Seeing the Festival of Fantasy Parade Premier

One year ago….Happy 1st anniversary to the Festival of Fantasy parade at the Magic Kingdom!! 🙂

Elly and Caroline's Magical Disney Moments

Festival of Fantasy Parade Premier At the March 9, 2014 FoF parade premier!!

Seeing the Festival of Fantasy parade is yet another premier that Caroline and I were able to catch during our DCP program. WOW! This parade is amazing!

The Festival of Fantasy is the new Magic Kingdom daily parade. This parade replaced the “Celebrate A Dream Come True” parade that had been going on since January 2009.

We had a great parade spot at the Magic Kingdom. We were standing right on the edge between Liberty Square and Frontierland. It was sunny day with blue skies, and it was not too crowded.  It was so great.

10155035_10102177130075773_661571185_n Belle & The Beast

parade8 (2) Princess Ariel on her float.

The parade starts off with Belle and the Beast on a very long princess float filled with gorgeous roses. The last section of the princess float is the best with Anna & Elsa on a platform that rotates…

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Showkeeping Parasol Parade at Grand Floridian

Wish we could get up early enough to see this!!!

Elly and Caroline's Magical Disney Moments

Showkeeping Parasol Parade at Grand FloridianA Disney ‘Special Touch’ for Grand Floridian guests:
Early rising guests at the Grand Floridian can enjoy a cheery parade of over 50 parasol-toting housekeepers on Mondays and Fridays at 8am sharp. The tradition began when the Resort first opened in 1988. The Housekeeping Team members gather at the marina and slowly stroll through the Victorian courtyard around the pool area. What a charming way to start the day! 🙂

It does look like a fun way to begin and to end the week! We’ve stayed there and the Housekeeping Team does work hard to make guests happy.

Photos courtesy of WDW Shutterbug.

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What a lovely parade! What a lovely parade!

sk3 (2) Have a magical day!

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Walt Disney & Smoking Ban

Walt Disney & Smoking

As we learned in our Disney Traditions class, it’s very hard to find photographs of Walt Disney smoking, although he was a chain smoker all of his adult life, typically smoking at least three packs a day before succumbing to lung cancer in 1966!

Disney’s cigarette has been airbrushed out of this photo.

Walt Disney’s cigarette has been airbrushed out of this photo.

No cigarette in this photo either!

No cigarette in his right hand in this photo either!

Most of the photographs of Disney holding a cigarette have been airbrushed by the company and the cigarette removed, giving rise to the famous Disney two finger point that all Cast Members are taught.

The two finger point.

Tom Hanks doing the Disney Two Finger Point.

From behind the scenes of “Saving Mr. Banks”:
The company’s blanket ban on lit cigarettes in its films came into effect in 2007, when Bob Iger, Disney’s chairman and CEO, stated: “We expect that depictions of cigarette smoking in future Disney-branded films will be non-existent.”

Saving Mr. Banks does feature an unlit cigarette: in one scene, Disney, played by Tom Hanks, is seen stubbing it out as Travers, played by Emma Thompson, enters his office. The cigarette itself is not visible, however, and nor is its smoke. Disney is also seen swearing and sipping Scotch Mist, his cocktail of choice.

WWI photo in France

WWI photo of Walt Disney in France

Born in 1901, Disney took up smoking in 1918 as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War. He took great care never to smoke around children, but was said to suffer from an incessant, hacking cough.

During the construction of Disneyland.  The cigarette has been airbrushed out.

Walt walking around during construction of Disneyland. The cigarette has been airbrushed out of his right hand.

His favorite brand of cigarettes was Lucky Strike, and he also smoked a pipe. In 1955, he opened a tobacconist shop on Disneyland’s Main Street, which closed in 1991, though it’s traditional “Cigar Store Indian” still stands on the pavement outside the location.  Sadly, Disney died from complications of lung cancer in December 1966 at the age of 65.

Great article about Walt and his life-long smoking habit: Walt and His Infamous Cough.
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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

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DAK costume

Adventure is out there!

 

Enjoying WDW in the Rain

In our Disney ponchos.

In our Disney ponchos at Epcot

No need to let a little – or a LOT – of rain, aka ‘liquid sunshine’, stop you from visiting WDW…or make you leave the theme Parks early!

