Monday, May 23, 2011

"Oh Gee, I wish I was back in the army..."

Well, my time with Disney is officially over. I'm a civilian.

My ex-roomie, Michelle, and I joke that working for the mouse is like working for the army. You have experiences that many people just don't get, you know secrets you're not allowed to share, and once your time is done the only people who really understand what it's like are your former co-workers. All of College Program kids are veterans of Mickey's army. (Hence the video clip at the top of this entry.)

Now, I've got to get back to civilian life.

And it's harder than you think.

I haven't worked for Disney since January, but there has always been that hope that I would get a Professional Internship and be back down there full time. I didn't get that last internship. So, now I know for sure that I will not be returning to Disney. But that's okay. Life goes on and I'll survive. It might actually be better to return purely as a guest next time I visit the Wide World of the Mouse.

In the meantime, I'm spending most of my time searching for a job. Any job, anywhere, doing anything. I mean, yes, I would love to put my degree to use, but I if I can't I will accept something else. I will work retail if I have to. I just need money coming in from somewhere. Eventually, I want something I can be truly passionate about, but for just starting out...I really just need good hours and good money. I have credit card bills to pay, a car payment I need to take over for my parents, student loans I need to start saving to take care of, and a Disney World trip to pay for and plan. Also, I would really like to be able to afford my own place.

None of this can happen, though, if I don't have a job. And, let me tell you, getting a job is harder than it sounds. I have a portfolio, I have a resume. I think both are very good, but so far they haven't gotten me much. I'm stressed out about it. I mean, to the point that I want to cry every time someone asks me, "So, how's the job search going?"

Not well, people. It's not going well. And I feel like, because of this, people don't think I'm trying. They think I'm only applying for things in my field. I'm not. I'm applying for everything. Only no one seems to feel like hiring me.

Anyone who is currently in college, don't be fooled by flowery words about how a degree will change your life. It's good to have, but it doesn't mean you'll automatically be offered a job. Yes, employer's want degrees, but they also want several years of experience to go along with it. Something a fresh college graduate can't get if no one is will to give said "fresh college graduate" a chance. So, don't do what I did in college. I waited until my second to last year to start looking for internships. Start looking right away. There are a ton out there. They don't even have to be the DCP. Just find as many as you can and apply. The more hands on experience you have the better. Trust me on this one, folks.

Alright, that's all for today. I have errands to run today, but let me tell you that over the next few weeks there will be some changes to the blog. I still have footage from the program to post, but this blog will no longer be strictly about the program. I want to offer up an insider's knowledge on Disney to anyone planning to apply for the college program or take a Disney World trip. If you have questions, ask them. I will be happy to help in any way that I can.

I will try to pay more attention to my formspring. I may just start a new one all together as my old one tends to be spammed by other users and spambots. I know I currently have a few older questions on my formspring that I missed. I apologize to those of you who asked me something forever ago. You deserved an answer before now, and you will get one soon (even if you've already gotten the answer from someone else.)

Anyways, so if you notice this blog start to look and sound different just know that I am still willing to talk to anyone about the program. It was the greatest adventure of my life, thus far, and I am more than happy to pass on any knowledge or advice that I may have.

Thanks so much for reading! Best wishes to all of you, and good luck to any future Disney College Program students!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A Tribute to Star Tours (the Original)

So, Today, as I'm sure some of you know, is Star Wars Day. And while I was preparing my Top 5 list on my favorite Hollywood Studios attractions I noticed I had "Tribute to Star Tours" typed out in my notes. And then I thought, "What better way to celebrate Star Wars Day then by dedicating a whole post to the original Star Tours attraction?"

So, let me take a moment to say: "May the fourth be with you! Happy Star Wars Day!" And I hope that this post will help you get in the Star Wars Day spirit!

Star Tours was and will forever be one of my favorite Hollywood Studios attractions. Sadly, I knew I wouldn't be able to include it in my Top 5 list because the version I know so well is no more, and the new one hasn't opened yet (nor have I ridden it.) So, my original plan was to dedicate a snippet to Star Tours in the "Honorable Mentions" section of my Top 5 post. But now it's going to get it's own article.

