Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is so much fun!  We got tickets to go 3x!

We love seeing the Magic Kingdom all decorated for fall and Halloween!fall (2)

Our party costumes!

Our party costumes!

Everyone arriving in costumes for the evening.

Everyone arriving in costumes for the evening.

Special party lighting on Main Street USA.

Special party lighting on Main Street USA.

After dark fun!

After dark fun!

Characters everywhere!

Characters everywhere!

We love the Boo to You parade!

We love the Boo to You parade!

The parade smells like candy!

The parade smells like candy!

Caroline loves the Disney villians!

Caroline loves the Disney villians!

Got to meet all 7 dwarves!

Got to meet all 7 dwarves!

Castle in Halloween colors.

Castle in Halloween colors.

Spooky music and lighting and fog throughout the Magic Kingdom.

Spooky music and lighting and fog throughout the Magic Kingdom.

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 Two Girls

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.

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Disney Bounding 3: ‘Frozen’

Disney Bounding: When Disney fans dress up as contemporary versions of their favorite characters and go to the theme parks.
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Disney Bounding is a way of dressing up as your favorite character using inspired color palettes, accessories, and clothing styles to look like the character, without actually being in a Disney costume. You simply use items from your own wardrobe to pull together a terrific look.

Here are some ideas for Disney Bounding as ‘Frozen’ characters.

Perfect for the new Frozen Ever After ride just opening this week at Epcot!

Elsa

Elsa

Anna 1 (dress)

Anna 1 (dress)

Anna 2 (pants)

Anna 2 (pants)

Olaf

Olaf

Trolls

Trolls

Kristoff

Kristoff

Hans

Hans

Looking for more Disney Bounding ideas???  Look here:  Disney Bounding at the Parks

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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

***

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP)

Going to the Halloween Party!

Going to the Halloween Party!

In case you’ve never attended MNSSHP before, the party is an after-hours, separate ticket Halloween celebration that features a lot of must-see Halloween-themed entertainment, such as the “Boo To You Parade,” “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks, tons of Disney characters in costumes – especially the villains! -, and much, much more.

The party also features trick-or-treating stations with free candy for kids of all ages – yes, this means that adults are welcome to participate!

As Glenda The Good Witch from Wizard of Oz.

As Glenda The Good Witch from Wizard of Oz.

MNSSHP is the only time that park guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in costumes.  Last year, we saw whole families dressed in amazing homemade Disney costumes – going as the entire cast of ‘The Incredibles’, the entire cast of ‘The Little Mermaid’, more Disney princesses and villains than you could shake a stick at….just amazing costumes and make-up!

Special Candy Corn Dole Whip for the evening!

Special Candy Corn Dole Whip for the evening!

This year, MNSSHP features more trick-or-treat locations than ever before, with a total of 13 treat stops spread throughout the Magic Kingdom.  Over the next few weeks, cast members will hand out a total of 261 tons of candy!  That’s 522,000 lbs.!!

Mickey & Minnie at the Boo To You parade.

Mickey & Minnie at the Boo To You parade.

 

MNSSHP (2)Look for special Halloween lighting and effects (fog, etc.) throughout the Magic Kingdom, from the train station all the way down Main Street to the Castle, which will have its own special Halloween lighting and music for the evening.

We love the Halloween lighting on Main Street!

We love the Halloween lighting on Main Street!

Guests who exit the park after the 8:30 p.m. performance of the “Boo to You” parade are in for an additional treat – huge bins of candy filled to the brim for the guests who skipped the trick-or-treating stations or just need to top off their backpacks!

MNSSHP1 (2)

Candy, candy, and more candy!

On special nights from September 12 – October 31, 2014.

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We’ve written a book about our year working at Disney: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale.
Available now on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. 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

Backstage at WDW Costuming

The WDW Costuming locations are impossible to find unless you know where you're going or (as a guest), you get lost!

The WDW Costuming locations are impossible to find unless you know where you’re going or, as a guest, you get lost!  This is the one for DAK.

What has over 290 Mickey Mouse Outfits, 20,000 Shirts, and at least 4 Belle Gowns/Dresses –

Welcome to WDW Costuming! 🙂

Ariel's dress from 'The Little Mermaid' show

This Cinderella gown will be worn in the afternoon FoF parade.

Walt Disney World employs more than 60,000 Cast Members working in positions ranging from housekeeping at the Disney resorts to train engineer at the Magic Kingdom.

Each day someone has to get these Cast Members dressed for the day–Welcome to WDW Cast Costuming.

DAK merchantile costumes.

