What do you get when you combine an anxiety-prone introvert and the Disney College Program?
Darian never thought she'd see Walt Disney World ever again after one family vacation years ago. So when she found herself Disney bound to her new magical home, thinking she fooled Disney into accepting her, she knew it was the start of a new way of life.
Working in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as part of the opening team, Darian not only experienced the best and worst in people, but also the Mine Train fire of 2014.
Darian's secret cast member diary describes what it’s like for a shy Texasn girl to apply for the program and be thrown into the world of infamous Disney guest service. What began as tag-teaming with her best friend ended up being a solo adventure to self-discovery. In the end, she learned more about her inner strength than she did about Walt Disney World.
If you've ever wondered what it would be like not just to visit a Disney theme park but to work in one, the "Earning Your Ears" series is your E-ticket!
“Welcome to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! Where a million diamonds shine!” Wait, no, actually “Welcome to my brain, where a million anxieties thrive!” Many of us “Disnerds” know Disney inspirational quotes better than the backs of our hands. So I wanted to preface my experience with the quote that is my constant: Keep moving forward.
Strictly in my observation, I’ve learned that most College program participants are extroverts. Wonderful, creative, and incredibly genuine people with the best voice projecting skills I have ever heard. I love them, I respect them, I wish I was one of them. But I am not. This is not to say I am the special snowflake of the entire history of the DCP to be an introverted Cast member. I know without a doubt there are plenty of us out there as well, in the alumni family and out on stage. I bring this fact about myself up because I want any introvert that dreams of working at the Happiest Place on Earth to know that being an introvert does not make you unfit.
It took me a few years to write my story. In that time I’ve overcome some of the most difficult obstacles in my life so far, like being officially diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and borderline personality disorder. I can’t tell you how many times people are shocked that I, the most quiet and shy girl in Texas, worked at Walt Disney World. But I can tell you that each time this happens I put on my best Disney smile, two finger Disney point to the nearest door, and politely say “Have a magical day!” No, not really. But I do smile and tell them I had the best time working there and can’t wait to be a Cast member again.
Of course, having pre-existing issues with anxiety did influence my College Program experience. Anxiety and a complete lack of sense of self were a constant presence and they loved to make themselves known to me every chance they could. “Keep moving forward” truly kept me going, and it keeps me going still as I finish my secret Cast member diary. If you get anything out of my story, whether you’re reading this purely for entertainment or researching the program, I hope that’s the message that sticks with you. I want to remind you to keep moving forward. Always.
Darian is a blogger, aspiring makeup artist, mental health advocate, X-Files fanatic, and an extreme Disney lover. She brings magic with her wherever she goes. Because of the DCP, she has cultivated wonderful qualities she’s always wanted in herself. She is now very proud of who she is, believes in her dreams, and has Disney to thank for giving that extra push toward a new, authentic life.