My DCP Review

31 May

This fairytale came to an awkward close. The princess didn’t get a knight, prince or court jester. She didn’t even get financial stability.

My second DCP did not come with a fruitful return, and thus, I’m leaving the Disney Company indefinitely. And that’s okay.

I spent the last five months of my life watching a major powerhouse completely restructure one of its assets. I saw budget cuts devastate full-time and part-time employees barely clearing 40 hours each week as they were only scheduled 30 or less. I heard about my CEO’s paycheck, the streamlining of positions to save a few more millions. We can’t say “Thanks, Shanghai” sardonicly without a bitter pang that there’s more to the story.

I spent the fall portion of my program furiously applying to Professional Internships, adjusting my resume and cover letter to meet every specification listed on an individual application. I took pride in graduating Summa cum laude, completing a Masters-level thesis project and having my stories mentioned and quoted by Washington Post and Sports Illustrated. Maybe I assumed too much, but I sent each application in with a sense of success and with the expectation of two phone interviews. After all, “if you can dream it, you can do it,” right?

Silence.

The four rejection emails I received were automated and cold, which is fair given the size of the Company. I’m assuming never hearing back from the other five applications were also rejections as well. What I didn’t expect was the brutal honesty from one of my meet-and-greets: the resume section is ALL automated unless a department wants it another way. Most departments don’t want to read through the hopes and dreams of applicants; it’s clearly easier to have a computer do the emotional bits. I bitterly laugh at the irony of computers weeding out candidates for writing internships. The most impassionate creations deftly scanning for “keywords” of writers who spend time crafting a variety of ways to express themselves.

It all felt, well, very non-Disney.

I doubt if Walt himself would be able to land a PI interview. After all, he could barely negotiate contracts. (Roy, on the other hand, would probably make it to the final round of a management internship.)

You can be angry at me for not playing the system. You can call me naïve for my bitterness. I’m nothing more than a stubborn millennial who doesn’t want to earn her keep, right? My 60-hour work weeks during holiday seasons, dealing with thousands of Guests each day, telling irate parents their child doesn’t meet a height requirement and getting screamed at — none of it will ever show enough commitment to this place for some people.

“That’s what you signed up for,” the voices echo. “You’re supposed to be nice. You knew what you were getting into.”

Well, yes and no. I love making magic. I love seeing a kid terrified of riding a ride come off triumphant and shouting “we have to do that again!” I love having families reunite at their favorite place if only to spend a few days together. Those moments are truly inspiring, and they are why I worked for Disney.

But since when does making magic and offering excellent customer service stay confined to one company? In the words of Dream Along with Mickey, why can’t I “take the dream with [me] wherever [I] go”?

I had the honor of meeting Marty Sklar –Walt Disney’s personal ghost writer– several months ago at a book signing. The experience itself was life-changing, and his book offered an unexpected glimpse into Imagineering.

The first half of Sklar’s book explores the 10 Commandments of Imagineering and creativity. The latter half consists of over 75 anecdotes from current and former Imagineers. Nearly all of them admits to having most experience outside of the Disney company. They do not speak highly of the opportunities for WDI interns –the most coveted professional internship within the Company. If anything, overzealous interns are criticized for entering into their dream job unwilling to adjust to outside input.

I spent time recently thinking up the Disney executives who left the company and returned to a higher position. The list was quite lengthy, and Lasseter’s existence on the list was enough to comfort me.

To my friends still in Orlando pursuing their professional dreams, good luck. I know a majority of you were left with the awkward silence after putting in full-time and part-time applications, even after going above and beyond in your work locations. I hope that answers come and bring favorable news when they do.

I love Disney, and that will never change. I still tirelessly follow the Disney Parks Blogs, Oh My Disney and DisneyStyle accounts for new information about the company. I will forever love the thrill of walking down Main Street USA and hearing the Dapper Dans serenade a new set of ears.

I’ll keep blogging remotely from wherever when announcements are made or whenever I have an Oh My Disney moment of inspiration.

But I can’t become so enraptured with the constantly-evolving magic that 20 years of my life passes and I’m stuck with piles of untried dreams under Four Keys Cards receipts.

Sometimes, the best stories are the ones where a lofty goal isn’t reached. The princess lands a fresh adventure and a quest begins anew.

 

Advertisements

‘Zootopia’ Review

4 Mar

Before seeing Zootopia: Disney, I can relate to bookish princesses, pixelated anti-heroes and even a tiny blue alien experiment. But how on earth can you make me sympathize with a rabbit in a weird cop outfit?

