DCP Bucket List

I am now 59 days away from starting the journey of a lifetime in the most magical place on Earth! To say I am excited would be an understatement, and even though I’m nervous…I’m ready to embark on this new path.

As my arrival date rapidly approaches, it has come to my attention that I have not created a Disney College Program bucket list! And, of course, that is unacceptable.

It’s a rather gloomy day here in Southwest Florida, which means it’s a perfect time to brighten my mood by thinking of all the wonderful things I want to accomplish on my program.

If you have any other ideas to add to my list, please feel free to comment below! I’m sure I’ll be adding things to my list up until the day I arrive 🙂

DCP Bucket List (In No Particular Order)

  1. Watch ‘The Kiss Goodnight’ at Magic Kingdom
  2. Dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table
  3. Attend the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue
  4. Stay at a moderate resort
  5. Take a full day to resort hop
  6. Attend the campfire sing-a-long at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  7. Have a Pina Colava
  8. Dine at Chef Mickey’s
  9. Meet every character and get their autograph
  10. Witness a proposal ❤
  11. Celebrate my unbirthday
  12. Visit all four parks in one day
  13. Attend rope drop for every park at least once
  14. Dine at California Grill
  15. Disneybound with friends
  16. Take a tour
  17. Attend the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot
  18. Pin Trade
  19. Attend at least one Star Wars Weekend
  20. Be one of the last people to leave the park
  21. Try to watch as many nighttime shows in one night as possible (I’ve currently watched two in one night!)
  22. Get an entire car on a ride of just me and my friends
  23. Devour a kitchen sink sundae at Beaches and Cream
  24. Buy a Mickey balloon on Main Street, USA
  25. Go for a carriage ride
  26. Go to DisneyQuest
  27. Go to a Spring Training game at the ESPN Sports Complex
  28. Spend a night out at Downtown Disney or the Boardwalk (House of Blues, Atlantic Dance Hall, Jellyrolls)
  29. Try my hand at archery
  30. Dine at Ohana at nighttime in order to catch Wishes
  31. Watch Wishes from the beach at the Polynesian
  32. Attend the Spirit of Aloha
  33. Explore Tom Sawyer’s Island
  34. Dedicate one day to just watching shows/meeting characters/taking in the sights…NO RIDES
  35. Watch the Hoe Down in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom
  36. Buy something at Company D
  37. Ride the Tower of Terror 13 times in a row
  38. Be kissed in front of Cinderella’s Castle
  39. Have a photo shoot in front of Cinderella’s Castle
  40. Spend a full day in each park at least once–opening to closing.
  41. Get my graduation ears embroidered with my name
  42. Take a roadtrip with friends and go somewhere outside of Orlando
  43. Create a magical moment happen for a guest
  44. Do every attraction/show in every park at least once
  45. Eat/drink around the world with friends and wear matching tanks! These tanks in particular
  46. Design a shirt at Design-A-Tee in DTD
  47. Ride Characters in Flight
  48. Go to a movie night at one of the resorts
  49. Get a bunch of friends together and stay at the Grand Floridian for a night
  50. Go to one of the water parks (or both) at least once

I figured I’d start with at least 50. It seems I already have my work cut out for me!

If you have any more ideas, don’t hesitate to let me know! Totally looking forward to a magical, fun-filled semester!

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30 Day Challenge in 3 minutes

Do you ever see those 30 day challenges and think to yourself, “I am so going to do that next month!”?

I do. And then I never make it past the first week or two.

So, instead, I’m going to do a 30 day challenge in about three minutes. It’ll be a fun, quirky post and a good way for you all to get to know my #disneyside ❤

Let me know if we share any favorites!

*Side Note: I am REALLY bad at picking favorites….so honestly…I may have anywhere from 1-5 favorites. Bear with me. It’s hard.*

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1. Favorite Character- Buzz Lightyear (but I also love Elsa–but she’s a queen, so she gets her own category. Oh, I also love Marie from The Arisocats.)

2. Favorite Princess Aurora (although I think Anna may be become my new favorite–we are SO similar. Oh wait, also love Rapunzel)

3. Favorite Heroine Anna, hands down

4. Favorite Prince- Philip

5. Favorite Hero- Hercules

6. Favorite Animal- Pegasus

7. Favorite Sidekick- Olaf ❤

8. Favorite Villain- Maleficent

9. Favorite Original Character- Mickey Mouse

10. Favorite SongOkay. I have a few. “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” “Let It Go,” “When Will My Life Begin” and “Go The Distance.”

