Friday, July 21, 2017

Day 1663: Greatest City in the World

It's been about five years since I last headed to the greatest city in the world, but there were still a million things I hadn't done there, and that meant that when my friend Kiera asked if I wanted to take a spontaneous trip to New York, I immediately checked my bank account to figure out if I could swing it financially, especially with moving to Florida in just a few weeks. Luckily, I did some budgeting and found enough leftover cash from various gigs I'd picked up and other awards from college to make a trip to New York City happen and we booked it soon after. 

Of course, there's a lot to talk about when it comes to New York City, which is why plenty of the posts from the last week which have yet to appear will absolutely be focused on my trip, but it seems fair to give an overall rundown of all the excitement we experienced on our adventures! 

As you can see from the above picture, we were lucky enough to see FIVE shows while in New York. Four were Broadway shows, including Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, War Paint, Bandstand, and Chicago, and one Off-Broadway show: Avenue Q. We rushed all the shows, meaning we would sit outside the theatre's box office in the morning for an hour or two (or more) in hopes to get discount seats. The wait is frequently worth it though, as we had excellent seats for all five shows and basically saw four of the shows for the regular price of one, if you take into account where our seats were for some of the shows. 

But that's not all we did, as the subway system helped us get all around New York on the cheap. Since we invested in the 7-Day unlimited metro pass, we could use the subway as much or as little as we wanted over the course of the week for a flat rate of $33, and if you're heading to New York for a trip, note that you only have to use the pass about 11 times for it to pay for itself (a single ride ticket is $3), so if you're comfortable using the subway (and everyone should be, but that's a topic for another day) and you'll be there for a few days, it's absolutely worth the cost. In other words, in between rushing for tickets and the shows themselves, we also saw the following sights: 

Times Square, Rockefeller Center, New Museum [of Contemporary Art], South Street Seaport, Chelsea Market, The Bagel Store (Rainbow Bagels!), Heatonist (Hot Sauce Store), American Museum of Natural History, Columbia University, The Statue of Liberty (and Ellis Island), MET Cloisters, Harlem (and the apartment in The Last Five Years), Trinity Church, Alexander Hamilton's Grave, 9/11 Memorial, Central Park, Belvedere Castle, and Strawberry Fields (Imagine Mosaic). 

Coming soon right here on Everyday Disney I'll give you an inside look at Times Square, the NYC Subway System, The Bagel Store, the American Museum of Natural History, Hamilton's New York, The Statue of Liberty, MET Cloisters, Disney in New York, an inside look on each of the five shows we saw, and one final post with some of the other exciting things we discovered in the Big Apple! 

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Day 1654: Time to Apply!

Finally! After what might be months or years of anticipation and weeks of planning out your application, your chance to apply for the Disney College Program has finally arrived. Well, that is, if applications are currently open. As I mentioned previously, the best way to stay up to date on the program is to sign up for email notifications for when applications open up again, and then it's onto that initial application. 

Since we've already covered the ranking of roles, this will be a shorter, but no less important post about the journey of the Disney College Program. There's some controversy as to when exactly you should apply for the program once applications do open up, largely because some say that if you apply on the first day you have a lower chance of getting accepted because of the number of applications on that first day. Others say you should apply immediately once applications open up so yours is one of the first ones they go through. 

To be completely honest, I'm not sure there's a rhyme or reason to the way Recruiting goes through the applications, at least not that we could ever know about. I tried to wait until the second day after applications open to apply in fear that mine would get lost in the first-day shuffle, but I just couldn't get anything done knowing that there was something I could do on my journey to the Disney College Program. So I applied the first day, and I'm skeptical about the idea that applying so quickly crushes your chances, because I did and I was obviously accepted. In other words, take what you read with a grain of salt. But don't wait until the last day or week to apply either. 

