By Reena Bassil, Communications Specialist, Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing
From hot buttered popcorn to freshly dipped candy apples, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts are well known for their snacks, sweets and treats — and trust me, they’re delicious. (Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes!) And without invaluable cast members like Patrice Guy, we wouldn’t have so many of our favorite park staples!
Owned and Operated Merchandise Manager “Sweet Patrice,” as she is known by her team, has been a revered member of the Disney family for 45 years. Reflecting on her illustrious career, Patrice said, “The most rewarding part of my Disney journey is knowing that the work I do is part of the magic for our guests and cast.”
Her first role with the company was in 1976 in “America on Parade” as a parade performer. To quote Patrice, “What a fun way to start a career!”
Patrice’s next role as a Sales Hostess at the Emporium in Magic Kingdom kicked off her career in retail. She spent 22 years in the field, becoming an expert in World Showcase traveling and buying internationally before she experienced a major shift to Disney-branded packaged and fresh treats.
Today as part of the Consumables team, Patrice collaborates closely with product design, brand, sourcing and planning teams to develop strategies to guide the creative process in candy stores and kitchens across the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. She also connects with local suppliers to develop products for the caselines in the stores. “Storytelling is a big part of what we do,” she shared. “When we create a program in Consumables, we look for candies and other products that support the story through shapes, flavors, colors and product types.” Some examples of these products are popcorn with edible glitter to celebrate Disney’s 100th Anniversary, gummy worms in an Orange Bird container, a teapot-shaped Wonderland Tea box and Mickey-shaped crisped rice cereal treats.
Patrice’s primary focus is finding the right candies and snacks to complement the fun programs and designs created by the product design and brand teams. Among the many memorable projects Patrice has been involved in, the creation of the Karamell-Küche store at the Germany Pavilion in EPCOT holds a special place. As the only Werther’s store in the world, it continues to showcase mouthwatering products developed in collaboration with Werther’s.
Throughout her career, Patrice stayed focused on what was best for the business while developing strong relationships with suppliers. With such a sweet and extensive track record, it’s no surprise that she was inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame, the highest honor in the confectionery industry. “It is very unexpected, humbling, and exciting,” she shared. “It showed me that I made an impact not only on our Disney business, but also with suppliers in developing new opportunities and building relationships. Our success is their success also.”
As someone who has seen many guests walking about Disney Parks and Resorts donning some form of “I’m Here for the Snacks” T-shirts, I can personally attest that Patrice is truly a big part of the magic and joy we all feel when visiting the parks.