In all honesty I wrote the first draft of this post 3 months ago but everything’s been a little bit topsy-turvy since then. Trust me when I say this: you can never fully adjust back to normality once you’ve called the Magic Kingdom your workplace.
Even though I only called Walt Disney World my home for 9 short weeks, the experience changed my life forever. And I really can’t even begin to put into words how.
Peter Pan’s Flight was, and I think always will be, my purgatory. Seeing the words “PAN MERGE” on my rotation slip INSTANTLY filled my heart with dread. (PAN MERGE is the wonderful position where you have to let 1 party from the regular line though and then about 200 people from the Fast Pass line, which, as you can imagine, led the guests who had waited 90 minutes in the Stand By line to be OVERJOYED.)
All the 14 hour shifts and the 3.45am finishes and the 4th of July (do not even get me started on the 4th of July. That has got to be the hardest working day of my life!) were worth it.
They were worth it for the amazing people that I got to meet, from all over the world. It’s all worth it for the 3am IHOP trips. It’s worth it for coming home and having your friends laid on your living room floor waiting to hang out. It’s worth it for the life-long friends you make, and spending all your spare time wandering around the parks with them. It’s worth it for my Fantasyland family. It’s worth it for my Pan Clan who share my loathing for Pan Merge. It’s worth it for being put on strollers while the fireworks are on and singing and dancing around with your friends because you work in an office that puts on the greatest firework show every single night.
And I think I cried at those fireworks every single night, too.
I think I’ll almost miss sitting in that “break room” hearing “Help me, Mr. Smee! Help me!” over and over and over again. I will miss being furiously hissed at on a daily basis. And I will miss the lightening and I will miss the rain.
Disney changed the way I thought about a lot of things. And it contributed to me making the decision to take this year out of university. It made me realise that life really is too short to be unhappy.
Working for Disney gave me patience, it changed my tone of voice and it broke my heart every day when I saw and interacted with families from the Make a Wish Foundation. It was, by far, the best customer service training anyone could ever experience. Let me tell you, I think I could deal with any angry customer now that I have been blamed for children’s illnesses and guests being charged $250 for missing their dining reservations (where he got that number from, I’ll never know.) and, of course, it is solely my fault that Peter Pan broke down almost every day. (Ok, every day. And sometimes twice.)
I am sad that my time with my Disney family has come to an end, and it hurts so much to know that no matter how hard I try or how many times I re-apply, I will NEVER be able to re-create the experiences I had with the people that I grew to love. But I will never, ever forget the memories that I made over this summer.
So be warned: if you are going to apply for the Disney ICP program be aware that your life will never be the same again. And I mean that.