2017 Gingerbread Display at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

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Cinderella and her Prince Charming

This year’s gingerbread display at Disney’s Contemporary Resort features Cinderella and Prince Charming in front of their gingerbread castle.

The adorable gingerbread version of Cinderella Castle is done in “it’s a small world” style inspired once again by the artwork of Mary Blair. The new display replaces the ‘Frozen’ gang seen in the past few years.

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It’s in the Contemporary’s main atrium this year.

Also new this year is the location of the display. You’ll find it by the large A-frame window in the main atrium as opposed to its previous spot just outside of Chef Mickey’s. Much better lighting!

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It’s all about the gingerbread!

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We LOVE these shingles!

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Catch me, catch me, if you can….I’m the gingerbread man!

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Up-close of Cinderella, just like as in “it’s a small world”.

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About 2,000 lbs. of sugary goodness went into making this display!

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The new 2017 Cinderella holiday pin

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It opens up!

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New holiday mugs.

 

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Cookie tray


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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

**** 

Renting a Surrey Bike on the Boardwalk

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The Boardwalk Surrey Bikes.

I have been trying to convince my CP friends to rent one of those surrey bikes at the Boardwalk. It looks like SO much fun!

Since it was our last week of our summer College Program, I planned an epic night of bike riding followed by dessert at Beaches and Cream over at the Yacht Club!

We all got off work by 6pm and met up at the Boardwalk.

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If only the Boardwalk had been this empty when we were biking around!!  It was filled with summer crowds on the night we were there.

The surrey bike rental is right in front of the Boardwalk.  They were actually setting up for a movie on the lawn while we were “gearing” up for this!  (Get it? GEARING!??)
100_7432They make you fill out a contract before you ride.  We were laughing because the rule is before 8pm, anyone over 18 can be the driver.  After 8pm, you have to be 21 and older.

We were super confused because you know that you can get alcohol at the Boardwalk, you’d think you’d want a more competent DD than just someone over 21 driving. 😉

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Here is the contract, which I had to fill out as the Driver and then everyone else in the party also had to sign it.

It was just $22 to rent the bike.  We had him split the bill 5 ways to make it easy for all of us to pay since none of us carry cash.  At less than $5 per person, it was cheaper than a movie ticket!

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Ready to roll.

After some group photos, we were off!!

I LITERALLY have NEVER laughed so hard in my life!!!!!

It kind of looks easy, watching other families go around the lake loop.  You start at the boardwalk, normally heading towards Epcot, cross over the International Gateway bridge, past the Yacht and Beach club, and then make a complete circle back at the Boardwalk.

I was the driver and my ICP friend, Eve, (from Thailand) was in charge of the bell. Well, guests gave no bothers at all about a giant mult-person bike hurdling towards them! haha  I kept telling my friends, “Don’t worry, my hand is ON the brake!” as we are literally going on two wheels around the corners.  I didn’t mean I was using the brake, but my hand was on it!

We were coming up to the “hill” right before the Friendship bridgeway and I was trying to get everyone to kick it up a notch because I knew it would be harder than it looks. Instead, we literally came to a complete stop on this hill!!!  (There’s a reason they call it “Heartbreak Hill”!)

We were laughing so hard as all the pedestrians strolled past us!

We made it almost all the way around and didn’t realize that there was a second hill on the other side of the Boardwalk!  We couldn’t make it up it and came to a complete stop, all of us just dying with laughter!  Luckily, a cast member was walking in the opposite direction and stopped to give us a boost up the hill.

The complete loop is only supposed to take less than 30 minutes….it took us over an hour!  When we got back to the rental place, I hopped off and asked the CM if we could go around again.

The guy working there was very nice and said it was OK!  He made it a Magical Moment for us!  So off we went!  We pedaled about one shop down the Boardwalk and realized…we didn’t want to conquer those hills again.  It was my bright idea to just do a U-turn and head back to the rental place.

