2018 DCP Homecoming Event at Disney World

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Let the countdown begin!

2018 DCP Homecoming Weekend Event

Greetings DCP Alumni!

Exciting news!!

Here are some details for the next Homecoming Weekend set to take place at the Walt Disney World Resort on January 19 – 21, 2018.

The fee to attend next year’s event is a non-refundable $250.

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January 2018 – See you there!

Next year’s event is sure to create lasting memories and unforgettable moments not only with your family and friends but other #CPAlumni. Registration will open soon and include:

A semi-formal evening reception and dessert party scheduled at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and celebrating the Disney College Program. Here you will find themed iconic pieces from our parks and resorts as well as Disney story book characters, music, food and fun. The event will end with a special fireworks viewing party.

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Some of the DCP Homecoming gifts from the 2016 DCP Reunion.

Exclusive #CPAlumni Homecoming Weekend merchandise will be available including a customized Disney Alumni Association MagicBand!

You can order DCP Alumni merchandise here:  DCP Alumni Merchandise

Other Important Homecoming Weekend 2018 Facts:

Hotel Accommodations: We will have a limited number of discounted rooms at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Travel expenses: You will be responsible for airfare, hotel accommodations, and transportation to and from WDW for this event. If you are staying on Disney property, we encourage you to utilize Disney transportation to attend the weekend activities. Of course, you will be welcome to carpool or utilize your own personal vehicle. Any event that includes transportation will be noted at the time of registration.

Park Tickets: Once you complete your registration, you will have the ability to purchase theme park tickets at a discounted rate.

Write us with any questions at: alumni@disney.com

DCP

Join the DCP Alumni Association today!  DCP Alumni

For more information about registering for this event, check back soon.

Contemporary Resort

January 15, 2016:  The DCP Party Event at the Contemporary Resort

Here’s the agenda from the 2016 DCP Homecoming Event: DCP Alumni Homecoming 2016 Agenda

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Florida CPs, California CPs, and ICPs are all welcome!

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dole whip

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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14 Daily Struggles of Disney Cast Members

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Welcome to Disney World!

The Struggles via Buzzfeed:

For fellow Disney cast members on the clock, off the clock, and everywhere in between.

1. The word “folks”

You had never said it in your life before you started working for the Mouse, and suddenly it’s the only word you use to communicate to a group of 3+ people.

“Hi, folks!” “Alrighty, folks…” “Folks! Folks!! FOLKS!!!”

Who are you? Mark Twain?

2. Not knowing how to end a conversation

Guest: Hi, where is the bathroom?
You: Just down that walkway to the right.
Guest: Thank you!
You: Of course! Have fun!!
Guest: *Looks at you, confused.*
You: *Looks at guest, confused, quickly looks away and pretends to be busy with something else.*

Don’t judge us, we typically have a very cheery demeanor, okay? And maybe we do want you to have a fun time in the bathroom…I don’t know.

CP Meeting a princess (2)3. Calling little boys “Princess”

You: Hi, Princess!
Brother of “Princess”: He’s a boy!!
Parent of “Princess”: *Probably shooting you some look, but you don’t catch it because you cannot bear to look at them anymore.*
You: *Slowly walks away. Tries to disappear. Just pretends nothing happened. Considers saying “I said ‘prince!’” Just…thinks maybe I should just quit right now.*

Hey, in our defense, your young son has beautiful hair.

adele.jpgCheck out photos of Adele’s 3-year-old son in a Princess Anna dress at Disneyland in February 2016!

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Parade Mickey

4. The question of all questions

Guest: What time is the 3 o’clock parade?
You: *Wonders if guest is asking this on purpose to be silly…oh you silly guests! You must have read that BuzzFeed article about Cast Member struggles and you are asking this to be funny! …suddenly realizes guest is genuinely asking this question.*It’s at 3 o’clock!
Guest: I know it is! That’s why I said 3 o’clock parade! Get a sense of humor!!
You: *Forces smile and laughs through teeth while thinking about how you don’t get paid enough.*

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5. Selfie Sticks

We’re supposed to take them from you. You’re not supposed to bring them in. There are literally three announcements on the tram in about how they’re not welcome in the parks. There are signs at the turnstiles.  Big signs. And yet, here we are.

