GOING BACK TO DISNEY FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE MY COLLEGE PROGRAM

Surprise, I went back to Disney World! I was just as shocked as you probably are. It’s been six months since I left and came back to Tennessee to finish. To be honest, I didn’t think this trip was going to happen. With everything going on at school I didn’t think I could. Thankfully, I was able to take a long weekend to visit the most magical place on earth for a much-needed break!

I’m not gonna lie, it was weird being back. In a lot of ways, it felt like I should still be working there. It was like I never left. Truthfully, a lot has changed since my college program ended. My first day was spent back in my home park – Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This day was special because I got to see so many friends that I’d been missing. The fun part was, most of them had no clue I was coming! It was so fun to surprise them and see their reaction (really glad they hadn’t forgotten about me, that would have been awkward). We walked around seeing as many people as possible at main entrance, watched the stunning Merry Menagerie, saw all the Christmas decorations, at Satou’li Canteen, rode the safari, and spent a chilly day re-connecting. It was definitely weird being there as just a guest and not someone who was on their day off. Whenever I heard someone ask a question, my instinct was to respond or say “happy birthday, princess” to little girls with birthday buttons on. Some things will always be engrained in me!

Besides feeling weird like I should be working, the first day was so good being able to see all of my old co-workers and friends again. I’ve missed seeing them every day! Even though a lot of people aren’t there anymore, I am really glad I got to see everyone who was. The only one who knew I was coming was my DCP twin, Emily, so it was also really fun surprising them. Plus, I got to see Chip and Dale in their dinosaur outfits with CHRISTMAS TOUCHES! How cute?!

The second day was a long one! We started off by hitting Epcot for some Food and Wine Festival goodies. I got the tropical mimosa, Twinnings pumpkin spice chai tea cocktail with caramel vodka, bacon and cheddar soup, and a teriyaki chicken bowl. Everything was DIVINE and it was fun being “of age” in Epcot and getting to experience more of the festival than I have in previous years. We also were very lucky to be able to visit my close friend, Chris, who we’d seen the day before but I was so glad I got to see again!

After a lap around the world, we decided to take a ride on the Skyliner. Luckily, another one of my dear friends from the program was working it so I got to squeeze in a hug before jumping in the gondola. This was the first time I got to go on Skyliner and I was super impressed! What a cool way to travel from park-to-park or resorts. When we got off at the next resort, we made a last-minute decision to jump on and head to Hollywood Studios! We had time to kill before we could go into the Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom and I had yet to see Batuu. So, off we went!

We got there, nabbed some FastPasses for Tower of Terror, and headed straight to Batuu. I’m no Star Wars fan, but it was super cool to see! Another one of Disney’s immersive lands done right. We even got to see Chewbacca and some Storm Troopers just walking around doing their thing! From there, we looked at all the Christmas decorations and took a walk through Toy Story Land. We headed to Sunset Blvd. for my first ever ride on Tower of Terror. Since I have a rather intense fear of elevators, this ride seemed like a nightmare! But, as a big fan of The Twilight Zone I decided I needed to finally take a ride. The theming was amazing!! I wasn’t a huge fan of the feeling of my brain hitting my skull with each drop, but it was fun. I don’t know if I’ll ride it again, but maybe if I take some ibuprofen ahead of time it’ll be better! It didn’t cure my fear of elevators though.

After that, it was time for the big event! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom. Most people who know me know that I LOVE Christmas. Yet I had never been to Disney World at Christmas time! This party shattered any expectations I had! It was AMAZING. From the minute walking in and seeing the Christmas tree on Main St. I was in awe. There were lights, decorations, and Christmas music at every turn! Not to mention, free cookies and hot chocolate! I dawned my Christmas ears and wreath earrings and was truly living my best life! How could I not be?

We started off with a ride on Small World (much to my dismay), then hit up a couple of cookie locations. We got to meet the seven dwarves, the hundred-acre woods friends in their adorable Christmas outfits, and it wouldn’t have been a Christmas party in Disney without stopping by and seeing the old boss! Took the wildest ride in the wilderness with no wait, ate lots of cookies, took lots of pictures, and by the end of it we were dragging ourselves to the bus to go home. It was a long one, but one of the best days!

13 consecutive hours, 3 parks, and 27,733 steps later we were filled with Christmas joy but also dead to the world. Not to mention, the next day we’d be taking that 12-hour drive back home! It was 1000% worth it and a trip that my soul needed. I needed a break from school craziness and work, and was ready to visit my second home! I really leaned into my enneagram 7-ness and took a trip on a whim that was the best. Reminds me I don’t have to make sure every moment is planned out!

