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French Participant in 2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Aurora Genvi is living the ultimate life, at least one Disney fans everywhere would die to have. Genvi is 29 years-old and was born in the small town of Arras in Northern France. Growing up, Genvi loved her family trips to Disneyland Paris just like any other child. When she was 18, she sought to find her first job. At the time, she was attending college in Eastern Paris, only 20 minutes from Disneyland. Her roommate suggested she audition to be a “Character Performer” for Disneyland as she had grew up acting and loving Disney, it was the perfect mix. After going through the audition process, she became discouraged because she believed it had not gone as well as she had hoped. To her surprise, she was called two weeks after the audition and offered a role as Cinderella. She said to me, “I never imagined becoming the princess I looked up to, so I knew I had to portray her to the best of my ability.”
Quickly, her life changed to revolve around Disney. She kept studying for her degree in General Communications as well as studying both Spanish and English to expand her communicational skills. She worked as Cinderella for the four years she spent in her University and then applied for a professional internship within the Disney Jobs Community. She acquired a job as a Guest Services Representative where she helped guests plan Disneyland vacations as well as solve any issues guests may have while at their time in the happiest place on earth.
After three years in working in guest services, she received an offer she could not refuse. She qualified for a position as a “Park Traveler” for the 2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival. What does that entail? A lot of traditional French food and a lot of Wine tasting. After accepting the offer, she had to go through a six month process where she helped French chefs finalize the 2018 menu. She spent her days trying a variety of foods that were near and dear to French Culture. She learned how to make each of the menu items for the France Pavilion in the 2018 Festival.
Two weeks before the commencement of the festival, Genvi flew to Lake Buena Vista, Orlando and arrived to her personalized Disney Dorm. This dorm was stacked with iconic French memorabilia, like mini Eiffel Towers and Towels with the French flag on it. “I loved how they made me feel so at home! I was not expecting them to do this at all,” she said to me in her French accent. She got to work the next day with French chefs to prepare the pavilion as well as place finishing touches on the menu items.
Her main job role in the festival was “plater” which has the job of getting the different parts of the foods together and placing them aesthetically on plates. The start of the festival was, in her words, “crazy and non-stop!” She said she was not prepared for the amounts of plates she would have to make without taking too much time. “Back in Paris, we had hours to perfect the plates and definitely more time to set everything up. Here, we have less 5 minutes!”, she told me. After the first week, she says she had it down in terms of time. She got used to the rush and began to crave the fast-paced environment.
Her favorite menu item from this years festival is the white chocolate macaroon, drizzled with milk chocolate. “I have one every shift…maybe two…or three,” she claimed as we both laughed. She said she is always dreading the end of the festival, which is November 11. She has loved the experience so far. Her favorite part of the whole experience is how much she interacts with guests when she has those slow periods. She visits the parks on days she does not work and has made many friends from all over the world. She hopes to continue partaking in this festival every year, “fingers-crossed.”
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