Goodbye to ‘Wishes’ Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom!

Disney has the best fireworks shows in the world!

Wishes fireworks over the Cinderella Catsle

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
I wish I might have my wish tonight.

After 14 years, the ‘Wishes’ Nighttime Fireworks Spectacular at the Magic Kingdom will say goodbye tonight (May 11, 2017) with the very last performance.

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The new fireworks show!

A new show called ‘Happily Ever After’ begins Friday night, May 12th, 2017.

‘Happily Ever After’ captures the heart, humor, and emotions of Disney films through awe-inspiring fireworks, state of the art projections, and brilliant lasers.

Disney Parks Blog will be live steaming the event:  Live Stream from the Magic Kingdom.

Make a wish....

Always make a wish when Tinkerbell leaps off the Cinderella Castle and glides over Fantasyland!

We saw – or heard – the Wishes fireworks show every single day while working for Disney during our year-long DCP program at Disney World.

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We cried along with our friends watching Wishes fireworks on the very last night of our program!

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Ever wonder just what do all those firework shows at Disney World cost????

Wishes at the Magic Kingdom!

‘Wishes’ over the Magic Kingdom!

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is the highest consumer of fireworks in the world.

Disney does not disclose the cost of fireworks, but just the nightly – and sometimes twice a night – ‘Wishes’ fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom costs anywhere from $41,000-$55,000 a night. (The special New Year’s Eve fireworks at MK are estimated to cost over $100,000!)  That means it costs at least $15 million a year for Magic Kingdom fireworks alone.

Disney World puts on about 2,500 firework shows a year at three of their parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios). No fireworks displays are ever used at Animal Kingdom – it would scare the animals!  And, there are no fireworks shows at Disney Springs.

If you want to assume that Illuminations at Epcot and Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios are slightly less, maybe half the cost, that comes out to at least $30 million a year for them. This would not include any special fireworks displays that happen for 4th of July, or Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Villains in the Sky at Hollywood Studios, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, nor the daytime fireworks that are a part of most of the stage shows performed in front of the Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom.

Rough, conservative estimate for WDW fireworks – $45 – $50 million dollars annually.

It seems like everytime Disney changes or expands the fireowrks show, the parking fees go up!

It seems like every time Disney changes or expands the fireworks show, the parking fees go up!

Rumor has it that Disney uses the revenue from all their parking lots (currently $20/day) to help cover the cost of the fireworks. So, when you pay for parking, you’re really paying for the evening’s fireworks show. Nice!  (Be sure to stay for the fireworks and not leave early!!)

Expect parking fees to go up soon with the new fireworks show launching this week!  🙂

5pm: Moving the Illumnations fireworks platforms into position.

5pm: Moving the Illuminations fireworks platforms into position at Epcot.

Moving out into the center of the Friendship Lagoon.

Moving the launching platforms out into the center of Friendship Lagoon.

VIP Seating for Illuminations

Caroline watching the beginning of the Illuminations show.

CP Moment Illuminations

A CP Moment:  Watching IllumiNations for the first time with your coworkers.

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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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Roasting Marshmallows at the Wilderness Lodge

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Silver Creek flowing along at the Wilderness Lodge in the evening.

One of my Disney Bucket List items was to go and roast marshmallows at the Wilderness Lodge this summer.

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Marshmallow #1

Every night at sundown, the resort offers marshmallows to guests to roast.

This is a great, family-friendly event.  They provide the marshmallows and the sticks at no cost.

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Roasting our marshmallows

When you’re done using your stick, the CM breaks it up, and tosses it into the fire pit as more firewood!

Marshmallow

Marshmallow #2

Not gonna lie, I ate three marshmallows.  They were SO good!!!  Toasted just perfectly!

We sat around the fire pit watching the stars come out one by one.

Of course, we made a wish on the very first evening star we saw as every Disney fan knows: When you wish upon a star…your dreams come true!  🙂

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Make a wish….

I want to go with my DCP summer roommates next time.  It would be such a great bonding experience to roast marshmallows together and then watch the Wishes fireworks over the Castle! 🙂

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Adventure Book Cover

Adventures in the Animal Kingdom

Lions and Tigers and Strollers, Oh My!

This is not Caroline’s first time in the Disney College Program. Along with her sister, she was previously accepted into the program a few years earlier.  Back in Colorado, Caroline was wishing for a little more pixie dust to brighten up her life.  On a whim, she decides to apply to the exclusive Disney Alumni Summer Program.

