Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blog? What blog?

Sorry for not updating at all for over a month!  A lot of CP bloggers will tell you that they are simply too busy to blog regularly, but that really isn't the case with me.  Over the past month I've sat down with the intention of updating several times, but couldn't really figure out what to write about.  It's difficult to write coherent updates about my role as a Cast Member when every day is something different and the details can be fuzzy in my memory.  Plus some experiences just aren't worth writing about.  When you're seeing a couple hundred guests per hour and having the same conversations over and over, it's difficult to pinpoint any work experiences worth an entire blog update.  And as far as CP experiences outside work, it's hard to choose specifics in that category as well.

So I'm going to try and form some coherent blog updates about my CP in the next couple of weeks.  Please bear with me, dear readers!  Hope that you all are doing well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

All work and no play makes for a dull blog.

Since my last couple of blog posts were work-related, I decided to write about some of the non-work things I've been doing on the CP so far!  I had Tuesday and Wednesday off this week.  From the looks of it, they are going to make Tuesday one of my regular days off and then either Monday or Wednesday.  Both of my CP classes will be on Tuesdays starting in October so this makes sense.

Anyway, on Tuesday I went to DHS with Molly F. (one of my roommates), Cori, and Molly B.  I drove separately and met them there, and we immediately got into the single rider line for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.  Very fun!  Then we walked over to the Great Movie Ride to try and request a show with Lauren as our tour guide.  Her assessment was the same day as mine, so we wanted to see her in action!  Turns out she was in rotation at the time and working the podium in the pre-show.  But with some effort she managed to get switched out so she could do one tour, and they even put us in the front row!  I think she was nervous with us sitting right next to her, but she did great!  After that we met up with Laura and went to get a late lunch/early dinner.  Then we all went over to Star Tours and enjoyed our botched tour of Endor.  I'm going to miss that ride!  After Star Tours, it was time to head back to Tower of Terror.  We were able to ride it twice with very little wait.  I never got to experience the Summer Night-tastic changes, but oh well.  Still a fun ride!  Although I always get creeped out by the atmosphere.  After the rides, our trip to DHS became "visit other CPs at work" day.  We went around visiting a few people just to say hey.  The park wasn't very busy that day, but Abby wasn't able to chat at the time because Hollywood and Vine was pretty crowded.  Kristen and "Philip" were able to talk with us for a bit, though.  Then we all wanted some treats, so Molly F. and I got popcorn in souvenir "Last Tour to Endor" buckets.  Love them!  Molly B., Cori, and Laura got ice cream, and we all stood around eating and talking for a few more minutes.  After that we decided to leave and head back to the apartment complexes.  Turned out that Molly B. was locked out of her apartment, so she came over and watched some episodes of The Office with us while she waited for security to let her back in later.  Then Molly F., Elyse (another one of my roommates) and I all watched the Disney movie Tower of Terror while our other roommate Kara did puzzles. (Did you know Jan Levinson/Melora Hardin was in that movie? My mind is still blown!)

Yesterday was my second day off, so all of us roommates went to EPCOT in the morning.  We spent most of the day in Future World and had a great time.  We immediately got Fastpasses for Soarin' for after lunch and hit up some other attractions.  In an order which I can't remember, we rode Test Track (single rider again, so no wait!), Journey into Imagination, Spaceship Earth, and Mission Space.  We even watched Captain EO and "Oh, my..." is all I have to say haha.  80's-tastic!  Lunch was at the Electric Umbrella and we used our Soarin' FPs.  We also spent some time in the Living Seas observing dolphins (my favorites!) and manatees.  In the afternoon Molly needed to leave for work, so Elyse, Kara, and I headed over to World Showcase.  We started off in Mexico to see Mariachi Cobre, and we even enjoyed some margaritas there.  I tried the passion fruit one, and while it was good I will definitely be getting a strawberry one next time.  Then we kept walking around the WS, occasionally stopping to check out stuff in the pavilions.  That's the beauty of having so much time here: no rush to see everything.  When we got to France, we beelined for the Patisserie and got some yummy desserts.  Delicious!  Then each of us decided to get a slush drink while we were there.  I got the Grey Goose Citron Lemonade slush and it was yummy!  We went into the Rose and Crown with our drinks to cool off.  It was right before The Hat Lady's show, so we stuck around to see it.  I've never actually watched the show but it was so entertaining!  Carol was the Hat Lady for our show and she was great.  In case you've never watched it, the Hat Lady chats with people in the pub and even makes up songs on the spot about them.  She sang two about me; first she made up a quick one about me being a history student, and then when I told her that I'm from Georgia she sang a rendition of "Georgia on My Mind" with some silly lyric changes.  Turns out there were other CPs there too, so she sang a song about the CP and how hard we work.  After her show, the three of us went over to Canada and watched the show there.  Always entertaining and beautiful!  Then we went back to France to watch the show there and that was just as gorgeous.  I always enjoy the music and the scenes they picked.  By that point it was 8pm and we were getting tired.  So we left before Illuminations (we'll be back, though!) and headed home.

Sorry for the long paragraphs!  But my last two days off were pretty eventful!  I spent some hard-earned money and now it's back to PB&J sandwiches during my breaks. =)

As for other news, my parents are planning a quick weekend visit mid-September.  I've been struggling to get the Saturday off (or at least be scheduled for the night shift, which will probably happen anyway) because I have a surprise planned for them.  Also, I was approved for November 18th off so that I can rest up and go to the midnight showing of Deathly Hallows part 1 that night.  I don't care if I have to work the next morning (which is unlikely... CP = "closing person" where I am), I am going to the midnight show!

Well that's it for me.  Take care, dear readers!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Earned My Ears Today!

In case you aren't familiar, "earning your ears" means completing your Cast Member training and passing an assessment proving that you are ready to perform your job on your own.  Today was my assessment for Splash Mountain, and I passed!  So now I am no longer a trainee but a full-fledged CM!  It amuses me that I started training days earlier than most of my CP friends, yet my assessment was after many of theirs.  Splash has a pretty rigid training schedule though which seems to take a day or so longer than most training programs.  At least I'm finished!

There was a ride mishap during my assessment and that was pretty interesting.  The managers said I did well with it, though.  So hopefully next time something happens I'll feel even more confident in my abilities.

Unfortunately I'm also sick this week. :-(  So tonight I'm relaxing in the apartment and working on some knitting.  And my shift isn't until the evening tomorrow so I'll be able to get lots of sleep.  I'm really enjoying this apartment and my roommates are great.  All in all, things are going pretty well so far!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thoughts After Training.

Last night I completed day 5 of my training for Splash Mtn., which means that all I have left is my assessment before I earn my ears!  I'm actually feeling a lot more confident about operating the ride now.  And as I'm practicing all these different aspects of working there, it got me thinking a lot about my role in WDW.

Let's be honest.  Most people dream of being that Cast Member.  The one who gets tons of guest interaction and racks up those Guest Service Fanatic Cards and goes home at the end of their shift feeling great because of the vocal confirmation they received that they are indeed great at their job.  But we can't all be that.  From what I've seen in the past week, the percentage of Cast Members who actually do work in positions with that much interaction is actually very small.

I always appreciated CMs before.  They all put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that guests are enjoying their trips to WDW.  But now I appreciate them even more, especially "behind the scenes" CMs.  You know, the ones you will never actually see but they are still constantly working to make sure your visit to the park or resort is going as smoothly as possible.  And I came to realize that as far as working as Splash Mountain goes, I will basically be one of those CMs.

