DCP Homecoming Weekend – DAK Party

The last big event that we planned to attend for Homecoming was the big party at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  It was originally set to be at Hollywood studios, just like the last year’s event.  But I was totally excited when they announced that it would be moved to DAK!  At first, they said the party started at 8:30, but you could get in at 7 to hang out.  Then, right before the weekend, they announced that you could get into at 3 so you could have time to enjoy the park! Really, so nice and thoughtful!

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We got there after dinner and had some time to walk around my two former homes at Strollers and Discovery Island.  I LOVED seeing the new charges with Discovery Island. Outfitters has been changed to open up a larger/wider store called Riverside Depot.  And they filled all the merchandise in Is,and mercantile with Outfitters.  I loved how they kept with the theming of the two stores.  And I love how the Depot is like a dark blue – my favorite color!  There is also a huge glass mural behind the register.  Very nice!  And I like how they changed the register setup to be more similar to the stores in Disneyland.

After taking some pictures of the Tree of Life, we met up with Ricky and headed to Africa!

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The park was still in the process of closing for the night and I got a kick out of seeing all the semi frustrated cast members who didn’t realize there was an event that rented out Africa for the night.  You could practically hear them say “why aren’t these people LEAVING?!?” Haha. (I could really relate, been there!)

The first part of the night would be a vip showing of Festival of the Lion King so we tried to stick around the entrance of that so we’d get a good spot.  Right before they allowed us to move in, our friend Kelsey found us again!

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Everyone started filtering in so we did too.  It was a total surprise when we looked around and realized we somehow were the very last people into the arena! So much for good seats!  We ended up getting a good spot, right in front of an alumni group from the 80s.  They kept chanting “retro” or “vintage” and were such a rowdy bunch, it was hilarious!

They had is wilderness guy as the emcee and he was pretty funny.  He told some dirty jokes which I was surprised about!

Right away he did the drawing for the prizes from the packet.  Elly and I worked all afternoon on it and so we were really nervous about if we’d get called!  I was really surprised at how many people got prizes.  I’d say at least 15 people were picked!  They all got water bottles a shad to go into the middle of the arena to accept them.  I was actually glad not to be picked! Haha

We did notice that most of the winners were from the older generation of the CP.  Marcie to,d me that here wasn’t anyone from the very first program in 1981 attending, but there was one person from the 1982 program.  He was the one to win the grand prize.

Next up was the drumming group that sometimes plays in Africa.  I’m always surprised how good they can dance.  Lot of hip shaking hahah

They played for a little bit then pulled audience members for a dance along.  It was pretty fun, but it would have been more fun to be a participant.

Just when I started getting worried that this was the extend of the event, they finally announced that the Festival of the Lion King was about to begin! Yay!

After the Festival of the Lion king, they announced that there were be tons of food, special character meet and greets of King Louie, Balo, and Rafiki.  We all agreed we were ok missing that since we see them all the time at Dak!

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There was also free henna tattoo artists and also a fortune teller.

We came out and immediately got in the food line.  The snacks were so good!  There were little corn dogs, cheeseburger flavored wraps, and WHOLE soft pretzels with melted cheese dip! Yum!!

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We got all the way through the line and saw the pretzels were out.  And we literally didn’t move until the brought more out. Haha the line was so long, but really, we were doing them a credit because the best part was missing!

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They must have had them cranking, because within a minute, they brought 50 more pretzels out.

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We sat down and ate our snacks.  So good!

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Then we took some Dak pack pictures in our new shirts!
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The dancing was getting pretty good, but Kelsey and I wanted to get a drink from the bar first.  I ordered a Dirty Shirley (yum!)

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We made our way to he dance floor and I took one sip of my drink.  The bartender had floated the alcohol instead of mixing it and the second it hit my throat, I knew there’d be issues.

I have super reactive airwaves and tend to choke on liquids all the time.  I have taken to warning new friends since its been happening so frequently.  I’ll slightly choke on something and then my throat will close so forcefully that I sit there, trying to cough and breath for like a minute or so as tears are streaming and I feel like I’m dying.

Well this happens right there, in the middle of ten Africa dance floor.  I start really choking.  And I still have a good mouthful of drink in my mouth.  And I’m trying to figure out, should I spit it back into my drink, should I spit it out onto the ground?  I was in the midd,e of the floor and my bright hair draws some attention and I was feeling so embarrassed.