Guest: *Pulls out selfie stick.*
You: *Hears “Psycho” theme, eyes widen as you focus in on the banned object. Approaches guest.* Hi, um, so actually selfie sticks aren’t allowed in the parks and –
Guest: What?! No one told me that! I had no idea!
You: Yeah…so…I actually have to take it from you.
Guest: For the day?
You: For…ever. Or I can call security and they can escort you out so you don’t have to get rid of it. You can take it to your hotel and then come back…or we can store them in a locker for you at the very front of the park….
Guest: That’ll take too long! But I’m not giving it up because it was expensive.
You: *Thinks: I’m pretty sure those are $4 at Claire’s, but sure.* I’m sorry, but they are a banned –
Guest: I’m not giving it up!
You: Okay, I’ll just have to call security…
Guest: That is ridiculous!
You: I know. *Looks at metaphorical fourth-wall camera and gives it a raised eyebrow.*

6. Not knowing if compliments are genuine or sarcastic

You: *Staring off into space, praying someone comes and bumps you soon.*
Old Man: Hey, *reads nametag* I just wanted to say you’re doin’ a great job, kiddo!
You: …Thank you!…? *Thinking: Was that sarcastic? Must have been. I’m doing a terrible job! I should give myself a Show reprimand for being a waste of space here.*

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7. Trying to find the appropriate shade of nail polish

We won’t get into the rules of the ‘Disney Look’ here because that’s a beast of its own, but it’s just difficult to understand how bright (hooker) peach nail polish is allowed, yet a lovely, subtle lavender shade isn’t…

Snarky Cast Member: Oh, I love that nail color!
You: Thanks! I –
SCM: But is it the Disney Look?
You: I DON’T KNOW, MARTHA, IS YOUR FACE DISNEY LOOK?!

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8. Trying to be a good Cast Member by picking up trash (and then instantly regretting it)

We all do our part to keep the Parks looking clean, and who doesn’t love doing a good “Disney Scoop” every now and then?

You: Oh, look, some trash in my way. I can totally pick this up! *Does Disney Scoop, picks up seemingly harmless-looking trash, realizes it is, in fact, not seemingly harmless.* OH MY GOD, THIS IS WET! WHY IS THIS WET?! WHAT HAVE YOU MONSTERS DONE TO THIS NAPKIN?! I AM NEVER PICKING UP GARBAGE AGAIN. SORRY, CUSTODIAL. SORRY, WALT. I CAN’T.

(“Disney Scoop” = a cute name for the fluid motion of bending down to pick up trash and seamlessly continuing to walk.)

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9. Crowds: Spring Break, Holidays, Peak Summer Season…

No one likes it when the parks are close to or at capacity. It’s a less-than-ideal situation for guests and cast members alike. Prime example:

“Dear Diary, today, in the same minute, I was hit in the head by a light saber and run into by an ECV backing up. Please send help.”

(What’s an ECV? Electronic Conveyance (Convenience?) Vehicle…or something like that. The scooters. You know.)

10. The Straight-Legged Sprint

Whether it’s to get someone their bump-out on time, to get to the PC in time to clock in, or to make your way through rotation quickly (because you stopped to use the bathroom), a lot of us CMs have mastered the Straight-Legged Sprint. From afar, it looks like you’re just a really fast walker, but upon closer inspection, you are absolutely sprinting without bending your legs. (No running at Disney!) It’s an acquired skill only brought out at the most necessary moments.

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11. Pretending not to be totally grossed out by vomit

People throw up. Kids especially throw up.  A lot. And sometimes it’s in the area you’re working. And all you can do is call custodial (Code V stat!), lay down some towels, if you have them, and stand over said vomit with a half smile plastered on your face while telling guests to watch their step.

You: Watch your step, folks.
Guest: Oh my GOD! Is that –
You: Yes. Yes it is. *Thinks to self: and I’m standing over it. For $10 an hour I am literally guarding someone’s puke. Is this the dream? Am I really living the dream right now?*
Guest: *Gives you look of pity but also appreciation.* You don’t get paid enough.
You: *Laughs and gives an “oh stop it” hand to guest, while also thinking: NO KIDDING, LADY!*

In a normal world, I would legitimately run away from puke. I don’t do vomit. Ever. But at work I get into the mental state of it being no big deal/another day another puke pile…this must be what it’s like to be a doctor…yeah.

