The nice thing about working at Disney are the relationships you create that truly last a lifetime. Katie was one of my wonderful seven roommates over at Chatham (28101!) during my CP days. We instantly hit it off because: we love Disney, we love food, and we love fun! We joked we were each other's "wifeys." (I forgot how that got started though, ha!) I was even there the night she met her fiance Nick, which is always a favorite story to retell. So you can imagine how ECSTATIC I was when Katie, Nick, and some of their closest pals stopped by sunny Orlando for some adventures!
For the first part of the trip, we visited Epcot's Flower and Garden. Katie and the gang then went on a cruise (so jealous!), and when they returned, it was time for MK adventures! I convinced them all to go to Hoop Dee Doo because they have never been and I feel like it is a Cast Member essential. Plus, it is SO fun and the food is SO good! I think they all liked this decision, especially when Mike was pulled on stage to act out the part as "Indian." (Seriously, soooo funny!)
Afterwards, we went to MK and did a ton: meet Anna and Elsa (they even recorded videos for Little Miss Katelyn!), rode Mine Train (twice!), classics like Space Mountain and the carousel, and watched Wishes! A highlight though was when Disney Magic was sprinkled my way and I pulled the elusive sword from the stone. Like from the movie: The Sword in the Stone! Although I crushed some dreams along the way (sorry Mike), it was a big and fun moment for me.
Trips like this make it so wonderful to be a Disney CM. It is nice to grow these connections and come back together (even if it has been months or years a part) to make magical and lasting memories. Here is to Katey's next trip...and her wedding to Nick next summer! <3
So out of all the hotels Drew and I have ever stayed at, Portofino takes the cake! It is so beautiful, and as an Italian, I really enjoyed the theming. Also if you can, upgrade to the concierge lounge. It is awesome! They provide breakfast, lunch, dinner (with wine and beer!), and snacks in between!
The nice thing about staying at a Universal hotel is that you are within walking distance to both parks and City Walk! The first evening we got some dinner at the concierge lounge and then headed to Diagon Alley. We ended out night at City Walk's Breadbox for grilled cheese and fries. =)
The next day we got lunch at one of Drew's FAVORITE places Mythos. He got his all time favorite burger (and it was good!) and I got the risotto. Yum :)
In the afternoon, we checked into Royal Pacific. Look how pretty it is!!
We also had a little photo shoot... =P
It was Universal again on Saturday, and I finally got to attend the park's Mardi Gras festival! And guess what: Phillip Phillips was there!! #blessed =P
Drew and I still had to work during this mini-vacation, but after we would always do something. One night we headed to International Drive and had dinner at Yardhouse. And the cool thing was it is located right by Orlando's newest Ferris wheel. Even though it is not open yet, we still got to snap a few photos.
Thursday was our day for relaxing! We watched The Guest, lounged poolside, I made breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then we went to Player 1 for some drinks+video games. It was a very fun day; both of our favorite day! (PS: Bioshock is an awesome video game and everyone should watch their boyfriend play it :D)
Our last day took us over to Epcot's Flower and Garden. Although I was a little slow moving that day (thank you Drew for taking such good care of me!), it was such a lovely day! We both really enjoyed Flower and Garden, learning more at the various exhibits and sampling the dishes. (More to come on the food part =P)
Our next adventures took us over to Downtown Disney (one of our favs)
for a lots of eating, shopping (last days of 40%!), and DISNEY QUEST! <3
Drew got me my very first Alex and Ani bracelet, which I feel like all the cool Disney girls have. And it was a perfect choice with my DAK's Tree of Life on
the charm! He also took secret snapchat of me, bought me delicious
mac and cheese at Wolfgang Puck Express, and together we
conquered 50 Shades of Grey . (Which, in case you were wondering, is
a terrible terrible movie that promotes abuse as erotica.
The whole time I was like, "WHA?!" But at least it was free, ha!)
We also found the coolest part of our hotel All Stars: Music, which are
these GIANT cowboy boots in the country hall. They also play
Garth Brooks on repeat. I was in country heaven <3
Two of my favorite things: wine and Via Napoli's candele <3
Also, here is what I look like when I talk to Mulan...
(bahaha, she was teaching me how to pose like "her friends.")
12. Go to Washington DC to see the sights - monuments, museums, zoo, etc!
13. Go to Washington DC to see the White House and look for Obama. (ha!)
14. Go to Washington DC and slowly chant "USA USA USA" and never feel more patriotic in my life =D
16. Go to Washington DC to see a PANDA BEAR!!!!
17. But most importantly go to Washington DC to see my favorite boy :)
(this was a VERY big life moment y'all, HA!)
