How The Disney College Program Changed My Life
Updated: Aug 27
The Disney College Program changed my life.
I was accepted for the Fall 2017 session in Food and Beverage in Magic Kingdom and even though I wasn't exactly thrilled to be in the food industry (I've had my fair share of hangry guests) I was still honored to even be accepted in the first place. This was my third time applying to the program and it was also during a time when I felt myself falling into a slump at school. My grades were fine, my social life was fine, my routine was fine. Everything was fine. I was content. Which was never something that had scared me before.
Before my program I was someone who didn't mind taking a backseat in life, I was insecure about not knowing what my future looked like while everyone around me seemed to have it all together. I was co-dependent on others around me, never comfortable with adventuring into the unknown on my own. And I was okay with the path I was on to use my English degree and go into book publishing. All of this is what was expected of me. I never felt the need to strive for more, for what made me happy. If I'm being honest, I didn't even realize I was unhappy until I experienced happiness. Pure unadulterated happiness. During the five months I spent in Florida as a Cast Member at the Walt Disney World Resort it was as if I was on a constant high that I never came down from. The independence, the confidence, the experience and the memories I gained can never be replaced.
Suddenly I was a new person. I was smiling more, laughing more, exploring more; both on my own and with friends. The DCP was my opportunity to reinvent myself in any way I wanted. Coming from a small town made it seem like I was stuck with no room for growth. I had it in my mind that people couldn't change and neither could I. But I was wrong. It just took stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a chance on myself to help me realize. This will sound cheesy, but in taking a chance on myself I found myself in the process.
I don't allow myself to be satisfied by just being content in the background anymore. I strive to do better and be better. Which is why, two years later, I went down for a second program and to do it all over again. Only this time, I was planning to stay.
I owe The Disney College Program a great deal. Not only did it give me a purpose, it also gave me some of the best friends a girl could ask for. Disney friends hit differently, and anyone who has ever had a friendship that was connected through Disney will tell you the same thing. I say this because the friends you make as Cast Members know how to motivate you and how to push you forward since they know what it's like. To be so passionate about something that you don't know what to do with it. They know the ups, the downs, the ins and outs, and they get to know you. The real, unfiltered you.
The friends I made during my program pushed me to do the things that made me stronger, they inspired me to be a better person and a better Cast Member, they humbled me when my head got big and built me up when I got knocked down. They are the reason why I never have to worry about being content ever again (which is now one of my biggest fears). These are people I still keep in touch with to this day even though we are miles apart because they were crucial to my self discovery. They were the ones who helped me realize what made me happy.
Creating magic for others makes me happy and I never want to stop.
If I could go on tour cross country and talk to college students about applying for the Disney College Program and exchange stories and share my passion with other cast members around the world all day long then I totally would.
So, if you couldn't tell, I am a huge advocate for The Disney College Program because not only did it change my life, but it saved my life.