Celebrating Earth Day 2017 with ‘Party for the Planet’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Party for the Planet #DisneyAnimals

Guests can honor Earth Day 2017 by participating in ‘Party for the Planet’ activities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on April 21-23, 2017. [Earth Day is April 22, 2017.]

Party for the Planet is “a fun and festive way to connect with nature and be inspired to protect our planet” through a variety of special offerings at Animal Kingdom, including opportunities to explore the nature and wildlife of the park.

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Special sweet treats will be available.

Guests visiting over the weekend of April 21-23 can pick up a Party for the Planet Times Guide when entering the park to help plan your the day. While at the Oasis, guests can also select one of 10 different animal cut-outs and they are encouraged to take photos for sharing on social media using the hashtag #DisneyAnimals.

Guests can also shop for special merchandise inspired by nature and wildlife including Boiled Books (featuring embossed artwork and stationery created with pressed natural elements, like leaves, flowers and seeds), Petal Pushers (a purveyor of giftable plants), and Jortra (selling handmade jewelry made from coffee beans, orange peels and cantaloupe seeds). These special vendors can be found outside Island Merchantile on Discovery Island and at Mombasa Marketplace in Africa.

And, there will be special characters at the meet and greet:

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Jiminy Cricket only comes out on Earth Day weekend!

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At the Tree of Life

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Tree of Life Cupcake, $5.19. Well worth it!

Jiminy Cricket at DAK

Jiminy Cricket at DAK last year.  He was out at Planet Rafiki all weekend this year.

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On Saturday’s safari.

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My new Earth Day earrings!

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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

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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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The Scent of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I love this photo of the elephants playing that I took during a safari ride.

I love this photo of the elephants playing that I took during a safari ride. ❤

The number one scent that I associate with DAK is probably not the one you’re thinking of!

Nope, it’s not the smell of wild animals or animal manure!

After working at DAK through every season now, I would have to say that the scent that I most associate with my workplace is sunscreen lotion.

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Yeah, slather that sunscreen on!

Working at the front of DAK, it seems like everyone 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, sunscreen aerosol spray has become very, very popular.

9am:  Working Main Entrance Strollers

9am: Working Main Entrance Strollers

At 9am, white misty clouds of sunscreen with a vaguely coconuty smell fill the plaza in front of the entrance turnstiles where I work.

It’s a tropical scent that I’ll always associate with DAK!

Other scents of WDW: The Wonderful Scents of Disney World

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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.

***

Update on Pandora – The World of AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Pandora – The World of AVATAR

Pandora – The World of AVATAR

Pandora – The World of AVATAR

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

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Construction view from DAK entrance.

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One of the Floating Mountains of Pandora under construction

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Pandora from the entrance in Africa.

The Floating Mountains of Pandora.

The Floating Mountains of Pandora.

Disney announced last month that the new land will be called ‘Pandora – The World of AVATAR.’  [I prefer Avatarland.]

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

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

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

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

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

Soarin on a banshee.

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

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

Pandora boat ride

Pandora boat ride

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

Pandora during the day.

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

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

Pandora at night.

Pandora glowing at night.

Read our update on Rivers of Light:  New Rivers of Light Coming in 2016

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January 10, 2014: Groundbreaking ceremony

January 10, 2014: Groundbreaking ceremony for Avatarland.

Video of the groundbreaking ceremony on Jan 10, 2014: Breaking Ground on Avatarland

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Adventure Mickey was there too, which is good since he lost his meet & greet area!

Adventure Mickey was there too, which is good since he lost his meet & greet area!  😉

Preview of Avatarland: Highlights of Coming Attraction

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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.

***

Backstage Tour of The Living Seas at Epcot

The Living Seas at Epcot, one of my favorite pavilions!

The Living Seas at Epcot, one of my favorite pavilions!

One of my best friends from my last program was my Discovery Island coworker, Amy Jo.  She was doing the Fall Advantage program while I was doing the Fall program, so our programs overlapped during the fall.  She extended with a Professional Internship at Epcot and eventually was hired full time after finishing her degree in marine science.

