Pirates Night at Sea

Pirates Night at Sea

On our second night at sea, it was ‘Mickey’s Pirates in the Caribbean’ night. When we returned to our stateroom to change for dinner, some pirate’s bandanas were laid out on the bed for us. After dinner, they have a Pirate Celebration show with music on the pool deck, Deck 11, featuring Captain Mickey and his pirate crew including Jack Sparrow.

Pirate Mickey

Pirate Mickey

Pirate Minnie

Pirate Minnie

Captain Jack Sparrow.  He was a hoot!

Captain Jack Sparrow. He was a hoot!

Disney is the only cruise line to shoot off fireworks at sea. At 10:30pm, they wrap up the Pirate’s Celebration and launch into the Buccaneer Blast fireworks right off the top of the ship. All the other cruise ships from Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian are also stopped at sea nearby so their passengers can see the fireworks too. The newsletter says that the “fireworks remind the other ships who be ruling the oceans blue”.

Fireworks off the port bow!!

Fireworks off the port bow!!

Buccaneer Blast video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VhLz-_XP68

Pin trading with one of the ship’s officers.

Pin trading with one of the ship’s officers.

This was also the night that they held the Officer’s Pin Trading event. We bought trading pins with us from home and at 8pm the ships’ officers in their white uniforms started coming down to the event. Each of the officer’s lanyards is guaranteed to have special or unique trading pins and they did! Caroline collected pins from all of the ports or countries that Disney sails to worldwide. She liked the Disney Alaska pin the best.

Caroline with her new pins.

Caroline with her new pins.

Each of these pins is special!

Each of these pins is special!

 

Sailing sailing...

Sailing sailing…

Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay

Going ashore for the day at Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay is Disney’s private tropical island in the Bahamas. From our breakfast table over a cup of coffee, we watched as our big cruise ship was slowly maneuvered alongside the Castaway pier.

Castaway Cay from the air.

Castaway Cay from the air.

Snorkeling Bay.  We saw lots of fish, including some sea bass.  They have huge nets stretched across the mouth of the bay to keep out large predator fish, like sharks and barracudas.

Snorkeling Bay. We saw lots of fish, including some sea bass. They have huge nets stretched across the mouth of the bay to keep out large predator fish, like sharks and barracudas.

We did not snorkel out as far as the underwater Mickey, but a lot of kids did.

We did not snorkel out as far as the underwater Mickey, but a lot of kids did.

Our shore excursion for the day included unlimited snorkeling, floaties, and bicycling around the island. A huge bar-b-que lunch was provided under covered, open air picnic table seating just up from the beach.

Nets across the bay opening to keep out sharks.

Nets across the bay opening to keep out sharks.

Bicycling around the entire island. The island vegetation was so thick it reminded us of Jurassic Park!

Bicycling around the entire island. The island vegetation was so thick it reminded us of Jurassic Park!

We bicycled around the island after lunch from Snorkeling Bay to the adult beach at Serenity Bay, but they also run trams back and forth every 6 minutes.

Serenity Bay, the over 18 beach for adults only.  Deserted!  We counted only ten people on the adult beach.

Serenity Bay, the over 18 beach for adults only. Deserted! We counted only ten people on the white sand beach.

We loved the beach here.  It was shallow with a sandy bottom a long ways out. You could drag your beach chair into the water, and sit and enjoy the waves splashing over your toes.

We loved the beach here. It was shallow with a sandy bottom a long ways out. You could drag your beach chair into the water, and sit and enjoy the waves splashing over your toes.

Collecting sea shells by the sea shore.

Collecting sea shells by the sea shore.

Even after a whole day out on the beaches enjoying the surf and sun, we weren’t ready to go back to the ship at 4pm. Our 40% cast member discount also worked on Castaway Cay, so we stopped in the shops and picked up some t-shirts and special Castaway trading pins.

A perfect Caribbean day at Castaway Cay!

A perfect Caribbean day at Castaway Cay!

They warn you in the morning before you leave the Dream that if you hear the ship’s horns playing and you’re not back onboard, you’re late! Literally, the horns started playing as we walked up the gang plank!

