April 2016: New Rivers of Light to Open!

You can see the stadium seating going in on both side of Discovery River Lake.

You can see the stadium seating going in on both sides of Discovery River Lake.

First Look at the new Rivers of Light:   New Rivers of Light Show

We got to check on the progress of the new Rivers of Light attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom last month.

The soft opening day has been set for April 19, 2016, with a grand opening set for Earth Day 2016 on April 22, 2016.  (Earth Day is also the anniversary day for DAK’s opening back on April 22, 1998.)

There will be stadium seating for 10,000 or so guests, very much like what’s at ‘Fantasmic!’ in Hollywood Studios right now.

Seating will be available on both sides of Discovery River Lake between Expedition Everest and the Theater in the Wild, currently home to Finding Nemo: The Musical.

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As viewed from the bridge into Africa.

Projection rock.

Projection rock (on right) for show’s electronics and lighting.

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January 2016:  Still moving dirt!

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Huge crew working on this project to keep it on track for the grand opening!

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Grand opening rock at DAK:  April 1998

 

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CM guest passes are blocked out April 19 – April 30th because of all the grand opening events.

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“Rivers of Light” promises to be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. The show will magically come to life on the broad, natural stage of the Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest, delighting our guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

“Rivers of Light” concept art.

Rivers of Light promises to be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery.

The show will magically come to life on the broad, natural stage of the Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. [We’re hoping it will be somewhat like the fabulous ‘World of Color’ show at California Adventure in Disneyland!]

This means that DAK will be able to stay open much, much later.

Sometimes in the winter, DAK closes as early as 5pm.

And, of course, no fireworks are allowed because of the sleeping animals.

It’s going to be amazing!

Rivers of Light will premiere late April 2016.

Construction video (May 2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pokwZ4RSCvM#t=101

This will be so pretty so see a night!

The fully illuminated Tree of Life.  This will be so pretty to see at night!

The other thing that they’ve been working on at Discovery Island is replacing every single leaf on the Tree of Life with 200,000 twinkling, LED illumination lights that can be set to music!

The Rivers of Light show will include projection mapping onto the huge Tree of Life itself.

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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

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2016 International Flower and Garden Show Food Menu

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2016 International Flower and Garden Show starts March 2, 2016.

The complete Food Menu for the 2016 International Flower and Garden Show is outlined below.

The prices for most dishes will be in the $3 – $8 range.

NEW! La Isla Fresca

  • Jerk-spice Grouper or Chicken with Mango Salsa, Chayote and Green Papaya Slaw with Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette
  • Jamaican-braised Beef with Pigeon Pea Rice and Micro Cilantro
  • Tres Leches with Guava Purée
  • Red Stripe Jamaican Style Lager
  • Frozen Simply Tropical Juice Drink with Cruzan Mango Rum
  • Frozen Simply Tropical Juice Drink (Non-Alcoholic)

NEW! Cider House

  • Land-harvested Field Greens with Apples, Dried Blueberries, Stilton Cheese and Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  • Pear Cider-brined Shredded Corned Beef with Braised Cabbage and Pears and Branston Dressing
  • House-made Potato and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare
  • Freshly Baked Lemon Scone with Crème Fraîche and Mixed Berries (GF)
  • Sonoma “The Pitchfork” Organic Pear Hard Cider, Healdsburg, CA
  • McKenzie’s Black Cherry Hard Cider, West Seneca, NY
  • Keel & Curley Mad Man Blueberry Hard Cider, Plant City, FL
  • Cigar City Brewing Tampa-style Lager, Tampa, FL
  • Snakebite: Cigar City Tampa-style Lager mixed with McKenzie’s Black Cherry Hard Cider
  • Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider
  • California (Non-Alcoholic)
  • Beer & Cider Flight

