Celebrating Tonie Rose, first woman at Disney Cruise Line to lead a pool deck crew


Growing up in the Philippines, the idea of working at sea never even crossed Tonie Rose’s mind. Now, years later, not only has she made her career at sea, but she’s a part of Disney Cruise Line history as the first woman to become a leader within the pool deck services team!

She began her Disney career as a custodial hostess and was encouraged to think about the role of stateroom hostess as her next step. It was around this time, however, that Minnie Mouse stepped into the role of Captain, and inspired by this example of female leadership, Tonie Rose decided to pursue another path. Today, Tonie Rose is following in Minnie’s shoes as a shining example of what women can accomplish at sea.

We caught up with Tonie Rose as she sailed out of Port Orleans, Louisiana, aboard the Disney Magic to ask about her career, creating magic at sea, and this amazing milestone.


What drew you to the maritime industry?

At age 22, I decided to seek opportunities abroad to achieve financial stability, step out of my comfort zone, and experience independent living. Dubai seemed like the ideal choice for a young person like me. However, after two years, I realized that Dubai's living expenses were too high, making financial stability elusive. That's when I made the decision to return home and explore opportunities in our maritime agencies, ultimately pursuing a career as a seafarer.

Why did you choose to work with Disney Cruise Line?

From a young age, I've had a deep love for theme parks. Every year, my family and I would make it a tradition to spend either Christmas or New Year's Day at a theme park, immersing ourselves in the magic for the entire day. Those memories hold a special place in my heart, filled with joy, excitement, and the enchantment of being surrounded by whimsical attractions and characters.

When I first heard about Disney Cruise Line, it was like a dream come true. I couldn't help but feel drawn to the idea of working there, knowing that it would be an opportunity to relive those cherished childhood moments and experience the magic all over again. The thought of being part of creating those unforgettable memories for guests, especially during special occasions, ignited a spark within me.

True Disney magic! What has your journey with the company been like so far?

For about seven years, I served as a custodial hostess. During that time, I was frequently entrusted with additional responsibilities such as serving as a wardrobe hostess and often being assigned as a crew cabin cleaner. On occasion, I was given the opportunity to step into the role of a stateroom hostess. Among the housekeeping crew, I was identified as someone with potential to become a future stateroom host.

However, I eventually made the decision to pursue leadership roles of my own! Recognizing the importance of starting with and honing my leadership skills, I found that the position of pool deck service supervisor was the perfect fit for me. This role allows me to focus on developing and refining my leadership abilities, laying the foundation for future opportunities in leadership within the company.

I started as a typical crew member with aspirations of leadership. Through determination, I learned to confidently communicate with my superiors and take on leadership roles. Guided by Disney Cruise Line's standards, I lead my team to excel using the resources available. As a pool deck service supervisor, I have the privilege of creating magical experiences for both guests and myself. Working with Disney Cruise Line allows me to combine my passion for hospitality, bringing joy to guests worldwide. From ensuring safety to crafting unforgettable moments on the open deck, I play a crucial role in enhancing the guest experience.

Tell us more about your role as pool deck service supervisor! What do you do on a daily basis?

As a pool deck service supervisor, I oversee the entire operation of the pool deck service, ensuring that everything is running smoothly and that the area is ready to welcome guests. My responsibilities include coordinating processes and ensuring readiness for shows and events on the open deck. I lead the pool deck team, ensuring that everyone is aligned with the same goal of achieving a satisfactory guest satisfaction score every cruise. Additionally, I create and manage schedules for the team, ensuring compliance with MCL standards on a daily or weekly basis.


What are the benefits of working with Disney Cruise Line?

Working with Disney Cruise Line has been instrumental in developing both my personal and interpersonal skills. It has provided me with clarity regarding my goals and aspirations, whether it be in leadership roles or personal growth. One of the unique aspects of Disney Cruise Line is its inclusive environment, where everyone is valued and included. This sense of inclusivity ensures that every voice is heard, both from guests and crew members alike. As a result, I've learned the importance of effective communication, empathy, and teamwork which are essential skills for both personal and professional development. Disney’s commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive community has truly helped me grow and thrive in my role.

What makes you proud to be a woman in the maritime industry?

Despite the challenges of a maritime lifestyle, I've persevered and thrived, becoming a leader in this environment. Through hard work, I've been able to provide for both my family and myself, ensuring we continue to enjoy a comfortable life. This resilience and determination have shaped my journey and my ability to navigate the complexities of life at sea.

What advice would you give to other women who are thinking of becoming a part of the industry?

Be true to yourself and stay grounded, even when you're out at sea. It's important to know who you are and to maintain your focus, no matter what obstacles come your way.

What makes working for Disney at sea different than anywhere else?

For me, working at Disney Cruise Line isn't just about a job; it's about bringing back the magic of my childhood and sharing it with others. Every day feels like a chance to make someone's day a little brighter, to create moments that they'll treasure for a lifetime. And in doing so, I find that the magic of those theme park visits lives on, reminding me of the joy and wonder that first captured my imagination as a child.

Are you inspired to grow your career with Disney Cruise Line just like Tonie was by Captain Minnie? Explore roles and apply today at DCLjobs.com!

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