Now that she’s back, things get wild.

Wild, as in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where Caroline is assigned to work in Stroller Rental.  While not the most glamorous position in the park, it’s often ground zero for humanity at its best and at its worst.

While Caroline makes many “Magical Moments” for deserving guests whose pixie dust has gone temporarily sideways, she also receives magical moments of her own through the friendships she makes, going to Disney cast member exclusive events, and all the spectacular dining opportunities at Disney World.

Caroline tells all – from the ins and outs of Disney’s secret training class called Traditions; to learning how to be a happy cast member during on-the-job training; to what it’s like to interact with fellow cast members and the guests who are ready to explore the most magical place on earth.

Join Caroline as she takes you on a wild ride through her adventures in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But be careful, it’s a jungle out there!

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

Book link on Amazon.com:  Adventures in the Animal Kingdom

dak tree costume

Adventure is out there!

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About the Author:

Caroline’s love for all things Disney, and desire to grow up to be a Disney princess, is the reason she always wanted to work for Disney.  Her dream came true working as a cast member at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Caroline is the co-author of the book, Two Girls and a Mouse Tale, about her adventures working at Disney World with her sister.

She is currently a 7th grade middle school Social Studies teacher in Colorado.

Daily blog link:  https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/

DAK-Entrance

Welcome to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

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Two Disney Sisters

Two Disney Sisters

 

 

Dinner at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom

8pm reservation for dinner

8pm reservation for dinner at the Crystal Palace

My CP work friend Ricky invited me to dinner at the Crystal Palace last week.  While I’ve eaten there for breakfast, I’ve not tried their dinner buffet.

Dinner with my CP friends.

Dinner with my CP friends Ricky and Dylson.

It was delicious!

The dinner buffet features savory sirloin steak, peel-and-eat shrimp, and a carving station with some tasty turkey with all the trimmings.

The dessert bar features warm bread pudding, key lime pie, coconut flan, brownies, fruit cobbler and soft-serve ice cream.

It was the perfect ending to our meal!

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Little bit of everything…it was all so good!

All the characters from the 100 Acre Woods stopped by our table:  Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet.

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh

Tigger stopped by just as I sat down to eat.

Tigger stopped by just as I sat down to eat.

Piglet (one of my favorite characters!)

Piglet (one of my favorite characters!)

Eyeore (looking just a little sad!)

Eyeore (looking just a little sad!)

Best of all:  Our reservation was for 8pm and we got a window seat.  It was the perfect spot to view the Wishes fireworks over the Cinderella Castle at 9pm! So fun!  🙂

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Our view of the Cinderella Castle.  Perfect spot for watching Wishes fireworks!!

To read more about my crazy 3 reservations in 1 day, click here: Crystal Palace Breakfast and here: Be Our Guest Lunch.

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The Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom was inspired by the great Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851.

The look and feel is inspired by Victorian greenhouses of the late 1800s.  So sunny!

The look and feel is inspired by Victorian greenhouses of the late 1800s. So pretty!

It brims with light, topiaries, and tropical palms—and is an enchanting dining spot to meet some favorite Disney friends. There are windows everywhere with lovely Victorian touches.

Winnie the Pooh topiary in the center.

Winnie the Pooh topiary in the center.

As you enter, there’s a wonderful character topiary in the center featuring the 100 Acre Woods friends. (This is the only character meal at WDW where Winnie the Pooh and friends can be found.) This buffet restaurant is pretty, light-filled, spacious, and bright. The Crystal Palace Character Meal features meeting Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. They meet and greet you as you enjoy your meal. The bountiful buffet features American favorites prepared before you in the onstage kitchen.

Dinner Menu  (Updated: 07/2015), $41.99/person

Entree/Main Course

Dinner Buffet – “A Buffet with Character”: Winnie the Pooh and friends invite you to indulge in a bountiful buffet. Gourmet cuisine offered in Victorian elegance that offers a variety of selections to tempt every taste including Garden Fresh Salads, Spice-boiled Shrimp, Spit-roasted Carved Meats, Chicken, Beef, Fish and Vegetable Creations, Freshly-prepared Pastas, House- made Sweets and Ice Cream. A Non-Specialty Beverage is included with all meals.

