It’s time for a 2 month update! It’s actually been two months and 9 days since I started working at the most magical place on earth… Disney World!! It’s been quite the adventure and I hardly know where to start! Disney is a company that follows it’s dream of entertaining the entire family and in doing that creates the most beautiful, magical moments for people of all ages and stages of life. It’s definitely been the most emotional job I’ve ever worked! From the parents celebrating their 1st child through adoption who posed for me in front of the castle and said “we’ve been waiting 14 years for this photo”, or the mid-40’s woman who burst into tears during an embrace with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger while her friend leans over and says, “she’s just come out of the hospital for the first time in 3 years!”, the young man who got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend in front of my camera (they got amazing proposal shots by the way!!), to every single precious child beaming with excitement when meeting a character for the first time! I find my eyes welling up with tears more often than not as I witness these magical moments every single day.
I’ve officially finished all of my standard training. There are specialty trainings for me to consider down the road, but I’m done for now and that feels good. I arrive to work, pick up my gear and I’m sent out to some part of the park to photograph guests in various locations. My first few weeks were spent in classrooms becoming familiar with the company, my department, and my role as a photographer. The next few weeks I was mostly on Main Street USA photographing guests in front of icons like Cinderella’s Castle, the Train Station, Prince Eric’s Castle (The Little Mermaid) and in front of the Partners Statue (the statue at the center of the park of Walt and Mickey looking out over Main St). It’s such an awe-inspiring creation the whole thing. Six themed lands, 3 castles (Cinderella, Prince Eric, and the Beast), a tower (Rapunzel) and a mansion (haunted) hold wonders and adventures that people save their entire lives to come and experience. When I started working there I admit I didn’t hold the job in as high of regard as I should have. I kinda thought, “eh, I’m just snapping photos of random guests around the park…”, but it’s so much more than that, which I get to see every time I work at the viewing station in the park. The things I get to see every day are once in a lifetime moments for the people experiencing them and I’ve learned how important it is to keep that in perspective!
I’ve found 2 favorite places to work, 1 being the view station because I love seeing everyone view their photos and because it’s air conditioned, and the other being with characters because I love catching the emotions during the interchange and because it’s usually air conditioned! Yes, in case you didn’t realize – FLORIDA IS HOT!! Oh my goodness I just about melt into the asphalt out there on Main St, so getting character trained was a blessing for me. After character training I was free to move around the park to just about any location that didn’t require a specialty. I’ve worked with Tinkerbell (my personal fav!!), Ariel (my other personal fav!!), Aladdin & Jasmine (another of my personal favs!!), Winnie the Pooh and & Tigger (who am I kidding, I love them all!!), Peter Pan who is one of the most entertaining boys you’ll ever meet, and Princess Merida who has inspired me to change my favorite color from purple to a dark teal (if anyone knows what the color of Merida’s dress is, please tell me!!). I’ve also gotten the chance to work at 2 of our other parks, Disney’s Hollywood Studios (which I really loved!!) and Disney’s Animal Kingdom which is definitely worth a visit!
Not everything here in the kingdom is all work, I’ve had lot’s of time for play too. Last month was my birthday and I had some friend coming to town to visit the parks with me. I went a little overboard with my planning! We started Saturday morning with fastpass rides and lunch reservations at Be Our Guest. A french quick service restaurant inside the Beast’s Castle in Fantasyland with 3 themes rooms included the library, the grand ballroom and the west wing which comes complete with a dark ambience, tattered decor, thunder and lightening, the enchanted rose which loses a petal every few minutes, and a portrait of the prince that changes into the beast whenever it thunders. Of course we had our lunch in the West Wing!
We finished out the afternoon, went home for a nap and came back that night for Wishes, the night time spectacular fireworks show over Cinderella’s Castle. Now, I spent several month living next door to where these fireworks are launched from and even after I moved 17 miles away, I can still see and hear these fireworks every single night and let me tell you, I am not their biggest fan, lol! But, experiencing the show as a guest for the first time was amazing!
I’ve actually become a huge fan of all of the shows and parades and some days I even wake up with the music playing in my head! I love watching the guests experiencing them for the first time too! The second day of my Disney birthday extravaganza started with breakfast at the Crystal Palace, a buffet restaurant where we were visited by Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglett (!!) who even signed a birthday card for me!!
After breakfast we left the Magic Kingdom for Epcot, but not before getting my very first “magic shot”! Yes, this is something I get to do for our guests all the time so I was super excited to get one for myself!
Epcot was an adventure in and of itself! I split up with my friends who went to explore the World Showcase, while I went on a meet and greet mission to get as many birthday selfies with the characters as humanly possible. Of course I only ended up with a few before it was time for our dinner reservations at the Biergarten restaurant in Germany. I love that I got to spend my afternoon exploring countries like France and China and then have dinner in Germany. It always feels funny to ask someone, “Can you point me in the direction of Mexico?” or “How do I get to China?”!
The fireworks show at Epcot, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, was just as magical as Wishes. It brought tears to my eyes as I watched my friends emotional reactions to the powerful show. Experiencing the magic of Disney firsthand has definitely helped me appreciate this company and my job even more!
There is so much more I could write, but I’ll have to stop for mow. Just know that Disney is awesome and it’s here waiting for you! Hope to see you all real soon!
**All of these photos were taken on my iPhone 5s