Me and my friend, Amy Jo.

Me and my friend, Amy Jo.

She works with the sea creatures at The Living Seas in Epcot.  She is such a good friend!  After I left Disney last year, she would go and buy me special limited edition pins that I needed for my pin board. We keep in touch and I was so excited to see her again during my summer alumni program.

Besides our frequent s’mores drinks at Starbucks and Publix grocery runs this summer, we talked a lot about her giving me a private backstage tour of the Living Seas so I could see what she does for a living.

During my last week at Disney, we were finally able to make it happen.  Unfortunately, on the morning of the tour, my body decided it was time to be super sick with a head cold.  (Summer colds are the worst!) I didn’t have any medicine for coughing or colds, but she was kind enough to let me borrow some of her Dayquil medicine.  She had lost the tiny measuring cap that comes with the bottle, so we couldn’t figure out what the correct liquid dosage. I took about two large swigs of it and we were off.

I’ve never been backstage at Epcot before so I was interested in seeing what it looked like.  (I am hoping to pick up one shift at Mouse Gears before I leave!)  We drove around the World Showcase and I couldn’t believe how uninteresting everything was!   You look at the front of the countries – like Germany for example –and it has beautiful theming, and is bright and colorful with pretty flowers and landscaping.  Well, the backside of all the countries look like a bunch of drab, undecorated, windowless warehouses with cast member’s cars parked on the surrounding dying grass.

We kept going around the backstage loop until we reached the Living Seas area.  We entered through an unmarked building door. Amy Jo showed me her office.  It was basically a narrow hallway with a row of countertops that cast members were using as desks.  It felt like being in a windowless, cruise ship corridor.

After she checked me in, she took me through another door and we literally walked right onstage in the middle of the Living Seas!  I was so disoriented!  It took me a second to realize where I was exactly and I know The Living Seas layout very well.

The Living Seas at Epcot under construction, 1981.

The Living Seas at Epcot under construction, 1981.

Aerial view of completed pavilion

Aerial view of the completed Living Seas pavilion, 2015.

We walked up to check out the large aquarium tanks on the second floor.  The divers were out so Amy Jo spent some time explaining the techniques the divers were using to “train” the large sea animals, like stingrays and sea turtles.  I was so impressed when one of the divers brought a 6 foot stingray over to and right along the window!  It literally eclipsed the entire window!

I loved watching the giant sea turtles try and eat the other fish’s lettuce. So cute!
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I had no idea that almost all the sea animals in the huge aquarium have individual names and they all have distinct personalities!  It was awesome listening to Amy Jo talk about how cool her job is!

The next thing Amy Jo did was take me upstairs.  In the middle of the aquarium viewing area is a secret portal to get upstairs.  Only cast members have access to it.  We went in there and it was straight out of a lighthouse with a spiral staircase that takes you up to the very top of the aquarium.

When we got up there, I was completely amazed at how truly big the aquarium is.  I knew that you can fit the entire Spaceship Earth globe, aka Epcot’s “golf ball”, inside it, but WOW!  I got to see the giant cranes and pulleys that they use to lift up the larger animals when they need to be checked out by veterinarians.

We walked along the catwalk across the aquarium and Amy Jo warned me that we were coming up to the Dolphins area and she said that no matter what, I was not allowed to respond, speak to, or signal the dolphins in any way.  I had no idea what she was talking about.

I was looking over the edge of the water and immediately a dolphin came to the surface and waved at me!  I kept still, just watching and the dolphin started swimming slowly back and forth on its side, waving and watching me.  When I still didn’t do anything, it swam right up next to the edge of the water and turned its head and just stared at me!  It was incredible!  I’ve never been so close to such a huge, intelligent marine animal.  I knew it was waiting for me to give it a command or some praise.  Amy Jo told me later that she didn’t want me praising it for basically doing nothing and then having it later misbehave with the actual trainers.

