“Laughter is Timeless. Imagination has no age. And Dreams are forever.”
Hi Hsuan, LiMan and Tingting!
Congratulations on getting into the Disney College Program. I just finished my program on the 3rd of January. I did not extend my program so I am back at City Tech for Spring 2019 but I wanted to say hi… I couldn’t find some of you on the WDW page.
If any of you three see this please don’t be afraid to reach out with any questions. Make friends and stay focused on your program and why chose to do it. Good luck!! 🙂
Last week was one of the best weeks I had in a long time. There were so many intriguing events going on in one week with people I love, just met and got close to within these four months. It’s the ending of my program and I haven’t once went into the soda machine room. It was my first time going in there to see if the four soda machines in beverage island were having the soda flowing correctly. I literally learn something new every day when I’m at work. Quick service and working at my location has taught me so much more about food and beverage, how to keep my composure in many different situations, and have patience with guests who didn’t understand how the dining plans work.
Throughout these four months in this program there were many challenges that I had to face but I learned to get through it on my own and with that I learned much more about myself. This wasn’t my first time being away from home since I was able to experience it before in the beginning of my college years. However, it was my first time being in a different state and not being able to visit home whenever I wanted to. Throughout my four months here in Florida, I was extremely grateful to have family that live here to help me with anything I needed. This chapter of my life is close and I am so ready to start my next program with Disney in my new position. I’m ready to take full advantage since I barely got to network, attend housing events, global offerings, education offerings and trips that Disney provides for us college students. Also take pictures with more of the characters, I only got a chance to have pictures with Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, LILO & Stitch.
My first program is complete, it went by so quick to me and soon my second program will begin. I’ll be in Epcot doing merchandise, can’t wait!! I am ready for new experiences, expand my skills, eager to learn so much more about hospitality within Disney and myself; professionally and personally. I’m clearly not ready to end my program, I am blessed and grateful to continue my stay and to continue it with Gabby and Sam. Can’t wait to experience more memorable moments with these two and make more friends!!!! Closing this chapter with Fall 2018 Disney College Program and beginning a new chapter for the Spring 2019 Disney College Program.
My journey into the Disney College Program began in the fall semester of 2016 when I first walked through the halls of my hospitality department at New York City College of Technology. As I waited to speak to my mentor about my career goals, I read a poster that advertised an internship that would allow me to work for the Walt Disney World Company. For the next couple of weeks, I had done some research, and spoke to a college professor that had worked for the company for a couple of years and was in charge of connecting college students with the collegiate classes. She advised me to apply to the program after taking some college classes because it bettered my chances of getting in. I completed my first two years of college, and decided to take my chances and fill out the application for Spring 2018. One winter afternoon, I was hanging out with a couple of friends, when I got the email that congratulated me on getting into the program; as you can imagine filled me with joy, excitement, and anxiousness. I immediately paid the fees for my acceptance and waited for the next steps. Unfortunately, the week before my arrival date, something came up that did not allow me to take part in the program. At this point in time, it felt like things were not going to work out. At some point in February; however, I got a notification for the DCP of Fall 2018 which I briefly glanced at and decided not to apply. A week later, a good friend of mine posted that he had gotten accepted into the program for 2018. I saw this as a sign and on a whim, I applied. This time the application process was much quicker. The interview process took about a week; within two weeks I paid my fees and booked a flight. At this point in time, It didn’t seem real; the first time around was such a bummer and I was constantly thinking that something was going to come up again and I wouldn’t be able to move down. As I said my goodbyes to family and friends, went through airport security, and got on the plane, it still didn’t feel real. Three months later, it still has yet to hit me.
