TRAINING & SETTLING IN | DCP SPRING 2019

The last few weeks have been an AH-MAZING whirlwind. Where to even begin! The magic of Disney has infected every corner of my life, and the joy I’ve felt is truly indescribable. Yes, there have been times that have been hard. I’ve felt homesickness hit missing my friends and family back home, feeling like I’m missing out. I’ve also been sick for about a week now with a runny nose, sore throat, and congestion. I was starting to feel better, but then had to work a whole day in the cold rain so I’m kind of back to square one. Thankfully, I’m off today and tomorrow and taking time to rest and re-charge to get back to normal.

On the exciting side, I have finished my training! I officially earned my ears. I had five tiers of training, which was A LOT of learning. So much information was thrown our way over the course of several days. It was a lot to do, but so much fun! My trainers made the experience so much more enjoyable. I learned registers, stock, mobility, and everything that comes with my new job. I worked my first solo shift (without a trainer) yesterday, and it seemed to go well. I’m excited to get to know my co-workers more and make magic for our guests.

When I’m not working, I’ve had the chance to visit each of the four parks. I spent my first trip to a park in Hollywood Studios, went to Magic Kingdom to ride the people mover and take all the casting door pictures, ate around the world at Epcot for one of my roommates’ birthday, and spent a day working towards earning my wilderness explore status with my roommate in DAK followed by a trip to Magic Kingdom to watch the firework show, Happily Ever After. It’s been so much fun to get to explore the parks whenever I want. Now that I officially have my main entrance pass, I can’t wait to start making fast passes to ride some of the bigger attractions that I have yet to experience (I’m talking about YOU rides in Pandora).

I’m also starting to learn my way around Orlando a little bit. I can find the nearest Target (which I’ve now visited three times in two weeks), Chick-Fil-A, and Starbucks, so I’m pretty much set. I’m still heavily relying on Waze to get me where I need to be, but I’m starting to recognize the roads it’s taking me on. Orlando is starting to feel like home and like I’ve been here forever. I’m definitely starting to get settled in here.

I’m excited to continue to learn and grow throghout my time here in Orlando. I know I’ll have some trying days (hello, 11 hour shift coming next week) but I’m ready to see the ways I power through it that will make me stronger. I’m also thrilled for all of the adventures to come up as I have more time to explore the parks.

I hope you all have had a fun January and are expetant and ready to grow in February.

❤ / Bailey

I TRULY AM HOME | DCP SPRING 2019

HELLO! Happy start to a new week. As I am writing this, it is Sunday night and I have just completed my first week of the Disney College Program. It has been a whirlwind of a week, filled with emotions and things to do. I moved into my apartment, said goodbye to my parents (didn’t think that would be as hard as it was, but I sobbed like a baby), got to know my roommates, went through Disney’s Traditions to become an official Cast Members, had my first training, and went to two of the parks! Like I said, there’s been a lot going on.

I’ve definitely had my fair share of emotions this week. As I mentioned, when my parents left it hit me HARD. I thought I was ready to move out, and I am, but I didn’t really fully grasp the fact that I’d be completely on my own. They’re literally 10 hours away. I can’t force my mom to go to Target with me anymore, and that made me really sad.

I honestly let my anxiety get the better of me for a minute. It always rears its ugly voice right when I try to fall asleep, and on my first night, it said, “you shouldn’t be here. You should have stayed at home, with your family, on ETSU’s campus, working the same job. You’re going to fail.” Talk about a mood killer. I know it was just my anxiety speaking, but it got to me. I was laying in my twin size bed (downgraded from my full and that’s also been an adjustment) letting the fear consume me.

That’s when God showed up. I was in need of some reassurance, and boy did God provide it. I was sitting in my Traditions class, which is a five hour long class about working for Disney and what that means when they told us about our motto. We create happiness. I almost cried. It hit me right in the heart that this motto is what I’ve always wanted to do, and always been meant to do. I love seeing people happy! I love having a positive outlook to help someone feel better about a situation, listening to my friends for hours on end about what they’re going through to make them feel happier, and just, in general, making people smile. That was what God wanted me to hear. I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I need to be doing for this season of my life. I’m here to create happiness through shining God’s light that has been given to me to the guests of Walt Disney World, my coworker, my roommates, and everyone I’ll meet. What an amazing opportunity!

