Best Times to Visit Disneyland in 2017

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Sleeping Beauty Castle in the early morning sunlight.  Lovely!

We thought we would post a link to the Disneyland blockout dates for using cast member guest passes, in case family and friends are planning on visiting you in sunny California!

New official link to check on blockout dates at all Disney Parks including Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure:  https://blockoutdates.disney.com/

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The weather at Disneyland is beautiful in the springtime!

Best Times to Visit Disneyland in 2017:

Weekdays in January (minus the week of New Year’s Day and the days around MLK Day, Jan 16th)

Weekdays in February (minus the days around President’s Day, Feb 20th )

The first week in March

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Some upcoming blockout days for guests passes in March (Spring Break) and April (Easter).

Weekdays the first half of April

Weekdays in May

Weekdays the first week of June

The first half of September after Labor Day; weekdays for the remainder of September and October

Weekdays in November (minus the week of Thanksgiving, Nov 23rd)

Weekdays during the first two weeks of December

To check on the daily park crowd forecast at Disneyland, click here:   Is It Packed??? 

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Disneyland in front of Pirates, December 27, 2016.  NO THANK YOU!!!

The Worst Times to Visit Disneyland in 2017:

MLK weekend: Jan. 14 – 16, 2017

President’s Day weekend: Feb. 18 – Feb. 20, 2017

Spring Break : March 11 – March 26, 2017

Easter Week:  April 8 – April 16, 2017

Memorial Day weekend:  May 27 – 29, 2017

Summer: June 3 – August 27, 2017

4th of July weekend:  July 1 – 4, 2017

Labor Day weekend: Sept. 2 – Sept. 4, 2017

Columbus Day weekend: Oct. 7 – Oct. 9, 2017

Halloween weekend: Oct. 28 – Nov. 1, 2017

Veteran’s Day weekend: Nov. 10 – Nov. 13, 2017

Thanksgiving week: Nov. 18 – 26, 2017

Christmas week through the first week of the New Year: Dec. 23, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018

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Disney’s California Adventure Park

During blockout days, you can’t use your Disney Guest Passes to swipe friends and family into the park for free.  Also, Disney limits the number of rooms available for CMs to use their cast member hotel discount.

New CMs can expect to get their guest passes after working 150 hours (about 5 weeks into their program), after completing Traditions class on around Day 3.

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Disneyland even has its own star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood!

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We ❤ Disneyland!  We’ll see ya real soon!

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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Buying a Christmas Pickle at Epcot Germany

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Epcot Germany – A beautiful town square with a real clock tower.

The Germany pavilion is one of our favorite places to shop at Epcot!

Crystal princesses.

Crystal princesses.  So pretty!!

We’ve bought some crystal figurines there and we can’t talk about Germany without talking about the wonderful caramel popcorn at the Karamell Kuche shop!!!

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At the Karamell Kuche shop….so delicious!!!!

And, Snow White meets there every afternoon by her wishing well.

Meeting Snow White before dinner.

Meeting Snow White at her wishing well.

Something fun to buy at Epcot for the holidays is a Christmas Pickle!

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The “Christmas Pickle” is sold at Epcot Germany.  $20

Christmas Pickle Backstory: In the early 1890s, Woolworth department stores started selling glass ornaments imported from Germany that were in the shape of various fruits and vegetables, including a pickle.

Around the same time it was claimed that the Christmas Pickle was a “very old German tradition” and that the pickle was the last ornament hung on the tree on Christmas Eve, buried deep in the tree’s branches.

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A whole Christmas tree of Christmas Pickles at the shop!

The first child to find it on Christmas morning is rewarded with one of three things: the privilege of opening the first gift, or receiving an extra gift from Santa, or being granted a year of good luck.

We are friends with an ICP from Germany who worked at Epcot’s Germany pavilion last year and he said that he never heard of the ‘Christmas Pickle’ before coming to America, and neither did any of his coworkers!

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It seems like this pickle would be easy to find on Christmas morning…

Bottom line, the Christmas pickle is actually an American Christmas tradition, not German!

But, we still like the idea of getting an extra present on Christmas morning!

Read more about our visit to Epcot Germany here:  Epcot Germany Pavilion.