When you hit apply, you'll be directed to a pretty self-explanatory application that asks for the customary information, such as your name, school information, and work experience. In fact, if you already have a LinkedIn set up with your resume and work experience, there's an option to log into the Disney system using LinkedIn, and it'll automatically input your top work experience into the application for you. I still highly recommend going through the application with a fine toothed comb. 

The biggest thing with this initial application is going to be keywords. Use words that you'd use on your professional resume, and tailor them to the roles that you're ranking highest. For instance, since I knew I was applying for the PhotoPass Photographer role, I made sure to include my photography and videography experience on my application, noting that I'm familiar with DSLR cameras and basic photography skills. I also was sure to include that I have experience with crowd control, specifically in regards to large groups of college students, high school students, and middle school student, and public speaking as well. Regardless of what roles you're interested in, use keywords like "guests," "teamwork," "leadership," "efficient," and "communicate." 

After filling out this initial application with your work experience, you'll pick which program you're applying for, rank your roles, and will eventually hit submit. In all, I think the application took me around 25 minutes with proofreading and some thorough contemplation as to how I wanted to word things and what I wanted to include. 

At this point, one of a few things can happen. You can immediately get a WBI (Web Based Interview) link and you may be able to take that (which I'll discuss in a later blog post). You could be like me and wait a few days before getting the WBI link, but still be "In Progress" on the website. Or you could fall in "submission." You'll be able to view all of this on your dashboard (which is where you can view your progress throughout the entire application process), and I'll tell you that if you fall into submission, that's not to say you won't be accepted for the program. It's more likely you'll never make it to the WBI, but there have been participants who are put into submission immediately and manage to make their way out. So don't give up, but also don't get your hopes up, because honestly, it could go either way (although to be blunt, it's more likely you won't get accepted). 

And then you wait, again. If you're fortunate enough to get send a link to the WBI right away, I suppose you have less waiting to do, but otherwise the best advice I can give is go about your normal life. There's so much waiting involved with the Disney College Program that it's easy to get caught up in obsessively checking your status or your email for any updates. I tried to limit myself to checking the dashboard once a day throughout the process, and I didn't check my email any more than usual, which sort of helped toward the end when I was in the final stages of waiting. Feel as calm as you can knowing that your application, for the moment, is entirely out of your hands, and hope for the best. 

Next week: The Web Based Interview, AKA the most stressful test I've ever taken! 

Have a magical day!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Day 1650: Spider-Man Homecoming

I can still recall the day I watched my first Spider-Man movie. For some reason, we had one of the 2000 movies in our house but had never actually watched it, so I didn't really complain or disagree when our babysitter (yes, I was still fairly young) convinced us that the miscellaneous Spider-Man movie was the perfect choice for that evening. 

I remember almost nothing about the film itself, other than I thought it was a ridiculous film because obviously the Marvel Superhero bug hadn't bitten me yet, and I went about my life up until yesterday honestly believing that Spider-Man was one of the strangest and worst superheroes out there. 

Well...I was wrong. 

In the tradition of catching the latest Disney film during opening weekend, Megan and I headed to the theater last night, settled into our recliners, and waited to watch Spider-Man Homecoming. We realized after the film that both of us had considered skipping this film, figuring that perhaps this one wasn't quite up our alley. In fact, I had completely forgotten about this new addition to the Marvel universe until I went to the theater a few weeks ago to see Wonder Woman and saw the giant Spider-Man Homecoming advertisement display, and even then I wasn't sure about the film. 

First of all, I'm absolutely behind in my Spider-Man Universe knowledge. I had completely forgotten that he was a teenager, hence the Homecoming title that made no sense to me until I saw the film (although it does still feel like a sort of strange title). But like all the Marvel characters and films, I'm still learning, and it seems that with each new film I find a new favorite character. Spider-Man was no exception. 

We've had a lot of great Marvel films in the past number of years, and a lot of wonderful television shows to back them up. Look at Captain America: Civil War, which came out last week and was absolutely a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish. It wasn't just a welcome and worthwhile addition to the Marvel Universe, but was a spectacular stand-alone film. Spider-Man Homecoming, in my opinion, ranks in the same [ferry] boat. It'll make much more sense if you've seen a previous Spider-Man movie, and the pieces will fit together better if you've seen, specifically, Captain America: Civil War, but that's not to say that it can't be watched on its own. 

