Why Jurassic World & Inside Out Are Testaments To The Success Of The Rival Theme Parks

I have this habit of not seeing the newest movie the weekend it comes out. The whole ‘adulting’ thing gets in the way–working, running errands…that sort of thing.

But if I REALLY want to see a movie I will see it, and I REALLY wanted to see Jurassic World and Inside Out.

Thankfully, my first weekend back home from the Disney College Program (so many mixed emotions, reminds self to write about that later) I was able to see both movies. *insert praying hands emoji here because #blessed*

After watching both films, it dawned on me how incredibly different they were…and how that spoke volumes about how different the theme parks/companies are.

MIND. BLOWN.

Without letting any spoilers slip, I will explain why I came to that conclusion.

On one side, we have Jurassic World. It’s prehistoric meets futuristic. It’s thrilling. It makes your heart pound. It makes your heart stop. It makes you sit on the edge of your seat.

When I want thrills, I go to Universal. Let’s face it: the roller coasters they have beat Disney’s any day. Don’t get me wrong, though–I love Space Mountain and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, but they don’t really compete in the same thrill category as The Incredible Hulk, Rip Ride Rockit and even The Mummy (which is one of my all time favorite rides).

Universal is also more of a ‘big kids’ theme park. The rides are a bit more intense and they follow a good storyline when based off a movie/franchise. It’s geared toward a more mature audience, in my opinion, and Jurassic World was geared toward that same audience.

On the other side, we have Inside Out. It tackles a complex idea–what are those voices inside your head and how do they affect how you feel/act/react? It’s emotional. It’s family friendly. It’s relatable. It brings back memories.

Disney is complex, first and foremost. Not to say that Universal isn’t…but I think Disney wins in this battle. Magic Kingdom alone is a well thought out, well themed park with several lands that all come together in the middle. Islands of Adventure also has lands but…I just don’t think they do it as well as Disney does.

Disney is more of a family resort. It’s designed to evoke emotion and immerse you in a world of fantasy from the moment you walk into the park until the moment you leave. It’s for the young and the young at heart, and Inside Out was truly a film for all ages.

Universal does thrills/intensity better. Disney does immersion/emotion better. They both accomplish the same things in their respective parks, but there’s something about each of them that makes them stand out, and that’s why both films stood out as well.

(But, if I’m being totally honest, Inside Out won my heart, probably because Disney/Pixar can do no wrong.)

Did you see both films? Did you have a favorite? Did you see elements from both parks present in the films?

Comment below and let’s start a conversation!

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#ThingsYouEncounterAsAMerchandiseCM

One of the most rewarding roles you could ever have at Disney, aside from being a performer, is being a merchandise cast member. The reason? You get to interact with guests on a daily basis and help them find that one souvenir that will remind them of their magical trip to Disney for years to come. I mean I don’t know about you guys, but I think that’s pretty special.

That being said…being a merchandise cast member is…quite the experience. I would say that aside from main entrance operations, guest relations, FSFB and concierge, we interact with more guests (for longer periods of time) than most other cast members…and at the World of Disney (where I did my college program) I know that’s definitely true. And when you’re interacting with hundreds -no- thousands of guests on a daily basis…you’re bound to have a few (several) “interesting” interactions…which, of course, make for great stories later.

And so, with the help of my merchandise cast family, we present to you: #ThingsYouEncounterAsAMerchandiseCM

*The limit on the amount of “interesting” questions you will be asked/things you will be told does not exist*

1) *Guest looks you up and down* “Do you work here?” -Mmm…this one is our FAVORITE. We suppose that you could be unsure if we work there, even while we’re in full costume, we have an arm full of merchandise and look like chickens with their heads cut off.

2) “Where’s the Harry Potter merchandise?” “Where are the yellow minions like this? (As they hold up Mike Wazowski)” “Where is your Shrek merchandise?” “Do you sell Spongebob stuff here?” “Do you sell Dr. Seuss merchandise here?” – We are going to settle this once and for all:

DISNEY. DOES. NOT. SELL. MERCHANDISE. FOUND. AT. UNIVERSAL. ESPECIALLY. NOT. HARRY. POTTER.

