Rachel Does Disney: ROUND 3!

Hi everyone! It never fails that I seem to gravitate back to this blog at least once a year or so, huh? Can you believe it’s been almost THREE years since I started my last CP? I know I sure can’t!!

Here’s a quick little update on my life before I jump into the REAL reason why I’m crawling back to this blog:

As most people in their early 20’s are, I’ve been busy busy trying to figure out my life! This past December, I graduated from college with my degree in Communication Studies so the future has been extra heavy on my mind. I felt like I’d been in college forever….and, well, that’s because I kinda was. After transferring schools, changing my major, taking a semester off to do a Disney College Program (then taking ANOTHER semester off to do ANOTHER Disney College Program a year later), then changing my major AGAIN, I’d say 5.5 years is a pretty impressive amount of time to lock down a degree, right?! Despite how long it took me to finish, and the multiple bumps I hit along the way, I have no regrets. I am so happy with my degree, I’ve figured out what I’m passionate about, and I’m ready to start my professional career!

Which leads me to the reason why I’m writing this post….

After months of waiting and interviews, I have officially received and accepted an offer for a Disney Professional Internship in Orlando! AHHHH!!!!!!

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Now, I know it’s hard to believe, but last fall was the first time I even THOUGHT about applying for a PI. I guess the main reason for this is because I felt really overwhelmed by all the options and the whole process, not to mention I didn’t have much experience to make me stand out, so I figured: why even bother? But at the end of last summer, I had a pretty firm idea of what I wanted to do with my life, plus I had some professional internship experience to tack onto my resume in that field, so I decided I’d give it a go.

I perfected my resume and spent an entire afternoon submitting applications to different roles.

Aaaand…. I was immediately NLIC’d for all of them.

I got an email telling me that I was not qualified for internships because I was considered “Restricted Rehire” AKA: I could never work for the company again. I was DEVASTATED and had no idea why. So I did a little investigating: I emailed Disney Internships and was told that the reason I got listed as “Restricted Rehire” was because I didn’t return a costume piece. After being told this, I knew exactly what had happened: I had lost a BOW TIE from my Photopass costume and it was listened in the system as having never been returned. I must not have cleared up the issue with costuming before I left my last CP. So I ended up reaching out to Costuming and explained my situation and they were able to help out. After reconnecting with the Disney Internships Recruiters, they kindly reopened my apps. Unfortunately, after all of that, I didn’t receive any interviews for any role anyway. While I was bummed, I was happy to know that I could still return to the company someday.

The semester whizzed by and I graduated in December without a job offer. Thankfully, I was able to stay at my current internship full-time for the winter, so I did that, moved home, started saving up my money, and continued to try to figure out what was next for me. Soon, I got the email that Professional Internship apps were open again. Fun fact: did you know that you can still apply to PIs and the DCP within 6 months of graduating? Yep, you can!! So, not thinking much would come from it, I gave it a shot.

I tweaked my resume, rewrote my cover letter about 10 times, sent in my applications, and held my breath. I got NLIC’d for quite a few right away and stayed in submission a while for others. The remaining ones sat “In Progress” for almost two months. When the end of February rolled around and I was only still “In Progress” for two positions of the 25 I applied for, I gave up hope and moved on. I figured it just wasn’t meant to be. But almost as soon as I had decided to move on…I got an email asking me to set up a phone interview for one of my ****DREAM**** positions as a Social Media Intern!! And this ended up being the one I got!

I move down in early June and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve missed Disney desperately (what else is new, amiright?!) and have been itching to go back and be a part of the magic again. This new role allows me to not only gain experience in my dream career field, but I also get to play a big role in guest experience services so I’m really looking forward to all of the great learning experiences I’m going to have. I can’t wait to share it with you! I don’t know if I’ll have much time to blog, but I promise I’ll be posting a lot on Instagram (@rachelalbon) so please feel free to follow me there, as well!