I’m trying to cough and swallow without opening my mouth and all I’m doing in a circular motion of accidental swallowing, choking more, coughing more.

Ok, this went on for longer than a minute.  Keys,eye was getting nervous, Elly was getting nervous, I thought I was dying.  Oh my god.

Finally, Elly kind of screamed “Caroline!” Which distracted me enough to just force all the liquid down my super tight throat (still going the wrong way down) and then I had to go to the bathroom to hack a lung for a good 10 minutes.  My face was all red from not breathing and also embarrassment and my makeup was ruined from all the forced tears from coughing so hard.

Ugh literally can’t take me anywhere.

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I came back to the dance floor, trying to be casual again.  My friends were still embarrassed to be seen with me.  But they were able to do a giant selfie with everyone!  So we strategically placed ourself near the stage so we could be in the front haha
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Ok, this is such a cool photo!  But let me tell you how sweaty everyone was standing for for 5 minutes, so close to everyone. Haha

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We danced, we eat some Rice Krispies we found and Lesley hooked us up again by finding a guy handing out the cool buttons!

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We did a lap and it was so funny – we found this long line in the back of Africa and we were like “oh cool, what’s here?!’ So we just got in line.  We finally asked what people were waiting for, and everyone screams “the exit!!” Hahah the longest line here was to leave!

By then, Kelsey and Ricky had to leave.  Good thing, because it started pouring and the DJ had to go away and all the characters had to go in.

They opened up Tusker House which I was thankful so we didn’t get drenched.  Plus I’ve never been inside there, so it was fun to explore!

We sat down and met some really nice girls who I’ve been Facebook friends with but never met.  So nice!

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And then we were totally surprised when the characters came inside!  So instead of waiting in a giant line, we just met them right away!

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Once it stopped raining,around 11:30 we were ready to leave.  We headed back to Rafiki’s train and saw they were separating people in several lines.  Contemporary, Coronado, and Main Entrance.  Instead of allowing us to just walking through to the front, we had to go backstage, on a Transstar to bring us to the front.  They separated us into groups of 50 and we had to wait for half an hour for the bus to go.  We were standing, and it was so packed!  All I could think was how this looked exactly like the Transstar bus whenever Dak was open late.

It took forever!  We had to go all the way around backstage, past DaK Lodge, then down the road until we could do a uturn and head all the way back through the main entrance and around all the Dak parking. Ugh!

The girl next to us got really sick and was pressing her face against the window and standing between some strangers legs.  She must have been really desperate because you know how gross those windows are!

We had to cross two parking lots to get to our car and then we were finally on our way home!  Elly and I agreed this was the worst part of the weekend.  It took us more than an hour and a half just to leave/get out of the park!

But, this whole day as been amazing!  I can’t believe how perfectly everything worked out and how great the whole weekend has been!

We didn’t go to bed until after 1:30 in the morning.  Hopefully we are sleeping in tomorrow!

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DCP Homecoming Weekend – Saturday Meet & Greet

Saturday was a super busy today!  Elly and I both paid for the special meet and greet Saturday morning at Epcot.  Because I was with Elly, we had to choose the later  time slot lol

Our time slot was 10am-11am.  I wanted to get there a little earlier because we had our park tickets in will call and I was worried they might close off the lines early.

Of course, that didn’t go as planned!  We got home so late the night before, plus with the 2 hour time difference, it was slow moving the next day. Mi am a morning person so I had no problem getting up early. My after showering and getting Elly up, I walked over to the Old Key West quick service to get some kids’ egg breakfast plate.

Still, we didn’t get out until after 9:30. Min was really stressing out about it because I was going to be pissed if we showed up too late and missed the event!

As I waited for the bus, I checked the Alumni Facebook group and immediately saw Marcie’s post about there being issues with the event and how she was going to refund the $10 fee for it!

I was SO worried because it sounded like the whole event had been canceled!

And then when I saw which characters were there, I was REALLY stressing!

But Elly and I agreed to just show up and hope for the best.

We got to Epcot, picked up our park tickets, and then tried to figure out where the Odyssey was. Lol

Of course, we didn’t bother to stop to ask any cast members – no way they’d give us correct directions! Haha. But it turns out we knew the building, if not the name.  It’s the giant empty building next to Test Track and Mexico.  We love going there because the bathrooms are always clean and empty!

