“There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, just a dream away.” That was the tune in my head as I anxiously applied for the Disney College Program in October of 2012. The Disney College Program is a semester (or longer) program for current college students, providing real world work experience and world-renowned customer service training, as well as an understanding of Disney heritage and values. But to many, it is so much more than that. To live and work at “the happiest place on earth” is a dream come true.
I grew up with a great love of all things Disney. When we were not at the parks in sunny Florida, my family did the best we could to bring the magic of Disney home with us, all the way back in Pennsylvania. Some of my earliest memories involved my sisters and I singing to Disney soundtracks in our mini van, happily drinking our apple juice and milk out of our resort mugs, decked out in Disney gear. My personal favorite thing to wear was a pair of sparkly Mickey silhouette barrettes I kept tucked on the tops of my pig tails. I remember sitting on the couch with my sisters, oohing and ahhing over a large book that my mom had about all things Disney. It contained pictures of rides, facts, and even information about Walt himself. I thought that the Haunted Mansion, an attraction I was not brave enough to ride, must have been the latest and greatest in engineering technology. How did they get those ghosts to fly and dance? My sister said it was a great Disney secret and no one knows, except for the Disney Imagineers, and Walt, of course. From my childhood on, I was hooked, and I wanted to be a part of the magic. I wanted to know the Disney secrets.
Well, my dream finally came true many years later when I was in college. I had the opportunity to participate in the Disney College Program from January 2013 to May 2013. They were some of the happiest days I have ever had, and I carry wonderful memories from all of the experiences that journey taught me. But now that I am living back in Pennsylvania, I still try to “keep my Pixie Dust”. At least that is how our managers would put it when I or my sisters, who were also cast members, came back “home” to visit the parks as guests. “I see you’ve still got your Pixie Dust,” they would say when I picked up a piece of garbage on the ground, used two fingers to point in a certain direction or accidentally called a little girl in line in front of me “princess”. They still see the “Disney” in me, which is something that I am proud of.
I want to share my experiences of being a cast member and participating in the college program, as well as how you can “keep the pixie dust” with you, even when you are far from the parks. My goal is for you, as a reader, is to feel the magic of Disney in your daily life, to learn Disney tips and secrets, and to have fun reading about all things Disney!
So grab your resort mug, some mouse ears, and don’t forget to sprinkle on some pixie dust, and read along with me next time as I share with you how I began my Disney College Program journey.
Elysabethe is a 23-year old Disney addict and Disney College Program Alum. Her first visit to the parks was when she was just three months old, and her most recent visit was on her honeymoon last June. When she is not in the parks she can usually be found carrying her resort mug full of diet coke and singing to Disney music on her drive to work, trying to bring some of the “magic” back home.