Car Fire at Epcot

photo taken by cast member.

photo taken by cast member

The daily summer thunderstorms continue to roll over Orlando every afternoon.  Lightning struck a guest vehicle in the Epcot parking lot yesterday. Wow.

Thankfully no one was hurt.

What a way to end your day at Epcot! 😦

Total loss....hope it was a rental!

Total loss….hope it was a rental!

Calling tow truck to haul it away.

Calling tow truck to haul it away.

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Two Girls 

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

  by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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 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.

***

Throwback Thursday #4: Epcot Mexico

Epcot Mexico, 1996.

Epcot Mexico, 1996.

Epcot Mexico, 2014

Epcot Mexico, 2014

We’ve always like the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, nowadays even more after sampling the La Cava Tequila Flight featuring the delicious crème de Tequila!  Ole!

These sombreos are actually a big seller!

These sombreos are actually a big seller!

Tequila Liquor Flight:  The Essence of Mexico

Tequila Flight at La Cava del Tequila.

Tequila Flight at La Cava del Tequila.

Tequila Flight:  Almond Ultimo Agave, Agavero, and Rumchata 1921 Cream.  Yummy!

The True Spirit of Mexico

“The soul of Tequila is the essence of Mexico; to drink it is to absorb stories and be initiated into a world of legends.”

Epcot Mexico.

Epcot Mexico.

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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

***

Dinner at the Grand Floridian Café

Dinner at the Grand Floridian Café

The Grand Floridian Café

While we have stayed at the Grand Floridian many times, we’ve never eaten at the Grand Floridian Café onsite.

We decided to use one of our 50% Disney Holiday Discount coupons and have dinner there. It’s a very pretty restaurant and the food is very good (try the chicken in mushroom sauce!). We thought the service was slightly faster than at the other Grand Floridian restaurants.

Elly waiting for the appetizers.

Elly waiting for the appetizers.

Caroline enjoying her strawberry drink.

Caroline enjoying her strawberry drink.

Elegant, yet unpretentious, the Grand Floridian Cafe is a delightful restaurant. The Victorian motif features lovely florals and muted tones. A wall of windows overlooks the courtyard of the Grand Floridian Resort.

Dinner Menu (01/14)

Appetizers/Starters
Cheese Plate – Truffle Tremor, Reypenaer Gouda and maytag Blue with assorted accoutrements and sesame crackers – $11.99
Chickpea Fritters – Cucumber, Tomato, and Olive Salad with a cucumber yogurt dressing – $6.49
Panko crusted Lump Crab Cake – Carrot, parsnips, and celery root slaw, chipotle tartar sauce – $11.49
Shrimp Cocktail – Fragrantly poached shrimp served with fresh tomato horseradish cocktail salsa – $12.99

Soups/Salads
Caesar Salad – Crisp Romaine lettuce in a classic dressing. – $5.49
Caramelized Onion Soup Gratinee – Served traditional style – $7.49
Seasonal Salad – Mixed greens, oranges, fennel and candied pistachios with honey citrus vinaigrette – $5.99

Entree/Main Courses
Bone In New York Strip – House mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and Bordelaise – $29.99
Grand Floridian Burger – Angus chuck burger, buttered poached lobster with red onion marmalade, crispy prosciutto and arugula on a Brioche bun with chips – $19.49
Grilled Pork Chop – Sweet potato smoked gouda gratin with sauteed spinach and chimichurri – $21.99
Pan roasted Chicken Breast – Mushroom Risotto, roasted mushrooms and chicken pan juice – $18.99
Shrimp and Grits – Jumbo Shrimp with Chorizo and Fennel served on top of Creamy Mascarpone Cheese Grits. Placido Pinot Grigio, Veneto – $19.99
Today’s Sustainable Catch – $$$

Desserts
Boston Cream Pie – Vanilla chiffon cake, vanilla custard and topped with a dark chocolate glaze – $3.29
Chocolate Fondue – Dark chocolate ganache, accompanied by diced fruit for dipping. – $6.99
Dessert Sampler – includes Fresh berry tart, Boston cream pie, key lime tart, lemon cheesecake. Serves two – $9.99
Fresh Berry Tart – Layer of almond Cake topped with seasonal berries and apricot glaze – $3.29
Key Lime tart – Chocolate crust, topped with caramelized sugar. – $3.29
No sugar added Berry Pyramid – With Mango Sauce – $4.99
NY-style Lemon Cheesecake – Rich, New York Style – $3.29
Seasonal Sorbet – $4.49

Planning pin

Planning pin

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Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale
by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

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 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.
***

Enjoying a Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana

Enjoying a Character Breakfast at 'Ohana

Enjoying a Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana.

Caroline and I used our 50% dining discount coupon to enjoy a character breakfast with Lilo & Stitch at ‘Ohana at the Great Ceremonial House. The huge breakfast is served family style on platters, with the Disney characters of Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch visiting the tables. [Downside: We weren’t very hungry and the server claimed not to have any carry-out containers in the entire restaurant. Almost all that delicious food went to waste! 😦 ]

We had a great time with the characters!

The food was so delicious!

The food was so delicious!

Yum!

Yum!

Mickey leading a parade of kids.

Mickey leading a parade of kids.

With Lilo.

With Lilo.

