I was already working for Disney in the UK when I interviewed for a job at Walt Disney World. I got through the first phone interview and was invited for an in person second interrogation. Now you may be aware of this, but the journey from London to Orlando isn’t exactly the shortest or cheapest. So, they decided to conduct the second interview by video conference.
I’m showing my age by using the term video conference. This was 2007, Skype was around, and FaceTime wasn’t an option as the first iPhone wouldn’t be released until later in the year. In those days, we had a meeting room setup with video equipment that had to be booked. I also had no excuse for it not working, as I was the one who looked after it.
The interview itself was your standard fare. I was given some technical scenarios to work my way through. I was asked about why I wanted to work at Disney World, and my experiences there. It was one of the last questions that made me smile to myself. “If there was one thing you could change at a park, what would that be?”
I laughed at the question and replied that it would probably be best if I answered it by saying what about having 24 hour park openings every so often. It would be embarrassing if I told them my real answer.
Of course, this got them interested, and after a little persuasion, all I said was:
“It involves It’s a Small World, a chainsaw, and the Ride of the Valkyries as background music.”
I’ll let you picture that in your own mind.
Any hew, everyone laughed at my answer and it was agreed that we stick with my more mundane response. I must have done something right as they offered me a position a couple of weeks later, and within a year I was living in sunny Florida.
Why was this my response? Well, I did once have traumatic experience on the ride.
I once visited Disneyland Paris with a couple of friends, and as it was late January the main park was more or less empty. Everything was a walk on, or at most a five minute wait. We decided to work our way around the park clockwise from Phantom Manor to see how long it would take us to go on every attraction. All was going fine until It’s a Small World.
Actually, that isn’t quite true. The problem wasn’t the ride, but the heavens opening whilst on the attraction. It was so heavy that the Cast Members let us stay on the ride, but by the third time round; I had become a jabbering wreck. A human can only take that song and those dolls for so long.
I ended up lying in the back row of the boat with my eyes closed and ears covered. Once back in the station, I ran off the ride into the rain. Even though I was wearing a waterproof coat, I ended up thoroughly soaked. But, I was free. Free I tell you.
I would like to point out that I don’t hate It’s a Small World, but it is best enjoyed in (extremely) small doses.