FOX BUSINESS - A college student at the University of Central Florida is bringing a dose of Disney magic to children during the coronavirus pandemic, with the launch of her own babysitting service.
Unlike the traditional babysitter, 'Disney Nanny' Cyan Nardiello spends the day with her clients' children at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Nardiello told FOX Business she came up with the idea for her business about three years ago while working an unfulfilling minimum wage job at a local daycare.
"I wanted more for myself and for my time to be valued, so I quit on a whim with no other job lined up," Nardiello said. "I still wanted to work with children, so I started looking for nanny positions."
After a few months of job searching, the 21-year old found a family who hired her part-time to babysit their daughter.
"Their daughter had gotten a Disney Annual Pass as a birthday gift," Nardiello added. “Since she lived close I offered to take her while her parents went to work and she was in my care.”
Nardiello posted her babysitting adventures on a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder page on Facebook, and from there her business was born, with interested families immediately reaching out to request her one-of-a-kind service.
However, just as business was booming and her dream job became a reality, the Most Magical Place on Earth came to a screeching halt in March when Disney announced it would close its theme parks to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
"As business was ramping up, COVID hit the United States and rest of the world, forcing Disney to do an unexpected shutdown, cancelling family vacations and preventing local AP holders from enjoying the parks and, in turn, preventing my services to be performed," Nardiello said. "Thankfully I am also a part time nanny for several families in the Orlando area, so I would be used on occasion during quarantine."
Fortunately, the parks began a phased reopening in July, and Nardiello was able to restart her business with new safety measures in place.
"Today, business is back up and safely running!," she said.
According to Nardiello, families typically book her services for a desired time slot. She then reaches out to clients via phone or video call to introduce herself, get to know the family better, and discuss details prior to the trip.
Then it's off to the Disney theme park of the child's choosing to meet up with the family at the entrance and begin a fun-filled day of riding attractions, watching parades, and meeting the child's favorite Disney characters, among other activities.
While she acknowledges there are families who are hesitant about letting their child return to the parks and risking potential exposure of COVID-19, Nardiello stressed that she ensures that both she and the children she takes care of strictly abide by the health and safety guidelines set forth by Disney and local health authorities.
The 'Disney Nanny' offers her services to both local and visiting families at a rate of $25 per hour. For vacationing families, Nardiello noted that she typically stays with the family as an extra set of hands, or will take the child to do activities while the parents have some "adult time."
In addition, alumni of UCF's Zeta Tau Alpha sorority are also eligible for a discounted rate if they can provide proof of membership.
She also has launched her own Theme Park Nanny vlog on TikTok, where you can follow her adventures and watch her make magic for children firsthand. Families interested in Nardiello's service can direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.