Our DAK mercantile costumes.

1.  Cast members know what costume their role requires each day. We can have 5 complete outfits signed out at any one time, plus accessories like a jacket and hat.

Finding a costume using RFID inside Disney's Epcot Operational Costuming Center

You would think that Costuming would ALWAYS have your size shirt/pants in stock…NOPE!!!

2.  We pick out the correct size and costume pieces from rows upon rows of shirts, pants, skirts, and jackets. There’s a laminated card or complete costume at the end of each row to show us the costume’s ensemble look.

Costume tags show various Mickey Mouse outfits

Costume tags show various Mickey Mouse outfits and what the pieces are.

3.  Mickey Mouse has a costume for every occasion and holiday.  Each Disney Princess has a summer and a winter costume.

4.  Disney provides the work shoes for some roles (i.e., food service), but for most locations they just provide strict guidelines on shoe wear and CMs must pay for their own shoes.

See our blog about Disney footwear to learn more:  Loving My Disney Work Shoes

One of Donald Duck's summer costumes

A talented CM making one of Donald Duck’s summer costumes.

5.  Every day, all returned costumes must be tag scanned, repaired, cleaned, pressed, and restocked on Costuming floor.

Belle's formal dress from

Princess gowns for the meet & greets.  No princess gown is larger than size 10 (fits about a 120lb woman).

Buzz Lightyear's shoes

Picking out shoes for some may be an issue, unless you’re a ladies size forty.

6. If we return a piece and it doesn’t get scanned right, or if we lose a costume piece like a belt, we are charged a full replacement price, at least $25 per item!

For costume questions, email costume recovery at:WDW.Costume.Recovery@disney.com

WDW Costuming:  407-824-1269

7.  Dozens and dozens of Disney name tags are accidentally turned in still attached to the costume’s shirt, blouse, or vest every day, 365 days/year!  We have to pay $5 to order a new one and it takes about two weeks to get it. (The first one was free!)  I lost my first name tag just two weeks after starting the program! Getting a new name tag

Watch a backstage peek at WDW Costuming, with over 3,700 costume pieces here: Disney World Costuming

Anyone interested in a role at Disneyland?  Watch a backstage peek at Disneyland Costuming, with over 800 costume pieces here:  Disneyland Costuming  

WDW costuming facts.

WDW costuming facts. Amazing!

(adapted from Disney Dose)

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

Book link on Amazon.com:

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

***

Things All First Time Guests Should Do at WDW

(adapted from Disney Dining)

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Never been to Disney World (it’s the one in Florida!) before and feeling overwhelmed after reading a few Disney guidebooks, both official and unofficial?

Walt Disney World is HUGE! It covers 37,000 acres, has 4 major theme parks, 2 water parks, a dozen resorts, several golf courses (both regualr and mini), etc. It’s impossible to see and do it all in just a week’s vacation or less!

So, what should you try and do on your first – and maybe your last! – trip to WDW?

The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion

Experience Classic Disney attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean, Walt Disney World Railroad, Liberty Square Riverboat, Carousel of Progress, “it’s a small world”, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Splash Mountain, and Peter Pan’s Flight, etc. are attractions that have become part of the classic Disney World experience.

riding monorail (2)
Ride the Monorail: You have a few opportunities to do this, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything to do it. You can ride from the Transportation and Ticket Center, where you park if you are going to Magic Kingdom, to Magic Kingdom or one of the monorail resorts (Polynesian, Contemporary, and Grand Floridian) or to Epcot. It is an iconic ride that everyone should ride at least once each visit to Walt Disney World.

Ride the Boat transportation: There are many boat styles and voyages around Walt Disney World. They move people from resorts to parks, parking lots to parks, parks to parks, cross water within the parks, sometimes they are even featured attractions within the parks, just choose one and enjoy smooth sailing.

Space Mountain!!

Space Mountain!!

Ride at least one of the Disney “mountains:  Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Expedition Everest, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Get FastPasses to ride them with little waiting!

Ride the Kilimanjaro Safari: Count up all the different animal species you can spot. This is a truck safari through the recreation of an African landscape. Yes, the animals are real. They are real enough to block the road sometimes and slow things down a bit. You won’t regret taking the time to do this.

Meeting Princess Ariel

Meeting Princess Ariel

Meet a princess: Do whichever one of these is the most wanted. Princesses are available for Meet and Greets in each of the parks so check your Times Guide for times and places for them. The Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial takes place several times a day on the stage facing Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland, Magic Kingdom.

Seeing the Beast at Be Our Guest restaurant where he greets all the guests.

