My Love for Disney
Disney has become my ultimate happy place. A little expensive for a happy place, but truly where I feel free, safe, and joyful. It always brings a spark to my step and anything Disney tends to leave a smile on my face. Additionally, I find myself in awe of every little detail that is behind every show, every attraction, and every performance. So, the next time you ride Peter Pan’s flight, take a journey on the jungle cruise, or dive into each country in Epcot take the time to slow down and truly appreciate it all.
My true obsession with Disney didn’t actually begin until I was 20 years old during the height of COVID-19. Well, it first began by being influenced by some of my favorite people’s love for Disney and some of my college friends' ultimate desire to do the Disney College Program.
But the full desire for me to do the program didn’t come until COVID where I really just wanted to experience the magic of the parks and bring myself back to those Disney movies days.
As a child, I only visited Disney World once when I was 11 years old. I don’t remember too much of the trip, but I traveled with my aunt, uncle and cousin. My cousin has cystic fibrosis and I particularly remember that year being a rough one for him, so my parents allowed me to go on the trip as my birthday and Christmas gifts for years. (Forever grateful for them).
The move-in of my college program lined up with their 2022 Disney trip, so I spent the day with them before I officially became a cast member later that week.
Disney is expensive and was/ still is honestly unaffordable for my immediate family, so therefore I went once. I loved disney, but I was never as obsessed as I am now for certain.
I eventually made my second trip to Disney in September 2021 with my professor/mentor/second mother as we were presenting at the Ragan Social Media Conference.
Leading up to the conference I had decided I wanted to apply to the Disney College Program when applications opened up again and this trip confirmed that. It was one of the most memorable days of my life. It felt amazing to be in a new environment surrounded by magic and people I love especially after being confined to home. It was also my first plane experience and I am now obsessed with flying. It was really the start to my passion for travel.
Applications for the Disney College Program actually opened up on the day of our return home.I literally applied when I landed back in New York and took a web based interview at 11 p.m. that night which says a lot for this early morning bird.
Completing the Disney College Program was one of the best experiences of my life. While it was hard and some days were definitely challenging to get through physically for me. It made me appreciate the magic even more so. Because even on the hard days the songs of enchantment brought joyfulness and there is nothing like seeing Cinderella’s castle light up at the end of Main Street.
There’s something magical about Walt Disney World that will forever make it be my happy place.
I did not end up staying down in Florida after my college program. I decided to return home due to medical issues and the fact it's very hard to find transportation without your own car down there and without spending a ton on Uber which is definitely not affordable on a cast member's budget unfortunately.
I do miss the weather, the ability to see my friends more often (as a bunch of my college friends moved down there after I left…naturally) and the opportunity to walk around Disney Springs whenever. There’s certainly always something to do near Disney World!
I’m onto new things for now though as I begin Grad School in less than three months. But you never know, maybe one day I’ll return to working for the mouse again or just live in the local area!
I recently returned for the 2023 Ragan Social Media Conference and was reminded of how happy being in Florida weather and Walt Disney World made me. I just couldn’t stop smiling which was so important for me because I haven’t smiled like that since my last time there. It’s been a hard year with decision-making and figuring out some health issues. But Disney came in clutch with a mood booster making the largest purchase of my life this past month well worth it.
I saved incredibly hard for the past few years and decided to treat myself to a Disney Incredi Annual Pass when they became available for the first time in a long time once again. It’s something I've longed for since I started my college program in 2022.
It was certainly an early stressful morning, but I’m excited to be able to call myself an annual passholder now.
Mentally, it’s a great investment for me because it encourages me to visit a place where I feel I am rejuvenated, I am at my happiest, I feel safe being by myself, I am able to authentically be myself and I’m able to enjoy myself with no judgment.
Financially, it benefits me because while my immediate family doesn’t go to Disney (my mother did promise me she'd have some with me one day though…) a lot of my extended family does, so having an annual pass allows me to tag along without spending money on a hotel room. Don’t worry I always pay for coffee though!
The 20% off merchandise/dining discounts will certainly be helpful throughout the year as well. I also added the photopass option because I sometimes solo the parks and my photos from Disney always end up as some of my favorites since it is my happy place.
My next trip is coming up in less than a month with the annual pass launch! I am tagging along for half of my aunt and uncle’s vacation trip in May. It’s my aunt's birthday and she is definitely one of the reasons for my Disney world. I’ll be taking the two day drive down with them, but I’m flying back early so I don’t lose out on too many work hours. (I’m a workaholic if you didn’t already know.)
Here’s to never losing sight of the things that bring you joy and alway take time to enjoy the things that make you the happiest. Mine just happens to be at the happiest place on earth.