Changing Dreams

While I like to shy away from the heavier posts here, there are often some things that alter how I live my life, and therefore how I blog. This week I left my job at Disneyland. This decision is one that I have thought about for a long time, and with my Guest Relations disaster, the decision became easier, because my intended career dreams could not be achieved. Some of you may be wondering why, and some of the reasons I am more than willing to share, especially since I love Disneyland.

Firstly, I want to say it was not the work itself that has prompted this. While I previously mentioned I simply worked in stores, I actually worked a specialized area of stores, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where I was a Fairy Godmother-in-Training, transforming children into princesses and knights. This role is extremely unique, involves a lot of Guest interaction, and is super magical, and I really, really enjoyed it. I loved telling stories, sharing knowledge of the Disneyland Resort, and I loved seeing the faces of children and parents light up when the magic mirror was revealed at the end of their transformations. I received a lot of gratitude from families, many saying “You’ve made our day” and that meant a lot to me.

Now, onto the reasons behind my departure. While having a career with the Walt Disney Company was part of the reason we made the move to California, the other part was the fact I was bored in Portland, and California offered a wide range of activity. I severely underestimated that amount of activity. I have never been bored since moving, as every time I turn around there is something to go see or do, and the list of things continues to grow, rather than shrink, which is great! In addition to the long list of places to visit, such as historical sites, filming locations, museums, national parks, and restaurants, there are constantly unique events going on. Take the Halloween season for example. Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Universal Studios all offer Halloween events. There is also the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, ScareLA, the Anaheim Halloween Parade, and Stan Lee’s Comikaze took place Halloween weekend, Hocus Pocus played at the El Capitan in early October, and then Danny Elfman performed his parts of Nightmare Before Christmas live at the Hollywood Bowl, and I am so sad I missed out, as I adore Danny Elfman and Nightmare. Additionally, I really wanted to go with a macabre theme for October for the blog, by visiting local cemeteries, the LA Coroner’s office gift shop, and doing one of the Dearly Departed tours in LA. And when October 31 arrived, I had have done very, very little of this list, in addition to not making a costume for Halloween for the first time in five years. As I look to the new year there are already five, many multi-day, events, that I am already aware of, that I am planning on attending between the beginning of the year and April, some of which are annual events, others are unique, one-time offerings.

As I began missing out on events, both ones I planned on attending, or ones that cropped up at the last minute, I felt crushed at my inability to go. Going to work, while still fun and magical, felt suffocating, and I felt like I had very little control over my life. Part of this is my own fault, as I have had the luxury of either working for myself, or someone I knew very well, and taking time off was easy to arrange, for most of my adult life. I am not used to this situation. Furthermore, the Walt Disney Company is a very large company and does their scheduling based on seniority, and I was still the low man on the totem pole, resulting in being given evening and weekend shifts. The problem is, Patrick works a regular Monday through Friday, nine to five job. Sure, Patrick works from home, but he is contractually obligated to be available during regular work hours, and if he wants to be away for a significant period of time during those hours, that is considered taking time off. However, I am in the unique and rare position that is that I do not need to work for us to make ends meet. So, when I applied to work at Disneyland, it was because I wanted to, not because I needed a job. The job became an unnecessary hoop I have to jump through to do other things, often missing out. This situation limited our time to go out and explore, to attend events, and so on, which is pretty much what our hobbies are. Seriously, take me to a museum or filming location before a bar or club anytime.

I know what some of you are thinking, “Ask for time off, trade shifts, call out sick.” It’s really not that simple. Disney’s scheduling, including requests for time off, is a complex system that I won’t bore you with, but the truth is, often you wouldn’t know if you received time off until the schedule is released. The schedule is always changing as well. Rarely do people work the same exact days and shifts week in and week out. As for trading shifts, as I worked in a specialized area, the pool of people I had to trade from was very small, and not once did anyone trade with me when I asked if anyone was able to. Additionally, trades must be submitted and approved. And calling out has a range of consequences.

While the outcome of my time as a Cast Member is not what I thought it would be, I am so glad I went through this experience. I made so many great friends, and it was nothing short of amazing to make magic. My curiosity of working at Disneyland has been satisfied, and I am happy with that, no matter how brief the experience. Additionally, having been behind the scenes, I feel I can better appreciate and understand Cast Members when I am a Guest; for example, there is a lot of information that Cast Members do not have access to, or are informed of, so when they say they don’t know the answer, I am a little more understanding.