Seeing the Beast at Be Our Guest restaurant where he greets all the guests.

Get your photo with a character: There are Disney characters all over the parks so pick one that has a short line, or choose a favorite Disney film and look specifically for those characters, just get started and have fun with those engaging, animated, Disney characters.

Dine at a Character meal:  This proves to be the proverbial hitting-two-birds-with-one-stone idea as you can meet and get photos with several characters at one time and get a great meal too. Choose either by which park you will be in, which characters you want to meet, or by the menu. Several of these are buffets so you can really get your money’s worth here. Eat a bunch of ice cream at that buffet and you do a good job of hydrating yourself too!

Have a Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar: This has to be the most loved ice cream bar on the planet. It is a Premium experience and should be experienced at least once during your Walt Disney World visit.

Yum!

Yum!

Have a Dole Whip: This is a classic Disney treat that is a frozen pineapple dessert made by Dole. Try the Dole Whip Float which is the Dole Whip ice cream on top of pineapple juice, it is awesome!

In our Christmas holiday ears

In our Christmas holiday ears

Get some kind of headwear: The traditional Mickey Ears can be embroidered with your name on the back and is often the most sought-after headwear. You will find quite a selection of ears and other hats or headbands available to meet your Disney stylin’ needs. Have fun, you’re on vacation!
Typhoon lagoon (2)Spend an afternoon at one of the water parks: Challenge yourself to go down the tallest water slide, or at least start with one with the mindset that you will bump up your experience the next time you visit

See a live show: You won’t find shows like these outside of Disney! If you are visiting Animal Kingdom you can take in Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo-the Musical; Disney’s Hollywood Studios has Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage, and Fantasmic!

Shop and eat at Downtown Disney: This is a fun non-park day activity. There are many interesting shops with unique merchandise and a wide array of restaurants to choose from. You will find the largest Disney store in the world there where they will help you find any Disney merchandise you are looking for. Visit the Christmas store. Shop and have your ornament personalized. Taste all the flavors of Goofy’s Glaciers at Goofy’s Candy Company before selecting the one you want. Have a custom candy apple made there too. Ghirardelli ice cream sundaes are pretty spectacular and you can get a free taste of Ghirardelli chocolate candy too.

Cast member lanyard with lots of fun trading pins.

Cast member lanyard with lots of fun trading pins.

Pin Trade: A lot of the cast members wear lanyards with Disney pins to trade for.

Watch Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream: Everyone should visit this attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It provides a well-put-together display of photos, art pieces, a full size replica of Walt’s office, models, and concludes with a film. They all attempt to show you the many things that inspired Walt Disney and things he created to make his dreams come true. If he ran up against a challenge, he would invent something that would get him over that hurdle and finish what he wanted to. He was brilliant in so many areas yet never lost his sense of fun and exploration. This will give you a whole new perspective on the man and the mouse and all the Disney parks.

Lotus Blossom Cafe in Epcot China pavilion

Lotus Blossom Cafe in Epcot China pavilion

Dine in Epcot’s World Showcase: Make sure you try food at some of the quick-service locations. These include Yorkshire County Fish Shop (United Kingdom), Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie (France), Tangierine Café (Morocco), Katsura Grill (Japan), Liberty Inn (The American Adventure), Sommerfest (Germany), Lotus Blossom Café (China), Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe (Norway), La Cantina de San Angel (Mexico).

View a Parade and stay for Fireworks: No one does parades or fireworks like Disney does! Check your Times Guides for the parades in Magic Kingdom and the Fireworks show in Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There are no fireworks shows at Animal Kingdom, but in a couple years you will be able to view a nighttime light show on the water accompanied by music.

Stay at a Disney World resort: You can really get away from it all while close to WDW. All the resorts are comfortable, clean, welcoming, and close to the parks with the added benefit of saving us time. Disney resort guests also have the advantage of extra magic hours where you can be in a specified park from one hour earlier than official opening time and up to three hours after official closing times for the park. It just adds so much to your vacation to stay in a Disney resort.

Ride whatever is the newest ride: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the newest at this time. You may have to wait in the standby line if you are unable to get a FastPass+ time, but the queue has large fans and interactive games to play to keep you entertained and cooled off. It is a fun ride, but don’t expect a high speed runaway train. 🙂

Need more ideas? http://www.disneydining.com/25-things-must-walt-disney-world/
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We’ve written a book about our year working at Disney: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale.
Available now on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. 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

Throwback Thursday – Meeting the Beast

The Beast was over at the Magic Kingdom too!

