Friday, June 23, 2017

Day 1635: Big News!

If you haven't already watched the above video, I'm going to need you to do that now! After all, it's been torture not letting the cat out of the bag for the majority of the world these past three months, but I've finally gotten around to making the announcement video you can see above. 

If you've already watched it (or are like me and are horrible at following direction), I'll just say it now: I've accepted a role as a PhotoPass Photographer with the Disney College Program in Orlando, Florida starting this fall, and I couldn't be more excited about this new adventure!!! 

It's certainly not that I didn't want to say anything, but that I sort of struggled with how to say it, especially since an opportunity like this comes with a few strings attached. I've spent the last few months rearranging my life and getting things in order so I can move to Orlando in less than two months, which meant changing my contracts regarding YouTube videos, redesigning Everyday Disney, and reexamining everything I've been working on for the past 4+ years. All in all, I needed time to figure things out, especially since I was accepted at the height of the stress in my final semester of college, and there was hardly time for sleep, much less creating a new logo for my blog. 

To give you a brief rundown, I'll be starting my Disney College Program experience on August 7, and I'll be in Orlando until at least January 4. As I mentioned, I'll be a PhotoPass Photographer, and while I won't know my location until August, there's still a lot to talk about and a lot to get done between now and then, which is why every Wednesday I'll be writing a post focusing specifically on the Disney College Program, just to catch all of you up on my experiences so far. I'm also in the planning stages of a new YouTube series about DCP, and I'm ready to jump head first into this new adventure. 

If you have questions about the DCP, write them in the comments below, and you might see your question in a future blog post! 

Have a magical day! 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Day 1634: Why I Love Being a Photographer

If there's one thing I remember most from my childhood trips to Walt Disney World, it's the constant presence of cameras. There were the old ones with film, and yes, even slides, the point and shoot cameras I first used while learning the art of photography, and finally the digital varieties that we carry with us everywhere today, my iPhone included. I'm actually in the process of converting many of our old family videos from tape to digital, and it's sort of reminded me of the reason I walk around Magic Kingdom with a video camera in hand, even as a hurricane rolls in. 

Earlier this year I went on a trip to Florida with the Knights on Broadway, which was, without a doubt, one of the best experiences I've had in my entire life. I visited parts of Florida I'd never been to before, I got to go somewhere warm for spring break, performed for donors of the college while watching the sun set over the gulf, and went to Walt Disney World with some of my best friends. In short, it was incredible, but I struggled a bit too. 

For the past seven years specifically, I've taken the video camera (or at least a camera) with me pretty much everywhere. It came with me to the Twin Cities, Colorado, New Mexico, California, and of course, Florida. It feels almost wrong to be walking through a Disney Park without the video camera in hand now, but as we approached the KOBreak trip, a friend of mine suggested that I leave the cameras at home. 

Their argument was entirely valid: leaving the cameras at home would offer me a chance to be "in the moment" with my friends instead of seeing everything through the lens of the camera, as I often do. I'd see everything through my own eyes and capture mental memories, and after all, there are plenty of moments where, even on a Disney vacation, we turn the cameras off and we bask in the moment. 

Still, the thought of leaving the cameras behind was hard for me. As I mentioned earlier, my family never travels without a camera, and it's absolutely become a part of the Disney tradition for me, stopping every five minutes to take a picture of something we probably already have pictures of. Plus, I couldn't help but wonder if I'd regret not bringing them along. Yes, I'd take mental pictures, but what happens when those start to fade? Would I truly remember some parts of our day at Epcot as clearly as I remember so many of the spectacular experiences cataloged in my vlogs? Probably not. 

And while it's not what he intended at all, the suggestion felt as though they were  asking me to give up a part of myself. I take pictures and film videos at Disney World not because I feel like I owe it to anyone, but because it's what I love to do. Can I have fun at WDW without the cameras? Yes, of course! I ended up leaving them behind after all and still had a wonderful time, but because of how I grew up, with a video camera capturing everything from my smiling face to my temper tantrums, having a camera around is second nature. Filming every waking moment in a Disney Park isn't for everyone, and maybe it wasn't for him and that's where the suggestion came from, but in the long run, I won't be separated from my cameras for too long, and it all boils down to this: 

As I watch the videos from my childhood, there's nothing I love more than reliving the memories behind them. Memories I've since forgotten. Truth be told, they'd be lost if not for the videos my dad took, and that's exactly why I love being a photographer (and videographer). That's why I keep filming even after I can't feel my hand from holding the camera too long. That's why I willingly lay down on the ground next to a cockroach to capture the perfect shot. That's why I sprint to the nearest building in an attempt to protect my camera from the pouring rain, and immediately turn the camera back on to show how much it's raining. 

My friend didn't understand that standing behind the camera isn't about missing out on the moment itself, because you're there living it too, and you're also preserving that moment for years to come. It's never been abut the hassles of carrying the camera or the continuous "in your face" feeling. It's always been about making memories. Taking pictures, and making memories. 

Have a magical day! 

(Bonus points if you caught the vintage Epcot reference)!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Day 1632: Looking Ahead

Out with the old and in with the new. That's what they say, about change when we don't necessarily want to change, right? I'm a creature of habit, no doubt about it, and the past year and a half is a perfect example of that. I'm not particularly fond of new situations, I find myself irked when things don't go the way they always do, and when everything boils down, I'd likely be perfectly fine if things never changed, at least in some facets of life. A significant portion of me wishes I could maintain the life I've been living at St. Norbert College for not just the past year, but the past four. It was easy, it was comfortable, and above all else, it felt normal

And yet, I came to the conclusion on a plane ride back from Florida almost a year ago that my life is anything but normal. This is no ordinary life I'm living, not with the constant trips to Walt Disney World and the other traveling I do all over the country. Most aren't writing a blog and filming YouTube videos in addition to their schoolwork, only a few people are members of Knights on Broadway, performing more shows per year than most other ensembles on campus, and as far as I know, most don't have plans like I do for after graduation. 

