2015 Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian

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The 2015 Grand Floridian’s Gingerbread House

The Grand Floridian Gingerbread House is celebrating its 17th year!

They put up the 2015 Grand Floridian Gingerbread House this week. It’s so beautiful! There are Hidden Mickey’s in the shingles.  The whole lobby of the GF smells like gingerbread! ❤

Free samples of the gingerbread for all the guests.  So delicious!  The botton is coated in rich dark chocolate!

Free samples of the gingerbread for all the guests while they are assembling the house. So delicious! The bottom is coated in rich dark chocolate!

The chefs make extra gingerbread shingles and dip them in dark chocolate. You can buy them in the gift shop and also from the gingerbread house when it’s open (limited hours).

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We went to the Pin Signing event on Saturday!

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Pin release day!!

GF Pin

We got the 2015 Grand Floridian gingerbread pin on Saturday!

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The gingerbread recipe

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Side view of gingerbread house

The Gingerbread House stands 16 feet tall.

The 2015 ingredients include 1,050 pounds of honey, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 800 pounds of flour, 140 pints of egg whites, and 700 lbs. of delicious Belgium chocolate!

Here’s a video of the final dusting by Executive Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek:  Putting the Final Touches on the Gingerbread House  

The dusting of the gingerbread house takes 10-15 minutes. The chef squirts down the gingerbread roof with a ‘simple sugar’ water mix, and then sifts powdered sugar onto the house.

Then in January 2015 when they take it all down, they take off all the gingerbread and compost it, wash down the house and store it again until next Christmas!  Bees Recycle GF Gingerbread House at WDW

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So pretty!

Check out the other Gingerbread displays on Disney properties:

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View of the gingerbread house from the balcony.

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Walking around the Grand Floridian – it smells so good!!!!

Contemporary Resort:  2015 Frozen Fever Gingerbread Display

Disney’s Beach Resort:  The Gingerbread Carousel

Disney BoardWalk Resort: Ginger’s Bread and Cookie Shoppe

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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

***

2016 Disney DCP Housing Rates

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Weekly apartment rents for 2016.

Disney Housing has announced housing fee increases for January 2016 participants (Spring 2016).

January 2016 Update:  Minimum pay rate for CPs is now $9.50/hr., increasing to $10/hr. on July 31, 2016!**

**Some DCP roles, like lifeguarding, attractions, and some positions at MK, get a wage premium! For 2016, DCP participant’s wage will vary between $10.00 – $12.31 per hour, based upon the role that he/she is selected to perform. Participants may also be eligible for premium pay in select roles and will learn their exact rate of pay upon receiving an invitation.

The housing costs depend on the size of the apartment and which apartment complex a participant is assigned to live in during his or her DCP program. Apartments have two to four bedrooms (with two or three participants in each bedroom).

Vista Way apartments generally are the cheapest with the smallest apartments size and only a choice of 2 or 3 bedrooms apartments.

Housing costs ($93 – $124/week) are automatically deducted weekly from cast members’ paychecks, so they don’t have to worry about turning in a check at the beginning of the month. This cost includes all utilities such as electricity, cable hookup, waste disposal, recycling, and local phone service; as well as the various resort-style amenities, such as pools, gyms, etc. featured at each complex.

If you don’t work enough hours in a certain week due to illness or vacation, Housing will call you and you can either pay by check at the office or pay by credit/debit card over the phone.

The four housing complexes at Disney World.

The four DCP housing complexes at Disney World.

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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

***

Ginger’s Bread and Cookie Shoppe at Disney’s BoardWalk

IMG_6437.JPGWe had never seen the gingerbread display at the BoardWalk, so we decided to ride the boat over there from the Yacht Club Resort and take a look.

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Arriving at the BoardWalk.

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Big Christmas tree out front.

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You can smell the gingerbread when you walk in!

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You can buy gingerbread cookies and gelato here.

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Ginger’s Bread and Cookie Shoppe opened for business today!

