Archive for March, 2009

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To-Do List

March 31, 2009

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a compulsive list maker. Going on vacation? Make a list of things to pack. Got a stressful weekend playing catch-up on homework? Make a list of what needs to be finished so that you can prioritize. Basically, I just love lists. They make me feel that, by naming what I need to do, I’ve already begun to conquer it. Great feeling.

I’ve got this huge adventure coming up, but I know that with great adventure, comes great stress (Thank you, Spider-Man.) So while the excitement still far outweighs the stress that may come later, I thought I’d start making some lists of everything that needs to be done before I can officially say that I am ready to go.

  • Pay assessment fee
  • Talk to advisor–make sure I’m not shooting myself in the foot by missing a semester
  • Decide whether I’m going to take classes at Disney
  • If I’m going to take classes, talk with Department head about getting credit
  • Meet with Financial Aid advisor–make sure I’ll still get my scholarships when I come back
  • Talk with Career Center/Enrollment–make sure I’ll still be considered a full-time student for insurance

While this may not seem exciting to you all out there in front of your computer monitors, that’s not very much. Some of these things I’ve already begun to address: I’ve already talked with my advisor once, but he’s new and he wasn’t exactly sure what this would do to my schedule. At the time, I still hadn’t even applied but now that it’s an almost done-deal I’m going to press the matter and we’ll look at possible outcomes. I’ve already talked with people in Financial Aid and the Career Center, but, again, we’re no longer talking hypothetically, and I want to make a formal appointment just to cover all my bases.

That’s exciting! I’ve still got months to go, and I’m almost done with all of the non-fun, base-covering technicalities. Soon, I’ll be shopping for my apartment and planning how I’m going to pack everything I own into my little car. *sigh*. I love planning. 🙂

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It’s Official…Let the Countdown Begin!

March 29, 2009

I just officially accepted my offer at Disney–I’ll be signing in on Wednesday, August 12, and I’ll come home on January 2. So exciting! Only 136 days to go! 🙂

Emily still hasn’t decided, but she told me to go ahead and sign up. Hopefully, if she decides to go, she’ll still be able to check in on the same day!

The only problem with my check-in day is that that my mom was planning on driving down with me, and that is probably going to end up being the same day that my brothers start school. She’s disappointed that she may miss their first day, but it’ll all be okay. And I’m really going to need her help–I’m already dreading making that Missouri/Florida drive again!

It took me two tries to log in (my home internet is crazy-slow!) but I finally got there. Signing up and accepting my invitation got me access to the CP-exclusive section of the website. There are all kinds of cool resources: everything from packing lists; to Eyes and Ears, the official Cast Member newsletter; to information about CM discounts (don’t worry–these are special enough to get their own post in the future).

I thought getting that my acceptance letter and folder made me feel excited; made it feel like it was all real. But now that I actually know the exact date when I will be arriving…well, I’ll just say that it’s an amazing feeling.

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My New Year’s Resolution…A Few Months Late (Next Year’s Resolution: Stop Procrastinating!)

March 27, 2009

Hi, my name is Bethany, and I’m a shop-aholic. (All of you: “Hi, Bethany!”)

There. As they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

My problem is shopping. It just comes with the territory, I suppose, when you’re an interior designer. I basically want to shop for a living (just kidding–interior design’s a lot more complicated than that!). But seriously, if I could, I would spend all of my money on $3000 chairs from Design Within Reach. Luckily, (or unluckily, I suppose) there are always cheaper things that catch my designer-eye. Vases, art, pillows–all of these things are cheap enough to get me into trouble. “Hmm.” I say to myself. “I don’t really need another lamp, but this one’s only $20!” It’s a serious problem.

DVDs are another weakness, though this is one I think I’ve begun to conquer recently. I used to be the worst about buying movies–any movies–just because they were only $5 or $10. I now have a huge DVD collection, full of DVDs I’ve never seen, or ones that I’m not even that crazy about–but at least they were cheap. Recently, though, I’ve found myself more easily able to restrain myself, even when Best Buy’s having a sale. The last movie I bought was “A Fish Called Wanda”, which barely even counts because it was only $3, it was several months ago now, and that movie’s just worth it anyway.

