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PETS@Library - Disney:Behind the Magic

School of Business students Cheng Sin and Brenda who went on a two and a half month attachment to Disney World at Orlando, Florida shared their tales at the latest PETs@Library (Personal Experience Talks) session.

"Nemo's gone on an adventure and we lost him somewhere in the ocean. Don't worry, we'll find him in time for the next show." At Disney, even the cancellation of a show is given a special twist. With such imaginative ways of combating reality, it is certainly no surprise that Disney has managed to preserve the spell it has cast on the millions of visitors it gets each year.

Cheng Sin and Brenda, students from the School of Business, were part of the team of students who got to experience all this up close, on their two and a half month attachment to Disney World at Orlando, Florida. At the latest PETs@Library (Personal Experience Talks) session held on 6 June 2007 at the Main Library Colours Zone, the two ladies shared about the fascinating time they had.

Upon arriving in Orlando, they were surprised to find themselves not a bit homesick at all. The warm atmosphere at the dorm, filled with teens of all nationalities eased them into their new home. They made many new friends and learnt to look out for each other, socialise and do their own laundry! There was, of course, an initial adjustment period to their new-found responsibilities on the work front. The trial of being on your feet all day took some getting used to for Brenda, who worked in Food and Beverage. When they were first informed of their allocations, the two had kidded around about juggling food and performing other various stunts. The actual work was certainly a far cry from what they had jokingly envisioned.

Working 40-odd hours a week, both Brenda and Cheng Sin got a taste of the real world. Brenda would have to wake at 3 am, in order to catch the 4 am bus to work. Cheng Sin, on the other hand, had more normal working hours as she was in Operations. One of the stations she worked at was the above-mentioned Nemo show. Recalling with a chuckle, Cheng Sin regaled us with the time a little girl had turned up for the show as the Little Mermaid, Ariel. The need to preserve such a magical moment is what Disney is all about. Children are happy when you refer to them by character.

In order to do whatever it takes to please its guests, Disney has even come up with a 'no-strings-attached' form. Should you drop your ice cream on the sidewalk, don't cry! The friendly staff will make things all better with a smile and a free ice cream with no questions asked. In fact, staff members are encouraged to come up with their own lines like, "It's so sweet that you wanted to share your ice cream with the sidewalk. I'll get you another one right away for being so nice."

Besides just caring about their guests, Disney also looks after their own people too. With a full-time staff of young people in their 20s and 30s, the Disney family is very big and full of people from different countries. The caring environment over there really touched both ladies. Brenda was surprised when her colleagues and roommates turned up unexpectedly to help her pack and see her off. The little notes and souvenirs from the various countries, eg a Mexican bear, certainly exemplify how closely-knit their "community" is. Both ladies found the entire experience special and wish they could go back. Working there sounds so magical, who could blame them?

- by Jerusha Tan, Chairperson, Organising Committee


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