Rivers of Light Debuts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Rivers of Lights has officially debuted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and I had the opportunity to experience it for myself. This is a show you do not want to miss. Continue reading

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To My Tomorrowland Family

When I went to Magic Kingdom for the very first time only four years ago, I fell in love with Tomorrowland. The theme, the attractions, the atmosphere- it quickly became my favorite land in the park. Upon finding out that … Continue reading

A Final Farewell To The Osborne Lights

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will have its final dance tonight at Disney’s Hollywood Studios before its lights go dark to conclude its 20th, and last, season.

A spectacle that has become a family tradition for many guests is going away as construction on Star Wars Land is expected to start some time this year in the very area where the lights have danced every holiday season for the past 20 years.

Even though I only had the pleasure of visiting the lights the past two years, I am still deeply saddened to see them go. They truly are a special sight and you can’t help but feel happiness as you stand in the middle of their twinkling beauty. 

While Disney has said that this is the final year for the lights…there has also been some signs that they might not be gone forever!

First, Disney extended the date of the lights from the 3rd of January until tonight, the 6th.

Second, when asked on Twitter if this was, in fact, the final season, they replied that this season was currently planned to be the final season. And, as the crazy theme park fan and lover of Disney that I am, I certainly read that as there being a slight chance that they could, in fact, bring the spectacle back in the near future. 

Whether they choose to bring the lights back or not, guests have been blessed with 20 years and I think we can all agree it’s been quite a run. But, even if they put some new holiday festivity in its place while construction is underway, it just won’t be the same.

Here are some pictures from my final trips (yes, I made two trips from Naples to see the lights because necessary) that I hope bring a smile to your face as we all say goodbye to the Osborne Lights.

  
  
  
  

   
    
 

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!

So You Want To Do The Disney College Program, Well…

…whoop dee doo.
I have been around the block before with block heads just like you.

If you don’t know where that lyric is from, I’m going to kindly ask that you brush up on your Disney movie knowledge (and oh, fun fact, we barely sell ANY merchandise from this particular movie and it makes me sad because it’s such a classic and one of my favorites).

But back to the main event. SO YOU WANT TO DO THE DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM?! YAAAAAAAAAAAS.
No, seriously, that is AWESOME. Four for you, Glen Coco!
Deciding to apply to the Disney College Program is a big step in and of itself, and I’m sure you have a lot of questions.
Luckily, for you, I happen to have a lot of answers 😉
Now, of course, if a question/answer isn’t here, please feel free to comment with other questions and I will add them to this list for future CP applicants 🙂

Now, let’s get started!

Q: What exactly is the Disney College Program?

A: The Disney College Program is a paid internship at either the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida or at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. You can express interest for both locations when filling out your application.

Q: What do you do on this internship?

A: You can express interest in a number of roles ranging from entertainment (which requires an audition), merchandise, custodial, quick and full service food and beverage, attractions, etc. *Note: Any role you have will be directly in the parks (including Downtown Disney and water parks). If you want something that is more ‘business-y,’ you may want to consider applying for a professional internship!*

Q: How long is the program?

A: There are three different time frames for which you can express interest. The first one is the Spring Program which normally goes from January to May. It does vary, though, and your start date could be February with an end date in June. The second one is the Spring Advantage Program, and these typically start in January or February and end in August. The third one, which to my understanding isn’t always offered, is the Spring Quarter Program. This one starts in April and ends in August.

Q: What are the requirements for applying?

A: You must be at least 18 years old, currently be taking classes at an accredited university/college AND have completed at least one semester. In other words, if you are currently a college freshman, you can apply right now for the Spring program! Also, if you have graduated within the last six months you are also eligible to apply.

Q: Is it better to do it during college or after you graduate?

I just completed the program and I am still in college, but I do have a lot of friends who waited to apply until after they graduated as a way to make the transition from college to ‘real world.’ My advice? Do what works best for YOU. If it doesn’t fit into your schedule, don’t ruin your future by trying to do this program. Disney will always be there; your education should be your main priority. But, if you want to do this program as a way to get your foot in the door with the company, I would recommend applying while you’re still in school because it gives you more chances to get accepted than if you wait until you graduate and you only have one chance to get in.

Q: Do you have to take classes?

A: Disney does offer classes that you can take for college credit–if your school will accept them. If your college does not accept the courses for credit, there are free seminars/courses you can take instead to build professional skills and learn about the history of The Walt Disney Company. However, it is NOT required that you take classes during your program.

Q: Does it cost anything?

Upon accepting your invitation to complete the DCP, you will have to pay a fee which covers your rent for the first few weeks (more on this in the next question) and other things. For the Disney World program, it’s about $350. For the Disneyland program, it’s about $850.

Q: Are you provided with housing?

You are eligible to request Disney Program Housing during your college program and link up with roommates. You will be paying rent on a weekly basis and it will be taken directly out of your paycheck each week, so you don’t need to worry about it. (The first few weeks you won’t be working enough to cover rent, and that’s why you pay that money in advance so you don’t have to worry about it.)

