My Disney College Experience
Once upon a time, it all began in 2011 with me rolling through the magical doors of Disney. Walt Disney World was always a staple in our household. It was the home away from home that made dreams come true and brought magic to life. As I got older I wanted to be a part of that magic. I was coming to the end of college and getting ready to graduate when I decided to join the Disney College Program!
I remember every interview, every quiz and online form I had to fill out. I remember the moment I got the email telling me that I have officially been accepted. But what I did not know was how it would change, form and have me grow personally and professionally.
Disney is known for it's customer service and when coming onboard as a Cast Member, I received the honor of joining Disney University. I was surrounded by a group of beautiful individuals, inside and out, who had pixie dust in their veins and wanted to do nothing more than make dreams come true.
I will never forget the moment joined together with people from all around the world, all walks of life and backgrounds, in Epcot, as they announced and welcomed us to the Disney family.
A group of people who would forever be a part of my life and story.
I originally joined Disney as a Merchandising Cast Member, where then I was brought into the world of Disney Entertainment.
Let's Talk Accessibility! During my time as a Cast Member I was able to be open about my disability and receive the tools I needed to be able to be successful in my position. The wardrobe team customized my costume to fit my body comfortably and make it easy to get on. They also redesigned the belt bag to be able to go on my chair to make access during the day easy and comfortable! I was blown away by the customization and how they truly listened to my needs to ensure that I was able to do my job in a way that was easy, successful and ultimately made me happy.
It didn't just stop at my job, living on property was just as adaptable! I was able to get an accessible apartment, work with the security team and transportation to have accessible tools at my fingertips that not only insured my safety but my freedom to be where I needed and wanted to be. My friends and I had the extra magic of being able to set up transportation to pick us up and take us to Disney springs for the night as if we had our own private driver. I absolutely loved the people that ran transportation and they always made our trip a party! Always going above and beyond and even when I was by myself helping me unlock the door of my apartment.
My experience with Disney from living quarters to working helped me be more independent and taught me that it was OK for me to be disabled in the workplace and to need accommodations. Needing accommodations did not mean that I couldn't do the position of my dreams and I am forever thankful for Disney for teaching me that.
I couldn't believe the day that my program was coming to an end, I just couldn't say goodbye. I decided to join as a seasonal Cast Member keeping the magic as long as possible! I graduated College Program with friends that I still to this day call family and the tools that have led me to the amazing career I have today.
Now that this article has brought me to tears and is making me want to jump on a plane and go to Disney right now, I just want to say thank you to every person and Cast Member that not only touched my life but that makes the magic come true for thousands of people every day.