One of the great things about the DCP program is that you really become an expert on all the Parks of WDW. In no time at all, you will know where the best place to park is and learn when the best time to visit to each Park is, even in the rain!

Walking around DAK in the rain.

Walking around DAK in the rain.

We’ve toured Animal Kingdom in the pouring rain and not only had DAK all to ourselves, we had a blast!   https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/touring-disneys-animal-kingdom-in-the-rain/

In order, the easiest Parks to tour in the rain are: Magic Kingdom (driest), Hollywood Studios (good), Epcot (OK), and Animal Kingdom (you’ll get very wet!).

Rainy season: June, July, August, September

Rainy season: June, July, August, September

Orlando gets more precipitation in June and July than we get all year at home (Boulder, CO).  But, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios all have many indoor attractions.

Take a look at the weather forecast during your stay. If there’s a fairly dry day predicted, plan to visit the Animal Kingdom on that day. While it does have sheltered venues, this is one Park that’s meant to be enjoyed outdoors. You will get very wet, even wearing a poncho, if you go there on a rainy day or if it starts to rain. And, there is very little covered seating for eating.

Buy disposable ponchos at the Dollar Store before you go to WDW!

Buy disposable ponchos at the Dollar Store before you go to WDW!

The good news is not everyone plans ahead and you often see visitors leaving the Parks in droves – almost running from the Park – once the rain begins. Just keep one safety issue in mind: when you pop on a poncho it doesn’t mean that you’re immune from lightening. If it’s thundering and lightning, stay indoors until the coast is clear.

If rain is in the forecast, when you arrive at the Park think about renting a locker. You can stow your rain gear in the morning when it’s not needed, and don’t forget to bring a plastic bag to store the wet rainwear later. If it’s really raining hard, plan on having soggy shoes/socks. A change of footwear for later in the day may be a good idea.

Rainy day: no problem!

Rainy day at DTD: no problem!

The prospect of rain should not keep you out of the Parks (you won’t melt); all you really need to pack is a disposable poncho and flip-flops to make touring during a rainy day a breeze.  We liked using our collapsible umbrellas. The rain will scare plenty of local guests away, so a nice afternoon shower might be just the thing to lower the crowd levels to more manageable levels in the summer (less wait times!).

Rainy day at the Magic Kingdom: No Crowds!

Rainy day at the Magic Kingdom: No Crowds!

Here is a list of some of WDW’s indoor attractions, many of which have covered waiting areas:

A rainy afternoon at MK.  Look, no crowds!

A rainy afternoon at MK. Look, no crowds!

Magic Kingdom:
Fantasyland: Dumbo’s Big Top Tent, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, It’s a Small World, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Winnie the Pooh, Prince Charming Carousel – all have covered waiting areas.
Adventureland: Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents – all great shows and all have covered pre-show/waiting areas.
Tomorrowland: Carousel of Progress, PeopleMover (closed summer 2014), Monsters, Inc., Stitch’s Great Escape, Buzz Lightyear.
Shopping on Main Street USA – All the stores are connected, so you can walk down a lot of Main Street inside.

Epcot:
Future World: Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Living With The Land Pavilion, Mission: Space, Sum of All Thrills, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Turtle Talk with Crush, Innovations, Soarin’, Captain EO, Spaceship Earth.
World Showcase:
‘O Canada’, American Adventure, ‘Impressions de France’, ‘Reflections of China’, Maelstrom, Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride (Mexico).

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Muppet-Vision 3D, Great Movie Ride, One Man’s Dream, Star Tours, Beauty and The Beast

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
Finding Nemo: The Musical, Festival of the Lion King, It’s Tough to be a Bug

There's a lot of truth to this meme!!!

There’s a lot of truth to this meme!!!

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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:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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Things All Disney Cast Members Can Do

Working with my sister at the Animal Kingdom's Island Merchantile.

Working with my sister at the Animal Kingdom’s Island Merchantile.

So, you want to be a Disney Cast Member…

Every Disney Cast Member learns the basics of doing the ‘Disney Point’, navigating the Parks, and interacting with guests during their training. However, there are many other skills that Cast Members tend to pick up on the job. Things you might not consider to be terribly useful in everyday life often turn out to be very handy when you’re dealing with thousands of theme park guests on a daily basis.