XOXO
Rachel

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Rachel Does Disneyland (Alternative Title: Why Going to Disney Parks Alone is The Best)

Guess who can check another Disney park off her bucket list?! 🙂

I know, I know…you’re all probably thinking, “Rachel, stop posting on this blog just to gloat!” But I can’t help it! I feel like it’s my duty to share every Disney-related accomplishment I make with you guys. After all, you were all with me for BOTH of my college programs! And from what it appears, given that my blog now has over *100,000* hits, you’re all still hanging around even though I’m not posting much anymore 😉 So why not continue sharing my Disney experiences, right?

ANYWAY, I hope everyone is having a great start to 2016! I personally have been crazy busy. Not only did I just begin my second to last semester of college, but I just returned from a two week long trip across the country….

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My best friend in the whole world, Josh, decided to pursue his dream of becoming an actor and move out to LA, and I – being the great friend I am – took up his offer to help him make the drive from Ohio! I could write a whole post alone about the trip, but I’ll save those details considering they aren’t really relevant to this blog. But what I WILL say is — everyone should go on a cross country road trip with their best friend at least once in their life. While we wanted to scream at each other sometimes, and after a few days I craved the comfort of my bed, it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

So, this leads me to why I’ve crawled back to this blog today: after driving for a week across the country, Josh and his roommates were kind enough to let me hang out with them for a few days. It was my first time in California and I wanted to enjoy it before I had to go. Of course, I realized as soon as we got there that I absolutely needed to go to Disneyland. While Josh didn’t have the time or money to come with me (which I understand — he just moved out on his own, after all!) I decided to go…by myself! You only live once, right? Who knew when the next time I’d get this chance would be!

So that was that: in exchange for gas money, Josh and his roommate drove me to Disneyland and I spent a whole day there on my own.

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It seemed like a great idea in theory, but I’ll be honest — after watching Josh drive away after literally dropping me off at the guest entrance, I felt the nerves settle in. I was suddenly, for some reason, extremely self-conscious to be there alone. How silly right? This is the girl who used to grab drinks and dinner by herself in Epcot, and go look at animals alone in Animal Kingdom on her days off during her CPs. Maybe it was because it was a brand new park and I knew there was no chance I’d be running into coworkers and friends, but it felt different than a morning stroll through Magic Kingdom. During the tram ride to the front entrance, I tried to give myself a pep talk, but still felt self-conscious. I wondered if I had made a mistake and should call Josh to come pick me back up, but I realized how silly that would be. What was there to be so afraid of?! So I sucked it up, and I’m glad I did: by the time I bought my ticket and walked through the front gate, I knew that I hadn’t made a mistake at all; I had done just the opposite.

For me, going to Disneyland for the first time alone was exactly the right thing for me to do.

While I felt awkward approaching the photopass photographers to ask for a picture by the castle, or standing in line by myself to meet Goofy while kids all laughed and chatted behind me, there was definitely a sort of peaceful beauty in being there alone, and I loved it. I was able to see the park on my own time, in my own way. I didn’t feel constrained to a schedule or distracted by anything but the things I let myself get distracted by.

Plus, there are tons of pros to going alone — for example, I got to practically walk on to the Maelstrom, and I was able to snag prime seats for all of the parades. I met some great families while standing in lines and had some fun conversations with cast members that would probably have never happened if I were there rushing around with friends. I didn’t feel the weight of time on my shoulders stressing me out, because I was able to do the entire day MY way, the way that I wanted to do it.

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As for how I spent my day, here is my play by play:

After ogling at Main Street and the teeny tiny castle, I took a quick photo and made my way over to Space Mountain. The California version is much smoother than WDW’s, and they had changed it to be Star Wars themed, so that was fun to experience. I then hopped on the Maelstrom with practically no wait because I did the single-rider line. After riding that, I have officially conquered every Disney “mountain!” Although I’ll admit — Maelstrom was a teeeeeeeny bit anti-climactic.

After that, I road the Storybook Canal because the line was short, then wandered over to Toontown where I was lucky enough to spot Goofy just as he was walking out! And you bet I booked it over there so I could be second in line!! As those who know me know, Goofy is my FAVORITE and basically the only character I ever truly care about meeting.

