Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Disney Classic


On this day 80 years ago, Mickey Mouse was born. Look at all that he's accomplished in that time. Here's to you Mickey! Happy birthday pal


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Thursday, November 13, 2008

New "Frog" teaser

Not park related this time, but here's a little dose of Disney for your day. Disney's next big animated feature film is going to be The Princess and the Frog. It's due to come out in 2009, and features the first African American Disney princess, Tiana. I was browsing YouTube the other day and an official teaser (not a trailer, yet) for the movie. So here you go:



What do you think? I'm excited. She reminds me of Belle for some reason...


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Saturday, November 8, 2008

So Here I Am... Again

Okay, so I haven't been doing so well at keeping this up. Let's just say as soon as my program ended (Aug 15) I went to Disneyland for 5 days, then came up to school and that's what's been keeping me busy. Recruiting for the Disney College Program has especially been keeping me running, but the season is pretty much over now. It's been so fun doing that, I'm going to miss it when I graduate in December.

So I'm going to try and make a better effort of keeping this updated. Of course, now that my program is over I'm not working for the Mouse anymore. But I still have plenty of Disney stuff to talk about. So I guess this will turn into more of a Disney rambling blog. And I may surprise you. I think I've got one or two more CM stories saved up that I haven't posted yet. One of my goals is to eventually get to a series of posts about the not-to-miss things to do at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. But we'll see what happens here. As I said, I graduate in 5 weeks (panic attack!) so I'm not sure how much I'll have time to update until after that.

But I'm going to try anyway. Watch me go! And talk to ya later!


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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wall-E Revisited

First of all, I want to mention that I disabled the block on anonymous comments. So if you've been wanting to comment and have had it blocked, you can do it now. Just remember, if its not appropriate (my decision), I'll delete it. "So play nice." (Name that Disney movie!)

So we went to see Wall-E finally last night. It was so cute. You should really see it if you haven't had the chance yet. One of the things I loved is the lack of talking (robots can't talk after all) created a lot of situations for pantimime. What's so amazing is that the artists could actually animated with such a degree of detail that it was the same as if Wall-E were a real robot. Very cool.

Speaking of which, we met a talking recycling bin outside of the movie theater after we got our tickets. It was talking to a little girl, and then turned around and came right over and started talking to us. It asked if we were cast members, and so of course we said yes, really surprised-like. We realized later we still had our IDs around our necks from getting off the bus. Anyway, it was really cute, and really cool too.

I also got to try a Wetzel's Pretzel for the first time. I won't be able to look at regular pretzel the same way again. Wow. Talk about amazing. I got it dipped in this almond crumb topping, it was so amazing. And really fresh. I was just... wow. Yummy.

Honestly, my favorite part of the whole night was the short at the beginning of the movie. I was laughing so hard I cried. I actually had to take my glasses off so I could wipe my eyes and see the rest of the cartoon. It was great.

Anyway, that's it for me for now. Have a magical day everyone!


Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Little Review

So today was one of the first days that I woke up and had nothing to do. I mean, I had stuff to do, but nothing really super pressing like I normally have in the mornings before work. So I get to update this. That, by the way, is the reason I've had so few updates lately. And the fact that work really is uninteresting at times. :-) Nothing to write about, you know.

Anyway, time is winding down in the program, so I'm trying to make the absolute most of my days off right now. Which means I have even less time to write too. But let's forget about that right now.

Wednesday I went to Epcot, planning to stay for the whole day. I ended up leaving at about 6:00 though. One, it was just not as much fun by yourself (I was alone), and two, there was a nasty storm coming in. That's Florida in summer for you. It rains at least once a day. But I now have officially done every attraction at Epcot.

Last week I spent my day off at Animal Kingdom. That was great, because I hadn't had a chance to be there yet. My roommate convinced me to go on the Primeval Whirl ride (even though it makes me sick) and that turned out to be a good thing. We ended up getting hit by the Dream Squad on the way off the ride and got the coveted Dream Ears they were giving out. We told them we were cast members, but they let us have them anyway. We also hit Everest (of course) and got stuck on the Safari ride for 20 minutes because a rhino wouldn't move out of the road.

My favorite part was the Finding Nemo musical show. The songs weren't all that great (though they were okay), but I was loving the costumes. Nemo and Marlin were cast really well, but the girl who did Dory just annoyed me. But there you go. Can't have everything I guess. Anyway, the show was really good, and I might see if I have time to pop over there again before I leave.

Wednesday last week we also went resort hopping. We caught the monorail from the TTC and then were taking it around to the Magic Kingdom resorts to see what they look like. We could never in a million years afford to stay there, but it's fun to look.

The Polynesian was really cool. My roommate was totally entranced. I just thought it looked neat, but her family used to live in Hawaii so she really likes that kind of theming. We did get to see a room here, and let me tell you the beds were really soft!

Next stop was the Grand Floridian, the flagship resort and definitely the most expensive on property (though there are a few resorts that aren't far behind price-wise). I like the Floridian much better, but then again I really like the Victorian-style theming. It was really nice, and I totally felt under dressed the moment I walked in the door. They had this really nice jazz band playing in the lobby and there's this huge sweeping staircase. Very upscale. They didn't have any rooms open that we could look at, but we did get to see some photos. Very nice, once again.

So the idea after that was to head over to the Contemporary Resort. But the monorail goes through the Magic Kingdom stop first, so we ended up getting off there. We ate dinner at Tony's (the Italian restaurant on Main Street, it was okay) and then bought some fudge from the confectionery (yummy!) and did a couple rides before heading back home for the night (I had work early the next morning).

Here's a tip for any of you who do Disney pin trading. The best pins are found at some of the resorts, since their lanyards are a lot less picked over. I found a ton of pins there, and actually a lot at the Emporium at the Magic Kingdom too. Just lucky that day, I guess!


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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Got the Job! and other updates....

So I haven't posted much lately, but honestly, not much as been going on. Nothing new anyway. Same old stuff. I am going to Animal Kingdom tomorrow though, so maybe I'll have some news for you then.

