Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Harry Potter Post 30

Picture of the Day 10

This was taken in December by my friend Brooke. We were spinning and spinning in my favorite teacup, the all-pink one. Working the teacups was my favorite position, either as Grouper or Dispatch (running the ride).

We had an epic day, eating breakfast at Crystal Palace, and going on rides in Magic Kingdom and Epcot, buying creme brulee in fake France, and ending the day by watching Jodi Benson narrate the Candlelight Processional before I went to work.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Picture of the Day 9

This was taken in September in Fantasyland, when Wendy was still doing regular meet-and-greets with Peter Pan. Notice the fantastically-placed Tinkerbell in Castle Couture's window!

Right after taking the 'official picture', the Fantasyland saxophone players showed up and started playing 'Never Smile at a Crocodile' from Peter Pan's self-titled movie. Peter shouted at everyone in the crowd to show their crocodile teeth, and then told me to do the same. Wendy had her serious face on.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Animal Adoration

The first result when I searched for 'happy puppy' on Google:
Can it get more adorable?
This was the first result when I searched for 'cute happy puppy':
 'Cute happy animal':
'Cute happy baby animal':
I want a pet. Preferably a hamster or a dog. Or a cat.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Disney World Secrets from a Cast Member

You never have to pay for water. 
Go to any quick-service restaurant, and ask for a cup of water. By Disney rule, they have to give you one free of charge. I'm pretty sure it's because of dehydration. My favorite place to ask was at Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square. You know, the place where you get funnel cake and ice cream sandwiches. The cups are smaller at Epcot's World Showcase, except in Morocco, for some reason.

If you can, visit Disney World when school's in session. 
I would say the best time to visit is September, October, and November.

The annual Food and Wine Festival at Epcot is one of the best things ever created. 
You can ask for more servings on any dish; my favorite was asking for extra croutons and roasted potatoes to dip in my delicious, not-to-be-wasted cheese and wine fondue. A post about the 2010 Festival is here!

My favorite character meals were at 1900 Park Fare, at the Grand Floridian, with Tigger, Pooh, Mary Poppins, Alice and the Mad Hatter; and at Akershus in Norway at Epcot, with the princesses!
Yes, Cinderella's Royal Table is awesome and magical, and I wrote a review of it here, but you get just as many princesses, more delicious food buffet style, and a parade through the restaurant with the princesses and the kids for a lower price.

If you're nice to Cast Members, you're more likely to get free stuff.
I walked lots of families up to the front of the line (making a magical moment) at Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan's Flight, simply because they were nice to me.

Conversely, if you complain loud and long enough to Guest Relations about something, they're likely to give you free stuff too.
But you'll feel better about yourself (hopefully), if you're just nice to people. I know you're on vacation, and it cost a lot of money to come, but I hated getting yelled at for doing my job, and hearing a mother on Christmas Eve tell her young son "You better just shut the hell up and stop crying, or I'm going to beat your ass!"

If you want to splurge on a resort, do. 
However, I stayed at All-Star Sports with my parents when they visited, but we only slept there. They wanted the cheapest resort, and with my Christmas Cast Member discount, it was $256 for 4 nights. But seriously, we did cool stuff all day long. We would leave in the morning, and not get back till 11 at night. The post about their December visit is here.

Saving money on something allows you to splurge elsewhere. 
When my parents came, we ate really well. We ate at Sanaa, 1900 Park Fare, Rose and Crown, and Via Napoli. The best was Sanaa, I'd eat there again in a heartbeat.

The best place to meet characters is at Epcot. 
In one day, you can meet Marie from The Aristocats, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Goofy, Belle and the Beast, Jasmine and Aladdin, Snow White, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, Alice, Chip and Dale, Daisy Duck, Stitch, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and Duffy.

The only place to meet Tiana, Naveen, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider is at Magic Kingdom.

At Hollywood Studios, you should visit the Art of Animation on nights when Fantasmic isn't playing, between 5 and 6pm. 
I've met met Pocahontas, Meeko, the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Mr. Smee, Lotso, Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Frozone, Captain Hook, the Evil Queen from Snow White, Aladdin, Jasmine, Snow White, Mary Poppins, one of her penguins, Jafar, Sorcerer Mickey, Chip and Dale, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Pinocchio and Gepetto, Rafiki, the Genie from Aladdin, and Belle. Also, bring your own camera, because there's no Photopass photographer.

