Why I am thankful for the Disney College Program

There are a great number of reasons to be thankful for the Disney College Program. I know many people can attest to how the program has changed their lives, myself included! Here’s a few of the reasons why I’m thankful for the Disney College Program. 

I am thankful for the experience it has given me.
I have been fortunate enough to participate in two programs: one during the spring of 2016 and the other in the summer of 2018. Each of my programs provided me with different experiences. My first program was the first time I lived away from home, and I am thankful for the experience of having to be fully independent for the first time because it taught me quite a few valuable lessons. It provided me the opportunity to learn how to handle difficult situations and how to use conflict resolution with my roommates. I have since been able to transfer these lessons over to my current role with Disney Internships And Programs at the Disney Service Center.   

During my first College Program, I worked in showkeeping (custodial) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It was an incredible experience and one I would not change. The role was very much about taking responsibility for the cleanliness of your area and working to provide the best overall experience for our guests. I am thankful for the opportunity to further my abilities to work on my own, and also for teaching me more about supporting others in their roles. Not to mention, the bond that you build with fellow cast members and other Disney Programs participants is one that can make your time on the program one great ride!

On my second program, I worked a custodial role at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort. This allowed me to see a different side of the custodial operation in resorts. It was here that I felt like I was a part of a family working so closely with my fellow cast members. I learned a great deal about resort operations and leadership methods. I am also so thankful for the mentorship that I received while at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort; it is one of the things I attribute to why I wanted to return to the company. 

I am thankful for the friends and relationships I have made.
I am sure that many people can say that they have made friendships on the Disney College Program that will last forever. The friends I made on both of my programs have made lasting impressions on me, and we created a bond that will never be broken. On my first program, I had all of my roommates come from different parts on the country. I became very close to all of them as we knew we would be living together for four months. Knowing that we would be spending a lot of time together, we got to know each other well enough that if anyone had a need, they had someone to rely on. Within that first week, we went out of our way to meet our next-door neighbors to make more friends. It didn’t take us long to become close friends with the girls that lived next to us. I will admit that the friends I made on my first program are another reason I came back for the Summer Alumni Program.  

On my second program, I had all five of my roommates come from Singapore. This provided me with an eye-opening experience that I will forever cherish. I not only built a lasting friendship with all of my roommates but also learned about their lives and culture. I had an amazing summer program because of how open and fun my roommates were to be around. Not only did I become friends with my roommates but also many other program participants from Singapore! I am thankful for the friendships that I have built and the connections I have kept with my former roommates.  

Undoubtedly, I am most thankful for a specific friendship from my first program. The friendship that has had the biggest impact on me is the one I built with my now fiancé. I met her early on during my first College Program in 2016, and our friendship blossomed into a relationship that has lasted for over three and a half years at this point. She is my best friend and I could not imagine where I would be if I hadn’t meet her on my program. In this way, I am thankful for the Disney College Program because it allowed me to meet so many fantastic and kind people throughout the past four years.  

I am thankful for the joy that it has brought me.
Both my programs were amazing and have provided me with fantastic memories to look back on. I am so thankful for the fact that on any day I wanted I could go to a park or a resort and relax and have fun.  There were many opportunities to have a good time while on the Disney College Program, including the many program events and offerings (so make sure to keep a look out for the Communicator and all the offerings coming up every month!). I will always be thankful for the ability to constantly experience the magic of Disney whenever I needed to.   

As Laverne in Disney’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ said, “Life’s not a spectator sport. If watchin’ is all you’re gonna do, then you’re gonna watch your whole life go by without ya.”

The Disney College Program has forever changed the course of my life and it was all because I took a chance at the unknown. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the Disney College Program. The experiences it has given me, the lasting friendships I’ve made, the relationships that I have because of it, and the joy it has brought me.