1/24/2018

Capturing Magical Moments


"Once upon a time, there was a Magic Kingdom made of hopes and childhood fantasies. A timeless place where every land was filled with wonder. A place where everyone who entered its gates would be given the gift of the young at heart."

(Julie Andrews)


I love Magic Kingdom with all of my heart. Naturally, I did a photoshoot in my favorite nooks and crannies with my amazing and beautiful roommate, Hannah. From the little alcove in Main Street, to the outer rim of the castle courtyard in Fantasyland, we hit almost all of my favorite spots (excluding Rapunzel's tower, of course, but that will be for a future blog post). 


It was a truly magical day filled with iPhone pictures. Seriously, we took almost 800 pictures. I've chosen my favorite 30, though, to share today. Major photo creds goes to Hannah, who did such an excellent job! 


One of my favorite things to do in Magic Kingdom, and really any park, is to find the out of the way spots, the little spaces where you can really see and experience the magic in a personal way. These places shown are some of the best spots to savor the magic.

The door shown in the beginning is on the left side of Main Street as you walk in, in the middle of The Emporium. The light post and flower pictures are in the little alcove on Main Street in between the jewelry store and the collectibles store. 


Shirt (similar): Target

Skirt: Target

Cardigan (similar): Old Navy

Jeans: Kohls


And what's a Magic Kingdom picture without the elusive rose gold ears? I always told guests that they were a mythical Disney creature with a disappearing act because they are so hard to find!


Mickey bars and the castle. It's a classic.






This little beauty is on the right side of the castle coming from Main Street. It has a great view!



I love this area! It's by Philharmagic.







These little arches in the courtyard of Fantasyland, behind the castle, are great places to take pictures. You can also see the Fairy Godmother and the Step Sisters around here sometimes. 










This is one of my favorite sunset spots! It's in front of the Crystal Palace




As I like to say, have a magical day! Comment below a magical moment you recently experienced. Thank you all bunches <3 p="">

Princess Hannah

1/17/2018

The Magical World of Strollers

The second most popular question I get about my DCP experience, following "how was Disney," is "what did you do?"

Oh, let me tell you. The technical name for my position was Magic Kingdom Park Arrival Merchandise. But because that's a mouthful, we just called it Magic Kingdom strollers.



Going into this position, I felt really nervous. I remember crying to my mom the night before I moved in because I had no idea what this job was or how I would like it. It appeared to be mostly outside, which concerned me to no end. The probability of being inside was the whole reason I chose merchandise!


However, I soon began to make friends with my coworkers. They became my family, and strollers then became my home for the next five months.


I still haven't answered the question, though. What did I do at my job?



Well, I mostly rented out strollers, wheelchairs, and ECVs (scooters). I also could work at two little gift shops on either side of the train station. Sometimes I would bring out strollers to families. Other times I would put ECVs back in the storage room. I could help people rent ECVs (which mostly meant telling guests that we were out). I might stand out in front of the train station during the end of the day and direct guests where to return their strollers but mostly tell guests how to get to the monorail.


My job involved a lot of diversity and movement that most merchandise locations didn't include. I liked how it kept me moving, changing, and talking. I always got my steps in for the day. It offered on stage positions with lots of guest interaction but also a few backstage positions which gave me a relief from constantly telling people where to find the restroom.




Outside to the left, by City Hall. 

That phrase is engraved on my tongue now. Naturally, we took a picture in front of the restrooms, as shown above.


My job also was perfectly positioned. I got to see almost every guest as they entered and again as they exited. From various positions, I had front row seats to the parades, fireworks, and atmosphere of the park. Watching "Boo to You" for the Halloween party never got old. Crowding around with my coworkers to catch "Happily Ever After" got more magical every time. I felt proud of how I memorized the rhythm and patterns of the fireworks.


The best part of my job, though, was my coworkers. They made me laugh off the hard days, cherish the good days, and wish my days at strollers was longer. We became a family unlike anything I've experienced before. I learned so much from my coworkers, especially the ones that I differed from in personality type. I got to be friends with wonderful people from around the world, and now I really want to travel to new countries and places. The strollers family showed me a bit more of what loyalty, community, and fun look like. I'm so glad we found each other!


My favorite moments of my program were at two in the morning. At the end of the day, after all the guest left the park, we went to get the strollers that guests left behind. All of the Lands (Fantasyland, Frontierland, etc) brought their abandoned strollers to the Hub (right in front of the castle). We simply went to the Hub to bring them back down Main Street and into the train station.


I would stroll down Main Street, which was finally still and peaceful. Ghosts of laughing children and busy moms lingered in front of the store fronts, but right then, it was only me and Main Street. The music still played, as if it was just for me. I saw details on the buildings that I missed in the crowds. I also saw a lot of strollers for me to bring back.