When we got there, we didn’t have our Alumni Event lanyard and weren’t wearing our bands to indicate that we paid for this event.  Luckily we brought all the wrist bands and quickly showed the lady.

She informed us that there were two character lines – Jack, Sally, and Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas and also Dug, Russel, and Carl from Up! Yes!!!

Elly and I got to meet Mr. Fredrickson when we extended our program in 2014.  I was totally surprised when I got home and saw on Facebook, that I literally met them on the same day, just two years later!  So cool!

We walked into the room and it looked pretty crowded. We immediately located and warmed the free food. Entire buffet tables filled with Mickey rice crispy treats and then all the ice creams : Mickey premium bars, Mickey ice cream bars, the fruit bars.  Yay!  And there were really nice party drink containers filled with yummy juice, iced tea, and water.

Right away, I ran into my friend Steven.  We actually did our program together at Dak, I was at Discovery Island and he was at Strollers.  We never met or ran into each other, but we had a lot of mutual friends since a lot of Strollers people were deployed to the Island.  Once I got accepted for the Summer Alumni program in Strollers, I friended him to ask him tons of questions about Strollers!  He was always so nice so I was glad we ran into each other to finally meet in person.

As I was perusing the food, I heard my name and saw my Strollers friend Kelsey in line for the Up characters!  Elly and I got in line with her and started catching up.

Apparently there was a huge snafu with the Homecoming Transportation.  As in it never showed up for the 9am people. Who still hadn’t arrived by the time we got there after 10am.  No only that, but the food had run out and people were really pissed out it.  A lot of people posted in the group that they had gotten through the line for the NBC characters and then tried to get in line for the other set, and the event staff kicked them out of the event!  I guess I can understand the thinking behind it because there were still people coming home hadn’t met any characters and the characters were only there for two hours.

As we were waiting in line, a couple really nice girls in front of us and behind us recognized us and talked to us about how much they like and appreciate our blog!  It always surprises me and makes me feel so great when people are so nice!  We talked with them the entire way through the line and even became friends on Instagram!

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We finally got to the front of the Up line and I was so impressed with the setting!  It was framed with giant multicolored balloons and it even had Kevin, peeking out from behind some trees.

I hugged Dug and Russel and shook Mr. fredrickson’s hand.  So funny.

After we got out of that line, I got up some courage to talk to Marcie!  I saw her a bunch yesterday, but I didn’t realize it was THE Marcie running the Alumni Facebook group!

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I went up to say hello and to tell her how much I appreciated everything she’s done for the Alumni and how great the event has been!

In the middle of talking to her, I hear my name screamed really loud!  I look around and saw my friend Kelsey had gotten into the NBC line!  I figured, it was so late, the lines were closed.  But the attendants totally let us go!  There were like two people in front of us so we met them really fast!

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Jack was so great, he said my ears were so sparkly, they should put me on top of a Christmas tree!  He also appreciated my orange wristband because it looked like a jack o lantern!

I also hugged Oogie and it was so fun.

I never saw NBC before.  I have been to several Halloween parties and my favorite part of Hallowishes is when Oogie is talking.  It gives me chills!  So it was pretty cool meeting them!

I couldn’t believe how perfect the event was!  From our point of view, there were no issues!  Despite my griping to Elly, it was actually really great that we were so late.  The event was secretly extended to accommodate the later arrivals, but I think a lot of people just didn’t show up when they read the posts on Facebook.  We left at around 10:45.

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If you didn’t have a park ticket, you were escorted out of the park by event staff.  But we were free to explore!  The first thing we did was go to the former Captain EO venue to watch the Shorts.  It shows 3 shorts in 3D and it was really cool!  We didn’t realize that the entire seating area moves too.  So like when something heavy falls in the screen, we all thumped too.  It was so hard to tell which short was our favorite – they were all amazing!

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We didn’t even have time for the World Showcase, and before we knew it, it was the afternoon!  We had planned to go home to change before the big event at DAK.  So we split off from Ricky and Kelsey and promised to meet up later that night.

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Disney DCP Alumni Homecoming Weekend 2016

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Continuing the Magic…

Because Elly and I both have full time jobs now, we decided to leave early Friday morning to get to the party and not miss too much work.  Unfortunately that meant getting up at 4:30!! Elly announced “well, I’m not showering!” When we woke up. Lol

We decided to take 2 suitcases each since we were flying on southwest and bags fly free.  I’d prefer only one each, but we knew we might be buying some good merchandise, plus I had to bring dress clothes for the big party at the contemporary.