The Beast was over at the Magic Kingdom too!  Caroline was so afraid of him!!!

The first time that we met the Beast was in November 1996 at Epcot outside the France pavilion.

Meetin the Beast and Belle at France.

Meeting the Beast and Belle at France.

Getting our autograph books signed.

Getting our autograph books signed.  Caroline wouldn’t get any closer than this to the Beast!

Belle was so pretty!

Belle was so pretty!

And the last time we saw the Beast was at Be Our Guest restaurant in November 2013.
17 years later, almost to the day!

Seeing the Beast at Be Our Guest restaurant where he greets all the guests.

Seeing the Beast at Be Our Guest restaurant where he greets all the guests.

November 7, 1996 &  November 8, 2013

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We’ve written a book about our year working at Disney: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale.
Available now on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. 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

DCP Alumni Weekend Registration Update

homecoming3

Homecoming Weekend FAQs:

https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/dcp-alumni-homecoming-weekend-faqs/

Friday, Oct 24:  Pep Rally, 4pm – 7pm

Late afternoon Pep Rally and the opportunity to enjoy one of our theme parks in the evening; theme park admission provided.

Note:  If you didn’t get registered and want to come to the celebration party anyway, meet us on Main Street USA in the afternoon!  Wear your DCP Alumni t-shirt and stop in at Guest Relations and get an “I’m Celebrating” button.  List your DCP program and year on your button!  You are bound to meet up with lots of other alumni!!  🙂

Saturday, Oct 25: Homecoming Extravaganza, 8pm -11pm

Behind the scenes surprises and #CPAlumni exclusive opportunities throughout the day, theme park admission provided. Evening Homecoming Extravaganza at one of our theme parks, theme park admission provided!

Sunday, Oct 26:  VolunEARS event.

Morning event.

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The Homecoming Weekend event registration is now full.  There are so many activities planned for alumni in October!

Theme park operating hours.  Note that MK closes early on Friday night!

Theme park operating hours. Note that MK closes early on Friday night 7pm!!

(Note:  Some of the events are open activities not requiring registration.)

Something for everyone.

Something for everyone. 🙂

DCP photo

Events registration link:  http://www.disneynow.com/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x172882a74f

***************************************

 Two Girls

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.

***

Visiting Disney World During the Off Season

Off season:  It's 8am and hardly anyone here!

Off season: It’s 8am and hardly anyone here!

When you think of a Disney World vacation, you might immediately think about huge crowds, hot rainy weather, and high prices. That makes sense. That is the typical summertime Disney experience.
However, it isn’t like that all the time. Disney World is so much more fun during the Slow Season!

When is the Slow Season?
While there are no official definitions, most people say that there are generally three slow seasons at Disney World, which generally take place when kids are in school:

Labor Day to mid-November (before the Thanksgiving rush begins)
January to pre-Easter (after the Christmas and New Year’s rush, but before the spring break rush)
After Easter until early May (before school ends)

That said, Disney is getting better and better about increasing the crowds during the slow seasons. They run the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival in Sept.-Nov., the Walt Disney World Marathon in January, the Flower and Garden Show in March-May, and the Expedition Everest Challenge in May. See how these events line up with the slow seasons to bring in more people?

What are the benefits of going during the Slow Season?

1 – Weather
Unless you live in the topics, Florida will probably be warmer than your home town in the winter months. Usually the winter weather in Florida is really nice. It may be cool in the early morning and evening, but it typically warms up during the day when the sun comes out.

However, Central Florida has a sub-tropical climate, not a tropical climate. That means in can get cool, and there are occasionally even a few days in the dead of winter (usually the end of January) when it comes close to freezing (32 degrees) overnight. In the end, you might have to wear a hat and gloves, at least during certain parts of certain days.

But, you won’t be melting under a broiling sun in 90+ temps! And, it’s the dry season, so it’s much less likely to rain!

2 – Slower Pace
When crowds are smaller, they also tend to move more slowly. You might experience a somewhat laid-back vibe with less energy and hustle. You might have to accept a less energized environment.

But, you are much less likely to have to listen to over-stimulated crying children in the evening. The parades and firework shows are all earlier. It gets darker earlier, so all the evening activities start earlier, typically around 5pm. As the parks close earlier, there’s no feeling of having to stay part midnight to see it all.

3 – Shorter Operating Hours
During the slow times of the year, the parks may close much earlier than you would expect. Some parks, especially Animal Kingdom, will close as early at 6pm. In addition, Disney generally tends to schedule refurbishments during the slower seasons. You might find that some of your favorite attractions are down for repairs. It might be too cool to visit either of the water parks (Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach).

