Monday, April 7, 2014

Aladdin on Broadway

This weekend I took a trip to my favorite city in the world, NYC. The main purpose was to see two of my best friends from college and to see Aladdin on Broadway. Of course, give me an entire weekend in NYC and I'll find tons of things to do.

The weather was not the best on Friday so we decided to poke around Times Square for a little and then head back to the village to order-in food and watch movies.
Found a minion at Toys R Us in Times Square
Saturday was our big exciting day. We started at Lincoln Center, pretending to live out my dream of dancing on one of those stages. Then we headed down to Central Park and walked around, taking pretty hilarious pictures on the huge boulders. After that we went to FAO Schwartz to see the big piano and then down to Rockefeller Center to see the ice skating rink.

Then, since we are all How I Met Your Mother fans, we went on a search for McGees, the pub that McClarens is modeled after in the show. Of course, we had to stop and get a drink in honor of the end of the show.

And in our search for pre-show dining on a college budget, we stumbled upon a bar and grill called Characters which had delicious burgers and drinks for very reasonable prices.

Finally, it was time for the main event...Aladdin on Broadway!!!!!!!!!! The show was fantastic. Since it is still in previews, there are of course things that can be tweaked to make it even better. But overall the show was absolutely worth the money and was great entertainment. The saddest part? The exclusion of Abu from the stage version. While his replacements, Aladdin's three buddies, were funny, they were no match for Abu. And I may or may not have completely geeked-out every time Jafar spoke. He is played by the same actor who voiced Jafar in the original movie and he was absolutely fantastic!

Our night was complete after my traditional post-show Junior's Cheesecake and a subway ride back to the village.

Sunday was spent down in the village window shopping all the expensive boutiques and spending hours browsing my favorite bookstore in the world, The Strand. Miles of books stacked high inside and outside for ridiculously cheap prices, even though I still spent way too much money.

It was a perfect weekend away and a great way to see the city one last time before I move even farther away from it. No matter how much NYC changes, it will always be my favorite city in the world! <3

Hope you're having a magical day, I know I am!

The Happiest Place on Earth

I hear it all the time at work, "You HAVE to go to Disneyland! It's so much better!" This year for Spring Break I decided to see for myself.

I quickly realized that it is impossible to reasonably compare the two. For starters, they were built for two very different reasons and for very different guests. But I took a step back and just enjoyed the park the way Walt had originally the happiest place on Earth.

As always, I was mesmerized as soon as I stepped through the gates...the camera was put to work immediately. Walking by Walt's apartment above the firehouse on Main Street almost made me cry. And knowing that Walt spent so many of his days there playing around like every other guest was absolutely heart warming. Going into the lands that don't even exist in WDW; New Orleans Square,  Critter Country, and Disney California Adventure were really interesting.

I went a week before they started doing their fireworks and Fantasmic shows every night so I missed those, unfortunately. But I did get to see World of Color which was absolutely amazing! The water projections and effects were so cool and fun to watch and definitely captured the magic of Disney parks.

But, the best part may have been getting to spend time with two of my best friends from the DCP in Florida who now work at Disneyland. It was as if we hadn't been apart a single day. The bond that molded our friendship during the program, was still just as strong.

Even though it was a short trip across the country, I appreciated the break from reality and was thrilled to go somewhere on my bucket list and spend time with amazing people!

I truly love Disney, the company and the stories, and I couldn't think of a better place to start my career in entertainment and creativity.

To those who have thought about applying for the DCP or are debating on accepting your role, do it! It continues to change your life even after the program itself is over.

Hope you're having a magical day, I know I am!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Round Two?

I never thought about doing it a second time, but why not keep my options open? Earlier this week I was looking online for apartments to move into after graduation that will put me back in the Orlando area so I can get back to work at Walt Disney World. Becoming an adult is hard. There is no sugar coating it anymore. The candy store has been cleared out and it's time to get in the kitchen and start cooking. So in my search I started trying to figure out what alternate options I would have. Then I thought about doing the College Program again.

One of the perks of the program is that all participants that complete it once have the opportunity to do it one more time. So I thought, I might as well try for it and if I don't get in, I'm not losing anything. So I started the application process all over again. The personal information and the web based interview questions were just like I had remembered. Long and repetitive but I understand their importance. I was honored, but not surprised, when I was invited to complete a phone interview.

Today I sat down in a quiet place on campus and was able to chat with a Disney representative for about a half hour about all the possibilities included in the program. The interview was so different than my first because this time I know what I'm doing. Not only have I been through the process successfully before, but I have worked in a role that has exposed me to new experiences and taught me how to deal with anything under any form of pressure.

I was also so much more relaxed this time. It was more of just a simple chat with the representative than interviewing. So once again, my fingers are crossed in hopes that I can repeat an amazing and life changing program that I'm sure could be just as fulfilling and rewarding the second time around.

I hope you're having a magical day, I know I am!

A Break from Reality

Spring Break came at a very necessary point of the semester this year. I have been working nonstop trying to keep up with all my classes and such to make sure I don't fall behind. Luckily this year I had planned a real vacation. I went to Disneyland! With the perks of being a cast member and the knowledge that two of my friends from Florida now work at Disneyland in CA, I just couldn't pass up the chance. Cast members are surrounded by reminders of how inspirational Walt was to Disney employees so it was a very inspirational trip for me to be in the place that Walt lived, worked, and devoted so much of his time. As if being on the west coast wasn't amazing enough, I got to spend my days in the happiest place on Earth. I flew over with one of my best friends from high school and met up with my two friends from Florida when we got there.

