Disney College Program Anniversary

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 … Continue reading

Dealing With Post Disney College Program Depression

Maybe it hits you when you start to pack up your side of your room and you find various mementos from memories you’ve made over the past four to six months; or maybe it hits you when you put on your costume for the last time and say goodbye to the fellow cast members you worked alongside who really became family. But really, it’ll hit you the hardest when you’ve said your final goodbyes to each park, you’ve watched your last Wishes, you’ve cried with your friends as you held hands leaving Magic Kingdom and you’re sitting in the car (or at the airport) leaving your Disney life behind.

It’s the sign you had a magical experience and that now, you have something to miss.

It’s Post Disney College Program Depression.

If you think it hurts like hell when you’re saying goodbye, it hurts 10x more when you’re actually gone and far away from the people who became the biggest parts of your life in such a short amount of time and the magical place that brought you all together.

You find yourself flipping through that DCP Facebook album you never quite finished because you got so caught up in having the time of your life. You click along and watch your journey unfold right before your eyes and you can’t believe that it wasn’t that long ago that those pictures were taken. It’s been a month, maybe two, but it feels like a lifetime has passed by.

Anything Disney related sets you off. If you go to see a Disney movie, the opening sequence with the castle makes you cry. If you listen to Pandora and a Disney song comes on, you’re a mess. If a Disney Parks commercial comes on the TV, you bury your head into a pillow because the sight of your happy place is far too much to bear. If someone asks you about your time at Disney, you give them a long spiel and in the middle of it start to get choked up thinking back on everything.

You constantly post throwback pictures from your program because you’re in denial that it’s over and you’re always checking the Disney Careers website because getting back to Disney would be (another) dream come true.

Moral of the story? PDCPD sucks.

Maybe it isn’t something that can be cured; how do you stop missing a portion of your life that changed you forever?

Maybe, instead, you learn to live with it. You accept that it happened, that it was wonderful, that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and that now…it’s over.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to lessen the pain, so here’s a few ways that you can help cure your PDCPD:

  • Talk to your CP friends. Yesterday I was thinking about everything and looking through pictures and suddenly I felt overcome with sadness…so much so that I started bawling. After texting my closest friends from my program about it, they both called me and even though hearing their voices hurt at first, I felt better after talking to them. Staying in touch with friends from your program is a wonderful way to keep the magic alive long after your program is over, especially because no one else in your life is going to understand what you’re going through except for them. Keep them close; lean on each other because they’re the best source of support.
  • Create a shadowbox or memory board. Having everything with sentimental value from your program in one place may actually make you feel better. Maybe you’ll cry putting it together, but once it’s done…I promise it’ll make you smile, seeing all of the memories and experiences you had in one special place. Pictures, movie stubs, fastpasses (if you were lucky enough to snag some paper ones), wristbands from HOB, four keys cards, your acceptance post card and, of course, your name tag are some things I would recommend gathering for your project.
  • Plan a trip. The best thing about doing a college program? Reuniting with your best friends in the most magical (or happiest) place on earth! (Or even visiting each other in your hometowns!)  If you have your heart set on meeting up with your friends again, put aside a little money from each paycheck and plan a trip with each other. Planning a vacation, even when it’s far away, will help to offset the sadness from your program being over because you’ll be too excited about reuniting with everyone and being at Disney again!
  • Look into future careers with TWDC. Just because your program is over, it doesn’t mean that your time with Disney is over forever. Completing a college program opens up a lot of future doors for you, especially if you go back to school and earn your degree. You can apply for professional internships, alumni programs, go part/full time right out of school or, if you’re feeling up to it, you can always apply to a program for the semester after you graduate. If you feel that Disney is where you’re meant to be then make it happen! The sky is the limit.

The first few months after your program ends are the hardest. You watch new CPs begin their journey and you wish more than anything that you could rewind and start yours over. But you know what? I think a silly, willy, nilly old bear said it best:

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A. A. Milne (Winnie The Pooh)

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When you think about it, we are incredibly fortunate to have had the experience we had. Thousands of students apply every semester and we were among the chosen few (thousand) to participate. Some of us even got to extend our programs and continue making magic for longer than we expected.