I got to go to Rainforest Cafe for breakfast the other day. I didn't even know they had breakfast, but apparently here they do. I got the eggs benedict, but it wasn't that good, so I was kinda disappointed. But we also got a volcano sundae, and that made up for a lot.

I also haven't been writing because I've been putting some time lately into my Webkinz podcast. Trust me, you haven't been yelled at until you've been emailed by a bunch of 10 year olds who can't understand why you don't have time to sit down and talk Webkinz for an hour every day. :-) It's been fun doing it though, I just wish I had more time!

In other news, I got a job today as a Campus Representative for the Disney College Program. This means it is my job to help get the word out to other students that this program is available so those who are interested have the opportunity to come here. It sounds like it will be fun, and if nothing else I still get to keep my Disney ID. You know what that means... free park admission! But really, that's just a perk for me. I really do want to give others the chance to have as much fun here as I have been having.

Okay, so I lied. I just remembered that something interesting did happen at work yesterday. I was working Fantasmic!, and we had some stale popcorn left over from the night before sitting on one of the tables. One of my coworkers ate it, and got the kernel stuck in his throat somewhere near his tonsils. He had to be taken to the emergency room by an ambulance because he couldn't get it out (although he was still breathing and talking). The paramedics can't do anything to help him, and since we college program kids don't have family here, the only other option is the hospital. Scary, huh?

Anyway, that's it for this rambling post. Bring you more news in the future!


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Sunday, June 29, 2008

An Important Announcement

I just completed a guest post on my brother's blog. Please go and read it! Or better yet, just go and check out his bl0g and leave a comment. He's trying to spread the word and having a hard time of it. So tell your friends, your family, your coworkers.... um.... whatever! Or just go look at it. If you think it's cool, make sure you comment, because he LOVES comments.

By the way, I'm very proud of my post. It took 2 hours to write. Phew!


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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Blog Updates

Look! New background. And new poll. Let me know what you think.


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Program Dates

So I just looked at the calender and realized that I only have seven weeks to my program left. ACK! Where did it all go? What am I going to do? There's still so much I haven't seen!

As much as work can sometimes be a drag, I do like being here. Okay, it's purely because I can go to the parks on my day off, and I get a discount on merchandise. I admit it. But still. I like my roommates too. I can totally see how people keep extending their programs. It would be so easy to just stay here for a long time.

But I can't extend. I have to go back to ID and complete my degree, since I graduate in December. They just overhauled all of the GE courses back at school, so the longer I wait, the less opportunity there will be for me to complete the classes I still need to finish.

Sigh. Oh well. Now I'm depressed....


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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Guest blog: WDW History

This post was originally created for my brother's blog Disney on the Brain. If you like it, head over to his blog (there's a link in the sidebar) and check it out for more of these posts:

Now I'm going to walk you through the history of one of our WDW attractions. Since we're from the West Coast, Rikua has a tendency to focus on Disneyland. But since I'm here in FL this summer, I've picked up on a few things. So what are we going to be discussing? I'll give you a hint: the forecast calls for a great, big beautiful tomorrow. Got it yet? That's right it's:

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Carousel of Progress, this was one of the last attraction that Walt Disney personally saw to completion. Along with It's a Small World, the ride made it's debut at the 1964 New York World's fair. The ride originally was sponsored by GE, so it showcased the progress of an American family through four generations, mainly through the inventiveness of electrical products.
The exterior of the GE Carousel of Progress at Disneyland

But this wasn't just show and tell for GE. Walt Disney loved the idea of the American family, it was at the base of everything he did. He was also a big fan of progress--just look at all the innovation he created in his lifetime! What better idea than to combine the two, and transplant the completed attraction back to Disneyland when the fair was over? And voila! You've got the Carousel of Progress.

So why "carousel" of progress? Well, this 240-seat theater has six different stations, but rather than the stage revolving, the audience does. As the narrator explained in the first version of the attraction:
"Now most carousels just go ’round and ’round, without getting anywhere. But on this one, at every turn, we’ll be making progress."

Every act features the family father with his faithful dog (now dubbed Rover) by his side telling the audience about the new progress his family is experiencing. Additional family members occasionally pop in to add their two cents, so keep an eye out for Mother Sarah, Grandma, Grandpa, Patty, the (unnamed) little brother, and Uncle Orville.

So for those of you who are familiar with the ride, you'll be happy to know that Acts 1 and 2 haven't changed much over the years. While Act 1 is merely pinned down as turn of the century (probably pre-1900), Act 2 can be traced to 1927 because of a reference to Charles Lindenburg. However, Act 3 (1940s) and the final scene have changed quite a bit. Here's a picture of the 1940s scene as it used to look:
and here is a glimpse of the old concluding scene:
As you can see, the only thing that this last scene and the show as it currently stand have in common is probably the fact that they both happen during Christmastime. That's progress for you!

After the World's Fair closed, Walt planned to have the Carousel of Progress moved to Disneyland. It opened there in the new Tomorrowland in July 1967. Sadly, Walt's death in December 1966 meant he never got to see the transplanted attraction. The Disneyland version also had a speedramp that took guests to the second level of the theater, where Guests had the chance to see a huge model of Progress City:

Walt's eventually had a plan to build his own progress city, a place that he dubbed EPCOT (Experiment Prototype Community of Tomorrow). The actual model of Progress City didn't have the two Imagineers present, but it is assumed that they are included in this publicity photo for scaling purposes. After a run of six years, the Carousel of Progress was permanently closed at Disneyland in 1973.