That’s the downside.

The upside is that the lines for attractions will generally be much shorter so that you can see and do more even when the parks are open for fewer hours. You probably won’t need FastPasses, or if you do want them, they won’t be all gone by 10am like in the summer. You will probably have a much easier time getting Advanced Dining Reservations. You might even be able to walk into some table service restaurants without a reservation at all, if you can imagine that! (Totally impossible in the summertime!)

Plus, the prices for everything from air fare to hotels to car rentals to Disney menu prices are all significantly lower in the off season. If might mean you can spend a few extra days at Disney World or buy a few more Disney gifts! 🙂

2015 WDW crowd forecast

2015 WDW crowd forecast

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two disney sisters

Two Disney Sisters

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

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***       

Backstage Tour of Tower of Terror

tot (2)Caroline got to go on several backstage tours of major attractions with her friends and DAK coworkers while at WDW.  She loved them all!

Two weeks after returning home in May, her DAK coworkers got a chance to do the backstage tour of Tower of Terror.  Even though the attraction now frightens her, Caroline really, really wanted to do this tour during her DCP program! (It’s hard to work and find time to do all the fun stuff!!)

But, her coworker friend did get to go on it this week and had a blast!!!  Below is a blog from a CP who did the backstage TOT tour.

bellhop (2)

Welcome! Will you be staying long?

A CP friend of mine was able to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Tower of Terror at WDW. I thought you all would be interested in the things she learned.

First, we went into the maintenance bay for the TOT. One of the elevator vehicles was in the bay. Apparently, all the elevator ride vehicles have wheels underneath to facilitate them moving around. Our guide told us that if a ride vehicle has a problem, the cast members can replace it with a new vehicle in four minutes.

Also, the cast member break room is between the two elevator shafts of the ride. That means that the CMs get to hear everyone’s screaming all day long while on their breaks!

The CMs in the control panel room can see everything that guests are doing on the ride.  While on the ride, if you see what looks like a broken or blown out fuse box along the way, that’s a camera that monitors you the entire time, so be sure to wave to the CMs as you go by!

Safety:  The ride is crazy safe no matter what you think!  The ride does not free fall “drop you” like it feels like it does. First, you get pulled down and then pulled back up fast. The cables which pull the vehicles up and down (yes, the vehicles do not really free fall – a cable is there to pull the vehicles down) are replaced every ten months regardless of condition. Next, there are seat sensors so the ride can tell if there is anyone sitting in their seat not buckled in. The door can’t close unless everyone is buckled. Once buckled, there is no way to unbuckle the seatbelt until the car (elevator) is back at base.

help (2)

Come on in!

The TOT lobby is incredible. It’s hard to know where to begin!

As soon as you enter the right you will see a plaque. It is a 13 diamond plaque award from AAA and in real life, the highest this award can go is Five Diamonds. When they awarded the plaque for Tower of Terror, it was actually nice and shiny. That is until the design team took it and decided to make it look old like the rest of the hotel.

The TOT lobby.

The TOT lobby.

When you first walk in and look to your left, you will see a game going on. It kind of looks like dominoes but the game is called Mahjong. If someone knows how to play the game well, they can actually see that the game was pretty intense and during this time period people would not leave the game for anything at all because of heavy betting. The designer actually played the game by himself but made moves for all four players. He went around and around and then he told someone to glue the pieces down and that is why the game pieces are in the places they are.  Forever.

The luggage in the lobby belongs to the missing guest. The luggage is an actual luggage set and is made out of alligator skin, which was very popular at the time (1930s).

The majority of stuff in the lobby is real and was brought by Disney, not made. Some of the items are from actual celebrities though they didn’t specify which ones.

The two couches in the lobby are less than 20 years old and you can sit on them. They are the only things in the lobby that you are allowed to sit on.

There’s a set of six chairs in the lobby, these are to NOT be sat on. They are 17th century Portuguese chairs. They are an antique and rumor has it that Disney got them for dirt cheap because the auctioneer did not know that they were valuable.

Even though the rumor is that the CMs are not supposed to smile at Tower of Terror guests, they actually are supposed to smile sometimes. Because bell men are supposed to be friendly. However, the CMs are supposed to give a smirking or leering-type smile to guests.

My favorite story was when Tower of Terror first opened, there was a family who loved that ride. They got to know the CMs of the attraction very well and always looked forward to seeing them. They came back year after year, but one year they didn’t come. Disney received a letter in the mail saying that the granddad had passed away and the family wanted to thank the cast members for all that they did for the family. The family also sent a photo of the man.  This photo is now in the lobby check in, in the mail box for Room 1207. I love how guests can be a part of an attraction; its families like that who make working at Disney worthwhile!