After seeing Zootopia: *wiping away tears* Disney, you did the thing.

The story begins with Judy Hopps (Once Upon a Time‘s Ginnifer Goodwin), a young bunny aspiring to go where nobunny has gone before — the police academy. Much to the chagrin of her parents, Judy becomes the first bunny officer thanks to the Mayor’s mammal initiative (think Affirmative Action). Judy gets assigned to the heart of the area, the thriving metropolis of Zootopia. However, upon arrival, Judy realizes she’s the only one fighting for her dreams.

Judy gets a chance to move from meter maid to true cop when a missing mammal case comes her way. She teams up with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a con artist who lives up to the title ‘sly fox.’

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but with Jennifer Lee involved in the writing, there has to be a twist ending. This one isn’t as shocking as Hans’s betrayal of Anna, but it’s handled better by the protagonists than a simple *gasp! What are we to do?*

The humor surprised me most during the film. Sure, I’d seen the clip of Flash the Sloth in the DMV, the all-too-real commentary of how painfully slow government agencies can be. Maybe that’s where the humor gets its punch: as you laugh, you realize you’ve experienced the exact scenarios before and never in the best of situations. Early on, Judy’s parents attempt to simultaneously discourage and encourage their daughter to follow her dreams. “Settle! Settling isn’t so bad! Look at us, we settled!” Judy’s dad says. “Yeah, I settled hard,” responds her mother. One of the best moments is an incident with Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) where he tells Judy “This isn’t an animated fantasy where you sing a musical number and watch your problem dissolve into thin air. So, let. it. go.” My theater full of Cast Members guffawed at that point.

As with most Disney films, the true beauty lies in the message. “Zootopia” goes beyond a cute adaptation of “utopia” but ultimately looks to define “utopia” for an advanced society. Despite having evolved from their primitive states, the animals of Zootopia still expressed and experienced prejudices both outright and subtle.

In their attempts at crafting a modern utopia, Zootopia‘s writers offer more than a ‘lack of conflict’ definition. Their utopia becomes a moment where we recognize our own limitations, and in those limitations, we find unity. Once we realize the flaws of not only ourselves but how we categorize ourselves (predator/prey), the better we understand how to aid others. The representations of prejudice throughout the movie could be mix-and-matched with any contemporary issue.

How dare there be rabbits in the police academy? Females on the front lines of combat?

Don’t trust a fox (insert minority of choice here); they’re ruining Zootopia this country.

The movie leaves viewers with more than the high-flying adrenaline of Star Wars or the fuzzy warmth of Frozen (something Zootopia‘s writers poked fun at consistently). It gives a sense of urgency, a need to recognize our faults, and unite rather than continually degrade each other.

If you want your kid to be a better global citizen human being, take them to see Zootopia.

I give the film five pawcicles out of five. Zootopia hits theaters today, March 4.

 

Disney Springs to Add 30 New Stores

1 Mar

My heart fluttered in happiness; my wallet cried in desperation.

What a leap day! Disney announced 30 new stores coming to Disney Springs. The offerings ranged from clothing, cosmetics, fine jewelry and dining. M-A-C Cosmetics, Sephora, Under Armour, francesca’s, D-Luxe Burger and ALEX AND ANI jewelers were just a few of the new names mentioned.

Several, such as the Coca-Cola Store next to Planet Hollywood, are finishing construction. Others have yet to be built. The additions join a long list of expansions that began in early 2015 — Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar, Morimoto Asia, Edwin Pearl and The Ganachery chocolate store.

For the full list, check out the Disney Parks Blog here!

Looks like there will be something for everyone! What are you most excited to see?

‘Lights, Motors, Action!’ Last Ride Set for Spring

15 Jan

Amid countless expansion announcements, Disney manages to subtly sneak in the closures.

The most recent officially dropped a couple of hours ago, as Lights, Motors, Action! will run its final show on April 2, 2016, according to the Disney Parks Blog. The show will run its shows normally until its closing date.

Lights, Motors, Action opened in May 2005 and gave Guests a behind-the-scenes look into how some of their favorite car chases were created. The show refurbished itself slightly to include characters like Mater the Tow Truck and Lightning McQueen from the Cars series.

The LMA area will be restructured into the massive, sprawling Star Wars Land, set to open within the next two years.

