Situated along the coast of South Carolina, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort is a breath of Southern charm. This idyllic island retreat feels like home, not only for the Disney Vacation Club Members who return year after year to renew their vacation traditions, but also to dedicated cast members like Mark Hyland, who headlines this month’s edition of “Membership Magic Makers.”
Mark is a Los Angeles Police Department veteran who established a permanent residence on Hilton Head Island after 33 years of service and one month of retirement. And in 2019, he officially earned his ears in resort recreation at this Disney Vacation Club destination.
“Describing Hilton Head as ‘magical’ would be an understatement. There was a sort of familiarity in the air between guest and cast member,” Mark said, reflecting on his first stay in 2014 and noting that vacations anywhere else quickly became few and far between. “Eventually, my wife stopped asking which resort I wanted to visit. She knew my answer.”
Recalling his return to Hilton Head to pursue joining the resort’s cast, Mark shared that his family – Disney Vacation Club Members since 2008 – was greeted with a special “Welcome Home” poster signed personally by several cast members. A nod to years of vacations and lasting impressions, Mark said he could easily place each magic maker’s name to the cast member’s friendly face.
“Behind each Disney nametag is someone willing to go above and beyond for their Disney Vacation Club family – and that’s exactly what I consider the Hilton Head team – family,” he said. “It’s one of the many reasons I relocated 2,400 miles across the country to become a cast member. And now that I’m making magic, my motivation is, and always will be, to treat our guests like gold, whether they’re a part of Disney Vacation Club or not.”
From Hilton Head’s 12-mile landscape of picturesque beach and miles of open waters to cozy campfire gatherings and heated swimming pools, this Lowcountry resort is well known for its generous assortment of accommodations and activities.
Don’t be surprised if you cross paths with Mark, perhaps more than once, during a single stay. This jack-of-all-trades magic maker covers a lot of ground at the resort, shuttling guests to and from Disney’s Beach House (the resort’s maritime-themed clubhouse), manning the lifeguard stand at the pool and spa, assisting with bike rentals and more.
“To me, these jobs are fun. I don’t consider any of it work. And the best part… I get to make extra magic for our guests,” Mark said, referencing a particularly “sweet” moment during one of his shifts. “About two months ago, I brought a travel crib to a family who was enjoying an afternoon on the pool deck. When I finished setting it up, the parents were so overjoyed and at ease knowing that we could make their stay more comfortable. But I wanted to keep the magic coming, so I served up some complimentary Dole Whip for their two older kids. And I’ll tell you, seeing the smiles on their faces… that’s hands-down the best source of motivation a cast member can get.”
Those little Disney differences transform a vacation from ‘magical’ to ‘indescribable,’ like a magic carpet ride through an endless diamond sky. And sometimes, as was the case with Mark, they can turn a member into a cast member – dedicated to making Membership Magic.