This is What Happened to the Animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom During Hurricane Irma

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DAK re-opened Tuesday morning. Some rides like Kali Rapids, the train,  and the safari were still closed.

Many guests were wondering this past weekend what Disney does with the inhabitants of Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Hurricane Irma looming in the forecast and Disney park closure announcements starting on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 9, 2017).

Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s is home to some 1,700 animals representing 250 different species throughout the 500-acre park. That’s a lot of wildlife to keep track of!

Welcome to my park!

Welcome to DAK!

Disney doesn’t evacuate their animals off property.  They have safe locations for them behind the scene, aka “backstage”, at the Animal Kingdom Park. All of the wildlife pens and barns were built of reinforced concrete and designed to be able to withstand a Category 3 Hurricane.

As a Disney Cast Member, Caroline took an exclusive DAK backstage tour.  She learned how the animals get called back to their pens in the evening with special whistles and signals.  The animals actually can’t wait to return to their overnight pens because they know that food and water, along with fresh bedding, is waiting for them!  The whole process takes 3 hours to complete.

Last weekend, Disney had all their cast member zookeepers, trainers, and veterinary staff on hand during the hurricane. These experts monitored the behavior of the animals and continually checked on them both before, during, and after the storm.

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Sunday:  DAK is closed due to Hurricane Irma!

With the announced park closure on Saturday afternoon, the Hurricane Rideout Teams  were activated across the WDW property.  These crews are made up of volunteer cast members who agree to stay in their park or resort for at least 72 hours during the storm.  [Caroline’s CM friend was stationed at The Living Seas aquarium in Epcot all weekend during the hurricane.]

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The alligators were OK in their enclosures.

Some water-dwelling creatures such as the alligators and turtles were left in their outdoor man-made habitats since this is where they were the safest.  All birds were brought inside.  (The native Florida birds that live at DAK were left outside.)

Disney takes every precaution with their animals, ensuring that they all were kept safe.  Not one animal was harmed during Hurricane Irma with winds that topped 80mph in Orlando!  All animals were safe and sound on Tuesday morning when the park re-opened.

If you’re interested in seeing the animal pens and how well Disney treats all their animals, you can take a backstage tour at DAK called Backstage Tales!

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/animal-kingdom/backstage-tales/

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Mickey and Minnie greeting hurricane stranded guests at DAK Lodge on Saturday afternoon. 🙂

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DAK closed early on Saturday (9/09/17) afternoon and park tie down was happening. All the turnstiles were wrapped to keep them protected from wind damage.

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Property damage on Monday: One of many trees blown down at DAK Lodge.

 

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Lots of wind damage all over DAK, but the paths had all been cleared for guests by opening time on Tuesday morning.
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The safari was not operating on Tuesday because of all the wind damage.

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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

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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Meeting Tarzan at Disney World

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Spending my day off having fun back at the Animal Kingdom.

I was so excited to hear that Tarzan was finally getting a permanent Meet & Greet area in Animal Kingdom this month.

First of all, he is seriously hot!  Second, I’ve seen him around a lot and he is always so funny with guests!

I finally got a day off this week and I knew I had to meet him.  His current location is Pocahontas’s old meet and greet location, behind the Tree of Life on the Discovery Island Trails.  There is never any line because people don’t know about it.

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Notice how he holds the pen!

As I was asking for his autograph, Tarzan was telling me “Jane teach Tarzan autograph. Now Tarzan has best autograph in whole jungle.”  So funny!

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His signature in my autograph book.

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Sniff, sniff….

I went to pose to take a photo with him and then…

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A little too close Tarzan!

He totally smells my hair!!!

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He is a hunk of burnin’ love for sure!   ❤

Ahhhh….I laughed so hard!

He said I looked like I’d been living in the jungle for a while – I think he must have recognized me from around DAK! Haha!

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Making jungle noises.  (I’m wearing my DAK ‘jungle’ Mickey Ears!)

I wasn’t sure if I should put my arm around him or not!  I mean, he’s only wearing a loin cloth and a spear!   Hubba-hubba!!!!

