To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Hello loyal readers and friends!

My blog has writer's block!! After such a long run of all the fun Disney posts from 20 years ago I have come to this wall and don't know what I should force down your throats! So here is some randomness of what is actually going on in my current life as a 38 year old -- for almost another month anyway.

  • If you want to read about my first Walt Disney World College Program experience, you can click here, or up at the top of the screen is the shortcut to the list of stories.
  • I've been asked if I will write about the rest of my adventures in Disney, and maybe I will. That one is harder since I was there for so long and worked in a multitude
  • of roles, all based out of Disney's Animal Kingdom. And I didn't keep a journal like I did in 1997. I just lived. Ha, I barely eeked by living paycheck to paycheck..... which is the biggest reason I am now an Oregonian again!
  • Facebook friends will know this, I had to say good bye to my Tinker Bell this week. I first met her when she was so tiny and fit in the palm of my hand. A guy had gotten this little kitty for his girlfriend in an attempt to save their failing relationship. They broke up and neither could take the kitten. I had never had a cat before and didn't want this sweet little thing to have to go to the pound, so I said I would be her mommy. And for 17 years that little cat and I were sidekicks, pretty much always attached. I let her hog my bed anytime she wanted. We traveled across the country together twice, visiting 13 states! In Nashville she escaped and ran around the entirety of our motel. I was freaking out, hoping she wouldn't hide and be gone forever. Obviously I caught her! In Orlando she and I went outside together in three different hurricanes just to say we did it! My house feels a little quiet without her since she was quite the talker. You never wondered if Tinker Bell was around because if she was, she was talking to you!
  • My mom is officially unemployed retired. Today she painted her toenails. Living the life!
  • I've been doing a major cleaning project, going through boxes of things I haven't seen in 5 years when Shawn initially moved into my little cottage with me. When we moved into our house everything was shoved aside and out of my thoughts. I was on a search for my old Disney things, and my boxes emerged from the Man Cave attic and into my house. So I've been doing an insane amount of cleaning, sorting, storing, tossing, donating and reminiscing. It's been pretty fun!
  • I've started registering for races again. I've been doing the smaller ones every since Katura was born, and got in my annual 10K last month, but now I'm ready for the biggies again!! 13.1 miles is my happy place and I am excited to work back up to that for next Spring!
  • It is football season, which means Saturdays in Corvallis for the home Oregon State University football games. The team is not good this year, but I don't care. I go for the fun with my family and the atmosphere. I love my old campus. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat! Unfortunately not everyone is a decent person, or even polite. And that person that has no sense of being kind to your fellow human crossed my path at the last game. He is always a grumpy old cuss, but I am always polite. He sits on the end of the row, while I am dead center. So when I need to get by I am always very nice and try to quickly get through so I can not be a disruption and not be next to his grumpy attitude. At half time I had to go back to the tailgate to change a baby diaper. Upon my return, Shawn and Katura went to our seats and I stopped to go potty. I'm not even sure if the game had really started by the time I got back. At most maybe they had just had the initial kick off. I got to my row and the jerk was blatantly ignoring me. Here I am, holding a little baby food bag, and all smiles. I started to stick my foot forward a little, not touching him or even getting it in the row yet, but in an attempt to get his attention. I said, "Excuse me, I just need to sneak through." And what did he do? He mumbled grumpily at me, refused to look, and stuck his arm out and pushed me. He was seated, I was standing. His hand and arm went right where you should NOT be touching another person! I regained my footing and VERY loudly told him to NOT ever touch me again. I shifted my balance, preparing to go to my seat and that asshole did it again! And this point I was in his face. I can't even remember what I said because I was seeing red. This complete strange has now just pushed me in the places I tell my daughter are private... not once, but TWICE! He essentially got the big FU to his face, loudly, in front of everyone. And I directed enough anger at his wife and friend that were with him. They are just going to sit there and pretend this man didn't just do that? Well FU, too! I saw the man that sits behind him have words with him, in my favor. I was so disgusted and mad that I was done. I didn't even finish the 3rd quarter before going home. I left out the other end of the row, but part of me wishes I would have gone back the same way and Oops, oh I'm sorry, did my knee get you just wrong when I was getting by because you won't let me through? But I took the high road.... after tweeting his disgusting ass for the world to see.

