Kiersten: Once Upon A Disney Dream

Written by Jeff Heimbuch. Posted in Disney, Disney Parks, Features, From the Mouth of the Mouse, Walt Disney World

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Published on November 13, 2013 at 2:00 am with 2 Comments

In today’s From The Mouth Of The Mouse, we talk to Kiersten, who is a SoCal Native, but trekked across the country to work at Walt Disney World in the College Program!

Here’s Kiersten!


JEFF: How did get into Disney to begin with?

Kiersten: Well I was born and raised in Southern California. I currently reside in Northern California. When I was younger, my family and I lived in Anaheim and my dad worked as a part time cast member at Disneyland. He started out in the parking lot, then driving the tram, and lastly, being a conductor on the Disneyland Railroad. My mom would take me to go visit my dad and we would go watch the fireworks and ride the train around the park. I knew from that young age that I would want to work for Disney when I was old enough.


JEFF: How did you go about getting started working at Disney? 

Kiersten: My dad came home from work one night and told me about his friend’s daughter who did the college program and absolutely loved it. So after he told me about it, I went on their website and did some research. I applied the first time and didn’t make it past the web based interview. I didn’t let that discourage me and then I applied again when the applications became available again. The second time I got selected for a phone interview and I was a little unprepared for the phone interview since I didn’t know they conducted the interview from Florida. Again, I didn’t let this discourage me and when it was time again, I applied for both parks in California and Florida. I was fully prepared for the phone interview this time. I was fully confident this time would be it. I waited patiently and a few months later, March 2, 2012 was the day I found out I was accepted into the Disney College Program for Fall advantage 2012 as a merchandise cast member in Florida. I guess third time is a charm!


JEFF: Tell me what your position was?

Kiersten: I was selected to do merchandise at Downtown Disney in Zone 2, which consists of 3 stores: Once Upon a Toy, Mickey’s Pantry and Marketplace Fun Finds. I had selected merchandise as one of my high preferences but attractions was my top choice! During my program I was selected to work at EPCOT during the International Food and Wine Festival from September to November.


JEFF:  Can you tell me a little about a day in that position?

Kiersten: Working at Downtown Disney was nice because it was guests first stop and last stop on their vacation so it was always busy. Once Upon a Toy was my home store so I mostly worked there. It is the coolest store, you could build your own Mr. Potato head, build your own light saber and even test out new video games. I would get to participate in the Princess Parade Downtown Disney would have daily. A few cast members from each store would get signs and Mickey gloves and bubble guns and wave at the princess from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique as they rode the Carousel. Mickey’s Pantry was a kitchen store with all sort of fun kitchen accessories and small home items, it also was the only store at Downtown Disney to sell alcohol, mostly wine. From time to time, we would set up a table and have available select sample wines for a small fee. Marketplace Fun Finds is a small store with all the souvenirs you didn’t want to forget. Working at Downtown Disney was nice because I was able to work at 3 different stores and keep things fresh. Working at Food and Wine at EPCOT was such an amazing experience. I got to do merchandise inside the old Wonders of Life Pavilion over by Mission:Space. I would get to help with celebrity book signings and wine bottle signings. I also got to work in the promenade in the world’s showcase at the Craft Beer stand selling and pouring beer. It was quite the experience working in the promenade.


JEFF:  Any times you can think of that you went out of your way to make a guest’s visit more magical? 

Kiersten: Every day I tried to make a guest’s visit more magical. Magical moments definitely helped. It was always the small things that made the guests experience at Downtown Disney more magical. I got to wear a pin trading lanyard when I worked merchandise and it always put a smile on my face when a young child would come up to me and ask to see my pins and see that last pin they needed to complete their collection. I would get hugs often from young children because of this. Even letting children play with bubble guns would light their faces up.


JEFF: Any other fun stories that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them!

Kiersten: There were too many fun stories that came out of this experience. Moving to Florida was a new experience for me because I had never been to the East Coast or even Florida so when I got selected to be a cast member in Florida, I was excited because it would be a new, exciting experience for me. I remember being so excited to do Traditions and I can remember my first time walking through the Utilidors and stepping out onto Main Street and it was pouring rain. Receiving my name tag from the one and only Mickey Mouse was also so amazing. My name tag now sits in a name tag frame to remind myself of my amazing experience. It was absolutely magical and I will always remember my first time at Magic Kingdom. I picked up a PAC (Parade Audience Control) shift at Magic Kingdom during the 3 o’clock parade and had such a fun time. Doing the program was great because I met so many amazing people throughout the program. I keep in touch with most of them on Facebook and talk to my old roommates almost every day. I loved being able to participate in Cast exclusive events such as seeing New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom before it opened and also riding the new and improved Test Track at EPCOT.

Thanks for sharing with us, Kiersten!




We have announced our very special, Cadet-only trip: The CommuniTour! It will take place April 27th-May 2nd 2014!

That’s right, you have the opportunity to spend a week with your favorite Communicore Overlords by going on this special Adventures By Disney: Backstage Magic! See the wonderful sights of Southern California, including Disneyland, California Adventure, Imagineering, The Jim Henson Company, and much, much, more!

Here us talk about it in this special announcement episode on our iTunes feed!

Space is very limited, so be sure sign up today! For more information and the full itinerary, head over to

By Jeff Heimbuch

If you are, or know, a Cast Member who would like to share some of their stories and possibly be featured right here on MiceChat, please email me at [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you!

You can read older columns of From The Mouth Of The Mouse here! 


Jeff also writes a MiceChat column titled The 626. We invite you to check it out!

Jeff also co-hosts the VidCast Communicore Weekly on MiceTube.

SUBSCRIBE TO US ON ITUNES: iTunes – Podcasts – From The Mouth Of The Mouse by Jeff Heimbuch

About Jeff Heimbuch

Jeff has been in love with all things Disney since a very early age. He writes From The Mouth Of The Mouse and The 626 every week for MiceChat. He also collaborates on The Disney Review every weekend. Aside from that, he is one half of the devastatingly good looking duo of the weekly vid/podcast Communicore Weekly (the other half being fellow MiceChat columnist George Taylor), which you can find at Jeff is also writing a book with former Imagineer and Disney Legend, Rolly Crump. You can find out more about the book at

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  • davidrusk

    Great interview, and I’m so glad there are people like her that love working at Disney parks making the guests visits more magical!

  • DobbysCloset

    The competition for this program must be FIERCE!!!