I have recently made the decision to leave the Walt Disney Company for a time after my college program ends. It was a very hard decision. But it was mine to make. I am SO glad I did it. I have thoroughly enjoyed this year inside the company from coast to coast. I have learned so much. I am not at all closing the book on Disney. I just know that I need a break from the insanity that comes along with being a Cast Member. I will miss all the perks and making the magic, but I think I will be back so it's not as if I'm saying goodbye forever.
I know that my decision may have come as a shock to anyone who keeps up with my life. Here's a brief synopsis of what went on in my head: First I really wanted to stay with the company, but I knew I needed a break. When I went home for my brother's wedding, I applied to Georgia College and State University (GCSU). I then applied to be a Disney College Program Campus Representative, allowing myself time off, while remaining a Cast Member and getting to live at home. I would give myself a break and take some French classes (a passion that has been on the back burner for far too long). Then I'd go back to Walt Disney World in January after I was sufficiently refreshed. The perfect plan!
When I found out that there were already too many campus reps at GCSU, I was devastated. My perfect plan was ruined. What would I do?! I e-mailed the head of the Disney College Program who made an exception and decided to let me in for the "full" fall session of the program at Walt Disney World. I was soooo excited. She made an exception for ME!? WOW. I am eternally grateful. I miss Walt Disney World so much, this really was a dream come true. I was all set to go. Still feeling like I needed a break, but trying to cover the feeling with my excitement for Walt Disney World.
Then I had a set back. After many realizations and frustrations in my current role, my eyes were opened and my heart got a little broken. I know I've always put the company on a pedestal. The realities of big business and politics hit hard. Anyways now I know that being a Cast Member or an employee for any company is really what you make of it and you have to take the good with the bad. I can't be bitter just cause I had a few set backs. I know what the company stands for and was built on and NO ONE can destroy that for me, no matter how much corruption, bad attitudes, and naysayers I run into along the way. It was a painfully good lesson for me to learn. I will always love the Walt Disney Company! I won't let anyone else destroy the magic for me.
This lesson came at the perfect time, just before I had to make my final decision about whether or not I'd return to WDW for a 3rd and final college program. On that same day I got my acceptance letter to GCSU. I had already been toying around with the idea of backing out. I think my set back made me re-evaluate. It allowed me to open my mind to other avenues and life outside of Disney. When you are a Cast Member, it's as if you eat, breath, and sleep Disney. It's easy to forget about the world around you. I have sacrificed a lot in the last year and put a lot of things on hold. I think my set back and good advice from family and friends gave me the freedom to let go of Disney. After much deliberation, I logged onto the Disney College Program website and clicked, "decline".
I recently worked the 55th anniversary of Disneyland and then went into the park to celebrate with my family. Cast Members and characters rushed out and sang an danced to "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" in front of the train station. I shed a tear that day, I have had the best time of my life so far working for the Walt Disney Company. My last day will be exactly one year from my original hire date. It is bittersweet, but I am confident that I am doing exactly what is best for me at this time.
If I am supposed to continue my career within the Walt Disney Company, God CAN and WILL work it out. I don't need to be holding onto the things that I love so tightly anyways. I don't think that's healthy. So I think letting go was the wise decision.
I am coming home. *biggest sigh of relief ever...followed by an extremely peaceful feeling*