What am I doing now that I've graduated you ask? That, my dear readers, will remain under wraps for a few more days until my official announcement on Friday, an announcement a very long time in coming, but for now you can plainly see the changes that have overcome Everyday Disney in the last 24 hours. I was already debating a rebrand of the blog a year ago, but wasn't at a point where I felt it was right. Now, with my special announcement and the upcoming five year anniversary of the blog, as much as my habit-wanting self tried to argue to keep things the same, I felt it was time for a change. 

As some of you may know, Everyday Disney hasn't really changed much in the past four and a half year, aside from the fact that I've found myself incredibly behind in my daily posts from the last year. In fact, below you can see a screenshot of what Everyday Disney looked like way back in the day, and then a screenshot of what it looked like with the 2015 redesign: 

As you can see, the colors and overall look of the blog have changed since it's beginnings in 2013, but since the 2015 remodel, things have remained the same, and even then it was just a re-do of that original design. 

Which meant that with everything going on, I figured that Everyday Disney wasn't just in need of a new mission and purpose, but was in need of a whole new look as well. Hence the new design (and logo!) for Everyday Disney. Over the next few months there will be plenty of changes, but more on all of that Friday. Trust me though, this announcement will change everything I've known and everything Everyday Disney is about, and in the long run, a new normal will form the same way it did when I moved to college four years ago. The point is, things do change, and I'm fairly certain my life has a long way to go before it resembles any kind of ordinary, but for now, it's time to keep moving forward and look ahead, because the journey is just beginning. 

Have a magical day!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Day 1571: Reading and Writing

While it's been nearly 16 years since I was last in Kindergarten, I can still clearly remember some of my first favorite books. One in particular could probably be better described by my mother, but I remember it because it was one of two books I read constantly on a trip to Walt Disney World. The first book, which was called Up, Up and Away, or something similar, was about a rocketship...and that's absolutely all I remember about the plot of the book. Regardless, I remember reading it at dinner at The Garden Grill that trip, showing it to Chip and Dale as they stopped by the table. I also remember the mac & cheese, which, quite honestly, I could go for right about now. 

The second, and the one I remember the most, was called Chick’s Walk and was about a little chick who roamed around meeting new animals. Chick would say hello to each one, from the pigs to the cows to the alligator…wait. Alligator? Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. (That’s how the book ends…because of course, a chick probably doesn’t want to meet an alligator.

After that, there was only one book amongst the slew of others I read: The Ghost Family Meets Its Match. It was about a family of ghosts who, at the start of the book, live happily in their ghostly retreat. Then, out of the blue, another family moves into the house, and the ghost family devises a plan to haunt the newcomers out of the building. Only it doesn’t work…because the new family is a bunch of werewolves! They lived happily ever (eternally?) after in the house after that. I must have checked out that book at least every other week for a good few years in Elementary school, and I distinctly remember making my parents read it to me until I had it memorized…and then I read it by myself hidden in their closet. Why the closet? I have no idea, but I do know that it’s the one book I’d give anything to have a copy of now that I’m older.

While I wonder if The Ghost Family Meets Its Match is still hidden somewhere in my elementary school library (even though I wore out the binding before I even left), a few other books also come to mind, like all those series I read anywhere between second grade and the end of middle school: Heartland, Warriors, Little House on the Prairie, Harry Potter, The Princess Diaries (but definitely not in that exact order). Each was completely different, but like Chick's Walk and Up, Up, and Away, they all contributed to one important element of my reading and writing: a personal style. 

We all love different books, and we all write different ways, and the way I look at it, the books we read throughout our life make up a unique recipe for our writing style, as we take little bits and pieces from things we've read and apply them to our own style. I mean, I can't say that I'm about to write a story about a chick and an alligator, but I definitely love short funny moments in my writing, and that's exactly something that was in Chick's Walk all those years ago. So reading is important, my friends, especially if you want to be a writer. 

Have a magical day!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Day 1561: Literary Parents

I was supposed to write this blog post for my Creative Writing seminar a week ago, but then life got in the way and it never happened. I did, on the other hand, think pretty deeply about the answer to the question we used as a prompt - Who are your literary parents? - and as I like to say, better late than never! 

Honestly though, I initially had no clue about how to answer the question at hand. While I've been an avid reader and writer my entire life, there isn't anyone in particular that's inspired me to the point where I'd single them out as a "literary parent." Well, I suppose, with the exception of Walt Disney and the writers behind some of our favorite animated films. And if we're citing Walt as a literary parent in regards to fairy tales, we really should be citing the writers of the original stories, and that's where things get deep. 

One could say that I don't know precisely who my literary parents are because it's unlikely anyone knows who they are. If the root of my literary background stems from fairy tales, my literary parents are sort of like those long-lost relatives someone might try and search out on the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? In the fairy tale tradition, many of the stories we know and love are simply transcriptions from oral fairy tales that were passed down through the centuries. Unfortunately, no one apparently found it important to write the names of the storytellers down, or dig up information as to where the tales came from before that, so much of the knowledge has been lost or destroyed. Aka, a tough break for those of us trying to figure out where our literary parents are. 

Of course, some of them are definitive. There are some fairy tales, many fairy tales actually, created by the author that's listed on the front cover, such as Hans Christian Anderson or modern day fairy tale writer Emma Donoghue. Plus, my writing style has certainly been impacted by the show Once Upon A Time, so you could also say that the creators, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, along with their army of writers, have earned a spot on my list of literary parents as well, but the point still stands. No on in particular jumps out as the literary parent, and here's an additional thought as to why that may be: 

Somewhere out there, there's a quote that talks about how we're influenced by every person we meet, even if it's only a small influence or, perhaps, no apparent influence at all. I'm not entirely sure it would be fair to say that if you'd never interacted or "randomly stood next to each other and didn't even notice each other that one time" that you entire life would change, but fate does seem to work in mysterious ways. Regardless, if you apply this theory to literature, you could say that every author I've ever read is one of my literary parents, because they've all impacted me in some way. Some may have made a major impact, like the authors of fairy tales, and some may play only a minor role, like the authors of the books I read but don't remember reading in middle school, but the important part is that they all, in one way or another, have influenced my writing. 

