Today marks the 1 year anniversary of working as a Guest DJ on the magical Disney Cruise Line ships; Disney Fantasy, Disney Wonder, and Disney Magic. The names of the ships truthfully reflect my memorable experiences I’ve had while cruising aboard. I’ve sailed to amazing exotic locations, had so many adventures, met many cool and intriguing people; some who I’ve formed incredible friendships with, and of course, have DJ’d AWESOME parties! Furthermore, I’ve challenged myself as a DJ, entertainer, and on a personal level. I wanted to write about my first magicial and mystical journey…it all started with a little pixie dust.
When Scratch Events (the booking agent) booked my first contract as a Guest DJ onboard the Disney Fantasy, I was ESTACTIC!!!! I actually had thought about DJing on cruise ships when I was younger, but didn’t actively pursue it because I was apprehensive about being on a ship for 6+ months! As a Guest DJ we only go out for 2 week contracts. So, I couldn’t believe that my dream of DJing on a cruise ship was coming true and that is was on a DISNEY cruise ship, which made it quadruple exciting! But behind all the excitement, I was also extremely nervous! I had so many thoughts going through my head – Am I skilled enough to do this? Can I handle being gone for 2 weeks? What will the food be like? Am I going to feel claustrophobic in the cabin? What will the crowds be like in the nightclub? What if a hurricane happens while we are out at sea? What do I do for water (because I drink a lot of water)? I know some of these may sound silly…. well, that’s because they are and that is how my crazy brain can be! I’m one of those people who dislike the “unknown” situations and needs to know as much information as possible! And at that time in my life, I was struggling with horrible anxiety, which escalated thinking about the unknown factors of DJing on a cruise ship. That first time experience was not only a wish coming true for me, but it also was important for me to accomplish without allowing my anxiety to control me.
I remember waking up with my stomach fluttering the morning of embarkation day. I flew down to Orlando the day before to stay overnight and then take the Disney Cruise Line bus from the airport to Port Canaveral. As I put on my Mickey Mouse shirt and Mickey Mouse earrings that my Mom gave me as my going away gift, I took deep breaths…I told myself that I can do this and that God is with me by my side. I prayed for strength, guidance, health, and a successful and safe cruise contract. I reminded myself that I did everything I could to prepare myself, and that the first time isn’t going to be smooth sailing, but what’s important is that I will learn and grow from it.
As the bus neared the port and I could see the huge white mouse ears on the smokestacks of the ship, my excitement went to another level! When you walk on board they have a line of greeters welcoming you and a pair of MC’s who take turns announcing names of the families while everyone else claps and shouts. When I heard the “Disney Fantasy please welcome DJ Day-na!!!” it was the first surreal moment. The second surreal moment came as I looked down at the first page on the Personal Navigator, that tells guests what’s happening daily on the ship, and saw my picture with a bio printed. Then the third surreal moment was seeing my name listed on the lineup outside of the Tube, the ship’s nightclub.
I could probably write a book sharing my first contract adventure, but since this is only a blog, I’ll leave you with the overall experience. So altogether, my first time sailing on the Disney Fantasy as a Guest DJ was indeed a Fantasy come true. It took me some time to adjust to living the ship life and getting acclimated to my cozy cabin. My nerves and anxiety eventually settled, and all my “unknowns” became “knowns”. We did have a couple mild rough sea days, which made it interesting to DJ! 😉 The nightclub was different almost every night. It allowed me play all types of genres of music and even if the crowd was small, it was like spinning for their private party, which the guests appreciated! One of my favorite gigs on the ship is Club Pirate, which is the big deck party with a Pirates of the Caribbean show plus fireworks and then me rockin’ a dance party for 2,000 people! Part of our job on the ship is teaching DJ 101 lessons to the teens in their hangout spot called the Vibe. It was my first time teaching, so naturally I was nervous. However, I became much more comfortable with it by the second week and I was very proud of myself! Yay me! 🙂