Disney Dream Jobs

I was listening to the Por Favor Podcast earlier this evening, and the were talking about Disney dream jobs.  As I heard each of their answers, I thought about what my top five dream jobs would be at Walt Disney World.

Pyrotechnician

169    Really, think about it.  The person in charge of the fireworks each night?  How amazing of a job would that be?  Yes, it would be stressful working with explosives, on a program that thousands of people are going to see every night, but it would be worth it.  To be the person that loads and sets up the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth “inferno barge”… wow.

IllumiNations-_Reflections_of_Earth_Inferno_Barge_-_Daytime(image can be found here)

 

Haunted Mansion cast member

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    I’ve always loved that the cast members are a bit creepy.  They really help to put you in the right mood for the Haunted Mansion before you even step inside.  The deadpan humor is perfect for the attraction that follows, and who wouldn’t love saying things like “please move to the DEAD center of the room” while staring, unblinkingly, at tourists.  I’m also 6’10″, which would just help me seem a little scarier as I slowly pace back and forth, inviting guests into the Mansion.

 

VIP Tour Guide

    This is the one that I can come closest to already.  I don’t work for Disney, and I don’t get paid to give tours, but when I’m at Walt Disney World with my family, my nerdy knowledge can come out.  “Did you know that the carriage posts on Mainstreet USA are painted about 4 times a year?  Or that Pumba, from the Lion King, is the first Disney character to fart”?  (Yes, I tell different stories based on the people that I’m with)  Now if I could just get paid for my strange recollection of Disney stories and knowledge… I’d be pretty happy to get to wear a plaid vest!

 

Face Character

Gaston_at_Disney_parks_in_wintertime

(photo can be found here)

    Okay, so I’ve always wanted to be Belle.  Just kidding.  But the same movie… Gaston.  Yes, he’s a villain, yes, he’s obnoxious, rude, “positively primeval”, but he would be a great character role.  Imagine walking around New Fantasyland posing for pictures with people while sporting a huge grin, giant muscles (I’d maybe have to work on those a little bit), and clomping around in big boots.  I’m tall.  I’m rugged.  I’m handsome.  I could totally be Gaston.  (*okay, at least one of those descriptors is real…)

 

Imagineer

Joe
(please tell me you know who this is…)

    This is definitely the top job I could imagine at Walt Disney World.  To be able to think about, design, create, build, implement, etc. at WDW would be a difficult but incredibly rewarding job.  The variety of jobs Imagineer do is simply amazing, from huge projects: coming up with a new theme park, such as Animal Kingdom, to tiny details: put leaves, footprints, and other marks in the walkway to make it look old and worn.  They plan a park, and the rides inside it, and the ride vehicles, as well as designing the queue for the ride, and even traveling to far off places to buy actual ‘set pieces’ for those rides.  While there are obvious financial and physical constraints (as well as many others, I’m sure), to have a job that lets you use creativity to update or create new theme park attractions, hotels, restaurants, and many other things would be absolutely amazing.

(By the way, that picture is of Joe Rohde, lead Imagineer, and is from his Twitter account)

 

 

What do you think your top Disney dream jobs would be?  Leave a comment below!

Walt Disney World miniature golf part 2 – Fantasia Gardens and Fairways

In this second installment of miniature golf courses at Walt Disney World, I bring to you Fantasia Gardens and Fairways.  This course, like Winter Summerland, features two 18 hole courses.  However, unlike W/S, where the courses are similar but themed differently, at Fantasia Gardens and Fairways, the courses could not be more opposite from each other.

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(I swear it’s just blacklight, my wife isn’t really a zombie…)

Fantasia Gardens is more like the kind of miniature golf most of us are probably used to: it is necessary to hit around corners, off the sides, around obstacles, through caves, etc.  As Disney states on it’s website, “Putt your way through 5 whimsical scenes featuring tutu-clad hippos, marching broomsticks and pirouetting ostriches.

Perfect for families and beginner golfers, the Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course invites you to join the reverie as you aim through twirling obstacles, cross fanciful fountains and discover musical surprises. Beware of the broomsticks, ready to douse golfers who pass below!”  The course is perfect for young fans, who, even if they haven’t seen the movie Fantasia, will love the characters and themes spread throughout the 18 holes.  Each hole has music, characters, bright colors, and is named for a particular aspect of the 1940 film.

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(picture found on Tripadvisor)

Fantasia Fairways, the more difficult course of the two, is actually one of my favorite miniature golf courses I have ever played on (and I’ve played over 100)!  “Resembling a traditional golf course built on a miniature scale, this course emphasizes skill over chance. Sand traps, bunkers, water hazards and sloping greens make the Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf Course an exciting challenge, where par-3 and par-5 holes range in length from 63 to 109 feet long.”  