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I didn’t eat breakfast before I left so I was getting a little hungry and decided to snag a Mickey pretzel. After posting a quick FB status asking my friends for suggestions on things to eat for lunch and dinner and what to do around the park, I walked over to It’s a Small World. It was still all decorated for Christmas, and it was so cute! I’m definitely not going to make this whole post a “compare/contrast” discussion on Disneyland vs Disney World, but I just gotta say….Small World at Disneyland beats Disney World by a LANDSLIDE. I loved how there were Disney movie characters included in the ride in their respective countries.

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I rode a couple other rides, including Big Thunder Mountain, and spent some time just walking around and exploring the different lands. I loved the New Orleans Square area, especially — there’s nothing like that in Disney World and after having just visited the real-life New Orleans during my cross country roadtrip a week beforehand, it was cool to see it in Disney-form. While there, I took up my Facebook Friend’s advice and got a mint julep — and let me tell you, I’m so glad I did! It was delicious and refreshing.

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After taking a spin on Pirates of the Caribbean, I went and found a spot to watch the Soundsational Parade on Main Street. I grabbed a snack and people-watched for a while before it started. The parade was cute, and I loved seeing characters who aren’t out a lot, like the Lion King crew and Tiana.

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I rode a few more rides then went and grabbed some dinner: a grilled cheese and tomato soup from the Jolly Holiday bakery. I also did a little shopping at the Emporium and treated myself to a Disneyland sweatshirt since my Disney World one was getting tattered, not to mention it is COLD in California when the sun sets!!

As I waited around for Paint the Night (the number one thing I was looking forward to seeing!) I was able to snag a quick meet and greet with Minnie and Mickey in their 60th anniversary outfits. I am also not ashamed to admit that when Goofy came back out, I ran in line to meet him too. That’s right: a SECOND time that day. Except this time, he was in a different outfit, so it’s excusable right?! What can I say — I just love the guy!!

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Soon enough, it was time to get my seat for the parade. I sat there for quite a long time, but thankfully I was able to keep myself busy by chatting with my sister on the phone and editing some of my photos from the trip.

Paint the Night is, hands down, one of the BEST representations of Disney entertainment I’ve ever seen. Not only is it one of my favorite parades, but it is one of my favorite shows and performances I’ve seen at a Disney park to date. So incredible. I had watched the parade on Youtube when it first debuted (in Hong Kong, I believe?) and loved it so much. Videos don’t do it justice: the music is so upbeat and fun, the floats are innovative and breathtaking, and the characters bring it all together for such a high-energy show. The highlight of my day, hands down.

I left the park as the fireworks started going off to meet Josh before the crowds got crazy, feeling tired and content. Overall, it was an amazing day. I was anxious to be there alone at first, but those feelings quickly disappeared once I got in the park and started enjoying myself. I can’t wait to go back someday with someone and spend more time there, because I know it will be like doing it all for the first time once again. (Not to mention…I haven’t been to California Adventure…yet!)

Til next time,
Rachel

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Rachel Does Tokyo Disney

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HI GUYS!!! Or should I say..Konnichiwa! Hope all is going well and you’re enjoying your summer!

Just last week I returned home from my dream trip abroad — JAPAN. I have wanted to visit Japan practically my whole life and was given the opportunity to tag along with one of my oldest and closest childhood friends, Amanda. We spent two and a half weeks there exploring the country, meeting new and old friends,  eating lots of yummy food, and immersing ourselves in the rich, beautiful culture as much as we could. I absolutely loved it and am already trying to find some way to go back as soon as I can!!

Anyway, the real reason I’m writing this post is not to brag about how amazing my trip was (although if you want to listen to me brag about it, I could go on ALL DAY) but to tell you guys about one day in particular –the day I went to TOKYO DISNEY SEA!

I absolutely knew I had to find a way to get to one of the Tokyo Disney parks while I was in Japan, and after debating which park to go to, we eventually decided Tokyo Disney Sea was the way to go, as it’s so vastly different from any other Disney park out there!

The day of, we hopped on a train at Shinjuku station bright and early and made the hour long trip to Maihama, where the train station stop for Tokyo Disney Sea is located. We followed the crowd of decked-out teenagers who we assumed were also going to Disney and had no problem finding the entrance to the parks. We met up with three girls who Amanda is friends with (she worked with international students at her college so she has a lot of Japanese friends who studied abroad there!) and we found a place in line just in time for the park to open.

