Do you have a Disney bestie? The first person you call when you’re in a park-hopping mood. Your park pal when you’re on the hunt for that newest merchandise drop, ready at a moment’s notice to try all the new fantastic foods at the upcoming festival.
For two cast members, their Disney friendship began through a shared love of Disney vacations that turned into future Disney careers. Courtney, senior digital analyst for Disney Cruise Line, and Heather, public relations manager for Disney Vacation Club, met in 1995 at Disney’s Old Key West Resort.
Their friendship blossomed on the Sassagoula River Cruise heading to dinner with their families. Playing with dolls and around the same age, there was an immediate connection. As Disney Vacation Club Members and with reservations for Chef Mickey’s around the same time, they decided to have dinner together. And the rest is history…
“We did tons of trips together throughout the years and kept in touch,” Heather said.
Through high school and across state lines, the friendship started to fade, but when social media became popular they reconnected through a friend request and ultimately ended up applying for the Disney College Program at the same time.
The pair just happened to see each other’s post about acceptance letters and decided it was fate to meet up where it all began. “As cheesy as it may sound, Disney brought us back together,” Heather added.
Courtney worked in attractions at Space Mountain and Heather in merchandise at World of Disney. Driven and excited to pursue their respective careers, they both transitioned into Disney Professional Internships.
Being at Walt Disney World together brought back so many memories. Their parents were happy to supply photos from their childhood trips, which led to some timeless re-creations.
“I remember Minnie Mouse geeking out when we showed her the picture of when we were kids,” Heather said. They started a photo re-creation trend, and to celebrate their professional internships returned to Chef Mickey’s where their friendship began.
“There’s one where we were trying on different hats at Magic Kingdom,” Courtney said. “And our moms were really committed to re-creating it properly.” – note the autograph book.
Reuniting at Walt Disney World, Courtney and Heather found they had so many unexpected similarities. They both majored in English and fell in love with theater, while Disney kept them connected.
“Disney has become such a cornerstone for our friendship because we hang out here all the time,” Heather added. “I think it’s just become this place where we gather. It’ll always bring us back together.”
“Disney Vacation Club to me, means home. It’s a reminder of the countless memories that we’ve made together and that we continue to make here,” Courtney said.
Heather now works with media for Disney Vacation Club and Courtney tells Disney Cruise Line’s story via website data. Both have enjoyed the way their roles allow them to do a job they love.
“Disney Vacation Club has given my family so many memories. It’s given me friendships to last a lifetime. And now being able to work every day with a product that’s given me so much is truly special,” Heather said.
For Courtney, she’s enjoyed the versatility of her career, allowing her to learn new things every day. “I entered the field of public relations, given my background in English, and now I’m a data analyst, and I get to use my communication skills to tell the story of data.”
While they can’t say for sure where life will take them, one thing remains the same.
“I like to picture us as two little old ladies sitting on the boat on our way to Disney Springs,” Heather said. “Ready to go shopping and grab a bite at one of the restaurants we love.”