“It’s hard not to enjoy a job where your primary responsibility is making other people happy.”
A job at a Disney park is like no other. For many, it’s a fairytale.
But there’s no happy ending for the 28,000 Disney workers who are being let go after coronavirus hit the company hard.
For a lot of those people it’s not just about losing their livelihood, it’s about losing their dreams.
People like Hayley Morris, from the Isle of Wight, whose job at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando was cut short earlier this year because of the pandemic.
“It’s the only job I think I’ve ever had where I’ve really, really loved it and I never woke up in the morning and thought urgh I’ve got work today.
“You kind of feel you’re really in the magic.”
That’s a word you hear a lot from Disney employees – not all of them of course – but the magic was very real for Hayley.
And she wasn’t one of the Disney princesses at the theme park, she didn’t even take part in the parade, she worked behind a bar serving drinks.
“When you get to Orlando you take out your adult brain, you put it on the side and put in your kid brain.
“It’s as though there are no worries in the world.
“You don’t really think about anything bad that’s happening in your life and you’re just transported into this really happy place where everyone you come into contact with is really happy.”
When she got the email saying her job was ending because of the impact of the coronavirus crisis she burst into tears.
“It’s horrible because it’s more than just a normal job, it becomes like your world almost. It’s such a happy thing in your life so to lose that is very difficult,” she explains.
Emily Talbot, 24, is from Chelmsford in Essex and worked at Disney World in the US selling merchandise for two summers after going there with her family as a child.
She says: “I really just wanted to become part of making the magic and doing the same thing that I had experienced being there.”
There’s that word again, “Magic”.
Emily says it was real for her too.
“You feel like you’re in a kind of bubble. You are literally stepping into the films.”
So what happens when that bubble bursts? Emily says she struggled when she got back to the real world in the UK.
“The post-Disney blues is definitely a big thing that everyone suffers from when you get home,” she says.
“You are sheltered, you live with other cast members, you get on a bus to Disney, you go there before work for fun and after work for fun.”
“There’s going to be a lot of people who don’t know what to do with themselves. People put everything into doing that job.
“I found the adjustment really hard because you go from making magic everyday to just feeling like what’s my purpose anymore?
“What you have to do is find a way to make magic in every day instead – making someone smile or just going out of your way to be a bit kinder to other people.
“You don’t need to be in a Disney park to make that happen.”