Darian Earns Her Ears

My Secret Walt Disney World Cast Member Diary

by Darian Mendez | Release Date: February 28, 2020 | Availability: Print, Kindle

My Time in the Mines: From Meek to Miner

What do you get when you combine an anxiety-prone introvert and the Disney College Program?

Darian never thought she'd see Walt Disney World ever again after one family vacation years ago. So when she found herself Disney bound to her new magical home, thinking she fooled Disney into accepting her, she knew it was the start of a new way of life.

Working in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as part of the opening team, Darian not only experienced the best and worst in people, but also the Mine Train fire of 2014.

Darian's secret cast member diary describes what it’s like for a shy Texasn girl to apply for the program and be thrown into the world of infamous Disney guest service. What began as tag-teaming with her best friend ended up being a solo adventure to self-discovery. In the end, she learned more about her inner strength than she did about Walt Disney World.

If you've ever wondered what it would be like not just to visit a Disney theme park but to work in one, the "Earning Your Ears" series is your E-ticket!

“Welcome to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! Where a million diamonds shine!” Wait, no, actually “Welcome to my brain, where a million anxieties thrive!” Many of us “Disnerds” know Disney inspirational quotes better than the backs of our hands. So I wanted to preface my experience with the quote that is my constant: Keep moving forward.

Strictly in my observation, I’ve learned that most College program participants are extroverts. Wonderful, creative, and incredibly genuine people with the best voice projecting skills I have ever heard. I love them, I respect them, I wish I was one of them. But I am not. This is not to say I am the special snowflake of the entire history of the DCP to be an introverted Cast member. I know without a doubt there are plenty of us out there as well, in the alumni family and out on stage. I bring this fact about myself up because I want any introvert that dreams of working at the Happiest Place on Earth to know that being an introvert does not make you unfit.

It took me a few years to write my story. In that time I’ve overcome some of the most difficult obstacles in my life so far, like being officially diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and borderline personality disorder. I can’t tell you how many times people are shocked that I, the most quiet and shy girl in Texas, worked at Walt Disney World. But I can tell you that each time this happens I put on my best Disney smile, two finger Disney point to the nearest door, and politely say “Have a magical day!” No, not really. But I do smile and tell them I had the best time working there and can’t wait to be a Cast member again.

Of course, having pre-existing issues with anxiety did influence my College Program experience. Anxiety and a complete lack of sense of self were a constant presence and they loved to make themselves known to me every chance they could. “Keep moving forward” truly kept me going, and it keeps me going still as I finish my secret Cast member diary. If you get anything out of my story, whether you’re reading this purely for entertainment or researching the program, I hope that’s the message that sticks with you. I want to remind you to keep moving forward. Always.

Darian Mendez

Darian is a blogger, aspiring makeup artist, mental health advocate, X-Files fanatic, and an extreme Disney lover. She brings magic with her wherever she goes. Because of the DCP, she has cultivated wonderful qualities she’s always wanted in herself. She is now very proud of who she is, believes in her dreams, and has Disney to thank for giving that extra push toward a new, authentic life.

About Theme Park Press

Theme Park Press is the world's leading independent publisher of books about the Disney company, its history, its films and animation, and its theme parks. We make the happiest books on earth!

Our catalog includes guidebooks, memoirs, fiction, popular history, scholarly works, family favorites, and many other titles written by Disney Legends, Disney animators and artists, Mouseketeers, Cast Members, historians, academics, executives, prominent bloggers, and talented first-time authors.

We love chatting about what we do: drop us a line, any time.

Theme Park Press Books

The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion The Ride Delegate 501 Ways to Make the Most of Your Walt Disney World Vacation The Cotton Candy Road Trip The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney Disney Destinies Disney Melodies The Happiest Workplace on Earth Storm over the Bay A Historical Tour of Walt Disney World: Volume 1 Mouse in Transition Mouseketeers Down Under Murder in the Magic Kingdom Walt Disney and the Promise of Progress City Service with Character Son of Faster Cheaper A Tale of Two Resorts I Saw Ariel Do a Keg Stand The Adventures of Young Walt Disney Death in the Tragic Kingdom Two Girls and a Mouse Tale Ears & Bubbles The Easy Guide 2015 Who's the Leader of the Club? Disney's Hollywood Studios Funny Animals Life in the Mouse House The Book of Mouse Disney's Grand Tour The Accidental Mouseketeer The Vault of Walt: Volume 1 The Vault of Walt: Volume 2 The Vault of Walt: Volume 3 Who's Afraid of the Song of the South? Amber Earns Her Ears Ema Earns Her Ears Sara Earns Her Ears Katie Earns Her Ears Brittany Earns Her Ears Walt's People: Volume 1 Walt's People: Volume 2 Walt's People: Volume 13 Walt's People: Volume 14 Walt's People: Volume 15

We're always in the market for new authors with great ideas. Or great authors with new ideas. Whichever type of author you are, we'd be happy to discuss your book. Before you contact us, however, please make sure you can answer "yes" to these threshold questions:

Is It Right for Us?

We specialize in books that have some connection to Disney or theme parks. Disney, of course, has become a broad topic, and encompasses not just theme parks and films but comic books, animation, and a big chunk of pop culture. Your book should fit into one (or more) of those broad categories.

Is It Going to Make Money?

There's never a guarantee that any book will make money, but certain types of books are less likely to do so than others. They include: hardcovers, books with color photos, and books that go on forever ("forever" as in 400+ pages). We won't automatically turn down these types of books, but you'll have to be a really good salesman to convince us.

Are You Great to Work With?

Writing books and publishing books should be fun. The last thing you want, and the last thing we want, is a contentious relationship. We work with authors who share our philosophy of no drama and zero attitude, and the desire for a respectful, realistic, mutually beneficial partnership.