Except, we had stopped our surrey between a shop and a street performer!  We got completely stuck at a dead stop length-wise on the Boardwalk!  We were all laughing so hard!  We tried to simultaneously pedal backwards and that did nothing!

Luckily, a random guest saw how much we were struggling (the surrey’s are very heavy) and grabbed onto the front of the bike and, as I steered, he backed us up enough so that we could turn completely around.  Too funny!

By the time we completed our outing, I was completely soaked in sweat from all the pedaling, from the Florida humidity, and from the embarrassment!

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Ready to conquer some hills!

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The Boardwalk at night. So pretty with the lights reflecting off the lake.  The Frozen fireworks at DHS were just starting.

It was literally the best night of my DCP program! ❤

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Dock sign says: “Wishing You a Magical Day”.


We decided to walk to Beaches and Cream to cool down and were so happy to catch the 9pm Frozen fireworks going off at Hollywood Studios, perfectly framed over the Boardwalk!
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 Two Girls

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.

***

Ice Cream Brioche Sandwich

Le Menu.   Croque Glacé: $6.55

Le Menu. Croque Glacé: $6.55

One of my Disney Bucket List items was to try the Ice Cream sandwich on a brioche bun at L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France pavilion.

It’s called a Croque Glacé.

Yum!!

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Ready to begin making my masterpiece.

After ordering, I showed my receipt to the cast member and she began making my delicious snack. There is an entire table of rows and rows of stacked brioche buns.

You pick your ice cream flavor, then a topping sauce (chocolate, caramel, or raspberry).

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Getting started.

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Brioche bun – check!, chocolate ice cream – check!, hot waffle grill – check!

At the end of the ice cream counter is what looks like a Belgium waffle maker.

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Next, some chocolate sauce drizzled on top!

Then, voilà!  30 seconds later, it’s warm and ready to eat! It smelled so good!

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Chocolate Croque Glacé.

At first, I was like “Whoa, this is way too much bread and it’s weird that there’s ice cream”, but then I kept eating and it just got better and better!  You all know how much I love bread…

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Eating it outside.  I loved it!  ❤

I guarantee you that zero French people actually eat this, but if you’re visiting Epcot’s France and need a cool snack, this is a good choice!

Read more about other delicious French food offerings at Epcot France by clicking here and here.
***************************************

Two GirlsTwo 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.
***

Caroline’s First Adventure to House of Blues

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Ok, I did it!

I finally went to House of Blues.  I never went during my last program because it seemed like it was a little too wild for my taste.  But, I’ve decided that I need to try new things during this program.  Plus, my roommates were all interested in trying it out for the first time with me!

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Me with 6 out of my 7 roommates.

It was so perfect because we all actually were available to go out that night.

With everyone working at different parks and having roles, it’s amazing we could all be together!

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 3.13.25 PMWe rode the F bus (Downtown Disney) and got there at around 10:30pm.  It was so funny – SO many of the international programmers from Thailand were on the bus with us!

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 4.06.31 PMWe get to House of Blues, and I’m totally expecting it to be like packed and crazy already since the Fall Advantage people are all here and there are a ton of different summer programs going on…plus it’s summer!

Buuuut, it was basically as empty as the photo above!

Just us and the 15 ICPs that we rode the bus with!

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This is what it looks like for concerts. The dance floor was cleared for dancing when we got there.

We hung out for a hour or so, waiting for more people to show up.  There was a DJ on the stage, but he kept playing house mixes.  Nothing recognizable and only semi good beat.  I had to work the next day and be up by 6am, so I was keeping an eye on the clock.

Finally, we get out on the dance floor, but there was a dance-off going on.  There were maybe 6 people who knew how to pop and lock it and then 200 people standing around staring at them and wishing they were allowed to dance.

