Celebrating My 21st Birthday at Magic Kingdom!

Many people dream of spending their birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth. Lots of people go during their birth month, but not many get to spend the actual day at the parks. I had the chance to do so a couple of weekends ago, and I had the time of my life!

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I started off watching the Friendship Faire on the stage in front of Cinderella’s castle. Then, I went to lunch at the Be Our Guest Restaurant, a table service restaurant in New Fantasyland that is modeled after the Beast’s castle in Beauty and the Beast. Of the three dining rooms to choose from, I chose to eat in the main ballroom. I had the braised pork with veggies and the French onion soup. It was absolutely delicious! After, I decided that I wanted some dessert, so I asked a waiter if I could order some. Seeing my birthday button on my shirt, he gave me a Grey Stuff cupcake on the house, as well as a happy birthday card signed by Belle and the Beast. I must say, it was delicious; I even asked the dishes!

After lunch, I decided to go out and meet some characters. I booked Fastpasses for myself to meet Ariel, Rapunzel, and Tiana. Once I left the restaurant, I went over to Storybook Circus to meet Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. The 30-minute wait was so worth it!

I went back to Belle’s village heading over to meet Ariel, and I saw that Gaston had a fairly short line. I decided to hop in line to meet Gaston. I’m glad I did because right after I lined up, they closed the line. It was a wonderful interaction; Gaston is definitely one of my favorites! He asked me what my favorite part about my birthday had been so far, and I said it was meeting him. He even called me feisty when I hugged him around the waist, which was hilarious.

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After meeting Gaston, I had a FastPass+ to meet Ariel in her Grotto. If you know me, you know I am obsessed with mermaids, so getting to meet Ariel with her mermaid tail was a dream come true. She complimented my hair and asked if I used a dinglehopper to brush it with.

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Once I finished at Ariel’s Grotto, I ran over to Main Street U.S.A. to watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade. It was definitely worth having to move around to see around all the tall people around me. The music is very catchy, but the number of characters and amount of detail and effort put into the parade is amazing!

When the parade was over, I went back to Fantasyland (my favorite land in Magic Kingdom, to be honest) and saw people gathering around Peter Pan’s Flight. I hopped in line, and it turned out that Peter Pan was meeting guests! He seemed pretty upset that it was my birthday because that meant I was getting older, and he told me that I should stop celebrating my birthday so I’d stop growing older. But he still agreed to take a picture with me.

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Again, after Peter Pan, I happened to be in the right place at the right time to meet the Fairy Godmother. She told me she wished that all of my birthday wishes would come true!

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I kept wandering around after that and found myself in Adventureland. It turned out that that’s where Aladdin and Jasmine meet. I jumped in line and got to meet the royal couple before they went off for a meeting with the Sultan!

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Finally, my last FastPass+ of the day was meeting Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall. These were two characters I had never met before, and I couldn’t wait! Rapunzel and I talked about Pascal and her other princess friends, while Tiana told me she would make me a 21-layer chocolate cake for my birthday!

After the crazy, whirlwind birthday I had, it was time to unwind. I went and sat down in the Founders’ Circle, where I watched the last performance of the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It! Dance Party. Eventually, my roommate, Molly, joined me from work, where we found an excellent spot in front of Cinderella’s Castle to watch one of the most beautiful firework shows ever, Wishes.

 

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Overall, it was an amazing birthday. It was a little rough being away from my parents, especially on such an important birthday, but I had so much fun being in the Magic Kingdom, the happiest place on Earth! This birthday definitely went down in the books as my favorite birthday ever.

Three Weeks In…

Hello, everyone! It’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to write. As I suspected, this program is keeping me very busy, on top of dealing with homework and trying to spend as much time in the parks as possible. But I’m surviving! I am now beginning my fourth week here in Orlando. Here’s a look at everything I’ve done so far.

Week 1:

The first week was definitely the easiest! Saying goodbye to my parents on move-in day was pretty hard, but I wasn’t as upset as I thought I would be. This was the week when I really got to know my roommates. They all hail from Wisconsin, New Jersey, Indiana, Arkansas, and (hey!) Texas! One of the very first things we did was sit down and discuss life in our respective states. It turns out we are all very different, from the things we say to the grocery stores we shop at. It’s been very interesting learning about everyone’s home life.

The day after I moved in, I had my Casting appointment. Casting is “the big step” where you’re fingerprinted, scan in your I-9 documents, fill out paperwork, and learn about the Disney Look. The Casting building itself was absolutely gorgeous, with golden statues of classic Disney characters. Casting didn’t take very long at all, and I was home within a couple of hours! The next day was my housing meeting, where I learned all about the complexes and the different amenities each has to offer.

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The golden statues in the Casting building. Pictured are Dumbo, Daisy Duck, and Pinocchio.

That Friday, I had Traditions, which is a new employee orientation. Honestly, it was the best orientation I’ve ever been to. I almost cried several times! And of course, Mickey Mouse himself paid a visit to deliver our name tags! We also played a trivia game, and when I answered a question correctly, Mickey gave me a big hug (honestly, I did cry).