12. Visiting the parks as a guest

You: *Sees cute child running around.* Hi, Buddy! How are you? Have you seen Mickey yet today?!
Cute Child: *Stares at you and wonders why this scary stranger is talking to him…*
Parent of Cute Child: *Kind of looks at you like you’re creepy, but also appreciates you talking to their kid.*
You: *Debates whether or not to say you work here, decides against it and just slowly walks away…*

OR, how about when you see guests doing something that definitely isn’t allowed and you have this moral compass problem of speaking up or not…but decide against it because you’re not on the clock/in costume. And then feeling guilty. “Safe-D begins with me!”

13. Being able to block out all the noise until someone brings up how you’re able to block out all the noise

Guest: Wow! You must be able to block out all that noise.
You: What noise?…*Suddenly, you hear it. You hear it all…Your area’s music/babies crying/people screaming.* Why have you done this to me, woman?! I was subconsciously blocking it all out until you mentioned it! Why?! What kind of monster are you?!

[Caroline was once in such a zone at work that she was mistaken by guests as being a mannequin! Then she ruined the moment by asking them “May I help you?”, which scared the crap out of them!!!  They didn’t think she was real!]

Caroline costume

14. “If you hate your job so much, why don’t you just quit?”

I don’t hate my job. I love it. I love the people I work with…well, most of them, and I truly do enjoy interacting with guests from all over the country and the world…well, most of them. Every day is a new adventure. It’s just fun to complain, especially when so many others can relate. Do I want to work here forever? No. But for now, yeah! And besides, Annual Passes are way too expensive now. My Cast ID is a golden ticket. And it’s nice to have someone wash your work clothes for you. #ThanksCostuming!

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Have a magical day!

– Disney Cast Member maddiescheutz via Buzzfeed

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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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Shanghai Disneyland Finally Opens Almost a Year Late

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June 16, 2106

Shanghai Disneyland finally and officially opened June 16, 2016 to good reviews, big crowds, and rainy overcast skies.

Video of Opening Day Ceremony:  Opening Day Celebration

Daily tickets cost ¥499.00 CNY  or about $79 US.  You can buy 1 or 2 day park tickets.

Shanghai Disneyland prides itself on offering a culturally distinct experience—imagined especially for China and designed for guests of every kind.

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

Shanghai Disneyland continues the tradition in new and unique ways, through never-before-seen lands like Adventure Isle, Treasure Cove and Gardens of Imagination, and one-of-a-kind attractions and experiences.

That includes the largest castle in any Disney theme park around the world!

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Free Opening Day buttons were given out to all the guests.

The building cost was initially estimated at 24.5 billion yuan (USD $3.7 billion) for the theme park and an additional 4.5 billion yuan (USD $700 million). This rose to around USD $5.5 billion before delays, which was due in part to additions to the number of attractions open to the public on opening day, which added USD $800 million to the cost. The added cost doesn’t take into account lost revenue from the lost admissions fees.

This huge overrun and opening delay caused massive layoffs and cut park hours at the other Disney theme parks, especially at Disney World and Disneyland.

According to the International Business Times (IBT), a “a two-day weekend ticket for two adults and one child comes close to China’s average urban monthly wage.”

pins

We love collecting Disney pins!

Shanghai Disney merchandise:  Pins!

Opening Day:

The soft park opening started in May 2016 to test out everything.  Some guests were tagged as “uncivilized” by local media for their behavior during the theme park’s first few days of operations.

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The park trashed at closing every night.

Photos of food wrappers, plastic bags, paper cups and other trash that littered the park grounds were shared on Chinese social media and local news sites.

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Trash left by a family after they finished their picnic lunch.

Local reporters even spotted a mom letting her child defecate in an open area of the park grounds instead of bringing him to a restroom. Shanghai Disneyland has a visitor-to-washroom ratio of 4,500 to 1.  [Are they kidding???!!!  What was Disney thinking???]

The behavior of some guests led to the issuance of an etiquette guide by the local city government.  The six-point guideline directly asked park patrons to avoid littering, rowdiness, vandalism, cutting in lines, trampling on plants, and general “uncouth behavior.”

