Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tales from the Front

I've been a cast member for about three weeks.  It's been really fun and really challenging, both in ways I didn't expect.

Most of the day I spend between the entrance of the resort and the lobby.  I welcome guests, escort them in, and sometimes help them get checked in.

It's really neat to see all the activity going on.  We get quite a fair number of brides coming through.  I love to see their dresses and bouquets, and the bridesmaids dresses too of course.  There was this one gorgeous bride with the loveliest purple bouquet.

Sometimes you'll see the most unexpected things.  One afternoon a big red double decker bus pulled up.  I realized that it was one I had seen before -- it was the bus that used to be in parades and carry characters around Epcot.  Eventually we found out that it had been put up for sale, and a cast member had bought it - he was staying at the resort and decided to drive his family over in it!  That's pretty cool private transportation!

Another thing that's fun is when the same guests, coming and going, remember you.  Sometimes a couple or famiy that I escorted in when they arrived will come back out whenever they have a question.  One day there was one such family waiting for the valet to bring their car, and the dad comes up to me and says, "Emma, tell me the fastest way to get to Coronado Springs!"  And when I said, "Oh, I'll get you a map," he says, "No, I want you to tell us!"

lol, he was joking, but I guess I'll have to start memorizing streets around here more (I fully admit, I still rely on the purple signs a lot when driving around property).  Anyway, I got the map and marked the route on it, and waved them on their way. :) It's fun when you get to be part of a guest's vacation like that.

But what I maybe like best about being a cast member is talking with the kids.  Whenever a little girl goes past in a princess gown, of course I say "Hello Princess Cinderella!" (or whatever the dress is), and sometimes I add a curtsy too!  In fact, even if the little girl is just wearing a Rapunzel shirt, I usually call her "princess" - lol!

I love seeing the little princesses around the parks too.  When I get married and have a daughter, she is so going to have SO many princess dresses!

The little boys like to give high five's and talk about how brave they were when they rode Tower of Terror.  I also love the pin traders.  There are some kids that aren't even looking for a particular pin, they just love to trade - you can tell they feel so grown up picking out the one they want and then giving one back!

I love these black-and-white photograph pins I've been seeing around!

One day there was a polite little boy trading, and he took the stitch pin he had picked out, but he forgot to give me one back in return.  He had the trader out, he just forgot to hand it to me.  The dad noticed though, and he says "Buddy, you gotta trade, give her one back.  You essentially stole that pin."

He was joking, of course, and the idea of this sweet little boy stealing a pin just had us all laughing.

Another "cute kid" moment was one day when I was showing a family to the elevators.  When the elevator came, the little daughter (probably about four), bounds into the elevator squealing with delight, as if it was Peter Pan or a really fun ride!  I can only imagine how excited she was going to be when she actually gets into the parks. :)

One of my favorite moments happened just the other day.  There was a Mom and Dad and a little girl waiting for their bus home, sitting on the bench outside the lobby.  The little girl had *so* much energy -- she was bouncing like Tigger and dancing around, and talking to us about her favorite rides.

Finally she stopped moving and was just standing smiling up at me, so I started hopping in place, and then she started hopping.  I stopped suddenly, so she stopped.  Then I started again and so did she - and so on.  Soon we were both giggling, and I could see the Mom out of the corner of my eye was taking a picture of us.

I have to say, it's pretty cool, spreading the pixie dust as a CM. :)

Birthday Preparations at the MK??

I have another update planned for today with some stories from work, but first I thought I'd do a quick post with something I saw at the Magic Kingdom yesterday...

I was curious when I noticed the crane over the castle down Main St., wondering if it was repairs or what they were doing up there!

When I got closer to the castle, I saw they were putting up lights!  I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but there's a net of lights (like the frosted ones they put up in the winter) right below the main spire and hanging across the front a bit -- they didn't seem to put them up anywhere else on the castle.

As I stood staring up at the lights and the workers in the little cage I wanted to yell up, "It's not even October yet -- how can you possibly be putting up the Christmas lights this early?!?"

lol, of course I didn't actually shout at them, but I kinda did want to ask how the view was -- I bet Main St. looks really cool from up there, don't you think??

I continued to wonder why they would put up the Christmas lights months before they could be needed - but when I got home and was surfing some Disney blogs, I read that the Magic Kingdom is doing a special finale to Wishes in honor of Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary.

OOOoohhhh, that's when I realized -- the lights probably have something to do with that!

The big day is October 1st, this Saturday, and luckily I have off!  You better bet I'll be heading over to the MK to see what surprise birthday celebrations they might have going on.  I can't wait to see those lights in action!

