Mickey Earth Day Suncatcher

Happy Earth Day and Happy 23rd Birthday to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park! Today I am sharing an easy Earth Inspired craft (with a Disney twist, of course!).

To start, you will need:

White Poster Board

Tissue Paper

Tracing Paper

Glue (I used Elmer’s Clear Glue)

Scissors

Tape

To start, trace and cut out a Mickey shape from your poster board. This Mickey can be as big or as little as you want it to. Then, cut out the middle of the Mickey shape, leaving about one inch of poster board around the sides. Set this aside.

Next take out a piece of tracing paper. Depending on how big your Mickey head is, you might need to tape two pieces of tracing paper together like I did.

Cut your tissue paper into small squares.

Using a minimal amount of glue, carefully glue your tissue paper onto your tracing paper. You can either do this randomly or in a specific pattern (I made one random and one to look like planet Earth). When you are done with the tissue paper, glue your poster board Mickey cutout on top. Allow this to dry.

Once the glue is dry, carefully cut around the outside of the Mickey shape.

Using tape, hang these on a window in your house and enjoy!

Sending love and magic.

Life Lately

I can’t believe how long it has been since my last blog post. Last year it felt much easier to post consistently, but now that it seems things are getting a little more “back to normal” where we live, we have been so busy. I last blogged on March 30, sharing our potato painting project, but since then, this is what we have been up to.

We celebrated Easter! Our Easter last year was so weird, and we weren’t able to see family, but this year my grandparents were vaccinated so that we could spend Easter with them. Brooklyn loved dying Easter Eggs, searching for Easter Basket on Sunday morning, and having an Easter Egg hunt with her cousins. She also really loved the hot pink rain boots that the Easter Bunny brought for her, and in true two-year-old fashion she refused to take them off.

Brooklyn started going back to swim lessons. We haven’t been to swimming lessons since 2019, and it was great to get back in the pool finally. We are doing a Mommy & Me class at our local YMCA and go twice a week; she loves being in the water and learning how to swim. That being said, swimming really takes it out of you and once swim class is over we both want to take a nap.

We took a road trip to Houston to see family and celebrate our nephew’s 5th birthday! Although the drive is only about 2.5 hours, we decided to stay overnight. It was a nice little getaway that we weren’t expecting.

When we got home from Houston, we immediately drove to a local field (haha), where we took pictures in the Bluebonnets. Being from Texas, I feel like this is a right of passage. Everyone gets pictures in the Bluebonnets at least once in their life; I felt like Brooklyn needed to do it. I’m thankful that we live across the street from an amazing photographer and I can’t wait to get our pictures back.

Overall, life seems to get busier and busier, and I’m getting more tired each day. I went through a funk where I honestly didn’t feel like being on social media, but it’s starting to get better. I think sometimes Instagram can feel defeating, especially for a “creator.” There is so much time and effort that goes into some of my posts, and when I don’t get great feedback, I start to wonder why you are doing it in the first place. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by so many people who give me confidence and support (and I’m forever appreciative of that).

Hopefully, life will slow down a little bit in the next couple of weeks so that I can find time to share more. I hope you have a fabulous Friday!

Sending love and magic.

Potato Stamp Painting

Potato stamps are something that you can use for so many different activities throughout the year, and they are so easy to make. They are also perfect for little hands! So grab a sack of potatoes and some paint; today, I am sharing a fun craft that kids of any age (including toddlers) will enjoy.

What You’ll Need:

Russet Potatoes

Small Cookie Cutters

Sharp Knife

Paint (I like the Crayola Washable Paint the best)

Small Paintbrush

Canvas

To make your potato stamps, wash your potatoes off and then cut them in half (either long ways or short ways, depends on how big your cookie cutters are). Then pat them dry on the inside.

To make Easter Egg potato stamps, carefully make slices, zig-zags, or poke holes into the potato’s flat side. The potato can be slippery, so be careful.

