My first few days at the Disney College Program can best be described as a whirlwind of meeting many, many new people. I was pleased to find that I was placed in a 1 bedroom, 3 person apartment with two of the sweetest roommates I could have ever hoped for. So far we’ve been on the same page about food, cleanliness, and trash duties, and have been working as a team to clean and maintain the apartment’s appearance. From the beginning I tried to get the important tasks out of the way by unpacking everything and buying all the necessary items (groceries, toiletries, etc) the first night. That left me with plenty of time to familiarize myself with the four complexes and surrounding areas when I wasn’t busy attending casting, housing meeting, and Traditions the first few days.
Although I couldn’t enter the parks just yet, I attended their monthly World of Culture event. We discussed the importance of learning about guests by actually speaking with them rather than judging them based on their appearances. They used the analogy of an “iceberg.” There are some assumptions we make based on what’s on the surface but in order to find out more, we have to dig deep by asking questions and really listening. There were many international college program participants at the event which allowed us to bounce stories and experiences off of one another. I also managed to personally speak with and exchange numbers with a few of them.
The day I was finally able to enter the Disney World parks was an amazing experience. It was my first time visiting after almost 15 years and I still felt as special as I did the first time. When I thanked a cast member for giving me directions, he responded, “you’re very welcome, Princess” which really did make me feel like a princess! Even small moments like the one I just had can be magical and really make someone’s day. I plan to keep this in mind as I start my training at the Ink and Paint Shop at the Art of Animation Resort. I also had the pleasure of dining at Spice Road Table in Morocco at Epcot. Not only was our server, Yassine, a friendly and engaging server but he also offered us complimentary dessert to try when we weren’t sure what to get (their baklava is amazing!). When the Wishes fireworks show started, Yassine noticed that our view was blocked by the pillars in the restaurant’s outdoor seating area. He quickly brought us through a hidden doorway by their kitchen with a wonderful balcony view of the show. I was really moved by Yassine’s actions and so I promised myself that I would do my best to be as thoughtful as he was.
Through the wonderful stories told by cast members, the inspirational videos shown throughout orientation and training, and my own experiences in just the first few days, I feel even more excited to begin my journey as an official Disney cast member. So much has happened in just a week and I’m sure my months spent here at Disney World will continue to be filled with even more magical moments.