Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Rapunzel and Flynn

The other day, while I was chatting with fellow cast members, the topic of character chemistry came up. It was quickly agreed upon that Rapunzel and Flynn from "Tangled" are a great example of two Disney characters that are so visibly connected and relatable. Because of my incredible love for Tangled, I've really analyzed the film and the relationships within it. Maybe no one else will find what I've thought of as interesting, but in the event that you dig the Fitzherberts, let me tell you what I love about them and how I interpret their relationship.

Flynn and Rapunzel work so well together because of how they find ways to appreciate the little things about each other. The way I see it is that they both look at the other one and admire strengths and traits that they themselves wish to possess. 

Rapunzel sees Flynn as someone who has seen so much of the world. She loves that Flynn has the confidence and bravery to be on his own. While Flynn is witty and charming, as Mother Gothel was, he showed Rapunzel that jokes don't have to be made at her expense. Rapunzel looks at Flynn as someone who is actually protecting her. She spent eighteen years in a tower with someone who took her for granted and only wanted her for self-serving reasons. Flynn doesn't want to own Rapunzel, he just wants to love her and show her everything she's been missing. He constantly encourages her to be brave and seek adventure, just as he has loved doing for his entire life. 

Flynn allows Rapunzel to be herself and he cherishes every second of watching her live life to the fullest. He's inspired by her zest for life and love of everything that surrounds her. She doesn't look at grass or butterflies like everyone else does, and he adores that about her. It makes him take another look around and not take everything for granted. 

I think it's obvious that Flynn didn't have the confidence to be himself most of his life, but after meeting Rapunzel and seeing how she so bravely owns who she is without shame, he has a new desire to not be ashamed of any part of himself. Flynn loves looking at Rapunzel as she meets new people and talks about her passions with them. It makes him take an interest in others that he'd never really had before. Rapunzel has inspired Flynn to be less selfish and more giving. He never had anyone to care about and love until she came along. Every single day that he gets to be a part of her new life, he's so wonderfully grateful. 

Flynn grew up an orphan. He had to become an adult and learn to take care of himself so quickly. Meanwhile, Rapunzel was stifled from growing up and exploring the possibilities of life. Flynn allows himself to feel more childlike around Rapunzel because she brings it out in him. With Flynn's help, Rapunzel is confident enough to experience everything the world has to offer. Flynn is happy to encourage her to be herself and chase new dreams.

They'll always defend each other. They'll always choose each other. They'll always build each other up. More than anything, they'll always be there to remind each other that they are worthy of being truly and deeply loved. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

One Year

I can't grasp it. I have been living in Florida for a year. August 2nd is my one year anniversary with Disney, and I can't even write about it. I simply can't wrap my head around the fact that I've been here for just one year. It sounds dramatic, but I haven't figured out how to emotionally deal with this overwhelming feeling.

Actually, come to think of it... overwhelming is a good word for my entire year. Every facet of my life this past year has been overwhelming. The good, the bad, and everything in between.

If you know me relatively well, you'll know that being honest about my feelings is very important to me. So, guys, I'm going to confess something to you. Getting my dream job at Disney did not solve every problem in my life that existed before I started my life here in Florida. I just brought it all with me and set it on fire. There are so many positives to my life that didn't exist before, and some of the negative aspects of my life just expanded and enveloped me. Have I handled every single thing with grace and dignity? Nope. Have I sometimes pushed people away because I don't want to burden anyone else? Yep. I can say that I absolutely have clung to things and people that both destroy and enlighten me.

The thing that I still find myself looking at for joy is Disney, both within and outside of my job. I still can't believe that I drive past the monorail to go home, or that I can get to Epcot in fifteen minutes from my place. To the people that said I'd get tired of Disney, you were wrong. To the people that said the magic would be lost, you were wrong. To the haters that said I couldn't survive a year here, you were wrong. I'm gloriously happy with Disney, and if anything, the magic just keeps building for me.

