“Laughter is Timeless. Imagination has no age. And Dreams are forever.”
It’s a wrap! I enjoyed every second in Florida, from the beaches to the parks, to Chick Fil-a to Publix. It was an amazing experience, a memorable one, I will always remember the bonding times with my roommates, the food shopping chaos the first day when we moved in, our visits to the Disney theme parks and the water parks, our beach road trips but mostly Traditions time! When we all took the bus to go to Disney University and saw our names on the screen, when I got my name tag that says “Where dreams come true” with pixie dust around it, when I saw Mickey Mouse for the first time ever, I couldn’t hold my tears when I first saw the castle in Magic Kingdom. It felt unreal, I thought it was a dream that I was by myself in Florida following my dreams.
I am grateful for every person who somehow helped me get through this journey. It was very overwhelming, with keeping up with my online work, Disney courses, work at Animal Kingdom, and trying to figure out what to make for lunch. More than a work experience, it was a learning experience in all aspects. It gave me a start of living on my own, and how is it to be on your own when I graduate school.
I want to thank Disney for giving me the opportunity to work for such a privilege company, and to provide housing and care to make this experience more accessible.
It’s our last week in Orlando, and Disney is throwing us a party!
It’s a graduation party, we got certificates of completion of the program, we got mickey graduation hats, and a memory box. They provided us food, music, and a dance floor to start the party.
When I saw the memory box, I started tearing up because I realized how little time I have in Orlando, in Disney next to my friends. I began putting all the things I want to remember forever about my college program. For example, I put inside my name tag, my self admission pass, a small Donald Duck figurine I won during Traditions, and a few pictures I took with my roommates. It’s going to be very hard to say goodbye. I already said goodbye to my work friends, and I am really dreading saying goodbye to my roommates. After four months of living with them, seeing them every day, sharing the TV, the bathroom. The college program brought the best in me and made me see another side of the world. This is only the start of a new life, a life of new opportunities.
After 14 long weeks of taking my Disney courses, it’s finally over. I enjoyed taking these classes and I learned so much about the Hospitality industry, however I was very overwhelmed with classes, work and living on my own. My time at Disney went by so fast, even with so little time off I had every week I still managed to make time to visit the parks and explore Orlando.
The two courses I took, Advanced Studies in Hospitality Management and Organizational Leadership are going to be very helpful for my future career in the hospitality industry. In Advanced Studies in Hospitality Management I learned all the aspects of how to operate a business, the financial, marketing, human resources aspect of my value hotel called Ohana. Our project is finally done and you can find our hotel business plan at andreaibarra94.wix.com/ohanaresort
For my Organizational Leadership course, we had to make a final presentation about Situational Leadership Approach, which is one of the leadership methods. I learned what type of leader I am in this class, and how to approach to my future employees. I also learned how to improve my leadership skills and how to put them in practice in the hospitality industry.
I earned two Ducktorate degrees for my two courses, all the hard work was very rewarding at the end. I am very proud of my two degrees.
I’m back! Finally I can sleep in my own bed, and be with my family who I have missed. However after coming back from Disney I had only two days to fix my sleep schedule and go back to work. I am happy to be back but what happens now.
Since I have been home, I realize that NYC and Orlando are so different. It’s cold here too, I miss Orlando weather, and also I miss the nice Orlando people rather than the crazy people on the train.
At work I am struggling to learn everything at my job and remember what I forgot. Also after a conversation with my chef I realized that most of the stuff I made in Disney doesn’t apply to my job here in NYC. It has been hard to get back to the swing of my job, and the crazy sleep pattern I adapted to in Disney makes it impossible to sleep. I don’t know how I am supposed to get me sleep schedule back to normal quicker.On a positive note I am home and it feels great to be surrounded by family and friends.
A new chapter opens, and I will continue my path to become a Pastry Chef.
