Random Things I Miss About the DCP

Did you guys know it’s almost been a full two years since I began the Disney College Program?

TWO. WHOLE. YEARS. And so much has changed.

I’ve been missing that time in my life a lot recently–like, a lot, a lot–and it’s hard to explain why I’m missing it so much. I wouldn’t trade where I am and what I’m doing for the world. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, and I don’t necessarily want to go back to Disney to work (although that option will never not be there).

There are just random things I miss about the experience. And I miss them so much lately that my heart aches.

Why am I so dramatic?!

I think it’s that time of year where nostalgia creeps in and you start thinking about your past and your childhood, and the Disney College Program encompassed the most complete feeling of carefree-ness I’ve ever experienced. I lived and worked at the most magical place on Earth, and I focused on having fun for six whole months. It was hard not to be happy during that time, and naturally you start to miss feeling like a kid 24/7.

In the spirit of procrastination as I work on my final projects of the semester, I wanted to make a list of random things I miss that aren’t necessarily the obvious things, for my enjoyment and for yours.

Enjoy!

  1. My friends (obviously). The people I met on my DCP are my kindred spirits, and I miss them every day. I’m thankful for group texts and Snapchats and Skype calls.
  2. The green carpet in my apartment at Chatham Square. I can’t explain why I miss this, but I do. I’m weird; it’s weird.
  3. The smell of Flame Tree Barbecue during my shifts with Dug and Russell–during lunchtime, my stomach was always growling.
  4. The smell of characters as you hug them. It’s distinct. You get it if you know.
  5. The Tree of Life in the mornings before the park opened. I’d walk to my location and think I was the luckiest girl in the world because I saw something so beautiful sans crowds.
  6. Loop music that I’ve now memorized the melodies to. I’m looking at you, Asia in DAK. Also–the loop music in Adventureland is exactly the same as the loop music on Discovery Island (specifically the Pizzafari area). That music is my jam.
  7. Taking pictures constantly and never feeling awkward. Selfies all day every day. Princess poses galore. Foot pops, silly faces, the works.
  8. Park days where the crowds are low and your enthusiasm is so high and you do so much stuff and skip around saying, “Nobody’s HEEERRREEE!!!” with your arms outstretched to demonstrate the emptiness.
  9. Looking at pins you swear you’d eventually buy–some you do, and then you realize pins are EXPENSIVE. But you still buy some more. Because why not?
  10. Smells. All smells. Even backstage smells. The drive-through at my local Panera smells just like backstage Tusker House and it’s weird and thrilling.
  11. Speaking of backstage…walking toward base at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and walking by an unfinished Pandora with its floating mountains and its mystery and wishing you could see it finished one day (mission accomplished).
  12. Wearing ears constantly. I love ears. They complete any outfit.
  13. Solo park days when you just sit somewhere and just take everything in.
  14. The Voices of Liberty. I LOVE THEM.
  15. Watching Festival of the Lion King multiple times in a single day. Because we could.
  16. Doing the Tumble Monkey’s “Circle of Life” choreography as soon as you exit the Harambe Theatre, and saying “Look guys, I can be a tumble monkey!” to your friends.
  17. Main Street. And Photopass. Stopping at every Photopass down Main Street. “WE HAVE THE PHOTOPASS!”
  18. Scoring fast passes to big-ticket attractions the same day you plan to ride them. Frozen! Soarin’! Mine Train! SUCCESS!
  19. Feeling sweaty and sunburned and freckled 99.9999% of the time.
  20. My Teva tan. I was proud of it, because I never tan.
  21. Pinning my name tag to my blueberry shirt every day and nearly sticking myself with the pin every day.
  22. Exhaustion-driven sleep–the best kind, the most “out like a light” kind.
  23. Talking to kids all day, and seeing those same kids’ faces light up when they meet their favorite character or when they see the parade or the fireworks for the first time.
  24. Festival of Fantasy and reciting the entire opening monologue thing and singing along to the lyrics: DREAMS THAT GLOW / WONDROUS, DAZZLING, BRILLIANTLY.
  25. CELEBRATE THE MAGIC! (R.I.P.) Also crying when Walt Disney said something about remembering it all started with a mouse…who could that be?
  26. Oh yeah. Mickey. Mickey Mouse. I miss seeing him.

That’s all for now, folks. I’ll see ya real soon.

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After receiving my Traditions ears… I CRY. Forever thankful for Disney and the sweetest memories. 