The ONLY similar merchandise we sell is Avengers merchandise, and I’m pretty sure even that is different. And Mike Wazowski is NOT a minion. *Drops mic and walks away.*

3) “Where are the attractions at Downtown Disney?” “Where are the fireworks at Downtown Disney?” – SHOP. DINE. PLAY. That is literally the slogan for Downtown Disney. We have no fireworks and no attractions, but we do have DisneyQuest (but not for long *cue sadness*), a load of restaurants/shops and an extensive amount of alcohol (for those of you 21 and over). Enjoy 🙂

4) “Do you have any backyardigans merchandise?” “No, I don’t think so.” ‘It’s a Nick Kids TV show.” “Ma’am, this is a Disney store.” “Yeah…?” “So we sell Disney merchandise, not Nickelodeon.” – *face palm* Moving on…

5) “Where is the Disney section?” – Well let’s see...the entire store…

6) “Do you have a clearance section?” – Ha. Haha. Hahaha. HAHAHAHA. Oh…no, sorry.

7) “How much is this?” – This question is only okay if there is no price on the tag or it’s one of those items that has a color that represents a certain price. But if you literally walk up to me with the tag out and in your hand with you pointing right at the price…*face palm*

8) *Points at costume* “Where can I buy that?” – First of all, N-O-W-H-E-R-E. Second of all, why do you want it…? This is the least flattering thing any of us has ever had to wear. I guess we make it look good though, guys. So good job everyone!

9) “Excuse me, do you sell the soundtrack to the store?” -Yeah…that would be a no, ghost rider. But if you want a soundtrack that’s actually GOOD, we do have the Wishes soundtrack. (Also, side note, can we put FOF on a CD so I can buy it and play it over and over again, please?!)

10) “Do you sell the Fastpass Bands here?” – No, we do not sell MAGIC Bands here. (Oh, yeah, pro tip: World of Disney does not sell Magic Bands…don’t ask me why, because I don’t know)

11) “Can we purchase park tickets here?” – I know we’re the largest Disney store, I get it. But…can you purchase tickets in any OTHER merchandise location on property? No…so, sadly, you can’t do that here, either.

12) “Aren’t you supposed to have everything? You’re the biggest store.” – We get this A LOT. Trust me, I’m just as mad as you are that there is no Big Hero 6 merchandise and that the only princess merchandise is pretty much for little girls. But no, we don’t have everything. And it isn’t our fault as cast members that we don’t have everything, so please don’t get mad at us 🙂

13) “So I saw this shirt at Epcot…” – I’m going to stop you right there. We do not sell park specific merchandise. Anything that says Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom or EPCOT on it you will NOT find anywhere except that specific park. So if you see it in the park, just get it. Don’t ‘wait until you go to Downtown Disney’ because you’ll be really disappointed.

14) “So I saw this item at the Disney Store…” “Do you take Disney Store coupons?” “Are you doing the same sale as the Disney Store is doing online?” – Having to explain this one is a bit of a nightmare 🙂 World of Disney is not a Disney Store. Though both stores operate under The Walt Disney Company, the Disney Store is completely separate, while the World of Disney sells merchandise specific to the overall resort. So no, we do not have that awesome princess dress you saw online…but we do have a ton of others!

15) *Asks guests if they have discount* “No, not unless you wanna give me one! Haha!” -This actually isn’t that funny and makes me feel uncomfortable when a guest continues to ask about my discount 🙂 The boss wouldn’t like that!

16) “Oh, there’s no price tag? Must be free!” – *Awkwardly laughs while trying to escape to find price tag to ring merchandise to finish transaction with guest because no it isn’t free*

17) “We’re going to the real Disney tomorrow!” -EL OH EL. Yes, because Downtown Disney is the fake Disney and the only real part of Disney is Cinderella Castle. Yes, of course. How could I forget?

18) “Where are your sum sums?” -Well…we don’t sell sum sums here….or TSUM TSUMs either…(See? World of Disney does not actually have everything. Isn’t that really depressing? Once Upon A Toy does, though. But not all of them, sadly 😦 Try the Disney Store!) This one is almost excusable because the ‘t’ is silent, but still…it’s funny to hear it pronounced as sum sum.

19) “Why don’t you sell *insert character/movie title* merchandise?” – Well, ma’am/sir, I really don’t know. I am not in charge of what merchandise we sell, because if I were, there would be a lot more Hercules merchandise because WHY WE NO SELL HERCULES MERCHANDISE, DISNEY?!

