Where do I begin?

If someone had told me back in September of last year that I would have left Florida in tears and having the hardest time saying goodbye I'd probably laugh in your face. When I applied to the program, to begin with, it was more of a "why not? I highly doubt I'll get in anyways" and look at me now. 

After contemplating how I could possibly say goodbye to this chapter in my life, I'd write a letter to the DCP as I had done when I graduated from UNC Charlotte. I mean, it's all about consistency, right? So without further ado...

Dear Disney College Program,

Thank you. 

Thank you for giving me possibly the best six months of my life (yet) and for teaching me way more than just how to create delicious Mickey-shaped treats. I know our journey had started off rocky, with me in denial that me being a post-grad am headed off to do an internship with Disney rather than starting my career off in corporate America like my peers, but you had welcomed me with open arms from the start regardless.

From day one you had brought me the most amazing people with who I would be sharing an apartment for the next few months and little did I know that they would be my hardest goodbyes. I guess somewhere between the many bottles of the rose', tearful heart to hearts, chicken nugget runs, What do you Meme battles, and carpool karaoke that we all became a family.

Coming into the program I was hoping and praying that I would be placed with roommates that I could tolerate since I went random, but I definitely lucked out. How lucky am I to have been given such caring people who tuck me in when I fall asleep on the couch, bakes me cookies after a long day at work, or even just be there to listen to me vent out all of my silly boy problems?

But you didn't stop there.

When I had found out that my home location would be at Disney Springs and not in a park I have to admit that I was kinda bummed. I mean, was I really working at Disney then? To top it off I was placed to work in five different locations with one of them being a Christmas shop - which we all know how I feel about Christmas music outside of Christmas time and the other being a candy store where I have to wear the most obnoxious costume... Even though I tried to stay positive about it all, I really thought that I wasn't going to enjoy my time at my home location.

Boy was I wrong.

Not only did you show me that celebrating Christmas every day would be a blast and that making Mickey-shaped treats isn't that scare you also gave me the best co-workers/friends I could ever ask for. From helping Mickey make one of a kind t-shirts for our guests to stitching memories, to whipping up treats alongside Goofy, you made me fall in love with Zone 3 all the people in it... even if it did take being deployed a couple times to realize it.

We both know that our time together wasn't always filled with magic and pixie dust, but somewhere along the lines of watching Happily Ever After every single week or getting to hop on and ride on the back of a banshee whenever I wanted, made me realize how lucky and blessed I was to be given this opportunity. It's like when I thought my experience down in Disney couldn't get any better you kept coming up with a "but wait, there's more" whether it be a backstage tour of Haunted Mansion, a sneak preview of Toy Story Land, or getting to ride Space Mountain with the lights on.

And don't get me started with the people.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the best at meeting new people and making new friends. So you can only imagine how terrifying it is for shy little me to be thrown into a crowd of strangers and to try to find someone to accept my weird, quirky, chicken nugget loving self. Even though the first week of stepping out of my comfort zone to talk to new people and introduce myself was both awkward and terrifying, I'm so glad I did it.

During my time here you've blessed me with the most amazing roommates, friends, and co-workers to join me on this journey. I've learned so much on how to be a better friend, how it's ok to not bottle all of your emotions up and it's okay to vent every once in a while. I keep going on and on about how amazing the friendships that I've made down there are, but there's something about the mutual bond of loving Disney, eating one too many Mickey-shaped waffles, and the craziness of all our guest interactions that created such a unique bond between all of us.

There's so much I'll miss about this program like being able to run around the parks whenever I get a chance to or indulging in one too many dole whips or random photoshoots in the parks. I'll even miss the random downpours because let's are honest that's the best time to play in the parks. I'll miss being able to come home to my roommates and talking about all of our crazy stores from work. Although there's so much I'm going to miss about the DCP, I know it's my time to leave.

So I'll leave it at this.

Thank you, Disney, for giving me a chance to make magic at the most magical place on Earth for the past 6 months. Thank you for helping me discover more of who I am and for showing me that the world is filled with limitless possibilities. Thank you for giving such lifelong friends who support my chicken nugget addiction. Thank you for showing me the importance of keeping in touch with others, even if they're far from home. Thank you for all the mems.

I know this may be the end of my college program, but I have a feeling this is only the beginning. So, like the boss man says, this isn't a goodbye it's a "see ya real soon!"


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