We watched the dancing for an hour. omg!  SO boring!  Yeah, it was cool the FIRST time they showed off their moves…not the 15th time!  Finally, a group of us girls got so annoyed, we rushed the dance floor.  It was SO fun for about 2 minutes until they reformed the dance circle…

By then, my roommates and I were fed up with the mood.  We came here to dance, not watch people dancing!  Plus, it was after 12:30am, so it was time for me to go.  Luckily, some of my roommates were ready to leave too so I didn’t have to go home alone.

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Walking back to the bus!

I ended up going to bed at 2am and had to get up at 6am for my last day of training.

It was so funny – it looked like everyone on the early morning bus bus had ALSO gone to HOB last night, judging by their puffy eyes and also the fact they were all completely passed out riding to work.

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This was what I was expecting at HOB. (Although, thank god it wasn’t!)

The coolest part about that night was getting to hang out with my roommates.  I never went anywhere or hung out with my previous program’s roommates because we had nothing in common.

Even though I went completely random this time with my roommate selection, I seriously LUCKED OUT with these girls!  🙂

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***************************************
Two GirlsTwo 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.
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
***

About My New Work Location – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Stroller Rental

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I’m finally finished with my training!

I had five days of training where I got to walk around my new work location and watch other cast members do what I will be doing for the next couple of months.  The first couple of days are supposed to be a lot of online e-learning about safety and Disney company policies.

I had no idea about how many work locations are at my new area at DAK.

Luckily, it’s not all carts and strollers!

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I’ve never seen it look like this…maybe Christmas time?  So many carts at the ready…

On the right side of DAK’s Main Entrance is Stroller Rental which is basically like a big parking garage for strollers and the electric conveyance vehicles (ECVs).  My best guess is there are around 65 ECVs and more than 200 strollers to rent.  I could be wrong though!  Seems like a ton! (I’ll update this when it’s my job to count them at night!)

There is also Garden Gate Gifts, which is where you work with a Photopass CMs helping guest’s pick out and print photos taken in the park.  This is also where guests can buy and activate magic bands.

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Lockers

On the left side of Main Entrance, there’s Locker Rental and Garden Gate Cart.  I like Lockers because it’s very easy!  The majority of the purchases are for chilled water bottles. (At $2.75, always bring your own!)

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The Outpost shop at the front entrance.

I didn’t realize that there are also stores outside the park that I have to work at too.

On the left side in front of the main entrance is the Outpost which is the exact same design as Pin Traders at Downtown Disney, except there isn’t a secret stockroom in the center of the building.  It has several open garage doors, so there is no air conditioning at all.  This store sells hats and small DAK-related items.

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Building design is exactly like Pin Traders at DTD.

Across from this store, on the right side, is Outpost Cart and Kiosk.  The kiosk is one of the Flower and Garden Festival kiosks that is just holding extra DAK merchandise.  There is absolutely no shade to stand under at this location!  Not my favorite.

My final training day was all about renting and operating strollers and the ECV electric scooters.  There’s a position called Stack/Unstack where you have to prepare the single and double strollers for guests.  You have to grab them and basically stack them on top of each other until they are 5 high.  That is up to my shoulder!  The double strollers are pretty heavy, so I know I’ll have a lot of back pain doing that.  You’re typically in this position for 3 hours before you get “bumped” or rotated out.

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Strollers.

The biggest and most important difference between my two DAK locations -last time and now –  is that there is literally no position that has air conditioning in Main Entrance.

Coming from Colorado, where it was still basically winter when I left for the program, and now dealing with all the Florida summer heat and humidity….it is going to be TOUGH.  😦

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 3.51.46 PMOne last photo of my new costume!  I feel like such a nerd with the shirt tucked in and the belt, but it is roomy and I love the colors!

***************************************

Two GirlsTwo 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.
Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

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
***

T Rex Cafe at Downtown Disney

T-Rex Cafe at Downtown Disney

T-Rex Cafe at Downtown Disney

I went out to dinner at Downtown Disney with my new friend, Nicole.