  • I'm currently watching Disney Jr, because that is all we watch, and it is Whisker Haven. One of the cats just said "wickedly". I can't even hear that word without hearing John Travolta say "Wickedly talented Adel Dazeem." 
  • That last bullet point was random. It's what I do.
  • I have no other babble. I exhausted myself venting about that jerk. I'm going to end this now and go rearrange the litter box situation now that I am down to only one animal in my home who, fortunately, is NOT geriatric!
  • Whoa, and now a commercial for Frozen on Disney Jr and "Adel Dazeem" is singing!
Anything you desire me to babble about or share stories of now that the big series is over??

Monday, October 2, 2017

WDWCP: Life After Disney

Just because your College Program comes to an end doesn't mean the friendships stop! Many of us went on to work for Disney again in various positions, which helped to keep reunions happening. But sometimes we would see each other again after long flights! Here are some looks at the reunions we have had so far.... 

In 1998, the year my program ended, I went back in December. I was supposed to go to Puerto Rico to see my friends there, but plans fell through and I was on my own. So my mom helped change my flights, so she and I could go back to Walt Disney World!

I was visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom for the first time. We were leaving Harambe and a funny little parade was coming through. I was lifting my camera to take a photo and as I snapped the lead frog and I realized we knew each other ... it was Danielle!! After the parade we were able to get our photo and have a quick chat. We were supposed to go to Pleasure Island together that night, but she never called me back. A year or so later we reunited on the phone, but she has since vanished into thin air. I have done MAJOR investigating into her whereabouts and she is impossible to find.

On that same vacation to Disney I ran into a couple of special men that I still hold dear to this day. Can you guess who they are?? Probably not a surprise... David and Vinny! I only got to spend one evening with Vinny, catching up on life since we had last seen each other. We had spent hours on the phone and sent letters, but still in person was the best way to catch up! He was still as eye catching as ever!

Back when we had Traditions at the start of our program, David and I rode in the front row together on Splash Mountain... so it was fitting that we took our same spots during our first post-WDWCP reunion! We spent a lot of time together during that vacation. He was working for Disney again at the Yachtman Steakhouse over at the Yacht and Beach Club. I had a blast being back with him again, and my mom was happy to get to meet him as well, something she would do again in the future!

Danielle may have flaked on me with Pleasure Island, but David didn't! My mom chose to stay at the hotel while David and I went back to our old stomping grounds at Downtown Disney. Below we are inside 8 Trax... and my clothing has graduated from t-shirts and shorts to different shirts and dressier pants!

A roommate I DID get to spend a lot of time with again was Sarah! She came over from Louisiana during Spring Break. I remember finding it so funny how she thought we were driving really fast through curvy mountains between the airport and our hometown. Mountains have snow, we told her. These were just hills!

Marcy and I took her hiking to some waterfalls. It was a good thing we had our Disney poncho jacket things since it ended up being a wet hike! We also went to the Oregon coast to see tide pools and a lighthouse. The coolest part, at least for me, was our day trip up to Mount Saint Helens. I'm pretty sure they don't have volcanoes in Baton Rouge! Most people that do Spring Break trips seem to go warm and tropical. We took Sarah to a volcano while it was snowing! 

The next person visit to Oregon was David! I tell ya, David and I can't stay apart for too long, even if we tried!

We met on my first night in Vista Way and stayed up for hours talking and listening to music. Little did I expect on that day that some time in the future he'd be sleeping on a mattress on the floor in my room during a summer break!

As is customary when people visit, David and I went to the ocean. If you live in Puerto Rico, you can't come all the way to the Pacific and not experience it for yourself! We also took him on a tour of local wineries in my mom's new car. I think I was the designated driver by the end of it since I still wasn't old enough to drink.... but prior blogs have taught us that David was the creator of my first ever jello shot at Vista Way! Instead of taking him to an active volcano, we took him over to Crater Lake. It was here that we hiked all the way to the bottom for a boat ride, which meant a mile long hike back UP. AND I convinced him to make his first snow angel, promising he wouldn't get dirty. I never said he wouldn't end up a little wet though!

One friend that we didn't see much in this series --- because I only have ONE photo?? --- is Christina, the adorable Texan. Well, she is really one of the sweetest people I've ever met and still holds that title to this day! I had a little, um... "party" we call it and that girl flew all the way to Oregon just to be there for it. That is just, Wow! Ha -- she's the only one from that wedding party I still keep in touch with!