I still love Disneyland, and, yes, I will miss working there, but I can’t put into words the frantic need I have to visit and go do everything I want to do. I have witnessed events that happen yearly suddenly stop happening. I have seen filming locations demolished (for example, the iconic Los Angeles Sixth Street bridge is set to be demolished in January) and museums close. I do not want miss out on something forever over something I do not need to be doing.

What does this mean for the blog? Well, hopefully it means more blogging. With more time I can visit unique locations, learn more things, and then share them with you all. California is literally a playground, especially for the history and movie geek, and I am excited to be able to explore it more.

12 thoughts on “Changing Dreams

  1. Dear Janey, I know some with criticize for not being employed, but since you have the fortune of being able to live on one income, take advantage of it. So often we feel we who we are by the work we do. Your quote from Mark Twain is spot on. I like to give my decisions the “sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch in my old age” test. Will I be happy or regret my choices.
    Good luck!
    Celtic Lass Sacramento

  2. You’re young and in a position to enjoy life!! Do it!! Take every opportunity you can and don’t hesitate for a second. I’ve enjoyed your blog for a while now and hope to read many more posts about your amazing adventures!

  3. Working opposite schedules is hard! Plus there are plenty of other things you can find to do with that extra free time as well like learning a new hobby or volunteering. 🙂

  4. You have no idea how much I appreciated seeing you be open about your job. Sometimes its nice to see that other people struggle with the same things I do and makes me feel less alone in the struggle. I can’t wait to see your adventures!!! Life is short, so if you can take advantage of a wonderful place like LA, then why should anyone or job stop you?!

  5. Way to go on taking a long, hard look at what you want out of your life at this point in time and making some big changes in the name of living the sort of daily existence you truly desire. That is highly commendable and I hope with all my heart that happiness, tons of great adventures, and scores of exciting new opportunities lay on the horizon for you, my dear friend.

    ♥ Jessica

  6. I know this was a really tough decision for you, but we are so happy for you. We can’t wait to see all your new adventures and hope to be apart of some! We love you and Patrick and (selfishly) hope to be able to spend more time together and get to know you both better!

  7. Hi Janey! I was a bit surprise that you decide to leave Disney… but I can fully understand how you feel, if you are lucky enough to decide if you want to work full time or not… why not not following what you are interested for. I’m thinking every morning when I must wake up early that life could be really nicer without having to go to work everyday… doing even simple things like cooking, sewing… and of course travelling!
    Enjoy your life and please share with us your new adventures!!!!

  8. Hi Janey,
    I love your blog so much! It takes courage to move forward and accept change. They always say when one door closes another opens. I admire you for your choices. Good for you! You are right, as a native Californian there is so much to see and do in our great
    state. I look forward to reading your blog and hearing about all your adventures!

  9. I applaud you fro choosing to quit your job. When I was working two jobs I had no time to go any where but eat sleep and work. With my current full time job it allows me opportunities to explore other interest and hobbies. I use to be one of those people who sat around the house wishing and hoping to have a friend I could go places with. Now things are super different I stopped waiting for that “friend” in order to explore the city and pursue my interest, I realized I wasted two whole years waiting around which was not good for my mental health. Plus money is tight when going out all the time too. But when a co-worker told me about the discount tick website Gold Star a whole new world opened up for me and now I am able to go to those plays and concerts I’ve only dreamed of. Plus while searching the internet I found out there is a well hidden rockabilly music and sometimes events around the city. Also thanks to yours and Vintage Vixen blog post about Fur and Feathers I started my own meet up too, it still new and a work in progress to see if there really are other vintage enthusiast in my city. I also sought out local vegans on meet up with too, we have an awesome time chatting and hanging out, I also like learning about all the vegan ways and places to eat around the city. This year for the first time I had to buy myself a calendar that fits in my purse so I can schedule all the things and places I want to do.

  10. I totally understand your decission, even if I was quite a bit surprised … I decided to work just past time when we moved to Berlin, because I was over working 70 hours for the dreams of others. I work a part time job and I make less money. We are kind of poor (yes, hahaha), because my man is a rocknroll guy not a well paid business man. But I love to make a littel extra money with my love to vintage, picking and trading. Part of the day is just mine and it just belongs to my personal dream of living.
    Lucky you that you both can live on one income. Have fun and make the best out of living your dream! I can’t wait to read all the exciting posts about your adventures.

  11. You are in a very lucky position, and if I’m honest it’s one I envy! Oh, what I’d give to not have to work and live in such an exciting, interesting place – definitely enjoy it all while you’re able; and in the mean time I shall live vicariously through you xx

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