There were several other things that happened in Traditions to almost make me cry, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else contemplating doing the program that may be reading this. The realization I had, however, was definitely the thing that got me the most. At the end of that day, I was given my Walt Disney World ID and official nametag and became a true Cast Member.

The following days have been full of visiting parks, spending time with my roommates (who I ADORE), and another day of classroom training. Tomorrow I begin y first day in Animal Kingdom, which I am so stoked for. I can’t wait to see the ways God is going to use me throughout the program and the opportunities that I’ll have to create happiness for others.

Talk to y’all real soon!

❤ / Bailey

CHECK-IN & CASTING | DCP SPRING 2019

I still can’t believe it. I’m having trouble grasping the fact that I’m officially moved into my Disney apartment and am a Walt Disney World cast member. I have been dreaming of this day for so long, and it’s actually here! As I know I’ve had a lot of people ask about how things are going, let’s talk about week one.

I started the drive to Orlando on Saturday, January 12th. It wasn’t the easiest start as I had gotten my car all loaded the night before, we were ready to go, and then my car wouldn’t start…yeah, not good! I had just had my car at the shop all week having it looked over to make sure it could survive the trip and then it died. Luckily, we were able to jump start it and get on the road. That day we drove into Savannah, GA to spend the night. We got up Sunday morning and hit the road for another 4 hours to get into Orlando.

Then, Monday morning it was time to go check into my apartment! I had a 10 am check-in time so we left the hotel around 9:20 in order to get around Orlando traffic. We got there a few minutes early but they let us in any way. I got parked and then took all of my paperwork inside our complexes clubroom where I got my key to my apartment, my housing ID, and my parking decal. It was a pretty quick process and then it was off to move my stuff in. I had Casting the same day at 1:30, so I only had about two hours to get everything in my room and somewhat set up. I quickly got everything inside and where I needed it and before I knew it, it was time for Casting.

Casting was a pretty easy process, but long. We took the bus from our complex to the casting building. We had to get fingerprinted, get pictures for another ID, and present documentation for our 1-9 (for me, that was just my driver’s license and social security card). It took about an hour and a half, and at the end, we were given a Mickey Mouse sticker and went on our way.

The best part about Casting was the actual building itself! It is such a magical place. The door knobs to get inside are the ones from Alice in Wonderland, they have paintings from Alice in Wonderland and various movies painted on the walls. Everyone was so friendly and excited to be there. It made a monotonous task more enjoyable!

Overall, the first few days have been going well! I’m settled into my new home for the next four months and ready to start this new adventure. I want to take a moment to acknowledge my amazing parents. Thank you for always believing in me and pushing me to do my best. Thank you for driving with me all the way to Florida and dealing with my anxious anger. Thank you for being my number one support. Without you two, I wouldn’t be able to chase my dream. I’ll miss you and see you soon.

❤ / Bail

BIG NEWS: DCP LOCATION REVEAL

JAMBO! I am so excited because I received my itinerary for the Disney College Program today and will be working at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!! I am SO excited. I literally jumped up, started running, tripped, and fell into a wall out of excitement and adrenaline when I read it. I’ll be working park arrival merchandise, which from what I’ve heard could potentially include stroller/ECV rental, carts, some small shops, the shop outside of DAK (the abbreviation for Animal Kingdom), and a photo store. I could not be happier with my location. Animal Kingdom was my first choice because I adore all animals and the park, in general, is just so beautiful.

I actually haven’t spent much time in DAK before, and am really looking forward to getting to know the park better through work. Who wouldn’t want to work with a view of giraffes every day? I’m really pumped to see Pandora too because I haven’t been since it opened and have heard nothing but incredible things.

Within my itinerary, I also found out I will be living in The Commons which was my first choice apartment complex. It’s the only complex with a washer and dryer in the rooms, so I am so thankful for that! All of the girls I linked up with to be roommates got Commons as well, so fingers crossed that means we will be sharing an apartment. I move in at 10 am on Monday morning!

I’m honestly so stoked for this experience. God has been SO good thus far, and I know he’s got great things in store. I can’t wait for all the people God’s going to bring me to meet, lessons to be learned, and all the ways I’ll be grown into the person I’m meant to be.