Our adventure started with a drive down sunshine heated roads that looked to be straight out of movies about southern California. I got used to seeing palm trees when I was in Florida but in Cali, there were dozens of them lining every block. It was absolutely breath taking with the sun making them shimmer in the dim wind.
Then we arrived. The gates of the original. The gates that opened for the first time on that infamous day so many decades ago. The place where Walt made sure he had a place to stay so he would never be too far from one of his favorite successes, his playground. Seeing the light flicking in the apartment window (the symbol that Walt is always watching over the park), was a very emotional moment, as it is for most cast members that finally get the chance to see it.
And then, at the other end of Main Street USA was Aurora's castle. The rest of the evening I spent in awe of all the sights in Disneyland, doing nothing but smiling and taking photos of everything.
The next day we spent all of our time in Disney California Adventure. Took pictures with Mickey and Minnie in their adorable newsy and flight attendant outfits, rode California Screamin' and watched World of Color. I had to make sure I did things I couldn't do in Florida before I did anything that has a duplicate in Disney World.

Our last day was spent back in Disneyland seeing all the classics and ended our day with a ride on the carousel that Walt rode countless times before us.

 It was by far the best Spring Break ever and I am so glad I get to finish out my senior year on a great note. Cheers to all the exciting and emotional "lasts" yet to come and it time to start the countdown to graduation...maybe not yet, makes it too real.

Hope you are having a magical day,I know I am!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Endless Journey

Even though my CP might be over, I now have the opportunity to apply for Disney Professional Internships. I, along with all the other seniors at McDaniel have started our frantic after-graduation-job search. I am very excited to know that no matter what I will be going back to Florida to continue working in Walt Disney World, I also have not stopped searching for extra jobs. That led me to the Disney career website once again. I found, what I think, is the perfect internship for me. It is a internship helping write scripts for entertainment things in the parks. It's writing and entertainment all in one! It's basically a dream job!

So I sat down and reworked my whole resume and add in the jobs that I have had since my last edit. It was a much larger task than I anticipated but I know it'll be worth it. I made sure to meet with people in the Center for Experience and Opportunity to make sure that the changes I was making were actually making it better and more acceptable for a possible employer. I made sure to tailor my cover letter to highlight the skills Disney is looking for in this internship and I put together a portfolio of my strongest creative writing samples.

They also gave me a choice of two scenarios to give dialogue to. One was about Jack Sparrow and the other was about Flynn Rider and Rapunzel. I chose to work on the Rapunzel and Flynn scene because I know them better. I had to write a scene of them teaching children how to dance in the town square. I think it turned out well.

The last bit of the application was my transcript which the Registrar happily helped me with in order to get everything in on time. At this point, I know the Professional Internships are very hard to get so I do not want to get my hopes up. It would be fantastic to get this opportunity but I know that everything will work out the way it should I just have to have faith, trust, and pixie dust as Peter Pan would tell me.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, if you're looking to apply for a Professional Internship with Disney, go to their Disney Careers website to explore your options! They are also still taking applications for the College Program for Fall 2014.

Have a magical day, I know I am!

Monday, February 3, 2014

PDCPD: Post Disney College Program Depression

Waking up every morning and not seeing the castle, Spaceship Earth, Sorcerer Mickey's hat, or the Tree of Life is something I never thought would be strange. People in the real world don't see these amazing sites every day...but when you work at Walt Disney World these things become regular sites. I've been away from the program for exactly a month and I miss the strange things.

I miss...

Seeing the dads covered in pixie dust that has worn off their little princess' perfect dress.

Asking guests where they have traveled from 

Being asked when the next parade is (RIP Celebrate a Dream Come True)

Watching the parades strut down Main Street USA

Visiting the Boss and all his friends 

Visiting all my friends when they are working 

Knowing when there are 5 minute wait times for the most popular attractions 

Getting to Hollywood Studios at 5pm just to see Fantasmic 

Going into the Magic Kingdom just to watch Wishes and Celebrate the Magic 

Watching Illuminations from every country in the World Showcase 

Walking outside in the warm Florida sun 

Reliving my childhood in the most magical place on Earth

Visiting "That Other Theme Park"

At work when I see a kid in a Minion shirt or a Dr. Seuss shirt I like to joke around and pretend they are in the wrong park. Well I, along with some of my good friends decided to escape Disney for a day and visit the competition. So we hoped in the car and went over to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Two of the people I went with had never been before so we tried to do as much as we could. Of course, the entire day was spent secretly comparing Universal to Disney. At the end of the day we came to a good balance of which park does things better. They are pretty even if you really think about it and they just have their own styles of doing things. But it was fun to feel like a real tourist even though all Universal's "Team Members" could spot our Disney vibe from a mile away. One of the cool things we have noticed in the months that we've been here is a lot of people work for both companies. So we actually knew a few people we ran into throughout our day, which made the day even better.

We got to meet and see some of their most famous characters, Betty Bop, the Minions, the Simpsons, and Spongebob and his friends. But my favorite part of the day was seeing all the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons in person. I have watched the parade every year so it was so cool to be able to be right there and see how big the balloons really are. It was fun to be able to just have fun and not worry about anything for a day. It felt like a mini vacation.

Muggles waiting for our Hogwarts front of the castle

Betty Bop

Disney has Santa and Universal has the Grinch

Meeting a transformer

Chillin' in old Hollywood