Did I make the right decision in coming home?

It’s been almost two months since I’ve been back in Johnson City. I’m settled back into my parent’s house, started back at work at First Christian diving straight into a project, watched several pets, and have been spending time catching up with friends. It’s overall been good. One question keeps coming up from most of the people I meet.

Are you happy to be home?

This is not the easiest question to answer. Most of the time, I just say “yeah, definitely,” and move on. Truthfully, it hasn’t all been a happy transition. I had to say goodbye to so many people and a job I loved in Florida. It was way harder than anything I could have ever imagined. From the first second of being back in Johnson City, things felt weird being back. I actually had an anxiety attack and couldn’t be alone for the first night. It was a struggle.

What’s known as “post-DCP depression” is very true, and something that I’ve struggled with since being back. I couldn’t even watch videos of Animal Kingdom without tearing up for a couple of weeks. Seeing all my friends who stayed posting things made me miss them and long to be back, working in the jungle. As the post-DCP depression has gone down a lot, it does still hit me at random moments. Without the readily available amount of friends that I had in Florida near me anymore, I can often feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness. Certain Disney songs or pictures set me off and some days I just can’t shake a sad feeling and end up crying it out.

All this struggle within the transition has me wondering: Did I make the right decision in coming home?

For now, I am sticking by my decision that coming home to Johnson City was the right thing to do. I am excited to finish my last year of school at ETSU with the amazing friends that I have made along the way. I do love the program I’m in and am excited to see the what school has in store for my last two semesters. I am thankful to be closer to my friends here and family and be able to see them whenever I want. Tennessee is a beautiful place, and I’m glad to not be in the killer summer heat in Florida.

There are a lot of things I miss though. From the moment I’ve been back, I have felt an overwhelming sense that going back to Disney is in my future. I’m not done working at one of the most magical places on earth. I’m excited to see what will come after graduation and am hopeful Orlando and Disney will be where that path takes me!

It also makes me happy to know I have people supporting me in this decision. While talking to someone recently, my mom mentioned that felt like Orlando was where I was meant to be. It was a place where I flourished and was filled with joy. It made me smile hearing her say that and also knowing she will always be in my corner, even if I end up moving away.

Johnson City, TN will always be home. Now, so is Disney. I plan on going back to visit at least once this year and then *hopefully,* make it home again when I graduate in May. Wherever I go, I know the people I love will remain in my life and be with me. God has a plan for my life and will lead me just where I need to be.

❤ / Bail

A thank you to the people | DCP Spring 2019

One thing I regret about the end of my program is that I didn’t fully get to say thank you to the people that were a huge part of my life over the last few months. It was the people in my life that made my program so special and one that I will never forget. I made some amazing friends and I wanted to take a moment to really thank them for all they have done. Goodbyes are hard, but this is just a “see ya real soon” because know that you met me y’all are stuck with me!

My Coordinators: Paul, Hunter, John, Evelyn, David, Angel, Pedro, & Joan – it was an honor to get to work with such an amazing team. I honestly couldn’t be more thankful for the influence you all have had on my life in the four months I got to know you. You all gave me the tools I needed to do my job well and put trust in me that has made me grow immensely as a person. You all were always there to answer any questions I had and help me in any way that I needed. You all rock! Keep being superstars. Anyone who gets to have any one of you as a coordinator should consider themselves very lucky; I know I do!

My Leaders: Carmela, Chris, Ashley, William, Al, and Lori – thank you for being amazing leaders. You were all amazing to work for and I’m so thankful to get the opportunity to know each of you! You made work a fun place while also making sure we were doing our best. Thank you for being great leaders. I am so thankful I got to work with you all on my CP.

DAK Stroller Squad: I’m not gonna lie when I found out I’d be working strollers I was a little apprehensive. Now, I wouldn’t have wanted to work anywhere else! The DAK stroller squad is the best group of people. My fellow CPs were just a fantastic group of people who I got to work with every day and all the full-time, part-time, and seasonal people were great to get to know. Y’all made coming to work each day a joy! There was never a time when I dreaded coming to work because even on my bad days I knew I had y’all to lean on & cheer me up. You answered my many stupid questions when I was new & clueless, and I can never thank you enough for the ways you all have shaped my life. All my love to all of you!

Emily: Thank you for being my DCP twin. Who knew I had a twin from all the way across the globe in Australia that I would be paired with for day one of on-the-job training? I am so thankful that I got to meet you during this program. Thanks for all the amazing adventures, from driving to work in a thunderstorm to going to the parks before work or going to Legoland, it was all a blast! Saying goodbye to you was one of the hardest goodbyes, but I’m thankful I got to spend my last day of the program with you soaking in every moment of it. I can’t wait to come back and visit you & remind you to PUT DOWN YOUR ARMBARS.