To make different shaped stamps take a cookie cutter and push it into the flat side of the potato. Once the cookie cutter is wedged inside, take a sharp knife and slice it into the potato until it touches the cookie cutter. Slowly take your knife and cut all the way around the cookie-cutter shape, and remove the excess potato. This should leave you with a little stump that looks like your cookie cutter shape.

Now it’s time to paint! Using a paintbrush, paint colors onto your potato stamps. Carefully stamp the potatoes onto your canvas and press down. Slowly pull your potato stamps off the canvas and check out your design.

To change up the colors of your stamps, just wipe the potato off or rinse it off in between stamping.

Give these potato stamps and try and let me know what you think. We painted outside on our backporch and got a little messy, but we had so much fun!

Sending love and magic.

Easter Basket Gift Guide

Easter is just around the corner and, before we know it, the Easter Bunny will be “hopping down the bunny trail”. As I was adding items to my cart for Brooklyn’s Easter Basket, I decided I should share my purchases. These are not affiliate links, just real things that I’m buying (and the best part is that everything is from Target).

1. Rope Easter Basket Bunny – What a fun spin on an Easter Basket! I love that this rope basket could be used year-round for storage and doubles as a precious gift from the Easter Bunny. This basket seems to be sold out almost everywhere, but I was able to order it for pickup from a local Target.

2. Chuckle & Roar Happy Easter Egg-Shaped Jigsaw Puzzle – Target’s new brand of toys, Chuckle & Roar, has become one of our favorites! We love their toys, and I was so excited when I found that they have an Egg-Shaped Easter Puzzle. Although this puzzle is 100 pieces and a little too “big” for Brooklyn, we will have fun doing it as a family.

3. Chuckle & Roar Pop It! Letters and Numbers – Another great toy from Chuckle & Roar; I am really excited about this one! This Pop It game can be played in so many different ways, and I foresee lots of use on car trips and airplanes.

4. Mini Exstream Bubble Gun Green – I don’t know about you, but in our home, we love bubbles. Brooklyn loves running in the backyard with bubbles, and this bubble gun will make play time easier for both of us.

5. Bunny Ears Headband Wearable Party Accessory – I had to add these Bunny Ears to Brooklyn’s basket! If your child doesn’t like flowers, Target also has Bunny Ear options without flowers which could be perfect for any kid.

6. “The Easter Egg Is Missing!” & “The Great Eggscape” – I always add books to Brooklyn’s Easter Basket, and I thought these books were two great options. Target has a huge selection of Easter books, from board books to chapter books.

7. Sidewalk Chalk 60pc – Target has many options for sidewalk chalk (this Egg-Shaped Chalk is pretty cute); I opted for the 60 piece chalk set that can last us a while!

8. Plush Yellow Labrador with Bunny Ears – If you know my daughter, you know she is obsessed with puppies. I decided that instead of a stuffed bunny, I would get her this cute stuffed Lab wearing bunny ears this year. I think this might be her favorite thing!

9. Bunny Pink Ears Sugar Cookie – This cute cookie is the perfect treat for an Easter basket! Although we love chocolate bunnies and cream-filled eggs in our home, I feel like this cookie will be a big hit. This cookie could also make a great springtime snack.

I hope my Gift Guide gives you some great ideas for Easter. Happy Shopping!

Sending love and magic.

#SpringItOn At Gaylord Palms

This past weekend, Gaylord Palms Resort invited my family and me to stay at their hotel and experience their Once Upon A Spring Event. This event will get you in the mood for tulips and chocolate bunnies; between the cookie decorating, scavenger hunts, and water park, we had the best weekend ever!

Gaylord Palms is situated outside of Orlando in Kissimmee, Florida, and is located very close to Walt Disney World (seriously, minutes away). Gaylord Palms is large and opulent, but from the road, you can’t tell what’s waiting for you inside. The moment you step through their massive revolving front door, you feel like you are in another place altogether. Just past the lobby, you will find yourself in an expansive atrium full of plants and animals; it’s truly magical and the perfect vacation destination.

Gaylord follows Marriott’s Commitment to Clean Standards, and I found the hotel to be clean and safe. Masks are required by anyone two and older while outside of their hotel rooms, hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the resort, social distancing measures are in place, and we found hand sanitizer and wipes in our room.