We really wanted to go to T-Rex Cafe and were hoping that the line wasn’t too long.  It’s always out the door no matter what the time of day.

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T-Rex Cafe menu

When we got there at 6pm, there was just a 25 minute wait for two people, but there was open seating in the bar area.  We ended up getting seated in the bar right away.  It’s nice because they also serve the full menu.

I ordered my favorite drink – the “Cotton-tini”.  It’s blue cotton candy in a martini glass and then they pour cotton candy vodka liquor on top! Yum!

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Drinking my Cottontini drink while watching the pretty fish swim around the aquarium.

All the food on the menu looked so good!

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T-rexasadillas with chicken

We ended up ordering two appetizers and splitting them.  I got the T-rexasadillas.  So good!

I honestly didn’t think anything could taste better than this.  The T-rexasadillas has grilled chicken and peppers with an avocado sauce on top.

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Footprints Flatbread with chicken

But, then I tried the Footprints Flatbread – grilled chicken, grilled onions, shredded cheese, with a balsamic vinegar dressing on top.  Two thumbs up!

Omg, I can’t tell you how good both these dishes were!

I meant to save a little for snack time later, but we ate the whole thing instead; the appetizers were so good!

No regrets!  🙂

To read the full T-Rex menu, click here.

*************************************** Two Girls

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 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.

***

Walt Disney World Summer Alumni Program Packing List

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May 26, 2015!!!!



I have barely had a minute to stop and think about everything I need to do before leaving for WDW. I was super gung-ho about everything when I was first accepted. I immediately got out all my Disney summer shirts and I bought a bunch of black socks….and then didn’t touch my suitcases again. For two months!  Haha.

Unfortunately, I gave away my twin sheets last year when I left Disney.  My current plan is to steal my brother’s sheets before I go. Dark grey isn’t really my style, but I think I can live with them for 2 months. Also, I still don’t have a comforter. Frankly, don’t have room in my two suitcases for that, so I might just bring a small blanket to use instead.

The one thing I KNOW I’m bringing is my Snuggie! I can’t nap without it! 😉

Mom thinks I’ll be too hot to use it (Florida summer – I know!), but I can’t go without it!

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Feeling some Snuggie Love

I keep remembering and packing random things in my suitcases. I don’t want to forget an extension cord or a small nonstick pan for eggs!  Packed those items away last night.

The most important thing I MUST remember for this program is that I will only be there for two months!

It’s not like last time where I could justify packing up half my bedroom and closet to bring for 6 months. Frankly, I didn’t need 3/4ths of the crap I brought down last program. (Mostly because I bought a lot of new stuff and clothes last time using my 20-40% Disney merchandise discount! Haha

2 suitcases (50 lbs. each) + 1 carry-on.  :(

2 suitcases (50 lbs. each) + 1 carry-on. 😦

Here is a mostly likely my (incomplete) packing list for my two months living at Disney.

I’ll update it if I think of more vitals! 🙂

CLOTHING
1 nice dress
6 Shirts (all tanktops!)
5-6 shorts
1-2 capris pants
PJs
3 Sports bras
8 Black socks
2 Swimsuits
1 Beach towel
2 Tennis shoes
1 Black shoes
2 Flipflops
1 Dress shoes
1 Slippers
KITCHEN
Small frying pan
Swiffer wet jet?
2 Kitchen towels
2 Dish towels
Small Kurieg
Brita water jug and filter
BATHROOM
Small mat
shampoo/conditioner
face wash
lotion
sunscreen
2 Towels
2 Hand towels
2 Face towels
Makeup!
Tooth brush/paste
hair brush, ties, clips, headband
BEDROOM
Twin sheets and comforter
two pillows
small lamp?
Plug splitter
Extension cord
TO BUY
Laundry detergent/dryer sheets
Dish washer soap
Hand soap
Shampoo/conditioner
Hair detangler
Sunscreen/aloe

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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
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.
Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.