute! I was working in an area that is close to a popular Photo Pass spot in front of the castle. There was a family with a little girl dressed in an adorable Minnie Mouse dress and with the famous Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique hair style. I overheard the mom saying that she really wanted a family photo because they hadn’t gotten one all day, but their daughter was crying. As they were trying to calm down (in front of the camera) I walked up and offered her some stickers. I told her that Mickey Mouse gave me some stickers with his face on it and wanted me to give them to special princesses. She started to reach for them but I told her she had to stop crying and make a pretty princess smile for her picture with her parents. The little girl wiped her face and smiled for the camera with her stickers in hand. Her parents and grandparents came up to me and thanked me for saving them from a screaming child the rest of the evening. 
  • Another one of my favorites was at a Halloween Party. I had a very slow and open parade section and a family with two small kids took front row spots. They had a daughter who was about 6 dressed as Elsa (everyone wants to be Elsa) and a 3 year old boy dressed as Prince Charming. I started talking to them about their costumes, what they had done that day and other this and that. During our talk little Princess Elsa and Prince Charming shared their candy with me and they asked me to sit by them during the parade. I took short break to get some water and noticed that there was no one in line to see Princess Tiana. When I got back I told the little girl that Tiana was sad that all of her friends were gone and that she wanted someone to come visit her; the little girls face light up as she asked me “Tiana wants to see me?” My manager was watching the entire time and let me go with little Elsa and her mom to see Tiana and he worked my section for me so I could watch the parade with them. I’m sure that was a fun and memorable night for that family but it made me feel so good and made me love my job! 
  • I wish I could say that this one is my absolute favorite but everything is my favorite! But this one I probably won’t forget for a long time! We have a request/suggestion box in our meeting room where we can request certain parade positions. This was a night I was not really looking forward to because I was on the South side; then I went to the meeting and learned that I had gotten a pretty awesome, easy and my requested position of Liberty Square Bridge. This is basically the exclusive VIP section that people pay A LOT of money to get into. The first family that came in was a family of six, 2 kids and 4 adults. I was kind of talking to and playing with the kids but then it transitioned to talking to the adults. We talked about the College Program, what I do in school, what I want to do after school, and football and we talked pretty much the entire 30 minutes that they were waiting for the parade. In  that 30 minutes the little girl they were with spilled 3 different drinks and her dad left and came back to replace all 3. After the third one of my managers walked by and I asked for what’s called a “No Strings” form to replace their drinks. I told the little girl that I had a special surprise for her that would hopefully be there before the parade. Her surprise, which was extra-large cups of all 3 of the drinks she spilled, came right before the parade got to our section. After the parade the 2 gentlemen in that party came and thanked me for a great time and the drinks. They also informed me that they were the Business Manager and Sales Operations Director for the Miami Dolphins; each of them handed me their business card and told me to send them my resume sometime in the next week and they would send it to the Dolphins’ events department. 
  • Last one, and this is one that I will never ever forget! My roommates and I all had a window of opportunity to hang out so we decided to get tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. They all had cute costume ideas but I didn’t know what to be and I didn’t want to buy a costume. This is the first year since my freshmen year of college that I haven’t done a group costume with my friends so I had no idea what I was gonna do…and it’s September. I decided to just wear some of the practice gear I had with me here and go as Braves Cheerleader Barbie.  It was so fun to be able to get all done up as if I were getting ready for a game because this week I have really been missing my team. We went to a spot called Club Villain, a dance party and character meet and greet with Disney Villains. At the time that we were there Cruella DeVille and Dr. Facilier (from Princess and the Frog) were hosting the party. While talking to Crella Deville she mentioned to me that she did not care for cheerleaders; as the conversation continued she said that she would be impressed if I did a back flip in the middle of the party. I couldn’t back down from that challenge, since she had already started clearing the floor for me to tumble, so I did it. I tumbled through a crowd full of people, on a hard wood floor, and made it all the way over (I haven’t tumbled since the end of July)!! Since the Disney Villains also never turn down a challenge Dr. Facilier stepped up and did the same pass that I did: it wasn’t anything too fancy just a round off tuck. I was all hyped up and full of adrenalin so I continued the challenge by doing a standing tuck. After landing that, I had my hero moment of defeating 2 villains at one time. Not only was that one of the coolest things that I have ever experienced at Disney World and something that I will never forget and always want to brag about, but it also gave me a pretty big confidence boost. I need to get back in the gym tumbling and dancing soon but I still got it!

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