Holland, Christina and some girl that looks like me.... karaoke time!
When I was back in Florida for a few years, again working with the Mouse, I was able to reunite once again with dear David! This time for a night out at Jellyrolls, the piano bar. We look quite good here! Seriously, you can't keep us apart, I bet it won't be long at all and we will be together yet again. Heck just days ago we were within only a few miles of each other but the timing just didn't work out.

And lastly, I was able to have another couple of reunions with Vinny. I had almost forgotten that we actually spent the evening of September 11th together. I had recently moved to Florida and since the theme parks closed after the attacks and we couldn't work, I had him come over to hang out and watch movies! Later I had a party in my apartment and insisted he come visit and meet all of my Kali River Rapids crew. Here you can see Vinny, me and Bobby.... I still talk to both of them to this day! I hope it won't be the last of my reunions with good ol' Vincent. I'd love to be able to catch up with each other again if I am ever allowed to return to Florida!

Hopefully I can have another follow-up post to share stories of seeing my old WDWCP chums again!

See ya real soon! °o°

Sunday, October 1, 2017

WDWCP: A Current Look Back

You've read all about my experiences, and now it's time to see what you could almost call my artifacts! Some of these things I hold very dear to my heart and I am happy I have been able to preserve them for all of these years!

Let's start first with the journal. I wrote in this religiously. Everything was documented in this book... who I saw, what I ate, how much I spent and where, where did I go, my work schedule, friend's phone numbers and birthdays. My entire College Program is summed up in this journal!

As a Cast Member you don't go anywhere without your ID card. I can't say I'm a fan of my photo really, but I can't do much about that. I really didn't like that pale pink pant suit! It met the Disney Look guidelines, but it just wasn't me. I'm a Converse girl, not a pastel pant suit girl!! This card got me into the parks for free, got me into Vista Way, got me my Cast Member discounts and was how I clocked in and out of work each day. It was the most important thing I had!

Another thing that I still believe very much in, and really emphasized when I was later a trainer at Disney's Animal Kingdom is the card in this next photo. The 7 Guidelines for Guest Service. These become a normal part of your life and you don't even have to think to do them, it happens naturally. I can tell you that to this day when I am a guest in a Disney park or resort, if I notice a Cast Member NOT doing these 7 things it disappoints me and stands out. These are the rules we live by and really, shouldn't we all try to incorporate this into our daily lives - working for the Mouse or not?

I'm sure you remember the Masquerade formal dance.... we got these cups as our little souvenirs!

In the post about the Marketplace I talked about the World of Disney and how it is this massive store of all things Disney... it is so big they even had maps!!

Along with your Cast Member ID card, there is another thing that is very dear to us. Our name tags. I ended up with THREE!! My first one ended up going through the cleaning process on my costume, but was surprisingly returned to me! That is the one that had my school on it. Sadly, I also lost my first name tag when I returned to Disney - but this one went down a huge drain in the Animal Kingdom cast parking lot. It was themed for 100 Years of Magic, and my magical memory was Alice in Wonderland. Why Alice? Well... in the locker room during this first College Program internship I actually got to talk to Alice! I told her I wanted to be her and she gave me advice and the confidence to pursue it ....after I got my braces off, of course!

Halloween Horror Nights is my thing!! I LOVE IT!! I haven't gone in a few years and I truly do miss it. To take its place, I go to the Spirit Halloween store as often as I can, and just try to soak up any little smells that might remind me of one of the mazes at Universal. So finding these coins from the parade during my first visit to Halloween Horror Nights was quite exciting!!

Sunday nights we would occasionally go to Service Industry Night at the House of Blues. I completely forgot we had actual cards that got us in! This was a fun surprise to discover in my WDWCP box!

If you've been to a Disney park in the last decade you probably saw people walking around with big round buttons, maybe you even wore one. I get them for my birthday all the time. Katura got one for her first visit to Disneyland - both when she was still cooking inside and when she was finally there in her Cinderella dress! Well, back in 1997 we had square buttons with stickers on them for the year. Here are my buttons from my first visit, and from attending Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. I'm such a pack rat. It gets worse...

And here is the "worse" I just referred to. A random button for the 25th Anniversary... and the Earful Tower that probably came in my sandwich from the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater I would imagine. BUT I'm glad I saved that little thing because the Earful Tower is now a thing of the past.

