Last month, we met Marc, a PhotoPass photographer, in a new series called The Many Faces of Disney. These once a month blogs will consist of interviews with people who have some sort of connection with Disney. This week, I am introducing you all to my friend, Dréa, a Cast Member at Disney California Adventure Park in California. I met her in November when she was hanging out with Cast Members near the parade borders. We were waiting for the Pixar Parade, and I was pretty bored, so I just got up and talked to her! We have kept in touch since, and I have to say she is one of the most beautiful people I know, which is why she caught my eye. I thought she was friends with a princess at first! Take a few minutes to meet Drea and learn about her path to and with Disney.
1. How long have you been working for Disney?
I will have been working for The Walt Disney Company for one year this March!
2. Have you always loved Disney?
To say I’ve “always loved Disney” is an understatement. Disney isn’t just “a job” to me — it’s a lifestyle. I’ve grown up with Disney, and anybody who’s anybody knows that Disney is my life.
My mum worked for The Walt Disney Company years ago. Once I was of legal age to work for the company, I immediately applied. I had to face some obstacles with my applications to Disney due to military obligations, but… I’m here! I made it.
4. Did you have to go through training? If so, what was it like?
I’ve had three sets of training. First being the standard store operations training. It was fairly easy for me to grasp onto and covered pretty basic register, stock, store recovery, etc. tasks. My second set of training was for the specialty stores in Downtown Disney. That was actually super fun, but since there are some differences in the way those stores operate, there were definitely times where I’d have a total brain fart on what to do. Luckily, those are my home stores, so I don’t have that problem much anymore! My third set of training was for hair styling. I really, really enjoyed it! It was kind of neat to learn all of the different “rockstar” hairstyles and be able to kind of play around with different looks. The hardest part about learning the hairstyles was remembering all of the details after training and applying them on stage.
5. What are some of the roles you have had and which is your favorite?
Working in store operations and being qualified for nearly all roles, I’ve had the opportunity to work in Downtown Disney (where my home stores are) as well as in the parks! I enjoy Downtown Disney whole-heartedly. It was where I was hired into and where I’ve stayed the whole time.
6. What is your most memorable moment?
Ahh, I’ve had quite a few extremely valuable and memorable moments for me. One being the time where Jeff Granito (a WonderGround Gallery artist) came into WonderGround with his wife and my manager. I broke out into a full theatrical performance of Disney songs. He and his wife watched for a good half hour and kept requesting different songs for me to perform. Several months later while working in Vault 28, Jeff and his wife came in and recognized me as “the girl who sings”. They kept insisting that I apply for an entertainment role and how I would “be the best that Disney would have”. I couldn’t believe that they remembered me and how sweet they were about it. My other favorite moment was working in D-Street. This little girl was waiting for her family to finish shopping, so she hung out with me by the front of the store. She was wearing a Rapunzel shirt (my soul princess!), so I told her that I was really good friends with Rapunzel, and that she should go visit her. My manager was in the store at the time and says, “Dréa can sing the songs!” The little girl, elated, starts jumping up and down asking me to sing a song. I put on a full performance of “When Will My Life Begin”, and when I was done, the little girl stops and looks at me wide-eyed and says, “I knew it… you’re Rapunzel!” My heart melted!
7. What was your funniest moment on the job?
One of my funniest moments would probably be when I was working at World of Disney. We have these great, big windows that showcase different merchandise inside the store for those passing by to look at. When the store doesn’t have a crazy rush, I would go stand in the windows and pretend to be a mannequin. People passing by would be somewhat quizzed until I give them this excited wave. Some of them actually get a little jump out of it! To see guests’ reactions is pretty great.
8. Favorite uniform you have worn?
Favorite costume I’ve worn would probably be Treasures (a store inside Disney California Adventure). It’s super cute and very paradise-y. Other than the traditional Disney costumes, I like the Vault complex costumes, because they’re just casual clothes and far more comfy.
9. What is one question you hate being asked?
There really aren’t too many questions I hate being asked. My whole job is guest service and make everyone happy! Although, it does boggle me when people approach me — costumed, name-tagged, and all — and ask if I work there. Hmm.
10. Have you made any life-long friends?
I don’t know if I could say I’ve made any life-long friends, because when it comes down to it, everyone I’ve worked with is family. I’ve been super lucky to be able to work with such an amazing group of people. The talent and personalities packed into each person is just outstanding.
11. What is your favorite perk that you receive or have received because you work for Disney?
Favorite perk working for Disney is definitely the free entry into the parks! I was a pass-holder my entire life (as well as for Walt Disney World®), so to be able to go any time I please is so magical to me.
12. Has working for Disney changed your opinion of the company?
Working for Disney has changed my opinion of the company. How? I’ve learned so much history about Walt and his magical kingdom. It makes me appreciate what I’ve always loved so much more. I couldn’t have asked for a better career opportunity.
13. What do you want to do after Disney?
There is no “after Disney” for me. My ultimate dream is to become a Fairytale Wedding Planner for The Walt Disney Company. I’d love nothing more than to create the most beautiful and perfect special day for a couple. I also aspire to be a Legacy Award recipient.
I loved talking to Dréa about her job because at some point in my life I, myself, want to be in her position having a Disney job that I love, maybe even working at a Downtown Disney store. You interact with many different types of people and can help spread magic in a different way than people would expect. Also, you could probably build more relationships with guests in a store located in Downtown Disney because most of them won’t be running around trying to get to the next attraction. Dréa is truly an inspiration, serving our country (Thank you, Dréa, for your service) and now living her dream.
(Images used with Dréa’s permission.)
Who do you want to see interviewed in the next installment of The Many Faces of Disney? Let me know in the comments below!
See ya REAL soon!
Quote of the Week: “I know, they’re okay for sisters. It’s just too bad they’re girls.” ~ Thumper, Bambi
Makena is a 15 year old high school student who spends much of her free time researching Disney. She enjoys sharing Disney facts and even plans Walt Disney World vacations (including searches for secrets and Hidden Mickeys) for friends and family. You can follow Makena on twitter @Makattack98 or on Facebook (Makena Wolcott). Makena began blogging for WDW Radio in December 2011.