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This course is one for actual golfers, and takes real skill to complete.  While younger kids may enjoy it, it can be frustrating to those who are not able to hit around the sand bunkers, rocks, and water hazards.  Every time I’ve been to Fantasia Gardens and Fairways, I’ve had to wait for the Fairways course, because, like an actual golf course, enough people want to use it that Disney sets up tee times.  

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Of the four Walt Disney World golf courses, Fantasia Fairways is my favorite.  It takes a lot of time to play, which means that, given the cost of each round, you get more for your dollar.  It takes some skill, which (as a former miniature golf course employee) I really enjoy.  It’s fun to play with my daughter, but I like courses that take some time to play, that aren’t simply hitting a ball through a windmill (although those are cool too).

For more information about these courses, as well as pricing, visit the official Walt Disney World site!

Miniature Golf part 1: Winter Summerland

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One of my favorite things to do, whether I’m at Walt Disney World or not, is play miniature golf.  I’ve played countless rounds across the country and even the world, and my wife and I have even worked at a miniature golf course and children’s theater.  She learned about this love of mine when we decided to honeymoon at Myrtle Beach, SC, the “miniature golf capital of the world” and we played about a dozen rounds in the 5 days we were there.

At Disney, there are two miniature golf areas: Fantasia Gardens and Fairways, and Winter Summerland.  This post will focus on Winter Summerland.  The two courses there are nearly identical/symmetrical, making it fun to play both sets of 18 and compare the holes.

winter summerland screenshot 11-11-11
(screenshot from 11-11-11 aerial photo on Google Earth)

Winter Summerland consists of two 18-hole courses, one, themed for the winter, and the other, as you can guess, themed for the summer.  As the Disney website states:

Late one Christmas Eve, as Santa was flying back to the North Pole, he discovered snow in Florida. After surveying the strange sight, he decided to build a vacation destination for his off-duty elves—a Winter Summerland.

Seeing that the only thing Winter Summerland lacked was a golf course, Santa and his elves divided into 2 camps, one that enjoyed the warm Florida sun and another that preferred the snow and cold of the North Pole. The elves then built 2 distinctly different 18–hole golf experiences: a sand course named “Summer” and a snow course named “Winter.”

(description courtesy of the Walt Disney World website)

winter summerland 3(Santa has a sleigh and an airstream)

There are funny little things all over to take pictures of: Santa’s airstream, a sleigh you can sit in, a melted snowman, etc.  The Winter Summerland miniature golf course also has a few surprises in store, which I don’t want to give away.

winter summerland 2
(We HAD to golf when we went down for the WDW Marathon!)

Maybe we’re just crazy, but we felt like the winter side had more shade, and felt much cooler than the summer side.  Perhaps it was just wishful thinking?

winter summerland 4
Hot cocoa and mini-golf anyone?

At the end of your round, you get a message from Santa, and when you turn in your clubs, they have a bowl full of candy canes.  The best time to play here? Pick a cool day, if you can, and bring some hot cocoa!

Q4-29 Winter-Summerland June 1999    MRA(Please don’t swing your club like this kid, from a Disney website picture)

winter summerland castle - snowwinter summerland castle - sand

(These photos are from Magical Memories by John, run by vacation planner John Parr)

The only negatives about the experience? One – the computer e-mail message from Santa at the end could use some updating.  The other – getting to this golf course in the winter can be a major pain.  When Blizzard Beach is closed, finding a bus to take you can be a bit problematic, so we opt for a taxi. $10 to save 45-60 minutes on buses is worth it!

For more information, you can also check out Disney-Pal, which has some great photos.

Have you tried these golf courses out?  Which course is your favorite?  If you haven’t tried out Winter Summerland, why not?  Leave your comments below!

Favorite picture spots at Walt Disney World

It seems I have a problem: I am a picture taker.  I can take a hundred pictures a day when I’m on vacation (I once took 9,700 on a 3 and a half month trip!)…  I’ve been to Disney a number of times, and whenever I go there are certain places that I love to take pictures of (and certain places that I love to take pictures from, as well).  My wife pointed this out to me as we were looking through old trip photos: “Haven’t I seen that picture before?  Maybe one or two times before?”.

Even though I already have a picture of Spaceship Earth viewed through the Japanese Torii, I still take one every time I’m there.

450This one is from January 2008, my first trip with my wife!

