Friday, August 22, 2014

Wow. I can’t believe it’s already over. My Disney College Program is over!! “Inconceivable!!”

I feel like so much happened my last 2 weeks of my program, I don’t even know where to start. Of course, I went to every park one last time. Looking back on my program, I didn’t go to the parks all. the. time. I thought I would be Disney obsessed and cry like a baby when I had to say goodbye to the parks, but so far I’m doing okay. Of course I miss having something fun to do whenever I want (for free I might add, with free transportation. Boy did I have it good), and I made so many fun memories, but I miss lots of other things about Florida more.

Ok, rewind. I feel like my thoughts are all jumbled up right now. Let me go in chronological order of the things I wanna talk about.
First item of business. My hair.

When I first came out to Florida, I had to dye my hair all one color because it wasn’t “Disney look”. I dyed it all blonde, and then it got blonder throughout the summer from being outside 24/7. A few weeks before I went to California to see my family, I dyed my hair blonde with a box and it turned out great! Then it grew out so I had to dye it again. Woof. It turned out HORRIBLE. Literally people, it was orange. ORANGE. Oh my lanta, thank heavens I was required to wear a hat to work. I waited a day and then my dear friend Maddie said, “Oh honey, it’s so bad. Let me fix it”, and at 3am we went to Walmart and bought another box. We got it to look not so orange, but it kinda didn’t have a color for a while. Today I am proud to say that my hair is no longer in the “yikes” or “oh honey” category, but looks semi-presentable. CP moments people.

I love all my Typhoon Lagoon cast members heaps and heaps. I miss them all so much. I got really lucky because I got to work in a park that had a lot of cast members who did the same job (lifeguards), and it was small enough that I got to know the whole park really well, BUT it was also not too small. It was perfect. I loved that I got to know so many people at work- sometimes people have really small groups that they get to work with. GAH I just miss it so much just typing this!! But at the same time I am happy to be home. So many mixed emotions.

One of my favorite days at the parks EVER was the day Ash and I went to Epcot. I hadn’t really given Epcot much of a chance, and then we went on 4th of July and I fell in love with the park. We walked around the World Showcase and explored every inch of it. I don’t know how to explain it, but that day was a dream. We spent the whole day dreaming about the lives we want to have, the places we want to travel together, and absorbing everything about the park. We are traveling Europe togeza, there’s no question about it.

Our graduation service celebration was so….. fun? Here’s what happened.
I’m an idiot.

When you hear the word “graduation”, you think nice dress right? When it’s outside and you’re in Florida, you’re WRONG. I dragged Ashley into wearing pencil skirts and nice shirts to graduation. HA. First off, we were the only ones dressed like that- everyone else had the common sense I lacked and wore sun dresses or shorts (this is my public apology to you Ashley, you were so right and I was so wrong). We had to wait in the longest line known to mankind to check in so we could get our graduation ears and food. People. Never ever wear a pencil skirt and button down shirt when the humidity is over 80%. You will DIE. Needless to say, we didn’t stay at graduation very long.

After I sat in my ice box of a room for an hour and changed into summer appropriate clothing, Maddie and I went to the Florida Mall to get her ears pierced and try on clothes that we couldn’t afford. The Florida Mall is lovely. I’m happy that I was able to go before I left. I had this huge long list of things that I swore I was going to do before I left, including:
-          Universal Studios
-          Busch Gardens
-          Clearwater Beach
-          Visit Miami
-          Florida Keys
Silly Jessie, (Trix are for kids) you have no money and therefore cannot do all those things. But honestly, it’s ok. I am not upset that I didn’t get to complete my list. There was so much to do at all the parks that it kept me busy.

My last week of work was absolutely crazy. I worked a lot, played a lot, slept little aaand got myself sick. Oh well. It was worth it. On my last day of work, I had work from 6:30am-3, which meant I had to take a bus at 5:30, which meant to be up at 5. What time did I go to bed you ask? 3am. For the second night in a row. Ugh. I’m tired just thinking about that day. My last day of work was really great! I had in service training in the morning, where we practiced rescue scenarios in and out of the water, practice CPR, and guest situations. We had a great group, and our practice scenarios were so farfetched it was hilarious (we pretended there was a birthday party and someone accidentally cut their fingers off with the knife and we had to respond. First of all, has anyone ever cut off their fingers while cutting a birthday cake? Also, who is cutting birthday cake at Typhoon Lagoon?). Then we did some water rescue stuff, and after we rode the slide! Best way to start work. I have ridden every ride at work during in service, not as a guest. Lines are overraaaaated.

