When the pandemic caused Walt Disney World to shutdown and furlough cast members, they came together and created a facebook group called Ear for Each Other.
Shannon spoke with several business owners that are previous cast members and now have their own business.
Claire – Once Upon a Transformation
Claire’s business is called Once Upon a Transformation. She started it because she really missed the special moments she was able to be part of at Walt Disney World.
She was able to create a business out of ideas she wished that Disney would offer! Claire offers a personalized and customized experience. She helps her clients bound in their own fairytale.
Claire started as a Walt Disney World cast member in 2017 working in Pandora World of Avatar attractions cast. She worked the attractions for a while and then she discovered that hair and makeup was her calling.
Claire was able to transfer within the company and work at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. They were fairly limited in what they could do because they are not licensed cosmetologists. Claire has been licensed in several states and wanted to be able to do more.
She moved to working in the Disney Resort Salon and Spa. She was able to work in all four of the spas on property. In order to work in the salons you have to be licensed. She loved the options given Character Couture packages and really helping people.
When the pandemic happened and the shutdown occurred, Claire wasn’t sure if or when she would be brought back to work. It was scary and she couldn’t imagine her life without making magic for others.
She wanted to be able to help create that magic and memories for people. She took what she loved about making people feel special and made it her own.
Claire thought that this opportunity would be temporary while she was waiting to see if she was given her job back. However, it took off thanks to the Ear for Each Other page. One mom asked her to give her child a haircut and things took off from there!
When Claire realized she wasn’t going to go back to being a cast member, she figured out how to make this her own career. She creates everything personalized; it is a completely customized experience.
The best place to find Claire is at onceuponatransformation.com. This is where you will see packages, what to expect, and how to request your booking. Claire’s husband will respond to your request and get you scheduled! You can also find Claire on facebook.
The night before your booking, Claire will touch base with you to confirm your room number, schedule, and additional information. Claire does a great job of getting to know each family and makes it a wonderful experience for everyone.
Claire loves that she can include everyone in the experience! In the parks there are limits with how many people can participate, but with Claire, she can include the whole family, friends, and more. She wants everyone to have the best experience possible.
KellyAnn – Kreative Kreations by KK
Kelly does door decorations, delivers baskets, and in room celebrations. Prior to the shutdown, Kelly was a coordinator at Ohana and facilitator for Disney University.
During the shutdown in October, Kelly had a newborn and decided to start her business! It really started out of nowhere as something to keep her busy.
Kelly just began saying yes. She had a travel agent friend ask her if she could deliver a basket to a client at Walt Disney World and she said yes. It evolved from there.
Her next request was for door decorations. She hadn’t ever done that before, but she said yes. She began creating the magic.
The baskets and door decorations became her whole business. Originally she was doing all kinds of things – t-shirts, decorations, and more. By January she became more focused on in room celebrations, door decorations, and baskets.
In February of 2021 she was called back to be a cast member and it took her a week before she declined the offer. She wasn’t expecting to start her own business. While she was excited to be called back, she wasn’t willing to give up the business she started.
Kelly primarily uses a Facebook page to book services. She has examples of her options on her Facebook page at Kreative Kreations by KK. The easiest way to communicate with Kelly is via facebook message.
Bookings are opened 2-3 months prior to the date. They book up very quickly, so it is important to book as soon as you know what you want. If you know further in advance to 2-3 months, you can get on her followup list before dates are open to the general public.
Kelly’s top experiences include celebrating birthdays and welcoming to Disney. Kelly highly recommends not doing decorations the day of arrival. Kelly will decorate the room while you are at the park so when you arrive back your room is decorated.
Kelly is in clear communication with you so that you know the timing and everything runs smoothly. She wants to be sure that she doesn’t ruin the surprise, especially for the children.
Justin is a professional traveling Jedi who teaches people how to be a Jedi! Prior to the shutdowns, Justin was a Jedi Master at Walt Disney World. He started this in January or February 2016.
Justin did Jedi Training Academy prior to the shutdowns. When shutdown happened, Justin was bored so he went to Ear for Each Other and offered baseball lessons. He was a professional baseball player.
No one wanted baseball lessons, but they did want Jedi Training! One person requested it and shared photos from their experience. Within 48 hours, he was booked up for the next 3 months!
April of 2021 is when things started and they picked up incredibly over the summer. Justin was invited to come back after auditioning for the Starcruiser. It was very extensive!
He came back to be a cast member in September of 2021. He rehearsed until March when it opened. Justin was able to make both jobs work at the same time.
Justin recently had a baby girl and didn’t care for the hours as a full-time cast member, so he is working more teaching Jedi Training on his own!
The best way to communicate with Justin is to find him on facebook and send him a message. It’s very casual to schedule a booking with him.
Once you communicate with Justin and get your experience booked, Justin will communicate the day or so before your booking. He will come to your resort, find a shady spot, and do Jedi training. Most trainings are about 30 minutes.
If you have a lightsaber, that’s wonderful. If not, Justin will bring some! Dressing up is also fun, but you’re welcome to wear what you’d like. Justin will make anything work!
Justin’s goal is always hoping to teach one thing beyond natural ability, so it’s a completely customized experience.
Suhi specializes in charcuterie cheese boxes, edible party favors, and other food items. She was a cast member prior to the pandemic. This business was her way to use her passion for food and cheese!
Suhi has worked in food and beverage for a long time, so this business was a natural fit for her. She saw a need for beautiful cheese boards.
She started in 2020 in Puerto Rico during the pandemic but when they moved back to Florida, she was able to continue her business in Florida in February 2021.
The majority of Suhi’s business are visiting Walt Disney World. She has some local customers as well, but gets most of her business from Ear for Each Other.
Suhi was originally a cast member at Top of the World lounge and when she was called back it was in a different position. She was called back but opted to go part-time with Disney in order to continue to grow her business.
Suhi has a variety of people who order from her, but she does a lot of birthday celebrations! She will also do boards for hanging out by the pool.
Suhi recommends placing your order about 3 months in advance. Once the order is placed, Suhi can deliver whether you are present or not for Disney resorts. If you are staying off property, Suhi will set up a time to meet you at your resort.
You can find Suhi on Facebook.
Room requests can be made in a variety of ways. You can fax your request to the resort, call Disney and have the preference put on your hotel reservation, or you can use the In App Chat feature in the app. This has been successful recently in getting a room request.
- Once Upon a Transformation
- Kreative Kreations by KK
- Justin – Jedi Training
- Tablitas Purpuras in a Box – Flo
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