To The Friends You Make On The DCP
Updated: Aug 8
Find yourself a best friend who you're able to talk for hours with and not get tired of. Who, when something exciting happens in your life they become the first person you want to call. Who reminds you that you are a bad ass while also humbling you. Who you can laugh with but also have a deep and meaningful conversation with. Who will inspire you to do better and be better.
Growing up we hold the longevity of a relationship above the quality of one. We believe that since we have been friends for 10 years then that means this friendship is better than one of 2 years. How long you have been in each other's lives does not equate to how meaningful different relationships with different people can truly be.
Disney friends just hit differently. We already have a common connection that ties us together and if the bond is there then it feels as if we've been friends our whole lives. Even if we had just met four months prior.
I gained two best friends from the Disney College Program my first time around. She happened to be my roommate and he happened to be my coworker. What was nice about my roommate was that we actually knew each other before the program so having a familiar face from home helped with the transition into our new lives in Florida. What was nice about my coworker was that he was someone brand new with a different perspective to life and who opened my eyes to what had been in front of me all along: a career with the Walt Disney Company.
I will admit that my first program was a fluke. I applied on a whim, never expecting to be accepted in a million years. After all, I already applied twice before and was rejected both times. This third time had no weight behind it. I didn't even consider what would happen if I got in, I was already waiting for the rejection letter. But I did get in and I did live in Florida and I did fall in love with my job. The only thing was that the love of my life had an expiration date, and it took leaving for me to realize I was even in love in the first place. I knew I had to go back.
My roommate and I remained best friends and after she came back home from her extension we had the best summer of our lives. Having her home gave us a chance to really build our friendship outside of the Disney Bubble and to this day we are closer than ever. My coworker and I had to work a little harder.
Him and I were placed at the Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom. Working in Quick Service Food and Beverage in Magic Kingdom is one of the most challenging tasks I had ever been given, and on the most taxing of days, we looked to each other for a sign of relief. We grew to depend on one another and learned that we worked better as a team than anyone else. And it showed. We found a healthy balance of competition and cooperation. Mostly, we competed over who was the better Cast Member (I won every time). However, at the time, it didn't even occur to me that I wanted to be in the running for such an award in the first place. Seeing the gratification on a guest's face after a magical moment that he created for them made me want to do better and be better. I didn't realize that I wanted to make that kind of impact on someone until I saw it in action through the eyes of someone who I perceived as being made for this job. And he is made for this job.
Fast forward two years later, Fall of 2019, I was on my way back down to do another program in a brand new role, with brand new faces. This time, the familiar face was my coworker-turned-friend. Two years later. Doing a second program. In the same role (this time in merchandise). Together. Now, him and I talk every day through social media and when we do call or FaceTime we will be on the phone for hours discussing mostly about when we'll be able to go back and run Disney ourselves from high up. What's nice is that even though Disney is what connects us, we are also able to have deep and meaningful conversations about whatever might come next. When we first met he was not someone I originally saw myself even becoming friends with. We were just so different. Now I can't see my life without him. He's the reason why I discovered a passion for Disney that I didn't even know I had and it is where I'm meant to be.
What's exciting is that my roommate wants to be my roommate again so the apartment search is on! She has given me so much, I'm not sure if I could ever repay her. Having her as a roommate and being able to get to know her on a deeper level made my first program even more incredible than I could have ever imagined. While I was pushed to be a better Cast Member at work, my roommate pushed me to have a better social life. Seeing her have this confident glow and this don't-mess-with-me attitude was both intimidating and inspiring.
In the beginning, we didn't really know much about each other. We had common friends and that was the extent of it. It was her hard exterior that drew me to her in the first place because the few times that we had spoken words to one another was when I caught a glimpse of her inner child wanting to burst out. She was a secret softy that not many people were aware of. But it was this hard shell, soft guts combo that made her so amazing. She was able to hold her own against anyone who crossed her while also maintaining her kind soul. This confidence she exerted is what gave me some of my own. Before I knew it I was talking to more people, going to more gatherings and I wasn't afraid to put myself out there.
One of my favorite parts of the day would be when the two of us would go into our room for the night, sit down on our beds and just talk while we unwound from the day. It always made me feel refreshed for the next morning, like a weight had been lifted. She became my rock, someone who was ready and willing to scream into the void with me and who always had my back. I wouldn't trade any of the Christmas parties, late night Taco Bell runs or spontaneous luncheons in Epcot for the world. And I can't wait to be able to do it again.
One of the hardest things I ever had to do was say goodbye to people I wasn't sure if I would ever see again. These people became my family in such a short period of time, I couldn't imagine going through it without them. That's the tough part about the Disney College Program. You meet people from all over the world, grow to know them and adore them and then within months you're pulled away from each other in different directions. But that's also what's so magical (pun intended) about it. It brings people together from all over and has the ability to connect us one way or another through our love and our passion for one company. This post only mentions two out of the countless other people who have influenced my life in one way or another and I can't wait to give them letters as well.
It's important to let the people you love know how much you care about them because you never know when they need to hear it.