How bittersweet. That’s all I keep seeing about the end of Disney College Program. It is SUCH a bittersweet feeling.
My last shift working at Animal Kingdom Park Arrival was on May 14th from 6:15 pm – 1 am. That night was filled with goodbyes, tears, and many hugs from people that mean more to me than I ever thought possible for only knowing them for four months. When it came time for me to eventually clock out for one last time I walked over to the computer and as soon as Mickey popped up with “Thank you for helping Make the Magic” I could feel the tears welling up. Me and three of my friends, two of which were also on their last day of work, decided to walk up and see the Tree of Life one last time. Since it was really late the park was pretty much empty and only a few other cast members were around. We stood watching the tree as it was still being lit up and cried. We took a few pictures and said “see ya real soon” to our home parks icon. We walked together to the parking lot, said our goodbyes, gave big hugs, and went our separate ways.
CUE THE SOBBING. I hate crying in front of people, so as soon as I got in my car where I was alone I let out the biggest sob I think I’ve ever cried in my entire life. I cried so hard I almost threw up. Yep, that hurt. The whole drive back to my apartment there were tears filling my eyes. Who knew that a place where I’d be stacking strollers and selling merchandise could mean so much to me? The past four months I’d fallen in love with working for Disney and the people I worked alongside and it hurt to say goodbye.
I pulled myself together the next day in order to head to Magic Kingdom for my last park visit. I went with my mom and sister and met up with my friends Jade, Emily, Aaron, Kendra and Sam throughout the day to spend as much time as possible with some of my favorite people (and take cute castle pics, of course). I ate some of my favorite Magic Kingdom foods, rode a few rides, watched Festival of Fantasy, and prepares myself for that final moment of watching Happily Ever After in front of the castle for my last time as a CP. Yep, more tears. I got to watch the fireworks at a stunning view of the castle with my mom, sister, Emily, and Sam. You could hear a chorus of sniffling and sobs from all the CP’s who’s journeys had come to an end that night as we cried together and reflected over the last few months. The night ended as I said goodbye to two of my closest friends, Jade and Emily, and took the last monorail ride to the TTC (which was also filled with tears, let me tell you).
I got home to my apartment and did a last minute packing dash to try to get everything ready to load up the next morning. My mom and sister met me at the complex, we loaded all my belongings into our two cars, and it was time to say goodbye to The Commons apartment 1311. It was a great place to live during my college program, filled with normal ups and downs, and it was said to see it empty. It really did become home and my roommates became family. I turned in my key and ID, said see ya later to my roommates, and drove out of The Commons for the last time. I then proceeded to curl up in a ball in our hotel room, cry, eat Chick-Fil-A, and then sleep. We got up in time to make our dinner reservations at Sana’a (AMAZING FOOD BTW) and headed to Disney Springs for one final shop.
The next morning, I got up and went to costuming to return everything then it was off to Tennessee. 13 hours later, and I pulled into a town that felt like home but weirdly unfamiliar. The transition has been rough, but that’s a separate post all in its own. As I have more time to reflect, I’ll touch more on how exactly this journey impacted my life. For now, I’ll just say…
See ya real soon, Orlando! You haven’t seen the last of me yet.
❤ / Bailey