We worked hard, we played hard, we loved hard, we cried hard, we failed hard and we succeeded hard. We found ourselves, we grew up, we made mistakes, we followed our hearts and our dreams and we never once looked back because we were living.

And that, my friends, is how I want you to continue to be. Be fearless. Be adventurous. Maybe you’ll never be the exact same person you were those few months but it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to grow and be the best that you can be. And, lastly, be proud of yourself, because you were responsible for making magic every single day and you did a damn good job.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss

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#ThingsYouEncounterAsAMerchandiseCM

One of the most rewarding roles you could ever have at Disney, aside from being a performer, is being a merchandise cast member. The reason? You get to interact with guests on a daily basis and help them find that one souvenir that will remind them of their magical trip to Disney for years to come. I mean I don’t know about you guys, but I think that’s pretty special.

That being said…being a merchandise cast member is…quite the experience. I would say that aside from main entrance operations, guest relations, FSFB and concierge, we interact with more guests (for longer periods of time) than most other cast members…and at the World of Disney (where I did my college program) I know that’s definitely true. And when you’re interacting with hundreds -no- thousands of guests on a daily basis…you’re bound to have a few (several) “interesting” interactions…which, of course, make for great stories later.

And so, with the help of my merchandise cast family, we present to you: #ThingsYouEncounterAsAMerchandiseCM

*The limit on the amount of “interesting” questions you will be asked/things you will be told does not exist*

1) *Guest looks you up and down* “Do you work here?” -Mmm…this one is our FAVORITE. We suppose that you could be unsure if we work there, even while we’re in full costume, we have an arm full of merchandise and look like chickens with their heads cut off.

2) “Where’s the Harry Potter merchandise?” “Where are the yellow minions like this? (As they hold up Mike Wazowski)” “Where is your Shrek merchandise?” “Do you sell Spongebob stuff here?” “Do you sell Dr. Seuss merchandise here?” – We are going to settle this once and for all:

DISNEY. DOES. NOT. SELL. MERCHANDISE. FOUND. AT. UNIVERSAL. ESPECIALLY. NOT. HARRY. POTTER.

The ONLY similar merchandise we sell is Avengers merchandise, and I’m pretty sure even that is different. And Mike Wazowski is NOT a minion. *Drops mic and walks away.*

3) “Where are the attractions at Downtown Disney?” “Where are the fireworks at Downtown Disney?” – SHOP. DINE. PLAY. That is literally the slogan for Downtown Disney. We have no fireworks and no attractions, but we do have DisneyQuest (but not for long *cue sadness*), a load of restaurants/shops and an extensive amount of alcohol (for those of you 21 and over). Enjoy 🙂

4) “Do you have any backyardigans merchandise?” “No, I don’t think so.” ‘It’s a Nick Kids TV show.” “Ma’am, this is a Disney store.” “Yeah…?” “So we sell Disney merchandise, not Nickelodeon.” – *face palm* Moving on…

5) “Where is the Disney section?” – Well let’s see...the entire store…

6) “Do you have a clearance section?” – Ha. Haha. Hahaha. HAHAHAHA. Oh…no, sorry.

7) “How much is this?” – This question is only okay if there is no price on the tag or it’s one of those items that has a color that represents a certain price. But if you literally walk up to me with the tag out and in your hand with you pointing right at the price…*face palm*

8) *Points at costume* “Where can I buy that?” – First of all, N-O-W-H-E-R-E. Second of all, why do you want it…? This is the least flattering thing any of us has ever had to wear. I guess we make it look good though, guys. So good job everyone!

9) “Excuse me, do you sell the soundtrack to the store?” -Yeah…that would be a no, ghost rider. But if you want a soundtrack that’s actually GOOD, we do have the Wishes soundtrack. (Also, side note, can we put FOF on a CD so I can buy it and play it over and over again, please?!)

