Friday, April 11, 2014

Character Performer Auditions

On March 2nd I went to my second Disney audition. This audition was for a program extension into a character performer role.

The character performer audition was a lot different than the look-alike audition that I attended in February. Instead of standing in a line and only being judged based on facial features and height, those auditioning actually had to prove that they could dance and act. In these auditions the judges are looking for a variety of people who could be parade performers, face character roles, and fur character roles.

There were a little over 200 people who came to the auditions that morning. They divided us up into groups of 70 people and took us into a room to learn a parade routine. I was #59 and in the first audition group. The routine was very simple, involving step-claps, pivot turns, and skips. For this round the judges were looking mainly for coordination, facial features, and ability to perform. In groups of four we performed the first routine and then the first cut came. Out of 70 people in my group, only 10 numbers were called, I was one of them.

The top ten of each group were taken into a separate room to fill out audition cards and get our pictures taken. There were about 30 of us total. For the second round we learned a much more complicated dance routine. My twelve years of dance experience definitely paid off for me and I felt very confident in performing the routine for the judges. I made it into the next round where we had to do acting improvisation. The judges told us to act out a scene of walking through Adventure Land and Frontier Land as our favorite Disney character. I chose to be Rapunzel because of the large movements she makes that would make me stand out. I went all out and with my movements and told a story with my facial expressions. I pretended to find buried treasure in Adventure Land and flirt with and lasso a cowboy in Frontier Land! It was a lot of fun and I felt great about how the audition went!

After we learned our routines and acted, we were divided into groups of 6 to be videotaped doing the routines. The judges then called out eight numbers to stay. I was one of those top eight.
We were then taken into a room where there were makeup artists and costumers waiting for us. I could not believe what was happening. The judges wanted to see me in a face character role to see how I would fit being friends with a certain Frozen royal. Within a half and hour I was transformed and given a script to memorize. I gave it my all when I performed my monologue for the judges and had several pictures taken.
The entire experience was a dream come true! Going into the audition that morning I had no idea what to expect. No one knew what the judges were looking for. After the first audition I went to in February I was not expecting anything. The fact that I got into the top eight was such an honor.

After the audition was over we were told to that we had to wait a month to find out if we got a role or not. During that month they were going on tour to audition hundreds of other people in 14 US cities.

I received an email on April 2nd saying that I did not get the extension to be a character performer. I must admit that I was very sad at first. After letting it sink in for a while I am now overcome with gratitude for having gotten as far as I did in the audition. I believe with all of my heart that everything happens for a reason. God has a different plan for me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Flora, Friends, and Family

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

I may be bias but I think that Epcot is the best park at Walt Disney World! Every year Epcot puts on their Flower and Garden Festival sponsored by HGTV. There are bountiful arrangements, awe-inspiring Disney character topiaries, gardens galore, and many events that go along with the festivities in the World Showcase. It is a sight to be seen and I got to enjoy it with my mom and good friend Lisa!

They came to visit me for four days and we had so much fun touring the gardens at Epcot, shopping lots, going to see Cirque du soleil, eating at some very good restaurants, and relaxing at the Saratoga Springs Resort. 

We got to see Cirque du soleil's performance of La Nuba at Downtown Disney!
It was incredible!

Here are a few more highlights from the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival:

The Butterfly Exhibit

Butterfly Art

Cute Butterfly House!
Mickey Topiary 

Buzz Lightyear outside of my work location, Mission Space!

Amazing flowers around the World Showcase entrance

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this adorable little girl. How precious is this?!

I was so happy to have my mom with me for a few days. We are very close and I miss her everyday. Everyone needs mom time. 

An Unexpected Visitor ~

I have been lucky enough to have people I love come and visit me while I have been in Orlando. Some of them I was expecting, and another I wasn't expecting at all!

Early one Monday morning I was asleep in my bed when I was awoken by my bedroom door opening. A young man walked over to my bedside with my roommates following behind him. I was very confused as to what was going on but I soon realized that the young man was my boyfriend, Zack! He had taken a red eye flight from Denver, Colorado to surprise me and spend time with me during my days off! I was extremely excited and could not believe that he was really there! My roommates had known about his arrival for two months and had kept it secret from me! He had the whole day already planned out and a room for me at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort that night. I was overwhelmed with joy.

