Food and Wine Finale!

My dear darling internet guests, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is over for 2013!

With cheers and tears across the World Showcase Lagoon, last night at 9:00 sharp the marketplaces pulled down their flaps and cleaned their equipment, and overnight the kiosks have disappeared.

As if this festival never happened.

The past 46 days have been an insane blur. Quite honestly, the first two weeks of the festival felt so rough I wanted to quit several times. I am so happy I didn’t, and so amazed at how quickly this festival went past. This was an experience I would not trade for anything.

I won’t lie, it was hot and miserable and painful and interminable at times. But I had so many moments when I found myself thinking, “I love my job.” Because it was truly a magical experience.

I know, I sound really cheesy. But after putting a lot of effort into the past few weeks of the festival, it’s crazy to look back and see how far I’ve come!

The marathon weekend for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon was this past Saturday, and it was late night madness. I started my shift early evening, watching the sun set over Spaceship Earth from my position in Belgium. I watched the stars come out over the World Showcase Lagoon. I watched the clock strike midnight, watched the crowd of runners stream in for the rush at two in the morning. As I left work, I watched the sun rise over Spaceship Earth. I slept for a few hours, then turned around and went right back to work.

A twelve hour overnight shift is nothing to sneeze at. It was a blast. We were provided with Poweraids and jammin’ party music. I saw several intoxicated guests, as well as some very ill guests. (Running a half marathon and then feasting around the world doesn’t seem like a healthy idea to me, but I commend those who have the willpower.)

Working the closing day of the festival was a bittersweet experience. I made the very last waffle of Belgium 2013, handing it to a lucky guest with more enthusiasm than any waffle really deserves. I cleaned that kiosk top to bottom. My last day at Epcot was a really strange experience. I was happy the insanity of the festival was over, but saying goodbye to my lovely co-cast is hard. Most of them I’ll never see again, since many are College Program students who will be going home after their various externships. Even those that are staying at Disney will be scattered across all corners of the kingdom, and the odds of me seeing them are slim.

Of course, social media will help us all keep in touch, but it’s a bittersweet experience nonetheless.

I’ll be back next year without a doubt! This experience was everything I could have asked for, as crazy as it was. I’ll be relocating to Magic Kingdom on Thursday, bidding a temporary farewell to Epcot.

I can honestly say this was my dream job, and I got to dive in head-first. How many people get to dream up their craziest scheme and then go live it out? Through all the insanity, I made it, and I am so blessed to have been able to participate.

Now it’s time to springboard into the rest of this vast company. I’m ready to meet the Mouse himself.

A new adventure awaits!

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