This video about the park’s guests was shared on facebook over 50,000x:  Chinese Guests Acting Badly

Read a Special Update for Disney Cast Members about Shanghai Disneyland below:

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The beautiful castle at Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disney Resort – Blocked Out Summer 2016

Due to anticipated high guest attendance, at this time Shanghai Disneyland will not be accepting complimentary admission (i.e.: Main Entrance Passes, Spouse/Domestic Partner Passes, Self-Admission Passes, Complimentary Tickets, One-Day Park Hopper® Guest Tickets, etc.). Please continue to enjoy your Complimentary Admission at eligible theme parks.   Posted by Disney Theme Parks 05/27/2016

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dole whipTwo Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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

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

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

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

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Things You Must Do at Disney World!

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Four Parks, One World:  Welcome to Disney World!  (Photo credit:  WDW Shutterfly)

The checklists below for the 4 parks are from last year, but they are still very helpful in planning and making sure that you don’t miss out on the things that you really want to do and see during your vacation at Walt Disney World.

There are FastPasses available at each park for the premier attractions, but are generally gone by early morning during the peak crowd weeks, so plan accordingly.

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You can get FastPasses for a lot of these MK attractions….but only 3 per day (unless you are a resort guest) so plan accordingly!

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Maelstrom is now Frozen Ever After, of course.  And the brand new IMAX film is playing at Soarin’.  Get a FastPass to see that!

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The brand new Rivers of Life attraction is now playing in the evening at DAK.

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This checklist for DHS is mainly to show how DHS has become a 1/2 day park with all the construction for Toy Story Land and the new Star Wars Land.  More than 1/2 of these attractions are now closed.  There’s not a lot to do on some days if you didn’t get any FastPasses; you might not want to wait around for Fantasmic at 8pm.

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working together at DAK

Working together at DAK.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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

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

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

Book link on Amazon.com:

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

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How To Join the DCP Alumni Group

DCP photo

Disney College Program pin.

November 2016 Update:

Until this semester, ICPs couldn’t join the DCP Alumni Assoc…but they can now!

Greetings from the Disney Alumni Association!

Congratulations on successfully completing your DCP program!

By now you have received the official communication on this new, exclusive group of College Program alumni. Don’t forget to complete the registration process.  Click here to join today!

Join Us:  www.dcpalumni.com

Best Regards, Disney Campus Recruiting

Join the DCP Alumni Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/disneyalumniassociation/

  • Network and connect with over 100K College Program Alumni across the country
  • Receive invites to future Alumni exclusive events on Disney property
  • Participate in webinars with Leaders from around the Company and partake in networking and learning opportunities
  • Receive exclusive Professional Development webinars and workshops with Disney Recruiters
  • Receive Disney Alumni Association exclusive merchandise
  • Be the first to know about Disney Internships and Programs opportunities

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NEW!!!    Want to buy some Alumni merchandise?  It’s now online!!

Click here to shop:  Disney College Program Alumni Merchandise

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DAA

Continuing the Magic….

Update from DAA:

Several times a year, the Disney Alumni Association (DAA) experiences a backlog about joining, i.e., when the Spring and Fall CPs all graduate.

If it’s been more than 2 weeks, please contact the DAA email inbox at: wdw.disney.college.program.alumni@disney.com

We can then specifically look up the individual’s lost information.

Marcie Lemke, DAA admin

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Remember, to join the DAA, you must be in “good standing” with the company and not on Restricted Rehire status!  The Number #1 reason for Restricted Rehire status is: ‘Failure to Return All Costume Pieces’!!!!

 

costume

If you didn’t return all your costume pieces at the end of program, you’ll be on Restricted Rehire until you do and can’t join the DAA.  😦

 

What is Restricted Rehire?  Read more here:  Disney Restricted Rehire Status

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They’re here!!!!  Get your housing pin while supplies last:

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The brand new DCP Housing pins are being released every month into 2017!!!

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DCP Merchandise Update:  Our DCP Alumni packages came with all the free DCP merch!  The t-shirts fit perfectly!  We’ll be wearing them to MK on our next trip!

DCP Alumni  t-shirt, car decals, stickers & more!

DCP Alumni t-shirt, business card holder, car decals, stickers & more!  FREE!!!

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DCP Alumni Logo

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DCP Alumni Homecoming Event Update:

We went to the 2016 DCP Alumni Homecoming in January 2016.  We had a blast…so much FUN!!!  We’re going to the next one in 2018 too!

Read about it here:  2016 DCP Homecoming Event

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Our DCP welcome package

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Celebrating 35 Years!

