I was so excited! It was a beautiful morning on October 7th 2005, my 37th birthday. My husband and I had just passed security at T.D.A. (team Disney Anaheim) heading backstage at Disneyland! I was nervous which is odd for me in these situations, but being in this place, at this time, with this man you would not see the nerves through my dorky grin.
We were there to apply for Cast Member roles. I had wanted to be a part of the magic my whole life. Knowing no one gets rich being a Cast Member I had pushed that dream aside as priorities like a child and bills came along. But i had meet the love of my life, he and our teen son were giving me the freedom and encouragement to chase my dream My best friend had provided my husband and I plane tickets and my cousin who lived in the OC was chauffeuring. I had all the support in the world yet my heart was about to beat out of my chest.
I had been working since I was 9 years old and I had never seen an operation such as this. The Disneyland Resort Casting Center (long since closed) had a beautiful lobby with dark blue thick carpeting, rich bold colors everywhere, and mouse ears on every piece of furniture and picture frame in sight. The Cast Members in the center looked exactly as you would expect. Fresh faces, great smiles, clean cut, and a look of happiness about them. There was the bank of computers you used to fill out your application after having your number called, followed by a orientation film of sorts, if you were still interested you were then escorted to another bank of computers to take a personality assessment. I guess we had personality because both my sweetie and I were asked to stay for interviews.
This interview was like none I've ever had. I was sitting there with 18 years of customer service experience. Most of it in key leadership positions and they weren't interested in that. Roy's questions were more about my experiences at The Happiest Place on Earth and my contact with customer service pros in my own life. Because of my 15 year travel background and education he set me up with an interview at the Walt Disney Travel Co. the next day. It was no surprise to me that my man's interview went well, the pleasant surprise was that he was scheduled for the same group interview at the Travel Company.
After treating my cousin to a good Mexican lunch in downtown Anaheim we located the home of the W.D.T.C.. Note to self ; no Mexican food prior to job interviews. It was a large building with great security and again the walls were covered with Disney collectibles that I could have spent hours studying. I have to admit what impressed the most were silly things. The logo stamped in the glass dividers. and Mickey silhouettes cut outs in the chairs. A very nice Trainer interviewed about half a dozen of us and provided a tour of the call center. While the contact center was not the largest or most advanced I had seen, the Cast Members seemed very happy to be booking family vacations to The Disneyland Resort.
That night in Snow White's Grotto I stood before the wishing well as I had at the end of every trip since i was a child. The wish in the past was to return safely to the park. This time the wish was for something a little more life affecting. I dropped my quarter in the well.
After a few days enjoying the resort we flew home to Denver. Two weeks after our quest neither of us had heard from Casting regarding the positions we interviewed for. One night standing on our balcony thinking of our wonderful trip and the possibilities of working for The Mouse. I held my breath looked to the skies and found a star to wish on. The very next day I received a call from the Casting Center offering me a role at my Laughing-Place! My partner received his call the day after.
That week was full of deep soul searching. We both had VERY good jobs that we loved and paid descent money. Our son was starting his last year of middle school and at the time his mother lived in the apartment next door. In the long run we decided we didn't have enough in savings to pay for the move and absorb the pay cuts right away. Pus we were not in a position to spend anytime without health insurance. We called the resort and said thank you for the offer but the timing wasn't right.
We visited the resort 5 times in 2005/2006 for the 50th Golden Anniversary of Disneyland. Our last visit during that time would change our lives..