When I tell people I’ll be working at Walt Disney World this summer, they are usually excited for me. Other times, they’re confused. Why do I want to go bake in the Florida heat and spend time around cranky kids all day? Is that even a real job? For the people who ask those questions, I could go on and on about the practical reasons I want to work for Disney and the valuable experience I will gain. But if I’m being honest, I would still do this job if it meant nothing for my career.
Photo by Cassia Pelton
Canadian students have the opportunity to apply for the Disney Cultural Exchange Program, which gives you the opportunity to live in Florida and work for the Walt Disney Company over your summer break. After (literally) years of anticipation, I applied online in October of 2017. I progressed past the application stage and was offered an interview at Disney’s headquarters in Toronto. Then, on February 19th, I was offered a position as a Merchandise Cast Member at Walt Disney World. Even as I write about it almost a month later, it still feels like a dream and I can’t listen to certain Disney songs without getting tears in my eyes. I understand that this doesn’t appeal to everybody and this is no attempt to convince anyone that my summer job is better than theirs—but it will definitely be more magical.
For those who are privileged enough to visit Walt Disney World, the memories made there tend to be some of the best. I want to do this job so I can make someone’s day special, every day. Walt Disney World serves as a break from reality, and I think everyone needs that every once in a while. I will work long shifts in the hot sun but I will get to help families have the best vacations of their lives.
While living in Florida, I will meet other Cast Members (Disney’s term for employees) from countries like Mexico and Germany. One of my favourite parts about my first year of university was meeting so many new people, and I will get to do it all over again at my favorite place on Earth.
Of course, I can’t lie and say that complimentary admission to the parks isn’t also a factor. I can’t wait to spend my days off riding Splash Mountain and eating Disney’s famous Dole Whips. This won’t be a three month long vacation, but there will certainly be some days that feel like it.
Dole Whip, photo via insidethemagic.net
I’m counting down the days until I fly to The Most Magical Place on Earth. It’s true that I would save up more money by staying at home to work this summer, and I understand why many students do so. This just happens to be the perfect job for me and I’m looking forward to every good and bad thing about it, even if some people don’t understand.
If you are interested in applying for a Disney International Program, visit their website.
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