Thursday, February 28, 2013

Disney College Program: Part 4 (Waiting Game)

DCP Part 3: Waiting Game

I forgot to include this in earlier posts. Disney Programs blog is a great resource, with a lot of Q & A that you can use to learn more about the program!

The following is the 3 possible outcomes of your application:


A wave of these emails have been going out and generally applicants see this as a bad thing, although they still have a 50/50 chance of being accepted into the program. When you get a pending email it says that your application is currently processing and that your status is pending a final decision. For this semester, the pending email tells the applicant that they will know whether they have been accepted or declined by April 19th. Generally, with the amount of applicants applying, Disney isn’t sure where to place a specific applicant or decide where they want them positioned at. There isn’t necessarily anything bad about being pended, it’s just a limbo between accepted and declined. However, it is troublesome, as some applicants have to wait until the day before April 19th  to find out if they are declined or accepted If you are pended, your dashboard will still say your application is in progress.

Magic Kingdom Emporium at Christmastime

The only problem I have with pending is that I enroll for my next semester at my university in early April. By that time I’ll need to have applied for the internship class and it’s really going to mess with how I enroll in my next semester. I will probably end up having about 34 credit hours and when I find out if I’m accepted or declined I’d have to drop the specific classes.


If you are the chosen one and get accepted, congratulations! You’ll receive an email confirming this and you will then go on to choose your arrival dates. For Fall, arrival dates are the Monday’s of August and for Fall Advantage, they are late May/early June. Arrival dates is when you’ll check into your apartment and begin your journey. (If you have specific roommates in mind, you must all have the same check-in day and check-in together!) Be aware, you must pay a total of $300 in fees (housing and assessment) once you are accepted into the program. The housing is a deposit that will be applied to the housing costs during the first few weeks of the program. Your dash should say something about your acceptance.

Also, be aware, that Disneyland is actually a fee of $860!

Hollywood Studios 

No Longer in Consideration:

Unfortunately, if you receive an email stating that your application is no longer in consideration, this means you have been declined but they thank you for your interest. Your dashboard progress will say that you are no longer in consideration. Don’t give up hope, you can always apply again as long as you are taking university classes, try again the next semester! Some have even called Disney and they were able to give them small bits of information. One girl posted that Disney told her she needs to work on her communication skills. It can’t hurt to call and see if they can let you know why you didn’t get accepted, but don’t expect any in-depth information, most just let you know that it’s a competitive program. I call this being declined, you’ll also see it as no longer in consideration, or NLIC’d.

Waiting Game:

This is arguably the worst part of the entire process. Waiting for applications was fun, and everyone was excited. However, waiting to see the outcome of your application is extremely stressful. Waves of acceptances, declines, and pendings have been sent out since I had my phone interview. Everyone tries to make sense of the waves of emails, but there is apparently no reason or rhyme. Alumni say not to try and figure out a pattern and just wait it out. At this point, one of my friends has been accepted for attractions, one has been declined, and many others have been pended. Out of all the friends that I talk to, about 7 of us are still in progress and have not received any word. However, it’s speculated that by 2 weeks of the first interview date, everyone should receive some email from Disney about their application.

Be Our Guest Restaurant at New Fantasyland

It’s important to check your emails and your dashboard. Sometimes your dashboard does not reflect an email that you received and sometimes your dashboard is actually ahead of the email system. I can tell you not to stress and don’t try and recheck often, but it’s very difficult. I, for one, can tell you that every time my phone loads a new email or my dashboard is loading my heart stops. You never know when it’s coming!

Good luck and I hope that you will get your acceptance email soon!

This is part 4 of a group of posts I will be making throughout my journey as a DCP applicant. My next post will be about my thoughts on being accepted (hopefully!) or about being declined for the position. I applied as a Photopass Phtoographer and my application is currently still in progress!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Who's Who Wednesday- Contributor Leslie

Hi all!  My name is Leslie and I’m a wife, stay-at-home mom to a 1 year old Princess and a 4 year old Prince, and a complete Disney addict. I grew up in California, where we visited Disneyland and vacationed in Florida while visiting my grandparents. I became a Florida resident at 12 years old and have had an annual pass to Walt Disney World ever since.  I am a proud member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been a DVC member for over 5 years at two resorts.  I was engaged at Cinderella's Royal Table and 6 months later, married my sweetheart with a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding in Italy at Epcot. I am a lucky girl for marrying a man who loves the Mouse just as much as I do!  The love for all things Disney runs in my blood.  My Grandpa worked on the construction crew that built Space Mountain in Walt Disney World, and my other Grandpa worked for Walt Disney in the late 1930’s in film distribution and even met Walt Disney himself several times. My parents visited the Magic Kingdom on opening day, although by accident.  I love to take day trips since we live so close, whether it be with my entire family, just with the kids, or solo.  You can usually find my family at a water park every weekend during the summer.  I havebeen to Disneyland Paris, sailed on 5 Disney cruises and visited Aulani for our anniversary last year.  I am very excited to join the A2M team!

