The Disney Adventure

The Disney Adventure
The Cinderella Castle!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


So Derrek and I made it to Bermuda safe and sound! We landed last night around 8:30 and got a cab with a fabulous driver in a giant taxi van who drive fast around tiny roads with hairpin turns!! And on the opposite side of the road from what we're used to! We got to my friend Katie's house and there was a lovely little note waiting for us as she was still at work. Shes been working at the Fairmont here and living in the staff housing so as you can imagine I was very interested in seeing both the housing and the hotel!! The housing is fabulous!! Small but adorable and she lives by herself which is more than I can say for all staff housing I've lived in! So we walked down to the Swizzle Inn by her place and had some dinner and that's where she met us! Katie is one of those amazing friends that no matter how long you haven't seen eachother, it still feels like you've been together the whole time! So we had a great time catching up! Then this morning I went with her to work and took her scooter back with me. First of all, scootering takes a bit of getting used to! Second of all driving on the other side of the street takes some getting used to!!! But I managed, I did scrape my toe, but other than that I survived!! And Derrek was a fabulous passenger!! Katie has so many exciting things planned for us!! Tonight we're going for dinner at the Fairmont because she gets 50% off! Then tomorrow we go on a boat to explore!!! I'm excited. We want to find the lost city of Atlantis, which we feel certain is located in the Bermuda triangle somewhere. More later!! And photos too!!  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bye bye orlando!!

So, we are sitting in the Miami International Airport waiting to head to Bermuda. It's wierd to leave Orlando. I don't really feel like I've left for real. I still feel like I'm on vacation and will come back to the lodge soon. I had everyone write in a little book for me before I left and I read what people wrote on our flight here, it's overwhelming the nice things that people had to say. I really feel lucky to have made such amazing friends. So here are some photos from the airport while we wait!!   


There's something I totally forgot to mention before. One of our engineers took me up on the roof the other day and it was so high up that we could see the fireworks from all three other parks, MK, Hollywood Studios, and epcot. It was amazing!!! Such a phenomenal view. I took a picture of the lodge so I could show you the ladder we went up to get to the top of the lodge!!
So if you look to the immediate right of the peak thingy you can see the ladder that we climbed up!' I was waaaaay up there!!!! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Things I'll Miss

One of my co-workers asked me last night what I'm going to miss about Orlando. I'm going to miss taking balloons away from children, for sure. That's one of the best things about working at the lodge. NO BALLOONS. Anyhow, people also often ask what I miss most about home, so I thought I would give you Erica's Official Lists of things I (#1) miss about home and (#2) will miss about Orlando:

Things I miss about home:
* Fresh air
* The metric system
* The smell of the ocean
* My family
* horses
* my friends
* temperate climate
* not being made fun of everyday for being Canadian
* my car
* not having to cover my tattoos with makeup everyday

Things I will miss about Orlando:
* humidity
* lightening storms
* the parks
* Disney
* how noone thinks it's wierd that I name inanimate objects
* my friends
* my job
* taking balloons from children
* seeing giraffes every day
* my resort themed greeting (i really will miss saying 'dumela, and welcome home')
* the Tower of Terror

Those are just a few things.....and for the record, yes, I actually do miss living under the wise and benevolent rule of the metric system, who starts a temperature scale at 32 degrees??? It doesn't make any sense.

The Final Week

I'm sitting on my bed in my room, surrounded by the last few boxes that I need to ship and I can't believe it's almost over. I have 3 shifts left and 4 days here in Orlando before I say goodbye. I'm excited for what's to come but I'm so sad to leave. I really love it here. I've been so caught up in saying goodbye and getting organized that I haven't had too much time to be sad, but now, alone with my thoughts and Lind's and my quickly emptying room, I'm sad. So I'm giving myself some time to mourn right now, pout pout pout. Le sigh. And that's enough of that!!

