It is quite unfair of me to put myself to the task of writing this blog entry – six months on board The Disney Magic. Every week aboard could have been it’s own entry, so I’ll be light on myself and make me just do a highlights reel of sorts. Suffice it to say, my choice to leave New York to travel and sing and make kids’ eyes grow with wonder for half a year was a positive one. It was hard work and I was away from family and friends (at least my husband got the opportunity to take a number of cruises for free!). On the other hand it was also glamorous and rewarding. When people asked me what it was like working on board, I responded that it was a combination of College, Broadway, and working for the Navy. Shipboard rules and expectations were high but we were able to go off shore at some of the most beautiful lands on Earth, and experience “mini-vacations” between shows and work hours. Christmas and New Year’s and Valentine’s Day were celebrated in the small hallways that connected our cabins, but we loved opening up our Secret Santa gifts and Valentine’s Day cards all the same. Add that to working with one of the biggest Entertainment companies ever plus the knowledge that my work would grant wishes and create memories…let’s just say it was worth it! Those ever given the opportunity to work and travel with Disney Cruise Line should live the experience at least once.
What more to say? Between performances and greeting hours, we would have time off the ship to explore each of the ports. In Costa Maya, Mexico, I held a lion cub in my arms. In Cozumel, Mexico, I stood on Mayan ruins and had tastes of some of the best Tequila made on Earth. Key West opened its key lime martinis and frozen ice cream pies to my tongue, and introduced me to Ernest Hemingway’s house and six-toed cats. I snorkled in the Grand Cayman Island waters, and swam with dolphins in the island’s Dolphin Discovery park. We landed in Port Canaveral, FL, about once a month and with a quick rental car and a free Crew pass, I made Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot feel like my own personal playland. And then, we had the experience of traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe for our final cruise. I stood on Portuguese land for the first time in Funchal, Madeira – and drank Madeira itself – and watched Barbary Macaques (monkeys) eat and play on the Rock of Gibraltar. My eyes landed on the coast of Africa for the first time, and when my contract was done I step foot in Barcelona, Spain, where the Magic would call its new port for the next 6 months.
But of course, I think the best thing I will walk away from this is the glorious friendship of my cast-mates, many who reside in New York City. They came from all over the nation and a few from Canada. A number of them were returning to the Disney Cruise Line life, which was a blessing during the early days of getting used to the ship, while others were just as new to ship life as I was. Another great walk-away experience was seeing the children (and many adults) in the audience go through a heart-filling sense of joy and wonder. When Fairy Godmother couldn’t remember her famous magic spell, it always did her heart good to hear 4 and 5-year-olds yell from the audience “BIBBIDY BOBBIDY BOOOOO!” at the top of their lungs. And to see young girls dressed as princesses and a few boys dressed as princes and knights wait in line to see Snow White and Princess Tiana…well, even the most hardened of hearts wouldn’t be able to resist. Then there was the die-hard Ursula fan with every pin of hers around his neck, hand-painted shoes on his feet, and a few tattoos upon his body. And full-grown adults wiping tears away at the Finale of “Disney Dreams.” Also, some wonderful guests who came to our Guest Cabaret (which I produced) in Studio Sea and gushed how thankful they were to hear us sing our own material and show off our range. And then playing around with Pluto on the sands of Castaway Cay and telling jokes to Mickey Mouse and catching pens and autograph books from Jack Sparrow. And then…and then…and then…
You see my problem here. I step back into the New York lifestyle knowing that I took a lovely job-vacation for 8 months and happy that I will always have these memories. I may return one day to the waves on board a Disney ship, but in the meantime I have many photos and memories with Mickey and the gang, my cast-mates, and on the shores of faraway lands to keep me company.