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Kendra Kizer, Professional Studies student and owner of Spellbound Celebrations

Courtesy Spellbound Celebrations

For Kendra Kizer, true magic is welcoming children into an immersive world that gives them a magical escape from reality. Even at an early age, she was passionate about theatre and performance art, singing in church, and participating in community theatre.

“Performing is my one, true happy place. Anytime I can work around creative people, it feels like home.”

Learning from the Greats

By the time she graduated high school, Kendra had decided to pursue performing arts professionally. This pursuit led her to study Musical Theatre at Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York City. Her year at Circle was intense and often left her in tears.

“The first day of class, we were all lying on the floor crying. I was thinking ‘What am I doing here? I just want to sing and dance and make people happy!’”

Despite the challenges, she persevered and afterward credited it as a formative experience in her career. In 2007 following her year at Circle, Kendra landed her first performance contract at Dollywood, performing 40 hours a week and getting paid well to do it. She even performed with the rainbow queen herself, Dolly Parton.

“Dollywood was the best job I ever had. Please don’t tell Mickey Mouse I said that!”

At Dollywood, Kendra further developed her craft. Her attention to detail, proficiency, and punctuality caught the attention of the stage manager, who asked her to fill in for him once a week. She did such an outstanding job, they included the stage management position in her contract for the following year.

Learning to be a Storyteller from the Ultimate Storyteller

The idea for Spellbound Celebrations came to Kendra in 2007, but the timing wasn’t quite right. In 2014, she followed her dream to the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World®. There, she mastered the art of storytelling and learned to share the joy that Disney brought to her childhood. Her journey began by learning about Disney’s heritage and how to carry their traditions into the future. From then on, Kendra was hooked.

“That day, I fell in love with Walt Disney and his passion for storytelling and bringing happiness to families.”

I fell in love with Walt Disney and his passion for storytelling and bringing happiness to families.

Kendra Kizer
Spellbound Celebrations

Over the next five years, Kendra became a master storyteller. She learned to adapt any story to satisfy even the most inquisitive guests, creating a truly immersive experience. “You don’t break character because you can come up with a fun story for just about every question. ‘Why is Cinderella’s Castle blue?’ ‘Because Prince Charming painted it to match the color of her eyes!’”

Kendra even had the honor of teaching fellow staff members the art of storytelling. Her favorite Disney story to share with new cast members was the story of the iconic Partners statue. It is special because Walt Disney did not live long enough to see his dream of the Magic Kingdom become a reality.

“Walt and Mickey stand in front of Cinderella Castle; Walt points to Main Street USA as if he is saying, ‘Mickey, I cannot go any further. Do you see all my guests? I need you to take care of them from here.’ We leave that honor to our new cast members as well. Telling that one made me tear up. My most excited participants were crying right along with me. There is something so magical about Walt’s mission to create happiness and I want to take that with me into my business.”

Creating Magic of Her Own

kendra kizer spellbound celebrations
Courtesy Spellbound Celebrations

While Kendra was following her dreams of becoming a performer, she was also a nanny to a little girl. She stumbled across her business idea one day while playing dress-up.

“I wanted to cut up my prom dresses and make them into a little girl’s princess dress. But then I remembered that I couldn’t sew. However, that did get my wheels turning, and I thought about this idea for a princess party business. I thought Huntsville would be the perfect venue for it, but I was all over the country at that point, so my ideas stayed in a Word document on my laptop for many years.”

Finally, after returning to Huntsville equipped with the invaluable experiences at Disney, Dollywood, and Circle in the Square Theatre School, the timing was right to start her business. Princess parties are common in larger cities, but Kendra’s business model is unique. Instead of bringing princesses to the party, Spellbound Celebrations turns your child into a princess! They provide the dresses, tiaras, and backdrops for photos so you can keep the magic alive for years to come.

kendra kizer princess party

With just a little magic, Kendra creates memories that last a lifetime.

Courtesy Spellbound Celebrations

“It’s a fun, dress-up experience led by one of our Fairy Godmother hosts. I spent two years in Guest Relations at Disney, so my customer service standards are very high. I feel safe guaranteeing that my company will provide the very best service anyone can ask for.”

What is a Fairy Godmother, you ask? Fairy Godmothers bring the magic to turn a child into a princess! Each Fairy Godmother has a passion for bringing every child’s dream to life and they attend the Fairy Godmother Academy to learn how.

“They learn storytelling and a little bit of magic. Most of all, they are taught kindness and how to teach boys and girls how to be kind and dream big.” For kiddos looking for a different character experience, Kendra let us in on a secret: Pirate parties are up next!

Persevering to Complete a Degree

Do it so you can stop telling yourself that you want to do it!

Kendra Keizer
BA Fall '22 Professional Studies

In addition to her dreams of starting a magical business, Kendra also dreamed of finishing her degree. She enrolled in the Bachelor’s in Professional Studies program at UAH because it provided the flexibility to follow both dreams. The program was a good fit because she could utilize her previous work experience and prior transfer credits. It also connected her with other adult learners from all walks of life, which provided different perspectives and experiences.

Kendra is set to graduate in Fall 2022, but she has some advice for others considering returning to school to complete a degree.

“Do it so you can stop telling yourself that you want to do it! I’ve tried to go back at 22, 27, and 30. Now I’m set to graduate at 34. It is hard, but you can do it.”

If you would like to learn more about Spellbound Celebrations or if you would like to book a party, visit spellboundhsv.com.

To learn more about the UAH Bachelor's of Professional Studies degree program contact CPSAdvising@uah.edu, 256.824.6673, or visit UAHComplete.uah.edu.


Contact

CPS Advising
CPSAdvising@uah.edu

Kellee Crawford
BPS Academic Support Specialist
256.824.6673
Kellee.Crawford@uah.edu