11. Favorite Love Song“I Won’t Say I’m In Love” and “See The Light”

12. Favorite Villain Song- “Poor Unfortunate Soul”

13. Least Favorite Song- Honestly, anything Snow White sings. I can’t stand her voice. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

14. Favorite Kiss- Belle and the Beast after his transformation

15. First Movie You Saw- I THINK it was The Lion King? I know I was obsessed with it when I was younger!

16. Favorite Classic- This is WAY too hard. I love Sleeping Beauty (as a classic princess movie), but I also love Toy Story, which I totally consider a classic.

17. Least Favorite Classic- Pinocchio. I dislike this movie so much.

18. Favorite Pixar Film- Toy Story, but also Monster’s Inc. LOVE THEM.

19. Least Favorite Pixar Film- Probably Cars

20. Favorite SequelThe entire Toy Story trilogy. So well done. Love it.

21. Overrated Movie- Cars, and Tarzan.

22. Underrated Movie- The Aristocats. Can we give some love to this movie, please?

23. Movie That Makes You Laugh- Monsters University

24. Movie That Makes You Cry- Oh. My. God. Toy Story 3. If you didn’t cry…are you even human…?

25. Favorite Scene From Your Favorite Movie- I have a lot of favorite movies, but…my favorite scene is the lantern scene from Tangled. It makes my heart so incredibly happy.

26. Saddest Death- Oh gosh. There’s so many…but probably Mufasa.

27. Favorite Quote“They say if you dream a thing more than once it’s sure to come true.” ❤

28. Favorite Theme Park- Magic Kingdom

29. Favorite Theme Park Attraction- Yeah…and here we come to a problem. I have a lot. Space Mountain, Test Track, Expedition Everest, Tower of Terror and Toy Story Midway Mania. (I know, I have two for Hollywood Studios. But I love them both SO much.)

30. Favorite Theme Park ShowIf it’s a nighttime show, Wishes. If it’s just an entertainment show, probably Finding Nemo the Musical at DAK, or Festival of The Lion King.

Are you going to take the challenge? What are your favorites?

l Am On My Way; I Can Go The Distance

“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way–implicitly and unquestionable.” – Walt Disney.

To piggyback off of Walt, I would like to begin by saying that believing in yourself, first and foremost, is one of the most important things you will ever do in life. Believing in yourself opens up so many doors that will lead you down new and exciting paths, and those paths will help shape who you become.

Truthfully, I have always struggled with my self esteem. Some days I feel on top of the world, and other days I feel like there’s the ground, 50 feet of dirt, and then me.

However, and this may sound silly, finding my dream has helped me feel better about myself. Having a dream gives me a sense of purpose, and having a sense of purpose makes me feel…important.

I’ve mentioned my dream briefly a few times, but to refresh your memory, I would ultimately love to work in social media/communications department for Walt Disney World. I very much enjoy interacting with people on social media platforms and figuring out how to use the platforms to my advantage.

With this in mind, I decided to apply to the Disney College Program. Yes, I am aware that I won’t gain experience in social media this way, but I am also aware of the fact that many cast members started their career with Disney by doing the program.

And, honestly, the magic starts in the parks. So why wouldn’t I want to begin my journey there?

After a web-based interview, a phone interview, and a month and three days of waiting, I finally got the email I had been waiting and wishing for:

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On Sept 29, I was accepted into the Disney College Program for the Spring 2015 semester. My role is Merchandise, and I am so beyond excited!

I, of course, accepted my offer, and will be participating in the program from Jan. 19 until May 15. I am ready to earn my ears, network, make new friends and learn about the history of my favorite place on this earth.

I will probably post on here periodically to document my journey, so I hope you will all follow along!

*If anyone would like a separate post on the application process from applying to accepted/not accepted, please let me know and I can do that!*

I am FINALLY on my way, and I am going the distance! I can’t wait for this new chapter in my life to begin!

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A True Disney Delight

The gates open and the crowds rush in; the smiling faces of cast members fill the sidewalks along Main Street; the castle gleams and glistens in the sunlight; the whimsical music invites guests to ‘leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.” For Giana Beverly Austin, this is just another day at the office in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Austin is a 17-year-old who has been going to Disney since she was three months old. She credits her parents for instilling a love for Disney inside of her, and that love grows stronger every time she visits.

“[I love] how it feels seeing the castle for the first time ever, or that day,” Austin said. “How you can’t help but want to dance to the music piped through the parks; how you can always get emotional meeting Mickey Mouse or twirling with your favorite princess; how you can be a kid again, no matter if you are 2 or 202.”

Recently, she has taken that love and combined it with her other true love–photography.