So who are my literary parents? I'd say everyone, and while that may seem a bit messed up biologically, this isn't a science class, so who cares? 

Have a magical day! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Day 1543: No Rest for the Disney

Apparently I'm only stopping by to write blog posts for my creative writing class because I favor sleep over more writing at the end of the day. Ironically enough, this blog post is distinctly about how we don't need sleep...sort of. 

A few weeks ago we read an article on sleep for class, and while I'll admit that I completely forgot to read it for the class period we were supposed to read it for, I did go back and read through it afterwards, and I'm glad I did. The article, How to Sleep debunks some of the myths about sleep in an informative and somewhat comical way. As a college student, I can definitely say that the amount of sleep I'm getting probably isn't what I should be getting, but to read an article about sleep itself made me think about more than just my current schedule. 

In the article, James Hamblin discusses how much sleep we actually need, if caffeine really works, and my personal favorite part - if we can train ourselves to need less sleep. Hamblin tells the tale of a high school student in San Diego who stayed awake for 264 hours. He did it for a science project, and while I know for a fact that I wouldn't be able to stay awake for 11 days, I'm almost sold on the idea of training ourselves to need less sleep. Why? Disney World. 

If you've ever spent a day or two at a Disney Park, you might be familiar with the early mornings, exhausting afternoons, and long nights. Honestly, my motto generally is that there's no sleep at Disney World, because typically there's always something going on that you'll want to experience. So, instead of resting on our "vacation," we head to park opening in the morning and stay until we're the last ones out of the park at night. Then we go back to the room, catch a couple of hours of sleep, and get up to do it all over again. 

Of course, at the end of the article, he wonders how one might break the cycle of sleep deprivation, and in our everyday lives, that might be possible. We might be able to turn off our phones long before we go to bed, sleep at regular times each night, and drink less caffeine in the real world, and there's our solution. But in all honesty, I just don't see that happening at Disney. We need to be on our phones to post all the exciting pictures from our day, there are no "regular hours," because when Animal Kingdom opens at 7 and closes at 11, but Epcot's hours the next day are 9 to 9, you go with the flow, and with all the Starbucks locations now open in the parks, caffeine is all too easy to find. 

So sleep at home. Save the sleep deprivation for Disney World. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Day 1529: Reading For Fun

Our prompt this week for Creative Writing Seminar is to write about something we've been reading lately, or have read, outside of class that has either inspired us or put us off. If I was lying, I'd probably go on some rant about how much I enjoyed reading The Martian this past summer and how it really impacted me emotionally and reminded me just how much I love reading (although, is suppose, that wouldn't be all that distant from the truth). However, as Pinocchio taught me, I must not tell a lie, and that means that I have to be honest about the fact that I haven't had a lot of time for reading lately. Aside from my regular schoolwork, all my spare time has gone to rehearsing for Knights on Broadway, which leaves in just a couple of days to perform in Florida, or practicing my pieces for my recital, which is quickly approaching in just over a month. So yeah, not a lot of time to spare. Unless I learn how to dance while reading. That could be fun. 

I suppose I do  have that giant and ever-growing stack of books that resides on the bottom shelf of my bedside table, which features novels and memoirs I've been intending to read and may finally dig into sometime this upcoming summer (that's probably wishful thinking though). Still, even as I think back to what I've read over the past few years (which, as I said, isn't much), nothing really stands out to me as important in some way. Actually, it's almost as though I can't remember any book I've ever read (except, apparently, The Martian and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?). So no, I suppose I don't have an answer to the question about which book I particularly enjoyed or didn't enjoy, and maybe that says something interesting in itself. 

A significant portion of my life has been spent reading, and there are days when I want nothing more than to curl up on my balcony or in a comfy chair with some tea, a blanket, and some excellent music just so I can spend an evening reading the latest hardcover or paperback I've picked up. However, with being a full time college student, recently those books have been more in the realm of Shakespeare plays I'm reading for my independent study rather than something for fun (not that Shakespeare isn't fun). It's still reading, yes, and I can definitely still curl up with a blanket and some tea, but there's still a difference between reading for enjoyment and reading about the typical range of your average Bb Trumpet. 

It is important to note, however, that I typically bring books with me when I'm traveling. I almost always buy a new one before I leave, because there's always ample time for me to do nothing but read while sitting at an airport or on a plane. It's like time automatically set aside for reading. Unless, of course, I manage to finish my book before I even get on the plane. Then we have a problem. Coincidentally, I've also been known to do some of my best writing on planes, so perhaps I should be reconsidering my life choices and spending more time at airports and less time on the couch in my living room. The goods news here is that I'll be traveling within the next 48 hours (I'll actually be in Florida 48 hours from now), so perhaps I might actually get some reading and writing done then. 

None of this has been a description of a book that's influenced me though, mostly because I still can't recall most of what I've read in the past couple of years. It's amazing how your memory will fail you like that. So I'll just go with a blanket answer - it's not as much about what I've read recently or in my life as much as it's about why I've read. Reading (and writing) have been important parts of my life for almost as long as I can remember, reaching all the way back to reading a children's book called The Ghost Family Meets Its Match in my parents' closet every other week (the library wouldn't let me check it out more frequently than that), and all the reading that has shaped me into the book-loving English major I am today. Plus, there's definitely something to be said about all the wonderful books that inspired Disney movies over the years, because yes, this is still a Disney blog and I have to relate it somehow. Just think, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Tangled, or Cinderella wouldn't exist if not for the fairy tales they're based on. Even films such as 101 Dalmatians and Mary Poppins are derived from the pages of a book, and those films have definitely inspired me throughout my life, so there you go. 