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The train in to Tokyo Disney!

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The girls we went with were all really sweet and they’re Disney pros because they go a lot, which is something we were quickly thankful for because I soon realized that if we didn’t have them with us, we definitely would have gotten lost and sidetracked and we definitely wouldn’t have gotten to do everything we did! First we grabbed fast passes to Journey to to the Center of the Earth, as it’s one of the most popular attractions at the park. We decided to ride Indiana Jones while we waited for our fast passes, which was super fun. It reminded me a lot of Dinosaur which is at Animal kingdom in WDW! We then went and met Mickey and Goofy.

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After meeting them, it was time to use our fast passes, so we made our way to Journey to the Center of the Earth. That ride was a blast and I’m glad we got fast passes for it because the standby line was super long! After that, we checked out the Mermaid Lagoon area, which is, of course, Little Mermaid themed. Inside of Ariel’s castle/grotto area they had had a lot of cute rides and we did the jumping jellyfish ride which is very similar to Dumbo. We looked around the Gift shop as well, and I decided my souvenir I would get for myself would be one of those super cute Shellie Mae necklace pouches! Practically everyone I saw at the park had one and I remembered even seeing Japanese guests with them at Disney World all the time– I always thought they were so cute. So I figured it was the perfect choice!

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We then went and rode a few more rides, including Raging Spirits which was probably my favorite, and after that we watched the summer parade they had in the lake that was in the front of the park. it was called Minnie’s Summer Fiesta, or something like that. It was sooo cute and also so funny hearing all these characters speaking in Japanese!

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After that we explored and looked around a bit, grabbed some pastries for lunch, and took the train around the park to see all the different lands from above. We spent some time relaxing in the shade because it was insanely hot and humid outside, and I finally was able to track down one of the main things I wanted to get while I was there — ALIEN MOCHI!!! For those of you who might go in the future, they sell it in the American Waterfront quick service restaurant. You’d think it would have been at Toy Story Mania, but nope! I was so excited because I love mochi and I’ve seen pictures of these online and always wanted to try it. They did NOT disappoint — they came with three and each had a different flavor filling; chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. They were almost too cute to eat!

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We then rode a few more rides — the magic carpets of Aladdin, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Storm Rider, Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage, and we watched the show at the Magic Lamp Theater. We grabbed some dinner at Arabian Coast restaurant – curry and rice – then went and found a place to camp out to watch Fantasmic!

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Terrible picture of Fantasmic, but you get the point 🙂

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The park was BEAUTIFUL at night.

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We got great seats and Fantasmic was amazing — I almost liked it better than the one at Studios, I think! Even in Japanese, I was still able to follow along and enjoy it a lot. It was fun hearing classic songs I grew up with being sung in a different language, too!

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Overall, it was an AMAZING and hugely successful Tokyo Disney trip. I had so much fun, and am so thankful the girls we went with were so helpful and knowledgeable! There’s definitely a few things I wish I had done, like ride Tower of Terror (even though we have one back home, I would have liked to compare them) but I honestly can’t even complain because we still did SO much. Disney Sea is probably one of the most beautiful of any of the Disney parks, and I highly recommend it to anyone who goes to Japan and can find the time to dedicate a day to it. It’s so worth it!

Til next time!! Sayonara 🙂

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An Update On My Life, Post DCP

So I haven’t posted anything in a few months and I’ve been racking my brain with topics I could try to write about that are Disney or DCP related, but I can’t quite think of anything (if you have ideas — please share!!), but I still get lots of questions on my Ask.FM and a few of you have been asking me what I’ve been up to since my CP ended and whatnot, so I figured I’d write a little post to give you guys an update on my life!

I’ve been pretty busy these days — I’m currently taking three online classes, easing my way back into school-mode and out of Disney-mode. I’m also working two part time jobs to save up money for a trip I’m taking this summer to JAPAN!! This trip has been my biggest dream since I was in middle school, and I’m going with one of my best and oldest friends in the world, so I am so so excited. Also hoping to plan a day trip to Tokyo Disneyland while I’m there–fingers crossed!! I know I didn’t go into a lot of detail when I mentioned a few months ago that I was cancelling my extension (a few of it is personal, and I won’t be disclosing that) but one big reason is because this opportunity to potential visit Japan came up, and I knew that I could only have a chance of saving this money if I moved back home. I decided that it was worth that to me.

