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February 22, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Dreams Come True

There it stood    — Space Mountain. Leah Sence could see it as she wandered through the Magic Kingdom and figured she might as well take a detour to go ride it before she started work. She had enough time.

As she got closer to the ride, Leah noticed the line and the idea of having to stand in it during the peak of the hot Florida summer day caused her to turn around and head back to find a cooler option. She could go back later that night, or save it for her day off, if it wasn’t so hot. There was no rush for Leah to get that one ride in before the end of the day, like so many that go to Disney. Not only had she ridden it several times already in the last six months she had been there, but she also had the rest of the summer to get that last ride in before she left the park.

Leah, a University junior, worked at Walt Disney World throughout her second semester of her freshman year and on through the summer until she came back to Bowling Green in August to start school again. For eight months, Leah had the option to ride Space Mountain or visit any of the other attractions at Walt Disney World and she loved every minute.

“My family and I have always been Disney people, very much so,” Leah said. “I really jumped at the chance to go work there. The people in the program say it looks really good on a resume, and I was just like, ‘I don’t care about that. I get to work at Mickey’s house. It doesn’t get better than this.’ Luckily I had parents who were really supportive and told me to go for it.”

Leah’s mom, Karen Sence, said she thought it was fabulous that Leah wanted to work there.

“The experience as a guest is great, so for her to be able to go and learn from an employee standpoint and have it on her resume would be great,” Sence said. “I knew she would learn a great skill set of learning customer service and how to handle difficult situations.”

Leah worked at Disney through the University’s Disney College Program.

After seeing fliers all over campus about the program, Leah attended a meeting to learn more about it. Even with it being her freshman year, she decided to take the opportunity to work at Walt Disney World and instantly went to fill out a questionnaire online. Soon after, she had a phone interview and later, received a letter in the mail saying she could go work at the park.

Leah started at the University as an education major, but after working at Disney, she changed to a tourism major, which focused more on event planning than she expected.

“I realized that the one thing that hadn’t changed throughout

my years was that I had always taken a French class, so now I’m a French major with a Canadian Studies minor,” Leah said.

While at Disney, Leah worked at two different places: Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

Leah started at Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure in Epcot, which she said was really laid-back. Leah said the attraction was an interactive scavenger hunt, but it is no longer there since “Kim Possible” isn’t as popular as it was at that time.

One of Leah’s favorite memories comes from her time at Epcot working the Kim Possible attraction. Leah said that she saw a boy about 5 years old crying as she was walking through the park. She stopped to give him a communicator, a gadget used on the show to tell the missions Kim Possible had to accomplish. He ended up going to the attraction and coming back all throughout the day so that by the end of the night, he had accomplished all seven missions and kept Leah updated on his secret missions throughout the whole time.

“I loved making people’s day,” Leah said. “I never woke up not wanting to go to work.”

After some time at Epcot, Leah moved on to work at Magic Kingdom’s The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

“It was a lot more fast paced, but I enjoyed the challenge,” Leah said.

Leah worked there during the full heat of summer when everyone travels to Disney, so it was a different experience from Epcot.

It was during her time at Epcot that she met her friend Brittany Prater. Prater was also a college student taking part in the Disney college program through her school, Tidewater Community College.

Prater lives in Chesapeake, Va., but she has stayed in contact with Leah and still considers her a great friend.

“It is such a unique experience that you build really strong relationships,” Prater said. “I came away with my best friends in the world.”

Leah said that she loved her time at Disney because she not only worked hard, but she played hard as well.

“As a kid, you’re always on a tight schedule and have to move from one thing to the next, but when you work here, it’s a lot more laid-back and it’s like you’re in charge of your own vacation,” Leah said. “It’s like a childhood dream came true.”

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