How Cast Celebrate Halfway to the Holidays at Disney Parks Holiday Shops

From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Kaitlyn Woollen

It’s snowing around the world somewhere, and for Disney Parks this time of year, that would be our holiday shops at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. To get our minds off the hot summer months, we’re celebrating Halfway to the Holidays at our Disney Parks and Resorts.

The cozy, caroling, compassion-fueled season will be here before we know it, but as we wait for Mr. Claus to come down the chimney or to light the candles on the menorah, some of our cast get to celebrate the most magical time of the year every day at work. At Walt Disney World, Chris Clayton, a merchandise cast member at Disney Days of Christmas, claims it’s Christmas every day. “Think about it. You walk in and you’re my guest, and the very first thing I say is ‘Merry Christmas!’ Automatically, there’s a smile on your face,” beamed Chris.

When asked about having the opportunity to celebrate the holidays all year long, Chris mentioned that she is so thankful that no matter what month it is, the holiday spirit lives within her and with guests immediately as they walk into the store. Especially when she is able to make extra magic for a guest.

Chris recalled a story about a guest who had to catch a flight to Australia and wanted a personalized ornament in a short amount of time. Chris talked to one of the artists and created magic for this guest to get their ornament personalized in time for their flight.

“Ultimately, the goal is how much magic we can make for that guest and what kind of tangible memory we can provide. The artists are so good and so quick. They work on a lot of orders in an hour. Their expectations are pretty high, and they do beautiful work, they really do,” said Chris. “Every day you come in, you don’t know what you’re going to do, but you’re prepared for whatever because you are empowered to make magic.”


Over on the west coast, Shelby Cooper, a merchandise cast member at Disneyland, shares the same kind of holiday magic at Plaza Point Holiday Shoppe. As an ornament artist, Shelby is one of the extraordinary artists behind the personalization details drawn onto ornaments. “I really like doing the artwork, just personalizing for the guests,” shared Shelby. “I had one little girl who wanted every [artwork] option on her ears, so she just picked all the colors out. She wanted hearts and pixie dust, and she wanted all the different artworks, so that was really fun to try to fit everything together.”

Plaza Point is a year-round holiday shop, so when asked about how she personally celebrates the holidays, Shelby reminisced about when she and her grandmother make a kuchen, a traditional German pie or cake after Christmas. This influenced Shelby to practice inclusion of all cultures in her role.

Be sure to visit Plaza Point Holiday Shoppe or Disney Days of Christmas for all your holiday joy no matter the time of year. For more #HalfwayToTheHolidays celebrations, stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more holly jolly announcements and fun!


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