But all of this to say that I’ve decided to seriously start saving some money. I know that I’m not going to become a millionaire on the CP, and probably need to have some money saved up just to make ends meet and be able to afford to do all of the fun things that I NEED to do while I’m in Florida.

I’m planning on working full-time this summer, so that will help me put up some money. But before I get all of that extra money, I need to get better about taking care of the money I have now! For the last few months, I’ve been putting away 10% of each paycheck into my savings. It’s a slow road–seeing that you have $50 put away after several weeks doesn’t exactly make it seem like you’re a Rockefeller. But my balance is finally starting to get large enough where it actually makes me a little bit excited to put money into that account.

And, so, it’s finally time for me to say it–I’M GOING TO STOP SPENDING SO MUCH CRAPPIN’ MONEY! Whew, I feel better. I’ve been inspired by blogs like http://mynobuy2009.blogspot.com/, where the blogger is trying to completely cut out all non-necessary spending for the year. I don’t know if I’m going to take it quite as far as she is (I don’t want to steal her idea! :)) but I’m definitely going to try to reevaluate. I buy so much stuff thinking how happy it will make me. It’s not that I’m trying to fill some hole in my life, it’s just that I buy a new shirt thinking how much I’ll enjoy wearing it, and how much easier it will make it to get dressed in the morning if I have that one extra shirt. And it does make me feel nice to wear new clothes..but I don’t need them. And 4 or 5 months after I buy it, once the weather turns, that shirt gets stuffed into the back of my closet, and it will then be part of the problem–the closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear.

I want to make my resolution public, so I’ll do better about sticking to it. If I feel guilty about buying stuff; if I feel like I might be letting people down, it will be easier not to spend. And that will give me the push I need. Eventually saving will be its own reward, but right now I need the extra oomph of guilt.

I should say, though, that eating out, going to the movies, anything like that, is not being cut back. I don’t need to save money that badly, and this is almost more about just streamlining my life than anything–I want to just not buy so much darn stuff!

Have you made any big budget cutbacks recently? Got any fool-proof tips? Now that the comment function is fixed, I want to hear about them!

P.S. I’ll still be buying some new frames for those cute prints I bought out at West Elm last week. I need to start off with baby steps. 😉

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Troubleshooting

March 27, 2009

Guys, I’m no tech wiz. But I’ve been informed that there’s a problem with the comment link. I’m working to try to get it fixed, though, so please bear with me! Hopefully, you’ll be able to give me a shout out very soon!

*Update* It’s fixed, and only 5 minutes after I posted about there being a problem! Maybe I AM a tech wiz after all! I’m an evil genius! Mwa ha ha ha ha! 🙂 You can now comment on all of my blog entries. Thanks to the reader who notified me about the problem!

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Remember that Acceptance Letter I Mentioned?

March 26, 2009

Here it is! That beautiful folder. After an exhausting day of driving home from Florida, then a full night’s sleep, and a full day at work, I finally had a moment to stop and take a picture of me with my acceptance package. They’re self-portraits, in case you couldn’t tell, and I think they’re actually pretty good photos. Really capture the essence of Bethany, don’t you think? 😉

It’s been a few days, but I’ve been too busy to post anything but the most basic of details about my acceptance. As my last post said, the package arrived last Monday, March 23. I was so unbelievably thrilled!

Merchandise was originally my third choice, behind PhotoPass and Attractions, but the more I’m thinking about it the more excited I am about my role. Merchandise means that I will be working in one of the shops or one of the stands either in the parks, at the resorts, or at Downtown Disney. There are a lot of possible work places! One exciting thing about this is that, from what I’ve read online, it’s really easy for Merch CMs to pick up extra shifts at different work locations. So I not only have the potential for lots of overtime but for lots of different work environments. I’m making it my goal to work in at least one location at all of the parks, resorts, and at DD at least one time.

