Meeting Duffy the Disney Bear at Epcot

Meeting Duffy with my CP friends.

My CP friends and me meeting Duffy the Disney Bear.

Duffy is Mickey Mouse’s teddy bear. He can be found on most days hanging out in Epcot’s Showcase Plaza near the American Pavilion, from lunchtime to late afternoon.

Duffy has a Mickey-silhouetted face and was brought to life by Tinker Bell’s magic pixie dust.

Seeing Duffy during the Food & Wine Festival in October.

Seeing Duffy in his Halloween costume during the Food & Wine Festival in October.

He has very few costumes for a Disney character!  He mainly wears his sailor’s costume, changing into his Halloween costume during the Food and Wine Festival in the fall, and his Christmas costume during the holidays.

We actually are surprised that he doesn’t have an Easter costume for the Flower and Garden Show in the springtime.

Duffy 3rd costume, his Christmas one with some holly in his hat.

Duffy’s 3rd costume, his Christmas one, with some holly in his hat.

Official launch of Duffy was on October 14, 2010.

Official launch of Duffy at Epcot was on October 14, 2010.  Sailor Mickey showed up.

Because Duffy is a world explorer, the official launch of Duffy was at Epcot on October 14, 2010.  He was also re-introduced that same day at Disney California Adventure in California.  (We saw him there in June 2013.)

His usually out and about from 11:30am to 6pm.

He’s usually out and about from 11:30am to 6pm.

Duffy the Disney Bear is a world traveler. Wearing his sailor suit and surrounded by mementos of previous voyages, Duffy is always good for a hug and a cuddle, and is anxious to hear about your globetrotting adventures.

Totally unrelated blog, Meeting the Teddy Bear Lady of the Grand Floridian:  https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/giving-teddy-bears-to-the-teddy-bear-lady-of-the-grand-floridian/

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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.

***

Festival of the Lion King

Off to see the Festival of the Lion King show.

Off to see the Festival of the Lion King show.

In January 2014 while Caroline was working at DAK, they moved the Festival of the Lion King out of its Camp Mickey Minnie location due to the construction of Avatarland.  It was moved to a different location in the Animal Kingdom, the new Harambe Theater in Africa.

The new Harambe Theater in Africa.

The new Harambe Theater in Africa.

The new show opened in June 2014.  We went to see it for the first time in the large theater-in-the-round and we loved it!

Simba!

Simba!

The show lasts for about 30 minutes and it’s performed at least 6-8x/day, depending on the season.

We had great seating in the Harambe Theater for the performance right after lunch.

The show is a ‘Broadway’ type performance with singing, dancing, special lighting, gymnastics, and Cirque du Soleil-type flying performances.  It’s a very high energy show, and very well done!  The dance troop sings all the great songs from the Lion King movie, and the audience sings along…it was wonderful!

We only wish that Disney had put in regular seats – the show is a ½ hour long after all – instead of uncomfortable, metal stadium bench seating.

Hakuna Matata!

We were in the Lion's pride.

We were in the Lion’s pride.

Huge sets and puppets and animitronics.

Huge sets and puppets and animitronics…along with guys dancing around on stilts and clapping.

It's an amazing 'Broadway' show!  Great singing and dancing!

It’s an amazing ‘Broadway’ show! Great singing and dancing!!

Go ape for the triumphant return of pageantry and puppetry at this big-as-Broadway show celebrating Simba, the lion cub who would be king—now at home in Africa at the all-new Harambe Theater!

Join the inhabitants of the Pride Lands for a grand celebration of The Lion King with songs from the film. Relax in air-conditioned stadium seating as the jungle roars around you!

Four magnificently costumed singers enter the theater-in-the-round to start the tribal celebration. Each singer leads part of the audience to act like a giraffe, a warthog, a lion or an elephant. You might even be picked to show off your animal nature.

Caroline working at Creature Comforts.

Caroline working at DAK’s Creature Comforts.

