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!