We arrived on Friday and immediately wanted to explore. My husband has never been to a Gaylord Resort before, and I think I heard an audible gasp when he opened our balcony door. The gardens inside the atrium of Gaylord Palms are lush and feature four areas: Key West, St. Augustine, Emerald Plaza, and the Everglades. There is even a boat, a restaurant called MOOR, inside of the hotel! We stayed in St. Augustine and had the perfect view of the atrium and, at night, the Springtime Light Display (more on that later). 

My daughter was anxious to get a closer view of the atrium, so we headed downstairs to check it out.

During Once Upon A Spring, you will find the Eggspression Garden located in the middle of the atrium. This walkthrough experience full of oversized eggs and larger-than-life chocolate Easter Bunnies will get you in the mood for spring. Brooklyn loved this area, and we walked through it multiple times during our stay. We also participated in the Bunny Scavenger Hunt, which had us searching for Easter Bunnies throughout the resort! These activities helped give us a lay of the land and were a great way to kick off our trip.

As the evening turned into night, we put Brooklyn down for bed and headed out to our atrium facing balcony, where we were able to watch the Springtime Light Display. You can’t see the LED screens that hang from the St. Augustine Atrium ceiling during the day, but at night they come alive with flowers, bunnies, and all things spring. My husband and I really enjoyed sitting on our balcony and watching the lights. 

On Saturday morning, we decided to have breakfast at Villa De Flora.

This newly renovated restaurant offered a breakfast buffet (where your food is served to you) and an opportunity to dine with the Easter Bunny! During our breakfast, we met the King of Easter, who kept Brooklyn laughing throughout our meal. There was a large variety of food at the buffet, and everything we tried was excellent.

After breakfast, we headed straight to Cypress Springs Water Park, and it did NOT disappoint. Honestly, I could write an entire post about how wonderful the water park at Gaylord Palms is, but I’ll leave it at this; my husband and I both agreed it is a place we will definitely have to visit again.

While we were there, Crystal River Rapids opened, and we were some of the first to experience it! This not-so-lazy river is perfect for everyone in the family, and we had an absolute blast. When we finally got my daughter out of the river, she and my husband enjoyed the zero-entry pool, and I was able to enjoy a drink poolside. I also caught a glimpse of the Springtime Pool Party (during the weekend from 12-4pm), full of games, dancing, and prizes. 

The only way we could get Brooklyn away from the water park was with promises of Cookie Decorating. We changed into some dry closed and walked to Old Hickory, located in the Everglades (I think Everglades is my favorite section of the hotel!). Once we arrived, we decorated our own Easter Egg cookie, AND we got to meet the Easter Bunny.

After a quick afternoon nap (that water park wears you out), we enjoyed an evening production of Paint Me A Fairytale. This precious show is narrated by Mother Goose and tells the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, The Princess and the Pea, and Jack and the Beanstock and was the perfect way to end our Gaylord Palms stay. Once the production was over, Brooklyn was given a set of watercolors and a watercolor book depicting the show. This show runs daily during the weekend at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm and you can purchase tickets in advance. 

If you think that the Gaylord Palms is “just another hotel outside of Disney World,” you would be completely wrong! This resort is a destination within itself, and we had such a magical weekend experiencing everything that it has to offer. Between the whimsical springtime activities, delicious restaurants, and incredible water park, I am already trying to convince my husband that we need another trip back to Gaylord Palms soon.

You can enjoy Gaylord Palm’s Once Upon A Spring Event from now until May 16!

Sending love and magic.

Blizzard Beach – Reopening March 7

When Disney’s Blizzard Beach originally opened on April 1, 1995, it was the third and final Disney World Water Park. According to the “legend” of the park, after a freak snowstorm hit the Orlando area in the 1970s, a ski resort was built; as the snow melted away, we were left with a melted mess that became a water park. Blizzard Beach has been full of fun and families for the past 25 years, but in 2020, it closed due to the pandemic. Over the past year, Disney has put so much time and effort into bringing back its parks. I’m so excited to share that today, March 7, 2021, Blizzard Beach is reopening!