20) *Guest starts twisting arm to use Magic Band, it turns blue* *Guest tries swiping credit card* “Uhm, why isn’t this working?” -Well, probably because I have yet to scan all of your merchandise. Just a thought, though. I could be totally wrong.

HOWEVER, despite all of the *interesting* interactions we have on a daily basis, we also get to have chats with little princesses/fairies/princes/pirates, we get to meet people from our hometown/college and strike up conversations, we get to make magical moments and become the highlight of someone’s vacation and we get to make long lasting friends (because you will literally be with your coworkers ALL, THE, TIME).

Just be prepared to disappoint a lot of people because we don’t sell Universal merchandise 😉

And don’t forget your Disney Point!

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The Not So Obvious DCP Bucket List

If you are in the process of preparing for your arrival to the DCP, congratulations! Your magical journey is only a few short months away from beginning, and I know the excitement is building.
If you’re anything like me, you’re already thinking about the countless things you’ll want to accomplish on your program, like meeting every character and seeing every night time show.
But you know what? Those are -dare I say it- kind of cliche, and on every DCP bucket list. (You can see my previous one here.)
So while I do think those are things you should DEFINITELY try to accomplish (especially if this is your first time at Disney World), here are some things I think are worth doing that you may not find while you’re perusing the internet looking for bucket list ideas.

1) Watch Wishes From Different Vantage Points

Wishes is my all time favorite nighttime show at Disney. I love how it’s different during Halloween and Christmas; I love how Celebrate the Magic precedes it; I love how it’s the epitome of magic. And, up until a few months ago, I had only ever watched it from Main Street. And yes, Main Street is arguably the best view because you get to see the castle and who doesn’t love a good picture of Cinderella Castle with fireworks high above it? But, and stay with me here, there are areas of Magic Kingdom that give you an even better view of the fireworks, and if you’re a fireworks lover like me, you’ll want to check these spots out. Okay, so here are my suggestions:

Gaston’s Tavern, New Fantasyland

Be Our Guest, New Fantasyland

Prince Charming’s Carousel, New Fantasyland

Mad Tea Party, New Fantasyland

All of my favorite spots are in New Fantasyland because you literally feel like the fireworks are RIGHT. THERE. (Probably because they almost are!) So grab your friends, a Lefou’s Brew and a huge cinnamon roll and watch Wishes from a new spot next time you’re in the kingdom.

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2) Take A Massive Amount Of Pictures

I know that we all take pictures anyway, but I feel like this needs to be said because I don’t just mean take pictures of the castle or of your favorite ride; take a massive amount of pictures with the people who make your program worth while. Now that so many of the people I grew close with during my program are gone, I realize that while I do have the fondest of memories, I don’t have enough pictures! And that’s insane, because I am a picture taking queen. (But seriously, I am, take one look at my Instagram and you’ll see what I mean.) So take pictures everywhere, no matter what you’re doing. Have a photoshoot in the middle of Magic Kingdom on the hub grass because why not? And bonus points if you get candid photos, because those are the best.

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3) Try Different Restaurants On Property…Other Than The Obvious Choices

Be Our Guest is a dream, Chef Mickey’s is wonderful, and I’m sure Cinderella’s Royal Table is to die for (I have yet to eat there because paying $70+ in advance for a meal is a little steep, especially for a CP. You’ll find that out, though). HOWEVER, there are restaurants all across property, resorts included, that offer great food, a killer atmosphere and friendly service, just like those three do! And don’t limit yourself just to character dining experiences, either, because some of the best restaurants I’ve eaten at have no characters. Here are some of my suggestions:

Via Napoli, Italy Pavilion in EPCOT

Nine Dragons, China Pavilion in EPCOT

Teppan Edo, Japan Pavilion in EPCOT

Sci Fi Dine-In Theatre, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Mama Melrose’s, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Yak and Yeti, Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Crystal Palace, Magic Kingdom (I’ve actually yet to eat here, but I hear it’s SO good!)

1900 Park Fare, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Trails End, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground (BREAKFAST. IS. AMAZING. AND. CHEAP.)

Beaches and Cream, Disney’s Beach Club Resort (I have three words for you: Kitchen. Sink. Challenge.)

These are just a few of my favorite spots, and you know what the bonus is? You get your discount at a majority of restaurants, so why not try something new? If you want a review of some of the restaurants in the parks, my friend is currently eating his way around them, so take a look at some of his experiences here.

