Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm so uncreative at the moment...I can't even think of a cutesy name for this blog.

18 days into my program…and only one blog. This is too typical for me.

SO much has been going on… but it’s hard to compress every moment into a blog. Maybe I should just carry a video camera at all times, because trying to explain this experience just doesn’t do it justice. There have been moments that have made me laugh, like when my fellow trainers and I were forced to walk around with Big Al and Shaker Bear from the Country Bear Jamboree (if you don’t know who they are…google them. Trust me, no child wants their autograph). There have been moments that made me want to cry, like last night, when I got cussed out for turning folks away from Buzz Lightyear, (even though the park was closed and Buzz had a dinner date with Jessie!!) and there have been moments that have made me absolutely melt. Like seeing sweet little princesses’ beautiful faces when they get to meet Tinkerbell, or when the characters choose to spend extra time and effort to make the Make-A-Wish families’ visit extra special. Every moment has been memorable, and somehow, every day gets better and better.

I used to worry that being on the other side of the curtain would change my view of Disney World. That working here would ruin the magic of it all. Even though I am on the other side of the Disney experience, and I see how that magic is made, its’ all still very real to me. Especially since I have been able to be a part of what makes Disney so unique, and special, and famous around the world. Being here and seeing the impact that this place has on people lets me know that what we do truly makes a difference. Every time I ride the bus towards the Magic Kingdom, I still get giddy like a 5-year-old. I know its totally lame, but I still think Disney World is one of the happiest places on earth.

However, as much as I love it here, it is not home. I think the best thing about this experience is that it is temporary. I know I will learn a lot from my time here, and I am really looking forward to the benefits it provides for me in the future, but I know that there is a very promising future for me elsewhere. This is just a small chapter in my life and my goal is to make the absolute most of it, because in the blink of an eye it will be just a memory, and it'll be back to reality!

So on that note, my plan is to start jotting down special memories when they happen so that I can post them here. so be on the look out!! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

orlando life.

My life as of late.

Wow, what an incredible experience already! Its hard to believe I have been here in Orlando two weeks already. Sometimes it feels like a couple of days, but sometimes it feels like months!! I feel so comfortable and happy here in the house of mouse. Disney has always been a very important part of my life, and I was incredibly thrilled to have the opportunity to work here, but I had no idea how natural and at home I would feel here as well, even a week into my program. I honestly feel that I have been called here for specific purposes and I am prepared to let the Lord lead me through these next few months!

So, for those wondering just what exactly I am up to here at Walt Disney World, I will briefly go into the living, working, and learning aspects of the College Program!

So, a little about the new digs…
I live in a three bedroom apartment in Patterson Courts, an apartment leased out by the Walt Disney Company which only College Program students can live in. I have five roommates: Rachel (who is my immediate roommate) lives in Michigan along with Kayla, who lives in Michigan as well. We also have Lauren from Atlanta, Sam from California, and Janelle from New Mexico. I am so thankful for each and every one of my roommates!! They have made the past week so much FUN! If not for them, I would have probably cried from homesickness and lonliness, but instead, we have spent every single night together in our living room laughing until we cried and sharing heart-to-hearts, or spent time exploring the parks at night after work. Getting to know each and every one of them has been such a pleasure!! We already have plans to visit each other in their hometowns once the program is completed! :o)

Now…on to the work!

My role in WDW is in the entertainment department. I am a Character Attendant! I honestly could not have picked a more exciting, interesting, fun and rewarding job!!! This job could not be more perfect for me. Basically, what I do is hang out with the world renowned Disney characters and assist our guests while they wait in line for an autograph or a photo! All day every day is devoted to giving guests a magical encounter with Mickey and his friends! Training has been such a riot! I’ve made lots of friends, sang a ton of Disney tunes, and seen so much in the past three days alone! I’ve learned so many priceless secrets, bits of information, and tips about entertainment and quality guest service that truly put Disney in to a league of their own. There is honestly something so special in each person that works here. Walt Disney once said that “you reach a point where you don’t work for money anymore”. And that statement seriously does continue to prevail in WDW. I believe that the people who choose to work here truly just want the guests’ happiness. This is after all the happiest place on earth.

So, since there are about 235837969847 stories that I could share from my past week, I am going to keep this blog as short as possible and not post any for the moment. I’m far too tired. But don’t worry, stories and blogs will be coming soon, and more often. Settling in has been a bit more hectic and crazy than I could have ever imagined!! But please stay tuned, I promise there are more exciting stories on the way. Ta-ta for now.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

disney disney disney.

My first few days in Orlando...

Wow, what a whirlwind! A very long car ride, a total blast playing in Magic & Animal Kingdom, and a very sad goodbye later, I now live in the happiest place on earth. Walt Disney World. Now, to share a little bit of what’s going on this week.