Urban Farm Eats

  • Watermelon Salad with Pickled Onions, B&W Gourmet Farms Baby Arugula, Feta and Balsamic Reduction
  • Vegetable and White Bean “Naanwich” with Arugula Pesto and Oven-dried Tomatoes featuring Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice
  • Seared Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Ragoût, Spring Vegetables and Marble Potatoes
  • Avivé Natural Peach Sparkling Wine, France
  • King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir, Oregon
  • Sierra Nevada Otra Vez, Chico, CA
  • Urban Mary

Pineapple Promenade

  • Spicy Hot Dog with Pineapple Chutney and Taro Chips
  • Pineapple Soft-serve
  • Sparkling Pineapple Wine, Florida Orange Groves Winery, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Ocean Tropical Pineapple Hard Cider, Florida Beer Company
  • Pineapple Dole Whip (with or without rum)
  • Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade (Non-Alcoholic)

Jardin de Fiestas

  • Tacos de Camarón: Tempura Shrimp served with Hibiscus Flower, Caramelized Onions and Habanero Sauce
  • Corn Tortilla Quesadilla served with Roasted Mushrooms and Zucchini Blossom topped with Green Tomatillo Sauce
  • Flan de Rosas served with Hibiscus Reduction
  • Tecate Light Beer
  • Rose Margarita
  • Elderflower Watermelon Sangria

Lotus House

  • Gaoli Beef Bun
  • Beijing-style Candied Strawberries
  • Vegetable Spring Roll with Orange Sauce
  • Oolong Peach Bubble Tea
  • Kung Fu Punch: Vodka, Triple Sec, Mango and Orange Juice
  • Plum Wine
  • Honey Mango Wine Cooler
  • Dragon Pearl: Beer, Honey, Cream and Tapioca Pearls
  • Tsingtao Beer

Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market

  • Chicken Fricassee with Green Asparagus and Peas served with Uncle Ben’s® Rice Pilaf
  • Currywurst with Paprika Chips: Roasted Bratwurst with Curry Ketchup and Paprika-spiced Chips (GF)
  • “Armer Ritter” Egg Battered Toast with Cherry Compote and Powdered Sugar
  • Hugo-Charles de Fere “Organic” Brut with Elderflower and Mint
  • Paulaner Original Munich Lager
  • Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen
  • Warsteiner Dunkel
  • Köstritzer Schwarzbier Black Lager
  • Beer Flight

Primavera Kitchen

  • Pollo alla Parmigiana: Breaded Breast of Chicken, Tomato, Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese
  • Mezze Lune Primavera: Egg Pasta stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach in a Creamy Sauce with Spring Vegetables and Pecorino Cheese
  • Cremoso al Pistacchio: Pistacchio Cream, Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream (GF)
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chianti
  • Prosecco
  • Corbinello
  • Moscato
  • Bellini: Sparkling wine and Peach purée
  • Rossini: Sparkling wine and marinated Strawberries
  • Frozen Italian Primavera: Assorted fruit slushy, Limoncello and Vodka
  • Moretti Lager
  • Moretti La Rossa
  • Italian Seasonal Selection
  • Beer Flight

The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews

  • Pulled Pig Slider with Crispy Onions and Coleslaw
  • Smoked Pork Ribs with Roasted Corn Salad (GF)
  • Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños
  • Warm Chocolate Cake with Bourbon-Salted Caramel Sauce and Spiced Pecans
  • The Great American Wine Company Red Blend, Sonoma, CA
  • Funky Buddha Floridian Hefeweizen, Oakland Park, FL
  • Orlando Brewing Company Uncle Matt’s Organic Grapefruit Pale Ale, Orlando, FL
  • 3 Daughters Rod Bender Red Ale, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Shipyard Maple Bacon Stout, Clearwater, FL
  • Frozen Lemonade with Firefly Blackberry Moonshine
  • Frozen Lemonade (Non-Alcoholic)
  • Sweet Tea (Non-Alcoholic)
  • Beer Flight