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4) Have Sleepovers

Okay, I know this sounds very…middle school-ish, but just go with me here. Some of the best nights I have had on my program thus far have been spent with my closest friends all piled into someone’s room, living room, or even bed. We stayed up all night talking, watching movies, taking pictures and bonding, and I honestly believe that it helped solidify our friendships. You’re never too old for a sleepover, so grab your friends, pop in some Disney movies, make some popcorn and sing your little hearts out. (And Snapchat all of it so that you can watch it the next morning and die of laughter.)

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5) Work In Different Locations

If you are in a role that allows you to pick up shifts in other places easily (i.e. merchandise, custodial, QSFB, etc.) then I HIGHLY suggest you pick up a shift and venture out of your home location! I have worked in a number of stores at Downtown Disney (mostly because it’s easy since I already work down there and know how to get there/where costuming is and all that jazz), but the BEST shift I have EVER picked up was a shift at Watto’s Grotto for Star Wars Weekends. It started early in the morning, but it was the best six hour shift I have EVER worked. I loved the costume, I loved the fast pace, I loved the energy and I just loved the interaction I had with guests! Working somewhere else is definitely nerve racking and a little overwhelming, but if you’re comfortable in your role then why not take a chance and work somewhere else? You might as well make the most of your time here 🙂

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6) (Try To) Go To CP Events

Disney Housing actually does a decent job of putting on events for CPs throughout the months, whether it be welcome events, grocery bingo, pool parties or backstage tours of popular attractions. While there’s a good chance you may not be able to attend all or many of the events, try to go to at least one! My suggestion for the one you should go to? The CP Formal if you’re on the program for Fall/Fall Advantage and Starlit Splash if you’re on the program for Spring/Spring Advantage. Starlit Splash was easily one of the top 5 best nights I have had on my program. What’s better than having an entire water park to play in with your friends and fellow CPs with no other guests around? Nothing. So hit up those CP events! (Plus, free food is always a good reason to go. You know it’s true.)

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7) Go To The Parks Alone

Okay, I know this one may sound strange to some of you. Like, why go to the parks by yourself when you can go with a massive amount of people and take Disney World by storm?! And yeah, that’s awesome, and I love doing that, but I actually really enjoyed exploring on my own, too. The great thing about going by yourself is that you can do whatever YOU want to do, and at your own pace. You want to ride space mountain five times in a row? Go for it. You want to do character hunting? Don’t forget your autograph book! You want to lie on the hub grass and take an endless amount of selfies? You go, Glen Coco. I spent a majority of Valentine’s Day in Magic Kingdom by myself, and honestly? I had a wonderful time. I ran into people I knew, and it was nice to spend a little time with them, but I really loved just walking around and doing whatever I wanted. I made fastpasses to meet characters and I even got Tinkerbell to send a special shoutout to my sister, who I was missing very much at the time. It was such an eye opening experience for me, so I challenge you to do the same on your program.

8) Make Magic, Even When You’re Not Working

The day I spent in Magic Kingdom alone, I met three little princesses while on line to meet Tinkerbell. They were SO excited about all the princesses/characters they were meeting and had the most fun sharing their experiences with me. Before we parted ways, I asked the three of them to sign my guide map so that I could always remember the beautiful princesses I met on Valentine’s Day. Their parents took pictures, the girls gave me hugs, and even though I wasn’t working, I knew I had made some magic. Simple gestures like that can have the biggest impact on someone’s vacation, and just because you’re not in costume doesn’t mean you can’t spread magic. ❤

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Find Your #DisneySide at #StarWarsWeekends

The month of May brings us a variety of things. Flowers (courtesy of April showers), the end of school (for those of us in college), graduation (congratulations class of 2015!) and beautiful weather (for the most part).

But…what May brings us at the Walt Disney World resort is an immersive experience that you cannot get anywhere else.

Star. Wars. Weekends.

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Whether you are a super fan or someone who is just getting into the famous saga, Disney does not disappoint, and this year is bound to break past records for attendance and sales.

Sunday concluded weekend 3 out of 5, with two more weekends of Star Wars fun to be had by all. And if you haven’t been yet…well…I’m going to tell you why going at least once will be worth your while.