But this isn't the end of the story. Oh no. Because the Carousel of Progress is still around today... but in Walt Disney World. Perhaps you'd like to know the reason the ride was moved? According to Disney sources (I got this from a guy in Imagineering, so he should know), it was the decision of the sponsor to move. As I mentioned earlier, the ride was sponsored by General Electric. With the opening of the Magic Kingdom in Florida in 1971, GE was big on the idea of having a whole new audience that hadn't been tapped into. Their idea was that the ride served as one big commercial for GE products and how they helped the family progress into the future. So by 1975, the Carousel had moved to Florida at GE's insistence.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Most people easily recognize the ride theme song, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," but that wasn't always the song! With the move to MK in 1975, GE asked the song to be changed. They wanted the focus to not be on the future but how GE could help you have a beautiful now. The Sherman brothers (the original composers, and the genius behind such songs as those found in Mary Poppins) reluctantly agreed to write a new theme, and the ride was redone with the song "The Best Time of Your Life." The whole point was to focus on the fact that the best time is now, and it's all possible with products from GE. You can still hear a variation of this song in the Tomorrowland background music at the Magic Kingdom if you listen carefully.

But here's the best part. The Sherman brothers were never happy about changing the theme, since "A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was a song that they wrote for Walt. With the extensive re-theme of Tomorrowland in 1994, the attraction was changed back to the original theme song. Why the change? GE is no longer a sponsor! So Imagineers decided to put the ride back the way it was intended. It was also dubbed Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, and given a very nostalgic feel to it. Although GE no longer sponsors the ride, if you watch carefully, you'll notice their logo on several of the new appliances.

The move to Florida also saw the end of the Progress City model and the second story of the theater. However, if you are interested, you can see part of the model when you travel on the TTA (Tomorrowland Transit Authority). Most people think this model is Walt's actual model for EPCOT, but in reality it's just a small piece of the huge Progress City diorama. Whatever it is, it's a fitting tribute for a tomorrow that never came:
The model as seen from the TTA

So you're probably wondering just what happened to that building at Disneyland. Well, from 1974 to 1988 it was the home of the attraction America Sings. Eventually the top level was converted to become the Super Speed Tunnel for the Peoplemover attraction, while the bottom was still used as the theater. With the end of America Sings, the bottom just became used as office space for several years (how much of a waste is that!). However, with Disneyland's Tomorrowland renovation in 1998, it was finally converted to Innoventions, once again using the two level design. Although it doesn't really resemble the theater it used to be at all, the carousel building still spins as a tribute to the great ride that previously was housed there.

And here's a quick bit of Hidden Disney for you. In Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom, behind the fast food station located underneath the TTA, you'll find a payphone. If you push button number 9, you'll hear a recording that pays homage to both theme songs of the Carousel of Progress. I won't spoil the surprise here, but pay close attention and you'll definitely get it.

And here's a treat for those of you who've never seen the carousel. Yep, it's a YouTube video of the attraction. Can you really avoid these when talking about the parks?



Sadly, the carousel is struggling. With almost a 60 year gap between Act 3 and Act 4, it's become harder and harder to keep the ride up to date. Since 2001, the ride has been on and off of theme park maps and will even remain closed for long periods of time. So if you are at Magic Kingdom during a busy time and it's open, you may want to catch it while you still can. It may not be long before the Carousel sees it's last tomorrow.

Before I go, I want to thank Yesterland for the use of these photographs (though I'm sure you already saw the logo on them). Also, if you'd like to find out more information about the Carousel, check out the section on it in the Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Also, if you are interested in seeing all sort of some of the "Hidden Disney" details like those I mentioned, 101 Things You Never Knew About Walt Disney World: An Unauthorized Look at Tributes, Little Touches, And Inside Jokes might be a good fit for you.

Well, that's it for me folks! Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the post. And maybe I'll be invited back sometime! :-)


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba

Well, it's storming here again, so I guess there's not much else for me to do but stay inside and be on my computer. :-) It rains about once a day here, and it always is a thunderstorm when it does. Welcome to hurricane season, I guess. You can always tell when the rain is coming because the wind blows. No rain, no wind.

Anyway, speaking of rain, last Wednesday my roommates and I went to see La Nouba, which is the show at Downtown Disney. It was incredibly amazing. I knew I would enjoy it, because I always enjoy everything by Cirque du Soleil, but it's always nice to have your expectations overcome. I think this show is definitely one of my favorites, although I think Alegria will always have that spot.

One thing I did notice was that this show had a lot more pop-based culture than some of the other shows. Two of the acts were on BMX bikes, and the costumes had lots of TM and Copyright symbols on them. But there were the traditional Cirque stuff too. Great costumes, great music. Oh, the music had a lot more rock base to it too. I forgot to mention that.

We arrived at Downtown Disney early, because we wanted to meet another roommate for dinner beforehand. After about 30 minutes of trying to decide where to go, we finally decided on Wolfgang Puck Express, since there wasn't really a line. I had this amazing pizza, it was really good. Oh, and creme brulee too. Kat ordered the rosemary chicken, and it was like, half a chicken. Seriously, there was so much food.

Anyway, after dinner we headed over to where the theater was, and as soon as we passed all possible cover, it started to pour. So we arrived very, very wet. Luckily the theater wasn't too cold, so we dried fairly quickly.

So because I can't avoid it (lol), here's a video of one of the acts from YouTube. This is one of the clown acts, and then a balancing act that comes afterward. The video doesn't really do it justice, and even more so because there is SOOOOO much going on at one time. I think I could see this five times before I saw it all. Anyway, here you go, and enjoy!



Before I go, I see it's time for a new poll in the sidebar. Anyone got a good idea?


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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Star Wars Weekends

Okay, so it's been awhile since my last post. But I can say that I haven't really had that much to report. So that's why the silence. And the crazy work schedule. Anyway, I have a bit to catch up on.

As some of you are probably aware, Hollywood Studios is hosting Star Wars Weekends for the month of June. Since both last Friday and this Friday I only had to work Fantasmic (I don't have to be in until 6:30) I went to the park early to catch some of the happenings. Since my brother is a Star Wars fanatic, if nothing else I had to go just to get him a T-shirt. And let me tell you, they've got some pretty cool merchandise over there. I got myself a shirt too. The first weekend my roommate and I did this thing where you can get your face put into a SW character photo. So we did that and ended up buying it. I'm Aayla Secura and my roommate Charlotte is Padme from Episode II. It's very fun, although a little more pricey than the ride photos I sell everyday. But it was worth it.

