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

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MNSSHP vs. MVMCP

The holidays at Walt Disney World® are my absolute favorite.

We may not get fall or winter here in Florida, but Disney lets us pretend that we do.

Every September through November, Disney hosts ‘Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and every November through December they host ‘Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.’ Both are separate ticketed events that go from 7PM-12AM on select nights at the Magic Kingdom.

Since these events require a separate ticket, sometimes it’s hard to find the time (and money) to do both. That leaves us with one question: if you must choose one, which party do you attend?

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My personal choice is MNSSHP, even though the holiday season, particularly Christmas, is my favorite. Here’s why:

  1. Everything you see at MVMCP, you can see when the parties are officially over. Yes, you head right. ALL. OF. IT. The parade (Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade) replaces Festival of Fantasy until the beginning of January and the castle lighting show is performed every night along with Holiday Wishes. The only things you really miss out on are the complimentary hot cocoa and cookies they give out during the party. So if you plan to be in Disney anywhere from December 19 to January 1-2, you don’t need to attend MVMCP unless you really want the free treats. 10609464_10152573424103443_1942372641236890082_n
  2. You can dress up AND trick-or-treat during MNSSHP! That’s right: kids AND adults can dress up as their favorite Disney characters (or anything, of course) and get as much candy as they want throughout the night. Nothing beats free candy. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. 10620512_10152370588388443_8788840194749923718_n
  3. Mickey and the gang are dressed in the CUTEST Halloween costumes, as well as some other characters that you can meet throughout the night. It’s pretty much the best thing ever and you NEED to see it in person.995642_1487484921502179_8024286134343283800_n
  4. HalloWishes. The SOUNDTRACK for this fireworks display, more specifically, is probably my favorite soundtrack aside from Festival of Fantasy. It’s creepy. It’s suspenseful. It goes perfectly with the fireworks. Everything about it has me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. (But don’t get me wrong, Holiday Wishes is a sight to see, too.)               10411251_10152370594388443_373046456239834431_n
  5. The decorations. Oh, the decorations. Christmas is my favorite holiday but the way the Magic Kingdom looks during the fall months is simply breathtaking. I think what makes it especially nice is that the Magic Kingdom is the only park decorated during this time.

10351011_10153155773903443_3355229087472799382_nUltimately, the choice is yours. However, in my opinion, you get more bang for your buck with MNSSHP. But if you can manage to do both this year, you’re the real MVP.

Tickets are still available for MNSSHP through November 1, with Halloween already sold out. And tickets are available for MVMCP which starts November 8. You can find more information here.

Will you be attending one of the parties this year? Which holiday is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Dealing With Post Disney College Program Depression

Maybe it hits you when you start to pack up your side of your room and you find various mementos from memories you’ve made over the past four to six months; or maybe it hits you when you put on your costume for the last time and say goodbye to the fellow cast members you worked alongside who really became family. But really, it’ll hit you the hardest when you’ve said your final goodbyes to each park, you’ve watched your last Wishes, you’ve cried with your friends as you held hands leaving Magic Kingdom and you’re sitting in the car (or at the airport) leaving your Disney life behind.

It’s the sign you had a magical experience and that now, you have something to miss.

It’s Post Disney College Program Depression.

If you think it hurts like hell when you’re saying goodbye, it hurts 10x more when you’re actually gone and far away from the people who became the biggest parts of your life in such a short amount of time and the magical place that brought you all together.

You find yourself flipping through that DCP Facebook album you never quite finished because you got so caught up in having the time of your life. You click along and watch your journey unfold right before your eyes and you can’t believe that it wasn’t that long ago that those pictures were taken. It’s been a month, maybe two, but it feels like a lifetime has passed by.

Anything Disney related sets you off. If you go to see a Disney movie, the opening sequence with the castle makes you cry. If you listen to Pandora and a Disney song comes on, you’re a mess. If a Disney Parks commercial comes on the TV, you bury your head into a pillow because the sight of your happy place is far too much to bear. If someone asks you about your time at Disney, you give them a long spiel and in the middle of it start to get choked up thinking back on everything.

You constantly post throwback pictures from your program because you’re in denial that it’s over and you’re always checking the Disney Careers website because getting back to Disney would be (another) dream come true.

