Some Advise for the Grads

First of all, congrats! Whether it be high school, college, military or whatever else has graduations, you did it! All of your hard work paid off.

I want to share some of the things I learned over the years, mostly in college, to try to help some of you. Some lessons you will have to learn the hard way, but I hope this will give you an idea of what to watch out for. It will make you stronger, smarter, better. It will hurt, and some of that pain may take a long time to fade. And we all will react to that pain differently. Just be sure to do what is best for you.

Anyway, some food for thought:

  • Try new things. Especially if you are going the college route. Now is the time to find the things you like. Maybe swing dancing or improv. Campuses have a little bit of everything.
  • It is absolutely okay to not know what you want to do and to change your major. I started out as a creative writing major, and now I am a C.P.A. Accounting was my third major.
  • Apply for the Disney College Program! It’s fun. You will learn a lot, and it’s Disney. Do it.
  • Just because it is popular, does not mean that it is your style. Not all of us can pull off feathers in our hair, though some of us tried.
  • Alternate water when drinking! Believe me, it will save you a headache. Always have water.
  • It is perfectly fine to be the mom of the group. Groups need the mom friend for a reason. You will help them survive.
  • Learn and grow from your mistakes. There will be plenty.
  • You will come to realize who your real friends are. Beware one sided friendships, and be mindful of who stays by you when there is a rough patch. Be there for your friends as well. Also, you will be the bad friend to some. If they call you out on it, try to do better.
  • College weight gain is a real thing. Just because it is a buffet, does not mean you need to get pizza and a burger.
  • If you feel like the outcast in your friend group, maybe you need to find different one. Do find a different group if that group does not take your outcast feelings seriously.
  • You do not have to say yes to everything and please everyone. That is impossible. Again, do what is best for you.

My hardest learned lesson was toxic people. I am not a social butterfly- I have a handful of close friends and that’s it. I am mostly an introvert. But, I also felt like I should have had more friends. Been more outgoing. Basically be not me. As a result, I was the mom friend and the outcast of a friend group. I did not start out as the outcast as we were a small group, but the group expanded when I went to my DCP (no regrets there, obviously, because I am now a salaried CM), and I never really got close to the new members of the group when I got back. Those last couple years of college were hell on my mental health as I kept trying to fit in with that group. They did not treat me well, and I did not see them as toxic until I let the fact that I was the outsider consume me. I tried so hard to fix things, when I should have just let them go. Thank whatever god or goddess was watching me when I found one of my now best friends who made that last year fun and bearable. One good friend is worth more than 10 fake ones.

And family members can be toxic as well. Yes, there are different rules to handling it depending on the culture of your family and how easy it is to enforce boundaries. I had A LOT of one sided relationships with family members. And, again, it took a good friend (or several in some cases) pointing out the effect that person had on my health before I realized it. If someone is concerned about you, listen to them. A lot of times you cannot see the toxicity because you are too close. It is a hard lesson to learn without experiencing it. And I hope that you will not have to endure too much pain before you learn what is toxic to you.

So, in conclusion, the bullet pointed list is the general pieces of advise I would give to everyone. The paragraphs after were definitely more personal, but I believe that it is the biggest lesson to learn. You will have to deal with toxic people in school, work, personal life, basically everywhere. And if you cannot get rid of them, you will have to find ways to cope – i recommend having a really good friend on hand to boost you up. And if you try to tell someone they are toxic, be prepared for a world of defense mechanisms and excuses. Not everyone owns their flaws. Own yours.

I feel like this has become a hot mess of me just ranting. So, congrats again grads of 2020. Good luck in your journey, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Dreams Come True

Okay, so I know that it was been WAY too long since I have written anything, so let’s do a quick life update:

  • I survived one of the worst tax seasons ever (thank you new tax laws that no one really understands yet).
  • We went to Disney! It was a blast. I even got to experience Hollywood Studio’s 30th birthday celebration.
  • We stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter while we were there. 10/10 would definitely stay there again and recommend to everyone. Everything was amazing, especially the food.
  • I got a new job, so goodbye public accounting.
  • We are in the process of moving for that new job. In fact, I’m writing this from a hotel room as part of the relocation process.

So, what is my new job you ask?