We had won a foot and leg massage at the spa by playing bingo the day before, and we still had that to do before dinnertime! So much to do, so little time! 🙂

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

After sailing across the Caribbean Sea overnight under a moonlit starry sky, we arrived in the Bahamas at 8am. We decided to have breakfast at Cabanas buffet (good decision) and watch as the ship docked at Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. Maneuvering the huge ship into its docking slip was fascinating as we actually backed into the dock, sort of like parallel parking a car.

View from our Balcony:  Nassau, Bahamas.

View from our Balcony: Nassau, Bahamas.

The Disney Dream docked.

The Disney Dream docked.

The Disney Dream with Atlantis in the background.

The Disney Dream with Atlantis in the background.

Our shore excursion for the day was an hour long, narrated bus tour of the city, followed by a stop at the Ardastra Zoo and Gardens. The zoo is known for its large flock of free roaming Caribbean Flamingoes, the national bird of the Bahamas and the largest of the five species of flamingoes. The males stand over five feet tall.

The bus was a small, air-conditioned mini bus that could hold twenty passengers. Our driver was born on the island and had a wonderful Bahamian accent, which sometimes made him difficult to understand over the speaker. As he pointed out, Nassau has about 250,000 residents and about 400,000 cars and trucks! They drive British-style on the left side of the road and the streets are very, very narrow and congested with traffic and parked vehicles. Very few bicyclists were around; people were either driving or walking to their destinations.

Standing on top of the old Fort.  What views!

Standing on top of the old Fort.  What views!

We drove all over Nassau as he pointed out national buildings (parliament, art gallery, etc.), statues (Christopher Columbus), native trees and plants with edible fruits, took us to the historic Fort for a short walking tour and to admire the views of the turquoise ocean, and then on to a straw market. Elly bought a conch shell ($5) and Caroline got a very pretty tropical patterned long dress ($20) to wear to dinner that evening.

Walking on the beach.

Walking on the beach.

The Andastra Zoo and Gardens was fun. Most of the animals at the Zoo were colorful birds, especially parrots. They herd the flamingo flock onto the parade grounds at 2pm and walk them around, sort of in formation. That’s something we’ve never seen before! You could volunteer to join the flamingoes on the grounds (Elly did), and they would come up to you and check out anything sparkling, like rings or hair beads. It was so much fun.

Flamingoes on parade.  Beautiful birds!!

Flamingoes on parade. Beautiful birds!!

flamingoes

Elly on the flamingo parade grounds.

There were a group of women selling handmade straw bags and other items in a stall by the gift shop. It was interesting talking to them and watching them sew with colorful straw on all sorts of items. Elly bought a straw placemat with two pink flamingoes on it and they sewed her name on it for her.

Feeding the Lorakeets, aka Rainbow Lory Parrots.

Feeding the Lorakeets, aka Rainbow Lory Parrots.

They also have a large flock of Lorikeets that you can feed apple slices to several times a day. The birds were so gentle and tame, and so polite, chirping softly while nibbling on the apple slices in your hand. 🙂
******************************
We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.
We included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.
Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.
http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Mouse-Tale-Elly-Collins/dp/1941500110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409410046&sr=1-1&keywords=Two+Girls+and+a+Mouse+Tale

¿Dónde está el baño más cercano?

¿Dónde está el baño más cercano?

Love riding the monorail!

While I am fluent in both English and French, an unexpected bonus of working at WDW for 7 months now is that I am learning conversational Spanish while working at DTD.

Although I don’t speak it very well, I can now understand conversations between Spanish speaking guests, and also the maintenance guys who work at The Commons apartments. Winning!

My most favorite Spanish saying at WDW is, of course,: Mantengase alejado de las puerta.  [Please stand clear of the doors.]

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Never get tired of hearing that! 🙂

Multilingual nametag.

My bilingual nametag.

Disney Dream Cruise – Sailing Away Dance Party!

Disney Dream Cruise – Sailing Away Dance Party!