 

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“If She Doesn’t Scare You, No Evil Thing Will…”

Happy #SinisterSunday dahlings. Remember, every month of October is dedicated to a Disney villain, and this week goes to that fur-wearing task master.

Ah. Cruella de Vil–yes, this Disney villain is pure evil, but no one can deny that she is absolutely fabulous. She’s a snappy dresser, applies her makeup with an impeccable heavy hand, and knows how to rock a statement piece.

Sure she’s evil. But Cruella knows how to own it.

When I met Cruella at Club Villain earlier this May, I asked her how we should pose for our portrait. She replied, “I always like to take up as much space as I can, dahling!” and proceeded to thrust her hands into the air and point her stiletto in the direction of the camera. I attempted to take up as much space as the queen of color-block, but there is just something about Cruella’s presence that can not be duplicated.

There’s something to learn from Cruella’s attitude. I’m a believer in taking up as much space as you possibly can–figuratively, of course. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, to wear your most fabulous dress to the most mundane occasion, to splurge on that bag that you have been eyeing. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. You can do so much; know it and show it with as much vim and vigor as you can. Show up, own it, and strut your stuff.

Just embrace every inch of your life. Take up space and love it. .

Just be sure not to skin any puppies while you’re at it, ok? Faux fur can be fabulous, too.

My Attempts At “Disneybounding”

If you’re a Disney fan, there is a chance you have heard of (and/or attempted) the art of “Disneybouning.” You know that it means portraying a character, a movie, a location, or even an item found in any Disney film by wearing clothes that allude to your Disney favorites. These outfits don’t necessarily need to scream whatever character you are “bounding” as–often they are just a subtle nod to that character through a color scheme or an accessory.

Enter my own Disneybounds. I could be the definition of a subtle bounder–I didn’t have the means or the time to go over-the-top, but I had a few pieces that I thought would do the trick for some really cute pictures.

Bound 1: Jane Porter 

Ever since I began my program, I have become immersed in all things Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom is the host to many of my favorite characters, all of which are unique to Animal Kingdom–Flik, Dug and Russell, and Tarzan to name a few. I decided to try Disneybounding as Jane Porter for my very first attempt at this art I’ve always admired–she’s smart, independent, artistic, and strong-willed. Jane is one of my favorite Disney heroines, so why not pay homage?

I just paired a simple white top with yellow shorts (cue Jane’s classic buttery dress) with a little straw bucket hat to allude to the British and bookish beauty. It doesn’t obnoxiously scream “Jane,” but I do love how the pictures from the day turned out. Tarzan even asked if I would like to learn how to pose like a gorilla, so I’d say the bound was a success!

Bound 2: Donald Duck 

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you would probably know that I have a tiny little obsession with Donald Duck. I love his personality–hot-tempered, a little egotistical, and  a softie at heart. He’s definitely a charmer, and I can’t help but absolutely melt in his presence. For my second attempt at Disneybounding, of course I had to honor the number one duck.

As you can see, I utilized those same yellow shorts for my Donald bound. Instead of a white top, however, I paired the shorts with a bright, royal blue sleeveless blouse to match the hue of Donald’s sailor suit (which he does not meet in in any of the four parks…how crazy is that?). I also was sure to don my Donald Duck headband (found on Amazon) and a pair of Donald Duck painted Toms. I unfortunately do not know the artist of these pretty shoes; they were a gift. Of course, I also wore my Donald magic band, which completed the look quite nicely. I would say Donald thought so, too.

There you have it! It was so much fun to try my hand at Disneybouding. The amount of compliments on my Donald Duck bound made me feel like I had [sort of] mastered the art of the Disneybound. I want to do a couple more bounds before I end my program, but we will see what happens.

Don’t be afraid to try your hand at Disneybounding; it’s simple, it’s fun, and it’s a way to get your creative juices flowing. I hope you all have a magical day!

Disney College Program: Last Day at Home

DCP Update:

My journey begins tomorrow, my friends. By this time tomorrow, my grandma and I will be comfy cozy in a hotel room after a day of travel. By this time tomorrow, I will have said goodbye to my room and my mom and my puppies. By this time tomorrow, I will finally be officially on my way to the Disney College Program.

I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m impatient, I’m apprehensive, I’m eager, I’m…everything.