“I have always been passionate about photography and Disney World,” Austin said. “So once I realized I could combine the two, at the beginning of the year, I was just the happiest.”

At the beginning of March, Austin started an Instagram account called ‘Disney World Delights’ where she could post pictures she took while at Disney. Much to her surprise, the account skyrocketed. She now has 10,000 followers and receives anywhere from 300-500+ likes on a single picture.

To me, that’s A LOT.

Not only has this young (only 17, remember that), up and coming photographer made a name for herself, she has also managed to grab the attention of many cast members that she takes pictures of.

“It started out with some wanting to thank me for my photos by meeting up on their breaks to buy me coffee or have lunch,” Austin said. “I am still shocked and amazed at what it has now turned into.”

Her cast member connections even tell their managers about her.

“Their managers watch my page and review some of my friends on their character performances by my videos and photos, which is an honor and also a tad nerve-wracking,” Austin said.

On top of being friends with so many cast members, which is something I am just slightly jealous about on the down low, she’s also made some very close friends through this account, one of them being a young woman named Meghan Mueller.

“I originally followed Giana on Instagram and loved her pictures,” Mueller said. “A few weeks after we originally met [at Magic Kingdom], we would see each other around the park and we began to spend more time together. By the end of the summer, we were spending the entire afternoon and night together! Now, we are extremely close friends and we talk almost every day.”

A beautiful friendship tied together with magic and pixie dust. I love it.

Interestingly enough, Austin does not live in the Orlando area. No, this determined photographer makes the four-hour trip to Disney twice a week so she can get her dose of magic and new content to keep her page fresh and up-to-date. However, it has proven to be a challenge.

“Driving four hours, twice a week, is expensive and tiring,” Austin said. “It’s certainly been an obstacle, but it has not gotten in the way of doing what I love!”

Because Austin does visit the kingdom twice a week, she has developed a precise schedule, which makes her giggle when she thinks about it.

“I normally get there at 10 sharp where I proceed to watch the 10:10 trolley show, followed by 10:35 castle show. Then the Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it street party starts at 11 that I never miss. Usually after that, I go see Alice. After I visit her, I get Starbucks and I sit at the Tomorrowland Terrace. I bring my computer so I can edit photos right there. It’s the best to be able to work with a view of the castle!

“I catch the 12:30 street party and then roam for photos until the 2:05 castle show, which is my favorite show time of the day to watch for some reason! After that it’s straight to Frontierland to wait for Festival of Fantasy, which I proceed to watch twice by running to the end of Main Street! After the parade, I grab more coffee and attempt a 10 minute nap at the Terrace while I wait for some friends to clock out from the parade where we sit and hang out. [This is] one of my favorite parts of the day, getting to see my lovely friends and relax for a while!

“I catch 4:55 Hoedown, 5:15 castle show and then 5:40 street party. And after the last street party, from 6-8:30 I attempt to eat something, go visit characters for photos and then by 9 I have a spot for DEP [Disney’s Electrical Parade]. 10 is Wishes, and 11 is usually the second DEP where I do not take photos. I just stand and wave and be silly to some friends. It’s the most magical way to end a busy and fun day!”

There was no way for me to accurately describe a day in the life of Giana better than she did, so I had to give you her entire answer.

Quite a day, huh?

I bet you can’t guess how many photos this girl goes home with at night. Hint–it’s A LOT.

“In a single day of shooting at Disney, I normally come home with about 2,000 photos,” Austin said.

Yes. 2,000 photos. And she goes twice a week, so make that 4,000 photos.

And then comes the editing process.

“I spend 20 minutes on each photo. And with over 2,000 to go through, well, you do the math! (If I could put emoji’s, I would’ve inserted the laughing-crying one),” Austin said.

Is she not the cutest?

But even though the rest of us think she’s awesome and incredibly talented, Austin still doesn’t really get it. She is incredibly modest and humble, and even that is an understatement.

“I minimally have 10 people a day stop me in the parks to tell me they love my photography and normally they ask for a selfie,” Austin said.  “I question if they have the right person because to me, I’m a dorky, weird-looking ‘nobody’, why do they want a photo with ME?!”

But don’t worry–even though she is modest, Austin is incredibly grateful for all of the support and kind words she receives.

“I gush and tell them they made my day because they DO!” Austin said.  “It never fails to make me smile when someone goes out of their way to approach me and spread kindness.”

But the most rewarding part of what she does?

“The friendships alone are the most amazing payment I could’ve ever dreamed of,” Austin said. “And seeing the genuine smiles from people when they see a photo they love..it is unreal how rewarding that feels.”