That being said, things I wasn't as thrilled about with the new Spider-Man movie (and don't worry, there are no spoilers here): as always with Marvel, it is a bit of a problem that you might not understand all the references and key plot points unless you've seen a prior film. Since Spider-Man was reintroduced in the last Captain America movie, there are multiple references to it in the film, and while, like I said, it makes sense without having seen the other films, it makes more sense when you have seen the films. Just something to note. I also felt the pacing was a bit strange throughout the movie, since the climax of the film seems delayed due to a prior climactic moment (or three). 

On the opposite side, however, with things I loved about the film, I can't express to you how much I laughed during this movie. Where with Civil War I cried more than during any other Marvel film, this time I laughed more, and it was consistent and well placed, which is extremely important in action films like this. In particular, the post-credits scene had me in tears, and is well worth the wait, if you're patient enough. The characters all felt developed and included at just the right moment, especially in regards to the reveals of the film (of which there are several). 

But most importantly, the message of the film is consistent and clear: If you're nothing without the suit, then you shouldn't have it. This film about a coming-of-age teenager who just happened to fall into a world of superheroes proves a very important point about living up to the person you want to be, and following through with your actions. We may not all be Iron Man or Captain America or even your everyday neighborhood Spider-Man, but behind the suits, they're people who care and strive to do what's best, even if they are in the midst of a Civil War. They don't just put on the suit whenever they feel like doing good, but rather are able to do good whether they're wearing it or not, and that's important to remember. 

I won't lie, I think Spider-Man may just be my new favorite superhero, a spot that has, up until now, really only been held by Captain America (and, perhaps, a bit of Ant-Man). There was just something about the geeky Peter Parker donning his specalized suit and trying to live up and prove himself to his superiors, an idea that certainly resonates with those in my age group just starting to head out into the real world, where we too will have to prove that we are just as worthy without the suit as we are in it. 

If you haven't had a chance to see Spider-Man Homecoming yet, head to the theater as soon as you can to catch a showing, because the spoilers in this film are already everywhere and it's only been out a couple of days! Do yourself a favor and see it before you see the spoilers, because it'll be worth it! 

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Day 1647: Do Your Research

You probably thought that this week's DCP Wednesday post would be about applications because now that you've decided to apply for the Disney College Program that's the next obvious step, right? Wrong! There's still more to do before you log in and click that fateful "apply" button! There's a lot going on with the Disney College Program, and it's good to know what you're getting into and what might interest you most before you get down to business (to defeat the huns). 

The initial application for the DCP will ask you common, customary questions you'd expect, like your name, school, and where you've worked, but it'll also ask you to rank your top roles, and that's a huge decision and a crucial part of the application process as a whole. What you write down at this point will impact your phone interview, potentially your acceptance into the program, and what you'd be doing if accepted, so it's important that you rank your options carefully. This blog post doesn't give you explicit descriptions of each role (you have to do some of the research yourself, after all), but I can promise you that, in the future, there will definitely be feature posts from various college program roles. 

First and foremost though, there's the decision of which college program you'd like to apply for. Since there are programs running consistently at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and there's several seasons throughout the year, you'll have to figure out which one is right for you. Personally, I applied for both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World programs, but put WDW as my priority location. The Disneyland program is drastically smaller than the Walt Disney World one, so your chances of being accepted to WDW are likely a bit higher, but if you don't have a preference, go for either, and if you do, notate that! I loved that I could apply for both programs at once, and I actually had a short conversation about it during my phone interview with my recruiter later on. 