Typhoon Lagoonee and Splashley

My last actual shift was so chill. Every time I saw a lifeguard or coordinator walking past I yelled, “Hey!! This is my last day ever!!!!” because it was a momentous day. After my shift was over and I said goodbye to everyone, walking to the bus didn’t feel real. I still can’t believe that this summer has come and gone so fast. I remember one of the first times we took the bus to get back home, and we had no idea what we were doing. We hopped on the first bus we saw like the rookies we were, and ended up taking the wrong bus that would take an hour to get us home, instead of 10 minutes.

After I finished my last shift of work, what did I do? Bought ice cream and a cookie and made myself sicker of course! I had to celebrate, I had no choice. Ash and I got ready then we headed over to Epcot to get a treat at France then headed over to Magic Kingdom. Something you should know about me- I cry at weird things. I am a MAJOR sympathetic crier, and I am sad to say that every time I see Kim Kardashian cry on TV, I tear up and have to look away. I can’t help it! (Side story- one time I was at the gym on the bike, and I was watching Keeping up with the Kardashians. Kim started crying, and I started tearing up and got emotional while on the bike. Pathetic.)

Anyways, back to the real story. I didn’t know how emotional I would be my last night at Magic Kingdom. Every time my family left Disneyland after the fireworks I was always a mess.

We got on the Monorail, and as soon as I looked out the window and saw that big beautiful Florida sky, I started crying… While there were 12 other people crammed in the monorail car with us. Oh well. Instead of taking a second Monorail over to Magic Kingdom, we decided to take the more scenic view and rode the ferry boat. Great idea and bad idea. It is absolutely gorgeous!! But it made me cry more because I realized how much I was going to miss this beautiful State. I wasn’t even crying that I wouldn’t be able to go to the parks anymore, I have just loved living in Florida!

Any who, after I got myself together, we headed over to ride Splashley’s ride one more time before we were going to watch Wishes at 10. We got on Splash Mountain, all excited, and 3 minutes into the ride, it stopped. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. And then…we had to evacuate. So we missed the fireworks, AKA, our closure for our Disney College Program. I am really hamming this up. So after we evacuated, we decided to create some unconventional closure. We went to the gift shop and took ridiculous pictures, and then we went and sat right in front of the castle to watch the second “Celebrate the Magic” show. We seriously had perfect seats. Afterward, we decided that I needed to take care of my cold, so we went to Main Street and got ice cream. DeLICIOUS.

After watching our favorite show, Philharmagic, we went back to Splash Mountain to actually ride the ride since it was fixed. We almost had the whole log to ourselves! There was no one on the ride.

We were so tired that leaving the park was not that emotional. All I wanted to do was go home and sleep. The next day we were supposed to be picked up at 1:45 for our flight at 4, so what did I do? I waited until 12:30 to start packing of course! I don’t think I have ever been so stressed out! 20 minutes before our friend was supposed to pick us up, he called us and said he got in an accident. WHAT. How does this happen. Thankfully, Ash’s friend didn’t have to work so she took us, and we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Phew!

It felt soooo weird coming home. It felt like Florida had never happened- which thankfully isn’t true. Although I was sad to leave all my amazing friends and the wonderful people I met, it is good to be home. I am so blessed to have a great new job that I love that pushes me to learn new skills and act in a more professional way. I am excited to continue on with school and make my way (sometimes what feels tortoise-like) toward graduation.

I love to take every experience and learn every life lesson I possibly can. You can imagine how great Florida was for that. I learned so much about myself, what I want in life, and who I want to become. I learned so much from living in a new place and working and living with people from all over the world. It was truly a unique experience. Out of all the many life lessons I learned (that are all documented in my journal!) the biggest lesson I learned is this: I can accomplish any dream that I have, no matter how big. Truly. I now KNOW that I can do anything I set my mind to, and that my big dreams can come true if I never give up and work hard for them. That might sound a little Disney and cheesy, but I truly believe that.

I am so excited about the future and about life! I have a loooot more things on my list that I want to do. And I plan on accomplishing each one. For now, the next 7 month adventure will be surviving and thriving in school. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated on any major things worth sharing. I’ll end with my favorite quote, and that is:

“Adventure is out there!”

Thank you so much for reading!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Are you surprised that I only waited 2 weeks to blog instead of 2 months? As am I.