Other than being over the moon about seeing friends and visiting the parks, the trip also reminded me how much I’d love to make my career at Disney. As I’ve been trying to figure out where I want to be post-grad in May and weighing my options, I’m leaning in and listening to where I need to be. Working for Disney and being able to make advertising magic would be a dream! More and more it seems like I’m being pointed that way. Wherever I do end up, whether it’s back at Disney or not, I will always make sure to keep the magic alive and spread joy in every circumstance.

All in all, it was a festive, magical trip! I’ve been back in school reality for one week and I’m already itching to go back. We’ll see how long that lasts! Maybe next time I’ll be returning as a cast member.

MERRY CHRISTMAS (it’s never too early to have festive spirit)

❤ / Bailey

SEEING THE FINISH LINE | THE FINAL YEAR

I registered for my last semester of college today…and I have no clue how to feel! I know I say this a lot, bu this year is just flying by. It seems like just yesterday I was moving to Orlando to do the Disney College program, but at this point I’ve been home for a longer amount of time than I was there. With all the senior year busy-ness and things to do, I haven’t gotten much time to sit down and write for myself (most of my writing energy is spent on my Writing for Radio, TV, & Film class), but in this moment I feel like I need to mentally process.

I’m almost done with college. I only have two classes required to graduate, but I have to maintain 15 credit hours for my scholarship so I registered for five classes next semester. I am stoked to have been asked to be a part of the National Student Advertising Competition team for next semester (plus the added bonus of it filling up some of those 15 credit hours) and working with what I’m sure will be an amazing group of students! Along with that, I’ll be taking Communication Law (probably the class that scares me the most, especially at 8 am), Practical Reasoning, Solving the Puzzle of Life, and Editing. Those classes and two exit exams are the only thing in the way of me and that fancy piece of paper that says I know things!

At this point, I’m having mixed feeling about graduating. I am SO excited to be going into a career field that I love and am so passionate about, but I also feel the ever-growing presence of adulthood looming over my shoulder. Not to mention, all of this comes with a whole lot of decisions to make within the next few months. Do I move somewhere bigger like Knoxville, Nashville, or Charlotte? Do I go back to Orlando and return to work for Disney? How many Disney Professional Internships do I want to apply for? Do I really want to go so far away from my family?

It’s a lot for a gal to think about!

I’m having to constantly remind myself that there is time to figure it all out. I need to make intentional space to relax and enjoy the fun things that come with being in college while I can. I won’t be able to get this time in my life back, so I need to really cherish it while I can! Go to club meetings, go on trips, say yes to hanging out with friends more often, and stop getting inside my own head!

The thing that brings me peace is knowing that God will put me right where I need to be. I’m leaning in and trying to listen hard as to just where God is telling me to be. If Disney is the move, doors will open, and if somewhere else is the path then I’ll follow. I’ve been so fortunate to already have so many amazing experiences and teachers in my life that have given me the tools to be successful. They will also always be there for me and I am so thankful for their influence in my life. I know the department of Media and Communication was exactly where I was supposed to be and I’ll always be tied to them no matter where I end up. Seriously, the best people are in that department! I couldn’t be dreaming this big and knowing I’m ready to take on the world without them.

Between school, working two jobs, and planning for the future, it’s been a busy season of life! I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon but I’m along for the ride and will keep pushing forward. I have been able to squeeze in some fun into senior year! My DCP twin, Emily, came to visit me and I gave her the grand tour of small town southern living. We carved pumpkins, watched Hocus Pocus, visited downtown Johnson City, went to the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, and finished the weekend off with a stop at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Asheville before heading to the airport. Plus, many good food stops in between. What good East Tennessean would I be if I didn’t have her experience Pal’s? I went to Dollywood with my mom and sister to see the pumpkin lights and get in my missing fix of ride adrenaline, visited my grandparents for some much needed Mam-Maw home cooking, and spent to re-connecting with some friends I haven’t seen in a while.

It’s a complex season of life I’m in, but one that is reminding me to be present and thankful. I’m thankful for every opportunity I get to spend time with friends and family, thankful for my professors that believe in me and the great things I can do, and overall just thankful for each new day. While I’m trying to strike that balance between planning for the future and enjoying the now, I’m milking what I can out of this phase of life. It’s a busy one, but one I’m thankful for nonetheless.

I hope whatever season of life you may be in you’re able to find the joy and space to create some happiness!

❤ / Bail

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A Life Update | The Final Year

So, it’s been a little bit of time since I’ve gotten the chance to sit down and write for myself. Senior year is no joke! I went into it with a rather large senioritis complex that was immediately shot down when I had to write a 15-page paper within the first week. Yeah, not what I expected. In order to help me chronicle my senior year (and force me to make more time to write for myself) I want to start somewhat of a series entitled “The Final Year.” It will be something I can look back on and also hopefully help others as they enter their final year of college & all the stress that comes with it.