10) “Do you sell the Fastpass Bands here?” – No, we do not sell MAGIC Bands here. (Oh, yeah, pro tip: World of Disney does not sell Magic Bands…don’t ask me why, because I don’t know)

11) “Can we purchase park tickets here?” – I know we’re the largest Disney store, I get it. But…can you purchase tickets in any OTHER merchandise location on property? No…so, sadly, you can’t do that here, either.

12) “Aren’t you supposed to have everything? You’re the biggest store.” – We get this A LOT. Trust me, I’m just as mad as you are that there is no Big Hero 6 merchandise and that the only princess merchandise is pretty much for little girls. But no, we don’t have everything. And it isn’t our fault as cast members that we don’t have everything, so please don’t get mad at us 🙂

13) “So I saw this shirt at Epcot…” – I’m going to stop you right there. We do not sell park specific merchandise. Anything that says Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom or EPCOT on it you will NOT find anywhere except that specific park. So if you see it in the park, just get it. Don’t ‘wait until you go to Downtown Disney’ because you’ll be really disappointed.

14) “So I saw this item at the Disney Store…” “Do you take Disney Store coupons?” “Are you doing the same sale as the Disney Store is doing online?” – Having to explain this one is a bit of a nightmare 🙂 World of Disney is not a Disney Store. Though both stores operate under The Walt Disney Company, the Disney Store is completely separate, while the World of Disney sells merchandise specific to the overall resort. So no, we do not have that awesome princess dress you saw online…but we do have a ton of others!

15) *Asks guests if they have discount* “No, not unless you wanna give me one! Haha!” -This actually isn’t that funny and makes me feel uncomfortable when a guest continues to ask about my discount 🙂 The boss wouldn’t like that!

16) “Oh, there’s no price tag? Must be free!” – *Awkwardly laughs while trying to escape to find price tag to ring merchandise to finish transaction with guest because no it isn’t free*

17) “We’re going to the real Disney tomorrow!” -EL OH EL. Yes, because Downtown Disney is the fake Disney and the only real part of Disney is Cinderella Castle. Yes, of course. How could I forget?

18) “Where are your sum sums?” -Well…we don’t sell sum sums here….or TSUM TSUMs either…(See? World of Disney does not actually have everything. Isn’t that really depressing? Once Upon A Toy does, though. But not all of them, sadly 😦 Try the Disney Store!) This one is almost excusable because the ‘t’ is silent, but still…it’s funny to hear it pronounced as sum sum.

19) “Why don’t you sell *insert character/movie title* merchandise?” – Well, ma’am/sir, I really don’t know. I am not in charge of what merchandise we sell, because if I were, there would be a lot more Hercules merchandise because WHY WE NO SELL HERCULES MERCHANDISE, DISNEY?!

20) *Guest starts twisting arm to use Magic Band, it turns blue* *Guest tries swiping credit card* “Uhm, why isn’t this working?” -Well, probably because I have yet to scan all of your merchandise. Just a thought, though. I could be totally wrong.

HOWEVER, despite all of the *interesting* interactions we have on a daily basis, we also get to have chats with little princesses/fairies/princes/pirates, we get to meet people from our hometown/college and strike up conversations, we get to make magical moments and become the highlight of someone’s vacation and we get to make long lasting friends (because you will literally be with your coworkers ALL, THE, TIME).

Just be prepared to disappoint a lot of people because we don’t sell Universal merchandise 😉

And don’t forget your Disney Point!

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What They Don’t Tell You About The Disney College Program

If you look up the ‘Disney College Program,’ you’ll get the basic run down. It’s a paid internship at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. or the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. for 5-7 months, depending on when your program starts/ends. You can be cast in one of several roles including merchandise, custodial, food and beverage, attractions, boutique host/hostess and entertainment. You can even take classes for college credit and attend seminars to improve your networking skills or to learn more about Disney history.

But the websites, pamphlets, newsletters, various blog sites and information sessions don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what the Disney College Program truly is.

