Monday, January 1, 2018

Ever wonder what it is like Beyond the Castle at Disney?

Ever since I was a little girl I have dreamed of working for Disney.  Have you ever wondered what it is like Beyond the Castle?  Is the magic real?  Does it weave through the organization's culture like pixie dust or is it all just a manufactured smoke screen? 
Beyond the Castle is written from the perspective of 30 year Disney veteran Jody Jean Dreyer.  Ms. Dreyer began her career in the Walt Disney World College Program. (I wish I knew that program existed back when I was in college.) By the time Jody retired from Disney she was a senior corporate executive reporting to Michael Eisner.  In between she wore many Mouse Ears (22 styles to be exact) from marketing to global outreach.

Beyond the Castle does not answer every burning question I ever had about working for Disney but surprisingly it gave me much more to ponder.  Ms. Dreyer's entertaining stories from throughout her career are laced with a ton of career wisdom.  I thoroughly enjoyed the life lessons that are abundant within the sentences of this book.

My favorite chapter comes early on and is titled "Tiaras." In Disney terms a princess has to meet strict requirements to earn her royal title. Much thought is given within Disney corporate as to what qualifications a princess must possess. Tinker Bell (My favorite Disney character) is not a princess. Ms. Dreyer maintains that we should not feel bad for her.  Tinkerbell is a pixie and pixies have their own special place in the world.  "Know thyself, know thy purpose and to thine own self be true." In other words "Your story is yours, your kingdom is yours and your magic is yours." The book goes on to conversationally dispense career and life wisdom as if from a close friend.

It took me a long time to finish Beyond the Castle. Much longer than I expected and not because it was a difficult read.  In fact, just the opposite. I wanted to savor every word on every page.  I was fascinated by Ms. Dreyer's insights into the workings of Disney magic. I wanted the book to last. The book touches on how to keep the magic and excitement alive in your own life once "the vacation is over."  This is our mission at Picturing Disney so the book spoke to my heart. I wanted to linger Beyond the Castle for a while and savor every magical moment as if they were my own.

Thank you Ms. Dreyer for taking me on this incredibly personal journey with you.  We hope that our readers will be inspired to venture Beyond the Castle with you as well.

From the Publisher:

When the credits roll and you've left the park, when your Disney day is over, how do you take the magic with you into your everyday work and life?
Jody Jean Dreyer worked for the Walt Disney Company for 30 years and in Beyond the Castle she shares one-of-a-kind stories and insights into what sets the Disney experience apart, as well as secrets to help readers discover their own “happily ever after.”
Beginning with her first position as a summer intern at Walt Disney World, through her role leading synergy and special projects for Disney (reporting to former CEO Michael Eisner), to her work with top leadership at Walt Disney Motion Pictures sharing the magic of Disney films around the world, Jody unpacks secrets that can change the way we understand ourselves, our work and relationships, and how we can find our own path to happiness. You will read her stories about working with Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, her front-line role in the opening of theme parks around the world and her own journey to discovering how to bring some Disney magic into every day.
The wish for happy endings is written in our hearts. Every park guest or movie watcher is looking for their own “happily ever after,” as they ask the questions: What’s my story? Does it matter? Will the story end well for me? Jody’s personal experiences and her underpinning faith help her to offer practical and sometimes unexpected principles to better appreciate and navigate our own stories .
Jody’s entertaining storytelling will satisfy a reader's desire to open the doors and peek inside the castle and more, to unlock and illuminate life’s true treasure.

Jody Jean Dreyer
A 30-year Disney veteran, Jody Jean Dreyer was a member of Disney senior corporate staff. 
She led worldwide synergy, headed Disney’s global outreach initiatives, and held various marketing positions 
in both the theme park and motion picture units. Among many projects, she performed a major role in the grand 
opening of Disneyland Paris. In 1986, she traveled the world as the Walt Disney World Ambassador. She met her
husband, John, former head of Disney’s Corporate Communications, at the Disney company Christmas party. 
They have been married 25 years and live in South Carolina. Follow Jody at

Stacy L. Windahl
Stacy Windahl, a Phi Beta Kappa economics major with an MBA made a right turn out of corporate marketing to 
freelance writing. For 16 years she has worked with Young Life Communications. She writes from her home in 
Bay Village, Ohio, along the Lake Erie shore where she and her family celebrate all things Cleveland. Stacy and 
Jody share a love of Young Life, pixie dust and happy endings. Read more at


  1. I grew up near Disneyland and always wondered what it would be like to work there. This book sounds fascinating.

  2. This makes me want to read the book! It sounds like an interesting read. Walt Disney World has a great way of making your whole vacation magical, and I wonder what it would be like to work for the company.

  3. Wow, working for Disney for over 30 years, I'm sure she has some very interesting stories to tell! Sounds like such a great book!

  4. She definitely shares some great stories.

  5. I am going to pick up this book. Looks like an inspirational read for a Disney fan.

  6. I'd never heard of the book Beyond the Castle! What an intriguing thought! I'll definitely have to check out the magic! Thanks for the recommendation!