My Disney ExperiencePosted on 03/02/2015 by Jess O'Connor
ITC Graduate Jordana Grace has been living and working at Disney World, Orlando for the past six months. As her adventure comes to an end, she reflects on the amazing experience.
If someone came up and told me a year ago when I started at ITC, that when you finish there you will have a job at Disney World, I probably would have laughed at them and been like yeah right. But that all changed when I found a job vacancy on the notice board that said they were looking for people to apply for the Disney college program so I decided that I would go for it.
I had my interview in February and had to wait until the end of March to hear anything back. The waiting game was so long, but the day came when I got that email saying that I had got into the International Disney College Program in Orlando Florida.
I met some of the other lucky applicants through Facebook before leaving Auckland, so got to know a few of the girls. Four of us flew out of Auckland on the 2nd August 2014.
On the 5th August my life changed when I finally checked into Disney Housing. I moved into a 4 bedroom apartment with 7 other girls, so 8 of us in total. Five of us are from New Zealand then we have one Brazilian, one French girl and the other girl is a New Yorker (American). Coming into the housing was quite exciting and rather than being nervous, I was lucky enough to room with a girl that I met at my interview back in February and we had also travelled over here together. The other girls in the apartment also moved in the same day.
The first week was very long and tiring as we had orientation, housing meetings, immigration and visa meeting, finding out where we were working and our traditions class. The traditions class is our first day of training and learning about working for Disney and they gave us a tour of the park, our name tags and our blue ID’s that got us our discounts in the Disney shops and of course it gets us into the parks for free.
So I am working at Magic Kingdom in Cosmic Rays in Tomorrowland, back of house in the Kitchen. At first I was really unhappy and disappointed because I came here to interact with guests and make magical moments, but instead of front counter I got back of house in the kitchen. The first week of training I really wanted to go home because I really wasn’t enjoying what I was doing. I then started thinking that if I self-termed after I had just started, I would have really regretted it, so instead I decided to make the most of it.
They do give me the odd greeter shift where I get to make little kids smile and I get given a Mickey glove and I can create magical stories that the kids love to hear. Disney also have themed parties like the Halloween party, Mickey’s Not Very Scary Halloween party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party, which I’ve had two shifts for. You get a cute costume and hand out cookies and hot cocoa to guests coming into Cosmic Rays. Oh and they have Phineas and Ferb and a DJ that plays awesome music.
On my days off from work, which are usually Sundays and Mondays, I really enjoy going to the parks and going character spotting or even watching the firework shows, which being Disney, are truly amazing and a must see if you ever come to Disneyworld in Florida. Also on my days off me and my roommates sometimes go to Downtown Disney and see a movie and have dinner.
It’s a great place to go to if you don’t feel like going to a park, as they have lots of different restaurants, a few Disney shops, a circus show, a night club which all the College Program people go to on Sundays or Mondays, or they have $5 bowling after 10pm, so everything is pretty cheap for us. We also have buses that take us to the Florida mall and the local Walmart and of course all the Disney places for us to get to work. Another thing I enjoy on my days off is to visit the resorts and areas around them. My favourite by far is the Grand Floridian which is super fancy but it also super pricey haha.
Christmas time at all the parks is also amazing. They are all decked out in amazing Christmas decorations right throughout the parks and each park also has a Christmas tree. If you are wanting to come here during the Christmas time I would recommend Hollywood Studios as they have the Osborne family Christmas light spectacular and they are a must see, they are truly amazing and I don’t think you would see anything else like this anywhere in the world. Also during that light show you can see Christmas Goofy.
Living in Disney Housing they also provide us with housing events such as things like: Movie nights, themed Bingo nights, outdoor movie nights at Mickey’s Retreat, pool parties and holiday events.
We have just recently had our graduation housing event where we got free food and got to meet, Minnie, Mickey, Donald Duck, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto, and the one before that was Thanksgiving and were given a thanksgiving meal and got to meet characters again. I found this to be a really fun experience as I have never celebrated Thanksgiving before and I got to do it with my roommates.
If any of you ever want to do the Disney College Program I would definitely recommend it. It’s really overwhelming at first getting used to a new country, being away from your family and friends and of course adjusting to the weather which can be really hot, but this whole experience has been truly amazing and a dream come true.
I never thought four months ago coming into this program that I would have tons of new friends from America, Brazil, France, China and of course my roommates that are all from New Zealand –well five of us are haha.
I think what ITC has taught me since being over here is to embrace every opportunity that comes my way, staying positive, never give up and to give everything a go. I’m looking forward to coming home in February and looking for a fun job in the travel industry.Posted in Student success | Tagged Disney Experience, Disney World, Students working at Disney | Leave a reply