Jarod Gilliam

Student in Athens, Georgia

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It started when I was taken to Walt Disney World for the first time at the age of 4. I rode every ride I was allowed and I still love them today. In fact, I was so enthusiastic about the Peter Pan ride that my four-year-old self decided to slip through the line of people keeping me from my flight with Peter. I was small and fast and my parents had to chase after me and apologetically drag me back into my proper place in line. I have returned to Disney about 20 times and will hopefully be going again this winter. My reason for loving WDW has evolved over the years. At first it was obviously the characters and rides, just like any other kid. However, over the years, I realized another reason for loving that magical place. Each of the parks are both an engineering and storytelling marvel. Disney focuses on every detail, even ones that the guests will never see. The fact that the Magic Kingdom can be thought of a one massive two-story building, the way its entrance is designed simulate a curtain rising on a play, and how the central street of the Magic Kingdom uses forced perspective to make the castle seem distant and majestic on the way in and make the exit look only a short walk away on the way out fascinates me, and I haven’t even touched on any of the rides. This type of storytelling, where everything down to width of the streets that diverge around the castle is purposeful, has inspired not only a love for the parks, but a way of thinking that has seriously influenced where I will work and what I have chosen to do with the rest of my life.