Here’s a list of some of our talents that we learned after just a few days in our role:

1. Speaking in Acronyms
Cast Members love acronyms, particularly those with three letters. Many popular acronyms assume the word “ride” is tacked on to the end of an attraction to get the right number of letters. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is “DAK” (pronounced like it rhymes with “pack”). Kilimanjaro Safaris is KSR, Dinosaur is DTR (adding “The” as well as “Ride”), and The Great Movie Ride is GMR. Since these don’t make pronounceable words, you just say the letters.

If you work in the rotation that includes Aladdin, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, you’re at ATT. String enough of these together and it’s almost incomprehensible to someone who’s not a Cast Member.

1 + 1 + 1 = ???

1 + 1 + 1 = ???

2. Counting the Number of People in a Group in Seconds
Sure, you always ask “how many,” but you also go into the grouper position knowing that a lot of people will get the answer wrong. Guests also like to answer with math problems like: “two here, and three behind me, and then a kid”, instead of just saying “5”.

Needless to say, it’s handy to have a good eye for figuring out which groups are together and determining how many are really with the guest in question.

OK!  Tall enough to ride this year...

OK! Tall enough to ride this year…

3. Judging Children’s Heights at a Glance
Any Cast Member who has worked at an attraction with a height restriction is sure to have a special talent for identifying children who fall under that height. Cast Members typically figure out where the height restriction falls on their own body. That way you know any child who comes past your waist is good to go, while those who are mid-thigh definitely need to be measured. This skill is handy on the job, but is awkward when you unconsciously eye up the kids in line with you when you’re riding attractions in your off time.

4. Sensing Nausea from Great Distances
Cast Members who work on attractions with motion sickness warnings tend to hone this skill particularly well, but the ever-present heat and humidity in Florida can make guests green at the gills just about anywhere.

After just a few weeks on the job, Cast Members can spot that glassy-eyed look from a distance. You always hope you can get to the guest before he has a hand over his mouth, so there’s at least a small chance of getting him to a restroom in time. (That rarely happens!)

5. Determining Any Nationality in Under a Minute
Cast Members get to meet guests from all over the world. After you’ve had some experience chatting up international visitors, you’ll notice some commonalities in dress and mannerisms. This skill has nothing to do with determining someone’s heritage, so skin color and facial features don’t really apply.

You can usually tell from someone’s choice of clothing or footwear where they’re from. If you can’t guess before talking to them, you’re sure to figure it out after you’ve heard their accent. Non-English speakers also seem to know certain English words that change depending on where they’re from.

The flag of Brazil

The flag of Brazil

6. Spotting Brazilian Tour Groups
Enought said.

Alice with Push the Trashcan (look him up!)

Alice with Push the Trashcan (look him up!)

7. Scooping Up Trash Without Missing a Step
Picking up stray pieces of trash on the ground is an essential Cast Member skill that goes all the way back to Walt himself. The ‘man behind the mouse’ was known to pick up litter in the streets of Disneyland to keep up the flawless appearance of his beloved Park.

Naturally, Cast Members are expected to follow suit. This skill is really handy anywhere, but it does get you some strange looks from your friends when you keep falling behind at the mall because you’re reflexively picking up every crumpled napkin you see.

Even after you leave Disney, you'll still find yourself doing the Disney Point!

Even after you leave Disney, you’ll still find yourself doing the Disney Point!

8. Pointing with Two Fingers
All pointing is always done with two fingers whether giving directions, leading the way, or answering guest’s questions.

Epcot Illuminations:  9:15pm!

Epcot Illuminations: It mus be 9:15pm!

9. Figuring the Time Based on the Sound of Fireworks in the Distance
Walt Disney World has at least three fireworks shows every night of the year. In certain spots on WDW property, you can even hear more than one. For example, Cast Members can often determine the time at night by figuring that if the wind is carrying the sound of Illuminations fireworks over from Epcot, it must be 9:15pm.

10. Guessing What a Guest Will Ask Before They Get the Question Out
In certain positions, a Cast Member’s whole role is to answer questions. Cast Members in guest relations, the greeter position of an attraction, front desk areas in the hotels, or stocking shelves in a gift shop all tend to get lots and lots of the same questions throughout the day.

