Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The First Step

I cannot believe that I am actually getting to type this news on my blog.

In two weeks, I am going to be auditioning for Disney Entertainment for a Character Performer/Lookalike role.


If any of you know ANYTHING about my dreams, you would know that my goal since I was a young girl has been to work for the Disney Company in entertainment. It has been the never ending dream that I just refuse to give up on. This dream of mine has actually altered my entire life.

As a child, I constantly wanted to dress up as the Disney princesses for Halloween (or any random day). We didn't have a lot of money, but my mom worked with a woman that could make costumes. I recall dressing up as Cinderella and Ariel when I was around 4-6 years old. I wanted to wear these outfits all around the house all day, every day. At age 4 I was obsessed with Ariel. A few years later it was Cinderella and Belle. When I was 8 or 9 I became absolutely infatuated with Pochohantas to the point that I had a Pocohantas comforter, pillows, and curtains. That was all I asked for for my birthday one year. I suppose the love for Disney princesses/female characters never left me since I still get goosebumps when Cinderella waves to me during a parade at Walt Disney World.

Soon after I graduated from high school, Matt (my husband) and I decided that we wanted to move to Orlando for me to pursue my dream. We had a place to live all lined up and a time-frame for the move. However, we ended up backing out of it for a few reasons. Leaving my mom has always been a huge fear of mine, and I felt as though the transition of me graduating and then just up and leaving would be a struggle for both of us. Matt and I feared not having enough money saved up to make it down there. It was sort of a rushed decision that we just didn't feel totally prepared for.

Fast forward a few years. Matt and I got married. I took a job at a bank and we bought a house, both of which I insisted would be temporary until we figured out the blueprint for the big move. It was always my goal... every second of every day, Disney was my goal. Somehow the years just flew by in a huge blur. Eventually, I learned that Matt had a secret fear of moving away from Michigan all together. This hit me like a ton of bricks and I had no idea how to handle it. We eventually worked through this and he's now totally on board with the move, and he understands that I HAVE to try and make this dream of mine possible. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't try.

Even though quite a lot of time has passed since I could have started work at Disney, nothing has changed for me. The fire in my belly is still burning like crazy. I look very young still, and my body is in better shape than it has been in years. I feel so prepared for this upcoming audition. I have talked to many people that have worked for Disney, as well as a few who have actually been "friends" with characters in the parks.

Despite feeling prepared, I still feel haunted by self-doubt. I'm constantly criticizing myself, which is just awful. My inner critique is always, "your nose isn't symmetrical, your teeth aren't white enough, your eyebrows look weird, be careful of that arm fat." Clearly, I'm psyching myself out! I just have to be me, and either the casting directors like what they see, or they don't. I know I have it in me to be exactly what they are looking for... I just have to show them.

There are so many people encouraging me to audition and flooding me with positive energy. It's so great that Matt is supporting me and giving me advice. He keeps me grounded. He reminds me that there are other girls out there that want it just as badly as I do and are just as qualified, so I am going to have to work really hard at that audition. Of course, my mom is excited for me to finally get this opportunity, since she knows better than anyone how much this means to me.

My biggest cheerleader and inspiration for this experience is actually someone I've never even met in my life. I came in contact with her in such a strange way... YouTube. Rachel and her friend Jennifer made a video on YouTube talking about what it was like working for Disney as a character performer. Rachel is so incredibly positive that it is just infectious. You know how sometimes people tell you nice things, but you yourself have a hard time believing that they mean what they're saying? Yeah, this isn't like that. She so genuinely believes in me. I can't thank her enough for giving me that extra push and filling me with confidence.

Matt and I are still trying to sell our house. We recently got rid of our real estate agent, and have decided to sell the house on our own. This allows us to be more competitive with our asking price. Even if I got a position down in Florida right now, I would be able to accept it and have 6 months to get down there to work. That's a lot of time, and I'm sure with the proper motivation, we'd be able to get the house sold.

Sure, my heart races every single time I think about the audition, but I am SO SO SO ready! I'm bringing it, Disney!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Back to Reality

Doesn't it suck, my friends?

Knowing that your wonderful WDW vacation is over and you had to come back home to real life. While some parts of my every day to day life are great, like my pets, my bed, Netflix, and my family, I honestly miss Disney like crazy... and I've only been away for less than a week.

Currently, I'm at home writing on my blog because I have caught an awful cold. Maybe it's from the plane. Maybe it's from public restrooms. Maybe it's from the filthy little youths running amuck at Disney World (I kid, I kid). While it could be any of those things, I'm going to put my money on my body totally rejecting real life.

I had such a wonderful time on my vacation... especially the last few days. There are so many funny stories and memorable moments that I hope I'll always remember. I still have to edit the majority of my pictures, but I think you guys might like to hear about some of the more memorable experiences of my recent WDW trip.