Can’t make it down to Hollywood Studios before April? That’s okay. I reposted the full show above.

Still no word as to what specifically will happen to the Indiana Jones Extreme Stunt Spectacular or Muppets 3-D Vision. My guess: Muppets will be relocated elsewhere, especially given the small rebirth in popularity the Muppets are experiencing. Indiana Jones? That could go either way. The show is a key staple at Studios, bringing in decent-sized crowds even in the off-season. However, the series’s popularity took a slight nosedive after the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

 

Video credits to Sharp Productions, who always manages to have the best WDW ride videos.

Disney Princess as ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Characters

15 Jan

Because why not have a light saber and a tiara?

Rey/ Rapunzel: Both are adventurous and gifted with powers they don’t understand. They search for a family bond they’ve never known. Unconventional tools and fighting skills that make their unassuming persona more threatening. punzie_pan rey

 

Poe Dameron/ Mulan: Flawless tactician with the coolest sidekick in the movie. They somehow survive despite having an entire army out to kill them.   mulan  poe

Finn/ Ariel: Both long to be where others will understand them and will risk life and limb to accomplish that freedom. Stubborn and somewhat reluctant to have others take control, and ultimately, their love interest saves them in the end.

Kylo Ren/ Elsa: Tempermental and cold-hearted yet sells more merchandise than most other characters combined. Oh, and *SPOILER* they have a penchant for fatally wounding their relatives. (Sorry, I went there.)

kylo_renelsa

R2D2/ Aurora: Classic character who sleeps through most of the movie and only wakes up when absolutely necessary.   r2d2

General Leia Organa/ Pocahontas: Incredible leadership skills with a soft spot for ruggedly handsome, snarky men. pocahontasleia

Chewbacca/ Merida: Ace marksmen who look out for their non-traditional families. Slightly unruly hair and very thick accents. chewy merida

I struggled to find a princess worthy of Han Solo (let’s be real, he’s a princess in his own right). Help me out and leave comments below as to which princess could fill Han Solo’s boot.

Skipper Canteen Review

17 Dec

I stepped into my dream restaurant today. The Skipper Canteen paired the Jungle Cruise with good food (something other than chicken!), and it was a phenomenal experience.  

 I waited five minutes for a table, nearly an hour less than the attraction’s wait time. 

Theming remained similar to the Jungle Cruise style, yet felt distinctive (more than just it being a restaurant). The Skippers had new sets of jokes, and I learned everything can be made funnier by saying “am I right” at the end of everything, am I right? 

That was hilarious, I know. 

The menu’s offerings were inspired by African, Asian and South American flavors. I had the S.E.A. Shu Mai dumplings.  

 My roommate Erin had the arepas.  

 But seriously, look at this FOOD. The dumplings were sweet, and the soy had a bit of a kick to complement the sweet well. 

We both had the signature drinks. I had the Punchline Punch, and Erin had the Schweitzer Slush. The only thing missing was the souvenir glass; Trader Sam was behind on his route.  

   
For dessert, we had the Kungaloosh!, a dark chocolate cake with caramel coffee ice cream and a slice of banana.  

 
This is one restaurant I’ll be visiting just as much as the attraction itself. The list of things I loved could go on for niles and niles and niles. Am I right? 

Skipper Canteen Review

17 Dec

I stepped into my dream restaurant today. The Skipper Canteen paired the Jungle Cruise with good food (something other than chicken!), and it was a phenomenal experience.  

 I waited five minutes for a table, nearly an hour less than the attraction’s wait time. 

Theming remained similar to the Jungle Cruise style, yet felt distinctive (more than just it being a restaurant). The Skippers had new sets of jokes, and I learned everything can be made funnier by saying “am I right” at the end of everything, am I right? 

That was hilarious, I know. 

The menu’s offerings were inspired by African, Asian and South American flavors. I had the S.E.A. Shu Mai dumplings.  

 My roommate Erin had the arepas.  

 But seriously, look at this FOOD. The dumplings were sweet, and the soy had a bit of a kick to complement the sweet well. 

We both had the signature drinks. I had the Punchline Punch, and Erin had the Schweitzer Slush. The only thing missing was the souvenir glass; Trader Sam was behind on his route.  

   
For dessert, we had the Kungaloosh!, a dark chocolate cake with caramel coffee ice cream and a slice of banana.  

 
This is one restaurant I’ll be visiting just as much as the attraction itself. The list of things I loved could go on for niles and niles and niles. Am I right?