Thursday, August 3, 2017

Day 1676: DCP Bucket List

There's a distinct difference between visiting Florida and the Walt Disney World Resort here and there, or even a few times a year as I've been up to lately, and actually living in Florida. For one, as I spend my time on my Disney College Program, I'll have my car, which means that I'll actually have near unlimited access to everything Florida has to offer. Second, while I will be spending most of my time working in the Parks, I will have some free time here or there, and that's the perfect chance to work on my ever growing collection of Bucket List items for my DCP. 

So here's my list (you can click it to zoom in):

I've spent quite a bit of time over the past few weeks narrowing down my options for this list, but I wanted it to stray from the stereotypical Disney College Program Bucket List. While it does include some regular experiences, like Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Visit Every Resort, I've also included VoluntEAR, the Pascal Scavenger Hunt, and Finding a Local Donut Shop! 

I've been fortunate to spend so much of my life so far at the Walt Disney World Resort, which means that now I can spend more time doing the things I typically don't feel I have time for when I'm here on vacation. Yes, going on every attraction is on the list, but so is Photographing every attraction for future blog posts and Instagram features. Seeing the Hoop Dee Doo Revue is included, as it is for most people, but I also included two tours on there! So, as you can see, it's all over the place, and it's going to be an interesting semester! 

If you had to make a Disney College Program Bucket List, what would be on it?

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Day 1675: The Waiting Game

If you thought the 120 minute wait for Frozen Ever After was bad, then I have bad news, because the amount of time you spend waiting after completing your phone interview will give you a whole new perspective on the word patience.

Of course, The Waiting Game has several sections, and the first one is absolutely the worst one. I completed my Phone Interview mid-February, and I waited as wave after wave of acceptance letters roll out. I had myself completely convinced that I'd messed something up in my Phone Interview and that I wouldn't be accepted or would get a waitlist email, but I tried to keep myself busy with practicing for Knights on Broadway and finishing my homework.

That makes the process of waiting sound easy, because honestly it's really easy to discourage yourself while waiting for your acceptance letter. I was frantically trying to figure out what I would do if I wasn't accepted, fielded everyone telling me that "Of course Disney will hire you!" because honestly, what if they didn't? It was nerve wrecking and terrifying and seemed like I'd never get the Congratulations email.

Finally, on March 25, I was sitting in my History of Modern Art class and noticed a notification on the corner of my screen. Luckily, I took notes on my laptop for that course, and all I saw was Disney College Program and "Congratulations." I immediately clicked the notification, which opened the email in my browser, and I started to hit Megan, who was sitting next to me, while also trying to not be super distracting despite the fact that I sat in the exact center of the front row. I actually apologized to my professor after class and explained that I'd just received my acceptance to the Disney College Program. He congratulated me and I went out to go tell everyone else who would listen.

As a part of your acceptance letter, you'll learn what role you'll be filling, whether it be Quick Service Food and Beverage, Attractions, PhotoPass, or one of the other magical roles that are a part of the Disney College Program. You'll have an opportunity to accept or decline your role (don't be afraid to do this, but also know that many people apply for the college program, and every role is a great one, even if it wasn't your top choice), and you'll then pay an initial fee for the program, which includes your rent for your first couple of weeks since you won't have enough hours when you first start out to pay for rent in full. This is also when you'll pick your arrival date. I only had one choice of when I could arrive, August 7, as the other two dates were blocked out.

But the waiting isn't over, because now you have months of waiting for more information and tasks. You'll eventually be sent your onboarding information about a month ahead of time, which includes all of your confidentiality agreements and other legal documents. What I did was download the giant books to read later since I was heading to New York the following week. I was able to add them to my Kindle Library and read them on the go rather than spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to read it all in one sitting (some of the booklets are around 30 pages). A few weeks before arrival you'll also receive your housing email that will allow you to link with other roommates and rank your housing options. More on this later though!

Next you'll wait in anticipation of finding out where you'll be spending the majority of your time on the program: your work location. About a week before your check-in date you'll receive an email with your check-in itinerary and your work and housing locations. Be thankful that you receive your work location ahead of time now, as former college program participants had to wait until they actually arrived to find out their work location! For me, I actually just received my itinerary today, 5 days before check-in, and I'll be making Magic Kingdom my home for the fall and living in Patterson!

