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!!

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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.

***

2015 Beach Resort Gingerbread Carousel

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8pm:  Disney’s Beach Resort 2015 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.

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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.

*****

 

2017 Disney World Cast Member Blackout Dates

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World!

We thought we would post the upcoming blockout dates for using your Disney guest passes for all four WDW theme parks for the next few months in case family and friends are planning a visit to Orlando to see you!

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

March 2017  – May 2017:  The blockout dates for the 4 WDW parks are below.

Magic Kingdom:

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Easter is April 16, 2017 this year….the Magic Kingdom will be very, very crowded!!!  Avoid if possible!!!

Magic Kingdom has always been the hardest park to use guest passes at…but not for the next few months!!!  Enjoy!!!

Epcot:

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The 2017 International Flower and Garden Show is going on right now at Epcot.  Fabulous!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

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Avatar opens at DAK at the end of May.  Avoid the park then!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

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Lots of construction going on with the building of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land, with a lot of closures.  A 1/2 day park.

Check for current updates at: Updated Blockout Dates. Sometimes Disney will add or release blockout days depending on revised park crowd forecasts (based on pre-ticket sales and resort/dining reservation loads).

These are the Main Gate Pass blockout dates for guests of CMs using the Disney Guest Passes, not the blockout dates for CMs.  The CM self admission pass is only blocked out a few days a year, mostly at MK.

During guest blockout days, you can’t use your guest passes to swipe friends and family into the park for free, but CMs can still get in.

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The new Self Admission Pass, which replaced the  old blue Main Gate Pass.

Remember, CMs can buy discounted park tickets for their guests at the Company D store to use on blocked out days.

Discounted (10% off) cast member 2017 ticket rates: Discounted Tickets for Cast Members

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The new One Day Park Hopper Pass for guests of CMs.  They are being referred to as the ‘Chip & Dale’ passes.

New CMs can expect to get their first of three guest passes after completing 150 hours of work: How To Earn Guest Passes.  The passes will be mailed to you about 10 days after completing each 150 hour work period.

You can see how the blockout dates line up with this 2017 crowd forecast.

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August 2016 – July 2017 WDW Crowd forecast.  Avoid the parks – especially the Magic Kingdom – on red dot days!

***

castles

The castle at Shanghai Disneyland is Disney’s biggest one yet!  HUGE!!!

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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

***

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.

***