Stage Presents, Excerpt

HI!! I’M Ashlee! I’m going to be your new roomie for the Disney College Program! Isn’t it so cool that we get to do this? I can’t wait! I love Disney so much. My family has been going for vacation since I was little. And the movies are so good, obviously 🙂

I’m glad that I’m not doing a completely blind rooming, you know? It’s nice to kind of get to know the person you’re going to be living with for five months. Where are you from? I’m from Georgia. My parents and I are going to drive over to Florida. Are you driving or flying?

Do you know what job you’re getting assigned yet? I don’t know yet, but I auditioned to be a character performer. I’ll know if I get it in a couple of weeks, before it’s time to go to Florida. I really, really hope I get it. I won’t, you know, love being in a big hot suit all day, but I love performing. I’m super hoping that I get to be a face character. All of us were talking during the audition and they said that it’s SO hard to do. Like they measure your noses or something crazy like that. I didn’t get my nose measured, but they did take me aside and like, look at my face? And they also asked if I could speak without the Southern accent. Which I can! And they seemed happy about that?

I think I aced the dance portion at least. I’ve been dancing since I was three, so I better have. Anyway, tell me a little about you! I can’t wait to meet you in person!


DANA READ the email she’d gotten from the Disney housing program and then read it again. Ashlee. With two e’s. Who used a lot of exclamation marks and emoticons and has been dancing since she was three years old and wrote emails that sounded peppy.

Ashlee was probably blonde, conventionally beautiful, and wore short shorts and tank tops without feeling self-conscious.

Dana already had to try not to hate her. She knew she was guilty of judging people before they could judge her and who she was. Ashlee didn’t deserve that. Right? After all, she sounded nice. Right?

Dana read the email one more time, sighed, and tried to think of something to write back.

Hi Ashlee, I’m Dana. I’m looking forward to the college program too. I’m going to be in Merchandising. Or Merchantainment, since that’s what Disney calls it. I don’t know which park I’m going to be at yet though.

I’ve actually never been to Disney before, so this will be my first time. I think it’ll be cool to see how things work in a big corporation like that. I’m thinking of majoring in marketing or business, so I hope I’ll be able to learn a lot while I’m down there.

I’m from Ohio. It’s pretty cold right now, and we keep getting a ton of snow, so Florida will be a nice change. I’m going to fly down. It’ll be my first time on a plane too. I’m a little nervous.

Dana bit her lip. What else could she say? Ashlee had practically written an essay.

I hope you get the character performer thing. That sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

It’ll be nice to meet you in person too.


HI DANA! You’ve never been to Disney before? Wow! It is such a great place. Not to be sappy, but it is definitely magical. You’ll totally love it. And Merchantainment sounds like it could be cool, right? Isn’t that working in the shops? You’ll probably get to wear a cute uniform!

It’s also pretty great that you already have a major in mind. I’m undecided. I’m actually kind of hoping that if I get a character performer job at Disney that I’ll just like… be able to stay and become full-time as a parade performer or something. I really, really want to be a dancer or something as my job and Disney would be such an awesome way to do that.

You’ve really never been on a plane? It’s so not a big deal, don’t be nervous! You just get there, check your bags, go through security, and then wait until it’s time to fly. Honestly the security is the worst part. I hate having to, you know, take off my shoes and make sure my laptop is out of its bag and stuff. And if you’re doing just a trip with a carry-on, fitting your makeup and stuff in that tiny bag is the worst!

I’ve never been to Ohio, but I just looked it up and WOW you weren’t kidding about snow. I’ve never even seen snow in person before, I can’t imagine dealing with a foot of it. And 11 degrees? That is FREEZING. I would totally die.

I am still waiting to hear about the character performer auditions and how it went. I know I’m supposed to hear back before the program starts so I should hear something soon! I’ll tell you as soon as I know.

I hope you’re having a good day!


ASHLEE SENT off her email and then flopped back onto her bed. She really hoped she and Dana got along. After all, they were going to be roomies. For five whole months. At Disney World. She still couldn’t believe that she’d been accepted to go, and that she had a shot at being a character performer. And maybe (cross her fingers hoping) a face character. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a Disney Princess?

Ashlee was sort of used to people liking her, but that was in Georgia, in high school, and then in the first semester of college where you got to flutter around and meet everyone and make friends. She was the first to admit that she was totally a social butterfly. So it would be so nice if she and Dana hit it off. Being able to live with a bestie for the DCP experience? That was pretty much the dream.

DANA HAD to unclench her jaw after reading Ashlee’s email. Cute uniforms. Right.

She sighed. No, that wasn’t being fair. Ashlee didn’t know that Dana often had a hard time fitting into anything resembling cute clothes. Cute clothes were rarely made for tall girls with thick legs and wide, broad shoulders.

Probably Dana should bring that up in an email.

Might as well do it now. Hell, that was half the reason why Dana had signed up to meet her roommate ahead of time, instead of going in completely blind. So she could prepare them. And herself, in the event she needed to request a new roommate.

Hi Ashlee,

Yeah, I guess Ohio is pretty cold, especially compared to Georgia. I’m kind of used to it though. I’ll probably get really hot in Florida.

…um, okay, look, I kind of have to cut to the chase about something. I’m trans. I transitioned in high school. I’m absolutely 100% a girl, up to and including all of my parts. I’m a girl and they’re part of me, so. Yeah.

