Spring Adventures in Disney

My time spent at Disney World has been nothing short of amazing these past couple months! After purchasing an annual pass and being able to experience the parks on a weekly basis, I’m fortunate enough to call the resort my second home. 

I’ve been able to experience all of the attractions, multiple holidays, and countless memories; and I’m excited to share them all with you! I’ve been compiling footage of all the exciting days spent at the parks, with so many different friends, for my YouTube channel. I tried out vlogging (and surprisingly enjoy it) after notice of my acceptance to the Disney College Program.

I plan to record while I’m down there so my friends and family, and anyone with an internet connection, can check out what I’m doing and stay up to date with my life. Until then, I’ve begun practicing to get all the awkward out of my system (if that’s even possible) by vlogging. After sorting through hours of footage, I found some of my favorite moments and compiled them all together for you!

Here are my favorite spring memories in Disney World, surrounded by my friends, pop music, and a lot of dancing! I had so much fun living these memories, and even more fun reliving them while compiling this together and I’m super happy with how it turned out!

I hope you like it just as much as I do! Click here to check it out!

“Happily Ever After” Review

“And all our wishes, will come true.” Yeah, yeah, yeah except I wished for Happily Ever After to be good and clearly that wish didn’t come true. Thanks Jiminy, Walt, and Bob Iger for ruining my hopes and dreams. Lets fight.

Okay, okay most of you are probably lost, so let me set the scene for you. Welcome to my life, where if you don’t like Disney, you’re wrong. If you have kept up with the ins and outs of the parks, you might have heard that fan favorite firework spectacular, Wishes, made it’s final showing this week on May 11th at the Magic Kingdom. It has been the nighttime show since 2003, and it’s removal has caused a stir in the Disney community. Yet shortly after announcing it’s farewell, it was also announced that a new show, Happily Ever After, would be replacing it. Pitchfork and torches in hand, Disney fans rioted over the replacement until finally coming to terms with the fact that magic is always changing.

As a huge fan of all things nostalgic, I was not embracing this replacement well, and have gone through this week with an extremely biased opinion. Yet 9 o’clock struck, and there I was, phone in hand, prepped to watch the live stream of the premiere of Happily Ever After (which you can watch here).

And it started out really well. The music began and I started to tear up a little. Just a little, don’t go around telling people I’m weak now. The orchestra was insane and the lighting was magical. I could feel that “end of a Disney day” contentness in my heart, which is exactly what a nighttime spectacular should deliver in my opinion. Yet that’s where those feelings stayed, and ended.

I had heard clips of the soundtrack previously and formulated strong opinions against it’s pop vibe, yet actually hearing it in the show made me hate it even more. Two irrelevant singers performing an original irrelevant song made my heart feel nothing. I had no memories associated with this music. It did not tug at my heartstrings. It was just kind of…there. Also a side note, but no fireworks were even shot until about 45 seconds in. Just interesting.

Yet the pop music faded and entered the Disney magic that we all were waiting for. I loved the recognition of underappreciated characters such as Tiana and Quasimodo being projected on the castle. Even more obscure songs were used, such as ones from Brave, Tarzan, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. 

Yet as incredible as that was to see, it was also extremely confusing. Since a majority of this show featured projections to compliment the fireworks and music, I assumed they were supposed to flow together. Well I was wrong, and that’s what I get for assuming. This first occurred during “Touch the Sky” from Brave. In the midst of scenes playing from the movie, Lightning McQueen from Cars shows up and drives past, followed by the floating house from Up. They don’t even kinda fit the Brave aesthetic? But okay Disney, you do you.

These weird obscure crossovers continue throughout, such as a mechanical/toy backdrop during the song “Bare Necessities”, as well as the castle singing?? Yeah you heard that right and it was kinda unnerving. Can’t explain it, just didn’t appreciate it.

Yet thank the lord that the Frozen scene that was included DIDN’T feature “Let It Go”or else I might have lost it. Yet it did feature this weird, slow, depressing cover of “Love Is An Open Door” that I can’t say I hated, yet was surprised by the mood it took on.

And then something incredible happened. Pirates of the Caribbean happened all over this dang show and made up for all the weirdness I endured during the first half. Following that was a bad cover of “Go the Distance”, but it gave me all the Wishes feels so I forgive it. AND THEN THE MAGIC HAPPENED and Tinker Bell took flight in the best way possible. By far the best part of the show.