Then the only waiting left is waiting to get to Florida, and that's a bittersweet sort of waiting. On one hand, you'll be leaving to move to the most magical or the happiest place on Earth. For a few months you'll literally get to live at Disney World or Disneyland, and dreams of working for Disney are finally coming true. But on the other hand, you'll be leaving home or school, all of your friends and family and pets, for a new adventure.

Which is where I am now, desperately trying to finish everything I need to before I actually leave for Florida. The remainder of my family got there today, my car safely in a Disney Parking Lot until I get there in a few days after standing up in a wedding, which means that the rest of this week will be dedicated to more DCP Wednesday posts, even if they're not actually on Wednesdays! There are a few things we still need to discuss before I start my program, so get ready for more Disney College Program as we count down the final days until I move to Walt Disney World!

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Day 1668: Phone Interview

If you've made it this far in the Disney College Program application process, congratulations! Now comes the real challenge though: your Phone Interview. Of course, it's always important to note that the DCP lingo refers to this portion of the process as a PI, so don't get freaked out thinking that Disney is about to send a Private Investigator to shadow you for a few weeks. It's just a phone interview, and it's not unlike a phone interview for any other position with any other company. 

Only it's Disney and you really, really, really want this job. 

Once you've finished your Web Based Interview, you'll be directed to a system to schedule your PI if you passed. You're able to schedule your interview for any day during the next few weeks after your WBI, and the ability to choose when you'll receive that phone call is a blessing. Some schedule their interview for the next day and it goes fine, I scheduled mine for almost a full two weeks after I completed my WBI since I was running a major on-campus event the week in between my two interviews and wanted to give my full focus to the event while still allowing for time to prepare for my PI. Really, it's up to you, but I suggest allowing yourself at least three days to prepare for your interview. 

I'll give you pretty much the same advice you can find elsewhere, largely because it's the same advice I'd give anyone going into any kind of interview, whether it's a phone interview or for Disney or not, and it's a system of three P's: Prepare, Practice, Present. Stick with me though, because this is about to be a long post. 

Prepare is pretty obvious, especially since I mentioned a few weeks ago that your research isn't over. A quick Google search will enlighten you to what kinds of questions your recruiter might ask you during your interview. I made a list of every question I could find, put them in a word document, and answered them all. That way I had at least thought through pretty much every possible question they could ask me, although I narrowed it down to a set of about 14 questions with bullet pointed answers sitting in front of me during the interview itself. 

To give you an idea, here are some of the questions I recall my recruiter asking me: 

"Why do you want to work with Disney?" 
"Why do you want to participate in the program?" 
"Do you think it would be a big adjustment to move this far from home?" 
"What qualities would make you suited for PhotoPass Photography?" (My top ranked role)
"Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a roommate." 

I won't list my written answers here, because I fully believe in individual answers. In other words, my answers are best suited for me and my experience, and your answers are best suited for you and your experiences. Those little differences will set you apart from other applicants, and you should utilize those qualities rather than using a carbon copy of mine! Be yourself, be honest, and be thoughtful. 

Practicing is just as important as preparing though. Once you have your cheat sheet narrowed down, speak through your answers a few times. I like to say them out loud as I write to find what feels most natural in order and phrase, and then I set it aside until the next day, when I ran through it a couple of times by myself. Eventually, I handed my cheat sheet to my roommate to sort of "quiz" me and mix up the questions just enough so it wasn't precisely what I had written on the page. Practicing with someone else, whether it be a significant other, a friend, a roommate, or a stranger in the hallway, can vastly improve your nerves when it comes to the actual PI, and as they say, practice makes perfect! 

Present refers to presenting yourself in a professional and "Disney-esque" manner. Disney is very obviously looking for a specific sort of person to employ in their parks, and while you should, to a point, tailor your answers to what they want to hear, if you're not being honest they will see through your lies. It's crucial that you're professional and honest at this point in the interview process. Whether it's about your experience or a tattoo, telling the truth can prevent you from ending up in a role or situation you hate, so if there's a role you really have no interest in, don't say you're interested if you're not, but if there's something you really want to do, mention that! Be enthusiastic and stay positive and polite! Present yourself in a way that would make Walt Disney proud. 