1) Characters

Everyone loves characters; Little kids, big kids and even bigger kids (aka adults) love to get a picture and get some one on one time with their favorite characters, and Star Wars Weekends is chock full of them. You have Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Chip and Dale dressed as some of your favorite SW characters (which goes over really well with little kids who may not be as into the movies as their parents!) and then, of course, you have your classic SW characters. There are character meet and greets set up throughout the park where you can meet them, and some of them walk around the Coke bottle area near the former Studio Backlot Tour (still bitter about this) entrance. There are also two character dining experiences you can choose from: Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater where you will meet classic Star Wars characters, and Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood & Vine where you will meet Mickey and his pals.

If neither of those appeal to you, wait in the hot sun to meet your favorites, you must.

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2) Merchandise

What would a special event be without LIMITED EDITION MERCHANDISE?! To answer that question, the event would be lame. Super lame. But thankfully, Disney goes above and beyond in the merchandise department for SWW, and this year may be the best yet. Darth’s Mall has been a staple at SWW for many years and is normally housed in the sound stage building directly next to Toy Story Midway Mania. However, with the Backlot Tour space being vacant (and again, still bitter) and the former home of Darth’s Mall being occupied, Disney decided to put Darth’s Mall in the backlot area, and it’s bigger and better than ever. Darth’s Mall is made up of two locations: Watto’s Grotto and X-Wing Collectibles. Prop Shop (directly next to the Mike and Sulley meet and greet area) is also considered part of the shop complex, but you’ll find more of your normal Star Wars merchandise in this store. Watto’s Grotto (which I got to work in!) houses your soft line merchandise (clothing, including Her Universe merchandise by Ashley Eckstein), toys, build your own droid and build your own light saber stations, a create your own name tag area, pins, magicbands and autographed photographs.  X-Wing Collectibles, as the name suggests, houses all of your limited edition merchandise and more pricey merchandise, such as artwork, figurines, and Dooney and Bourke. In addition, there is a new stein and popcorn bucket available this year–Boba Fett in stein form and Han Solo in Carbonite in popcorn bucket form.  There is a little something for everyone, no matter what your level of love is for Star Wars.

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3) Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience

Starting at 4pm, a rather large portion of The Backlot Express is transformed into the Rebel Hangar, which is new to SWW this year. Indulge in delectable small plates, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcholic) and desserts while in a nicely themed atmosphere. You may even receive a visit from some characters, so keep your eyes peeled! The addition of this dining experience begs the question: Will Disney add a permanent Star Wars dining experience if they add a Star Wars area to the park? It would certainly be popular whether it was quick or table service, and I’m sure it’s something they’ve already thought about. Nevertheless, if you are able to snag a reservation (because I don’t think they take walk ins), the Rebel Hangar is a unique experience and one worth having. Oh, and don’t forget to try the blue milk 😉

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4) A Parade in DHS

One reason why I love SWW is because Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets a parade! Well, they call it a motorcade, but still, anything is better than nothing! Starting at 11pm, the celebrity guests make their way down Hollywood Boulevard with the help of Mickey and his friends and classic Star Wars characters. They all gather onstage for a few photo opportunities as James Arnold Taylor goes through a run down of all of the events taking place throughout the day. If you didn’t wait since the night before to get a ticket to meet your favorite celebrity, this is the best chance you have to get a good picture of them.

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5) FIREWORKS

Fantasmic! is great and all, but I have always been and will always be a fireworks display loving girl; that’s why Wishes is my favorite nighttime show at Disney. However, yet again, DHS has me in love with their Star Wars themed fireworks. Symphony In The Stars is six minutes of pure bliss, and my only complaint is that I wish it were longer! The music and fireworks fit perfectly together and keep the guests engaged from start to finish, making it one of the best fireworks displays Disney World has to offer. Be sure to get a good spot well in advance though–at least an hour/an hour and a half before it starts. My suggestion is in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard right past where the ice cream cart is. You can see the screen/stage pretty well and you’re in the perfect spot for pictures/video.

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Whether you’re part of the rebellion or the dark side, Star Wars Weekends has a little something for everyone.

Besides, you get to play around with a light saber and battle people. What more could you possibly ask for?

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You’re Gonna See It’s Our Destiny

Today would have marked one month until the end of my college program here at Disney.

Instead, today marks one month until a majority of my best friends leave and embark on new journeys, and I am beyond upset about it.

I was always told that the best years of my life would be spent during the four years of my college career, but my college career has been filled with tons of turbulence and detours. It’s hard to have the best years of your life when you move away from all of your friends and have to start over in a new school…twice.

