Katie Earns Her Ears

My Secret Walt Disney World Cast Member Diary

by Katie Hudson | Release Date: March 3, 2015 | Availability: Print, Kindle


In this Disney College Program diary, Texas girl Katie Hudson leaves behind her small town for a new life in Walt Disney World's Tomorrowland, experiences rogue roommate drama you won't believe, and realizes that most pixie dust is bittersweet.

The "Earning Your Ears" series chronicles the experiences of young people from around the country and around the world who leave home, often for the first time, to live and work in Walt Disney World or Disneyland for several months, or even longer.

They are given "roles" to perform, from working in a Disney restaurant or shop to donning a costume and becoming one of the Disney characters who appear in the parks.

Each book in the "EARS" series makes you an honorary cast member as the author takes you behind Disney's pixie dust curtain to learn things the Mouse would prefer you didn't know, and what no guidebook will tell you, including how the theme parks operate from the inside out and what Disney employees do when they're not wishing you a magical day.

In Katie Earns Her Ears, former Disney World cast member Katie Hudson shares:

  • The most vivid, detailed look at cast member training and the iconic Traditions class ever put into print
  • The highs and low of working at the biggest restaurant in Disney World, including uncomfortably amorous coworkers, cockroaches, fighting kids, and impromptu song-and-dance routines
  • The tragic results of a nefarious plot hatched by a vengeful roommate who came to the Disney College Program armed with a Taser
  • The epiphany that Disney is not where Katie will ever work again—but how, despite that, the college program became her rite of passage and how its "magic" changed an adolescent into an adult

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!

[To learn about forthcoming books and everything there is to know about the Disney College Program, please visit us on Facebook: Facebook.com/EarningYourEars.]

Table of Contents


About "Earning Your Ears"

1When Will My Life Begin

2Just Around the Riverbend

3So Close, So Close, and Still So Far…

4Can It Be, I’m not Meant to Play this Part?

5For the First Time in Forever, Nothing’s in My Way

6Out There, Living in the Sun

7Goodbye May Seem Forever

8Going Down the Bayou

9A Whole New World

10Until We Meet Again

11Never Had a Friend Like Me

12What Dreams Are Made Of

13A Happy Working Song

14Bring Back What Once Was Mine

15Someone’s Waiting for You

16Whistle While You Work

17Almost There

18I’m Working on My Roar

19You’ll Learn Things You Never Knew

20Let’s Get Down to Business

21Let’s Go Fly a Kite

22Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go

23Keep a-Busy, Cinderelly

24Demigods Have Faced the Odds

25Have a Cheery Disposition

26M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E

27The Gospel Truth

28I Wouldn’t Have Nothin’ If I Didn’t Have You

29Tale as Old as Time

30It’ll Do Magic, Believe It or Not

31There Is an Element of Fun

32Right Here, Right Now

33This Is Halloween

34Blue Skies and Sunshine Guaranteed

35Everybody Wants to Be a Cat

36Never Smile at a Crocodile

37Seasons Go and Seasons Come

38Let’s Get Together

39You’ll Be in My Heart

40Poor Unfortunate Souls

41You Can Own This Town

42Your Heart Will Lead You Home

43Let It Go

44I Want a Moment to Be Real

45Strangers Like Me

46On This Lovely Bella Notte

47As Long as There’s Christmas

48Be Our Guest

49When You’re the Best of Friends

50On the Path Unwinding


Katie Hudson

Katie Hudson spent her childhood exploring her small town on her bike with her best friend, turning old abandoned houses into castles, creeks into rivers, and hills into mountains. She always loved to write, but her dreams of becoming a writer happened when she was fourteen, after reading the Harry Potter series for the first time.

Katie currently attends Texas A&M University where she is studying English and working in the archive library. In her spare time, she watches too much Netflix, drinks too many Sonic drinks, and watches too many Christmas movies at times when it isn’t Christmas.

This is her first book.

A Chat with Katie Hudson

Coming soon...

An uninvited guest shows up at Cosmic Ray's.

My days of work were numbered. However, that didn’t make them any less exciting. In fact, one of my most eventful days occurred during my last week.

I was working filler, but since there was no one in my line, I stood by the counter, trying to keep myself awake as the hours went on, when I saw something move in my peripheral vision. I looked down and saw a huge cockroach making its way across the counter, in plain view for all the guests to see.

My first reaction was to squeal and run away. Instead, I bit my tongue and stumbled backward. I was fine with insects. From a young age I had caught them for fun, whether it was grasshoppers, moths, caterpillars, crickets, or anything else. But I could not handle cockroaches. I don’t know what it is about them that repulses me, but the idea of them crawling over me brought a scream to my throat.

I held in the screeching I wanted to let out and grabbed a nearby tray covered in soda and threw it over the cockroach before any guests saw it, sending soda everywhere. Cockroaches are nearly indestructible, so I doubt the tray killed the bug, and I half-expected it to lift the tray over its head and toss it aside.

“Sam,” I said to the boy working next to me who had completely missed my little panic attack. “Come over here.”

“Give me a second.”.

“No, I need you now. It’s very important,” I said, trying to stay.

He looked at the soda all over my counter and assumed I was talking about that and told me to hang on again.

“Sam, get over here now.”

He finally saw I was serious and walked over to me. I turned so that my back was to the guests before explaining my weird behavior.