And just as a bonus, here are just a few extra tips to help your Phone Interview go smoothly:

- Schedule your phone interview at a time that's good for you. Your PI will be scheduled for a half hour period, but they can call anywhere up to 15 minutes before the scheduled time or 15 minutes after the scheduled start time, so block off an hour, and remember that they're working in Eastern Standard Time, so triple check your time block. 

- Dress like you would for a real interview, or at least in a manner that makes you confident. I wore a pair of dark-wash jeans (my favorite pair) with a cute blouse and my favorite black blazer and I actually wore my Knights on Broadway heels for extra confidence. Yes, even though I was just sitting in my apartment, I wore my show heels. In addition, I did my hair and makeup that morning to give myself the confidence I needed. 

- Situated yourself in a location that's quiet and has good signal. They won't continue the interview if you're actively driving, so keep that in mind, but I know some drive their car to a local park or a remote part of a parking lot and park there for their interview. I did mine in my apartment, and my roommate was kind enough to step out for the morning so I could have the place to myself. 

- Spread out your notes in front of you, have a couple of questions to ask your recruiter prepared (I used the standard "Have you participated in the Disney College Program?" and "Is it too early to request a location?"), and keep a pencil or pen nearby to write down the name of your recruiter! Be sure to thank them by name at the end of the interview (Thank you Nancy)!!! 

- Some people set up a camera and film themselves. I did this because I'm so used to sitting in front of a camera and the setup and recording light reminded me to smile and present the same bubbly personality I try to have on camera. If you don't feel comfortable on camera, don't film yourself. It's as simple as that, but it's certainly something to think about!

- The call will come through on a blocked number. ANSWER IT. If you don't answer the first time they will likely call again, but it's better if you answer the first time. 

- Remember it's a conversation with your recruiter, not just an interview. They're asking questions to get a feel of who you are as a person, but I ended up having an entire conversation with my recruiter on the history of the Disney College Program that lasted significantly longer than my answers to any of the other questions. It's a real person on the other end of the line, and having a real conversation with them can reflect positively, since you'll be having real conversations with guests in the parks if you're accepted. Don't force it, of course, but if it feels natural to ask a question here or there or discuss something further, go for it!

- S.M.I.L.E. I can't stress this enough, and it's something that everyone discussing the Phone Interview will say, but it's honestly the most important part about the phone interview. Disney is looking for positive, happy students to participate in their programs, because the Disney Parks are positive, happy places. They will be able to tell on the other end of the line if you're smiling, so do it as much as you can or is comfortable. As I just said, the camera was my reminder to smile, but for you it might be a giant sign on your wall that has SMILE written out in giant letters, but whatever it is, don't forget to show those teeth! 

All in all, when it comes to the Phone Interview, just remember the Three P's: Prepare, Practice, Present, and to smile, and you'll already be more than ready for this giant step toward the Disney College Program. 

Have a magical day!

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 19, 2017

Day 1661: Web Based Interview

So you made it past the dreaded submission and into the Web Based Interview, or as most applicants refer to it, the WBI. Congratulations! If you thought everything so far was exciting, get ready for one of the most nerve wrecking experiences of your entire life, because the WBI is, more or less, a personality test that decides if you'd be a good candidate to work for Disney. That's right, this little test is going to figure out if you're suitable to be a Disney Cast Member. 

The good news is that as terrifying as this test can be, it's actually not all that difficult as long as you use your common sense and keep track of your answers. That means that you want to seclude yourself from others so you can focus entirely on this portion of the interview process. For me, I locked myself in my apartment (although I made the mistake of forgetting to tell my roommate what I was doing, so she walked in when I was about 70% done and scared me half to death...I still passed though!), turned off the lights since I'm calmer in the dark, turned on some peaceful instrumental music, and began my WBI. 

For those that don't know, the WBI will need to be taken within a few days after receiving the email invitation to do so, but you can do it at any time that's convenient for you. So if you're like me and your days are filled with classes, meetings, rehearsals, and maybe grabbing a quick bite to eat, you can complete this at 3am if you'd like. I don't advise that, but it's nice to know that you're at your own free will here for a moment. 