SEE YA REAL SOON, ANIMAL KINGDOM!

❤ / Bailey

THE FINAL STRETCH

One week, 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes. That’s how much time I have until I uproot my life for one of the biggest adventures thus far. I’m packing up boxes of my belongings into my Chevy Malibu and driving to my new apartment in Orlando! Well, sort of. We’ve decided to split the trip. Saturday we will be driving to Savannah, GA (a town I do love to visit) and spending the night to get up Sunday and head into Orlando. Then, Monday is when all of the fun begins! I’ll check in to my apartment and begin the journey of a Walt Disney World Cast Member. It’s so crazy how fast time has gone by from the day I received my acceptance to now one week until I leave. Something tells me I should start packing!

In all seriousness, this is about to be a really weird week for me. I haven’t moved anywhere since I was 5 years old, so it’s going to be really strange to have to say goodbye to my hometown and all of the friends who make this city home. I’m really not thrilled about it, but I keep reminding myself that what I’m leaving for is worth saying a temporary goodbye. I’ll be back in about four months, which I’m sure will go by in the blink of an eye with how busy I’ll find myself being. Still, in this final week, it’s continuously on the back of my mind.

I’m also realizing all the last minute things I need to get taken care of. I need to have my car looked at to make sure it can survive the drive, get a new fob for my car, dye my hair (shoutout to Disney Look), PACK without forgetting any of the necessities, get twin size bed sheets, find all the apartment necessities left to get, spend time with family and friends, and somehow manage to sleep. It’s gonna be a long week!

All of the craziness and the goodbyes will be worth it when I’m fulfilling a dream to work for the Disney company. I still have a hard time grasping that this is real life, although I’m sure it will hit me when the journey begins. Here’s to the next four months! May they be filled with joy, magic making, laughter, growth, and light.

Itineraries come out soon which means I’ll get my work location! Where do you think I’ll be placed: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, or a resort? Comment below!!

❤ / Bailey

WHAT I’M HOPING 2019 WILL HOLD

I am so stoked for 2019. I try to stay pretty optimistic from day-to-day, but I am immensely optimistic about everything that 2019 is about to hold. So many exciting things are about to happen! In two weeks from today, I will be checking in to my apartment in Orlando and starting what I’m sure will be the biggest adventure of my life thus far.

As I’m doing a lot of preparing for my big move, I also am thinking through everything I want to accomplish this year. There’s a lot to look forward to and a lot of things to strive towards completing! I have a separate bucket list for my Disney College Program (blog post about that to come soon), but of course, there will be some overlap with my overarching goals for the new year. So, here are my goals for 2019:

Spend more time reading the Bible. | It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of reading. I have a very small attention span and am an audible learner, so reading has never really been my thing. Despite that, I know I need to be spending more time investing in the word of God in order to grow spiritually. I’ve remained pretty consistent the last month with following the reading plan for certain chapters that is in my Bible, and want that to carry on throughout 2019. My home church is doing a “New Testament in a Year” challenge and I hope to maintain the reading schedule even while I’m away in Orlando.

Make the most out of every experience. | I can often fall to fear when it comes to stepping outside my comfort zone. FOMO is something I deal with a lot and I want to rid myself of it. I’m going to have to overcome a lot of fears as I make the move to Orlando, and I want to make sure I don’t let anything stop me from making the most of my College Program. Aside from the DCP, I just want to make sure I fully soak in everything 2019 has to offer.

Continue making the Dean’s List & getting involved on campus. | I’ll still be enrolled full-time for the Spring semester through online classes at ETSU. I hope to maintain the grades I’ve been accomplishing the last two semesters even in the midst of working at Disney World and being in Orlando. In the Fall, I will start my SENIOR YEAR of college. That is so crazy!! I cannot wait to see what all my last year of college has in store. I’m excited to get involved with more clubs and soak in everything I’ll learn from my AH-MAZING professors in my department.

Work on intentionally maintaining friendships. | With cell phones and social media, it would seem like it’s super easy to maintain friendships at a distance. But, with the busy-ness of life, it can be really hard to truly stay connected in one another’s lives. I want to spend more time with people this year intentionally building relationships and supporting my friends all the time. I’m excited about the friendships I’ll gain in Florida and hope to stay in touch, to the best of my ability, with my friends back in Tennessee while I’m gone.