Anyway, it was pretty cool. The motorcade that nearly ran me over before work the first weekend (see previous post) was neat to watch. I'm not into all the celebrities so much, although that is cool. Just seeing the characters all around the park was fun. And I love coming to work everyday and hearing Star Wars music playing. It's just so great. I gives me warm fuzzies. :-)

Both weekends I stopped by to see the celebrity talk show they have once a day, where they talk to whoever happens to be there for each weekend. It's interesting to hear what some of them have to say. But my favorite part is the fact that stormtroopers come out and do a pre-show while you're waiting for the show to begin. I honestly never get tired of watching that video.

The second weekend (yesterday) I went with Cari and Kat. Kat wanted to do her hair in buns, so I did mine too. I also wore my new shirt, so that was fun. We meet this really cool guy from Italy on the bus, and he hung out with us until we all had to go to work. I did also get to see the new sneak peek from the Clone Wars movie too, which I missed the previous weekend. It looks pretty darn exciting, even if the animation freaks me out a little bit.

So anyway, it was fun, and I probably will go again next Friday, since I gave away my morning shift to someone else that day. I've pretty much done everything except meet a lot of the characters, but I don't know how much I'll want to stand in lines all day for that. Guess we'll just have to see what happens Friday. I do have a couple pictures and a few videos, so maybe I'll get around to posting those later. I have to get my camera to agree with my computer first.


Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Random: Why I Love YouTube

So I was browsing on YouTube today and guess what I found. It's a clip from the closing ceremonies for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Take a look:

So what's special about this? Well, if you wait until about 3.5 minutes in, you'll notice a bunch of tumblers in gold using the trampolines shaped like giant Xs. In addition to being very cool to watch, this is special because my Dad built both of those trampolines.



You rock, Dad. Now you're on the internet. :-) Happy Father's Day, early!


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Wall-E

So Disney's big movie for this summer is Wall-E. It's a Pixar movie, which means it should be great. I'm sure you've seen a few of the teasers, they've been circulating a bit.

But if you haven't seen this, you need to. It's the Apple page for Wall-E (since Pixar was owned by Apple owner Steve Jobs before joining up with Disney again) and it's got some great video, including the offical trailer (which reveals way more of the story than anything previously). Make sure you check out all the vignettes, which is the best part.

Like I said, go watch. Enjoy. How could you not succumb to the cuteness of these eyes?


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You Should Check This Out

So, if you're a Disney fan (which if you're reading this blog, chances are either you are one of my friends/family or a Disney fan... or maybe both?) here's something you should check out.

My brother just started his own Disney themed blog called Disney on the Brain. He just barely started, but he's posted some very interesting stuff so far. And yes, the English major (yours truly) is slightly jealous that he can write better than her. But you need to work on the typos Buddy. :-)

Anyway, like I said, it is really interesting. So go check it out. And spread the word too.


Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Pirates, Princesses, and... Stormtroopers?

Okay, so I know that the Pirate and Princess Party was on Wednesday, and today is Saturday, but I promise that I really was working. Yesterday was also the start of Star Wars Weekends at the Studios, hence the title of this post. I'm actually in like the only part of the park that has absolutely no effect on SWW, so I didn't get to see much for that. I did almost get run over by the celebrity motorcade (I'm sensing a theme here...) and I got glared at by a couple of stormtroopers. Other than that, the only difference was an abundance of people dressed in Star Wars costumes and/or carrying lightsabers.

And speaking of costumes, you would not believe the costumes we saw at the Pirate and Princess Party. I went over to Property Control that morning and picked up a couple of tiaras so I had something to wear, which was fun. You would expect several of the little girls to be dressed up, but there were way more than I expected. In addition to that, there were lots of grown women (including a Snow White that looked like she was about 80 years old) dressed up in full evening gowns, complete with high heels. But the thing that really got me was the teenage girls who tried to squeeze themselves in the little girl princess costumes. Not pretty. There was a girl dressed up as Princess Giselle from Enchanted, so that made me happy. Giselle hasn't showed up in WDW much yet.

There were a lot more characters than I'm used to walking around too. We went to go and search out Wendy, since Mackinze found out that's who she's going to play starting in a few weeks. We found Wendy and Peter Pan behind Pooh's Playful Spot. It was really cute, because there was a little girl dressed up as Tinkerbell taking pictures with them when we walked by. They took one picture, and then Peter got the great idea to recreate this scene from the movie:

You know, with Wendy trying to kiss Peter and Tink pulling her hair. It was really cute. Wendy had a hard time keeping a straight face to kiss Peter though, it was funny.

So most of the princess stuff was in Fantasyland (naturally), so after an awesome fireworks show (they blew up the castle!) we headed over to Adventureland to see some Pirates. They had all of these "treasure hunting" spots all over the area, which had been dubbed New Tortuga for the party. So we had fun collecting those little plastic jewels and mardi gras beads all night.

We also got to see Captain Jack Sparrow in Adventureland as well. He had a Pirate Training Tutorial show. The guy who did Sparrow was really good. He had all of Johnny Depp's mannerisms down pat. It was very cool, and really funny.

Anyway, that's what happened, and that's what's new. We of course went on lots of rides on Wednesday too, since there was practically no wait for anything. Even Peter Pan was only 5 minutes wait, and that is VERY unusual.


Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Grateful

Today is my day off. Yay! But in addition to just the fact that I have a day to catch up on thing (hence the reason I actually have time to write a blog post), I'm really glad I'm not working tonight. Because chances are I would be working Fantasmic, and it's raining. Pouring, really. It always seems to rain hard here. Don't believe me, check out this movie I took a few days ago:

video

But it's all good, because I'm here at home nice and dry. Hurricane season offically started June 1, so I guess I can expect rain a lot here. That is so weird for me. Rain should also not be warm, but rain is warm here. Although I am here by myself for the moment, and the thunder is creeping me out a little. Time to blast an iTunes playlist...

