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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

one month since check-in

Today marks exactly one month since I started my Program!

I can't believe it's been one month, and only one month, since I started this second Program.  It has already been a complete roller-coaster.  We're talking a full-on Rock'n'Roller Coaster of a month, not just a smooth little 7 Dwarfs Mine Train.  I just wanted to take a minute to talk about what exactly this past month has looked like for me, with open honesty on my mental state and how Program #2 has been treating me so far.

My Role

I knew, before I even applied for this Program, that being a Character Attendant would challenge me.  Every single person who has ever done this role talks about how difficult it is at first.  As my friend Sarah puts it, "it's a role that you kind of have to re-learn every time you work at a new location."  Now that I am off-training (and finally ripped off my little earning my ears sash!), I can clearly see how all of these different challenges manifest themselves on stage. 

It has not always been easy.  For a few days, I was opening a serious dialogue with my family and friends back home about what the logistics for going home would look like.  That's an idea that never crossed my mind on my first Program, so these are brand new feelings.  It's something I suspected I might have felt this time around, since I'm meeting a brand new role with the knowledge of my previous experience.  At the same time, I have to trust that these challenges I'm facing are good for me.  Working in this multifaceted role with such a renowned department is going to help me grow so much as a professional.

Speaking of my department, I just want to say that Magic Kingdom Entertainment is one of the most incredible environments that I have ever worked with.  I have worked with some of the most positive, fun people on earth these past few weeks.  My fellow Character Attendants, especially my fellow CPs, absolutely own my heart!  The leadership here is outstanding, and I am working with a team that genuinely wants to help me reach my personal goals and be the best Cast Member I can be.  I had reservations about returning to the Disney College Program since so much has changed since 2016, but I can say with full honesty that Entertainment is taking such good care of me, and I feel like I'm in a work environment where I can thrive and work towards my goals.  I am very excited for the next six months.

Since you got through that wall of text... I have to mention the fun part of my job: all of the characters I've worked with!  I have had some really, really incredible shifts so far.  Like I said in my last post, my first shift was at Cinderella's Royal Table and working with Cinderella was the best note I could have possibly started this Program on. 

The next morning, I worked with Mary Poppins, who was also wonderful!  I've worked with the Chipmunks at Ft. Wilderness twice now, which is always a fun shift, and this week, I'm going to be walking around Frontierland with the Country Bears, which I'm so excited about!  Next week, I have the best schedule ever planned out!  I'll be working with Jack Sparrow, Buzz Lightyear, the Fairy Godmother, the Step Sisters, and at Chef Mickey's!  These are all shifts that I have heard terrific things about, and I am thrilled at the variety of this week.

TLDR: Being a Character Attendant is something that I have always dreamed of doing.  Not only is my dream coming true-- it's helping me grow into a better professional and teaching me so much about myself!

Chatham Square

As much as I wanted to return to Vista Way this time around, I once again have been placed in the apartment I was meant to end up in.  I live with the funniest and most amazing girls in the Program!  The vibes in our apartment are amazing.

I didn't mention this in my first post, but transitioning to life at Chatham was rocky at first.  This is my second Program without a car.  Without a car, it's a little harder for me to get groceries and explore Orlando, but living in Vista Way made it easier because I could just walk across the street to Walgreens to get anything I needed before a shift.  Moving to Chatham, which is so far away from Vista, was a challenge in that I had to re-learn how to meet those same needs.  There is a Publix that I can walk to if I really want to (it's about a 10 minute walk), but most of the time, I just take the bus to Wal-Mart.  Also, the apartment itself is just so much nicer than my Vista Way apartment.  It's kind of crazy.  Now that I am fully adjusted to living in Orlando again, I can say that while I miss the convenience of Vista Way, I love my apartment and my roomies.


Josh D'Amaro announced about two weeks ago that Cast Members would get a chance to preview Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway before guests, and let me just say... my preview was last week and it was a blast!  I absolutely adore this new ride and I know you will, too.  The imagineers really outdid themselves this time.  This ride beautifully marries new technology with the timeless whimsy and charm of the Mice!  It is a true delight for anyone who loves the Fab Five.  I miss Great Movie Ride, but the Runaway Railway is incredible and I can't wait for guests to start riding it tomorrow!  Cast Members were also given commemorative tickets and a free PhotoPass download.

I went to Festival of the Arts two or three times, but I just couldn't get into it.  I painted on the mural with Timmy (and had a great meal at Garden Grill with him!) and sampled a few of the booth dishes with two of my friends from my training group, but it was just not my favorite Festival.  I am so excited for Flower & Garden!  I'm going to be spending a lot of time soaking in the F&G Festival starting next week.

Disney Springs is another great spot for a day-off, especially if you want to do something fun but don't think your body can handle a ton of running around in the Parks.  Disney Springs isn't as crowded during the day, so my move has always been a movie at AMC followed by ice cream from Ghirardelli.  Last week, I went to Springs with one of my friends from Pace!  We tried a slice of pizza from Pizza Ponte and grabbed a frozen Coke from the Coca-Cola Store.

In general... here at the one month mark, I'm in a really positive place with my mental health.  I have been meeting all of my challenges with a positive, honest, and relaxed attitude since I got down here, and I'm really proud of myself for the hard work I've put in already to keep my life balanced down here!  So far, this Program is off to a great start and I can't wait to see what's in store for me for the next six months.


Whould you like to comment?

  1. I'm sorry you had some struggles and actually thought of leaving, but I'm glad to see that you stuck with it and are in a better place now. It does look like you've had a lot of positives to take away from this experience in just the first month and facing adversity and challenge as you have will only make you a stronger person in both your professional and personal life. Thanks for the update and I hope to see more from you soon!!!

    1. Thank you so very much!! I greatly appreciate the kind words. I have certainly had a wonderful Program so far!


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