Can we go off the subject of the Disney adventures for a minute and talk about the book, The Fault in Our Stars? (And no, I won’t give any spoilers if you haven’t read it. That happened to me with Harry Potter 6. I told Madi that, "I haven't read it so don’t spoil anything", and right after that she said, “Well, Dumbledore dies..” SERIOUSLY?) It is the best book. I just finished it and now I am so pumped to go see the movie. I just wanted to share that with you all.

So much has happened I don’t know where to start! So just sit yourself right down here at that thar invisible seat and we’ll just have a little that thar rehash of the past 15 days ya hear?

SO. The day after I blogged my last blog post. It was a Thursday. And on that Thursday, I experienced a blissful day.

I am laughing at myself as I write this. I am so weird.
K anyways, on Thursday, Splash and I went to Hollywood Studios for the morning slash afternoon. Can we just talk about how productive I was that morning? I went to bed at 2am, woke up at 6:30, and within 4 hours I:
  •   got out of bed
  • went to the grocery store across the street
  •  went to the ATM
  • washed, dried, and folded my laundry
  • exercised
  • showered
  • ate fooooood
  • packed my suitcase

I know, amazing. Ash and I went to Hollywood Studios, which seems to be my favorite park because it is, and we checked out the Frozen Land stuff. They have an ice-skating rink which is so cute, but costs money to skate on, so we admired from afar. On top of that, we went to the Art of Animation drawing class. Seriously, if you only know how to draw a smiley face and that fancy S that we all drew in fourth grade, then even you will succeed in this class. It is so fun!! They pick different characters and draw them. I can’t draw at all, but my drawings actually look like the characters! Disney magic, I’m tellin ya. Makin dreams come true left and right, that Walt.

After we went to Hollywood, my roommate drove me to the airport. No, I didn’t get termed. Here’s what happened.

I was supposed to be flying to Arizona for a big family reunion (and when I say big I mean 500 people big), but it was cancelled because there was a wildfire right by the location of the reunion. Instead, my family decided to change our flights and meet up at Disneyland for a few days! It worked out perfectly because I still had passes to let my family into the parks for free, which was awesome. I didn’t realize how much I missed my family! I love those people. That weekend with them was probably my favorite weekend this summer. I thought that when I went home from the Disney College Program that I would be sobbing all the way home and be depressed for weeks after. After spending time with my family and away from my internship, I realized that I am going to be alright. Don’t get me wrong; I have had an incredible time and experience, but at the same time, all good things come to an end, ya know? I’m excited to go back to BYU and start fall semester (never thought I would say that) and get back into the swing of things. And HELLO, I am so excited to see my dog!!! That animal has my heart.

Any who, if you can imagine, going back to work was a drag after that awesome weekend. I’ve been lucky though; we have had a LOT of weather closings at work lately. The other day was the craziest storm I have ever experienced in my entire life. It was sunny one minute and then literally within 5 minutes, the black clouds came in and we were closing for weather. When I say we closed for weather, it doesn’t mean we closed the park for the day and kicked everyone out. We close all the attractions and everyone has to get out of the water, and if there is lighting within 6 miles of the park we wait for 30 minutes until there is no lighting within 6 miles. It’s amazing how many times you hear the question, “When will the lightning stop?” in one shift.

There was a weather closing the other day and this little girl asked my coworker, “when will the park reopen?” which is a question we have don’t have the answer to. He is a super energetic and smiley person, and he enthusiastically answered, “Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to three hours!” I was dying laughing inside. Maybe I’m just a sick and twisted evil lifeguard to find that funny… And I’m ok with that.

ANYWAYS. The storm. It was so insane. We (me and 40 guests) were all huddled under this little hut with tables. At first it was just normal rain, then it POURED hard and then it was windy. Usually the lightning is close, but not that close. This storm, the lightning came right through the park. Like, seriously, it was terrifying. There was a strike about 100 yards away from where we were at. It was SO loud. Of course, I screamed every time I heard lightning strike close by. Real professional, Jess.

I feel like this whole post is a bunch of random tangents, and for that I apologize. I feel like everything just blurs together these days. Oh! Something else that happened! My roommates and I went to the beach to see the sunrise (which was absolutely beautiful). We got there, and within 5 minutes of being there, we all started slapping our legs because of all the tiny little bugs that were eating us alive. We ended up leaving 20 minutes after being there because we were all getting bit! But it was so worth it. All of us look like we have the chicken pox, but at least we went through it together, right?

Unapologetic selfie that isn't actually a selfie with an apple on a beach.  

