Everyone who knows me knows just how much I love Disney. My favorite movies to watch while growing up were The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and The Little Mermaid. I even liked the classic, underrated films such as Make Mine Music and Melody Time. My love for Disney continued as I became older; in fact, I think it grew!
When I first heard about the program through a friend during my freshman year of high school, I knew without a doubt that I had to do it. I waited until I was eligible before applying for the first time. I applied a total of three times before I was finally accepted into the program.
I was assigned to work in a merchandise role at Goofy’s Candy Co. in Disney Springs. I wore a costume that was designed to look very similar to Goofy’s own clothes. My tasks included working the register, stocking the store, and making treats in the store’s onstage kitchen.
Some of my favorite memories on the program were made here. I met some amazing people, from my fellow college programers to the older cast members who had been working at the store for years. From conversations in the stockroom and break rooms regarding the latest company news to being convinced almost daily by my coworkers to buy a glacier (Icee) or cake pop or Mickey Mouse krispy, there was never a dull moment. Every day at work was an adventure, and I feel so blessed to have worked in such an amazing environment with even more amazing people!
One of my favorite things to do was go to the parks and meet characters. In one day, I met nine characters total! Sometimes it can be hard to steer conversation, especially with the characters who don’t speak, but most of the time the character or character attendant knows just what to do to make the experience magical.
By far, my favorite meet and greet was with Pooh and Tigger. It was on one of my solo days at Magic Kingdom. I was the last one to meet them before they had to go eat honey and cake. I walked up to them and gave them each a hug (and the attendant was awesome and got pictures of each). Several photos later, the meet and greet was done…or so I thought. As I was reaching up to hand the PhotoPass Photographer my MagicBand, Tigger grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let me leave. Pooh felt the same way and grabbed my other hand. Eventually, the photographer and I managed to talk them into letting him scan my MagicBand, but once that was done, they took my hands again and skipped with me through Fantasyland before they had to leave. Best. Experience. EVER!
Another one of my favorite memories was being able to tour the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. It was already my favorite ride before the tour, but afterward I was even more in love. I learned so many cool facts about the ride itself and the waiting area and libraries where you watch the video detailing the backstory of the ride. For example, did you know that the libraries each have little items that played key parts in Twilight Zone episodes? You can find the cookbook called “How to Serve Man” from the episode “To Serve Man,” as well as the fortune telling machine from “Nick of Time.” We got to hear what happens after the ride’s backstory and the details behind the lobby’s eerie decor. We had the chance to walk on the roof of the building. We were also able to take pictures around the lobby area, and we got to ride it with the lights on!
And of course, I always enjoyed hanging out with my roommates and work friends. From listening to crazy stories about work to driving to the parks just because we could, we always had fun together. Watching the Festival of Fantasy Parade, meeting characters, going to buffets, everything you could thing of. Especially on late nights watching firework shows and crying.
So, I never really specified a particular moment other than the Pooh and Tigger meet and greet, but that was the beauty of this program in my opinion. There really was no moment that stands out above the rest because the entire thing was so fun. Yes, there were nights when I was so exhausted I went right to bed and slept in late. Of course there were days when I would rather stay in my apartment than go to the parks. But I ignored that feeling and went anyway. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I truly feel that I made the most of it. It was the most exhausting yet most rewarding time of my life.
I think that everyone should do the Disney College Program. Or if you don’t, take that leap and take on a crazy internship. You’ll learn things about yourself that you never thought possible, and it’ll more than likely be the best time of your life.