Working for Disney (DCP/CEP): Week Two

Sunday 26th June – Ellis Day Two

Today was the second day of 8.00 – 17.00 Ellis Lifeguard Training at Mickeys Retreat. As I mentioned in the previous weekly blog, I am going to be writing a dedicated post regarding Ellis Lifeguard Training as there is quite a lot to cover and not a great deal of info online.

13988251_10206791392525246_6416041662536146711_o

Once we got back to Patterson Court we had dinner and then met at the pool to practice for our test the next day!

Monday 27th June – Ellis Day Three (Test Out Day)

Today was our Ellis test out day and another 8:00 – 17:00. However, you might get to leave early if they get through everyone quickly! I was really apprehensive about the test out day and was worried I was going to forget everything. In hindsight, you really don’t need to be – Ellis prep you so well in such a sort space of time. Safe to say I passed and was officially a Disney Lifeguard!! As I’ve already mentioned, I am going to be writing a more detailed post on the whole Ellis Lifeguard Training process.

13529076_10154176294536217_4960335428107035304_n

Tuesday 28th June – Day off (Outlets, Publix, Welcome Party)

After three long and tiring days of Ellis Lifeguard Training, I was glad to have a day off. Becky, Eleanor and I went to the outlets for a little mooch around. We also needed to get some appropriate footwear (i.e. ugly crocs). I also needed some black sunglasses and a black waterproof watch for work. (FYI – you can buy a black waterproof watch for $14 at the outlets!) We also went to Publix for the first time and spent way too long chosing what American foods we wanted! I then realised how expensive fresh fruit and vegetables are – poptarts are cheaper than a bag of grapes! My weekly shop was around £20 in the UK – over $50  in Publix really? You can walk to Publix from Patterson Court in about 10-15 minutes, but there is also a transtar bus if your shopping is too heavy.

That afternoon Becky and I also headed over to costuming to collect out lifeguard gear. They were really short on the sizes I needed so I ended up grabbing whatever I could. You can take up to five of each item (i.e. five swimming costumes, five pairs of shorts etc). If you find a size that fits, then keep it!

13584656_10154181005731217_4966461184950598597_o

Once we got back to Patterson Court we decided to have a lil fashion show trying on all our stuff with our ‘fanny packs’. Lifeguard, ready!

That evening, Becky, Suzie, Eleanor, Emily and I went to the Disney Housing Welcome Party at Chatham Square. There was lots of music, character meet and greets, a photo booth and free Pizza – they even had gluten-free slices for me!

13516488_10154181007336217_5340908734134846531_n13738319_10206644754779394_5602795369145573145_o

Wednesday 29th June – Welcome to Operations a.k.a The Worst Day Ever

Today, we headed back to Disney University for our Welcome to Operations class. The day was from 7:30 – 16.00, so it was a very early start for us all. Let me tell you now, this is one of the most boring days off your entire life. The class is a mixture of CP’s and non CP’s. They teach you a bit more about the company and then some incredibly basic things like how to tell the time using the 24 hour clock (I thought everyone knew this). We also learnt about Disney’s Safe D Begins With Me policy. The ‘Safety In Motion’ portion is probably one of the most patronising and boring portions of this class. Good luck, and try not to fall asleep (honestly, it happened to people).

13558602_10154181007526217_8659700710977295939_o

After we stopped for lunch, we had more recreation specific induction. It involved a presentation and some questions from Disney trainers. We then had to complete some readings online followed by multiple choice questions. It’s all rather straight forward and largely common sense. They also set you up on the hub and get you linked to the cast member wi-fi across Walt Disney World – this is much better than the guest wifi, so use it!

Once Welcome to Operations was finally over, we headed to costuming to collect our free lifeguard shoes. Lifeguards get the choice of receiving a free pair of either white trainers (sneakers) or crocs. I would highly recommend choosing the white trainers over the crocs. The crocs that Disney provide have no holes in and are terrible for getting lots of water trapped in them. I also knew of people who burnt their feet through the crocs because they got so hot! It’s best to collect the free shoes and buy you’re own crocs/tevas – the Croc store at the premium outlets always have some kind of offer available. Generally speaking, resort guards tend to wear trainers, whereas water park guards (who tend to be in the water a lot more) will wear crocs or tevas.

Thursday 30th June: Typhoon Orientation

I met Chris (another UK CEP at Typhoon Lagoon) at Chatham Bus Stop and we headed over to Typhoon Lagoon for our ‘Forecast Typhoon’ class. You are required to wear clothes similar to Traditions attire. My advice is to make sure you have something that is both smart, in Disney look and comfortable in crazy florida heat.

The class ran from 8:00 – 12:00 but because of the bus timetable, we ended up arriving really early. (Transtar is the devil). It was quite strange entering the backstage area of Typhoon Lagoon as I hadn’t even visited the park in the day! We went into one of the training rooms and had a presentation on the story behind Typhoon Lagoon.

The legend goes:

“A furious storm once roared cross the sea
Catching ships in its path, helpless to flee
Instead of a certain and watery doom
The wind swept them here to Typhoon Lagoon.”