The disney college program has been filed with so many challenges and sometimes it seems so unreal. I look back to how scared I was getting into the program about three months ago, and I can’t believe how much I’ve grown. One of the ways I know I have changed is in closings. I remember when I was first given the task to close a station with a partner, It took us the entire shift and it was exhausting. At the end, the trainer explained to us that we were supposed to close the stations on our own. My reaction to that as full disbelief; there is no way that I can get all of that done on time. A couple of weeks in, I was finally put to close a station on my own and it took me about forty-five extra minutes to close. At this point in time I was completely discouraged and was so hard on myself. Getting to work became hard because it just seemed like I was being set up to fail. Fast forward to three months later; boy have things changed. There are days when I am late by a couple of minutes, but for the most part I have learned to work efficiently. I made it a goal for myself to finish on time every time I closed and sooner or later task became less intense.
As I look into the future, the most important thing I take with me is the notion that “I can do it.” As cliche as that may sound, I didn’t think myself capable of closing beverage island in the span of a couple of ours. The things that seemed daunting before are more manageable now. This notion that things will get better, I can get better, and I can do it is so important to me because half of the battle I face is how hard I am on myself. Disney has given me more confidence. Perhaps is because of the many mantras written on the walls, because they give us seemingly impossible tasks and expect us to get it done, but disney has definitely taught me to believe in myself and my abilities. In the future when I get a new job filled with daunting tasks and impossible work, I will think about the holidays at Port Orleans French Quarters and know that I can get through it.
This week I have said farewell to a very close friend from work, spent my first time away from home for christmas, and spent the holidays with my roommates and coworkers. Everything at this point feels bitter sweet, being away from home was upsetting and I tried holding off as best as I could from calling my family but eventually I had to talk to them which was super emotional. At work I was able to switch with another cast member so that I would work in the front of the house rather than being isolated in the Pizza closet. I was so grateful to Nikko because I don’t think I would have been able to deal with isolation. My friends and I made christmas cards for everyone at work which was really fun. Two days before christmas we decided to go to Target and print out christmas letters and write notes to everyone. We then went to work on christmas day and watched everyone open the cards in front of us and it was just great to see all of their reactions.
In the last two weeks my coworkers and I have gotten so much closer. We were able to go to formal and our Disney graduation which was so fun! We all got to dance together and just overall have a great time which I was so grateful to have had experienced. As we head to the end of the year, there’s a growing fear of separation that hangs over our heads. The saddest thing is knowing that we have built such great ties with those around us just to have to leave at some point. I had to say goodbye to Krissy, a friend I made towards the middle and end of my program, and seeing her go was so heartbreaking. She decided to self term in order to surprise her sister for the holidays. As sad as it was, I know that we would keep in touch and honestly just getting to meet her and learn from her is the most incredible thing in the world. Honestly, I am so scared for what is to come when all of my roommates, and coworkers move out on January 3rd and I stay in a huge house all on my own for 4 days.
Week 5 of the Disney College program has been filled with many ups and downs. While on the one hand, my social life is filled with friendly interactions with my roommates and friends, work has been getting increasingly difficult. Strangely enough, I think I’ve been managing to juggle all aspects of my life right now which include school, social life, and work. While I do feel physically exhausted most days, It seems that my mental wellbeing is in a good place which is really nice. Being that this is my first time working full time, being a full-time student and being completely independent, I worried that my mental health would struggle to keep up with everything, but I think I’m doing pretty okay.
I have officially gotten my ears, which means I am officially responsible for everything needed to be done within a station. While I was training, I had a trainer that would watch over the station and help out as much as possible. Transitioning into doing everything by myself has come with many challenges. One of the biggest challenges I have has to do with turnovers. Turnovers normally happen from 10:30 to 11:00. By 11:00, all breakfast stations switch over to lunch stations menus change as well meaning that guests will be able to order from the lunch menu. The problem comes when there are 2 people in a station working nonstop to feed the guests and have no time to make the switch. The first day I had to do the change over we had one of the chefs come in and help us out because we were so behind. She wasn’t very happy about it, but she could tell we had and overload of guests and we couldn’t just tell the guest we have to close the shop while we made the shift. If there were a way to get a person who is just in charge of the turnover for all of the stations, the switch would be so much more seamless. At this moment in time, I’m trying to figure out how I can be the most efficient in everything that I do especially when there is a long line of guest and I am alone in the station. As I get a better understanding of the stations and timings I will have a better idea of when I should make the switch between stations.