Guests will see me of course, depending on where I am in rotation when they enjoy the attraction.  But they won't remember me most of the time.  No one is going to ask to get their picture taken with me when I tell them that I'm sorry, but their child is too short to be allowed on the attraction.  I can tell them all I want that it's for their own safety, but some families will still walk away grumbling about me.  And when I'm collecting Fastpasses and the stand-by queue is packed, they are going to complain to me about how long they've been waiting and that I should just let them in.  I can explain that FP holders are given priority and I'm trying to keep both lines moving as efficiently as possible, but they won't be any happier with me.  No one is going to write letters praising the CM who made sure their log was completely safe before allowing it to depart from the loading station, no matter how much I wave and smile as they go by.  And they certainly aren't going to head to Guest Relations to fill out a card praising the voice that came over the intercom from the Tower, reminding them to please stay seated for their own safety or even informing them of ride closures, even though my instructions forbid even glancing away from the monitors watching their every move.  They aren't even going to know that I was awake at 5am so I could spend my morning going over every single foot of the ride path making sure that it was completely safe and operational before a guest could even set foot in the queue.  And it's not my job, but the maintenance crew staying in the park all night making sure every single aspect of the attraction is safe for guest use certainly won't be getting any praise from visitors.  But they are fantastic people who deserve our gratitude!

At first I thought it would be difficult to look for fulfillment in this job knowing that a guest would never thank me for my work or even acknowledge me except to respond when I say "Hi, how are you?" as they walk right by.  But that changed when I began to look at my role as a CM this way.  I am the CM that most guests won't remember or even think of, but I am still contributing to their overall Disney experience in my own way. It's not in the way that most people imagine when they think of CMs but it is nevertheless extremely important.   And when I'm putting my all into my job, at least I know that it's still in the name of the guest's safety and enjoyment no matter how "behind the scenes" it may seem.

“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.” ~ Pearl S. Buck

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Training

Oh my goodness.  It's amazing how quickly this week went by, yet so much happened that it feels like I've been in Orlando a lot longer.  I started training yesterday with an orientation to the park, and I already feel like that was days ago.  It seems as though most of the other CPs I know had at least one day off this weekend, but I didn't.  Seven straight days of training for me!  And I won't lie, I've felt a bit lonely the past two days.  So far it's been really early mornings with extremely busy days until the evening.  Then I'm so exhausted after each shift that I just go home, eat dinner, and get to bed soon because I need to be at the park early the next morning.  My roommates and some of my other CP friends have spent their day(s) off getting to know each other by hanging out around apartment complexes or going to parks.  And I've either been too busy with these training shifts or too tired once my work day ends to spend much time with my friends before I need more sleep.  But on the bright side, I will have my first two weeks' rent paid off before many other participants! :-)

By the way, now I can officially post here that I am working at Splash Mountain!  I think this is one of the reasons why my training schedule is so packed; it's one of the busiest attractions and there is a lot to know about it.  At the end of the day, I'd rather have a really busy shift than one with lots of lag time.

ETA: I should probably mention that I haven't met any coworkers over the last two days, either.  The shifts consisted of following around the coordinator and doing e-learning in the computer labs.  I actually start training at Splash during this next shift, so I can meet people with whom I'll be working and hopefully feel more involved.

Now I realize my last post said you would get detailed info on check-in and Traditions.  Truth is I'm just too tired to go back over all the details.  So instead, here are some highlights from the past few days!

  • Getting our desired apartment at Patterson Court and moving in with some great roommates!
  • Watching the fireworks from the Poly on Monday and Tuesday night with said roommates as well as some other CPs
  • Finally getting groceries :)
  • First time in the Utilidors (I think they're really cool)
  • First time I got into a park with my work ID the night after Traditions (and so far the only time.  Like I said, busy!)
  • Knowing that I don't need to rush through anything.  I have plenty of time to see attractions, explore resorts, etc.
  • Going to a CP party and getting free food.  Seriously, nothing attracts students like free food!
  • Registering for my two classes.  I'm taking Disney Heritage and Guest Service, both part of the Exploration Series.
  • Almost being instructed to color my natural hair.  I just found it amusing that my real hair color was "thisclose" to not fitting the Disney Look.  Luckily they changed their minds!
  • Once Upon a Time... Is Now!  I enjoyed it, except for the part about wearing nice/uncomfortable shoes to walk through the MK.
  • "Area Awareness" with one of the Frontierland coordinators.  She was really nice and helpful!
Well I need to get to sleep.  Take care!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Arriving in Orlando!

Hello, blogland!  I'm writing to you now from the living room of my new apartment in Orlando!  I'll leave those details for the next post, though.  I have so much to write about check-in that I will do a separate post about it (including finally telling you my work location!)

Due to my last post sounding so sad and whiney, I hoped to update again before I left with a much more excited "I can't believe the time is here!" bit.  But that never happened.  There was just so much to do!

Friday was a day full of errands, including getting my hair cut and a stop at the bank.  Not terribly exciting.  It was the last night that my family spent together so we went out to dinner after some shopping.  The weirdest part of leaving my family is that I won't see my sister for so long.  My parents can come visit me now and then if they want to, but with Laura's school schedule I don't think I'll see her again until December.  For me, being the older sister comes with this strange idea that the younger one can be frozen in time.

Anyway, Saturday was another busy packing day.  I got up at 6am just to get myself prepared for the next few early mornings and got straight to work.  I can't even tell you how many loads of laundry I did throughout the packing process.  That was the step that took the longest actually, just waiting for stuff to come out of the dryer so I could pack it.  I used Space Bags for all the big stuff like towels, sheets, pillows, and my comforter.  This was a big help when it came to maximizing space in my car, but I can tell you that most of these things were terribly wrinkled when I opened the bags.  Silly infomercials.  I wanted to completely finish packing in the afternoon, which kinda sorta happened.  The last thing left to pack was my books, but other than that I was pretty set.

So I went over to Rob's house for the night after packing was finished because he won't be able to come visit me while I'm here.  We had a dinner date a couple of nights before so I was expecting Saturday to be very low-key.  At about 5pm I was really exhausted because I didn't get much sleep the night before.  So Rob told me to lay down for a nap and then he'd wake me up in half an hour so we could eat dinner.

Flash forward to about 5:30.  I woke up to someone jabbing me in the shoulder, and when I opened my eyes I saw Rob sitting a few feet away.  So who was jabbing at me?  I turned my head and saw my best friend!  It was pretty great since she lives a few hours away so we don't see each other often (our St. Augustine trip had to be cancelled :-( ).  We started chatting and a few minutes later one of my former roommates walked in!  More chatting ensued, and then one of my friends from high school walked in with his fiancee!  They've been together for a couple of years but I haven't actually met her because they live in Atlanta.  Anyway, long story short: Surprise going-away party!  I was very excited AND totally surprised, which never happens.  We had a great evening with pizza, cookie cake, and Shaun of the Dead, and Rob was so awesomely sweet to put it together for me!  And all who drove miles to see me are awesome too. :-D

Unfortunately we couldn't visit as long as I wanted to because I needed to be up super-early!  Everyone was gone by 1:15am so Rob and I (or maybe just me.  Rob doesn't sleep well lately) snoozed until 5am, when I rubbed my eyes and prepared to leave.  I left at 6am and headed home first.