It was so fun seeing him up close and in real life! ❤

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01/10/2017:  A rare sighting – Tarzan in his winter costume on a cold morning at DAK!  (62 degrees!)

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Working the pin board 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

***

Rivers of Light Finally Opening Soon!

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Beautiful!

If all goes according to plan, Rivers of Light should finally debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom sometime in late October!

The dress rehearsals and technical work on the show are both scheduled to be wrapping up today (September 30th).  After that, the show could technically debut at any time, and we’re thinking in a few weeks (around November  1st) after Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party wraps up.

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The Tree of Life is used as the backdrop for the show.

Now, this is good news for us as we’ll be there at the end of the month! [For those of you that follow our blog, you’ll remember that Caroline made a special trip to DAK on Earth Day 2016 to see the RoL debut that never happened!]

Dress Rehearsal Preview:  Rivers of Light Preview

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All the new nighttime attractions and entertainment at DAK this fall.

The show, originally slated to debut almost 6 months ago on April 22, 2016 – Earth Day -, was indefinitely delayed due to problems with the automated show barges and floats, including one float that unfortunately sank during a rehearsal performance in April.

The show’s downtime and delay has also been used to rewrite large portions of the performance that Disney management deemed “too boring”. The show features animal-inspired floats and lanterns, special lighting and waterworks and fountains,  plus live performers and storytellers.

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The new Rivers of Light amphitheater with seating for 5,000.

The amphitheater overlooking the park’s Discovery River, which seats over 5,000 guests, was completed in March and is open for guests to sit in and rest during the day.

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New RoL merch.  Very pretty!

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Popcorn in a Lotus Flower container.

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We’re looking forward to seeing it finally!

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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

***

Things You Must Do at Disney World!

Four Parks (2)

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

***

 

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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Meeting Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny

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Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny at their pretty meet & greet at MK.  Spring flowers everywhere!

The Easter Bunny and his wife are at Disney World!  How cute is this??!!

You can meet them at the Magic Kingdom at the meet and greet near the flagpole on Main Street USA.

And, on Easter Sunday, they may hop on over to another park!

Last year, they were out at Animal Kingdom on Easter Sunday.  But, you had to be quick as they were only there from 9am – 2pm!

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Meeting the Easter Bunny on Easter Sunday at DAK.

The Easter Bunny was pointing out how I have ears just like him, only his ears are longer.   🙂

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Nice ears! (Wearing my DAK Mickey Ears.)

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Elly and me with the Easter Bunny.  (Note that we are wearing our work shoes!)

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Mrs. Bunny is wearing an Easter bonnet!

Don’t you love her dress?  Mrs. Bunny is so precious!

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The Easter Bunny brought candy for all the good little girls and boys!

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I got some Easter candy too!  Yum!

The Easter Bunny Meet and Greet at the Magic Kingdom

ebMeet Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm March 14-27, 2016.  Town Square area – Magic Kingdom admission required.  PhotoPass photographers will be available.

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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

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Na’vi River Journey at DAK’s Pandora – The World of Avatar

Na’vi River Journey

Na’vi River Journey

Disney recently released details on a new canoe ride attraction coming to Pandora – The World of Avatar, under construction now at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The adventure begins as guests set out in canoes and venture down a mysterious, sacred river hidden within the bioluminescent rainforest. The full beauty of Pandora reveals itself as the canoes pass by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures. The journey culminates in an encounter with a Na’vi shaman, who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora and sends positive energy out into the forest through her music.

Disney plans to open Na’vi River Journey in Pandora – The World of Avatar sometime in mid-2017.

(We expect this canoe ride to be similar to Pirates of the Caribbean with a drop – or several drops in the dark – along the way.)

Read more about Pandora’s construction progress here:  Update on the World of Avatar

Pandora boat ride

Na’vi River Journey canoe ride

Entrance into the attraction.

The attraction’s entrance:  Pandora glowing at night with bioluminescence.

Pandora – The World of AVATAR

Pandora – The World of AVATAR.  We can’t wait to see it!!

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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.

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