Thursday, August 22, 2013

Animal Kingdom's Wilderness Explorer Game Review

I could not wait till June to go to Animal Kingdom to play the new Wilderness Explorer game.

This game makes you feel like Russell from the movie UP. You go around the entire park earning badges, just like Russell does in UP. The game is geared toward the 7-10 yr old crowd, though we saw many adults signing up to play. This game is free, it's included in your admission to the park.

 You begin the game by finding the Troop Leader. The easiest one to find is located on your right as you are going over the Oasis Bridge on the way to the Tree of Life. You will see the booth and your ever so happy Troop leader awaiting your arrival. This is where you will sign up. You will get your Explorer sticker and take the pledge. You will earn your first badge here. You are also given your field guide and a pencil to start your exploration.

 You are now on your way to earn the other 30 badges! Each area for a badge has you doing and learning something about animals. You have a 40 page field guide to help you out. You will need to bring this with you to get your badges and write down your clues. Each area has you learning about something different. It could be as simple as drawing stripes on the tiger, to word scrambles, to riding a ride.

 I loved it, it was totally spread out into every area of the park. It took us to every corner. I thought being an adult it would be just one of those kid things, but even I learned a lot. I loved how the cast members tested the kids, and they actually had the kids learning something. 

 You are not timed in this game. You can always come back the next day or the next time you visit, which was also nice. It was not like the other games in the other parks, you get to talk to actual people and learn about the real lives of the animals. 

 Here are a few pictures of the kids starting their journey and some pics of the field guide.











Monday, August 12, 2013

Disney College Program Part 8: Packing!



Not too long now, it’s almost time to move! 

Packing:

So you’ve got everything gathered and you’ve only got a few weeks or days left. Now what? Packing of course!! 
 
If you search out there you will find PLENTY of lists of things that you can bring on the DCP. I used these when planning my packing, so I unfortunately do not have my own list for you. However I will highlight a few of the very important things I’ve been told to bring and why.

Listed on Disney’s website, it’s important to bring a Photo ID, personal items for the bathroom, and prescriptions, professional clothing, personal items to decorate your apartment, and electronics such as a TV, Toaster, Coffee Maker, etc. It’s also important to bring money with you because your paycheck will not be enough until about your third week. Also make sure to check out the policy on vehicles, the medical insurance info, and possible renters insurance. 

Some things you CANNOT bring with you are: Pets, Bicycles, Mini-fridges, candles, weapons of any type (including light sabers, yes), Hookah Pipes or Drug Paraphernalia. 

My list:

The apartments are equipped with things such pots and pans, utensils, a microwave, and other useful items; however it’s a good idea to bring some of your own since it’s possible that what is provided is not usable, or could possibly be missing. As I am packing I am making sure to bring dishtowels, extra utensils, as well as a lot of Tupperware to store foods or use in my lunchbox to work. I will also be bringing the blender and coffee pot while another roommate is bringing a toaster. If you can find some coupons at home, pick up a few necessary items for cheap like dish soap, hand soap, cleaning supplies, febreeze, and anything else you may need the first day. 

For the bedroom it is HIGHLY recommended to bring a Mattress Pad. The beds there are said to be extremely hard and uncomfortable. Also make sure to bring sheets and a comforter as these are not provided. Something else that may be helpful are bed risers so that you can fit more of your things underneath your bed and save space. The closets also have lockers, so a lock may be a good idea if you have something of importance you need put away while you are gone. There will be a corkboard for each CPer so bring photos of your family or items you care about to hang up. Also, bring as many stuffed animals as you want to keep you company!

For the bathroom, you will probably need to collaborate more with your roommate. Shower Curtains and rugs will need to be bought. I am bringing an over the door hanger so that we can stuff our hair supplies and shampoo in it so the shower stays uncluttered. Bring towels and washcloths as well as toothpaste and all your regular personal care items. 

Of course, most of these things can be bought while in Florida. Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and Downtown Disney are all within a few miles of the apartments and you will have plenty of time to shop the day of and after check-in. Therefore if you are flying and can’t bring as much, don’t sweat it. It may be expensive however, so if you are driving I recommend bringing as much as you can that you’d usually have to buy. 

Clothes:

Highly debated, most CPers say that you do not need as many clothes as you think you do. Make sure you have a few professional outfits for traditions and training for sure, as well as pajamas and some park clothes. You spend a lot of time working so you and your costume will be tight. I will bring a few pairs of jeans and sweaters for winter and some shorts and t-shirts for the parks. As hot and humid as it is, I don’t plan on trying to get too dressed up for my days off so running shorts and t-shirts/tank tops will be my go to item of choice. 