All of the theming in Typhoon is based on this ferocious storm; that’s why Miss Tilly is impailed on the mountain (the highest centre point in the park). The stories goes that the mountain still tries to dislodge the boat with an enormous geyser of water every half and hour!

13914152_10206791349764177_6965675006770383691_o.jpg

The orientation involved some quizzes such as looking at a map of the park and answering where was the nearest QSFB location, the nearest first aid, the nearest restrooms etc. After a quick break it was time to head out ‘on stage’ and to see the park for the first time.

13627256_10206575086157722_6985959446984997429_n

Typhoon Lagoon is beautiful. I couldn’t think of a more well themed water park and (although I am bias) I definitely prefer it over the theming at Blizzard Beach. Walking around Typhoon Lagoon did feel like a bit of a maze. I thought ‘how am I ever going to remember my way round or be able to get from the backstage area to one of my furthest stands in time!’ It also made me realise how busy the parks and the aquatic areas were going to be. I was excited, but also quite nervous.

After work, I headed to Magic Kingdom to meet the girls. Suzie’s roommate, who works in Fantasyland, had given her loads of fast passes for Magic Kindgom rides so we were able to beat the queues!

IMG_4438IMG_4440

I went on Buzz Lightyear for the first time on my programme and lost miserably – I’m used to the Disneyland Paris Version, ok?

IMG_4449

We also watched the Main Street Electrical Parade and despite the annoying music, I love it! It’s a love hate thing for sure.

IMG_4489IMG_4493

We also watched Wishes from across the lake in Frontierland. I’d definitely recommend trying to see Wishes from different locations in Magic Kingdom!

IMG_4464

Sadly,  Eleanor and Suzie left early as they had work the following morning. However, I had the next day off and Becky had a PM shift so we decided to stay to watch the Kiss Goodnight. Of course this meant that we had to take some photos in front of the castle and I got my first Mickey Rice Krispie Treat of my programme. (The first of many, may I add).

IMG_4511IMG_4523

Friday: Day off!

I had a day off, but everyone else seemed to be either at work or at training. I decided to head back to Typhoon Lagoon for opening and experience the park as a guest. I felt that if I was going to be working there for the summer, I may as well get acquainted with all of the attractions myself. I would really recommend going to either of the water parks for opening as you get on the attractions very quickly – I had managed to do just about everything by lunchtime!

13669713_10206575085637709_7332037411994951020_n

I headed back to housing and decided to go lay by the pool in Patterson Court for some more sunbathing and swimming – I could get used to this life!

I decided to meet Eleanor after she had finished work. She was lifeguarding at Wilderness Lodge which is a Magic Kingdom area resort. I caught the bus over to the Contemporary and met her in Magic Kingdom. We didn’t get into the park until pretty late in the day. There was also a massive rainstorm and we got absolutely drenched walking from the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom main entrance. As soon as we arrived, we ended up spending $8 on the most touristy Disney ponchos.

13528258_10206513612980931_7595811404620218236_o

The good thing about the storm was that Magic Kingdom had emptied out considerably. The bad thing about the storm was that a lot of the rides were closed. At one point, the lightening was right on top of us and struck right next to the castle. Everyone (including us) let out a little scream!

We decided to ride The Little Mermaid ride, It’s A Small World and Enchanted Tales with Belle. Enchanted Tales with Belle is one of my favourite attractions for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney film and Belle is my favourite Disney character. Secondly, Belle’s house is so well themed – I loved all the little details inside. Thirdly, I absolutely adore seeing the kids reactions to Belle when she comes to welcome us in her library. The parents reactions to their children reactions made Eleanor and I get all teary. There was one little girl dressed just like Belle and she was in complete awe of Belle when she entered the room; the little girls mum was beaming with happiness! That is what Disney is all about. I love seeing magical moments like this because it reminds me of my own family and all of our amazing memories in Disney.

Overall, our rain filled evening was one of my favourite evenings in the parks!

Saturday 2nd July – My first day of OTJ Training

Today I had training at Typhoon from 8:00 – 16.30. It was also my first day in costume – exciting! I was up at 6.30am ready to catch the 7am bus to the Typhoon Lagoon cast entrance. I didn’t officially start until 8am and the bus only takes 15 minutes from Chatham Square to Typhoon. However, the buses aren’t that reliable so it is best to get to work early. You are also given a 15 minute grace period to clock in and they encourage you to clock in at the earliest convince. However, don’t clock in before your 15 minute grade period as you’ll end up with a Disney point. Three points and boom, reprimand. Three reprimands and boom, please leave the country within 48 hours.

13599768_10206381551767267_658601602349132761_n

I am going to compile all of my On the Job Training in one post as there is quite a lot to cover and I never found a great deal of information on the process before I started.

That’s it for another week working for the mouse. Stay tuned for the weeks that follow!

What did I get up to last week?

______________________________________________________________

Instagram: @anniebelleymcd

Twitter: @_TheDisneyBelle

YouTube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle

 

Advertisements

Disney Lifeguard DCP/CEP: Application, Shallow/Deep and Swim Test

I was both excited and scared when I found out that I was going to be a Disney Lifegaurd at Walt Disney World. It wasn’t my first choice, but I was looking forward to a new challenge. I soon realised that there was not as much information on being a Disney Lifeguard in comparison to other DCP/ICP/CEP roles. In the hopes of helping future participants, I have put together a guide to being a Disney Lifeguard!