Anyway, not much going on in other news. I've noticed that work has pretty much settled into a semblance of a pattern. Not really a pattern, but I guess I'm used to it. Speaking of hurricanes, I signed up for the prep list for the parks. So if we do have a hurricane, I get to go sandbag the park and then sleep it out there. I'm half excited, but also hoping we don't get any hurricanes.

I did stop by the local post office this morning for the first time. Maybe it's just me, but it was really sad compared to my post office back home. They had really, really, really, outdated equipment, and they've only been there for about 3 years they said. When I say outdated, I'm talking about the monitors that show your postage were the little green screens, they had to use one of those pen scanners for the tracking barcode (think the old pens the library SPL used to use to check out books), and the postage printer was one of those old ones, not even digital. It kinda shocked me.

Uh-oh, the lights just flickered. I hope the electricity stays on...

By the way, I get to go to the Pirate and Princess Party tomorrow at Magic Kingdom. I'm going with one of my roommates and we're really excited. So maybe more about that later on!


Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Experiences at the Studios

So yesterday I was on my way to work, and I couldn't figure out why the time 3:00 (when I would get off the bus) was sticking in my mind so much. It was important somehow, but I just couldn't remember. Well, when I got backstage I found out really quick.

You see, the parade at Hollywood Studios (The Block Party Bash) starts at 3:00. So when I came around the corner, my exact thoughts were "crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap" since I had to get across the park. So I had to weave and dodge all sorts of entertainment people who were getting into bug, monster, and toy costumes (nearly tripped over Bo Peep) and have security yell at me in order to book it across Hollywood Blvd before the parade actually left and I got stuck on the wrong side of town (so to speak).

I worked at Coaster that day, and I met a guy from Carmichael there. When I checked his ID (he was using a credit card to charge a photo) I was like "Oh, you're from California! Where at?" and he basically told me that I would have no idea where it was, but it was near Sacramento. He laughed pretty hard when I told him that I was from Sacramento too. It's little things like that that make my 10-13 hour shifts not so bad. Speaking of which, I get to work until 4:00 AM on Friday, June 7. Oh boy.

Anyway, the other thing I've noticed lately, is that the park gets kind of creepy when there are no guests left at night. Okay, to be truthful, Sunset Blvd (which is the road I walk down to work) is more creepy than the rest of the park anyway. For example, if you're ever at the Studios, look at the lights on Hollywood Blvd. They're all turned up. But when you turn onto Sunset, they are all turned down, and the lighting level is dimmer. Why, you ask? It's to prepare you to meet the Tower of Terror at the end of the street (insert Twilight Zone music here).

But back on track. It's just weird having no one around. A lot of time there will still be background music playing because there is always one or two guests that take 3 hours to leave the park, even though they can't do much but stand there. Yeah, I'm guilty of staying after hours too, so I know I can't say much about them. But everything's so empty when I'm leaving work, it's a little unnatural.

Oh, and speaking of Tower, I noticed something when I worked there the other day. Our break room is actually inside the tower, right between the two ride shafts. And if you listen carefully, you can actually hear the walls creak as the elevators go past. Oh, and screaming. Lots and lots of screaming...


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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When Things Go Wrong

One of the things that I love about Disney (aside from all the tiny details that they put into making magic) is the great way that they improvise. For example, in the last two days, there has been a few mistakes in the Fantasmic show. For those of you who've seen it, you know that Maleficent is supposed to turn into a dragon at the very end of the show (for those of you who haven't seen Fantasmic, look it up on YouTube. It's good).

On these two nights in question, the dragon didn't make an appearance. Not good, right? Wrong. They just stuck Maleficent up there twice. Bingo, problem solved. The show goes on.

So when I was at Fantasmic a few days ago, and it started to rain, I improvised. I ran all the way back to the shed (where we keep the excess merchandise so we can restock our trays) and dumped the glow toys. In minutes I was outside selling ponchos instead. The only bad thing (other than the fact that it only rained for 5 more minutes) was the fact that those ponchos are sooooooo heavy!

So, as usual nothing much is going on. Pretty much the same old at this point. The most exciting thing that happened at work lately was when I worked at Tower on Monday. We had one of the security guards hanging out in the fake bushes we have in the "lobby." He would periodically move the branches and stare at people. Very funny to watch, actually.

I did get to play in the parks a little bit yesterday though, since it was my day off. I headed to Epcot (again) because that's where my roomies wanted to go. Didn't really do anything new, but we did zip over to the Yacht and Beach Club resort to go to the ice cream shop there. It's pretty famous, and it's called Beaches and Cream. I just had a small sundae, but the ice cream was really good. The butter pecan ice cream actually had HUGE pecans in it!

Then it was off to the Studios to meet up with more roommates. We were meeting to watch Fantasmic. I know, I work there, but I haven't seen anything but the top 1/3 of the stage since I've been working there. We also made a brief stop at the Animation Courtyard. I learned how to draw Dopey. That was cool.

Anyway, that's whats new. I'm gearing up for another long day tomorrow, so wish me luck!


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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Playing Catch-Up

Well, it had been a few days since my last entry, but to tell the truth, there really isn't that much to report.

First off, I think I'll save my entry about Toy Story Mania until later. The ride opening got pushed back until May 31, so they can do some final testing to make sure it won't break down anymore. Thought if that's a ride that it would be okay to get stuck in, Toy Story Mania is it.

Other than that, it has pretty much been the same old, same old. Tuesday and Wednesday were my days off this week, so I used that to catch up on a lot of stuff (like laundry). Three of us headed over to Epcot on Wednesday, but everyone but me had work so they left early. I decided that I wanted to see IllumiNations again, so I stayed by myself at the park for the rest of the day. It wasn't so bad, since Epcot has a lot of street entertainment in the World Showcase area. I stopped and watched these amazing Chinese acrobats, that was very cool.

