Posted in Disney Diaries

Post-Program Reflection: Why the Disney College Program was the Best Decision for Me

Okay okay. I know you’re all dying to know the inside scoop on working for Disney. Well, it goes something like this: When I wake up in the morning, I arise out of bed with my pet mice dressing me in beautiful threads. I pour 8 ounces of pixie dust into my cereal and a horse & chariot arrive at my doorstep to take me to Cinderella’s Castle. EHHHHHH. WRONG. Let’s try again.

So, maybe the above statements were an exaggerated personification of the classic Disney tales. However, working for Disney truly was a magical experience, but just like everything else in life–it’s all about perspective. There are many program participants that will tell you that working here ruined the magic for them and how they couldn’t wait to go home. I couldn’t disagree more.

Sure, maybe the details of working here weren’t always the greatest, but that’s life for you. There were some days I left work defeated and others where I left on cloud 9. But it’s those bad moments that help us appreciate the good ones. Learning to work with ungrateful guests made me stronger and more compassionate for the ones that needed a little extra love. Working those late hours helped me to appreciate the 24-hour business. When people go on vacation, they often forget that those making their vacation relaxing and special is NOT a vacation for workers themselves. Disney operates at all hours of the day, every single day of the year in some capacity. All of the hard work, planning, and dedication that goes into making magic for people is something to be truly in awe of…and now, after witnessing it first hand, I have even more respect for the industry.

I often hear that landing an internship with Disney is a “dream come true,” but then that dream is quickly crushed after completing the program. For me, that is the farthest from the truth. I would love to combat the negativity because it truly was a dream come true for me. I’ve wanted to work here since my very first visit in 2015 and I stopped at nothing to make it happen. After almost finishing the program, I am so proud and honored to have been selected to do this. I’ve learned so much during the course of my program. I’ve gained transferrable skills that I know can help me in any career I choose. I have also gained the confidence to chase after my dreams, even if they are crazy. This certainly is NOT for everyone and I’m not suggesting that it should be, but I am truly grateful for Walter Elias Disney for making this all possible.

Now, as the program is over, I am back in THE LAND, ready to take on a new adventure. I don’t have all the details figured out yet, but I know that regardless of where I end up, I can always call Disney my home. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world and I will always treasure the memories made during the fastest semester of my life.

Anything you feel called to do in life can be your “Disney Dream.” But just remember, if things aren’t exactly like you had hoped or planned, that doesn’t mean the dream wasn’t worth it. Nothing is perfect. We are constructed to believe that nothing is “good” unless it is “perfect.” I believe this is why there is so much negativity plaguing our world. However, if you take that step back and realize that emotional perfection actually stems from acceptance of imperfection, then you can make the happiness surrounding your dreams a reality.

Peace & Pixie Dust

Posted in Disney Diaries

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Greetings! It’s definitely been a little while since I’ve been able to sit down and write. Not only am I running on “Disney Time” where days = minutes = hours = oblivion, but time really does fly by in retrospect. Seems like just yesterday I was beginning my Disney journey, but somehow it’s already the holiday season and I have my Christmas preparations in full-swing.

Before you all attack me with the infamous, “Why do you neglect Thanksgiving?” comment, allow me to explain that Christmas isn’t just something I get excited about this time of year. Christmas has always had a deeper meaning in my life and plays a substantial role in my daly living. Christmas is the time of year where magic is in the air, there is a sense of hope and peace that otherwise seems lost throughout the year, and people are (for the most part) happy! So why wouldn’t I be ready to celebrate this merry madness on November 1st? Waiting any later would just be a waste of precious time! So here we are, a few days into November and I am beyond ready to spread some Christmas cheer.

Being in Disney will no doubt make the holiday season a little different this year. I won’t experience the frigid Ohio air, attend any of my usual Christmas parties, view any of my favorite lights, or spend it with my loved ones back home. However, the beautiful thing about Christmas is that it happens every year…and if you’re me, it happens twice a year with Christmas in July! So as sad as it may be at times, this truly will be a unique holiday experience.

Just in the last few weeks, I’ve been able to see the Disney holiday decorations come alive and even work at the Christmas store (where yes, you can guess I was THRIVING). My roommates and I have started to decorate and Christmas music is attached to my ears at all times. I am looking forward to all of the Disney-holiday-exclusive events happening soon and to spread the previously-mentioned cheer I proclaim so highly.

On that note, the main reason I am here working for Disney is that this is the place where magic and dreams come true each and every day, similar to the way people feel during the holiday season. Essentially, the two go hand-in-hand, which is why I feel such a personal connection to Christmas. I promise you that I value Thanksgiving and all that it entails, but Christmas will always be my passion and I will stop at nothing to share that joy as long as I possibly can during this precious season.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Posted in Disney Diaries


32 days; 768 hours; 46,080 minutes; 2,764,800 seconds: That’s approximately how long I’ve been living here in Orlando. It’s amazing to me how fast time flies, but how infinite the moments feel. Sometimes I feel as though I’ve been here forever and summer was ages ago, while other times, I feel as though I moved in yesterday (particularly when I make diddlebop mistakes like miss the bus…oops).