This post will discuss the application stage, the difference between shallow and deep lifeguards and the swim test.

Application stage

If you are applying from the UK through Yummy Jobs, you can put lifeguarding as one of your choices during the pre-screen interview.  You will also be asked about lifeguarding at your final interview at Disney HQ. You don’t need to have previous lifeguard experience as Disney provide all training at the start of your programme. You will be Ellis certified and not American Red Cross.

In my final interview, I barely spoke about lifeguarding. My interviewer asked me one question along the lines of ‘So, you would like to be lifeguard? Are you a strong swimmer?’ It is important to note that a lot of people who had been lifeguards previously – both for Disney and not at Disney – didn’t get automatically get lifeguarding, and a lot of people who had never lifeguard before ended up with the role. I think this is because your choices are put into a system which then allocates roles based on what you’ve chosen, not necessarily on what you are most suited to. So, be prepared to be given any role that you stated an interest for, especially ones listed as ‘high’.

Shallow or deep?

You don’t find out whether you are a shallow or deep lifeguard until you are able to log in to DORMS. Even then, this can change based on demand, availability, swim test and Ellis Taining results. I do know of people who requested to change to shallow at different points of the process, however, I wouldn’t rely on this happening if you want to be shallow over deep.

Shallow lifeguards tend to guard resort pools. The deepest depth is around 5ft. Shallow lifeguards also guard shallow stands in the water parks. These can include the slide exits, lazy river stands and APA’s (aquatic play area).

Deep guards tend to be in water parks and will guard the same areas as shallow water park lifeguards, in addition to the ‘deep areas’. These can include wave pools, slide exits with deeper pools and any aquatic area of a depth of 8-10ft. Deep guards could also be placed at Yacht and Beach Club Resort.

You are assigned to shallow or deep randomly. This often meant that stronger swimmers were at small resort pools whilst weaker swimmers were in water parks or guarding deep water.

Swim Test

When and where does the swim test take place and what do I need to bring??

During your OnBoarding session you will be given a piece of paper with information regarding the swim test. My piece of paper listed the following information:

  • Swim test would take place at Mickey’s Retreat on Wednesday (third day of my program) at 6.00pm
  • Please bring your housing ID to be admitted into Mickeys Retreat
  • Please be at the pool in your swimwear by 5.45pm (swim test will begin at 6pm exactly)
  • Please bring a towel, dry clothes, glasses or contact lenses for if needed for the vision screening
  • Googles are allowed for the test if desired
  • Women must wear a one pie bathing suit

image_mickey_chair-2

What does the test involve?

A standard eye test (read out four letters from a board). You should be fine with this and they usually allow for one mistake. If you need glasses or contacts, wear them for the test – you’ll be expected to wear them when guarding too.

You are then split into groups of about eight for the actual swim test. The piece of paper we were given at the on boarding session stated that ‘you will be tested on a 200 yard swim, a 2 minute tread without the use of hands and retrieving a 10 lbs brick from the deep end of the pool.‘ However, not everyone ends up being tested on this test. This may change year on year, however, as of summer 2016 the following tests were used.

Shallow Water Test

For resort lifeguards:

  • Swimming 50 yards (2 laps), no time limit
  • Fetching a ten pound brick from five feet of water (shallow end of pool)

Deep Water Test

For all deep water and shallow water lifeguards working at Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon, deep water lifeguards working at Yacht and Beach Club and Disney Cruise Line lifeguards:

  • Swimming 200 yards (8 laps), no time limit
  • Treading water for two minutes without using hands
  • Fetching a ten pound brick from eight feet of water (deep end of pool), feet first leap into pool

What if I fail the test?

If you are assigned deep water and you fail the deep test, you will have to do the shallow water swim test. If you pass the shallow water test you will be moved to a shallow water lifeguard position at your given work location. In rare cases, your work location may be changed. If you are assigned deep, but feel more comfortable being a shallow water lifeguard you can purposely ‘fail’ your deep water swim test by only swimming two lengths and stopping. You will then complete the shallow water test and be asked to pick up a brick from 5ft instead of 8ft of water. Also, some people were assigned shallow and wanted to be deep and vice versa. They agreed for one to fail and for the other to pass the deep swim test. This allowed them to switch whether they were deep or shallow. However, this only works if you are working at a water park as it is easier to switch cast members within one work location as opposed to cross work locations.

They allow you more than once chance to retrieve the brick, so don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time. They are really friendly and they want you to succeed!

If you fail the shallow water test you will be reassigned to another role which is usually, but not always, custodial or quick service food and beverage.

It is important to note that all shallow water guards assigned to a water park will have to attempt the deep test. However, it doesn’t matter if you fail – you can still be a shallow waterpark guard (providing you pass the shallow water test). They test you for the deep test just incase any deep water guards fail.

What happens after the test?

