A Year of Firsts

On this day, one year ago, I was sitting at Disney University learning about the traditions of The Walt Disney Company and how these values and traditions play an integral part of a cast member’s role at Walt Disney World. One year ago I began my journey with The Walt Disney Company. If you had asked me at high school graduation what I saw myself doing within ten years, I would not have mentioned Disney. In spite of that, here I am. You can read about my first day and the beginning of this journey here. It has been an incredible journey and a wild ride for sure.

From my first time wearing a Disney name tag to my first time riding a horse carriage down Main Street USA, there have been many firsts this past year.

Horse carriage

I watched perimeter fireworks for the first time at the Magic Kingdom during Fourth of July.

4th of July

I got to see Cinderella’s Castle decked out in Christmas lights.

Cinderella’s Castle at Christmas

I rode Soarin’ (Over California and Around the World) for the first time. I watched three parks premiere a new nighttime spectacular for the first time.

‘Happily Ever After’ show

I ate at Ohana restaurant for the first time (and six times after that).

Ohana Restaurant

I rented a boat and boated around Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon for the first time.

On a boat

I even went to a character audition for the first time just for kicks and made it into the character pool. I became a Disney Trainer for the first time, I celebrated my birthday at Disney for the first time,

Birthday cupcake

and I became a facilitator at Disney University for the first time. I also visited Pandora – The World of Avatar for the first time and many times soon to follow. A year of firsts!

Pandora – The World of Avatar

It is sometimes difficult to fathom the incredible journey God has set before me. He sparked a simple, unordinary idea into my mind which became a desire and flourished into reality. God allowed me to survive. He even allowed me to go through hardships such as a failed relationship and a totaled vehicle. God allowed my previous experiences to help me succeed and get to where I am today. God has been too good to me, and I can’t help but be reminded that He is a sun and a shield and no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Now I’m not perfect, but I’ve loved time I can spend with the Lord and certainly have been blessed beyond reason.

I would not have initially chosen The Walt Disney Company as a career choice, but people have asked if that is somethng I am looking into. Honestly, yes. Now that I have been with the company for a year and see the potential, I would like to see how far in the company I can go in doing what I am good at and what I am passionate about. Since my arrival I have been open to learning as much as possible in many departments. I even cleaned campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds. Ultimately I would like to put some of my ammo tech and limited stage knowledge to good use working at the fireworks storage facility. I’ve got some things to do before I get there (like complete this Managment Internship) before I can do that.

The Marine Corps is very much still a part of my life as I approach the end of my contract. I do plan to stay in as long as the Marines will have me. Can you believe it has already been nearly six years? Today I was looking at some old photos and found some from when I graduated bootcamp. All the boot things I did was embarrassing to see. I am thankful for the institution, the brotherhood, and the values the Marine Corps has instilled in me. Disney supports its servicemen and helps me to have an edge on some of the competition because of the discipline, leadership, and values gained from military service. I respect the company very much for its support and its commitment to keeping true to the patriotic spirit Walt Disney started the company with.

I have been back in the United States a few weeks now after training in Morocco for a month. Read my previous post (Arabian Nights) for some highlights from that. It has been wonderful being back in the western world and in the country I love. Morocco was cool, but being home is even cooler. Since returning home I have been working steadily and even got to go to a Cast preview of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Oh. My. Word. That place is incredible! Even if you have not seen the film, you will love how immersive and interesting it is. ‘Avatar Flight of Passage’ ride is THE BEST 3-D ride experience I have ever been on. It is difficult to describe, so just come and ride it. I can go on and on about this place, but not now. Just come see it for yourself. Oh man, and don’t forget the new ‘Happily Ever After’ fireworks show at Magic Kingdom! It just premiered last week and is incredible. Watch the opening night below. Best fireworks show currently.

 

 

 

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing an old friend from middle school this weekend, Lanee’. We saw each other at lunch in NYC a couple of years ago, but prior to that it had been ten years. It was awesome seeing her again and catching up. She brought her friend Sarah and we were all able to have a full day of fun at The Magic Kingdom. Good times!
 

By the way, here is a picture of what I’m holding in the first photo. It’s a Steamboat Willie pin to commemorate one year.

One year pin

If you’re still reading this, thanks! Glad my life is interesting enough for you to still be reading. To those praying, thank you too! It is a good time down here, but I certainly do miss you all. As I start this internship, please pray I do well (so maybe I can get a position right out of it), but also that I will also get Sundays off. Come visit me, people! It’s summer, so you have no excuses anymore. Until next time: Be strong. Love God. Love others.

 
rejoice.always

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