Now, there's any range of options for how people suggest you approach the Web Based Interview, and after a lot of research and a little personal experience, I'm not sure there's any perfect way to make it to the Phone Interviews. As I've said in the past, I know some people perfectly suited for the Disney College Program that didn't pass the WBI. So here are my quick tips on the Web Based Interview: 

1. Don't stress too much. I have some anxiety myself and whenever I found myself getting anxious during the WBI I used my performance trick of quickly closing my eyes and taking a deep breath. The more anxious you are, the more likely you are to answer something in a way you normally wouldn't. 

2. Be consistent!!! Of all the suggestions I came across, this is perhaps the most important one. Disney is about to throw a ton of questions at you and you'll have to answer them all in a very short amount of time (I believe it's 60 seconds or less). That being said, they'll try to trick you. No one ever said that getting into Disney was easy, so one minute they'll have you rank the phrase "I am always on time" on a scale of 1 to 5 (Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree) and the next they'll have you rank, using the same scale, "I am never late." Of course, in this case, the "correct" responses would be Strongly Agree to "I am always on time" and Strongly Agree to "I am never late." Pay attention to the questions and remember your answers. 

3. Slow down! In order to make sure I was thinking each question through fully, I read them all out loud to myself. It took a bit longer than some may take on the WBI (Disney says it'll take you 40 minutes, it probably won't), but it made sure I was answering truthfully and consistently. 

It's pretty common for people to suggest you should try to rank each question as Strongly Agree or Strongly Disagree only, avoiding putting the middle answers as much as you can. I honestly have no reference on whether or not this is true, as I've only done the WBI once and obviously passed, but I did keep track of how many Agree, Disagree, and Neutral answers I put. I allowed myself two of each agree and disagree, and one neutral. I did use all five of my "Moderate Answers," and it worked for me, so who's to say what for sure works or doesn't work in regards to how you answer the questions. I used them on questions where I truthfully didn't feel strongly one way or another, but it's obvious that Disney wants you to be confident in your answers, hence the suggestion to use those "Strongly" answers more often than not. 

The other terrifying, but also somewhat relieving, part about the WBI? You'll get so wrapped up in answering questions that all of a sudden you'll reach the end of the Interview and you'll be instructed as to whether you passed or failed. A pass means you'll immediately (or soon after) be able to sign up for your Phone Interview, and a fail, obviously, means that perhaps there's better luck next time. 

All in all, I definitely worked myself up by the Web Based Interview, when in reality as long as you use your conscience as your guide and answer truthfully, you're likely to be just fine and make it on to the Phone Interview! 

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! 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Day 1660: Why the DCP?

Now that I've finally announced my big news about participating in the Disney College Program this fall, we can get started with the myriad of topics relating to the experience, even if I haven't actually arrived at Disney yet! In fact, you wouldn't believe just how much of an experience the months leading up to the Disney College Program can be, from deciding to apply to the application process to roommate gifts and a packing list. There's a lot to cover, and some of it comes long before applications drop. 

I first learned about the Disney College Program well before I was even looking at colleges to attend in the fall of 2013. As far as I can remember, the first time I really decided that maybe I'd like to look into doing the program was during an included breakfast on a tour at Animal Kingdom my Dad and I took years ago. We ended up being the only ones on the tour and spent a good portion of the meal discussing the college program and professional internships with our tour guide. Of course, I'm not sure I was truly serious about it back then, because it wasn't until my senior year of high school that I really decided that I wanted to pursue a career with the Disney company, but it's still important to note that for some, dreams of the Disney College Program go pretty far back. 

Now, whenever I tell people I'm going to go work for Disney as a part of the DCP, it's almost guaranteed that they'll ask me what that's about. By definition, the Disney College Program is a semester-long paid internship at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Students work in a front-line role at the theme parks and resorts, participate in college-level coursework, and live in company-sponsored housing with other students from around the globe. Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university during the semester prior to participation, meaning you can graduate from college and participate the following semester (which is what I'm doing), and for those who are heading back to school at the conclusion of their program, college credit may be available. 

Knowing I wanted to do the program, I immediately asked the study abroad rep at my college during my freshman orientation, only to find out that, unfortunately, my school does not award credit for doing the program, meaning that I'd basically take a semester off to go to Florida or complete a full semester of classes online in addition to the workload in the parks. In addition, as a Music Performance major, I was required to take lessons every semester, meaning I would have had to find a way to take lessons while away to stay on track. 