Its my last week, I have to say goodbye. School finished, I am going to miss my classmates. My last two days of work weren’t the best, I wish I could have ended work happy. One of the legs on a bird-bathe we had broken and a mousse I had been working on went straight to spoilage. I was so sad but my legs just started moving and the next thing I knew I was holding back tears as I mopped away the mousse. The culinary team came to help me and asked if I was okay, physically I was but mentally I was just upset. My co-cast member from pastry just looked at me and continued her work and we cleaned around her.
My last day we didn’t really speak, she was cold towards me, but I didn’t care it was my last day at Disney. The chef at the end of the night allowed me to take pictures of the restaurant I worked so hard for. As I looked around the room I knew that because of all the work I did I helped to create magic moments and make people smile in this place. All the long nights of working, the tiring days at school where I couldn’t keep my eyes open, the days I had to choose between sleep and hanging out. All of it, it was hard, but now I know I can handle anything Disney can throw at me. As I walked through the kitchen for the last time, I got a look of the new CP who would replace me. I was the CP to work pastry at Be Our Guest, I set the bar for those after me, I hope I set it high. I talked to the new CP, wished her good luck, and then walked away. However I was greeted by the one person who had actually trained me, I received a big hug, a sad good bye, and a good luck. As I walked away I heard her tell the new CP, “she was the first CP, you have some big shoes to fill.” As the elevator closed and I clocked out my heart sank. I would soon be leaving Disney.
My graduation was so much fun, got to the characters, get my diploma, and see my friends from out of state/country for the last time for a while. Then I went home to pack and get ready to leave. The day before I left the complexes, I lived. I went to Ohana to eat, then to the beach then to go home and pack everything so I can be out of my apartment by 11am the next day. It was the best way to end my program. My boyfriend helped me to pack and get everything in the van on the day I left. As I left the complexes, I couldn’t help but be sad, I made a life here and now I must leave.
My journey to become a Pastry chef will continue in New York, but my journey at Disney is over. I will miss it so much. The friends I made, the relationship I started, the mentors I had, the obstacles I went over, the happy moments and the sad moments, all of it I can’t believe how quick it slipped by.
Goodbye Disney, until next time……….
My days are numbered here at Disney, I cannot believe it. I finally had started to grasp how to work and have fun. This week is my final projects for both classes, I am so nervous. For my Creativity and Innovation class, my group decided for us to represent ourselves as a team so we all wore the same color. We got through our presentation and I know we did well because it was creative yet realistic. We researched how demographic, who are we going to invest with, and why we honestly thought our idea was awesome. Our timing was also as planned and we finished right on the point that we had to be done by. The other groups that went up went even farther then research, some used their talents to sing a jiggle or paint logos. The best groups brought food, and we all ended up having a feud about whether the waffle idea was better than the pancake idea. In my Human Resource class, Team NIKE conquered the competition; we had research, ads, and a great finish. Once again our timing was almost perfect, we had plenty of questions at the end. Also we all wore NIKE gear as a way to represent ourselves as a team and showcase our company.
This week I actually was working overnight so I was able to have one last breakfast at Magic Kingdom. It was nice to have been a part of the overnight team, although there were a lot of long nights we still always left on time. They all taught me so much and even said they would miss me. I cannot believe I won’t be working with them again.
In my personal life I actually went to Typhoon Lagoon for a CP event, which will probably be my last before graduation which I need to get off for. Being at Typhoon Lagoon and seeing all the CP’s gathered together just shows how many people want to work for Disney.
One more week and I will be leaving Disney I can’t believe it came this soon.
Classes are back in session and I am still working the 4am shift. I learned new tricks on how to make caramel, especially how not to burn yourself. I stood on this shift for the whole week because my co-cast member was taking vacation, working this shift was actually almost normal, I was able to go to bed later, and I was less tired in class. However I am trying to keep up with my overnight sleep schedule because next week I go back to working overnight. To be honest I prefer working overnight still despite the weird sleep patterns, however I might be going to nights again soon because some cast members are transferring.