ALSO a couple weeks ago I planned a trip to Orlando at the end of June with one of my friends from Photopass, Heather, to go stay with some of our friends and do a little park hopping (with, of course, a Universal trip mixed in as well!) so I’m SO excited to go back and see all my friends and visit my parks. We already have a list of everything we want to get done, eat, see, and ride while we’re there!! I just wanted to share that with you all so you understand that it’s not all talk when people say “your DCP friends are friends for life!” They don’t just disappear from your life after your program ends 🙂

I’ll admit, I’m not as homesick for Disney as I was at the end of my first CP. There have only been a handful of days where I have really wished I was at Disney instead of in Ohio. I knew, though, that it’d be easier this time around, since I was pretty much ready to leave Orlando and come home at the end of this last CP. Having dealt with the awfulness that is PDD once before, I was much more prepared this time around–haha!

For those of you who are getting ready to come home from your CP or who are already back, my two biggest pieces of advice to ward off the Disney blues is this

1) Keep yourself busy!
Everyone has different ways of keeping busy, so it doesn’t really matter what you do. For some it’s easier than others; some of my friends transitions back to college so easily after their CP; for others, college may not be the happy sanctuary that it is for others, and there’s nothing wrong with that, really. Just find different ways to stay active! I have been working a lot and focusing on getting straight A’s in my classes. I’ve also been making sure to spend a lot of time with my friends. When I AM alone, I make sure I am doing something that makes me feel good or productive, like reading or writing or (on those rare occasions) exercising.

2) Plan things to look forward to.
By no means am I saying you should live your life for countdowns; it’s just as important to enjoy each day, as well, but all I’m saying is that it sometimes helps to plan little things that keep you excited. Coming home from an exciting, busy CP to a life of day-to-day droll can be really depressing. Trust me, I know – I’ve been there! It’s an adjustment. Plan things to get excited about, whether it’s a big CP reunion a few months down the road, or a dinner and movie night with your college roomies.

So, that’s my two cents for the day. If you’re strugglin’ with the DCP depression and need someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out to me!!

Otherwise, my life has been pretty quiet: for my spring break I went to North Carolina to visit my sister, and I’m currently trying to get ready for my finals and to start my summer classes next month. I’ve been binge-watching Friends on Netflix and trying to work out as much as I can (my sister and I are hoping to run a Disney marathon next year.. gulp!). I do often wonder what I’d be up to if I had stayed in Florida, but I have no regrets. Some of you know that I went down for this past CP with the intention of staying in Florida for good, but that, of course, changed. Choosing not to extend my program was a hard decision, but in my gut I knew it was what I should do and I don’t regret it. A lot of people have been asking me if I plan to go back again, and I honestly don’t know, but then again — I wouldn’t have been able to tell you a year and half ago that I’d go back for a second program so soon after my first, so who knows what the future holds!

So, that’s my life. Not too exciting, but I’ve been itching to write something so here you go. I promise next time I’ll post something actually worth reading;) I hope you all are also doing well–and thank you all for continuing to read my blog even though I don’t post much anymore, as well as for asking me questions and following my life! I’ve been playing around with the idea of starting a new blog to just talk about random things I’m interested in that I have going on, but we’ll see. If you want, feel free to follow me on Instagram too – @rachelalbon – I update that more often than anything else! And if there’s anything you want me to post about, let me know!

XO
Rachel

Posted in Post- DCP | 2 Comments

The Ultimate DCP Bucket List

Hi all! It’s mid-winter in Ohio which means I am daydreaming of Disney once more. I thought a great way to beat the Disney blues would be to give you guys a fun, informative post! And what better post to share than….The Ultimate DCP Bucket List!!!

What’s a Disney College Program without a bucket list?! Let’s be real: every soon-to-be CP is guilty of creating a DCP bucket list at some point before their college program begins. If they haven’t, then they surely have a friend or roommate who has. Creating a bucket list is a great way to not only get excited about your impending college program, but to also help you learn more about what all of the parks and resorts have to offer. I know when I started researching ideas for my own bucket lists for my CPs, I learned a LOT about cool things to do, see, and experience while in Disney.