They don’t tell you that the first week is just as emotional as your last week.

They don’t tell you that going to Casting makes you feel like every dream you’ve ever had is finally coming true.

They don’t tell you that waiting for your Cast Member ID is torture. (I wanna be where the people are…and all of the people are at Disney and I can’t get in yet.)

They don’t tell you that Traditions will fill your heart with so much love for The Walt Disney Company.

They don’t tell you that the first time you walk into Magic Kingdom as a Cast Member you will feel like you’re finally home.

They don’t tell you that life is the bubbles those first few days when it’s nothing but going to the parks and waiting for training to start.

They don’t tell you that you will most likely come home from your first day of training crying to your roommates because it’s all so overwhelming and new and confusing.

They don’t tell you that the first few weeks of work are the hardest.

They don’t tell you that it gets easier.

They don’t tell you that being a CP means, essentialy, being a ‘closing person’ for 98% of your program, except for those really rare occasions where you get an opening shift and get out of work when there’s still sunlight. (Cherish those moments)

They don’t tell you that those nights where you work until 1am are the nights where you bond with your fellow cast members the most, especially other college program participants.

They don’t tell you that this is where you’ll make friends for life.

They don’t tell you that closing shifts almost always end with a trip to Steak ‘N’ Shake, IHop, Denny’s, McDonald’s or Taco Bell with your coworkers.

They don’t tell you that Trails End is literally the best place to get breakfast on property because 1) ALL YOU CAN EAT and 2) $13. (Those CM perks though)

They don’t tell you that time goes by a lot faster than you think, and suddenly you wake up and you only have a few weeks left to do everything you didn’t do the previous 4 months.

They don’t tell you that exploring the parks on your days off is awesome…but that you should venture out of Disney sometimes, too. (Beaches are only an hour/two hours away, and it’s nice to visit other theme parks even if you’re the biggest Disney fan out there–Universal and Busch Gardens are pretty fun.)

They don’t tell you that Wishes will always give you chills.

They don’t tell you that going to House of Blues is a must, at least once. (Except now you must be 21+ to get in; sorry young padawans)

They don’t tell you that work will be difficult some days but that your friends at work will always make it better.

They don’t tell you that you’ll develop a crush or two, and sometimes it’ll work out and sometimes it won’t.

They don’t tell you that your friends, though, will become the backbone of your program. You will literally spend night and day with them, whether they’re your roommates or coworkers.

They don’t tell you that everyone you work with becomes your second family, and that, if you’re lucky, they’ll always be there for you.

They don’t tell you that you will want every piece of Disney merchandise ever created, ears and light sabers included.

They don’t tell you that Transtar is a NIGHTMARE. (If you have a car, you are blessed. If you have friends with cars, you are blessed. If you don’t have either…make some friends really fast or may the odds be ever in your favor.)

They don’t tell you that meeting your favorite characters over and over again will never get old.

They don’t tell you that being The Rebel Spy is life changing.

They don’t tell you that going to the parks alone can be really nice sometimes. Therapeutic, even.

They don’t tell you that the parks are really amazing photography subjects and that taking a picture of the same thing is worth doing because no two pictures ever look the same. (And that’s why I have a million pictures of Cinderella Castle, various firework shows, Festival of Fantasy, Spaceship Earth, and the Hollywood Tower Hotel.)

They don’t tell you that getting pixie dust is always the answer to any problem. (But be warned; you will be permanently pixie dusted for life. That glitter is hard to get out.)

They don’t tell you that playing in the parks when it’s raining is actually the best because as long as you have a poncho, you’re golden. (Besides, we all know it rains for like, .5 seconds when it rains in Florida, anyway.)

They don’t tell you that a mental breakdown is possible and highly likely, because the stress can get to you. But that’s okay; it happens to the best of us.

They don’t tell you that you get homesick even though you’re having the time of your life.

They don’t tell you that you’ll make some mistakes, but it’s part of growing up.

They don’t tell you that the program will make you a better person.