Disney College Program: Part 3 (Preparation & Phone Interview)

Part 3: Phone Interview

Set-up & Preparation

As I stated in part 2 of our DCP application journey, once you finish the Web-Based Interview and pass with flying colors you are emailed a link to set up the next step: the phone interview.

Depending on how early you apply and at what time you finish your web-interview, will decide what time slots are available for your phone interview. Applications were released on Friday and the first day for interviews began on that Sunday! By the time I finished my web-interview at 6:30PM that night, Sunday and Monday time slots were filled! The phone interview times span the entire day. From what I remember they began around 8AM EST and went in about 15 minute intervals up until 12:30 AM EST. Because I was busy on Tuesday, I set up my interview for 5:15 CST on Wednesday, February 13th

Then, you can only wait and prepare. I had been preparing for the DCP applications for about a year in advanced. I was checking out blogs, reading about experiences, and gathered up quite a nice word document of possible interview questions. If anybody is interested in applying for the DCP and would like a list of the questions I gathered emailed to them, please shoot Addicted to Mickey an email and I’ll get it passed on to you! Sharing is caring! 

Hollywood Studios Countdown to Fun Parade

For the interview, I do suggest coming up with answers to many of the possible questions ahead of time and take some time to study them. Pick out the ones you think will be most important and the ones important to your specific role choices and try and remember what you want to say. You’ll feel much better prepared if you’ve heard most of the questions. Definitely study the harder questions more, the easier questions will be a breeze to come up with off the top of your head but the ones that require some thought can trip you up in the middle of the interview. 

Here are the questions that, from what I have read and from my interview, are almost always asked (or some variety of these):

How do you feel about the Disney Look? Could you comply with it?

Do you have any visible tattoos?

Why do you want to do the Disney College Program?

How do you handle multi-tasking or working with interruptions?

Explain your previous jobs and how they might help you with your chosen roles.

Have you ever lived with roommates or in dorms?

How would you handle a difficult roommate situation?

If you were doing a repetitive task, how would you stay interested?

How would you make a guests day?

I can’t guarantee you will be asked these, or in this way, but these are very basic questions that are likely to come up.

As I said, studying is important, but make sure to stay loose and not to study too much. Speak with your heart, you don’t want to memorize every word, just make sure you know kind of what you want to say. Interviewers don’t want someone who sounds scripted, they want someone who can think off their head and are passionate in their answers. Try a few mock interviews with friends or someone at your university. Maybe have your current boss sit down and interview you, get feedback. This can only help and can make you more prepared!

Many of my friends came up with creative ways to set-up for their interviews some, which I adapted for myself. Something I suggest is taking a piece of paper or post-it notes and writing down the questions you feel are most important and then answer them in keywords. For instance, I took a pad of paper, wrote down all the important questions I thought would come up, and wrote short, keyword answers so I could glance at them and remember what I wanted to say. Under “Why do the DCP”, I wrote “Educationally, professionally, personally” and in my interview named off my reasons that fell under each category. You won’t have much time to look around pages after pages of questions and answers so pick a few that’s important. On my paper I wrote down my date, time, a few positive notes (stay happy! Smile! Have fun!), a space for my interviewer’s name, my questions and keyword answers, questions for the interviewer, and then a small space for me to take notes during the interview. I also decided to wear my Mickey ears to keep me in the spirit!

The most important thing to remember is to SMILE! We all know those people who we meet who are always smiling or laughing, it’s contagious. The interviewer can tell when you are having a good time and it will definitely help you. Also, as I mentioned before, leave a space to write your interviewers name down and don’t forget to thank them by name when you have finished the interview. They are an important part of your application and deserve to be thanked!

The Interview

The days leading up to my interview, I nearly forgot all about it. It was only when I would suddenly remember when my heart would drop and I felt sick. I was so nervous, but so excited! After seeing so many of my friends have their interviews (some going well, some not), I just wanted mine to be over with.

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

Finally, Wednesday, after a stressful day of waiting around in a doctor’s office and 4 classes in which I could barely pay attention, it was evening and almost time for my interview. As others recommend, I too recommend setting about an hour out of your day to get in the zone. Make sure you are somewhere quiet without interruptions. Tell your roommates or parents not to bother you until you are done. Listen to some Disney music, chat with your friends, get support from other DCP applicants. At 4:30PM I shut my door and hid myself from outside contact. I cruised Tumblr, listened to Disney music, surfed through the DCP facebook pages, and sat out all my notes. 