Moral of the story? PDCPD sucks.

Maybe it isn’t something that can be cured; how do you stop missing a portion of your life that changed you forever?

Maybe, instead, you learn to live with it. You accept that it happened, that it was wonderful, that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and that now…it’s over.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to lessen the pain, so here’s a few ways that you can help cure your PDCPD:

  • Talk to your CP friends. Yesterday I was thinking about everything and looking through pictures and suddenly I felt overcome with sadness…so much so that I started bawling. After texting my closest friends from my program about it, they both called me and even though hearing their voices hurt at first, I felt better after talking to them. Staying in touch with friends from your program is a wonderful way to keep the magic alive long after your program is over, especially because no one else in your life is going to understand what you’re going through except for them. Keep them close; lean on each other because they’re the best source of support.
  • Create a shadowbox or memory board. Having everything with sentimental value from your program in one place may actually make you feel better. Maybe you’ll cry putting it together, but once it’s done…I promise it’ll make you smile, seeing all of the memories and experiences you had in one special place. Pictures, movie stubs, fastpasses (if you were lucky enough to snag some paper ones), wristbands from HOB, four keys cards, your acceptance post card and, of course, your name tag are some things I would recommend gathering for your project.
  • Plan a trip. The best thing about doing a college program? Reuniting with your best friends in the most magical (or happiest) place on earth! (Or even visiting each other in your hometowns!)  If you have your heart set on meeting up with your friends again, put aside a little money from each paycheck and plan a trip with each other. Planning a vacation, even when it’s far away, will help to offset the sadness from your program being over because you’ll be too excited about reuniting with everyone and being at Disney again!
  • Look into future careers with TWDC. Just because your program is over, it doesn’t mean that your time with Disney is over forever. Completing a college program opens up a lot of future doors for you, especially if you go back to school and earn your degree. You can apply for professional internships, alumni programs, go part/full time right out of school or, if you’re feeling up to it, you can always apply to a program for the semester after you graduate. If you feel that Disney is where you’re meant to be then make it happen! The sky is the limit.

The first few months after your program ends are the hardest. You watch new CPs begin their journey and you wish more than anything that you could rewind and start yours over. But you know what? I think a silly, willy, nilly old bear said it best:

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A. A. Milne (Winnie The Pooh)

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When you think about it, we are incredibly fortunate to have had the experience we had. Thousands of students apply every semester and we were among the chosen few (thousand) to participate. Some of us even got to extend our programs and continue making magic for longer than we expected.

We worked hard, we played hard, we loved hard, we cried hard, we failed hard and we succeeded hard. We found ourselves, we grew up, we made mistakes, we followed our hearts and our dreams and we never once looked back because we were living.

And that, my friends, is how I want you to continue to be. Be fearless. Be adventurous. Maybe you’ll never be the exact same person you were those few months but it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to grow and be the best that you can be. And, lastly, be proud of yourself, because you were responsible for making magic every single day and you did a damn good job.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss

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You’re Gonna See It’s Our Destiny

Today would have marked one month until the end of my college program here at Disney.

Instead, today marks one month until a majority of my best friends leave and embark on new journeys, and I am beyond upset about it.

I was always told that the best years of my life would be spent during the four years of my college career, but my college career has been filled with tons of turbulence and detours. It’s hard to have the best years of your life when you move away from all of your friends and have to start over in a new school…twice.

I’ve always tried to make the best of it, but at some point I decided that the best years of my life would be after college.

That is, until I started the Disney College Program.

This has been, by far, one of the best years of my life. The friends I have made here are the friends I will have for life–I am SURE of it. I will be flying to Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan and Texas in the coming years, and I will be driving down to Coral Springs, Fla. and driving up to Bradenton, Fla. to visit six of the most amazing ladies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

My program would not be what it is without them. Through all of the tears, the breakdowns, the upsets, the laughter, the goofiness, the sheer happiness…they have been there. They’ve listened to my ridiculous rants, laughed at all of my attempted jokes, held me when words could not be found, and given me a reason to be excited to go to work every single day.