Here's what I didn't expect. I'm depressed. Still. If not worse. Probably worse. I don't make it a "thing" and talk about it with people simply because I don't feel the need to burden anyone with my problems. I hate making people feel uncomfortable, and quite honestly, being that vulnerable with another human being makes ME feel uncomfortable. I won't go into details as to why or how I got into this unhealthy state in my life, but I thought that I could use this blog post as a way of letting others out there know that getting your dream job doesn't solve your problems like a magical pill, and if you are currently going through some difficult mental health issues, you're not alone. Just as importantly, if you know someone struggling with depression and/or anxiety, offer to be there for them. Offer a nonjudgmental ear that will listen intently. Even offering to just hang out for a few hours makes an impact.

So, what's next for me? Disney! I'm not leaving anytime soon if I have any say about it. The crazy hot summer months are going away soon enough. Halloween and Christmas are coming up. My family is coming down for our first ever Disney adventure with my entire immediate family. We all get to walk down Main Street USA together!

My old blog readers will remember that I used to be very into Disney Parks photography. Ever since I moved here, I just stopped taking my camera with me to the parks. I'd photograph my friends at work, but that is about it. I'm happy to say that a goal of mine is to start taking photos again. I've always been interested in photographing things at Disney that other people overlook. Not characters, not landscapes, and not fireworks. I love admiring the little details that make Disney so unique and beautiful. I'll be sure to share some of my photographs once I get enough together that are worth showing.

Here's to more time with Mickey...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Disney Passions

Fun fact about me: I love Disney Entertainment.
Another fun fact about me: I am a very passionate person.

Put that together and you can see why I'm so easily enthralled by Disney Parks and the entertainment offerings. I have been for years... just read my blog posts from over the past 7 YEARS. I've been blogging about Disney for a long time. Whoa. That just hit me. Anyway, I have often talked about my love for Disney shows, parades, character experiences, among other things. Being so up close and personal with it is truly a life changing thing that I'll never ever take for granted.

Even as a working cast member for the company, I still feel very attached to visiting Disney as a guest. It's a unique adventure to leave work and then walk around the parks, experiencing the atmosphere and entertainment just as an every day guest would.

Ever since my first trip to WDW in 1997, the Magic Kingdom's day parade has always held a special place in my heart. I first saw Remember the Magic. I was one of the young volunteers that got to step onto the street in the middle of the parade and dance with characters from The Little Mermaid. The memory is still so vivid. Limboing with giant fish as Ariel, high up on her float, flipped her fin and sang right behind me. I'll never for get it.

I've been pretty much obsessed with Disney's latest daytime parade, Festival of Fantasy, since the first time I saw it. The floats, the music, the costumes, the performers. Everything is magical and inspiring. The Tangled float is by far my favorite, and that's not just because Rapunzel has been my favorite female Disney character since Tangled came out, but it's such a unique float. Plus, it's the only place where you can regularly see Flynn Rider... a very big deal for us hardcore Tangled fans.

Another unique part of Festival of Fantasy is definitely when Prince Phillip fights a fire breathing dragon. Yes! An actual fire breathing dragon. I really didn't give much attention to Prince Phillip until I saw Festival of Fantasy. Now, he's one of the dreamiest and most badass Disney princes. Way to be completely fierce and brave, Phillip.

I know many people don't care for Animal Kingdom. I think what people tend to overlook at Animal Kingdom are the entertainment offerings. The park has shows that are some of the best Disney has ever had. My two favorites are definitely Finding Nemo: The Musical and Flights of Wonder. The music for Finding Nemo: The Musical was written by the composers for Avenue Q. If that means nothing to you, ignore what I just said, but know that it's a pretty cool thing. When I would have a bad day working at the bank, I'd turn on Finding Nemo's music and listen to it on repeat. It always made me laugh and sing along. It still does! Plus, the end of the show always makes me a total weeping sap.

Flights of Wonder was something I didn't discover until my first solo Disney trip in 2012. Now, I'm totally in love with it. It's not that I'm a person that's really big on birds, but I do enjoy learning about them and watching them fly right over my head. I think my favorite part is the sentimental message of conservation. That's something very near and dear to my heart.