So naturally, me being me, I've been scouring the web for all information I can find on Disneyland Paris because I want to be prepared and have an idea of all the places I could be possibly working. So far, I have to say that the Paris park, first of all, is STUNNING and I want to live in Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Secondly, I want to work in the Red Garter Saloon in Disney's Hotel Cheyenne. It's so cool looking. I'm looking at all the food and beverage establishments since that's the department I'll be working in!! I'm getting irrationally excited.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Paris on the Brain

I can't stop thinking about Paris!! I am looking at photos of DLP (Disneyland Paris) and it's so beautiful I want to cry. I love that the castle is pink!! And I love that the castle is Sleeping Beauty's castle, not Cinderella's castle like it is here. I like that it's different. For those of you who aren't aware, the California, Hong Kong, and Paris parks all have Sleeping Beauty castles, it's just WDW here that has Cinderella's castle. BUT...........DLP has a dragon in the dungeon!!!!!!!!! How fun is that!!?? So fun, right?? I can't wait to see it for real! AND DLP has an Alice in Wonderland MAZE!!!! With animatronic characters!!!!! That's my fave Disney movie!!! LE SIGH! For those of you who feel like you'd love to look at some photos of DLP, and get just as excited as I am. Check out this website, I've been on it all morning and I am pretty much in love with it!! 
There is so much to do to prepare for leaving. I can't believe it's coming up so soon. Packing kind of makes me want to curl up into a little ball and sleep for a hundred years. I'm getting it done slowly but surely. I just need to get it over with so I can get on with my life but it's just hard to motivate yourself to pack up your whole life, you know?? I sent off one box of stuff that I want to make sure gets home, like my graduation papers and certificates, and mickey ears, etc. So that's gone. I can't procrastinate anymore.....time to get packing!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011


So last night I took my lil old self over to the Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks for the last time for who knows how long. It was lovely. I spent time wandering around and watched the electrical parade, which has been a favorite of mine since the first time I saw it in Disneyland! Then I stayed for the fireworks!!! I had a spot right in front of the castle and I had such a lovely time. I reflected upon my time here and just enjoyed the show. I'm going to miss MK! I need to go to all the parks before I leave. One down, 3 to go!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Maintenant, je pense que ce neccessaire d'ecrire en francais!!!! Just kidding, I'll write in english. I'm so conflicted!! 10 days until I leave this magical place. I already miss it. I'm trying to soak up all the pixie dust I can before I leave because I really love it here so very much. If I didn't have so much to look forward to in the near future I would be really really upset. I'm in a wierd place where I miss home, and my friends, I can't wait to be somewhere new and explore and learn, but also I'm just not ready to leave here. So I'm just trying not to panic, get all my leaving business in order, and take it one day at a time. This is also my third double in a row so I think I might be slightly delirious. Thursday I have a day off and it will be lovely. I'm planning to go to Magic Kingdom with some friends and I'll get to ride rides and watch the fireworks, I desperately ned to get to all the parks before I leave, I miss them. I'm so wierd, who misses amusement parks??? This gal. Strange. But who am I to question me...I'd rather indulge myself in my last week of unlimited WDW parks access. Le sigh.
On a brighter note, I'm practicing my french as much as possible. It's quite rusty, there's not a lot of people in B.C. who speak french so it's easy to lose it at home. All my to-do lists are in french and anyone who will sit still long enough gets to quiz me, looks like Derrek will be practicing his french on our road trip home. Fun for all!!! On the even brighter note, I get to see one of my best friends in the whole world in just 10 wee days!! Bermuda, here we come!!!!! The future is so bright and shiny, I'm really looking forward to everything the universe has in store for me, but I will always carry the past with me. It is not productive to live in the past, nor is it productive to live in the future, success tomorrow comes by living in the now, but you can never forget where you've been, or lose sight of where you are going.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I love when I get phone calls at the club desk that start with 'Erica, it's ________, I need to make some magic, can you help me?' I always know I'm about to have a bunch of fun. I got a call like that from one of my managers today and we all sprung into action, making a little boy a birthday goody bag with a plush Tigger (his favorite character) and some special Animal Kingdom Lodge treats. SO MUCH FUN! I just love making magic!!

