Furloughed Disney cast member spreads magic through dance competitions

The father son duo is working to help donate meals along the way

ORLANDO, Fla. – In June the first Disney cast members were called back to work; many of whom had been part of the 70,000 Disney World Resort workers furloughed in April.

But there are still many others awaiting their phone call to come back and create more magic. One of those waiting patiently for their chance to return is Sage Starkey.

“It’s an emotional roller coaster 'cause at one point you’re like ‘hey! I get all this time off, it’s amazing!’” the 27-year-old live performer said. " And then you realize ‘Oh no! I have all this time off and I’m not doing anything and I don’t know when I’ll be able to go back to work.’"

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In the meantime, Sage is trying to make the best of his situation doing what he loves most--performing.

"That’s what started with my father is like: ‘What do we do?’ Let’s put some fun videos together that people really enjoy,” he recalled. “And then that’s when we came back with the ‘Oh! Alright, but people are in need right now.’”

That realization prompted him to spread a message of positivity while giving back to the community.

Sage and his dad, they created dance competition videos. The loser then had to donate 50 meals to first responders.

“If you have the time, use it and use it in a strong and positive way,” Sage said. A silver lining he’s using to cheer people up during these uncertain times. Sage said the best part is sharing these moments with his dad--a former Disney performer who lives in Colorado.

“It’s just been so much fun to make. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to do this especially with my father who is in a different state which we’re not really allowed to travel right now,” he said.

The dynamic duo also joined forces to cheer on graduates in Florida and Colorado after COVID-19 made them miss one of the most important days of their lives.

“We showed up at their houses, socially distant, we threw them gowns and we made them walk a line-families were involved,” Sage said. “As an artist when you don’t have a job or a stage it feels like you have no purpose and these videos have given me a purpose back in the community again.”

A purpose he’s holding on to with hope.

“We have to remember that we’re all in this together and as artists specifically we always say when we come out of this we’re gonna be bigger and better and stronger than ever and so we just have to hold on to that as much as we can.”

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