I’ve always tried to make the best of it, but at some point I decided that the best years of my life would be after college.

That is, until I started the Disney College Program.

This has been, by far, one of the best years of my life. The friends I have made here are the friends I will have for life–I am SURE of it. I will be flying to Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan and Texas in the coming years, and I will be driving down to Coral Springs, Fla. and driving up to Bradenton, Fla. to visit six of the most amazing ladies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

My program would not be what it is without them. Through all of the tears, the breakdowns, the upsets, the laughter, the goofiness, the sheer happiness…they have been there. They’ve listened to my ridiculous rants, laughed at all of my attempted jokes, held me when words could not be found, and given me a reason to be excited to go to work every single day.

My heart is literally breaking as I write this, because I know that time is running out. I know that one month from today, four of them will leave, and I will be devastated. I know that I will hold onto them for dear life before letting them go and having to continue my program without them. But I also know this:

If nothing else, doing this internship was the best decision I ever made because I met them. The perks are great, the pay is alright, the connections are awesome, and the work location isn’t SO terrible. But the six girls that have become my family…they top the list of why this program was the best thing to ever happen to me.

So, with this last month upon us, I’m excited to make every moment count. I’m prepared to lose sleep. I’m prepared to be on the go A LOT. I’m prepared for long drives. I’m prepared for so many pictures. I’m prepared for laughs, smiles, and tears. I’m prepared to make memories that will last a lifetime with the girls who have stolen my heart.

If you need a reason to apply to the DCP, this is it…right here. Apply because the friendships you make here are long lasting; they are bonds that cannot be broken.

Katie, Abby, Denning, Erin, Katherine and Mary…this one’s for you. Now let’s have some magical moments and make these last 30 days count ❤ #WODSquad

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Having Adventures in the Great Wide, Somewhere…

Two posts in two days?! I am spoiling you guys 😉

But I did promise to share some of my fun adventures that I’ve had so far on my program, and I always keep my promises.

So, without further ado, it’s time for DCP Adventures with The Theme Park Princess ❤

1) My coworkers are some of the most amazing women I have ever met, and I LOVE spending time with them. About a month ago, six of us (plus a few other people) went to breakfast at Trails End, located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge and Campground. Trails End is a country themed restaurant that offers an all you can eat breakfast buffet (so delicious and SO worth it!). This breakfast was the first time we all really got to know each other, and we bonded over good food, funny stories and our ever present awkwardness. To say we’ve been inseparable ever since would be an understatement; not only do I see them all the time at work, but we also have a ton of ‘WOD Squad’ dates and sleepovers. I can’t get enough of these girls! That was the day I realized I had made friends for life, and I will be so sad to see the majority of them leave in May 😦

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2) You would think that because I am beyond obsessed with Disney, an annual pass holder AND a cast member that I would have gone to every Disney park in Orlando. Oddly enough…you would be wrong! Up until a few weeks ago, I had NEVER been to a Disney water park! Luckily, my roommate and I changed that and we went to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon! I’ve only ever been to one other water park, and it’s a very small one right by my house in Naples, Fla., so it really doesn’t compare. But I loved every minute of being at Typhoon! I loved the wave pool (even though I got knocked down every time), I loved all of the water coasters and the lazy river was SO relaxing! The great thing about the water park is that you can get a lot done in a short amount of time and still have the rest of the day to do other things, like visit Downtown Disney 😉 If you’ve never visited a Disney water park, I highly suggest making that part of your next trip! Now I just have to conquer Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach!

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3) Aside from my obvious love for theme parks, I also love baseball! I grew up going to Yankees games and when I moved down here to Florida, I obviously stopped going as frequently. Last week, I went to my first baseball game in about two years, and seeing my team play in the most magical place on earth was a wonderful experience! The next day I went to yet another baseball game, this time it was the Braves against the Marlins, and while I’m not a fan of either team, I just love watching the sport and being with my friends. We also went to Hollywood Studios that night (after a much needed nap), and I got to experience my friend riding all the major attractions for the first time. I love watching someone’s face the first time you drop on Tower of Terror, or when you get launched on Rockin’ Roller Coaster. Baseball and Disney are two of my favorite things, so the fact that I got to combine both over the course of two days was truly magical. (Plus, I got to see my roommate hard at work since she works at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex!)

