Behind The Move
I feel like at this point I should just stop apologizing and just own up to the fact that I don’t post as often as I would like/use to. Trying to balance everything that’s currently going on for me can certainly be difficult. I know many of you have wondered why I decided to leave Disney. Many know that the job offered to me was one I couldn’t pass on, but it also lead to why I applied to something outside of Disney in the first place. Let’s dive into it.
I think I already touched upon this in my last post about leaving Disney and starting at the Waldorf Astoria, but I am going to touch upon it again.
The one thing I like to make known is that my time with Disney’s VIP Tours was an internship. The unfortunate thing about internships is that they come to an end after a certain amount of time, and nothing can be assured in terms of extensions or job offerings. This happened to be the case for VIP. They could confirm just about nothing in terms of what would happen to me come June (the end date for my internship). Now obviously like I’ve said before, I was forever grateful to have had the experience I did in VIP. I made amazing friends, got to experience once in a lifetime Disney opportunities, and even met some star studded people. It was amazing job experience too and honestly I probably wouldn’t be where I am now without that plastered all over my resume.
But with all that being said, there were still issues. The main one being there was multiple leadership figures within the department. This lead to a lack of communication in many instances. Many times leaders wouldn’t communicate or pass important information along to other leaders. This lead to many of us interns and guest facing cast members picking up the pieces of the miscommunications. After a while you can see how this can get tiring.
There was also the issue of discussing life ‘after the internship.’ When I first started, we were assured that throughout our internship we would have meetings to share our goals with the company and where we hoped our careers would go after the internship ended. Instead, whenever our eager brains even tried to stray from life prior to June, we were met with ‘talkings to.’ Almost like talking down to a child they explained to us that we shouldn’t ‘rush our experience.’ or that we should ‘only put our sole focus on the now and not what was to come after.’ This obviously didn’t sit right with us group of interns. They even told us ‘not to listen to our parents nagging us about our next step’ or even ‘don’t worry about where your rent will come from after June.’ Easy for someone with a stable job and income to say, right?
Clearly you can see why this left many of us unsettled. As time went on it was slowly becoming more and more apparent that I wasn’t going to be offered an extension. Now as a self-defending statement, I would just like to say that this decision really didn’t have anything to do with me personally, it was more of a technical issue. Since I had come from a College Program and June was going to be past the one year mark of my graduation, I actually wasn’t even eligible to extend. This then led to them informing me that I should start looking for front-line positions again.
Now obviously I understand that front-line or guest-facing positions are the main commodity when it comes to the Disney Parks, but honestly now that my internship was coming to an end and after almost a year of Disney internships, I was ready to further my career in a way that the front-line opportunities weren’t going to provide for me. I’m not bashing the positions in any way, I honestly just wanted to start working more behind the scenes or in an office atmosphere over parks.
After hours and days searching the Disney Careers site almost every hour for new postings, it became pretty apparent it was time to start looking outside of my Disney bubble. I knew I wanted to stay in Florida for the time being and as close to Disney as I could for commuting purposes. That’s when I started looking at different event and hotel venues that were close by. I looked at places like the Swan & Dolphin, Four Seasons, and low and behold, the Waldorf Astoria. That is when I stumbled upon an opening for a VIP Concierge.
I told myself I wouldn’t get it. I mean come on, the Waldorf Astoria?! For those of you who aren’t aware, it’s just about the most prestigious five-star hotel chain and it’s Hilton’s top tier hotel brand.
In my mind I applied for the heck of it, good practice in applications at best. When I started getting through each round of interviewing I was pretty shocked, and when I was offered the job I actually kind of panicked. This meant an amazing opportunity, but also a big decision to make.
They wanted me to start two weeks after I received the job offer. That meant ‘breaking contract’ with Disney and leaving the company, but it also meant a concrete full-time position past June. It was a no brainer really in terms of the path I had to chose, but it still didn’t mean it was an easy one.
I was nervous to leave, I didn’t want to cut ties and more honestly, I really just didn’t want to lose my free access to the parks. But obviously this shouldn’t be a determining factor in my future. There also came the nerves of telling my cointerns and more importantly, my leaders. I didn’t really know how anyone was going to react.
I was actually in the middle of a tour when I got the call about when they wanted me to start. Talk about nerves going wild.
At first I only told a few close friends, and attempted to get a one on one talk with any leader that could help make this transition as smooth as possible. It took a while to finally get one free for a moment to talk. They had told me they were already informed by another, which I was surprised then as to why it wasn’t brought to my attention after trying to talk with someone for a few days at that point. They then seemed a little shell shocked at the short period before my start.
Of course I was annoyed at first because when I had first attempted to talk to someone about the opportunity it was within the two week notice period as a courtesy to them. But by the time I actually got the chance to bring it up, it was less than two weeks away.
Now once again not to bash in any way, once the formalities and technicalities of it all got sorted out, everyone was very excited for me. Of course none of my friends wanted to see me go and many of my other coworkers were upset when they found out, but they were all happy to know I was moving towards new career goals.
My last day of work was pretty bittersweet at VIP. I brought Dunkin Donuts to dispatch because what would I be without my Dunkin? I wanted to show my co-cast members how much they meant to me and just how important our friendships were even though they were created in such a short period of time. My time at VIP was not one to forget. Even though it had its ups and downs, my cointerns made my job worth wild. Long days in the heat could be rough, but great tour guests made me trek on with a smile. Even the leaders who took the time to come to parade or firework shifts, or ask me questions about my new position made my time something I will always remember.
But I believe most of all, I will remember the skills this job gave me. Not the ones from the job itself, but the personal ones in a way. It made me more self-reliant. I had to job hunt on my own. It enhanced my courage, by taking the leap of faith and applying to jobs/finding my way to job interviews on my own. It gave me the confidence to walk up to every prospective new boss with my head held high and experience to back up my claim of why I should be hired. It gave me a sense of purpose, it showed me how far I’ve come. I wasn’t that overly nervous College Program participant I was back in Spring 2017 going into my first official job role with a huge company. It was someone who knew she could take on any challenge that faced her because she had worked tireless hours and crazy jobs in one of the most crowded the parks in the world. It was someone who still suffered from nerves, but also knew that in the end with enough coaxing could tackle any obstacle that tried to stand in her way of success.
It was a girl who could manage being on shifts alone as a concierge in a five-star hotel where everyone expects you to know everything.
And that folks, is why I left Disney and am where I am now.