I told my interviewer that I would really love to work at Animal Kingdom, though, so hopefully that will be my home base. Animal Kingdom is a great park–it’s high energy, has a lot of really great shops, and, plus, it closes the earliest of all the parks so I would more than likely have pretty reasonable hours if I work there. If I was to work in the MK, I would more than likely be there until the wee small hours of the morning on many days. This week, MK had Extra Magic Hours until 3 AM, which means that the merchandise people were probably there until at least 4 AM. Crazy, huh? So next time you’re at WDW, especially at EMH, be sure to thank the CMs that are staying so late (early?) so that you can enjoy a few more hours of pixie dust. 🙂

In contrast to MK, DAK’s latest EMH this month was until 10 PM. Now that’s the schedule for me. I’m sure I could manage the 4 AM thing, and it would probably even be good for me to completely break out of my routine. But 10 PM sure sounds a lot better to me! I have to accept by April 12th. I’m waiting because I need to find out what Emily’s going to be doing–she was offered QSFB, and she’s still trying to decide whether she wants to go. If she’s going, we need to check in on the same day to make it easier to be roomates. I also need to check when my classes start next January, to make sure I pick a date that will get me back in time for that. But hopefully I’ll have some exact dates to share very soon, and then I’ll really be able to start the countdown!

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Fun in Florida, and Why Purple is My New Favorite Color

March 23, 2009

I’ve got so much to write about! I’ve had trouble with the internet over the last few days, and plus, I’ve just been so busy that it’s been hard to find time to write anything! Emily, Tiffany, and I have been in Florida since Friday. It was a crazy drive, and we’ve been busy almost non-stop since we got in at 1:45 Friday (actually, Saturday morning.) On Saturday we made the hour drive from Lakeland (where the college Emily is visiting is located) to Orlando. We spent several hours in Ikea, and, man does that place have EVERYTHING! And as we pulled into the parking lot we saw that, not only was there an Ikea, but there, in the same shopping area, was a West Elm! Disney World, Ikea, West Elm…It’s official. I must have designed Orlando in a previous life.

After Ikea, we went to Downtown Disney, and then rode the monorail and visited some of the Disney resorts. This whole experience made me want to participate in the CP more than ever.

Yesterday we went to the beach and got plenty of sun. It was a gorgeous beach, and not too crowded considering that it’s Spring Break time. We did have one interesting neighbor, however. A man and his wife came to the beach soon after us. Imagine your stereotypical work-aholic–Neither ever got into the water, or even got out from under the shade of their umbrella. The man just made work calls, in a New York-tinged accent and in rapid Spanish. His wife just lay there in her bikini, patiently eating a bowl of mixed fruit while her husband did his business. Every now and then, she would shove the bowl of fruit under his nose, and hold a piece out to him on a fork. Maybe he took some, but out of all the times I was watching I never saw him acknowledge her.

Of course, we ended our beach day with a great seafood dinner. Crab legs, mmmmmmm!

Today, Emily went on her visit, while Tiffany and I returned to Orlando to go shopping. Today was a little more calm, and a little less exciting (but no less fun) than the last two days. Until, that is, this afternoon when my dad called me.

After a few pleasantries, (“Are you having fun?” “Enjoying the beach”?) my dad said, “Hey, there’s some mail here for you from Disney. I caught my breath–I told my mom about the big letter=good, little letter=bad equation, but did she tell my dad? I asked, with great trepedation, what size the envelope was. And my heart sunk as my dad said, “Oh, it’s just a regular letter. Do you want me to read it?” he asked. “Sure,” I muttered. The damage was done now. I could only get good news if he read it to me; maybe it was only a processing letter.

But the good news was great news, as my dad came clean. “Nah, it’s a big letter!” That’s right–I’ve finally got that beautiful purple folder.

There was just one more hurdle. Did I get QSF&B? My dad read me the letter–the typical pleasantries, “Thank you for applying…we are pleased that you will be joining us…” and then that magical word, “Merchandise!” I’m working Merchandise! I still don’t know where exactly; I won’t find out until August when I get to Orlando. But I’m basically okay with anywhere.