  • Carving Stations (Beef and Turkey)
  • Chicken, Beef, Fish Stations
  • Vegetable Side Dishes and Casseroles
  • Salad Bar
  • Pasta Bar
  • Dessert Buffet featuring assorted cakes, sweet treats, and ice cream
  • Coffee, tea, milk, sodas, water

*************************************** 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 22nd Birthday!!!

I just celebrated the most amazing birthday!  I turned 22 on February 18th and it was awesome!  For anyone who knows me, they know that I like to celebrate my birthday all month long! Haha  I was telling a guest the other day how I know 6 other people who share my birthday and I said, “Hello, today is MY special day! This day is supposed to be about ME!”

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I was so excited when I woke up and saw how nice the weather was!  February in Colorado normally means blizzards on my birthday!  It was low 80s, almost no humidity, and perfect blue skies!

The first thing I did in the morning was go out to Starbucks for breakfast with my good friend Katie!  She brought me a delicious cupcake from a famous store in Atlanta, Georgia called Sprinkles!

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Elly surprised me with a stay at the Wilderness Lodge for my birthday!  I have only walked through the lobby once and I don’t think Elly has ever been.  It is really cool when you walk in because the building is based off the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, in Yellowstone, which we have visited before.

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It was really special because Elly upgraded our room so we had the most amazing view!  We could see the waterfall, the pool, and the Seven Seas Lagoon all from our room!  And we were on the second highest floor so we could really see everything! So pretty!

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The waterfall at the Wilderness Lodge

The waterfall at the Wilderness Lodge

The first thing we did was walk around the stores and pin trade!  Everyone wished me a Happy Birthday and really made an effort to talk to me and ask me about my birthday plans.  We really did not have too much planned for my birthday.  I figured that I am in the most magical place – fun things will just automatically happen!

Besides the beautiful views and lobby, I was really impressed with the food!  We went to the quick service place called the Roaring Fork.  All the cast members talked to me about how I was eating there for my birthday and even the manager came over to say hi!

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Elly and I both ordered the ham and cheese paninis.  SO GOOD!  They probably have half a pound of yummy ham and it was toasted perfectly!  It was served with a side of house chips or cucumber salad.

I was completely surprised when the manager came out with all the cast members and brought me a big vanilla cupcake!!!  Then he got the entire restaurant to sing to me!  I was so surprised because I didn’t think I would be getting any cake for my birthday!  SO nice!

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Afterward, I got a picture with the Roaring Fork Chorale!

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Everyone was telling us to go to Magic Kingdom for the night because it was going to be open late – 1am!

We took the boat over there because that’s the only transportation offered from the Wilderness Lodge.  It was really fun and nice because the weather was still so perfect.  Before we left, we went to the giftshop for a “shopper-tunity” and bought sweaters since we were going to be out late.

So many magical moments happened when I got there!

We walked into Magic Kingdom and immediately went to see Mickey Mouse since there was no line!  Mickey wished me a Happy Birthday and then performed a magic trick with me.  So cute!

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We watched the Electrical Parade and then I went on a mission to find the just released pin for the Seven Dwarfs Mine ride!  The first store I looked at, on the first rack and it had the last two!!  When I asked the manager about them, he did not even know the store had them yet!

We had the perfect viewing of Wishes!

We had the perfect viewing of Wishes!

Then we walked right on the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan, and both princess meet & greets!

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We talked all about our favorite flavors of cake we like to eat! Rapunzel invited me to eat some chocolate cake she just baked!

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Snow White loved my sparkly shoe laces! She asked if I was walking around the Seven Dwarfs Mine because I had diamond dust all over my shoes!

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Cinderella was so sweet! She wished me a Happy Birthday and then invited me for a tea party later!

We went to get a funnel cake before Wishes and the cast member gave me free whipped cream.  Actually, she wrote “H B CAROLINE” with the whipped cream!  Haha I wish I could have gotten a good picture of it because it was hilariously awesome!

The time just flew by and before we knew it, it was already 1am!  I had so much fun on my birthday!!  Even though I work for Disney, it still amazes me how cast members really go out of their way to make my special day so amazing!  I had so much fun, I completely forgot to open all the cards my family sent me! haha

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We loved the Wilderness Lodge!

We loved the Wilderness Lodge!

Throwback Thursday:

5th birthday!

5th birthday!

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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=1409410046&sr=1-1&keywords=Two+Girls+and+a+Mouse+Tale