Imagine going to work riding a fun Mickey Mouse train, seeing a Disney princess during your lunch break, and ending the day (yes, even Mondays) with a fireworks display. Yes, that’s what it’s like to work at Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL). Less than two hours away from the Philippines, HKDL is everyone’s go-to destination for a weekend getaway, but for the Filipinos who work there, it’s probably the best office ever. Here, we list down several reasons why:

1. The children are your audience.
There’s nothing more heart-warming than seeing kids everywhere smiling, laughing, and just plain enjoying themselves. For Gian Magdangal, the actor who plays Shang in The Golden Mickeys, it makes going to work a lot less like, well, work! “When we perform every day, you see these children coming to the park… You see the theater full and all smiles… It’s a very fulfilling experience to be able to perform for them. Getting paid is just a bonus, of course.”

2. Working with different nationalities
There’s a huge cultural diversity in HKDL. There are a lot of Pinoys, to be sure, but there are also plenty of cast members from various countries. There are people from as far away as America, Samoa, Hawaii, and South Africa as well as those from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Australia.

“I think there’s a big advantage if having so many different cultures and nationalities because we inspire each other in so many different ways,” says head choreographer Jaime Del Prado. “As a matter of fact, we’ve inspired so many of our friends here to go to the Philippines. We even have a parade dancer who’s from Hong Kong who’s so Filipino, he speaks Tagalog already. He loves Cebu and lechon in Cebu!”

Rochelle Raki Vega, who plays Bebe in The Golden Mickeys, agrees. “We learn from each other, and we give each other notes.”

3. Pinoy pride
Working in a different country is definitely bound to make you homesick, but knowing that you are valued and being around so many of your fellow Filipinos can definitely ease the loneliness. Recently, HKDL launched a special campaign called Show Your Disney Side that specifically caters to Pinoys.

“Filipinos are a huge part of HKDL, so when they approached me with the idea of a tailor-made campaign for the Philippines and then I got to write a song, specifically with Filipinos in mind, Filipino mentality, lyrics and music, I couldn’t be happier,” says musical director Rony Fortich. “I thought it was a really cool tribute to both the Filipinos who work here and Filipino guests who come over as performers.”

5. Proximity to home
HKDL is less than two hours away from the Philippines, so while this makes it convenient for guests to fly in for a memorable weekend, it means the world to HKDL cast members who have family back home. Magdangal, who has a six-year-old back in the Philippines, says he goes back home once a month. But if he chances upon a seat sale, he’ll book a trip home right away.

6. Working with the stories you grew up with
Many people, like Del Prado, grew up with Disney. “I remember reading books in my grandmother’s house in Tacloban. The first books I ever saw were Disney books, and to be able to come here, and to visit, and to actually work here… “

Yes, there are no words.

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