Hanami

  • Frushi: Fresh Pineapple, Strawberry and Melon Rolled with Raspberry Coconut Rice, sprinkled with Toasted Coconut and Whipped Cream on the side
  • Chicken Edamame Bun: Steamed Bun filled with Chicken and Edamame and topped with Curry Sauce
  • Beef Teriyaki Udon: Thin-sliced Beef, Onions and Noodles tossed on the grill with Soy and Ginger
  • Sapporo Draft Beer
  • Yuzu Plum Wine Slushy: Sweet refreshing taste infused with the tangy flavor of Citrus
  • Suigei Sake: Bold flavor with a crisp, clean finish

Taste of Marrakesh

  • Harissa Chicken Kebab with Sweet Couscous Salad
  • Falafel Pocket with Cucumber-Tomato Salad and Tahini Sauce
  • Baklava
  • Desert Rose: Sparkling Wine topped with Pomegranate Liqueur
  • White Sangria
  • Guerrouane Red Wine
  • Casa Beer

Florida Fresh

  • Kale Salad with Dried Cherries, Almonds, Goat Cheese and White Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Shrimp and Stone-ground Grits with Andouille Sausage, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Cilantro
  • Florida Larder Board: Orlando-made Ricotta Cheese, Cahaba Farms Micro Onions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic, Country Pâté and House-made Pickles
  • Key Lime Sparkling Wine, Florida Orange Groves Winery, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Sea Dog Acai Berry Hefeweizen, Clearwater, FL
  • Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale, Florida Beer Company, Cape Canaveral, FL
  • Watermelon Cucumber Slush with Hendrick’s Gin
  • Watermelon Cucumber Slush (Non-Alcoholic)
  • Fresh-squeezed Watermelon Juice (Non-Alcoholic)

Fleur de Lys

  • Tarte à l’Onion Alsacienne: Alsatian Onion Tart with Sautéed Onions, Fresh Thyme and Rosemary on a Flaky Puff Pastry Crust
  • Cassoulet au Confit de Canard: Pulled Duck Confit with Braised Flageolet Beans
  • Macaron Chocolat Framboise: Large Raspberry Macaron with Chocolate Fudge and Raspberry Jam
  • Ice Pop Grand Marnier Peach Cocktail: Grand Marnier Peach Raspberry, Vodka, Iced Tea
  • La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush: Grey Goose Vodka Orange, St. Germain Liquor, White and Red Cranberry Juice
  • Merlot Bordeaux, Château La Gravière, 2013
  • Kir Imperial: Sparkling Wine with Chambord Black Raspberry Liquor
  • Kronenbourg Blanc 1664: Fruity White Beer with Citrus Notes
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The International Flower and Garden Show at Epcot

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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

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2016 International Flower and Garden Show Merchandise

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New Figment magic band for the F&G Show.

Interested in the limited edition merchandise available for the 2016 Flower and Garden Show?

This year’s logo features Figment, the purple dragon.

Here’s a First Look at some of the new merchandise available starting March 2, 2016:

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T-shirts

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Cute flowerpot.

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Limited edition pins

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Flower & Garden purse

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Upclose view of Figment design

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This years logo.

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The 2016 International Flower and Garden Show runs from March 2 – May 30, 2016 this year.

Watch video at:  2016 Flower and Garden Show Merchandise

Interested in the flowers and gardens?  Read more here: Flowers and Gardens at the 2016 International Flower and Garden Show

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So beautiful!!!  Hope you can make it!

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Everything is so pretty!

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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

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The Perks of Being a Disney CP

DCP Perks (2)
The perks of being a DCP cast member are pretty good for a paid ($10 – $15.00/hr. for most CPs in 2018/2019) internship program.

They can save you thousands of dollars while you are working at Disney.

I work for Disney!
I work for Disney!

1. On your first day working for Disney, you will take the Disney Traditions class. Afterwards, you’ll get your Company ID. Your Disney ID allows you unlimited entrance to all US Disney theme parks in Florida and California.

Note: There are some Blackout Dates dates throughout the year, mainly effecting the Magic Kingdom guest passes. As those times are when the Parks are at peak capacity, you don’t want to go then anyway. Why go to a Park when it’s mobbed with people when you can enjoy the Parks anytime?