We went back downstairs so I could watch the dolphin performance with the trainers.  The two dolphins did a series of flips and then, with some commands taught to a guest, they swam upside down across the tank!  It was so cute!

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Hidden Mickey in the coral reef.

ls2 (2)By now, I could tell the Dayquil medicine was wearing off because my cough was coming back.  My last item on my to-do list that morning was to visit the Company D store at Epcot.  We got to the building and I was so happy that there wasn’t a line!  I went up to the cast member and asked to buy a couple of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets for my family’s visit in November.  Right as I was about to pay, my cough came back with a vengeance.  I have really reactive airways, so my throat felt really tickly and tight and I was coughing so hard that I started gagging.  I actually had to step away from the counter to try to calm down.  I was fumbling in my backpack for cough drops and when I finally found one, I ended up dropping it on the floor before I could put it in my mouth!

I stepped back to the counter to pay for the tickets.  The poor cast member was trying to make small talk with me, but I couldn’t manage my breathing/gagging to do anything but give her a helpless look.  I finally got my water bottle out and took a couple small sips, but all I did was spit and cough it all over the counter.  I was horrified.  Summer colds are the worst!!

When it was all finally done and I had my party tickets in hand, my eyes were completely filled with tears from coughing so much and I knew my face was super red and embarrassed.  The cast member looked at me and said, “You are so beautiful!  Are you a face character!?”  All I could do was slowly shake my head and kind of laugh.  “Oh no, I work in stroller rental at DAK!”

As we walked back to Amy Jo’s car, she turned to me and said, “Wow, I had no idea how sick you are!”  I didn’t say anything and just took another swig of her Dayquil.  She was kind enough to take me to Walgreens where I bought some really expensive cough and cold medicine and three bags of cough drops.  I still can’t believe that I got sick on my last week here.  I wasn’t sick once during my last program!

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Mickey swimming with the fishes!

Some cool facts: The Living Seas aquarium is so huge (203 feet in diameter) that the nearby Spaceship Earth (165 feet in diameter) could fit completely inside it! The Living Seas is the largest inland saltwater environment ever built, and holds enough water to fill 54 Olympic-sized swimming pools! The meticulously crafted habitat has been designed by marine scientists to enrich the lives of the 4,000-plus sea creatures – with 85 species of tropical fish! – all that call The Living Seas home.

Nearly two tons of food is produced each week for the inhabitants of the Living Seas. The dolphins dine on herring and capelin; the West Indian manatees eat lettuce, carrots, sprouts, and fruit.

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The following Living Seas dive photos of my friend, Amy Jo, were taken by her sister:  Nicole E. Eason.

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Some Photo Credits:  Nicole E. Eason Photography
http://nesserphoto.blogspot.com/

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two-disney-sistersTwo 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

*** 

Lasagna Night with DAK Friends

So good!

So good!

Because I’m working in Strollers and surrounded by my ICP friends, I started talking about having an international dinner night together.  I thought it would be so fun having everyone bring a different dish from their country to share. I always joke with my friends that I’d be a real American and just buy pizza for it.  (I’m not crazy about cooking and it’s hard cooking at my apartment because I don’t have any ingredients.)

We finally got a night planned for it when my CP friend, Ricky, decided to invite everyone over to his apartment for homemade lasagna.  Unfortunately, it ended up being the day I had to ROS (relieved of shift, i.e., leave work early) because I was horribly sick with a head cold!  I couldn’t miss it though because I had been talking about this event for the entire summer!

Lasanga dinner2 (2)At 7pm, I dragged myself over to Ricky’s apartment and it smelled so good!! I’m not normally a huge fan of lasagna because I don’t like the white Ricotta cheese, but I was so excited that we were finally having our international dinner.  And it was so funny because all my ICP friends, without coordinating with each other, each brought different types of ramen noodles that they had either brought over from Asia or that they had bought at the huge Asian Market in Orlando!
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My coworker and friend Francisco!

The dinner was incredible. We had over 15 people show up to it!

Group dinner photo at Ricky's apartment.

Group dinner photo at Ricky’s apartment.

