On Wednesday, November 30, 2022, I celebrated my 24th birthday at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World! That was the second time I celebrated my birthday at Disney. I celebrated my 16th birthday at Disneyland and that day, unfortunately, did not end well. Anyways, moving on!
It looked like history would’ve repeated itself because I got sick the day before my birthday, November 29. I had the brilliant idea of trying out the “earlier” shifts for that week and when I say “earlier,” I mean shifts that start before 1:00 p.m. My body could not handle the time change and on the 29th, I felt really weak. Thankfully, I got to leave early, so that I could get some rest for the next day.
On November 30, I had a park reservation for Magic Kingdom and I initially planned to rope drop. You know, be there as soon as the park opens. But, because I felt horrible the previous day, I slept in, did my laundry, listened to Metallica’s new song for the second time, and didn’t arrive at the Ticket and Transportation Center until about 2:53 p.m. I got to the entrance of Magic Kingdom at 3:11 p.m.
Since it was mid-afternoon and the lines for the popular attractions were ridiculously long, I mostly did the low-key attractions. I did ‘The Magic Carpets of Aladdin,’ ‘Country Bear Jamboree,’ ‘It’s a Small World,’ ‘Prince Charming Regal Carrousel,’ ‘Mickey’s PhilharMagic,’ ‘The Barnstormer,’ and ‘The Haunted Mansion.’ When I did ‘The Magic Carpets of Aladdin,’ I sat in the front this time, and I got to control the switch that makes the vehicle go up and down, which was really fun! The ‘Country Bear Jamboree’ was entertaining and creepy as usual. ‘The Barnstormer’ is basically a kid’s roller coaster, so it was fast, but it was also very short. Oh, I did ‘Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor’ too, and the crowd was great!
As a real treat, though, I ate dinner at The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom with my friend from the Disney Ohana Club. The restaurant had a Victorian-style vibe, it was an American buffet, and Winne the Pooh and his friends were there! I booked the dining reservation a month in advance and our original time was 8:50 p.m., but I was able to check-in 20 minutes before our reservation and we got seated at around 8:30-8:40 p.m.
I wanted to eat at The Crystal Palace because it’s not everyday you get to meet Eeyore and Piglet. On the side of ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’ ride, guests can meet Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. It’s very rare to meet Eeyore and Piglet, though. At Disney World, besides the holiday parties, the only other opportunity to meet those two is at The Crystal Palace for character dining.
What was great about that restaurant was that the cast members made sure my friend and I got to meet all of the characters there. They walked by our table a few times to check if we got to meet Winnie the Pooh or Piglet already, etc. They did this with all of the guests because they wanted to make sure we all got a chance to meet our favorite characters from the Hundred Acre Wood.
Therefore, I got to take photos with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore! They all said “Happy Birthday” to me as well. Call me a dork, but meeting Winnie the Pooh and his friends was one of the highlights of my Disney College Program because they were so sweet! Also, that was my first time meeting Piglet and Eeyore, so that was a special moment for me that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Like I said before, the food was an American buffet. There was ravioli, fruit, fried chicken, cooked potatoes, prime rib, and much more. The Crystal Palace had yummy dessert options too. I had butterscotch creme brulee, strawberry shortcake, and two chocolate chip cookies. The dessert was yummy, but dang, that butterscotch creme brulee was a lot sweeter than I expected it to be.
I was very lucky to spend my birthday with my friend from the Disney Ohana Club because she’s been my rock throughout my entire program. We’ve had so many great adventures together at Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. In fact, I got to do so many fun things on my program because of her. My mom told me that all you need in life are a few good friends, and she’s one of them.
So, now that I’m 24-years-old, do I feel any different? I can’t explain it because I don’t feel completely different, but I don’t feel completely the same either. Without getting too personal, I was in a really bad place these past couple of months. I don’t want to call it “depression” because I’m not a doctor, but it got to a point where I didn’t even want to go to work anymore. In fact, my “depression” was affecting my ability to do my job.
There I was at Disney World, the most magical place on earth, and I just wanted to go home. Because of my past mistakes and everything I went through these past couple of months, I almost didn’t want to celebrate my birthday either.
So, what changed? Well, after finishing Ralph Macchio’s book in late November, I checked out a few Cobra Kai clips on YouTube and there was one quote that stuck with me for a bit, “must not lose to fear.” There I was letting my fear take control of me. Fear of my co-workers and fear of my past. Throughout my program, I went through an identity crisis and I felt really lost, but that quote (“must not lose to fear”) inspired me to find my identity again and remember who I am as a person.
I am not a quitter, so I’m going to finish my Disney College Program! I am the type of person that doesn’t care about what other people think. I don’t let others influence who I am and I do my own thing. However, these past couple of months have taught me a few things that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Lesson one is I need to focus on myself because I spent way too much time trying to make my coworkers like me that it was affecting my job as a concierge. Lesson two is I can’t rely on other people to be happy because everyone has their own schedules and if I don’t like myself, then how can I expect other people to like me? Lesson three is my actions can make or break me. In other words, the things I do and say are a lot more impactful than I realized, whether they are good or bad.
So, there you have it, people! You got a two for one. I talked about what I did for my 24th birthday and if I feel any different after turning 24. Anyways, for the rest of my Disney College Program, I’m going to focus on improving myself, becoming a better concierge, and enjoying the time I have left in Disney World!
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