2. After working 150 hours, you’ll be mailed the first set of 3 One Day Park Hopper Disney Guest Passes to use to get friends and family into the Parks for free! Every 150 hours, you’ll be mailed another set of passes (up to 9 free passes per calendar year).  You’ll also have opportunities to receive additional free passes through volunteering with Disney VoluntEARS and at other company events.

3. Your company ID gets you a company discount of 20% off all merchandise. During the Disney Family Holiday Celebration  period (Oct. 2018 – Feb. 2019), the CP cast member merchandise discount goes up to 40% off! The discount is good at all Parks, Disney hotels, Disney Stores, Disney online, on Disney cruise ships, and at Disney Ports.

4. At many Disney table service restaurants, you can get 20% off your meal.  At some restaurants, it’s a 40% discount –  Disney Disney Discounts for Cast Members 2018!  The catch is that it’s hard to remember exactly which restaurants are currently giving the CM discount and sometimes, even if a restaurant gives the discount, they may only honor it at non-peak hours, i.e., dinner after 9pm. Again, the only way to know is to always ASK!

5. Cast members get to shop at Disney’s private Cast Connection where overstocked or slightly damaged clothing and merchandise is sold for 50-75% off retail, plus then you can use your 10-20% cast member discount on top of that.

6. If you need extra Park passes for visiting family and friends, CMs can purchase discounted tickets (10% off) for them at the Company D Store. The first ten days of the month, the Company D store also does pin trading, limited to 2 pin trades per day per cast member. They usually have several unusual or unique pins on their pin board. Always worth a look!

7. CPs also can get 30% off discounted tickets to the big seasonal event parties like 2018 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party  and  the 2018 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

8. Your company ID gives you free entrance to both Disney Water Parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, on most days of the year! And, you get Free Parking at any Disney Park and the two water parks, currently $22/day at Disney World.

9. If you work during the Fall internship, you’ll be mailed a Disney Family Holiday Celebration 2018   coupon booklet filled with 60% off coupons for Disney hotel stays, 50% off Disney table service dining, free holiday ornament coupon, and 6 free soda coupons and free popcorn coupons. If you take advantage of all of these coupons, especially if you have family members visiting you during your program, you could save thousands of dollars.

10.  DCP Housing is a bargain. Let me repeat that:  It is a bargain! For about $100/week, taken directly out of your paycheck, you will get a fully furnished apartment with all utilities (A/C, heat, water, very slow wifi internet, cable, phone, sewer and trash/recycling) included. Washer/dryers are in your apartment or onsite. You won’t have to pay any deposits to turn on the electricity, etc. like you would renting a regular apartment. At Disney World, free bus transportation to and from work is also included, all hours of the day and night. All apartment complexes have 24 hour gated security and roaming security guards (important if you’re getting off a 2am shift or going to a 6am shift!) All apartment complexes also have a large pool, and some have hot tubs, tennis courts, basketball courts, and other recreational opportunities like billiards.

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

12. Many local area businesses give cast members discounts of 10% off just by showing your Disney ID!  Both our favorite Chinese restaurant and our nail salon gave us 10% off our bills. Many businesses advertise the CM discount on their doors or menus, but, if not, ASK! You might be surprised at how many businesses say yes. If you chose not to stay in Disney housing, many nearby apartment complexes offer 10% rent discounts to cast members. If you’re not sure, ASK!

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

14.   Here’s the full list of cast member discounts at Disney Springs: CM Discounts at Disney Springs.

15. The AMC Theater at Disney Springs gives CMs a 10% discount on movie tickets and the Starbucks at Disney Springs gives a 10% discount to cast members.

16. You’ll be invited to private, after hours cast member only parties at the Parks, with unlimited rides with no lines and free food! So much fun!!!   You can also sign up for Behind-the-Magic Backstage Tours of your favorite rides!