The interview time is also not set in stone. Throughout the day some interviews go short and some go long. I’ve heard anywhere from 10-40 minutes. A typical interview, and what they tell you over the phone, is that each is about 20 minutes long. Make sure your phone is charged and loud, you don’t want to miss it. Sit it in front of you and when the call does come it is from a restricted number; answer it!! 5:15 came and went without a call, I was shaking in my boots and finally around 5:30, the phone rang. The interviewer will tell you their name (write it down!) and then ask you to confirm some information about your application, then it’s onto the questions.

Some interviewers are nicer than others, some like to chat, some are more professional, some will laugh when you laugh, some will be very dry. Don’t let it get to you, just stick with the plan, smile, and answer the best you can. My voice shook for about a minute and a half as I stumbled out the answer to the first questions “Why the DCP?”  Once you get into the rhythm, the interview gets much easier. Hopefully your voice will stop shaking and you will take time to think about your answers. The interviewer knows that you’re nervous they are not here to criticize you. Overall, my interview lasted about 20 minutes and ended up being fairly pleasant. I laughed a lot and while she didn’t necessarily seem very chatty, she was kind and let me ramble on. At the end of all the questions the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. Ask something! Have a couple questions down! They will then tell you that it will be around 2-3 weeks to receive an answer back and that is the end of your interview. You’re done!

So, what questions was I asked? Here is a list of the ones I can remember. My interview only lasted 20 minutes, but now when I look at the amount of questions, I’m surprised it was so short:

How do you feel about the Disney Look? Could you comply with it?

Do you have any visible tattoos or piercings?

Why do I want to do the CP at this point in my life?

If you have a conflict with your roommate, how would handle it?

If you were doing a task that was repetitive, how would you keep yourself interested in it?

Name a time when you had to multi-task to complete a job and how did it effect the end results of what you were trying to accomplish?

How do you deal with multiple things going on at once and having multiple tasks to get done?

How do you feel speaking in front of large groups?

How does your past job experience relate to the roles you chose and how would it help you?

Name your top 3 roles and why you chose them.

Would you be okay working outdoors?

If you were the first person a guest saw how would you make their day?

Do I have a valid US drivers license?

Are you here on a student visa?

Do I prefer working in a fast paced, medium paced, or slow environment?

Do you prefer to work alone or in groups?

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parade

I am pretty sure I had more questions, but this is all I can remember at the moment. I really stressed how badly I wanted Photopass, most of the situational questions I answered “If I were photopass”, whether that is a good thing or not, I’ve yet to figure out! There are some other situational questions that have to do specific roles, which I have on a word document. I smile the entire time, laughed (even though my interviewer did not laugh as much), and thanked her by name at the end. Don’t be afraid to elaborate on any question, I’m a very wordy person and felt like I dominated the interview and rambled too much, it’s okay! 

I asked her the following questions:

How did you get started working for Disney? She did the DCP!
Do Photopass parkhop throughout the week? Didn’t necessarily know but knew they parkhopped in the same park.
Any way to get in touch with digital media and network within the company?  Yes! DCP is very much about networking and getting foot in door. You can ask one of your Disney educators to help you get in touch with someone in your field.

So, other tips?

Jen (Accepted attractions!) says: Breathe!!!! And really stress your career goals and how Disney will be a part of them! Also, ace the questions about guest interaction. They are key!!

Good luck! You’ll do great!

This is part 3 of a group of posts that I will be making throughout my journey as a DCP applicant. My next post will be entirely about waiting for an answer and what each status on your dash means. I applied as a Photopass Photographer and my application is still in progress!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Disney College Program: Part 2 (Application & Web-Interview)

Part 2: Application and Web-Based Interview. 


Typically, applications for the Fall semester are released sometime in late January/Early February and for Spring semester, Late August/Early September. This year, Fall semester applications were released at 9AM CST on Friday, February 8th.  Prospective Students can sign up for email updates on the applications, such as when they are posted. Here is the link to the main page where the DCP applications will pop up on:|CA

Students will click the apply button and fill out the application, much like a regular job. First you will have to create a login which will end up being your dashboard. This is where Disney will communicate with you on your progress (they also send emails). For the application they ask for your general personal information, which park you are applying for, job/volunteer experience (up to 4), and what roles you are interested in. The application is very easy and takes about 20 minutes. At some point in the application, a page will come up where students can mark either no, low, moderate, or high interest in the specific roles. For my application, I marked low for Main Gate Operations, full service food and beverage, moderate for merchandise, and high for photopass and attractions.

In reality I need to get photopass in order to earn internship credits from my school but I don’t suggest only putting interest in for one role. Just be aware that if you put moderate and high interest for many roles there is a possibility that you could get placed in any of these roles, especially if you have specific experience in a role (like quick service).
Disney's Animal Kingdom

 Web-Based Interview

Within a few hours applicants will receive a thank-you for applying email and an email inviting them to take the web-based interview. This email will include a link to begin the interview. I submitted my application at 1PM and by 4PM had received both my emails. I got home at 6PM and sat down to do my web-based interview. This typically lasts about 20 minutes, depending on how fast you move through it. It’s important to find a quiet place where you can concentrate. The web interview is not too bad it’s very similar to personality quizzes. You answer questions on how much you relate to specific statements based on a numbers scale and then you move onto questions that make you answer with strongly agree/disagree, agree/disagree, and neutral. 

