Blogs

My Disney Journey

by on ‎07-01-2015 03:02 PM

It all started in 1997. I had finished my 10-month tour as a singer on a Japanese luxury cruise ship.  I loved being “at sea” so much that I couldn’t wait to go back!  So, I began auditioning a few weeks after being back “on land”.  Walt Disney World was holding auditions in Chicago for the parks.  I had no interest in working at a theme park - I was a professionally-trained opera singer who held a Master’s Degree in vocal performance – it seemed so “entry-level.” (Believe me, I am humbled and mortified at my arrogant & ignorant thoughts!)  However, I knew they were launching the Disney Cruise Ships and would be looking for talent within a few months.  So, I made the three hour trip from Indianapolis to the “Windy City” to audition for Disney.  The following week they offered me a contract!  Not on the ships (they weren’t hiring singers yet), but at Alfredo’s (the former Italian restaurant in Epcot).  I would be singing arias (songs from opera) and Italian street songs. Well, that seemed perfect: so, I accepted the offer!  Little did I know God had used this just to get me to Orlando…He had other plans.  Plans to mold me, grow me, stretch me & bless me!

 

About a week after moving to Orlando & having signed a one-year apartment lease, I was told the Italian singer I was replacing decided she wasn't leaving after all!  Trying to  “make it right”, they offered me an acting spot in a new show at “Innovations” as “The G.E. Cookie Lady”.  What?!?! How could Disney do this?  I was a singer!  Not a “cookie lady!” As you might imagine, I was so mad!  I immediately called my voice teacher for advice.  He gave me the best possible advice:  “Stop the bleeding, and accept the new contract.”  I’m so glad I heeded his advice!  It was this cross-road decision that changed my life in the most amazing way!  (I honed my acting skills, learned the art of improvisation & comedy.  I acted in commercials, industrial videos, bit parts in films and lead roles in plays & musicals and recorded hundreds of voiceovers.) It was my 5 years at Walt Disney World Theme Parks that lead to me to NYC (where I met my husband) to Reno (where we adopted our daughter) and to West Chester, PA & QVC!

 

 

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It took me about 2 weeks; but, I fell in love with the cast, crew, guests, Disney and the “Cookie Lady”!  While at “Innovations," I also learned three science shows that were in theatre right behind my “kitchen.”  So, crazy & fun!  My brother-in-law, Doug, was called upon to be my assistant!

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All around Epcot were amazing street performers!  I was never tired of seeing their shows & saw them whenever I could!

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And…the Disney characters!  I loved seeing them wherever I went!

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With my first paycheck, I had to get a pair of Disney overalls! (LOL!) 

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In the Fall of 1997, I had the opportunity to perform in Disney’s "Jolly Holidays", a dinner show that seated 2,000!  It was here that I met the people that would open up my next Disney adventure…

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The “Hoop!” In April 2008, I headed to Fort Wilderness (Magic Kingdom) to perform in one of the most coveted shows in the park, the “Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue” as “Miss Flora Long”.  (40 years running, “Hoop” is one of the (if not the “THE”) longest running dinner theater show in history.)  Pioneer Hall was where I spent the next four years. While there, I also learned the other two female roles in the show (Claire De Lune & Dolly Drew).  I worked with some of the most talented “triple threat” performers, and I will always treasure my time with them!

 

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Shortly after I began performing at Hoop”, I was informed “Belle” might need a break from time-to-time. I know how she was busy with her personal appearances, shows & taking care of the Beast.  So, I agreed to help her by learning Beauty and the Beast” at MGM Studios just in case…  And wouldn’t you know, she did need a break after all, and I was happy to step in for my Friend! This is from the Village scene and “Little Town.”

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Be our Guest! What a great song! 

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This is when the Beast and I became great friends!

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The “Transformation” and the golden yellow gown!  That dress weighed 40 lbs and took 3 people to get me from the “tatters” to the ball in about 45 secs! 

 

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As I said, Belle was always in high demand.  In addition to everything else she was doing, she was asked if she could tell her love story in a new show called “Story Time with Belle”.  She said “yes” and invited guests to join her in the castles “Fairytale Garden” (Magic Kingdom). Again, I was happy  to help her…just in case… (The show opened in 1999.)

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Of course, Belle, was asked to do a Christmas Show…and, of course, I had to help, again…just in case…

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I performed at Walt Disney World from 1997-2002.  It was the longest I had been in one place since leaving for college at 18  Who knew??  And now, QVC has replaced Disney as the longest I’ve been anywhere!  I joined the host team in 2009, which was, incidentally, the last year for a Disney jewelry show at the Q.  But, it’s time to bring the Disney Jewelry Show out of retirement for our Christmas in July event!  The show is Thursday, July 2nd at 1 pm EST and is filled with magical pieces!  Hope you’ll join me!