17.  You get into the private Disney club for cast members and their families, Mickey’s Retreat, right across from the housing complexes for free!

18.  If you’re into Costumes, which is what Disney calls their work uniforms, each work location has a different costume to wear!  They are free and Disney cleans them for free too!  How cool is that!??!!

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We love the new Happily Ever After fireworks show!!  :’)

19.  Fireworks, fireworks, fireworks!  If you like fireworks shows, then come work at Disney World where’s there’s at least 3 fireworks shows nightly!!  There’s Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom, IllumiNations at Epcot, and Star Wars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Every night, and sometimes 2x a night!

20.  Free locker rental at all the parks.  Just show your ID.  Also, free stroller (single or double!) rentals at any of the parks too.

Bonus Perk: And, finally, something that we think is a pretty good perk:  flexible scheduling with the ability to request time off or trade your shifts if you would like to see what working at another WDW location is like.

We worked merchandising at Downtown Disney/Disney Springs (Elly) and Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Caroline).  But, we could trade or pick up open shifts at any of the four Parks, the two water parks, or any of the hotel gift shops at Disney World!

Never a dull day at WDW!

legacy (3)

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*Disney is My Life*

Working at Walt Disney World is a magical experience that few get to have in their lives.

Unlike other jobs, you actually look forward to going to your work to play on your days off.  Also, unlike other jobs, you get the special pleasure of spreading happiness to guests from all over the world.

This is not to say that the job is easy. You are challenged day in and day out with guest’s high expectations. But, it has made you stronger as a person as a result. You are exposed to many different cultures that broadened your understanding of the world. You know how to say basic phrases like “how many in your party?” and “remain seated, please” in at least three different languages.  You know that the most important language is non-verbal, especially when you are attempting to soothe a guest who is “critiquing” you in a language you do not understand.

After you became a Disney cast member, when was the last time you waited in line for more than 30 minutes? Why would you wait when you can get in to any park for free anytime? You know when the peak crowd times are at all the parks.  Doing a whole day at the parks is almost unthinkable at this point. It’s so much better to only go for a few hours, use your three FastPasses, maybe grab a quick bite to eat or Disney snack, and then go home early. Sometimes, it’s even better to go to the parks just to relax and hang out and not even go on a single ride. And, why not? Walt Disney World is your home now.

You can get Mickey waffles whenever. Random morning off? Mickey waffles at the Contemporary. Mickey waffles at Grand Floridian. Resort hop to find the best locations. But y’all know that Trail’s End Restaurant is the very best breakfast buffet with the best cast member discount!

Once you’ve worked for Disney long enough you have friends everywhere in the parks. It’s like in high school when you can walk around and say hi to friends as you go to class, except you’re doing it at the Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And honestly, this is so much better!

As a cast member, you find yourself spending all your money on Disney merchandise (Disney knows this…that’s why they give you a great 20% cast discount!). You can’t help yourself either because you are tortured every time you go to work seeing all the other guests with the merch you want. Like rose gold ears or the WDW sweatshirt. You didn’t even know you wanted them until they were impossible to get. Then it just felt like the guests who did have them were taunting you until you finally found them at WoD and bought them.

You can tell the time at night by all the fireworks shows. 9:00pm – IllumiNations. 10:00pm – Happily Ever After. Until they went and changed the time to 7:30pm. Who does that? Don’t they know we set our evening by these time signals?

Being a cast member in Orlando, Florida takes FOMO (fear of missing out anxiety) to a new level. Who cares if you’re exhausted from working a 60 hour week? You still feel guilty for staying home to sleep in on your one day off because in Orlando there are literally THOUSANDS of things you could be doing with your time. But, all you really want to do is sleep and be a normal person.

As soon as you become a cast member people suddenly start contacting you for free tickets/discounts. You haven’t talked to them in almost 5 years, and suddenly you’re a Disney cast member and they just happen to reach out and want to reconnect after so long, at Disney World of course. Oh, and by the way, can you get me and my extended family in for free?