Last week I had the fantastic opportunity to check out Blizzard Beach before its reopening and I am so excited to share everything that I learned. Here’s what you need to know if you are heading to Disney’s Blizzard Beach!

From Summit Plummet to Tike’s Peak, there is truly something for everyone at Blizzard Beach. Because this water park is themed after a ski resort, you will notice that every waterslide and play area looks like you could find it in the mountains. One of my favorite attractions at Blizzard Beach is the ski lift that takes you to the top of the Mt. Gushmore.

If you are heading to the water parks with children, check out Tike’s Peak, a fantastic splash pad area for little ones. Also visit the Toboggan Racers and Runoff Rapid areas which are full of water slides that are fun for the whole family.

If you’re a thrill-seeker, make sure you check out Summit Plummet, one of the tallest and fastest free-fall body slides in the whole world! Ready to relax? Look no further than Melt-Away Bay and the lazy river, Cross Country Creek; both of these are fantastic options for a relaxing adventure.

Hungry or thirsty? Well, Blizzard Beach is the place for you. Between mini donuts and margaritas, you can find just about anything to snack on at Blizzard Beach. There are nine different spots to grab something to eat or drink and more snack options than you can imagine.

We sampled some of the delicious food and drinks that Blizzard Beach has to offer on our visit. We tried the White Cap Flatbread, Honey Butter Chicken Sandwich, and Plant-based Bratwurst. All three of these menu items were very yummy. The White Cap Flatbread is a delicious flatbread with chicken, bacon, bell peppers and tomatoes, and can be found at Lottawatta Lodge. The Honey Butter Chicken Sandwich (my husband’s favorite) from the Warming Hut is sweet and savory. I also noticed how many vegan and vegetarian options are on the Blizzard Beach menus, including the Plant-based Brat that we tried (and loved!).

If you’re looking for an extensive beverage menu (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), make sure to stop by the Polar Pub. This cute bar has the largest variety of drinks in the water park. We grabbed a Blue Blizzard Margarita and a Banana Cabana, which are perfect for drinking while relaxing on a beach chair.

There is also a Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea in the middle of Blizzard Beach. This is the best place to get an iced or hot coffee for an afternoon pick me up and some mini donuts!

Disney takes safety very seriously, and I think that’s become pretty apparent over the past year. Between temperature checks, face masks, limited capacity, and social distancing, going to Disney World during Covid truly feels safer than going to a grocery store. Blizzard Beach will be following these same protocols. There will be temperature checks before entering the water park, limited capacity inside the water park, and social distancing markers on the ground.

We noticed so many signs throughout the park, which make the rules very clear. The chairs and tables that you can find throughout the park spaced six feet apart with signs asking guests to keep them where they are. This means that even when relaxing or sunbathing, you will be distanced from other parties. The lazy river will also have limited capacity, and guests will be required to stay in a tube.

I, for one, have been curious about the mask policy that Blizzard Beach will have. When visiting last week, I asked Marilyn, one of the Walt Disney World Ambassadors, what the plan was for masks at Blizzard Beach. All Cast Members will be wearing face masks, and face masks will also be required for guests. Guests will not need a face mask when they are in the water or walking from one water attraction to the next.

Overall, I was so impressed with our visit to Blizzard Beach, and I am so excited that it is reopening. Everything felt safe, clean, and just as magical as before. It was truly an honor that Walt Disney World invited me to come check it out. I hope that you are able to make a trip to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park soon.

Sending love and magic.

Disney Dinner & A Movie Night: Frozen

Well, we finally did it. We watched Frozen.

I’ll be honest, while I have always liked the movie Frozen, I don’t love it, and I don’t think it lives up to all of its hype. In my opinion, Frozen became such a popular movie in part thanks to outstanding marketing. Tangled came out just a few years before Frozen but had terrible marketing and wasn’t nearly as popular (but I think Tangled is the better movie). I feel like I have been subconsciously putting off watching this movie as a family, but it really did make for a great movie night.