Overall, the show had a lot of amazing elements such as marketing underappreciated characters, channeling the 21st century, and adding incredible spotlights and lasers that really enhanced the show, yet I’m opinionated so not everything was happy-go-lucky.

First off, I’d like to remind viewers that this was intended to be a firework show. While yes, there was a lot of boom boom pow in the sky, there were even more projections down below. Keep in mind that we already have a projection show at Magic Kingdom. It was a little too distracting for me to watch the castle act as a screen, while also watching the fireworks, and it took away from the point of the show. Side note, can we talk about all the god awful covers of the classic songs? Please tell me what was so wrong with the originals that they needed to replace them with the ear garbage that was playing.

Also even with the aid of additional visuals, there was zero story line. Wishes told a story throughout the fireworks and used nothing other than pyrotechnics and music to guide the viewer through. Happily Ever After was just a montage of Disney movies placed in what I feel was no rhyme or reason, put to fireworks.

Now I’m not bashing the incredible technology used, because this definitely was an incredible feat to accomplish. I’m just bummed that with all that they had available to them, they were unable to grasp at a viewer’s heartstrings and create the same effect that Wishes had on so many fans.

I don’t know, maybe I’ll feel differently when I see it in person in August, but for now I remain team Wishes, and will continued leaving my biased opinions across the internet until I realize that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Anyways, go forth and formulate your own opinion and feel free to fight me because I’m ready to have a grown up debate about this.

@Disney, I don’t love you any less, I promise.

xoxo,

The Dapperest of Days

“Oh darling, you look absolutely splendid this evening!” was the phrase that ran through my head throughout yesterday as I attended my first ever Dapper Day event!j

For those of you who don’t know what dapper day is, here’s the rundown. Originating as a guest planned function, it invited those heading to Disney to dress to the nines in their favorite dapper clothing. People choose iconic fashion eras such as the 20s, 50s, and 60s, to put together an outfit worth of twirling down Main Street USA on one of the fanciest days of the year. This event occurs in both the spring and the fall in various Disney parks across the world and have recently been picked up by the companies to monetize.

With so much creative freedom the outfit possibilities are endless. Most choose to Disney Bound (dress as a certain character) for their outfit, while others just wear their Sunday best. Regardless, everyone looks fabulous and has an amazing time.

I was unable to make it to the event in the fall, so this was my first experience with the infamous Disney day. Dressed in gold and accessorized to the max, I decided to Disney Bound as Belle and I still can’t get over how awesome it turned out. (No need to brag, but can we just take a second to appreciate my hair? I learned how to do it in the moment as I was getting ready and i’m still thankful that it decided to cooperate all day!)

As soon as we parked, we knew we were in for a treat as we were immediately surrounded by others dressed to the nines. It was insane to see such a huge community come together for this event and show off their Disney side simultaneously.

We braved the ninety-six degree heat as we entered the park and immediately began snapping pictures before our hair and makeup would fall. Honestly, all we really did was take pictures and I’m 100% okay with that because everyone looked so. good. It was crazy! All that was running through my mind the whole time was ideas for next year.

Vintage vibes, rosey cheeks, and trolley cars had me feeling some type of way and I couldn’t put my camera down. I can’t wait for future Dapper Day events. If you ever get the chance to go, do it. You won’t regret it!

xoxo,

Once Upon a Time…a Girl’s Dream Came True

I’ve been wishing upon a star for as long as I can remember, and now my dream is finally coming true! Who knew a cricket in a top hat would give such great advice? Yet thanks to him, I’ll be able to hang out with all types of creatures in unique outfits as I gallivant around the Walt Disney World resort for a little while longer! Only this time, I’ll be getting paid to do it! I am super proud to announce that after year of dreaming and wishing, I have accepted a role as a merchandise cast member for the fall 2017 Disney College Program!

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Ever since discovering this program over five years ago, it’s all I have been thinking about and I can’t believe that I’m actually going to be a part of it! For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, don’t sweat it, that’s what I’m here to explain! The Disney College Program is something that both Walt Disney World and Disneyland have been offering students for years. It allows anyone enrolled as a part-time or full-time student to take a semester off and work for the company at any of the theme parks, restaurants, or resorts. While on the program, they are provided housing with other CPs, as well as the opportunity to take classes taught by Disney in a number of fields. Some colleges even accept these as credit for their university! The program has been known to create countless memories and connect people from all over the world, while gaining experience in such a unique industry!

