Hugs and Slobber Kisses

I see thousands of people go Under the Sea every day. Most people are so wrapped up in their own vacation that I just blend into the scene. 

But then there are the instances where Guests show their appreciation. And those are the moments that make my job absolutely amazing. 

One instance was when I was working one of the special parties at the Magic Kingdom. At this point in the evening, I was thanking Guests for coming on the ride and wishing them a wonderful evening. Up comes a girl about 5 years old. She told me how much she enjoyed the ride, how much she enjoyed meeting Ariel, and ended by saying, “I’m just so glad you are here! I’m going to hug you now!” Then she threw her arms around me in one of the sweetest embraces I could have ever received. 

Tonight, a similar story happened. I had just stopped the ride to assist a party off of their shells. Many of them were Guests with disabilities. As they were getting ready to leave, one lady hugged me and kissed my arm. When she pulled away, she pointed at my arm with a concerned look on her face. Turns out, she had left a big wet mark on my sleeve. I couldn’t help but giggle, and told her not to worry. That was a slobber mark of love. 

My final story is between me and a little girl dressed as a little mermaid. As she walks into the ride, I call out “Have a great swim, little mermaid!
She come back up to me and says, “I just want to let you know, I’m not the little mermaid. This is just my costume.
To which I reply, “Well you are still a beautiful little mermaid to me! Have fun!

…what a thoughtful child.

Anyway, it’s moments like this that keep me smiling. 

-The Memory Maker

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Festival of the Masters

This weekend, Downtown Disney hosted “Festival of the Masters”, an arts festival where 130 artists from around America come and display their talents. From paintings, to pencil drawings, to chalk artists, this was a notch above any other arts festival I had ever been to.

Some of my favorite artists include:

Jamie Babula– This artist had some phenomenal pencil sketches that looked like photography. I was extremely impressed with this piece.

Tshun Art– This artist created collages of faces, but with hair made of bits of colored pencil. The texture those pieces created was so unique and interesting. Plus, this guy signs all of his pieces with a clock. (Yea, a clock.)

Jeffery Matter– This artist did wood sculptures, but took them beyond a typical wood sculpture. Check out this rotating chess board!

Of course I really enjoyed the chalk artists. How can they make the ground look so lifelike?

Amazing chalk art

Amazing chalk art

But I think I was impressed most with Michael Thiele, from the Hardwood Music Company. They make musical boxes that sound very similar to a steel drum. What I liked most about this particular booth was that Michael would demonstrate the musicality of the wood, and play the instrument. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures. So please look him up and take a listen!

The best part of my day, though, was spending it with some amazing people. My coworkers (now friends) and I walked around, looked at the art, and enjoyed the beautiful day.

Such a fun time! Great event!

-The Memory Maker

I Know Every Mile Will Be Worth My While

This week, I really went the distance. I felt like I made some major steps in my academic and professional life.

1. I made it onto the slideshow at work! Our leaders take pictures of us while we are working, and demonstrating the basic values of the company. Apparently I am a safe cast member, and all of Fantasyland will know it!

Waving to those shells, like a boss!

Waving to those shells, like a boss!

2. For class, we had the assignment of going to the Florida Mall! We observed different stores, looking at their creative displays, and spoke with the employees about their creative input in the design of the store. Once we got enough information, we combined different aspects from the stores we observed into our very own store concept. My group developed an idea of a clothing store called “Just for Me”. This store would allow customers to customize their own outfits, making sure the style, size, and color is just for them. Really fun group project.

3. I went to a chocolate museum with my Mall Project group. Chocolate Museum? YES! World of Chocolate! Although I haven’t done the tour of the life-sized chocolate sculptures shipped from Austria, I did taste delicious cakes and gelato. Sent me into my happy place, also known as a chocolate-coma.

4. The highlight of my week was going to the College Program Alumni Speaker Series, listening to Disney Event Managers on how they got their start. From planning the College Participant Housing Events, to the Fairytale Weddings, to the amazing events for our Guests. I was lucky enough to network with them, soaking up as much wisdom as I could. If anything, this opportunity just gave me a boost to go out and do what I want to do. I want to plan Disney events. And for the first time in a long time, I’m actually starting to see that as a possibility.