After a while you pick up on what the guest is asking long before the question makes its way out. This is especially useful in cases where the guest himself doesn’t actually know what he’s asking. The literal answer to “When is the 3 o’clock parade?” is “3 o’clock”, but without the eye rolling.

All Cast Members are a part of Walt's living legacy.

All Cast Members are a part of Walt’s living legacy.

Adapted from Theme Park Tourist:  http://www.themeparktourist.com/features/20130917/14414/9-strange-things-cast-members-learn-do
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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

Do’s and Don’ts for On-Duty Cast Members

Working with your best friend makes the time fly by!

Working with your best friend makes the time fly by!

The DCP internship can make you or break you. Plenty of DCPers, at least 10-15% every semester, don’t even make it a week or two into the program, and self-term or are terminated by Disney before their program ends!

We think it’s all about having realistic expectations and a positive attitude.

Every DCPer goes through the ‘Traditions’ class and knows it’s important to uphold certain behavior standards while wearing your costume.

Here’s our list of Do’s and Don’ts for on-duty cast members.

DO:
Remember the Four Keys: Safety, Efficiency, Courtesy, and Show! If you are performing your duties while keeping the Keys in mind, you’ll do great!

Make a commitment to performing Magical Moments for guests every day. They may not remember the 100th time they rode “Pirates of the Caribbean”, but they will remember a cast member who made their day special.

Acknowledge guests’ celebration buttons. There are at least seven current celebration buttons (I’m Celebrating, Happily Ever After, I’m Engaged, etc.), and many guests wear their celebration buttons from previous visits. It’s an easy way to make guests feel valued and special.

Talk to little kids. They can sense your passion for Disney will be very excited to tell you all about their favorite characters, rides, and the best part of their day at the Park.

Carry your CM ID with you always! You will need it to get backstage, to clock in, etc.

Always take pride in your costume! This falls under “Show”, and you should always be in the ‘Disney Look’ while at work. You never know who, i.e., managers, VPs, etc. could be walking around in guest clothes and see you!

Share your magical stories with your coordinators and managers. They write “recaps” of the day and your story could make it into those recaps, which get sent to all area managers for review.

Remember that “Safe-D Begins with Me”. Putting a yellow caution cone by the front door or an extra mat down when it starts to rain could prevent a guest from slipping. Be the first to go get the broom and the dust pan when something breaks. Practicing safety the “Disney Way” is the easiest way to get a Four Keys Fanatic Card.

Remember when you “See something, Say something”. If you see a fellow cast member doing something great, say something to their manager!  It’s how we earn our Four Keys recognition cards! 🙂

Remember to use your Two Finger Point when directing guests to attractions or restaurants in the Parks.

Remember your water bottle and to bring your lunch! Break periods are short and you should make the most of them.

Pick up trash off the ground. It’s what Walt would want (remember, no trash can is more than 30 steps away!).

Smileyou work in the happiest place on earth where dreams really do come true, and that’s no joke! 🙂

DON’T:
Be late! Always allow extra time for getting to work and never count on the buses to get you to work on time! 1 minute late = 1/2 point on your card!

Forget to call in if you will miss a day. Remember, it’s one point if you miss a day and you only get 3 points per reprimand!

Don’t call out sick or personal, and then go to the Parks on the same day. Never ever do this!  Deployment sends a note to your manager when you call out, so it is easily tracked if you use your Main Gate pass to get into the Parks. You will be termed for doing that.

Forget all the requirements of the Disney Look when you’re in costume. They will send you home if you show up in a wrinkled or dirty costume, if you look bad/unkempt (i.e., hung-over), etc. You are the face of Disney while at work.

Be rude to any fellow Cast Member. If you’ve having a tough day due to the crowds or whatever, chances are they are too!

Lose the magic. Working at Disney is hard work, but the rewards are worth it. If you find yourself losing the magic, it’s time to rethink your attitude. The DCP internships are short, just a semester. You’ll never get a second chance to ‘make Walt proud’. 🙂

Always point with two fingers!

Always point with two fingers!

 

The Do’s and Don’ts for Off-Duty Cast Members:  Do’s and Don’ts When You Are Off Duty

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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

***