Remember when you got accepted into the Disney College Program?
Remember when you were three months away from check in?
Remember when you made it to the final month?
Remember when it was only one week left?
Remember when it was the night before?
Remember when it was that morning?
A year ago today, I checked into the Disney College Program. The excitement and jitters were in full effect as I entered Vista Way, met my roommates and started the process of becoming part of the Disney Ohana.
The moment you check in is the first time it feels real, even before you go to Casting or your housing meeting or even Traditions. You get told where you’ll be working, you find out where you’ll be living, you get your housing ID and you move into the apartment you will call home for the next several months.
I remember it like it was yesterday and, to be honest, I would do anything to rewind and do it all over again because it was easily one of the best experiences I have ever had.
Disney quickly becomes home. Your friends become family. Every day is an adventure and you’re loving life.
Maybe your costume is ugly, but somehow you manage to rock it.
Maybe your work location isn’t the best, but your coworkers make it bearable and even fun sometimes.
Maybe your hours are awful, but you’re making money, learning valuable skills and sprinkling magic on every guests’ vacation.
This program is life changing and you will feel its effects even after you’re gone. You become a different person and, at least for me, you walk away feeling…proud. I went through a lot before my program started and it honestly couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed a new adventure; I needed to go and live out my dream. I was so proud of myself for taking a chance and doing something I may have never done only a few months prior. I was proud of myself for coming out of my shell and making real friends- something that has always proven tough for me because people tend to leave and be hurtful. I was proud of myself for going the distance.
These memories will last me a lifetime. It will be 20 years from now and I will still talk everyone’s ear off about the amazing experiences I had while on my program. I hope that every friend I made is still around to help me tell those stories and I hope the lessons I learned stay committed to my memory. I hope that every past CP reading this still has fond memories of their program and that everyone who is reading this and thinking of applying for a CP, does.
You gain so much when you do a program, but I believe the biggest thing I gained was my ability to dream again. For so long I let opportunities pass me by and watched dreams get carried off by the wind. I watched as others around me ‘found themselves’ and I still felt lost. I started my program still feeling slightly lost, but I felt lost in the right direction. I made mistakes and I learned from them. I found out what made me happy and I stuck with it. I let go of people who weren’t positive additions to my life and held onto those who were.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that my dream of getting accepted into the Disney College Program came true because 1) I needed it in order to help me find myself and 2) I needed to figure out where I’m meant to be…and that place may very well end up being Disney someday.
It’s hard to not live in the past when your past was, literally, so magical. But I can’t be sad about my program being over for too long because I’m so lucky to have had the experience at all. I mean, how many people get to say they spent a semester working, living and playing in Disney?! The chosen ones, we are.
I lived it. I made my mark. I am forever part of the Disney Ohana and no amount of time will change that.
My program was a crazy roller coaster but wow…did I enjoy the ride. Now, who do I have to speak to in order to get a life rewind button invented?!