After the test is over you are given your work location and schedule for the next 12 days. Most of us had already found out where our work locations were because people with hub access checked. However, you are not really supposed to do this. Also, some people thought they were a shallow guard and working in one location, but actually ended up being a deep guard at another location. While checking the hub is useful as a guide, your work location is not guaranteed until Disney confirm it with you.

I will be posting on Ellis Training, On The Job Training, Inservice Training, VATS and Audits and the differences between resorts and waterparks in my upcoming posts.

If you have any questions, then please drop me an email or comment below – I’d be happy to help!

______________________________________________________________

Instagram: @anniebelleymcd

Twitter: @_TheDisneyBelle

YouTube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle

 

 

Working for Disney (DCP/CEP): Week One

I managed to keep a daily diary for the majority of my summer working as a Cast Member in Walt Disney World. Some days are a bit sparse compared to others, and  honestly some days are actually just very boring. But, if you’re nosey (like me) are thinking of applying to the programme or have been accepted to the programme and want to know every single little thing that happens over your time working for the mouse (again, like me) then hopefully you will find this useful.

I arrived on a Sunday, which is why the weeks go from Sunday-Saturday. Disney also update the time sheets Sunday-Saturday, so it makes sense to organise my weeks this way. Hopefully, I’ll also be posting these every Sunday evening!

__________________________________________________

Working for Disney: Week One

Sunday 19th June – Disney Art of Animation

Today was finally the day I had been dreaming about for so long – I was off to Disney. There were lots of other participants at the airport – you could spot the hoodies/sweatshirts from a mile a way. Becky (my disney roomie/interview gal/all round disney bae) and I pre-booked out seats next to each other. It turned out that we had a spare seat next to us, so had plenty of room to spread out on our flight.

dscn3511dscn3531As soon as we arrived in Orlando, we caught the magical express straight to our hotel; check in for the programme was not until Monday morning, so we stayed at Disney’s Art of Animation resort in a Little Mermaid room for one night.dscn3543dscn3663dscn3669

We dropped our luggage off in our room, had the quickest showers of our lives, chucked some pretty dresses on and headed to our dinner reservations at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian – we also somehow managed to ride on all three monorails lines without meaning to AND I got to see the top of Spaceship Earth for the first time!

dscn3568

The Grand Floridian is a beautiful resort located in the Magic Kingdom area of Walt Disney World. It is themed around Palm Beach’s Victorian era and is only one stop on the monorail from Magic Kingdom. 1900 Park Fare, one of the restaurants in the Grand Floridian, is a character dining restaurant. It was absolutely fantastic! After eating far too much food and meeting all of the characters from Cinderella, we headed to the Polynesian Resort to watch Wishes – the firework show in Magic Kingdom – which can be seen across Bay Lake from the beach area.

dscn3584dscn3632

We were both feeling very tired, and headed back to our hotel and hit the sheets ready for check in day at Disney housing.

Monday 20th June – Check In

We eventually made it to Patterson Court – our Disney housing accommodation. After a disastrous uber, check in was very simple. You go in, show them your Disney Housing ID barcode (which I couldn’t find), have a photo taken, pick up your check-in pack and your keys.

Becky and I requested to be roommates through the DORMS system a month before we flew out. We were placed in an apartment full of Americans who had been on the programme since January. It felt a bit strange moving in to someone elses space, but they were all very welcoming!

I unpacked my suitcase incredibly quickly as I wanted it to feel like home straight away. Becky and I then met up with Eleanor – another ICP who had moved in to Patterson Court too. All of three of us then headed off to Walmart on the CP bus. It was time for some real American cultural exchange!

There was a lot to get in Walmart and my trolley was full. I vacuumed packed my bedding from home which was one thing I luckily didn’t have to buy. We ended up getting a taxi back to the housing because we physically couldn’t carry all of our stuff.

After some more unpacking we headed over to Chatham Square bus stop (which is five minutes down the road from Patterson Court) and caught the transtar bus to Disney Springs – we still didn’t have park entry, so, no Magic Kingdom for us just yet.

We grabbed some food from Wolfgang Puck and wandered around Disney Springs – I even stopped off at Erin McKenna’s Bakery to try a vegan and gluten free cookie sandwich. It was delicious!

dscn3695dscn3710dscn3738

Tuesday 21st June – Housing Meetings and Immigration Session

Today was another day of welcome meetings. We had an immigration session which involved crazy disco lights, big screens and a government agent who basically tries to scare the hell out of everyone. Essentially, don’t do anything stupid, fill out your monthly cultural activity and you’ll be fine.

dscn3753

You have to take a drug test, depending on your given role. As a lifeguard, we had to take one. This was quite a strange process as the test took place in a ‘model Disney housing apartment’. You fill in a form and then are called one by one into one of the bedrooms. It was all very serious. You had to pee in a cup, not wash your hands or flush, walk back into the bedroom (past all the other CM’s) holding your cup of pee, before handing it back to the nurse. I found the whole thing quite amusing!

After that was done, Eleanor and I met up with Becky and Suzie at the Commons for the Housing Welcome. As if fate had intervened, all four us were all Disney lifeguards and all lived in Patterson!