Living and working at Walt Disney World is an experience that most people outside of Orlando cannot understand. It definitely has its perks, like going to Disney World for free and experiencing magical things most guests never get to see, but it also is a challenge to adapt to the “Disney” life. However, no matter how much you complain, deep down you love your job and do it for the Disney Magic you get to create every day.

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Adventure Book Cover

Adventures in the Animal Kingdom

Lions and Tigers and Strollers, Oh My!

This is not Caroline’s first time in the Disney College Program. Along with her sister, she was previously accepted into the program a few years earlier.  Back in Colorado, Caroline was wishing for a little more pixie dust to brighten up her life.  On a whim, she decides to apply to the exclusive Disney Alumni Summer Program.

Now that she’s back, things get wild.

Wild, as in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where Caroline is assigned to work in Stroller Rental.  While not the most glamorous position in the park, it’s often ground zero for humanity at its best and at its worst.

While Caroline makes many “Magical Moments” for deserving guests whose pixie dust has gone temporarily sideways, she also receives magical moments of her own through the friendships she makes, going to Disney cast member exclusive events, and all the spectacular dining opportunities at Disney World.

Caroline tells all – from the ins and outs of Disney’s secret training class called Traditions; to learning how to be a happy cast member during on-the-job training; to what it’s like to interact with fellow cast members and the guests who are ready to explore the most magical place on earth.

Join Caroline as she takes you on a wild ride through her adventures in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But be careful, it’s a jungle out there!

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

Book link on Amazon.com:  Adventures in the Animal Kingdom

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DAK costume

Adventure is out there!

About the Author:

Caroline’s love for all things Disney, and desire to grow up to be a Disney princess, is the reason she always wanted to work for Disney.  Her dream came true working as a cast member at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Caroline is the co-author of the book, Two Girls and a Mouse Tale, about her adventures working at Disney World with her sister.

She is currently a 7th grade Social Studies teacher in Colorado.

 

2016 International Flower and Garden Show at Epcot

Flowers surrounding Friendship Bay at Epcot

Thousands of colorful flowers surrounding Friendship Bay at Epcot.  30 million blossoms!

Video from Opening Day:  2016 International Flower and Garden Show

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Bring your camera!!

Kicking off next week – March 2, 2016 – May 30, 2016 – the extended 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot promises to be amazing!

The Disney pin team has created several limited edition pins featuring the F&G topiaries. Other limited edition merchandise will be available at the Festival Center where they hold the special cooking and gardening demonstrations.
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First look at F&G Show merchandise!! 2016 Flower and Garden Show Merchandise

Expect to see a dazzling array of over 100 topiary displays, gardens and exhibits—each featuring seasonal designs or several popular Disney characters.

There are over a dozen Disney-themed topiaries to experience, including:

Amazing! How do they do the hair???

Amazing! How do they do the hair???

Anna and Elsa –  Located at Norway Pavilion

Goofy About Spring Featuring Goofy, Chip ‘n Dale and friends Located near the Main Entrance

Miss Piggy & Tour de Fleurs Garden – Located at the Italy Pavilion

Spring Is in the Air! Featuring Butterfly Topiaries Located behind Spaceship Earth

Buzz Lightyear Located near Mission Space

The Living Desert Road Rally Play area featuring Mater and Lightning McQueen Located at the Test Track Walkway

Fantasia Located at West Future World

Phineas and Ferb Located at the Odyssey Bridge

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Farmer Mickey

Farmer Mickey & Minnie Located between Future World and World Showcase

Bambi & Friends Featuring Bambi, Flower and Thumper Located at the Canada Pavilion

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Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

Peter Pan, Captain Hook & Tick Toc Crock Located at the United Kingdom Pavilion

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Lovely!