Q: Is there transporation?

There is, at least for the Disney World program. (I’m a little fuzzy on the Disneyland Program details since I didn’t do it!) HOWEVER, if you have a car, I HIGHLY suggest bringing it because the transportation we are provided can be very…unpredictable and unreliable at times.

Q: Do I have to have a certain major to apply?

No! All majors are welcome to apply.

Q: What is the application process like?

You will first fill out an initial application. This is where you will express interest in either one or both locations (Orlando and Anaheim), express interest in the various roles you can be cast in, and provide the standard background information. Next, if your application is strong, you will be invited to complete a web based interview. Based on that, you will either no longer be in consideration for the program or you will be invited to schedule a phone interview. Once you have completed the phone interview, the waiting game begins.

Q: How long does it take to hear back after a phone interview?

A: Honestly, you could hear back immediately or you could be waiting a while. (I waited a month until I found out I was accepted) Also, you may be pended throughout the process. DO NOT FREAK OUT! Being pended is always better than no longer being in consideration, so if you see pending on your dashboard, stay calm. A lot of people who were pended, including myself, were accepted.

Q: Is it easy to get accepted?

A: Honestly…no, it isn’t. I know a lot of people who applied several times before getting accepted, but on the flip side I know a lot of people who applied many times and got accepted every time they applied. If you have a strong application, a winning personality and your passion and love for the company is evident, your chances are a lot higher. But tens of thousands of students apply for this program, and only a few thousand get accepted for Disney World and even less than that get accepted for Disneyland. So do not put all of your eggs in one basket when applying for this program–you are not guaranteed to get accepted.

Q: What do I get out of it?

A: This program is what you make it. You will either get A LOT out of it and have a wonderful experience or get NOTHING out of it and be miserable. In addition to perks like discounts and free park access, you get life long friends (if you make the effort to get to know people), you get connections (if you learn how to network), and you get valuable skills that will help you be successful even after your program ends. Plus, you get to put that you worked for a Fortune 500 company on your resume. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.

Q: Would you recommend it?

A: Absolutely. If you decide to apply and get accepted, your program will have its ups and downs. However, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I think it’s worth everything that you go through. You just have to be open minded, positive and willing to put in the work. ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ is like the unofficial motto of the DCP, and it’s a motto to live by.

These are some general questions that I have been asked/questions I had myself when I was applying, so I hope that this is helpful to you if you’re considering applying or know someone who is! If you have any other questions, like I stated earlier, please don’t hesitate to comment and ask!

Applications are now OPEN for the Spring CP season, so click here to begin your application to work at the most magical or happiest place on earth!

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Why Jurassic World & Inside Out Are Testaments To The Success Of The Rival Theme Parks

I have this habit of not seeing the newest movie the weekend it comes out. The whole ‘adulting’ thing gets in the way–working, running errands…that sort of thing.

But if I REALLY want to see a movie I will see it, and I REALLY wanted to see Jurassic World and Inside Out.

Thankfully, my first weekend back home from the Disney College Program (so many mixed emotions, reminds self to write about that later) I was able to see both movies. *insert praying hands emoji here because #blessed*

After watching both films, it dawned on me how incredibly different they were…and how that spoke volumes about how different the theme parks/companies are.

MIND. BLOWN.

Without letting any spoilers slip, I will explain why I came to that conclusion.

On one side, we have Jurassic World. It’s prehistoric meets futuristic. It’s thrilling. It makes your heart pound. It makes your heart stop. It makes you sit on the edge of your seat.

When I want thrills, I go to Universal. Let’s face it: the roller coasters they have beat Disney’s any day. Don’t get me wrong, though–I love Space Mountain and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, but they don’t really compete in the same thrill category as The Incredible Hulk, Rip Ride Rockit and even The Mummy (which is one of my all time favorite rides).

Universal is also more of a ‘big kids’ theme park. The rides are a bit more intense and they follow a good storyline when based off a movie/franchise. It’s geared toward a more mature audience, in my opinion, and Jurassic World was geared toward that same audience.

On the other side, we have Inside Out. It tackles a complex idea–what are those voices inside your head and how do they affect how you feel/act/react? It’s emotional. It’s family friendly. It’s relatable. It brings back memories.

Disney is complex, first and foremost. Not to say that Universal isn’t…but I think Disney wins in this battle. Magic Kingdom alone is a well thought out, well themed park with several lands that all come together in the middle. Islands of Adventure also has lands but…I just don’t think they do it as well as Disney does.

Disney is more of a family resort. It’s designed to evoke emotion and immerse you in a world of fantasy from the moment you walk into the park until the moment you leave. It’s for the young and the young at heart, and Inside Out was truly a film for all ages.

Universal does thrills/intensity better. Disney does immersion/emotion better. They both accomplish the same things in their respective parks, but there’s something about each of them that makes them stand out, and that’s why both films stood out as well.

(But, if I’m being totally honest, Inside Out won my heart, probably because Disney/Pixar can do no wrong.)

Did you see both films? Did you have a favorite? Did you see elements from both parks present in the films?

