Disney Update!

Walt Disney World has certainly been the center of attention lately, hasn’t it?

It’s easy to miss something when it feels like an announcement is coming every few days!

So here is your Disney Update Cheat Sheet!

1) Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has begun at the Magic Kingdom!

On select nights from now through Dec. 19, Magic Kingdom will transform into a winter wonderland from 7:00 PM to midnight for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Guests will be able to meet their favorite Disney characters dressed in their wintery best (including, for the first time, Sandy Claws!), watch Elsa, along with Anna, Kristoff and Olaf, cast an icy glow on Cinderella Castle during A Frozen Holiday Wish, wave to Disney friends as they pass by in Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, see the sky explode into glorious colors during Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season, and enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and cookies while they walk down a snowy Main Street! This is my favorite time of the year and my favorite hard ticket event at Disney, so make sure to check it out! I’ll be going on Monday, so be on the lookout for a post and if you see me, say hi!

2) The Sorcerer’s Hat in Disney’s Hollywood Studios Will Be Removed in Early 2015

No, this is not a rumor. Disney has announced that the Sorcerer’s Hat, placed in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2001, will be removed in early 2015. I can’t tell you how many people didn’t know this was happening or thought it was a rumor, but it isn’t. Personally, I’ll be sad to see it go since I’ve only ever known DHS with the iconic hat, but I’m sure whatever Disney has planned will blow us away!

3) Maelstrom, Studio Backlot Tour, and The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow Have All Closed

Maelstrom and Studio Backlot Tour both closed a few weeks ago, but you’d be surprised how many people are still unaware of that! The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, in Disney’s Hollywood Studio, closed Thursday. It’s unknown on what will replace this, but seeing as it is right next to Pixar Place, one could speculate that Disney is gearing up to expand the area that houses Toy Story Midway Mania. At least, that’s what this girl is hoping for!

4) Toy Story 4 Is Coming To A Theatre Near You in 2017

Toy Story fans, get ready to continue the adventure with your favorite toys because they’re coming back! John Lasseter, the director of Toy Story 1 and 2, will be directing the 4th installment, which is slated to be released in June of 2017, seven years after Toy Story 3 was released. Now, I admit I was a little upset when I first heard that a fourth movie was being made because I thought, like many other people did, that Toy Story 3 ended the trilogy PERFECTLY. However, after reading several interviews with John Lasseter in various articles, it’s clear to me that these movies meant just as much to him as they did to the fans. I have faith that this movie will wow us. (But Toy Story 3 was still the perfect ending.)

5) Big Hero 6 Is Now In Theatres!

Big Hero 6, the newest movie from the brilliant minds at Walt Disney Animation Studios, is finally out in theatres! I’ve heard EXCELLENT reviews, some claiming that this is the best animated movie Disney has ever put out! This is actually the first Disney animated film to feature Marvel characters, so Marvel fans will be pleased! I can’t wait to go see the movie. If you’ve seen it, did you like it?! Let me know in the comments below!

6) The Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade Is Getting A Little…Frozen

The coast-to-coast Christmas Day Parade, hosted by the Disneyland Resort in California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, is getting a new name: Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration!

If you’re a fan of the popular film, this is exciting news! If you’re absolutely over the hype, this is upsetting to you. All I can say is this–Frozen is popular and is a film that transcends age, which is not something every film can accomplish. At the end of the day, Disney is still a business, and they have to capitalize on what brings in the most money, the most views, the most people. When was the last time a movie made THIS big of a splash? While I know it’s upsetting to see Frozen taking over a lot of things, I don’t think they’re sacrificing the magic of Disney in any way. People LOVE meeting Anna and Elsa in Princess Fairytale Hall; they love to sing along to movies from the film in ‘For The First Time in Forever: A Frozen Celebration’; they still get excited to see the sisters during Festival of Fantasy. In fact, Frozen merchandise is STILL selling like hotcakes. It’s more popular now then when it was first released, and if people didn’t love it as much as they do, Disney wouldn’t continue to build on the excitement.

I personally love the film. I loved Frozen Summer Fun, I still go to the sing along, I still wait in line to meet the princesses, and I’m BEYOND excited to see them during MVMCP lighting the castle! I don’t agree with taking out Maelstrom to replace it with a Frozen inspired ride, but otherwise, I’m excited to see what else they come up with. Let the storm rage on, right?

If you know of any other huge Disney updates, tell me in the comments so I can add to this list!

Are you excited about the changes?

Which change is the most exciting/most upsetting to you?

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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.*

disney+challenge

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?

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.”

IMG_8678                                            IMG_8679

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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