After my initial interview, I was sent on to meet the Superintendent of the Technical Services Department, a man named Bill Blandon. Bill was a great guy and very knowledgeable in the technical aspects of the live staging requirements for the grand opening of Walt Disney World. The interview lasted only about thirty minutes, and he approved my hiring based on the fact that I had worked on some staging production support services at the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts and was a certified stage manager with Actors Equity. That was all the experience needed to convince him to put his faith in me.
I was then sent through Disney’s orientation program, better known as the Disney University. It was hosted by someone we all called Greta Groomer. Greta and others took us through grooming standards and moral behavior for when we were on duty and anywhere in the park. These were pretty intense standards that we always had to hold in the back of our minds, but given Disney’s image, it made sense how much importance was put on it. From what I understand they are still tightly held even today, and I doubt that will change any time soon.
Once I wrapped up at Disney University, I was sent over to meet my new boss. He took me on a tour of the park construction at the time to see all the locations for all of the live stages and the overall plans for the grand opening. I also got to meet the members of the team who were already on board with the project. It’s easy for someone now to look back and say it was obviously going to be a huge project, but at the time the scale was still staggering. Of course, Walt Disney World was going to be huge, but to have seen it in process was something else entirely. To see all of the construction taking place, all those people going here and there was a unique experience.
That’s how I became a member of the grand opening team, the group responsible for introducing Walt Disney World to the public and kicking things off in spectacular fashion. Going forward I’ll be pulling back the curtain as I share with you my experience and insight into what it took for our team to coordinate, prepare, and execute all of the different elements that went into the grand opening of Walt Disney World, one of the greatest shows on Earth. It will be fun and crazy; full of ups and downs, but most importantly it will offer you a look into what goes on with event production companies and just how much work they really do.