Disney Fans: You Can’t Have It Both Ways

You can’t complain that nothing new is being added to the parks and then complain when new things are announced. Continue reading

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What Can The Disney College Program Do For You?

After the excitement of getting accepted into the Disney College Program settles, you will start to get asked things like, “so why are you doing the program?” and “how is working at Disney going to help your future?” And maybe … Continue reading

To My DCP Ohana

To my Disney College Program Family,

We have all gone our separate ways. We have gone back to school; we have extended our programs; we have gone part time at Disney; we have traveled the world and we have found new jobs. Our paths have taken us in directions we didn’t know were possible until they were happening, but something just doesn’t feel right.

And that’s because we aren’t together.

I walk around campus and I feel lonely. I know people, I have friends, I go out…but it just doesn’t feel the same anymore. I look around at all of these groups of friends and I’m jealous.

I’m jealous because my close group of friends is scattered all around the country and I don’t know when I’ll see them again.

Something magical happens when you do a Disney College Program. You step out of your comfort zone because somehow…you already feel comfortable. You find yourself wanting to meet new people and make new friends because you want more people to share your love of Disney with. You click with so many people in such a short amount of time and you become inseparable.

In my almost five years of college, I have never experienced anything like this. Nothing I have ever been a part of really felt like…a family. And I need to thank each and every one of you for making my home away from home so incredibly special.

I miss that moment we met for the first time.

I miss seeing your faces at work.

I miss driving to work and having dance parties in the car or taking Transtar to work and being scared the whole ride something was going to happen.

I miss bonding in the break room.

I miss taking pictures in our god awful costumes.

I miss group chats.

I miss sleepovers.

I miss inside jokes.

I miss days off spent exploring the parks together.

I miss cheating on Disney and heading to Universal.

I miss lying by the pool and having deep talks about life.

I miss parties and HOB nights.

I miss waiting in 30 minute long lines for Taco Bell after work.

I miss making stupid faces for ride photos.

I miss impromptu photo shoots.

I miss riding Tower of Terror a million times in a row.

I miss having meals together.

I miss graduation day.

I miss being able to text you that I needed you and you showing up at my door five minutes later.

I miss everything.

I miss everything every, single, day.

It doesn’t get easier; when you spend every day with someone for six months of your life, not having them around is hard. It’s painful. But I am thankful that we had six months of experiences together. I am thankful for late nights at iHop, Sunday and Wednesday nights at HOB, mornings spent at Trails End, and countless days spent getting to know and love each other while playing in our magical backyard.

You won’t understand this feeling until you go through it yourself. It can’t be explained, it can’t be faked and it can’t be taken for granted.

I miss and love you all. Thank you for making my program what it was. You have set the bar extremely high for my future friends–let’s pray they like Disney as much we do.

If you’re currently going through your program, cherish these moments you are sharing with your best friends. And if you are long gone from your program, go text your best friends and thank them for being part of your journey, whether it’s been six months or six years.IMG_3313

Find Your #DisneySide at #StarWarsWeekends

The month of May brings us a variety of things. Flowers (courtesy of April showers), the end of school (for those of us in college), graduation (congratulations class of 2015!) and beautiful weather (for the most part).

But…what May brings us at the Walt Disney World resort is an immersive experience that you cannot get anywhere else.

Star. Wars. Weekends.

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Whether you are a super fan or someone who is just getting into the famous saga, Disney does not disappoint, and this year is bound to break past records for attendance and sales.

Sunday concluded weekend 3 out of 5, with two more weekends of Star Wars fun to be had by all. And if you haven’t been yet…well…I’m going to tell you why going at least once will be worth your while.

1) Characters

Everyone loves characters; Little kids, big kids and even bigger kids (aka adults) love to get a picture and get some one on one time with their favorite characters, and Star Wars Weekends is chock full of them. You have Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Chip and Dale dressed as some of your favorite SW characters (which goes over really well with little kids who may not be as into the movies as their parents!) and then, of course, you have your classic SW characters. There are character meet and greets set up throughout the park where you can meet them, and some of them walk around the Coke bottle area near the former Studio Backlot Tour (still bitter about this) entrance. There are also two character dining experiences you can choose from: Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater where you will meet classic Star Wars characters, and Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood & Vine where you will meet Mickey and his pals.

If neither of those appeal to you, wait in the hot sun to meet your favorites, you must.

