Every once in awhile we like to interview current or former cast members. Today, we’re introducing you all to Emily Arnett! Read about her experience working in the Animal Kingdom Lodge below… and be sure to check out her favorite HINT!
Dates worked at Disney: Spring 2012 College Program: January – May 2012
Location where you worked: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Job title: Front Desk Cashier
Favorite resort: Art of Animation
Favorite restaurant: Via Napoli in Epcot and Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom
Favorite ride/attraction: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Favorite character: Ariel
WDW Hints: What types of things did you do working at the Front Desk of AKL?
Emily: Obviously I spent plenty of time checking guests in and out of the resort. That was a huge part of the job. It’s important that each guest is checked in quickly and efficiently, but also with Disney-quality guest service. Luckily each reservation and each guest is different so it was never boring. I always found a way to add a magical touch. I really enjoyed interacting with children while their parents were checking in. I would give out Princess crowns, Pirate swords, stickers, coloring books and all sorts of fun goodies. Sometimes I would also have the opportunity to send amenities to the guests’ rooms. I loved recognizing special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries by sending some Zebra Domes and other delicious treats to the guest’s room to make their stay a bit more magical.
At the Front Desk, I was also usually the first point of contact for guests. I would greet guests and welcome them “home” each time they entered the lobby. I was there to assist with guest’s questions, give directions and recommendations and to assist in any way possible. I would also spend time assembling welcome packets, and making sure all of the maps, celebration buttons and other Disney necessities were fully stocked.
WDW Hints: What little secrets did you learn about AKL while working there?
Emily: I loved learning about the beautiful artifacts on display throughout The Lodge. They have over 800 genuine artifacts on display making this the largest permanent display of African artifacts (outside of Africa.) I also learned fun facts about the resort based on various African terms used around the resort. For example, at Kidani Village the name of the gift shop is “Johari Treasures.” “Johari” means jewel. The Kidani Village building is actually shaped like a necklace with “the jewel” (Johari Treasures) at it’s center.
I was also able to see the “back stage” areas of the resort and I got some behind the scenes tours. I loved being able to tour the different rooms and villas. There are so many diverse and amazing rooms to choose from at The Lodge. One of my favorite experiences was touring the Presidential Suite (“The Royal Asante Suite.”) It was huge and so luxurious– definitely the nicest resort room I’ve ever seen.
Emily: My husband and I had very different work schedules throughout our programs. Some days I would be going in to work at6:30 PM and I would pass him in the car on his way home from work. When we did have days off together we did as much exploring as possible. We spent a ton of time in Magic Kingdom, especially during non-peak times. It was so much fun to ride our favorite attractions over and over with almost no wait. We spent a great deal of time (and money 🙂 ) at Downtown Disney as well. In my opinion, there is no such thing as “too much Disney,” so we tried to soak up the magic while we were there!
WDW Hints: Did you meet anyone famous while working at Disney?
Emily: I briefly met Rod Stewart and his family while they were staying at The Lodge. He was very friendly and even played some of the African drums with the Cultural Representatives in the lobby.
WDW Hints: Where are you living now and what is your occupation? Did working with the CP help you get to where you are today?
Emily: Shortly after our programs ended, my husband and I moved back to our home state of North Carolina. I’ve worked various jobs since moving back, but every single employer started the interview by asking about Disney. During my College Program you would hear other Cast Members explain how beneficial it is to have Disney on your resume, but I didn’t realize how true that was until I experienced it myself. Each person that interviewed me was very intrigued by my experience and wanted to hear all about working for The Mouse. The Disney College Program was definitely one of the best experiences of my life.
WDW Hints: How often do you go back to WDW?
Emily: We go back every change we get! On average, about every 3-4 months.
WDW Hints: You recently started a new blog Pixie Dust and Beyond, what do you hope readers will gain from it?
Emily: I really wanted to find something to invest my time in that I was truly passionate about. I always have Disney on the brain and I finally figured out a way to use that in my daily activities. The primary focus of my blog is going to be to share my Walt Disney World tips and information with others. I absolutely love to talk about Disney and also share my advice on the lesser known facts and areas of the parks. I really hope both the first timer and the Disney veteran will find this information useful and entertaining. If one person is able to take away one tip from my posts that makes their vacation a little more magical, then my blog is a success.
WDW Hints: What is a little-known “hint” that you like to tell others about WDW?
Emily: While watching Wishes from Main Street is not to be missed I like to recommend watching the show from a ride in Magic Kingdom at least once. One of my favorite things to do is to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad during Wishes. It’s completely different from the Main Street experience but it is so amazing. I’ve also taken some awesome photos from the top of BTMRR. Just be sure to hang on to your camera since it is the wildest ride in the wilderness!
We want to Thank Emily for her time answering our questions! If you love Disney blogs, be sure to check out hers: Pixie Dust and Beyond! Also, check out her Animal Kingdom Hidden Gems article found right here, on WDW Hints!