Forget summer vacation, spring break and three day holidays. Any Disney cast member will tell you that the busy season is from Thanksgiving to the new year.

Families that have saved all year-long for the winter vacation of a lifetime flock to Walt Disney World for a Christmas celebration unlike any other. From Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom to the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy.

I guess that’s why I was not surprised when I worked over 40 hours last week for the first time during my program. And then again this week as our restaurant extended its hours until 9 p.m. almost every evening. So, I honestly can’t say that I’ve done anything exciting.

During this blog, I’ve really tried to focus on the fun, the magical moments that make working for Disney special, but the truth is that it is a real job. A job that isn’t always fun. A job that can be stressful. But it is rewarding.

I had the opportunity this past week to speak with several of our guests while they waited on loved ones to get food or run over and ride Star Tours, and it really reminded me what sets Disney apart.

Disney is not special because of a ride, or even because guests can meet their favorite princess. It doesn’t have short queue lines, and honestly speaking, it’s expensive. But there is something that sets it apart from other theme parks, there is a reason that guests come and visit time and time again, and that’s the magic.

As a cast member, we are encouraged to describe Disney as magical, to make it seem like a place of legend, but that is not what truly makes the magic come to life. It’s the little things, the everyday. It’s the smile on a child’s face when a cast member replaces their spilt apple juice, the look of relief on their parents’ faces when they learn that it will be free of charge. It is the conversations between guests and cast members, the connections that go beyond a simple ‘hello.’ For cast members it is also the bond that is created out of a difficult closing.

Sure, there are some days that make me want to pull my hair out, especially as we get nearer to the holidays, but at the end of the night, I am reminded that that magic that exists in the little things is worth it all.