Happiest place on Earth

For those of you who follow me on social media, you know that I took last week off to gallivant around Orlando with my friend Amy. She convinced me to join her on a very scary looking roller coaster, where the pre-pubescent attendant actually made me shove all of my belongings in a locker so my family would have something to remember me by in case my body went hurling through the air, landing somewhere near the Island Adventure section of the park.

I rode it twice. And looked like this after collecting my belongings from the locker.


Those of you who are hard core will question my loyalties to Disney, wondering why I would even waste my time at “the other park” in Orlando.

1. It has Harry Potter. Where else am I supposed to get a wand?
2. It has really fast roller coasters.

Let the record show that my first love will always be Disney World. I collected anything Mickey Mouse as a young girl. I watched every Disney movie. I was able to go on my first trip to Disney World when I was in sixth grade. I dressed up as Walt at my junior high “what do you want to be when you grow up” career day. I longed to be on the new Mickey Mouse Club.

And when my college professor looked me in the eye and asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I couldn’t help but blurt out that I wanted to work at Disney World. You can imagine the shock and amazement of a young girl from a tiny town in East Texas, when she received an acceptance letter for a six-month long fall internship at the happiest place on Earth.

People sometimes poke fun at how many times I have visited Disney World in my adult life. They don’t understand why I would want to go to the same place I’ve been before. Why wouldn’t I go to a beach or the mountains? Doesn’t it get old?

For me, Disney is woven into the tapestry of who I am as a person. As a young girl, it represented magical lands and handsome princes. When I got older, it represented adventure. We didn’t go on vacation. I didn’t have a passport. I could count on one hand how many times I had been outside of my own state. To even think about moving across the United States to work in place I had admired for more than half my life seemed unrealistic.

Until I got the letter.

Disney taught me to embrace the person God made me to be. I learned to be independent. I became bold and comfortable in front of an audience as a Jungle Cruise skipper. I became a better listener. I became a more patient person. I was a complete nerd and spent most days (even when I wasn’t on the clock) soaking up every inch of Disney property. I worked hard to secure my Ducktorate degree (yes that is a real thing) and as a result, I believe I landed more job interviews when I returned to the real world.

Disney World isn’t just a theme park to me. It’s a major tick on my timeline of life. And if I ever get a chance to return and take a boat ride through the jungles of the world, I will not hesitate. I owe it to the girl who proudly put on that monochromatic uniform 15 years ago. Because of her, I am who I am today.

Jungle Cruise

Make sure to catch that 3:00 parade.

If you do catch it, let it go. It will drag you all the way to Main Street.

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October 13, 2014 5:07 pm

You were clearly an outstanding Cast Member! Kudos!

October 13, 2014 5:52 pm

Lincee, I haven’t met you but I can honestly say you would be the worlds best Jungle skipper and would keep the crowds so entertained. I love it when people do their best no matter what their job is! The world needs more people like you that take pride in everything you do…even a job at Disney!

October 13, 2014 10:24 pm

OF COURSE Disney World is the best job any person could ever have! Glad you gave it proper respect and yes, you probably were one of the greatest jungle cruise directors. I always thought they gave that particular position to the cream of the crop!

October 14, 2014 6:27 pm

Hi Lincee,

I’m looking at 60 very soon (not sure how this happened…) and one of the regrets of my life is that I didn’t pursue my dream at 20-21 of working at Disneyland, on the left coast. I would have been thrilled to do anything (pretty much) but to be a Jungle Cruise operator! Wow! I don’t know why I didn’t do it, laziness maybe, maybe timidity, but I should have! And you did. Way to go Lincee!

October 14, 2014 9:07 pm

I was a huge new Mickey Mouse Club fan. i wanted to be on it really bad. I practiced the “running-man” so much, hoping I would get to be on it. I did get to be in the audience once!

October 15, 2014 10:03 am

My husband’s and my retirement plans include working at Disney. How awesome would that be?!?

October 15, 2014 3:08 pm

Now I want to see a picture of you in your Jungle Cruise uniform

October 15, 2014 3:53 pm

I had no idea working at Disney was the dream of so many people! You should all do it.

And Kelli – I’m digging up a JC picture now. Get ready for some monochromatic awesomeness.

October 15, 2014 7:20 pm

I visited Epcot in 1990, but finally made it to Disney last year…it was the time of my life. And worth the 23 year wait.

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