It has been said to be honest with these questions, but the reality is that many have said to only choose the neutral option when absolutely necessary. This is because Disney wants workers who are sure of themselves and know right from wrong. With mine I answered most of my questions with strongly agree/disagree, and agree/disagree, and perhaps one neutral. The questions are typical ones including “I am never late for work”, “I am a positive person”, “I like to work in groups” and so on. It is a timed interview but you are given 50 seconds for each question which is plenty of time. Make sure to read the questions carefully, Disney does have a habit of rephrasing an earlier question and looking for the same response. Let’s say they ask you on the number scale to rate yourself on “I am never late” with 5 being agree and 1 being disagree. They may ask you on the agree/disagree scale “I am always late”, therefore you’d want to be 5 on the first question and strongly disagree on the second. 

 Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

This is where many people get tripped up. You can be denied after the web-based interview. So deep breath, stay focused, and you’ll do fine! I will be honest and say that I was most nervous about this, but it really was not a big deal at all. Don’t let it go to your head! I asked a few of my DCP hopeful friends to share their advice on the process so far!

Marissa says: “Breathe, take a deep breath on every page you get to in the application and focus on getting all your information correct and double check! For the WBI, just don't panic. It seems a lot worse than it is. Be concise and read the questions carefully.”

Jen (who was already accepted for attractions, way to go Jen!): “Read slowly and read the questions out loud. It will help you make sure that you read the question correctly.”

You can pause the interview by clicking the next button without having an answer selected. I accidently did this and when I un-paused it had skipped over the question. Don’t panic, just keep going!

Ultimately, when you’ve finished all of the questions on the interview, you will automatically be taken to a screen that tells you whether you passed or failed. If you passed, then congratulations, you are onto the phone interview! You should receive an email within a few hours with a link to schedule your phone interview. 

This is part 2 of a group of posts that I will be making throughout my journey as a DCP applicant. My next post will be entirely about the phone interview. I applied as a Photopass Photographer and my application is still in progress!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Disney College Program: Part 1 (Overview)

Why the Disney College Program?

It’s only been a week since applications were posted for the Fall/Fall Advantage Disney College Program but it feels like an eternity! For all of our younger readers or parents of college students who are obsessed with Disney and are looking for a good internship or learning opportunity, this post is for you!

The Disney College Program is a 6-8 month program designed specifically for college students who wish to spend a semester working at the happiest place on earth in a variety of different roles.
Cinderella Castle during Winter Months

So, who is eligible? I pulled this from the Disney College Program Website:

“1. Be Enrolled as a Full-Time or Part-Time Student and Taking Classes”
 Doesn’t matter how old you are, if you are currently taking any classes at an accredited university the semester before the program, than you are eligible. This does not include dual enrollment in high school.

“2. Meet Any School Requirements for Participation”
This includes GPA, credit hours, grade level, etc.

“3. Be at Least 18 Years of Age by the Time the Program Begins”

“4. Possess Unrestricted Work Authorization”

Applicants can either request to work at Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Orlando. There are four different time spaces. Fall which goes from early August to early January, or Fall Advantage which goes from late May/early June to early January. 

For the Spring Program (applications are released in the Fall) Spring goes from Mid January to Mid May and Advantage goes from Mid January to Mid august. More information about eligibility can be found on the website. 

 Disney's Art of Animation Resort (Cars)

So, where can you work and what are the roles?
Applicants can apply for the following positions at Walt Disney World (and much is the same at Disneyland):

Attractions, Custodial, Hopper, PhotoPass Photographer, Main Entrance Operations, Transportation. Bell Services Dispatch/Greeter, Concierge, Hospitality, Housekeeping, Full-Service Food & Beverage, Quick-Service Food & Beverage, Retail/Sales, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique/Pirate League, Merchandise, Vacation Planner, Lifeguard, Recreation, Character Attendant, Character Performer (Audition Required), & Costuming.

There are three components to the Disney College Program:
Living – You will be living in one of three dorms: Patterson, Chatham, or Vista Way. You will be rooming with other college programmers (from 1-7 roommates). If you are under 21 you will automatically be placed in a wellness apartment.

Learning – Classes are available for enrollment, many that can possibly be taken for college credit through your university. Some university accept the college program as an internship for your major as well. Here is a course syllabi of classes offered.

Earning – Full-time job at either park in accepted position where you will be paid weekly. Rent and other fees are taken out automatically so what is left is for personal bills and fun.