Coming back to school was a lot weirder than I expected. I put a lot of pressure on going back to school, hoping it would make the transition home from Disney a little easier. What I didn’t think about was how weird it would feel to be back on campus. I low-key felt like a Freshman when I was walking around and re-associating myself with ETSU. It wasn’t until I started hanging out with friends and getting to know my classmates better that I actually began returning to a semi-normal human being.

Things have been overwhelming as I tried to balance classes, working two jobs, dog sitting, and trying to force myself out of the funk I’d been in all summer. Some of the classes I thought would be fun electives to take were turning out to be WAY more busywork than my senioritis expected. In the same sphere, I am loving my capstone class this semester. We’re getting hands-on experience working with clients and I have two of the best professors I could have hoped for co-teaching the class. When I found that out, I was SO excited!

I’m finally finding my rhythm again and am starting to feel more normal. The post-DCP depression also seems to be lowering its toll on my life. I still get feelings of sadness and missing my favorite place on earth and all my friends who are now scattered across the country, but Johnson City is starting to feel more like home again. I’m hanging out with friends more and forcing myself to get out and stop sitting in my room watching DCP vlogs all evening.

Other than post-DCP depression, my time at Disney has also given me a renewed sense of passion in what I’m doing. I actually joined my department’s club that I’d been meaning to join since Freshman year, am an account executive for my group’s capstone project, and overall am thinking more and more about where my niche and desire to be is in the world of Advertising, Public Relations, & Communications. I’m also considering grad school, which if you could tell freshman me that I would have laughed right in your face. By the end of the semester I may be singing a different tune, but it’s something I’m looking into as a possibility for after May.

Some other fun life updates:

  • I got new glasses & have actually worn them on a consistent basis. Apparently, what normal people could see at 100 ft away I have to be 20 ft or close to see. Whoops! So, sorry if I’ve squinted at you from a distance recently. It’s not that I was judging you, I just couldn’t see who was there!
  • I still miss Disney. I’m still hoping to return to work for Disney. I’ve been looking into Professional Internships for post-grad life, but I need to take a pause from overthinking it all and try to enjoy this semester and the time I have left before applications open in January.
  • Along with working at First Christian Church again, I have accepted a position with Trinity Arts Center helping create and manage social media content! I have a lot of love for TAC as it was my second home where I danced six days a week for eight years of my life. It’s really refreshing to be back and in a new way utilizing what I’m studying! Super grateful for the opportunity!!
  • One of my best friends, also known as my DCP twin, Emily is coming to visit me in my hometown next weekend!! I’m so excited to show her around small town, Southern USA and just be able to spend time with her before she moves back to Australia in January.
  • I’m back on that pet sitting grind so I’ve gotten to hang out with a bunch of adorable furry friends!
  • I may or may not have a return trip in the works to hit up a Disney Christmas Party…fingers crossed!!
  • Despite the animosity I have towards the impact it’s had on my tuition, I finally went to an ETSU football game! Figured so much of my money went into building that stadium I should at least sit in it once.
  • I’ve started learning how to cook like a real adult! If you know me, you’ll know this is quite the accomplishment as I usually burn scrambled eggs. Shout to Hello Fresh for making it super easy & fun!

Coming home from Disney was a way bigger challenge than I’d expected. While I’ve been struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, chronic illness, and general adjusting, I think I’m finally getting to a place of normality again. I’m discovering new passions, reviving friendships, and finding ways to help my mental health. I hope that whether you’re facing a similar season of challenges, you see a light at the end that is pushing you towards something better!

❤ / Bail

ONE MONTH IN | DCP SPRING 2019

It’s been one month until since my DCP journey began and I moved into my apartment in Orlando. What is time? I can’t believe so much time has already passed when it feels like just yesterday I was leaving the snowy mountains of Tennessee. It’s been a month full of learning, growing, immense joy, and some stress all mixed together.

Overall, my DCP has been an amazing experience already. I’ve been learning constantly, about my job, guest interaction, doing things on my own, and myself in general. I love my job and what I’m doing, mostly in part thanks to the people I work with. My coworkers are amazing and I have great leaders and coordinators who have answered my many questions and are just awesome to work with.

I get to talk to so many new people every day and I’ve enjoyed seeing the joy on people’s faces as they describe the fun they’ve had at Animal Kingdom. It’s especially rewarding when coming from a little kid. Seeing them spring up from their strollers telling me it’s been the “best day ever” or receiving a surprise hug from a little girl that got to see so many “cool animals.” Seeing people smiling and excited about what they’ve experienced is why I wanted to do this program. I wanted to work for a company that excels at making people happy!

