Monday, June 11, 2012

My Walt Disney World Adventure!

So much as changed since I last updated this blog.

I applied to Walt Disney World in December and got an interview scheduled the same day for the following week.

My dad and I drove up for the interview and back all in the same day the week before Christmas.  I got a job lined up for January during the interview.  Everything moved so quickly. I only had 2 weeks to find an apartment and move to Orlando.  This did not take God by surprise.

On January 2nd, I went to Passion 2012 in Atlanta with my church.  It was there that I met Ben Braziel (Which turned out to be an important part of my story..).  It was great to have that time at Passion to get my focus on God and let Him prepare my heart for my brave new adventure.

My mom and I drove to Orlando to search for apartments the first week of January.  It was a stressful experience trying to find an affordable/safe place so quickly, but God provided just in time and He led me to an apartment that is directly across the street from some of the Disney College Program housing. This seemed to be a clear confirmation of God's calling on me to ministry to Disney Cast Members, as this location is perfect for building relationships with other Cast Members.

On the night before I moved, my new friend from Passion, Ben Braziel came over to help us pack up my belongings.  One thing led to another from our correspondence since Passion that we confessed a mutual desire to keep in contact and pursue each other further. :)

I moved in and started work the next week.  On the first day of work, as I drove up to Disney's Casting building, the song Here for You by Matt Redman shuffled on in my car,

We welcome You with praise
We welcome You with praise
Almighty God of love
Be welcomed in this place

Let every heart adore
Let every soul awake
Almighty God of love
Be welcomed in this place

This song moved me to tears, because it was as if the lyrics directly lined up with the cry of my heart that day and my longing to be apart of the presence of God at Walt Disney World.

The role I was given was part-time in Attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios in the Icon area.  This includes Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Jedi Training Academy, The Great Movie Ride, Star Tours, Muppet Vision 3D, and American Idol.

I started at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.  It is seriously a wonderful place to work!  I enjoy getting to "make magic" with guest and help them have a great experience when they come to see our attraction.  God really favored me just as soon as I started. He provided me with the hours I needed and by February I was getting cross-trained at Jedi Training Academy, which was a great blessing and definitely brings out the nerd in me!

On February 14th, Ben asked me to be his Valentine and by February 29th we were an "official" couple. :) The timing of God's provision has really blown me away.  Ben came along at the exact right time so that for every step of this journey he has been there for me as a great support and encouragement. He is a strong and godly man and I'm so blessed to be with him!

Also in February a new church plant started called Mosaic at Walt Disney World, a church focused on leading Disney Cast Members into deeper relationships with Jesus.  I am so excited to see what God is going to do through that. I have met a number of couples as well as another young girl like myself on this adventure that have all been lead to Orlando just like me to serve the Lord at Walt Disney World.  We affectionately call ourselves a "Disney Family."  All last year I prayed for God to either send me a strong group of Christian friends in Orlando for support and accountability or for God to give me a man to be by my side for support.  I am so blessed to have been given not only one of my requests but both of them!  It just goes to show that God really can provide innumerably more than we can ask or imagine. Nothing is too big for God!

In March, I turned 25 and got further settled into my job and new life here in Orlando.  Ruthie has had some trouble adjusting to apartment life but she is finally starting to settle down.  She is a great companion for me and I love having her around.  We make sure to visit home enough so that she gets to see her sister, Cali about once a month.  Meanwhile, we go to a nice dog part nearby about once a week.

In April, I found out I was getting cross-trained at The Great Movie Ride!  This was SO exciting!  I have always been fascinated by this attraction. Once I started my training I realized I had gotten more than I bargained for, it is a very complicated attraction and learning it's ins and outs was very challenging.  But Ben was a huge comfort as he helped me learn my lines and gave me lots of encouragement along the way.  After the harsh training, I passed my assessment! There is a tradition at The Great Movie Ride where one leaves their handprint, a quote, and signature on the wall once they complete their training.  I wrestled with what to write all through my training. Finally on my last day I realized that the over arching lesson from my training was that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." So I wrote Philippians 4:13 on the wall. :)

By the end of my training I had been offered a full-time position at the Backlands portion of Disney's Hollywood Studios at The Magic of Disney Animation.  I took the position, leaving my Icon attractions behind.  I was there for 2 weeks and although I met a lot of very nice new friends, I quickly discovered that the schedule (on average, 60 hours a week at 12-14 hour days) of a full-time Disney Cast Member is not conducive to my ministry goals here at Walt Disney World.  I have now transferred back to the Icon area at part-time and am excited about what God has planned for me and for my Disney Family here in Orlando!

I have met some great Cast Members working at Disney's Hollywood Studios and made some great new friends!  I am thrilled to be living near one of my best friends and roommates from college, Brittany Findley.  We try to get our dogs together and hang out as much as we can! I am so blessed to have such an amazing job and the support of both my real family, my Disney Family, and my boyfriend, Ben while I carry out God's call on my life.

Now that God has made it clear that I need to be part-time in order to perform my ministry goals, I will be trusting Him to provide for me finically.  He is able.  Please keep me in your prayers as I pursue God and listen for His leading as I start my ministry at Walt Disney World.

PS. On a side note.  Ruthie and I start therapy training next week with a great trainer who used to train dolphins and sea lions at Sea World.  I am excited about her future.  I am grateful that God has opened this door for me to serve him with my dog as we hope to be a great encouragement to those who are sick or lonely in hospitals and nursing homes one day.

And that's what I've been up to...I'd love to hear and update from any of you who read this on how your year is going!

I'm looking forward to seeing what God does with the latter half of the year.  :) He is faithful.

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