My 25th birthday was truly a wonderful one. Thanks to everyone who made it oh-so special! And here is to 25 more years of happiness, love, positivity, and adventure! <3
As all good stories do, my "ALL THE VISITORS" adventure had the sweetest ending: my favorite girl, my niece Katelyn, and my lovely parents were the last of my friends/family to join my at Walt Disney World!
To say it was magical is an understatement. We had so much fun, Katelyn was such a cutie, and I am constantly talking about out adventures together. I could probably write a book about it all, but I'll spare you on the words and just show you all (some ;P) of our photos.
Day Two, we woke up bright and early for a day that was part Animal Kingdom, part Epcot. Katelyn become a Wilderness Explorer (naturally! =P), loved seeing the "spiders in the rectangles" (AKA their protective boxes), said the tarantula was her favorite animal, and was an expert at looking for animals around the park. So proud! <3
Day Three was a big one: MAGIC KINGDOM! We got up early again and was there basically the whole day. We did do the highly suggest tip and went back to the resort mid-day to recharge and take naps...which is especially helpful when you have a 5-year-old. =P
Another favorite moment from the trip was watching Festival of Fantasy! First off, the little girl in the bottom left pictures was a new friend I made that didn't speak a LICK of English...but proceeded to speak in Portuguese anyways, ha! All she knew how to say was "HELLO!", which she (and Katelyn quickly joined in) would scream at the characters. It was hysterical! I don't know if I have ever laughed so much. Plus, Katelyn's reactions to the parade were adorable, especially when she saw "her favorite" Pluto! (And Aunt Brittany liked when Flynn and his boys gave them the smolder, oww oww! =P)
Also, every day both Mickey and his pals would bring Katelyn goodies. They were just SO excited to see her, they couldn't help to spoil her with all kinds of presents. She even got her very own Princess Sofia dress, which our housekeeper beautifully displayed. Katelyn loved it all! Here is a video of her opening up some of her goodies. =)
It was a whirlwind two week, but I am so happy that all those visitors came to have Disney adventures with me. Great memories were made and I was shown just how much I am a lucky gal. Can't wait for more visits in the future, like say a week or so. ;)
Two days ago, I went to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (or MNSS), AKA my favorite thing EVER! I want every day to be MNSS so I can collect copious amounts of candy, dress up, have Disney themed dance parties, and watch Boo to You parade all the time. (Side note: I would also like to somehow be in the Boo to You, ha! Especially this and this part! :D)
So, we each picked a pin and fully embodied it, ha! We also each had a conservation message inspired super power. Mine was to "Tell your friends." (Pictures to come! =P)
People Mover fun!
The dance party had such cool villain posters decorating the walls! And if you want to see what a Disney themed Halloween dance party, check this out! :)
I of course had a fantastic time! Dancing, eating, and with my favorite people? What's not to love?! When I attended MNSS during my CP, it was one of my favorite moments (if not my top favorite) from the program...and I think it once again stole my heart for my second adventure as a Disney CM. I HIGHLY recommend MNSSHP for any and all visitors. It is truly a wonderful experience for all ages and beyond fun! =D
Look who came back!!! The one and only (and one of my dearest pals) Mike Hansen! And of course we had to celebrate such an occasion at Sea Dogs. (Our MacLaren's) PS: I suggest the apricot beer with the cinnamon sugar rim. =D
Although we have lived at our new place for about two months, us girls finally got around to throwing a house warming party! In the spirit of my beloved Barcelona, we made it Spanish theme, including tapas, pica pica, authentic "hot chocolate" (which I bought in Barcelona!), and of course sangria. =)
Lastly, it is officially "Cast Member Season" at Walt Disney World. And if you don't believe me, just look at that wait time at Soarin'. I repeat, SOARIN! I don't think I have ever seen it that short. It is a good feeling y'all :)
6. GETTING MY FIRST FANATIC CARD <3 (and totaling to 10 at the end of my program!!)
7. Meeting Valeria at DAKL and how she was convinced in "six months" me and Steve would be married hahahaha
8. When a Spanish guest thought I described It's Tough To Be A Bug as a ride about "sex." (To clarify, I said "insects" ha ha!)