Mueller is proof that Austin holds her friends close to her and values their presence. She recalls the last time they saw each other this summer, which just so happens to be one of her favorite memories.

“I had bought a Mickey balloon and wanted my picture with it in front of the castle,” Mueller said. “I handed her my phone and asked her to take a picture for me, which she did, but then she grabbed her camera and said, ‘Let me take some on my camera so you can have some good ones too!'”

“It’s nothing glamorous, but it’s one of those little moments that I absolutely love.”

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I don’t know, these seem pretty glamorous to me! ❤

Because Austin is only 17, it’s safe to say she has her whole life, and photography career, ahead of her. However, as Cinderella would say, they cannot order her to stop dreaming, and she is excited to see where her life takes her.

“I would love for Disney to hire me as an official park photographer, which is a huge dream right there! But as for right now…I am so happy and content with where I am. Things can only go up from here!”

You can follow Giana Beverly Austin on Instagram at ‘DisneyWorldDelights’ and on Twitter here.

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Why Disney Reigns Supreme

It’s no secret that I love Walt Disney World. It’s the Most Magical Place On Earth and my favorite place to be. I have dreams about it, talk about it constantly and I am always planning my next trip because I can’t get enough.

But that isn’t why Disney reigns supreme. This is:

Last year, Magic Kingdom saw an estimated 18,588,000 people walk through its gates. Yes, you read that correctly. Over 18 million people visited Magic Kingdom last year, which happened to be the highest theme park attendance rate for 2013.

Isn’t that crazy? Magic Kingdom beat out every other Disney park, including its predecessor, Disneyland, which has many of the same attractions. But have no fear–every Disney park made it onto the Top 20 list of Theme/Amusement Parks in North America. In fact, Disney filled up the first six spots on the list with Magic Kingdom coming in 1st, Disneyland in 2nd, Epcot at Walt Disney World in 3rd, Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 4th, Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 5th, and Disney’s California Adventure in 6th. When you add up the numbers, an estimated 74,841,000 people visited Disney parks last year. 74,841,000.

And that doesn’t even include Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Parks, which ranked 1st and 2nd on the Top 20 List of Water Parks in North America. Typhoon Lagoon had 2,142,000 visitors and Blizzard Beach had 1,968,000.

You may not like Disney. It may not be your favorite theme park to visit, but the numbers don’t lie. People visit Disney parks more than they visit any other amusement park in the country.

But the real question is–why?

I could probably write an extensive essay on why Disney continues to come out on top despite Universal having the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Busch Gardens having thrilling rides and roller coasters. But the answer can be summed up in one sentence:

Disney appeals to and has something for everyone.

Disney is marketed as a theme park for all ages. It’s a place where families can come and enjoy time together–together being the operative word. Many theme/amusement parks cater to an older crowd with thrilling roller coasters and less rides for the entire family to enjoy. This is where Disney comes in to save the day. Disney has several parks that house a variety of shows, rides, and other entertainment that will keep everyone entertained. Even those die-hard Disney haters (yes, some do exist) will find SOMETHING they like.

And, if you thought Disney’s theme park success started and ended here in the United States, you were wrong. Disney reigns supreme throughout the world.

Tokyo Disneyland had 17,213,000 visitors last year, which is more than Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., Tokyo Disney Sea had 14,084,100, Disneyland Park in Paris had 10,430,000 and Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris had 4,470,000.

In fact, Disneyland Paris is said to be the most visited attraction in Paris, beating out the very famous Eiffel Tower. That. Is. Crazy.

And if you’re STILL not convinced that Disney reigns supreme, allow me to list just some of the things that The Walt Disney Company owns:

Lucasfilm (aka STAR WARS)

Pixar Animation Studios (Responsible for many movie favorites, such as Up, Wall-E, and Toy Story)

Disney-ABC Television Group

ABC Family (How many of you love Pretty Little Liars?)

A&E

ESPN (Hello, sports fans.)

Marvel Entertainment (Hello, Avengers fans.)

Disney Interactive Media Group

I could keep going, but the entire list is long and in depth. Plus, I think you see where I’m going with this.

I love Disney because the magic in the parks translates to EVERYTHING they do outside of them. Even if Disney isn’t your favorite place to visit, I guarantee at least one of your favorite things has a little bit of pixie dust sprinkled on it.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is the short version (yes, this could be longer!) of why Disney reigns supreme ❤

 

*The theme park attendance figures mentioned in this post can be found here, and a list of Disney’s assets can be found here.*

 

Let me know what you thought about this post in the comments!