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These are just a few of my favorite adventures so far, so I promise to have another post in the near future! But none of these amazing experiences would’ve been possible without the wonderful group of people featured in this post, so a huge thank you to Katherine, Katie, Erin, Denning, Abby, Deanna, Tyler, Ryan and Jake for making my program as fun as it has been. You guys are the best.

Here’s to many more memories to be made at the most magical place on earth! ❤

Curiousity Keeps Leading Us Down New Paths…

It is a beautiful Friday afternoon here in Orlando, Fla., which means now is as good a time as any to update my blog!

I have now been on my college program at Disney for over two months. Isn’t that crazy? Time sure does fly when you’re having fun (and working hard).

I can’t believe that I only have about a month and a half left here…

Except that I don’t 😉

*MAJOR UPDATE ALERT*

A few weeks ago, I applied to extend my program until July 30 instead of leaving May 15. I applied for three new roles in addition to applying to be transferred to a new location within my current role (merchandise) and to remain in my current location (World of Disney).

When I first applied, I wasn’t sure if I would take the extension if it was offered to me. I knew that this would be my final ‘summer’ before graduating from college next spring and that my family would probably want me home because they miss me. But I didn’t want to miss out on a good opportunity, so I threw caution into the wind and applied.

After a week or so, my application was pended. While I knew that being rejected altogether was worse, I was still upset that so many of my friends had been accepted and I still had to wait. I began to feel as if I wasn’t meant to be here and that my time with Disney was truly going to come to a close come May, and that’s when I realized how badly I did want the extension.

Tuesday evening I had a lovely meeting with someone I know who works in the communications department at Epcot. Even though I haven’t known her very long, she is one of my biggest cheerleaders when it comes to my future career with Disney. She is ready to help me make connections and she told me how proud she was of me and all of my achievements thus far and that I would make an excellent cast member (permanently).

Low and behold, the next day I received my congratulations email telling me that I had been accepted to extend my program in the same role but a brand new location! Even though I had hoped for a new role, I was so excited that I got to work somewhere else for a little while because that means new experiences and new connections to be made.

I am so unbelievably happy that I get to continue this journey with one of the best companies in the world and that I have the full support of my family and friends.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and if I wasn’t meant to be here…then I wouldn’t be here. My time with Disney is nowhere near being close to done.

In fact, I’m just getting started ❤

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Adventure Is Out There

I’d like to start by apologizing for being so MIA since I moved to Orlando to participate in the Disney College Program, but I am about to make up for it right now!

I did begin my program on the 19th of January, and it has been a challenging, but highly rewarding, experience thus far. I am living in Chatham Square with four lovely roommates and I am working merchandise at the World of Disney at Downtown Disney, which is the largest Disney store in the world.

*pauses for dramatic effect*

My work location has been the most challenging part so far, mainly because the store is composed of 11 rooms. This means that I have had A LOT to learn, and you only get about a week of training (or, really, four-five days). I will be the first to admit that I had a hard time the weeks following my first initial week (where you go through Casting, Traditions, and get a feel for everything before you start on the job training) trying to find my place and I wondered if I had made the right decision in coming here. I felt overwhelmed from all of the training plus trying to keep up with my classes, and I felt excluded because my hours at work differed from all of my roommate’s hours, so I barely saw them.

But then something happened:

I remembered I am at Walt Disney World completing an internship that thousands of college students around the world would give up anything to do.

I started to find the positives at work, whether it be interacting with more guests or reaching out to and getting to know more coworkers. In fact, some of the best times I’ve had here so far have been with my coworkers.  Even on days when it’s not that great, I know that there are four magnificent parks waiting for me on the days that I’m off, and that alone makes the experience worth it.

This adventure I am on is one I was meant to take, and I am sure of that. The lessons that I am learning and the experiences I am having are going to shape who I am and help me become the best version of myself.

Is it scary? Absolutely.

Is it tiring? Of course.

Can it be frustrating at times? Yes.

But the friendships I am making, the magical moments I am having and am able to create…they make it all worth it. I mean, where else in the world can I go casually visit Magic Kingdom before work or have breakfast with the Fab Five?

Adventure is out there, you just have to go for it and don’t look back ❤

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*I will do a post about some of the fun things I’ve done since I’ve gotten here soon, and if anyone has any questions about the DCP I can do a question/answer post too, just let me know!*

Trust The Magic of Beginnings

“And with every passing hour, I’m so glad I left my tower!”