More in-depth information can be found on the website:
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I will answer them the best I can!

 Disney's Art of Animation Resort 

I definitely urge any of you who are planning to apply for the program to find a group of friends online, either through the college program facebook pages, through tumblr, or any other social media site EARLY.  I joined the Fall 2013 College Program Hopeful page around October of 2012, when it was a small group and I have met some of the most amazing people and we have already become such great friends (some that will be featured in my posts). If you join the groups closer to applications or in the middle, there are a ton of people and it can get hectic making connections and drama can also arise easier with more people. So join early, get to know each other, talk about your favorite Disney things. It'll make the wait for applications seem shorter and you might already find your future roommates if everything works out!

This is part 1 of a group of posts that I will be making throughout my journey as a DCP applicant. My next post will be entirely about the application process, web-based interview, and what to expect. I applied as a Photopass Photographer and my application is still in progress!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Foodie Friday: Landscape of Flavors

Contrary to my earlier post, our first meal on Disney property was actually at Art of Animation on December 16th. A couple weeks before we left on our vacation we decided to head out a day early and so we needed to book an extra night on property. We had just visited the Nemo section of Art of Animation back in May and we were anxious to see the rest of the complete resort so we booked a standard room at the Little Mermaid section. However, since we added this on, it was not part of our dining plan and we paid out of pocket.

After wandering the resort (which was beautiful!) we made our way to the food court for dinner. My family and I had eaten here once before in May where I had a veggie burger that was out of this world. I hadn't seen anything like it offered anywhere else so this night I decided to go for it once again, looking forward to one of my favorite meals.

The food court itself is laid out like most of the other resorts and seating is plenty. There is plenty to keep your eye entertained and the fountain areas are well-placed. It was decently filled, with quite a line at each station, but not so much that it was overwhelming. We all ordered and took a seat near the corner by a television playing the park hours and a fountain area. 

My family decided to ordered  a large half cheese, half pepperoni pizza to split between the three of them. While I didn't have any, the crust looked mighty good and they all agreed it was a delicious meal. The boxes they serve them in are also adorable, with mickey and the gang adorning the top. Since we hadn't yet gotten our mugs we all ordered water to save on our dinner.

Next up was my vegetable burger which I remembered so fondly. This burger made out of corn, carrots, soybeans and more is topped with pepperjack cheese, lettuce, a slice of fried green tomato on a Brioche Bun served with cole slaw or fries. I don't remember liking the cole slaw much on our trip in May so I decided to go with the fries instead. As soon as I put it together and tried to take a bite, all of the food kept sliding around. The veggie burger itself crumbled and fell apart as I ate it. 

While what I could taste was good, I was left to use my fork to pick apart the burger. It also didn't help that it was served on a metal slitted plate because as it fell apart, much of it would fall underneath the paper and fall onto the tray. If only it would've stayed together I would have been able to taste all the ingredients together as they should have been and I would've finished my meal a happy Kayla. The veggie burger itself is absolutely delicious on its own but combined with the bread and tomato is what makes it fantastic. The fries were good, as usual but I was left a little disappointed this time around..

Overall, we loved Art of Animation and the Landscape of Flavors. Despite my disappointing encounter, I suggest you head over and try some of the meals they have to offer, whether you go with the veggie burger or not. It does look mighty tasty in the photo and maybe you'll have better luck with your order! If not, the beauty of the resort is sure to make up for it! The large pizza totaled to $13.99 and my vegetable burger ended up being $8.99.

If you'd like to learn how Art of Animation makes their vegetable burgers and try it for yourself head over to Disney Parks Blog:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Saving Money in Disney: Souvenir Edition

My family is one of those families that like to stay on a budget each time we go. We find so many ways to stay on the budget,since we go to Disney so much. Here are some things that my family has learned along the way.

 Saving money is something we like to do,not because we don't have the money,but because we can get more bang for our buck.

 Let's start with before you leave home. Before we leave home we always go shopping. I know it sounds silly,but we love Walmart,Target,Kmart ,Walgreens and the Dollar tree the best. They always have the best Disney related items! Target dollar spot usually always has the neatest little things like socks,pencils,pencil holders,lunch items,ect...ect!!!! We also love Dollar Tree, they have coloring books,crayons,sand toys,swim stuff,puzzles,pez,stickers ..all in Disney!! Places like Walmart and Target and even Kmart have Disney related clothing,which is perfect to wear while you are at the park.

 Now what do I do with all this stuff? What we try to do is not show the kids what we bought and leave the items as a surprise. We give them different items each day. The stuff from the Dollar Tree is great if you have a rainy day and you are stuck in your hotel room or waiting for a passing shower. The stickers are great,every kid loves stickers.