Anywhoozle, I hope this post was not a disappointment. If you are going to Disney Land any time soon, go to Mickey’s Magical Map show. It is so so awesome and worth it, so go! It’s right by Toon Town. 

Anyways, I have two weeks left of my program and I need to start livin on the edge a little more! K byeeee!

Oh wait. I forgot that I have a present for you. It's this. 

( In the Kool Aid man's voice) 
Ohhhhh Yeahhhhhaaaa

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

One. Month. Later.

Howdy y’all! I am pretty much the worst blogger around. I can’t believe I let a month go by without posting anything at all! My apologies. But I have been having so much funnnnnnn!!

PS. This is an extreeeemely long post. And I'm not kidding when I say it's a long post. I am so sorry. 

Aight. So much to tell. So little time. Actually, we have unlimited time because this is a blog… I don’t know. Lately I have been in really crazy hyper moods where I get super weird and excited. That sounds like I have been getting drunk. Don’t worry, just cuz I turned 21 out here doesn’t mean this gurl be getting drunk! It is really interesting seeing the looks on peoples faces when they find out I’m 21 and I don’t drink. They are seriously baffled. It’s quite hilarious.

So yes, I had my birthday out here! June 15 to be exact. Bless that day, the day Jessica Dianne Harmon came into the world. Also, Kim Kardashian’s baby is lucky enough to share my birthday, so it really is a hallowed day. Any who, I have the sweetest roommates in the entire world, and they cooked me breakfast before I had to leave for work at 6:15 am, decorated the apartment, made me dinner (I never cook for myself. This was a big deal for me), and gave me freaking gifts!! How did I get so lucky?! Thank you Stephanie, Liz, and Ashley for making my birthday so stinkin special. And my other roommates Gabby and Nikki gave me the sweetest card. I am so lucky!

I was supposed to work from 6:45am-8:30pm that day (I KNOW RIGHT) but I got an ER (early release) and went home at 11! It was lovely. Unfortunately, the weather was crummy so we didn’t go to the parks, but we did have lots of fun hanging out and playing games! ‘Twas a fabulous 21st birthday.

Can we just talk about how much I love it out here? Today I went outside to look at the sunset from my apartment door, and I fell in love with Florida all over again. How am I expected to go back to Utah? HOW? The beautiful trees everywhere, the gorgeous lakes everywhere you look, the little lizards that are running around everywhere, the jumping squirrels, the baby frogs that I keep almost killing when I walk (seriously, I full on stepped on one the other day. Oops!), and yes, even the humidity. I have no idea how I have survived the high 90’s weather that feels like 100 degrees while lifeguarding, but I have! And I’ve loved every minute of it. I am so sad that I have a month left of my program. I know I am going to sob the entire plane ride home with Ashley, and if you see me and I look depressed, it will probably be because I am missing Florida like none other. Everything about Florida is perfect, and everything about the Disney College Program has been amazing. Yes, of course I have had some downs, but there will always be ups and downs.

There is truly nothing like the Disney College Program. Even though I am so so SO sad that I will be leaving here in a month, and the chances of me coming back for another internship are low, I am excited to go home, too. It’s good that this amazing chapter of my life is going to come to a close. There are other adventures waiting for me, and this experience has made me realize that I am going to go after each and every one of them, if it’s the last thing I do! I mean, of course I’ll finish school in the midst of all that ;) I know my mom appreciates that last sentence. Lol.

Now I am going to share random snippets of things that make me happy to talk about, in no apparent order.

Splashley and I went to a YSA activity at Daytona beach a few weeks ago. So. Much. Fun! If you know me, you know that I have some serious fears of the ocean. I am one of those people who researches all the shark attacks in Florida and then goes to the beach expecting to be fine. But, I got in the water! East coast beaches are just lovely. The water is sooo much warmer than California beaches. After about 2 hours in the water, we looked from left to right and saw two storms from both sides making there way towards each other, resulting in the daily afternoon storm. We left after it finished pouring for 20 minutes, but we still had a blast.

I thought I would be fine to go to the beach and not wear any sunscreen. HA.

A few weeks ago, we had our Disney Leadership class at Magic Kingdom! We split up into groups and went to different lands to see the things we’ve learned being put into action.

My family came to visit me!! My Aunt Valerie, Uncle Troy, and my cousins came to Disney! It was so wonderful having my family come see me out here. Jordan and I got picked to go be extras in the Indiana Jones stunt show! It was lotsa fun:)

One night all of us roomies got home at 12:30am, and we weren't in the mood to go to bed. So headed to the pool for a night swim! The next morning we took advantage of the tennis courts and played togeza.