They don’t tell you that closing a park is the best thing ever (because who doesn’t want pictures on an empty main street?)

They don’t tell you that you’ll memorize the words/lyrics to things like Festival of Fantasy, Celebrate the Magic, Wishes, Tower of Terror and The Haunted Mansion…or maybe that’s just me?

They don’t tell you that you’ll meet people from all over the country and world and catch the travel bug. (Because making friends from all over means not having to pay for a hotel when you travel, which is perfect.)

They don’t tell you that even though you’re the one who is supposed to be making magic, the guests will surprise you some days by making magic for you, whether it be getting a hug from a little princess or getting told that you made a whole family’s vacation by being so engaging and kind to them.

They don’t tell you that graduating from the program is bittersweet.

They don’t tell you that the last week is the hardest and that there is no way to prepare for it.

They don’t tell you that the last few shifts you work with everyone will be emotional.

They don’t tell you that you’ll cry pretty much every day that week. And yes, even when you think you’ve cried all the tears you can cry, you cry some more.

They don’t tell you that the last night of work is filled with hugs, plenty of pictures and promising to keep in touch. (And seriously, keep in touch. You’ll regret it if you don’t.)

They don’t tell you that the last time you visit each park will be hard because you can’t imagine a life where getting up in the morning and deciding to go ride Tower of Terror before work is not a thing.

They don’t tell you to take an obnoxious amount of pictures. Yes, it’s wonderful to live in the moment, but it’s also wonderful to have something to look at once your program ends to remember the amazing time you had.

They don’t tell you that the last time you go to Magic Kingdom with everyone will be the worst night you’ve ever spent in Magic Kingdom.

They don’t tell you that you’ll hold onto your friends for dear life as Celebrate the Magic starts.

They don’t tell you that trying to sing along to Wishes and bawl your eyes out at the same time will result in the saddest, but sweetest, eruption of giggles ever.

They don’t tell you that throwing your graduation ears into the air and trying to get a picture of it is actually kinda extremely difficult but also makes for some of the funniest fail pictures ever.

They don’t tell you that the moment you say goodbye, you’re already wishing you could hit the rewind button and start all over again.

And, lastly, they don’t tell you that this is a once in a lifetime experience, and that no matter what happens, it’s one of the best journeys you will ever go on. So cherish every moment, live in the present, be prepared to lose sleep, go on adventures, step out of your comfort zone, make connections and dare to dream ❤

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Find Your #DisneySide at #StarWarsWeekends

The month of May brings us a variety of things. Flowers (courtesy of April showers), the end of school (for those of us in college), graduation (congratulations class of 2015!) and beautiful weather (for the most part).

But…what May brings us at the Walt Disney World resort is an immersive experience that you cannot get anywhere else.

Star. Wars. Weekends.

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Whether you are a super fan or someone who is just getting into the famous saga, Disney does not disappoint, and this year is bound to break past records for attendance and sales.

Sunday concluded weekend 3 out of 5, with two more weekends of Star Wars fun to be had by all. And if you haven’t been yet…well…I’m going to tell you why going at least once will be worth your while.

1) Characters

Everyone loves characters; Little kids, big kids and even bigger kids (aka adults) love to get a picture and get some one on one time with their favorite characters, and Star Wars Weekends is chock full of them. You have Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Chip and Dale dressed as some of your favorite SW characters (which goes over really well with little kids who may not be as into the movies as their parents!) and then, of course, you have your classic SW characters. There are character meet and greets set up throughout the park where you can meet them, and some of them walk around the Coke bottle area near the former Studio Backlot Tour (still bitter about this) entrance. There are also two character dining experiences you can choose from: Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater where you will meet classic Star Wars characters, and Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood & Vine where you will meet Mickey and his pals.

If neither of those appeal to you, wait in the hot sun to meet your favorites, you must.

