|United Methodist to do 'magic' for Disney|
Justin Muchoney is congratulated by Mickey Mouse and
Donald Duck after being named the first-ever Disney Parks "chief magic
UMNS photos courtesy of Justin Muchoney.
By Jacqueline L. Campbell*
July 3, 2008 | PITTSBURGH (UMNS)
As a church music director and Disney Parks' first-ever "chief magic
official," Justin Muchoney wants to build meaningful relationships and
help people experience the wonders life has to offer.
"Whether literally or figuratively, I love helping everyone believe they
can fly!" says the lifelong United Methodist from Seven Fields, Pa.
"The Disney 'magic'––like our faith––can be shared with people in an
incredible number of ways, both large and small," he adds. "Each day I
strive to understand that everyone I encounter may be in need of a warm
smile, a friendly handshake or an ear to listen. Even people I have
never met before and may never see again deserve to be treated with the
same warmth and respect as my closest friends."
"As Disney CMO, I’ll help everyone I meet remember what it feels like to believe in a dream come true," Muchoney says.
In late April, Muchoney, 29, emerged victorious in a four-week contest
across the United States for the "Disney dream job." Online voting
vaulted Muchoney into the top three after being selected as one of 10
semi-finalists from among 1,300 applicants through Careerbuilder.com.
His initial support was based largely on a video shot at Ingomar United
Methodist Church, where he works. A live competition determined the
winner among the three finalists April 17-18 at Walt Disney World in
"Justin has a true passion for Disney Parks that came through online and
during the in-park competitions," said Craig Dezern, Disney’s vice
president of global public relations, in a press release.
‘You have the power’
Raised and confirmed at Ingomar Church, where he now serves as music and
fine arts director, Muchoney will travel up to eight times in the next
year to Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts to help create magical
experiences for guests, serve as a goodwill ambassador and participate
in special events.
He helped with the opening of Toy Story Mania at Walt Disney World in
Florida in May and returned in late June from the Disneyland Resort in
Anaheim, Calif., where he helped with the opening of two new
In an e-mail to friends after the Anaheim trip, he wrote: "I am
constantly reminded about the power of one person to make a positive
difference in the life of another. I have the chance to work with and be
around some of the most passionate and creative people I’ve ever met,
and on each visit, I see them go out of their way to place someone
else’s needs above their own or go above and beyond the call of duty to
bring a smile to someone’s face.
"This is the magic that I hoped to witness and, in each instance, I
realize that it doesn’t have to be contained to a Disney park," he
wrote. "Please remember that you have the power to make someone’s day.
Today, tomorrow, or all week––why pass up the opportunity to make a
difference in the world?"
In a "job report" posted on Careerbuilder.com, Muchoney said working
with Disney has been a lifelong dream. He first visited Walt Disney
World as a 5-year-old, then returned as a high school student when his
school marching band and chorus performed in a parade. After graduating
from college, he became a high school band director and took 160 kids
from Pennsylvania to play at Walt Disney World.
A big kid
Jami Pietrzyk, coordinator of children’s ministries at Ingomar Church,
was thrilled when Muchoney won. "I am so excited … because now he can
use his God-given gifts to share a whole lot of God's love and touch so
many people's lives," she said. "It is amazing to work with someone who
is so filled with the spirit! You can't help but feel the magic when he
Pietrzyk said people are naturally drawn to Muchoney. "I think he
connects well with kids because he has never forgotten what it is like
to dream, imagine and play. He is still a big kid at heart," she said.
Muchoney connects the magic of "When You Wish Upon a Star" with the
"Star of Wonder," said the Rev. Tracy Cox, associate pastor at Ingomar
Church. "He has the ability to inspire people to reach for their dreams.
He connects real life and the magic – and he truly believes that God is
the true changer of lives."
Muchoney sees his job at Ingomar as a way to connect with and build
up others. "Our churches, based on our belief in Christ, should be
places where people see optimism, hope and endless possibilities. Once
you’ve seen someone accept Christ, you know that there are no limits on
what they can accomplish in life!
"On a larger scale, it is my supreme goal in life to create
unforgettable experiences that draw people closer together. I aspire to
build deep and meaningful relationships and to help people experience
the awesome wonders life has to offer," he says.
"I try to dream up new events, experiences or even moments when the
people I encounter can join together and share in a memorable,
life-changing adventure. This is part of the awe and wonder of the
Christian experience that I really want to see the church recapture."
Muchoney believes that, deep inside, everyone is a dreamer. "As Disney
CMO, I’ll help everyone I meet remember what it feels like to believe in
a dream come true."
*Campbell is a communications staff writer for the Western Pennsylvania Conference.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.
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