My heart is literally breaking as I write this, because I know that time is running out. I know that one month from today, four of them will leave, and I will be devastated. I know that I will hold onto them for dear life before letting them go and having to continue my program without them. But I also know this:

If nothing else, doing this internship was the best decision I ever made because I met them. The perks are great, the pay is alright, the connections are awesome, and the work location isn’t SO terrible. But the six girls that have become my family…they top the list of why this program was the best thing to ever happen to me.

So, with this last month upon us, I’m excited to make every moment count. I’m prepared to lose sleep. I’m prepared to be on the go A LOT. I’m prepared for long drives. I’m prepared for so many pictures. I’m prepared for laughs, smiles, and tears. I’m prepared to make memories that will last a lifetime with the girls who have stolen my heart.

If you need a reason to apply to the DCP, this is it…right here. Apply because the friendships you make here are long lasting; they are bonds that cannot be broken.

Katie, Abby, Denning, Erin, Katherine and Mary…this one’s for you. Now let’s have some magical moments and make these last 30 days count ❤ #WODSquad

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Tis The Season

My favorite time of year is finally here–the holiday season!

And no one does the holidays quite like Disney does.

I recently enjoyed a girls night at the Magic Kingdom during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and nothing is better than being in your happy place with your best friends celebrating this joyous season!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, or MVMCP for short, is a hard ticket event that takes place on select nights at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. The party takes place from 7PM to midnight, and guests are invited to come enjoy the kingdom in all of its holiday glory! (A general list of things taking place during the event can be found in this previous post.)

My friends and I watched our favorite Disney characters sing and dance to classic holiday songs on the castle stage, dressed in their holiday best. We then watched in awe as Elsa cast an icy glow upon Cinderella Castle, the dream lights lighting up the dark night sky. Is there truly a more beautiful sight?

IMG_0674We then enjoyed our fair share of complimentary hot cocoa and cookies (SO delicious) and made our way to Main Street, where we waited for the crowd watching the first run of Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade to clear out so we could get a good spot for the fireworks and the second run of the parade.

*Side Note: There are two showings of A Frozen Holiday Wish (where Elsa lights the castle), three showings of Celebrate The Season (the castle show) and two showings of Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade. The second showings of the parade and the lighting of the castle are generally less crowded.*

Once the crowd cleared, we took our spots on the curb across from Starbucks and waited for Celebrate The Magic to begin. If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now: celebrate the magic is one of my favorite things at Disney. I think it’s amazing, and the scene from Tangled with the lanterns gets me every time.

It was one of my friends first time watching it, and I watched her, smiling, and suddenly felt so blessed that I’ve been able to share my love for Disney with so many people.

Next came Holiday Wishes–Celebrate The Spirit Of The Season.

All I can say is…WOW.

Disney really knows how to put on a fireworks display. The 360 degree fireworks, the fireworks on the castle…breathtaking. And watching it from the middle of Main Street gave me a whole new perspective…a perspective I suggest each and every one of you try some time because, I mean, just LOOK!

10676176_10152485324638443_7145113650776878069_nFirework shows at Disney make me very emotional. I can’t help it.

We then enjoyed snow on Main Street–yes, it SNOWS on MAIN STREET USA–as the parade came to greet us. Since we were sitting on the curb, many of our favorite Disney friends came to say hi, like Winnie the Pooh, Grumpy, Alice and the Mad Hatter. Also, did you guys know some of those floats produce delicious SCENTS?!

Best. Idea. Ever.

It smelled like Christmas, and I was beside myself. #RIPme

Disney never fails to amaze me.

We ended our night of festive fun by meeting Sandy Claws himself, who is meeting for the first time ever during MVMCP this year! He was incredibly entertaining, and quite the charmer.

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But, we couldn’t leave the Magic Kingdom without a little…castle photo shoot.

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Needless to say, it was a magical evening with magical people and, as always, I am already planning my next trip back! (In fact, it looks like I’ll be ending and beginning my year in Disney!)

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Are you heading to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this year?

What’s your favorite part of the holiday season at Disney?

Tell me in the comments!

Happy Halloween in September!

It’s really no secret that I love Walt Disney World. However, one of the things I love most about Disney is how different it is during every season.

Last year, I went to The Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Christmas is my favorite holiday and the kingdom looks breathtaking adorned in Christmas decorations. Plus, who doesn’t love free hot cocoa and cookies?!

