Why I’m Leaving Disney
Hi guys, so as many of you have probably already seen but within the course of the next week I will be leaving the Walt Disney World Company in order to further my hospitality career. It was definitely a hard decision to make and I’ll go into a little more detail about how this came to be, but overall it really was the best move for me.
So lets start with the basics: yes, I am leaving Disney. No, I am not leaving Florida or technically the Disney bubble. Now that the FAQs are answered, lets dive into the reasoning behind all this.
So my current internship was expected to end in June. They do offer extensions, but, if you’re someone like me who went from the Disney College Program to a Professional Internship, apparently you are not allowed to extend. I had a slight idea that this would be the case, but in an optimistic attempt, I decided to apply to extend anyways. This was shut down pretty quickly by casting due to their rules regarding interns. Since I already planned for this, I had already begun my search for a new job rather early just to play it safe.
After a few weeks of not really seeing anything on the Disney Career site that piqued my interest, I decided to branch away from the company. I know many of you are thinking, it’s Disney, how did you not find ANYTHING? Disney obviously has so many different sectors and outlets throughout its Florida parks, but in terms of jobs that would utilize my degree, it was kind of slacking. I didn’t really want to go back to a frontline position in the parks. Honestly, I had done my time and I was ready to move on from park life; It just wasn’t calling to me anymore.
Then I started to look at positions within hotels that are considered ‘on Disney property’ but aren’t ‘owned by Disney.’ This basically means they partner with Disney in order to help host their guests, but the employees there don’t get the same benefits that Disney employees receive. This basically revolves around park entrance benefits. But honestly, if it meant a good job, I wouldn’t mind splurging and buying myself an annual pass. So with this in mind, I started applying.
I felt like such an adult applying for some of these positions at major hotel chains. I automatically assumed I was going to be rejected or it would be months until I heard back from anything. That was until I applied for a Concierge position and surprisingly heard back within a week. At first I assumed it was a thank you for your time email, the generic, were going to go with another applicant but thank you for applying. Then I was in shock to realize they wanted to do a virtual video interview with me. At first I was hesitant because I didn’t really know what to expect, but I obviously wasn’t going to pass up on an opportunity to practice my interviewing skills. A few days after I submitted the video of me awkwardly explaining to the camera why I’m such a catch and would be a great addition to the team (the usual interviewing stuff), I received an email asking for an in person interview. AH. That was my first reaction. My second mainly consisted of wow didn’t see this one coming go me. Then my third was when on earth will my next day off be in order to go have this meeting. Gotta love VIP for never giving you time off as an intern!
When I found a solid time frame available, I responded to the email and was met with a quick response saying they looked forward to meeting with me. I was nervous, as most usually are. But I also had a strange sense of calm that I was shocked to find within myself. None of my usual sweating and clammy hands, instead the main stress revolved around me navigating the backstage area of this hotel and figuring out where the heck I was going for this interview. When I *finally* found it, I met my interviewer and was on my way.
I felt really confident about it once I left. I was surprised, usually there was always something I felt like I did wrong when it comes to interview, but not this time. I felt like I nailed it, but I also felt like everything was moving a little too quickly.
Then came the call. I was in my room one night just hanging out with Jessica, planning our first videos, when my cellphone rang. Thank goodness I answered first of all, because I never answer to random numbers now a days (thanks a lot telemarketers). I was met by the kind lady I had been exchanging emails with just days earlier and she said I made a very good impression during my in-person interview. Then my face lit up with both anxiety and excitement. I got the job. Full-time Concierge at the Waldorf Astoria on Walt Disney World Property.
Now I’m sure at this point you’re probably wondering anxiety? Anxiety?? You just got a job others dreamed of achieving. But think about it from my perspective. I am in the middle of my internship and they wanted me to start the following week. It would be considered leaving the Walt Disney Company even though it was still on property, this mean’t a break of contract. This also mean’t being put on restricted rehire for the Walt Disney Company for six months.
But at the same time they chose me. Over others!? I was beyond honored and I realized I have more confidence than I give myself credit for. I knew right away that I was going to take the position. It was a no-brainer really. But now came the more difficult part, figuring out how to go about my current internship.
First I had to establish an exact start-date for the new job. This entailed a lot of emailing and phone calls. I was shocked by how accommodating the Waldorf Astoria was when it came to pushing my start date back two weeks in order to give Disney proper notice of my leave. Then came the anxiety of finally telling my leaders the news.
One day, when one of my Disney leaders was finally available to chat, I stepped off to the side and told them of my offer. They were a little surprised and at first I could mainly see the wheels turning in their head vs. showing their excitement for me. But after discussing the consequences of breaking the contract, the excitement for me slowly came. They were happy to know I would have a full-time position and wouldn’t have to be worried about the ending of my internship approaching.
But then the even harder part came. The part I’m currently in right now. Two days before my internship ends and my new job starts. I have to leave a fun job and my amazing co-interns. I am going to miss walking into work knowing I will only see familiar faces that I have come to know and love. I am going to miss laughing while co-guiding with other interns I click with completely. Others that I am so in-sync with that we could give a tour together without effort. I know I probably sound over dramatic and I know I do. I know I will see them whenever I want outside of work. But it’s different from working along side them every day. When it’s as simple as comparing schedules than trying to make definite plans after hours.
Overall I am beyond excited to start this new adventure, but like every new job, I’m also scared. I don’t know what to expect and that causes my over organized, planner mind a lot of stress. But nevertheless I will go in on my first day with my head held high and ready to go!