My experience on the Disney College Program in Orlando, FL.
Last January or February, of 2016. I was laying on my couch looking outside. The weather was that perfect Disneyland weather.. you know, the one where its sunny but a little chilly- but not too chilly. I was thinking to myself how badly I wish my pass didn’t expire and how I should get a job so I could buy a new one. Then I thought to myself, “girl. you have always wanted to work at Disney, whether you were Belle or just working at Disney. Just apply to the Disney College Program and you can probably get into the parks for FREE!” so I pulled out my laptop and applied just like that! I said that my top three interests were merchandise, photo pass, and character. I really had NO idea what each of those entailed and if I was capable of doing them but I wanted to make my 8 year old’s self dream come true!!
A week went by… I had an online interview. A month or two went by… I had a phone interview. There she asked me if I had any experience taking photos – I told her I enjoy it for fun. She asked if I went to a character audition or planned to – none of the days worked out so I said no. Maybe another month went by. I was sitting at the movie theatre as the previews for The Jungle Book were on… I thought to myself OMG! they said they would let me know in April… its April 15th let me check. And I got an email that I was accepted into the Disney College Program!!!!!!!!! As a merchandise cast member – WOOOHOOOOOO! In Orlando, Florida.
I was terrified to tell my parents – I had just moved to California about 3-4 years before and now I would have to pack up again and move to Disney World for 6 months. But… I told them the next day and they were so excited!!!!! That day, I filled out everything I needed to fill out- I joined all the Facebook groups to find roommates. Its hard to find good roommates… But I definitely got the best!
Now lets get to the fun part….
What should you do when you visit Disney World?
Well everything, obviously!
My top favorite rides at each park:
Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder Mountain and Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid
Hollywood Studios: Tower of Terror and Toy Story Mania
Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris
Epcot: Frozen Ever After and Test Track
I couldn’t pick a favorite show at each park because you literally need to see ALL of them, so amazing!
If you’re at Disney World for a good chunk of time and you have time, it is really cool to resort hop. Disney definitely pays really close attention to detail and sure makes it feel like you have escaped reality, even when going to the resorts! The top 3 that are closest to Magic Kingdom that you should visit are Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Polynesian Village Resort, and Contemporary Resort. I also recommend doing character dining at one or all of the resorts – definitely a cool experience. If the adults want some adult fun with some great tunes, please go to Jellyrolls at the Boardwalk Resort, you’ll thank me. My, of age roommates and I would go way too often just because it was such a fun experience.
I was never a big fan of fireworks for some reason but when my roommates sat me down and made me watch Wishes… you can bet that was a very magical moment for me. It was a great story and lesson being told. On my last day of the program, very last day, my roommates (minus one) and I watched it for the very last time and you know we cried. I remember hearing Jiminy say, “the best part is, you’ll never run out of wishes.” And that was just an inspiring part for me at that moment because I truly felt as though I made all of my wishes come true- but then he said that and I knew that meant it was time to make more wishes rather than dwell on the past. SO yes… I recommend watching the fireworks. Unfortunately, they ended Wishes… but they have a new fireworks show called Happily Ever After- and it is amazing. I watched it online and well, cried so yup!
As for parades, you can’t miss the 3 o’clock parade… its on everyday at 3 o’clock! The real name is Festival of Fantasy. Watch it.
Also, I dare you to wake up at 7am to watch the welcome show. Definitely an experience.
Another show we really enjoyed was the Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire!
There is a lot more of entertainment that you find around parks so just embrace it! Those were some of our favorites!
Another fun tip, if you’re there at the right times:
Magic Kingdom has parties! They have a Halloween party and Christmas party! The park is closed down early for the guests who pay to attend the party. There is a new parade, new fireworks and rare characters that usually aren’t seen normally! It is definitely worth the money!
Epcot has festivals: Food and Wine Festival and the International Flower and Garden Festival.
The Food and Wine Festival takes place in the Fall so I was lucky enough to go to it. During this event, they have special foods and wine or other alcohol beverages that each country is known for that you can sample… its very tasty!
The Flower and Garden Festival happens in the Spring. Here they showcase flowers and gardens… I don’t know much about it but its Disney and Epcot so you gotta go!
This is random but I just wanted to give a shoutout to Animal Kingdom. Yes the attractions are fun, the animals are so cool, and the shows are amazing… but one day, just take time to explore Animal Kingdom. There are some pretty cool sayings on the walls, as well as just exploring and feeling like you literally escaped and you are now in Asia and Africa. Definitely a must.
Okay don’t forget about Disney Springs! Talk about ALL MY FAVORITE STORES IN ONE PLACE – does Disney know or what?!?!?!
Disney Springs is the perfect way to still feel as though you’re at one of the Disney parks with all the entertainment… but you are shopping!!
At Disney Springs, you can find not only shopping, but good food.. and good entertainment. You can find bowling, music, Disney Quest, all of it!
If you are a fan of seeing really cool talent… You have to see whatever Cirque du Soleil show is playing. Seriously breathtaking!
Again, I’m just gonna end this blog post telling you to live your life to the FULLEST. Believe in your dreams… and never stop making wishes!!!!
Leaving the home I made for myself the past 4 years, for just 6 months was incredibly hard. But my excitement took over all of that fear because I just knew in my heart that this trip was going to be so worth it- and it definitely was! I believe that all the trips you are presented to go on will be so worth it and definitely a learning lesson. I learned a lot during my time here- whether its to live everyday to the fullest, how to deal with other types of individuals, lessons I can take into my future career… I’m going to take it with on all my endeavors.
No one could’ve said it better than Belle…
“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere!”