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Okay, so maybe I’m not leaving a tower, per say, but I AM embarking on a new journey in just 10 days!

Next Sunday, I drive up to Orlando with my mom, sister and two best friends. And next Monday…I CHECK IN FOR MY DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM!

Even though I’m super nervous to start my journey in the DCP, I am also SUPER excited!

I have spent so many years holding myself back and not going after things I wanted because I was scared to fail. I can’t tell you how many things I let pass me by because I couldn’t let myself take a risk. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that living in fear is no way to live your life.

Working for Disney is something I am passionate about, and up until I decided to apply for the DCP, it felt like an unattainable goal. I thought, “There is NO way I could ever work for Disney.” But, the moment I was accepted into the program…a whole new world of opportunities (see what I did there?) opened itself up to me, and now…I am unstoppable.

I am excited to work and live at Disney, but I am even more excited to find out if this is truly where I’m meant to be. This new adventure will teach me about myself and help me figure out the steps I need to take in order to make my dreams a reality.

I plan on working hard, playing hard and networking hard. This is more than just an internship at Disney for me–this is the beginning of a lifelong journey, and I plan to make it worth my while.

One of my favorite quotes is: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Another quote that works perfectly here is: Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.

I am finally, after so many years, going after something I really want…and I am so proud of myself. I refuse to let fear hold me back anymore.

I hope that if you choose to follow my journey, I can inspire you to go after YOUR dreams, because you’ll never know what’s possible if you don’t try.

Beginnings are just so magical and full of promise, aren’t they? ❤

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Happy New Year!

I am finally writing my first post of the new year! (I know it’s eight days late…forgive me.)

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

A new year brings new opportunities, new relationships, new adventures and SO MUCH THEME PARK NEWNESS.

Are you as excited as I am?!

Before I run down the list of new things happening at some of our favorite theme parks this year, can I just say that you need to experience NYE in Disney at least ONCE in your lifetime? It’s magical. In fact, it needs its own post. *Makes mental note to do a post on NYE in Disney*

Now that I’m done being sidetracked, let’s talk about some of the things you can experience this year in some of the best theme parks in the country!

1. I am just going to leave this list of 10 new rides/attractions coming to theme parks across the country via Theme Park Tourist here. All I have to say is…I need to go to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Look at the list–you’ll see why.

2. This year, Disneyland will be celebrating 60 years of being The Happiest Place on Earth! (July 17 is the day Disneyland opened in 1955.) The Diamond Celebration is set to begin this Spring, and I need to find my way to California.

DisneylandDiamondAnniversary3. The Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is officially on its way out as of yesterday. Workers have begun to dismantle the impressive structure and soon, The Chinese Theatre will be in full view as guests walk down Hollywood Boulevard. Will the Earful Tower resume its duty of being the park icon? Only time will tell!

4. I know it’s far away, but Universal Studios Florida will be putting on their 25th Halloween Horror Nights event this fall on select nights from Sept. 25-Oct. 31. I am a huge baby when it comes to anything horror, but HHN keeps me coming back every year. If you’ve never been, this is the year to go. I guarantee they have some amazing plans up their sleeves.

5. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World returns this Spring from March 4-May 17. I have personally never attended the Flower and Garden Festival AND I will be in Disney completing my college program this Spring, so I’m excited to go for the first time!

6. A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure takes place from Jan. 30- Feb 1.*Fun Fact: YOU CAN DRESS UP!* There are so many fun events planned throughout the weekend, so take a look here and form a plan of action if you plan on going!

7. The ‘Frozen’ Fun may have ended at Walt Disney World (except for the sing along at DHS), but it’s just starting over on the other coast! At Disney California Adventure, you can meet the royal sisters, shop at Wandering Oaken’s, play in the snow, and maybe even get a warm hug from Olaf! Details can be found here. There is also a ‘Frozen’ show at Disneyland, so be sure to get a park hopper ticket in order to experience everything ‘Frozen’!

8. Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be here again before we know it! (May 15-June 14 to be exact) And with the release of a brand new Star Wars movie at the end of this year, I bet the event will be even better!

I guarantee there are more things happening this year, and as I find them out I will add them to the list! If you know of anything super awesome happening at a theme park this year, let me know in the comments!

What events are you looking forward to most? What theme parks do you plan on visiting? Let me know so I can live vicariously through you!