As I closed another shift at Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I took a deep breath and smiled. Dusk was starting to unfold as the sky traded its orange glow for a cool shade of blue. With it, the heavy Central Florida summer heat began to wane as nightfall set in. It was the middle of August 2007, and I was three months into the Disney College Program at the Walt Disney World Resort. Already I had learned so many new skills and met so many amazing individuals who would become lifelong friends. As a Game Driver, I was afforded the opportunity to practice my Disney “show voice” as I led hundreds of Guests every day through an unforgettable journey along the Serengeti grasslands. The days were long and the job exhausting, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
Hopping back into my car, I turned up the AC and powered up my iPod Nano. I had already downloaded the latest episodes of some of my favorite Disney podcasts and was ready to tune in for the latest scoop. Although I often had greater insider knowledge than these podcasters on what was to come at Disney, I still enjoyed hearing from avid Disney fans like myself. In fact, I had been traveling to Disney with my family since I was 4 months old, and like so many other enthusiasts out there, I was hooked from my first trip. Listening to others share their passion for Disney gave my so much joy. I thought perhaps someday in the future I might be so bold as to start my own community of Disney enthusiasts.
Once the Disney College Program had come to an end, I remained a seasonal Cast Member at Kilimanjaro Safaris and eventually volunteered as a Campus Representative, working with a local recruiter to share my experiences on the Disney College Program with other students at my school. Upon graduation, it was time to get a “real job”, and I was fortunate enough to land a Marketing role up in my hometown of New York. Still, my passion for Disney never waned, I continued listening to Disney podcasts, and I worked to build upon the skills I had learned as a Cast Member for Disney.
Years later, in 2016, I was given the opportunity to help start and even be the host for a podcast at my company. Call it a sign, but I loved every second of podcasting and felt that perhaps there might still be a space for me in the Disney podcasting world. As a Disney fan, I’m an optimist by nature and a firm believer that we can achieve what we strive to accomplish (with some hard work, faith, and yes even a bit of pixie dust).
So why pick a topic like Imagineering? When I was younger, my dream job was to become an Imagineer. I bought every book I could grab my hands on, studied every attraction I could, memorized every backstory, and even built my own attractions using programs like Roller Coaster Tycoon (versions 1-3) and No Limits. Although I moved onto a different career path than Imagineering, my love and admiration for Walt Disney Imagineering never waned, and as I built friendships in online Disney communities, I found that this passion existed in quite a number of fellow Disney fans.
As the host of the Imagineer Podcast, I aim to connect a community of “armchair Imagineers” and hobbyists. Perhaps together, we might even be able to inspire a future wave of Imagineers.
Thank you for listening, and I look forward to connecting with all of you in the years ahead!