That night, we decided to head to Disney Springs to see Finding Dory at the AMC theatre. We grabbed some food before we went to see the movie, but me being the ‘gluten free-vegetarian-transistioning vegan’ couldn’t find any food. I finally managed to find a salad in starbucks full of sweet potato, quinoa and beetroot – yum!

dscn3767dscn3773dscn3775

Once the film was over, we mooched around Disney Springs and danced with one of the performers by the lake. I was also given the most adorable birthday surprise from my new Disney friends – a chip mug from Beauty and the Beast! ❤

dscn3798

Wednesday 22nd June – Birthday, Onboarding and SWIM TEST

Happy Birthday to me. Oh, still no Disney park entry. Damn.

Instead, we had our on boarding session. But, I got a spacial fast pass service and birthday badges – yay!

dscn3787

At the onboaring session you are given various bits of paper. You will also find out your work location, unless you are a lifeguard.

Speaking of lifegaurding, today was the day of the dreaded swim test. Just my luck to have my swim test on my birthday!

Eleanor and I headed over to Mickeys retreat, which is a sort walk from Patterson and where the swim test takes place, to practice. We were both shallow guards, however, there is a lot of confusing information online about what the swim test actually consists of. I am going to write a dedicated post for any applicants accepted as lifeguards with all the information about the swim test and lifeguarding in general.

At 6pm, we headed back, completed the swim test and then headed to Disney Springs to finally celebrate my birthday. We managed to get a reservation at Raglan Road and stuffed ourselves silly.

Thursday 23rd June – Traditions

Today was Traditions day – finally!

We aren’t supposed to talk much about what happens in Traditions, and for this reason, I am going to brief. You have to leave very early on a special cast member coach which takes you to Disney University. (Seriously, don’t miss this bus) Becky and I got halfway there and realised we didn’t have our passports and had to leg it back to our apartment before sprinting to the bus!

You are given a full days training on Disney’s business philosophies including the Four Keys and Safe D Begins With Me. You are also given a backstage tour of the utilidors under Magic Kingdom. There are a few other moments that I am not going to mention, as it will ruin the surprise for any of you who are due to do the program. It’s a really great day, even if at times it is a little boring. However, it really makes you understand the amazing work Disney do.

dscn3874dscn3880

After Traditions, we headed back to housing, got changed and finally headed into Magic Kingdom for the first time and I finally got to see Celebrate the Magic, and Wishes!

img_388113557801_10206481262092179_1883152370618753778_n13537707_10206481261812172_2490175512419260192_n13502150_10206481263052203_6899909830167361818_n13517637_10206481276492539_6774620412648986122_o

Friday 24th June – Day Off

Eleanor, Becky and I all had the day off. We decided to head to Epcot with our new park entry. Suzie had to finish an essay for university (poor thing) but joined us later in the evening.

13516509_10206481284932750_2261703883533874623_n

This was the first time I had ever been to Epcot and I was so excited. We managed to ride Test Track, Soarin’, Spaceship Earth, try the different soda flavours, visit The World Showcase and watch Illuminations.

13502135_10206481287252808_307505811608948167_n13501887_10206481315013502_6852331584650005751_n13495216_10206481511458413_7527212288780650745_n13466343_10206481511498414_2098230800322557540_n13528723_10206486497983073_6503951493145164211_n

Saturday 25th June – Ellis Day One

Today was day one of Ellis training. As I have already mentioned, I am going to write a post dedicated entirely to the swim test and lifeguarding in general – there is a lot to go through.

After a rather exhausting first day, we spent the evening hanging out by the pool to get ready for the rest of our Ellis training.

So, that’s it for week one! I’ll be posting week two next week.

______________________________________________________________

Instagram: @anniebelleymcd

Twitter: @_TheDisneyBelle

YouTube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle

 

The best Disney gifts

Can you believe that Christmas 2016 has come and gone? It seems like just last week that I was in Disneyland Paris kicking off the Christmas season; it was actually 6 weeks ago!

To cling on to christmas for just a tiny bit longer, I thought I would share the best Disney gifts I received this Christmas.

The Dreams Collection 2017 Calendar by Thomas Kinkade

This is one of my favourite Disney gifts. I have been wanting one of these calendars for a long time. I love the Thomas Kinkade Disney inspired artwork and used to have a phone case with the Beauty and the Beast painting on it. Each month in the calendar is truly stunning. My favourite pages are Beauty and the Beast (of course), Bambi, Tangled and Lady and the Tramp. I’ve even ordered myself a second one for my desk at work because I loved this Disney gift so much!

thumb_img_8474_1024

Where to buy: Thomas Kinkade – Amazon

Finding Dory Disney Gifts

I watched Finding Dory for the first time last summer whilst working as a Disney cast member in Walt Disney World. I would say it is on par with Finding Nemo – it is an excellent sequel. I’ve been raving about it since I saw it over six months ago so I was very excited to see these Disney gifts Christmas morning. I love my cute little notepad as it is filled with water and glitter. Pushing all the glitter around is very theraputic! I’ve decided that all my Walt Disney World 2017 holiday notes are going to be jotted down in this notepad.

thumb_img_8456_1024

Where to buy: Finding Dory DVD – Amazon, Disney Finding Dory Water Filled Notebook & Pen Set – Sainsbury’s

Tigger and Piglet Tsum Tsum’s

At first I wasn’t a massive Tsum Tsum fan, but I began collecting them ever since I got through my first Walt Disney World interview last November and am now hooked. I tend to only buy them for myself on specific occasions, such as each time I passed one of my Disney interviews, when I went to New York, when I handed in my dissertation etc, or, if they are given to me as a gift.