It can be hard to find inspiration, especially if you’ve never been to Disney World or you don’t know the parks very well. That’s why I’ve decided to take some time to create this MASSIVE master post for all of you guys! I’ll probably keep updating it forever as I come up with ideas, and as things in the park grow and change and new things need to be added.

On it I’ve included everything from fun things to do in the parks, work-related activities to get involved in, and even things to do outside of Disney World. Of course, you are welcome to take this list and change and tweak it as much as you’d like! I *love* to make lists, and I especially love to think back to cool things I’ve done at Disney that I think everyone should do at least once. Most of things on this list I’ve completed, but there’s also quite a few that I’ve yet to check off. How many do you think YOU can accomplish?

  • Visit all four parks in one day
  • Drink/eat around the world
  • Go to the Food and Wine Festival in the Fall
  • Go to the Flower and Garden Festival in the Spring
  • Have a conversation with Mickey at Town Square Theater
  • See a Dine-In Movie at AMC theaters
  • Attend a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
  • Attend a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
  • Shoot a bow and arrow with Merida
  • Practice your smolder with Flynn Rider
  • Fist pound with Baymax
  • Consume the Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream (with the help of some friends, of course!)
  • Spend an evening on the Boardwalk
  • Stay in a Deluxe Disney resort for at least one night
  • Do a Character breakfast
  • Buy a Mickey balloon (and then make a little kid’s day and give to them, because let’s be honest — what are you ever going to do with that Balloon once you get home?!)
  • Get serenaded by the Dapper Dans
  • Take basic Instagram photos in front of every pretty wall or backdrop you can find
  • Try a PBJ milkshake at 50’s Primetime Cafe
  • Go to a show at the House of Blues
  • Go to the beach and stick your toes in the Atlantic
  • Explore beautiful Celebration
  • Go to the Campfire singalong at Fort Wilderness
  • Ride horses at Fort Wilderness
  • Go to the Hoop De Doo Revue
  • Send a postcard to a friend or family member from Magic Kingdom
  • Make international friends
  • Go to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal
  • Take advantage of your awesome Disney discounts and venture outside of WDW — go on a Disney Cruise, visit Disneyland or if you’re feeling really adventurous…visit a park abroad!
  • Do the Wild Africa Trek in Animal Kingdom
  • Create a magical moment for a guest
  • Snorkle with sharks in Typhoon Lagoon
  • Listen to Irish music at Raglan Road
  • VoluntEAR
  • Celebrate your birthday in the parks
  • Get pixie dusted
  • Share a bowl of spaghetti with someone at Tony’s Townsquare Restaurant
  • Take silly Magic shots
  • Get dolled up for Dapper Day
  • Collect every color of magic band
  • Buy CP-only merchandise from the cast member stores or Property Control
  • Marvel at the wonder that is Cirque Du Soleil’s La Nouba
  • Meet someone famous in the parks
  • Start a pin trading collection
  • Beat Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom
  • Do a themed group Disneybound with friends
  • Visit a resort and enjoy snacks and a Disney movie under the stars.
  • Eat a dole whip
  • Attend at least one Welcome event at the beginning of your program
  • Get to Magic Kingdom early enough to watch the Welcome show
  • Watch Wishes from the Polynesian beach or the top of the Contemporary (or both!)
  • Attend DCP graduation
  • See the 4th of July fireworks in Epcot and/or Magic Kingdom
  • See the New Years fireworks in Epcot and/or Magic Kingdom
  • Visit Universal Studios
  • Get dressed up in your Hogwarts best and spend a day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Visit Sea World
  • Visit Legoland
  • Find as many Hidden Mickeys as possible
  • Participate in a Run Disney Event
  • Get picked as the Rebel Spy on Star Tours
  • Spend a day resort-hopping and exploring what each unique hotel has to offer
  • Learn a little about the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, then try to hunt down and collect as many DWCF pins as possible
  • Visit both waterparks
  • Pick up a shift in all four parks
  • VoluntEAR
  • Sign up for a CP-exclusive seminar or networking event
  • Spend a day in the parks alone
  • Do a backstage tour of a ride (you can learn more about these from your workplace leaders)
  • Watch the Candelight Processional in Epcot
  • Ride Characters in Flight Hot hair Balloon
  • Have a drink (if 21+) at Trader Sam’s
  • Fill an autograph book with signatures from your favorite characters and personal notes from your friends throughout your CP — and don’t read it until you move back home!
  • Take a funny ride photo — and actually BUY it
  • Try the grey stuff at Be Our Guest
  • Attend the end-of-semester CP sendoff event (it is usually something big like a formal or a pool party at Typhoon Lagoon)
  • Take advantage of cast member discounts like two-for-one at Chik fil A, and cheap all-you-can-eat pizza at Cici’s!
  • Set a personal goal unrelated to Disney that you want to accomplish before your program ends. (Train to run a 5k, start reading more often, etc.)
  • Have tea with Alice at the Grand Floridian
  • Get a haircut at the Barber shop in Magic Kingdom
  • Play mini golf at Fantasia Gardens
  • Keep a memory box of everything you collect — pins, buttons, ticket stubs, photos — from your CP
  • Get a cupcake from the Sprinkles Cupcake vending machine

