It’s been 4 years since I did the International College Program at Disney World. In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago. Something that might be a fleeting memory. Now I’m pursuing my career after finishing my degrees and Disney still holds a little piece of my heart. I’m heading back this summer and I couldn’t be more excited! I’m honestly screaming about it inside!
So i thought I’d compile my list of things you’ll miss you when go home and Post-Disney sets in… Suddenly food doesn’t taste as good, your senses aren’t completely overloaded and life doesn’t seem as magical. The only way to get back to that feeling is to incessantly watch Disney movies and listen to the Moana soundtrack over and over again.
When you’re at Disney World you can go get a Mickey Bar or a Dole Whip whenever you feel like it. It’s easy to grab a bus to Downtown Disney to get a Ghirardelli sundae. You could spend your entire program eating and not try everything! Besides snacks there are so many restaurants that you can eat at! With numerous discounts for Cast members available, there is literally an overload of food availabilities to choose from.
The Friends You Make
From Day 1, it sinks in that you are in the Happiest Place on Earth. Everyone starts chatting and talking from the beginning. It’s not hard to make friends, and you find people that you will spend countless hours with each summer. I made so many friends during my program, and even though I don’t keep up with them anymore, it’s still fun to see where their lives have taken them since.
It soon becomes apparent how close you’ll become with your coworkers. With mine, we did regular inservices to refresh training skills and to build our team. We were in a safety role so we had to always have each other’s backs. Soon we were literally hanging out all the time, going out and getting dressed in each other’s cars so we could go from our 10pm end time to go dancing.
You will completely and utterly think that you are the number one expert on the place you work. It will also hold a special place in your heart, so if someone ever says something bad about it you will feel instantly possessive! A little piece of me dies when I hear someone compare MY resort to other luxury Disney World resorts, because obviously mine is the best.
The Disney accommodation is pretty barebones, but it becomes the place you eat and sleep…and smile and laugh… and have Christmas in July!… and cry and complain… and watch the intense thunderstorms that plague Orlando. It becomes your home away from home.
When else in life do you have the option to just jump on a bus and go ride Space Mountain? Or go back in time on Tower of Terror. I think that’s enough said. I’m such a huge ride person that I missed them sooo much.
I live in Canada now, and I miss the Orlando weather more than a lot of things. The sun and the crazy thunderstorms were always crazy. There was one day where lightning hit so close to me all the hair on my arms stood straight up! You never experience weather that changes so suddenly as Florida. As a lifeguard, I was able to see it all the time, how the sun would turn to a downpour in the blink of an eye.
Nothing really beats the smile that goes across your face when you get a picture with a character. But really what never gets old is watching the little kids around get their pictures with their idols. It’s like watching their imagination come alive.
As much as you might hate your uniform, I’m looking at you giant white shorts. You’ll miss putting it on every morning and spending your time making magical moments. Honestly though, every single costume is designed to be inclusive and fits perfectly in the area it’s in. You’ll miss being part of the magic.
The Disney Point
Ok, maybe this one you won’t miss. But you definitely won’t ever forget it. How many of you still point the Disney way?
The Disney Values
Disney instills a group of core values in you, that are similar to brainwashing, but you keep them with you forever. They create a sense of unity, of inclusivity, of happiness and of magic. You’ll never ever find another workplace that even comes close to the values and culture that Disney has.
The Disney Way of Life
Disney is truly a way of life, and you’ll know it every second that you’re on your program. The minute it ends, it seems like everything comes crashing down as you’re thrust into the real world. But Disney is a way of life, that you can continue forever. Your Disney program teaches you to live in the moment.
If there’s one place that can teach you that magic is real, it’s Disney. Happiness, laughter, kindness, unity and combine in the most remarkable and unforgettable way. Everything seems brighter and more colourful. It’s perfection in a broken world. It’s just pure and simple magic. EVERY SINGLE DAY.