Several Guests Try to Climb the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

tree

Are they crazy???


12/04/2017:
Four guests were spotted climbing portions of the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom yesterday.

One photo shows a man in a white shirt attempted to scale the tree that’s carved and designed with animals. Another man in a black shirt was also photographed standing at the bottom of the tree taking a selfie.

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Stopping to take a selfie.

Disney security was called and the guests were not successful in their climb to the top. Upon arriving at the scene, the guests were told to get down and were spoken to by Disney security, but no trespassing charges were brought against them nor were they “banned for life” from Walt Disney World as many are speculating.

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What are they thinking????

Of course, this isn’t the first time a guest has been seen climbing a facade at Walt Disney World. Just over two years ago a drunk guest successfully scaled the Mexico Pavilion facade at Epcot during the 2015 International Food and Wine Festival.

Drunk guest Climbs Mayan Temple at Epcot

OMG!

OMG!

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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

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ABC’s The View is Taping at DAK All This Week!

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When they announced that the show would be airing live from DAK in March.

The cast and crew from ABC’s The View will be airing their show from Disney’s Animal Kingdom all this week.

Video link:  ABC’s The View is Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

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Whoopie and Mickey Mouse

They have a great line-up of guests planned for the week.  A lot of cast members were able to score free tickets to watch the daily taping!

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March 6, 2017:  Check-in.  They are giving out free t-shirts to audience members!!!

Monday, March 6– John Stamos; a performance by Andy Grammer.

Tuesday, March 7– Ariel Winter (ABC’s “Modern Family”; Disney’s “Sofia the First”); Sherri Shepherd.

Wednesday, March 8–Eric Stonestreet (ABC’s “Modern Family); Audra McDonald (Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”).

Thursday, March 9–  Mandy Moore (Disney Channel’s “Tangled”; “This is Us”); James Cameron and Whoopi explore Pandora: The World of Avatar.

Friday, March 10– Tom Bergeron (ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”);a performance by Train; Celebrity Chefs Masaharu Morimoto and Art Smith.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017:  Setting up for tomorrow’s show.

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So much prep work goes into doing this!

Whoopie Goldberg arrived early and had fun working as a cast member on Friday greeting guests at various attractions in the Magic Kingdom!

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Whoopie as a Ghost Host greeting guests at the Haunted Mansion

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Working a ride at Adventureland.

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Elly as Whoopie’s twin!

We’re looking forward to watching The View all this week!

They’ll be doing a segment on the new Pandora: The World of Avatar that is opening in May at DAK.

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Pandora: The World of Avatar.  Opens May 2017.

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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

***  

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Opens February 17, 2017!

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Beautiful!

From Walt Disney World Blog, 02/09/2017:

Today, we’re happy to announce one of the park’s newest nighttime experiences, “Rivers of Light,” will make its official debut on February 17, 2017.

Continuing the grand Disney tradition of innovative, after-dark entertainment, “Rivers of Light” combines live performance, floating set pieces, a soaring musical score, fountains and more in a celebration of animals and nature. The story magically unfolds on the broad natural stage of the Discovery River, conveying the uplifting spirit of an ancient and timeless lantern ceremony and filled with symbolism, storytelling and plenty of heart.

To make dining or FastPass+ reservations for this new show, visit: MyDisneyExperience.com or the My Disney Experience app.

***

Our blog from earlier this month:

Rivers of Light is finally making its debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

The dress rehearsals and technical work on the show have wrapped up and it’s looking good.

If you have been following the technical difficulties surrounding Rivers of Lights, you’ll remember it was first scheduled to open Earth Day 2016 (04/22/2016).  Caroline even made a special trip to WDW to watch the grand premiere…that never happened!

Instead, a barge sank in the lagoon and the entire show had to be reworked leading to a year-long delay!  More details below…

But, first, watch a Dress Rehearsal Preview:  Rivers of Light Preview

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The Tree of Life is used as the backdrop for the show.

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All the new nighttime attractions and entertainment happening at DAK this summer.

