FCC Graduate Sarah K. Simpson Making Dreams Come True for Guests at Disney World
The last four years have been a magical journey for Sarah Simpson as she strives to make dream vacations for others become a reality at Disney World.
Sarah is a Tech Support Analyst and a team member of the Walt Disney World Resort 2015 Disney Traditions Team, a promotion she received in August. To achieve this role, she had to go through a rigorous audition process over a period of six weeks. She is responsible for facilitating the Disney Traditions classes for new generation cast members, crew members, and imgaineers. In the Traditions Program, Sarah introduces them to Disney’s story, heritage, and culture. She also encourages them to explore and understand how they play a role in making sure their guests have a magical vacation.
The Fairfield native never would have dreamed that she would someday be a part of the Walt Disney World Resort team. She had visited the resort with her family back in 1996 when she was just seven years old. However, it was 11 years later when she became interested in working at Disney. “It all started on a whim one day when I was in the college library,” stated Sarah. “I saw a brochure for the Disney College Program and took one home that evening to read through. I realized what a great opportunity this was and submitted an online application.” Sarah scheduled an interview with a Disney Recruiter for the next week, who was scheduled to be on campus doing an information session the next week.
Sarah was accepted into the Disney College Program and spent January through August of 2008 in Orlando working at the Magic Kingdom theme park. “While I was working at Magic Kingdom, I truly developed a sense of business,” stated Sarah. “I was fascinated with the Disney culture and became interested in the heritage and success of the Walt Disney Company. I also worked closely with cast from all over the world – many of which I keep in contact with to this day.”
Returning back home, Sarah enrolled again for the fall semester at Frontier Community College. While a student at FCC, she was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society and active in chapter activities. She participated in the spring show choir, and obtained CEO Honors each semester. Sarah completed the Associate in Science and Arts in May 2009.
Wanting a career that allowed her to interact with others and make a positive impact, Sarah transferred to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale to pursue Hospitality. However, there was always an underlying desire to move to Orlando and work full-time at Disney World. In the summer of 2011, Sarah returned to Disney World for a vacation and it was then that she made the decision to complete an online employment application and see what turned up. In September she was contacted by Disney and flew down for an interview, a personality test, and a list of “what would you do” questions. In November 2011, she was offered a position at the Contemporary Resort as a Private Dining Cashier and moved two weeks later.
Eight months later in July 2012, Sarah received a temporary assignment for a pilot test taking place at the Contemporary Resort. During the 4-week assignment, Sarah gathered feedback from guests and cast members to be used in the development of the Next Generation Experience technology project.
In September 2012, Sarah joined on with another 6-month assignment that turned in to two years. In this role, Sarah was a Project Assistant for Park Support-Hypercare Team. The Next Generation Experience, packaged under the name MyMagic+, was out and her role was to help implement it in all facets, specifically at Magic Kingdom Park. This included supporting dining locations, merchandise, and operations teams with troubleshooting and resolving technological issues. She also gathered feedback from cast members on a daily basis to report back to the executive steering committee.
MyMagic+ is unique to the Walt Disney World Resort and enables a number of services and enhancements to visitors to give them a holistic Guest Experience. It’s an all-in-one wristband, but known as a MagicBand. Guests can use the wristband as the key to enter their hotel room and theme park, pre-book FastPass+ entitlements, charge purchases back to their Disney Resort, and collect Disney Photo Imagine photos. Of all the pieces of MyMagic+ that Sarah has been involved with, her favorite is the Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom, the Beast’s enchanted castle for Great Food Fast/Fast Casual Dining. “Your breath is taken away as you walk in for the first time and the story of Belle and Beast are brought to life right before your eye!” stated Sarah.
Sarah is very happy for the opportunity to be working full-time at Walt Disney World. When reflecting back on her time at Frontier Community College, Sarah is pleased with the quality education she received and a strong foundation it laid for her current job. She is also thankful for a staff that cared about their students and wanted to see them be successful. “At Disney, we primarily communicate through e-mail, so I constantly think back to my Composition 2 and Introduction to Literature classes that I took with instructor Judith Puckett,” stated Sarah. “In my business emails, it’s important to make sure the messages are precisely and professionally conveyed using proper English.”
One of Sarah’s favorite quotes is from Walt Disney himself: “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality.”