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Working for Walt – hellos, goodbyes and the stuff inbetween

Hey, howdy, hey everyone! It’s LeAnn here, blogging all the way from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to work from the ‘most magical place on earth,’ you will get a chance to see some of the magic as I talk about my experiences as a Disney College Program intern!

Alright, so now that I’ve taken a moment to introduce myself, let’s get on with the show! Since this is the beginning of a blog that is going to follow the biggest adventure I have tackled so far, let’s go ahead and start at the beginning.

It was Feb. 28, 2015, and I was in a hotel in Atlanta, Ga. for the Southeastern Journalism Conference when the email came through. Dear LeAnn, it read, Congratulations! You have been selected to participate in the Disney College Program at the Walt Disney World® Resort! I spent the next hour calling friends, family, sorority sisters; anyone who I thought might listen to explain the good news. That was just over 200 days ago.

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My Disney experience officially began Aug. 10, 2015, when I arrived at the Vista Way Pavilion on Disney Housing Property. There were at least two hundred people standing in line, waiting to find out where they would be working and living, and if they had been paired with the roommates they had linked up with on social media. It was all very exciting.

And hot.

Florida is very hot.

My roommates and I went through the check-in line together, passing the time by cracking jokes and filming for Jenna and Mykaela’s YouTube vlogs.

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My roommates and I in the check-in line.

From left to right, Cayenne (back), Jill (front), Bri (back), Jenna (front), Mykaela and LeAnn (that’s me).

Finally, after about an hour standing in the hot Florida sun, we were allowed inside the check-in building, and given our locations.

Mine is the Backlot Express at Hollywood Studios, in case anyone is planning a Disney trip anytime soon.

The rest of the day was spent either moving in or at Casting being fingerprinted and filling out new hire paperwork.

The rest of the week was spent attending different classes, getting adjusted to life as a Disney employee and, well, visiting the parks.

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Watching Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios. From left to right, Cayenne, Jenna, LeAnn (me), Jill, Bri and Mykaela.
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Riding the Monorail to Magic Kingdom. From left to right, Jenna, Cayenne, me, Jill, Bri and Mykaela across our laps.

We had a blast the first week! Getting to see everyone’s work locations, and getting to explore ‘the most magical place on Earth’ was a great way to bond with one another. By the time our actual training started (a week after check-in), we were ready to take on the world – Walt Disney World, that is.

But then tragedy struck when just 20 days after that magical first day in the Vista Way Pavilion, one of my dear roommates made the decision to leave the program.

It was very strange having one less person in our apartment.

Like, finding out that you are the missing princess to a nearby kingdom strange.

Suddenly we didn’t have even numbers for things, and for the first few days, it kind of felt wrong to be having fun.

But we adjusted, took Walt Disney’s saying “progress is impossible without change,” and began working on a new normal.

Overall, so far, this has been an incredible experience, and I am so excited to get to share it with all of you! So, if you’re interested in hearing more about my DCP adventure, keep an eye out for more posts right here on The Magic Maker’s Guide.

-LeAnn

 

About LeAnn Endsley

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