On a brighter note, I was able to hang out with Dez, Sam, and Brittany for the first time together at magic kingdom. It was super cool; we got to go on a couple of ride and see the fireworks. I also got to go to Animal Kingdom with my rooMmates for the first time this week and we waited over 75 minutes to get on Avatar’s flight of passage. In the end though, it was completely worth it. It really felt like you were flying, and the part where the banshee dives down near the water was literally the coolest thing ever. I got to see the Plain White T’s at Epcot with Sam which was super fun. Every time I have a hard time at work, I just think about being able to go to the parks any time I want for free.
It has been couple of weeks since I have posted any journals and it honestly feels like a million years have passed by. So much has happened so many things have changed and in the next couple of days a new year will enter and for the first time ever it will feel like a new era. On January 3rd everyone in my apartment will move out; all of the CP’s I’ve become good friends will go back home, and the CP gap will begin.
In the past week or so I have been crossed trained in taking orders in the Pizza Closet which is where we take room service calls from four different resorts: Saratoga Springs, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarters, and Old Key West. I don’t think Ive ever disliked a job more in my life. It’s not difficult as long as you are able to manage the registrar and make conversations with guest, but the more I do it the more I realize that this type of work environment is not for me. I like hands on activities and being able to personally interact with guests. I like being able to socialize and move around. Working with pizza deliveries is awful because I have to pick up phone calls and stare at a screen for 8 hours. It is not for me. I cross trained in it because our location needed extra help but I am excited for the day when I don’t have to do it anymore. On a brighter note I have officially become a trainer which I was so excited to start doing!!
My first trainee was named Luz and she is a middle aged woman from Venezuela. She was so kind and willing to learn everything. The biggest problem I faced though, was having to teach everything to her in spanish. While she understands English, she has trouble communicating it back and she’s in constant fear that she’s going to say something wrong. I fear for her simply because I know that she has high motivation and she is capable of doing work but the fear is what is holding her back. This training shift was challenging because I had to really dig deep and translate everything I had been doing. Moving from a place where I was speaking spanish everyday, to constantly speaking english, it felt like I was losing a part of me. Training Luz reminded me where I come from and showed me that those abilities are still there even if I don’t use them everyday. As a spanish teacher she was able to correct me just as much as I taught her everything she needed to know. After having taken the leadership class, I find myself thinking about how I am applying the different forms of leadership and as I reflected on this interaction I was pleased to witness that even though leaders are supposed to guide the way, followers can do just as much teaching and it is important to open yourself up to learning. As I welcome this new position, I am eager to learn just as much as I am willing to teach.
In the past couple of weeks I managed to ask my leaders to train me to become a trainer, and because we have been so short staffed, I had to train a couple of CP’s for a couple of days. We had a couple of part timers as well as Cp’s either get fired or termed which made the already short staffed location even I won’t officially become a trainer until the end of next week but I am confident I will be able to do what I have to do because I have already done it. The first two days of training were not that bad because I was in a fairly easy station but the last day was somewhat of a complete disaster. I was training in two of the hardest stations, and it was so busy that at some point I had to help out the station next to us. The trainee had already been trained in that station during her morning shift the day before so she was confident enough to handle the station, which was mostly empty, on her own. I then had the task of teaching her how to close two stations within a specific time constraint which was the most difficult thing to do when there were so many guest coming over to order from us. At the end of it though, we got through it being only 5 minutes late. While I was proud of myself for being able to just complete the shift, it was draining and it was definitely a wakeup call for what I should expect in the future. Regardless of how difficult it was, it was also such a fun experience and I enjoyed myself so much.