A few weeks ago, I got my 2nd deployment to Caribbean Beach. When I say I got deployed, it just means that I get sent to work at a resort for that week. My first resort was Saratoga Springs, which I LOVED. Carribbean Beach was lovely too! If you ever want to stay at a Disney resort without breaking the bank, stay at Carribbean Beach. It is sooo beautiful, and it’s not that expensive! Gaurding there was so much fun too; I love getting to work at different places. It’s amazing how we all do the same thing, yet the atmosphere and the way things are run are totally different. It’s cool to see a different perspective and meet new people. That’s one thing I will really miss about the DCP. You meet new people every single day from all over the world. The other day I went across the street to the gas station at like 1am, and I met another CP from London. It’s totally common to meet people from all over the place.

A few weeks ago, we had a housing event themed, "Off to Neverland!" I love the housing events. They always have a DJ so I get to do some serious dancing on the dance floor. And they have characters! Hook and Smeeeee!

There was a pool party going on right by our classroom, so we grabbed some free lunch afterward!

Oh my GOSH. This was hilarious. Some little kid was twerking up a storm! His mom was NOT happy about it. It was hilarious!! 

The other week, I was guarding the creek (lazy river) and I saw a lady who had a shower cap on. A shower cap. AND that wasn’t the first time I saw that in the lazy river.

This was the other week at Hollywood Studios (I seem to go to that park a lot. It reminds me of California, which reminds of home). We danced with the fab 5 at the dance party(!), had a hula hoop contest, got fast passes from our roommate who works at Rockin Roller coaster, and rode Tower of Terror 6 times in a row. 

This year I had the BEST fourth of July ever. Ashley and I went to Epcot early in the morning. I’ve had a beef with Epcot for some reason. I didn’t like it the first time I went because I was expecting it to be a theme park with lots of rides. Sadly, I didn’t give it a second chance… until the fourth of July! Holy cow, I love Epcot. The world showcase is beautiful!! We walked around, tried coke from around the world (South Africa and Peru tasted the best), found Mulan (I thought I was so clever when I walked up to her and said, ‘thank you for bringing honor to us all’. She didn’t laugh…), and you better believe I bought a cannoli AND a gelato… (“my diet starts tomorrow…. OUR diet starts tomorrow”). So fun! I had work that afternoon, so we made like a baby and headed out of there. I don’t mind going work these days. It doesn’t really feel like work because I get to see my friends. That is, it doesn’t feel like work until I get on stand by myself, haha. It’s still not too bad. I love interacting with guests, too.

After work, my two work friends, Ali and Maddie, and I hurried home and got ready so we could catch the fireworks at Hollywood Studios. As were driving down I-4, Epcot’s fireworks went off right next to us. It was so cool!! We barely made it in time to see Hollywood’s fireworks, which were absolutely incredible as well. We went to the dance party under the big hat for a little bit, then headed out. We wanted to go to Downtown, but instead we went to the Boardwalk and went to Jellyrolls, which is a dueling piano bar (don’t worry I was sober). Those people are incredibly talented!! It was a ton of fun. Best fourth of July yet!


We had another housing event! This one was a circus theme, and our boss made an appearance! ;)

Maddie and I got up at 4:45am one morning and drove to Cocoa Beach! It was gorgeous. There was hardly anyone there, and we played frisbee, hula hooped, and ate breakfast at Sunrise Diner. 

Yesterday was a great day. For our Disney Leadership class, we spent the morning at Animal Kingdom! It was the same type of activity as the one at Magic Kingdom. This time, we were required to go on an attraction (poor us). I hadn’t been on the Kilimanjaro Safari, so we went to that one. It was absolutely amazing. Those animals are all so beautiful! I am obsessed with elephants and giraffes now, and my mission is to find plushies of both before I go (oh yeah, did I ever mention I am into plushies like a 10 year old now? Everyone else is too, so I don’t feel so weird about it).

Last night I picked up a shift at Hollywood Studios for the Frozen Summer Fun event that just started. If you are unfamiliar with that, at Hollywood they created a Frozenland, where you can ice skate (I KNOW RIGHT), buy awesome merchandise, go to sing-a-longs, see Anna and Elsa in a processional in the morning, and watch an interactive show with the characters followed by fireworks. I got paid to see all that and interact with guests. Tee hee, I love my job. It was great too because I hadn’t seen it yet! I can’t wait to go ice skating.

If you made it this far, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. Thanks for reading, and I hope all of you have a magical day!