 

Lot of Love….Nancy

Comments
by
on ‎07-01-2015 03:20 PM

Nancy:  Thank you for telling us about your "back story."  Thus far, your life has certainly been interesting.  It's eas to understand why QVC would love having a host who is as adaptable as you have been throughout your career.  It really does go to show one that when one door is closed, another is opened. 

by
on ‎07-01-2015 04:41 PM

Nancy, thank you for sharing your vast experience leading up to QVC.  I had no idea, you were Opera trained until recently.  My favorite Disney show is Beauty and the Beast.  I actually named my morkie Belle.  I've enjoy both your candor and sense of humor while hosting shows.    I was cracking up recently while watching the diamonique show that both you and Rick hosted.  I also enjoy your vast information of jewelry as you to are a gemologist.  You're a breathe of fresh air!!!  Best Wishes!!!!

by
on ‎07-01-2015 08:59 PM

Wow!  I knew that you were an Opera Singer, but I had no idea you had worked for Disney.  So glad to have you at QVC.  You are a breath of fresh air indeed and your sense of humor is wonderful.  I always enjoy watching whenever you're on the air.  Keep up the good work!

by
on ‎07-02-2015 12:38 AM

I knew absolutely nothing about you until reading this blog.  I now have a greater appreciation for your education, talent and skills.  Thank you for sharing this information.  

by
on ‎07-02-2015 01:54 AM

Wow Nancy, who new?!!  I love the pictures of you in all those costumes.  You are absolutely beautiful on stage!!  I don't remember when you started, but I was slowing down on my QVC watching as you know life happens.  But I've been watching QVC for 18 years off and on and have been watching a lot the last 6 months since the death of my husband.  But anyway I love watching you on air, you are still beautiful and you have a great sense of humor.  Thank you for sharing your story with us and I'll see you on TV.  Are you the one that is also a gemologist?  Thought I heard you say that, but I don't remember for sure if it was you.  Thanks again,   Sherilynn

by
on ‎07-02-2015 09:06 AM

Great story Nancy and you are just as stunning now as when you were a Cookie Princess.

by
on ‎07-02-2015 01:20 PM

Enjoyed reading your story and appreciate you even more now. Thank you.

by
on ‎07-02-2015 02:03 PM

What a fantastic story! I love all the pictures. 

by
on ‎07-02-2015 02:14 PM

We were there December, 1997 at the Holiday show.  I will have to check pictures I took.  It was a great show.

by
on ‎07-02-2015 02:14 PM

Nancy, I just finished watching your Disney show.  Thank you so much for sharing your journey, I just wished you could have sung the Frozen song longer.  You have such a beautiful voice!!!!  You are truly a joy to watch and I look forward to seeing you on QVC for many years to come.

by
on ‎07-02-2015 04:12 PM

Nancy, you brought back memories for me. My dad worked at MGM in Disneyworld from the age of 70 to 80. He worked in costume area. In 1999 my sister & I went to FL. to visit him. This was my first trip to Disneyworld ( I was 50 yrs. old). My dad took my hand and took me to meet many of his coworkers. He kept introducing me as his baby. One of the best experiences was going to the Hoopy Doo. So much fun & great food. Strawberry shortcake to die for & those baked beans!

In 2000, my dad needed heart surgery. He worked at DW right up to the week before surgery. Sadly, he passed away 4 days after the surgery without ever regaing consciencenous. 

 

Thank you for sharing your story & letting me for a brief time recall such a wonderful memory of my dad.

 

Mary Lou

by
on ‎07-02-2015 06:47 PM

That was fun reading and loved the pictures!!

by
on ‎07-02-2015 08:38 PM

Nancy, you looked so beautiful in all of your costumes as well as the other night when you hosted Diamonique with Rick Domier! When I read about your Disney experience it brought back memories of when we took our children to Disney World in 1985. The highlight was the Hoop de doo Review. I had no idea that it was still going on!! 

 

What a diverse and interesting career you had before QVC. You should be very proud of all of your accomplishments and that includes beating breast cancer. I wish you continued success and don't forget to put your family first, after God.

by
on ‎07-08-2015 12:56 AM
Thanks for sharing your Disney story, just sorry I missed your Disney show-would've loved to hear you sing! My son got to play Cogsworth in his high school's B.a.t.B. and your pictures brought back some wonderful memories! Thanks for the fun and laughter you bring to QVC, it is greatly appreciated!
by
on ‎07-08-2015 10:36 PM

Nancy is such a gorgrous lady, and I love her personality.  I have a suggestion for Christmas.  Several years ago they made a video of the various hosts singing.  I think it would be great if Nancy could make a recording for Chirstmas. There are many other talented hosts at QVC, why not have each one perform a solo.

by
on ‎07-15-2015 04:30 AM

Sounds like you had a great time.  Never knew you were a singer.  Bet your daughter is proud of you.  How many kids get to tell their friends that their mom was Belle?

by
on ‎07-17-2015 02:55 PM

WOW Nancy!!!! ..... what a wonderful, beautiful story ... you are so talented and so beautiful .... I am a die hard Disney fan ... You are also a great host and I enjoy you when you are hosting a show on QVC ... I never change the channel when you are on .. love ya!! 

by
on ‎07-25-2015 03:07 AM

Nancy, my family used to vacation frequently in Walt Disney World. After you joined QVC and mentioned that you had been an actor in the Hoop-Dee-Doo, I spied your face in one of my vacation photos and shared it on your Facebook page. You were kind enough to respond back to me, telling me that it was indeed you in the photo from the Hoop-Dee-Doo. I guess that saying really is true... It's a small world. :-)

by
on ‎09-20-2015 03:35 AM

Nancy, I really enjoyed your show tonight.  Thank you for sharing all your wonderful stories with us, it made the show even more special.  I have always enjoyed watching you on the Q, you lift my spirits and make me laugh.  I appreciate that!  God bless you always.

 

Patti