I love these two little Tsum Tsums – just look at how cute Tigger and Piglet are! Tsum Tsum’s are an excellent Disney gift for a friend or family member who is a Disney fan because they are not only adorable but relatively inexpensive!

thumb_img_8472_1024

Where to buy: Tsum Tsum’s – Disney Store

Disney x Cath Kidston Notebook, Pen & Tea Set

Can we all just stop and admire how beautiful the Disney x Cath Kinston line is. My two favourite things are Disney and London. As you can probably imagine, I am in love with these gifts. I am actually quite scared to use my mug too much in case I break it! This is a limited edition line, so grab any bits you want while you can. Forget buying a Disney gift for your friend or family member… treat yourself!

thumb_img_8479_1024img_8483Where to buy: Disney x Cathkidston (Online & instore)

Disney Traditions Bambi and Mother Figurine

I am in love with the Disney Traditions collection. They are beautifully handcrafted through the artistry of Jim Shore. Bambi is one of my favourite (and one of the cutest) Disney animal characters. The film always makes me cry, and I think this heartwarming scene of motherly love between Bambi and his Mum is adorable. thumb_img_8471_1024

Where to buy: Disney Traditions Collection – Disney Store

Disney Christmas Ears

Ok, so technically this isn’t a Disney gift that I received for christmas. I bought them for myself on my most recent trip to Disneyland Paris. I am a little bit obsessed with these Disney ears and think my life would be significantly improved if I could were these all the time. Therefore, they are an honorary mention to my list of best Disney gifts. Just look at those sequins, the red bow and that cute bit of holly!thumb_img_8462_1024

Where to buy: Disneyland Paris/Disney Store

What are your favourite Disney gifts or christmas presents you’ve received this year? ______________________________________________________________

Instagram: @anniebelleymcd

Twitter: @_TheDisneyBelle

YouTube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle

Christmas at Disneyland Paris

Am I the only one who loves to drag the christmas season out for as long as possible?

Christmas Day may have been and gone but that doesn’t mean I can’t squeeze a little extra Disney magic into the last few days of 2016.

I have have had an incredibly busy few months since returning back from working in Walt Disney World – hence the lack of posts regarding my time working of the mouse. (Fear not – I have a long list of drafts and ideas that I need to get round to posting.) The post-Disney depression is real, so I had to remedy it somehow. In between starting a graduate scheme and adjusting to the post-Disney life, I managed to squeeze a quick christmas visit to Disneyland Paris.

Christmas in Disney is one of my favourite times to visit. What could be better than combining two of the most magical things in the world! I was lucky enough to bring a long my best friend who (wait for it) has NEVER been to a Disney park before. Safe to say, i’ve converted her and we are already talking about our next visit.

Here are a few of my favourite things from our recent trip:

Christmas Ears

I love Disney ears and have been wanting to get my hands on some Disney christmas ears for a while. Can I wear these all year round?

dscn8474

Disney Hotel Cheyenne

We stayed on-site at Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne. This was the fifth time that I have stayed here and I can say that the necessary improvements have been made! We stayed in a refurbished Texas Room and my, what an improvement. I adore the Toy Story cowboy theming, the bathroom was modern and clean, the beds were incredibly comfortable – I do wish they would add a kettle to the rooms though!

Breakfast at the Chuck Wagon has always been a bit of a ‘bun fight’ but we got down early and avoided the mad rush. As a guest with food allergies, they catered for me extremely well.

All in all, I love staying at this hotel, especially at Christmas!

dscn8889dscn8893dscn8899dscn8900dscn8692dscn8707

Frozen Sing-a-long

Aside from it being absolutely freezing, I love this show! It always hits me right in the feels, especially when the dancers pick random children out of the audience to sing-along. The staging is also beautiful and very christmassy.

dscn8799dscn8802

Meeting Minnie-Mouse

We may have queued for nearly an hour (yes, and hour) in the freezing cold, but look how beautiful Minnie is in her christmas get up. She was even kind enough to let us take a selfie with her.

dscn8720dscn8723Killin’ it Minnie. Do your thing girl.

Christmas Cavalcade

A picture speaks a thousand words. Just look at how beautiful this parade is against the backdrop of the Disneyland Hotel (or the Sleeping Beauty Castle depending on where you are stood).

dscn8811dscn8808

The weather

Typically, a trip to Disneyland Paris in November usually means, cold, grey and potentially rain. However, we were incredibly lucky to have three gorgeous days of blue skies.

dscn8754dscn8782dscn8775dscn8762It may have been freezing (one day it was -4 when we left), but it was certainly beautiful!