Luckily, Ricky had made a huge pan of lasagna for the dinner.  After everyone had tried some of his lasagna, we all started making and trying the different Asian ramen noodles.  I only tried one because I know how spicy Thai noodles can be and, since I was already sick and coughing, I didn’t want to risk a coughing fit from eating overly spicy food.

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Everyone so excited to try some of Ricky’s homemade lasagna!

We sat around talking while trying the various noodles and drinking the Gatorade that I had brought over.  (Ricky’s in a wellness apartment, so no alcohol is allowed.)  Looking around at my friends, it really made me realize how quickly we’ve formed a family at Strollers!  One of the perks of having so few people working at my DAK location is how close we’ve become working all these crazy long 13-hour shifts together this summer.

I’m going to miss them after our program ends! 😥

At work in the ice room.

At work in the ice room.

Riding on the bus.

Riding on the bus.

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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.

***

Full Moon = Crazy Day at Work!

The Outpost store at the front of DAK. (It's like Pin Traders at DTD.)

The Outpost store at the front of DAK. (It’s like Pin Traders at DTD.)

Today, I was thankfully scheduled for only a 6 hour closing shift, working 2pm to 8pm.  The saying on the program is that the CP in the DCP doesn’t stand for college program, it actually stands for ‘Closing Person’.  I work a lot of closing shifts.

There have been heat advisories posted all week for Florida.  With the air temperature around 96 degrees, coupled with high humidity, the “feels like” temperature in the afternoons has been around 117 degrees!  It’s just miserable to work outside all day long in the summer heat.

On days like these, it’s so important to stay hydrated.  I wear my cast member water bottle on my hip at work and try to refill it with chilled water every hour, especially since I don’t like drinking lukewarm water.

the-outpost-shop-00

The Outpost shop at the front entrance.  I like working here, out of the direct Florida sun.

The only air conditioned place at my entire work location at the front of the Animal Kingdom is the stockroom located in the Outpost building.

I had just started my afternoon shift and was working merchandise when a cast member came running in and ran straight into the stockroom and shut the door.  That was pretty strange.

A few minutes later, the coordinator comes walking in very fast and she also goes straight into the stockroom.  A few minutes after that, the manager comes hustling into Outpost and she too goes straight into the stockroom!

I had a feeling something bad was going on with the cast member – probably she wasn’t feeling well from the heat, but I knew it wasn’t my place to ask so I stayed out of the stockroom and kept ringing up guest’s merchandise at the register.

A few minutes later, two guests from the United Kingdom come running in carrying their infant daughter.  She looked to be about eight months old.

The mom 'Lion King'-ing her baby at me.

The mom ‘Lion King’-ing her baby at me.

The mom holds out her baby and starts screaming at me.

“My baby’s sick and she needs air conditioning now!” she screams while holding the baby up to my face.

I look at the baby and can see that she’s very overheated as she looks really red and splotchy.

“Do you need me to call 911?” I ask her.  I start to tell her that we can call an ambulance or she needs to immediately go to First Aid, which is back into the park, back at Discovery Island.

“No! She just needs to cool down,” the mom yells at me.  Well, too bad for her because there’s no air conditioning ANYWHERE close by!

I ask her what they had been doing and if they had been giving the baby plenty of water since it’s so hot outside today.

The sarafi ride takes 1/2 hour, longer if there are animals in the road.

The Kilimanjaro Safari ride takes about 1/2 hour, longer if there are animals in the road.

The mom tells me that the baby stopped drinking water from her bottle at around 11am (over three hours ago!) but they decided to continue on with their park visit even though the baby was getting fussier and fussier.  They realized that she was not well after getting off the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, way at the back of the park, over twenty minutes ago.

I look at the baby and tell the guests to wait just a minute while I talk to my manager, who is conveniently still in the stockroom behind me.

I walk into the stockroom and am totally surprised at what I see.

The cast member is laying on the dirty stockroom floor and the two supervisors are standing over her, talking about how she is going to get home.