Once you finish the ride, right before the door opens you notice the elevator door has a B for basement but when the doors open it turns into 13 for the 13th floor.

tower of terror

That’s my dad and brother (second row). Christian doesn’t exactly look terrified!

The current slogan for the TOT ride is “Never the Same Fear Twice!!”

Hidden Mickeys (HMs): There are no Hidden Mickey’s in the lobby. The first HM is in the library.  The sheet music is called “What! No Mickey Mouse?” and it can actually be played on a piano. The second HM is also in the library, in the video before the ride you see the family, and the little girl is holding a plush Mickey Mouse. The third HM is in the broiler room, in the line right before going on the attraction, there is an oil stain shaped of Mickey Mouse on the wall. Look for the 4th HM while on the ride as the car takes you to the front of the ride you see lights right before the door opens for the actual dropping. If you look at the lights it forms a mickey head. And last, when you go to look at your picture, look into the room down and left there are clocks in the shape of a Mickey head. There are a lot of rumors of other Hidden Mickey’s but according to our guide those are the only ones. (The attraction has a ton of twilight zone references if you have seen the TV show.)

(from: http://www.couponingtodisney.com/behind-the-scenes-tour-of-the-tower-of-terror/)

The TOT Back Story:

tot2 (2)The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, commonly referred to as The Tower of Terror, or even sometimes Twilight Zone: The Ride, is a simulated freefall drop tower thrill ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It is based on the classic science-fiction anthology television series The Twilight Zone and is hosted by the series’ creator and host, Rod Sterling.

In the attraction’s premise, adapted from elements of the television series, guests enter the legendary Hollywood Tower Hotel. Once a lively resort for the Hollywood elite, it closed after a disastrous accident where lightning had struck the building, causing several wings of the hotel to mysteriously vanish and kill five people in an elevator on October 31st, 1939. The hotel, now dilapidated and haunted, beckons guests to relive the events of that fateful night aboard one of the basement freight elevators and take their own bizarre journey through The Twilight Zone.

The hotel’s exterior features a big, blackened scorch mark across the front of the facade where lightning had struck, and it glows purple at night. Elevator doors leading to the missing floors of the building are exposed, opening and closing upon the arrival of screaming riders. All of the cast members wear a costume that resembles a 1930s bellhop. At over one thousand (US) dollars per uniform, it is the most expensive costume in the entire chain.

TowerOfTerror

ToT

At 199 feet, it is the second tallest attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, shorter only than Expedition: Everest’s 199.5 feet. The Tower of Terror is 199 feet high at Walt Disney World because of FAA regulations that require a fixed red light beacon to be added to the top of any 200-foot or taller building. Imagineers thought that the beacon would take away from the hotel’s 1939 theme, but still wanted to make the tower as tall as possible

Attraction storyline and description

Queue & Pre-Show

In the attraction, guests enter the once-luxurious Hollywood Tower Hotel through its main entrance gate. The outdoor queue winds itself through the hotel’s overgrown gardens, where ghostly 1930s jazz music is playing, and enters the lobby. The lobby is filled with decade’s worth of dust, cobwebs and various items left by guests from the night of the incident.

From this point, guests are lead into the hotel’s library to wait as their “rooms are still being prepped”. Through the window, guests can observe that there is a thunderstorm going on outside. Lightning strikes and the television set comes on, apparently of its own accord.

The opening sequence from Seasons 4 and 5 of The Twilight Zone plays, followed by an explanation of the events hosted by Rod Sterling: the story of how one of the main lobby elevators plummeted after being struck by lightning, causing the five people inside (Claire Poulet, Gilbert London, Dewey Todd, Sally Shine and Emeline Partridge) to vanish into the Twilight Zone. He then invites the guests to step aboard the maintenance service elevators, which are still in operation.

With that, the TV abruptly shuts off and a sliding wall in the back of the library opens. The guests exit the library and enter the boiler room, where they wait until their elevator is ready.

Ride

Once on board, the elevator ascends to various show floors while the voice of Rod Sterling provides narration. Riders witness the bizarre, unsettling nature of the hotel as they travel beyond the realm of the real world and further into the “5th Dimension”. At some point, Sterling informs the guests that they’re now about to experience what had happened to those 5 people all those years ago and the ride’s drop sequence begins.