Christmas decorations

No one does christmas decorations like Disney. Seeing all the sparkling lights, the tinsel, the baubles, gingerbread houses, christmas wreaths and of course, the Christmas tree(s) was definitely the highlight of the trip. dscn8588dscn8726dscn8612dscn8872dscn8859dscn8856dscn8367dscn8346

Disney Dreams of Christmas

Of course, how could I forget Disney Dreams of Christmas. While I am slightly bias towards the regular Disney Dreams, Disney Dreams of Christmas is beautiful. Some of my favourite scenes include Frozen ‘Let It Go’ and the ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ ending. The pinnacle of the show, in my opinion, is the ‘Believe’ section of the show – if you’ve watched Disney Dreams of Christmas you will know what I mean. If you haven’t, book yourself a last minute trip, or, get prepared for next year!

dscn8655dscn8658dscn8666

Another christmas over, but what a wonderful one it has been!

______________________________________________________________

Instagram: @anniebelleymcd

Twitter: @_TheDisneyBelle

YouTube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle

Where have I been? Working in Disney!

Well, if you haven’t already guessed from the title, I’ve been working in Disney – Walt Disney World to be precise.

In December of 2015 I was accepted on to the Disney Cultural Exchange Program to work as a Cast Member. I arrived back at the end of August 2016. The last 6 weeks have been non-stop. I’ve started a graduate program, been catching up with friends and family and adjusting back to post-Disney life. However, I have a ton of photos, videos, blog posts, diary entries to sort through. The wi-fi in Disney housing was awful, and honestly, I did not have the time to be posting on my blog. (I’m sorry – I know I said I would).

All I will say is that I have had the most amazing summer. All the clichés are true. Post-Disney depression is real. And, I am already planning to go back as soon as I can.

If you’re interested in applying, then click here for more information.

Keep an eye out for future posts about working for Disney – you might find out some inside information!

IMG_3881.jpg

______________________________________________________________

Instagram: @anniebelleymcd

Twitter: @_TheDisneyBelle

YouTube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle

 

New York Vlogs

This February, I took a trip to New York City. Over the past few months I have shared my experiences and photographs on my blog. However, I have now uploaded all of the New York vlogs to my YouTube channel. There are three vlogs in total and each video covers two separate days.

Below are links to corresponding blog posts and YouTube videos:

Day 1-2:

Day 3-4:

Day 5-6:

Even though it was four months ago, I’m still suffering from NYC blues. I’m planning on heading back next year. When? I don’t know, yet. But, it’s happening!

______________________________________________________________

Instagram: @anniebelleymcd

Twitter: @_TheDisneyBelle

YouTube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle

DISNEY CASTMEMBER COUNTDOWN

I can’t believe I’m writing this. It is less than two weeks until I fly to Orlando and start work at Walt Disney World as a Cast Member. Where has the time gone?

I found out that I had been offered a place on the Disney Cultural Exchange Program a whole six months ago and in that time I have been to Iceland, New York, submitted a 10,000 word dissertation, finished all my final exams and completed my degree. Tomorrow is move out day. That’s right, I’m moving out of my house at university and back in with my parents. It’s going to be a strange transition of not only moving back home, but packing to live in Orlando almost straight away.

As it is getting so close now, I thought I would announce something super exciting – well, for me at least. I’ve started a YouTube channel! I thought it would be a great way to remember the end of university, the lead up to the program and my overall experience working for Walt Disney World.

Check out my channel trailer:

And, my Disney acceptance video:

For any more information regarding the Disney Cultural Exchange Program, or working as a Cast Member, then please click on the links below:

How to apply?

http://www.yummyjobs.com/work/disneyculturalexchangeprogram

More information

http://ip.disneycareers.com/en/cultural-exchange-programs/cultural-exchange-program/overview/ 

Interview process:

Pre-Arrival:

NINE DAYS TO GO.

 

New York: Day Six

We woke up feeling pretty sad. It’s was our last day in New York and neither Mum or I wanted to leave.

We packed up our things and tidied the room before heading to the lobby to check out. The Hilton Garden Inn stored our luggage for us for free which was great as we didn’t have to be at the airport until 6.30.

The weather was the best it had been over the whole six days in New York City. It was far warmer than day one and I was even regretting putting on my coat and scarf!

We decided to walk to the Empire State Building from our hotel which was about 40 minutes away. Whilst some people may think this is too far, I would highly recommend it as you get to see a lot of New York on your way.

We spotted the Empire State Building through the buildings in Herald Sqaure and were in awe of the amazing building agaisn’t the clear blue skies.

DSCN2042

 

Macy’s was on our list of things to see before we left New York. If you’re heading to the Empire State Building  then it’s a great chance to visit as Macy’s is located in Herald Square. However, I was a bit disappointed. I felt it was incredibly hyped and was essentially just another clothing shop.

DSCN2038DSCN2110

Victoria Secret is on the same street opposite to the Empire State Building, so we couldn’t help ourselves but have a quick look around. We ended up buying some perfume (which I am still yet to open!)DSCN2047

DSCN2046

Finally, we decided to head up the Empire State Building. It was about 11.00am by the time we had collected our tickets and it was very quiet. It was a much nicer experience than Top of the Rock where everyone was pushing and shoving to get a picture of the skyline at sunset.DSCN2075

DSCN2083DSCN2061DSCN2081

You could see for miles. It was spectacular!

