If you haven’t heard, there is a widely known phenomenon know as post-Disney (or in my case, post-DCP) depression. It’s that horrible feeling that smacks you in the emotions when you leave the magical Disney bubble and head back to reality. It sucks when you leave vacation, but imagine having to leave all that behind when you’ve spent months there making a home, friends, and magic of your own. Yeah, it’s rough.
Trust me, I know that there is MUCH worse going on in the world. There are people battling cancer, living in poverty, being separated from their families due to injustice, and so much more. I’m aware of this and that’s why I feel so bad for being such a debby downer lately. It’s the type seven within me beating myself up for feeling such negative emotions. Regardless, I think it’s healthy for me to acknowledge the fact that I’m not happy.
It hits me somewhat randomly now. That overarching feeling of loneliness. I left a place where I had so many accessible and readily available friends to do things with, and if they were busy I could easily make some new ones. Back to small town Tennessee where most of my friends have left, have things going on to keep them busy, or are always on the go traveling. By no means am I blaming any of this on them, just stating the fact that they aren’t around as much.
I also had more things to do. There is always something going on in Orlando from going to Disney parks, visiting a different theme park, driving 2 hours to the beach, going to a huge mall, or just exploring cute towns like Celebration. Not that Johnson City is an empty wasteland with nothing to do, but it’s definitely no Disney World. Now when I’m bored, I got to Target or Founder’s Park. They’re nice things to do, but I miss being able to go ride roller coasters, meet characters, or just take in the visuals that are Disney World. Which I’m aware, that was a very priviliged lifestyle, but one I also worked really hard for.
I don’t know that I’ll be fully able to feel the joy I had during my Disney College Program. It does get better over time. I can finally look back at all my pictures without physically crying (just on the inside now). I don’t think I’ll be able to listen to the Animal Kingdom park arrival music that I found on Spotify for a little while longer, but I’m making progress.
I’m holding onto hope that school starting back will help me feel better. I’ll have more friends around, more to do with homework and joining clubs, and overall more regulairty. I also get to start thinking about the future more as I plan for graduation. Thinking about it has me really excited about what comes next. Maybe a return to working for Disney will be in the cards.
Even if I don’t end up working for Disney again, Walt Disney World will always be a place I call home. So many happy memories were made there and I cannot wait to go back to Orlando. I don’t know when my bext visit may be, but I know I will love every second of it.
So, what are some ways to help cope with post-Disney depression?
Video chats and phone calls are key. Yeah, I’m walking the old fashioned stuff. When all of your friends are dispersed across the country video chats and phone calls can make a world of difference. Texting is nice and a good way to more constantly stay in touch, but there’s nothing quite like seeing someone’s face or hearing their laugh.
Don’t watch Disney videos for a while. This may not be for everyone, but whenever I first came back it was really hard for me to look at content from the parks. Especially my home park! It’s weird seeing it on screen when you aren’t there in person anymore. You’ll work your way back to being able to watch them. As my sister told me, “maybe don’t consume the media that makes you sad.”
Get your pictures printed. I know you took a TON of pictures while you were at Disney. Instead of just letting them sit on your phone, go get them printed. Plaster them along your walls, desk spaces, planner, notebooks, etc. to bring a sense of Disney wherever you go.
Remember how lucky you were to be there. Disney is a magical experience, and one not everyone gets to take part in during their lifetime. To go to Disney, especially to be chose to participate in the Disney College Program, is a huge honor. Don’t take that lighlty and count your lucky stars. Be thankful for the time you had.
Start planning those reunions. This will give you something to look forward. My DCP twin is coming to visit me in my hometown and I know I want to plan several more visits with the amazing people I met during my time at Disney. Also, plan those trips to return to the parks.
Stay busy. If your busy there’s no time to be sad, right? Okay that might not be the healthiest way to desribe. Being busy definitely helps though because it gives you less time to dwell on the past.
Hopefully some of these can help any others who are also experiencing post-Disney or post-DCP depression. It sucks, I know, but we’ll get through it. Walt wouldn’t want us being sad when there’s a great, big beautiful tomorrow to look forward to.
❤ / Bailey