I discovered this program long before looking into majors and schools, and I do believe that my desire to work there has lead me down the path that I am on today. And I am SUPER lucky because as each semester passes, the competition becomes even more intense. Thousands of people apply each year, and only a very small percentage move on to the next round. In the application process, there are three steps to complete before the possibility of acceptance is even visible. As each step is completed, less and less move forward, until acceptances are finally sent out.

Because of this vigorous application process, I have been very nervous about if I would ever get the chance to make this dream come true. Sure, I could always apply for a part time job there, but the college program offers so much more to its participants than just a job, and that was incredibly important to me. So important that I sped up my application process by a semester.

Since my sophomore year of high school, I got this idea in my mind that I would participate in this program the spring semester of my sophomore year in college. It would give me the chance to get used to my school for a year, as well as not miss out on most of the important fall events that come with welcome week and football games. I wouldn’t have to work any major holidays, yet it would come early enough in my college career to get my foot in the door with internships. Unfortunately, a higher power had other plans for me.

As I previously mentioned, the application process is intense, and I knew I would have to give it my all in order to get this opportunity. So being the planner I am, I planned to go through the application process one semester early to get a feel for how it would go when I was serious about doing this. Well that plan backfired in the best way possible because after filling out the application and submitting it, I heard back 56 minutes later with an invitation to the next step, a web based interview. I was shocked to have heard so soon, but I knew I had to at least check out the WBI because I have read that it is the hardest part of the application process. This is because the company is looking for a certain type of person to work for them and this is the step that weeds out most of the competition.

Laptop in hand, I logged in and answered everything truly, and it paid off. I was immediately redirected to a screen inviting me to move on to the final step, the step only about 30% of applicants make it to, the phone interview. I was amazed how lucky I was to make it this far, but also super stressed out because none of this was in my plan. I was excited to come back to UCF in the fall and had just finished finalizing my plans for next year. But now there was this new “what-if” hanging in the air. I spent the next week entangled in my thoughts as I tried to wrap my mind around how all of this was happening. Both excitement and stress flooded through my mind and it was a whirlwind of emotions. Yet I went into that phone interview super nervous yet super prepared to handle whatever was thrown at me.

As I stuttered through my conversation with my interviewer, Kathy, my heart was beating out of my chest. I didn’t know what to think. Yet I did inform her on my happy crisis and she advised me to not set anything in stone. Yes, it might seem like doing something six months early is a lot, but in the field I want to go in, the earlier I get started, the better. She told me to take every opportunity that is thrown at me, because someday, they are going to stop and no one wants to regret missing out on anything. That advice set a fire in my heart and cleared up all my stress and I knew that if  I were accepted, it would be a no brainer to take the role, regardless of the time frame it fell in.

Yet that clarification came with a newfound burst of excitement. Unfortunately, after my phone interview ended, it was time to play the waiting game. I waited two weeks, three hours, and seventeen minutes (but who’s counting?) before getting my email with my results enclosed inside. At 12:24 pm on Tuesday, February 14th, I heard my phone vibrate, and my heart skipped a beat, as it always does when I get an email notification, and there. it. was.

That is about as far as I read before absolutely loosing my mind. I immediately texted everyone I could think of and began crying (and I don’t cry often so you know this is the real deal.) After calming down for a split second, I checked my role and found out I was blessed with merchandise. It wasn’t my top choice, but it was pretty high up there and I’m just thankful I didn’t get custodial or quick service food & beverage.

So yeah my Valentine’s Day was pretty bomb. This past week has been crazy trying to rearrange my plans for next fall, but I am so so SO excited to get started in my program. I paid my fees, chose my check-in date (August 7th!), and have found 5 out of 6 of my future roommates! I previously thought I wanted to avoid working the holiday season at Disney, and I still understand how busy it’s going to be. BUT I’m so excited to work the Halloween and the Christmas parties, along with avoiding the Pittsburgh winter over break 😉

It’s incredible how many amazing opportunities I’ve been blessed with since starting college, and this is only the beginning! So it looks like you have a new journey to follow me on, huh? Lucky for you, this is going to be an exciting one! So get ready, because in 165 days, this blog is going to get a heck of a lot more magical!