Yesterday (Friday) was the first time I'd worked anywhere other than Fantasmic for a whole week. I had a 14 hour shift (ouch), but I made it through okay despite a pulled muscle in my shoulder. I was at Tower of Terror unitl 6:30, and then ran over to Fantasmic for a quick costume change before going out to sell stuff there. I get to do the same thing about 3 or 4 times next week, so that will be interesting.

The one fun thing that happened was last night while I was doing the show. I ended up talking to these 4 little girls here on a chorus trip. They were all very cute and very excited, and when I went to leave they asked me to sign thier autograph books. So my signature is right there next to Mickey's go figure. :-)

Well, I'm off to another Fantasmic night. I should have time to blog in the next few days, so if something happens, I'll be sure to let you know!


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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hollywood Studios: Work and Play

Yesterday a few of my roommates had the day off, so they decided they wanted to go to one of the parks. Since none of us had been to Hollywood Studios (except for me for work) we decided to go there.

One thing I've noticed more than any other is the fact that with the Studios, you really have to plan your day around the shows you want to see. There isn't many rides (maybe about 6?) but there are a LOT of shows and exhibits. We ended up seeing Lights, Motors, Action!, Beauty and the Beast, and the Indiana Jones show. Kat and I opted out of the Block Party Bash parade and went for Star Tours instead. Other than that, the only rides we went to were the Great Movie Ride, and Tower of Terror, which I opted out of. I just can't do that ride. The first time I went on it, I couldn't bring myself to take an elevator for a month.

Anyway, it was also my first time being in the park when not there for work. I've decided that I really do like the atmosphere at the Studios. I can't explain it, but there's just this special feeling I can't find anywhere else. I really wish I had had time to go on the Backlot tour, but that will have to wait for another day.

Speaking of rides, Toy Story Midway Mania opens up on Thursday. The cast opening ceremonies was this morning, but there was no way I was going to get up and get on a bus at 6:00 AM after last night. We had two Fantasmic shows and I came home with a migraine. I did get to ride it at cast previews last week, so maybe I'll post more about the actual ride for tomorrow. But if you are coming to WDW anytime soon, you'll be able to ride the ride starting Thursday.

And in other Disney news, Prince Caspian comes out on Friday. Yay! Can't wait to see it. We get discount tickets (only $6.50) for the AMC theater at Downtown Disney so maybe my roommates and I will catch it there. Can't wait.


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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Flordia Weather Makes Me Grumpy

No really, it does. Everyone's always going on about how nice Florida weather is, but I hate it. California has much better weather. Don't believe me? Two words: no hurricanes.

Take today for instance. If I really wanted to be in the wind all day long, I could have stayed in Idaho. Wind makes me grumpy. Then it rained for about half a minute tonight. If it's going to rain, can't it just rain outright? On second thought, I'm glad it didn't rain. That way I don't have to walk in it.

The worst thing for me is the humidity though. I hate feeling sticky, which is pretty much a given in Flordia when outside. It will be interesting to see what happens when July rolls around.

So sorry about the slightly ranting post, but I needed to vent. Not really anything happened at work and I needed something to post about after all. :-)


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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fantasmic!

This is my second post in one day, so hopefully that makes up for the days that I haven't posted. Although sometimes just nothing happens, so that could be a factor too.

Tonight I worked at Fantasmic! which is pretty much how it's going to go for all of next week too. Tonight was my first night working the carts in the actual theater. It's different because there we actually have cash registers, we get to stay in one place, and there's some exclusive merchandise we don't sell anywhere else (CDs, blankets, playsets, etc).

It was also the first time I got to actually see part of the show. Normally it's a bit of torture since I can hear the show, but I don't get to see it. I thought that tonight would be better, but in a way it was almost worse, since I was even closer (actually in the theater!) and still had to concentrate on work. Boy, they certainly know how to torture a girl.

Anyway, we finished early, so I was able to have enough time to write this when I got home. It's up early tomorrow morning for church, and then back to work at 6:00. Hopefully I'll be able to get Sundays off in the future, but right now I haven't had any luck. Oh well.

By the way, if anyone ever wants to leave me a comment, please do! Even if you just want to say hey. It helps me know who's reading my blog, so I know I'm not just rambling to myself. Though I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing...


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Vote in my Poll!

If you hadn't noticed, I have a poll going on in the sidebar of this blog. It will still run for a few more days, so go ahead and vote if you haven't already! All you have to do is tell me your favorite Disney park. :-)


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First Day on the Job

Well, yesterday was my first full day of work off training. I was really nervous, but I guess things worked out okay. I spent the night working at Tower of Terror, so that was what had me the most worried, since most of my training was spent at Rockin Roller Coaster.

The worst thing that happened was I got lost on my way to the break room. We'd had a tour of it my very first day of training, but I hadn't really remembered how to get there. Which was a bad thing, since there are certain doors you DO NOT want to open when you are backstage at Tower. They lead into the ride shaft, etc. so they can shut down the entire ride when it is opened. Anyway, long story short, I had to ask about two people how to get to the break room. But I know now, so it's all good.

The only other interesting thing that happened was that we had 8th grad Grad Nite from 9:00-1:00. That's AM. So we had almost 2000 screaming teenagers pass through our echoing store during those hours. I think my ears will stop ringing sometime in the next week...

Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful night. I did get to spend some time on Edit, which is where we preview all the pictures from the ride. We have to moderate any where people are flipping the camera off, or flashing, or something like that. I can't tell you in the 30 minutes I was doing it how many I had to moderate because a bunch of silly teenagers thought it would be funny if they gave the camera the finger. I wonder what their reaction was when their picture didn't show up on the screens at the end?

Well, now I'm working Fantasmic for pretty much the next week. So I get to sell glow things all night! But I'm only on for 5 hours, so that's a good thing too. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so that will be interesting, since they don't cancel the show until the last minute. Which means we'll be in the rain, trying to sell glowing Mickey ears. Unless there's lighting. Then we get to stay in. Guess we'll see what happens tomorrow!