This left me with one option: put all my eggs in one basket and apply for the college program for the semester after graduation. I'll say with complete honesty that it felt like jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge in regards to the risk I was taking. I had no plans whatsoever if the DCP fell through, not wanting to waste hundreds of dollars on applications for grad school if I was going to pursue Disney instead. I felt like I had a pretty good shot of getting accepted, but I have a friend who is perfectly suited for the Disney College Program who was in the same boat as me, applying for the semester after she graduated, and she didn't get in. It's a risk, it's terrifying, but if it's something you really want to do, absolutely just go for it

If you want to apply for a semester in the midst of your college career, apply early. Some are accepted the first time through, and some apply four or five times with no luck, so since you can start applying during your first semester (to participate your second semester), start right away. You never know what will happen! 

If you're in the same boat as me, jumping into a sea of sharks, know that the Disney College Program is incredibly competitive, and many use it as a jumping off point to start a further career with Disney. That means that, for those of us applying for after graduation, you have to make sure you stand out from everyone else. Because I knew that I wouldn't be able to apply until my final semester, I spent my four years of college building on the foundation I'd set and gaining relevant experience. I did my research and looked at what roles might fit me best, and then sought out opportunities that would make me a better candidate. In fact, almost everything I've done over the past four years has been with the DCP in mind, and while it won't guarantee you'll get in, it certainly won't hurt because even if you don't, it'll make you more qualified for whatever the next step after graduation ends up being. 

For more information on the Disney College Program, check out the official website, and check in every Wednesday for a new blog post focused on my DCP Experience! 

Have a magical day!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Day 1637: Aladdin Chicago

I'll openly admit that I've never really liked Aladdin. If asked, I'll be the first to suggest that A Whole New World is probably the most overplayed song in the history of Disney Music (closely followed by anything from The Little Mermaid), and that while some of the characters are interesting, there's just nothing special about them that's truly appealed to me in my 21 years of life. In fact, and no one murder me for saying this, I realized recently that the most likely reason I've never really enjoyed the film is that the chemistry between Aladdin and Jasmine seems forced and unrealistic in the film, among other things. I do love Genie though, so there are some redeeming qualities here. 

Obviously, my feelings toward the film made me cautious going into the musical. I've only listened to the soundtrack a handful of times (mostly to avoid hearing A Whole New World for the 8 millionth time), and other than watching a video here or there over the past year out of curiosity about Adam Jacobs, I kept away from the show altogether. My family does, however, have a history of taking in the newest Disney musical when it arrives in Chicago, and that meant that at some point before September 10, we were bound to make the four hour drive to see the show. 

Overall, I'll say this about Aladdin: It was good, but not the showstopping extravaganza Hamilton is, with the exception of Friend Like Me and Prince Ali. In fact, Friend Like Me might just be one of the best things I've ever seen on stage, and that's saying something. The near 10 minute Genie feature is full of glitter and glam and everything you'd expect from the Genie. The dance breaks (specifically the tap) are full of energy and honestly, the entire number looks just plain exhausting, but is equally musical, hilarious, impressive, and magical. 

Prince Ali is similar, with bright colors and a high-energy atmosphere that brings the audience right back into the story at the opening of the second act. It was also in this number specifically that I marveled at the quick costume changes for the entire swing company. It's obvious that the creators of the show spent their time working on this piece in particular to bring to life one of the best-known moments in the film, although I do wish the elephant had made an appearance. 

The new additions to the musical lineup are nice, specifically Proud Of Your Boy, Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim, and High Adventure. The entire added Aladdin subplot actually did a lot for me in terms of the story as a whole, as it gave some depth to the character that was missing before. However, that same depth is missing for many of the other characters, but this story is about Aladdin himself, so it was helpful nonetheless. 

Not to continue to bash on A Whole New World, but per usual, this is where I thought things were lacking the most. Perhaps it's because I'm not a fan of the song itself, but this number was extremely underwhelming in comparison to the others in the show, and after seeing the Disneyland production multiple times, where the carpet literally flies out into the audience, the on-stage carpet did little to dazzle me. From a production standpoint, I completely understand the point of this, because flying out over the audience severely impacts the viewing of well over half the audience, but there was just so much that could have been done with this number and wasn't. A Million Miles Away was a welcome addition to the show though and added some of that chemistry I was missing in the film, so a few bonus points there!