January 12, 2011:

Its move in day!! Jordan Keiff arrived at our resort the night before and neither of us could sleep due to nerves and excitement! We packed up, headed over to Vista Way Apartments and sat in the 40 degree weather while waiting impatiently to check in. Jordan and I both got assigned to live in the Patterson Apartments, which we were pretty pumped about! Only 2 years old, and absolutely GORGEOUS, these apartments are referred to as the “nursing homes” due to their quiet nature, but to me, that’s a perk!! After a very long check in and a total maze through the casting area, we found out where we will be working. I will be a character attendant who will be moving from park to park and Jordan will be selling food and drinks in Typhoon Lagoon (until it gets warmer, he will be in Hollywood Studios). We were both thrilled and left to unpack and get settled into our new apartments!! Once back at the room, Luke, Emily and Shane had already done a great job bringing all of my junk into the apartment. I don’t think I could have moved in without them!! And one by one, the roommates came in!! We have Kayla and Rachel from Michigan, Sam is from California, and Janelle is from New Mexico. We are still awaiting the check in of Laura, from Atlanta, who is still snowed in…yes, in ATLANTA! So anywho, we all began the unpacking process and I prepared to say goodbye to the Holloway/Houston bunch. Saying goodbye was absolutely miserable…and once I finally stopped crying, I got a call from Luke which went a little something like this: “Hey, surprise, we are staying in Orlando one more night and we get to do this whole sad awful goodbye process again tomorrow!” Which honestly, as hard as I knew that would be, I could not have been happier…I wasn’t ready to be alone just yet!! So that night we went out to the Universal Studio boardwalk and spent time together, came home, and fell asleep to Aladdin…

January 13, 2011

The next morning began the Disney experience. Boring meetings and a whole day to do whatever we wanted, like take random scary cabs to WalMart. I can already tell that this program will be anything but boring.

Sooo.. the next day…

January 14, 2011

Traditions began! We woke up bright and early because apparently, Disney likes to do EVERYTHING at very unreasonable times like 5:45 am. My roommates dad began referring to Mickey as “Nazi Mouse”. But in all seriousness Traditions was a really amazing experience and worth the early wake up. Traditions is basically the beginning of the program. You begin to learn more about the company and some of the very coveted secrets of Walt Disney World. I’m not quite sure how many secrets I am allowed to expose about the Disney training process, so if you want to know any secrets about the company, I’d say google would be a fabulous source! After a long day of traditions, my roommates and I enjoyed the night at downtown Disney. And let me just say…working for Disney has some awesome perks. Discounts and no lines at planet Hollywood? Yes please!

Aaaaaanywho, moving right along….

January 15, 2011

Today was another very early morning and a loooong day of training, filled with more fun, new friends, and even more information and secrets about the company!

I can’t even explain how much I already love living here and how excited I am to begin more training… But I do miss home. However, I’m not going to lie, I’m not quite sure that the reality of the situation has fully hit me yet. As much as I miss my home, my family and friends, and just my life in general, I feel like I’m just here playing for a few days or visiting for a long weekend. It hasn’t really hit me yet that I actually LIVE here and I’m not going home for a long time. 5 months is so short, but at the same time so long. As excited as I am to be here, I do have apprehensions. I know there will be good and bad days, however, I do feel a peace about my decision to live, work, and play here. I know that the Lord has huge plans for my life and I have already seen Him working and moving!! I know this program will teach me a lot, and I am more than ready to begin this new chapter of life!!

Until next time…

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Orlando Bound....FINALLY!

The Holiday Season of 2010 was definitely one for the history books. New friends, old friends, Thibodaux Family, Redneck Georgia family, and a few rekindled relationships; I can honestly say that this Christmas and New Years has been one of the most fun and exciting times of my life!

But just like that, the holiday season has come and gone, and a new chapter has begun. Today I leave to begin my Orlando adventure. I have been waiting so long for this moment that it doesn’t even seem real. After all, I’ve been dreaming of this since middle school. I woke up this morning,and the reality finally hit me. This was the last time I would spend the night in Thibodaux for quite a while. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I am very ready. Although I know goodbyes will be hard, I know that this opportunity has been brought before me and the Lord has some amazing things planned in these next few months!!

For everyone back home, I will be writing, taking pictures, and of course keeping in touch with everyone as much as humanly possible, but know I will be missing you all more than words can say!

I keep hearing that my time at Disney will be magical like a fairy tale. But I don’t know about that…I’ve been so overwhelmingly blessed, I kinda feel like I’m already living in one.

So until later…M-I-C…see you real soon.