I’ve done it. I’ve picked up my life and moved to Walt Disney World.
When I learned about the Disney College Program when I was a child, all I could think of was doing it myself when I grew up. Well, I’ve finally grown up, except not really. I work in a real-life Neverland – Peter Pan himself walks around to encourage kids (and adults) that growing up is overrated.
I’ve been to Disney way too many times in my life. I could tell you how to get around the Magic Kingdom better than my own neighborhood, and I’ve begun greeting characters like an old friend. But even with all of this exposure, every morning when I drive into work and see that beautiful castle I turn back into three-year-old Liz. My stomach fills up with fizzy bubbles and I cannot control the smile on my face because oh my gosh, I’m here. The Magic Kingdom never loses its magic and I’m entirely grateful for it.
But it’s more than that now. Not only does the Magic Kingdom retain its magic, but I’m now one of the people creating that magic for the other guests. Something that seems so small to me, like always having stickers in my pockets, can make a child’s day. And I’m making adult’s days too when I let them know that we have free shipping back to their hotel, so they don’t have to carry all of their purchases around the park with them. I’ve played “Feed Dumbo” with little kids and watched their faces crinkle with delight at throwing a rubber peanut into a bucket. Just today, I watched a grown woman become filled with childish delight at realizing that yes, my store sells a Maleficent statue (Maleficent is her favorite character and all she wanted was something representing her). These little moments, the moments that don’t seem consequential when they’re being done, are the moments that can create magic for a family’s vacation.
I never saw myself as someone who was good in the customer service or hospitality industries. From day one I’ve been an artist – sitting in solitude writing, listening to a podcast while (poorly) drawing, performing on a stage in front of hundreds of people, or practicing my calligraphy while watching a movie. But suddenly, I am interacting with people at a level that I never have before. And I really, truly, love it.
I’ve only been here for a few weeks, but I feel as though I could do this forever.