I’m just so ready to finally know what working for Disney is like, to be totally immersed in the world that Walt envisioned. I’m “ready to know what the people know, ask em’ my questions and get some answers.” 

Oy. I can’t stop with the song quotes.

I just can’t wait to get started and to make magic for others. I say that a lot on this blog, but it’s totally worth the redundancy. I can hardly contain my excitement to see a guest light up because they have met their hero for the very first time.

It’s going to be so cool.

Here’s a quote that encompasses the reason I’m so proud and happy to be moving to Orlando to help create the magic that has influenced me so profoundly:

“You can design and create and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” {Walt Disney} 

Can’t wait to do you proud, Walt.

Have a magical day, my lovely readers!

My car is packed and ready to go!

 

Fireworks

Let me tell you a little secret:

I was an odd, anxious little kid.

I was afraid of so many things–roller coasters, boats (still not a fan), elevators (ok, I still don’t like those), fireworks, and so much more.

When it was time to go to Walt Disney World for the first time, I honestly wasn’t all too thrilled. I was a freshman in high school, and had never gotten over my fear of thrill rides, fireworks, and large crowds–I sincerely thought Disney would be just another Six Flags, a theme park where my anxiety always took over.

I was so incredibly wrong–I’m so grateful for my younger sister for constantly and consistently pushing a trip to Disney World, or I might have never gone. I even owe the Disney College Program to my little sister–she wanted to go to Disney World gosh darn it, and so my family finally booked the trip.

My first trip was not without its anxieties, however. Yes, I was sixteen and in high school, but I still didn’t like thrill rides or fireworks. I remember flipping through one of those guide books you pick up at Barnes and Noble, reading reviews and expectations of each ride, giving myself pep talks so I wouldn’t let my family down. We wanted to experience everything together, so I wanted and needed to buck up and step foot on some rides that I was apprehensive to board.

A list of some of the attractions I wasn’t looking forward to: Rock ‘N Roller Coaster (I hated most roller coasters in general), Splash Mountain (the drop!), Soarin’ (heights), The Haunted Mansion (I hated haunted houses…still do), and any of the fireworks shows (explosions, loud noises).

When I arrived, however, I was so enthralled by the magic of Disney that I got over my fear and did every one of these attractions. I loved them. Most of these have become some of my all-time favorites. I love Splash Mountain and The Haunted Mansion especially, and I’m so glad I overcame my fear to have adventures with Brer Rabbit and to board a “Doom Buggy” and survive the stretching room.

There was one attraction, however, that I couldn’t bring myself to do on that first trip: the fireworks.

I couldn’t get myself to relax as the crowd gathered to watch the glittering explosions in front of Cinderella Castle. The amount of people and the anticipation of the explosions and the noise were almost too much. I had a small panic attack and retreated to a quick service food place to get away from it all. I ate some chicken nuggets, calmed down, and missed my first chance to see the fireworks that I have now come to love.

I was disappointed in myself for letting those fireworks slip by, for not being brave enough to watch a quintessential part of the Disney experience. That was our last night during that trip, so I didn’t have a chance to brave the show until my senior trip in 2012.

I stood there as the crowd started to gather to watch Wishes!, freshly graduated from high school,  quivering just tad. I was still nervous, but I had decided to overcome my fear once and for all. I wanted to see those fireworks, so I stood among the crowd and decided to just acknowledge my fear and function despite of it.

And, of course, I loved it. Every single minute of it. I cried not because I was scared, but because I had been so moved by the show.

So. I’m here to tell you it’s ok to be afraid, but it’s absolutely wonderful to experience new things, to gather yourself for only a few seconds of bravery. You might still be afraid, but at least you know you tried to work through it, to overcome that particular anxiety. You might be able to push through moments of terror to find moments of wonder and laughter.

I still get nervous butterflies before the end of Splash Mountain (that huge drop!), but my heart always finds joy as we float through the joyous welcome party for Brer Rabbit. A few moments of fear sometimes give way to many moments of joy. 

If you’re a daredevil and not afraid of “silly” things like fireworks or attractions or life in general, that’s wonderful. Just don’t force things on your more anxious friends or family–my mom and sister and grandma did not force one attraction: I  just decided to board the roller coaster, the Doom Buggy, to watch the fireworks. I decided on my own, and I really think it made all the difference. It might not work with every situation, but a gentle push is far more effective than a aggressive shove. Now I love fireworks and those Disney attractions more than anything. People will always have irrational fears; they’re not weak for it. They just need time to decide to step on a Doom Buggy, to watch Wishes!, and to follow Brer Rabbit on his many adventures.

