Thursday, February 25, 2016

Moving Forward... to Shanghai

First off, thanks to all of you that took the time to read my post about my one year with Disney. After reading it back, months after I wrote it, I realized how emotionally charged I was at that time. I am proud of the fact that I can be so honest and up front about my life down here in Orlando. There may be someone else going through the same struggles, or experiencing the same emotions that I am. I'm just glad that I feel comfortable enough to be authentically me on my blog.

Back in May, I auditioned for two international Disney parks, Hong Kong, and the new park that will open in June of 2016, Shanghai. It felt like I needed to do give it a shot. I was compelled to see what potential I had inside of me. Never did I actually think anything would come of it. Truly. For the year that I've been with Walt Disney World, I've struggled to feel acknowledged and praised by the people that could propel my career here in Orlando. I realize that maybe, just maybe, I am being pulled to another adventure elsewhere for a period of time in my life.

I'm still not sure how it happened, or what I did to deserve it, but I was offered a contract to be a part of the opening cast for the brand new park in Shanghai, China. Clearly, I accepted. A once in a lifetime opportunity that I'll never get the chance to do again. I feel seriously humbled and quite honestly, shocked that I've been given this chance to work hard, and put my heart and soul into the Disney Company in such a way.

The details of this adventure are pretty simple. I have my last week of work at WDW next week. I fly back to Michigan on March 9th to begin my time with my family. Then I kick off April by flying to Shanghai and starting work for the Shanghai Disney Resort! My contract is for one year and then I'll be right back at the wonderful Walt Disney World.

Since I have announced my temporary departure from WDW, I've honestly been struggling with the thought of not being in Florida for a year. Tearing myself away from things in my life that I am absolutely in love with. When I left Michigan, I only struggled to deal with leaving my family and the familiarity of where I grew up for 26 years. I didn't have a lot of friends there, especially not ones that understood me. In Florida, I have that. I didn't have a job in Sturgis that made me feel like I made an impact. I didn't drive around every day back then and think how beautiful my area is. Florida is so captivating.

From the first time I came to WDW when I was 9, I wanted to live here. I'm actually living here! It's incredible! I am living my dream! I know it will still be here and I know I will get to come back. But, wow. It really hurts having to walk away from it, even if it is just for a year.

For some reason, many of my coworkers haven't grasped my emotions about saying goodbye to Florida, and I've actually been criticized for it. I can't tell you how much it sucks to feel misunderstood again. Especially when it comes to my passion for WDW. It's like deja vu. People that know my history with WDW are the ones that understand how working and living here has been my dream since I was a young child. It just makes me sad that I have to sacrifice being a part of some really cool things here in Florida, to go be involved in some really cool things in China.

Just because I'm sad about leaving everything I love here in Florida, doesn't mean I'm ungrateful for the opportunities that await me in China. Trust me when I say that I KNOW how incredible this experience across the world is going to be. I'm on the opening team of a Disney park. The company I've always wanted to just work for. I always told people that I was fine with sweeping the streets for free in WDW, just as long as I'd get to be a part of the magic. Now, someone has told me that they're going to pay for me to go have a once in a lifetime opportunity in a country I never thought I'd be able to visit on my own dime. I've known about this for six months and I STILL can't wrap my head around it.

Please, my friends, save up a little money and come to Shanghai. While you're there, fly on over to Hong Kong and Tokyo. Visit the incredible parks there. Be a part of the magic being made. Join in on the fun. See Disney history being made in Shanghai! While the world might be really big, our lives are really short. I'd love for the people that I love to come visit a country that I have a feeling I'm going to fall in love with.

I have two weeks left in Florida, and I absolutely have to make sure that I see my wonderful friends before I depart. If anyone wants to come see me at work, please message or text me. I will be organizing a get together outside of work as well. Details to come!

Thank you all so much for your support. Thank you for continuing your support. Thank you for believing in me, even when I didn't believe in myself. You are all so freaking amazing. :)