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Theme Park Dream Job

By Tim Brown

Millions of people flock to SeaWorld in Orlando each year to enjoy marine animals, roller coasters, and themed restaurants like Sharks Underwater Grill and Seafire Grill. Erin Maciarz has worked 26 years at the park as a food service attendant and says she still loves every minute of it. “It’s been my dream job. I love SeaWorld, I love the people and helping the customers.”

Maciarz currently works lunch service two to three days a week at the Seafire Grill. Her duties include wiping down tables, gathering trays, refreshing the condiment stand, sweeping floors, and attending to any customer needs.

Maciarz has a disability and receives services from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). March is Developmental Disability Employment Awareness Month, and APD is highlighting the achievements of people with disabilities.

SeaWorld has long been an employer that helps individuals with disabilities realize their true potential and lead more independent lives. Every day, the Seafire Grill serves chicken tenders and fries to hundreds of hungry customers. Restaurant supervisor Jerrol Duncan says Erin is always like a ray of sunshine to his team.

“Erin is a pleasure to work with. She’s very enthusiastic and positive when she comes to work,” Duncan said. “She loves coming to work and everyone here loves working with her.”

 Maciarz lives independently and uses the Access Lynx transportation system to get to work. Her parents live nearby and are proud of her accomplishments.

“That’s all you can wish for in your child, that they have a productive life and feel like they are contributing, and Erin certainly does,” said her father, John Maciarz.

In her spare time, Maciarz enjoys training and competing in the Florida Special Olympics. She is involved in swimming, basketball, and volleyball. She has made many friends with other athletes through Special Olympics competitions and practices.

Duncan has worked at SeaWorld for 18 years and says the 26 years Erin has worked at the theme park is a true milestone. “Her knowledge of SeaWorld is tremendous. It is a huge accomplishment, and we are all proud of her.”

“The work you do pays off and makes you feel independent,” Maciarz said.

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 58,000 Floridians with severe forms of autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit or call toll free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).