2017 Festival of the Holidays at Epcot

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Mini Three Kings Bread Rolls

Returning this year to 2017 Festival of the Holidays at Epcot is the Feast of the Three Kings!

We love Mickey & Minnie's costumes for the event!

We love Mickey & Minnie’s fiesta costumes!

Inspired by food and drinks of the Caribbean, the kitchen pays homage to the Día de los Reyes Magos, a holiday celebrated in the Caribbean, Latin America and Spain, not only with the food but also with history, as you get to learn about the celebration itself.

The Feast of the Three Kings features drinks like Coquito (with and without rum) and dishes like a roasted pork with mashed yucca and pickled green bananas, the very traditional Three Kings Bread and a shredded beef tamale with avocado crema.

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The Three Kings

Feast of the Three Kings

Dine like royalty as you enjoy scrumptious foods and delicious drinks of the Caribbean. Inspired by the story of the Magi, this holiday kitchen celebrates the tradition of Three Kings’ Day—El Dia De Los Reyes Magos.

Food

  • Shredded Beef Tamale with Avocado Crema and Cilantro Rice
  • Roasted Pork with Smashed Yuca and Pickled Green Bananas
  • Three Kings Bread

 Beverages

  • Presidente Pilsner, Dominican Republic
  • Coquito with a Bacardi® Rum Floater
  • Coquito (non-alcoholic)

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Here’s the recipe for Epcot’s Three Kings Bread so you and your family and make it and enjoy it at home!

Three Kings Bread

 DOUGH

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons instant yeast

SUGAR PASTE

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 egg

GLAZE

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

FINISHED BREAD

  • 1 egg
  • 16 Maraschino cherries, chopped
  • Red and green sugar

FOR DOUGH:
1. Place the eggs and water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.
2. Add the sugar, butter, shortening, salt, orange zest, vanilla, and 3 cups of the bread flour to the mixing bowl. Sprinkle instant yeast on top of the flour.
3. Knead on medium speed for 12 minutes, until soft dough forms. Dough will be slightly sticky. If dough is not soft after 12 minutes, add 1/4 cup of flour at a time and knead for 1 additional minute.
4. Portion the dough into 16 balls on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

FOR SUGAR PASTE:
1. Cream shortening, sugar, and cake flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
2. Add egg and mix, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, until well blended.
3. Set aside.

FOR GLAZE:
1. Whisk powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and vanilla extract together until smooth.
2. Add additional tablespoon of milk, if needed.
3. Set aside.

FOR THREE KINGS BREAD:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Beat egg and brush on top of dough.
3. Pipe the sugar paste in an “x” over the top of the balls of dough.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
5. Cool for 15 minutes and top with glaze.
6. Sprinkle red and green sugar and chopped maraschino cherries on top of glaze.

You can also find delicious food at Las Posadas holiday kitchen near Mexico. They are serving one of my favorite dishes for the holidays: Buñuelo Navideño – a thin round fried pastry, drizzled with honey and dusted with cinnamon and brown sugar. Delicioso!

Makes 16

Epcot International 2017 Festival of the Holidays takes place until December 30, 2017.

Rosca de Reyes cake

Rosca de Reyes cake – yummy!

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

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Are they crazy???


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

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

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Stopping to take a selfie.

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

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What are they thinking????

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

Drunk guest Climbs Mayan Temple at Epcot

OMG!

OMG!

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Two 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

**** 

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:

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Blockout days at DLR. Always more days blocked out for using guest passes at Disneyland than California Adventure.

 

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Blockout days for California Adventure

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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Every weekend blocked out for Easter/Spring Break 2017

 

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California Adventure

Weekdays the first half of April before Easter

Weekdays in May

Weekdays the first week of June

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Most weekends are blocked out this summer for using your guests passes at Disneyland.

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California Adventure Park doesn’t have nearly as many blocked out days this summer. Enjoy!

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

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It is VERY hard to use guests passes during the holidays at Disneyland!!!

 

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Forget about using guest passes at California Adventure in November!

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

Weekdays during the first two weeks of December

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2016 Disneyland major blocked out for guest passes over the holidays.

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2016 California Adventure over the holidays


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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Disneyland is really blocked out for using guest passes in the Fall, mainly because of Mickey’s Halloween Party activities.

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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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Celebrating Disneyland’s 60th Diamond Anniversary:  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

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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Buying a Christmas Pickle at Epcot Germany

germany

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!

green pickle

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 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

***

Sweet Treats – Shingles from the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

grand-floridian

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.

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We could eat one of these every day! ❤

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 Disney sisters.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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

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

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

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

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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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

***

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

***