Learn to be confident when I’m by myself. | One of the reasons I’m doing the DCP is in order to gain a sense of independence. I want to gain confidence in knowing that I can be striving and happy by myself. It’s easy for me to attach who I am to other people and feel really uncomfortable doing things on my own. I want to feel confident going to the parks by myself on some off days, eating by myself, and making new friends in places where I find myself not knowing anyone.

What are some of your goals and/or things you’re looking forward to in 2019?

❤ / Bail

 

2018 IN REVIEW

At the end of last year, I wrote a blog post entitled “2017 in Review (A short story on why I’m really glad it’s over.” In the spirit of consistency and because I’d like to think I’ll enjoy looking back on posts like this when I’m old with children, many rescue dogs, and even worse knees, I’ve decided to write a similar post about 2018. I’m also glad 2018 is over but in a completely different way than the year prior. So, what happened in 2018?

I have to address the biggest thing first even though it didn’t happen until September (so later in the year), I GOT INTO THE DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM. I’d say that this is definitely the highlight of 2018. I know I’ve already talked about Disney a lot so I won’t go on too much, but it’s definitely one of the reasons I’m glad 2018 is almost over. I am so ready for it to be 2019 so I can be in Disney World chasing down a dream I’ve had for a long time. I’m so optimistic about this experience and can’t wait to dive right into it. As of right now, I’m 19 days away from checking in to my apartment and getting it all started.

School this year went really well. My Spring semester I completed one of my goals of the year which was to ake the Dean’s List! I’m happy to say, I have likely made it again for the Fall 2018 semester! The actual list won’t be out until January but I made all A’s so I think it’s safe to say I made it on the list. The Fall semester was a really great semester. I got to work with an AMAZING group of people for my Audience Research class on a project. I honestly don’t think I could’ve created a better group of people. We all worked really hard, had fun, and did a great job. Every semester I fall more and more in love with the department I’m in, my fellow students, and the faculty and professors who have taught me everything I know. I absolutely love my school and have no doubts that I made the right decision choosing to go to ETSU.

In the realm of travel this year, we went to Pennsylvania this summer to spend time with family. We ate lots of Amish pretzels and doughnuts, went to many farmer’s markets, shared lots of laughs, and ate plenty of Hershey’s sweets. It was also just so great to spend time with my cousin, her husband, and their two sweet little boys. The two of them had grown up so much since we’d seen them last year and it was so fun to see their personalities developing and shine through. Plus, while we were in Pennsylvania we got to see Harry Styles at Hersheypark. He put on an incredible performance and was so engaged with the audience. Honestly, one of the best concerts I’ve been to. That was the only major trip we took this year, but I’m thankfully for the time spent in my hometown. I’ll likely be missing this place in a few months time.

I continued to fall in love with work this year and the area that I’m studying to go into. I’m so lucky to be able to already be working a job in the field I hope to be in post-graduation (media & communications/ advertising & PR), and for that, I couldn’t be more thankful. I have an amazing group of coworkers who make every day an enjoyable one and I never dread a day of work. The entire staff is amazing, the team I work on is some of the most talented and brightest people I know, and my supervisor is the absolute best. I love where I work and I’m gonna miss them so much next semester.

2018 was quite a year. For me, it was overall good, but for those around me, I know it was a challenge. Several family members faced severe health issues, friends were faced with losing loved ones, and the whole world as a whole seems to be struggling with something. It did make me worry a lot about taking care of those around me and being the best support system I can be. Despite all of the bad, I continuously strove to remind myself (and hopefully convince others) that through it all, God has a plan. This was a big thing I learned in 2018. I always knew it was true but don’t know that I actually put full trust in it until this year. Being able to fully trust in a plan that is greater than my own is something that can free your heart of anxiety and worry, and for that, I’m grateful.

I’m thankful for the memories made, lessons learned, and strength grown throughout 2018, and am excited to see what all 2019 has in store. For obvious reasons, I am so ready for 2019 to be here and cannot wait to get the year started in Disney World! So, here’s to 2018! Thank you for everything you held and have prepared us for in 2019.

What are you excited about for 2019?

❤ / Bailey