Obviously there are LOADS more of awesome entertainment offerings at the Disney parks, but those are just a few of my favorites. I feel so lucky to be a part of a company that creates entertainment on such a big scale. I always want Disney to expand and grow. They're good at being cutting edge and unique. Provided Disney doesn't make any more entertainment cuts, we're well on our way to some exciting new things in the future.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Little Honesty

I just logged into Blogger and realized it's been two months since my last update. Whoa! I really can't grasp how fast time flies working for Disney. It's a way different life than in Sturgis. I had much more time on my hands working for the bank. Even when I'm not at work now, I'm thinking about work or preparing for work. I'm still trying to find the balance in everything. You'd think that almost seven months into my new life in Florida, I'd have it all figured out.  Nope.

Nevertheless, I do know some things for sure. I still have a true passion for Disney. In fact, I think I love it even more... if that's possible. I really don't feel like I'm overloaded with Disney, and I certainly don't feel like the magic has faded. There are so many opportunities with the company, and I hate the idea of letting any of them pass by me. I waited my whole life for this. I'm not going to waste my time here, because I know that it could potentially be a very short time that I get to do what I do. I still cannot believe I get paid to create magic. And I think I say this in every single blog post I write, but I really can't grasp that I am finally doing what I told everyone I wanted to do.

Some days are still really hard. Balancing my personal life and work life is probably the most challenging part. Making and keeping friends feels almost impossible sometimes. Mostly because I feel so different than the majority of people that I work with. Some days, when north feels south, when I'm dealing with rejection, when I'm feeling like the ugly duckling, or when I question if I'm good enough, I try to remind myself that there are co-workers that most definitely go through the same thing. 

Sometimes, I sit around at work and listen to girls pick themselves a part. Their job performance, their voice, their hair, their diet, their nose, their calves, and their cuticles, are all things that seem to be scrutinized from time to time. It's like a disease that spreads quickly. Suddenly, even when I am feeling my best, I'm reminded that there are many things that could be "wrong" with me. I'm generally a girl that has always liked my true self, but it's admittedly challenging to not look at myself a little differently and wish that I was more what other girls consider to be perfect. The worst moments are those when I'm in a big group of co-workers and my insecurities lead me to think that others must wonder what the heck I'm doing there amongst them. It's RIDICULOUS! Simply because I know that I deserve it. I know that I'm great. I know that I'm good enough. And in reality, it really doesn't matter if anyone else thinks that or not.

New opportunities have come up for many of my co-workers and friends. I am SO happy and proud to call these people my friends. One of my favorite parts of this job (and I know I've spoken of this before, but read on), is how I can make friends and support them through all of their ups and downs. I don't have enough room in my mind and my heart to see my co-workers as competition. We're all entirely different people with entirely different special things about us. 

Going through struggles really makes me appreciate the little things even more than I usually do. There are so many things on my Disney check list, and I've been able to cross many of them off since I've been living in Florida. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment for me as a guest, was meeting Hercules. It might sound crazy to some people, but watching Hercules for the first time is one of the happiest memories I have from my childhood. I've always been able to connect to the film and to Hercules himself. I never actually thought I'd get to meet him since he's such a rare character, but it really happened and was just as magical as I imagined it to be. 

Anyway, it's taken me almost a week to finish this blog post. I apologize for all my ramblings. It's probably the least cohesive post I've ever written. I totally appreciate you sticking it out. My family is finally visiting me next week, so I'm sure I'll have some great things to share after they leave Florida.

Thanks, friends! :) 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014: The Year in Review

I can't believe we're approaching the end of December. I've been down here in Florida for almost five months. FIVE MONTHS! How is this even possible? I feel like I just got to the sweatiest state in the USA yesterday! Time sure does fly when you're having fun and busy as heck, right? Well, as this year comes to a close, I really feel compelled to write about what happened in 2014, the best year of my life.

Some of you reading my blog probably don't know my "story" entirely. Let me take a moment to catch you up.

Since I was a young child, Disney has been my life. I first came to Disney when I was just nine years old. I've pretty much been addicted ever since then. My life's goal has always been to work for the Disney Company. I always said I could be sweeping the streets in Magic Kingdom for free and I'd be totally content. People in school knew me as the girl that A) loves to perform, and B) loves Disney. Still following? I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Fast forward to adulthood. I got married and bought a house at just nineteen years old. I also started a job at a bank that same year. A job that brought nothing but unhappiness to me. I felt unfulfilled. I lacked passion for the job. Still, I let the contentment of the "simple life" pull me down into the abyss of normalcy. For 7 1/2 years, I lived a life that made me feel lost and yearning for more. The entire time I knew that Disney was calling my name.

