It’s real man let me tell ya. Everyone tells you it’s going to happen once you leave, but you never really understand it until it happens to you. So per usual what better way to explain that feel than through good old Disney gifs shall we?? Great.
Okay first off lets talk about moving out. It hits you right in the feels when you are saying good-bye to your friends and roommates. Numbers, Instagrams, Snapchats, carrier pigeon, etc. are exchanged with the promise of keeping in touch for years to come. You’d be surprised how much you really do keep in touch, Disney friends are friends for life, exchanging info isn’t an empty gesture. I swear my Disney roommates and I either group text or snapchat at least once a day (but usually more). Even my coworkers Facebook group message is still hoppin sometimes. But overall move out day is basically like every single sad Disney movie moment wrapped into one. There are tears, there are promises, and there are plans already in the works for future visits. Even though you’ve made friends from around the globe and you don’t know what the future may hold, it’s not a goodbye but a see ya real soon pal.
The trip home whether that be driving or flying is when things can start getting a little tough. This is when you take the time to post all the pictures from your experience to Facebook, write that mushy post about how important this experience was to you, and basically reminisce on the early days of the program. Looking back at the early photos make you realize how close you can truly get to people in such a short period of time. I would consider the people I met on this program some of my closest friends and that’s something I know will never change. If you’re like me and had your parents help you move out then the ride home is also filled with all the stories they haven’t (or have) heard about from the past four months. By the end of the car ride I think my parents were ready to send me back too.
Now when I first got home a small part of me was happy. It was nice to be in my own room again and have a break from work. Seeing family and friends again was also definitely a nice feeling. The first week of being back you’re so caught up in readjusting to life back home, catching up with friends, and hiding from society to make up for the constant human interaction in Florida that it all really becomes a blur. The second week is when I’d say the sadness washed over me and started to hit hard. Like the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, it’s basically like going from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds. That’s when you start to think to yourself, “well now what?”. You go from constantly having something to do whether that be working or exploring the parks and constantly being with other DCPs to pretty much nothing. You realize you have so much time on your hands that all you can really do is reminisce on the good ol’ days of the past four months. Then the texts and Facebook messages start pouring in. All the “I miss you”s and “Remember that time when?” will start flooding your phone. This is when it hit full force. Not only are you sad to be gone, but so is everyone else who is gone too. It’s as if home just isn’t the same anymore. Home is back in Florida in an apartment being lazy and watching Disney movies with your roommates. Often times I found myself living vicariously through my other Disney friends who were spring advantage and still working in Florida.
Family and friends of DCP Alumni often try to get you out of their post-Disney funk. Most of the time telling us pull ourselves together whenever we relive old memories yet again. Eventually you do take that step back into reality and focus on being a person in the real world again. This still wont stop you from talking to your Disney friends almost every day and updating them on every single moment of your life.
Luckily for me and some of my roommates, we decided to be proactive. We knew well before the program ended how hard it was going to be to part. So they booked flights and made plans to visit me for my 21st birthday one month after our program ended. I know most of you are probably thinking wait all of this happened in the first month of being home? It’s crazy but true believe it or not we could barely deal with being apart for even a month. After spending every waking moment together it was hard to suddenly not see each other at all. Reuniting at the airport was a blur of hugs and smiles. Being together once again was great. I HIGHLY recommend for CPs to try and make plans to visit each other before leaving. It’s much easier to plan something while you’re all still together and you can work on creating affordable travel plans.
The few days we spent together were filled with catching up on each others lives (what we didn’t know from texting constantly) and once again talking about how we missed being in Disney. When it was time to go our separate ways once again it might have been harder than the first. The first time we left each other back in Disney we knew it was going to be okay because we had this trip planned. Now that the trip was over, it was all up in the air on when we might ever see each other again. It really hurts. But after time things do get better. It becomes the new normal to text everyday instead of actually seeing each other. The occasional FaceTime when people are available is always nice too.
Overall living in the world of dreams and fantasy will be something that will never leave you. If I had let fear get to me and turned down my program just because I was placed in Food & Beverage I would have never had this life-changing experience. There were definitely hard days in the program don’t get me wrong; it won’t always be hearts and flowers, but that’s life. The good days will always outweigh the bad. At first it might be hard to adjust to the extreme work hours or being away from home. But I guarantee you, no matter what, you will walk away from this program with a positive overall memory in your mind. This program changed me. I came back home a different person. I don’t know how to explain it, it’s a feeling that probably can’t be explained. It can only be felt once your program is over and you return home. You feel more confident in yourself and more prepared for your future. The program builds you up and makes you stronger. It helps you make connections that will continue on forever and possibly even benefit you in the future. If you are given this opportunity, no matter the role, accept it. I promise you will not regret it. You won’t regret a single second, bad days and all. I hope to do another program in the future and also hope to plan another trip to reunite with my roommates once again (maybe even in Disney). Stay hopeful and just know that this Disney depression is a sign that you had an amazing time and helped you realize your dreams of making magic again soon.