Fairy tales do come true, just ask Abby Muskeyn.
In a few weeks, the Montrose native is heading out to live in the magical land of Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
A self-professed lover of all things Disney, Muskeyn was hired for a 12-month stint as a cultural ambassador in the Canada Pavilion through the Disney International Program.
After graduating from a Victoria college in April with a musical theatre diploma, the 20-year old decided it was time to revisit her high school goal of working at a Disney theme park.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to work for Disney,” said Muskeyn. “A few years ago I researched opportunities and found out about the international program and thought this was something I’d like to do later on in life, after college.”
She submitted an application to the program in May and one month later came the call from an American recruiter saying the 40-square mile resort, located in Central Florida, was interested in interviewing her via video chat.
Perhaps it was the twinkle in her eyes or Muskeyn’s uncanny resemblance to Belle, the timeless beauty from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, that won the company over.
Because within days she had a callback to say she was hired to work in the Canada Pavilion restaurant called Le Cellier Steakhouse on a one-year contract.
Usually international recruits have a month to think things over, but Muskeyn was given only five days to make a commitment to the position.
“They needed someone right away because the job starts in August and I think that’s how I got it so quickly,” she said. “So I think it was timing and luck to be honest.”
Disney takes care of the working visa, and Muskeyn received her official papers last week so legally she’s ready to fly south of the border Aug. 11 before her first day on the job Aug. 12.
Her living arrangements and transportation to and from Epcot, the resort’s theme park that houses 11 international pavilions, is included in her employment package, although Muskeyn admits that one unique bonus is what she’s really excited about.
“Well I am a huge Disney fan so I’m not going to lie,” she said. “I’m excited to make new friends. But most of all I’m excited about going to the Disney parks for free whenever I want to.”
The 2012 J.L. Crowe Secondary School grad has already visited Disney World once and California’s Disneyland four times as a youngster, and now she’s feeling quite fortunate to be paid for living a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
“I think my training in performing arts helped because Disney has a very specific kind of person they are looking for,” she said. “So I think that kind of persona they want, may have also helped.”
Muskeyn has joined a Facebook group of other young adults who are set to arrive in August for a year of work and play at Disney World.
Through the social media site she’s met two girls from Germany and one fille from France who will be living in her dormitory.
“I’ll be making friends from all around the world so that’s pretty cool,” she added,
Anyone wishing to keep up with Muskeyn’s Disney experience in the “Magic Kingdom Park” is invited to follow her blog at abbygoesdisney.blogspot.ca