In February of this year, I experienced one heck of a breakdown. Crying in my kitchen, I told my husband that I couldn't go on living with myself anymore. I couldn't be that person, living that life.

Just a few weeks after that, I took the first steps toward my Disney journey. I took my first steps toward a more fulfilling life. From March 11th on, everything was different. My life was flipped upside down. Matt and I had so many struggles getting to Florida. I mean... SO MANY STRUGGLES. Virtually nothing about this adventure was easy. Yet, here we are. Five months later. Still standing and I'm living my dream. Actually living my dream. You have no idea what that means to me.

Every day that I'm at work, I have to pinch myself. Seriously. I've been given so many amazing opportunities and created so much magic in just five months. It's so emotionally overwhelming to think about the fact that I'm doing what I always said I wanted to do. While not every day is amazing at work, I'm still thankful for being here and having the chance to make the next day better than the last.

The highlights of my job so far would definitely have to be experiencing the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show with Anna and Elsa, as well as spending a few nights with Flynn and Rapunzel at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Both events totally made me incredibly emotional. It was all so surreal. I'm lucky that I had the most wonderful partners on those days to help me, encourage me, and share in making special memories for ourselves, as well as guests. There's no possible way I could ever express to my co-workers (and now, friends) how much their kindness meant to me on those very special days.

Job stuff aside, I have had some pretty memorable life experiences as well. I lived through the craziest Michigan winter since I've been alive. Matt and I took our friends to Disney World back in February to celebrate Matt's 30th birthday. I came ridiculously close to being hit by a vehicle when a minivan drove into my bank when I was working by myself. I traveled to the amazingly perfect Roxbury Motel in the Catskills to celebrate my wedding anniversary with Matt. At the end of summer, I finally quit my job in banking and moved from Sturgis to Orlando. I finally got the chance to take Matt and my mom to New Smyrna Beach, which was amazing. Matt and I traveled to Chicago to finally see Yusuf/Cat Stevens live, after ten years of being hardcore fans. Last, but not least, I met so many incredible people here in Florida that have truly changed my life for the better.

If you missed any of my previous blog posts about my Florida adventure this year, I'll help you out and link you to some of the highlights.

One of the happiest and scariest blog posts I've ever written... right before I accepted the position with Disney. 

Three months into my Florida Life...

What I love about this new life...

Picture time? Yeah. Picture time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Today, while shopping for a Thanksgiving meal for two, it dawned on me that while nothing is traditional or familiar this holiday season, I still have so much to be thankful for.

I have talked about this dream of mine since I was very young. I've told countless people how badly I wanted to work for Disney. More often than not, I was met with eye rolls and negativity. Where I'm from, it's just not a realistic life goal. Still, that never ever stopped me from talking about it. Knowing most people would think I'm silly, I'd always courageously express one thing… that this gut feeling of what I should be doing with my life just wouldn't go away. That I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would be so good at this job. It's the one thing I have never questioned in my life. The only thing I have confidently believed to be true. 

I've been telling my "story" a lot recently to co-workers and others I've encountered through my job. The more I tell it, the more I realize that my journey is a miraculous one. So many people in this world talk of their dreams, but so few of them actually have those dreams become reality. I'm one of those few that made it happen. There's no possible way I could express how thankful I am.

Another thing I am grateful for is family and friends that supported me all along and never doubted my ability to see this dream through. Conversations I've had with my greatest supporters are the conversations that I still remember vividly. I allowed myself to not take to heart the negativity that I'd encounter. I can't wait to make my encouragers even more proud as I continue on this journey.

Speaking of which… I'm looking forward to all of the opportunities available to me with the Disney. There's so much more I can do! I never really knew what it was like to want to "do more" and take advantage of opportunities with my previous jobs. With Disney, I frequently imagine all of the new challenges and fun experiences that await me. I suppose that it just takes some strong will and passion for what you do to pursue all of the possibilities in front of you.

I'm incredibly thankful for the Disney guests that I've met from all around the world and from all different walks of life. I get to hear guest's stories of how much Disney means to them. I get to share my passion for the company through my job. As much as I feel like I get to give to others, I feel like I receive so much more. 

