A crash course in customer service: Taylor ‘DeeDee’ Effinger experiences Disney magic in semester-long program

UMSL Daily

Mathematics major Taylor “DeeDee” Effinger spent the spring semester in Orlando, Florida, as a student in the Disney College Program. Through the program’s “Live, Learn, Earn” model, she spent five months working in the Walt Disney World Resort, living with other students in a nearby housing complex, exploring the parks and taking Disney-led seminars. (Photo by August Jennewein)
The first time Taylor “DeeDee” Effinger saw Cinderella, it was through tear-filled eyes.
She wasn’t a child watching the classic animated film or even a teenager viewing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical adaptation when the emotion struck. Instead, she was a University of Missouri–St. Louis student watching an actress waltz through Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
“I’m a crier,” Effinger admitted. “I cried at every little, happy thing. When I saw all these little kids following Cinderella and Prince Charming around for the first time, I freaked out. I was like, ‘That’s Cinderella! I’m actually here.’”
The sentimental moment in the Walt Disney World Resort was just the orientation. Effinger, and her tear ducts, would have five more months of happy crying ahead.
From January through May, the UMSL mathematics major was one of the select students from around the country participating in the Disney College Program. The company’s “Live, Learn, Earn” model allowed Effinger to work in Disney World for the spring semester while living in a nearby housing complex and taking Disney-led courses and seminars.
Taylor “DeeDee” Effinger’s job placement for the spring semester was at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, a quick service restaurant in the Tomorrowland area of Magic Kingdom Park. She could often be seen greeting cafe guests with a plush hand inspired by “Lilo & Stitch.” (Photo courtesy of DeeDee Effinger)
During her time in Orlando, Florida, Effinger worked at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, a Disney restaurant …

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