October 3, 2023
Standing on the walkway around Canada Place, where 5 years ago I left my life at sea for good, a sense of nostalgia washed over me. Ship life feels both like it was yesterday, but also a lifetime ago. My time on the Disney Wonder was a complex and deeply personal journey. I’ve openly and honestly shared my experiences in multiple YouTube videos and blog posts, and I’ve often wondered whether I’ve exhausted all that needs to be said about that chapter of my life. There’s a part of me that worries people may be growing tired of hearing about it, or perhaps they’d prefer I didn’t expose the more challenging aspects of my ship days. However, they shaped who I am today, for better or worse.
While I’m in a much better place now, healing remains an ongoing journey. For me, creating content and sharing my experiences has become a therapeutic outlet—a way to process the memories, both positive and negative, that continue to shape my life. It’s not just about storytelling; it’s a form of self-expression and catharsis.
Had I chosen to not do my third and final contract, I might never have crossed paths with Wayde, the person with whom I’ve built a beautiful life filled with love and shared dreams. Since leaving Disney Cruise Line, we’ve gone to visit the ship while it’s docked at Canada Place a few times before, but I always feel so deeply every time we do.
Life has a way of unfolding in unexpected and remarkable ways, and sometimes, the most significant moments come from the choices we make, even when they seem daunting or uncertain. So, as I revisit the Disney Wonder and all that it represented in my life, I can’t help but be grateful for the path I chose, for it led me to a place of happiness and fulfillment that I could have never imagined when I first stepped on board that ship.
My journey with Disney began when I was just 19, working at Disneyland, Disney World, and eventually on the Disney ships. It was during these years that I met an incredible array of people who left a lasting imprint on my heart. The friendships forged and the memories created during this time are treasures that I will cherish always.
It was while applying for the Disney College Program that I felt inspired to share my adventures and experiences with the world. Through the lens of my camera and the words I shared, I found a community of like-minded individuals who appreciated my genuine, unfiltered portrayal of life in the Disney universe. Documenting my time on the Disney College Program and eventually aboard the ships allowed me to capture not only the magic but also the challenges, growth, and transformation that unfolded during those years. It was a way for me to connect with fellow Disney enthusiasts and share the unique perspective of a former “cast member.”
Creating my “why I quit” video was a deeply personal and cathartic experience for me. It allowed me to share my raw thoughts and emotions, giving voice to the complexities of my journey aboard the Disney ships. I knew that not everyone would resonate with my perspective, and that was understandable. However, I felt compelled to share my unfiltered truth because, deep down, I understood that if I didn’t express my honest feelings then, I might have romanticized that time in my life.
The unexpected virality of the video was both surprising and overwhelming. While it brought my story to a broader audience, it also exposed me to the less pleasant side of the internet. It can be incredibly challenging to read hurtful remarks or have your own lived experiences invalidated. Additionally, comments about your appearance can be especially hurtful, as they strike at a deeply personal level.
In those moments, it’s essential to remember that not everyone will understand or empathize with your journey. People come from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and their reactions to your story are shaped by their own experiences. It’s crucial to prioritize your well-being and mental health. Surround yourself with a supportive community of friends and viewers who appreciate your authenticity and the courage it took to share your story.
All this to say, I’ve been thinking about making a new video where I kind of look back and compare how I felt back then to where I am now. I also want to dive into some important stuff that’s always been on my mind—the not-so-great wages, labor conditions, and environmental impact of the cruise industry, not just Disney Cruise Line. These topics are close to my heart, and I’ve got some new thoughts to share that I think are pretty important to raise awareness on.
I’m a bit worried about getting negative comments or feeling like my perspective is outdated. Not everyone’s going to see eye to eye with me, and that’s cool. Time might have shifted my outlook, and that’s something I want to be real about. I know that my audience appreciates my honesty and willingness to reevaluate my views. I’m all for constructive criticism, but I’m not looking forward to dealing with any negativity. At the end of the day, I just want to share how I’ve grown, what’s changed in my thinking, and add to some meaningful conversations.
TLDR; I watched a ship sail away.
Thanks for reading & drink more water
Welcome to my weird little corner of the inernet. I started this blog as a way to share my knowledge and experiences with others who are interested in my life. I hope that my insights can help others to learn and grow. Thank you for reading!