You can always ask a Photopass photographer to take pictures with your own camera.
They will always say yes.

Speaking of Photopass, an individual 4x6 photo costs $14.95, plus shipping.
Fair warning.

Autograph books are the best. Buy the cheap blue one, bring a sharpie, and ask the face characters to personalize it. 
One of my favorites is from Aladdin; he wrote "To Princess Anna, I can show you a whole new world! Love, Aladdin".
I also love the one from Snow White, who wrote: "To Princess Anna, Someday your prince will come too! Love, Snow White".
It's much better than just having them sign their name. Be creative, it's makes for great memories.

Yes, there are "tunnels" underneath the Magic Kingdom.
It's technically the first floor, and called the 'Utilidor', but whatever. They're pretty awesome. It's how Cast Members get to work. Adventureland and Liberty Square smell terrible. I saw some freaking cool stuff down there.

Fur characters love to hug. 
Hug them back, it makes for a fantastic photo!

Yes, the lines are long. 
We're sorry. But unfortunately, a lot of people decided to visit Disney World at the same time as you.

Sometimes, things are for your own good, like not running under ropes into a fallout zone during fireworks.
Just...don't do it. You'll get in trouble, I'll get in trouble, please listen to us. We've had extensive training for a reason. One of Disney World's mottoes is 'Safe-D begins with me'. We care about you. Please stay on the correct side of the ropes during fireworks. Otherwise, "you'll put your eye out!"

Pineapple-vanilla Dole Whips are the best.
You can find them at Aloha Isle in Adventureland, or at Captain Cook's at the Polynesian Resort.

No, Magic Kingdom doesn't serve any alcohol.
Instead, hop on the monorail to the Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian. Get a drink, enjoy, then head back to the park. They confiscated my Dad's bottle of wine from Epcot at the main gate, and told him to pick it up when he left.

You can indeed bring food into the park.
I highly encourage it.

We are trained to call girls/women/females of any age "Princess".
Please don't be offended.

We love it when you wave back.
Again, we're trained to wave at you, especially on rides. It makes up supremely happy when you wave back.

Wear those buttons with pride! Preferably where Cast Members can easily see it.
As an example, I got a 'Just Married' couple to the front of line on Winnie the Pooh, and then gave them a certificate for a free cupcake.

Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It!
It's a street party at Magic Kingdom that takes place daily, at least 3 times. It lasts about 20 minutes. The best place to be is dancing with Goofy and Donald. One of my best memories is swing-dancing with Goofy. So when the Cast Members invite you out to dance, DO IT! It's so much fun, I went a lot by myself and had a super awesome time. It's one of my favorite things at Disney World.

Wishes was designed by Imagineers to be watched on Main Street.
To be exact, equidistant between Casey's Corner, where you buy hot dogs, and the ice cream shop.

I hope you have a magical time, let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment! I promise I'll respond.

More secrets can be found here, in the aptly-titled 'Disney World Secrets from a Cast Member, Part 2.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


It's list time! It was inspired by this list

Things I was into when I was growing up  in the 90's:
(I was born in 1989)

The Babysitter's Club series. My favorite babysitter was Stacy, because she was so sophisticated and was from New York City. Dawn was also cool, because she was vegetarian (like me!), and from California. (My mom drove me to Denver so I could meet Ann M. Martin, I still have the 2 books she autographed:
Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Salem and Harvey were the best part of the series.
Recess. It was one of the things my brother Cullen and I watched on ABC's 'One Saturday Morning' line-up. Ashley Spinelli was my favorite (the girl with the hat).

The Boxcar Children series. It was so old when I was young, but I loved it. I loved that the 4 siblings lived in a boxcar, and kept it around after their grandfather adopted them.