9. The guesses at tracking badge (frog, hippo, polar bear, watermelon, pencil). It's a lion, by the way. =P
10. Making 27 individualized badges for all my WE coworkers for Valentine's Day with roomie Alisha.
11. That time a guest told me that the anteater's brain "must be as small as a penis!" AHAHAHA
12. Recruiting and bonding with 30 high schoolers as WEs.
13. That time I held a baby ha!
14. The little boy who told me he once wanted to be a rockstar, but decided he wanted to be "an animal saver" instead, d'awwww! <3
15. The man who legitimately thought he was related to apes. (whaaaa?)
16. Meeting a little tyke named Joey while off-work who became my instant BFF!
17. The guy who thought I was an immigration officer. (and wasn't joking!)
18. The look on parent's face when I tell them, "And there are 30 more badges you can earn today!" (Bahaha!)
19. That fan that turned flamingo into a tiny tornado and Steven's impression of me saying, "It's nest looks like a VOLCANOOOO!"
20. My first autograph request, d'awww!
21. Being a member of the "Quack Pack" (i.e. a stupid duck hit you in the face. -_-)
28. The time a little boy asked me if I ever have drawn poop, and I answered honestly as "Yes!"...and then we had a full on conversation about his poop drawing abilities, bahaha!
29. Being picked as an Apawsagram winner!! =)
30. Meeting two of the cutest, sweetest little brothers: one who wanted to be both a flamingo and a dinosaur scientist (ironically, after I gave him both his fossil and flamingo badge =P), and the other who said, "No high fives. Hugs instead!" Plus, their family said I really "changed their day." SO SWEET! <3
31. When a sweet, little explorer randomly ran back to me just to ask if I'd like to be her best friend!
32. The little Hispanic boy who wished me a "Happy Easter!" (Apparently, he was wishing everyone a "Happy Halloween" beforehand, baha!)
33. That time an explorer told me all about his imaginary friend "Paul Junior."
34. That week half of Kentucky came to WDW, therefore we had the NICEST guests ever! (Some even knew my pediatrician bahaha!)
35. The little boy who was SHOCKED when he found out I liked Star Wars and then talked like Yoda.
36. Discussing poop drawings with a tiny poop artist! (Hahaha)
37. The day (April 16th to be exact) I got a legit bed from Aunt Cinnamon, Easter dinner and good times with Aunt Lisa, celebrated the 10th anniversary of Mean Girls with my Explorer crew, and got a SECOND PI!!! It was a wonderful day...maybe the best!! =)
38. When I caught a little thief while teaching then the call hahaha!
39. Spending time at Habitat Badge with Ben and challenging each other to include Taylor Swift into as many of our conversations as possible! (Also, that time it POURED on us, feared we were gonna be electrocuted, and had an armadillo friend join us when the rain passed. And the ultimate adventure when a little Hispanic Guest loved the "tortuga!" and kept telling Ben about it...and then kissed me. =D)
40. Happy hour times Chuy's with my explorerssss and my favorite waiter (Will!)!
41. Any of our teambuilders!
42. BEING PAID TO EAT PANCAKES <3
43. Being on the cover of Eyes and Ears! (Still so crazy to me!!)
44. Had a guy tell me his friend would love to become a Wilderness Explorer because he wanted to "explore dating me and earn all my badges." Gotta give him kuddos for trying, ha!
45. Any time someone visited me! =) (Especially Zac Efron!)
46. Going to MK and there being an unannounced cast preview of Mine Coaster and getting to ride it like 10 times! (A being evaced, woot woot!)
47. That Festival of Fantasy parade <3 <3 <3
48. Jeremy's Seder celebration (so great!)
49. That week three boy explorers kissed me. (What can I say?! =P)
50. Seeing Bey and Jay with my one true love Steven in MIAMIIII! (Also, the fact that both of our siblings are convinced we are dating, hahaha!)
51. When a Guest came up to me and told me, "As an educator of 30 years, education publisher, father, and grandfather, you are the best of the best when it comes to teaching." AWWWWWW! Seriously, this was the best compliment ever!
52. My last Troop Leader day: meeting a little fellow BG-er, Wishes with my Explorers, and whooping all night long!
I am certain that there are wayyyy more memories, but with an internship as great as the Education Presenter is, it is near impossible to remember
them all at once. However, I think 52 is a pretty good number, yeah?!
And lastly, here are some more funny, outtake-esque photos
highlight my fellow Troop Leaders throughout our program.
...Oh wait, no. Lastly, let's end this post with my new and forever mantra: ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE!