At the last minute, my parents decided they wanted to go with me to Orlando to check in.  So Dad drove in a car behind me and Mom rode with me.  In retrospect it's probably good that someone else was with me who I could talk to, because I was feeling very sleepy for some of the drive.  We got to Orlando around 2:30pm, but hit terrible traffic on I-4 and were stuck for an hour.  It was a slow drive but we finally made it to our exit. More traffic, and then we got to the hotel!  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree which is basically across the street from Vista Way, where I needed to be for check-in.  If you are still looking for a place to stay before check-in, I recommend this hotel!  The rooms were very spacious and comfortable.  I think I would have been lonely in there by myself, haha.  Two of my now-roommates were staying there too, so I met up with one of them to go to Downtown Disney.  Some of the D-Fam got together and we sat around Earl of Sandwich chatting for awhile.  Then Molly and I went back to the hotel and I pretty much crashed into my bed.

Monday morning I walked down with Molly and Elyse (another one of my roommates) to Vista Way at 7am. We got in line and waited for about twenty minutes.  There was already a line and it grew while we waited.  They started letting us in about 7:30, but my memory just could be fuzzy and it might have been closer to 7:45.  But you'll have to wait for the next installment, because this post is long enough!  Soon to come: Check-In Day for the CP!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Last days before the CP.

I totally meant to write more during these last couple of weeks as preparations went into "hardcore mode."  Oops!  It's Thursday night (actually it will probably be the early hours of Friday morning by the time I post this), and I leave for Orlando bright and early Sunday morning.

First I want to mention the packing process!  I'm still working on it, to be honest.  For as long as I can remember, I've been a last-minute packer.  Actually I wouldn't even know what to do with myself if I were already completely finished.  While packing stuff from home and listing items to buy once I'm settled in Orlando, I decided to publish the finished list on my blog later.  It will probably be up after I arrive so watch out for that!

Wow.  I had a lot more to write when I started this post, but now sleepiness is taking over quickly.

Over the past few days I got much more emotional and nervous.  I'm definitely excited, don't get me wrong.  It just hit me a lot harder that I'll be separated from people, places, and things I love for much longer than ever before.  Even while I was away at UGA, I was able to visit family, friends, and Rob easily.  Basically it feels like "leaving for college" x 10 right now.  And I'm unfortunately prone to stress and anxiety, so I've been trying to keep my mind on the happier stuff I can look forward to.  I've also been reading a lot, enjoying the spa gift certificate I got for graduation, and baking up a storm!

Well I need to get to sleep.  Busy days ahead for me!  If I'm not able to post anything again before I check in on Monday, wish me luck please!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Less than a month to go!

The countdown to check-in day is under 30 days now.

ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod


I love making lists, so here's a quick checklist of things I still need to do before leaving for the CP:
 - Finish filling out all of the paperwork
 - Get a Disney Look-appropriate pair of glasses just in case (my pink frames definitely won't work, and the black ones might be a bit too bold on me)
 - Final pow-wows with the three girls I'm hoping to share an apartment with so we can plan
 - Clean out my car completely
 - Make lists of what to bring and start packing
 - Organize my room, including ordering/assembling my new bookcase and putting away everything that isn't coming with me

Lots of preparations still need to be made!  Speaking of packing, I've been toying with what entertainment items (books, DVDs, etc.) I'll bring to Orlando.  I definitely don't want to bring my entire DVD collection because it would take up too much room.  So I think I'll narrow it down to ten or so that I simply know I want to have available during the CP.  So many things can be watched online these days that I don't really feel I'll need more than that by myself.  I'll have to do the same with my books.  Now the difficult task of narrowing down which ones I can't be without looms ahead of me.  Maybe two or three of my favorites, and then seven or eight thick books that I haven't read yet?  And then there are knitting supplies too, but that will be simpler.  All of my tools are kept in a box together so it's just a matter of figuring out which yarns to bring. Aside from those three categories, I have not thought of any other entertainment/miscellaneous items I could pack other than my photo album and a lamp.  It will be interesting to see what sneaks into my car as I'm packing.

A recent development is that my family is making plans to come visit me while I'm in Florida.  My parents want to visit for one weekend in September so they went ahead and made reservations at All-Star Sports.  Hopefully I'll be able to request a day off while they are there!  And because they can't bear the thought of not seeing me at Christmastime they decided to plan a WDW trip that week and bring my younger sister.  I warned them that there's basically no chance I'll be able to make requests during the week of Christmas but I can try to see them between shifts as much as possible.  It's not like they'll be short on things to do in WDW. :-)

I'm taking my plane trip this weekend.  Send me good travel vibes, please!  And take care!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summertime.

Sorry I haven't updated lately.  There isn't a lot of CP-related stuff going on at the moment.  But I am enjoying my summer, as I hope you are!  Just for kicks, I thought I'd revisit my list of ten things I wanted/needed to do before the CP.  Some of the tasks are accomplished, some not.  But with a month left before I leave there's a bit of time to kill.

1. Complete my senior thesis. - This went very well!
2. Graduate. - Done!  My diploma even arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago.  I'll get it framed eventually.
3. Knit my birthday/graduation blanket. - Definitely didn't start this at all.  I discovered the joy of knitting instant gratification projects (hats, mitts, etc.) so this project is postponed.
4. Go to St. Augustine with my best friend. - We leave Monday!  She and I both need a vacation and I'm very excited.
5. Read as much as I possibly can. - Well this really can't be crossed off, can it?  I didn't read as much as I wanted to, but I did get a lot more leisure reading done than usual.
6. Move out of my apartment and find a place to store my stuff. - A work in progress.  There are some pieces of furniture that still need to be moved out, and my roommates and I need to clean out our kitchen soon.
7. Up my Netflix use. - Again, not really something that can be crossed off completely because of its vague nature.  But I definitely received/sent DVDs more frequently and used Watch Instantly a lot.
8. Work on my running. - I admit that I didn't do this.  But I did manage to make it to the gym several times this summer so at least I got exercise.
9. Get my own health insurance plan. - Finally, something that can be crossed off! :-)
10. Pack for the CP. - I have yet to start this one.  Most of my stuff is packed up in boxes while I move but it needs to be filtered through while I figure out what I'm actually bringing with me next month.

I guess looking at it this way, my summer to-do efforts look like a bit of a failure.  But that's the consequence of choosing vague goals!  And there were other things I did that aren't on this list I wrote several months ago.

The next couple of weeks before I leave will be very busy, as well.  Robin and I leave on Monday and get back the following Friday.  Then the next morning I'm getting on a plane for a weekend trip to surprise someone.  I hate flying so I'm bringing a book or two and hoping that the flights go by quickly.  I would bring some knitting, but getting needles on the plane is so dependent on the whim of the particular guard checking carry-on luggage that I won't bother.  When I get back from that trip, there will be less than three weeks left before check-in so it will be time to start seriously packing!

That's it for me today.  Take care of yourself, dear reader!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Eight Weeks Left!

In just eight weeks the August CPs will start checking in, which means that I'll be moving in to the apartments!  Today the last group of Fall Advantage people checked in, so I hope that they all enjoy their first few days of training.  Good luck everyone!  So many D-Fam folks are already there, and I can't wait to meet them.