The show, originally slated to debut on April 22, 2016 – Earth Day – was indefinitely delayed due to problems with the automated show barges and floats, including one float that unfortunately sank during a rehearsal performance in April.

The show’s downtime and delay has also been used to rewrite large portions of the performance that Disney management deemed “too boring”. The show features animal-inspired floats and lanterns, special lighting and waterworks and fountains,  plus live performers and storytellers.

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The new huge Rivers of Light amphitheater with seating for 5,000 guests.

The amphitheater overlooking the park’s Discovery River, which seats over 5,000 guests, was completed in March 2016 and is open for guests to sit in and rest during the day.

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Elephants on one of the barges.

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Tigers too!

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These illuminated glass sculptures are HUGE, 10-12 feet!

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New RoL merch.  Very pretty!  The lotus flower is the ride’s symbol.

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Popcorn in a Lotus Flower container.

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We’re looking forward to seeing it after almost a year delay….finally!

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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

***

Disney World Refurbishment Schedule Fall 2016 – Spring 2017

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!

Note:  Last updated by Disney World on October 16, 2016

There’s nothing more frustrating than going all the way to Disney World for a long-planned vacation and finding out that your favorite ride or attraction is closed for refurbishment – or has permanently closed!

Disney tries to schedule most of the serious refurbishments for popular attractions during the slow, winter months. But, sometimes refurbishments and closures for repairs do get scheduled during the summer and fall months.octoberMagic Kingdom

  • Big Thunder Mountain closed 8/8/2016- 11/18/2016
  • Liberty Square Riverboat closed 1/3/2017- 1/12/2017
  • Magic Kingdom Railroad closed 1/9/2017- 2/16/2017
  • Hall of Presidents closed 1/17/2017- 6/29/2017
  • Stitch’s Great Escape is now a seasonal attraction 10/2/2016
  • Haunted Mansion closed 11/28/2016- 12/1/2016
  • Swiss Family Treehouse closed until 10/25/16
  • Splash Mountain closed 12/7/2016

Epcot

  • Infrastructure Work in park: 9/28/2016- 12/17/2016

     Permanently closed

  • Habit Heroes in Innoventions West closed 1/18/2016
  • Captain EO – closed 12/6/15
  • Off Kilter- final performance 9/27/2014
  • Mo’Rockin- final performance 9/27/2014
  • World Showcase Players- final performance 9/25/2014
  • Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps- final performance 9/27/2014
  • Maelstrom- closed 10/6/2014
  • The Spirit of Norway- closed 10/6/2014
  • Test the Limits Lab- closed permanently 1/6/2015
  • My Magic+ Service Center located inside Innoventions East is now closed. You can visit Guest Relations in Future World or any of the FastPass kiosks.
  • Sum of All Thrills and StormStruck have closed permanently 9/15/2016

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Look for the brand new Rivers of Light finally opening this month.

      Permanently closed attractions:

  • Wild by Design Tour- last tour was 9/26/2014. This was discontinued.
  • Tip Board permanently closed
  • Sunrise Safari Tour- last tour was 12/28/2014. This was discontinued.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Many attractions have permanently closed due to Star Ward Land and Toy Story Land construction which will continue into 2017.

  • Pizza Planet closed 1/11/2016- Late 2016
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster closed 10/27/16- 11/9/2016

     Permanently closed rides and attractions:

  • American Idol Experience closed. Last day was 8/30/2014.
  • Backlot Tour closed permanently 9/27/2014
  • American Film Institute Showcase at the end of the Backlot Tour closed permanently 8/17/2014.
  • Legend of Jack Sparrow closed
  • Phineas & Ferb Meet and Greet- closed permanently 1/5/2016
  • Lightning McQueen & Mater Meet and Greet- closed permanently 1/5/2016
  • Joffrey’s coffee kiosk closed 1/4/2016
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show closed permanently 04/03/16
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure closed permanently 04/03/16
  • Meet and Greet: Mike and Sulley at Street of America closed permanently 04/03/16
  • Prop Shop- closed permanently 04/03/16
  • Studio Catering Co. closed permanently 04/03/16
  • Watto’s Grotto closed permanently 04/03/16
  • High Octane Refreshments closed permanently 04/03/16
  • New York News closed permanently 04/03/16
  • Youse Guys Moychindise closed permanently 04/03/16

Water Parks:

  • Blizzard Beach – closed 10/16/2016- 12/24/2016
  • Typhoon Lagoon- closed 12/25/2016- 3/11/2017 Shark Reef has closed permanently

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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

The Wonderful Smells of Disney World

Welcome to Walt Disney World!