Of course, when you apply makes an impact on the season you're applying for, and the best way to keep track of when applications are open is to sign up for email notifications. That way you won't miss when fall applications open months ahead of time in January. Depending on where you are in your college career and what works for you, it also might work better to do an advantage program rather than a regular seasonal program, meaning that, if you do Fall Advantage, you'll be applying to work from May/June to January rather than August/September to January like the rest of the Fall students. I've included the seasonal chart from the Disney Programs Blog below to give you an idea of what those seasons look like: 

Finally, you'll have to do some research on your roles before you actually apply. Doing your research ahead of time makes you more informed about what roles would be best for you, physically, emotionally, and mentally. For instance, I know that I really would prefer to stay out of Quick Service Food and Beverage roles, as well as anything to do with food because, while I love eating food, I just happen to know that it wouldn't be the right fit for me, especially since I have no prior experience in food service. However, after doing some research, other roles popped out as ones that would suit me well, such as Attractions (because of my experience in public speaking and crowd control), Front Desk (because of my experiences as Music Librarian and running Music Festivals), and, of course, PhotoPass Photography because of my experience with photography and videography. 

The best way to do research on these is to head over to our old pal Google and search for descriptions of each, although the Disney Program Website does feature an in-depth look at each role in the Earning section of the DCP page. I used these descriptions to get a general idea of what might work best, and then initially ranked each role. From there, I went to YouTube and Google and made additional searches to find out what real DCP Participants have said about each of their positions, getting a feel for what they're really like out on the job so I could make my final decisions on how I'd rank each role (you rank one on a scale of High, Moderate, Low, or No Interest). 

It's also important to note that there are different roles at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. For instance, there is only a Park Greeter position available at Disneyland, and Housekeeping is only at Walt Disney World. The available roles for each program are available on the DCP Website as well. 

Of course, there's more research headed your way in the future, specifically involving where you'll live and who you'll room with and how everything works in general, but let's just take it one step at a time. Now, go do some research! 

Have a magical day!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Day 1644: Change is Hard

Since Disney made more than one announcement concerning the future of more than one Disney Parks attraction the other day, the internet has been buzzing with controversy. As a Disney Blogger and YouTuber, among other things, it can sometimes be difficult to stay quiet when there's such continuous conversation abut the future of the parks - about what's right and what's wrong and what Walt would or wouldn't have wanted. But if I've learned anything in almost five years of blogging, it's that you should probably stay quiet until you've had enough time to truly come to a conclusion about how you feel, and then you should probably reexamine that feeling more than a few times over. For some, this might only take a few minutes, but I prefer to take a bit more time to sort out my thoughts, and I think I finally have.

We'll start with the first announcement, concerning the attractions currently sponsored by Siemens: Spaceship Earth, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, and it's a small world. So many seemed shocked by this development, but for me, it was just a few weeks ago that I scoffed at an article that suggested the company would obviously renew their sponsorship with Disney. It hasn't been a question in my mind for almost a year actually; Siemens wasn't going to renew and I was prepared for it.

Given the track record of sponsored attractions in the Disney Parks, the fact that these attractions have kept sponsors on board as long as they have is sort of astonishing. It wasn't until January of 2016 when I stood in the Test Track Chevrolet Lounge gazing out at the Universe of Energy that I truly realized just how important sponsors are for these attractions. There I was, standing tall and pretty in a brilliantly decorated and designed lounge at Test Track when just across the courtyard was Ellen's Energy Adventure, an attraction I've come to love and adore over the years, slowly decaying. The cast member who brought us up to the lounge caught me looking at it and began to explain the sad story of how, because it has no sponsor, the Universe of Energy is only maintained to the point where it can continuing running. They'd make those minor repairs, just enough to keep it going, but it quickly became obvious that not everything at Walt Disney World is meant to stay the same, and sometimes for more reasons than one.

Does that mean I'm terrified for the future of not only my favorite attraction, but also my favorite nighttime show? Of course. I'm always terrified for an attraction that loses a sponsor, because I've seen what they've done to attractions in the past, Maelstrom at the forefront of that list. It's not a matter of Frozen Ever After being bad, because it's not. It's more about the fact that, at some point, every single one of these attractions becomes a part of the staple, normal Disney experience. We welcome new attractions into the Disney Parks family, and we say goodbye to them too, and even after all this time, I still feel for those that have lost their favorite attraction. Sometimes I even fear of it happening to me too.

