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Working for Walt: Holidays and reflection

So, a few weeks back I wrote an article discussing how Christmas time is the busiest time of the year at Walt Disney World. That statement is proving to be 100 percent true.

These past few weeks have been filled with long shifts, working six days a week (as opposed to our normal five). There hasn’t been much to do outside of work.

Because of that, and because I will be driving home in exactly one week, this week is going to be a reflection of my experience as an intern at Walt Disney World.11201923_10205792015538199_5980734166988522422_n

I started the Disney College Program on Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. I had five wonderful roommates and was super anxious to start work, which happened on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. My very first week here was filled with unpacking, attending company orientation classes, hanging out at the pool and visiting the parks.

Thursday, Aug. 14, I saw Cinderella’s castle in person for the first time.

Working at Backlot Express has been busy; almost everyday since I started the program, the lunch rush has backed our queue out of the front doors of the restaurant. Sometimes even farther than that. But it’s been very fun. Throughout the program, the cast at Backlot has grown to feel like a family. We all experience the same things at work and have bonded over it. I’m definitely going to miss them.

Through my program, I have learned to be patient, like, extremely patient. There have been times when I’ve had to repeat menu options to a guest six or seven times before they can come to a decision, and children who find it entertaining to mix together all of their condiments and then dump them into the soda fountain.

These past few weeks, we’ve been testing a new seating system where guests are not allowed to hold tables for their families, and there have been several people upset by the change. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve used the phrase “I’m sorry sir/ma’am, but I’m afraid we are asking that parties wait, together, until they have their food before finding a table,” to have the guest tell me that I don’t have the right to tell them they can’t sit down and that I’m ruining their Christmas vacation.

But overall, it’s been very positive. Even on the worst of work days, there is always a bright spot, some small sprinkling of pixie dust that reminds me why I love working for Disney. A child with a “First Visit” button on animatedly telling me about how riding the Tower of Terror was the most amazing thing ever. Or a mother, carrying a child with one arm and a tray with the other, thanking me for carrying her drinks to their table. Each day is marked by a small interaction that makes everything seem worth it.12307599_10206361773861801_6110329515389742404_o

Outside of work, this program has given me the opportunity to really explore Orlando and try out new adventures.

There have been park days, resort-hopping days, and even one night that we checked in to Caribbean Beach Resort as guests. There have been pizza party nights that turned into pancake breakfast mornings, and countless trips to Sea Dog Brewing Company (like an Orlando version of the Blackhorse Pub).

There have also been big experiences, like the time I went skydiving, our two trips to the beach and my visit home.

This program has been such an incredible experience, and I am so grateful for it.

Today marks one week  until my departure date (Monday, Jan. 4, 2016) and I have five incredible roommates, a group of friends that feel like family and I am not ready to leave.

About LeAnn Endsley

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