From Cinderella's Castle to Animal Kingdom: Karen Reid '87

You think you work with some characters? Karen Reid really does. At Walt Disney World Resort, it's not unusual to encounter Mickey Mouse, Alice in Wonderland, or the Little Mermaid.

Karen Reid '87Reid is manager of worldwide safety, providing support to Walt Disney World Resorts and Transportation Operations, focusing on 26 hotels, including food and beverage, housekeeping, and operations run by 16,000 cast members for guests in 28,000 rooms.

“I had no idea what to do after graduation,” says Reid, a natural sciences major. After being a health inspector in Connecticut, she traded New England winters for Florida sunshine. Along with hotel safety, she oversees transportation safety at Walt Disney World.

“My parents took us to Disney World and we stayed at the Polynesian Resort when it opened. I remember being a passenger on the monorail when it drove through the Contemporary Resort. It was so cool then, and it still is!” Reid is impressed by “the amazing number of brains” working on everything behind the scenes from engineering and ride design to animal programs, entertainment and resort development.

“I had a chance to be at the top of Cinderella’s Castle when the park opened and see hundreds of guests coming down Main Street. I was among the first to get a preview of the Wild Africa Tour and a nighttime safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.” Now, she witnesses the magic when “Chef Mickey” and others interact with guests.

Reid lives in Celebration (a town created by Disney), where she hosts college friends and family. Outside of work, she volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club and FIRST. Even people who work in a magic place need a vacation, though. She’s checking national parks o her list. Next up: North and South Dakota.