Thank you all for the endless support, and I can’t wait to see where this takes me.

I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!

xoxo,

Christmastime at Disney

The decorations are hung across the castle with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there. It’s the most wonderful time of the year in the happiest place on Earth. What a magical combination for visitors of all ages. After years of dreaming to see my favorite place during the holiday season, my wish finally came true this past month.

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My first visit with the decorations was to Magic Kingdom the weekend after Halloween. The transformation happened almost over night and I have never seen anything more magnificent. I had seen pictured of past years decorations, but standing next to the 50ft tree on Main Street was a whole new experience. Let’s start with Main Street USA. When you first walk into the park, you are greeted by the Christmas Tree aforementioned, along with wreaths adorning every building down the line. Then you are greeted by the castle. Covered from head to toe in thousands of tiny twinkle lights, called the “Dream Lights” that are made possible by Elsa’s frozen magic. Holiday music plays over the speakers and the 80 degree weather helps to pretend your cuddled up by a fireplace. The whole experience is magical as heck, and the characters are even dressed for the occasion.

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Likewise, the other parks and resorts follow suit in their decorating. Hollywood Studios takes the vintage view on Hollywood and covers their streets with tinsel to match the glitz and glam feel. Their tree is full of movie references and joy as it lights up the exterior part of the park with it’s Christmas glow. At night, Jingle Bell,  Jingle BAM! takes the stage as projections are shown on the Chinese Theater and fireworks dance along to the Christmas music blaring over the speakers. The story line of this nighttime spectacular follows the elves from Disney’s Crash and Landing as they seek to find a missing Santa on Christmas Eve. The night is finished with a thorough coating of “snoap” (a snow substitute made of soap bubbles) on Sunset Blvd as guests exit the park. One of the most magical feelings is experiencing the snow in the warmth of Florida in December.

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Epcot and Animal Kingdom both participate in the holidays as well with subtle decorations throughout the parks. In Animal Kingdom, you could meet Santa Goofy and Pluto as well as Baloo and King Louie all dressed up in their winter attire. In Epcot, you can experience the holidays around the world in World Showcase to learn about different traditions each culture participates in. End the night watching the Candlelight Vigil hosted by various celebrities in the Disney community, such as Neal Patrick Harris or Whoopi Goldberg, and melodious voices from the Disney choir.

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I was blown away by how the parks celebrated the holidays, but the fun doesn’t end there. My friends and I then decided to take a day trip to Disney Springs and resort hop around property to get the full experience. At Disney Springs, you are immediately greeted but wreathes and garland strung across the pathways between stores as Christmas music plays in the background. They created a Christmas Tree trail that displayed trees featuring decorations from all the Disney classics, such as Mulan and The Little Mermaid. The decorations outdid themselves. There was also wandering entertainment throughout the shopping district. Between a roaming Santa, toy soldiers on stilts, and a DJ spinning a constant loop of holiday tracks, it was hard to avoid the Christmas spirit. The coolest part, in my opinion, was the nighttime drone show that they recently created. Like each of the parks that had a nighttime show, Disney wanted the guests at Disney Springs to also enjoy something special that separated this from just another Florida strip mall. It is the first of it’s king and consisted of over a hundred small drones that lit up and flew above the lake, synchronized to music of course. I had never seen anything like it before,  but hope to see more in the future! Unfortunately I was too mesmerized to take a video, but you can see what it looks like here.

The resorts were also completely decked out for the holidays. A handful of them setup large gingerbread displays that bakers at the resort create by hand each year. The Contemporary resort had a tribute to Frozen.

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The Beach Club resort had a carousel made completely of gingerbread and chocolate that actually moved. Legend has it that there were 17 golden hidden mickeys painted on it, yet we spent over 45 minutes looking and only found 16.

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The Grand Floridian had the most grand display of all. IN the lobby was a life size gingerbread house that doubled as a gift shop that cast members actually stood in and worked out of. The details were incredible.

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It’s no secret that Disney goes all out for the holidays and I’m so lucky that I was able to experience some of the magic without paying an extra $100 for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Although, the crowds are definitely so much worse, it was still incredible to take in. It was magical to say the least.

Until next timexoxo,