Plus, seeing Adam Jacobs in person almost makes up any faults in the show. For those of you that aren't constantly following the Broadway Facebook Pages or Cast Lists, Adam Jacobs is best known for originating the role of Aladdin on Broadway, and he's since moved to the Chicago production. It was an honor to see Jacobs in the title role, and his portrayal of Aladdin is spot on in every way. Plus, he's not too bad on the eyes...or did you not notice that he hardly wears a shirt in the entire show? 

So does Aladdin rank among some of the greatest musicals of all time, even the Disney ones like The Lion King and Mary Poppins? I'd say so, but it's also not something I'll be rushing back to see immediately. Then again, that may just be my dislike of the film talking, so make your own decision on the show by checking it out on Broadway or at the Cadillac Theatre in Chicago (through September 10), and when it's finished there, Aladdin will head out on a national tour, so watch for when it comes to a city near you soon! 

If you've already seen Aladdin, leave your thoughts in the comments below! 

Have a magical day!

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!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day 1598: Hamilton

When I was first debating audition for the Knights on Broadway, I was neck deep in lyrics from the hit musical Hamilton. I'd spent a good portion of the summer making an attempt to learn every last word in My Shot, had a good handle on The Schuyler Sisters, was currently obsessed with Burn and was just beginning to aquatint myself with Guns and Ships, not to mention the numerous other numbers in the show. In fact, My Shot became one of the two songs that got me through auditions, as I distinctly remember listening to it on repeat alongside I Have Confidence from The Sound of Music as I got ready for and headed to callbacks. As we opened our Christmas show, it was My Shot that played in the opening video, Alexander Hamilton that we performed on stage, and Hamilton: An American Musical that provided the basis for the backstory to our show. All in all, one could say that Hamilton provided me with the encouragement to not throw away my own shot, and it brought me right back into the world of Broadway that I'd sort of lost in the years previous. 

So when the idea of surprising Megan with tickets to see the Chicago production just wouldn't leave me alone, I sought out some balcony seats for a performance in May and prepared myself for the long months of waiting ahead. The worst part about waiting though? Not telling Megan. In fact, all of Knights on Broadway knew about the surprise and our director almost let the secret slip at one of our Christmas performances, but somehow I managed to keep things under wraps until Christmas Day, and needless to say, she loved the surprise.

When our chance to be in the room where it happens finally came around, it was absolutely one of the most surreal experiences of my life. In fact, the closest feeling I can compare it to was when we visited Great Sand Sand Dunes National Park last July, when even as we drove away, it still didn't feel real. Seeing a show like Hamilton is an experience in itself, in more ways than one, and something tells me it's not an experience I'll be able to replicate anytime soon. 

First and foremost, Hamilton is an award winning of the biggest actually. It won a near record number of Tony Awards in 2016, and has jumped to the top of the National Stage faster than most shows of its kind (who remembers 1776?!?). Hamilton has gained a dedicated fanbase, has impacted the way our population looks at musicals, and may just be one of the most important musicals of all time. When you see a production like that, it's incredibly inspiring. 

Second, for someone like me, who has a very real personal connection to the show (how many people get to say they've had an opportunity to perform part of the show), it was incredible to see it come to life for real in front of my own eyes. There's something strange about forcing yourself to stop from singing the lyrics because you're so used to performing them (whether that be on the stage or in your car), and when you finally get to see a musical that you've loved for so long and has impacted you so much, the feeling is indescribable. 

Hamilton is a musical for a new generation of Broadway Fans and Musical Lovers alike, and combines so much of what we've learned in the many years of Broadway with the identities of our country and world. It brings what we thought we knew about history into new light, and tells the story of those history overlooks. And above all else, Hamilton has inspired us to not throw away our shot, whatever that chance or opportunity might be. It sort of reminds me of the way Disney has consistently taught us to keep dreaming and moving forward, encouraging us to make the most of every door that opens to us, which is probably why Lin Manuel-Miranda fits in perfectly with Disney Legends we've been adoring for years (check out his work in Moana and the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns). 

If you haven't had a chance to see Hamilton, it's now playing in three cities across the United States - New York, Chicago, and San Francisco - and will soon open a production in London as well as a touring company throughout the country! Tickets aren't necessarily cheap due to popularity, but trust me when I tell you that it's worth every penny...or ten dollar bill, if you get my drift. 

Have a magical day!