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My official Disney name tag and ears!

Week 2:

After Traditions (and visiting the parks a couple of times), I had training at Disney University, which is a really cool building where training classes and seminars are held.  This week was pretty rough for me, for several reasons, but I’m still trekking through! I learned all about being a Merchandise Cast Member, learned about my home location of Disney Springs, and got my costume! My roommates and I all had a dance party in our costumes the night we all became “official.”

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Heather, me, Isabel, Meri, Savannah, and Molly!

Late this week I began my training at my location, which involved getting an “Earning My Ears” sticker for my name tag. And of course, on some of my days off, I head to the parks for some playtime.

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Earning My Ears!

Week 3:

This was when I actually began my training at Goofy’s Candy Company. It was very overwhelming! I had to learn how to work the register, how to make all of the treats we sell in our store, and how to market our merchandise to our customers. I’m slowly but surely getting better at everything.

I’ve gotten to know my coworkers quite well, and they are all fantastic. Lots of older women and quite a few College Programmers like myself.

Beginning of Week 4:

I graduated from on-the-job training, so I no longer have my “Earning My Ears” sticker on my name tag. Now is when the real work actually begins. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this program holds!

My DCP Goals

Many other Disney College Program participants have created a “Disney Bucket List” for themselves, where they list everything they want to do while in the parks.

I don’t really want to do that. I’ll know what I want to do in the parks when I get there. Rather, I want to set a variety of goals for myself to try to accomplish during my time in the Sunshine State.

1. Keep a journal.

As recommended by my friend Claire, who recently spent an entire month in Kenya, keeping a journal would be the easiest way to record my memories. Writing in a blog helps, but only if I post every day. After my program, I want to be able to pull out my journal and read about my daily adventures in the most magical place on Earth. Whether I write in it every single day or every other day, I am determined to keep up with one.

2. Take care of myself when I become homesick.

Everyone and their mother knows that I am the biggest homebody to ever walk the planet. Saying goodbye to my parents in just a few days is going to be very hard on me. That being said, I want to set a goal to engage in self-care when I get homesick. I’ll FaceTime my family when I miss them. I’ll spend a day in the parks or relaxing in my apartment watching Netflix. I’ll go buy myself a treat. No matter what, I want to ensure I have the best time at Walt Disney World.

3. Don’t stress.

No one said that balancing two online classes on top of a 40+ hour work week would be easy. I need to understand that while making good grades is important, I also need to care about my wellbeing. I hope to

4. Maintain my relationship with God.

A lot of times, especially during times of stress and intensity, it is hard to remember to lean on our Lord above. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I know that the road ahead of me will be difficult. However, I also know that God will be with me every step of the way; He knows what I can handle, and He knows just how to push me to my limits.

5. Make lifelong friendships.

Need I say more?

 

Welcome to My Blog!

Hello, everyone! This is my very first time to run a blog, so I may seem a bit rusty at first. However, I cannot wait to start blogging about my adventures at one of the most magical places on Earth!

Now, a bit of background. I’ve been a fan of Disney all of my life. I have a giant stuffed Winnie the Pooh that I used to carry around and watch The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh with. I have vivid memories of skipping to my parents’ bedroom with a Disney VHS in hand, slipping the cassette into the VCR and laying on their bed with a blanket. I first went to Walt Disney World when I was four-years-old. At the time, I was obsessed with Minnie Mouse, so much that when I first laid eyes on her, I took off at a sprint, cutting in front of the entire line to give her a hug.

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Four-year-old me trying to contain my excitement when meeting my childhood hero.

The next time I visited the theme park was in middle school. By that point, my brothers had been born, and I think they were a little bit more excited than me. But of course, the minute I stepped through the gates I was four again, skipping through the parks and taking pictures with all the characters.

The last time I was at Walt Disney World was my freshman year of high school. I had the chance to go with my drill team, the Forney Highsteppers. That time, my grandmother went to the parks for the very first time. She absolutely loved it! I loved being able to experience the parks with her, as well as my friends.

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My friends and I saying hello to the Mouse himself!

It was around that time that I first heard about the Disney College Program. I knew instantly that I wanted to do it once I went to college. I researched it, learned everything that I could about the program before I was ready to apply the second semester of my freshman year. Unfortunately, I did not get in. The next time I applied was the following semester, during which I applied with a friend. I was not accepted that time either. After that, I sort of decided maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

I waited until Fall 2016 to apply again; this application was definitely “on a whim.” I completely forgot that I had even applied until I got that “Congratulations!” email on September 29th. I just happened to check my email between classes, and I almost screamed when I saw it. Finally, my dreams would come true! I was accepted as a Merchandise Cast Member, and I would be working at Walt Disney World for an entire semester!

This journey will be difficult. On top of being over 1,000 miles away from my family, I am taking a couple of online classes, one of which is a rushed eight-week course. I will also be taking a class through the program itself. All of this I have to balance on top of a 40+ hour work week. However, I am determined to finish my classes with all A’s while having fun in the parks and making lifelong friends and memories. Let’s see where this journey takes me!