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Caroline signing in on the DCP alumni big board.

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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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Disney’s Soarin’ Around the World Ride

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Scene from the new Soarin’ Around the World

Imagine a wind-through-your-hair flight above The Great Wall of China, a bird’s-eye view of the Sydney Harbor in Australia, gliding around the Matterhorn in Switzerland…

Watch the ride’s opening scene:  Soarin’ Around the World

These are among more than a dozen breathtaking scenes you can experience with the new Soarin’ Around the World.

Scenes and Scents on the new ride:

Matterhorn – First up is the Matterhorn/Swiss Alps. It’s a beautiful opening scene that gets you in the mood to soar over the rest of the world. You fly up and over the top of the mountain before entering a cloud to transition to the next scene.

Glaciers – We next find ourselves amongst polar bears and orcas as we fly over a glacier scene. The polar bears dive off of icebergs as we fly a bit too close to them. An orca then jumps in front of us and causes a giant splash that is used as a transition to the next scene. Note that there are no water effects with the splash.

Sydney Harbor  We are now flying over sailboats in the Sydney Harbor in Australia. As we pass the Sydney Opera House a seaplane takes off in front of us and we transition to the next scene.

Neuschwanstein Castle – Our next stop is the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle. As an aside, the castle has served as inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. A lens flare serves as the transition for this scene.

African Savana – We next find ourselves soaring over elephants on the African Savana. This is the first time a scent is introduced to the ride. The smell of fresh grass serves, in my opinion, as Soarin Around the World’s orange scent. It puts me right in the scene and is instantly identifiable. Dirt thrown by an elephant is the transition piece for this scene.

The Great Wall of China – We then fly low over The Great Wall of China, seemingly just missing people walking. A kite flys in front of us for the transition effect.

Pyramids – We fly past sand dunes and camels before banking towards the Pyramids. Once again, a dust cloud serves as the transition.

Taj Mahal – We approach the Taj Mahal while flying over the same reflecting pool that is depicted in it’s a small world. A scent of flowers/perfume is applied in this scene. We climb up and over the dome as it transitions into a hot air balloon for the next scene.

Monument Valley –  We’re now flying amongst hot air balloons in Monument Valley. Three hot air balloons form a hidden Mickey. A bird flying at the screen is the transition for this scene.

Fiji – A simple beach scene where we enjoy a leisurely flight over blue water. There is another smell piped in here, but I didn’t really identify it outside of a fresh outdoors-type smell. It seemed similar to the ocean smell in the last version of the ride. This serves as the smoothest transition as we go from water to water.

Iguazu Falls – We quickly approach the crest of the waterfall and soar over it. We bank slightly towards mist created by the falls into the next scene.

Eiffel Tower –  Our first night scene is the Eiffel Tower in Paris. As we approach the tower, we encounter our most pronounced bank in the entire ride. We shoot straight up the tower to the top and fly into the spotlights as a transition. I wouldn’t say that the bank is severe enough to discourage anyone from riding, but it’s the most pronounced shifting of the seats in either Soarin Over California or Soarin Around the World.

Epcot – The last scene is us returning home to Epcot at night. We approach from World Showcase and fly over the Fountain of Nations towards Spaceship Earth. A monorail passes beneath us and fireworks shoot off to signal the end of the ride.

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The next generation of the popular Soarin’ attraction made its premiere at the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland on June 16, 2016 as Soarin’ Over the Horizon.

The next day on June 17th, guests at Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort and Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort were able to board the exhilarating aerial adventure that immerses you in a multi-sensory experience, complete with stunning sights, spectacular sounds and even subtle scents.

There is a Fastpass+ option for Soarin’ Around the World, which we highly recommend getting during busy park times!

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The new 3rd theater at Epcot has state-of-the-art film projection and sound.

Looking back:  Filming of the new Soarin’ Around the World video started in 2014:  Behind the Scenes Look at Filming Soarin’

Soarin' Around the World

Another scene from the new Soarin’ Around the World.

July 2015: Construction on the new Soarin' Theater has begun!

July 2015: Construction on the new 3rd Soarin’ theater at Epcot began and I was there!

My Soarin' vinylmation

My Soarin’ vinylmation. He is so cute!  He has a little orange grove on his chest.

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working together at DAK

Working together at DAK.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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

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

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

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

***

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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