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Mickey and Minnie gingerbread trim.

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Minnie gingerbread trim, so cute!

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Gingerbread boy topper.

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The Gingerbread Boy wearing Mickey ears!

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Cute!

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This tree was so pretty!

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We love the BoardWalk’s 2015 holiday pin.

2014 Pin release

Our CP friend bought us the 2014 BoardWalk’s gingerbread pin.  Cute!  We knew we had to see it in 2015!

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bookstore (2)

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.

***

Beach Resort Gingerbread Carousel

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8pm:  Disney’s Beach Resort Gingerbread Carousel is up and running!  WOW!!

We were at Disney’s Beach Resort last week and got the see the pastry chefs setting up the resort’s Gingerbread Carousel!

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9am:  They trimmed and set the tiles so fast!

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Trays and trays of gingerbread tiles.  They smelled so good!

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They were half way done setting the tiles in just 30 minutes!

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Many hands laying out the tiles.

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Pastry bags of icing on the cart ready to pipe all over the carousel.

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One of the pretty snowflakes ready to be set on the carousel’s trim.

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Snowflakes are on, time for the carousel topper!

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The carousel topper has arrived!

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Bringing over the ladder to put on the carousel topper.

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Caroline getting a free gingerbread sample.

They started at 4am and got it all done in one day….it was up and totally decorated by 8pm!

Some more photos of the completed carousel:

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The carousel’s recipe.

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All the horses are decorated differently and have names.  This one is Sasha.

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Marina with a seashore theme.

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Julia

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Admiral…note the Hidden Mickey!

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The horses rotating around and around.

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Gingerbread pin release this week!

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We got the 2015 pin!

This holiday season, look for a life-size, fully rotating gingerbread carousel display in the Beach Club’s lobby. There are seven Hidden Mickeys (look on the horse’s rumps!).

It took 36 lbs. of honey, 96 lbs. of bread flour, 100 pints of eggs, 10 lbs. of spices, 10 quarts of simple syrup, 100 lbs. of icing, 50 lbs. of dark chocolate, 10 quarts of egg whites, and 100 lbs. of confectioner sugar to make the carousel!

Take home sweet gingerbread treats, including small gingerbread kits, from the Beach Club Marketplace. Opening date/pin release day: November 19, 2015.

Check out the other pretty gingerbread displays at Disney World:

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House: 2018 Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

Contemporary Resort:   2018 Gingerbread Display at the Contempory Resort 

Disney’s Beach Resort:  The Gingerbread Carousel

Disney BoardWalk Resort: Ginger’s Bread and Cookie Shoppe

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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

***

2020 Disney World Cast Member Blockout Dates

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This is not good news for cast members.

mk blockout

Total blockout this summer IF the Disney World parks reopen as planned.

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Disney World is currently reopening mid-July 2020

June 19, 2020:  Disney World announces new health and safety rules.

The new Disney World COVID-19 health and safety protocols for guests include:

  • Reduced guest capacity in the parks
  • Required face coverings for guests 3 years old and older
  • Temperature checks for all guests prior to entering the parks
  • Physical distancing throughout the parks
  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting, especially in high-traffic areas
  • Additional handwashing and hand sanitizer locations
  • Contactless payments at shops and restaurants

portable-hand-washing-station-magic-kingdom

Health and safety guidelines for Disney cast members will include:

  • Required face coverings and temperature checks
  • Adjusting work practices to promote physical distancing
  • Increased cleaning in work areas
  • Encouraged to stay home when ill
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Temperature checks and masks for everyone. (This was at Hong Kong Disneyland on June 18, 2020 the first day it reopened.)

Everyone will be temperature screened before entering the parks.  No one allowed in with a temperature above 100.4 degrees.

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Limited ride loads:  This ride at Hong Kong is now limited to about 12 guests instead of the usual 36.

Everyone over the age of 3 will be required to wear a mask at all times, except when eating.

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Free standing hand washing stations.

There will be new hand washing and Purell stations deployed throughout the park.

