Goodbye Joe!  He’s Off to the Disney College Program

Joseph was mighty stealthy about making his application to the Spring 2018 Disney College Program.  He’s well aware of how many apply (tens of thousands) and how few are chosen.  I know he didn’t want to get everyone’s hopes up in case this wasn’t meant to be.  This time in Joseph’s life was years in the making and we’re proud and excited that he’s seeing a long-term dream come true.

Goodbye Joe!  He’s Off to the Disney College Program

Acceptance to the Disney College Program involves a three-step process:  Online application, Web-based Interview, and finally a telephone interview.  We didn’t find out Joseph had even applied until his telephone interview was scheduled.  By then his excitement was high…as were his nerves.  He’d made it to the final stage!  His concern was that unlike face-to-face meetings where you can appear confident, make eye contact, and gage the interviewer’s reactions via body language and facial expression – telephone interviews are tough!  So much to convey with just the sound of your voice.Disney Simba Magic Shot

The big day came and Joseph did his best to express the reasons he feels he’s a good match for the College Program.  Aside from describing himself as a dedicated hard-worker, he wanted the interviewer to know his history with Disney.  He’d grown up vacationing in the Disney Bubble and understands all too well the crucial impact Disney Cast Members have on guest experiences.  He would love the opportunity to pay it forward by helping to make Disney Magic for other families.

When he got the email that he’d been accepted to the Disney College Program he was absolutely delighted.  And so were we.  While I’ve tried my best to be hands-off through the process of filling out online paperwork, requesting housing, preparing to move over 800 miles from home…it hasn’t been easy.  I’d say I’ve (mostly) been successful.  Joe might disagree.  I should get bonus parenting points for trying this hard!

Luckily, for both College Program participants and their parents, there are helpful Facebook groups to join that can be great resources.  As one would expect, they can also be full of drama at times as separation anxiety strikes all parties involved.  The benefits are worth being witness to a few uncomfortable virtual meltdowns.WDW Mickey Pretzel

If we’ve learned anything so far it’s this:  For every person who was accepted to one of these coveted positions, there are hundreds who were not.  If you are interested in the Disney College Program, please understand that roles are assigned rather than chosen and most have nothing to do with prior work experience or personal preference.  While working in a custodial position or in a parking lot or an Auto Plaza booth or in food service or in a gift shop might not sound like glamorous positions, remember how many other people would have loved to be there!  There are many blogs and vlogs out there by Disney College Program participants who enjoyed every minute of their program experience in one of the roles I mentioned.Meg and Joe at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Now…Joseph’s off on a new Disney adventure and we can’t wait to see how it goes!  If you have any questions about the application process or what comes next, Joseph and I will do our best to help!

Here’s a picture of Joseph just this morning as he masters the “Disney Look”!

2018 Will Be One for the Books – All the News at Once

This empty nesting business is not at all what we’d been warned to expect.  We’d heard scary stories about sadness, boredom, loneliness, marital discord even.  I’m pleased to report that none of that stuff has happened.  We’re spending our time on more adventures than ever and while it may only be January, I’m happy to say…

2018 Will Be One for the Books – All the News at Once

First, a little back story.  As it happens for many people like us, our nest didn’t stay empty.  Joseph moved home last summer to save money and knock out another semester of school, but he was keeping a secret.  We soon learned that having him home would be very temporary.  Joe’s been accepted into the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World and will be reporting for duty next week!  We’re incredibly excited and proud for him.  He’s wanted to apply since he first learned about the program several years ago and the timing is perfect right now for him to make this dream a reality.

Whatever will we do to fill the time while he’s away?  I’ll tell you exactly what we’ll be doing…getting ready to be grandparents!  Megan and Grant will be welcoming a baby girl this summer and Raymond and I are over the moon!  Our lives have been full of joyful surprises lately and we feel blessed beyond measure.

Here’s what will be happening next…

Starting with the tomorrow’s blog post, Joseph and I will begin a series of Disney College Program articles.  For the next few months, we’ll share his adventures and any tips and tricks he discovers for anyone else who dreams about an internship at their favorite vacation destination.

Megan will also have lots to share.  She’s run her first 10K, her first half marathon, and is about to run her second of both race distances (Fairy Tale Challenge), all while expecting.  She’s been a trooper training through quite a bit of morning sickness and I bet she’ll tell us what keeps her motivated.   Because Meg will be visiting Disney World three times between now and the baby’s arrival, I’m sure she’ll have plenty of advice about the do’s and don’ts of park touring while expecting.  There will also be nursery prep with plenty of Disney touches, I’m sure.

Since I believe any age is a great time for a Disney vacation, I can’t wait to start planning our granddaughter’s first trip!  I’m about to learn a lot more about things like Baby Care Centers and kiddie pools, I think.  Oh, the cute baby clothes and princess costumes!  I only thought Disney got all of our money.  We’re about to take this to a whole new level.

In our family, there’s never a dull moment, but this year is shaping up to be extraordinarily exciting…can’t wait to share it with you!

Have you got special plans or events in 2018?  I’d love to hear about it!

The Road to runDisney – Princess 2018

Next month we’ll be on our way to the much-anticipated, long-awaited Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World.  Raymond, Megan, Joseph and I are really looking forward to all the fun and excitement runDisney events hold.  Raymond will be there to cheer us on for what will be Megan’s first runDisney experience.  (Go Meg!)