The movie Frozen tells the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa. Elsa possesses supernatural powers that allow her to create ice and snow. After accidentally setting off an eternal winter, Elsa isolates herself. Anna heads out on an adventure, with her new companion Kristoff and his reindeer Sven, to find Elsa and bring her home.

I wanted to get Brooklyn something special to wear for our movie night, so I ordered a soft play dress from Little Adventures. I know that I have talked about their dress-up clothes before, but they truly are my favorite! Not only are their dresses soft, but you can throw them in the washing machine when they get dirty. The dress I ordered is the Alpine Princess Coronation Dress, which looks just like Anna’s dress on Coronation Day (make sure you check out Little Adventures and use code MVM15 to save 15% at checkout!).

Each time I plan a Disney Movie Night for my family, I do a lot of brainstorming about what I should make for our meal. I try to find foods that are toddler-friendly and easy to cook, but also along with the movie. For Frozen, I was inspired by some of the most popular songs in the film. In the song “Love Is An Open Door,” Anna and Hanz sing about finishing each other’s sandwiches, so I quickly decided sandwiches would be our main course. I broke out the panini press (that I haven’t used in years) to make our turkey and swiss sandwiches a little more exciting, and I even used it to make Brooklyn a grilled cheese. 

For our sides, I made us each a “Melted Olaf” along with some “Frozen Hearts.” For the Frozen Hearts, I cut some strawberries into the shape of a heart, dipped them in warm white chocolate, sprinkled them with blue sprinkles, and allowed them to cool. Below you will find the full recipe for my Melted Olaf.

Melted Olaf

16 ounce sour cream

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix

carrots

pretzel sticks

black olives

Carefully stir the Hidden Valley Ranch Mix in the sour cream. Once the ranch dip is ready, place a scoop of ranch into a small bowl or cup. Add two pretzel sticks, a carrot, and two black olives (Olaf’s arms, nose, and eyes). Enjoy!

In the song “For The First Time In Forever,” Anna sings about stuffing chocolate in her face. For our dessert, I knew I needed to make chocolate cake balls. I made cake balls for our Inside Out Night, and they are truly the easiest dessert to make. To make cake balls, you bake a cake according to the directions, and once cool, you crumble the cake and stir in a tub of frosting. Once the cake and frosting are combined, scoop out the mix, roll into bite-size balls, and dip in melted chocolate. Brooklyn has a sweet tooth, and I think stuffing her face with chocolate was her favorite part of the night!

Brooklyn sat through the entire movie and LOVED it! She also loved twirling around in her dress to all of the music in the film. Although we don’t do these movies as often as we once did, we love them and hope to do them more often. There are so many fun things coming up in the next couple of weeks, and I can’t wait to share it all with you. Please subscribe to my blog if you haven’t done so already!

Sending love and magic,

Plush Mickey Conversation Hearts

It’s time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a cute DIY! I made these plush Mickey “Conversation Hearts” for my daughter to play with, and she is obsessed. I love that you could place them out as decoration or string them together in a garland.

These are similar to the Gingerbread Men I made for Disney Parks Blog and they are so easy to put together. Let’s create!

What You Need:

Felt

Red Yarn

Red Puffy Paint

Polyfil

Mickey Cookie Cutter

Scissors

Marker

Needle

Using your Mickey cookie cutter, marker, and scissors, trace and cut two Mickey shapes from your felt.

With the red puffy paint, write a cute phrase or word on one of your Mickeys.

Once the paint is dry, whip stitch your two Mickeys together.

Before you close up the Mickey, stuff with polyfil.

I hope you enjoy these precious stuffed Conversation Mickeys as much as we do.

Sending love and magic.

Gideon’s Bakehouse at Disney Springs

Gideon’s Bakehouse is a local Orlando bakery that initially opened in 2016 at the East End Market. Although many Orlando locals have been familiar with their award-winning cookies, I was unaware that these delicious treats existed until a couple of years ago. In 2018, The Polite Pig (an incredible quick service barbecue restaurant at Disney Springs) started selling Gideon’s Bakehouse Original Chocolate Chip Cookies at their register. These cookies would sell out daily, but on one of my trips, I was able to grab one. It was the most delicious cookie I have ever had, and I was hooked.

