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A Little Magic When It's Needed Most

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

KellieReynoldsRobert Morris University senior Kelly Reynolds recently interned at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and helped William Ryan and his family with a tragic time in their lives.

The Walt Disney College Program is selective – only about 8 percent of students who apply are accepted. On July 30, Reynolds’s final day on the job, she encountered the Ryan family, who was cutting their vacation short when William Ryan’s wife learned of her sister’s death back home. They were leaving the next day but Ryan decided to take his children back to the Magic Kingdom that night to see the fireworks.

Disney had arranged for the family to view that night’s parade from the VIP area and view the fireworks from the Castles VIP area. Reynolds was charged with seeing to the family’s needs.

 “I said if there was anything I can do let me know so my trainer put them in my viewing area and I accommodated them,” said Reynolds. “It was a very humbling experience to see a family go through that tough time when you are used to families being happy.”

The Ryan family took note of Reynolds’s, and made a point to let RMU know how Reynolds made a difficult time a little bit easier.

“She is a kind, caring yet professional young person. She was able to show that she felt our sadness but performed her job of making sure we were treated with respect and compassion,” said Ryan, who lives in Chesterton, Indiana.

Reynolds, who lives near Hershey, credits RMU’s hospitality and tourism program for preparing her for her Disney internship, and that one difficult night.

“I applied most of my knowledge from my management classes taught by Dr. (Denis) Rudd as well as my knowledge from my previous work experience not only with Disney but with my other guest relations work in Hershey Park and Six Flags America,” said Reynolds.