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Childhood Dream Come True for This Walt Disney World Resort Cast Member

I’m fortunate to meet many different Walt Disney World Resort cast members while writing stories for our internal magazine, Eyes & Ears. Recently, I spent a lot of time at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, which will mark its 20th anniversary Feb. 2.

During my research, I learned that Kyle Raser, the resort’s current manager of Guest Service Operations, had stayed there years ago when it was known as Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort.

Kyle Raser Currently is Manager of Guest Service Operations at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.

“When I was 14 years old, I lived in Pennsylvania,” Kyle told me. “We were actually supposed to stay at a different resort but because we got so much snow up north we had to change our vacation and the only place available at the time was Dixie Landings. So we came here and fell in love with the place.”

As he explained, “We always say, ‘By chance we stayed here but by choice we stayed here every other year after that.’ My mom and the rest of the family still call it home.”

Kyle First Visited the Resort in 1993, a Year After it Opened, When it Was Known as Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort.

Like many of our cast members who chased childhood dreams or pursued adult ambitions, Kyle joined the company in 1997 when he moved to Florida and went to work at The Disney Store. In 1999, he became a Walt Disney World Resort cast member. He joined the Port Orleans team in April 2010, making it a kind of homecoming.

“Each night when I walk out of the resort and look back at the entrance, I can’t help but fondly remember my first visit to this place and how lucky I am to have come ‘home’ again,” Kyle said.

Kyle Says His Family Fell in Love With the Resort After Their First Visit and Returned Often Over the Years.

Nearly two decades after that first visit, he offers wise advice to the cast members he now leads.

“I always say, ‘Treat every guest like it’s 14-year-old Kyle because you never know if they’re going to come back and work here someday,’” he said. “I like to think that there may be another guest out there who, like me, will be inspired to be part of the future generation of cast members.”


  • I too have a Dixie Landings sweatshirt. It’s a bit worn so I think I might make a quilt out of all my old Disney sweatshirts and t-shirts..can’t bear to part with them! My dream job at Disney would be the Disney Hostess! I don’t even know what that means, other than just to greet people and direct them to where things are!

  • Waiting to hear back about my application to see if my dream can come true as well!

  • I too happened upon Port Orleans by chance, because of snow, when I lived up north. It was my first trip to Disney as an adult and something about Port Orleans made me fall in love with Disney all over again. I came back the next year, and every year after that. Last year I came back on the college program, and was overjoyed to get Port Orleans as my location. All of my favorite vacation memories came rushing back, and at that moment I made an important decision; I was never going home! I’m still working just up the river at the French Quarter, and to Kyle I’d like to say “Hi, Neighbor!”

  • Our first stay was also at Dixie Landings (by choice) in 1998! I so wish it hadn’t “merged” with Port Orleans. We also consider it our first home!

  • My daughter is 8 almost 9, we go every year and she decided a couple of years back that she is going to be a cast member when she grows up. We just got back Saturday from our last trip, and while down there she told every cast member she meet that she was going to work there one day. Disney makes lasting impressions on the kids that visit, and I think it’s great she wants to bring joy and magic to others, that we have enjoyed every trip.

  • This is so awesome! 🙂 I still have my Dixie Landings T-Shirt too!

  • Wonderful to see that the passion that we share as Disney lovers is also showcased through the people who work there, and thus, bring our passion alive through their love of Disney. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story, and I hope that my kids can bring their dreams to life in this manner as well! College Program, here they come!

  • I was one of the managers at the Disney Store back in 1997 that interviewed Kyle for the job that started his Disney career. I can honestly say that I have never met an 18 year old with so much vitality and love for the company! Kyle was amazing to work with back then and we’ve stayed in touch as we both have moved on to work for different areas within Disney. I can’t think of a greater person to highlight in an article. Kyle embodies Disney and the traditions of creating magic wherever he goes. It makes me proud to see how far he as come and to see him still making dreams come true everyday.

  • I work at Port Orleans Riverside as a concierge and can testify that Kyle truly does love the resort. He is a great manager and creates a lot of magic for many guests. 🙂

  • Great story of making your dream come true. However what I loved best was in the picture of 14 year old Kyle, on the shelf behind him is a VHS tape of Walt Disney World. He always knew where he was going to be!