Which means that the answer to the initial question, about what I've read that has impacted me in some way, lies somewhere in between The Ghost Family Meets Its Match and Mary Poppins, although to be fair, I've never actually read Mary Poppins

I should probably get on that. 

Have a magical day! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Day 1512: A Significant Moment

It's time for another blog post focused on my Creative Writing Seminar, although since I haven't had a chance to write another blog post since the last piece focusing on the class, it's almost as though no time has passed at all. Regardless, this week we've been challenged to discuss an important moment in our writing history, and, for me at least, there are few moments that could top the stirrings of Everyday Disney back in late 2012.

Prior to January 2013, and really prior to later that year, blogging had never been my strong suit. The most I'd written in the blog post category could be found in the expectations section of any number of high school syllabi, and that meant that even the first few months of constant blogging were pretty rough, although that's not why starting Everyday Disney takes the cake on my list of significant writing moments.

Like many of my peers, I can definitely recall moments as a kid where I'd make little books out of blank paper and a few staples or where I'd seek out a spare notebook from the depths of my basement to scribble in. I'd typically write stories about dogs, probably from the dog's point of view, but what can I say? I watched a lot of Air Bud as a kid...and I really wanted a dog. I suppose one could suggest that these early days were important because it gave me an opportunity to explore my imagination, but in the overall scheme of things, that just wasn't the most significant part of my writing journey, and that's okay.

Fast forward to my high school years, where, amongst all that horrible blogging, I discovered not particularly that I liked writing as much as it just came naturally to me. I can still recall sitting in an Intro to Business class, of all places, happily typing away at a paper or letter we had to write for an assignment, and my friends, who sat on either side of me, commenting on just how quickly I was moving along. I figured they just meant my typing, because I've always been notoriously fast and loud at typing, but in reality they were talking about the actual writing I was doing. In a trend that would continue throughout the remainder of my high school years, where my peers would struggle with what to say on an in-class essay or any essay in general, I'd quite contently work my way down each page, writing, writing, and writing some more.

By the start of my senior year, I was locked in an internal debate about what I'd major in when I headed to college the following fall. I knew I was good at writing, and I knew I liked writing, but I also knew that music would be a good fit for me, and history was constantly knocking at the door as well. But trying to achieve a triple major sounded like a horrible idea, so I did the best I could and dropped the official major for History in favor of focusing on English and Music. That decision wouldn't have come, however, without Everyday Disney.

To this day, I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking in the last few weeks of 2012 that made me so eager to write a blog post a day for an entire year. It was a lot of work, I'd be going through a lot of changes, the internet at my house was slower than a turtle on a bad day, and I had no prior experience with blogging. Little did I know that there was one day to fix at least a few of those problems. Blogging every day was, at first, really difficult and taxing. It still is on some days, especially now as I head into the fifth year and frequently struggle with coming up with brand new topics that I have yet to cover, but the more I blogged, the easier it became. Because of the consistency of writing a daily blog, I was able to keep writing even when it seemed like my muse was floating away, and that's a lesson you can only learn through continuous writing. You have to push through it, and I wouldn't know that without my daily blog. In addition, I've gained writing experience, found a voice of my own, expanded my vocabulary, learned what it means to write professionally on a regular basis, meet deadlines, and continue to pump enthusiasm into posts even when you're writing them at 11 pm on a Monday night and all you want to do is go to bed.

Was Everyday Disney the only important moment in my writing journey? Goodness no, and to be honest it doesn't have all that much to do with creative writing specifically, because there are plenty of other elements at play there, but when it comes to my writing as a whole, I'm incredibly thankful that 17-year-old me decided to start a daily blog about Disney...even if I'm behind for what seems to be the hundredth time.

Until tomorrow...or the next Creative Writing Seminar blog post,

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Day 1493: A New Challenge

I write...a lot. 

For my wonderful regular readers here at Everyday Disney, this probably isn't much of a surprise anymore. You know quite well how I am capable of rambling on for what feels like days about some Disney-oriented topic that probably didn't require a five-page explanation. Alright, so perhaps my blog posts aren't that long, but in the four years I've been writing here, I have discussed my writing more than a few times, and really, things haven't changed much. I'm still writing for Everyday Disney, as well as The Odyssey Online, multiple classes, video scripts, in a personal journal and, for the most part, anywhere else I can find a spot to jot down a few ideas or a quick story. 

But as we start a new month and as I write the first in a new series of blog posts (which I'll explain in a moment), I've decided on a new challenge for the month of February that will encourage me to actually keep up with daily blog posts, tie in my coursework with Disney in a whole new way, and will be, I believe, rather interesting.

I'm going to count every word I write in the month of February, and here's the how and why: 

As I round out my final year at St. Norbert College, I've returned to working toward a degree in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and am enrolled in a creative writing seminar. It's more or less an extension of a fiction workshop course I took last semester, which reminded me why I love writing in the first place. This semester, we're required to write a few blog posts in addition to our regular writing exercises, which I took as a brand new challenge, figuring it would be fun to really intertwine my coursework with what I'm already doing here. 

And as for the first blog post topic? You guessed it - writing. 

When I really sat down and thought about my writing though, I realized that much of my writing style has been, at least in some way, shape or form, influenced directly by Disney or through some connection to the company. In particular, through reading Anne Lamott's bird by bird, I've noticed a few direct examples of this. 

I write like I'm directing a film. Lamott notes that, when writing, she'll frequently imagine a scene as though it were on film. What would the background look like? How would the characters be situated in the scene? What would they be wearing? What would the lighting be like? In all reality - what would it look like if it were a movie instead of words on a page? When I read this, I couldn't help but smile because thank goodness someone else does this too. Working as a videographer and photographer on the side, I'm always picturing exactly how everything would look as though I were in the Disney studios creating a storyboard to make my work into a movie. 