Jade: One of the first friends I made on the program! I’m thankful we met on day one of training, had merchandise core together, and became amazing friends. You were one of the only people who could always tell when I was upset or frustrated and knew when I needed a hug, to take a break, or have a vent session. We had a lot of great adventures from celebrating your birthday in Epcot & Disney Springs to quite the entertaining day at Legoland and everything in between. Thank you for being my friend & come visit Tennessee soon so I can show you real country food!

Maddy: Also one of my first friends that I met at DAKlimation! You bring SO much laughter wherever you go. I knew I could count on you if I ever needed a laugh or hug. Your positive spirit radiates wherever you go. I’m thankful we got to go horseback riding for the first time together at Disney!! There’s nobody else I’d rather consistently bump into at the parks on my days off. I’m glad you live in my neighbor state of North Carolina so a visit soon is a must!

Esco: I miss your hugs! Thank you for being the amazing human you are. You filled each day of work with so much happiness. Keep on being a bright light to this world. You are going to do so many amazing things!

Quinton: Who thought it was smart to keep putting us together? Nothing but laughter and love came from working with you. I’m thankful for all our times’ stacking, closing Outpost, and just working together. Thank you for ranting with me about the tough times and laughing about everything else. I’m so thankful to have gotten to know you. No matter where life takes us, I’m always here for ya!

Chris: Our friendship formed while an angry old man was yelling at me about change. You always made working in Garden Gate a blast! Every time I was assigned in there I was hoping you’d be there too. I’m so thankful for every hug, screaming my name when I walked by, and laugh shared. Keep being the best and taking awesome pictures!

My roommates: I am so thankful for the five girls from across the country that I got the privilege of living with. Y’all were amazing roommates & really helped make Orlando feel like home! Love you Madison, Ansley, Sam, Kendra, & Barbara! My door is always open to y’all wherever I may be.

Sam: The person I shared a room with & 1/3 of our Three Caballeros! Thank you for being the best first roommate I could have ever asked for. You filled so much of my life with laughter & love. I’m thankful for all the late night food runs, the times you mocked me, laughing at the stupid things we did, talking until 3 am, thinking I was staring at you when really I was sleeping, ranting about crazy days at work, and all the park visits. I miss seeing you all the time! Can’t wait for you to come to visit me & for me to come to Indiana.

Kendra: The other third of our Three Cabelleros & my precious daughter. Thank you for being an amazing friend & roommate. I’m so glad we had Traditions at the same time and got to experience our first visit to the parks as Cast Members together. We had a lot of fun adventures from going to the parks, getting our nails done (talk about a weird place to get engaged!), and going on food runs. Even though my judging may have made it seem otherwise, I am so glad to have you in my life! Reunion soon plz. I’ll make sure to come to you with any health concerns since you’re gonna be a rockin’ nurse!

And to ANYONE I came in contact with, thank you for being you. Each and every person I met along the way had a huge impact on my life. It really is the people that make Disney World so special.

See ya real soon (on Snapchat, Insta, Facebook, and hopefully a real visit), pals. Thanks for everything!

❤ / Bailey

I just graduated from the Disney College Program, what’s next?​

Whoa, what a journey. The Disney College Program has been the most life-changing experience over the last four months. I’ve spent every day working and playing in the Disney World parks, and it has been the most joyous time. I loved my job and the people I have been surround with. But, like all good things, it must come to an end. As much as I would love to stay here (and trust me, I REALLY would), I am at peace with my decision not to extend my program. I got my graduation ears yesterday and have five more shifts of work until my program is officially over.

So, what is next? I’ll be moving back to Johnson City, Tennessee. My mom and sister are meeting me here in Orlando to play in the parks for a few days beforehand and then help pack all my stuff up and begin the 10-hour drive home. I’ll have a few days to get settled in and catch up with friends and family before starting back my job with the Communications team at FCC. I’ll be working on a cool project that I am excited to dive into and looking forward to seeing my amazing coworkers there!

I’ll be back on East Tennessee State Univerity’s campus in the fall to start my SENIOR YEAR of college. I can’t believe my last year of undergrad is already here. I only have five classes and two big tests (a critical thinking skills test and a major field test) standing in the way between me and a bachelors of science in media and communication. It’s crazy! I technically could squeeze that all into one semester and graduated in December, but with being gone this semester and getting used to being back on campus, I’ve decided to stick with the full four years and graduate in May 2020.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my journey with Disney, and I can safely say that this isn’t the end. I will be looking into Professional Internships and other positions within Walt Disney World for post-graduation in the hopes of returning next year. This has been an amazing company to work for and one that I am nowhere near ready to say goodbye to just yet. Who knows, maybe I’ll even do another College Program! Whatever may come, I know doing this College Program will be a great door opener and I cannot wait to see what my future holds.

Goodbyes and really hard and this next week is going to be emotional, but I’m going to take advantage of every moment I have to make some magic!

❤ / Bailey