It looks like I have some new roommates!  A couple of months ago, I found someone on the Facebook groups and we chatted about sharing a room but it doesn't look like it will work out.  So for the moment, there are 3 of us and we are looking for a fourth!

Now that I am less than two months away from arriving in Orlando, I suddenly feel a rush of nerves.  I'm excited of course!  But when we were three or more months away from checking in, it felt far enough not to get nervous or stressed.  When I realized that now it is less than two months until my program starts, suddenly I thought, "Where did all that time go?  And there's so little time left!"  It got me thinking about how much I still have left to do and all of the people/things/places that I'm going to miss while in Orlando.  I suppose that what I'm experiencing could be considered "pre-homesickness."  I'm a pretty emotional person so I expect to have a hard time with these last few weeks.

What about you, fellow Fall CPs?  Are you feeling at all nervous or anxious, or is it just excitement?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Defending Your CP Decision

If you are a past/present/future College Program participant, it's pretty likely that you've run into at least one negative friend, family member, school advisor, or complete stranger.  You know the type.  "You're doing the College Program?  You know you'll just be cheap labor, right?"  Or "I can't imagine anything worse than working for Disney.  All those annoying kids and angry tourists!"  Although it doesn't apply to me as a graduate, I've also heard "You're postponing graduation to operate roller coasters for a semester?"  There are numerous possibilities for the negative questions or statements undoubtedly coming your way at least once.  And it can be enough to get you defensively riled up sometimes.

Since I went public with my decision to do the CP, I've had many of these conversations already and I expect to have many more.  It's simply unavoidable.  But this post was inspired by a conversation online that I had the other day.  I was in a favorite online community and the subject of Disneyland/Disney World came up.  What followed was a division of members on whether Disney was a favorite aspect of childhood memories and experiences or an evil corporation determined to weasel money away from innocents.  It's pretty common whenever Disney becomes a topic there, so I wasn't surprised.  A fellow community member stated that she (or he, I don't know) was just hired at Disneyland to work in Attractions and was really excited.  I jumped in and responded with "Good luck! I start working at WDW in a few weeks!"  Then someone else responded to me, and here was the turn the conversation took.

Her: "Awesome!  I'm a Cast Member, do you know where you'll be working?"
Me: "Nope, not yet.  I'm in Attractions, though!"
Her: "If you want, I can check the Hub for you to find out your assignment.  I'd be happy to!"
Me: "Well thanks!  But I don't start until August so I am not in the system yet."
Her: "Oh Lord...  You aren't an unfortunate CP, are you?"
Me: "Yes, I am!"

And there was never a reply.  This amused me because it jumps to a whole new level of harsh outside perspectives.  Now other Cast Members are expressing their CP negativity to me.  At least I'm taking her at her word that she is indeed a CM.

There are so many ways to defend your decision to do the CP, depending on the specifics of the conversation.  If they tell you that you'll be wasting a semester or that Disney is just using you, you can point out the education and networking opportunities which are always a valuable aspect and ideal of any internship (although often people my age end up running for coffee and making copies in the name of "interning").  And regardless of your experience, you will be able to put a big name like Disney on your resume when you finish the program.  This is a point that the program uses for advertisement and I think it's a valid one.  In my own experience I've worked for both an international well-known retail company and a local small business that no one has ever heard of.  Which do you think stands out more on my resume?  Even during my CP interview, the interviewer expressed greater interest in my experience with that company because she was familiar with the corporation and the skills I would possess in order to be considered for a job there as well as the skills I would gain during my employment.  I think the same applies for the Disney company in terms of familiarity.  In my opinion any experience is good experience but the big name doesn't hurt.  As college or post-college jobs go, you could be doing much worse and not getting the same education/networking opportunities.  (For the record, I'm not saying that the CP is a fast-track to anything else because experiences vary.  A lot of it depends on how the participant chooses to utilize these opportunities!)

But this is just one example of how we will undoubtedly need to back up our choice to do the CP.  What about you, readers?  Any interesting stories about people expressing these sentiments to you about the CP?  How do you respond?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

And by the way, I've jumped on the TUMBLR bandwagon.  If you have one, feel free to follow and/or let me know!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

75 Days!

So as of today I'm only 75 days away from checking in for my College Program.  A lot of the Fall Advantage participants are already checked in and training for their new roles as Cast Members.  And I know several people who will be arriving mid-June so I'm excited for them!  And it's got me feeling a combination of anxious, excited, jealous, and un-ready.  I am really enjoying reading others' blogs about check-in and Traditions.  It's nice to have a clearer idea of what to expect in those first days.

I'm still debating whether or not to request a work location.  Some part of me does want to be completely surprised, and since a request would not be guaranteed I could still be surprised anyway.  Also, when considering where I would ask to be placed, I cannot come up with many solid contenders.  It's funny but I am actually having more success at coming up with a few places where I hope I won't work.  I could go a broader route and request one park, or even something a bit less vague like "Frontierland."  Or maybe I could come up with my top 3 requests, vague or otherwise, and send those in.  Even if they end up denying my request it wouldn't hurt to ask!  I think that I will focus on narrowing the request possibilities down over the next few days and e-mail them by the end of the week.  I doubt that it is too late in the game to do this.

Until next time, dear readers!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: LOST!

Happy Sunday!!  I hope that you are all doing really well this week.  Best of luck to all of the CPs who either just checked in or who are checking in soon!  I don't have a lot of time, so let's get right to this week's photo.

Week 11: LOST!

My apologies for a badly-taken photograph!  I will hopefully have time to edit and repost it later.

This picture was taken at MGM Studios (back when it was called that) in April 2006.  Rob and I were wandering around the park and came across this poster.  Since we are both huge fans of the show (and by "huge fans" I mean "LOST-loving, Drive-Shaft-tshirt-wearing nerds") we had to stop for a photo.  Since the LOST finale is tonight I had to make this my photo of the week.  I know most people are huge fans of various shows, but this is the first time I've ever followed a show through from start to finish (okay... I started watching during the second season.  Shame!) with such excitement.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm on my way to a finale party with Rob's family!  I've got my Dharma wine ready!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Linking You to Deliciousness

So this evening I decided to finally tackle my Google Reader.  It's been pretty neglected since final exams with only the occasional blog post already read.  I decided I needed to whittle it down a lot.  Now I'm down from about 130 posts unread to 71.  Wish me luck!

Anyway the purpose of this post is to link you to some delicious-looking baked treats.  This post was made yesterday so it was back a bit in my Reader.  But once I found it, I knew I must share!  Warning: Clicking this link may result in immediate cravings for cake or other such goodies.



Image from Bakerella.com

Hope you enjoy checking out the pictures!  She has several other yummy-looking posts you should check out as well.  Everyone take care!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Halloween at the Magic Kingdom!

Hello there, readers!  I hope that everyone's month is going well, whether you're finishing up school, getting ready to leave for the CP, or just getting by day-to-day.  It's a week into my summer and I'm enjoying it!  Although soon I'll need to start the process of cleaning my bedroom out completely.  This summer I'm staying at my parents' house and we're redoing my room here.  They are considering moving in the next year or so, and the room desperately needs to be cleaned and painted before that.  So now is as good a time as any to get it done.  I just dread purging the room of clothes, junk, and other miscellaneous things that I don't need anymore.  It's too bad I don't have three good fairies to help, right?

Anyway, it's time for this week's Disney photo!  There wasn't one last week because I was just too busy.  Hope that you enjoy this picture!