 One of my favorite money saving ideas come from the Dollar Tree..they are glow items!!!! Each night as it starts getting dark all the glow items make there appearance in the Disney parks. Trying to stick to our budget, glow items are too expensive for us,so we bring them from home and even share them with other kids who's parents don't buy them. Nothing is better than sharing some Disney magic. The tubes of glow sticks make bracelets or necklaces and now they also have wands.

 Another great souvenir is the pressed penny. I know ,its just a penny right? These are be great to take home and cherish for years to come. What we do is go to the bank and get fresh shiny new pennies and our regular quarters and fill coin rolls. This makes them easy to carry in your bag. Also,be sure to bring a small plastic baggy or buy a pressed penny collection book so as your are collecting them,they won't get lost.

 Did you know you can get a free souvenir? Just stop at City Hall,or the entrance to one of the parks,and ask for a free button. They have My First Visit, I'm Celebrating,Happy Anniversary,Happy Birthday,Just Engaged and Just Married. These are great pins to take home and collect.

 Some great free items you can take home are perfect for scrapbooking!!! Napkins,tickets,brochures,park maps,receipts,fast passes,ect!!! Best of all the items are free.

 Some other great take home souvenirs are: The plastic Mickey plates,they hold up on the top dishwasher rack, plastic refillable cups, popcorn buckets and post cards.

 Something my kids loved to do was get a Mr. Potato head in DTD. This is so much fun! You pick all the parts, whatever you can fit in the box,for around 20.00. Each year you go back and you can add to it.

 Another great souvenir is Disney Dollars. These dollars look just like real money,but instead of presidents, they have Disney characters on them. These are really neat to have.

 My last money saving tip is shop around. If you have a vehicle, head to International Dr. They have Orlando Prime Outlet mall with a Disney Outlet Store. Here you can get Disney merchandise for rock bottom prices. They have 3 diff locations!!! There is also a Walmart not far from the parks that carries autograph books, shirts, post cards and other Disney related items.

 So,if you are looking to save money on souvenirs, these are my best ideas I have found,along the way.....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Who's Who Wednesday: Pinnochio

Who’s Who Wednesday: Pinnochio
I got no strings to hold me down, to make me fret or make me frown!

Pinnochio Image Credit: Disneywikia 
Village Haus Image Credit: wdwinfo

This week who’s who is dedicated to the cutest little wooden boy Disney viewers have ever seen. Walt Disney’s second animated feature, Pinnochio debuted in the 1940 film of the same name. Pinnochio was a gift to Geppetto from the blue Fairy, Geppetto wanted a son most of all. The Blue Fairy enchanted a wooden puppet to come alive and she sends Pinnochio’s conscience, Jiminy Cricket with him.

Pinnochio is very naïve as a wooden puppet which is why his friend Jiminy must accompany him. Pinnochio ends up getting himself into a few dangerous situations due to his inability to distinguish right from wrong. When the Blue Fairy finds that Pinnochio has left Geppetto, Pinnochio tells a great big lie and his nose grows long. Eventually the Blue Fairy returns Pinnochio to his human form after he’s turned into a Donkey at Pleasure Island.

Pinnochio is characterized with a high voice and an extremely dangerous (yet understandable) curiosity. Pinnochio, despite having wooden characteristics, is like many other boys, innocent, looking for fun, and brave when he wants to rescue his father from Monstro. Pinnochio wears yellow and red clothes, a bright blue bow, and a yellow round hat. His shoes and other clothing are very similar to that worn in many of the old towns of Germany and Italy (the movie itself takes place in Italy, which is where the story originated).

Pinnochio loves to dance and play with his pets, Cleo and Figaro. All he wants is to be a real boy and to stay with his father forever. Pinnochio has made a lot of small appearances within the past few years including House of Mouse, Aladdin, Kingdom Hearts, and most recently as a re-created (not the animated Pinnochio) character (both human and wooden, young and old) in ABC’s Once Upon a Time.

Pinnochio can be seen in many places around the Disney Parks. He can be found with Geppetto in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom and is in many of the parades. Pinnochio actually has a restaurant named after him in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom called Pinnochio Village Haus!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ready for an Adventure by Disney?


 It's all included. When you travel with Adventures by Disney® you get more thanyou've ever imagine. More than you'll expect. And more reasons why the only way to see the world, is to see it with Disney.

