Cast Member Spotlight - Courtney Sharp (Front Desk)

Name: Courtney Sharp
Home town: Las Vegas, NV
Hire Status: CP
Role: Hospitality - Front Desk
Work Location: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Saratoga Springs & Old Key West

What did your training consisting of?
After Traditions, I first had to take a class that prepared us in knowledge of what the Walt Disney World Resort as a whole has to offer, followed by a week-long training class where we learned the computer programs we would be using, cash handing skills, as well as guest service experience. From there, I got my first look at the resort I would be working at, my “home” location, DAKL (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge) in a welcome class. I then began a week of OJT (On the Job Training), where I learned all the necessary tools of Front Desk as well as the layout of the hotel, with the last day being where they basically stand over your shoulder to make sure you are okay to be out of the nest and on your own. We had refresher training throughout my program such as: Four Keys Basics, and a Food/Beverage knowledge assessment (just got to eat food from DAKL locations.) After being trained as a Front Desk Cashier, I then got to be trained a
s a Runner, which is a completely different also long story. Basically, I had lots and lots of training.

What did your day to day job consist of? 
Once I was trained Runner, it was basically all I ever worked. No day was EVER the same, which I loved. I would do things from help with key assists when guests get locked out, deliver boxes and amenities to rooms, set up the flower arrangements in the Presidential Suite, get sent to the grocery store, run into Magic Kingdom to get a wand for a little princess, pick up luggage from the airport, anything you could think of to help the resort run more smoothly and efficiently.

What did you enjoy most about your job? 
Never knowing what was next. I remember driving all the way to Port Canaveral one day to get a suitcase a guest left, and then the next day I was setting up roses for a honeymoon couple. I loved the randomness of being a Front Desk Runner. It made everyday interesting.

What was the worst thing about your job?  
The hours, you will hear this from every CP there ever will be, but it is entirely true. I love the hospitality industry, but coming in I forgot that Hotels are in fact, a 24 hour operation. Which meant late nights, and back for even earlier mornings, back to back, 5-6 days a week.

What magical moments did you perform and what was your favourite?  
There are so many magical moments that happen every day in the resort. I feel like I could never decide on just one. There was this one time though where a little girl made a magical moment for me. I went to crown her princess of the day in our lobby, and she said she was too little to be a princess, I told her that isn’t true and anyone can be a princess if they want to be, she then set the crown on my head and said no, you are the princess. I cried.

What is your best guest memory? 
There was a family that was staying with us, it was a vacation re-do because their last trip was cancelled when their son was diagnosed with brain cancer. They decided they needed to do one last family trip together to celebrate his life and have his dream of going to Disney World be fulfilled. We put together a really grand entrance for the family with the drums out front and some little gifts and plush for him. When he got out of the car with the support from his parents and walker, he began quickly running over with excitement, crying because he was so happy. The light in the little boy’s eyes, just pure excitement to be there was the most magical and tear filled experience I ever had.

What is your best memory overall - whether guest or not? 
Just being with friends, enjoying last days together and cherishing every moment you have left in the program. Standing and watching Wishes for the last time, saying goodbyes that I knew would later turn into reunions, staying up far too late to talk about nothing or dance in a living room, attempting to watch every show WDW has to offer in one night, and looking back one last time at the place I have called home for eight months.

What have you learnt whilst working on the program / at Walt Disney World? 
I have learned more about myself than I have ever before. I learned to conquer my fears, step out of my comfort zone, and how to show people who I really am. You learn that sleep really is an option sometimes. I found out not only who I am, but what I want to do with my life, places I want to see, and experiences I want to bring to my life. I have never been more self educated until this program.

What was the hardest thing about the program? 
It was difficult being away from family in hard times.

What was the best thing about the program? 
Meeting people from all over the world, gaining knowledge of yourself and who you are, and exploring things outside what you normally would. The experiences I had while on my program with the friends I made…made it the best semester of my life, and now I can’t call anywhere but Walt Disney World and the beautiful state of Florida, home.

Any funny guest stories? 
There was a woman with a celebration button on in the hallway and I asked her what she was celebrating, she replied with, “The divorce of my husband.” She said it so cavalier with a smile slightly on her face, I couldn’t help but laugh when I told her congratulations and to have a magical day.

Is there anything you wish you knew beforehand? 
How humid Florida was (you get use to it), to not bring so many pairs of shoes, and how to correctly make jell-o shots.

Would you do the program again? 
In a heartbeat, in fact that is what I am doing now, only in Disneyland. It’s been a magical experience here too, but nothing beats my WDW College Program.
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About Giovanni Costa

Radio journalist, newspaper editor, travel writier, tour guide and Disney Cast Member. These are just some of the things Gio has done in the past few years. He loves visiting new destintions, trying new food and wants you to come along for the ride!
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