Thanksgiving on the Disney College Program
My first Thanksgiving away from home was on my second Disney College Program in 2010. Before I started my fall internship I was concerned that being away from my family during the holidays would be difficult. To a certain degree it was tough because I missed my family most around the holidays however I never imagined that I would have a CP family as wonderful as the people I came to love.
I started my Disney College Program on August 11th 2010 and by the time Thanksgiving came around I had a close group of friends that I considered family. My new CP family consisted of the Cast Members I worked with at the Wildlife Express Train, Rafikis Planted Watch and the International CP’s from Africa. I could not have asked for a better group of people to spend my Thanksgiving with. I feel very blessed that I got to spend Thanksgiving with my CP family in Florida since my blood family was in Illinois.
I was lucky enough to get to go to two Thanksgiving events with my CP family. One was a Disney College Program hosted Thanksgiving and the other was a private family Thanksgiving at Jo’s house. Jo was kind of our honorary mother of our CP family. She was a full time Cast Member who looked out for all of us. She is one of the most wonderful and kind person I have ever met.
Disney College Program Hosted Thanksgiving
About a week or so before Thanksgiving, there was a Thanksgiving feast thrown for all CP’s at Patterson Court. They had a full Thanksgiving dinner for ALL the CP’s. I was living at Chatham Square and I had no plans setup to meet up with anyone for the feast. I walked over to Patterson Court thinking I would just grab some food and head back to my apartment at Chatham.
When I got to Patterson Court the line to get food was super long. It was wrapped around five or six building zig zagging through the parking lot. When I first saw the line I thought I might just head back to Chatham and forget about the feast because I hate lines but I decided to walk the line a little bit and see if any of my friends were there. As I got towards the end of the line I found a group of friends so I jumped in line with them.
It took about 30 to 45 minutes to get to where they served the food but it did not seem that long because we were all talking and laughing while we were waiting. It was exciting to be there with my friends from Africa as they got their first taste of traditional American Thanksgiving food. Housing did a great job with the events food. It was everything you would expect to have for Thanksgiving dinner and the food was delicious. They had music and dancing as well so after we ate we did some dancing and some chillin.
Cast Member Potluck Thanksgiving Dinner at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
On Thanksgiving day, like most CP’s, I was scheduled to work. I really had a fun day working on Thanksgiving. The Animal Kingdom was not as crowded as I had expected it to be and was less crowded than the rest of the week. All the guests were in a great mood and I was actually happy that I got to work on Thanksgiving on my College Program. I had such a fun day that it really made me excited to get to work on Christmas.
My area coordinated a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. Disney provided the Turkey and everyone brought homemade dishes to share. We had our potluck dinner in the Kilimanjaro Safaris break room. It was the best lunch break I had as a CP.
Family Dinner at Jo’s
Jo, our CP mama, invited all of up over for Thanksgiving dinner at her house. She cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner for all of us.
Since almost all of us had to work Thanksgiving day we did not get home from work till around 7 or so. Since I had a car I offered to drive as many as would fit in my car. I had one of my finest driving moments that night.
When we arrived at Jo’s there was really only one place to park which was in between two cars on the street that require parallel parking and it was not a very big opening. Being that I am from Chicago I parallel park all the time and usually do not think twice about it so without hesitation I parallel parked my car perfectly on the first shot. Everyone in the car was extremely impressed by my park job and I felt like a super hero who’s super power was to parallel park LOL.
By the time he got to Jo’s it was around 8:30 so we did not have a lot of time to hang out since we all had to work again the next morning. Jo had all the food ready by the time we got there. We sat down and ate like kings and queens. Jo’s home cooked Thanksgiving was spectacular! For those of us from America her food made us feel like we were home for Thanksgiving and for those who were from Africa getting their first real home cooked Thanksgiving meal they got to know what the holiday is all about from the food to family.
The night was very relaxing when we got to Jo’s. We ate our meal and then afterwards we all just kind of hung out until around 10 or so when it was time to get back to our apartments to get some rest for another long holiday season day of work on Friday. It was a very peaceful night that none of us will soon forget and will always be thankful to Jo for making our Thanksgiving feel like we were home.