I also rely on the details, similar to the way Disney-Pixar so carefully creates the shadows and reflections that make films such as Finding Nemo or Cars so realistic. I do my research and ground my works in reality, even if the characters and events of my writing are completely fictional. If I'm writing a piece I want to set in Ireland, I'll search the internet until I find the exact location I'm looking for. If I'm writing a piece on a car salesman in the 1950s, I'll search out that perfect name for his wife, what suit he probably would be wearing and what car he'd be likely to drive. I'll do research to the point where, if you read my piece, you'd probably believe that I'd been to Ireland or actually lived as a 1950s car salesman in a former life (spoiler alerts: I haven't been to Europe and I'm fairly certain I wasn't a car salesman...I think). Anne Lamott discusses this too, only for her the topic is gardening, and she works to insure that her writing is as accurate as the apples that are growing on a tree in the fictional backyard, despite the fact that she has fake flowers outside her own home. 

I write with the knowledge that it won't be the final product. Mickey Mouse, as you may or may not know, wasn't Walt Disney's first hit character, meaning Mickey Mouse wasn't the first draft. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was, and he was stolen from Walt along with his workers just before the creation of the mouse we know and love today. But Oswald taught Walt important lessons, and served a purpose of his own. Our first drafts don't have to work out, because they're just paving the way for the spectacular drafts yet to come. Reminding myself that even the creators of Tangled and The Lion King probably had, as Lamott notes, "shitty first drafts," keeps me going through the day. Maybe I won't get it right in the first draft, or the second, or the third, but if I keep working at it, eventually I'll find my own Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, although, perhaps I should aim for Mickey in this metaphor.

The point here is this, because this blog post is getting much longer than anticipated - my writing is constantly evolving, but no matter how far off track I get, I'm always grounded by the habits and strategies I've picked up along the way, the most important one of which is writing a lot. As I tally up the words that make up blog posts, articles, assignments, and journal entries throughout the month of February, I'm excited to see just how much I'm writing, and to reexamine what I'm writing as time goes on, because I'm sure that, as always, it will be quite the adventure.

Expect to see more blog posts from my Creative Writing Seminar in the future. Each will be tagged with #sncEngl425 if you want to hone in on just those posts - or if you're one of my classmates and don't feel the need to listen to my sometimes lengthy spiels about Spaceship Earth.

Have a magical day!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day 1475: Carrie and Debbie

It's not everyday you see hundreds gather with lightsabers and umbrellas at Disney's Hollywood Studios for a lightsaber and umbrella vigil, and it's even more rare that I'm able to be there to capture it all since I'm only at Walt Disney World for select days of the year. I haven't had the opportunity to attend a fan event since the D23 Expo in August of 2015, but as magical as that was, there was certainly something special about January 14 and the gathering at Disney's Hollywood Studios. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, on a Saturday in January, fans gathered at Hollywood Studios to celebrate the lives of two of the world's greatest: Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. The mood throughout the day, at times, was somber, but for the most part was filled with the spirit and energy the two women were so known for, and it was incredible to see their legacies directly portrayed through only a handful of their most dedicated fans.

Since I'm frequently found with a video camera in hand, I made a special effort to create a Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Tribute Video, which you can watch above. It features some of the fans I met while at the event, sharing why Debbie and Carrie are so important to them. I was a bit nervous at first, worried that I wouldn't get enough people to make up an entire video, but I eventually relished in each word the fans spoke into my camera, and as I spent an evening editing it, I couldn't help but feel an immense sense of pride. I was getting to edit this video, and no matter how big or small the scale of it, these fans, like myself, felt a connection to Carrie and Debbie, and for the first time since their death, I felt comforted in the fact that we aren't alone, and they most certainly won't be forgotten. 

I encourage you to watch the above video, not for me, but for the fans and for Carrie and Debbie. Share it, and let's continue to pass the lessons they've taught us to future generations. These women may have left us right when it seems we need them most, but that doesn't mean they aren't here beside us, because the force is strong, and we are the future. 

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Day 1471: Carrie Fisher Tribute

It's only been a couple of weeks since we all lost the wonderful Carrie Fisher and her spectacular mother, Debbie Reynolds, and the wounds are certainly still fresh. This Saturday, however, fans from near and far will be gathering at Hollywood Studios to celebrate the lives of these amazing women, and there's plenty for you to get involved in if you're in the area! 

You can find all the official information on the event HERE on the Facebook Event Page, but here are just a few of the highlights: 

Throughout the day guests will be DisneyBounding their favorite Carrie and Debbie characters, from Princess Leia to Kathy Selden, and you're welcome to join in too! Wear a DisneyBound (being mindful of the costume rules) or dress in your Dapper Best for the event! A group photo will be taken at 2 pm in the courtyard of the Chinese Theater!

Group Rides on Star Tours and the Great Movie Ride are scheduled during the day as well. It's suggested that you get fastpasses for these experiences as well, but something tells me that riding Star Tours with a bunch of Carrie Fisher fans would be pretty entertaining! 

Participate in the Group Viewing of 'Star Wars: A Galaxy Far Far Away' at 3:30 in front of the courtyard stage. Again, this sounds like it would be pretty excited when surrounded by fans just like you! 

Finish off the evening with a Lightsaber Vigil! Similar to the event held at Downtown Disney at Disneyland recently, the lightsaber vigil will take place in front of the courtyard stage, with Disney presenting favorite Carrie moments on the courtyard screen! Help us pay tribute to Carrie and Debbie in the best way we know how! 

Luckily, I'll be attending select portions of the tribute event to celebrate Carrie and Debbie and to help film a tribute video! Information on the filming and how you can be a part of it will be available on the Facebook page and I will share that information here as well when it is available! 

