They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in the case of the Wallace family, this rings true. Little did Sandi Wallace know when she joined The Walt Disney Company in the early 90s, she’d be planting the first seed to grow a family career legacy at Walt Disney World Resort.
Hailing originally from Michigan, Sandi and Michael Wallace honeymooned at Walt Disney World in 1990, not knowing this is where they would build roots and a family. In 1994, Sandi began to work on temporary assignments for recruitment at Walt Disney World. The family had moved to Florida, hoping Michael could find a teaching role. As fate, and a little pixie dust, would have it, Michael found a teaching role he enjoyed… but not where most would expect. He joined the Disney family as an Educational Host in 1995, where he used his background in education and biology to share information with guests.
During their time, both Sandi and Michael have held several roles at Walt Disney World. Between recruitment, education, public affairs, and safety, they are living proof of the endless opportunities in a Disney career. “The beauty of Disney is you can spend an entire career here where each role experience just builds upon the other. This place is 50 years old and people stay because you don’t have to live in that typical straight-line career path. You can keep having different experiences and learning new things,” Sandi said.
While by day, Michael serves as an Operations & Safety Systems Analyst, he is a regular Media Rep during press events. From assisting with the grand opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort, to helping the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser make headway, Michael can’t say enough good things about the variety of roles he gets to play here. “I love talking about my experiences with the company, because there’s always something you’ll find in common with someone else or things people can relate to. It’s just so rewarding! People have such positive connotations with the work we do – it’s that “I get to do this!” feeling,” Michael said.
While Parker Wallace grew up enjoying Disney entertainment in band and musical theatre classes, he says his earliest and most fond memories are those he made with his parents at different Disney Parks & Resorts. His favorite park? Disney’s Animal Kingdom. His favorite memory? His 9th birthday when he visited all four Walt Disney World theme parks in one day. “Parts of my childhood I thought I’d be an Imagineer or Disney creative—I went through many phases of what I wanted to be when I grew up. But by the first year or two of college, I realized I couldn’t picture myself having a career anywhere else… Disney is where my passion was,” Parker said.
So, Parker did just that. He joined his parents Sandi and Michael as a cast member in the summer of 2017. After completing a Professional Internship and spending his summers as a seasonal Merchandise Host at World of Disney at Disney Springs, Parker became a full-time Pricing Analyst in 2021.
Parker shared so many reasons why he loves being a cast member, but one that stands out is his experience during the cast preview of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019. He decided to take a mentor of his, who is also a big Star Wars fan. “To experience something that impactful, and to be able to share it with someone who would otherwise not get to see it, was incredible. I, and my mentor, still have the memorabilia from that day!” Parker said.
Once Parker officially became a cast member, the Wallace’s first goal was taking part in the #DisneyCastLife experience as a family. “There’s some definite perks to being a cast member, including behind-the-scenes opportunities and cast celebrations. Backstage tours, overnight Resort stays, firework cruises and celebrations to celebrate career milestones, you name it. There’s always something to look forward to. Disney provides opportunities to their employees that other companies do not and it’s quite special.” Michael said.
From joining the cast volleyball leagues, to singing in Candlelight Processional as a unit, the Wallace’s dreams have become reality! “Last holiday season, we not only all performed in the cast choir together, but also got to attend rehearsals together thanks to the fact that I am a tenor!” Sandi said.
With a combined 50 years of service, the Wallace family is thrilled to be a part of the World’s Most Magical Celebration, the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. “Disney World and I are almost the same age… in fact, my first “visit” to the preview center was in my mom’s tummy the year before the Resort opened. To be here during the 50th anniversary feels like it’s all coming full circle. I just think we are so blessed to work for a company that means so much to the entire world,” Sandi said.