There is a huge, 55 gallon trash can in the middle of the room.  But, judging from the wads of paper towels all over the floor, the cast member had missed it by about three feet.

The cast member drove herself to work in the morning and was resisting the manager’s suggestion of having someone drive her home as she was laying there on the stockroom floor.

“I’m feeling better,” she keeps saying while making no attempt to get up off the floor.  My manager makes a call on her iPhone for custodial to come and clean up the mess.

I quickly tell the manager about the guests and their sick baby out front.

The manager comes out of the stockroom with me and basically has the same conversation with the guests that I did about calling 911 or taking the baby to First Aid.  As we were talking, one of the stockers brings over a cool, wet towel from the back to put on the baby’s face and arms to help cool her down.

By this point, the mom has laid the baby on my checkout counter and is stripping off the baby’s clothes.  I turn to my manager and say, “Well, the closest air-conditioning is at Guest Relations. Can I bring them over?”  The manager gives me the go-ahead and I escort them from Outpost all the way into the park to Guest Relations.

When we get to the turnstiles, I tell the cast members there, “Medical emergency”.  Because they recognized me, they allowed us all through without checking tickets or security checking their bags and stroller.

Guest Services at DAK.

Guest Relations at DAK.

Luckily, I could see that there was no line at Guest Relations so I went up to a cast member and ask if the VIP room is available because this baby is too overheated to go all the way back to First Aid.   The CM leaves to go check on the lounge’s status. I wait with the parents who were still dabbing the cool towel on their now naked baby.

Located inside Guest Relations, right next to the Balloon Babysitting* room, is a secret, air conditioned room used for when VIPs visit the park.  I call it the Tom Cruise Room.  For example, if guests were alerted that Tom Cruise was visiting in the park that day and were following him around taking unwanted photos, he could hang out in this comfortable, private room until the crowd goes away.

(* Balloons aren’t sold or allowed inside DAK because they could get away from guests and into where the animals are, who could then eat them. But, guests that are park hopping frequently arrive at DAK with huge balloons, especially if they are coming from the Magic Kingdom.  Gate security takes any balloons from guests and safely stores them in the Balloon Babysitting room backstage until the guests are ready to leave.  This is also where guest’s selfie sticks are now being stored with the new Disney parks ban on selfie sticks that started last week.)

The VIP room is unoccupied and the cast member signals me to bring them back to help cool down their baby.  He okays me to perform a “No Strings” magical moment for the guests.  I went and got them one of the wet cooling towels that we sell and two chilled water bottles. [No Strings means that the guest doesn’t have to pay for the merchandise.  It’s theirs to keep, free of charge.]

Once they all got settled in and the baby was looking better, I go back to the Outpost to continue working at my assigned position.  About fifteen minutes later, I see the same Guest Relations cast member walking towards me.  He says that everyone is feeling better and they have decided to take the Disney transportation bus back to their resort.

I go over to the stockroom to update my manager.

I walk into the stockroom and not much has changed in thirty minutes.  The cast member is still laying on the floor looking pretty pale and nothing has been cleaned up yet.

The cast member sees me and makes an attempt to stand up, but immediately gets super pale and almost passes out again.  She stretches back out on the floor.  I notice that neither supervisor has gotten her a bottle of chilled water or a wet cloth.

By now, the cast member’s position out at carts has been abandoned for over 30 minutes.  The manager looks at me.

“Caroline, you go out to carts and work there until a rotation can bump you out,” the manager says to me.

Dang it!  Standing out in the heat and sun with only a small cart umbrella to shade me is my least favorite thing to do at work!  All I could think is that now I’ll get heat exhaustion too!

My Outpost costume with straw hat.

My Outpost costume with straw hat.

I put on my straw work hat, check to see that my water bottle is filled, and out I go.

I still have four hours left on my shift until I can clock out.  It’s going to be a long, hot afternoon.

Strollers at DAK.

I work Strollers a lot at DAK.

Read more about my roles at DAK: Working Stroller Rental at DAK

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

 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.