Tina Kakadelis
YA Author


Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

It's My Birthday and I'll Cry if I Want To

Hi, everyone. Tina’s got the day off because it’s her birthday. I’m the best mom she ever had, so I’m taking over the burden of the blog for one day. Who knows, if enough of you comment (favorably) and maybe even buy a book or two, she’ll let me do it again.

Today’s quote is from Walt Disney, and although it’s a little long, it’s appropriate. Apologies to the women of the world because of the he and his stuff, but we English-speaking folks are still struggling with the problem of gender-neutral pronouns. I almost decided to look for another quote, but this one is so fitting that I had to give in and use it.

Picture Tina almost twenty years ago. She’s an absolutely adorable little girl who’s been to Disney World three or four times. She has just about every stuffed Minnie Mouse that’s ever been made, and she even calls herself Minnie. My father, probably her favorite person in the entire world, has become Mickey to her, and she tells stories about Mickey and Minnie in love. Couldn’t be cuter.

Now imagine an information booth (sadly, they are no more) near the fountain at Epcot. Little Tina has a park map and she’s in charge of leading us around, but she can’t find an attraction (no, I don’t remember which one)...and she can’t read yet! Needless to say, her parents and her sister couldn’t possibly know anything, but there’s a cast member at the information booth who needs something to do. Tina walks right up to the booth with the map and proceeds to have a long conversation with the woman there. When she’s finished, she comes back to us and can’t stop talking about how nice and smart and funny and friendly the cast member was. When Tina grows up, she says, she’s going to work at that information booth.

For the next ten years or so, that was the dream. Every time we went to Disney World, Tina told us that when she grew up she’d be a cast member and help guests, just like the wonderful woman who helped her. She planned vacations for friends and neighbors. She bought books and learned everything she could about Walt Disney World. There was magic to be had, and Tina was going to make sure she helped people find it.

High school and college came along and proved to be distractions for a time, but the dream never died. Then one day, a Disney College Program rep was on campus and Tina seized her opportunity. She applied and was accepted to sell turkey legs in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom. At first it was just for the summer, then until January, and then full circle to June. Was the magic still there? You bet! We heard stories about other cast members, the parades, the music, the seasonal decorations, the fireworks, the guests, the wonder of it all. Even when it was hot and the turkey legs were hotter and the lines were long and the shift was twelve hours, there was still magic. The next thing we knew, Tina was enrolled at UCF and continued to work at Disney for two more years until she graduated. The dream came full circle when Tina began working with the FastPass+ program and was in a position to help guests, just like she was helped all those years ago.

The other dream Tina had was to write a book, so the joke in the family now is that she’s peaked. She’s achieved the goals she set for herself so very long ago, so what will she do now?

Wait, you can help! If you buy Tina’s book, maybe she’ll change the goal from writing a book to writing a best-seller. Think of the power you have!


Thanks for reading,

Tina’s Mom