I don't, but I've heard enough stories from my parents to picture it in my head. My parents drove down from New York with my grandparents and took me to the Walt Disney World Resort at the age of one.
I always felt that I was destined to love Walt Disney World. In fact, I was born on October 1, exactly 13 years after the opening of the resort. As a child, I felt a strong attachment to the Place Where Magic Lives. Like a lot of lucky American families, my family made the annual pilgrimage to pay homage to the House of Mouse. I loved everything about it and truly looked forward to each August.
As a teenager, my love for Disney didn't subside. One day, I was reading a teeny-bopper magazine and came across a story about the Walt Disney World College Program. The author took part in the program and was fired because she called out of work too many days so she could go to the beach. "What's wrong with her?" I exclaimed to my mother. "She was given the most amazing opportunity in the world and she gave it up to go to the beach!" I was horrified and threw the magazine in the garbage.
That article ended up changing my life. Like a typical teenager in the late 90s, I went into research mode, reading every blog and website that so much as mentioned the College Program. I desperately wanted to be a "CP" and work at Walt Disney World. At my college information session during senior year of high school, I told the head of the communications program that I could only come to the school if I could take a semester and go to Walt Disney World. She responded, "We will make this happen."
She did make it happen and in the fall of 2004, I packed my car and drove from New York to Orlando, Florida, my home for the next five months. It was the first time I truly lived away from home; I was a commuter student and after 9/11, I never wanted to venture very far away from my family. But alas, I was now a resident of Chatham Square, Disney College Program housing.
During that semester, I learned more than I could ever learn in a classroom. I enjoyed myself immensely, meeting some of the greatest people from all over the country and whom I am still friends with today. After four hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Gene and Ivan) I began to settle into my role as attractions hostess at Space Mountain. I attended Traditions, a required class to any new Disney Cast Member. There we learned about "The Disney Point." We were not to point with one finger because it is rude. We are either supposed to point with two fingers, or gesture with our full hand. It's something I still do to this day.
When the end of my College Program came, I cried for the entire trip back to New York. However, I knew I had to go back and finish my degree. I served as Campus Rep for the College Program and helped to recruit college students for the program around the New York City area. When I decided to go to graduate school, I started looking at Disney Professional Internships. In order to be chosen for this program, you must have completed the CP. They are highly competitive and I applied every semester. On my final attempt, I was chosen for an internship in the Travel Public Relations office. In this role, I truly got to witness the inner workings of the company I loved oh so much.
I am now married, and my husband shares my love for Disney. We travel to the World often, especially since my parents bought into the Disney Vacation Club.
I think of Disney every day. It is truly my happy place. When I am having a rough day, I listen to Disney Parks music and it transports me back to Orlando. Therefore, a blog was a perfect solution.
To all who come to this happy blog, welcome. Here you will read my random thoughts about Walt Disney World.
I hope you enjoy it and have a magical day!