I don't care that some people called it "dated" or that they felt the ride was too bumpy. Star Tours was the perfect Star Wars attraction. It truly felt as if you had stepped into the original trilogy. There was no trace of the prequels in sight (another reason I loved this attraction.) The pre-ride videos were absolutely hysterical. So many Star Wars reference in such a short video always amazed me.

One thing I dearly hope doesn't change too much is the Queue line. I love The Star Tours Queue line just like it is. The ships, the droids, the decor. I love it all. I will be sorely disappointed if all of that has changed whenever I finally get a chance to ride Star Tours 2.

While I was on my program the original Star Tours was still open for a good portion of it. I made a habit out of riding Star Tours at least twice every time I visited Hollywood Studios. I knew it would be going away soon and I wanted to make sure I would remember the original no matter what. Unlike most I have been skeptical about Star Tours 2 from the beginning, but as I was working for Disney World when the original was shut down I am, actually, very anxious to ride the new one.

I've heard many things about it, and while I will miss the original dearly I still believe the re-imagined Star Tours will be loads of fun. But I hope no one will ever forget the truly awesome original Star Tours and it's amazing themeing. My first trip to Disney World only consisted of two of the four parks: Epcot and Hollywood Studios (then MGM). Star Tours was one of the very first things I rode, and I remember being blown away by the environment. I was absolutely thrilled. I felt as if I stepped into the universe of one of my all time favorite film franchises, and that will forever be one of my favorite Disney memories. I hope Star Tours 2 keeps that same spirit, and that it will be a part of a new generations favorite Disney memories as well.

Happy Star Wars Day, and, once again, may the fourth be with you!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Top 5 Animal Kingdom Attractions

5. Finding Nemo: The Musical

 I have a nephew who adores Finding Nemo. I love it too, of course, but not as much as he does. So, when I went down to Disney for my program I knew I had to see Finding Nemo the Musical. It was one of the things on my Disney bucket list, and I was NOT disappointed. This was a very good show. One of the Disney World show's with the best production quality. This show, honestly, could be lengthened and translate to Broadway very easily. The music was wonderful, and the audience interaction made the show that much more enjoyable. My favorite moment from the entire show was the number "Swim Together" (that's the number in the picture above.) It was absolutely adorable.

4. Expedition Everest

I got to go to Disney World the first summer Expedition Everest opened back in 2006. That was my first ever trip to the Animal Kingdom and only my second trip to Walt Disney World as a whole. So, I do sort of have this strange emotional connection to Expedition Everest. I remember at the time being very excited to see this new Disney attraction. I had been following it's progress online through various means, and couldn't wait to actually ride it. This is a very thrilling ride. There are twists and turns that you don't expect, and close encounter with the legendary yeti. Another plus for this ride is the quality of it's theme. Unless you're line is insanely short and you can walk right on don't ignore the Yeti Museum as you walk through the line. It really adds to the experience of the ride.

3. The Festival of the Lion King

This is an AMAZING show. One of the best on Disney property. There's acrobatics, singing, dancing, audience interactions, characters, and lots of audience interactions. Plus it's in the round so there's really not a bad seat in the entire venue. Most impressive part for me though? The Tumble Monkeys (as pictured above). They're hilarious and their display is extremely impressive. The vocalists in this show are the best in any show across Disney World. They sing the songs you know and love even better than they were sung in the movie. It's just an excellent show that you'll have to see to really enjoy.

2. Dinosaur

Okay, I'll confess I'd forgotten how thrilling this attraction was. Again, I rode this for the first time in 2006 and didn't ride it again until 2010. In four years my recall of this ride had deteriorated. I remembered there wasn't a drop like Jurassic Park at Universal Studios. I remembered it sent you back in time, and I remembered you were sent back just minutes before all the dinosaurs were destroyed. But I had forgotten how many close encounters you have with carnivores. When I finally got the chance to ride it again I found myself absolutely terrified, but terrified in the best way possible. Dinosaur is a thrill ride and a half. Definitely one of the best attractions at the Animal Kingdom.

