Monday, January 12, 2015

Between Books - Ema Earns Her Ears

Recently there have been several books put out about the Disney College Program. And at a certain point one begins to wonder do these growing number of books offer something new? This is the perceptive that I have started to take up as I explore new offerings on this topic.

Ema Earns Her Ears: My Secret Walt Disney World Cast Member Diary by Ema Hutton shares Hutton’s two separate experiences in the Disney College Program. Hutton discusses her love of Walt Disney World and her experiences as a youngster as a guest from the United Kingdom. The book is then broken into two separate experiences. Hutton’s first experience was working in Housekeeping at Port Orleans. Her second tour in the program was in Entertainment as Pluto’s supportive friend. The two experiences were vastly different. Yet for both she describes her application process (very different both times), arranging accommodations, training, work experiences and enjoyment she had until she graduated from each of her programs.

Does Ema provide something new to the Disney College program experience books? Yes, and it is an answer easy to reach. First, Hutton’s perspective is an international participant. So her memoir discusses immigration status and visas, topics participants from the United States never need to consider. Second, Hutton had two very different experiences. At Port Orleans she almost termed herself and left due to difficulties with her assignment. While other books have discussed the fear of being dismissed due to making mistakes or bad behavior, this is the first book I have read where the author almost self-termed. And in past books where self-terming seems incomprehensible. Hutton shows a situation and mindset that most Disney fans can understand. And it is very interesting to read a book by someone who had both a bad and good experience in one book as sharp contrasts. It makes it clear that sometimes it is the experience not the individual. Third, while many books share hints on completing the application process the right way Hutton’s first experience was very much the wrong way. By following Hutton’s two different experiences potential participants can see the traps of not being specific, the stress of not being informed and how knowledge can expedite the application experience.

I found Hutton’s writing easy to read. I read this book on a Kindle and the short chapters made it easy to bump in and out of. I also found it easy to like Hutton and pull for her to have a good experience when she joins Pluto’s posse. Also Hutton’s perspective as an international student helps us to see not only the Disney experience from abroad but also let us hear how we as American’s sound to someone from outside the United States even if we are using the same words.

Ema Earns Her Ears has convinced me that there is still plenty to say in the genre of Disney College Experience memoirs. Yes, some experiences are same but everyone’s experience is different. And I expect and hope that in the future new memoirs will have new perspectives and experiences to share.

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