November 20, 2012

Days of Disney - Life as a College Program Intern

Having a mouse for my first boss is a pretty crazy experience to claim...
  and there are a million reasons why I thank God every day for where I am and how I got here...
but it is a really strange thing to still feel so strongly like I left a piece of my heart in Florida. 
I only lived there 6 months, but those months and memories shaped me so tremendously. 

      Having the amazing opportunity to see my old roommates and then some other Disney friends over fall break stirred up a bunch of feelings inside of me. I would never do another CP internship again, I finished that race and that ship has sailed, but there are days when I miss the Disney perks so very much. Getting off work early because it rained and then running over to Epcot to watch the fireworks. Cream cheese filled pretzels from Tomorrowland. Non-stop opportunities for adventure. I was spoiled in Florida with a constant environment for an exciting life. Even when I went to my grandparents house to get away for a weekend, I was driving through orange groves to get to their house in the backwoods of Florida, complete with afternoons on the porch watching alligators and otters. I can honestly say I never see that combination outside of a zoo in Oklahoma!

But mostly, I miss pictures like the one above. Hanora, Alicia, me, and Brittany. Three girls that I might not ever see again...but we were representing Building 13. Lots of crazy memories. Sonic booms. Alliances against the VWAD. Late night dance parties and little mermaid costumes. 

     One of the hardest things for me to realize is that I was literally one of millions of college kids who have walked the same steps and taken the same pictures. Over 25,000 students have come and gone from Disney in the 14 months since my last day of work. Since I've been gone there have been approximately 12-24 other people who have lived in my apartment, 1,500 firework shows have occurred, 7.5 million bags of the popcorn I made have been sold, and a bazillion new memories have been made. 
I was one in a million when I worked for Disney, and yet, it defines a huge part of my life. My work ethic was drilled into me every time I crawled out of bed exhausted from a 12 hr day of parade vending and drove to work an hour early in time to go to costuming to start another 12 hour day. While taking a Business Ethics test on Friday one of the questions mentioned Disney and their Traditions training. I had to stop in the middle of my test and just smile, because for every other student in the room it was just another question, and yet for me, I can picture the room that Traditions took place in and the first moments when I walked into the building. Other people read the words and I remembered the experience. And yet, I'm one of millions. That's humbling. 

The lessons I learned from my Disney days have defined me. I learned how to treat people, how to have a good face even when you're exhausted and treated poorly, how to work harder than you think you can, how to accept situations you cannot change, and how to enjoy the smallest of moments...because they tend to be the most important ones. I'll never forget the very first night that I went to Magic Kingdom as a Cast Member, before my first day of work. I went with Kirsten, Christina, and Hanora, three girls I barely knew at the time. We rode the carousel and got pixie dusted. I made a wish when I got pixie dusted, because that's what you do when you go to Disney, and it came true. Memories were made, perseverance was discovered, and friendships to last a lifetime were established. 
I accepted that my Disney days were over a long time ago, no need to worry about that. But there are nights when I miss it more than normal, nights when I see pictures of friends visiting Disney and I recognize every single spot they're standing in because I worked in those locations. I get homesick for a life that I don't miss, but I loved. 

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