Elly bought me a super sparkly dress for dress and I actually bought her dress for Christmas too! Totally unplanned.  I also bought a nice purple dress on Black Friday sales.  I probably tried on both outfits 20+ times before to weekend to see which one I should wear.  I loved the sparkly one, but I was t sure if it was too sexy and tight – or if I could pull it off.  I loved the purple one, but I wasn’t sure it’d photograph well.  So, I brought both. Plus a whole other outfit in case. Haha

The flight was pretty good.  It’s always turbulent between Denver and Orlando, but I guess I’m getting used to it because I barely noticed.

I knew one of my best Disney friends, Ricky was also flying in, but I knew he would get in like 3 hours before us.

I was totally surprised when we landed and I saw on Facebook that his flight had been delayed and he just landed too!  I quickly texted him ” hey, meet me at the Disney store!”  I laughed SO hard when he responded “Already there!”

We met up, hugged, pin traded at the Earport, and had lunch at the really nice food court in the airport.

It was so funny because Elly and I purposefully wore our grey Alumni shirts and people kept stopping to say hi and talk about how excited we all were about going to this Homecoming!

Ricky was riding in on Mears and For the first time, we did Magical express to get to our resort!  Unfortunately, we were on the completely wrong side of the Airport, so we had to drag our 4 suitcases all the way back to the 3rd level, across the whole terminal, back down to ground level, then all the way to the end of the terminal again.

There were several queues open to check in.  Elly couldn’t figure out how to pre check in, so we just walked with our resort info and hoped for the best!

It was pretty easy, he was able to pull up our info and because we were on the reservation, we just got some papers and were on our way.  We got in another queue for all the buses lined up outside and were immediately put on the Old Key West/Disney Springs one.  We were totally surprised when we got on that the bus was all the way full!  We got all the way to the back of the bus, and there were two people sitting next to empty seats.  They saw we were together and were super kind enough to move so we could sit together!

We loved he little videos that play during the drive to the hotel. Just more advertisements for Disney. Lol

When we got to Old Key West, our family friends Dan and Pam was so kind and actually met us at the bus stop!  We got our magic bands and headed over to the room.

Wow! The room was beautiful!  Luckily it was close to the bus stop so it wasn’t too bad managing our suitcases.

Because Old Key West is DVC, all the rooms are like suites.  There’s the main bedroom with connecting spa tub, shower and bathroom. Then there is a HUGE living room, kitchen, and eating area.  We were going to stay on the pullout couch.

It was  so funny because we immediately dumped out all our crap from our suitcases, trying to find anything and you could just see their faces at the mess…I immediately was like “Don’t worry, this’ll all be gone when you get back!”  Our friends left to let us get ready for the party!

We showered and got all ready, all the while texting Ricky to see what he was up to and when to meet.

Poor Ricky – not only was his flight super delayed, when he got to the hotel, he realized that there had been a water leak and all the guests had to be put up in a different hotel.  So they paid for his taxi to the new place.  But when he got dropped off, he was at the wrong hotel!  So then he had to walk a couple blocks over with two suitcases to the real hotel!  And instead of being super close (near the Outlets), he was moved over 30 minutes away near the Orlando Eye!

We were invited to attend this special DCP networking event before the real party, but I knew we wouldn’t be able to make that.  Our friends were so kind, they left the car keys for us, so we went and picked up Ricky so he wouldn’t have to pay for a crazy expensive uber.
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We got to the Contemporary around 6pm, a little over an hour late.  Luckily we were able to find a good parking spot even though it was super crowded.

We walked in to the event and immediately checked in.  We got our magic bands, shirts, backpacks, and wrist bands stating which events we paid for.

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Then we saw this huge red carpet to enter! So cool!

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But before we went in, we got stopped by two CMs with video cameras.  They filmed us answering a couple questions like what we got our of these networking events and what we thought of the weekend so far.  Pretty fun!
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When we walked into the party, we immediately found another one of my Strollers friends and grabbed a table.  Elly and I were starving so we went to the big buffet set up at either end of the room.

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The food was great!  Nice salads, giant stuffed pasta shells, and full chicken breasts. I felt a little awkward because the buffet was set up right in front of the character line and it felt like we were being stared at because we were the first to get food haha

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The characters!

