Connor Smith

Disney College Program


September slipped into October and now we are already in the middle of November.

Contributed Photo

Contributed Photo

All of the days seem to be just one big blur, but in the best way possible. Pictures of the first snowfall of the year from friends and family back home flood my text message inbox.

Homesickness is a thing of the past, nerves are nonexistent and the friends that I’ve met here are pretty much my family now.

Plans are already in the making for visiting each of the friends I’ve made while being down here.

College kids come from all over the world to participate in the Disney College Program.

The six strangers you were thrown into an apartment with turn out to be your lifelong friends.

As the program starts to wind-down, the bonds that you made here are getting stronger each day.

The connection between everyone that I have made friends with is very unique.

Everyone that is in the program is in the same boat as you. They have left their city, state or even country to come to Florida and work for the mouse.

As fast as Sept. 2 came for move-in day, you can only believe that Jan. 5 will come even faster.

Every day closer to Jan. 5, the more I am dreading the 1,305-mile drive back home, into the brutal coldness.

Going from sunny and 75 degrees everyday to freezing temperatures is not going to be a great transition.

From riding The Tower of Terror at Disney on my days off to finishing my journalism major and spending countless hours in the library, spending the holidays down here is definitely going to be a different experience.

The closer we are getting to the holidays, the park attendance everyday is slowly rising. The hours of work are getting longer due to the park attendance growing. The holiday decorations are going up extremely fast. Right across from my work location is the “Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.”

The tradition started in 1986, when a man named Jennings Osborne decorated his house in Little Rock, Arkansas with about one million lights.

In 1995, Disney took over the show and moved it to the Streets of America in Hollywood Studios.

Making their own modifications to it by adding almost four million more lights to it.

If lights choreographed to music is not enough they also have snow-making machines that shoot out snow during certain parts during the show.

Disney has its own traditions, but so do the employees.

There are certain traditions that every college programmer goes through every year, which is during the last few days.

After packing up and getting all their things situated for the move back home, college programmers go out for one last time together.

Everyone gets a pair of Mickey Mouse graduation ears and then they all go to the Magic Kingdom.

Everyone watches the firework show they have every night called “Wishes.”

After the show, everyone rides the rides in the park.

After the night everyone returns to their apartments and finishes packing and saying goodbyes before leaving the next morning.

After everything is said and done, this place will always be my home. The friendships I have made and the life skills that I have learned down here will always stay with me.

If I could recommend the program to anyone, I would say to absolutely do it. I think the program is life changing.

It makes you realize how lucky you really are with all the opportunities that you are given to succeed.

Disney World has made missing friends and family a lot easier than I thought it would be.

Returning to Keene State College for the spring semester will be tough, especially since I cannot wear shorts every day.  Even though the warmth is nice, being back in New England is where I want to be.

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