Why?!?! aka 3 Reasons I'm doing the Disney Cultural Exchange Program

13:45 Sarah Burton 0 Comments

Over the past month or so, i've heard this question far too many times:

Why in the world do you want to work at Disney?

My first response is obvious: why not? (duh) I know people mean well, and they're only curious because 90% of people I talk to have no idea about the Disney International program or know anyone who has ever done anything like this before.

I usually drabble off some reason like "oh disney has a program for students blah blah i love disney, it'll be fun blah blah..."

But in reality there are so many reasons I want to work at Disney

1) Working for the Disney Company

I've grown up on disney. literally. The first movie I remember seeing in theatres was Tarzan. Sunday night was Wonderful World of Disney night. I went just around the riverbend with pocahantas, learned abour the circle of life from mufasa, wanted to be part of that world when ariel wanted to be hum (pshhh who wants to be human when you can be a mermaid?). I learned to be myself from Mulan, that i can go the distance from hercules, and that being different doesn't make you a monster from Quasimodo.

Disney helped my imagination soar - the stories that brought me back time and time again inspired me at the ripe age of 8 to begin writing stories. And as I got older, I kept learning lessons - laverne the gargoyle taught me that life is not a specator's sport when i got to university and didn't want to make friends. Tiana taught me that working hard is part of seeing your dreams come true.

2) Becoming a storyteller

In 2012, my sister, her boyfriend (now husband), and I went to Orlando for the first time. Besides being completely in awe and overwhelmed by my entire childhood coming to life I could not get over the detail and thought that was put into every part of our experience. My job as a children's pastor is to create environments that kids can be pulled into. I was amazed at how, without saying a word, stories were being told through the queues at the park, through the way everything was laid out, and through the tiny details. Woah.

I remember when Saving Mr. Banks came out. It quickly became one of my favorite movies. But one line has always stood out to me

 "that's what we storytellers do...We instill hope again and again and again."
I may not be writing my own stories or trying to fix my family like P.L. Travers was doing in the film, but as someone who week after week tries to instill the hope of Jesus into the lives of children, Disney has given me so many ideas and tricks to getting points across to people of all ages. (See here for some of the coolest lessons we get from the Mouse!)

3) The Call

Finally, as foolish as it may sound, I want to work at Disney because i believe that this is where God is calling me to be.

People may say that i'm being selfish or dumb or not in the will of God or any numerous things. I mean, i get it - I'm graduating with a degree in Biblical Studies in May. I should be on the hunt for a "real" job immediately. I'm not a child who just doesn't want to grow up (okay, maybe i'm guilty of being that some times), I am an adult who needs to make adult decisions.

But i've spent 3 years praying and asking God if this is the right move. I've been trapped in a bubble of "Christian" school and friends who love Jesus for 4 years. This is my opportunity to live out my faith without the crutches of an environment that makes my spiritual life at least sustain itself.


So this is the answer I want to give to people who ask me why i'm going to disney. I'm called to work somewhere that will influence the way that i can minister to people. Can you argue with that?

Bonus reason I want to work in Orlando? Free park admission + sunshine from may to august! Booyah!

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