Also, I love our guests SO MUCH!!! I checked a couple into the club level this morning and they wanteed to go on a special safari so I booked them into the one we have that goes in the evening and includes dinner and wine at our signature restaurant and then when it was done they came back to the dsek to tell me how much fun they had and to show me all their pictures!! How much fun is that??? I just love making that personal connection with them that they get excited to come back to the desk and tell you about their day. It really makes me feel like I've done my job right when that happens
I had a 12 hour shift today so I managed to get my 2 breaks back to back and had an extra long time to go to the gym, so I did a  full workout and then sat in the eucalyptus steam room for 15 minutes. That is seriously the key to a happy day, usually I have an hour break so I don't get a steam in, just a workout. When I return to work after a nice gym, I feel like it's a whole new day, so refreshed and alert. I just love it. And eucalyptus really just topped it off, it's got to be the most refreshing feeling ever. I actually felt cooled afterwards for the first time since it got so hot out. I am the happiest of pandas.


So I know I talk all the time about making magic and how Disney really touches people's lives and I'm sure you don't really believe it. But it's true and amazing. Walt Disney World is a magical place and being there makes people feel more magical. On that note, I wanted to share an email that I recieved via our management:
This is what was sent to me by my manager:
Dumela all,

This was forwarded to me from a friend. The Hollands were staying with us from the 14th through the 21s in the Jambo House Villas. Thank you all for providing exceptional guest service to them during their last stay. We never know how much of an impact we may have on our Guests by doing ordinary tasks and what the impact may mean for them. Please take the time to read the following.


Dear Teams and Friends,
I lost 2 friends in the Joplin tornado.  They had been home from their 15th anniversary Walt Disney World vacation less than 24 hours when they were killed.  That time had been spent updating family and friends on what a wonderful and special time they had had and, in fact, Lorie was in a Disney Chat talking about it when the tornado sirens went off.  Her chatting about their Walt Disney World vacation was the last that any of us heard from her. Here is a short article about their love of Disney and the impact it has had on the family:

We never know when it will be the last time we can make a bit of magic or give a little pixie dust to a Guest.  Whomever the CMs were who impacted Glenn and Lorie's trip certainly did their part and now, friends and family can remember them as just having had a wonderful time enjoying their favorite place in the world together rather than the horror of their last moments.  It is the one thing that is bringing comfort to hundreds, if not thousands of people right now, "At least they just had a wonderful time together at Disney".

I hope we can all be mindful as we encounter each Guest that none of us knows what lies ahead and do our utmost to make the magic happen.  We do not have ordinary "jobs", we have a unique privilege of working where pixie dust is readily available to us and I hope we spread it generously.  I know that's what brought Glenn and Lorie back visit after visit and I know they would want us to continue making our special Disney magic for all of our Guests.
So, as touching as that is, it means even more to me because the last place that these guests stayed was at Animal Kingdom Lodge. They spent their last vacation with us before they died, and we made them happy. That blows my mind. We have an impact on people's lives whether we know it at the time or now. Unreal.