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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Our day at Epcot

So yesterday myself and two of my roommates had a day off, so we decided to hit the parks. After a brief discussion on where to go, we decided to hit Epcot. The park wasn't too crowded, so it was a nice day to go. I think the longest we waited in line was about 40 minutes, and that was because Test Track broke down and had to be fixed while we were in line.

As far as rides, we went on Mission: SPACE, Test Track, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, the Gran Fiesta Tour, and Maelstrom. We also hit some of the Flower and Garden Festival highlights, including Minnie's Butterfly Garden, and Peter Pan's Garden. I've been sort of disappointed in the Festival this year. There's not as many topiaries as last year (in my mind at least), and a lot of them have been recycled. For instance, pretty much all of the world showcase topiaries were the same, and the Captain Hook, Peter Pan, Crocodile, and Tinkerbell in the Neverland Garden were recycled from the park's main entrance display last year. I'm all for recycling, but it would be nice to see a few new things too.

Anyway... We also went to Club Cool, which is the place where you can try Coke products from around the world. I got my roommates to try the famous Beverly drink, and thier faces were absolutely classic. Never go to Club Cool with someone who is familiar with the Disney parks if you aren't. Some of the other flavors were pretty good though, including this veggie soda from Japan. I know it sounds gross, but it really was good.

Of course we ended the night by watching IllumiNations. It was my first time seeing it, although I'd seen videos. I loved it! Fantasmic is probably still my favorite show on Property, but I do really like IllumiNations. Brandon asked me to get him a good video of it so I recorded. I don't know if it counts as a "good" video.I would have uploaded it to YouTube, but they have a 10 minute maximum length now. Bummer.

On the way out of the parks my roommates humored me and let me stop and look at the main pin station. I'm very proud of the fact that I haven't bought any pins yet. I told myself that I would try to trade for any pins I wanted and wouldn't buy any until the end of the summer. I found a lot that I wanted, actually, but I might just have to break that rule. There's a few "Piece of Disney History" pins that are limited edition, so they may not be there by the end of the summer. I'm trying to decide how badly I want them. These pins have little plastic bubbles on them that have tiny pieces of whatever attraction they represent inside. The idea is that you can actually own a "piece" of Disney history. There's a few types of these, but I really like the Star Tours and Lights, Motors, Action! ones. Hmmm... this will take some thought.

At the pin station we met a very nice guy who's also here on the College Program. He's from Wales, and he was nice enough to smile off our stupid American questions about all things English (my roommate wanted to know what the royal family's last name was). It was a very nice conversation, and it kept us from the huge crowds on the monorail back to the TTC.

Well, that's pretty much it for now. Sorry Brandon, I tried to get a video of the Fountain of Nations for you, but every time it was going when we walked by, it ended when I got my camera turned on. Finally, we got to see the whole thing, but by that time my camera was completely dead. So guess who's buying batteries today. Oh well!


Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Training Over

So my training is officially over as of Tuesday night. Monday and Tuesday I worked at Fantasmic! in the evenings. That was a whole new experience. You know those people who walk around selling the light up stuff that I used to make fun of? Yeah, don't make fun of them anymore. That's my new job.

I don't go back to work until Friday, when I work at Tower until 2:00AM. It's making me a little nervous. It seems like I have everything down, but what if I do something stupid? Oh well, guess I'll just work it out. I think I'm more worried about doing Fantasmic! myself than the others, and that's what I'm doing the most hours of next week. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Monday they gave me an offical pin trading lanyard. That was one of the best things to happen all day. I've discovered I love pin trading. Well, except for these two creepy guys who were like 50 who came up to me on Tuesday. That was a little weird.

Other than that, not much else happened at training. It was pretty much the same old stuff. I did get to pick up two of my new costumes, so I now longer have the most boring costume ever. These ones are just second runners up. Oh well, guess the merchandise people are supposed to blend in more...


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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tired

So I've got a bit to catch up on. It's been a busy past few days and I haven't had much time to update stuff. So here's what's been going on.

Thursday we went to Traditions, which is the Disney Company's basic orientation for all employees. They talk about the Disney service standards, the company history, our benefits and then the normal boring work stuff like harassment briefings and safety stuff. They call the safe program "Safe D" (say it out loud and you'll get it). Our teacher, Caroline, was a complete riot. She was great. I thought it was interesting that she works on The Great Movie Ride, since that was the ride I wanted to work, but I got attractions instead.

I also bought my first company item, a lanyard to carry my Disney ID in. We also got our first cast member pin! Yay! It was just the basic pin trading logo with the word "Traditions" underneath. But still cool. Thursday we also got our official nametags, which was very weird. Complete strangers call me by my first name now, and I'm always like "how did you know my name?!?!?!" before I realize I'm wearing a nametag.

Of course, we also got our Disney IDs (aka free ticket to the parks) on Thursday, so naturally we decided to hit the parks since we had been dying to go since we arrived in Orlando. I gathered up 5 of my 6 roommates and two other friends, and we headed off to Magic Kingdom. It was very fun, simply because we realized we could take as much time as we wanted. None of the frenzied rush that you normally get in a Disney vacation, because we have 3 months to spend here. We split into 2 groups, and my group hit the updated Haunted Mansion, the Liberty Belle boat, Pirates of the Caribbean, stopped for a quick Dole Whip (yum!), watched the parade, saw the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and then went on Space Mountain while Wishes was going on (no line that way, and we can see the fireworks another night).

Friday we had Merchantainment, which is our orientation for Merchandise alone. It was pretty much a review of Traditions for 2 hours, and then we spent the rest of the class on the computers completing online training. I was so tired that I came home and took a 4 hour nap. Then we had to run to Wal Mart for all the stuff we'd forgotten on Tuesday. Yuck. I then spent the rest of the day at home catching up on email and stuff, since we had to be at Hollywood Studios early the next day.