Lion King vinylmation

Lion King vinylmation:  Timon eating a bug.

*******************************
Two GirlsWe’ve written a book about our year working at Disney World in the Disney College Program: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale. It’s filled with advice about the DCP program and how to get the most out of your internship.
We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and wrote about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.
We give advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship at Disney, 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=1409410046&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.

Disney World pulls Epcot Starbucks Mug with Purple Monorail

Purple Epcot Starbucks mug

Purple Epcot Starbucks mug

We were excited when the new Disney Parks Starbucks mugs were released last week as we really like the colors and designs.

But, it’s adios for the purple Epcot one which will need to be redesigned.

Walt Disney World confirms it is pulling this Epcot coffee mug, part of Starbucks’ ‘You Are Here’ collection, because it includes a purple-colored monorail train. Disney retired Monorail Purple after its involvement in a deadly crash in 2009.

Disney’s Monorail Purple was involved in a deadly 2009 crash in which Monorail Pink backed into the purple train, killing its pilot, 21-year-old Austin Wuennenberg. Following the 2009 crash, Walt Disney World retired both the pink and purple colors from its 12-train monorail fleet, adding Monorails Teal and Peach in their place. Disney has since put new safety procedures and improvements in place on its monorail lines.

The coffee mug, unveiled earlier in January, is part of Starbucks’ “You Are Here” collection of four mugs depicting stylized scenes from cities around the world, usually using just a few colors.

star (2)

The DHS and DAK mugs

The MK and Epcot mugs

The MK and Epcot mugs

The Magic Kingdom mug, for example, shows Cinderella Castle, Space Mountain and a teacup from the Mad Tea Party, all colored only in shades of blue, yellow and gray.

Going for $100 on ebay today!

Going for $100 on ebay today!

The Epcot mug’s design, which shows Spaceship Earth, The Land pavilion and several World Showcase landmarks, uses only shades of blue, gray and purple.  The mug’s design includes one of Disney’s monorails with a purple stripe.

Disney confirmed it was pulling the mug from sales for that reason.

01/30/15 Update:  Mug is now selling between $300 – $2,500 on ebay!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281580679640

April 15, 2015 Update:  New Starbucks Epcot mug is available, now featuring Monorail Grey.

New Starbucks Epcot

New Starbucks Epcot

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

We’ve written a book about our year working at Disney World in the Disney College Program: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale. It’s filled with advice about the DCP program and how to get the most out of your internship.

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

We give advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship at Disney, 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

Shark Reef at Typhoon Lagoon is Closing!

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Shark Reef at Typhoon Lagoon

September 20, 2016 Update:  Shark Reef is Closing!!

According to management at Typhoon Lagoon, Shark Reef will be closing for good on October 3, 2016!

Shark Reef allows guests to snorkel through an unheated, saltwater reef populated with stingrays, bonnethead sharks, leopard sharks and colorful tropical fish.  It has been a staple of the park since it opened back in 1989.

The hefty maintenance and upkeep cost of the exhibit are the reasons behind the closing. The exhibit has been rumored to close for several years now, but with a new, large investment (the just announced Miss Fortune Falls, a family raft ride) coming into the park, now seems like the opportune moment for Disney to do so.

So, your last day to swim with the fishes is October 2, 2016!

miss-falls

Miss Fortune Falls, the new family raft ride, is going in right here!

***

This year, Disney is switching it around and Blizzard Beach is closing in October for its annual refurbishment (reopening 12/25/16), followed then by Typhoon Lagoon closing for a slightly longer period than normal to complete Miss Fortune Falls, the new family raft ride and also move all of Shark Reef over to Epcot.  It will reopen around March 12, 2017, depending on construction.

2016-2017 Water Parks Refurbishment Schedules

***

During our DCP Program:

The day before Typhoon Lagoon closed in October 2014, it was rumored – again – that Shark Reef was being closed for good and the marine life would be moved over to the Living Seas at Epcot.