Which brings us to the second announcement from Disney Parks and Resorts: the changes to the Auction scene in Pirates of the Caribbean. To say I wasn't shocked about this announcement, unlike the sponsorship from Siemens, would be a lie. I couldn't have predicted this one in a million years, and for me, it seemed so out of the blue that I initially found myself angry. How could they take out such an iconic scene and completely change it? It seemed unnecessary, regardless of the fact that I completely and 100% agree with the reasoning for changing it.

It frustrated me, then, that I was so upset about something that I knew I shouldn't be upset about. I watched as Twitter exploded with arguments on both sides of the discussion, some calling it a necessary change, praising Disney for finally working its way out of the gutters of sex slavery and human trafficking, and others petitioning to put a stop to the changes altogether. It felt odd, to sit on the sidelines and watch as so many argued about the fate of an attraction that, for the most part, will stay the same when the fate of my own favorite attractions hangs in the balance.

So I stayed quiet, until I happened across a tweet that made a reference to the future of IllumiNations. What will happen when they likely announce the replacement for my favorite nighttime show at the D23 Expo later this month? Am I not supposed to be sad? Am I supposed to walk around praising Disney for getting rid of something that literally means the world to me simply because others can do without it and it's in need of a change anyway? Am I supposed to ignore those feelings simply because what follows IllumiNations might be better or more politically correct or in tune with the world we live in today?

Simply, the answer is no, and that's what's important here. It's ok to be sad about change, even the changes coming to Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes, Walt always intended for the parks to be continuously changing, but sometimes change comes with a forced hand, oftentimes after the departure of a long-time sponsor or a change in the social climate. Yes, it's incredible that Disney has waited until now to update the Auction scene in Pirates of the Caribbean when it should have been done years ago. And yes, perhaps if you're arguing that there's nothing wrong with the scene itself, you might want to reexamine your views.

But because these attractions, whether it be experiences as a whole or specific scenes, become a part of our Disney experience, we grow attached to them. There's something special about sailing on Pirates of the Caribbean and hearing "We wants the Redhead!" because it's something we've done for a very long time. I know it was incredibly difficult for me when they removed the smoke and distinct smell of the burning of Rome on Spaceship Earth, and while that was a much smaller change than what's coming to Pirates, it still affected me. It affected a lot of us, just as these new changes will.

And as hard as it might seem, it is time to move ahead. I'm incredibly excited about the New Auction scene in Pirates of the Caribbean, because it's obvious that Disney has already put a lot of time and thought into creating a better message while preserving some of the history and nostalgia from the attraction we grew up with. If that's what we're truly getting and that's how Disney is going to move ahead with whatever is coming next, whether it be for Pirates or Spaceship Earth, IllumiNations or the Universe of Energy, what else could we ask for?

Have a magical day!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Day 1642: Oral Surgery

Don't get too freaked out about the title of this blog post, I promise it's not as bad as it sounds (although if I'm being honest, it's not like it was a walk in the park either). 

As some of you may know (although probably not), when I was somewhere around age 12, my brother cut me off while we were outside riding our bikes. My front tire hit his back tire, and so I went flying, hitting my front teeth square on the pavement and cracking them completely in half (along with a bit of a third tooth). I had double root canals the next morning and have had crowns on my front teeth ever since. 

Which means that since the above experience, I've never really been a huge fan of dentists or dental work (even though my dentists are lovely people). Unfortunately, over the past few months, I've been dealing with some significant pain above one of my front teeth, and when I brought it up to my dentist at a tooth cleaning a few weeks ago, they took some X-Rays only to find that, yep, I'd need surgery. 