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2) Merchandise

What would a special event be without LIMITED EDITION MERCHANDISE?! To answer that question, the event would be lame. Super lame. But thankfully, Disney goes above and beyond in the merchandise department for SWW, and this year may be the best yet. Darth’s Mall has been a staple at SWW for many years and is normally housed in the sound stage building directly next to Toy Story Midway Mania. However, with the Backlot Tour space being vacant (and again, still bitter) and the former home of Darth’s Mall being occupied, Disney decided to put Darth’s Mall in the backlot area, and it’s bigger and better than ever. Darth’s Mall is made up of two locations: Watto’s Grotto and X-Wing Collectibles. Prop Shop (directly next to the Mike and Sulley meet and greet area) is also considered part of the shop complex, but you’ll find more of your normal Star Wars merchandise in this store. Watto’s Grotto (which I got to work in!) houses your soft line merchandise (clothing, including Her Universe merchandise by Ashley Eckstein), toys, build your own droid and build your own light saber stations, a create your own name tag area, pins, magicbands and autographed photographs.  X-Wing Collectibles, as the name suggests, houses all of your limited edition merchandise and more pricey merchandise, such as artwork, figurines, and Dooney and Bourke. In addition, there is a new stein and popcorn bucket available this year–Boba Fett in stein form and Han Solo in Carbonite in popcorn bucket form.  There is a little something for everyone, no matter what your level of love is for Star Wars.

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3) Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience

Starting at 4pm, a rather large portion of The Backlot Express is transformed into the Rebel Hangar, which is new to SWW this year. Indulge in delectable small plates, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcholic) and desserts while in a nicely themed atmosphere. You may even receive a visit from some characters, so keep your eyes peeled! The addition of this dining experience begs the question: Will Disney add a permanent Star Wars dining experience if they add a Star Wars area to the park? It would certainly be popular whether it was quick or table service, and I’m sure it’s something they’ve already thought about. Nevertheless, if you are able to snag a reservation (because I don’t think they take walk ins), the Rebel Hangar is a unique experience and one worth having. Oh, and don’t forget to try the blue milk 😉

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4) A Parade in DHS

One reason why I love SWW is because Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets a parade! Well, they call it a motorcade, but still, anything is better than nothing! Starting at 11pm, the celebrity guests make their way down Hollywood Boulevard with the help of Mickey and his friends and classic Star Wars characters. They all gather onstage for a few photo opportunities as James Arnold Taylor goes through a run down of all of the events taking place throughout the day. If you didn’t wait since the night before to get a ticket to meet your favorite celebrity, this is the best chance you have to get a good picture of them.

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5) FIREWORKS

Fantasmic! is great and all, but I have always been and will always be a fireworks display loving girl; that’s why Wishes is my favorite nighttime show at Disney. However, yet again, DHS has me in love with their Star Wars themed fireworks. Symphony In The Stars is six minutes of pure bliss, and my only complaint is that I wish it were longer! The music and fireworks fit perfectly together and keep the guests engaged from start to finish, making it one of the best fireworks displays Disney World has to offer. Be sure to get a good spot well in advance though–at least an hour/an hour and a half before it starts. My suggestion is in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard right past where the ice cream cart is. You can see the screen/stage pretty well and you’re in the perfect spot for pictures/video.

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Whether you’re part of the rebellion or the dark side, Star Wars Weekends has a little something for everyone.

Besides, you get to play around with a light saber and battle people. What more could you possibly ask for?

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You’re Gonna See It’s Our Destiny

Today would have marked one month until the end of my college program here at Disney.

Instead, today marks one month until a majority of my best friends leave and embark on new journeys, and I am beyond upset about it.

I was always told that the best years of my life would be spent during the four years of my college career, but my college career has been filled with tons of turbulence and detours. It’s hard to have the best years of your life when you move away from all of your friends and have to start over in a new school…twice.

I’ve always tried to make the best of it, but at some point I decided that the best years of my life would be after college.

That is, until I started the Disney College Program.

