At Disney Vacation Club, we are pleased to celebrate the special force behind Membership Magic – our cast members. I’m proud to pen this “Membership Magic Makers” both here on the Disney Parks Blog and in the printed pages of Disney Files Magazine (mailed quarterly to members), shining a spotlight on the people who make the dream a reality. This installment highlights the radiant Heidi Bennett, an Advisor Care Captain (more on that role in a moment) who turned her love for Disney into a fulfilling career.
Heidi made one of her earliest Disney memories in 1997 while visiting Walt Disney World Resort during its 25th anniversary celebration. The moment she saw Cinderella Castle famously dressed as a giant birthday cake, she was on cloud 9, determined to make Disney a permanent part of her life.
Fifteen years later, Heidi and her husband were finally able to move their family of three to the Sunshine State, leaving their New Jersey life behind.
“We didn’t move to Florida,” Heidi clarified. “We moved to Disney!”
At the time, the company had limited full-time openings – one being a monorail driver and the other a role in Consumer Insights & Marketing Analytics (CIMA). Heidi applied for both roles, fascinated by the unique opportunity to either transport guests into the heart of the magic or better understand guests’ perspectives.
On her 29th day as a Floridian, or rather a Disney-an, Heidi’s wish came true. Walt Disney World Casting offered her a job in CIMA research, where she would go on to collect in-park guest feedback. Shortly after joining The Walt Disney Company, Heidi’s husband followed suit, making magic in merchandise at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. This year marks the couple’s 10-year anniversaries with the company.
Today, Heidi leads a Member Services Advisor Care Specialist team with Disney Vacation Club. In this unique cast- and member-facing role, she oversees a team responsible for meeting members’ day-to-day vacation-planning needs while also managing any challenges that may require an elevated level of assistance. Through it all, she believes that, by championing the voices of our growing member community, we not only recognize and validate our members, but more importantly, enhance the overall member experience.
“Our members are buying a piece of Disney,” she said. “Wherever they vacation, they are touched by the magic. And as part of Member Services, we are a piece of the magic they touch.”
Seeing monumental member moments is Heidi’s favorite part about working for Disney Vacation Club. She shared that, during a shift at the EPCOT Member Lounge, one of her member families (who she had known for a few years but never met in-person) stopped by to say hello with their one-year-old granddaughter.
“I was chatting with my members and all of a sudden their granddaughter stands up and walks right into my arms,” Heidi smiled. “Can you imagine seeing your granddaughter’s first steps at Disney… that is Disney Vacation Club. It doesn’t get more magical than that.”
These extraordinary member moments have only heightened Heidi’s love for Disney. And she draws constant inspiration from her own experiences as a Disney guest. During her son’s first Walt Disney World visit, for example, a front desk cast member at Disney’s All Star Movies Resort heard that her son’s name was Andy and decided to make a little magic for the family.
By assigning the family a room in the resort’s “Toy Story” themed building, the cast member ensured that the family’s arrival experience would be one that little Andy would long remember – walking through an oversized door marked “Andy’s Room” and into a courtyard filled with larger-than-life sculptures of his favorite “Toy Story” pals.
“I remember my son saying to me, ‘Mommy it’s my room!’ It even had his name on the door,” she beamed. “I will always remember the magic that cast member made for my son… and it’s my goal to deliver that same magical feeling to all Disney Vacation Club Members.”