I hope to see many of you on Saturday as we celebrate the lives of these women gone too soon! Let's make it an event they'd be proud of! 

Have a magical day!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Day 1470: A New Experience

It's not everyday that you get to conduct an orchestra, but that was my day. Despite a snowstorm that has been wrecking havoc in Wisconsin and roads that were less than favorable, I was able to drive about an hour to Sheboygan to conduct the Youth Symphony, thanks to one of my professors here at St. Norbert. 

A few months ago I conducted the concert band as a part of my conducting class (and also as a favor of that same professor) and he soon after asked if I'd ever thought about grad school for conducting. I had to be honest, because I have considered it, but never especially seriously, especially after several faculty changes at St. Norbert and a semester of conducting class that left me less than motivated. My professor took me under his wing though, and over the past month we've been working on Beethoven's Symphony No. 1, which he's been working on with the Youth Symphony for their upcoming concert. After weeks of listening and singing the parts myself and practicing in my bathroom, I got up on the podium and led the ensemble - and had an amazing time doing it! 

I suppose that a few months ago I wasn't entirely sure if I wanted to pursue conducting in grad school. I wasn't even sure I wanted to go to grad school, but conducting those kids last night reaffirmed my love of conducting, and while I definitely still have a long ways to go, I'm excited about the prospect of attending grad school in the future for conducting. I have no idea where that might lead me in the future, but I do know that wherever it is, I'll continue to keep a motto of mine: whenever you feel like taking a step back, take a step forward instead. It definitely put me outside of my comfort zone to get up on the podium, but I learned a lot and gained valuable experience in the process, which just goes to show that taking that step forward, just as Walt always suggested we "Keep moving forward" will go a long way in making our dreams come true.

Have a magical day!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Day 1468: Pushed Back

In 31 trips to Walt Disney World, I've only really been drastically delayed once. It was the middle of July and we were heading down to Walt Disney World to celebrate my birthday and high school graduation, and a round of severe thunderstorms left us at home instead. We were able to get out the next morning, thankfully, but other than that, the most I've really been delayed that I can remember is a few hours. 

That streak is changing this trip though, as I was initially going to be heading down to Florida early Tuesday morning, with plans of Epcot and Spaceship Earth and dinner at Nine Dragons all set to go. Wednesday would bring an all time favorite that I never seem to miss: Afternoon Tea, and from there I'd spend my afternoon with the Disney princesses at Magic Kingdom. But I won't be flying out early Tuesday morning, and I won't be flying out Wednesday morning either. Instead, my flight to Florida, with a side trip to Dallas to change planes, will be Wednesday night, and luckily I was able to change my reservation for Afternoon Tea to another day. 

Due to a death in my family, I'll be here in Wisconsin for the funeral in a couple of days, but that's alright. In fact, I could have been in Florida and may have had to find my way back, but I no longer have to worry about that. Yes, I'll have a couple less days at Walt Disney World, but it'll still be waiting for me on Wednesday night and the rest of the week. I'll still get to attend the Epcot International Festival of the Arts and the Carrie Fisher Tribute. I'll still get to do all those wonderful things and still be here with my family, and if I'm being honest, there's no greater gift than that. 

Have a magical day! 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Day 1467: Grilled Cheese

A shorter post today, but one of my favorite social media events is finally back! 

A couple of years ago, Jennifer Morrison started a social media "event" called 101 Smiles, where she, along with her fans, would post a picture a day of something that made them smile for 101 days. Being the huge Once Upon A Time fan I was (and still am), I of course jumped on the train, and participated in both the inaugural 101 Smiles and the sequel in late 2015. When the smiles didn't return for the fall of 2016, I had to admit that I was disappointed, so when I logged on Twitter today and found that the campaign was beginning again, I couldn't have been more excited! 

The idea is simple. Every day you post a picture on Twitter of something that made you smile that day and tag it with #101Smiles. That's it. It's simple, and after two years of participating, I know for a fact that posting just one thing that made you smile each day greatly increases your overall positivity, and that means it's a great way to start out 2017! 

For today's smile, I happened to go for lunch at Culver's with one of my best friends, and she suggested that we have Grilled Cheese and Onion Rings, which just happens to be Emma Swan's favorite meal on Once Upon A Time. I agreed and we chatted over our food, taking pictures to tag on Twitter for our first smile! Jennifer Morrison herself even favorited Frank's picture on Twitter! As for my picture, I think you'll all recognize the bit of Disney I threw in just to create an extra smile! 

I can't wait to see what kinds of smiles the next 100 days will bring, and you can follow along with my smile journey on both my Instagram and Twitter accounts! Otherwise, I encourage you to join in! 

Have a magical day!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Day 1466: A Completely Uninteresting Day

What happens when you're a blog writer but you have an absolutely, completely uninteresting day and end it with writer's block? The picture above isn't even from today, that's how uninteresting today was. After all, the most interesting things that happened to me today were a four hour study session of Beethoven's first symphony, my boyfriend bringing me a Christmas sweater that his Great Grandma previously owned, and going to Olive Garden at 9:30 at night for breadsticks, mozzarella sticks, and stuffed mushrooms. Other than that, I did lay by my fireplace and watch Parks & Recreation for a while because I was cold, but is that really any better? 

As my roommate just said though, "we're on break," and she's entirely right. As much as I spend a bunch of my time on breaks working on catching up on blog posts and videos and in general, sleep, that doesn't make for a very interesting day. At least, nothing compared to what I'll be up to next week when I'm actually in Florida for another nine days at Disney. 

