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Cast Member Chronicles: Melissa’s Disney College Program Experience

by on December 21, 2014

Photo - DisneyMelissa is a friend of mine who completed the Disney College Program in January 2013. She had nothing but wonderful things to say about it, so I decided to pick her brain and ask her to share the experience with all of you. For more information about this program, check out my girl Trista’s post here.

Okay ready? Let’s get started!

Walt Disney World has always held a special place in Melissa’s heart. Growing up, her family made several visits and each time was as spectacular as the last. She first heard about the Disney College Program (or DCP as I will refer to it) from her older sister, who had spent a semester there years previously. With her love of Disney blazing like a hunka hunk of burning love, she made the easy decision to apply.

In the Fall of 2012, she began the application process. Step one involved filling out a general application, mostly requesting education and work experience. There was also a section where she was asked to rate different job roles on a 1 to 5 interest scale. Melissa had experience in the restaurant business, so she felt Food and Beverage would be the best fit. From there, things moved very quickly. Step two was a mere two days later, when a representative from Disney requested an online interview. A few days after that, Melissa had a phone interview. One week later, she was a future employee and student of the Disney College Program!

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The Disney Dream (Literally!)

by on December 14, 2014

streetshowIt is something that we have all probably done sometime in our Disney lives: have a Disney dream while you’re sleeping.

Sometimes, the dream is you in a strange hybrid Disney movie with real life mixed in. Sometimes it’s a dream derived from something at the Disney Parks. And in other ways it’s just a crazy mixed-up dream with a little Disney thrown in.

I had an incredibly vivid dream a couple of weeks ago that took place in Walt Disney World and featured some interesting new ideas that came out of the subconscious of my mind. But when I woke up and thought them through, I was thinking of ways those features in my dream could actually work in the parks.

I am going to tell you my Disney dream, and explain how some of those thoughts could be implemented in a Disney Park.

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Disney History: The Jungle Cruise

by on December 14, 2014

Copyright - Disney

Copyright – Disney

The Jungle Cruise is an iconic Disney attraction that promises danger, adventure, and a whole lot of laughs! Located in Adventureland at both Disneyland and Disney World, the Jungle Cruise was an opening day attraction at both parks and is still entertaining guests today with its witty Jungle Cruise Skippers, the backside of water, and the hilarious names for its steamboats, such as Senegal Sal and Congo Connie. But did you know that the original idea for the Jungle Cruise was very different than the attraction we know today? Did you also know that evidence for the original plan for the Jungle Cruise can be found in two other Disney World parks? Get your pencil and paper ready because for today’s lesson, we are going to brush up on some Disney History: The Jungle Cruise!

The Inspiration

When Disneyland was being built in the 1950s, Walt wanted to create an attraction that represented his True-Life Adventures series. It’s also been said that Walt was a fan of The African Queen, a 1951 film starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, a mismatched pair who must sail a steamboat down the rivers of Africa. The two ideas morphed into a vision for an attraction where guests would sail down the exotic rivers of the world in a steamboat while observing live wildlife on either side. Naturally, this plan had to be modified when Disney learned that live animals would be difficult to contain, care for, and keep to script, so the solution was to install audio-animatronic animals instead. However, you can find a vintage poster for The African Queen at Hollywood Studios on Sunset Boulevard as it is a Hollywood classic, but also possibly a nod to Walt’s inspiration for the Jungle Cruise!

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The Spirit of Frozen In Every Day Life

by on December 11, 2014

Left Photo - Disney; Right Photo - Angela Dahlgren

Angela as a Disney Princess…hmm, I like the sound of that!

Frozen is huge. It’s bigger than Elsa’s ice castle. Or her abominable snow-monster body guard. And people won’t be “letting it go” any time soon.

So, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Here are some ways to keep that Frozen spirit alive and with you every day.

Make Up

This post gave me an excuse to play with my make up for the first time in forever, so here is a look inspired by Elsa. All you need is some purple and pink eye shadow. Apply the purple all over the lid. From there, add a darker pink to the crease and blend. If you’re feeling crazy, add some glitter and fake eye lashes like I did. In order to do the side-by-side comparison justice, I had to perform a bit of photoshop magic to make me appear porcelain and blue-eyed. These things don’t come naturally!

Photo - Angela Dahlgren

Top: Snowy Arendelle Bottom: Olaf-Inspired

Nails

I tried at least four times to draw a snow flake on my nails for you all. Unfortunately, my hand is about as steady as a three-legged Sven. Although I didn’t color completely in the lines, here are two nail looks I created. For snowy Arendelle nails, paint your nails a light blue color. After the paint has dried, take a tooth pick and dot polish on the nails, alternating between white and silver. To achieve my Olaf-inspired nails, paint your nails white and use a q-tip to dot them with a black polish. Top with glitter if you like and there you have it!

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What’s in a Name: Walt Disney World Roads

by on December 10, 2014

I never used to think much about Walt Disney World roads. I simply followed the purple signs and got from one place to another or relied on Disney transportation. Once I became a local resident, suddenly road names were important to help me figure out how to get from point A to point B on and off property. At that point, I realized I how many roads had names that sounded like they must have a story behind them.

Some roads, like Epcot Center Drive or World Drive are pretty obvious where they got their inspiration. Other roads, like Dopey Drive back in the distribution center district, are both obvious for their inspiration, and fun names for roads in general. Besides those, there are quite a few road names that may not be obvious but, like many things Disney, have wonderful stories behind them.