The Road to runDisney – Princess 2018

When the three of us registered for the Fairy Tale Challenge (10k Saturday, Half Marathon Sunday), I remembered how I felt when Raymond and I flew to Disney World in 2015 for my own first runDisney experience.  We flew from our local airport in Louisiana which is tiny and flights to Orlando always involve a trip west to go east.  So, if memory serves we changed planes in Dallas. Lo and behold, there were a big bunch of other (mostly women) runners headed to Disney World!  How did I know?  They were wearing EarHats,  tiaras, and Disney shirts.  They were carrying Disney tote bags and backpacks – all were as excited as I was and I struck up a conversation (you know me) with a few of the other runDisney people.

Many were repeat runDisney participants, most were as excited as I was.  One lady in particular stood out in my mind and had an impact on how I thought we should prepare for this year’s events.  This particular woman was about to run her very first 10k.  At Disney World!  She wasn’t excited, but super worried instead.  Her apprehension stemmed from the fact that she didn’t know if she could complete the distance.

When it came time for Megan, Joseph and I to make our training plans for Princess 2018, I couldn’t shake the memory of the worried women I’d met in 2015.  I suggested Megan run her first 10k to use for proof of time and then we could run her first half marathon together in December.  That way, she wouldn’t be worried a bit about her ability to complete 13.1 miles and she’d be able to focus instead on the fun and excitement of runDisney events.

So, in early December, we ran the Cajun Country Half in Lafayette, Louisiana.  It was a great course – flat with beautiful scenery and excellent places for Raymond to meet us along the way and cheer us on.  Santa Claus theming created a bit of fun for running wear and the weather was cold and crisp – perfect for Megan’s first half!

We weren’t in a hurry, having already submitted our proof of time to runDisney, so we spent our time along the way enjoying each other’s company and listening to the eclectic music I played out loud for our entertainment.  When we crossed the finish line, I could tell Megan felt great!  We had a wonderful family adventure for the weekend – Lafayette has some of the very best food in the state!  Megan put her first half marathon successfully behind her.

I understand for many Princess Half/Fairy Tale Challenge participants, part of the fun and excitement is participating in a 10k or half marathon (or both) for the first time.  For our family, we believe knowing we can complete the distance comfortably and stress-free will allow us to confidently immerse ourselves in the Disney magic that is especially plentiful in runDisney events.

Are you participating in any Disney Princess runDisney events?  We’d love to hear from you!


New Year, New Disney Plans

2017 was such an exciting, action packed, fun-filled year!  So much so, 2018 has a lot to live up to.  I believe in you, New Year!  You can do it!  Adventure is out there and we’ve got a big Disney to-do list ahead of us.  Since I’m not one to make official New Year’s resolutions, this is as close as it gets…Magic Picture with Tinker Bell

New Year, New Disney Plans

Disney Park Firsts – Raymond and I have an unbelievable four Disney trips planned this year with opportunities to try some things for the first time.

  • New Festival:  We’re excited to have a couple of days to experience Epcot’s Festival of the Arts later this month.  The festival’s 2017 inaugural year went so well, we heard nothing but glowing praise for this brief, but fun event from everyone we knew that attended.
  • Tiger Cubs! It’s no secret that I’m an Animal Kingdom fan & have often touted the joys of the Maharajah Jungle Trek…these new babies are yet another reason to spend all day in this park!Maharajah Jungle Trek Artistic Details
  • Disneyland (Finally!):  After last year’s anniversary trip was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma and 2016’s family vacation was interrupted by Hurricane Matthew, Raymond and I are taking no chances this year.  We’ll be celebrating our 29th anniversary on the West Coast and we couldn’t be more excited to finally get to explore Disneyland’s parks and restaurants.  I’ll be working on my must-do list shortly and welcome any and all suggestions you may have!

Disney Movies to See – Nick, Dave and I just talked about Disney’s 2018 movie line-up on The Disney Exchange (Episode 159).  There’s a lot to look forward to!  Honestly, I’m pretty stoked about Solo: A Star Wars Story (May) and Wreck-It Ralph 2 (March), but if I narrow down the list to my top three, I’m most excited about these…

  • Avengers: Infinity War (May) – I’m geeking out about this one!  It had better be as good as it looks because my expectations are really high.  Avengers and Guardians…how could that not be awesome!?!
  • The Incredibles 2 (June) – We’ve only been waiting 14 years!  That’s practically forever.  The original has always been one of my all-time favorite movies and with the way it ended, didn’t we all thing the sequel was right around the corner?  It’s about time!
  • Mary Poppins Returns (December) – I didn’t care for Saving Mr. Banks at all, so I’ve got my heart pinned on this movie to recapture the magical, whimsical wonder that was the original Mary Poppins.  C’mon, Disney, don’t let me down.

Disney Recipes to Try – I’ve barely tried anything from the Raglan Road cookbook I got for Mother’s Day last year, so cooking up some Irish dishes is high on my priority list.  I’d also like to try Sanaa’s Naan Bread, ‘Ohana’s Stir Fried Noodles, Jiko’s Macaroni & Cheese.

RunDisney 2018 – This year, Megan will be joining Joseph and I for her first runDisney events.  The three of us are headed for Disney World in February for the Enchanted 10k and the Princess Half Marathon (now called the Fairy Tale Challenge).  Of course, Raymond will be there to cheer us on.  (I feel like the luckiest mom in the universe.)

West Coast Disney Cruise:  Before we go to Disneyland, Raymond and I are sailing on the Disney Wonder’s 4-night repositioning cruise from Vancouver to San Diego.  The last time we sailed on the Wonder was in 2011 on an Alaskan cruise and that was an outstanding vacation.  I’m sure this trip will be fantastic as well…can’t wait!

Still here?  I’ll let you in on something – there are a couple more things planned for 2018, but I can’t share them quite yet.  Check back in about two weeks and I’m sure I’ll be able to elaborate then on what special secret adventures our family has coming up soon.

Your Turn!  What are your 2018 Disney plans?