Written by J-1 Intern: Melissa Hilbron Manzur

Who would have ever expected to start celebrating Christmas as early as mid-November? Well, here in the USA that’s how it goes and it could not have been more exciting! Christmas is by far my favourite holiday and as I don’t get to spend much time with my family and friends throughout the year, December is the time to do so! However, it was a bit different this year. While I believed the holidays would feel lonely and sad by being away from the most important people in my life, it was an experience I would not change in a million years.

By living in Orlando you know you will be going to Disney as many times as you can possibly can. It’s kind of an unspoken law. Therefore, transitioning from Halloween to Christmas was insane! In just a couple of hours Magic Kingdom changed completely. Without a doubt, this was the first place to get my holiday spirit on!

After realizing I had to work during Christmas Eve & day, the only two things I kept telling myself were to be happy for the experience and what I could possibly add to others, as well as to remain positive knowing that it was a sacrifice I had to make in order to build on my career.

Not long enough after that, it was time for the Christmas casting party at the Swan and Dolphin hotel, where my internship takes place. The casino themed party, organized by the casting department, was awesome! Amazing atmosphere, great place to meet co-workers and have fun! There was a large dance floor, a DJ with a cool taste in music, a bar in the middle of the saloon, several stations with variety of food options and of course the photo booth, which cannot be missed in a party!

Sadly, I wasn’t able to take pictures of every detail of the night but, I will share some pictures from the evening. After all, it was an amazing way to bond with the “swolphin” family, especially during the holidays, when works becomes more stressful.

Finally, on Christmas Eve, my roommates and I were scheduled to work right until before the clock hit midnight. Fun fact, there was a massive traffic jam and we got to spend midnight on our Uber ride, a very special memory to remember! Though nothing big was organized, as a small dynamic family we still made it special by ordering pizza and watching Christmas movies! Next day we were invited to a Christmas dinner from the other group of J1s at their apartment. I can happily say it has been an unforgettable experience both at work and the place I have been calling home for the past 6 months!

Learn more about the J-1 Intern and Trainee program here.