Week 12: Halloween at the Magic Kingdom!

I can't wait to see Disney World decorated for Halloween again!  You may remember that Rob, my sister, and I went to WDW this past Halloween for the party, and I loved seeing the decorations everywhere.  We only saw the Magic Kingdom, and I really want to explore all of the other Halloween decor this fall.

This week's photo shows one of the scarecrows on Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom.  There are so many cool elements to check out on Main Street this time of year, including the scarecrows and jack-o-lanterns along the windows.  I am very excited to be there later in the year to enjoy the Halloween atmosphere!  And I certainly want to check out Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party again!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Graduated!

Sorry I've been MIA for a little while!  The past two weeks were really exciting/busy/stressful!  But now I have plenty of time to relax, and even catch up on blogs.  So while I watch this week's episode of The Tudors (for the third time, I admit... Showtime has aired it every night this week and I can't help myself), I'll write a quick update for anyone interested.

Biggest change is that I graduated!  I officially hold a degree in History now.  In case you missed it, I got an A on my senior thesis!  As for the rest of my classes, some went really well and some just barely scraped by.  Several family members flew/drove into town for the graduation ceremony and it was great to have them there to share it with me.  I'm not a football fan, so the ceremony actually marked the first time I set foot into our stadium. :)  I admit that I actually was not very excited about the ceremony for awhile.  The undergraduate class was so large that I knew it would be very impersonal and just an overall day-long fiasco.  But looking back, I'm glad that I went.  I even wore my hot pink Converse sneakers so that I would be comfortable, and this turned out to be a good decision because my family was able to spot me among the huge crowd.  Some aspects of the day were pretty tedious, but it was still a fun experience.  My relatives took some photos during the day, but I haven't seen any of them yet.  I was able to use my cell phone during the ceremony to text updates to friends/family, send news to Twitter, and take a couple of photos (such as after my college turned our tassels).

After graduation was finished, I had a couple of days to visit with my family members.  They live in Texas, Wyoming, and Colorado, so we don't all get together often.  Then last night Robert and his family prepared a delicious birthday/graduation feast for me!  We had a great evening full of yummy food and reruns of The Office.  I've really been spoiled on food, fun, and family this week!

And now that school is officially over, I've got plenty of time to relax and prepare to leave for Orlando.  It's weird knowing that I don't have any classes to go back to in the fall, or even later this summer.  I've been a full-time student for seventeen years and now I'm suddenly not one.  There's this strange "Well, what now?" feeling that comes with it.

Now I need to get to sleep, so take care until next time!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to Cheat at Five Facts!

As you may have noticed, this "Five Facts" vlog thing has quickly taken off.  And in her "Five Facts" vlog, Jenn "tagged" a nebulous group of us who blog but don't vlog.  I'm taking this an an invitation to cheat at the tradition. :-)  I considered making a vlog for the first time, but honestly the idea of putting myself on YouTube gives me the creeps at this point.  That's a lot of eyes to be peering at me from their screens as I try to articulate into the webcam.  Live audiences I can handle.  Virtual viewers, no way!  So sorry, but you must continue to enjoy (or loathe) me in written form for now!


Five Fun Facts about Anna!

1. I've lived in Georgia my entire life and have no southern accent.
It's true that people are often surprised to hear that I've never lived anywhere but the South because I have no trace of an accent to indicate it.  Sometimes I throw in a "y'all" or two just for fun.  But if I want the fun(ny) accent, I have to fake it.  And when I try to fake it, it's usually not very good.

2. I can't whistle.
And of course this means that every person I've ever told was sure that they could be the one to teach me!  It's never worked.  There's no music in these lips, I guess.

3. My car is named George Boleyn.
History geek alert!  That and I'm a huge fan of naming cars.  This includes naming mine and everyone else's.  My first car was named Elphaba because she was too big, awkward-looking, and had a strange green tint.  But a few years ago she died. :(  So for the past five years I've been driving around in George.  And he's all decked out with Tinkerbell gear!  At first I didn't care for George and just missed my old car, but now I love him.

4. I love to travel.
Most people do, right?  I really enjoy going on trips, both to new places and old favorites.  So far I've been to numerous states around the U.S. including Hawaii, as well as the Bahamas, France, Italy, Sweden, Malta, and the Netherlands.  I can't wait to go back to some of these places, and there are many more on my list for future travel!  One of my favorite ways to kill time is to hop on the internet and plan fantasy trips to various locations.  Unfortunately though, I hate flying.  I wish we could travel everywhere by car, train, and ship.

5. I hate walking anywhere barefoot.
I have absolutely no idea how this preference got started, but at some point over the last several years I've practically developed a fear of floors and the ground in general.  So I can't walk anywhere without some kind of footwear, even if it's just socks or slippers, unless it is absolutely necessary.

And if you want to cheat at Five Facts, you need more than five facts!

6. I was involved in several theatre organizations and productions.
My first play was at age 10, when I got one of the lead roles in the school Christmas play.  I'm guessing the main reason they picked me is because I'm loud. :)  But I loved it, so until the end of high school I was heavily involved in school theatre stuff.  I even served as the Public Relations officer in my high school's Drama Club!  Last time I checked, they still use the format that I introduced for their programs/playbills.  Robert and I even met at Georgia Thespian Conference 2005!

So there you have it,  random facts about me!

Now on an unrelated note, I made an A on my senior thesis!  Confetti time!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Finding Brer Fox!

Good evening, dear readers!  I can't believe that graduation is this Saturday.  Unreal!  Unfortunately I have three very difficult final exams between now and then. :-/  My mind is just all over the place getting ready for this week.  But on a happier note, there is another countdown to acknowledge!  I'm now officially in the double digits in counting down to the WDWCP!  Very exciting, indeed.

Week 14: Finding Brer Fox!

For this week, I chose a photo of myself and Brer Fox!

This picture comes from May 2007, when Rob and I went on our first Disney trip alone.  We picked a great time to go, because there were hardly any crowds!  On this particular morning, we got to the Magic Kingdom around 9:00am (if I recall correctly) and Frontierland was practically empty.  We rode Splash Mountain and even got our own log because we were the only ones in line!  After the ride we were wandering around leisurely, and spotted Brer Fox standing around waiting for guests to approach.  I think the character attendant said they were about to leave because no one was coming up to him.  So Rob and I ran up with his autograph book and then I got my picture taken.  They say he's not very rare around Frontierland, but I'd never seen Brer Fox before in the park.  It was great to get a photo with him!  And it was just one of many great memories from this trip.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: A Picture with a Princess!

Happy Sunday, dear readers!  I hope that everyone is doing well as the semester winds down.  As for me, this week was interesting and rather depressing but things are looking up now.  Guess what?  Tomorrow I turn in my senior thesis and fill out my exit forms for the History department!  It's exciting!  I've spent most of the weekend revising, revising, and revising my paper because I'm a bit of a perfectionist.  If this baby is going to be published in my university's archives then I'll be proofreading right up until the end!  To be honest I'm picturing something like that final scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but still!  And you can bet that I already have a bottle of champagne chilled and ready to be opened tomorrow night!

Now it's time for the photo of the week!

Week 15: A Picture with a Princess!