What a perfect time to get this news–I was just talking with Tiffany about how much I’m loving Orlando. It will be really great to live here for a few months, and, guess what…I’ll get to shop at Ikea on a regular basis. 🙂

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Wilin’ Away The Time

March 18, 2009

It’s Day 6 of the post-interview count. I’ve heard of people getting acceptance letters as early as 6 days out, so I’m starting, against my better judgement, to get a little bit excited. When I passed my mailbox last night, I thought “maybe tomorrow!” All of this excitement just makes it that much harder to know that, realistically, I probably won’t get my letter for at least another week. The anticipation is killing me!

So, because I have a long wait before I hear back, and an even longer wait before I leave for Florida in August, I’ve been trying to find ways to kill the time. And, for all of my fellow Fall ’09 hopefuls/CPs, I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to kill the time…Disney style!

First of all, you can never know to much about the CP. There are a few great sites out there, and, of course, I don’t have space to highlight them all. But a couple of my favorites are:

  • http://www.disboards.com/ — A wonderful, vibrant forum about all things Disney. The College Board, however, is really where it’s at. (http://disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=90). Almost all of the topics on this board are about the CP, and there are some great folks here with a ton of knowledge. And you can also at least get acquainted with some of your fellow CPs before you arrive! Some people are even using the board to set up with roomates!
  • http://wdwcpblog.blogspot.com/ — Out of all the blogs I read while trying to decide if I wanted to do the program, this was by far the most detailed and one of the most entertaining. This site is his “un-official, hopefully definitive resource for future Disney College Program students”. On this site, he also has a link to a more traditional day-by-day journal type blog that he kept while actually on the program (http://sarbruis.livejournal.com/?skip=60&tag=wdwcp.) While the first blog is more informative, the second is more entertaining. The writer is clever and funny, and everything I hope to be in my blog.

If you’re doing the CP, and reading blogs about it, chances are you’re a fan of Disney in general. If so, then why haven’t you been checking out the following sites already?

  • http://www.laughingplace.com/ — Just like DisBoards is my first stop for CP related forums, LaughingPlace is the first place I go for general Disney. The site includes general information about the parks, a constantly updated list of links to Disney news called “The Latest”, videos, and one of my favorite podcasts, which is put out on a weekly basis. Although the main focus here seems to be on the parks, EVERYTHING and ANYTHING Disney is covered here.
  • http://www.jimhillmedia.com/ — Another very entertaining blog. This one, however, is of a more professional type. Mr. Hill covers almost every aspect of breaking Disney news. He has many “inside sources”, and always seems to have a scoop of some kind. (Disclaimer: Half of the “scoops” never seem to come to fruition. Whether Disney just changes their plans, or Mr. Hill’s sources are giving him bad information is up for debate. Very heated, entertaining debate taking place in the Comments section after Mr. Hill’s articles. 🙂 ) Where this site really shines, though, is in his “Disney That Never Was” stories. Mr. Hill and his amazing collection of contributors have a seemingly inexhaustible supply of concept art and publicity materials from park attractions and movies that never got off the drawing table. Plus, the site often features articles from Disney insiders like Floyd Norman and Ron Schneider.
  • http://www.disneylies.com/ –Taking a turn to the silly side, DisneyLies is the number one stop for, well, lies about Disney. For instance, did you know that the Magic Kingdom originally consisted of 43 elaborately themed lands, including Spy Alley, Pulp Novel Plaza, Adultyhood, Castlevania, and Jurassic Park? Or that all of the electricity for the Animal Kingdom park is generated by underground elephant-powered pistons? They’ve got a million of ’em! And after you’ve had your fill of Disney lies, head on over to…
  • http://snopes.com/disney/disney.asp for some truthiness. Snopes is a pretty well-known site that lists urban legends, and gives them a “True”, “False”, or “Undetermined” status, with a little of the history behind each tale. There are so many Disney myths, that they recieved their own section, and are further divided up according to subject: Theme Parks, the Disney Company, and Walt Disney himself.

And, by the way, as you’re checking out all of these great sites, don’t forget about HappiestInternship.blogspot.com. The readership here has been growing, and I appreciate all of my new devotees. Please add me to your blog lists, or even become a Follower of my blog! Then you can say you were there when it was all started by a (computer) mouse. 😉