That’s all for now. Let me know what you think!

-The Memory Maker

A Magical Band for a Magical Land

My roommate, Bonnie, was selected to be a beta tester for Disney’s new Magic Bands. She was kind enough to bring me and her sister, Dawn, along for the ride.

For those of you who are saying, “Emily, slow down. What’s a Magic Band?” let me explain.

Disney is testing out a new program that will simplify a guest’s experience in the parks. One wristband can hold a lot of information. It can be used as a room key at a Disney Resort. It can help you keep track of your FastPasses. It can even hold your credit card information, making purchases much more efficient. Basically all of your wallet can fit into one little band, which will allow you to spend more time making magic, less time fumbling around for things.

As part of this beta test, we were given a free night’s stay in Saratoga Springs Resort. It was a gorgeous, yet quaint, resort with a definite nod to the historic Saratoga horse racing. Our pillows even had famous Disney horses on them, including Phillipe (Beauty and the Beast) and Maximus (Tangled). Lovely room, with a view of Downtown Disney across the lake.

We then journeyed to EPCOT to try out the Magic Bands as FastPasses. With no wait at all, we ran onto Soarin’. Then, we went around the world, snacking on different Food and Wine specialities. Paid for with just a touch of my Magic Band. Each stop took only a minute of our time.
(Just to brag, as we walked by the Eat to the Beat concert, I saw Smash Mouth sing All Star.  Flashback to elementary school!)

The three of us had a great night by the pool, enjoying the serenity of the resort. The next morning, Bonnie and I indulged ourselves with a breakfast feast, including Mickey waffles.

Our beta test was a major success! I am thoroughly impressed with the Magic Bands, and cannot wait to see how they improve your Disney experience!

-The Memory Maker

The Moment I Ugly Cried…

My friends surprised me with a box of letters and fun stuff. I surprised myself with an emotional breakdown.

Here is my video reaction to the box. You can laugh at my ugly crying, or cry along with me. Either way, enjoy.

Take a look at the stuff my friends put in the box!

Thank you, again, to everyone involved. As you can see, it was a lovely surprise. Miss you all so much.

-The Memory Maker

Magical Answers: part 3

As always, if you have any burning Disney questions you would like to get answered, let me know! Check out my other two Magical Answer posts to see if I’ve already answered one of your questions! (First, and second).

What are some of your favorite street vendors?

This is super tough, since a lot of the food vendors have the same stuff wherever you go. I would recommend you try a classic Mickey Ice Cream, a turkey leg in Frontierland, and the new Lafou’s Brew in New Fantasyland. Also, Dole Whip is a classic in Adventureland.

Celebrity sightings?

I have not, personally, been lucky enough to spot any celebrities during work. However, a lot of people on my ride said they seated Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon. A girl in my class works at the Yacht and Beach Resort and says that Johnny Depp is a regular. I’m hoping to see Neil Patrick Harris before I leave.

Is there a dry cleaning facility, or do you wash you own costumes?

Both. You are allotted 5 costumes at a time. After those 5 days you can bring them back to the Costuming building and have them clean it for you. Or you can wash it yourself. I wash my costumes myself, just to ensure that I have costumes that fit me, and that smell like me. I don’t know why that matters, but it does.

It is important to note that Mickey, his close friends, and all of the Royalty have a special cleaning facility for their outfits. How embarrassing would it be if Cinderella’s gown got mixed up in my costumes?

What have you heard about the new Avatar world?

Honestly, I hadn’t heard anything until recently. And I am only allowed to post Disney approved information about future projects. Here is the link I will give you. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

Hot princes?

Charming is charming. Phillip is brave.
Aladdin’s so dreamy, with a wink and a wave.
When I walk right beside them, and look up with glee,
I realize, they are into each other, not me.

Hope this answers that question.

That’s all for tonight. Send me more questions to answer!

-The Memory Maker

Keeping Up with the Course Work

I’m a few weeks into my Creativity and Innovation and have a lot of projects to catch you up on.