Week 11 has been filled with many ups and downs. This week is thanksgiving week and it was the first time I was away from my family for the holidays. While I thought it was going to be sad and lonely, I did not expect to be as miserable as I thought it was. At work it was completely empty with the exception of a couple of stranglers here and there but because it was so empty my mind kept wandering to family traditions. I was unable to speak to my family because my phone broke so not being in contact with them has made things especially hard. It was on this day that I felt what adulthood would be like, being completely alone to solve your own issues the best way that you can.
On a much happier note, I had many great adventures with my coworkers. Because I’ve been closing consistently for the past 2 weeks, I have grown especially close to two, Addie and Jessica, so much so that we came up with a ship name : “Gaddica.” On thanksgiving day our job was going to have a potluck dinner and so Gaddica decided to make a Lasagna. On the day of, we went to walmart which was honestly so packed with people just like us doing last minute shopping. We bought the ingredients and went home to make it. The whole process was so heartwarming yet crazy all at the same time. It seemed like every step along the way was a complete mess but at the end of it all it came out great. Within two hours of putting it in the breakroom, it was gone. Our coordinator liked it so much he tried to take credit for it which made the evening pleasant because we all joked about it. I also got to hang out with Sam, Brittany, and Dez right which had been the first time in a long time. And my roommates and I went to Cracker Barrel for a friendsgiving meal. This week was one of the weeks where I felt the closest to the people around me.
This week has been honestly one of the coolest weeks of the program. I was able to go to the filming of the Disney Holiday Celebration 2018 that will be airing on tv on christmas day. My roommate has signed up to go and it’s basically a group of mini concerts that are played in front of the castle in honor of christmas. The filming was broken up into a couple of different days, the first was the night shows which featured Meghan Trainor, Becky G, and a few other stars. The morning show, which is the one that I was able to go to featured Andrea Bocelli and his son which I was really looking forward to watching but because I had work, I missed such a magical moment. As sad as it was, it was such and incredible experience to be able to watch how technical the making everything is. When the cameras were rolling, we had to act the part and make sure our reactions were as real as the first take. They played the song a couple of times around and then they filmed about three rounds. It was so interesting to watch the cameras move around and all of the different points of views. My roommates even got free ears to match with the christmas theme.
This week I was also invited to a dinner at one of my coworkers house. He is an international cp from china and because he had moved work locations a couple of weeks before, he decided to invite everyone to dinner at his place. He made a whole bunch of Chinese cuisine which honestly tasted really good. My coworkers and I played a couple of games and just hung out and talked about work. After a long and exhausting week it was just nice to hang out and be normal for a bit. It feels like my life revolves around trying to keep up with assignments and catching up on sleep. Socializing is so important especially if we are almost more than half way through the program.
Week 9 was sort of a sad week. Today I had to say goodbye to a couple of the international cps. Honestly, Holly, Shiho, and Weng Chen are one of the kindest people I’ve met. They have honestly been so generous and helpful. It was especially hard reading a letter Holly had written to me. Saying goodbye to people is one of the hardest things I will need to learn to get through in this program. I have met so many wonderful people that I learn from on a daily basis and having to say my goodbyes is definitely rough. The good thing about the international cps is that they’re not going home just yet, they’re only switching their work location. This is great because on any day that I am free, I could just easily go and visit them.
My classes have been going well so far, I had an essay due earlier this week where I had the task of interviewing one of my leaders. I decided to interview Stephanie because she seems to be one of the most unapproachable leaders and I wanted to better understand her. Because she has been working with the company for over 20 years, she has the tendency of sticking to the books. I learned that working in management positions tends to take a toll on people. She told me about this one time specifically when she had to deal with the murder of a cast member and the effects it had on the rest of the team. I would have never thought of someone getting murdered, it’s something you see in movies. She told me about how it’s hard to lead a team to create happiness when everyone has seen such a beloved person’s life being taken away from them much too soon. The conversation with her was enlightening. It puts into perspective how difficult leading a team really is especially when everyone becomes so close with one another. Sometimes it’s easier to close yourself off and not allow yourself to be vulnerable, other times though, the greatest things are learned from those short but meaningful interactions.