As a participant in the college program, one of the coolest things was feeling like you were a part of something really special. You weren’t just another employee at some job, you were at Disney World and they had chosen you from thousands of potential applicants. Everything you did with fellow CPs was made extra special because you were all in it together, you all shared this unique badge of honor. Being in the parking lot, our group of CPs became especially close. We worked nearly every shift together, almost always at night, and we shared in the long hours and grueling weather. I’m sure every location will say this, but truly, we were a family out there. We visited the parks together, had after-hours dinner, supported and encouraged one another, and we shared the horror stories from our days- we still do. I am so lucky to have found a group of eight other people who understand me so well.
One of the things I always hoped for was to be able to take my break around 10pm, so that I would be able to go watch Wishes. There were a couple different options for Cast Members as far as locations to stand and watch- one was near the ferry boat entrance, which gave a clear open view of the whole lake and the castle far off in the distance. Since we would still be in costume, we needed to stand in the back off to the side, and honestly I always felt a little out of place.
The other location was our secret spot. And it probably wasn’t that secret, I’m sure just about every employee knew about it, but it sure made us feel special to go down and hang out there. Back behind the break room, around the corner, and down the loading ramp for the supply trucks was a little wall. Behind that wall was a sidewalk that gave way to a sandy shore which led right down next to the water. We were adjacent to the Polynesian beach, so the music was pumped over their speakers and while we were in sight of any guests watching the fireworks from the beach, it was dark and they rarely looked in our direction. It was a secret secluded spot that offered a view of the castle and the fireworks and also allowed us to relax a little. We could talk and joke with each other while we watched the show and we didn’t have to worry about maintaining our cast member composure. It was the perfect escape for the 12 minute show.
I always loved Wishes, it was the high point of my evening, and being in the parking lot I got a lot of it. Whether I was on the back of the tram just watching the fireworks and catching snippets of the music as we pulled through the load zones, or standing at Jack’s Point getting to hear the whole show but not really see it, or being extremely lucky and getting to use our secret spot, I was always able to experience the show in some way. I loved being in Magic Kingdom and seeing the show up close of course, but I loved to see it from across the lagoon because you got to see just how big the fire works are, and how beautiful they can be, even without music. As CPs we made a lot of memories together, and the secret spot we found will always be one of my favorites.