Holidays around the Walt Disney World Resort are especially magical times. I’ve been to the parks for every season as a guest, and have been excited for working here for the different holidays. Even though I didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween, it’s quickly become my favorite holiday, and spending it in the Magic Kingdom is now my favorite part of the year.
Sunday night I was able to work a treat shift during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and had the time of my life. I’ve been trying to get a candy shift for weeks and finally picked up two for this week and one next week. Working during any special event is a must for me, and of course with recent events being what they are, anything I can pick up in Adventureland/Liberty Square is important.
I showed up and got my costume, and was already ecstatic to start this fun night. Then I met up with Jon who had the same shift I did. Our hope was to be placed in the same location. On our way over to the managers’ office, we saw our favorite Pirate coordinators and one of our coworkers and had to get a picture. After that it was time to head over with the others and get our treat locations.
Managers Mike and Kim explained to us how everything worked and started calling out names for the different locations around Ad/Lib. There were fewer and fewer people and locations. With the last location being Pirates, Jon got sent there and I wasn’t given a location. I looked at my managers with wide eyes and Mike said, “Just let Hannah go to Pirates.” Jon said later it was because Mike just didn’t want to see me cry, which I probably would have.
We headed over to Pirates and within minutes, the call came to the front of the ride that the ride was experiencing technical difficulties. Once a pirate, always a pirate, and Jon and I quickly assisted as we could until it was actually time to start handing out candy. I didn’t know any of the other girls in the location, but found out one was a Haunted Mansion maid and another was a Jungle Cruise skipper. At 6:45 we opened the queue for the halloween party participants and the night began.
No one gave us much information as to where we were to stand or what positions we needed, so we decided we would just wing it and it seemed to work out fine for us. When we got tired of a position, we would switch, or if we needed a break, we took one. There were plenty of people to fill in spots and we ended up finding the place we liked and stayed most of the night. My comfort area was at the entrance/exit of the candy queue with Jon and the maid, Cheyenne, who we talked with for most of the night. Being in this position meant that at 9:30 when Hallowishes happened, this chick got to watch the beautiful display of perimeter fireworks, narrated by our one and only Ghost Host.
I got to see so many wonderful costumes, and several of my friends came by. When I was handing out candy, I may or may not have given much more than the recommended 5-7 pieces. Because of this, I had many guests tell me I was their favorite because other treat locations had been extremely stingy with their candy distribution.
Let’s talk for a moment how wonderful this night actually was for me emotionally. If you know me at all and my current work situation, you will know that I’m not a match for where I am. My heart is in Ad/Lib and will not be content until I’m back home. Every day in my current location I put on a fake smile and it’s exhausting to pretend to be as happy as I am when I’m in Ad/Lib.
But this night, there was zero faking my smile. By the end of the night, my face HURT from smiling as much as I did. I hadn’t felt that happy any day of being in merchandise. I didn’t count down the minutes until my next break, because I didn’t want one. I wanted to be in the middle of Caribbean Plaza at my ride with my friends. Ad/Lib is where I feel magical. Working in merchandise, I don’t feel like I work in the most magical place on Earth. Working at Pirates I feel happy.
I have another treat shift on Friday, another Sunday, and one more on Thursday. Not only have I been blessed with these treat shifts, but I was still able to work at my ride during the very first halloween party of the season. Last year when I got accepted for the college program, I visited WDW three days later and attended the Halloween party. My sister and I went to ride Pirates, and it was that night that I realized how much I would love to work there. They had their scars, swords, and were having so much fun with the slow night. One year later, I got my very own Pirate scar. Life came full circle. Crazy how that works.
Adventureland is my home, and I am doing everything it takes to get back there. It doesn’t matter where I am in Ad/Lib on those days, because I at least got to be at Pirates on my very first night. I can’t wait to make magic and fill bags with candy and see the costumes and talk to guests on my side of the park. I’m taking every possible shift in my area that I can, be it treats or stroller parking, because it’s so important to me to be where I’m happbeen blesses with treat shifts, but I was still able to work at my ride during the very first halloween party of the season.
I’m taking what I can, and giving everything back to the area that brings so much magic to my life and means more to me than any job I’ve ever had. Being able to experience the holidays in the area of my dreams is so important. All I want for Christmas is to be back home.