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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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Sweet Treats – Shingles from the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

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Selling gingerbread treats since 1999!

This time of year when you walk into Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, you can immediately smell the sweet and spicy aroma of baked gingerbread.

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Buying some sweet treats at the Gingerbread House.

Right beyond the huge and beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the grand lobby sits the 2016 Grand Floridian Gingerbread House.

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The Grand Floridian’s Gingerbread House

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The gingerbread recipe for making 5,089 shingles!

According to Disney, the gingerbread house is made up of 1,050 pounds of honey, 140 pints of egg whites, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 700 pounds of chocolate, 800 pounds of flour, 35 pounds of spices, and tons of Disney magic and pixie dust. (Look for the 17 Hidden Mickeys in the shingles!)

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The Gingerbread Shoppe is open 10am – 10pm daily until January 1, 2017.

But, the best part of the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House is that on the backside of the structure, you’ll find the Gingerbread Shoppe, a dutch window where guests can purchase many kinds of sweet treats.

These include gingerbread men, gingerbread houses, gingerbread cookies, gingerbread shingles, and white chocolate treats! If it can be made with gingerbread, it’s likely sold here.  🙂

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Gingerbread everything!!

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Buckets of White Chocolate treats

The gingerbread shingles are the BEST! The cookie is very soft with a subtle gingerbread taste. And, the best part is that the back of the shingle is covered in rich dark chocolate, which pairs nicely with the gingerbread flavor.  It is one of our favorite treats at WDW.

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You can even buy decorated gingerbread houses at the GF Gingerbread House!

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The front side of the Gingerbread House.

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I found one of the Hidden Mickeys in the shingles!

The Gingerbread Shoppe is open from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily during the holiday season, usually until the first week in January.

This year, the Gingerbread House Shoppe is scheduled to close January 1, 2017, and Disney will start to disassemble it January 4, 2017.

Interested in what happens to all that gingerbread???

It gets recycled and composted!  Disney Bees Recycle GF Gingerbread House!

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Special resort pins are available during the holiday season.

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We got to see it – and buy some sweet treats – last year.  So pretty…so yummy!!

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The 2016 Grand Floridian holiday pin.

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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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Discounted Tickets to 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for Cast Members

Main Street USA all decorated for tonight's party!

Main Street USA is all decorated for the holidays (it’s always ready by the first party night, Nov. 7th)!

New:  The discounted dates and prices for cast members for the 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom in Florida have been updated! See below.

2016 MVMCP Party Night Dates for All Guests:

  • November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29*
  • December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 22

November 10, 13 – $86.00 plus tax age 10+, $81.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $91.00/$86 same-day

November 18, 27, 29, December 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13 – $92.00 plus tax age 10+, $87.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $96/$91.00 same-day

November 7, 8, 11, 15, December 1 – $91.00 plus tax age 10+, $86.00 plus tax age 3-9

December 9, 15 – $96.00 plus tax age 10+, $91.00 plus tax age 3-9

December 16, 18, 22 – $99.00 plus tax age 10+, $94.00 plus tax age 3-9

Passholder Rates available 11/7, 8, 11, 15; 12/1, 11, & 13 – Rates are $74-$84 plus tax depending on night. DVC members also have discounts on additional nights (including all dates APs are entitled to) 11/10, 13, 18, 27, 29, & 12/6 ranging between $74-89 plus tax.

BREAKING NEWS:  *Cast Members can purchase discounted tickets for 30% off to MVMCP for most nights in November and now some nights in December at the Company D Store and at the MK Vacation Planning kiosks.

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NEW!  For the first time, cast members can buy discounted party tickets for 6 select nights in December!!!

I love how Disney decorates the lightposts on Main Street!

11/01/16:  We love how Disney decorates the lightposts on Main Street!  So pretty!

CM Tip:  The MVMCP party starts at 7pm, but Disney let’s ticketed guests in for the party starting at 4pm.  Plan on going to the Magic Kingdom early (park by 3:30pm) and don’t forget to wear your Christmas sweater!

Even if it’s warm during the day, it can get very chilly in the park after the sun goes down!!!  Stash a jacket in a locker as you enter the park.