After trying my first Gideon’s cookie, I was obsessed. So you can imagine my excitement when Disney Springs announced that a Gideon’s Bakehouse flagship store would be coming to The Landing. A little over a month ago, Gideon’s Bakehouse opened at Disney Springs, and with wait times that can be over three hours, you could say that it’s a pretty popular spot. I was lucky enough to try Gideon’s for myself, and it did not disappoint.

We arrived at Disney Springs on a Saturday afternoon, and the line for Gideon’s was already so long. At the end of the line, I spoke with a Gideon’s employee who explained that we would first need to check into the virtual queue (a different line altogether) to get in line. I waited in the virtual queue check in, which took about 5 minutes, and when I got to the front of the line, I gave the employee my name and phone number. They quoted the wait to be about three and a half hours and said I would receive a text message when it was my turn.

With three and a half hours to kill, my husband and I decided to leave Disney Springs altogether. We drove around, grabbed some coffee, and shopped before we returned to Disney Springs. Three and a half hours later, I received the text message that it was time to get in the Gideon’s line! Once I checked in to the line, I was told that the wait would be about 15-30 minutes.

There were about six groups in front of us in line, and before we knew it, it was our turn. Before going inside Gideon’s Bakehouse, we were greeted by Steve, the owner of Gideon’s. He was standing outside greeting every single party in line, talking to everyone, and sharing his story. It was such a cool touch! After our chat with Steve, we headed inside to get our treats.

Gideon’s Bakehouse is set inside of an old bookstore; it is beautiful, spooky, and whimsical all at the same time. The walls are lined with books and pictures, and the smells inside will take you to another place. The bakery itself is relatively small, only holding about five parties at a time, but the employees were accommodating and friendly (getting guests in and out as quickly as possible).

There are a few display cases around to help give you an idea of what you want, but there are also rotating items and secret menu items that aren’t on display. You will also find a drink menu with some crazy delicious drinks on it (peanut butter cold brew, anyone?).

We decided to order the Original Chocolate Chip Cookie, Triple Chocolate Chip Cookie, Pistachio Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie, Red Velvet Cake, Peanut Butter Cold Brew, and Classic White Cold Brew. Full disclosure, each of their cookies weighs almost half a pound, and we didn’t even come close to finishing everything that we ordered.

After exiting the store, we found a bench to sit on and enjoy our snacks and quickly found that each cookie is just as delicious as we imagined.

The Triple Chocolate Chip Cookie was almost like a brownie (and very rich).

The Original Chocolate Chip Cookie was just as good as I remember from the Polite Pig (basically the best chocolate chip cookie you’ll ever have).

The Pistachio Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie was sweet and salty (my favorite).

We also enjoyed the Red Velvet Cake as it wasn’t overly sweet, and the cream cheese frosting was incredible. Both of our cold brew drinks were amazing and the perfect complement to our treats.

Overall, we were so impressed with the story of Gideon’s and their amazing sweet treats. There are so many other menu items that we want to try from Gideon’s, and I can’t wait to go back. We learned that to get into Gideon’s, the best thing to do is to get in the virtual queue as early as possible. The virtual queue wait times seem pretty accurate, so try to be back at Disney Springs around your quoted time if you leave. Waiting 3 1/2 hours to get a cookie might seem a little crazy, but it was definitely worth it.

Sending love and magic.

How The Disney College Program Changed My Life

Twelve years ago today, I walked into a small meeting room at the Vista Way Apartment Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida (if you know, you know) and checked in for my Disney College Program. I did not realize at the time how life-changing this experience would be, but it left such an impact on me and my future. I secretly wish I could go back in time and do it all over again, but ultimately I am so thankful for the Disney College Program and how it changed my life.