Wishbone! One of my favorite episodes was Joan of Arc, and Romeo and Juliet. I freaking loved that talking dog that loved acting out famous books on PBS.
Anne of Green Gables. I wish I could dye my hair black without a second thought.
American Girl. The book series, and the dolls. My favorite was Samantha, my mom's favorite was Josefina or Molly, and my dad's was Abby. When I went to the 'American Girl Place' in Chicago with my mom, I made a doll that 'looks like me', because my best friend Monica had Samantha. I'm still wishing I had gotten Samantha, but I saved to buy her pink and white birthday dress for my doll. For Christmas one year, my mom made Monica and I matching Samantha nightgowns.
Ramona Quimby (and other Beverly Cleary books). My favorite was Ramona Forever, because Ramona was so spunky and saved her uncle's wedding.
Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. Seuss. My family reads this book to each other on their birthday, every year, without fail.
(This picture was taken in January 2011 at Universal Studios, where I was thrilled to discover this book in the Seuss Landing bookstore)
Barbies. When I learned to tie my shoes, I got Babysitter Barbie. When I got a good report card in elementary school, I got Gymnast Skipper. My mom found me a gigantic, 3-side white wooden doll house at a garage sale, which I painted a sickening shade of pink. I spent hours playing Barbies with myself and with friends. I sold all but one when I moved to Montana at 13.
Having tea parties, dressing up, and playing princess with my best friend Monica! This went on for years, and got progressively fancier as time went on.

My mom read Cullen and me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when I was in first grade. This started my life-long obsession with all things Harry Potter.
Other delightful things: The Sweet Valley series, Calvin and Hobbes, every Little House book by Laura Ingalls Wilder (my favorite was Farmer Boy), Oregon Trail, Dear America series (I still own the Titanic one), my vinyl Winnie the Pooh lunchbox, Royal Diaries series (I still own the ones about Marie Antoinette and Elizabeth I) Lisa Frank folders, slap bracelets, the original Pokemon, Captain Planet, the Where in the World is Carmen San Diego game, Power Rangers (my favorite was the Pink one), Magic School Bus, The Phantom Tollbooth, the Wayside School books, Warheads candy, cassette players and CD players, playing the MASH (Mansion, Apartment, Shack, Home) game, Where the Red Fern Grows, "collecting" Beanie Babies, Lambchop's never-ending song, Goosebumps books, Skip It's, learning the Macarena in P.E., light-up tennis shoes, Pizza Hut pan pizza coupons for reading, playing 4-square and jump rope during recess when I wasn't on the swings, hula-hooping, and watching Pinky and the Brain, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, Doug and Sailor Moon with Cullen.

I had a fantastic childhood.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Perfect Day in Disney World

If I had a perfect day in Disney World, it would be this:

I'd stay at the Polynesian!
Early character breakfast at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian.
Over to Animal Kingdom:
Grab a fastpass for Expidition Everest
Go on the Maharajah Jungle Trek and say hi to Hobbes and Rajah, my favorite tigers.
See the Festival of the Lion King

Lunch at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge, preferably a table by the window, like where I ate with my parents.

Head over to Hollywood Studios, say hi to Mr. Incredible, and Lotso; ride Rockin' Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror.

Walk over to Epcot:
Wander around the World Showcase, talk to the cute foreign CPs
Get a Grand Mariner slush in France
See the candy artist in Japan and the players in the UK
Get some creme brulee from the French patissere
Meet Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco, and Aurora and Marie in France
Go to Turtle Talk with Crush

Monorail it over to Magic Kingdom!
Go on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the teacups, Snow White's Scary Adventure, Philharmagic, Peter Pan's Flight, Dumbo, and the Carousel.
Eat dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table
Run over to Adventureland and get a pineapple-vanilla Dole Whip
Run to Main Street and watch Wishes by the ice cream shop
Go on Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, and watch Philharmagic again before going on one last ride on Winnie the Pooh. Walk to the park entrance through the castle, take a boat over to the Polynesian, walk on the beach before going to bed.

Best day ever, and completely improbable.

Picture of the day 8

This was taken at Mickey's Not-So Scary Halloween Party at the Adventureland veranda. It was my first and only time meeting Tarzan and Jane! The thing I remember most is that Tarzan and Terk tried to steal my tiara and I tried to covertly feel Tarzan's abs. I did, and they're real. After that, my Australian friend Brittany and I went to meet Timon and Rafiki, Jasmine, Aladdin, Abu, the Genie, and Baloo-then we were off to get more candy! I went back to my apartment with 2 full bags.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Harry Potter Post 29

The first scene Harry Potter filmed, and the last.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Audrey Hepburn quotes

"For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others."
"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."
"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person."
"The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it's all that matters."
"I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time it just happened to me without my ever seeking it." 

All quotes found here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

'How to Succeed' Press!