“There is a huge cockroach under that tray,” I said.

We turned to the blue tray sitting in the middle of my counter and looked at it. Sam slowly walked toward it and lifted the tray. The cockroach scurried out and sprinted for the back of the counter.

I really did screech this time and hopped away at the sight of the bug before it disappeared between the packets of cookies and applesauce.

“I’ll go get a leader,” I told Sam and ran backstage, desperate to get away from the cockroach.

I knocked on the leaders’ office to find two of them sitting in there. They turned to me.

“Umm…there’s a cockroach on the counter,” I said.

The two turned to one another and the woman told the man, “That’s all you.”

He sighed and followed me to the counter where I saw Sam had cleaned up the soda, but the cockroach was nowhere in sight.

“It ran across here,” I explained to the leader. “It could be back there somewhere.”

I pointed towards the cookies and applesauce. He grabbed the bin of cookies and walked backstage. In the meantime, I slowly lifted plates and bins, praying I wouldn’t find the cockroach under anything.

The leader returned and set the bin of cookies back in its place. He told me it wasn’t there and that if he couldn’t find it, he couldn’t help.

“Okay,” was all I said and watched him leave.

I stood as far away as I could from the counter and only approached it when I had to give a guest food. My hair would fall in my face and I would flinch and practically slap myself in the forehead, thinking that it might be the bug. I was paranoid, to say the least.

Less than ten minutes later, I heard screeching from beside me. I turned to Sam’s counter to see a little girl yelling and pointing at the ugly brown cockroach that sat right in the middle of his counter.

“Kill it!” I said to Sam who was beside me and hadn’t realized what was going on yet.

Sam grabbed a cup to slam down on top of it. I believed it grossed him out, too, even though he wouldn’t admit it. The family at Sam’s counter kept yelling in Spanish and pointing at the cockroach.

In order to calm down the guests, I tried to think of some reference I could make to Wall-E about how his cockroach friend had come by to visit us, but I was paralyzed with panic as I watched Sam fail in his attempts as the bug ran for shelter underneath the counter.

Needless to say, Sam and I stood as far away from our counters as we could for the rest of our shift.

And you think a cockroach is bad? Find out what else happens to our cockroach-fearin' heroine in "Katie Earns Her Ears"!

As one guest heads off to the bathroom for sex at Cosmic Ray's, Katie must sing the "Happy Birthday" song:

Speaking with the guests while at work could be fun. One night, I was working filler when a couple in their early thirties walked up.

“Hi, how are y’all?” I asked like I always did.

“Great!” the girl said.

She was fidgeting around and laughing which made me think she was drunk. However, there was no alcohol in Magic Kingdom, so unless she snuck some in, she probably just had a goofy personality.

“Where are you from?” I asked, continuing to make conversation.

“England,” the boy answered in his English accent.

“We’re on our honeymoon!” the girl announced.

“Oh, congratulations!” I said and noticed it was only two minutes till ten.

“You should watch the firework show,” I told them and handed them their food. “It’s about to start.”

“We’re going to have sex in the bathroom!” the girl yelled so that everyone within thirty feet of us could hear.

My mouth sort of hung open in a smile as I tried to think of something to say.

“Oh,” I managed, and bit my lip to try not to laugh as her husband blushed and led her away.

“Did I just hear what I think I heard?” Jake, the cast member working next to me asked.

“Yep,” I replied. “I thought British people were supposed to be reserved.”

“Apparently not,” he replied.

One of the roles at Cosmic Ray’s was called birthday box. Basically, the job was to walk around the counter area and look for people wearing birthday buttons and then sing them the Cosmic Ray’s special birthday song. I was assigned this one morning and wasn’t too nervous.

I had the song memorized by that point and rehearsed it in my head over and over as I looked for the purple birthday buttons.

Finally, I spotted one.

“Happy birthday!” I said to the little girl wearing the button.

“Thank you,” she said.

“Morgan, correct?” I asked, reading her birthday button. “How old are you?”


“Would you like us to sing to you?”

She said yes, so I gathered everyone around and then the nerves struck as I began clapping. I instantly knew something was wrong. The beat was way too slow, but I had already started so I couldn’t stop.

“Attention Cosmic Rays!” I yelled, trying to fit it into the poorly placed rhythm I had created. “Today’s a very special day here in the Magic Kingdom! Can anyone tell me why?!”

“Why?!” all the cast members yelled.

“We can do better than that! Can anyone tell me why?!”


“Because today is Princess Morgan’s twelfth birthday!” I yelled and everyone cheered.

I began clapping again to find the beat, but again I was too slow.

“When I say happy, you say birthday,” I said, and the words began falling apart because of the slow beat.


“Birthday!” everyone else yelled.



Next, I had to count up to three so the rest of the cast members could know when to start singing the rest of the birthday song. Unfortunately, because of the slow beat, my counting was totally off and we all started at separate times and eventually fell apart.

I was probably ten shades of red at that point. I had made a fool of myself, not only in front of all my co-workers whom I was still in the process of meeting, but also the entire restaurant. I was sure I would forever be known as the girl who wrecked the birthday song. At least Morgan would never forget that time on her twelfth birthday when that cast member at Disney World completely messed up what was supposed to be a magical moment for her.

For more song and dance, but no more sex, check out "Katie Earns Her Ears"!

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