Then I got to the castle. Oh, that view never got old. There she was, tall and beautiful. As I circled the Hub getting strollers, I often got distracted looking at the castle. There wasn't a crowd of people around the castle trying to take selfies. The smoke from the fireworks cleared away. The chaos of Snapchat and Instagram and Facetime disappeared. It was just me and Cinderella's Castle.


Is it weird that I feel as if I know the castle a bit? As if she has a personality that only truly reveals itself after hours? Maybe this is too much of a Toy Story vibe, but nonetheless, I miss the castle more than I miss a lot of other things about Disney. I miss her sparkling lights and sense of wonder. I guess Cinderella's Castle is the flouting lights to my Rapunzel dream.


Those moments of strolling down Main Street and enjoying Cinderella's Castle with just myself and my coworkers were my favorite moments of the program. They made me wonder, laugh, reflect, and cry. They made the hard parts of my job fade away from the lights of my favorite place on earth.


So yeah, that's what I did. It wasn't always glamorous, but it was magical.

Princess Hannah

1/10/2018

"How Was Disney?"

After living in Disney for almost five months, I came home this week.
I already miss Disney.

People often ask me how I liked my experience at Disney. I'm never sure how to reply. How can I contain in one small-talk appropriate sentence how exciting and challenging and wonderful and lovely and hard and, well, magical my experience at Disney was? Where do I start? How can I finish?

I usually just reply with something simple, something like, "It was magical- everything and more."

In between each of those words, however, is a plethora of stories and moments. That sentence bursts at the seams with emotions and light and friendships. It is a true sentence, but it is much more.

If I could give a longer answer, though, it would go something like this:



It brought excitement into my life. 



I am a homebody. I didn't go away to college. I don't just love independence and adventure. My perfect afternoon involves cats, coffee, and Netflix.

Disney changed that. Suddenly, I lived on my own in a huge and adventurous world. Epcot was literally in my backyard. Animal Kingdom was within my reach on any day. I didn't have school or necessary engagements or pre-existing rhythms to tie me down.

I could do whatever I wanted.

So I learned how to fly.

Okay, so I didn't fly (much), but I did learn the art of spontaneity and adventure. I found joy in abandoning the systematic way of living and letting each day unfold with beauty.


It challenged me. 


Whereas the independence of Disney gave me lots of opportunities to have fun, it also presented some challenges. It was hard for me, a girl who lived with my parents most of my life, to do things like cook all of my meals, buy all of my groceries, and balance the craziness of life in a new city. I was thrown into an adult world- one with a very good escape place, though- Walt Disney World.


It showed me love.


I treasure the friendships that I made throughout the program. In a place where no one knows anyone else, no one knows what they're doing, and no one wants to be alone, friendships happened very quickly. Everywhere I went, I made friends and saw friends. It surprised me how often I'd run into someone I knew in a place as large as Disney World.

The deepest friendships that I made throughout the program made the whole experience magical. These friends made me laugh at 4:00 a.m. after getting off of a shift. They made the holidays away from home merry. They helped me understand what friendship really is.


It made me wonder. 


Disney made me wonder what different paths of my life would look like. It made me wonder at other people's stories. It gave me wonder for different cultures. Disney produced in me wonder at the grace of God and the faithfulness of the gospel. Disney made my heart wonder in joy at the bonds of family and friends.

With open eyes and a joyful heart, Disney taught me a way of wonder- both the questioning kind and the awe-inspired kind.


It made me work hard. 


In case you thought that the Disney College Program was a giant vacation, think again. We all work very hard. CPs get the worst and often the longest hours of any Cast Member. This means working long days into the wee hours of the morning, even on the holidays. A very typical shift for me started at 17:00 and ended at 2:00 (yes, we use military time).

The job itself wasn't always easy and fun, but it taught me how to genuinely care about my work and how it affected the guests. It taught me to put aside my personal problems for the sake of the guests.


It opened my eyes to magic.


Here's the part where I cry when typing out this post. Living in and working for Walt Disney World showed me magic. The magic of stories, love, togetherness, quality, imagination, drive, and a little bit of pixie dust.

Being able to call Magic Kingdom my home means the world to me. Being a small part of hundreds of thousands of vacations makes me smile! Working for Mickey Mouse will forever be one of my most magical experiences, one that I will treasure forever.



So, yes, Disney was magical- everything and more.

Princess Hannah

p.s.- many more Disney posts are to come. In fact, the whole month of January is dedicated to updating y'all on my Disney Adventure! Comment below anything you'd like to know more about. And thank you all for supporting me on this journey!