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Furloughed, laid off Disney cast members are Orlando’s newest entrepreneurs

by Attractions Magazine Staff

Nothing can keep a Disney cast member down for long, including the gut-punch of furloughs and lay-offs during a global pandemic. Instead, many of them have banded together in various groups that supports former cast members as they transition into new work – and new businesses of their own.

cast members

From furniture refurbishment to woodworking, custom pop-cakes and celebration cakes, car detailing, music lessons, and even wine making, many transitioning Disney cast members have tapped into their creative spirits, put their inherent can-do attitudes to work, and become full-fledged entrepreneurs during one of the most challenging times in modern history.

Over 15,500 Walt Disney World Resort cast members have been laid off or furloughed as the pandemic continues. Attractions Magazine shines the spotlight on their stories in this ongoing series.

Violent Delights, Co.

Keila and Marysa both started as Photopass Photographers at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and six years later their mutual love of fine arts, especially musicals, has turned into a brand-new business.

cast members

The friendship they formed over their common interest has led to at least one trip to New York each year to attend as many Broadway productions as they can fit into a week, and that passion ultimately found a new expression in their online candle shop, Violent Delights, Co.

Scents such as Womb to Tomb (“West Side Story”), I Give You Sexy Candy Corn (“Mean Girls”), and Save The Clock Tower (“Back to the Future” 35th Anniversary) “bring theatre into your home” by capturing the essence of Marysa and Keila’s favorite Broadway scenes.

How does the concept work? It works through intriguing blends inspired by each candle’s theater-based name, which nudge the memories we make that are forever tied to scents. Take Fine, Fine, Fine from “Jagged Little Pill: The Musical” as an example: its sensory notes include chardonnay, tobacco, and patchouli. Consider The 13th Son of a King (“Frozen: The Musical”) with its aromas of high tide, cotton, and driftwood. And the smell of citrus, books, and grave dirt in If You Die While This Candle Is On It Will Keep Burning elicited by the production “Beetlejuice” is definitely a combination to conjure with.

violent delights co

Current best-seller Because We Can-Can Can, inspired by “Moulin Rouge: The Musical,” has a personal connection for the company’s owners. “It was created in the hopes that burning it would take us back to the very last row of the balcony in the Al Hirschfeld Theater. Scents are directly tied to memory, and we always want our customers to light their candle and be transported into that moment in theater.”

What is the company’s unique name inspired by? Keila and Marysa explain, “Shakespeare’s ‘These violent delights have violent ends’ always struck a chord with us, and thus, Violent Delights Co. was born. We tend to gravitate toward candle names first before deciding on scents that match them. Each candle is inspired by a moment in theater that sticks with us.”

cast members

One of their reviewers stated the Satisfied candle smells like “oil paintings and old wood floors,” and those are the images Violent Delights seek to achieve as its candles transport customers into the world of theater.

“We’re so invested in bringing moments to life that we find ourselves watching movies or listening to songs and asking each other what that scene or lyric would smell like,” they said. Now that’s dedication to the craft!

Visit ViolentDelights, Co. and discover which candle brings out the theater lover in you.

Central Florida Pro Home Inspections

central florida pro home inspections

Chad was with Disney for 13 years in the roles of entertainment technician, entertainment production planner, technical director, entertainment manager as key support for shows such as “Fantasmic,” “Jedi Training Academy,” and “Voyage of the Little Mermaid,” plus special events including Super Soap Weekends, ESPN Weekends, Star Wars Weekends, and runDisney marathons, with a stint as media services manager for Disney Cruise Line.

When his furlough notice came, he put his time working in construction for his uncle to good use and started his own home inspection business. The real estate business has thrived in spite of the pandemic, and as everyone who has ever purchased a home knows, the home inspector they hire makes a big difference in knowing any mechanical or structural issues they may face, and in their negotiation power.

Chad’s time at Disney came in handy in this new role, too. As a technician and planner, he is well acquainted with calculating electrical power loads. As a technical director, he gained structural understanding by overseeing the build of an event stage and roof system at one of the theme park’s icons. Knowing how to speak easily and confidently with people was a skill he learned as an entertainment manger, and his ability to work out the logistical details of events on land and sea is compliments of his role as a media services manager.

But it was also his interest in buildings and construction since high school that helped prepare him for this new venture. He aspired to be an architect, and took drafting and design classes toward that end, but, like a large percentage of us, his path veered when he discovered entertainment lighting, a passion that ultimately led to his roles with Disney.

Combining all of that experience, and adding state-of-the-art equipment and advanced technologies, Chad became a Certified Professional Inspector and transitioned to his own company, Central Florida Pro Home Inspections.

He describes its mission best: “We love helping people and seeing new homeowners excited about their potential new home. We provide a third-party non-biased report of the property that helps the buyers make an informed decision about what is probably one of the biggest investments they will make, and we take pride in knowing that we are helping people in just a small way in their new adventure.”

When it’s time to put your trust in a home inspector to help guide you through the process as a buyer or a seller, who better to be by your side than an inspector who is well versed in making “magic” happen?

Central Florida Pro Home Inspections serves all of Central Florida, including Polk, Lake, Orange, and Osceola counties. Find them on CFProHome.com, email [email protected], or call (407) 569-5888.


Online groups such as Ear For Each Other have provided networks for Central Florida’s newest entrepreneurs to support and inspire each other, but anyone who has been touched by the magic that cast members are well known for making can support them as well. Attractions Magazine will feature cast members’ businesses weekly, so be sure to check back often and seek out these talented people!

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2 comments

Jonathan McKee October 30, 2020 - 12:29 pm

Jonathan Stotlar would be a great person to reach out to. He’s a (now former) dancer and he’s designing and creating custom shoes. Amazing guy, always thinking about what’s next and how to advance himself and others.

Reply
Susan Veness October 31, 2020 - 8:47 am

Thank you for the connection, Jonathan! Much appreciated.

Reply

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