How The Disney College Program Changed my Life

 

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On January 3rd 2012 I boarded a plane with two huge suitcases to start my journey in Florida. I was nervous/ excited/ happy/ scared/ sad pretty much every emotion possible. I was excited to move to Florida to work in the happiest place on Earth, nervous meet the five girls I would be living with for the next 5 months and sad to be leaving my awesome fiancé. The next few days flew by as I visited the parks with my family and thought about how amazing my new life would be. Finally it was time to start my internship. I woke up early the first day to meet my roomies and get a good apartment. We stood outside in the not so freezing cold air and waited to find out where we would be living and what our jobs were. I was placed in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, in their bell services department some of my roommates worked inside the actual parks and one lucky girl got to work in Downtown Disney doing the hair for the little princesses. After that first night I was so happy to be in Florida and relived that all my roommates looked like their Facebook picture and seemed to be normal.


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I can’t say enough about the next 5 months. With the Disney College Program you work full time, so 32-40 hours a week. You aren’t required to participate in school, so I decided to take the semester off to focus on the work. When you are not working you are free to do whatever you like, our apartment had a gym and pool, but everyone did the same thing on days off…. visit the parks! Since we were ‘cast members’ (Disney for employee)  we were able to get into all four Disney parks for free! Trust me there is no way to get tired of Disney parks! As a cast member you become spoiled, I won’t wait for like 20 minuets for a ride, I know the best times to go into the park, I am very good at avoiding tourist groups. There are also the two water parks we were able to get into for free on off-season and discounted ticket in peak season. Other that the park there is Downtown Disney a shopping area filled with store and restaurants and plenty of clubs for 18 and older.


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Disney not only gave me the opportunity to explore Florida, but also introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have ever met.  Obviously 6 girls in a 3 bedroom apartment is a little crazy, but I was blessed with the most amazing girls. Looking back my biggest regret of the time is not spending more time with them. Nick (My now husband) visited in March and I got depressed after he left, I spent a lot of time alone in my room missing him. That was a huge mistake; I would purposely leave myself out and then later would have hurt feelings that I wasn’t that close to them. Still we hung out a lot and had some great times. They even flew to Arizona from all over the country to attend my wedding.


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Now, working for a company as amazing and well known as Disney looks good on applications, but that’s not why I did it. Disney taught me how to work hard, but more importantly it gave me the opportunity to explore myself. It was my first time away from home and the comfort of familiarity. I was forced to do my own grocery shopping and budgeting and wake up for work on my own.  It forced me to make friends, because I knew literally no one when I got there. It pushes you to grow and learn in ways you never thought possible.  Disney showed me who I am and what I am capable of, and I will forever be grateful for that.


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