She was great!

She was great!

Having fun with Stitch.

Having fun with Stitch.

Elly & Hawaiian Mickey.

Elly & Hawaiian Mickey.

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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

***  

Staying at the Polynesian Resort

At the Polynesian Resort.

At the Polynesian Resort.

In November, Disney gave all the CP interns a Holiday Discounts booklet filled with coupons for 60% off select Disney rooms, 50%/40% off select dining, free soda coupons, free popcorn coupons, etc. Our Cast Member merchandise discount went up from 20% to 40% through February 13, 2014.

Caroline and I have been staying onsite at various Disney properties, using our holiday discount coupons, during the off-season to see what they are like. We booked a room at the Polynesian Resort, which is right on the monorail line to the Magic Kingdom.

It was a blustery day when we arrived at the Great Ceremonial House to check-in, but the resort was still lovely and very tropical with beautiful flowering plants everywhere, a white sand beach, and a volcano slide at the pool.

A cool and rainy afternoon.

A cool and rainy afternoon.

View from our room.

View from our room.

Our beautiful hotel room.

Our beautiful hotel room.

Aloha

Aloha

Hawaiian flower Band-Its for my MagicBand.

Hawaiian flower Band-Its for my MagicBand.

Caroline in the atrium.

Caroline in the atrium.

And, of course, no visit to the Polynesian is complete without stopping at Captain Cook’s for some Dole Whip! 🙂

Our room on the 2nd floor.

Our room on the 2nd floor.

 

More on the Polynesian Resort:

The Polynesian is one of the original resorts Disney World opened in 1971. The tropical theme is timeless and it remains one of Disney’s most popular destinations. The Great Ceremonial House is the resort’s main reception area. This bit of paradise has a 3 story high tropical rainforest atrium with cascading waterfalls and 75 varieties of tropical and subtropical plants.

The Polynesian Resort is located on the beautiful Seven Seas Lagoon. This prized locale makes it perfect for viewing the Magic Kingdom fireworks, the nightly Electrical Water Pageant or for simply gazing at Cinderella’s Castle.

How it came to be:

Walt and Lillian Disney in Hawaii, 1930s.

Walt and Lillian Disney in Hawaii, 1930s.

Walt Disney and his wife Lillian started visiting Hawaii beginning in 1934 when they vacationed on Oahu. In the mid-1950’s, Walt’s interest in Polynesia continued to grow. He patronized Polynesian supper clubs and tiki bars. He loved the food and atmosphere so much that he wanted to open up his own Polynesian/Tiki restaurant. According to the Tikiman Pages website, “The thing he wanted to add that made it different, but sticking to the true Polynesian design, was to animate the décor. He wanted to make the Tikis, birds and flowers move and talk. This was not only the birth of the idea for the Polynesian resort, but Audio Animatronics, which is at the heart and soul of all the Disney parks.”

In 2013, the Enchanted Tiki Room celebrated its 50th Anniversary. It is in the history of this attraction that the culmination of Walt’s fascination with Tiki culture can be found, but that’s another story! – See more at: http://blog.wdwinfo.com/2013/07/29/the-polynesian-resort-hotel-history-of-walt-disney-worlds-monorail-loop-hotels/#sthash.2Cgzu7wr.dpuf

Character Meet & Greets at Animal Kingdom

Character Meet & Greets at Animal Kingdom

Meeting Pocahontas in her new location, right outside of Caroline’s work! How convenient!

The most perfect time to go to the Animal Kingdom is in the winter. (Of course, “winter” in Orlando isn’t like winter in say, Minnesota!)

I went first thing in the morning after dropping Caroline off for work. It was a perfect day, sunny and low 70s, for seeing all the animals, and there were no lines at any of the rides or at the character Meet & Greets.

All the Fast Pass machines are gone, replaced by Fast Pass+ (magic bands) this month. But, there were no wait times for the Kilimanjaro Safari or the Kali River Rapids ride anyway. In the winter, there’s a lot of bird nesting behavior going on (interesting to watch), and several baby animals had already been born.

Meeting Donald Duck in DinoLand.

Meeting Donald Duck in DinoLand.

The baby giraffe on the Safari.

The baby giraffe on the Safari.

Flamingo flock.

Flamingo flock.

Outpost that overlooks the tigers.

Outpost that overlooks the tigers.

Having a great time!

Having a great time!

Meeting Balou and King Louie!

Meeting Balou and King Louie!

I think I found the perfect spot in Animal Kingdom - this view is in Asia.

I think I found the perfect spot in Animal Kingdom – this view is in Asia.

From TouringPlans.com:
At 500 acres, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is five times the size of the Magic Kingdom and more than twice the size of Epcot. But like Disney’s Hollywood Studios, most of the Animal Kingdom’s vast geography is only accessible on guided tours or as part of attractions. Animal Kingdom consists of five sections, or “lands:” The Oasis,Discovery Island, DinoLand U.S.A., Africa, and Asia. (A new land based on the movie Avatar is being created on the west side of the park that once housed Camp Minnie-Mickey.)

Its size notwithstanding, Animal Kingdom features a number of fun attractions. To be exact, there are seven rides, several walkthrough exhibits, an indoor theater, three amphitheaters, a conservation exhibit, and a children’s playground.
HM