Saturday, April 26, 2014

My Story Continues

It's been a wild six months.

Since My Birthday Look Back, there has been a lot going on in my life.

Not only did I graduate in December, but I was offered interviews with both of my top two companies: Disney and Microsoft. I ended up taking an internship in Client Services, Engineering with The Walt Disney Company.

I can honestly say, it's been a dream come true.

House of The Mouse

Disney has it's new hires go through something called "Traditions." There's a good bit on what that entails on the web, so I won't repeat it here. In short, it is an eight hour class on what it means to be a Disney Cast Member. More importantly, it really emphasizes our corporate mission: We Create Happiness.

My biggest concern before starting at Disney was "what if the magic goes away?" Disney has always been a big part of my life, ever since I was a small child. I didn't want to become jaded like some of my Cast Member friends. I still wanted to be able to go and enjoy the parks like I always did.

I got to ask one of the hosts of my Traditions class about that very question. I'll never forget what he said to me: The magic doesn't die. It just changes.

Now, it should be noted that this conversation was at our lunch break underneath the Magic Kingdom, sitting one table away from where Alice, Peter Pan and Wendy were having lunch.

Really. How cool is that?

The Magic: Still Got It

I'm in the last week of my internship now. I've been offered a full-time reporting position, so my time at Disney will still continue (hopefully for many, many years). One of the things that I had the privilege of doing was picking up a shift at Epcot. 

Twice a year, Disney offers park shifts to its non-park cast members. It was Walt's wish that his Imagineers eat at the Parks during the day, interacting with guests so that they not lose sight of why they were there. Other companies have done similar things in the past - executives at Circuit City would spend time in the stores. Although, to Disney's credit, i have never seen it done on this scale. 

I had a blast. It took me a bit to get back into my "guest-facing" retail mode, but once that happened, it was an amazing experience. Epcot has been my favourite park since 1982, and I really enjoyed welcoming people into my home. 

It just changes...

And that's when it hit me. The magic doesn't die, but it does change. You look at things differently. You look at how cast members interact with guests and you start saying whether it's "good show" or "bad show." You find yourself picking up that napkin on the ground because, this is MY park, and I wan't to make the best impression for the guest. You start saying "Happy Birthday" or calling little girls "Princess" even when you're not in costume, because you enjoy seeing the smile it brings. 

There's no perfect place to work. The fact that we have to work at all is, well, kindof a downer. But every time I get in the car in the morning, I think how absolutely lucky I am to be working there. I jokingly say that the worst part of my day is driving past the signs for The Magic Kingdom and not being able to go. I get a sense of pride from being part of something this special. 

You get to enjoy creating happiness.