And I'll never forget it. =)
So much fun and exciting things occurred during the last week of my Professional Internship, AKA being a Wilderness Explorer Troop Leader. We wanted to go out with a bang and we certainly did! Here are the pictures to prove it =)
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
Hoop-Dee-Doo is one of the things that I feel like every Cast Member wants and has to do. Much like eating at O'hana or "Drinking Around the World", it is on every CM's bucketlist. So when fellow Troop Leader Jonathon suggested we call go, I was immediately on board! All you can eat (and drink!) country fixins, sing-a-long style music, and there was a CM discount?! DUH, count me in!
However, I was not prepared for how much I would LOVE Hood-Dee-Doo! It was literally one of the best nights of my life. The food was delicious, the drinks were nonstop (probably because every time they said "Hoop Dee Doo!", we drank ha! =P), and the music and entertainers were so fun. But the best part was the company. I loved this night with my fellow Troop Leaders, and I will cherish it forever. (Also, if you are toying with the idea of going to Hoop-Dee-Doo, GO! I seriously may go again soon ha!)
Jellyrolls and Dance Hall
Our next Troop Leader adventure brought many of us over to the Boardwalk for some dancing, singing, and free popcorn! It was beyond fun to have so many of us there together all at once. And like a bird call, "WOOPS!" could be heard all throughout the area, signaling that yes, the Spring 2014 Troop Leaders had arrived and were having fun. You're welcome Boardwalk. =D
So. Many. Explorers! =D
One Last Team Builder
A Pancake Breakfast
Getting told you are getting free pancakes is always a wonderful feeling. However, being told you are getting PAID to eat free pancakes is probably one of the best feelings in the world! Our sweet team of leaders threw us a Pancake Breakfast, accompanied with a recap video, yearbook, graduation caps and diplomas, and hugs and tears. It was a mix of feeling happy, sad, proud, and full. It was nice. =)
Last Day Troop Leading (Boo!)
My last day being a Troop Leader was wonderful. I worked on the very last day of our internship, with the very last shift. I got to say goodbye to the orange ascot with many adorable Explorers, several of which wrote me kind, sweet, funny, and lasting messages in my Wilderness Explorer book. Many of us Troop Leaders had the idea to keep a book with us at all times. That way, during our last week exploring, we could have some of our favorite and most memorable Explorers accomplish the highest of honors and write down their autograph. It was a beyond cute idea, and I was so glad I hopped on that bandwagon. =)
Final Trip to Magic Kingdom
And this is where it got really tough. All that was left to do was go over to Magic Kingdom, to watch Wishes and have one last final fun night together. I will forever love our woops! echoing throughout the park that night. It was beyond bittersweet: we accomplished so much, grew together and loved one another deeply, were having a ball at MK taking over Splash Mountain and Space Mountain...but knew at midnight, when the park closed, it was time for us all to leave and start making our journey back "home."
"Core Team One By..."
As many of you know, my next adventure is still right here at DAK, as I am entering my second Professional Internship. It has been a busy, exciting few weeks since I left my Troop Leading duties and became a "Senior Troop Leader", and I have loved this new opportunity to grow myself professional, educationally, and personally. That being said, my time as Troop Leader Brittany will always be missed. It is hard to replace something where you not only talked to, but inspired thousands of people every day. It is truly incredible and so unique. I do not think I would have had such a fulfilling and life changing experience anywhere else. Plus, the friendships I have made and the changes in me as an educator are beyond priceless. I will forever, and ever, and EVER be thankful I was given the "honor and the privilege" to be apart of the Conservation Education team. And one last time, "Presenter Brittany clear." =)
Once upon a time...
My family and I traveled to a far away place called Fantasyland. Birthday girl Caiden was invited to meet the princesses, as they heard news of her very special day. After traveling through the halls of Cinderella Castle, we finally joined four princesses, who were anticipating our visit all day. They all loved talking to both little Caiden and Keeghan, but Rapunzel was the most excited to meet the kiddos. It was the most magical moment of our very magical trip, and something we will never ever forget. Thank you Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, and especially Rapunzel for such a lovely visit to Royal Princess Hall!
I call this set of photos as Conservations with Caiden. Haha, clearly you can see how much the princesses enjoyed talking to our little birthday princess! She is just so funny and so cute!!
Keeghan wanted to join in on the conversations too!
And I am going to end with my FAVORITE picture from our little princess pow-wow....
A permanent believer that "Adventure is out there" and a DAK girl for life!