We spent that day exploring the resort, visiting Animal Kingdom, and ate a nice dinner. Zack had never been to Disney World before so it was really fun to adventure with him in the park. We rode Expedition Everest and had a blast! We were actually the very last riders of the day before the ride shut down due to technical difficulties.

The next day I got to briefly show Zack where I worked at Epcot before we had to leave on separate buses. I had to go to class that afternoon and he had to get to the airport.

Although it was a very short trip, I felt so incredibly blessed that he would go to such lengths to spend time with me. I was starting to feel very homesick and him being here rejuvinated my spirit and inspired me to keep going. I can't wait to see him again in just six short weeks for the Air Force Academy Ring Dance in Colorado Springs!

I am a very lucky girl.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Working in Future World

It has been several weeks since my last post. I don't know where the time went! Working at Walt Disney World definitely keeps me very busy and there is rarely a dull moment. I would like to share with you a bit about what my merchandise intern role at Epcot has entailed. 

My Roles
As an intern I have the privilege of working at many different locations throughout Future World. I have been through a LOT of training in order to work at all of those locations and am still getting trained to do more roles in other areas! The locations I have been trained for include the Mission Space gift shop, Test Track gift shop and Image Capture, Club Cool by Coca-Cola, Pin Central, Glow Cart, and The Art of Disney. I most recently got trained to sell fine art at The Art of Disney and am looking forward to informing guests about our art pieces.

I was also recently trained to activate and associate guest information into the new MyMagic+ system through MagicBands. These bands are bracelets worn by guests that contain all of their personal vacation information and acts as their park tickets, credit card, resort room key, and photo pass. These bands are exclusive to Walt Disney World and have made guests’ stay much easier.

Video on My DCP Experience

I was honored that my roommate, Carly Tynes, asked me to be her subject for her multi-media final project. This was the final project she had to do in order to complete her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Southern Mississippi! 

Click the link below to look at the finished product!

I am so impressed with how the video turned out. It is a great representation that glimpses into what my experience has been like at the Disney College Program. Carly is so talented and I am blessed to have such a wonderful friend.

My Costumes
Each of my roles requires that I wear different costumes! Here are a few examples of the costumes I wear everyday:

Art of Disney 

Club Cool

Mission Space 

My Take 
My internship role at Disney is overall very dynamic. I have learned more than I can say from my experience here. I have grown everyday and feel more prepared than ever to take on the world after college. Working for Disney has not been easy and it is not always fun. It has been hard work with many bumps along the way. My resilience has surprised me over and over again. I have always taken pride in my work, no matter what it may be. I can honestly say that how I have grown here has made me very proud of myself. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It's All About Networking

The most exciting part about working for Disney is finding out about the amazing opportunities to grow your career within the company. The Walt Disney Company is a powerhouse that not only encompasses the extravagant international Disney parks, resorts, and cruise line, but also includes ABC Television Group, ESPN, Inc., Marvel Entertainment, Lukasfilm, Disney and Hollywood Records, and so much more! The Disney College Program offers interns many opportunities to meet professionals who work in all different areas in the Walt Disney Company through a variety of networking events. 

As a part of my Disney Marketing You course I am learning about how to market myself as a professional and meet people who can help me in my career development. I have been learning many new networking skills including my "30 Second Commercial." My commercial is designed to ease me through the first official introduction of myself to an important person. It explains who I am, what my experience is, what my goals are, and the reasons I am talking to that particular person. Learning to brag about myself has been a challenge, but the more I practice the easier it becomes. 

I have learned quickly just how important networking is within the Walt Disney Company. People who work for Disney love it. They are always willing to share their stories and help you in achieving your Disney career dreams. It is both comforting and thrilling to note that most people I have encountered who are working in their dream roles at Disney started their journeys in the Disney College Program. 

Meet the Professional Interns

For the first networking event I attended at Disney I had the opportunity to meet with professional interns from various areas of the Disney Company. The Disney Professional Internship Program consists of students who are currently working toward a graduate degree or have already graduated with a degree. These interns include a select group of men and women who went through an extremely selective audition process to be placed in specialized areas of the company where they have the most experience. Again, most all of these professional interns started out their Disney career as Disney College Program Interns.  

 During this networking event I chose to speek with representatives and current professional interns in the field of entertainment. Through talking with them I was able to learn more about the internship opportunities offered through Disney in theater production, music recording technology, and performing. 

