Why?

You have two questions: Why did I accept the Disney College Program? Why did I start blogging?

I have about a hundred million answers to both of those questions, but let me start off with an introduction.

My name is Leslie, I’m a 5th year senior in Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University, and I want to be an Imagineer. You can look up what all of that means if you don’t already know. I’m graduating in about a month, and starting CP (college program) May 27th. Right now I live in Clemson in a house by myself, I take classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and spend most weekends in Charlotte with my wonderful boyfriend, Austin. Since graduation is right around the corner, I’m anxious to find a career! About 3 months ago I started to re-realize my dream of working for Disney, and decided to go for it and give it my all. And that leads into my decision to do CP.

I have been down a long and confusing road since January. It seems like I’ve talked to 100 people and gotten advice from all of them. The short version is that I was encouraged to pursue Professional Internships (PI’s) at Disney for the summer/fall, since I’m eligible for the last time, and it’s a good way to get started. After applying to about a million PI’s and going through the first few stages of that process, I got nervous and applied for CP. I had my phone interview while sitting on Tom Sawyer Island over Spring Break, and was offered a role in Transportation for Fall Advantage (Fall + Summer) 2013.

For those of you who don’t know my background, I was offered a CP in Merchandise for Spring 2010. I turned it down for multiple reasons, and I don’t regret my decision. This time around, a lot of those feelings came flooding back. Disney only gives you 10 days to accept or decline, so it’s a very stressful time. I thought through my options, made lists, talked to more people, and eventually accepted my offer. And here’s why.

1. If I don’t get a PI this time around (yeah, I’m still in the running for a few) doing the CP keeps me eligible for one or two more semesters, so I can keep trying.
2. I’m going to put Disney on my resume. It’ll help me in the long run.
3. A friend of mine explained it to me this way, and I loved it: We work to accumulate money and buy experiences, and in turn happiness. I need to pursue the most unique and fulfilling experience for me. In my case, I’m going to be much happier driving a boat around the Seven Seas Lagoon than I would be sitting at a desk in a cubicle in Greenville designing pipe fittings.
4. Disney offers a LOT of cool classes for their CP participants, and I’m kind of super excited to take them.
5. Networking. I have had the pleasure of meeting full time Imagineers recently, and I will be able to build those relationships and prove myself better in Orlando than I would be able to in Greenville.
6. If I eventually work for Disney, how cool is it that I’ll have had this experience working directly with guests? It gives me a unique experience that my peers probably won’t have.

I hope that provides some insight into my values and why this is the right decision for me. I know that at the end of 6 months, I’m not going to regret going to Disney. I can say that with confidence.

So fast forward a week or so. At this point I’ve done a LOT more research. I’ve looked at the classes, the housing, the opportunities, the social activities, anything I can find. But what I CAN’T find is information on this Transportation role. There are blogs about attractions, lodging, food & beverage, merchandise, custodial, just about any other position in CP, but none about Transportation. And the more I thought about it, the more useful I realized this will be. I provide a very unique perspective on the CP. I’ll have graduated when I get there. I’m not looking to party and go crazy; I’m looking to start my career. I’m also (most likely) not going to live in the provided housing. I’ll talk more about that later, but it’s just not a reasonable option for me right now. But it’s hard to find information about how to not live in Disney housing, too. My situation is not typical, but I’m sure I’m not the only one. So for those of you who are in my shoes, here you go, this is for you. Of course this is also for my friends and family who will want to know what I’m doing or live vicariously through me or just have nothing to do! 🙂

That’s why. I wanted to cover that first, because some people will not understand why I chose CP over a full time engineering job. And if you’re one of those people, please realize that this is a risk for me and I’m insecure about it. Try to be supportive and loving as much as you can. I’m considering this an opportunity to be bold and prove my passion, while building my professional presence with Disney through networking and the opportunities offered by CP. That’s why.

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