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T
hrough the Torii at night, January 2010

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A view from further back in Japan , January 2013

 It was hard to choose just one set of pictures.  I have a LOT of Mount Everest in Animal Kingdom, the castle from Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Splash Mountain from Frontierland, the Tower of Terror from Sunset Boulevard, the list goes on and on.

Are there places you always photograph, or places you love to take photographs from?  Share them in the comments below!

 

$10 for 10 for 10 in 10

Yeah, that’s a strange title for a blog post.  But don’t worry, I’ll explain myself.

Over the next 10 days, I’ll be posting AT LEAST 10 times.  And at the end of the 10 days, I’ll pick 10 people to win $10 Disney gift cards.  Here’s how it works: For each of my posts, answer a question I ask, leave a comment, tell me how much you love (or hate) my blog.  Each entry you post on will count as one entry (meaning you can’t comment 200 times on this… only one comment per post over the 10 days).

So, it’s that simple.  10 people will each win a $10 Disney gift card!

Stuck! Breakdowns at Walt Disney World

I recently had a discussion with a few people about getting stuck on rides, and I thought I’d ask all of you, my readers, if you’ve gotten stuck, what you’ve gotten stuck on, and what the experience was like. Walt Disney World has nearly 100 attractions (not all of which can break down), and from time to time they go down with guests on them.

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I’ve been to Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris over a dozen times, (quite a feat since I’ve traveled there from New York and South Dakota!), and I’ve been on a number of rides that have gone down for a short period while on them. One of the most recent was on the TTA PeopleMover, where we got stuck inside a tunnel for about 20 minutes. While some people would be upset, maybe freak out, or be generally annoyed, my wife and I, as well as an aunt and uncle, thought it was actually kind of neat. We had no idea why we’d stopped, but after a couple of minutes they turned all of the lights on, and two cast members came running along the track, flashlights shining, looking for something.

newmanagement_disney
(photo is Disney copyrighted, found here)

While it didn’t break down while we were on it, my wife and I visited The Enchanted Tiki Room, Under New Management on the afternoon of January 12th, 2011.  Why do I remember the date?  Because there was a small roof fire that evening, and it was shut down for a period of time.  When it reopened, it had been brought back to its original version.  That means, whether you loved it or hated it, that we were among the very last to see Iago and Zazu running the place. *We take no responsibility for the fire*

For more New Management info, check out http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/The_Enchanted_Tiki_Room_(Under_New_Management)

 

Are there rides that you feel go down more often then others? Have you ever had a memorable experience on one? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Royals, by Hans (of the Southern Isles)

I got to thinking… the song Royals (by Lorde) is quite catchy… and I feel like it is a song that Hans, the antagonist from Frozen, could easily sing.  So, I reworked the lyrics a little bit, and here it is.

If you feel adventurous, record yourself singing this, post it to YouTube, and leave a link in the comments!!!

I’ve never seen a snow queen in the flesh
I cut my teeth on future wives at coronations.
And I’m not proud of my address,
In the Southern Isles, no postcode envy

But every song’s like “sandwiches”, grey geese, dancin’ in the moonlight
Open doors, ball gowns, everything’s out of sight,
Let it go, we’re driving golden sleighs in our dreams.
But everybody’s like chocolate fondue, diamonds on your timepiece.
Big ships, islands, reindeer on a gold leash.
I don’t care, I’m not caught up in your love affair

And I’ll never be a royal (royal).
It don’t run in my blood,
I’ve got a dozen older bros.
And too many different foes.
Let me be your ruler (ruler),
You can call me King Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.

The Duke and I – we’ve cracked the code.
We count our dollars on the boat to the party.
And everyone knows us knows that we’re fine with this,
We don’t come from money.

But every song’s like “sandwiches”, grey geese, dancin’ in the moonlight
Open doors, ball gowns, everything’s out of sight,
Let it go, we’re driving golden sleighs in our dreams.
But everybody’s like chocolate fondue, diamonds on your timepiece.
Big ships, islands, reindeer on a gold leash.
I don’t care, I’m not caught up in your love affair

And I’ll never be a royal (royal).
It don’t run in my blood,
I’ve got a dozen older bros.
And too many different foes.
Let me be your ruler (ruler),
You can call me King Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.

Ooh ooh oh
I’ll give you an engagement ring,
‘Cause I’m in love with being king.
Ooh ooh oh
Life is great without a care
I’m not caught up in your love affair.

And I’ll never be a royal (royal).
It don’t run in my blood,
I’ve got a dozen older bros.
And too many different foes.
Let me be your ruler (ruler),
You can call me King Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.

Enjoy!