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We were super surprised to see Mickey and Minnie in super fancy Gatsby like costumes.  Donald and daisy were there and then also goofy and Plato.  We ate and caught up with my friends.  After eating, we decided to hold off on dancing to see Mickey and Minnie. I didn’t want to miss it in case they cut the line early.

We walked over and there was 5 rows of people waiting!  But we got in line anyway.  In total, we waited a full hour to meet them!  But it was so worth it!

Next, we took pictures with Walt, then signed our names and locations/year on this giant poster.

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Then we saw this giant replica of the Sorcerer Hat.  It’s gone now from DHS.
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Finally, the DJ started playing the Wobble!  And you KNOW I can’t miss that! (Or Cupids Shuffle!) So we joined literally everyone and participated in a massive dance!

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By 9pm, they told everyone to head outside for a dessert party!

Out on the front of the building, they set up long tables filled with all these tiny desserts!  There were little meringues (I thought they were s’mores, boo), fruit custard shooters, dark chocolate domes, pineapple upside down cake, and a gluten free cookie option. I really don’t like lemon things, so I wasn’t a fan of the first two.  I REALLY liked the chocolate except as I was eating, I realized my mouth was on fire!  I think they put cayenne pepper in it!

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There was also really good juice called “blast from the past” punch!

Both my DAK friends left before fireworks to head to Magic Kingdom.  Elly and I stayed though because our shoes couldn’t handle any amount to park time! Lol

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Once our friends left, Elly and I were just talking to ourselves and we were totally surprised when people started coming up to talk to us about our book and blog! A couple guys wanted selfies with us – which I totally loved!

The nice things people say about Two Girls and A Mouse Tale book & blog really means so much to me!  I really take it to heart when people say we were helpful!

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After around 25 minutes, Elly and I left to get home. It was after midnight and we were exhausted since we were up so early!

We headed back to our resort to turn in for the night.  Busy weekend ahead of us!

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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 Chocolate Lover’s Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream!!!

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Beaches and Cream soda fountain at the Yacht Club.

After renting our Surrey Bike and pedaling around the Boardwalk for an hour, we headed over to our reservation at Beaches and Cream.

I was so excited – none of my CP friends have tried the Kitchen Sink, so we were doing it on our last week of the program.

I tried the Kitchen Sink during my last program with Elly…and it was super gross.  😦

I do not like coffee ice cream + pineapple topping, which was what I got with every bite last time!! Yuck!!

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Trying the Kitchen Sink with my ICP friends that work strollers at DAK with me: Eve, Julia, and Jane!

This time around, I begged my friends to try something different than the $50 Original Kitchen Sink.

I heard that there were actually different types of Kitchen Sinks, so I convinced my friends to try the chocolate one with me.

There are actually 3 types of Kitchen Sinks at Beaches and Cream: the B&C Original, the Chocolate Lovers, and the Neapolitan.

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Chocolate Lovers Kitchen Sink: 3 scoops chocolate ice cream, 3 scoops cookies and cream, 2 scoops vanilla, 4 brownies, 4 oreos, 2 milky ways, caramel syrup, chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, white and dark chocolate shavings, and a WHOLE CAN OF WHIP CREAM!!!!!  Yes, please!

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OMG!!!

Luckily, all my girlfriends love chocolate as much as I do and we were all set to order the Chocolate Lovers Kitchen Sink.

Here's a funny shot, trying to get all of us in the photo! Our waitress was so nice!

Here’s a funny shot, trying to get all of us in the photo! Our waitress was so nice!

So good!!

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Excited to dig in with my ICP friend, Jane!

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All gone! So good!!

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that we finished the entire thing! Yum!!!!

Here’s a list of what’s included in the Chocolate Lover’s Kitchen Sink (5,000+ calories!!):

  • ½ cup fudge topping, warmed
  • ½ cup caramel topping, warmed
  • 2 4-oz. scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 3 4-oz. scoops chocolate ice cream
  • 3 4-oz. scoops cookies and cream ice cream
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 2 brownies (6-inch x 6-inch), cut in half
  • 2 regular-sized Milky Way  candy bars, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate shavings
  • 1 tablespoon white chocolate shavings
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate cookies with cream filling (Oreos), crushed
  • 1 tablespoon milk chocolate chip morsels
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sprinkles
  • 1 ENTIRE 14-oz CAN OF WHIPPED CREAM!
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Yum!