1. Kilimanjaro Safaris

By far the absolute best attraction at the Animal Kingdom. This attraction takes up the majority of the land that the Animal Kingdom calls home. Essentially this is the real life version of the Jungle Cruise. Although, you're not in a boat. You're in a safari truck. Your guide takes you around in this truck and you see the various animals they have at the Animal Kingdom. It truly is amazing to see these animals. Not only do you get to see them, but you just might get to help your guide take out some poachers. This is a very fun attraction that your entire family will enjoy. Make sure you don't go too late or too early in the day. The most animals are out about in the middle of the day.

Honorable Mention: It's Tough to Be a Bug

It's Tough to be a Bug is the 3D (well, technically 4D I suppose) film that's shown inside the Tree of Life. You watch a show presented by Flick and the rest of the gang from A Bug's Life. It's adorable. But beware of stink bugs and spiders. (The spiders were my least favorite part). There are elements that may scare little ones so be careful when taking toddlers or preschoolers.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Top 5 Locations at Dowtown Disney

5. Arribas Brothers

The Arribas Brothers actually have a store on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom. It's just not called the Arribas Brothers.  The store features amazing glass sculptures and pieces of jewelry. As well as some items with amazing crystal work. Majority of the items in this store and it's sister store in the Magic Kingdom are very expensive. You'll find collectible porcelain plates here as well (I got one with Aurora and Prince Phillip on it as a birthday gift from my amazing room mate). This is a wonderful place to browse. I always made a point to wander through Arribas Brothers whenever I went to Downtown Disney if only so I could mark a few things down on my ultimate wish list in my head.

4. Art of Disney 

There are Art of Disney stores at the Magic Kingdom and at Epcot. There is also a smaller store in Hollywood Studios that sells the same merchandise but I'm not sure if it's technically considered an Art of Disney store. But, for me, I think the one at Downtown Disney is the best. They're the largest one on Disney property and the variety of art that they have is just amazing. If I had the money I would have bought so many awesome pieces of art from them. They also have wonderful little trinkets that collectors will enjoy. They have figurines and trinket boxes. I was given a trinket box with Maleficent on it from another one of my wonderful room mates. She bought it at Art of Disney. Art of Disney also has a computer system where you can look through their archives and order a print. You can order it at whatever size you want, and you can even order to have it framed. I spent hours browsing through their collection of prints just to see if there was anything I would have to spend my money on.

Again this store is a bit more pricey. They do have character sketches by artists that are very affordable in the store, but most of the artwork is rather expensive. But, still, it is fun to browse. Also you'll find Vinylmation in a lot of Art of Disney locations, and in most you'll find the mystery trading boxes as well. So if you're a Vinylmation collector Art of Disney is definitely the store for you.

3. AMC 24

What can I say about this theater? It is quite possibly the best place to see a movie ever. Now that I'm at home I miss AMC theaters but specifically THIS AMC theater. Their concessions stands can not be rivaled by anyone. They have chicken tenders (we're talking restaurant quality), ice cream, hot dogs (with actual "fixins" as we call them in my house),  and the most amazing series of Coke Freestyle machines you will ever see. What's a Coke Freestyle Machine?

THAT is a Coke Freestyle machine, and it is the coolest thing ever. It feels like there is an unlimited amount of drink choices when you're at that fountain machine. You can even mix and match different flavors. Want a Coke with a hint of orange? You can get regular Coke and add a bit of Orange Fanta. Another amazing thing about this machine? When you choose Cherry Coke it's not your average Cherry Coke. It's Coke with actual Cherry syrup. You wouldn't think it would taste any different, but I'm here to tell DOES. It's the most delicious Cherry Coke I've ever had.

But not only are their concessions amazing, but every auditorium is comfortable. The seats are probably the most spacious I've ever seen. Btw, if you're seeing a movie in Auditorium's HUGE. It has a balcony (always sit in the balcony. Preferably row heads or balcony railing to block your view.)