As I mentioned before, you don't just show up and get sent on-stage to work. We had a lot of training before ever being sent out to the guests. These are just some of our handouts from training. Specifically, the top things are from Once Upon A Time (the Magic Kingdom class). The bottom left is from Traditions, and the bottom right is from our Safety class. After my stints at Disney I think I have set places to a higher standard that they just cannot achieve. I spent years as a trainer for Disney, so clearly this is something I am passionate about. I feel such disappointment during job interviews upon my return to Oregon when I'd ask about their training and I get back a blank stare. A good foundation makes for a successful work environment!

Remember the start of this blog adventure and I talked about the interview process? Well here is the mail I received in my dorm welcoming me to the Walt Disney World College Program! That book on the left with the blue Mickey heads... I obsessed over it!! That was all we had to look at to prepare and try to anticipate what to expect. There was no website with information. We just had this book and letters. That small book on top is the Disney Look book I have referenced. It might look tiny, but it is multiple pages and full of information!!

Every year at Disney we have our Cast Holiday Celebration. With that we get a gift, a bigger discount for shopping, and a few other perks. In 1997 our gift was this watch that I have never worn. Why would I wear it and damage it? That would not be characteristic of me! I bought an ornament with the same Minnie & Mickey photo on it, and that is surprisingly still in one piece even though I use it every year and it is one of those annoying classic ball ornaments. 

Below is my 25th Anniversary poster that is still on my wall in my private room. I had one on my wall in the apartment, but this one was kept stashed away so it would be framed and not at all ruined. Twenty years this thing has been on display!

Do you remember my first visit to Epcot and we went to Mexico for dinner? This is the souvenir cup I got upon entering the park... and yes, this has been part of my life always on display for 20 years as well.

And finally, it might be silly to everyone else, but this final thing is very important to me. My Mousters Degree from Disney University. I don't even have my Oregon State University diploma framed or on display anywhere. But this is always out!

See ya real soon!  °o°

Saturday, September 30, 2017

WDWCP: Honorable Mentions

As hard as I tried, I couldn't condense my entire Walt Disney World College Program experience into one month's worth of daily blog posts. But that's good, that means I have many more memories to carry with me in life. I've decided to have this Honorable Mention post... basically some fun photos that weren't shared, and maybe some quick stories to go with them!

Let's start with night 1! Looking at these next two photos you wouldn't probably think this was the night we all arrived. I think the Puerto Rico contingency already had known each other prior to arriving, but I'm not entirely sure. This first photo is a typical example of life with Zaira... she HATED being in photos! This is the work that would go into trying to get her to cooperate. I feel bad because I don't remember the name of the smiling girl, but the guy in the hat is Alejandro, and then my dear David on the far right.

Later that night it was our first almost pajama party. We started out looking like the cool kids that would probably party a lot. Looks can be deceiving! After this mini-party ended David and I spent hours on that couch talking about anything and everything. The start of a beautiful friendship!

Jamie and I unintentionally ended up spending a day at the Disney-MGM Studios with the PR gang... below you will see Juan and David, with Maria and Brenda... Jamie and I being the pale ones. Man, I loved those Winnie the Pooh overalls! This was at the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground, another thing that does not exist anymore.

Everybody knows the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, right? That ride is so darn cool, and even better now than when first checked into the Hollywood Tower Hotel. I think it was love at first drop for me with that elevator ride!

We were total tourists on that trip to the Studios, hitting up every photo op. Below you can see us in front of the Great Movie Ride, sadly ANOTHER thing they got rid of. Don't even get me started on that. Okay, so I do think it is cool there will be a Mickey Mouse ride, BUT... this was such a classic that you could always count on being there as your air conditioned break off of your feet. I miss it already and it only just left.

Can we talk about my shoes in that photo above? I freaking LOVED those. And I got them free!!! Remember the Pepsi points you could get from buying Pepsi? Yeah, my awesome Tevas cost me $0.00. I wore those until a dog chewed them up I think.

One of my favorite places to eat in all of Walt Disney World is the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. I love the atmosphere so much. (I'm not one that picks places based on their menu since I am the world's pickiest eater and I eat off the kids menu.) You eat in cars in the setting of a drive-in theater. Totally cute and I recommend getting some dining reservations if you would like to eat here. During this trip I had my kid's meal and it came in a glow in the dark Frisbee that I of course still have and only just recently (last week) took down and put in a safe box with my other Disney collectibles!