DSCN2060DSCN2078DSCN2094DSCN2068DSCN2064IMG_0876

It was the perfect way to end our trip and even though I was feeling incredibly sad about the prospect of flying home, I couldn’t be happier to be at the top of the Empire State Building with such beautiful weather and views.

We were rather hungry when we eventually made our way back down the Empire State Building. We decided to eat at the Heartland Brewery which is the restaurant at the bottom of the Empire State Building. It has a very ‘all American’ feel to it and we really enjoyed both the food and the theming.DSCN2052DSCN2105

We still had a couple of hours to kill so decided to walk all the way from the Empire State Building to the Plaza Hotel (which is about 30 blocks)! However, we really enjoyed our last walk in New York despite the fact that we were definitely getting very tired as the trip was beginning to draw to a close.DSCN2122

Once we arrived at the Plaza Hotel, we headed towards the Food Halls for once last snack before making our way back to our hotel to catch our transfer to JFK airport.

We flew home with Delta Airlines who share various flight codes with Virgin. The overall experience was much better with Virgina Atlantic. As an allergy sufferer, the allergy meal provided on Delta was not very good in comparison to the high quality and extensive amount of food we were given on our incoming flight to New York.DSCN2155DSCN2178DSCN2185We arrived back at London Heathrow questioning, did the trip to New York City even happen? We had spent months planning and getting excited, and then it was over within a blink of an eye. We are already planning our next trip back as we loved it so much!

If you would like to read about days one-five then please click on the various links below. I will also be posting my vlog series of the entire trip!

_________________________________________________________________

Instagram: @anniebelleymcd

Twitter: @_TheDisneyBelle

Youtube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle

New York: Day Five

Welcome to day five of my trip to New York!

It was a rather cold, grey and wet day in New York. Nonetheless, we decided to brave the weather and take a hop on and off open top bus tour of New York. We were picked up outside the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square. From here, we were taken passed many big landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Grand Central, Madison Square Gardens.

It was a great way to see the various area’s and districts of New York quickly and gave us lots of ideas of where we would like to explore on our next visit.Our tour guide was incredibly knowledge and helpful. But the best itself was a bit beaten up; I don’t think it was really worth the $50 price tag. Luckily, it came include with the New York Pass we had purchased at the start of the trip.

DSCN1688

The highlight for me was getting this AMAZING view of the Flatiron Building. It was on my New York bucket list and I was worried I wasn’t going to get a very good shot of it from the bus.DSCN1690DSCN1694.jpg

We then hopped off the bus to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. When I came to New York in 2013 I didn’t even get a chance to see it let alone walk across it!

DSCN1722

IMG_0805

It isn’t as far across as you may think. One tip I would suggest is to stay on the walking side of the bridge. Cyclists do not slow down for any wayfaring pedestrians who get in their way!

DSCN1811

We walked all the way over to the Brooklyn side of the bridge. With more time we would have walked down to Brooklyn but we had tickets for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Cruise.

IMG_0802

You get the best views when you are heading towards Manhattan from the Brooklyn side.

DSCN1771IMG_0806

We hopped back on to the tour bus and got off at Battery park which was the next stop. At Battery Park, we collected our tickets for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island cruise. We were on one of the last boat trips of the day, so we didn’t actually get off at the State of Liberty. Instead, we just took lots of pictures as it circled around the statue.

DSCN1873DSCN1881DSCN1904DSCN1911

IMG_0820

I study History at university, and my mum is also a bit of a History fanatic. Naturally, Ellis Island was on our list of places to go! For those of who you don’t know, Ellis Island was America’s busiest immigration centre from 1892 to 1954. There is a lot of history to this Island and the museum was incredibly detailed. Sadly, we had nowhere near enough time to explore it fully and we will definitely be coming back.DSCN1924DSCN1927DSCN1845

We had to be back at Battery Park to catch the last hop on and off tour bus of the day. There was quite a few of us who were looking to get on the bus, however, when it arrived the bus driver said he could only fit six more people on, and two of them would have to stand. Mum and I squeezed ourselves on, but there were many others left unable to get onto the bus that they had paid for. Upon asking the drive how to get back, he suggested that they either get a taxi or get on one of the local city buses. Lesson learned – don’t wait for the last bus of the day if you want to guarantee it will be able to take you back to your hotel!

We got off the bus at The Plaza Hotel and then walked from there past Central Park towards the Lincoln Center. We had decided to grab dinner in P. J. Clarkes. It was a great restaurant and instead of being overrun by tourists it was full of New Yorkers!

DSCN2003DSCN2024DSCN2010DSCN2012DSCN2013

After a delicious meal and an incredibly long (and cold day) we decided to head back to our hotel for the last time! We only had one day left, and we definitely were not ready to be leaving.

Check out my other New York blog posts:

_________________________________________________________________

Instagram: @anniebelleymcd

Twitter: @_TheDisneyBelle

Youtube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle