…Great Cast Members make magic all the time.” From a good friend of mine... http://disneylens.tumblr.com/post/36269299798/good-cast-members-make-magic-on-the-clock “Good Cast Members make magic on the clock… …Great Cast Members make magic all the time.” This is the first thing I was told when I started working for Disney. And it’s stayed with me these past ten months. Tonight, I got to put that theory to the test, and let me tell you: it stands. There is nothing in the world like making magic out of costume. Let me backtrack. Tonight started out rough. I’d had an awful day with those stupid voices in your head that refuse to be quiet. After a good three hours battling them, I willed myself to get off the floor and go into Magic Kingdom. My program now only has fifteen days left, and the rational part of my brain told me at the time to make them count. So off to MK I went. My first stop was Pirates. One of my friends was working, so I stopped in to visit him, and let me tell you—his hug made everything, and I mean everything, better. Granted, the ride broke down and I got stuck for ten minutes. But seeing him was just the tip of the iceberg for how amazing my night ended up being. Following Pirates, I stopped in at the Emporium (where I work) to finish up some Christmas shopping. I spent a good forty minutes in there, my basket getting heavier and heavier as I piled in more things. At some point, I ran into my co-worker, Mike, and we struck up a conversation. Halfway through that conversation, about this, that, and everything, a woman approached him and asked about some hats. Now, when other stores in the park don’t have what a guest is looking for, those Cast Members send the guest to the Emporium. And when the Emporium doesn’t have it, we send them to World of Disney. Simple as that. Well. This lady had been up and down and all around Disney property, looking for these hats. She’d struck out everywhere. Tearfully, she explained how her vacation was awful, how she was never coming back to Disney, the whole 9-yards. Redflag going up! Mike and I looked at each other, and suddenly I wasn’t off the clock. Immediately, we started talking about what to do (accessing certain systems, writing No Strings, anything to make her night and vacation better). She looked a little bewildered to see me jumping in, but her story had broken my heart After many promises to MEET RIGHT HERE AT 10:30 pm, we sent her off to re-join her family, who were saving seats for the Electrical Parade at 9, sending with her a free pass to use on whatever attraction she wanted. As she left, Mike went off to talk to managers about the hat, and I went off to the glow cart. I bought two of the light-up Mickey ears, gathered my wits, and wandered out into Main Street to find her again. It took a bit, but I found her family and distributed the ears to her for her two sons, who looked positively overwhelmed with happiness to get them. Let me say that again: I bought those ears with my own money. Because I can always work more. But magic…magic is worth it. Anywho, following my moment, I returned to the Emporium and finished my shopping. Then I hung out with Mike, waiting for them to return. The family enjoyed the parade so much, they also stayed for Wishes, then rode Space Mountain. They didn’t end up returning to the Emporium until 11 pm. But Mike and I were ready. He’d found the hats, and we’d talked to Main Street East Side about doing some No Strings (giving it to them for free). Dodging down Main Street, we lead the family to the Chapeau. The second Electrical Parade was happening at the same time, so it took a bit to get them down (especially since we had to cross). But it was worth it, because when we got to the shop, the woman almost broke down. Not only were they the hats she’d been wanting, but they were hers to take—no cost required. On top of that, it was the Dad’s 50th birthday. As a special surprise, East Side (the Confectionary) had packaged up one of those huuuuuuge Mickey Rice Krispy Treats (also free of charge) as a gift. By that time, the mom was in tears. I don’t know how long we spent talking to them after that, but it had to have been a half hour. Or more. Doesn’t matter—both parents were beside themselves with thanks. In short—we made their vacation better. They want to come back now. And it was all because of what we did. And I wasn’t even in costume, or on the clock. That’s what I love about this place. This is why I work here. Because I got to make a terrible vacation magical. And all it took was my time, dedication, knowledge, and passion for Disney and what they do. I’d do it all again a hundred times over, no question. It was easily the best part of my College Program, and I’m so blessed I got to be part of it. Again, not on the clock. I got to be part of something as a Cast Member who, even on her days off, believes in the magic. Your Program is what you make it. Your work is what you make it. If any one out there is questioning doing the Program, don’t. It will change you for the better. It’s hard, and it’s stressful. But it is so worth it. Because there is nothing in the world like making magic.