During my freshman year of University, I was checking my email and I had gotten one telling me that a Disney College Program recruiter would be coming to do a Q and A. I had a few friends from high school that had done the DCP, and I had seen a few other things about it around town, or on the Internet, but I still was foggy on some of the details. I thought it would be something that would be fun to do, but I also figured it was just an unattainable dream, but decided to go to the Q and A anyway. After the meeting, I had been convinced that this was something that I WAS going to do.
After a few failed Disney character auditions, and being rejected from the program itself, once before, I was determined to do the DCP, no matter the role. I didn’t have much “professional” experience, so I figured I would get a role such as QSFB, Housekeeping, or Merchandise. But I didn’t care. I was willing to take any role, (even ones that are labeled as, “less glamorous”) because I just wanted to be a part of the magic, no matter the role.
Fast-forward a few months to January, when we were checking in for the program, and being told our work locations. I was to work in All Star Sports, one of the Value resorts, “End Zone” food court. To be honest, I was a little bummed I wasn’t in the parks, but I put that behind me, thinking that the magic is beyond just the parks. No matter the role or location, backstage, or onstage, you contribute to the whole experience of it all. Every person, and role, is needed.
Working food at the parks (or in the resorts) is hard work. If anyone says that its not, don’t believe them. But there are some perks, and I want to focus on those:
- Diversity. No two shifts are the same. You get assigned to different areas every few hours or so, so if you are in an area you don’t particularly love, you don’t have to do that specific task your entire shift. HALLELUJAH.
- With my role, I was able to do quite a few back stage tours. I was the only one of the, “sisters” that was able to do them. I was able to do backstage tours for Everest, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of terror (on Friday the thirteenth I might add)! Those are memories I will always cherish
- Guest Interaction. You get to meet people from all over the world, and help add to the magic before, during, or after they go to the parks.
- Empathy. You can relate to other cast members who don’t have the most sought-after jobs, and there is an immediate bond between you. On your days off when you go to the parks, and you see someone who is “earning their ears” and struggling a little bit, you can cut them a little slack and give them some encouraging words, because you are eternally grateful for the people who did that for you.
- YOUR FELLOW CAST MEMBERS. Truly this is the number one thing that got me through my hard shifts. The friends you make with your coworkers are irreplaceable. They can sweat, laugh, and cry with you through every shift. They make the job worth it.
Some days were tough. I was trained on every area in the food court, (the grill area, pasta and pizza area, the gelato area, beverage area, cash register, etc.) and it was a lot of things to remember and do. Some days we were SWAMPED, (AKA during nationals for cheerleading... So. Many. Cheerleaders.) Some days were long, some days people get frustrated with you, or the service, or just the fact that their vacation wasn’t going exactly as they had hoped. Some days you have to do a back-to-back night and morning shift with VERY LITTLE sleep, in-between. Some days you go into the walk-in freezer, and just have to take a moment to let everything go.
But some days. Some days, were good. Really good. At my location we would do magical moments, and we would do dance parties in the middle of the food court. (I am sure I am on some YouTube videos somewhere, dancing like a crazy person!) Some days, I got to trade pins with people who had been searching high and low for a specific pin. Some days, I made a guests’ day, by just talking with them about their favorite ride they had ridden. Some days, my coworkers made me laugh so hard that I cried. Some days you get free food. Some days you get 4 keys cards, and you know that your work hasn’t gone unnoticed. And most importantly, some days, you are beyond thrilled that you accepted your role as QSFB, because you know it has helped you make memories, and friends, and magic, that will last a lifetime.