Social distancing signs will be everywhere.

No firework shows, parades, or character meet and greets.

Crowd capacity will be limited to 30%.

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Expected daily capacity upon reopening.

No park hopping between parks anymore!

Cinderella Castle

January 2020 vs. July 2020: A whole new look for the Cinderella Castle.

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July 2020 look: We can’t wait to see it in 2021!

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We are on the fence about this new look. We like the blue turrets and golden accents, but the pink is a little too pink.

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cinderella castle

New official link for cast members to check on blockout dates at all Disney Parks: https://blockoutdates.disney.com/

mk blockout

Total blockout for CMs this summer at all 4 parks IF the parks reopen as planned.

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July 11th!!!

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♪♫♪ A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep…..♪♫♪♫♪♪♫♪

We’ve written two books about our time working – and playing – as Disney Cast Members at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Both are available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale and Adventures in the Animal Kingdom.

Adventure Book Cover

Adventures in the Animal Kingdom

book Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link: https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/

Have a magical day!

#TwoDisneySisters

CinderellaCastle_Wishables1

We collected these Theme Park Wishables at both Disney World and Disneyland earlier this year. $9.99

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Magic Kingdom Wishable (this one is open stock).

epcot wishable

Epcot Wishable

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Tree of Life Wishable

Tot wishable

Tower of Terror Wishable

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The Floating Mountains of Pandora

Pandora – The World of AVATAR

Pandora – The World of AVATAR

Pandora – The World of AVATAR

Even though the opening of Pandora at DAK isn’t until mid-2017, construction on the new land has really picked up!

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Nov. 2015: Construction view of Pandora from DAK’s entrance.

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One of the Floating Mountains of Pandora under construction.

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Pandora from the entrance in Africa.

The Floating Mountains of Pandora.

Design image: The Floating Mountains of Pandora.

Right now, most of the activity is hidden behind construction walls at the former Camp Minnie-Mickey area. Avatarland has taken over the entire area at the front of DAK once occupied by the Disney character meet-and-greet area and the “Festival of the Lion King” show, which relocated to a new, much bigger theater in mid-2014.

Towering construction cranes – at least 2 or 3 at a time – can be seen from DAK’s entrance area, working away all day long.

The bridge to the former Camp Minnie-Mickey area will be the main entrance, with another entrance from Africa near the new land’s cliffs.

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One of the new Pandora buildings (probably Banshee Flight Simulator)

Several new buildings are being built onsite: “buildings that were used by previous human travelers to the planet, which have been retrofitted into food and supply source,” i.e., restaurants and merchandise locations.

The futuristic Avatarland will be populated by lush jungle foliage, floating mountains and the ruins of a military base camp sprinkled with audio-animatronics, 3-D projections and hologram effects. An area themed as the Pandora Landing Station Mess Hall will serve as a quick-service restaurant.

Soarin on a banshee.

Soarin on a banshee.  This will be one crazy simulator ride!!!

The main attraction will be a banshee flight simulator similar ride to Soarin’ at Epcot. Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, who is spearheading the project, says the new ride system will be “considerably more thrilling” than the current Soarin’ attraction. Guests will “climb up the mountains of Pandora” in the queue for the ride before entering the show building where they will take off, literally launching off the cliffs on a Banshee. [No thank you!]

Disney is also building an indoor boat ride similar to Pirates of the Caribbean which will take riders on a river journey through the beautiful LED-illuminated forests of Pandora.

Pandora during the day.

Pandora during the day with the floating mountains, waterfalls and cliffs.

After dark, special lighting effects will play a prominent role in Avatarland, with LED-lighted sidewalks and illuminated plants that respond to the touch.

Pandora at night.

Pandora glowing at night.

Rivers of Light Update (November 2015 video): Pandora Update 

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We love DAK and can’t wait for Pandora to open!

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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.

***

Monorail Coral in Accident near Contemporary Resort

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Monorail Coral’s damaged front end.