Well, Typhoon Lagoon reopened right on schedule on January 5, 2015…and Shark Reef was still a part of it!  🙂

Our Adventures at Shark Reef

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In front of Mayday!

We went to Shark Reef because Elly wanted to swim across it.  I was too scared so Elly went by herself and I took pictures for her.  I didn’t want to go in because I heard the water was freezing and I was already cold from floating in the lazy river water!

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Elly swimming in Shark Reef

Elly floated across the coral reef and got out, saying that it was amazing and that I had to do it!  But, I held off and we went and got some food instead.  We both got the kids hot dogs with a side of fries and applesauce.  We always try to order off the kids menu because it is cheaper and you get more to eat!

Then, we walked back to the Shark Reef because I was feeling brave! We got our complimentary diving mask and snorkel and got in line. You start out on a rocky ledge and you have to try floating in the cold saltwater in front of a lifeguard before you swim past the drop off.

The drop off is almost 20 feet down and you just slowly float along the surface of the water all the way across the pool, trying not to kick and splash.

It was a little scary because it was so deep but I am a good swimmer, so I wasn’t too nervous.

DSCF1097

Shark Reef

The weather was so perfect, high 80s with some clouds. We definitely had a blast today!  I wish we had been doing this more because it is a lot more relaxing than spending the day walking around the Parks.

I can’t wait to come back on my next day off!   🙂

Caroline

Typhoon Lagoon map showing Lazy River.

Typhoon Lagoon map showing Shark Reef location.

sharf reef (2)

Sharf Reef planning pin

 

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

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

***

Going to the Parks on a CP Budget

A day of Magic Kingdom fun awaits...

A magical day of fun at the Magic Kingdom awaits you…

As a CP, you get unlimited entrance into the four Disney parks at WDW (worth about $100 each visit) and also to the two Disney water parks too (worth about $53 a visit).

You can ride the Transtar bus over to the park (free) or drive your own car.  Parking is free for CPs; you just show your Blue ID to the parking attendant and they wave you in (currently a $17 saving).

But, once you get into the park, things can get expensive fast!

Here’s our advice for having a great time at the parks without spending a lot of money:

#1:  Eat a meal at your apartment before you go!  Budget for having a snack only at the parks.  The snacks at the parks are delicious; more on that later!

#2:  Bring a snack or sandwich in your bag or backpack.  Granola bars are great, energy bars, a baggie of Goldfish, or maybe a PB&J sandwich, which doesn’t need to be refrigerated.  Whatever is your go-to snack when you have the munchies.

#3: Bring your work water bottle!  Stay hydrated with plain water, pass on the $3 sodas and bottled water at the parks.  If you don’t want to wear your refillable water bottle, you can get free cups of ice water at any QSFB location throughout the day.

#4:  Wear a celebration button!  It doesn’t matter what you’re celebrating.  We had many, many magical moments involving free food while wearing our celebration buttons!

Best Park Snacks for Under $5:  These will fill you up!

You’ve followed our advice and eaten your breakfast/lunch/dinner at your apartment before leaving for the park with your friends.  But, after 2-3 hours of walking around, you’re hungry!  What should you do?

It’s snacktime!  Many snacks at the parks are actually quiet filling.  Save the sit down, full service restaurant meals for when your family and friends come for a visit.  (And even then, only go if you can use your CM discount at the location!)

Challenge accepted!  All under $5.

Challenge accepted! All under $5.

Here’s a list of our favorite snacks:

  1. Bakery items.  Every park has a bakery crammed packed with freshly baked pastries, huge cupcakes, muffins, cookies, cronuts, French macaroons…all of it delicious!  Find out where the park bakery is when you get there and stop in when you’re not hungry.  Plan on what you want to buy when you return hungry.
  2. QSFB cart snacks. Mickey ice cream bars, popcorn, huge Mickey pretzels, funnel cakes, churros and more.  Yes, please!  All under $5.
  3. Confectionary shops. Huge freshly dipped caramel apples, cotton candy, chocolate dipped marshmallows on a stick, bags of caramel popcorn.
  4. Dole Whip. Have some by itself or as a float with pineapple juice.
  5. Starbucks has locations in all the parks and two at Downtown Disney.  Iced coffees, hot coffee drinks, hot cocoa, pastries, snacks.  All of it good!