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that these completely uninteresting days, even when they have very little Disney in them, are necessary for us to really appreciate the truly magical ones. It's sort of like movies - not every single movie is going to hit it out of the park. Disney alone proves that with new films eleven out of the twelve months in 2016. Some of them, such as Finding Dory, Star Wars: Rogue One, and Captain America: Civil War did really well, ending out as the top three grossing films of 2016 in general. But others, such as Queen of Katwe, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and The BFG didn't fare as well, and while each may have been a good concept or film, there was something about them that was, at some point, uninteresting. 

Which is one of the characteristics I pay special attention to when I'm in the theaters seeing each film on opening weekend. When I'm viewing the film, I'm conscious of the moments where I lose my interest, and then at the end of the viewing I sort of count up how many times that happened. From there, I'm able to take that number into account as I determine how much I truly enjoyed the movie. A lull or two is good, great actually, because it allows us as viewers to process everything that's happened thus far in the film, but too many lulls just puts us to sleep, and, well, you get the idea. 

So maybe today, January 5, was a particularly uninteresting day in the Disney department, but I was still able to find enjoyment in the things I did, and that's just as important...especially when you live in Wisconsin and it's -23 degrees outside and you just feel really far away from Disney World. 

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Day 1465: The Parent Trap

Growing up, there were a few movies that I always watched when they were on TV, and one of those films was definitely The Parent Trap. Not the original version with Hayley Mills you see above though - I'm talking about the remake with Lindsay Lohan. That one movie that pretty much everyone in my generation saw at some point in their lives. 

I always liked the film, and I thought it was clever. For years I absolutely thought Lohan had a twin, and when I eventually realized that she was actually just one person playing both twins, I was astonished. I guess I knew that it was possible for her to play both roles and appear twice on the same screen at once as if there were two people actually standing there, but the execution still blew me away. I mean, I was also probably seven or eight at the time, but still! 

For years, I've been meaning to go back and watch the original film as well, but I never got around to it, even after getting a copy of my own on VHS from my Godfather this past summer. Still, I never had a chance to pop the tape into the VHS player and watch the movie. Well, as I finished up making scones this morning and started on blogging, I needed some background noise, and it just so happens that the original Parent Trap just appeared on Netflix. 

There's been some debate as to which film is truly better, especially among my friends who grew up watching both versions, but I must say that I personally don't know which I enjoyed more. Each is unique, even with the same plot line, and while perhaps I like the remake a bit more just because that's what I grew up with, there's a charm to the original that I never felt with the Lohan version. Hayley Mills just lights up the screen as both girls in the original, and it's hard not to root for them. It was strange to see an older version of a film I've come to know and love, and because I saw the remake first, it almost felt like going back in time, but the fact that the story still works so well for both time periods is astonishing. 

I guess to truly tell the difference though I'll have to grab some oreos and peanut butter and sit down to rewatch the Lohan version, right? 

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Day 1464: ApprenticeEh

I got into YouTube somewhere in the midst of high school. I remember sitting in my bedroom late at night, going from one video to the next, laughing, crying, and reveling in each new production I saw. Some videos seemed simple, others next to impossible to create, and each one absolutely unique and spectacular. I wouldn't learn until part way through college just how difficult and rewarding and challenging and encouraging being a YouTuber is though.

But one of those late nights in my bedroom, I stumbled across a video I'd be sent time and time again for years, and one that still occasionally pops up in my feed - John Williams is the Man. This video, a four part a cappella medley sung by Moosebutter, was produced by Corey Vidal, and today has over 21 million views on YouTube. I've seen it probably somewhere over a few hundred times since 2008, and it introduced me to Corey and what would ultimately become one of the biggest parts of my life: YouTube.

At the time, I'd just watched Star Wars from start to finish for the first time, and suddenly this video became my favorite thing on the internet (I'd say it's still in the Top 5 for sure). It launched me into a full fledged Star Wars craze and inspired me to watch every other video by Corey and his team, which, starting in 2011, included daily vlogs and other spectacular videos that I watched religiously for years. I specifically remember how thrilled I would be whenever my comment made it into the interactions of the day, or that one time I sent a postcard from Disney and it made an appearance on the vlog (I shared that video below). ApprenticeEh, in every reality, got me through my senior year of high school and led me into college, and in addition, the team inspired me to begin creating my own vlogs.

My vlogs, of course, would take place only at Walt Disney World, but as time went on, I was inspired to create other videos as well, and to be completely honest, it was Corey Vidal and ApprenticeEh that inspired me to be a YouTuber. It looked like fun, and after a bit of messing around on my computer, I realized that I could create things too, albeit on a smaller scale. Unfortunately, as my college schedule grew busier, I ended up missing more of ApprenticeEh than I wanted to, although every so often I'd check back in and see what was up for them, and through social media I've kept up with their adventures over the past few years, all of which continue to inspire me in my own YouTuber goals.

As we continue into 2017, however, the vlogs have concluded. After six years of daily vlogging, the team made the decision to stop the daily videos, which, knowing the work and effort it takes to create daily content, is a decision I completely understand. I'll miss them though, and over the past couple of weeks, I went back to watching some of the ApprenticeEh vlogs, both new and old, and it felt distinctly like coming home. I was reminded of so many wonderful memories, and it rejuvenated my love of vlogging (which means I'm pretty excited to vlog come my trip next week).

So I guess what I'm saying is thank you - to Corey and Corrado and Saskia and everyone that's been a part of the ApprenticeEh vlogs. While I haven't been able to watch consistently for a while, it'll still be very different logging onto YouTube and not seeing the vlogs there. But six years is a huge accomplishment, and for that I congratulate you! May your next adventures be as wonderful and inspiring as the past six years have been, because trust me, even without the vlogs, I'll be following them!

Have a magical day!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Day 1463: Disney Resolutions

I may already have most of my New Year's Resolutions figured out, including the one I shared yesterday to actively write a blog post a day for Everyday Disney, but the resolutions don't have to end there. This year I've got several resolutions, all of which I created based on things I've tried to do or have partially already nestled into my life. In other words, instead of going cold-turkey on a bunch of different resolutions, I'm taking works in progress and making resolutions to fulfill them in completion. My resolutions aren't the full point of this blog post though. 

