Walt Disney World provided our apartments. They took rent out of our paychecks weekly, and we purchased our own food. They provided transportation to work and to the local Wal-Mart, although most of the things we needed were right outside of the apartment complexes, with outlet malls and lots of restaurants.
Disney had me “mousekeeping” at the All-Star Resorts. It was the most difficult job I ever had in my life, both physically and mentally! I lost 10 pounds just from the non-stop physical activity of bending over, lifting, cleaning and rushing. Being a people person, working 40 hours a week independently was a new change for me. For the most part, our guests were nice, but their rooms were a different story – sometimes they were pretty messy.
If there was a downside to the internship, it was that sometimes I found myself losing the magic. After working there and going
through some of the hardships, it started to sink in that Disney was an employer. While I was working for a magnificent organization, I was still working. Nonetheless, when I went into one of the parks, with free access of course, the magic rushed right back!
The parks were always a plus, but the biggest gift I believe I got was the unforgettable friends I made at Disney. There were many people there from different backgrounds and cultures. If it were not for the precious friends I made at Disney, my experience may not have been as grand. A few of us still communicate with each other, and I realize every day how much fun we actually had.
Throughout the whole experience, I definitely feel I have matured. At first, I thought I didn’t learn much from the internship other than how to clean rooms efficiently. But thinking about it now, I know I’ve learned so much more: what kind of manager I would and would not want to be, how the housekeeping system works, how to work with difficult people and more. But most importantly, I learned that giving respect means you will get respect right back.
I know that having Disney on my resume will take me far. Having learned what it is like to be a housekeeper, I know I will be more respectful to the housekeepers I may manage one day. I can’t say it was an easy experience, but it definitely was an amazing one. I hope people will take the time to consider doing the program.