The VIP Experiences:
 Private events and privately guided tours
 Backstage access Entertainment and special performances
 Bypass the lines at popular museums and attractions
 Fun surprises and gifts throughout your vacation
 Immersive Events and Activities
Cultural experiences with local experts
Special thrills for Junior Adventurers Interaction with historical character
Engaging adventures for everyone
 Dining and Resorts
 Outstanding accommodations
Most meals during your trip
Dinner or movie night for kids
Adult dining experience with wine tasting
Taxes and gratuities
 Hassle-Free Travel
Airport meet and greet and transfers to/from hotel
Transportation within your trip (including flights, trains, etc.)
Concierge service to help plan free time
 Snacks and refreshments en route
 Luggage service
Concierge service to help plan free time
Travel taxes
 National and regional park entrance fees
Tickets and admission to events and attractions
Nature and wildlife educational programs

If you have any questions about planning an Adventure by Disney vacation, contact me at

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Hall of President's: an Attraction History and Overview

Whether you “LOVE IT” or... your eyes and feet take the opportunity for a 25 minute break the Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom is iconic because it is an original attraction, opening with the park on opening day October 1, 1971. Before his death in 1966, Walt Disney had planned an attraction featuring all the presidents for Disneyland in California. Facing too many technical challenges, he instead created an Audio-Animatronics figure of President Abraham Lincoln which then debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It ultimately became part of the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction which debuted in 1965 at Disneyland in California, which some have called the “big brother” to this attraction. In 1971, with the technology time tested and perfected, Abraham Lincoln and every other President at the time appeared onstage in The Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom park on Opening Day. Since then, every U.S. President, including the addition of Barack Obama, has been added to the roll call.

The building for The Hall of Presidents is modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The pre-show lobby features presidential portraits, display cases filled with personal artifacts of presidents including Gerald Ford, Franklin Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and treasures such as George Washington’s dental instruments and Abraham Lincoln’s leather portfolio. There are also large display cases exhibiting dresses and personal objects worn by several first ladies, including Edith Roosevelt (Teddy’s wife), Elizabeth Monroe and Nancy Reagan.

The original show remained largely unchanged from 1971 until 1993. Several parts of the show and script were rewritten at this time. From 1993 through today each sitting president has been featured with his “figure” giving a speech. It was also closed November 1, 2008 for it's most significant refurbishment ever and reopened about July 4, 2009. Before the actual show starts, there’s a patriotic film about the origins of the constitution & the U.S. Some of the other highlights of the show: Obama gives the Oath of Office, Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address, and Washington explains the importance of the presidential oath of office using portions of a speech he actually gave during his second inauguration ceremony.  Previously presented in 70mm film (using a special process created by Disney Legend Ub Iwerks) that was made to take up the audience's natural field of vision, the movie that tells the presidents’ story is now projected in high-definition video on three 30-foot-by-18-foot screens. The Imagineering team combed through the National Archives, Library of Congress, museums and private collections to acquire more than 130 new images ultimately woven into the show. They then digitized many of the huge paintings of scenic America created for the original movie. 

So if you haven't taken the time to take in this attraction recently, you might want to give it another try. Who knows, you might find that you enjoy this revised version. If nothing else, you'll be participating in a bit of Disney history with an original MK attraction and viewing some of the best audio animatronics in existence today, if not learning some American history or viewing some national treasures/artifacts in the process!

A few interesting tidbits:

Each one of the Presidents has his own wardrobe. The Imagineers went for total accuracy, picking out clothes that were close to what the men actually wore, and keeping with the style of their respective eras.

Obama’s Audio-Animatronic is one of the most hi-tech and accurate ones to date. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are also presidents who are in the AudAnim Hall of Fame.  These figures are some of the most lifelike because of the subtlety and smoothness of  movements and facial expressions.

Disney Legend Blaine Gibson, who designed the original animatronics on the ride, came out of retirement to design Presidents Reagan through H.W. Bush.

Disney legend Blaine Gibson sculpted every president except Obama – his protégée, Disney sculptor Valerie Edwards, sculpted Obama with oversight by Gibson, now 91.

Hidden Mickey fans: In the lobby, look for a picture of Washington standing among a bunch of colonial-ere men. Look at the end of his sword.

Hello? Who's there? Epcot Phone Booths

Have you ever heard the phones ring in Epcot? Do you answer?  You never know who may be on the other end.My kids love answering them and even calling people from the phones to tell people that we are at Disney. The last time we went, I had a friend call while we were passing by and made sure my daughter was nearby to answer the phone. She had a blast trying to figure out how someone knew her and knew she would be passing by!
U.K. Phone Booths
Right Booth: 407 827-9861
Left Booth: 407 827-9862
Center Booth: 407 827-9863
  Canada Phone Booth

Friday, February 15, 2013

Foodie Friday: Lefou's Brew

Lefou's Brew is a sugar free, yet sweet new slushy drink offered at Gaston's Tavern in Magic

Kingdom's new Fantasyland. It tasted like a marshmallow apple slushy, topped with some really sweet

passion fruit mango foam..I loved the idea of the foam topping, it gave it something unique. I

got it in a reg cup,but you can get it in a Gaston or Bell themed stein or goblet. The drink was

very refreshing, and would especially be on  a warm day. This cold concoction would be perfect with the

warm gooey cinnamon roll also served at the tavern.