Our first assignment was to hold an imaginary interview with someone that we thought was a creative inspiration. I chose JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. We could display our interview answers in some creative way. For this imaginary interview, Jo wrote each of her responses to my questions on parchment, as if delivered by owl. She even included her own Chocolate Frog card. It was so interesting learning about JK Rowling, and how her creativity stemmed from the struggles of her past. The quote that really stood out to me came from her Harvard Commencement Speech, saying, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.

My next project was a personal success kaleidoscope, which I’ll admit was a difficult assignment for me. First off, it took me far too long to think of 10+ of my personal successes, let alone try to think of a creative way to display them. With the help of my crafty roommate, Bonnie, the fresh eyes of my parents, and Eric’s support through the tears of my frustration, I finally put together a kaleidoscope that I am proud of. Each of these wheels spins to show one of my successes. I wanted the display to be colorful, interactive, and informational. Looking back on it, it’s interesting to see what I consider to be my successes. They vary from my academics, my hobbies, my personal life, and my professional life.

Today, we divided into our focus groups and went on a field trip. I am in the “entertainment group”, and we call ourselves “The Producers”.  We can share our stories and knowledge about performing, helping to stir up some creative and innovate ideas to improve the entertainment industry. Our professor let us out of class early to explore the focus of our group, and we decided to check out the entertainment aspects of Downtown Disney. It was a lot of fun, and we were able to pick out a lot of creative ideas from the “show” side of Downtown Disney that can contribute to our personal creativity, or future projects.

Overall, this class is amazing so far, and I am so excited to see what projects come next!

-The Memory Maker

Taste of Home: Food and Wine Edition

Every now and then we need a taste of home. And the past few days have been just what I needed. My mom came to visit.

For only being here for a few days, we were able to do so much. In order to cover all of our amazing time together, this post will come in two parts.

The first part is Food and Wine. EPCOT has an International Food and Wine Festival every fall. They have over thirty stops around the world represented, and plenty of delicacies to taste for yourself. Mom and I had a blast going from country to country, rating the food or drink we decided on.

Our quest to taste our way around the world began in Brazil with a seared scallop with ragout of tomatoes, peppers, and hearts of palm. Next was Argentina with a grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato puree. Then we tasted Australia which was a garlic shrimp with roasted tomatoes, lemon myrtle, and rapini.

Then of course we took a stop in Mexico for some sangria.

Our next destination was Singapore with a lemongrass chicken curry with coconut and jasmine rice. We were both pleasantly delighted with the Silk Coconut Ice Cream Ribbon from China. In South Korea we tried Bokbunjajoo, a black raspberry wine.

Here comes the good stuff. There was a station completely dedicated to cheese. Almond crusted blue cheese souffle with fig jam. It was in my top favorites. We paired that with a stop at the Brewer’s Collection station. Mom tried a grapefruit beer, while I stayed safe with an Oktoberfest. We also delighted in a bratwurst on pretzel roll in our visit to Germany.

A sip of wine in Italy, and I was up and dancing with the Silly Sisters! We worked our way over to a station where we had a Craisin bread pudding with a Grand Marnier Anglaise. Sounds fancy, but was delicious. Another one of my favorites from the day.

Making our way around, we had a California roll in Japan. I preferred it more than Mom. She enjoyed a Key Lime wine from the Florida Local stand. But we both HATED the Moroccan kefta pocket. I don’t really know what went wrong there, but it was not good at all for us.

We then were overwhelmed with deliciousness. Europe was definitely our favorite spot. Belgium delighted us with a waffle and berries smothered in whipped cream. And in France, we went with the Boeuf Bourguignon. It made it to the number one spot on both of our lists. Absolutely phenomenal!

Ireland offered a delicious cheese tray. Mom had a Canadian Moosehead lager. I tried Ouzo in Greece. Let me just say, Ouzo tasted like licorice. It was not my favorite, and I won’t be trying it again. *shudders at the memory of it*

We did luck out at the very end. Hawaii offered a Kalua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole pineapple chutney and a spicy mayonnaise. Another one of my favorite desserts was a fried pineapple fritter. Holy Moses, that was delicious.

Overall, Mom and I were extremely pleased with our time at the Food and Wine Festival. It was a completely new way of experiencing EPCOT, and we both made some wonderful memories.

Part 2 will be coming soon…

-The Memory Maker