That was for On With The Show, which is the Hollywood Studios version of Traditions. We spent the first 3 hours doing a tour of the park, and learning some of the history/theming behind it. Did you know there is a hidden Kermit on Star Wars? Anyway, our leader was really funny. He spends Friday, Saturday, and Sunday playing a character in the park, and the rest of the time doing training. I'm not going to tell you which character (I'm supposed to preserve the magic, after all...) but I'll give you a couple of hints: very tall, heavy breathing, likes to use lightsabers. You do the math. Anyway, I'm going to have to try and see his show one of these days.

We also got 2nd Cast Member pin then. I'm really starting to like this... I also got 2 pins for knowing questions on the tour. I knew why the Carthay Circle Theater was important to Disney history, and why Splash was a significant achievement in movies. So if you don't know the answer to either of those questions, and you want to know, leave me a comment and I tell you. '

But the rest of the day was spent doing online training again. HazCom and safety and Guests with disabilities and all that. Boring end again. After that we went over to wardrobe to get our costumes. I officially have the most boring costume ever for training. White shirt, gray polyester pants, bow tie and belt. Ugh. At least it's only for 3 days...

When I got home my roommate was like "Want to go to Epcot?" So I said yes and asked which time, to which she responded "right now." Which is why I didn't update yesterday. We went and walked around in the rain for a few minutes and looked at the topiaries for this years Flower and Garden Festival. The theme for this year apparently is surfing. Speaking of which, topiaries from last years festival have ended up at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. We went on Spaceship Earth, which has been totally redone since last year and is VERY cool now. I also convinced everyone to try Test Track, and they pretty much enjoyed that too. Which make me happy since that's one of my favorite Epcot rides. We missed IllumiNations though (sad day), but I guess we can see it another time...

So today was my first official day of training. I have now found out that Hollywood Hills Merchandise specifically means the stores after Rockin' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror and working Fantasmic at night. Plus, I have a different costume for all three places. So now I have four costumes, some of which I have to have more than one a day for. Crazy.

The beginning was more online training, (but I think I'm done now) and then we took a tour of the specific stores (stock, backroom, areas, etc.). We then worked register at Coaster most of the day. We did spend some time editing the photos from Coaster, which was fun. We get to look at all the photos and delete any of them that have inappropriate actions. Flashing and such, you get the idea. It took almost an hour, but we did get to delete one of a guy picking his nose with the bird.

The other interesting thing was that we had one of the Cheetah Girls on the coaster today. I don't know which one, but it is the one with the curly hair. Totally didn't look like her in her picture. Paris Hilton also made an appearance in the park today. She's a lot shorter in real life. I couldn't see much of her face because she was standing in line for ice cream, and she had huge sunglasses on. But she didn't look like I would have expected in real life either.

So now I think I'm going to bed. If anyone is interested in seeing my training schedule, let me know and I can email it to you. You'd probably only want it if you know what time I might actually answer my phone. Suffice it to say I'll be spending most of my next days working Fantasmic! and Tower merchandise.

More updates when I actually have time!


Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day 2

So it's Day 2. We had to get up early to go to casting today (background checks and all that). Walking into the cast building was so exciting. They have this big domed ceiling with these golden Disney characters right when you walk in. Very cool. Made me wish I had brought my camera. Darn!

Anyway, we got fingerprinted, and backgrounds checked and then filled out MORE paperwork, and then (finally!) it was time to get our job assignments. So I'm working at Hollywood (previously MGM) Studios merchandise in Hollywood Hills. Wherever that is. Guess I'll find out soon. But I'm working in my first choice park, so that's a good thing. I love MGM... I mean Hollywood Studios. Backlot tour, Indiana Jones, Lights Motors Action!, Great Movie Ride, Star Tours... It's a great park! One of my roommates, Liz, is assigned to Hollywood too, and she'll doing merchandise on Sunset Blvd. That's where Tower of Terror and Rockin' Roller Coaster is.

Speaking of roommates, Carrie is going to be working at Beaches and Cream! I've heard that's the best ice cream available in the parks, so I'm excited about that. Oh, and McKensize found out she's going to work as a face character, but she doesn't know who yet. So she'll be either one of the princesses, Mary Poppins, Alice (from wonderland) or the Lady Tremaine and the Stepsisters from Cinderella. How fun!

Tomorrow is Traditions, our 8-hour class about the history of the Disney company and basic everything-you-need-to-know-about-working-for-Disney stuff. We get our costumes and our Company IDs, so guess who's hitting the parks tomorrow after work!

Tonight we've got a formal dance, although none of us have anything formal to wear. So we're going semi-formal in the dresses and skirts we brought for church. It's going to be a masque ball, and Mickey and Minnie (maybe some other characters) will be there, so we're bring our cameras too! Sounds like a great time to me, even if I do have to get up at 6:00 AM again...


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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm Here!

Whew!

So it's been a long day, but I've made it and am officially on Disney property. Tomorrow we get our background checked and get our employee IDs, making us true Disney cast members. I'm super excited for that, since that means we get our park admission too. ;-)

All day yesterday was spent on planes and in airports, and I finally got in to Orlando at about 11:30 PM local time. I spent one restless night in a hotel, and arrived at the college program apartments this morning.

Now I'm unpacked, fed, and the internet is finally working, so I'm feeling much better about things. It's a big day tomorrow, so I'll sign off for now and give another update later.


Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog. I created this blog as a way for me to record my experiences this summer when I particpate in the Walt Disney World College Program. I'm not headed to Orlando for awhile (April 29th), so don't expect much until then.

When I do reach Flordia, I want this blog to be a way for my friends/family to keep up with my experiences there, as well as share some experiences with those Disney fans who've always wondered what it's like to work as a Cast Member.

At this point, I'm going to go with the flow. I do have a few other blogs, so I want to keep this one purely Disney. I might post some book and/or movie reviews or other things I stumble across along the way, just to mix it up a big. We'll see what happens. If you have suggestions or ideas, go ahead and send me an email! I'm an email junkie, so I'll respond to everything.

See you in April (or before then, maybe)!


Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!
Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!