"I just moved into the world of Xbox Live," Radcliffe says in the lobby of the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, where How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is in previews for an opening March 27. "And I've discovered that everyone on the Internet is a lot better than me. I spent half an hour the other day designing a boxer, and I got knocked out twice in the first round."
"My parents were what I like to call proper musical fans. Lots of Sondheim was played in the car," in addition to the scores of South Pacific and another Loesser classic, Guys and Dolls. But the prospect of dancing "scared me. A lot. Because I have absolutely no aptitude for it."

"It was a matter of putting in the time so I could develop the confidence," Radcliffe says. "My dance teacher keeps telling me, 'If you're smiling, your feet could be doing pretty much anything and no one will care.' But if you have that rigor mortis look of concentration, it doesn't work."
"I'm very comfortable discussing my personal life, because it's so boring." Home is an apartment in New York's West Village. "I love it, because it's possible to be kind of anonymous. I'm 5-foot-5, and I'll wear a big parka and put the hood up, and nobody gives me a second glance."
He acknowledges having a girlfriend, based in England. "She's here with me as much as she can be. She's about to start a new job in not too long, though, so I won't see her for a few months." Is she an actress? "No! God, no," Radcliffe says, looking a bit horrified. He prefers to keep her identity private, "not so much for my sake as for hers."
 An avid reader, Radcliffe carries with him a paperback collection of writings by the famously witty, distinctly New York-based author Fran Lebowitz. "I'd love to write. But then you read something like this" — he holds up the book — "and you go, well, maybe not. She's just so brilliant."

"I've always thought that as long as directors and casting directors don't see me as just Harry Potter, I'll be OK," Radcliffe says. "People have shown a lot of faith in me, and I owe them a huge debt. They're letting me prove that I'm serious about this."
 USA Today article found here.
"A Broadway musical – are you a natural song and dance man, do you know?" asked Couric.

"No, no," he replied. "I mean, singing, I can do. But dance took a lot of work. I worked for about a year and a half with two dance teachers, one after the other, to get half-decent. And now, hopefully, you know, I’ll be able to surprise a few people."
"...This is the joke about me that people have on set, is that I’m an old man in a young man's shell," Radcliffe said. "So, at the last ‘Potter’ premiere, it was my ideal premiere, because I did the red carpet, went inside, introduced the film, went off. I was at home by 10:30, with a bowl of Sugar Puffs, watching The History Channel. And I’ve never been happier!" he said. "Rock 'n roll!"
 "Do you Twitter, or Tweet?" Couric asked.

"I don’t Twitter, or Tweet," Radcliffe said. "I think Twitter is a really strange thing, because there are certain people in the world who are naturally epigrammatic, and can say things very concisely, and very brilliantly, in natural space and time. But I think they are a very small number of people."
 "You know, I cried, I wept like a child on the day we finished filming," he said. "It has been like a family, and it’s scary to have to go out into the real world. It feels like you’re, you know, leaving the nest. But at the same time, you know, we always knew it was going to end. And we can’t just go on indefinitely, filming Harry Potter films."
 "...I’ve loved every single second of Harry Potter, and everything that happens to me, the rest of my life, I owe to those films. But, you know, to now walk away from it, is exciting, in another way. Because I feel it’s given me the grounding in a career that people could only ever wish for. And I want to make the most of the opportunity I’ve been given."
CBS News article found here

There's also an amazing New York Times article here!

I can hear the collective "awww"

Missoula Firefighter Brett Cunniff holds an oxygen mask to a kitten rescued from a house fire in the lower Rattlesnake Valley on Thursday. The kitten, which was having trouble breathing when found inside the home, recovered and was taken to a veterinary hospital, but several other pets died in the fire.
Photo by Tom Bauyer/Missoulian

Found here

Picture of the Day 7

This was taken on my last day in Orlando. I went to Universal Studios for the first time with 2 of my best friends, Ruth and Victor. We spent most of the day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and geeked out, but we also wandered over to Seuss Landing, where I excitedly discovered the Lorax's truffula trees. The Lorax was one of my favorite books growing up.

As an added bonus, here's one of the videos I took while we were inside Hogwarts. We were about to ride the Forbidden Journey, and Harry, Ron and Hermione were asking us to come on an adventure with them. The best part? It actually snowed. Watch the (sadly shaky) video below to find out what I mean: