Love it (them?) or hate it. It’s (They? I dunno) been a very integral part of who I am.
Ever since I was a little toddler, my mom found the only way to keep me still was to put me in front of the TV and leave Bambi on. She says I would just sit there for hours, and then move on to Toy Story or The Lion King or Pocahontas. So, naturally, she did this every single day. It’s weird because I don’t remember this occurring so many times, but I do that old “Walt Disney Pictures” blue screen coming in and drawing itself. I miss that.
Then, over the years as I grew up, my family would make trips up to Disneyland every so often (I lived in San Diego, about an hour away). To be honest, I don’t remember much about those times either, except for riding on top of my dad’s shoulders, or waiting in line for “it’s a small world” or “Peter Pan’s Flight” or being in the passenger seat in “Autopia” because I wasn’t big enough to be in the driver’s seat. But, man, I loved going to Disneyland, but c’mon, what kid doesn’t?
(SIDENOTE: Every so often, I come across somebody who has NEVER been to a Disney park before in their life, and I just cry inside a little because I can’t imagine how much they have lost out in life. Going back as an adult for your first time just wouldn’t hit you as hard once you’ve seen the terrors of the world)
…and we’re back. There was a period of time from mid-elementary school through middle school when I didn’t go to Disneyland. I’m not really sure why this was, but I also started to think I was too “cool” for it, and that Disneyland was just for little kids, and I was no longer one of those. But, I believe in my freshman year, my parents took me and my sister to Disneyland just for a small day of relaxation and fun (I was probably 15 at the time, and my sister was probably 21/22 so it did seem a little odd) and wow, after watching “Wishes” and “Fantasmic” again, it’s like I was 3 years old again. I went home that night, reluctantly, and I began looking up everything Disney. I watched every movie, listened to every song, and started to dream up a life of Disney.
A few years later, I started dating my first girlfriend, and she lived about 20 minutes away from Disneyland. We would visit the parks about once a month, and I loved it. She did too, for the most part, but she would always rush me just so she could get on the rides while I wanted to watch shows and see things, like Innoventions. What separates Disney Parks from all of the other theme parks is that aura, everybody knows what I’m talking about. That innocent feeling, as if you’re in a dream. Just going to Disneyland solely for the rides (and c’mon, at least say “attractions” like you’re supposed to) really didn’t give you the experience that Walt Disney hopes for. We even got into a fight at the park once, and she stormed out of the park. That bitch. Nearly ruined Disney for me. When we broke up, I threw out everything of hers, and all of the stuff she ever got me. That included a $60 leather jacket (but to be fair, it didn’t fit me anyways). The one thing I did keep, was the Disneyland crew neck sweater she got me. I’ll always love her for that reason.
After she dumped me (yeah, that’s what happened lol), I really started to feel lost in the world. I was in my first semester at community college, and because I was so distraught and lost, I stopped attending classes by the third week. I really didn’t know what I was going to do, I had lost everything with her and that relationship. I didn’t know where to turn to.
I started to look for Disneyland tickets because I thought that might cheer me up, but then I remembered about the Disney College Program. I had first discovered the DCP when I was about 15, right after that rebirth of Disney love, but of course, you had to be in college to participate so it did me no good at that time. But here I was, finally in college (technically), and without any direction. I applied. I was so excited, I knew I had to get it, there was nothing else to do. I scheduled my interview a week later. I studied for that interview so thoroughly, researching the questions they asked for, researching the Cast Member lingo, and I typed all my answers on a paper so I wouldn’t stumble (which I did anyways). That interview was so nice, the interviewer was so nice (I want to say her name was Rene?) and it was the easiest thing I have ever done. It lasted about 30 minutes and it was so good to just talk about Disney. I had heard that it often took up to three weeks to hear if you had been accepted or not, but within a week, I opened my email with message from the DCP reading: Congratulations! I could’ve cried right then and there. I ran into my parents’ room and said “I GOT ACCEPTED!!!!” They couldn’t believe I did, and couldn’t believe I was going to be moving to Orlando in a few months. But it was true, I was going. Disney had become a part of my life again, but this time a MAJOR part.
About the whole Disney College Program experience, I’ll probably leave that for another post, as there’s just way too many memories to talk about and I don’t want to flood this post on any more. Just know that it was the single most life-changing experience of my life, where I’ve met some of the nicest people I’ve ever been so fortunate to know, made the greatest memories that I’ll treasure forever, and had the great honor to work in the name of my greatest hero (besides my parents), Walter Elias Disney. Of course, I nearly got fired (funny story actually), but I’ll leave that in that post as well.
Here I am, a year later from that experience, on the verge of entering my 20’s and I still hold dear the Disney name and represent my passion for it as much as I can: with a Disney debit card, and the Mickey keychain that holds my keys. I’m currently working hard in school so that I may one day be so fortunate to accomplish my ultimate goal: Become a Walt Disney Imagineer.
Hey, it may happen. I’ll make sure it does. I can go the distance. “Remember….dreams come true”. (Yeah, I had to. Haha)
Thank you Disney. Have a magical day!