Disney Dream Bahamas Cruise: 4 Days/3 Nights

Day     Port                        Guest Ashore    Guest Onboard
1          Port Canaveral, Florida   —                   4:00 p.m.

2          Nassau, Bahamas             9:30 a.m.       5:45 p.m.

3          Castaway Cay                   8:30 a.m.        4:45 p.m.

4          Port Canaveral, Florida    7:30 a.m.

We left Orlando for Port Canaveral at 10am as we had an early check-in time of 11:45am.  We both have been on other cruises, but this is the first time we sailed with Disney.  The Disney Dream was launched in 2011 and has room for 4,000 passengers and 1,500 crew. It is a HUGE ship with 12 decks!

We arrived at the Disney terminal in Port Canaveral without knowing what stateroom we had been assigned to. We were happily surprised to learn that we had been upgraded to a Deluxe Family Suite (sleeps 5) with oceanview and veranda on Deck 7! We love Disney!

Ready to set sail with Captain Mickey aboard the Disney Dream.

Ready to set sail with Captain Mickey aboard the Disney Dream.

After dropping our luggage off at the curb, we checked-in at the terminal port. The Disney characters were already there and we got to meet both Captain Mickey and Minnie. The check-in process was the best and fastest of any cruiseline that we’ve sailed with. When you walk onboard the ship from the gangplank, officers and crew are lined up in the Grand Atrium to announce your names and welcome you aboard.

The Grand Atrium is lovely with a huge art deco flower art piece hanging from the center of the ceiling.

WOW!!!

WOW!!!

A lunch buffet was being served at Cabanas on Deck 11, the pool deck. We knew we were going to have a fabulous time on the cruise when we saw how delicious the buffet was! There were plenty of free tables at Cabanas if you wanted to sit inside, and also lot of covered seating around the pool if you wanted to sit outside.

Beautiful mural at Cabanas.

Beautiful mural at Cabanas.

Disney is the only cruiseline to offer a soda fountain bar with unlimited ice and drinks. (Other cruiselines make you buy a beverage package.) Cabanas was open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After hours, on the same deck, Flo’s V8 Café (like in California Adventure in Disneyland) served hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches, and salads until late into the night.

Our stateroom was available at 1:30pm and our luggage arrived at 2pm. The cabin was beautiful! After some settling in, we decided to explore the ship from top to bottom before the Sailing Away party started at 4:30pm. So much to do!

Disney Dream Recreation (from Wikipedia):

The ship features the first water coaster at sea, called the “AquaDuck”, a 765-foot long winding waterslide with a four-deck drop and a course that winds 13 feet over the edge of the ship and through the ship’s forward funnel. The AquaDuck runs the width of the ship and the length between the funnels, almost the size of a U.S. football field. Other water activities include a Mickey’s Slide and 3 pools. All pools contain fresh water.

The adult-only, Quiet Cove Pool, includes a series of connecting pools with depths ranging from 6” to 4 ft.deep sun-bathing pools with a bar at the end of the 6 inch “pool”. There are also hot tubs for adults & families, some of which have glass in the floor. The ship also boasts a Walt Disney Theatre, which shows first run Disney movies and live Broadway style shows.

There is a giant 24 x 14 ft. LED screen facing Donald’s Pool, attached to the forward funnel.

Activities aboard the Disney Dream include: a 9 hole mini-golf course, a walking track, digital sports simulators, a full-sized basketball court that can be converted for use as a soccer pitch, volleyball court, or football/table tennis area.

Some cabin photos:

Our decorated cabin door.  The doors are made of metal and you can use magnets to decorate it.  We got our name decal off of ebay before the cruise, and the ship’s gift shops also sell door décor.

Our decorated cabin door. The doors are made of metal and
you can use magnets to decorate it. We got our name decal
off of ebay before the cruise, and the ship’s gift shops also sell door décor.

Our lovely stateroom with veranda on Deck 7.

Our lovely stateroom with veranda on Deck 7.

Sailing Away Dance Party:

Party being broadcast live on the huge LED screen.

Party being broadcast live on the huge LED screen.