Doing laundry is also a pain at $1 a wash and a $1 a load, so a hint for those, like me, who wash everything after one wear: If your pajamas aren’t dirty don’t wash them. Same goes for your regular clothes. If you sit around your apartment all day in a t-shirt and shorts, don’t worry about it. Save your money and wear them again, nobody is going to care! 

This is only a bit of what you can/should/should not pack, obviously. This goes very in-depth and as I mentioned, you should do a quick search and you will have plenty of lists at your disposal to go through at your convenience. Happy packing!

This is part 7 of my DCP Adventure Series. I checked-in as a merchandise cast member at Walt Disney World on August 5th, 2013. My next post will be about the new DORMS system!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Planes! A Review

From above the world of “Cars” comes “Disney’s Planes,” an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure featuring Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane with dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing—and he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to a seasoned naval aviator who helps Dusty qualify to take on the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar. 



One word: ADORABLE!

I watched the preview of Planes exactly one time before I saw the movie and I wasn't sure what to expect.  I love Cars and was thinking this could really disappoint me.  Nope!

I sat in an audience filled with kids of all ages and enjoyed their cheers, clapping, ooooohs and ahhhhs throughout the film.  Even the opening scene grabbed me!  The 3D was beautiful and I often felt like I was flying with Dusty.  (I would LOVE to see this in an IMAX dome theater!)  There wasn't a dull moment in this movie.

I did find myself comparing the characters to Cars, but they were different enough to hold their own.  There were a handful of cute references to Cars (can you find them?), which I very much appreciated.  
Dusty and his team
My favorite part about Planes is how Dusty is always true to himself.  He is as friendly as can be and is eager to help another plane in need.  There is a really great lesson that pops up throughout the film.  There is something for everyone, including a little romance!



I can't wait to see it again with my son!

Will you be flying to your local theater to see it?  Planes opens TODAY!


One of my favorite characters, El Chupacabra






Monday, August 5, 2013

Disney College Program Part 7: Prepare for your Arrival!



I’m back again! This time I’d like to focus on the next step of the DCP, the New Hire Paperwork and Preparing for your Arrival! 


New Hire Paperwork: 

About 15-30 days before your arrival date, you will have to fill out your New Hire Paperwork so that you can officially become a Cast Member! A little word of advice: DON’T freak out if everyone is receiving it but you have not been emailed yet. Disney is a professional company that has been doing this program for years. They have not forgotten you, they are not letting you go, it’s okay. Be patient, it will come. 

You will receive two different emails, one with your User ID (which will have been given to you in previous emails as well) and one with your password. They will also send you a link to the new recruitment page. From there, you will need to read the information that they give you and sign and submit each one. 

The first section will give you a video about your new Cast Member status and some information, then you can move on to the next page. Here you will set up your direct deposits and other general information. You will then create your signature and move on to forms which link you to policy books and other agreements. Make sure your adobe reader is updated! I personally had to download each form and open it on adobe reader through my software off the website before it would give me a sign and submit button. However once you do this, all you need to do is read through and click the button. It may give you an error, but as long as the form says completed on the website, you’ve done it! 


Words of Wisdom: Some of these forms and booklets and policies are LONG.  One has around 100 pages and outlines CM policies; others outline costuming information. At least skim through each one, and ones you find most important make sure to read. Costuming is not a very long document and would be a great one to read; while the policy book is important to get a sense of the company so make sure and stop at sections that may pertain to you or you feel are important. 

Once they all say completed, you are finished, congratulations!! You’re nearly there! It may take you an hour to do the paperwork if you want to be careful and make sure you get everything right, but overall it is an easy task.

Prepare for Your Arrival:

Within the same timespan you will receive a Prepare for your Arrival email. Some received it before their new hire paper work, some (like me) received it after. This is a reminder to fill out all your necessary documents, pack, and get ready to see Mickey! They also link you to the onboarding website so you have the information on what to bring.

Important documents include Medical and Religious Accomodations, Vehicle Documentation, Canceled Check (for direct deposit), etc. You will also need to bring your I-9 documents that includes a US Passport or an ID + a Social Security Card/birth certificate. All of this info and lists can be found on the onboarding website.  

This is part 7 of my DCP Adventure Series. I check-in as a merchandise cast member at Walt Disney World on August 5th, 2013. My next post will be about  packing!