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DAK pin trading (2)

Working the pin board at DAK.

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

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

Adventure Book Cover

Adventures in the Animal Kingdom

book Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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

Have a magical day!

Two Disney Sisters

two-disney-sisters

Two Disney Sisters

*****    

Renting a Surrey Bike on the Boardwalk

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The Boardwalk Surrey Bikes.

I have been trying to convince my CP friends to rent one of those surrey bikes at the Boardwalk. It looks like SO much fun!

Since it was our last week of our summer College Program, I planned an epic night of bike riding followed by dessert at Beaches and Cream over at the Yacht Club!

We all got off work by 6pm and met up at the Boardwalk.

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If only the Boardwalk had been this empty when we were biking around!!  It was filled with summer crowds on the night we were there.

The surrey bike rental is right in front of the Boardwalk.  They were actually setting up for a movie on the lawn while we were “gearing” up for this!  (Get it? GEARING!??)
100_7432They make you fill out a contract before you ride.  We were laughing because the rule is before 8pm, anyone over 18 can be the driver.  After 8pm, you have to be 21 and older.

We were super confused because you know that you can get alcohol at the Boardwalk, you’d think you’d want a more competent DD than just someone over 21 driving. 😉

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Here is the contract, which I had to fill out as the Driver and then everyone else in the party also had to sign it.

It was just $22 to rent the bike.  We had him split the bill 5 ways to make it easy for all of us to pay since none of us carry cash.  At less than $5 per person, it was cheaper than a movie ticket!

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Ready to roll.

After some group photos, we were off!!

I LITERALLY have NEVER laughed so hard in my life!!!!!

It kind of looks easy, watching other families go around the lake loop.  You start at the boardwalk, normally heading towards Epcot, cross over the International Gateway bridge, past the Yacht and Beach club, and then make a complete circle back at the Boardwalk.

I was the driver and my ICP friend, Eve, (from Thailand) was in charge of the bell. Well, guests gave no bothers at all about a giant mult-person bike hurdling towards them! haha  I kept telling my friends, “Don’t worry, my hand is ON the brake!” as we are literally going on two wheels around the corners.  I didn’t mean I was using the brake, but my hand was on it!

We were coming up to the “hill” right before the Friendship bridgeway and I was trying to get everyone to kick it up a notch because I knew it would be harder than it looks. Instead, we literally came to a complete stop on this hill!!!  (There’s a reason they call it “Heartbreak Hill”!)

We were laughing so hard as all the pedestrians strolled past us!

We made it almost all the way around and didn’t realize that there was a second hill on the other side of the Boardwalk!  We couldn’t make it up it and came to a complete stop, all of us just dying with laughter!  Luckily, a cast member was walking in the opposite direction and stopped to give us a boost up the hill.

The complete loop is only supposed to take less than 30 minutes….it took us over an hour!  When we got back to the rental place, I hopped off and asked the CM if we could go around again.

The guy working there was very nice and said it was OK!  He made it a Magical Moment for us!  So off we went!  We pedaled about one shop down the Boardwalk and realized…we didn’t want to conquer those hills again.  It was my bright idea to just do a U-turn and head back to the rental place.

Except, we had stopped our surrey between a shop and a street performer!  We got completely stuck at a dead stop length-wise on the Boardwalk!  We were all laughing so hard!  We tried to simultaneously pedal backwards and that did nothing!

Luckily, a random guest saw how much we were struggling (the surrey’s are very heavy) and grabbed onto the front of the bike and, as I steered, he backed us up enough so that we could turn completely around.  Too funny!

By the time we completed our outing, I was completely soaked in sweat from all the pedaling, from the Florida humidity, and from the embarrassment!

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Ready to conquer some hills!

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The Boardwalk at night. So pretty with the lights reflecting off the lake.  The Frozen fireworks at DHS were just starting.

It was literally the best night of my DCP program! ❤

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Dock sign says: “Wishing You a Magical Day”.


We decided to walk to Beaches and Cream to cool down and were so happy to catch the 9pm Frozen fireworks going off at Hollywood Studios, perfectly framed over the Boardwalk!
***************************************
 Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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

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

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Mouse-Tale-Elly-Collins/dp/1941500110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430687055&sr=1-1&keywords=two+girls+and+a+mouse+tale

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

***

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Kilimanjaro Safari Ride Photos

Welcome to my park!