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The 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party exclusive pins!!!  <3!!!!!!

Wondering about the crowds, especially in December???  Well, here’s a crowd forecast:

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The two week after Thanksgiving and into early December are some of the best times to visit WDW with fairly light crowds.  (Note:  Thanksgiving Week and the last two weeks of the year are the WORST time to visit WDW with long lines, heavy crowds, crowded restaurants, rude guests, and Park Phase Closures in effect!)

Special parade, snow falling on Main Street USA, Castle Dream Lights, free cookies and cocoa...all of it wonderful!!!

MVMCP 2016: Special Christmas nightime parade  with snow falling on Main Street USA, the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights turned on, holiday music playing, free cookies and cocoa for all guests…all of it is wonderful to see!!! 

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At last year’s 2015 MVMCP on a cool evening…so much fun!! The Cinderella Castle is just beautiful with the 200,000 LED Dream Lights turned on!!

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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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Main Street USA Holiday Decorations are Up!

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The holiday decorations are up at the Magic Kingdom!

On Monday night (10/31/16) after the last Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party guests had left, twenty-five 55′-trailers rolled up to the Magic Kingdom to decorate the park overnight for the holidays.

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#Truth!

This included digging up all the flowerbeds and replanting them with Christmas flowers by 8am the next morning when the Magic Kingdom reopened for guests.

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So festive!

Amazing team work by all the cast members involved!

This is a 1-minute time lapse of how it’s done:

And, on Tuesday night, the 200,000 LED Cinderella Castle Dream Lights were turned on for the first time this holiday season with thousands of guests in front of the Cinderella Castle going “AHHH…SO BEAUTIFUL!” at the same time!

Nobody decorates like Disney does!!!  🙂  Pretty video of the decorations:

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is always so much fun!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party starts this year on November 7, 2016.  Ticket prices are between $86 – $99/night, depending on which party night you attend.

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two-disney-sisters

Two Disney sisters.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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

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

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

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

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2016 Cinderella Castle Dream Lights are On!

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The Cinderella Castle Dream Lights.  (Teal, my favorite color!)

The 2016 Dream Lights were turned on November 2, 2016.  It’s Christmastime at the Magic Kingdom!!! [The Dream Lights will stay lit until after the Disney Marathon Weekend January 5 – 8, 2017!]

Disney decorates Cinderella Castle for the holiday season with a “Dream Lights” effect that makes the Castle seem to be covered in ice.

Over 200,000 LED lights are draped over the turrets and roofs and down the sides of the Castle to create this beautiful effect.

We’ve got to see the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights being turned on many times for the past several years.  It’s beautiful each and every time!

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6pm:  The Frozen preshow where Queen Elsa lights the Castle.

Just after dark at around 6pm, the characters from ‘Frozen’ come out on the Castle Stage and do a short show.  The castle lighting show stars Anna, Queen Elsa (who “turns on” the lights with her magical, icy powers), Kristoff, and Olaf.

The Frozen show starts the evening’s celebrations, followed by the Castle’s lighting ceremony at 6:15 pm.  The Castle’s Dream Lights remain on, with the Castle slowly changing colors from pink to green to blue to purple, for the rest of the evening until one hour after park closing.

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I could watch them change colors all night.  This is one of my favorite shades, blue into purple.  Just dazzling!

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Purple Castle.  The new turrets on either side of the Castle are decorated with lights too.

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Make it pink!!

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Stunning!  Icy blue.

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Teal into ‘Frozen’ blues.  **Sigh**

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The four side turrets house the new state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems.

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Reflections of the Dream Lights on the moat water.

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7pm:  The Dream Lights are turned on and they are beautiful!  ❤

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Christmas 2015:  It’s starting to rain, but we don’t care!  Ho ho ho!!

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two-disney-sisters

Two Disney sisters.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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

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

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

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

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Disney World Refurbishment Schedule Fall 2016 – Spring 2017

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!

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

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

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

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

Epcot

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

     Permanently closed

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

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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

      Permanently closed attractions:

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

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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

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

     Permanently closed rides and attractions:

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

Water Parks:

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

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working together at DAK

Working together at DAK.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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

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

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

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