One year. This time last year, I was embarking on a magical journey that would change my life. That’s right folks, it’s been one year since I started my Disney College Program (and I still talk about it every day). It’s crazy to think it’s been that long! I can still remember my Traditions day with that first look at the castle and my first day in DAK with that park arrival music like they were yesterday. Yet so much has changed in just one year.

What surprises me the most is that I still talk about it…all the time. You know those dreaded ice-breakers and introductions you have to do the first week of school? I’ve had a lot of those recently and I mention my program every single time. I didn’t know the DCP could become a personality trait, but it really has. In my Editing class, the professor has us come up with headlines for our life. Mine was “I did the Disney College Program.” When my Argumentation and Debate professor has us introduce ourselves and tell the class what our hobbies were, the only thing that came to my mind was going to Disney World. Yeah, it’s that bad.

So, how does it feel one year later? It’s strange to think it’s been that long. I still use the Disney point and knock twice on every door I go through. There are several habits I picked up from being a Cast Member that I carry with me today. At this point, I don’t think they’re ever going away! That’s just the thing, I think being a Cast Member will always be a part of me. It’s amazing how working at the happiest place on earth for four months can really change a person. I’m thankful for my self-confidence growth, the level of professionalism I acquired, and the drive I now have to go after my dreams and make the world a better place. I owe that and so much more to my DCP. I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking about it.

Not to mention, all the great friends I still have from the program. I read a blog post recently called To My DCP Ohana that literally made me tear up thinking about all the dear people that were in MY DCP Ohana. My DCP definitely wouldn’t have been the same without the amazing people that touched my life through the process. I had the best group of co-workers and roommates that a gal could ask for. There are people who I still talk to every single day, those I keep up with on social media, and the people who will always hold a fond memory in my heart. I miss each of them dearly but I am grateful that I met them and will always consider them family. That’s what they are! They made Disney home. Wherever I am in the world, my door will always be open to them.

At this point, I no longer think back at my time at Disney with sadness. I won’t lie, the post-DCP depression was real. It feels less weird to be back in Johnson City and I think I’m getting pretty comfortable with change. Of course, I miss my program, but I think back at it and smile. How lucky I was to have had that experience. Not everyone can say they lived and worked at Disney World. I’m hoping my Disney journey isn’t over yet. As I lean into where God is leading me, I feel like Disney may be back in the journey. We’ll see, but I’m hopeful my days of making magic aren’t quite over yet!

To anyone considering doing the Disney College Program, PLEASE apply! It’s truly the best experience I’ve ever had. Even if you don’t get in on the first try, keep applying each semester. I cannot fully express how much I think everyone should have this experience. One year later, and I am overflowing with thankfulness. In the words of Walt Disney, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

❤ / Bailey


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