Welcome to my park!

I have been SO lucky seeing so many animals upclose every time I ride the Safari that I thought I’d share some great photos I took of the DAK animals…

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Hippo area

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Resting from the heat of the day.

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Swimming hippos

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Bird riding on hippo’s back!

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Crocs!

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Love this tree!

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Giraffes

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Giraffes

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Baby elephant

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My favorite DAK photo!

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Rhino in the road. Had to stop.

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Lion Pride Rock

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There’s a hidden AC vent at Lion Pride Rock to keep them cool.

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Baby rhino

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Mom and baby

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Ostrich

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I love this photo!

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Riding on the safari expedition.

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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.

***

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

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One of my Bucket List items was to stay at a new Moderate resort during my Summer Alumni Program!  I’ve stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort before, and loved it so I was looking for something similar! Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 12.39.25 PM

The Coronado Springs Resort is BEAUTIFUL!  It is a huge resort, centered around a giant lake!

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Just like the Caribbean, there are different clusters of rooms.  We requested the Cabanas.  It is right next to the main area (including the food court!) and it has its own bust stop.

The rooms were really nice.  I think they’ve been newly renovated.

100_6911The main reason I wanted to stay at the Coronado was for the pool!  And it did not disappoint!
Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 12.42.49 PMIf you’d like to read more about my adventures visiting the pool (and the pool bar!), click here.
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My favorite part of the resort were all the hammocks located around the lake.  As you’re walking along, you can lay down and relax!100_6943 100_6944

I loved the Coronado!  I still think I liked the Caribbean Beach Resort a little bit better, just because I liked the color palette of the buildings and it felt more beachy, but this was a perfect mini vacation!Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 12.39.15 PM

Roasting Marshmallows at the Wilderness Lodge

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Silver Creek flowing along at the Wilderness Lodge in the evening.

One of my Disney Bucket List items was to go and roast marshmallows at the Wilderness Lodge this summer.

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Marshmallow #1

Every night at sundown, the resort offers marshmallows to guests to roast.

This is a great, family-friendly event.  They provide the marshmallows and the sticks at no cost.

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Roasting our marshmallows

When you’re done using your stick, the CM breaks it up, and tosses it into the fire pit as more firewood!

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Marshmallow #2

Not gonna lie, I ate three marshmallows.  They were SO good!!!  Toasted just perfectly!

We sat around the fire pit watching the stars come out one by one.

Of course, we made a wish on the very first evening star we saw as every Disney fan knows: When you wish upon a star…your dreams come true!  🙂

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Make a wish….

I want to go with my DCP summer roommates next time.  It would be such a great bonding experience to roast marshmallows together and then watch the Wishes fireworks over the Castle! 🙂

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

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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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 middle school Social Studies teacher in Colorado.

Daily blog link:  https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/

DAK-Entrance

Welcome to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

*******   

Two Disney Sisters

Two Disney Sisters

 

 

Breakfast at Be Our Guest

As soon as I heard Be Our Guest was open for breakfast, I KNEW I wanted to go!  I was so excited when my CP friend Ricky surprised me on my very last day with reservations!

Here is what it looked like at Rope Drop, with everyone funneling in!
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Even though we were on a mission, we had to stop and admire Cinderella’s castle!  It was so beautiful!

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Heading to breakfast at Be Our Guest with Ricky!

If you’re visiting Magic Kingdom for the first time, don’t forget to stop and say hello the the mouse and the man that started it all!  It’s located directly in front of the castle.

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We headed to New Fantasyland and checked into our reservation.
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Sitting in the Master’s chair, waiting to order our food

All adult meals cost $19.99 and all kids meals cost $11.99.
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We were very excited to learn that drinks were unlimited!  We got one of everything! 100_7659 100_7660

Because breakfast and lunch is quick service, you can seat yourself!  We chose to sit in the main ball room – it’s so beautiful!100_7664

They were SO fast at bringing our food out!  We didn’t even have our drinks yet!

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Ricky and I decided everything looked amazing!  So I ordered the Croissant Doughnut and he got the Open Faced Bacon and Egg sandwich and we split them!

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Croissant Doughnut: fried doughnut topped banana caramel sauce, pastry creme, and chocolate ganache. YUM!