Although it is designed to feel like a freefall, the elevator is actually accelerated downward faster than the pull of gravity, making guests levitate out of their seats for extra thrills. Once the ride has finished, the guests exit the hotel, via passageways in the basement, into the ride photo viewing area and the hotel gift shop.

Hotel library

The ride system employs specialized technology developed specifically for Disney, particularly the ability to move the vehicle in and out of the vertical motion shaft. The elevator cars are self-propelled, automated vehicles which lock into the vertical motion cabs. The cabs move into and out of the elevators horizontally, move through the “Fifth Dimension” scene and into the drop shaft.

After the vehicle has completed its drop profile, the vehicle propels itself to the unload area and then back to the show shaft. The Floridian ride system runs on a loop, though it’s not as efficient as the newer “franchise” versions used in California, Paris and Tokyo. The self-propulsion system used in the vehicles often causes some long and complicated downtimes which are, of course, frustrating to cast members and guests.

In this version of the attraction, the voice of Rod Sterling greets the now-seated passengers the moment the elevator doors close, saying “You are the passengers on a most uncommon elevator about to ascend into your very own episode of The Twilight Zone”. The elevator rises for a few seconds before coming to a stop.

The hotel’s permanent guests

The doors open to reveal a corridor populated by the five lost ghostly occupants from 1939, who then disappear. The corridor fades to a starlit night sky, except the window at the end of the corridor. The window then morphs into a more ghostly black-and-white version and shatters (like in the opening sequence of each episode).

The elevator doors close again and the car continues ascending. Sterling’s voice continues: “One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare. That door is opening once again, and this time, it’s opening for you”.

Service elevator

At the top, the doors open again and the car mysteriously moves forward out of the shaft, through a section of the ride called The Fifth Dimension: a surreal collection of objects and sights, once again in the style of the television shows opening sequence. A field of stars appear at the end of the corridor. After the segment is done, the stars fade, forming a hidden Mickey right before disappearing, then reveals a vertical line, which splits in half and opens like elevator doors. Sterling’s voice is heard again, saying “You are about to discover what lies beyond the fifth dimension, beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination, in the Tower of Terror”.

After the elevator moves into the shaft, the randomly-selected drop sequence begins. At one point, doors in front of the riders open to reveal a view of the park from a height of 13 stories. In the years since the attraction’s initial opening, a randomized pattern of drops and lifts have been added, where the ride vehicle will drop or rise various distances at different intervals. Other effects were also added, including new projection images of the breaking window, wind effects, ominous black-lit figures of the five ghostly original riders and even fake endings. These changes were made to make every trip to the Twilight Zone a different experience.

After a series of these drops have been made, the opening sequence of the show’s third season plays (showing images of the objects from Season 5’s opening, the lost passengers and Sterling) as the vehicle enters the hotel’s basement. Then Rod Sterling’s voice says “A warm welcome back to those of you who made it and a friendly word of warning; something you won’t find in any guidebook. The next time you check into a deserted hotel on the dark side of Hollywood, make sure you know just what kind of vacancy you’re filling or you may find yourself a permanent resident…of The Twilight Zone.” The elevator doors reopen for the last time and the guests disembark, making their way into the hotel’s gift shop, Tower Hotel Gifts.

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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

Book Reviews on Amazon.com

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

In the weeks since it was published, our book has been selling steadily on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle format.

We had several nice reviews posted about it too! 🙂

5 STARS: Totally recommend it to anyone interested in DCP! September 5, 2014

starsBy Susan L.

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This review is from: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale (Paperback)

If you are considering an internship with the Disney College Program (DCP), especially at Walt Disney World in Florida, then this is the book for you!

It follows the lives and dreams of two sisters accepted into the Fall 2013 DCP internship, and who then decide to extend their DCP internship into a full year of working at WDW. The book details their adventures of living in Disney housing while both of them are working merchandise retail, one at Downtown Disney, one at the Animal Kingdom.

These two sisters packed more fun – and work – into a year of living at Disney than most people manage in five years!

I highly suggest this book to anyone that is a DCP alumni (like me) or if you are thinking about applying to the Disney College Program. Alumni will relate to all the universal things that DCP cast members go through from attending Disney’s Traditions class to turning in your costume for the last time.

This is a great book on how to successfully apply to the DCP program, what to expect and how to pass the online and phone interviews, how to deal with difficult roommates, and what’s it like to be a Disney Cast Member at WDW. Working for the mouse is not always easy, but it can be a lot of fun.