Welcome to sweet smelling Walt Disney World!

If you’re a cast member working at Disney World, or a frequent guest of the parks, you know what people mean when they talk about that “Disney smell”.

Orlando, Florida!

Welcome to Orlando, Florida!

It actually starts when you arrive at Orlando airport and walk outside for the first time.  Florida smells like Florida…it has a sweetly fragrant scent due to all the blooming flowers and trees.  Many returning tourists pause for a moment when they walk outside the terminal and just take a deep breath of sweet Florida air.  Ahhh, breathe it in…

Even more special, there is just something about the way the all the parks, attractions and Disney resorts smell…all so good! Long ago, Disney realized that if the parks smelled good and unique, you’d remember it long after your vacation was over. And, more importantly, you’ll remember how good you felt at the time.

Did you know that Disney World pumps irresistible scents onto its lobbies and streets to entice park goers? There are strategically placed devices called “smellitizers” dispersed throughout the resort and they emit pleasing scents throughout the day and night.

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Best Disney Smells!

Ask any cast member to name where a particular scent is associated with and we can all pass this test with flying colors!

1. The Smell of Burning Wood

Ahhh...the smell of Rome burning...

Hmmm…the smell of Rome burning…

That would be the smoky smell of burning embers from the Rome burning diorama while riding Spaceship Earth.  Just before that scene, as you’re loading onto the ride, you smell the smoldering ashes from cave-dwelling prehistoric man discovering fire.

2. The Smell of the Water Rides

pirates

Guests say that you could line up bottles of water with scents from the fog from Pirates of the Caribbean, the indoor water rides (It’s a Small World, Splash Mountain, the Three Caberos ride), and the Kali River Rapids, and they could correctly associate the water’s scent with the attraction.  And, they would be right.

3. The Smell of the Disney Resort Lobbies

The Grand Floridian

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

This is not a hard one at all.  In fact, the fragrances are so specific that you can actually buy candles online with the scent of each resort.  For example, the Polynesian Resort lobby smells vaguely “Hawaiian” with floral and wood notes.  The Yacht and Beach Club smells of “seashore”, but not in a bad way, more like a fresh salty sea breeze.

The Grand Floridian lobby smells of “rich money” to me, except when the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House is up in the lobby during the holidays.  Then, of course, it smells strongly of freshly-baked gingerbread.

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House.

When the Gingerbread House goes up at the GF in November, the whole Grand Atrium smells like gingerbread cookies!

4. The Smell of Caramel Popcorn Cooking at Karamell Kuche in Epcot Germany

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Making a fresh batch of warm caramel popcorn.

My ICP friend from Germany worked in this sweet shop making the caramel popcorn with Werther’s Original Caramels all day.  In fact, he was kind enough to share the secret recipe with me. (Of course, the recipe makes a huge batch!)

On one of my last days at the DCP program, I stopped in to say good-bye to him and him made a Magical Moment for me by bagging up a small bag of caramel popcorn that he had just finished making.  It was delicious!

Every time I smell the caramel on my Starbucks caramel latte, I always think of him and the sweet Karamell Kuche shop at Epcot.

5. The Spa Scent of Disney Resort Soaps and Toiletries

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Disney Resort toiletries smell wonderful!

If you’ve stayed at any of the properties onsite, you know this scent!  I call this smell “rich spa”.  It’s so wonderful a scent that guests often pause while washing their hands and just smell the fragrant bubbles.

6.  The Special Holiday Parade Scents

And love these guys too!

Dancing reindeer on Main Street USA with the delicious scent of baking sugar cookies filling the air during the holidays!