The Sailing Away dance party was a high energy blast! All the characters were there dancing away as the ship slowly left dock and made its way through the canals of Port Canaveral and out into the open sea. It was a cool and overcast day, but the pools were open and people were sliding down the Aqua Duck slide.

Having fun at the Sailing Away party.

Having fun at the Sailing Away party.

As we left port, the ship’s horns started to play. Disney Dream’s horn plays songs from Disney movies and parks: “When You Wish Upon a Star” (Pinocchio), “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” (Cinderella), “Be Our Guest” (Beauty and the Beast), “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” (Pirates of the Caribbean), “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me)” (Pinocchio), and “It’s a Small World”. Wonderful to listen to!!!

The fabulous Disney Dream’s horn show:  A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes 

Ship’s horns playing Disney tunes.

Ship’s horns playing Disney tunes.

One went to the Disney pins trading event one night:  Trading Disney Cruise Pins Onboard the Disney Dream.

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working together at DAK

Working together at DAK.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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Disney Work Costumes

Costume Fittings

One of the most exciting CP moments is going to Disney costuming for the first time and being fitted for your work costume. You’re allowed to check out up to five complete work costumes at a time, plus accessories like a jacket and hat, if your costume has one.

When your costume gets dirty or wrinkled, you can just trade it in for a clean one. Costumes can also be machine washed and, now that we have a washer/dryer unit in our apartment, we don’t go to costuming as often.

Each of the Parks has its own costuming warehouse, with the one for the Magic Kingdom being the largest.

On our way to Animal Kingdom costuming.

On our way to Animal Kingdom costuming.

Magic Kingdom costuming

Animal Kingdom costuming

Here are some of the various costumes that we’ve worn during our internship:

Animal Kingdom costumes:

Discovery Island Merchantile

Discovery Island Merchantile

It's a jungle out there...

It’s a jungle out there…

Caroline in her stocking

Caroline in her DAK stocking “mud” costume.

The AK costume jacket. Warm!

The AK costume jacket. Warm! Only size left XXXL

Beautiful!!

Beautiful!!

Downtown Disney costumes:

Pin Traders

Pin Traders at DTD

Days of Christmas

Days of Christmas

Tren-D

Tren-D

Team Mickey (now closed)

Team Mickey (now closed)

DTD Zone 1 Coordinator

DTD Zone 1 Coordinator

Magic Kingdom costume:

Agrabah Bazaar

Agrabah Bazaar

We LOVE having our washer/dryer in the apartment!!!

We LOVE having a washer/dryer in our apartment at The Commons!!!

costumes

Disney sizing chart follows European sizing, so if you are normally a size 14 womens, for Disney costumes, you’ll be a size 18 or 20!  😥

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working together at DAK

Working together at DAK.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***

The Perks of Being a DCP Cast Member

DCP Perks (2)

The perks of being a DCP cast member are pretty good for an internship program. They can save you thousands of dollars while you are working at Disney.

1. The first day you are at the Traditions class, you’ll get your company ID. Your ID allows you unlimited entrance to all Disney theme parks worldwide (except Disneyland Tokyo) and the Disney water parks. There are some black-out dates throughout the year, mainly effecting the Magic Kingdom on holiday weekends. As those times are when the Parks are at peak capacity, you don’t want to go then anyway. Why go to a Park when it’s mobbed with people when you can enjoy the Parks anytime?

2. You get a company discount of 20% off all merchandise. During the Holiday Celebration period (Nov. – Feb.), the CP merchandise discount goes up to 40%. The discount is good at all Parks, Disney hotels, Disney Stores, Disney online, on Disney cruise ships, and at Disney Ports.

3. A few weeks after you complete the Traditions class and start working, you’ll be mailed a Blue Main Gate Pass for yourself and then 3 Guest Passes to use to get friends and family into the Parks for free. It will come loaded with 6 day park hopper passes. (3 x 6 = 18 free Park Hopper passes, a perk worth over $1,000!) You’ll also have opportunities to receive additional free passes through volunteering with Disney VoluntEARS and at other company events.  Read more about it here.