Comment below and let’s start a conversation!

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What They Don’t Tell You About The Disney College Program

You can read every description of the Disney College Program, but there are some things you won’t know until you experience it for yourself. Continue reading

Adventure Is Out There

I’d like to start by apologizing for being so MIA since I moved to Orlando to participate in the Disney College Program, but I am about to make up for it right now!

I did begin my program on the 19th of January, and it has been a challenging, but highly rewarding, experience thus far. I am living in Chatham Square with four lovely roommates and I am working merchandise at the World of Disney at Downtown Disney, which is the largest Disney store in the world.

*pauses for dramatic effect*

My work location has been the most challenging part so far, mainly because the store is composed of 11 rooms. This means that I have had A LOT to learn, and you only get about a week of training (or, really, four-five days). I will be the first to admit that I had a hard time the weeks following my first initial week (where you go through Casting, Traditions, and get a feel for everything before you start on the job training) trying to find my place and I wondered if I had made the right decision in coming here. I felt overwhelmed from all of the training plus trying to keep up with my classes, and I felt excluded because my hours at work differed from all of my roommate’s hours, so I barely saw them.

But then something happened:

I remembered I am at Walt Disney World completing an internship that thousands of college students around the world would give up anything to do.

I started to find the positives at work, whether it be interacting with more guests or reaching out to and getting to know more coworkers. In fact, some of the best times I’ve had here so far have been with my coworkers.  Even on days when it’s not that great, I know that there are four magnificent parks waiting for me on the days that I’m off, and that alone makes the experience worth it.

This adventure I am on is one I was meant to take, and I am sure of that. The lessons that I am learning and the experiences I am having are going to shape who I am and help me become the best version of myself.

Is it scary? Absolutely.

Is it tiring? Of course.

Can it be frustrating at times? Yes.

But the friendships I am making, the magical moments I am having and am able to create…they make it all worth it. I mean, where else in the world can I go casually visit Magic Kingdom before work or have breakfast with the Fab Five?

Adventure is out there, you just have to go for it and don’t look back ❤

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*I will do a post about some of the fun things I’ve done since I’ve gotten here soon, and if anyone has any questions about the DCP I can do a question/answer post too, just let me know!*

Happy New Year!

I am finally writing my first post of the new year! (I know it’s eight days late…forgive me.)

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

A new year brings new opportunities, new relationships, new adventures and SO MUCH THEME PARK NEWNESS.

Are you as excited as I am?!

Before I run down the list of new things happening at some of our favorite theme parks this year, can I just say that you need to experience NYE in Disney at least ONCE in your lifetime? It’s magical. In fact, it needs its own post. *Makes mental note to do a post on NYE in Disney*

Now that I’m done being sidetracked, let’s talk about some of the things you can experience this year in some of the best theme parks in the country!

1. I am just going to leave this list of 10 new rides/attractions coming to theme parks across the country via Theme Park Tourist here. All I have to say is…I need to go to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Look at the list–you’ll see why.

2. This year, Disneyland will be celebrating 60 years of being The Happiest Place on Earth! (July 17 is the day Disneyland opened in 1955.) The Diamond Celebration is set to begin this Spring, and I need to find my way to California.

DisneylandDiamondAnniversary3. The Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is officially on its way out as of yesterday. Workers have begun to dismantle the impressive structure and soon, The Chinese Theatre will be in full view as guests walk down Hollywood Boulevard. Will the Earful Tower resume its duty of being the park icon? Only time will tell!

4. I know it’s far away, but Universal Studios Florida will be putting on their 25th Halloween Horror Nights event this fall on select nights from Sept. 25-Oct. 31. I am a huge baby when it comes to anything horror, but HHN keeps me coming back every year. If you’ve never been, this is the year to go. I guarantee they have some amazing plans up their sleeves.

5. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World returns this Spring from March 4-May 17. I have personally never attended the Flower and Garden Festival AND I will be in Disney completing my college program this Spring, so I’m excited to go for the first time!

6. A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure takes place from Jan. 30- Feb 1.*Fun Fact: YOU CAN DRESS UP!* There are so many fun events planned throughout the weekend, so take a look here and form a plan of action if you plan on going!

7. The ‘Frozen’ Fun may have ended at Walt Disney World (except for the sing along at DHS), but it’s just starting over on the other coast! At Disney California Adventure, you can meet the royal sisters, shop at Wandering Oaken’s, play in the snow, and maybe even get a warm hug from Olaf! Details can be found here. There is also a ‘Frozen’ show at Disneyland, so be sure to get a park hopper ticket in order to experience everything ‘Frozen’!

8. Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be here again before we know it! (May 15-June 14 to be exact) And with the release of a brand new Star Wars movie at the end of this year, I bet the event will be even better!

I guarantee there are more things happening this year, and as I find them out I will add them to the list! If you know of anything super awesome happening at a theme park this year, let me know in the comments!

What events are you looking forward to most? What theme parks do you plan on visiting? Let me know so I can live vicariously through you!

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.”