PHEW! I think I just about covered it all, right? Did I leave anything out!? What is number one on YOUR DCP bucket list? I’d love to hear!! Also, let me know if you saw anything on this list you really liked and want to add to your own!

XO Rachel

Posted in DCP Bucket List, The Disney College Program, The Road to DCP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The End…

So, this is it; my second college program is officially over.

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After spending a week with my sister, I’m now back home in Ohio and can’t stop thinking about how these last seven months feel more like a dream than a real thing that happened. It’s hard to believe how, once again, that my college program flew by so quickly—I guess that’s what happens when you’re spending your time doing something you love. Being a Photopass Photographer in the Magic Kingdom was the absolute BEST job in the world, and I know that it’s going to take a lot to live up to it in the future. Working for Entertainment at Disney is unreal, and getting to watch magic unfold in front of your eyes on a daily basis is the most humbling, amazing thing. I’ll miss that the most, I think.

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I spent my last night of work in Pete’s Silly Sideshow with Goofy, Donald, Daisy, and Minnie. It was a perfect last night. Not even gonna lie; when I turned in my camera for the last time, and said some first (of many) goodbyes to some of my coworkers, I shed a few tears.. On Sunday, after spending my morning running around and packing, I went to Magic Kingdom to say goodbye to the park and my friends who were working that night. We took photos in front of the castle, ate dole whips, and watched Wishes one last time. I surprisingly didn’t cry during the fireworks like I thought I would, but after they were over, we went and met Mickey before heading out…and that’s when it really hit me!

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Working with Mickey was easily my most special and treasured memory of my job. I am so thankful I got trained to work in his location in Town Square Theater because if I hadn’t, I would have missed out on so many wonderful moments. Most of my favorite work memories take place with Mickey… Mickey Mouse is unlike any other Disney character because no matter how old you are or where you’re from, EVERYONE knows who he is, and everybody loves him. I sound like a broken record going on and on about how special and magical working at Disney is, but I REALLY mean it when I say that there is nothing like getting to witness someone have a conversation with Mickey Mouse for the very first time. Nothing.

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When Mickey came up to greet us, he gave me a big hug and when he saw we were wearing our graduation ears, he told my friend Dani and I that he was so proud of us. That moment is pretty much when her and I started bawling–haha! Mickey did the Hotdog Dance with us (while both of us were sobbing and laughing – I have it on video and it’s probably the saddest Hotdog Dance you’ll ever see, it’s kind of hilarious) and I gave him a big hug and told him that I loved him and he said he loved me too. It was the perfect way to end my last night at Disney. After a few more goodbyes, I headed out and went to bed for the last time in my Patterson apartment before turning in my keys, saying goodbye to roomies, and beginning my big drive home.