It was a very interesting and fun read. I highly recommend it.
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5 STARS: Recommend for Teens and Parents of Teens wanting a different kind of Internship, September 22, 2014
starsBy LisaB87

This review is from: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale (Paperback)

I am not a real “disneyophile”, but a friend encouraged me to read this book. So I read it from the perspective of the parent of two young adult children. I wanted to know what my kid would be doing as an intern, if it’s a worthwhile experience, where would they live, would they be safe and what will it cost.

All my questions were answered. Although security wasn’t directly discussed, the detailed chapter about housing mentioned room inspections I’d recommend to parents of and kids who are considering a Disney internship or are looking for an internship to do. Also, I think almost anyone who really loves Disney would enjoy learning even more about Disney World from this book.
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5 STARS: Love the story of the two girls finding their way, September 13, 2014
starsBy Melanie Langston – See all my reviews
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This review is from: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale (Paperback)

Love the story of the two girls finding their way through the Disney college program. Brought for my daugther who wants to enter into Disney University

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5 STARS: What a great story and a fantastic read, September 14, 2014
starsBy Barbara – See all my reviews
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This review is from: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale (Paperback)

What a great story and a fantastic read!! Full of tons of information on things to do and places to go at WDW!!

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5 STARS: This book was a delight! It is well written and helpful, September 6, 2014
starsBy Ann Deely (Lee, MA, US) – See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This review is from: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale (Paperback)

This book was a delight! It is well written and helpful!

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5 STARS: Must have for anyone who wants to work at Disney!, September 14, 2014
starsBy Scott – See all my reviews
This review is from: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale (Paperback)

This book gives a detailed look at the Disney College Program by telling the different stories of two girls. The book gives the stories procedures and what it takes to work at Disney. This is a must read for anyone wanting to join the DCP or be a cast member.

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5 STARS: I loved this book, September 28, 2014
This review is from: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale (Paperback)
I loved this book! It was so charming/refreshing to read this book/blog/advice by two such positive, beautiful and wholesome young women. I do not know a lot about Disney – but I had NO IDEA how much work and planning went into making the MAGIC in Disneyland and Disneyworld! I loved hearing their comments about work ethic, customer service, general attitudes about life, and sharing chores in a crowded apartment. We need more people in this world like Elly and Caroline! I can’t wait to see how their next careers turn out – and I look forward to working with Caroline as she does her student teaching! 🙂 Leigh Meinig

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5 STARS:   Well written book!, September 21, 2014

starsBy Grampy

This review is from: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale (Paperback)

I just finished your book. Well written and interesting. Even though you obviously loved the DCP, you didn’t cover up the warts. For anyone thinking about the DCP it should be a must read. Now you both have new adventures to tell your Grampy about.

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5 STARS:   An Excellent Disney Read!!!, October 3, 2014

starsBy Netti – See all my reviews

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This review is from: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale (Kindle Edition)

I am currently waiting to hear back from Disney to see whether I’ve been accepted into the 2015 Spring Term of DCP. It was great to read the stories of cast members who just recently finished their program.

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5 STARS: For any and all!

stars By Ben Niewoehneron November 4, 2014

Format: Paperback

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Caroline and Elly have truly outdone themselves. It is brilliant the ways in which they capture such a one of a kind experience, and through their talents as writers manage to bring to life, on page, the Disney College Program (DCP). These sisters take us on a journey documenting not only the big moments of the program (its complexities, questions, and things to consider) but also the little personal details that make the program special and unique for each participant. It’s this addition that gives this book that extra little something.

If you love Disney, are preparing to work a DCP, wondering if the DCP is for you, wishing you could have worked a DCP back in the day, or maybe just enjoy soaking up knowledge of the inner workings of a multi-billion dollar corporation, then this is a MUST READ for you. It is a gem, and belongs in that collection of special books on your bookshelf.

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5 STARS: What a great time I had reading this book!
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By lori coulter on November 16, 2014

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

What a great time I had reading this book! I really enjoyed all the stories about the codes that Disney has and the secret tunnels, etc! I could visualize each story that the girls were telling and laughing so much at some of them! What a wonderful book for all young women and men thinking of doing an internship at Disney! My niece left this book laying around and I just picked it up and could not put it down! I was so curious! These young women seemed like that had an awesome time! Well done!

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5 STARS: Awesome book about DCP, November 29, 2014

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By Elizabeth K – See all my reviews

Verified Purchase

This review is from: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale (Kindle Edition)

Very insightful to the disney college program. I loved how they gave inside knowledge of the program. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to do the program.

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We’ve written a book about our year working at Disney:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale.
Available now on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. 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