 Our recommended snacking locations:

MK: Main Street Confectionery, Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, Big Top Treats, Aloha Isle, Sunshine Tree Terrace, Cheshire Café, The Friar’s Nook, Storybook Treats

Epcot: Fountain View, Refreshment Port, Karamell-Küche (Germany), L’Artisan des Glaces (France), American Adventure pavilion

DHS: ABC Commissary, Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction

DAK:  Pizzafari, Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery, Tamu Tamu Refreshments, Anandapur Ice Cream, Anandapur Café, Trilo-Bites

DTD: Earl of Sandwich, Ghirardelli Soda Fountain, Wetzel’s Pretzels, Candy Cauldron, Goofy’s Candy Co. Glaciers (free samples!)

We love WDW cotton candy!

We love WDW cotton candy!  Under $5.  ❤

Delicious!

Delicious!  Dipped pretzels for under $5.

Olaf marshmallow on a straw is very popular with the kids!

Dipped marshmallows and little cakes, under $4.

Not sure what this is exactly...

Not sure what this is exactly…$4

Frosted sugar cookies.

Frosted rice krispies cookies, $2.

Cronut and cup of water, under $5

Cronut and cup of water, under $5

Free drinks!

Free soda drinks at the Fountain in Epcot!  Try them all!

Caramel apples. They will slice these for free for easier eating.

Caramel apples. They will slice these for free for easier eating. Enough for 2 people.  $6

Dipped snacks.

Dipped snacks. Under $5

Cake cake at DHS.

Carrot cake at DHS. $5

Freshly made caramel popcorn, $4

Freshly made caramel popcorn, $4

Macaron in France.

Macaron in France.

DSCN0907

Yum…Coca-Cola icy! Free samples at Goofy’s Glaciers in DTD…try all 8 flavors!

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Everything is between $3-$6.

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< $5 snacks

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Freshly dipped caramel apples, $6

Sweet Mickey treats, $3

Sweet Mickey treats, $3

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

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.

***

Disney Cast Connection and Property Control is Moving

New location by Animal Kingdom

New location by Animal Kingdom

Cast Connection and Property Control is moving on February 20, 2015 to a brand new DAK location.

Read our updated blog here:  

https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/cast-connection-is-now-open-at-new-location/

This is great news as the parking at CC/PC is terrible!!!  Hopefully, it will be much better at the new location!

Not much to look at!

Not much to look at!

Located just north of MK (you can see Fantasyland), this place is a mecca for Disney Cast Members and their guests. You can get discounted theme park merchandise, hotel furniture, and discounted basic grocery and candy items. A potpourri of Disney stuff!

Cast Connection for CMs and friends.

Cast Connection for CMs and friends.

Loaded with merchandise!

Loaded with greatly discounted Disney merchandise!

cast connection4 (2)

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that…

A lot of discounted clothing and t-shirts

A lot of discounted clothing and t-shirts

There are two trailers. Cast Connection is the cast exclusive store that sells out-of-season or discontinued new merchandise, holiday merchandise, damaged merchandise from the Parks (wrinkled/stained clothing), and some groceries (like what guests can buy at Fort Wilderness grocery store). Everything is at least 50-75% off listed price and you get an extra 10% CM discount off at checkout.

Property Control shares the space and sells decommissioned company items (industrial equipment, furniture from resorts, TVs, etc.), broken merchandise, and unclaimed lost and found items. Everything is 75-90% off the original price.  No additional discount at checkout.