I thought I would take time to reflect at this one month mark, particularly about being away from home. When I went off to college, yes, I experienced being away and gained the independence of living on my own; however, I used those 4 years to further explore my city, just a short 47 minutes away from home. Prior to college, I rarely spent anytime in Downtown Cleveland. With the exception of a few Indians games growing up, I had no idea how to maneuver the great city. When embarking upon my collegiate voyage, I found myself spending lots of time downtown. From sporting events (#neverforgetGame6), to Barrio (back before the Cleveland Heights location opened), to learning the ways of the RTA and working at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I absolutely fell in love with my home. I knew I had made the right decision to go to school far enough away to gain the experience, but close enough to grow to love the land of the CLE.

Now as I am thriving in the post-grad life, I have found that I love the fact that I took the next step and traveled to a new place (1,044 miles away from my house, but who’s counting?). I love wearing a Cleveland t-shirt to the grocery store and making immediate friends or sports enemies. I love that while sitting on the bus, someone is speaking Spanish, German, French, Chinese, you name it! I love meeting people from all over the country and even the world! I love that we are all able to come together and bond over the most powerful thing in the world: magic!

So when people ask, are you homesick? I can’t help but think, well of course, I miss my home…my friends…my family…my cat..JCU…Barrio, duh! But it’s my home that has made me into the person that I am today. The adventure seeker that I strive to be. The dreamer searching for ways to make magic happen on the “daly.” I can’t help but feel indebted to my home for providing me such a solid foundation to go out and see the world. I’m forever grateful for every moment that has led me to the current moment and I look forward to taking all these current memories and adventures back home with me one day.

Home truly is where the heart is and I’m so glad that I am able to take my heart with me wherever I go. Live each day by putting love into everything you do and you’ll never feel away from home a day in your life.

Posted in Disney Diaries

So Far, So Magical! DCP 2017

So by now, it’s no secret that I’ve made it to Orlando and have survived 2 weeks of my Disney College Program. Time has a funny way of working down here. Obviously it flies when having fun, but I can’t help but think of “With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8).

I feel this fits here quite nicely. When participating in a program such as this, you think you are in control of time. There are so many things you need to do, so many things you want to do, and there are only 24 hours in a day. (By the way, Disney runs on 24-hour time, which is quite the adjustment from AM/PM. Yes, I know you just subtract 12, but nonetheless, still an adjustment!) Anyhoo, it’s much more sensible to let go and surrender yourself to the boundaries of time. I am so blessed to be here and I thank God for making this all possible. Through Him, I am able to make this a irreplaceable, life-changing experience regardless of the amount of time.

I will also take a moment to use this as a brief update in addition to my reflection. All aspects of the program are taking off without a hitch. Everything from roommates, role training, park adventures, and everything in between are going just swimmingly so far. After 2 weeks, I have (more or less) figured out how to take the busses and am excited to go on even more adventures! Pretty soon, I’ll be taking some seminars to further my knowledge and hopefully soon I’ll be operating in my role with confidence and ease. It’s all about perspective and I have high hopes that these next few months will be worth every minute.

Next time you find yourself worried about time and how much you can squeeze into a certain amount of it, just remember that God is there to help you handle the logistics of time, it’s just up to you to make it all worthwhile. So far, my DCP experience has been nothing short of magical and I wish the same upon all of you as well.


Posted in Disney Diaries, Tara's Tales

Maybe If I Ignore It, It will Go Away: A Saga About Confronting the G-Word & Finding Peace in the Future

Hello, it’s me. Four years later and it’s the same old routine. I’ve found comfort in my everyday activities, fallen in love with the relationships I’ve established, and found my home in everything I do. Back in 2013, I had a reputation as, “The-girl-that-didn’t-want-to-go-to-college.”

Now, let me tell you, it wasn’t because I didn’t desire higher education. It was the anxiety-provoking thought of leaving everything I’ve invested so much time and effort in over the last four years and potentially losing all of it that I dreaded. I also couldn’t fathom the idea of making the “right” decision. It’s no secret that my family had a very different plan for my collegiate experience than I had for myself. Over time, I realized there was no “right” decision. It was the decision that was best for me and my dreams and the answer would eventually follow. But, until I had that personal revelation, every family function became the exciting time of asking, “Does Tara know what she’s doing yet?” or “Is she finally ready to talk about it?” The summer before my senior year, my family took our very first big family vacation and I made a rule before we left that we couldn’t talk about college. Thankfully, most of them were able to abide by my policy, but it didn’t make college “go away.”

Now, here I am about to g-word from college. Where in the heck did the time go? I may not have an answer for that, but what I do have is confidence. Confidence in myself, my abilities, and that everything will work out in the end. Yes, I still resonate with senior-year-of-high-school-Tara by getting butterflies about the uncertain future and by discouraging discussion of things such as the g-word, future, and senior-oriented festivities. HOWEVER, after going to college and seeing that everything I was so worried about losing from high school has remained in tact, I’m solidifying my confidence in everything I’ve invested in during these last 4 years. I’m confident that the connections, friendships, and memories I’ve worked so hard to create will follow me wherever I go in whatever I do.

I’m not worried about the future and I don’t have a 5 year plan. I am however, cognizant of future endeavors, such as paying back loans and finding stability in a career, but that’s not what life is about. Life is about seeking experience and memories that will last you a lifetime.

Finding this confidence does not mean I’m by any means ready to move on or g-word by any means, but it does mean that I am ready to live life everyday with a positive attitude for both now and in the future. I hope that those of you also in the same g-word boat don’t wish this time away to move into the future too quickly, but take each day as a gift and encourage others to do the same. That, my friends is what we should be concerning ourselves with each day. Find your magic and what makes you happy…and the peace and confidence in what is to come shall follow.