My Disney College Program Experience: Looking Back

One year ago today I embarked on the biggest journey of my life up until that point, I packed up my car and drove to Florida for the Disney College Program. I had heard about other people’s experiences with the program a number of times, but now it was finally my turn to live the Disney life. The Disney College Program is an amazing opportunity and a once in a lifetime experience that can’t be compared to anything else. As amazing as it was to live and work and play at Walt Disney World for five months, the greatest part about the Disney College Program for me was the people I met and connected with because of it.

On day one I was so nervous to meet my roommates, we had talked beforehand for weeks and gotten to known each other, but nothing is more nerve racking than meeting people who you’ve been talking to online in person. If you’ve done the DCP or know anyone that has you may have heard the roommate horror stories, especially being a girl living with 3-5 other girls, you can only imagine the awful things that can happen. One of the girls I met on my program had the most awful roommates, the touched her stuff, they were rude, they told her on a daily basis that she should self-terminate and go home. They were just plain mean. I’m not quite sure how, but I hit the roommate jackpot.

Zoe, from our first awkward online encounter (which basically entailed of ‘Oh you like the show friends? I like the show friends! Wanna be roommates?’) to absolutely every moment on our program that we spent together, I can’t even put into words how thankful I am that I found you. Like no, I’m going to get far too emotional I refuse. I honestly don’t know how I got so lucky to have found a best friend because of this program but I am so grateful that I did because you made my program what it was.

Laura. I bet you’re already crying. Again I don’t know how I was so lucky as to have our little lives collide, I can’t even describe how much I enjoyed jamming out to Justin Bieber and One Direction with you, kissing you on the cheek in the parks and getting strange looks, and just overall getting to know you. I miss you randomly crying when you thought about Walt, or Mary Poppins, or many, many, many other things that would result in immediate waterworks. Also thank you for being the mother of wayho. WAYHO.

Mary. Again, honestly I don’t even want to imagine what my program would have been without you being a part of it, I love you to the moon and back and I’m so incredibly thankful that the universe somehow put us all together. Can we all just call out and go to Freddy’s and then sit in the apartment because we’re too afraid of getting caught calling out? Okay, thanks.

Alexis and Kaylee, again I’m so thankful that we all got to live together (in three different apartments) and experience and share so much of our programs together. I met so many people who didn’t bond with their roommates at all, but I am so glad that I spent the majority of my program with you six.

Drew. You were basically an honorary roommate. I love you so much as a human being and I’m so thankful that I met you and that you became such good friends with all of us. Thank you for being our seventh dwarf and making us whole. Also I’m still very sorry that you were barely in any of the videos, but don’t worry I’ll always remember you as a huge part of my program.

Now it’s safe to say that I was less than thrilled when I found out my role and where I was going to be working, I couldn’t even fake being happy. I tried, I was bad at it. I do recall at least three separate occasions where I sat in the break room and held back tears because I was so upset at how “unfair my life was”. Yes, I hate me too. Working at Walt Disney World, and especially in the Disney College Program, there are many less than ideal roles, actually it’s about 90% of less than ideal roles. Not everybody gets to hang out with a princess or drive a Jungle Cruise or do something else exciting and cool. Some of us get to work in merchandise and get yelled at in many different languages and scolded about how high the prices are on a daily basis. No matter what role you get, it’s not the role that matters or makes your DCP what it is, it’s the people that you met and the bonds you create. Everyone that I worked with was amazing and my job and my program would not have been the same without them, from my fellow CPs and ICPs to the regular staff up to my leaders, I loved the staff that I got to work with and I wouldn’t have traded any of it even to get to hang out with Snow White or Belle.

Julia, truly you are one of the most special people I met in my life and I can’t imagine having worked without you. Like I actually would have had to quit or lock myself in the cooler if I didn’t get to suffer many, many nights with you by my side.

Emily and Rachel, in the beginning I thought it was just going to be the us for the entire program and that they weren’t sending us any more CPs and I honestly cried, a lot. But even if they hadn’t I would’ve been glad that I was with you guys. I love you both so much and I’m so thankful I got to spend so much time with you and hear all about your lives and annoy leaders when we should have been working.

There are so many amazing people that I worked with that I can’t go into detail about because it would literally take ages and I don’t think anyone would want to read all of that, I’m not even sure if they’ve made it this far, but if you have I commend you, but all of the amazing people I worked with are what made my program so memorable and special and I’m so lucky and thankful to have gotten to work with them and play in the parks with them. Margaret and Hunter, I love you both so much. Mean Ben, thank you for letting Julia and I drag you to Cocoa Beach with us for the sunrise. Jae and Maggie, I love you both and you made all my days at work happy ones. Gabi and Lucy, I missed you so much my entire program but I’m so glad that we got to work together for a brief time. Sarah, Holly, Angelica, Dafne, Darien, Kristen, and all my other all stars, I’m so glad of the time that we all shared and the misery we all suffered through together. Our nights at Ale House and Applebee’s are amongst some of my most fond DCP memories, and I’m so glad that we all got to rock those 1990s bowling outfits together.

Of course the glitz and the glamour of the Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World’s other exciting parks and attractions are what everyone thinks about when the thing of the DCP. While a lot of my favorite moments did happen in the parks or at work, a good portion of my greatest memories the stick out from my Disney College Program experience have nothing to do with Disney, the are driving in the car singing and talking about life, sitting around the living room watching YouTube videos, going to Celebration and dying at its cuteness, getting ice cream with my friends, and just living.

Getting to create magic for others is what brought me to the Disney College Program, but I never knew that I’d get to experience so much magic in my own life and meet so many amazing people. The Disney College Program is hard, I’m not going to lie. A lot is expected from you, very little is received by you, your hours are long and crazy and a lot of the time it feels like unfair, some people don’t treat you well because you’re just a CP, but it’s the people the win you over. I loved being able to go to the parks whenever I wanted and ride whatever and meet whoever, but it was the friends that I did it with that made it so much more memorable. I know I’ve rambled on and on about how lucky and grateful I am, but words cannot express how much love I have for all of the people that I met, lived with, and worked with. So on this anniversary of the start of my program I look back on all of the amazing memories I have with the one of a kind people I had the privilege of getting to know. The Disney College Program is something I will always look back on and smile because of how crazy and joyful and miserable an experience it was all at the same time, there is truly nothing like it, and I am so incredibly glad that I decided to do the Disney College Program Spring 2015.

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