If you’ve ever had the chance to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in the fall, you know that the ‘Boo To You’ parade smells just like candy corn.

And, if you’ve been on Main Street USA during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party during the holidays, you’ve noticed the smell of sugar cookies baking and also the scent of peppermint candy canes is in the air!

7.  The Scent of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Sniff, sniff….Tarzan likes the smell of my sunscreen!

The number one smell that I associate with DAK is probably not the one you’re thinking of!  No, it’s not the smell of animals and animal manure!

After working at DAK through every season now, I would have to say that the smell I most associate with my workplace is: sunscreen!

Working at the front of DAK, it seems like every guest that gets off the trams coming in from the parking lots pauses and literally hoses down themselves and their children with sunscreen.  And, not just the lotion kind that comes in bottles.  Over the past few years, aerosol spray sunscreen has become very popular.  They spray clouds of it in the air like it’s free!

By 9am every day, the vaguely coconut smell of sunscreen fills the plaza in front of the entrance turnstiles.  It’s a smell I’ll always associate with DAK! 🙂

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Spending my day off back at the Animal Kingdom.  Yes, I’m wearing my SPF 50 sunscreen!

And, finally, a smell that is no more and that we miss a lot….

8. The Smell of Oranges on Soarin’

Flying high over the orange groves.

Flying high over the orange groves.  You could feel the wind in your face and smell the scent of oranges from the orange groves below.

While flying high above orange groves in Soarin’, you were surrounded by the smell of freshly squeezed oranges.  It was the scent we most identified with Disney World!  We miss it!

But, Soarin’ Around the World has all new scents that we’re sure we will come to love!
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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

***

Seeing DiVine at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Caroline saw DiVine every day while working at Discovery Island.

Hands down, one of the coolest characters at the Animal Kingdom is DiVine.

While Caroline was working at DAK, she would see her on most days, usually between 10am-2pm, on the pathway between Africa and Asia.

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So pretty!

She’s painted green, walks on stilts, and is wrapped in leaves, ivy, and grapes to camouflage herself into the rest of the park’s foliage.

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She’s almost 7 feet tall!

While working, DiVine would come walking by Discovery Island and everyone would just stop and stare.  She’s is on stilts so her height can vary between 7 feet to 16 feet depending on what she is doing with her hands and legs.

Divine

Seven feet tall!

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DiVine in motion, walking around DAK.

DiVine doesn’t make eye contact while she is hidden in the park’s foliage. In fact, she often keeps her eyes closed and the expression on her face looks much like she is enjoying pure nirvana (‘communing with nature’). Like all plants, she doesn’t ever speak, but she’s a great listener.   🙂

She also doesn’t sign autographs (take a look at her hands in the video below), but loves to pose for photos.

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So cool!  Moving from tree to tree.

Totally awesome video of DiVine in motion: DiVine at DAK    

DiVine is so beautiful!

DiVine is so beautiful!

Hands down, we think one of the coolest characters at the Animal Kingdom is DiVine!

She is hard to see when she's not moving and her eyes are closed!

She is hard to see when she’s not moving and her eyes are closed!

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

Caroline costume

Caroline working at DAK’s Discovery Island (merchandise).

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

***

DCP Housing Bus in Fiery Accident near Animal Kingdom

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Miracle that no one was killed!  6pm

05/14/2016:  Eleven people were hurt Saturday afternoon in a wrong-way, head-on collision near Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

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Both vehicles were totally destroyed in the fire.

Troopers say the driver of the SUV, identified as 36-year-old Megan Hester-Villalobos, of Groveland, was headed south in the northbound lanes of Sherbeth Road and hit the bus. A fire erupted, destroying both vehicles.

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Thick black smoke from accident could be seen for miles and from all the parks.

Video from an onlooker shows flames and thick smoke billowing from the crash site and the ensuing clamor as first responders raced toward the scene.

The driver, an adult male passenger and a child were inside the SUV and were all taken to a hospital.

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Luckily, no one was killed.  The speed limit on that road is 25 mph.