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Open-Faced Bacon and Egg Sandwich: poached eggs, applewood-smoked bacon, and brie cheese on a toasted baguette served with fresh fruit. YUM!

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What an amazing way to begin our day at Magic Kingdom!!! I think that the breakfast was SO good!  It definitely is a little pricy, but the food was so fancy and delicious.  Yum!!

Magic Kingdom Park Opening Show – Good Morning!

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Me and Ricky at the Magic Kingdom, bright and early!

One of my Disney Bucket List items was to finally see the special character show that Magic Kingdom holds every day at Park Open.  Of course, I’ve never gone with Elly, or my family, because they’re really hard to motivate in the early morning! haha!

A few days before the end of my program in August, I was going Disney Crazy trying to get everything done that I wanted to do during the short, 10-week DCP summer program.

I was on break at work with my CP friend, Ricky, and he totally surprised me with a 9am breakfast reservation this next day at Be Our Guest right after park open at Magic!  It was perfect!

We were out late with our DAK coworkers the night before and we only got about 5 hours of sleep before the big day.  I literally had to run for the bus to catch it on time, and I was pretty shocked to see Ricky had made it too. (He also had to run to catch it at his apartment!  We both cut it pretty close.)

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We’re here!      8:27am, the sun is shining and it’s already 80 degrees.

We made it to the Contemporary Resort at 8am and walked over to Magic Kingdom.  It’s less than a ten minute walk from the cast member bus drop-off point at the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom entrance.

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I literally have never been to MK so early!  I was surprised to see that there weren’t that many people there waiting to get in.  The expected crowd forecast was for 25,000 guests that day.

You go past security and bag check, scan in your ticket, and then they hold all the guests right by the Mickey flower face in front of the Main Street train station.

The show starts about 15 minutes before park open.  So, today the park opens at 9am and therefore the show would be at 8:45am.  We got there by 8:30am and got a great viewing spot for it!

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8:30am

There was a Photopass CM set up in front of the Mickey face and Ricky and I got a photo together.  Don’t we look ready for a full day of magic and adventure?! Ricky has been so much fun to hang out with this summer!

It was SUCH a beautiful day!

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Not a cloud in the sky this morning.

I had no idea what to expect of the Opening Show, so we just stood right in the front with our cameras ready!

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My MagicBand.

I, of course, was decked down in my Disney gear! 🙂

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Mayor Lever arriving at 8:44am to start the show.

At the start of the show, the mayor (Mayor Lever, as in “Pull the lever and vote for me!”) comes out and starts talking, getting the very sleepy and somewhat subdued crowd warmed up and excited for the day

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Good morning! Good morning to you…..

Then, all these adorably dressed dancers come out and they dance to a song called “Good Morning!”

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The train’s cars are filled with waving and singing Disney characters!

Next, the Magic Kingdom train starts to pull into the Main Street station more….

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Hello!

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All the characters getting off the train.

And it’s filled with Disney characters!  Including my boss, Mickey Mouse!100_7616

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Hi Mickey!!

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All the princesses are there…and a few non-princesses like Cinderella’s mean stepsisters and stepmother.

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Alice, White Rabbit, Snow White, and Pluto waving good morning.

Everyone disembarks from the train all at once and they all are waving at us!  It was so great!

And then, they brought out the “Family of the Day”!

Earlier, a random family got picked out of the audience to be a part of the show and personally meet Mickey Mouse!

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Magic Kingdom’s Family of the Day waving.

Not gonna lie – I teared up, it was so sweet!

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They all had streamers like you see when a cruise ship departs port.

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Goodbye!

The finale was a great song about Pixie Dust, and then somehow all the characters had streamers and were throwing them down to the crowd!!??

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Minnie waving goodbye.

It was so much fun!

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See ya real soon, Mickey!!

Mickey Mouse giving one last wave to everyone before they enter the park to play!

WOW!  I am so glad I finally got to see the Park Open show!  It was amazing!

It really is a fun way to start off a great day at the park.

If you’re an early riser or are highly motivated, I recommend trying to see this show at least once during your stay at Walt Disney World!  It only lasts for 10 minutes, so don’t be late!

🙂

***************************************
 Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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

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

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Mouse-Tale-Elly-Collins/dp/1941500110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430687055&sr=1-1&keywords=two+girls+and+a+mouse+tale

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

***