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Overall, I loved my program and am happy I decided to go back and do another. To be honest, throughout the program I did have a few doubts; I wondered if I should have just stayed in school this semester instead of coming back to Disney… I worried that people would judge me because it’s going to take me even LONGER to graduate now that I’ve done two programs. But looking back on it, since day one, my college experience hasn’t exactly been ordinary, and although it is definitely going to take me a little longer to graduate, I have no regrets about the road I’ve chosen to take; my second CP included.

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I’m not sure if I’ll be returning to the company in the future, but I know I will always think of my two totally different but totally wonderful programs and feel nothing less than happiness towards them. I used to never in a million years think I’d discover so much through the Walt Disney Company but by some twist of fate, these three roles, two parks, and a total of 15 months that made up my Disney career have been the best ride of my life, and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

There are so many more things I could say about Disney (as those of you who know me know–I could talk about it all day!!), but I’ll save us ALL some time by closing this post up now. Thank you to everyone who has followed this blog and who has supported me in my choices over the last few years. Thank you to my friends who I have met through Disney as well as all the wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) guests who have helped make me a better and stronger worker. And most of all, thank you Walt Disney for following your dreams….because if you hadn’t, there would surely be a little less magic in the world.

 

“Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Walt Disney

Posted in Fall 2014 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Surviving the Craziest Time of Year at Disney: Christmas and NYE

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

I’m sorry it’s been a minute since I’ve posted anything – I’ve been working over 50 hour weeks and when I’m not at work, I’ve been catching up on sleep and spending as much time with my friends before I have to head back to Ohio. Now that the holiday season in Disney has wrapped up, things are definitely going to slow down-although I won’t see too much of it since I’m leaving soon!

Christmas was last week and I spent both Christmas Eve morning and Christmas night on Main Street USA. I originally has Christmas Eve off, but most of my friends had to work, so I decided to pick up a shift and let another cast member enjoy the day off with their family. Plus I knew if I didn’t work, I’d end up sitting at home moping around. I’m so glad I did, too! It was a morning shift — something I don’t work often. It was a beautiful day and a very relaxing shift. Everyone who was at the park was in a great mood and it was nice to be surrounded by that.

I celebrated the holiday that evening with movies and pizza with some friends, and in the morning I watched the parade and made a nice breakfast with my roommates. I’m happy I worked and kept busy, because I definitely would have been sad if I didn’t. I know I sound like a broken record saying this, but for those of you who do the DCP and feel homesick, the trick is to get out of the house and DO something!! To be honest, it was a very hard week for me knowing that I wouldn’t be with my family for the first time in my life at Christmas, which has always been my favorite and most treasured holiday for that very reason… but work served as a great distraction, and even though it was crazy in the parks, guests were really very kind and happy to be there and that was something I greatly appreciated because it helped keep things positive and lighthearted!

So, last night was New Years Eve which, to my surprise, ended up being my favorite holiday I’ve celebrated while here; I had the day off so I spent it getting some chores done before my friends came over and we headed over to Epcot to ring in 2015. Epcot was NUTS; almost wall-to-wall people, but I barely even noticed or cared because my friends and I were having way too much fun!! We started off at the Boardwalk where they had a DJ and games, and after we all snagged some party hats and noise makers, we made our way to Epcot and ran around the world showcase practically all night. They had a DJ in China and Italy, and in China they even had fire that would set off every once in a while during the dance party!!

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We spent most of the night in Italy where we danced and danced and then watched the fireworks that counted down the new year and toasted with a glass of champagne when midnight struck. Although we had quite a struggle getting home because of traffic and whatnot (and I am downplaying it — by “struggle” I mean, we waited 3 hours for the bus and ended up having to call a friend to come pick us up!), it was truly the best New Years Eve I’ve ever had and I am so thankful I got to do something like this right before my program ended with so many amazing friends!! It was worth the money I spent on drinks, crazy crowds, and day-later foot aches for sure.

Now only three days left of work and four days til I move out of my apartment and head back home. Next time I write in here I will probably not be in Florida anymore! It’s been a rollercoaster year and although I’m sad my program is almost done, I’m excited to see what’s in store next. If my NYE was any indication of how this year’s going to go, then I’m in for an amazing 2015.

XO Rachel

Posted in Fall 2014, Holidays and Events, Park Adventures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment