On July 24th, I was awarded the opportunity to be one of the representatives of Disney’s Recreation team as a swim instructor for the Worlds Largest Swimming Lesson event at Mickey’s Retreat. This global event attempted to give people the opportunity to get an introduction to swimming. I worked with guests of all ages from infants to adults. During the swim lesson, we discussed the importance of water safety and basics of swimming in 45 minute sessions. The lesson consisted of going over safe methods of getting in and out of the water, blowing bubbles when your face is submerged, floating, and performing the basic crawl or freestyle stroke.
It was a great opportunity to be a part of something that can set the tone for water safety in the community. This event intends on being in the Guinness Book of Records for having the most people participate in a swim lesson. Disney participated for the first time in forever to once again be a part of this program. The Walt Disney Company offered complimentary registration to all cast members and their families to participate in this event. It was an exciting event to meet cast members across the company and help support their basic swimming goals.
In the infamous words of Dory, “Just keep swimming…”
June 11th, 2016 started out as a beautiful Saturday night. I was out on a staycation at Waldorf Astoria Bonnet Creek, located on Disney property. I got out of work early and my boyfriend and I started our date at Epcot’s France pavilion. We went to Monsieur Paul’s to have a nice dinner and then walked over to Disney’s Boardwalk resort to try the new ice cream shop. Fireworks exploded around us, a gentle breeze was blowing on a hot night, and everything seemed pretty good. Sunday morning we woke up to alerts from Facebook that my boyfriend’s youngest daughter was safe from an incident in Orlando, which was interesting to know especially since she was visiting her mom in Maryland. Looking more into it, we found out about a shooting that happened at a night club in Orlando, Pulse. Friends started asking if we were alright. The club was a known safe place for the LGBT community, but was the target of a terrorist. Bullet shots were muffled by the pounding music resulting in one of the bloodiest massacres in US history. There are many unknowns:
- Was it just one narcissistic person involved?
- What was the intent, did it start based on an unrealized homosexual desire or maybe overall unhappiness with their life?
- ISIS claimed they were involved, but could it be that they just enjoy taking the blame for these types of situations to expand their influence?
- Is this act of terrorism right in the middle of an election year going to help launch a consequence ignorant war machine?
Comparing it to the September 11, 2001 another act of terrorism, it brings up the questions of motives and concerns of how much of a devastation a small group can make. After 9/11 tourism was crippled. Orlando is a tourist destination with all the theme parks and proximity to beaches. Tourism is huge part of Florida’s economy which was impacted by 9/11 and could be impacted again. Reports are saying even Disney Springs was considered a potential target.
During 9/11, I remember wearing a light blue sleeveless turtleneck and a corduroy skirt seeing what I thought was a movie playing in Florida State University’s student union. I watched as a plane hit the first of the twin towers and headed off to Physics class where I finally understood what happened. Cell phone lines were jammed, the telecommunications companies couldn’t take all the traffic. The campus was quickly closed and I found a ride back to my apartment.
This time I was in a black and white romper and I climbed onto the hotel elevator, there was a guy crying on the phone. He was telling the person on the other line that he made it out, but some of his friends did not. A kid in the elevator was screaming, the anxiety was all around and I knew it was something terrible. The names of the deceased have been released, ranging from young adults to middle aged victims. So many people have been hurt and impacted. The community has been quick to launch vigils and show support. Pray for the people involved, their families and friends, pray for Orlando. History is important so we don’t make the same mistakes, people quickly banded together during both acts of terrorism. Reach out to the people you care about and love and talk about these issues and how you feel about it. Don’t forget where you were.