This has been, by far, one of the best years of my life. The friends I have made here are the friends I will have for life–I am SURE of it. I will be flying to Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan and Texas in the coming years, and I will be driving down to Coral Springs, Fla. and driving up to Bradenton, Fla. to visit six of the most amazing ladies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

My program would not be what it is without them. Through all of the tears, the breakdowns, the upsets, the laughter, the goofiness, the sheer happiness…they have been there. They’ve listened to my ridiculous rants, laughed at all of my attempted jokes, held me when words could not be found, and given me a reason to be excited to go to work every single day.

My heart is literally breaking as I write this, because I know that time is running out. I know that one month from today, four of them will leave, and I will be devastated. I know that I will hold onto them for dear life before letting them go and having to continue my program without them. But I also know this:

If nothing else, doing this internship was the best decision I ever made because I met them. The perks are great, the pay is alright, the connections are awesome, and the work location isn’t SO terrible. But the six girls that have become my family…they top the list of why this program was the best thing to ever happen to me.

So, with this last month upon us, I’m excited to make every moment count. I’m prepared to lose sleep. I’m prepared to be on the go A LOT. I’m prepared for long drives. I’m prepared for so many pictures. I’m prepared for laughs, smiles, and tears. I’m prepared to make memories that will last a lifetime with the girls who have stolen my heart.

If you need a reason to apply to the DCP, this is it…right here. Apply because the friendships you make here are long lasting; they are bonds that cannot be broken.

Katie, Abby, Denning, Erin, Katherine and Mary…this one’s for you. Now let’s have some magical moments and make these last 30 days count ❤ #WODSquad

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Having Adventures in the Great Wide, Somewhere…

Two posts in two days?! I am spoiling you guys 😉

But I did promise to share some of my fun adventures that I’ve had so far on my program, and I always keep my promises.

So, without further ado, it’s time for DCP Adventures with The Theme Park Princess ❤

1) My coworkers are some of the most amazing women I have ever met, and I LOVE spending time with them. About a month ago, six of us (plus a few other people) went to breakfast at Trails End, located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge and Campground. Trails End is a country themed restaurant that offers an all you can eat breakfast buffet (so delicious and SO worth it!). This breakfast was the first time we all really got to know each other, and we bonded over good food, funny stories and our ever present awkwardness. To say we’ve been inseparable ever since would be an understatement; not only do I see them all the time at work, but we also have a ton of ‘WOD Squad’ dates and sleepovers. I can’t get enough of these girls! That was the day I realized I had made friends for life, and I will be so sad to see the majority of them leave in May 😦

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2) You would think that because I am beyond obsessed with Disney, an annual pass holder AND a cast member that I would have gone to every Disney park in Orlando. Oddly enough…you would be wrong! Up until a few weeks ago, I had NEVER been to a Disney water park! Luckily, my roommate and I changed that and we went to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon! I’ve only ever been to one other water park, and it’s a very small one right by my house in Naples, Fla., so it really doesn’t compare. But I loved every minute of being at Typhoon! I loved the wave pool (even though I got knocked down every time), I loved all of the water coasters and the lazy river was SO relaxing! The great thing about the water park is that you can get a lot done in a short amount of time and still have the rest of the day to do other things, like visit Downtown Disney 😉 If you’ve never visited a Disney water park, I highly suggest making that part of your next trip! Now I just have to conquer Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach!

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3) Aside from my obvious love for theme parks, I also love baseball! I grew up going to Yankees games and when I moved down here to Florida, I obviously stopped going as frequently. Last week, I went to my first baseball game in about two years, and seeing my team play in the most magical place on earth was a wonderful experience! The next day I went to yet another baseball game, this time it was the Braves against the Marlins, and while I’m not a fan of either team, I just love watching the sport and being with my friends. We also went to Hollywood Studios that night (after a much needed nap), and I got to experience my friend riding all the major attractions for the first time. I love watching someone’s face the first time you drop on Tower of Terror, or when you get launched on Rockin’ Roller Coaster. Baseball and Disney are two of my favorite things, so the fact that I got to combine both over the course of two days was truly magical. (Plus, I got to see my roommate hard at work since she works at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex!)