So in to the oral surgeon's I went on Wednesday, much to my dismay, and along with fixing the issue in the roof of my mouth, they went ahead and took out my wisdom teeth as well (which were causing entirely different issues). I'm pretty thankful that they did it all in one sitting, just because it meant I only had to go under anesthesia once, but at the same time, I've now got several areas of heeling going on in my mouth. Really fun, huh? 

Therefore, my days have been spent sitting on my couch with ice on my face on and off, watching mostly TLC because I typically don't have to pay attention to it to know what's going on (plus, sometimes watching the drama of women trying to find their wedding dress is the prefect distraction when your face is numb). I've been existing mostly on a diet of broth, jello, and sweet potatoes with the occasional ice cream alternative (yay lactose intolerance) or smoothie...meaning that I'm incredibly hungry for literally anything other than what it is I'm actually allowed to eat. 

However, the healing process seems to be going well. I do occasionally feel a bit off, but for the most part I'm doing alright, as long as I take it easy and don't over-exert myself. It does give me plenty of time to plan blog posts and DCP Roommate gifts and work on other projects that I've been putting off for weeks though, which is probably good for all of you! I did just want to give everyone an update on how I'm doing and give more excuses as to why there aren't blog posts popping up continuously on the blog! I'll be back to work full-time soon though...and then it'll be off to New York for a week soon too! 

Now, if only I could figure out what I really want to put on my DCP Bucket List...

Have a magical day! 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Day 1641: A Different Kind of Blog

There are days like today every so often, when I'm hopelessly drowning in blog posts and I get a little frustrated with the kind of blog I write. Not only am I a topic-specific blog, but I'm a daily topic-specific blog, and I've worked very hard over the past few years to avoid repeating myself over and over again. It's hard, especially when I get behind, to think of original ideas that fit within the guidelines I've created for myself, and even when I'm totally caught up and I only have to come up with one blog topic a day instead of twelve, it's still frequently difficult to find something I feel people might want to read about in relation to Disney. 

But then there's also the realization that Everyday Disney isn't even your typical Disney blog. Many Disney blogs out there focus on news or tips and tricks for your Disney vacation, and while I myself subscribe to many of those blogs, I find myself jealous of how easy it must be to come up with continuous content in those cases. Here, I post once a day, and only once a day. If it's 3pm and suddenly Disney announces that they're closing Epcot permanently, but I already had a blog post up at 11 am, we're waiting until tomorrow to talk about it. Here, I find little bits of Disney in the outside world and bring them to life through blog posts. The problem is, sometimes the outside world doesn't directly line up with the Disney universe. Here, I strive to make the ordinary feel a little less ordinary and a little more magical, but sometimes one has to accept that, perhaps, a reader won't be interested in hearing about how salt can be related to The Magic Kingdom. 

Not every post on Everyday Disney is a prime example of the Disney magic either. Some are more about me than the parks and films. Some take place at a Disney Park and others don't. Some fit right in with what the other blogs are talking about and some fall completely off the beaten path. In other words, and not to toot my own horn here, I'm not sure there's another blog out there quite like Everyday Disney. It's a personal blog and a news blog and a special interest blog and a daily blog and more all rolled into one. 

Everyday Disney, like the Disney Parks themselves, is always evolving, and as we get closer and closer to year 5, it's time to really see what we can do. I've covered the basics, we've gone in-depth on the traditional, and now it's time to dig a little deeper to see what it is we're missing. So with new series like DCP Wednesdays, A to Z Disney, 50 States, and Random Disney Things, let's get exploring and keep going, because Adventure is Out There, and now it's time to find it. 

Have a magical day! 

P.S. - Think of this blog post as a sort of new Mission Statement for Everyday Disney. With a list of 314 blog post topics to work on over the next few months, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, and then I realized that it's time for a new mission in addition to a new look. So for the rest of 2017, the theme here at Everyday Disney is "Dig a Little Deeper," which is ironic considering it's same theme of the first blog post I wrote for the year, and it's time to find out who we are and what we're missing!