Monorail Coral was involved in an accident this afternoon (11/18/15) on the Express Line from Epcot to TTC. All monorail lines at WDW are currently closed.

A Walt Disney World monorail was damaged Wednesday afternoon after Disney officials said the train made contact with a towing unit.

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Photo credit: C. Morisco

The collision happened shortly before 2:45 p.m. while Monorail Coral was on the Express Line to the Magic Kingdom, between the Transportation and Ticket Center and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

As a safety precaution, the other WDW monorail lines were shut down after the incident, which Disney said happened after a towing hitch broke during scheduled downtime, causing the tractor towing the monorail to collide with the front of the train. No guests were on board the monorail at the time, and no one was hurt during the incident, Disney said.

Monorail Coral was later towed back to the Transportation and Ticket Center shortly after 4 p.m.

The entire monorail system has been under refurbishment for several months now:  Walt Disney World Resort Monorail System is currently undergoing refurbishment and may be on modified service and/or routes through December 2015.  If Guests plan to use this form of transportation during their visit they should check to be sure of the best option available on their day of travel, as alternative transportation options will be available.

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bookstore (2)

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.

***

1,000,000th Blog Views!

November 11, 2015: Our 1,000,000th blog view!

November 11, 2015: Our 1,000,000th blog view!

A little over two years ago, we started a blog for our family and friends to follow our adventures about living and working at Disney World as interns in the Disney College Program.

We never imagined that our blog would ever hit 1,000,000 views from over 180 countries, many of which we’ve never heard of!  Outside of the US (#1), we have many readers from the UK (#2) and Canada (#3).  Our Australian followers are #5.

Top 20 countries that follow our blog. In every country that's colored, we have blog readers. We're only missing a few countries in central Africa.

Top 20 countries that follow our blog.
In every country that’s colored, we have blog readers.
We’re only missing a few countries in central Africa.

In 2014, we got a book offer from Theme Park Press to write about our time at Disney, which we had blogged about while living in Orlando.

We thank all of you for your support and encouragement!

Have a magical day!

Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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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.

***

Drunk Guest Climbs Mexico Pavilion Temple at Epcot

OMG!

OMG!

At last night’s 2015 Food & Wine Festival at Epcot, a guest drinking with a group of friends decided to climb the Mayan Temple on the outside of the Mexico Pavilion!

Has this ever been done before by a guest??

Video link: Climbing the Mayan Temple Steps!

Almost there!

Almost there!

November 12, 2015:  New sign posted this morning!

November 12, 2015: New “No Climbing” signs were posted this morning!

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New: There was also a security guard standing there for the whole evening, arriving at 5pm.

Caroline outside Epcot Mexico pavilion with a cool drink, but NOT climbing the Mayan Temple steps!

Caroline outside Epcot Mexico pavilion with a cool drink, but NOT climbing the Mayan Temple steps!

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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 (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

***

Na’vi River Journey at DAK’s Pandora – The World of Avatar

Na’vi River Journey

Na’vi River Journey

Disney recently released details on a new canoe ride attraction coming to Pandora – The World of Avatar, under construction now at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The adventure begins as guests set out in canoes and venture down a mysterious, sacred river hidden within the bioluminescent rainforest. The full beauty of Pandora reveals itself as the canoes pass by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures. The journey culminates in an encounter with a Na’vi shaman, who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora and sends positive energy out into the forest through her music.

Disney plans to open Na’vi River Journey in Pandora – The World of Avatar sometime in mid-2017.

(We expect this canoe ride to be similar to Pirates of the Caribbean with a drop – or several drops in the dark – along the way.)

Read more about Pandora’s construction progress here:  Update on the World of Avatar

Pandora boat ride

Na’vi River Journey canoe ride

Entrance into the attraction.

The attraction’s entrance:  Pandora glowing at night with bioluminescence.

Pandora – The World of AVATAR

Pandora – The World of AVATAR.  We can’t wait to see it!!

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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.

***