Spotlight on Disney Fairytale Weddings 

 When I was a little girl my mother and I used to watch television programs about Disney Fairytale Weddings. I was in awe of the magic that Disney could create for a bride, a groom, and their family on their special day. From Cinderella's horse-drawn pumpkin carriage to stunning wedding photos on top of the castle in Magic Kingdom, Disney has the ability to make every bride feel like a real princess. Yesterday I got to see where all of that magic happens at the Disney Wedding Pavilion at the Grand Floridian Resort. 

 While at the networking event, I was able to talk with the world-renown Disney wedding planners, coordinators, and wedding planning professional interns. It seems like it would be so much fun to plan and design fairytale weddings on a daily basis!  I found it interesting to learn about how they got to the high-status positions they are in now. The wedding planners talked about the huge group of people it takes to put on these extravagant events and the extensive yearlong planning that goes into each wedding. 

 Because interior design has always been a passion of mine, I have always had an interest in wedding planning and designing. I also talked to some of the planners about wedding entertainment, considering my experience with singing for wedding ceremonies. Overall, I am keeping my options as open as possible and trying to make many connections while I am here at Disney. 

When it comes to networking, my Marketing You instructor puts it best:

"It's not about who you know, it's about who knows you." 
         - Ms. Penny Hightower

Don't be afraid to make yourself known. Make your goals known to people who can help you achieve them.   


Monday, February 17, 2014

Where I Live: Patterson Court Apartment Tour

My roommates and I were fortunate enough to get assigned to a two-bedroom apartment at Patterson Court. It is a very quiet area with many amenities including a pool, computer lab, workout facility, and learning center where the DCP college courses are taught. The apartment complex is owned by Disney and was built just for Disney College Program participants. It is located near the main entrance of Walt Disney World and is conveniently close to grocery stores and the Premium Outlet Mall. 

For those of you considering the Disney College Program, and would like to see what living at Disney looks like, I have put together an apartment tour for you. 

The Apartment


Kitchen Area

Living Room 

Living Area Layout

My Roommate and I's Bedroom

Our Double Vanities 


Dresser and Walk-In Closet 

Desk Study Area

A Beautiful Florida Evening Out on the Balcony

Minnie thanks you for touring the apartment!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Adventures at Disney

Since arriving I have already had a few opportunities to adventure with new friends!

Audition Adventures

Last Thursday I went to my very first Disney Character Look-Alike Audition at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom! I figured that since I am living and working at Disney, I might as well take advantage of every opportunity while I am here! I have always wanted to audition for Disney and was overjoyed to have the opportunity to do so. 

It was very nice to have my new friend, Stephanie, there with me through the audition process. Being a character performer or look-alike for Disney has always been one of her dreams as well! 

There were close to 500 other girls my age at the audition. We were divided up into groups of 50 and brought into a large room. We were told to stand in lines of ten while the judges looked at our faces, height, and body-type. Each Disney face character has extremely strict physical guidelines to meet in order for each character to be distinguishable and from other characters, and indistinguishable from various performers playing the same character. The judges were very kind and told us upfront that they were looking for a girl to fill the role of a very particular character. Before my group went into the room there had been close to 200 girls who had been judged before me in the audition. Out of those 200 before my group, only a very small handful of girls (about five) had been selected to move onto the next round. Out of my group of 50 they chose only two girls. These girls were on the taller side of the height requirement. That being said, I am guessing they were looking for a character like Aurora, Cinderella, or maybe even a villain like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty! But no one knows for sure.

It was overall a thrilling experience to attend my first Disney audition! I was definitely not discouraged because I understand that they are always looking for different girls for certain roles all the time. I now know what to expect and am looking forward to the next audition opportunity that comes my way while I am here in Orlando.    

Roommate Adventures

I must say that I feel extremely lucky to have the roommates that I do. We found each other on Facebook prior to moving to Orlando and have had a blast living together so far! My roommates are Lauralee, Carly, and Andrea. They are currently attending colleges in Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Their DCP internships are with Merchandising at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Costuming at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, and with the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at the Magic Kingdom!

Since moving in together we have had many adventures out and about in Orlando and in the Disney Parks. As Disney Cast Members we have the amazing benefit of getting into the parks for free. Needless to say, we are taking full advantage of that benefit!

It is truly wonderful to have a support group of friends to go through this new process with. I have quickly learned how important it is to make time to get to know new people, share stories, and learn to have more fun in life.