4. At some Disney table service restaurants, you can get 20% off your meal. The catch is that there isn’t a published list of exactly which restaurants are currently giving the CM discount and sometimes, even if a restaurant gives the discount, they may only honor it at non-peak hours, i.e., dinner after 9pm. Again, the only way to know is to always ASK!

5. Your company ID gives you free parking at any Park or waterpark, currently $17/day at Disney World.

6. If you work during the Fall internship, you’ll be mailed a Family Holiday Celebration coupons booklet filled with 60% off coupons for Disney hotel stays, 50% off Disney table service dining, and 6 free soda coupons or free popcorn coupons. If you take advantage of all of these coupons, especially if you have family members visiting you during your program, you could save thousands of dollars.  You will also receive another 3 Guest Passes for friends any family!  You can use those with your original guest passes (letting in 4 people) or you can use it individually (letting in 1 person) and save your original guest passes for later!

7. Disney CP housing is a bargain. For about $100/week, taken directly out of your paycheck, you will get a fully furnished apartment with all utilities (A/C, heat, water, cable, internet, phone, sewer and trash/recycling) included. You won’t have to pay any deposits to turn on the electricity, etc. like you would renting a regular apartment. At Disney World, free bus transportation to and from work is also included. All apartment complexes have 24 hour gated security and roaming security guards (important if you’re getting off a 2am shift or going to a 6am shift!) All apartment complexes also have a large pool, hot tubs, tennis courts, and other recreational opportunities like billiards.

8. If you chose not to stay in Disney housing, many nearby apartment complexes offer 10% rent discounts to cast members. If you’re not sure, ASK!

9. Disney CP housing hosts monthly themed character parties with free food, great DJs, and character meet & greets. They are a blast! Go to all of them!!!

10. Many local area businesses give cast members discounts of 10% off. Both our favorite Chinese restaurant and our nail salon give us 10% off our bills. Many businesses advertise the CM discount on their doors or menus, but, if not, ASK! You might be surprised at how many businesses say yes.

11. One of the best perks are last-minute discounts for cruises from any of the ports (Cape Canaveral is the closest.) As a cast member, you can get 40-60% discount off of Disney cruises. The available cruise dates, ships, and ports are listed about 3-4 weeks out on the company Hub page.  Your CM discount (20%) works at all the Disney ports and onboard ship!  🙂  [Note:  Must be employed by Disney for 90 days prior to booking cruise.]

12. Cast members get to shop at Disney’s private Company D store where overstocked or slightly damaged clothing and merchandise is sold for 50-75% off retail, plus then you can use your 20-40% cast member discount on top of that. The first ten days of the month, the Company D store also does pin trading, limited to 2 pin trades per day per cast member. They usually have several unusual or unique pins on their pin board. Always worth a look!

13. If you need extra Park passes for visiting family and friends, CMs can purchase discounted tickets for them at the Company D store.

14. The AMC Theater at Downtown Disney gives CMs a 10% discount on movie tickets.

15. You’ll be invited to special cast member only previews (we got to see “Saving Mr. Banks” at the Hollywood Studios premier before it opened nationwide). The next special preview we hope to attend is for the opening of the Snow White and Seven Dwarfs mine ride.

16. You’ll be invited to private, after hours cast member only parties at the Parks, with unlimited rides with no lines and free food! 🙂

17. And, finally, something that we think is a pretty good perk:  flexible scheduling with the ability to trade or giveaway your shifts if you need time off or would like to see what working at other WDW locations is like.  We work merchandising at Downtown Disney (Elly) and the Animal Kingdom (Caroline).  But, we can trade or pick up open shifts at any of the four Parks, the two water parks, or any of the hotel gift shops at Disney World.  If you’re into costumes, each work location has a different costume to wear!  How cool is that!

  • I work for Disney!

    I work for Disney!

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At our book launch in Boulder, Colorado.

At our book launch in Boulder, Colorado.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Mouse-Tale-Elly-Collins/dp/1941500110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430687055&sr=1-1&keywords=two+girls+and+a+mouse+tale

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

***