It may be January 2, but that doesn't mean it's too late to figure out a few last minute goals of your own for 2017, and in the spirit of all things Disney, here are just a few Disney-Inspired Resolutions! 

Be More Like Tiana - It's probably a good idea for me to throw this one in here specifically because it's a bit of my own resolution for the year. Tiana is incredibly dedicated to her work, and while we all need to dig a little deeper to find out what really matters, working towards our goals with everything we have is also important! So be more disciplined with your work this year, find your focus, and then create the best work you possibly can! 

DisneyBound More - I definitely recall the days of my sophomore year when DisneyBounding was a huge part of my life. That year, I continued my Once Upon A Time DisneyBounds, participated in the March DisneyBound challenge, and definitely had more than a few outfits planned for my Disney trips. However, in the past couple of years, I've gotten a bit out of the habit, and I think DisneyBounding more often is a great resolution for us all to bring a bit more Disney into our daily lives! If you need inspiration, you can check out the official DisneyBound website by Leslie Kay! 

Follow Your Dreams - Have you ever had a dream like Rapunzel? My guess is that you have. Make it your resolution this year to follow that dream, and then, if you complete it, find a new one! This is definitely something that I'll be working towards this year with applying to work at Walt Disney World, so come on and dream with me! 

Be Healthy - This one's pretty typical for a New Year's Resolution, but let me tell you, it's never been so easy and so Disney. Check out The Healthy Mouse, created by Jessica McDonald, where you can find a wealth of wonderful suggestions for clean-eating recipes that are both delicious and Disney inspired! Since joining a Facebook group filled with Disney fans dedicated to clean eating, I've been more motivated to eat well and find health in my own life, and it all started with a look at Jessica's blog!

Join a new Disney Community - Speaking of Facebook groups, I've loved becoming a member of several internet Disney communities over the past few years, whether it be on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. These communities can get you excited for your upcoming trip, give you new ideas for what you can experience in the parks, rave with you about how much you loved the latest movie, or just offer general support, and there are a ton of them out there! Jump in and join the discussion! 

Watch All the Disney Movies - I've been working on this for years and I'm still not past Winnie the Pooh, which is only roughly halfway through the lineup, but hey, it's still a great goal! This year, make it a resolution to watch all of the classic animated films we grew up with! 

Exercise More - I think this one can be completed rather nicely by heading to the parks for an extra trip? After all, where else would I consciously walk over 15 miles in one day for fun? And of course you'll have to prepare for all that walking by exercising at home to get accustomed, so really, it's a great resolution! 

Eat More Churros - Or not? 

As you can see, there are plenty of Disney inspired resolutions to take on as we head into 2017, and I want to know what your resolutions are! Let me know in the comments below or on the Everyday Disney Facebook page or other social media! And while you're there, you might as well give them a follow, which will make it easier for you to catch upcoming posts as I work on my own New Year's Resolution of blogging right here! 

Have a magical day! 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Day 1462: Dig a Little Deeper

I originally wanted to title this post "Almost There," but after 1461 days of never repeating a blog post title, I didn't want to reuse one now, regardless of how well it portrays the theme of 2017 here on Everyday Disney. 

As of today, January 1, 2017, I will have been blogging for four years - with a lapse here and there. But with a little extra time over the next few weeks, years one through four will all read 365 blog posts each, with an extra one for 2016 because of that extra day thrown in there. That's a lot of writing, a lot of blogging, and a lot of my life, all captured here in the pages that make up Everyday Disney. In addition, I've posted thousands of pictures on Instagram, uploaded over a hundred videos to YouTube, and joined other internet content teams in the process. 

Let's flash back to January of 2013, when I wrote my very first posts here on Everyday Disney. I wondered back then if I'd be able to accomplish this crazy, ridiculous goal I'd come up with of writing everyday for an entire year, especially when I was only writing about one topic - and even if that topic was Disney. I still remember sitting in one of my high school's computer labs, typing away and designing the first elements of this blog. I was making decisions about my future back then, pretty much the same way I am now, only the decisions are a bit more drastic this time around. In 2013 it was what I wanted to major in, maybe worrying about who I would get as a roommate. Today it's a debate about what the rest of my life looks like, and no, I don't need to have it all figured out right now, but if there was one thing that helped me figure it all out back then, it was Everyday Disney

Which is why I see no reason this blog can't help me through the next big steps of my life too. Which means it's time for a new resolution, and this is where "Almost There" comes in. For years I've dreamed of applying for the Disney College Program, but even through my semesters at St. Norbert, it's been sort of a side thought, a fear and worry for the future. The future, it seems, is now here, and as I eagerly await for applications to open for the fall program, I grow anxious and excited. I am, to play on Princess and the Frog, "Almost There," and that means that now is the perfect time to focus back in on what helped get me to where I am today and solidify everything before I hopefully head off on a new adventure! 

So this year, my resolution is simple: I am going to write a blog, called Everyday Disney, which for 365 days, I will write a post a day, or at least put something on the blog in order to keep up with the days. 

Yes, yes, I know, you're not really supposed to repeat New Year's Resolutions, but the way I see it, I already know I can do this, but technically I haven't actually accomplished the goal. There's always been a week or so at the end of the year where I frantically attempt to make up any missing posts from the year, and this time, that just won't do. Fifteen hour days, six ensembles, twenty one credits be darned, I'm going to do this. I am going to write about Disney every day for the entirety of 2017, and I hope I'll continue to have you all, as always, to join me. 

So here's to 2017, and being "Almost There." Now's the time to "Dig a Little Deeper" and find what makes us truly happy, and then work maybe just a little harder to get there. 

Or we could start with some beignets. That could be fun too. 

Have a magical day and a happy new year!