I am super excited to say that I am a financial analyst working at Team Disney for DCL!! Guys, I work right across the street from Disney Springs. Six years after the end of my Disney College Program, I am back working for the best boss ever. It still feels surreal. This past week was my first on the job, and yes, I totally almost cried at Traditions. I may not be in a role with a lot of guest interaction, but I still get to help make the magic come to life.

Earlier this year I chose the word renaissance to define my goals and path. And, just like Disney in the 90s, I feel like this is my renaissance. I got my CPA and I am back with the company I have dreamed of all of my life. Things are only just beginning. Next steps are becoming a homeowner and getting my health goals back on track (walking around Disney World should help with that one).

Things are happening. Let’s see how far they’ll go.

Happy birthday Mickey!

The Mouse turns 90 years old today. It’s weird to think that he’s been around for almost a century.¬† The magic has been real for ninety years, guys. That’s incredible. Mickey has been there throughout so much of modern history. A world war, civil rights movement, going to the moon… And the mouse hasn’t aged a day.

I don’t have a picture of my fondest memory of Mickey. And, as a former cast member, one may think this story silly, but being a cast member doesn’t kill the magic. And there is only one Mickey Mouse.

But in the beginning of January 2013, I went to Traditions. It was the official start of my Disney College Program. There was a group of us in a classroom, and we were going over the typical orientation stuff (I still have my books from Traditions. I don’t think I will ever get rid of them). And in the middle of everything, the door to the classroom opened, and Mickey Mouse, my new boss, walked in.

I cried. I’m crying now just thinking about it, to be honest.

Mickey said hi to us and helped the cast member running traditions for a while. I don’t really remember the exact details of why, but at some point Mickey gave me a little Minnie figurine. She sits on my desk at work now, but that had to be the most magical moment of my program. Before he left, Mickey brought the cast members running Traditions our name tags. He made us official cast members.

Mickey Mouse has been a huge part of my life. He never fails to inspire magic and happiness (and tears. I cry a lot when it comes to Mickey, though part of that is from watching Fantasmic on Youtube when I know I will cry from homesickness the entire time). He will be a huge part of my future, as well. Maybe one day he will be my boss again, but at a minimum, he will be part of my home.

Happy birthday, Mr. Mouse. I can’t await to see what your future holds.

Some imagination, huh?

The Best of WDW

I’m feeling a little homesick this week, and I am more than ready for our Disney World vacation in April. So, to try to relieve some of this homesickness, I give you my rankings of various WDW Resort things. I welcome all opinions and arguments to these lists as they are my personal opinions. Also, I have only stayed at three resorts on property, so I’m not ranking those. BUT Animal Kingdom Lodge has been the best so far.

The Parks in Order of Amazingness 

Disclaimer here: the last time I went to WDW Great Movie Ride was open and Pandora was barely doing soft openings. It’s been a hot second. The water parks are not listed as I have not been to them.

  1. Hollywood Studios. I worked here, but even before that MGM was my favorite park.
  2. Magic Kingdom
  3. EPCOT
  4. Animal Kingdom

Top Five Shows to See

  1. Fantasmic (Forever will be my ultimate favorite show on the resort.)
  2. Festival of the Lion King
  3. Wishes (RIP)
  4. Illuminations
  5. Beauty and the Beast
  6. Bonus: the Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios. I’m not sure if it counts as a show, but I loved working that ice cream stand watching the kids fight Darth Vader (especially on the busy days when Darth Maul came out to “Duel of the Fates” and kids always screamed. It was great.)

Top Ten Rides (of all parks)

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean
  2. Haunted Mansion
  3. Rockin’ Roller Coaster staring Aerosmith
  4. Jungle Cruise
  5. Space Mountain
  6. Mount Everest
  7. Tower of Terror
  8. Star Tours
  9. Great Movie Ride (SUPER RIP)
  10. Universe of Energy (also RIP)

Top Character Dining Experiences

I’m going more by location here. I don’t remember all the exact names of the dining experiences.