This picture is from December 2007, when my family was in WDW for New Year's.  I wanted to get lots of photos with characters, so I talked everyone into going with me to meet the Disney Princesses in the Judge's Tent.  So here I am with Aurora, and I'm attempting to imitate the "princess" pose that they often strike in photos.  As you can see, I definitely wasn't on the same level!  And the too-big pants!  Definitely not princess-y.  Aurora was very sweet.  She asked me which kingdom I traveled from and whether I came by carriage or magic carpet.

I hope I can get tons of character photos this fall!  Everyone take care, and have a magical week!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Imagine, just one birthday every year!

Yes, it's my birthday today.  I'm totally preoccupied with school stuff and won't have time/energy to celebrate, but I thought I'd share a few photos from my 21st birthday last year.  Enjoy!

Yes, I attempted to take this photo myself! :-D  We were staying at POP Century, so I had to take a picture with the sign from the year I was born.










My dad and I attempted to take photos of ourselves on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!  The sun was obviously pretty bright that day, making this an interesting task.

We used to ride the Speedway together over and over when I was younger, so we had to ride it on my birthday!  I think it was a good ten years since the last time we'd been on the ride.  Of course I drove!


And I got my picture taken with my favorite chipmunks!

I was able to order my first legal drink on my birthday when we went to Kona Cafe that night.  But I got really sick (this was actually the day I discovered that I'm lactose intolerant!) so I couldn't enjoy more than half of it.  The next day we had lunch at Downtown Disney before leaving Orlando, so I was able to enjoy this Magical Star Cocktail to make up for it.  Yum!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Visiting the Mouse in 1992!

Hopefully everyone is enjoying their weekend!  There are only three weeks left of the semester, so things around here are busy, busy, busy!  Anyway, time to get to the photo for this week. :)  It's quite an oldie.

Week 16: Visiting the Mouse in 1992!

At least we're assuming this one was taken in 1992.  Disney trips back then seem to blur together!  In this photo, my sister Laura and I are obviously visiting Mickey Mouse.  But wait!  Check out his old-school dressing room!  It's been so long since then, I totally forgot what it looked like!  This photo makes me very nostalgic about the old area where Toontown Fair is now, and where Fantasyland Forest is soon to be.

Also, here's a funny story.  We have a VHS recording of when my sister and I met Mickey Mouse on our first trip to WDW in 1991.  My sister was about six months old at the time, and she took one look at him and burst into tears!  Poor Mickey looked so confused and tried to make her feel better, but she'd have none of it.  And in this photo taken roughly a year later, it looks like she's still a bit traumatized from their first meeting!

Well I've got some school stuff to get back to now.  Have a great week, dear readers!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Quest for the Disney Look: Flattering My Shape

If you have been keeping up with other CP blogs or the Facebook group, then you know that a lot of participants are talking about, freaking out about, and researching the Disney Look, particularly the business attire which is required when not "in costume".  The phrase even seems to be inspiring dread in some, although these folks look pretty excited!

So inevitably I needed to buckle down and think seriously about what professional attire I will wear while in Orlando.  Business attire is required when I attend Traditions (basically the WDW College Program orientation), if I take classes during my program, and possibly for other CP-related occasions.  It will be especially useful during networking opportunities.  Now I won't bother you with the entire list of Disney Look guidelines, so if you would like to learn more about what is required then click here.  In this post, I will be specifically be focusing on the Non-Costumed Guidelines for Women.  Sorry male readers, but this information probably won't apply to you! ;-)

Now since this blog is about yours truly, my search for appropriate professional clothing will be covered here.  In this first post, I am examining what clothing I can find that will best flatter my body shape.  Not only does my clothing need to be appropriate, it needs to be appropriate for me.  The sharpest or cutest outfit in the world can still look bad if it's not right for your body.  As someone who has not spent lots of time shopping for business or business casual clothes in the past, I feel very much like a blank slate.

The best way I can describe my shape is that it is a combination of pear-shaped and hourglass-shaped.  My bust/shoulder area is only slightly slimmer than my hips when going by measurements, which counts as pear-shaped.  But my waist is tiny and noticeable, which leans towards the hourglass and divides my body very clearly into upper and lower halves.  I'm also pretty... blessed in the hips/butt/thighs area (thanks, genetics!) so that typically stands out in comparison to the rest of me and can make finding the right clothes a bit of a struggle.  Like a dress can fit very well in my upper body, but cling way too much to my lower half.  Or it is just right in the lower section, but loose around my bust.  At a little less than 5'4", I also qualify as petite.

So I've scoured the internet for a while and gathered a pretty good list of tips for me to find figure-appropriate clothing, specifically business or business casual attire.  These aren't rules by any means, just some guidelines to help me find outfits in which I feel confident and professional.


Dresses
  • Avoid styles that hide your shape, like trapeze dresses
  • But look for something that flows gracefully, draping over your curves rather than creating a tent affect
  • Always go for something that shows off your waist
  • Because manufacturers often cut clothing for women with a rectangle or even triangle shape, consider separates in order to get a customized fit
  • Wrap dresses work well for showing off your waistline without over-emphasizing the bust or hips.
  • Do not be afraid to have a dress altered to fit you correctly.  But remember that it is much easier to have clothing taken in than let out.
  • If you are wearing a long dress, try to get a hemline that falls to the floor.  Avoid a dress that stops at the ankle.
  • Dresses that fall too high above the knee will call attention to the widest part of your leg.  And dresses that fall too far below the knee give a dowdy appearance and do nothing to slenderize.  Try to look for hemlines that are close to your knees.
Pants/Skirts
  • For skirts, an A-line cut might be best or a straight skirt.  But make sure that the fit is just right, not too tight or too loose.
  • For shorter women, a skirt with a hemline just above, just below, or right on the knee is best.  Avoid mini-skirts unless you have very slender legs.  A skirt that ends too low on the calf will make your legs like short and wide.
  • If you would like to wear boots with a skirt, try to avoid any gap between the top of the boot and the bottom of the skirt (ideally, the boot extends up underneath the skirt).  This will keep your legs from looking stumpy.
  • Women with large hips should avoid pleated or gathered skirts, as these will call attention to this area.
  • Pencil skirts can be very flattering, with or without a jacket.  Just make sure not to wear one that fits too tightly, or this will over-emphasize your hips/butt/thighs.
  • When looking for pants, pay attention to color.  For petite women with hourglass figures, dark colors are an ideal choice.
  • Less than ideal choices would be pants with plaid, print designs, low-rise waistlines, or pleats.
  • Avoid belting your pants at the hip.
  • Straight leg or bootcut pants could work well on your figure, but legs with slight flare at the bottom will help balance out your legs (especially for women who have larger thighs but a skinny calf/ankle area).  Try on different types and see what you are most comfortable with.
  • Vertical lines, such as on pinstripes, are a good choice.
Tops
  • Learn to love the V-neckline, U-neckline, and Sweetheart neckline.  If you are petite, they will help add height to your figure.  They are also flattering for the shoulders and bust.
  • Look for fitted styles rather than straight, shapeless cuts which could hide your waistline
  • The choice to wear sleeves or sleeveless tops is up to you; take into consideration climate, personal preference, and how comfortable you are showing off your arms.  But sleeveless tops that are too tight could emphasize that your bust is smaller.
  • Try not to pick tops that over-emphasize the bust or shoulders, because these could make you look top heavy (examples would be large ruffles, puffy sleeves, and thick shoulder pads).  But some shoulder emphasis is fine to give you a balanced look.  And make sure that the shoulder areas are fitted well, or else your shoulder line will have a very sloppy look.
  • Avoid tops that are too long and end at the widest part of your hips.
  • Also try to stay away from too many patterns with horizontal lines.  These can often gift you a wider appearance.
  • If you are petite, be careful with frilly details.
Jackets
  • For petite women who want to maintain the look of a defined waist, a semi-fitted or close-fitted style is best to follow the body's natural curves
  • As with tops, avoid straight cuts in the waistline and go for a closer fit
  • Avoid shoulder pads, but pay attention to shape so as to appear balanced
  • Look for styles that do not hit at or below the hip
  • Try out single-breasted jackets to avoid appearing too bulky.  The goal is to balance your upper body with your lower body, not over-emphasize your top half.
  • Look for jackets with a V-neck opening.
Now as I said, these aren't set in stone or anything.  I'm perfectly willing to try various styles and looks, but it helps to have a general idea of what will or won't look particularly flattering on me.  Something that you thought would look horrible could end up looking great!  Then there's always that piece of clothing that you thought would be perfect, and then you tried it on and hated it.  So open minds all around!

