As world-class service is a critical part of our commitment to delivering Membership Magic, Disney Vacation Club is proud to spotlight “Membership Magic Makers” both on the Disney Parks Blog and in upcoming editions of our quarterly Disney Files Magazine, issued exclusively to Members.
Our first installment shines a light on the behind-the-scenes work of Susan Tagalicod, a Disney Vacation Club Member Experience Specialist whose Disney dreams began by watching the original Disney dreamer.
Growing up near Cocoa Beach, Florida, away from the West Coast grandeur of Disney theme parks and production studios, a timely Sunday tune-in to watch “The Wonderful World of Disney,” hosted by Walt Disney himself, was enough to kindle Susan’s love of Mickey Mouse.
Then, in 1971, a flurry of pixie dust transformed the swamplands of Central Florida into The Most Magical Place on Earth. As if no time had passed, Susan remembered the moment she first heard Uncle Walt reveal the newest Disney destination to the world.
“There he was, standing in front of a big map, pointing to Florida,” Susan reminisced. “I couldn’t believe they were building a theme park in my backyard. And I remember thinking, ‘Uncle Walt is doing this for me.’”
While the Florida Project came to be Walt’s final dream, it’s no secret that the inspiring and enchanting allure of Disney continues to live on, making countless dreams come true, including Susan’s.
Spanning nearly 12 years, Susan has contributed to Disney magic on both the East and West Coasts at Walt Disney Travel, the Disney Stores, and currently, at Disney Vacation Club. Comprised of four cast members, this Member-facing team manages vacation requests in a proactive, personalized way.
“I am just a small link in a very large chain of magic, but I love being that link,” Susan said. “We put on our mouse ears and take that extra step to give Members that magical feeling.”
Susan says that building genuine, meaningful connections, coupled with her own firsthand experiences as a Disney Vacation Club Member, allows her to bridge the gap between cast and Member year-after-year.
“To me, ‘welcome home’ is more than just a greeting,” Susan beamed. “On one hand, it is the years of memories and laughter that Disney Vacation Club has given my family, and on the other hand, it is helping other Members obtain a lifetime of those same memories and laughter.”
Among the memorable Member experiences Susan planned recently was a magical celebration of life for a Member’s late husband at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – the resort the family has called “home” for more than 20 years. By delivering a bottle of the late Member’s favorite champagne to each villa, securing dining reservations at Steakhouse 71, ‘Ohana and Whispering Canyon, and booking two days’ worth of VIP tours, Susan’s small but mighty team spread extra magic to all 26 guests in the party.
The vacation celebrated not only the anniversary of their loved one’s passing, but also the first Disney vacation for the newest member of their family – a one-year-old grandson, who, thanks to Susan, got his first haircut in the Harmony Barber Shop at Magic Kingdom Park. As it is said, when one journey ends, another begins. “This job with Disney Vacation Club, and my career with Disney as a whole… it is all a dream come true,” Susan said. “And I have Uncle Walt to thank for that.”
DVC cast members are totally awesome. Congratulations Susan on being recognized. Our relationship with DVC and the members have been very rewarding. A shoutout to Patti Douglas. I can’t say enough about her. Utmost professional and so grateful for her and her amazing work and service. It is individuals like her and Susan who provides our families with Magical Experience.
Hello, Susan! It sounds as if the Magic of Disney has been a huge part of your life! Congrats on twelve years of making Magical Moments for so many of us DVC members!
Well I remember making my share of Magical Moments as first a CP Cast Member and moving on to Seasonal status afterwards. Alas, my time ended in 2010, simply because of distance (we live near Baltimore, MD) – but I still keep Disney in my heart and spread Magic wherever and whenever I can. as the saying goes, “There’s no place like home” – and maybe I will get the chance to welcome others back home if my family decides to make the move to Florida we’ve talked about for a couple of decades, it seems!
Thank you for all you and your super team do to help the rest of us enjoy our time with Disney!