Life can be magical because of its experiences. The magic can be amplified when we can muster up a bit of courage to go after what we want, no matter how scary it may seem.

Happy Birthday, Magic Kingdom!

Happy birthday to my most favorite place in the entire world. I’m so glad that the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World exists–I can truly say it’s changed my life for the better. Because of my visits to Disney World, and, subsequently, the Magic Kingdom, my love for all things magical has just grown over the years. It’s grown so much, in fact, that I decided to try and be a cast member a couple years ago. I had come to love the Disney magic so much that I decided that I wanted to take a chance and try to be something that I knew could bring a little more happiness into this world. Now, in just a few short months, I’ll get to live out that dream and live just minutes away from my beloved Castle. Isn’t it crazy how life works sometimes?


None of this would have happened if I had never seen that castle or heard the classic music on Main Street or experienced the aromas drifting from the Confectionary or rode Splash Mountain more times than I could count. I wouldn’t be the “me” I am today without encounters with Mickey, Donald, Peter Pan, Alice, the Princesses, you name it. Magic Kingdom really did shape my interests–without experiencing that park, I wouldn’t be the lovable “Disney freak” I am today.

Thanks for all that you have done for me, Magic Kingdom. And thank you, Walt Disney, for dreaming up a place so near and dear to my heart. I can’t wait to help carry out your legacy come February first. 

Disney College Program–“I’m Going to Disney World!”

While writing various posts over the past few months, I’ve been hinting at different dreams I’ve wanted to go after. A common theme of some of my posts was the uncertainty of my future, and my desire to go after what I wanted with reckless abandon. I was definitely hinting at the Disney College Program, my friends–I’ve known I wanted to apply for a couple of years, but had to wait until this recruiting season so I could finish my college volleyball career.

I can now say my future is glimmering with a bit of pixie dust.

I was accepted into the Disney College Program today–I will be doing the Spring Advantage Program as a character attendant (my top role!) and I will be arriving at Walt Disney World on February first and staying through August fourth, unless I decide to extend my program into the Fall.

You guys. This is a complete dream come true. I am over the moon, and my heart is so incredibly full.

My Acceptance Story 

Let me tell you how my euphoria came to be today. Today is September 18, 2015. Around 11 o’clock central time, I saw on a random public Facebook page that an acceptance wave was coming out. It was right before my British literature class, so I was hoping I would be a part of that wave and walk out of my class with thoughts of Mickey Mouse parading through my head.

As it turns out, I wasn’t apart of the first wave today, and I truly thought I would be waiting even longer to know my fate.

I had volleyball practice this afternoon (of course…I’m a college athlete so at the moment volleyball consumes my life) and we were told to be ready at 2:30 PM to shoot some fun clips for our media team. I was paired with my sister and we answered some fun questions in front of a green screen–I was even asked “What is your favorite inspirational quote?” and I answered “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them” (Walt Disney).  In retrospect, it is so incredibly fateful that I decided to say that on a whim.

After our “close-up” was done, my sister and I made our way to the locker room to get ready for practice. We were the only two in the locker room at the time, which I think is another little example of everything falling into place. I casually checked my phone and said: [dramatic pause] “I have an email!”

I opened it up and my “Congratulations!” email was right there, in the digital flesh. I screamed, grabbed my sister, and we jumped all around our locker room. One of our assistant coaches caught my reaction to my finding out my role as character attendant, and my entire team gave me hugs and said such sweet things as I bombarded them with the good news.

Needless to say, everything about my acceptance experience was purely magical.

What Now? 

As I wait for my program to start, I’ll be a busy little bee: playing my final college volleyball season (which I am LOVING by the way–shout out to all my wonderful teammates who are making my last season so wonderful), striving to stay focused in school, working for my university’s blog, and just soaking up my last semester before I head off to Orlando. I’ll definitely be blogging about my journey through the college program.I’ll be focusing on the fun stuff– a DCP bucket list, experiences once I get there, maybe a little bit about my application process.

I can’t wait for my new adventure in the great wide somewhere. The college program was my “new dream” after college volleyball; perhaps a career with the Disney Company will follow. Who knows.

For right now, I’m just going to soak up every little minute of magic. I can’t wait to see where my life as a Cast Member takes me.