**It turns out, sadly, that there were no special lights in the 40th anniversary Wishes, only some extra perimeter fireworks during the finale.  Looks like those were just the Christmas lights!**

Monday, September 26, 2011

Beach Club Sweets

Today's cupcakes will be brought to you by:

The Beach Club!

Most days after work, I'm too tired to do anything other than go home, get off my feet, eat, and watch some mindless television.  But some evenings (especially when I know I have the next day off!), I feel up for a little more walking and a little Disney adventure.

Tonight was one of those evenings, and after work I drove over to the old B.C.

Did you know they replaced the furniture somewhat recently??  I love those elegant little couches.  I sat writing letters for an hour or so.

I think those funky chairs used to be upholstered in pink.  I like the blue too - it's just fun to notice the little changes around the World!

So tonight is going to be a two-for-one cupcake Monday, because while I only bought one cupcake, there was another cute one I thought I'd share:


Don't you love it when they do special snacks for the holidays?  The beach club has these special Halloween treats - little pumpkin Donald mugs, each filled with a mini cupcake!

At about $6 a pop it seemed a little pricey considering I didn't love the mug (and you couldn't buy just the cupcake.  I asked, lol.), but those little witch faces on top were cute!

Instead I adjourned to the refrigerated case:

 After some deliberation I decided to go with...

RED VELVET.  Ohhhh yeah.

I love the way they swirled the icing so prettily!

At first I could not figure out for the life of me what the little red squares were supposed to say.  "Each Clu"...what could that mean??  Then it dawned on me: they're printed with the words "Yacht and Beach Club Resorts," only some of the letters get cut off.  Still, cute!

Freshly-baked cupcakes (like the Monday ones I've posted about so far) run about $4 including tax at Disney.  The nice thing about cupcakes from the cases like this red velvet one is that, while not quite as fresh, they cost more like $2.50, which is really a steal for a nice big cupcake, especially at Disney!

It was rainy out around Crescent Lake tonight.  Perfect cupcake weather - makes you want to grab a cup of tea and a good book too!

I couldn't resist a quick walk to enjoy the raindrops and admire the evening.  The sky was so pretty, it colored the lake in dreamy pinks and purples.

It was a lovely little sojourn to the B.C...definitely worth the extra walking!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Disney Countdown Crafts

These past few months have been very DISNEY.  When I haven't been trying to get a job at Disney, visiting Disney, or actually working at Disney, I've been thinking about Disney.

It's non. stop! ;)

I've always loved scrapbooking and creative things, so earlier this summer I decided to work on some designs for Disney countdown calendars.  I recently opened up a shop on etsy, and I thought it would be fun to try to sell some.

If you've read my trip reports on the DIS, then you might remember this Ariel countdown I made for a Disney cruise trip:

It was two and a half feel tall and constructed of more than one hundred mickey head paint chips obtained on a super-secret mission to Home Depot.

lol, the countdown calendars I'm making for etsy aren't quite on the same scale as Ariel - they're more like 15 inches tall - but they're just as princess-y!

The first one I made was Cinderella.  It's kind-of a "count-up" the way Ariel was, because instead of taking down a piece every day, you add one instead.  It's like building a puzzle, and at the end, once you've counted down and added all the pieces, you have the whole princess, like in the picture!

I gave Cindy a sweet little smile, and the most fun part of making it was probably covering the dress and slipper with little sparkles of pixie dust!  Today I just finished up another princess:

I might like Belle even better than Cinderella.  But then, Belle is probably my favorite princess -- I mean, she has brown hair and the most epic library ever.  How can you top that?

Also I loved making Belle's rose.  I thought it turned out rather pretty!

I have a friend that's hoping to come out to Disney World at Christmas, so I'm thinking of working on a Christmas countdown next.  Maybe I'll do that one in a more traditional-type style, but the puzzle ones can be kinda fun, don't you think?

Now here's the question I really need your all's input on:

Which princess should I make next? :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quit Monkeyin' Around: This Cupcake Means Business

I know it's Tuesday, but for blogging purposes, let's pretend it's Monday.  My internet was being silly and slow and wouldn't let me upload photos on the *actual* Monday, but, it is willing to cooperate today!  Isn't it funny how technology can be so temperamental like that?

So.  Our cupcake quest today is going to take us into the wild...

...down the twisting jungle paths of the Animal Kingdom...

What we're looking for is an unassuming little coffee cart, fairly ordinary in appearance.  It's to your right when you come across the bridge from the Oasis to Discovery Island...

But when you take a look at their snackage options, among the standard cookies and pastries, you'll find a rather extraordinary-looking cupcake.

It's called the Cotton Top Tamarin cupcake.  At first I thought the little lollipop was supposed to be Simba, and I didn't get the name, but then one day I happened to come across a picture of this little guy:

photo credit: pelican/flickr

Yup.  It's a cupcake that looks like a cute lil' monkey.