This year has been the craziest time of my entire 26 year existence, and it isn't even over yet. I'll continue to be a dreamer and overcome anything challenging that's thrown my way. Without the difficulties, I would never know how to cherish all the little things in my life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Three Months

Hey, friends!

I apologize I have not written for my blog in so long. Here I am, 3 months living in Florida. Time flies when you're crazy busy and having fun, right? 

I realize that writing about Disney has actually become harder since I have started my job with the company. There are so many things that I want to say, and yet I can only say so much publicly. I need to find a way to properly document my incredible experiences for myself to look back on years later. More than anything, my trainers have told me to keep a journal of some sort for when the days get tough and you need to remember why you're doing what you're doing. It's a great tip, and I need to follow it because I've already forgotten the most wonderful interactions simply because one day flows into the next and it's hard to keep up with it all. 

I'm starting to get into a routine of sorts at work, even though I don't have a set schedule. I'm mostly working at Magic Kingdom lately and I really like it since I live so close to the park. On my days off when Matt is busy working, I really like going to the parks by myself. While it's really strange to some of my co-workers, I've had years of experience as a solo park goer. It allows me to reconnect with the emotional aspect of my job, and is a great reminder as to why I love Disney so much. I need to find a hobby in the area that isn't Disney related… something new. Sure, I still love to watch television shows and play guitar, but I feel like I need something totally different to immerse myself in during my down time.

I'll admit that I have been getting really lonely lately. I'm not sure if it's just that Matt's the only person I see, or that I work crazy hours so it's hard to feel normal, but I just find myself feeling pretty lousy when I'm not at work. Truly depressed. However, I LOVE my job! Partially because it's such a great distraction from my real life. I don't sleep well anymore. I usually wake up around 5am with my cat and we just look at each other for a solid hour. My mind races, and soon I really just wish that Mr. Sandman would come visit. But, of course, thinking of Mr. Sandman makes me think of the movie "Cry-Baby", and then I start thinking about who I'd like to play in that movie and all of my favorite parts. Before you know it, I have the entire soundtrack stuck in my head, and in between each verse of every song I think about something that stresses me out. That's my brain.

At work I'm surrounded by some really incredible people. Folks from all different walks of life and everyone has such a variety of life stories. I absolutely LOVE getting to know people. I do struggle with my self-confidence sometimes, and I do find myself nervous to say hello to some people. However, there have been certain individuals that let me know that I'm wanted and welcomed. I love those people. Sure, there have been some stinkers. Some people that clearly want nothing to do with me, and people that I've learned I can't trust. That's life. I had that all at the bank in Michigan, and now I have that in Florida. 

Making friends is pretty tricky here. It kind of feels like high school at times. I'm not sure what people want to be friends and what people just talk to me because I'm right there in front of them. I feel quite different than most of the people I work with. Maybe it's because I'm married. Maybe it's because I'm older. Maybe it's because I don't like to feed into the catty negativity that floats around. Either way, I don't know who is being real and who is just tolerating my existence. My job makes it really hard to truly bond with someone while at work. You really have to take the time outside of work to try and get to know a person. Man, you'd think that at 26 years old I'd have friendship figured out by now, but girls are confusing and I don't think I'll ever understand them. Still, I'm not giving up because there has to be someone here that I can share a connection with.

Lately, I've been thinking about how terrific it is to be surrounded by so many talented people. Sometimes I come to the parks just to watch and learn from other entertainers. Supporting each other is really important… even the people that haven't exactly been friendly toward me. I've been coming to the parks for years, and somehow I still get blown away by Disney entertainment. It's something that I know will never get old. 

I really miss my family, but I don't miss Sturgis. Not even a little bit. I waited 26 years of my life to get out of that city, and I know it's great for some people, but I never ever felt like I belonged. Maybe eventually I'll have a desire to drive around there and feel nostalgic, but right now I'm quite okay with having this life in Florida. Everything here is so beautiful. The sky even looks different here. It's more open and clear. The sunsets are more picturesque. It's a perfect place to be myself and appreciate the little things in life. 

I look forward to what's to come in the future months here in Florida… cooler weather, holiday decorations and events, and family visiting.