Three guesses which theme park Savannah Circle East can be found at. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Three guesses which theme park Savannah Circle East can be found at. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway

Also known as US Highway 192. If you are staying off property, chances are you are probably very familiar with this road. It is named after Irlo Overstreet Bronson, Sr., a politician and rancher who owned a lot of property in the Disney area. His grandparents had moved from North Carolina to Florida in a two-wheeled ox cart in the 1860s and accumulated large amount of cattle ranchland. As the family ranches were passed from generation to generation, Irlo’s father (George W. Bronson) had more than 50,000 acres. Irlo added more land, but eventually sold 8380 acres for around $100 an acre to Disney, much to the ire of his family. Some say that he sold it at such a low price because he recognized that this would build a better future for Central Florida, but whether that was his actual motivation or just some rewriting of history is the subject of opinion and debate. Regardless, the sale of the ranch lands did allow for the development for Walt Disney World, and so Irlo Bronson’s name is memorialized in the highway running along the south side of property.

Osceola Parkway

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Walt Disney: The Humble Beginnings of the Man Who Started It All

by on December 5, 2014

So many ideas, memories, and feelings come to mind when you think about Disney. But before Disney was synonymous with fun and laughter, princesses and pirates, movies or even a mouse, Disney was just a man. Walter Elias Disney, the man who started it all. And to celebrate what would have been the 113th birthday of the Disney empire’s founder, we are taking a look back at the humble beginnings.

Chicago

Walt's parents:  Elias & Flora.  Courtesy of Yesterland

Walt’s parents: Elias & Flora. Courtesy of Yesterland

Walt’s father, Elias (1859-1941), was a Canadian born son of Irish immigrants. He married Flora Call (1868-1938) January 1, 1888 and they soon after moved to Chicago, IL. Elias, a carpenter among other professions, built the family home on a 25’ x 125’ lot at 1249 Tripp Avenue in Chicago. Here their family grew to include sons Herbert, Raymond, and Roy.

The church tied to Walt's name.  Courtesy of Yesterland

The church tied to Walt’s name. Courtesy of Yesterland

In 1900, Elias built another structure one block East and one block North of the family home at 2255 N. Keeler Avenue. This was the home of St. Paul’s Congregational Church (now Iglesia Evangelica Bautistat Betania). Elias’s close friend, Walter Parr was pastor. When Parr was away, Elias would lead the church services, and Flora worked at St. Paul’s as the treasurer.

A year later, on December 5th, 1901 Flora gave birth to their fourth son, Walter Elias, in a second story bedroom of their family home. The famous Disney was named for Elias’s close friend Pastor Walter Parr and himself. Elias and Flora would have one more child, a daughter Ruth, in the Chicago house.

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 2: Grand Marnier Orange Slush at Epcot

by on December 2, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWO: Grand Marnier Slush at Les Vins des Chefs de France (Epcot)

25DrinksOfXmas_GranMarinerSlush

Grand Marnier Orange Slush. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

Who doesn’t love a good Slurpee/Slush Puppie/Squishee? Well, it turns out you can make these frozen drinks even better by adding just one more ingredient…alcohol. Available at the Les Vins des Chefs de France kiosk in Epcot is the tasty Grand Marnier Orange Slush. Similar in taste to an orange sorbet with just the right mix of Grand Marnier and Grey Goose vodka, this slush is absolutely delicious and the perfect drink during a hot touring day at Epcot.

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My New Favorite Disney World Souvenir Finds

by on October 29, 2014

Little Mermaid Mouse Ears

Little Mermaid Mouse Ears

I don’t know about you, but souvenir shopping is a huge part of my Disney World Vacations. I always enjoy browsing through the stores at the parks and resorts for new merchandise; and during my past few trips to Disney World this year, I have discovered some magical, new items. So take a look at just a few of my new favorite Disney World souvenir finds!

Little Mermaid Mouse Ears – $19.00

As a huge Little Mermaid fan, I was thrilled when I came across these Little Mermaid Mouse Ears! I had seen the Belle and Cinderella themed Mouse Ears before, but this design is by far my favorite. I especially like the pearl accents! Surprisingly, I only found this twist on Disney’s classic headgear at Epcot’s Mouse Gear and Downtown Disney’s World of Disney Store during my most recent trip to Disney World, but hopefully that has changed. After all, who wouldn’t want to sport these ears around the parks, right?

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Magic Kingdom AtMousePhere: The Music of Fantasyland

by on October 26, 2014

newfantasylandSo much has changed in Fantasyland over the past three years that it was impossible for me to write an article talking about the music, since I didn’t know the new music! Luckily, I timed this post to follow my trip to Walt Disney World so that I could wander around Fantasyland and get the lay of the…land.

Obviously, the music of Fantasyland derives greatly from the various fantasy movies that Disney has put out. That’s not to say that the instrumentation is directly from the movies themselves. Sometimes the music is taken from the setting of a movie. Other times themes are explored in a different way. And in a few areas of New Fantasyland, there isn’t any music at all! Let’s take a walk through a much-improved area of Magic Kindgom park:

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Menu Monday: Snacks from the World Showcase: China!

by on October 20, 2014

Epcot's Iconic Spaceship Earth, on our snacks from China Quest

It’s a perfect day to search out snacks! © Disney

It’s Menu Monday! Today we are looking once again at packaged snacks that are available in Epcot’s World Showcase, and we have already visited JapanCanadaUnited Kingdom, France, and Germany. Only a few stops remain on our snacking tour, so let’s check out what’s available as we explore today’s stop, China!

Snack Rules

  • No snacks over $10; preferably less than $5
  • As unusual as possible
  • Something I personally would eat

Let’s see what we can find!

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