This year, I promised myself I would make it Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Not only did the idea of trick or treating in the kingdom and getting to dress up sound appealing, but my sister was born on Halloween, and I really wanted to take her so she could experience it with me.

Unfortunately, the hard ticket event sold out for Halloween, her actual birthday, so I was forced to decide on another time I could take my sister.

And then, something completely unexpected and magical happened.

The Disney Parks Blog hosted a raffle on the blog site last Tuesday. The prize package? Tickets for you and a guest to MNSSHP and the Villains’ Sinister Soiree, a separate event where you have dessert and interact with various characters inside of Cinderella Castle.

My friend and I both entered the raffle on a whim while sitting in class, not expecting to win.

Except we both won.

Fun fact: I NEVER WIN ANYTHING.

Needless to say, I was beyond excited. Not only was I able to take my sister to the event, but we were going to go INSIDE Cinderella Castle! It honestly felt like a dream come true.

When we, my sister, my friend, her guest and I, arrived at the park on Sunday, we went to a table outside of the park to pick up our credentials (CUE EXCITED SCREAMS) and tickets. We then went to a separate area to get our invitations and credentials for the Villains’ Sinister Soiree.

The minute we stepped into the park, I had to fight back tears. I was in my happy place and I was about to have a magical VIP experience.

If you have never been to MNSSHP, put it on your Disney Bucket List. You get to dress up (I dressed up as Buzz Lightyear), you get to trick or treat around the park, the park is beautifully decorated for fall, and the wait times for your favorite attractions and meet and greets? SO. SHORT. I walked right onto Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear Ranger Spin, waited 10 minutes to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and barely waited to meet Elsa and Anna (YES, no 2 hour wait time!), Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel and Gaston.

Along with getting to attend the Villains’ Sinister Soiree in the castle, you also get VIP viewing for the ‘Boo to You’ Parade, the Halloween themed parade, and HalloWishes, a jaw-dropping fireworks spectacular set to Disney Villain music.

Honestly, HalloWishes may be my favorite fireworks display at Walt Disney World. It’s THAT good.

The Villains’ Sinister Soiree event was such a treat! My first experience dining inside the castle was truly spectacular. We had the most delicious desserts and drinks, mixed and mingled with some Disney Villains (including Lady Tremaine, Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella De Vil, Dr. Facilier, Drizella and Anastasia), and went home with some wonderful souvenirs, including a Maleficent dragon cup, autograph card signed by several villains, several Disney Parks Blog posters and a Park Starz Vinylmation.

Can I also just say that New Fantasyland is beautiful to look at from inside the castle?! So majestic. So regal.

In addition to all of that, a few more exciting things happened that I’m really happy to share!

First off, my friends, sister and I are featured in the beginning sequence of the video recap from the night on the Disney Parks Blog! We were sitting in the VIP area waiting for the parade and a very nice man named Drew (I wish I knew his last name!) came over and asked if we there for the blog meetup. When we said yes, he asked if we wanted to be in a video for the blog. Of course we agreed, and our smiling faces are the first faces you see when you watch the video 🙂

Immediately after that, the Social Media Manager, Jennifer Fickley-Baker, and Merchandise Communications Manager, Steven Miller, came over and introduced themselves to us. Jennifer recognized me from my twitter account, @_brainy_beauty, and we talked briefly and even took a picture together! If you follow my twitter, you already know that my dream is to work in the social media/communications department for Disney, so meeting the social media manager was a big deal for me. A clip of us talking even made it into the video recap!

FINALLY, the last super exciting thing that happened–my sister and I were interviewed for the video recap! We were interviewed by Drew after the event and asked about our evening. We gushed about the fireworks, our first time being in the castle, and how much we loved being part of this special event.

All in all, it was a truly perfect evening, and there’s nothing like being one of the last people to leave the park!(Closing down parks is one of my things.)

I’d like to thank the Disney Parks Blog again for putting on such a fun event and giving us the opportunity of a lifetime! Go check out their article on the event and the video recap here. See if you can spot us 😉

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party runs on select evenings through Oct. 31, which is already sold out. If you want to take part in this special event, get your tickets now! It really is one of the most fun times I’ve had at Disney and I highly recommend checking it out!

Now, enjoy some photos from our ‘Not So Scary’ evening ❤

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