I already found a couple of items in my closet that will work, and I purchased a few pieces this week (everyone was having a sale!).  But I'll leave those for a later post. :)  Take care!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Links Page

Good morning!  I just wanted to pop in and let you know that I've added a new page to my blog, Disney Links  I've gathered some of my favorite websites for learning about all things Disney, and you can find the link to this new page over in the sidebar in the future.  Hopefully you will enjoy it!  And if you have any suggestions for websites that I should add, feel free to leave a comment letting me know.


Oh!  And this blog has gathered more than 50 followers!  You all are awesome and I'm so flattered that you took the time to read this. :-)

Have a great day!  Here is a blurry photo of a Mickey waffle for your time.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Rob and Mickey Mouse!

Week 17: Rob and Mickey Mouse!

I'm excited to share this one!  This photo is from Rob's first trip to Walt Disney World!  He came with my family in April 2006 for spring break, and it was really fun to experience WDW with a newbie.  And of course, my parents got him an autograph book for his first trip (we still take it there with us to collect new signatures) and we got photos with a few characters.  So here is Rob in his first photo with Mickey Mouse!  I think it's just too cute.  If I recall correctly, this was also Rob's first day in the Magic Kingdom!  And no, this won't be the last appearance of the amusing flowered shirt. :-)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Boom, posted!

So four months from today, I'll be leaving for Orlando!  At least, that's the plan so far.  I am getting so excited!  And I graduate one month from tomorrow, which feels fantastic.  Now if only there weren't all these assignments and final exams in between.

My parents came into town for a quick visit today, so they took my sister and I out to eat.  We chatted for a bit about the CP and what things I need to shop for over the summer before I leave.  I can tell they are really excited for me!  We also decided to postpone any celebration of my birthday (April 21st!) until May 9th when we are going to celebrate graduation.  So it will be one big day of Anna love. :-D  I am just going to be too busy before then to feel like engaging in any birthday-related festivities.  Besides, my Nana is coming to visit from Wyoming to go to graduation, so just having a family evening to combine the two seemed like a practical idea.  But I am sad because Robert won't be able to be there for personal reasons.  He's been so supportive and helpful over the last few years and it meant a lot to me to celebrate this achievement with him.  But life likes to throw curveballs sometimes, and he'll be there with me in spirit.

On a lighter note, I've already started thinking about what Christmas gifts I want to send/bring back from WDW!  I especially love this thread on the DIS, and it's given me all sorts of ideas.  Some people will still be getting other gifts too, but I couldn't not give the Disney fans in my life something from the World.  I'm going to try and hold off on buying gifts until the holiday discounts kick in, unless it's something that I know will be unavailable by then.  As for other Christmas shopping, I'm actually going to try and get that done over the summer!  Then I can leave wrapped gifts with whoever I can count on to distribute them when the time comes.  That way I won't be scrambling to find gifts while in Orlando or have to pay as much in shipping charges if the gift is something I could have selected earlier and left at home.

Well that's all for right now.  I've got some CP-centric post ideas floating around in my head, so I'm going to work on formulating them.  There are already so many great blogs out there providing info on the program itself, so I don't want to just copy them.  I'm trying to come up with stuff I can write about in relation to the CP without sounding (or reading) like a robot.  Because as much as I hope past/present/future CP participants will enjoy learning information about the grand scheme of the program here, this blog is first and foremost about me and my personal experiences with it.  So until I actually arrive in August, posts will be pretty varied.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Guess what I did today?

This afternoon I submitted a full draft of my senior thesis!  My professor and I already have a meeting at the end of the week to look over it together and figure out what needs to be revised, what needs to be cut out, and where additions/elaborations need to be made.  And then in three weeks, I turn in my final version to the department.  It feels like a giant leap towards my diploma!  33 days until graduation!

And just for fun, here is a picture of my cat Mickey checking out his Easter basket yesterday morning.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Easter Rabbit!

Hope that you all are enjoying your Easter Sunday!  I wasn't able to go home this weekend due to lots of schoolwork. :(  The first full draft of my senior thesis is due tomorrow, and I still have a lot of work to do on it!  And if I need to respond to your e-mail, don't worry!  I've been neglecting my entire inbox this week, but I promise I will reply as soon as possible!  And at some point this week, I'm going to write a post with some actual updates in it!

On to the main event!

Week 18: Easter Rabbit!


I wanted to try and post something Easter-related for today, and this rabbit photo is the best that I could find.  This photo was taken during my birthday trip in 2009.  We were in the Magic Kingdom for the day, and we saw the White Rabbit on the Teacups!  I was pretty excited because I have never seen him around the park before.  So of course I had to take pictures.  Later I was able to get my photo taken with him outside the ride, but I don't look good in that one so I'm keeping it secret. :)  Anyway, it was so cool to see him on the ride!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Checking In!


I hope that everyone had a great weekend!  I went home to visit, so I've been MIA from the internet a bit over the past couple of days.  But now it's time for this week's Disney photo!

Week 19: Laura with the Check-In Papers


To me, few things are more exciting during a Disney trip than checking into the resort (or wherever you are staying, if not on property)!  There is nothing like that "We're finally here!" feeling.  It's one of my favorite parts of the whole Disney vacation experience.  So this week's (slightly blurry) photo is of my sister Laura with our check-in folder and room keys for the All-Star Music Resort during our December 2007 trip.  We drove in from St. Augustine that morning, so it was still early and we were ready to have some Disney fun!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cooking on the CP: Housing Kitchens

Who wouldn't love a post about food?  As for myself, I love to prepare food almost as much as I love to eat it.  And while it is still early, I got to thinking about the kitchen situation in the CP apartments.  On the Checklist of Things to Bring page, they recommend bringing a toaster.  Well, I have a toaster oven already.  So if none of my roommates has one, we're covered. :-)  I also have a slow cooker, although I just got it and haven't even used it yet.  Now I don't know how others feel about this, but I'm a big fan of cooking up a large batch of food (even if it's just soup or Hamburger Helper!) and saving leftovers for a couple of days' worth of lunches or dinners.  And if this is at all possible in the CP housing, then I'm going to attempt it.  I'm not saying I do this incredibly frequently.  But if I know I've got a busy few days coming up, then it's good to have at least one less thing to worry about and have some of my meals covered.  As wonderful as the idea of fresh food for every meal is, there are always days when it's just not possible.


