When you’re a Disney College Program participant in California, you’ll often have days when you’re off work and it seems like everyone else you know on the program has to work. Your roommates? All working. Your friends from down the hall? Yep, all working. You’ve contacted everyone you know and it seems like you’re the only person with the day off. What would you do next?
Believe it or not, many of our participants spend one or two days a month exploring the theme parks on their own. Sometimes, it’s just for a few hours but as they get used to it, they may even stay all day. It seems so intimidating and lonely. What will I do? Is it strange to go on attractions or eat by myself? What will people think? What will people say?
Think about this; you’re not really alone. You’re surrounded by thousands of people whom all love the magic of Disney, just like you. In fact, you may even have the best day ever. Here are a few things I’d definitely check out throughout the day:
1). At some point of the day, grab your favorite snack or some ice cream on Main St. U.S.A., sit on a bench and take it all in. You’re at the “Happiest Place on Earth” and all of the joy and laughter surrounding you is contagious. Listening to the music is very relaxing and there’s nothing like enjoying a sundae or a cone at Disneyland. I mean, you could be back home in school or working, right? And don’t forget, you did it! You work here and are part of this legacy! Soak it all in and appreciate all of the hard work it took to get here.
2). Visit your roommates in their work locations. Of course, you won’t be able to bother them or stay and visit, but it’s fun seeing them interact with people and making magic for the Guests. If they work at an attraction, go on it and experience it firsthand. If they work at a restaurant, go in and grab something to eat. Are they working at a resort or merchandise location? Stop in and see where they spend most of their week.
Remember, working for The Walt Disney Company is their dream, too, and it’s exciting for them to share their work location with you. Plus, you’ve probably heard so many fun stories about their work day and now you can experience it with them. If the opportunity is there, get a photo with them and share it on social media. Your family and friends back home will love seeing you have fun, and theirs will, too!
3). Try to do as many character meet and greets as you possibly can. It’s fun interacting with the characters and seeing all of the stories come to life. How many can you get? Get your photo taken with all of them and put each one in a Disneyland photo album. You may not appreciate it now, or even a year from now, but you will eventually. Trust me, my program was nearly 16 years ago and I look at my photo album all the time. It reminds me of all of the amazing times I had on my program while exploring the parks.
Don’t forget to post them on social media. After all, how many of your friends back home spent the entire day in school or work and you spent yours with Mickey Mouse and his pals! It’s a great conversation starter and it’s neat to share your passion with others.
4). Visit your work location. I know, it’s not exciting visiting work when you’re not working, but you’ll be surprised how you view things differently when you’re a Guest versus a Cast Member. You may see things you didn’t know existed. Listen to the Guests as they explore your location. What kinds of comments are they making or questions they’re asking their friends?
Find ways you can help people out in your location. If you work in a restaurant, have you ever looked at the menu and ordered something? Have you actually sat at one of the tables and needed to find the nearest restroom or first aid location? If you work at an attraction, have you ever been on that attraction or walked through the stand by line? Knowledge is power and the more you know, the easier it will be to help others. Plus, it’s fun to explore on your own.
It’s also a great opportunity to truly appreciate the Cast Members you work with and the work that you do. See how your fellow Cast Members interact with others. Can you learn something from them? What makes your work location so special and exciting for Guests? I’ll be honest, I learned more about my work location by exploring on my own than I did by working. The reason is, I could spend as much time as I wanted and didn’t have to worry about the actual job. You may even realize that your location is way cooler than you even imagined.
5). Soak up the fun by riding as many attractions as you can and get your photo taken in every land. If you’re eating at the parks and they offer outdoor seating, utilize it. It’s relaxing to sit outside and listen to all of the music while you’re eating. And don’t forget about the parades and fireworks (or World of Color). Remember, it’s your day…live it up! Do everything you’ve always wanted to do but never had time because you’re always with a large group.
If you get the chance to join us on the Disney College Program and spend a day at the parks alone, what would you do? No matter what you choose, it’ll be amazing and something you’ll never forget!