Aurora & Prince Phillip Located between the International Gateway and France Pavilion

Beauty and the Beast Located at the France Pavilion

Woody Located at The American Adventure

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Located at the Germany Pavilion

Lady and the Tramp Located at the Italy Pavilion

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The Lion King

The Lion King Featuring Mufasa, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Sarabi, Simba and Timon Located at The Outpost between the Germany and China Pavilion

Cinderella & Prince Charming Located at the France Pavilion

Year of the Ram Located at the China Pavilion

Troll Located at the Norway Pavilion

Belle

Belle from last year’s Flower & Garden Show

Yes, there are flowers, but there’s also Special Foods available during the Show!

Read the entire Food Menu here:  2016 Flower and Garden Food Menu

We <3 Dole Whip!

We ❤ Dole Whip!!!  Tip:  You can get Dole Whip at Epcot during the F&G Show (with or without rum)!

The F&G Festival is so beautiful!

The F&G Show is so beautiful!  (I took this photo on my cell phone!)

And, don’t forget to stop by and see the special butterfly pavilion!

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From Bonsai trees to butterflies, there’s a bounty of displays ready to capture your family’s attention and imagination. Highlights include:

Bonsai Collection – Branch out to the Japan Pavilion to cultivate an appreciation for an ancient art form that produces the most amazing miniature trees.

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The Butterflies on the Go pavilion

Butterflies hatching.

Butterflies hatching daily.

Butterflies on the Go presented by GoGo squeeZ – Float over to this happening habitat in Future World to get an up-close glimpse at several species of butterflies—they may even brush by your shoulder during the exciting walkthrough tour.

English Tea Garden hosted by Twinings of London – Ripen your knowledge of the art and history of tea during this 20-minute guided tour. Afterwards, capture the cutest photos of tea-flavoring plants tucked inside giant saucers that are strewn throughout the garden.

Floating Mini-Gardens – Gaze upon 225 petite plots drifting on the ponds that border the walkway between Future World and World Showcase.

Health & Healing Garden – Glide over to The Land to discover ancient plants that have the ability to heal!

Illuminated Gardens – See Epcot with new wonder as select Disney topiaries and Festival playgrounds all across the park glow with light as the Flower & Garden fun continues into the night!

Pepper Fire Garden – Think you can take the heat? Head to The Land Pavilion to peek at the world’s hottest peppers.

Prehistoric Plants – Spot examples of greenery that existed when dinosaurs roamed the earth at Future World East.

Purple Martins Presented by Audubon Florida – Stop and listen to the tranquil sound of this special species of songbird at Future World East.

Shakespeare Garden – Thou shalt adore matching up famous quotes to flowers found within this vibrant garden in the United Kingdom Pavilion.

Outdoor Kitchens offering delectable small plates and flavorful non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages

A brand new Harmony Gardens Musical Playground for kids featuring state-of-the-art net climbers

A new Fun Fresh Weekend focusing on family togetherness

Inspirational exhibits, seminars and how-to demonstrations

Garden Rocks Outdoor Concert Series featuring throwback beats from fan-favorite bands with new acts added this year

So pretty!

So pretty!

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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

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Free Admission for CMs to Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach Water Parks 2016

CP Moment: Typhoon Lagoon on your day off!!!

CP Moment: Going to Typhoon Lagoon with friends on your day off!!!

THIS BLOG HAS BEEN UPDATED FOR 2017!  New blockout dates!!!

2017 Free Admission to the Water Parks for Cast Members

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September 2016 Update –  The dates for the annual winter refurbishments of Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach:

Blizzard Beach will close first from October 23, 2016 through to December 24, 2016, reopening to guests on Christmas Day, December 25, 2016.

Typhoon Lagoon will then close from December 25, 2016 through to March 11,  2017, reopening to guests on March 12, 2017.

It is likely that Typhoon Lagoon will reopen with a new new family raft ride, Miss Fortune Falls!  But, sad news!! Shark Reef is permanently closing October 3, 2016!  So, if you want to swim with real sharks, get there by October 2nd!

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Construction on Miss Fortune Falls is about to begin!!!

July 15, 2016 Update!

