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Disney 2014 – new friends, a second family and the experience of a lifetime

Posted on 10/07/2014 by
Cara (ITC Graduate) now working at Disneyland, Orlando, Florida.

Cara ITC Graduate now working at Disney, (in the red top) in Orlando. What an experience.

ITC Graduate Cara Adams tells us about her experience at Disney.

How do I even start to talk about this journey, it has been such a rollercoaster ride? I am so happy that I chose to do this; I have grown while being here and have met friends that I will keep forever. There have, of course, been ups and downs in the six months I have been here so far, but all of them have been an important part of this amazing experience.

I arrived at Orlando airport after an 18-hour flight – tired, excited and extremely nervous. I met a fellow kiwi on the plane and we shared a taxi to Vista Way, the check-in complex for Disney. I think I tipped the driver too much judging by the smile on his face! The leaders greeted us and we had our housing ID photos taken straight away. We then received our housing placements, a schedule for the coming days and the keys to our apartments.

We were free to explore for the rest of the day, so I went to my apartment to introduce myself to my new roommates and put my luggage away. I had five very excited people waiting to meet me. My roommates had been here for five months, so it was a little intimidating coming into an already well-established family, but I could not have asked for better roommates. I have decided to stay in the apartment despite tuning 21, because it wasn’t worth giving up such a fabulous new family. My apartment includes two Norwegians, one German, one Italian, one Chinese and me, the Kiwi.

The next few days were filled with classes and meetings, sorting out our immigration papers and discussing Disney housing rules and regulations. I was assigned to work at Hollywood studios, which to be honest I knew nothing about. I met a group of Kiwis during these meetings and I now see them every day, they are friends I will keep for life.

I had the weekend off before I started training, so I checked out the bus system, which is awesome and takes you anywhere in Disney. It also takes you to Wal-Mart, which is a bit like The Warehouse, where you can buy your bedding and food – pretty much everything. One evening our neighbours come over to ask us for ice. They were from all over America including Texas, Nebraska, Alabama, Chicago and California.  They became close friends and like a second family. I am planning to visit them later in the year, as they finished their programme just a few weeks ago. It is hard saying goodbye to the people who become your support network here, but there are also so many new friends to meet.

I arrived outside Hollywood Studios at 8am for my first day of training. I met my trainer, a very funny man named Imad, who has become another good friend. He helped me pick out my costume, which is a lemon shirt with tan shorts – it’s not very attractive but someone is always wearing a more outrageous costume.

The attraction I work at is the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Play Set Adventure, which is pretty much a big playground. I had three days of training and one day of assessment. Training was really fun and relaxed; we went over safety regulations and how to operate the attraction effectively and we had lots of talks about Disney’s four keys, which are:  Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency. The assessment was easy and within the week I was all ready to go.

Work is really fun and the people I work with are amazing. There are no boring days! I work five days a week. The hours depend on where you work; for example, Magic Kingdom has the latest hours (as late as 6am) and Animal Kingdom closes the earliest (at 5pm) so those people mainly work during the day.

And there is so much more to do here than work! On days off there are endless things to do, beach trips, shopping trips, partying, clubbing and much more. I am a bit of a party animal so I hit a club called House of Blues, located in Downtown Disney. Every Sunday it goes crazy and there are tons of us college programme participants partying. They also have Happy Mondays, where teams from different countries face off in drinking competitions (just make sure you don’t have to get up early the next day for work!). You don’t have to stay in the Disney area, as there are party buses to take you to downtown Orlando each night. There are clubs open club for every night of the week and in most places ladies drink for free till 12am – sorry guys!

This month I will have been here for six months, and this has been the most amazing experience of my life. I have met friends that have become my family. Working for Disney is a privilege and, even on the days that are long and hard, I remember how lucky I am to be here. I have grown up and become so independent. I don’t have my mum to do my washing and cooking anymore. Disney is a magical place and a dream come true for me. All you have to do is take a leap of faith and know that this is a journey and experience of a lifetime.

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One Response to “Disney 2014 – new friends, a second family and the experience of a lifetime”

  1. […] You can read about the first six months of Cara’s time at Disney World here! […]

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