This sweet cup of yummy goodness is also available at  Disneyland California  at the Cozy Cone Motel and is called Red's Apple Freeze.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kayla's Disney Bucket List

Happy New Year!

Well as some of you know from my introduction here at A2M, I'm applying for the Fall 2013 Disney College Program as a hopeful photopass photographer. Therefore the following Disney bucket list has been compiled in hopes that my dream of being accepted come true. Applications come out sometime this month or next so, soon I will know if I can complete some of my list this year!

  • Get accepted into the Disney College Program as Photopass Photographer!
  • Have a snack from each country in EPCOT
  • Ride a dark ride with the lights on (space mountain!?)
  • Participate in the Candlelight Procession (Gary Sinise, please!)
  • Photograph a proposal
  • Ride every ride that I've yet to ride at WDW
  • Try a dole whip
  • Buy a bunch of mickey balloons and hand them out to kids on Main Street USA
  • Know "that guy" at Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Be the Rebel Spy on Star Tours
  • Get pictures with Mickey in all his outfits
  • Have dinner at Ohana
  • Have a character breakfast at the Contemporary
  • See La Nouba 
  • See a movie at the AMC theater in Downtown Disney
  • Pull the sword from the stone! 
  • Attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
  • Call someone in the UK Phonebooths
  • VoluntEAR!
  • Try the Kitchen Sink
  • Visit all 4 parks solo all day
  • See the Christmas Parade Taping
  • Collect all the Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom cards
  • Take the Cast Member only tour
  • Try every vegetarian meal on property
  • Ride Big Thunder Mountain during Wishes
  • Visit every resort
  • Meet a celebrity while working!
  • Collect a fastpass from every ride
  • Get a drawing from the artist at the animation academy
 So, are some of these items on YOUR Disney bucket list!?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Disney Cruise Information for 2014

In 2014, Disney Cruise Line® will offer new itineraries, including an expanded collection of European cruises highlighting the Greek Isles. Plus, Disney Cruise Line will depart for the first time from homeports in Venice, Italy, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Mediterranean from Venice and Barcelona Departures from May 31 – Aug. 30, 2014 Disney Magic® returns to the Mediterranean with exciting new ports and popular destinations, treating your Clients to the best of Europe. For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will use Venice, Italy, as a homeport for select sailings. During these cruises, the ship will overnight in Venice, giving your Clients the opportunity to experience an evening in the spectacular city. Other new destinations include Katakolon, Rhodes, Heraklion (Crete), Santorini and Corfu, Greece, and Catania, Sicily. Caribbean from San Juan Departures from Sept. 20 – Oct. 11, 2014 Disney Cruise Line will homeport in San Juan for the first time in 2014, sailing four cruises to the Southern Caribbean, including Grenada – a new port of call for Disney. Known as the “Spice Isle,” Grenada offers your Clients a lush and lively destination filled with spice estates, tropical gardens, beautiful beaches, thrilling diving, snorkeling, fishing and exploration through mountain landscapes and waterfalls. Alaska from Vancouver Departures from May 24 – Sept. 1, 2014 Disney Wonder® will sail 7-night cruises from Vancouver to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska. One special 9-night cruise calls on Sitka, Alaska – a first for Disney Cruise Line. Disney Cruise Line will continue to offer a variety of sailings from Port Canaveral and Miami, Florida, in 2014. Most itineraries include a visit to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

Who's Who Wednesday: Ralph


  Image Credit: Disneywikia

If you have yet to see one of Disney’s newest films, Wreck-It Ralph, coming to DVD March 5th, you may want to skip this weeks Who’s Who! If you have already seen the film or just interested in one of the main characters, read on! 

The big and lovable, Ralph, played by John. C. Reilly stole the hearts of many gamers, both young and old during his debut in November of 2012. Ralph is the main protagonist of the film, although the plot is technically about him trying to shed his antagonistic personality, appearance, and demeanor. Ralph is the main “bad guy” in the arcade game Fix-it Felix Jr where Ralph takes up his role as destroyer and smashes windows and the buildings of the Nicelanders (citizens of Fix-it Felix Jr.).  

 Image Credit: Disneywikia 

 However, underneath all Ralph wants to be is a hero. He is large, lovable, and has a big heart. His appearance tells a different story as he towers above most of the characters with two very large arms and hands he uses to destroy the building in his home arcade game. Ralph lives in the rubble next to the Nicelander’s home where he must watch Felix receive a hero’s award day after day. 

The movie takes Ralph through a series of video games where he strives to become a hero and earn a hero’s medal so that he can take his rightful place and earn the respect of the nicelanders. Through these adventures Ralph becomes best friends with Fix-it Felix Jr. and Vanellope Von Schweetz who is a character in the racecar game, Sugar Rush. 

Ralph and Vanellope currently meet guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s Magic of Disney Animation building. They are very fun so be sure to stop and see them!