I need you to let me know now if that’s going to be a problem, so I can request a new roommate if I have to.

Yeah, Merchantainment is pretty much just retail. But I had a job in high school working at a bookstore, so I’ll probably get along all right. I’m not so sure about the uniforms though. I’m just kinda hoping that they fit me.


ASHLEE HAD always sort of known what being trans meant. It was something that popped up in the media and on her Twitter feed often enough. But she’d never, like, actually talked to someone who was trans. A transgirl? Transwoman?

Whatever. It probably didn’t matter. Even if it was a little… weird. That she was going to be rooming with someone who, what? Used to be a guy? Was that, like, safe?

Ashlee was used to close friends and close quarters. She was a dancer; she was always changing around other girls and borrowing and lending out makeup and jewelry and cute clothes. Dana had seemed nice enough, but living with someone like that was not something Ashlee had signed up for. Obviously.

But it would be totally prejudiced to outright say, “yeah, no thanks, I’m not cool with you.”

So she could try it? And could maybe request a new roommate if it didn’t work out. Right?

Honestly this kind of sucked. She’d been looking forward to rooming at Disney and making a new friend. Ashlee just wasn’t so good at weird. And Dana was showing a bunch of signs for being kind of weird. At least one sign. But it was a pretty big one.

Hi Dana,

Well, that’s really interesting. That you’re trans. I’ve never met someone who was trans before.

You don’t have to request a new roommate! I mean, I guess? We can try. Um, so, what do I call you? Is Dana your real name?

Anyway, it’s super cool that you used to work at a bookstore. I haven’t had a job before, aside from babysitting. Dance was kind of my full-time job, so I didn’t really have a lot of time for other stuff. So working at Disney will be new for me.


DANA READ the email and had to close her eyes and just breathe for a second. Figures that Ashlee had never worked before. She was probably a rich princess. Dancing was pretty damn expensive, anyway. Dana knew that much.

But “is Dana your real name”? Um, yeah, duh. She’d said her name was Dana. What kind of stupid question was that?

Hi Ashlee,

Yeah, Dana is my real name. Just like Ashlee is yours.

What else? She was sort of pissed off. Maybe writing an email to the person you were pissed off at wasn’t the best idea.

I’m willing to try being roommates if you are.

What else? Safe topics, safe topics….

What else do you like to do? If you do like other things. I guess dancing could really take up a lot of time. I like to read and watch documentaries to learn about new stuff. I’m also studying Chinese and Spanish. I think it’d be interesting to work in something international. So I thought those were two good languages to learn.


ASHLEE BIT her lip. Had she said the wrong thing, asking about Dana’s name? It seemed like a reasonable question to ask. And she was being perfectly friendly, but even in just emails, Dana didn’t seem like she was willing to be all that friendly back.

Maybe she was just overthinking things. Not everyone used exclamation marks and smiley faces. And Dana had asked about an interest at least. Ashlee could still try.

Hi Dana (and okay, Dana is your name, got it),

Yeah, dancing was pretty much all I did! Do. I like to watch movies and TV (Netflix—you know what I mean). So we’ve got that in common! Have you ever seen So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing with the Stars? I’d love to be on one of those shows one day. Or working for Disney, of course!

But wow, Spanish and Chinese? I took Spanish in high school for my language requirement and I wasn’t that good. And I thought Chinese was super hard! You must be really smart 🙂

I’m still looking forward to meeting you in person. I hope you’re looking forward to meeting me.

~*~ Ashlee


No, I’ve never seen those shows. But I looked some of the videos up on youtube and it was pretty cool. There were some interesting dances and stuff. I never was really that into dancing, but I can appreciate the work that goes into it and everything.

Spanish isn’t that hard for me, but if you studied it in high school, maybe we could practice together? If you wanted. And it’ll be cool being in Florida to practice, since so many people speak Spanish. There’s apparently this test you can take at Disney to get a language pin put on your nametag that says you speak a certain language. I’m going to try to get the pins for Chinese and Spanish.

I’m looking forward to meeting you too.


That last part wasn’t entirely true, but Dana should at least put in an effort. Probably.

Ugh, no judging. Try not to be judgy. Wait to meet her in person.

DANA!! DANA, I got it! I’m going to be a character performer!! I won’t know who I’m going to be until I actually get to the parks and get fitted and stuff (apparently there are some suits that only certain people can fit in? I went onto the DCP forums and there was a girl who had been a character performer who said that she was one of only six people who had a torso and arms the right length to be a certain character. Can you believe it?) but I’ll also find out if I get to be a face character then too. I hope, hope, hope so. Now that I’m definitely a character performer, the chance of being a princess maybe is a LOT higher.

I can’t wait to get to Disney now. I mean, I couldn’t wait before, but now it’s even better.

One more week!



That’s really great. Congratulations. That’s really bizarre that how long your arms are or how short your torso is changes what you can do. Wow. I hope you get a face character too, since you want it so much.

I checked the forums for some more information about the parks, and mostly I hope I don’t get put in Magic Kingdom. It sounds like that park is really hard to deal with for merchandise people, since it’s the most popular. And that the DCP buses get really crowded.

One more week. I’m pretty excited too. I’m getting ready to pack. Even bought two new suitcases and everything.


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Stage Presents