  1. Cinderella’s Castle with the princesses
  2. Polynesian Resort with Lilo and Stitch
  3. Chef Mickey
  4. Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh
  5. Tucker House at Animal Kingdom

Best Time to be at the Parks

  1. Halloween. Hands down.
  2. Not Spring break.

Best Parades

  1. Boo to You (see above. You shouldn’t be surprised here.)
  2. Pixar Play Parade (I miss this one. Saw it everyday during my DCP.)
  3. Spectro-magic (My whole life was basically this parade until a couple years ago.)

Best Snacks

  1. Jalapeno cream cheese pretzel (honestly I don’t know if this is still available. I sold them on the Streets of America during my program. The best pretzel ever.)
  2. Mickey Pretzel
  3. Popcorn
  4. Funnel cake
  5. Mickey ice cream bar

Best Sit Down Restaurants

  1. Si-fi Drive in
  2. Be Our Guest
  3. That place in Norway in EPCOT
  4. T-REX (Okay, that one is in Disney Springs, still counts)

Best Character Meet and Greets

  1. Gaston. Hands down. Best interaction of all time.
  2. Mickey. Tears every time.
  3. Peter Pan
  4. Tiana and Naveen
  5. Rapunzel
  6. Merida
  7. Chip and Dale
  8. Mary Poppins (I love her, and she’s my husband’s favorite so she makes top ten)
  9. Kylo Ren. He scared me.
  10. Belle. My favorite Disney gal and the princess I most relate to.

 

There is so much more I wish I could include, but I have to stop at some point. Like I said earlier, these are my personal opinions based off of my experiences. I know people will disagree on some things (not Gaston though. If you don’t think he’s perfect then you’re just wrong.), and I would love to hear your own lists!

Disney College Program- Just Do It!

It’s August which means schools are starting and the traffic is terrible again. However, there is a magical silver lining: applications for the Spring Disney College Program are about to open.

Don’t know what the DCP is? Well, let me tell you a fairy tale:

Once upon a time there was a college sophomore doing her thing. She had just changed from an English major to a Management major and was mostly content with her university life. Then, one day, she heard about the Disney College Program where students from all over the world came together at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland and became part of the magic. The girl applied instantly for there was no question that this is what she wanted to do.

A couple days passed, and she got chosen for a computer based interview. She answered the pretty basic job interview questions of not stealing and always being positive. She put down her top choices for roles within the parks, and then she hit submit. A couple of weeks later she was talking to a recruiter on the phone. They had a fun conversation about Walt Disney World and her favorite parks and activities (she was so nervous, it’s a miracle she was able to speak at all). It was over in five minutes.

Then she waited.

And waited.

Until that fateful day in September when she got the email saying “Congratulations! You’re going to make magic!” (Not an exact quote, this fairy tale is almost six years old) She called her mom and her boyfriend and probably cried for the next 24 hours. She was going to work at Walt Disney World. She was going to LIVE at Walt Disney World. This was a 20 year old dream come true.

I’m going to fast forward a bit to that January. The sophomore had registered for classes that would count as credit at her university and had received her role: Quick Service Food and Beverage. That was all she knew on the drive down to Orlando. She would meet her roommates and get more information the next morning, but she honestly couldn’t care.

Of course, being the magical place that it was, she got assigned to her favorite park: Hollywood Studios (gosh, I miss that hat and Great Movie Ride and the entire back half of the park that is being turned into Star Wars land as I type this). She was going to sell ice cream and pretzels and work some nights at the Fantasmic show. On her days off she could go to the parks with her new friends and enjoy being there without planning every moment of the day.

The girl in this fairy tale won’t lie: it was difficult. The days were long and living with five other people is never going to be perfect. She missed her family (though loved texting them whenever she was about to ride Rockin’ Roller Coaster…. again) and her boyfriend, and they did come down to visit her when they could. She learned a lot and got a lot of sunburns in the process. But she would do everything all over again for the experience, the friends, and the magic. It was the best semester of her college life.

The moral of the fairy tale: APPLY FOR THE DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM. Do it. Even if you don’t like Disney. The experience you get from it is unparalleled. You get to create magic for so many other people on a daily basis, and your own magic does not get diminished. Apply. And if you don’t make it, apply again in January for the fall semester. Everyone should do the DCP. There are no bad roles unless you go into it with a villainous attitude. Just be prepared for the constant homesickness that will plague you once your program is done. That never goes away.