Anyway, all of this got me wondering exactly what is available in the CP housing kitchens.  So here is the list of amenities, according to the official site:


Appliances
  • Refrigerator w/ ice maker
  • Stove, Oven, & Microwave
  • Dishwasher
Utensils and Dishes
  • Assortment of Pots & Pans w/ lids
  • Mixing Bowl Set
  • Measuring Cups
  • Cutting Board
  • Spatula
  • Can Opener
  • Cutting Knife
  • Ladle
  • Tea Kettle
  • Serving Spoons
  • Cookie Sheets
  • Dinner plates
  • Salad Plates
  • Cereal Bowls
  • Drinking Glasses
  • Coffee Cups
  • Set of knives, spoons and forks
Honestly, this is a lot more than I was expecting in the ways of kitchen amenities because I'm used to unfurnished apartments.  The cookie sheets through me for a loop, because I have a set of 3 that I was going to bring.  My current roommates and I were planning on divvying up the silverware when we move out, so odds are that I'll have some extras to bring if my CP roommies are interested.  Even between the three of us here, we are always running out of either forks or spoons long before we run out of any other silverware.  So with several roommates, it couldn't hurt to have some extras lying around.  Right?  And it seems like there is no colander provided, so that may need to be added to the list of things to purchase after checking in and evaluating the kitchen.

Now as for what to cook, I thought I'd share one of my favorite websites for getting recipes: AllRecipes.com.  It's amazingly helpful for finding dishes, reading reviews, getting some suggestions for modifications, etc.  I've found some of my favorite recipes there, and there are many in my account's Recipe Box that are still waiting to be tried.  In regards to cooking while on the CP, I'll steer you in the direction of the Everyday Cooking section.  Here you can find recipes for budget cooking, campus cooking, 15-45 minute dishes, etc.  If you do some searching, odds are you'll find some very doable recipes for any kitchen situation and budget.  And if nothing else, you can look at some pictures of yummy food.

Some people might think of the next two paragraphs as full of pretty obvious info, especially if they've lived with roommates before; but I'll post it anyway.  It's my blog and I can do what I want. ;-)  Whether you intend to cook your own meals regularly or whether you plan to rely on frozen meals and cans of Chef Boyardee (which believe me, I do that too!), you will need to consider the fact that you are sharing kitchen space with 1-7 other people.  The other day Jenn posted a link to a thread on the DIS in which a former CP'er shared her experiences including those related to fridge space.  The entire thread is worth reading, but this post offers some pretty good advice on how to share the space in the housing fridge without jumping down each other's throats if you will have several roommates.  Last year, I moved into our apartment a few days later than my other two roommates.  So when I arrived, they had already finished their grocery shopping and filled the entire fridge/freezer and every cabinet.  I had to scrounge for any space to put my groceries, and it took a few weeks for the three of us to get into a groove as far as kitchen space goes.  There will probably be an issue now and then with kitchen space, so be prepared and remain civil at all times!

As for my own personal advice, label any food that you don't intend to share in some way!  Even if you just get a cheap pack of small stickers to put on cans or boxes, it can help.  There is always the "I don't remember buying this, but I'm still pretty sure that it's mine!" phenomenon among roommates.  Just a couple of weeks ago my unopened jar of peanut butter walked away with one of my roommies on her weekend trip because she thought it belonged to her.  And if you and any of your roommates use the same food products that don't last very long (milk, bread, etc.) and you know you won't use them fast enough, then it doesn't hurt to consider going in on some of your groceries together and sharing.

Well that's all I can think of to write on cooking in the CP housing right now.  Have a great day, everyone!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Captain Hook and Mr. Smee!

Technically it's Sunday now where I am.  Another week, another photo!

Week 20: My sister and I with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee







This picture always makes me laugh! It's from our trip in December 2007 right after Christmas when my family decided to spend a few days in WDW before New Year's. In case you don't know, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee are often available for Meet & Greet in the Magic Kingdom, right outside Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. That morning my family got up early and made it to the EMH at 7:00am! We saw quite a few characters that morning. But we hadn't taken a photo with Captain Hook in years, so Laura and I took advantage of the chance. Unfortunately I haven't had a picture with them since this, but hopefully that will change in the fall! One thing I don't like about this photo? It's very obvious that my younger sister is taller than me. How embarrassing.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Disney Photo of the Week: Not-So-Scary Halloween!

So I've counted twice, and if I'm correct there should be 21 weeks exactly until it's time for me to check-in at Vista for the WDWCP!  Well, it's 21 weeks from tomorrow.  But close enough.

As a weekly thing, most likely to happen every Sunday, I'm going to post a favorite Disney photo from one of my trips and tell you about it!  I hope that you'll enjoy them!

Week 21: Me at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

It's only fitting that the first Photo of the Week would feature yours truly! As you may or may not know, I was able to attend my first MNSSHP this past October on Halloween night. Rob, my sister Laura, and I all drove to WDW for a quick weekend trip to go to the party during fall break. It was so much fun, but there was so much to do! I'm definitely going to need to attend this party again while I'm in Orlando this fall!

This photo was taken while we were waiting to enter the Magic Kingdom right before 4pm, when they start letting those with party tickets enter the park. Rob and I dressed up as Gaston and Belle, and here you can see my attempt at re-creating Belle's village ensemble. My costume was very comfortable and worked out well! Except that around 10:30pm, my shoes seemed to give out on me and my feet were very sore for the rest of the night. They were shoes designed for trekking, so I don't know why they couldn't handle the Magic Kingdom. But it was totally worth it!

Take care, everyone!  It's time for me to knock out some schoolwork!  Or be knocked out by it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

First thoughts on arriving for the CP

For something much more CP-related than Disney movie news, I thought I would share the beginnings of my prospective plans to arrive in Orlando in August.  Obviously it is all very tentative at this point, but planning needs to begin!


I have decided that I will probably be arriving on my own, rather than bringing anyone with me.  This is for several reasons.  Firstly, I am driving to Orlando, so whoever would be coming with me would either need to drive their own car there and back or ride with me and take a very short flight home because we do not live very far away from WDW.  This is not terribly practical for anyone that I would want to bring with me.  Secondly, considering how much independence the CP requires I feel that it will be perfectly fine for me to make the drive by myself and check in successfully.  With the CP website providing all necessary paperwork ahead of time, I expect this to be relatively easy to do by myself.  And I will be checking in with my roommate(s), so it is not like I will be totally by myself anyway.  Lastly, bringing a loved one with me would probably make it that much harder to say goodbye. :-(

As for the drive itself, I have made it a few times with no problems, except for trying to find the elusive I-16 near Statesboro, GA.  I swear, there is a different route to it every time I drive to Florida!!

So I check in on August 9th.  Bright and early.  There is talk of a CP meet-up the night before, and I would love to be there for that!  So I think I will drive to FL and arrive on  the evening of the 7th.  Estimated travel time is eight hours.  This way, I can already be there August 8th and be able to find exactly where I need to be the next morning in order to check-in.  I'm the kind of driver who needs not only directions, but to drive the route myself ahead of time if it is somewhere important and I've never been there before.  So rather than risk getting terribly lost on check-in morning, I want to be familiar with the location early.  Hopefully my roommate and I will be meeting up on the 7th or the 8th, too!

Now with this tentative plan, I need to scout out hotels to stay in as close to the check-in area as possible!

 
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