Stacey J. Aswad never dreamed that her educational show “Top 7 Must Sees,” which aired on Walt Disney World’s resort TVs, would become an iconic part of the theme park’s history.
In reality, she had no intention of auditioning for the hosting position in the first place. She had just returned from a trip from North Carolina to Georgia to audition for a different part in 2005, and she was eager to go back home. Instead, she said that her manager advised she remain another day and audition for a Disney project.
Aswad claimed she “quickly crammed as much of the script” into her head before auditioning for “the renowned Summit Plummet sequence.”
“Disney had been doing a national search for a while, and it was all kind of coming down to the wire,” Aswad said. “Lo and behold, I got a callback and had to drive back to Atlanta two days later. They picked me and it was a very quick process of being flown to Orlando.”
Even after being withdrawn from the theme park’s schedule, the presentation — which was revamped and renamed “Must Do Disney” — is still appreciated among fans more than 15 years later.
Insider chatted with Aswad about the show’s impact, her favorite filming moments, and what it’s like to work in a theme park.
Before shooting ‘Top 7 Must Sees,’ Stacey J. Aswad had never visited a Disney theme park.
According to Insider, Aswad began her career in the entertainment business as a dancer, choreographer, and competitive artistic roller skater. As a result, filming the original theme-park show necessitated “a lot of firsts” for her.
“I had never hosted on camera before and I had never been to Disney, so it was a really exciting and daunting experience,” she said.
“I was definitely nervous, but I always say that nervousness is just another flavor of excitement,” Aswad continued.
She claims that the filming procedure was long, exhausting, and physically demanding — but it was all worth it.
When it came to making the show, Aswad recalls visiting at several Disney World resorts for around ten days, the first few of which were spent selecting her on-screen clothing.
“Just picking the tankinis I would wear was like a full day alone,”
The filming procedure then commenced. Aswad revealed that she had numerous “long days” on camera that lasted up to 10 hours.
“We started in the dark and ended in the dark,” she said. “We were on a very tight schedule because we didn’t want to interfere with anyone’s experience at the theme park.”
Aswad also recalls the task as physically demanding and exhausting. She claimed to have had several blisters, bruises, and even a rash as a result of the treatment.
“Doing Summit Plummet was intense,” she remembers. “I had to do it a few times in a row, and those water-powered wedgies were real. And I had to do the crazy wave pool scene 12 times. It was insane and I thought I was going to drown.”
Aswad, on the other hand, has only positive memories of the event. She even boasted about having “a few good war wounds” after shooting.
“I was there working obviously, but it was so joyful because there were always new things to experience,” she said.
The show’s appeal came from Aswad’s passion and improv abilities.
As Aswad explained to Insider, “everything you hear in the show is memorized or improvised.” But as it turns out, it didn’t necessarily have to be that way.
“I found out a good nine or 10 years in that there was a teleprompter option, But at that point, even when we were filming updates, I was like, ‘I’m not going to start phoning it in now.'”
Nonetheless, Aswad is cautious to accept all credit for the show’s success.
“I’m the only person you saw, but there was a beautiful, incredible team of producers and production that made my life much easier, It was kind of like doing a one-woman show with dozens of people.”
More than a decade later, the program continues to have an influence on Aswad’s life.
Aswad, who now resides in Los Angeles, has shifted her attention to voiceover work and a web program called VO Buzz Weekly. Disney and its followers, on the other hand, make wonderful cameos in her life even when she least expects it..
“I’ve been in Trader Joe’s, parking lots, and walking down the street, and someone goes, ‘Stacey, hi!” and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh.'”
“I’m so grateful for every second, and for all of the love and support that I’ve received over the years,” she continued. “To become a part of people’s happiest times and memories, it’s really awesome.”
And, while Aswad expressed her desire to continue filming the program, she is certain that whatever happens next “will be brilliant.”
“It’s a piece of history that we’ll always have,” she said of the show. “Every book has chapters. I feel like this is an incredibly special, and incredibly long chapter — much longer than I expected. The memories and magic that we created, that can never be changed or taken away.”
Sid Philips is a father of two and a loving husband. He currently resides in Pennsylvania and has been a fan of Disney since his parents took him there in 1980! Sid has visited multiple Disney parks around the world and loves each one!
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