Friday, July 15, 2011

DLP....hint...the P stands for Paris

So, I said I would keep  you all informed about what happened with Disneyland Paris. So, I recieved an email that they wanted to interview me!! That's a big thing because having my resume pass the initial screening is a big deal, Disney is pretty picky. So I sent them my schedule with when I would be available and I waited and waited for what felt like hundreds of years (it was 4 days) for them to set an interview time. Which they finally did!! So I almost died of nervousness and two days ago I skyped with the recruiter, both in english and french.
 She offered me a job.
IN PARIS!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR SERIOUS!!!!!!!!!!! 
I almost died. I won't be able to work front desk there, because you ned to speak three languages for FD and I only speak two, (learning spanish is on my list of things to do, I'm getting around to it!!) so the positions she will be able to offer me are in food and beverage. Which I'm thrilled with. I love food and beverage, that's where my roots are, so I'm happy to return to it. There's a few tricky things, first of all, I need a visa, which I need to be in Canada to get. So I need to do that as soon as I get home. Secondly, because I can't start until september (I need to go home, I miss my family), it means I'd be starting in their low season, which means that they have to find a position to put me in that someone else is taking a leave of absense from. The recruiter is trying to find me a position with more responsibility because of how much experience I have in that area. So I now have very little time at home. Which is ok because my family will come see me!! I feel like it hasn't sunk in yet. I'm excited but not, because I'm afraid to get too excited in case something happens and it falls through. When I'm on a plane to France, THEN I'll be excited. I can't help but think that this is the reason that the Universe (or US immigration, but I feel like they don't know as much as the Universe) didn't let me take the position at Hilton Head, so that I could be free for when this opportunity presented itself. 
Dear Universe, Don't let me down, I promise I'll work really hard!!
PARIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMGOSH.....I can't even think about it, it's too much, it can't be real. 
 The castle in Paris is PINK! Pretty!!!

New Orleans

I have so much to say!!! I need to get all you lovely people caught up!! New Orleans, let's start there! I LOVED New Orleans!!! It's amazing. The whole city has so much character and heart!! It's like you can see history unfold right before your eyes!! There's still some places where you can see the leftover damage from Hurricane Katrina, and then there's buildings that are brand new and massive. I spent most of our time there just wandering the streets and taking pictures. I love jazz so I also wandered into as many little jazz bars as I could find. Bourbon St is unreal! People everywhere, drinking on the streets, people I'm balconies flinging beads into the street, it's like everyday is Mardi Gras! There's a really cool walkway thing that's along the Mississippi river with shops and restaurants. I also adore Cajun food!!! It's so flavorful and delicious!! I am so happy that I had a chance to visit this amazing city before I leave the states!!!

Gorgeous buildings!!

Bourbon Street!!

The architecture is so fabulous!!

Exposed brick everywhere!!! This is in one of the hotels I stayed at

Crazy voodoo piano in a store in the french quarter

Crazy animal on the wall in a store in the french quarter

The ceiling in a fabulous cajun restaurant!

I adored this building. So much character

My favorite gate!

Hotel room

Really tall building in the sun!!

Quaint little shop's in the french quarter

They get a little angry when you try on the masks and take pictures of yourself in the store!! Whoops!!

In the arts district


Steamboat that goes up and down the Mississippi

Warehouse district

The Mississippi River!

Run down building in the art district

As you can see, I LOVED New Orleans!!! Everyone should go!!

Birthday Poster!

I just Love the birthday board that goes up every month!!! This month it's theme is 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Sequels!!' hee hee!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

St. Augustine

One of my favorite things, as you know, is traveling! So it's really cool to be in a different part of the world is getting a chance to explore it! So I happen to have five days off and I'm on a little road trip! Today we are in St. Augustine, tomorrow we head to New Orleans! St. Augustine is actually the oldest city in the US and is absolutely gorgeous! It's got so much history and beautiful architecture! It was founded in 1596 (I think) and it's lovely. Theres an amazing fort where we actually got to see Men dressed as soldiers shoot a real working cannon!! So I thought I'd share some photos!  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


So we are officially graduated from the University of California Riverside program as well as the Disney College Program!! It's very very exciting. It's a lot of fun graduating from the Disney College Program. There's a bbq at one of the housing complexes and the characters come to say hi and we get graduation hats with mouse ears on them!!! So here's a few photos of the festivities!!

This is Lindsey and I with Karen, who is from UCR, she's been looking out for us since we got here. She's amazing and it was so nice that she made it out here from California!

My certificate!!

Linds and I!!

The crew!!

Can't get enough pictures with characters!

The boss is proud of me!

So that's what a Disney graduation looks like!!