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2) Merchandise

What would a special event be without LIMITED EDITION MERCHANDISE?! To answer that question, the event would be lame. Super lame. But thankfully, Disney goes above and beyond in the merchandise department for SWW, and this year may be the best yet. Darth’s Mall has been a staple at SWW for many years and is normally housed in the sound stage building directly next to Toy Story Midway Mania. However, with the Backlot Tour space being vacant (and again, still bitter) and the former home of Darth’s Mall being occupied, Disney decided to put Darth’s Mall in the backlot area, and it’s bigger and better than ever. Darth’s Mall is made up of two locations: Watto’s Grotto and X-Wing Collectibles. Prop Shop (directly next to the Mike and Sulley meet and greet area) is also considered part of the shop complex, but you’ll find more of your normal Star Wars merchandise in this store. Watto’s Grotto (which I got to work in!) houses your soft line merchandise (clothing, including Her Universe merchandise by Ashley Eckstein), toys, build your own droid and build your own light saber stations, a create your own name tag area, pins, magicbands and autographed photographs.  X-Wing Collectibles, as the name suggests, houses all of your limited edition merchandise and more pricey merchandise, such as artwork, figurines, and Dooney and Bourke. In addition, there is a new stein and popcorn bucket available this year–Boba Fett in stein form and Han Solo in Carbonite in popcorn bucket form.  There is a little something for everyone, no matter what your level of love is for Star Wars.

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3) Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience

Starting at 4pm, a rather large portion of The Backlot Express is transformed into the Rebel Hangar, which is new to SWW this year. Indulge in delectable small plates, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcholic) and desserts while in a nicely themed atmosphere. You may even receive a visit from some characters, so keep your eyes peeled! The addition of this dining experience begs the question: Will Disney add a permanent Star Wars dining experience if they add a Star Wars area to the park? It would certainly be popular whether it was quick or table service, and I’m sure it’s something they’ve already thought about. Nevertheless, if you are able to snag a reservation (because I don’t think they take walk ins), the Rebel Hangar is a unique experience and one worth having. Oh, and don’t forget to try the blue milk 😉

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4) A Parade in DHS

One reason why I love SWW is because Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets a parade! Well, they call it a motorcade, but still, anything is better than nothing! Starting at 11pm, the celebrity guests make their way down Hollywood Boulevard with the help of Mickey and his friends and classic Star Wars characters. They all gather onstage for a few photo opportunities as James Arnold Taylor goes through a run down of all of the events taking place throughout the day. If you didn’t wait since the night before to get a ticket to meet your favorite celebrity, this is the best chance you have to get a good picture of them.

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5) FIREWORKS

Fantasmic! is great and all, but I have always been and will always be a fireworks display loving girl; that’s why Wishes is my favorite nighttime show at Disney. However, yet again, DHS has me in love with their Star Wars themed fireworks. Symphony In The Stars is six minutes of pure bliss, and my only complaint is that I wish it were longer! The music and fireworks fit perfectly together and keep the guests engaged from start to finish, making it one of the best fireworks displays Disney World has to offer. Be sure to get a good spot well in advance though–at least an hour/an hour and a half before it starts. My suggestion is in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard right past where the ice cream cart is. You can see the screen/stage pretty well and you’re in the perfect spot for pictures/video.

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Whether you’re part of the rebellion or the dark side, Star Wars Weekends has a little something for everyone.

Besides, you get to play around with a light saber and battle people. What more could you possibly ask for?

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Trust The Magic of Beginnings

“And with every passing hour, I’m so glad I left my tower!”

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Okay, so maybe I’m not leaving a tower, per say, but I AM embarking on a new journey in just 10 days!

Next Sunday, I drive up to Orlando with my mom, sister and two best friends. And next Monday…I CHECK IN FOR MY DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM!

Even though I’m super nervous to start my journey in the DCP, I am also SUPER excited!

I have spent so many years holding myself back and not going after things I wanted because I was scared to fail. I can’t tell you how many things I let pass me by because I couldn’t let myself take a risk. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that living in fear is no way to live your life.

Working for Disney is something I am passionate about, and up until I decided to apply for the DCP, it felt like an unattainable goal. I thought, “There is NO way I could ever work for Disney.” But, the moment I was accepted into the program…a whole new world of opportunities (see what I did there?) opened itself up to me, and now…I am unstoppable.

I am excited to work and live at Disney, but I am even more excited to find out if this is truly where I’m meant to be. This new adventure will teach me about myself and help me figure out the steps I need to take in order to make my dreams a reality.

I plan on working hard, playing hard and networking hard. This is more than just an internship at Disney for me–this is the beginning of a lifelong journey, and I plan to make it worth my while.

One of my favorite quotes is: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Another quote that works perfectly here is: Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.

I am finally, after so many years, going after something I really want…and I am so proud of myself. I refuse to let fear hold me back anymore.

I hope that if you choose to follow my journey, I can inspire you to go after YOUR dreams, because you’ll never know what’s possible if you don’t try.