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These are just a few of my favorite adventures so far, so I promise to have another post in the near future! But none of these amazing experiences would’ve been possible without the wonderful group of people featured in this post, so a huge thank you to Katherine, Katie, Erin, Denning, Abby, Deanna, Tyler, Ryan and Jake for making my program as fun as it has been. You guys are the best.

Here’s to many more memories to be made at the most magical place on earth! ❤

Adventure Is Out There

I’d like to start by apologizing for being so MIA since I moved to Orlando to participate in the Disney College Program, but I am about to make up for it right now!

I did begin my program on the 19th of January, and it has been a challenging, but highly rewarding, experience thus far. I am living in Chatham Square with four lovely roommates and I am working merchandise at the World of Disney at Downtown Disney, which is the largest Disney store in the world.

*pauses for dramatic effect*

My work location has been the most challenging part so far, mainly because the store is composed of 11 rooms. This means that I have had A LOT to learn, and you only get about a week of training (or, really, four-five days). I will be the first to admit that I had a hard time the weeks following my first initial week (where you go through Casting, Traditions, and get a feel for everything before you start on the job training) trying to find my place and I wondered if I had made the right decision in coming here. I felt overwhelmed from all of the training plus trying to keep up with my classes, and I felt excluded because my hours at work differed from all of my roommate’s hours, so I barely saw them.

But then something happened:

I remembered I am at Walt Disney World completing an internship that thousands of college students around the world would give up anything to do.

I started to find the positives at work, whether it be interacting with more guests or reaching out to and getting to know more coworkers. In fact, some of the best times I’ve had here so far have been with my coworkers.  Even on days when it’s not that great, I know that there are four magnificent parks waiting for me on the days that I’m off, and that alone makes the experience worth it.

This adventure I am on is one I was meant to take, and I am sure of that. The lessons that I am learning and the experiences I am having are going to shape who I am and help me become the best version of myself.

Is it scary? Absolutely.

Is it tiring? Of course.

Can it be frustrating at times? Yes.

But the friendships I am making, the magical moments I am having and am able to create…they make it all worth it. I mean, where else in the world can I go casually visit Magic Kingdom before work or have breakfast with the Fab Five?

Adventure is out there, you just have to go for it and don’t look back ❤

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*I will do a post about some of the fun things I’ve done since I’ve gotten here soon, and if anyone has any questions about the DCP I can do a question/answer post too, just let me know!*

Trust The Magic of Beginnings

“And with every passing hour, I’m so glad I left my tower!”

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Okay, so maybe I’m not leaving a tower, per say, but I AM embarking on a new journey in just 10 days!

Next Sunday, I drive up to Orlando with my mom, sister and two best friends. And next Monday…I CHECK IN FOR MY DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM!

Even though I’m super nervous to start my journey in the DCP, I am also SUPER excited!

I have spent so many years holding myself back and not going after things I wanted because I was scared to fail. I can’t tell you how many things I let pass me by because I couldn’t let myself take a risk. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that living in fear is no way to live your life.

Working for Disney is something I am passionate about, and up until I decided to apply for the DCP, it felt like an unattainable goal. I thought, “There is NO way I could ever work for Disney.” But, the moment I was accepted into the program…a whole new world of opportunities (see what I did there?) opened itself up to me, and now…I am unstoppable.

I am excited to work and live at Disney, but I am even more excited to find out if this is truly where I’m meant to be. This new adventure will teach me about myself and help me figure out the steps I need to take in order to make my dreams a reality.

I plan on working hard, playing hard and networking hard. This is more than just an internship at Disney for me–this is the beginning of a lifelong journey, and I plan to make it worth my while.

One of my favorite quotes is: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Another quote that works perfectly here is: Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.

I am finally, after so many years, going after something I really want…and I am so proud of myself. I refuse to let fear hold me back anymore.

I hope that if you choose to follow my journey, I can inspire you to go after YOUR dreams, because you’ll never know what’s possible if you don’t try.

Beginnings are just so magical and full of promise, aren’t they? ❤

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