Magic in the Airport {I'm coming home}

13:14 Sarah Burton 0 Comments

I recently saw a post about what they "don't" tell you about the Disney College Program.

But what don't they tell you about being an INTERNATIONAL college programmer?

They don't tell you that America is weird. I know what you're thinking, "Canada isn't that much different...you barely count as an international person". Wrong, my friends. America is both wonderful and terrifying. It is a land of endless mcdonald's sweet and sour sauce and super cheap groceries. I mean, I've watched enough american television (that's basically all we have in Canada, right?) but I just assumed that TV was full of stereotypes. I, apparently, was wrong.

They don't tell you how much you'll love your coworkers - until the inevitable day comes when your visa says you have to go home and they all get to stay. The last two weeks are spent crying with your other international friend who have to leave and saying goodbye to your American friends who get to stay another 6 months AND can extend after that. These weeks consist of trying to convince them to marry you so you can stay in the US longer, and - if that doesn't work - plotting ways to steal their identity so you can complete the rest of their program for them. 

They don't tell you how much it sucks that some of your favorite people literally live on the opposite side of the globe and "see ya real soon"s quickly turn into "oh my gosh i may never see you again in my entire life" which quickly turns you into a puddle of tears because crap these are my people.

They don't tell you that despite cultural, language, and personality differences, you will bond with the most unlikely people - and they will become your best friends. Whether it's because of a disgusting unfortunate incident in a restroom, a difficult guest, or those late night iHop/Steak n' Shake/Mcdonalds trips after closing out Magic Kingdom, you're going to get close. These friends will see you at your worst - in all of your disney costumed glory, after working a twelve hour shift, into the wee hours of the morning. They see it all. Also - they probably won't recognize you when you're in real clothes and without a nametag for the first time. 

They don't tell you how attached you can become to a "nighttime fireworks spectacular" - especially when you get to watch it every night.

Most of all, they don't tell you how the magic changes. I always joked that ICPs are only at disney for three months - not long enough to become jaded or frustrated - and we get to leave while we're still in the "honeymoon" phase. But, as a cast member, (i think at least) you get to see what makes the parks tick. You get to see through the pixie dust to see how things work and appreciate the people who make the magic. 

Thousands of people come together every day to make the magic. And for a short amount of time, you get to be a part of that. Sure, I know some who are just there to make pay, but I also know countless cast members, coordinators, and leaders whose top priority is to make magic in any and all ways possible. These people make it their prerogative to help even more people leave their cares and worries behind, creating magical moments of guest interaction.

And, to me, thats the real magic. People coming together to make the dream of one man a reality. 

And as I'm sitting in the Atlanta airport, waiting to board my (delayed) flight, dressed in my magic kingdom shirt and my MonstersU hat, writing out my thoughts in my minnie mouse journal, and listening to the Wishes soundtrack, this is the magic i miss the most. 

That's what they don't tell you about the ICP. The magic isn't made just by a mouse named Mickey - the real "magic" of disney is it's people.

"You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality." - Walt Disney
love + pixie dust.

sarah

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