Eight of 16 people from the bus were also taken to a hospital.  All were Disney cast members on their way to work.

It’s not clear why the driver of the SUV was driving in the wrong direction, according to the FHP, but charges are pending.  [Reportedly, the family had been at the park all day and the driver fell asleep.]

WESH video: http://www.wesh.com/news/bus-crashes-into-car-catches-fire-near-animal-kingdom/39552036

Statement from Disney Cast Member Maggie Wallace:

“Okay, to clear any misunderstandings or confusion about the J bus accident, I have the story. It wasn’t the bus driver’s fault at all. I was in the accident and it was the scariest moment of my life (and I’m sure others). A woman came straight at us in our lane (I’m assuming she was texting and driving, but not sure) and I saw the head-on collision… That car was smashed like an accordion in the front and the windshield was smashed in as well – airbags out. Talk about “life flashing before your eyes” moment right there. Flames started in the engine of that car which caused the J bus to go up in flames as well. There were 15 of us on the CP bus and 8 were sent to the hospital. Majority of us were all thrown from our seats onto the floor and received either emotional scarring and/or physical injuries. The bus driver was amazing. Absolutely great, positive, calm, encouraging. He was then sent to the hospital after an hour or two once he could feel his injuries after the adrenaline stopped (along with others). Our bus went completely in flames and some of us lost everything we had with us on the bus – money, IDs, personal items, etc. The family that hit us were also sent to the hospital and they’re in more serious condition then us. Please keep everyone in your prayers, tonight.

Update 05/17/2016:  Driver To Be Charged in Crash

A woman who allegedly fell asleep at the wheel of a SUV could be facing charges after she crashed into a Disney shuttle bus on Sherberth Road, near Animal Kingdom, on Saturday.

Authorities believe Megan Hester-Villalobos, of Groveland, fell asleep at the wheel after spending the day at a Disney park.

The trooper who interviewed the boy was impressed with the child’s recollection of the crash, stating that he has a good memory, was articulate and very specific.

“As they got in the car, (the boy) stated that the father in the passenger seat fell asleep quite quickly and that he was sitting in back center position,” said Sgt. Kim Montes with the Florida Highway Patrol. “It appears that his mother fell asleep … (and) they drifted into the path of the bus (and) they collided.”

The collision resulted in both the SUV and the bus bursting into flames.

Troopers said eight passengers on the Disney shuttle bus suffered relatively minor injuries.

Hester-Villalobos and her husband suffered serious injuries. The 7-year-old boy was also injured but has been released from the hospital.

“It was a very severe crash. We are very lucky that bystanders helped the mother and father out of the car, because both vehicles caught on fire,” Montes said.

Troopers do not feel Hester-Villalobos was impaired, but said she is facing the charge of traveling on the wrong side of the road.

The FHP said nine crashes have happened in the past 1½ years in the area near where Saturday’s incident happened.

“The road is a very curvy road, and if you are not paying attention, it could (be) easy to get on the wrong side of the road or to get out of your lane,” Montes said.

Troopers plan to interview the boy’s mother to get her side of the story, but are giving her some time to recover from her injuries.

Hester-Villalobos has been ticketed at least five times in Lake County since 2009, court records show.

She was arrested in August on retail theft charges and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. A judge also ordered her drivers license be suspended six months and she pay more than $150 in restitution as punishment for the theft charge.

She’s also the daughter of Groveland’s former City Manager Ralph Hester. In 2009, she called her father complaining she’d been pulled over and ticketed after running a red light and driving 23 miles over the posted speed limit.

She and her father then accused the officer of targeting them because he’d tightened budgets in the aftermath of the economic downturn. Hester-Villalobos told her father the officer was rude and intimidating.

She fought the ticket and a judge dismissed it, court records show.  Ralph Hester died later that year.

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And, just last night, 2 DCP buses caught fire at Vista Way.  No one was injured.

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March 11, 2018: Two buses on fire last night!

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Totally destroyed!!!

***

During our program, buses caught fire too! DCP Bus on Fire!

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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

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

****