I applied for the Disney College Program in August 2008 during my first semester of college. At the time, to apply, you had to go to a DCP Presentation at your college and then apply and interview after. If your college didn’t offer a presentation, you could go to one at a nearby school or do the presentation online. The presentation at my school wasn’t until the very end of the semester. I was too anxious to wait, so I watched the online presentation and applied at the beginning of the semester, interviewed quickly after, and had an acceptance letter in mid-October 2008. I remember standing in my mom’s kitchen after receiving that letter and telling her, “I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t do the Disney College Program” (how 19-years-old of me).

Once you are accepted to the College Program, you pick a date to arrive, an apartment to live in, and a roommate if you have one (if not, they will assign a roommate). I wanted to get to Orlando as soon as possible, so I first picked a December 2008 arrival date. My brother was getting married on January 16, so I changed my arrival until after his wedding date. On January 25, 2009, my dad, stepmom, and I loaded down the car in Texas and drove 20 hours to Orlando, Florida. At the time, I knew who my roommate was, where I would be living (Chatham Square), and that I would be working in Attractions (but wasn’t sure which ride or park). On January 26, 2009, I checked in at Disney and soon found out that I would be working in Attractions in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom.

The next couple of weeks were filled with tours, training, and teaching. I ended up working in the “Stitch Complex” in Tomorrowland, which meant I worked at Stitch’s Great Escape, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, and Astro Orbiter. I quickly made friends with Sarah, who is still one of my best friends years later, and my future husband, Kalib. Out of the thousands of Spring 2009 Disney College Program Participants, Kalib and I found ourselves arriving on the same day, working in the same place, and training together, just the two of us (something we still laugh about to this day). We all learned the ins and outs of Magic Kingdom, and Tomorrowland were so excited to spend an entire semester there.

Sarah and I quickly became friends with another Tomorrowland CP, Kaelyn, and we spent every day together. Most of our Tomorrowland shifts were late in the evening, so we would spend our days together at the parks. We bought Universal Studios Annual Passes (they were like $150 at the time, haha) and spent so much time there as well. Every day felt like a vacation, and work was always fun, even when we had to stay at work Extra Magic Hours until 3:00 am. I still laugh about how much Kalib annoyed me on our College Program; he loved to be silly and play jokes on everyone during our shifts (I never thought he would be the one for me). No shifts in Tomorrowland were mundane because you were constantly moving around and interacting with guests. I spent my Disney College Program surrounded by fun people, magical moments, and Disney magic. I wanted to stay forever, but of course, all good things must come to an end.

In June of 2009, as our Disney College Program was ending, I decided that I would stay in Orlando for a bit longer. I ended up getting a boyfriend while I was at Disney, who shall remain nameless, haha, and he convinced me to stay. My parents were reluctant but ultimately supported my decision to stay in Orlando for awhile. I got an apartment, signed up for online college classes, got a job at Universal Studios (that I had for like a solid 5 days before I quit) and watched all of my Disney College Program friends head home.

Not long after my College Program ended, I received a job offer to work with Disney’s Animal Programs Education Team at The Seas with Nemo and Friends as an Education Instructor. I lived in Orlando and worked full time at the Seas until March 2012, and then I went home to Texas to finish college (and started dating Kalib). I continued as a Seasonal Cast Member with Disney until June 2014, returning twice a year to work and keep my Cast Member status. Disney decided to do away with most seasonal positions around that time, and I was no longer a Cast Member.

In June 2014, I had a Disney Fairytale Wedding at Walt Disney World and married Kalib (yep, the same guy that I trained with on my College Program and pestered me). Two of the bridesmaids in our wedding were Sarah and Kaelyn, and we are still the best of friends to this day. Although we all no longer work for The Mouse, we now get to experience Disney as guests, and I think we are all okay with that.

I might have been a little dramatic when I told my mom that if I didn’t participate in the Disney College Program in June 2009, I would “regret it for the rest of my life,” but it’s true. I made the most magical memories and incredible friends and learned hard life lessons when I worked at Disney, but it changed everything about my life. I would do it over again in a heartbeat if I could.

Sending love and magic.