Here we are eating in the car... and we were excited to have one with Oregon plates!

I love me some Muppets, so of course Sarah and I had to get cozy with the cranky old men!

Aww, remember when it was the Disney-MGM Studios?

Do you remember my story of New Year's Eve and waiting backstage? This photo with Bossi is the same place we sat forever just waiting for our bus, which is what we are doing in this photo as well!

This was my favorite part of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground... the sniffing dog nose!

Here we are at Pleasure Island, Jamie and I, with Germane and Gianni - fellow Cast Members from Pecos Bill Cafe

Every. Single. Day. of work.... 3 o'clock... the parade. It started in Frontierland and I swear you wouldn't really need a watch because you could count on hearing "When you wish upon a star" promptly at 3 o'clock for the start of the Remember the Magic parade. I have that entire parade memorized, and even found a mp3 of it online. You'd think I wouldn't want to hear it ever again after this, but no, I love listening to it!

Here's a random shot of a bunch of us from the Frontierland food area. We had some sort of meeting and don't we all look so happy? There are familiar faces here that have been in the blog already. Back row we have Rebecca, Ann-Laure and Christina. The front row we have Erica, Jamie and myself. Holli is in there in her chef jacket as well. She is a fellow Oregonian that I also can't track down anywhere

On Main Street USA you could visit the 25th Anniversary Welcome Center. This is where we would get our buttons and posters that I swear every single apartment in Vista Way had plastered on their walls!

I had no problem going to the parks by myself. I still enjoy alone time with just me and my camera. On the day of the photo below I was just hanging out and getting some photos of friends and the area we spent all of our time in before my program came to an end. I had waited around and spent time with Vinny during his lunch break. As I was leaving, stupid Joe tossed a cigarette at me, which stayed on my back-pack. Fortunately someone else saw and came and flicked it off. So Joe apparently had a crush on me. He told me this one night when he was driving me home. I did not have those same feelings, as obviously Vinny was my main squeeze. I guess this was his childish behavior since I had come to have lunch with Vinny and not him. In my journal I even said that if I see him again he might not be able to ever conceive children after I was done! I did some therapy shopping after this and got myself a cute little Christmas Winnie the Pooh doll, that I nearly lost in the San Francisco airport on my way home.

Check out the train station.... 25 candles!

This is a photo of the Disney University. I have been here many times - for a new ID card, classes, shopping, doing my electives for my Mousters Degree. It was a pretty cool place!

This is another shot of our Traditions group. Where the heck is David?? Maybe he took the photo. Our scavenger hunt started at the Polynesian Resort, which is where this was taken - at the Monorail station to be exact.

Something I have always enjoyed, and not just because it is FREE, is to go resort hopping. Vinny and I did that a lot. It is a cool way to get all the Disney feels without feeling your bank account get smaller and smaller. In these next two silly photos we were at the Wilderness Lodge. I always enjoyed the Wilderness Lodge because it helped me feel I was back home in the Pacific Northwest... if the PNW had insane humidity and tons of tourists in fanny packs and lycra. Oh! That Winnie the Pooh I talked about is in the photo below actually! I got the tiny one, not that really tall one that probably cost more than my frugal ass would spend.

Remember the Masquerade Ball? I'm just adding this photo because we are freaking cute!

Here is my part of Vista Way. My little corner... new stuffed animals, my airplane blanket, the dresser I got my first concussion on, and a No Doubt poster and that 25th Anniversary poster I just mentioned. The other corner had my Romeo & Juliet poster. Who wouldn't want to look at Leonardo DiCaprio every night before bed??

And lastly .... a trip to Typhoon Lagoon with Miss Jamie! In this first photo you can see Miss Tilly (the boat) behind her, and a massive wave about to crush down on Jamie!

This water park has serious waves. I mean look at me?? I shouldn't even share that photo below, but it is so awful that it is hilarious!

Plugging your nose is Key!!!

That poor little girl in that man's arms!! This couldn't have ended pretty! At one point I had an entire person land on me underwater!

And that is it ladies and gentleman! There is only one post left to follow this one, but this really is the end of the stories! I hope you enjoyed them, I enjoyed writing them!

See ya real soon! °o°