Due to the excessive heat, the summer blockout has been lifted…cast members can get in to both water parks for FREE!!!  Enjoy!!  (CM Tip:  Always check on the Hub for current daily info before you go!)

June 2016 Update:  CMs are currently blocked out from free admission to the water parks in the summer months…unless you work there!  If you do, then you can get in for free anytime!

After 2pm, CMs can buy 1/2 price admission tickets at the window by showing their ID.

Sun’s out, guns out!  Let’s go!!!!   🙂

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Typhoon lagoon (2)

Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon (our favorite!) are open daily now.

The water park’s winter hours are usually from 10am – 5pm daily.

Check on water park hours:  Disney’s Water Parks Hours

February 2016 Update:  CPs are blocked from free entrance and using guest passes during Spring Break (March 20 – April 2, 2016) and also over Memorial Day Weekend (May 28 – May 30, 2016).  They’ll be blocked from free admission all summer too!  😦

water parks

Free cast member admission to the water parks:  January 1 – June 11, 2016.

Which water park do you prefer, Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach?? Our vote: Typhoon Lagoon!

Which water park do you prefer: Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach??
Our vote: Typhoon Lagoon! 🙂

 

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Blizzard Beach reopened for the season on January 3, 2016.  Blizzard Beach is more exciting, while Typhoon Lagoon is more relaxing.

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working together at DAK

Working together at DAK.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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

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

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

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

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Disney’s 2016 Easter Egg Hunt at WDW and DLR

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Disneyland’s Easter Egg Hunt!

From March 2–March 27, 2016, guests can search for special hidden “eggs” themed to Disney characters and record your discoveries by placing the corresponding sticker on the specially themed Egg-stravaganza map to represent that location.

Note:  Easter Sunday is March 27, 2016 and special characters will be out and about for meet and greets, including the Easter Bunny!!!!!

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4 maps, 12 jumbo Easter Eggs hidden at each location

Maps and stickers can be purchased for just $5.95 at the following parks and locations:

Disney World

Epcot – Pin Central, Port of Entry (Showcase Plaza), Heritage Manor (The American Adventure) and World Traveler (International Gateway)

Disneyland Resort

Disney California Adventure Park – Elias & Co., Humphrey’s Service & Supplies, Off the Page, Oswald’s, Sarge’s Surplus Hut and Treasures in Paradise

Disneyland Park – Disneyana, Disney Showcase, “it’s a small world” Toy Shop, Little Green Men Store Command, Pieces of Eight, Pioneer Mercantile and Stromboli’s.

Downtown Disney District – Anna & Elsa’s Boutique, D Street, Disney Pin Traders, WonderGround Galleryand World of Disney Store

Disneyland Resort Hotels – Acorns Gifts & Goods, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa; Mickey in Paradise, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel; and Fantasia Shop, Disneyland Hotel

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The small egg prizes for 2016.  So cute!

How to redeem by April 2, 2016:  A surprise awaits you!

Whether you choose to hunt for eggs or not, return your map to a redemption location for a special surprise.  (You get to keep your map, they just mark it with a star!)

Epcot: Port of Entry

Disneyland Resort: Disney Showcase in Disneyland park; Elias & Co. at Disney California Adventure park; and the World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney District.

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Finding an Easter Egg by China.

We loved doing the Easter Egg Hunt at Epcot! Finding Easter Eggs at Epcot: Where to look

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The 2016 International Flower and Garden Show also starts on March 2, 2016.  Don’t forget to bring your camera!!

The extended 2016 International Flower and Garden Show runs March 2 – May 30, 2016 this year.

Flowers surrounding Friendship Bay at Epcot

Thousands of colorful flowers surrounding Friendship Bay at Epcot.  30 million blossoms!

There’s also brand new limited edition Flower and Garden Show merchandise available throughout Epcot.

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The new 2016 Flower and Garden Show magic band.

And, for the hungry, all the new Flower and Garden Show food is available for purchase, $3 – $8 per delicious item.

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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

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