But it's also so much more.

I went up to the coffee cart to order, and there were three CM's there and no one else in line.  When I asked for the cupcake, they all seemed interested.  "Ohhh, that cupcake.  [to another CM] Do we have any of those left?"  "Oh yeah, they're back in the freezer."

So one of the CM's goes to the freezer and brings back this:

And we all just stared at it in open-mouthed admiration for a few seconds.

I asked for a bag to carry it away in, and then we all deliberated the problem of fitting such a large cupcake into a bag while keeping its beauty intact.  I made sure to take more pics before anything could happen to it:

That big lollipop is one thing, but just check out the size of those huge chocolate shavings!!  And they were made from seriously good, quality chocolate too.

I couldn't resist trying a bite right away!

The icing was creamy and very nice.  Plus there was plenty of it!  I always like a dollop of icing for every bite of cake, and with this cupcake, the ratio of icing to cupcake was just perfect.

And can I mention just one more time how HUGE it was??  I wish I'd gotten something else in the pic for size comparison, because it was like twice the size of my hand.

If the Boardwalk probably has the best cupcakes on property, the Animal Kingdom probably has the biggest.  The cupcake itself was more the size of a muffin, then you pile on the icing, then top it off with a gigantic lollipop (which, by the by, was white chocolate with the same yummy dark chocolate for the face).

And the quality was just as intense as the quantity.  The cake was SO chocolaty and very dense.  It was just hovering on the brink of being too heavy, so if you like your cake light, this might not be the one for you.  I hadn't had dinner yet when I got it, and I took two bites and felt so. full.

So I'd advise getting it on your way out rather than your way in.

I brought it home with me and kept it in the fridge.  It was my dessert for almost a week.  Oh yeah.  That's a serious cupcake.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hammock Time

Today after work I stopped by the Polynesian.

When I started working at Disney, I was a little afraid that living so close to WDW would take the magic out of it.  So I was glad to find that I still got a thrill when I pulled in the gates and saw the "Aloha" sign.

And seeing the castle across the lagoon still put an extra skip in my step -- the Polynesian hasn't lost its pixie dust for me yet!

There was a cool breeze setting the palm trees whispering, and the sun wasn't too strong, it was just warm and pleasant on your face.

This is my happy place.

Only in a hammock can one's thoughts drift so blissfully and lazily -- and never worrisome thoughts, just gentle ones.  Like how big and blue the sky is, or how cool the sand is between your toes.

There's no particular reason for this post, I just thought I'd share the pics I took. :)

I can never resist a shadow picture!

And if you close your eyes and picture the gentle sway of the hammock, the sun gleaming, the green of the tropical palms, the blue of the water and sky, the white of the sand...then hopefully you can find some hammock thoughts too!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Make a Wish, and Do as Dreamers Do

It's always hard to pick favorites at Disney, because there are so many fantasmagical resorts and restaurants and rides to love.

But I've been thinking lately...if I absolutely had to pick an ultimate WDW favorite, then it would probably come down to a toss-up between my darling Polynesian....and Wishes.

Wishes is great because it involves the castle, which I could stare at all. day. long.  Then there's real-life pixie dust (aka fireworks)...princess music...

...Tinkerbell flying through the sky...and so many wishes.  When those trails of light go shooting up into the sky, all your silent prayers and hopes seem to shoot up to heaven along with them.

Wishes started in 2003, and I was fourteen the first time I saw it.  Since then I've wished so many dreams on those glittering sparkles bursting over the Magic Kingdom sky.  Some of those wishes, like getting into Notre Dame and finding a job, have come true.  Some I'm still waiting on, lol. 

But regardless, there's something about that castle and that music and those fireworks that gets me every time.  One of my favorite things about being in Florida has been going over to see Wishes as often as possible!!

My plan is to see it from every angle, but while I'm still studying up on the best Wishes viewing, I was feeling reminiscent about Wishes tonight, so I thought I'd do a little picture homage for all you Wishes lovers out there!

Because, really, who doesn't love a good Wishes picture??

My favorite part is when all the characters' voices speak their wishes -- I listen breathlessly every time whisper along...

"I wish...I could go to the ball!"

 "I'm wishing...someday my prince will come!"

"I wish...we'd never have to grow up -- off to never land!"

And the nicest thing of all about Wishes is that, for those 20 minutes, all the little worries don't matter.  I don't have to think about regrets of the past or niggling chores of the present or uncertainty in the future, or anything else.

For that 20 minutes, the world becomes a different place, where it's just you and your wishes...and that is some pretty perfect pixie dust.
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