Beginnings are just so magical and full of promise, aren’t they? ❤

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Guests React to DHS Changes

I am a journalism major at Florida Gulf Coast University, and I was given the opportunity to write an article about ANYTHING for one of my classes. Surprise, surprise–I decided to write about Disney.

I’ve seen a lot of articles about the changes coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but they focus on the what is happening and when it’s happening aspect of it, completely failing to speak to guests and get their reactions, which I believe is an important part of the story.

I wrote a story highlighting the changes and what guests are saying about them. Feel free to sound off in the comments and let me know if you agree or disagree!

 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Gets A Face Lift

By: Monet Massa-Sena

 

If there’s one thing fans of Disney are used to, it’s change.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is in the process of getting a much-needed park update. Some attractions are closing their doors, some are getting changes, and the sorcerer’s hat—the park’s icon—will be removed in early 2015.

Guests who have been going to the parks for many years welcome the new changes. Priscilla Perez, an annual pass holder and journalism major at Brooklyn College, said that it’s about time for an update to the park.

“Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been a cry for help for many years,” Perez said. “There are empty buildings, attractions that haven’t been updated since opening, uncompleted ‘lands,’ a lack of restaurants and a lack of entertainment.”

Perez isn’t wrong. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has the least amount of attractions of all four Walt Disney World theme parks, 15 to be exact, and hasn’t added a new ride since they opened Toy Story Midway Mania in 2008.

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While new attractions haven’t been announced just yet, Disney has removed several attractions thus far, including the Studio Backlot Tour, which was one of the only attractions in the park when it first opened in 1989, the American Idol Experience and The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.

The most shocking change that has been announced, and the most controversial in the Disney community, is the removal of the sorcerer’s hat in early 2015. The icon made its debut in 2001, blocking the view of the Chinese Theatre replica that houses The Great Movie Ride.

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Christie Teague, a former Disney College Program cast member and communications major at the University of Northern Iowa, said that she’s not excited about the hat being removed.

“Disney’s Hollywood Studios was my home park for my first college program, so it has a special place in my heart,” Teague said. “I’m sad to see so much change with something I know so well.”

Some Disney fans, however, feel that the hat has overstayed its welcome.

“It was only supposed to be in place for a year or so, probably more, but of course time ran its course,” Perez said. “Essentially, I think Disney has realized that the hat is an icon, but not the right icon for the original envision of the 1989 Studios we were introduced with.”

Another former college program participant and Fairfield University graduate, Jen Fiorillo, said she’s also excited about the removal of the park’s current icon.

“I’m so glad that The Great Movie Ride will be the icon of Hollywood Boulevard again,” Fiorillo said.

The Great Movie Ride, another attraction that has been a staple of the park since its grand opening, will not only be the focal point of the park once more, but will also be getting an update of its very own.

10445978_10152171192743443_3988925683478179678_n         The Turner Classic Movies cable channel has agreed to help the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company make changes to the classic ride.

According to the New York Times, the changes include a remake of the video guests see while they’re in line for the ride and the classic movie montage they see at the end of the ride. These changes will be introduced within the first few months of 2015, and guests are both excited and nervous to see what’s in store.

“Whatever they have up their sleeve with the Great Movie Ride will bring back the classic feel to the park,” Perez said. “The start of refurbishment and partnership with TCM is a perfect start for the new and improved DHS.”

Josh Reyes, a student majoring in the dramatic arts at the University of North Carolina and a Disney Vacation Club member, said he’s looking forward to the changes but is also a bit skeptical.

“I’m excited for the Great Movie update, but that’s one of my favorite rides,” Reyes said. “I’m also a little nervous about the updates coming from TCM.”

Teague said she thinks the update is necessary in order to attract younger fans and keep them engaged while waiting in line.

“I’m excited for the Great Movie Ride refurbishment because I love the concept and I know many people younger than my age have no idea what the movies are that are featured on the attraction,” Teague said.

Even though Disney fans are in the dark on what the concrete plans are for the expansion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it doesn’t stop them from dreaming about what changes they’d like to see.

“I would love to see Cars Land from Disney California Adventure and additional Pixar attractions and shows be added to the Pixar Place area of the park,” Fiorillo said.

“I’m excited mostly for the ‘Star Wars Land’ concept they’ve announced,” Reyes said. “I think it will be a great addition to the pre-existing elements.”

But for some fans, it isn’t about what they plan to put in place—they’re just excited that change is on its way.

“I hope that The Walt Disney Company takes a distinct look at each corner and crevice of the park,” Perez said. “What was originally envisioned in 1989 has quite honestly gone down the drain in the 21st century, so it’s about time for some change.”