Christopher “Kirby” Miovac landed his first job at Disneyland Resort before he graduated high school. At 14, he appeared in “Fantasy on Parade” as a hippo in the Robin Hood unit. From various jobs within the entertainment unit, he went on to join the Broadcast Services department. In all, Miovac worked full-time on and off for Disney for almost five decades until his layoff in late September.
By Victoria Lim
What are the most memorable moments for you?
There’s been so many. I can’t just pick just one. Working with folks in the parades as a driver, we had so many good times and the camaraderie. The best part was the people I worked with and the camaraderie we shared. When I changed departments, I had a lot more opportunity to travel with the company covering all these special events we were doing during that time period of the 1980s to ’90s. Marketing was a machine and churning out all of these wonderful projects. The traveling and camaraderie you share with people, it was a band of brothers. You’d travel with them and be through the battle with these folks and all come through shining and party afterwards. Then you’d go out and do it again. It was something to look forward to, all these trips with your friends.
Can you share the connection cast members have with each other, even after they leave Disney?
It’s like a “band of brothers.” People you’ve worked with, labored with, cried with, laughed with, worked together for years. There’s just that natural feeling, even if you’re apart for months or a year, you come back together and pick up where you left off. You know what they’re going to do, how they work, how they decide things, you complement each other in those things, it’s a comfort level. We still get together for reunions. My best buddy puts together several reunions and has had about 200 people to our biggest one. People come together and it’s just everybody just loves seeing each other. Some are still there working, some have been gone, we come back together and it’s just like old times. We tell the same stories over and over again. We just love to hear it and love to be in each other’s presence and share moments we’ve had.
Did you ever feel like you “made magic” at Disney?
I’ve been a part of that group that made magic. As a team, we came together and everyone did their part, to put smiles on and bring laughter to people and kids. Just seeing that smile on people’s faces is the reason we do it. It even puts smiles on our own faces and working together to make ourselves laugh is why we did it. Like in the military, we did it for the guy or girl to our left and right. I wanted them to succeed as much as they wanted me to succeed.
What was it like working for Disney?
It was a time I’ll never forget. There were experiences I won’t ever forget because of what they were: Going off to a foreign city somewhere and doing something from a little mall or to a parade down Fifth Avenue in New York. I worked during my freelance years for Buena Vista Pictures distribution doing a lot of their movie premieres.
I was a tech manager for media remotes for movie premieres and it started with “Pocahontas” on the great lawn in Central Park. They had 60,000 tickets they gave away through radio stations and TV stations and promotional giveaways – and ended up having 100,000 people show up to the premiere on the great lawn in Central Park. We had 40,000 gate crashers!
We did it like a drive-in movie theater, with four huge drive-in movie screens on the great lawn. It was huge. I was on the media platform and a little girl walked up to me with horn-rimmed glasses, and was behind me, she’s going, ‘Mistah! Hey mistah!’ I see her and say, “Yes, how can I help you?” And she says, ‘We’ve been walking around and around and around trying to find a place to sit and we can’t find anything anywhere.’
I knelt down so I was face-to-face with her and said, “We kind of just need to walk around little bit,” trying to calm her anxiety because she was kind of crying. I talked to her for a little bit and her mother leans over to me and says, ‘Let them vent,’ in that typical New Yorker accent and everything.
So, moments like that are things I’ll always remember, in helping them find a place to sit, to giving them directions to Space Mountain. Little moments that support the big moments. We’ve got this big pride, like “Wow, we opened Shanghai Disney,” and we’ve got kids asking how to get from here to there. And I can say, ‘Goofy is standing right over there.’