Of course, I have had my rough days. Not so much when dealing with guests, but more so when dealing with myself. It’s been hard to be so far away from my family friends and back at home. A lot of the people I hold dear to my heart are struggling through something right now and a big part of me wishes I could be there to help out. I pray for them constantly and send any support I can from where I’m at, but I do wish I could do more.

I also had my first mini-crisis yesterday. I lost my keys. Yeah, I made an oops! Not only was it my car key, but my apartment key was also attached. You can imagine how that would be an issue. I knew there were only a few places they could be, but no matter how hard I searched I couldn’t find them! I may have gone into full-on panic mode. I went the whole day without them and had to spend the day worrying about who could possibly have them or if I was going to have to get a new apartment key and somehow manage to get someone to make me a new car key! I had to miss out on galentine’s day brunch because of it which just added onto my already bummed feeling. This was the first unfortunate thing to happen while I’ve been here so that probably amplified my anxiety about it all. Luckily, they were found by last night underneath the passenger seat of one of my roommate’s cars. I’m so thankful to have them back and will now be stapling them to my body (okay, maybe not that extreme but you get what I mean).

Other than the little hiccups and stresses that come with adjusting to being on my own, I have had the best time here in Orlando. I’m loving going to the parks with my days off, am enjoying getting to know my amazing coworkers, and making really great friends! Just from this one month, I have been reminded over and over again that this is the place I am meant to be at right now. God is continuing to reveal that this is a part of the plan for my life, and I couldn’t be happier with the phase of life I’m in.

Here’s to the next month of my program and everything that it will hold!

</3, Bailey

 

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

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

MUST HAVE MAY FAVORITES

Oh, May! The month where flowers bloom, school comes to an end, and allergies creep there way into the lives of victims. It’s a crazy time of the year. This May, I wrapped up my second year of college at East Tennessee State University making the Dean’s List!! This was one of my goals for this year and I am so happy that I made it. This semester was a struggle and a half with just life issues that the universe threw my way, so I’m pretty darn proud of myself for managing to stay consistent in going to class and staying on top of all my assignments. Speaking of being proud, I am also very proud of my little sister for graduating high school (which technically was June 1 but I’ll count it in my May lookback). It’s crazy to think that my own graduation was two years ago when it just feels like yesterday! I’m super pros of the person I’ve gotten to watch my sister become and know she’s going to do great things in this world. Now, onto my favorites.

Glossier You – this perfume became an instant favorite and I can’t go a day without spraying it on. It’s a scent that is meant to mesh with your natural smell and enhance it, so no two people have the exact same smell. For that reason, it is hard to describe but trust me when I say it is incredible. It stays on all day and isn’t one of those overpowering scents that are going to give you and everyone around you a headache. It’s just the best & I HIGHLY recommend. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it since I started wearing it.

Pura Vida Bracelets – I’ve been a fan of Pura Vida Bracelets for years, but every time summer rolls around I seem to be reaching for them all the time. They are the perfect summer accessory because they’re lightweight, easy to pack when you’re going on vacation, can get wet, and add a pop of color and fun to every outfit. Their new summer collection is also absolutely adorable. They also help support local artisans in Costa Rica and they offer a large number of charity bracelets for a range of different causes and organizations! Cute bracelets that are working to better the word, what could be better? I actually recently joined their rep program, so if you want to check them out and get 20% off your order use code BAILEYDEVORE20.

Chaco “Juniper” Sandals – Here comes an unpopular opinion coming from an (almost) 20-year-old college student….I’ve never been that big of a fan of Chacos. This comes with a good reason though. I find the regular, rubber Chacos to be pretty uncomfortable. My arch in my foot is pretty small, so the intense arch support that rubber Chacos provide is too much for my feet. However, I do think they are super cute. I had been looking at the leather Chacos online after seeing a friend wear them, so when I found some on sale at a discount shoe store in Asheville I fell in love. They are SO COMFORTABLE on my feet as the arch support isn’t hard like the rubber Chacos. They fit like a dream and I have been wearing them non-stop since I got them. They are also a lot dressier than the rubber Chaco sandals and easy to dress up or down.

Warm Luxe Cashmere by Yankee Candle – Honestly, the best thing I have ever smelled. I am obsessed with this candle. So far, I’ve burned through two medium and one small classic jars of this scent. I find it very relaxing & soothing. I love lighting it at night and it’s just the most comforting scent. It has notes of rich vanilla and warm cashmere that make it smell like a dream. Every time I’m in the Yankee Candle store with someone I make them smell it immediately. So, so good.

Looking ahead, I can already assume what some of my June favorites might entail. I’m going to Pennsylvania this month to see family & Harry Styles, my golden birthday is the 20th when I’ll be turning 20, and this month just opens up to the possibility of many new adventures. Here’s to June bringing in summer days, long nights, and many memories. I can’t wait to see what this summer holds! What are you looking forward to this summer?

xx,

Bails