  • I worked with Kyle, and he’s just a joy to be around. Love this story. Thanks for sharing Kyle!

  • I have already stayed at Dixie Landings twice before it turned into Port Orleans Riverside, where i also stayed once, it was a very inspiring place and it brings unforgetable memories. I also woerked at Disney 4 times, summer 98, summer 99, winter 99 and Guest Relations in 2004/2005, since i started my Disney carreer, it’s my dream to work there on a fulltime job forever! The only thing that stops me is imigration bureaucracy!! There’s still time and hope, so who knows someday…

  • My family and myself booked a holiday at Disney Port Orleans Riverside in August 2005. It was meant to be a once in a lifetime holiday but we all fell in love with the whole experience we returned in 2007 and again in 2009!Port Orleans Riverside is beautiful and is a place of calm in an otherwise hectic holiday.This summer we are returning for our 4th Disney holiday and decided to stay at one of the other resorts. The trouble is we couldn’t find any place that matched up to Port Orleans Riverside so we’re returning again. We can’t wait!!

  • as long as I can remember every other summer vacation my parents would take me to Disney Land Paris, my park visits counter is 10 for Paris, 1 for Florida and next month I’m going to be in Florida again!
    I love the save feeling that the parks emit, almost as if the horrible things that happen in the world don’t exist. that’s why, ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a cast member, and I still do.

  • I remember when Dixie Landings changed its name to Port Orleans Riverside. I had booked my Spring Training vacation for Dixie Landings and when the airport shuttle dropped me off at Riverside, I was confused and thought he had taken me to the wrong resort, but I knew there wasn’t a “right” resort because I had never heard of Riverside. Fortunately I was too tired after a long trip to worry too much. The cast member processed my reservation as if I belonged there, so I just went with it. I think it wasn’t until the next day that I found out the full story.

  • My wife and I got engaged at Walt Disney World on New Year’s Day 1999. After finishing college together, we were got married in March of 2000. We returned to Walt Disney World for our honeymoon and chose to stay at Dixie Landings.

    We’ve been back to Walt Disney World several time since – most recently in October of last year when we brought our 4 year-old with us on his first vacation. Each time, we’ve stayed at the Port Orleans – Riverside Resort.

    Dixie Landings may have changed its name since we first visited over a decade ago, but the simple, relaxed charm of this resort will always be home to us!

  • I hope that one day I can work side-by-side with Kyle as a cast member at Walt Disney World! It’s great to see people that had dreams as teenagers that are the same as mine. I guess I’m not the only one who calls a part of Disney World “home!” 🙂

  • I LOVE this story! It was always my dream to become a cast member, and Dixie Landings was my very first resort to stay in. Kyle is a lucky dog, and I love the old picture, complete with VHS Disney tape in the background! 🙂

  • It’s my dream to someday work at Walt Disney World too. My family used to stay at Port Orleans – Riverside when we would visit, I will always know it as “Dixie Landings.” I’d love to hear more about your journey!

  • I became a WDW College Program Cast Member in 2003. At that time, in 2003, it had been approximately 11 years since my first visit to WDW, where my family and I stayed at the Polynesian Resort. I LOVED IT, and said to my parents, “One day I am gonna work here.” In 2003, I was true to my promise. I was a Magic Kingdom Cast member in what is known as Stands East… it is all the snack stands within Fantasyland, Tomorrowland & the now missing Mickey’s Toontown Fair. I miss it greatly. And I PROMISE I WILL RETURN AS A CAST MEMBER AGAIN LATER IN LIFE!

  • My husband and I will be staying at Port Orleans Resort – Riverside in just 12 days. Its nice to already know a smiling face there. This is our first visit, and we are hoping the whole experience is everything we keep hearing and reading about. Very excited. 🙂

  • I love this story! I was lucky to stay at Port Orleans earlier this month and it really is a magical place. The staff is amazing and the grounds are lush and beautiful. Well done!

  • Great story. We stayed at Port Orleans- Riverside when we went to Disney for Halloween in October 2010. It is a great resort. We ended up staying there partly because of our family size, and I loved it. While the rest of my family was napping one afternoon (I wanted to be at the park), I decided to take a stroll, and I found it to be just… picturesque, and peaceful.

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