I saw so many movies at this theater. It was truly an enjoyable experience every time. The staff are wonderful (very friendly and helpful), and the theater itself is massive and very clean. A great place to go see a movie.

Clearly, I'm a movie geek. Can you tell?

2. World of Disney

The World of Disney Store is the largest Disney Store on all of Walt Disney World property. You can find anything and everything here. There's even a Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boutique inside the store. Beside of the boutique is the largest selection of costumes you will ever find on property (for little girls. Sorry grown up girls, no costumes for you.) There's a whole room dedicated to toddlers. There's a section for plush (largest pook-a-looz selection after Mouse Gear at Epcot.) There's a section for women's clothes, men's clothes, little girl's clothes, little boy's clothes, kitchen ware and home goods, junior clothing, affordable souvenir odds and ends, and a section for high end items (such as the Douney & Bourke purses produced specifically for the Disney Parks.) It's essentially a Disney Parks department store. If you're there with your family be sure to keep an eye on them because if you don't it will take you at least fifteen minutes to find them again. (Trust me, it's that huge.) Also look out for Stitch. He's perched above one of the entrances to World of Disney. I learned the hard way that he does occasionally spit (usually on hot days).

1. Tren-D

Tren-D quickly became my favorite store. I spent way too much of my paycheck at this place. As their name states they have extremely trendy Disney merchandise for women. Purses, jewelry, clothing, and even a few books. Some items are affordable, but most are expensive. This store is home to the "Disney Couture" line of clothing and jewelry. It also has a selection of the Douney & Bourke pocket books you can find at World of Disney. The clothing is absolutely the cutest. Last time I was there they had items centered around Snow White, Cinderella, Alice, and Minnie Mouse. But if you look hard enough you'll find items for Jasmine, Pocahontas, Aurora, Daisy Duck, and the Disney Villains as well. These clothing items are not your traditional touristy park merchandise. These are more fashionable items that you will probably wear more often.

I adore this store, and really wish Disney would make this a franchise. I could see these in malls around the country. They would do very well.

Honorable Mentions:

Little Miss Matched: This is an adorable store, and one of only three in the nation I believe. This store is largely focused toward little girls and their moms. They have items that come in similar but mismatched sets of three. From socks to leg warmers everything comes in a mismatched set of three. I have several pairs of socks from this store, and I love them to death.

Earl of Sandwich: This quickly became one of my favorite places to eat. They have a special sandwich around Thanksgiving that is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted (it's turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy...on a sandwich.) Their year round selections are extremely yummy as well. Every sandwich is hot and delicious and yet somehow unique from any sandwich you've ever had before. Definitely give this place a try! You'll love it!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Update: May 1st is Finally Here!

So, today is May 1st.

The day that I was told I would hear back before, but to be honest I had a feeling it would be a bit longer to hear back from all of the internships I applied for.

When I applied, I applied for four PI's. I've heard back from three. Let's go through them shall we? Just to keep track of who I've heard from and what I heard.

Marketing Internship: I heard back from them before I even interviewed with a "Thank you for applying, but we've already narrowed down our candidates."

Marketing internship: The second marketing internship I applied for. I heard back from them before I even interviewed with an identical response to the other one: "Thank you for applying, but we've already narrowed down our candidates."

Creative, Inc Internship: I heard back from them on Good Friday with the very familliar response of: "Thank you for applying, but we've already narrowed down our candidates."

That leaves the Graphic Design internship which I still haven't heard back from. I'm going to assume that no news is good news. But it is a Sunday so we'll see what happens tomorrow. In the meantime, I've got several "Top 5" lists planned out to keep me busy. I also have more footage from my time on the program to edit together. Not to mention, I'm currently in the middle of exams and have graduation coming up in SIX days.

So, keep your fingers crossed! I'll keep you posted!

The customary Disney photo:

Oh Pixie Hollow, you will be missed. So long, Toon Town.