Table $5

Polynesian Table $5

Bed frame from Polynesian, $5

Bed frame from the Caribbean Beach Resort, $5

The day we were there, they were selling really nice brand new PhotoPass winter jackets for $5. There were over a dozen nice padded chairs that looked like they came from the Grand Floridian going for $20 each. My friend bought a table that came from the Polynesian Resort for $5. We got some Disney Blizzard Beach tee shirts for $6.99 (down from $29.99).

The groceries available were: white sandwich bread, pasta, gallons of milk, eggs, HUGE bags of shredded cheese, HUGE bags of lettuce, 20 lb. bags of rice, fresh fruit (bananas, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples), and fresh vegetables (potatoes, onions). No meat.

Good selection of fresh fruits, 25 cents.

Good selection of fresh fruits, 25 cents.

Food price examples:
Gallon of Milk: $3.25
Orange Juice:  $2.50
Dozen eggs: $1.25
HUGE industrial size bag of romaine: $2.50/bag
Oranges, Lemons & Limes: .25/piece
Whole Pineapple: $2.50

Store Hours:  8:30am-6:30pm (seasonally adjusted)

DSC00582NOTE: You must be a Disney Cast Member, or a guest of one, to visit this little slice of shopping paradise. It’s called Property Control and Cast Connection, and it’s currently located in the MK Cast parking lot.

You need a Cast ID to gain access into the Cast Connection store. CMs can bring friends into Cast Connection, but only CMs can go into the attached Property Control damages trailer.

April 8, 2015 Update:  The Old Trailers are GONE!!!

They are building a road where the trailers once were!

April 8, 2015:  Demolition begins!

April 8, 2015: Demolition begins!

So many good deals were had here!!

So many good deals were had here!!

Adios Magic Kingdom Cast Connection!

Adios Magic Kingdom Cast Connection!

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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
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins
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.

Tips for Staying Warm & Dry while Working at Disney World

DSCN1013

DTD Coordinator costume: white shirt, beige pants, belt, pin lanyard, name tag and radio.

Cast Members are allowed to have 5 complete costumes out at a time.
This does not include weather gear.

Although the rainy season is still a few months away, it rains every week in Orlando. Not the summer thunderstorm downpours with thunder and lightning where Disney World can see 4” – 5” of rain in a single afternoon, but more along the lines of 0.5” – 1” rain events. Certainly enough to get you wet while waiting for the bus or walking to your car!

Our friend, Meaghan, wearing her work rain jacket at Epcot.

Our friend, Meaghan, wearing her work rain jacket at Epcot.

You can ask at the costuming desk if there are any rain ponchos or rain gear outfits (pants and a jacket) in your size available. Having these pieces doesn’t count towards your 5 costume limit.

The weather in Florida in the winter is very variable. It can be warm and sunny during the day with temperatures in the mid-70s, then a cold front will come through and the lows at night can be in the low 40s/high 30s – very cold!

The damp cold in Florida feels much colder than similar temperatures up north!

The AK costume jacket.  Warm!

The DAK costume jacket. Warm!  (All they had left was XXXL on the day Caroline went to check it out.)

Many costumes have matching jackets available. Look at the end of your costume aisle. If you don’t see one for your costume, ask at the desk what is available for your work location.

My friend, Ting, her her DTD work jacket.

My friend, Ting, in her DTD work jacket.

Costuming also sometimes has black gloves and hats available seasonally.  These pieces can be worn with all costumes.

Black Disney work gloves for all costumes.  Don't lose these!  Costuming will charge you $10 if you don't turn them in!

Black Disney work gloves for all costumes. Don’t lose these! Costuming will charge you $10 if you don’t turn them back in!

More on Costuming:

https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/costume-fittings/

*******************************
We’ve written a book about our year working at Disney World in the Disney College Program: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale. It’s filled with advice about the DCP program and how to get the most out of your internship.
We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and wrote about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.
We give advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship at Disney, 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