Back at school we are preparing our final projects and I love my group’s idea. However we need to refine it a lot, there are too many details and everyone wants to run the group. The ideas that the rest of the class is coming up with also seem to need refinement, so my group isn’t alone. We are also preparing for a test, which is funny because how do you test creativity. In Human Resources we are also preparing our final projects, the group I am in chose NIKE, which I am excited to research about.
In my personal life at Disney, which is becoming more of my home every day, I now have a room to myself because my roommate found an amazing job because of Disney. I feel a bit alone, but not like before at my old apartment, I still feel at home here. I also got into a relationship, which I don’t know what is going to happen when I leave.
We will have to see what happens next.
This is now the middle of my program, Disney classes have officially ended, however I am thinking about taking a couple of workshops. In the hopes of gaining more knowledge before I leave the program. The workshops are free as well, which is always a plus. I received two Ductorates for my classes. I am proud of myself for trying to juggle everything.
In the last week, I had a guest give me a racial comment. This is also not the first time that that has happened to me on the program, but the third time within 3 months. Now that doesn’t seem like a lot but it is when i’ve only been here for 3 months. Back in New York I don’t experience things like that, NYC literally has thousands of people from different backgrounds. They say that America is a melting pot, but really, I think New York City is THE melting pot. I brought this to the managements attention, because I was very upset about the situation. They just brushed it off and said that it’s best that I don’t say anything because I represent Disney as a brand, which I do understand. However, I don’t understand how they could just let someone like that into their park, that man could be harassing not only me but other cast members and other guests, which is worst for their brand. In the end, I am over it and my skin is thicker now. I have 3 more months here and will make the best of it.
There was also an accident that occurred near Animal Kingdom. A bus that takes the CP’s to AK was crashed into by a SUV holding an entire family. This created a huge fire on both ends. Investigators figured that the woman behind the wheel fell asleep and then continued to drive down the wrong lane. 11 were sent to the hospital, including the family in the SUV.
A fellow cast member and college programmer also passed away at one of the complexes here. May he rest in peace.
On a brighter note, I looked at my record recently and I found that I received 2 four keys card this month. I also made it on the Great Service Fanatics bulletin board for my area. I am happy that I’ve been recognized for my hard work.
How to keep the magic alive, this is the most difficult question someone could ask me. I do not see the results of my work, I do not get to see the happiness of a child’s face when they get the gray stuff and smile because they can now try something that Princess Belle tried. I also have long shifts that prevent me from going to the parks so I always feel like Tinkerbell is forgetting to share her pixie dust with me.
However the times that I get, before having to wake up for overnight or on my days, I go to the parks and I see the magic. The magic that makes people forget about their worries and their stress. When you experience Disney you forget about everything, your schedule, school, and the magic just comes back to you. I even saw the results of my work when I had an encounter with a guest, they actually had a picture of a plate of gray stuff I plate. I knew it was mine because of the day they came and how it had been piped.
I had asked some of my coworker how they keep the magic of Disney alive and some were obvious like money but other say that, how many people in the world can say they work at Disney and visit anytime they want. Also another way to think is that when we are in the kitchen, you forget sometimes were you work so when you actually go to the parks it doesn’t change the feeling you get when visiting the parks.
The Hcareers’ article “Transitioning into a Leadership Role” talks about tactics for people who have been newly promoted. Being promoted is always a big deal and that is no exception from Disney. It takes many steps to get promoted but it is worth it.
On a regular work day the setup of workers is the sous chef, culinary assistants, Cook 1, Cook 2, and the students who are part of the culinary program. I put the CPs at the bottom because we are basically floaters who do not get a bid and work whatever schedule they need us on. When moving from Cook 2 to Cook 1 the interview process to move up is almost the same questions the students from the Culinary program are asked when we first apply for the program. The questions that are asked do not relate to your job and what you cook it relates to how much culinary knowledge you know. I find interesting because if you are just applying for a higher position at your current location why would you need to know how to make a crème anaglaze when you make cupcakes.
However when you want to move up to a culinary assistant, you have to present a recipe to the head chef, who will decide if you move up or not depending on what you come up with. However if you do move up you have first choice in your schedule and higher pay.