  • I was gifted the lovely experience of a private security screening at Detroit Metro Airport. Yes. Groping at the airport is something that I had never experienced until this trip. My Express Portofino shirt had studded pockets which set off the screening machine. The TSA agent had to pat down my chest area (AKA, touch my boobs). No biggie. The TSA agent asked to go through my belongings (which was just my purse), as well as do a hand swab. Again, I just assumed it was protocol and didn't think much of it. At this point Barbara, Ben, and Matt all found this funny and watched as the woman swabbed my hands and looked through my purse. Soon after she opened up my purse, the computer displayed the results of my hand swab... "EXPLOSIVES DETECTED." She sighed and told me it was because of my lotion (glycerin is a common ingredient in explosives), and that she'd have to do a private security screening. At this point, it was just getting funny. Two female TSA agents took me into a back room, and one of them proceeded to politely feel me up. By the end of the pat down I was talking to both agents about doing theater and performing. As I walk out of the screening room, there's Barbara snapping pictures of me on her phone. Even though we almost missed our flight, and we didn't get to stop for coffee (the only sad part of this story), it was a hilarious (and educational) experience. 
  • During our visit to Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, a man walked up to me as I was grabbing napkins and silverware and asked if I was a cast member. I told him that I wasn't, but I'd like to be. He told me that he saw me during the park opening show, and asked how I knew the words to the song. Uhh... I just listen to the song nearly every day at work, and anytime that I feel like a need a pick-me-up. He didn't like my response. The man said, "Are you sure you're not a cast member?" Yes, sir. I'm sure. The man said, "So, you just listen to the song a lot? That's it?" Yep...pretty much. 
  • I'll go into more detail of our pretty rough dinner at 'Ohana in another blog post, but let me just say that it was without a doubt, the worst dining experience I have ever had on Disney property. It really didn't have much to do with the food. It had to do with the many issues that we had, and how they were not addressed properly. It was the first time I've ever had to speak with a manager at a restaurant. 
  • We experienced a very strange version of the Indiana Jones show at the Studios. There was a big technical difficulty mid-show that they didn't seem to know how to handle. At first I thought that it was just a new part to the show that I hadn't seen before, but when the actors started to obviously try and stall until a solution was determined, I knew something was going wrong behind the scenes. Pretty much everything after the opening scene of Indy and the boulder was different. They even said that they had to improvise the next stunt scene. After that, the show ended and the theater was cleared out. 
  • I finally got to conquer the Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream! It was one of my favorite dining experiences I've had at WDW. Ever! In the end, the bowl was a sloppy melted mess of ice cream and whipped cream. For an extreme ice cream lover such as myself, it was a dream come true. I was the last man standing, and the bowl had to be pried out of my grip before I'd stop eating. I regret nothing.

  • Spice Road Table was absolute perfection. We loved it so much that we actually ended up eating there twice during our vacation. Nadia, our first waitress that hailed from Morocco, is easily one of the best Disney cast members there is. She really gave us a cultural dining experience that I will not soon forget.

  • After Matt's birthday dinner, us ladies wanted to just take a cab back to Pop Century. The boys insisted we save some money. Not realizing that the Studios closed early that night, our plan to take the boat to the Studios and then hop a bus to Pop Century was foiled. We got a cab at the Beach Club, and proceeded to have one heck of an experience thanks to our crazy ass cab driver.  Barbara kept saying awkward things to him. One question being, "So...what are you up to tonight? Any big plans?" The cab ride ended with the guy insisting we pay him in cash, and then giving us his business card and explaining his name is, "Khan...like Chaka Khan." Exiting the cab, we all turned to each other as I asked, "Did he just say Chaka Khan?" 
  • Barbara and I had an epic battle of bar seating with three fellow guests at Tambu Lounge. We went there to get a drink after dinner at Captain Cook's. Every seat was taken at the bar, so we patiently waited for something to open up. After about ten minutes, this girl that looked a few years younger than us along with her two guy friends came into the area and waited for seats as well. We see three seats opening up at the bar right in front of us, and as we approach the seats quickly, this other girl swoops in and sits in one of them. She gives us a very dirty look as we sit in the two seats next to her. Clearly, she had assumed her two friends deserved those seats. They were all dolled up and obviously thought they were too cool for school. After the dirty look we received, it was on. We anxiously awaited two more seats at the bar to open up, or a nearby table in the 'Ohana waiting area. Whispers were exchanged, more crappy looks were thrown, but eventually, we won and got two seats on either side of us after the girl and her friends gave up.
  • After we left the airport on Thursday, I was hungry. We made a stop at Del Taco for the first time. It. Was. Awesome. We paired that with a few episodes of New Girl and had one heck of a night. 
Once I get my pictures edited, I promise I'll share some of them with you! Thanks to all of you that followed along during my vacation on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook. It's almost like you were right there with me. :) 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Think of All the Joy You'll Find...

The big day is so close! In just one week from right now, I'll be on my way to Disney World with some of my favorite people on the planet.

This week was a real challenge to get through. I'm not sure why, but I feel like I have been just muddling through every day. I keep trying to find ways to keep my spirits up despite being stressed out about work, home life, future life, and every other little stressor that comes along. Now that Disney is just one week away, I have to tell myself that it can only get better from here.

On Thursday, I was drawing a picture of Michael from Peter Pan in my Wreck This Journal, and played the song "You Can Fly!" over and over and over again. A few weeks ago I realized just how happy that song makes me feel. Since then, I sing it to myself ALL THE TIME! It makes me think about how Disney is my Neverland. I don't even have to be there and it becomes an escape just to think about Disney World.

When I'm at Disney World, I'm not Stacey from Michigan. I'm not 25, going on 26. I'm not a Customer Service Representative at a bank. I'm not defined by any of that. I just feel like... me. The kind of me that I want to be every second of my life... carefree, hopeful, childlike, confident, and independent. There are no boundaries or limits as to what you can be when you're at Disney World. When I am there I feel free from judgements and obligations. The knob that controls my imagination is turned all the way up, and it feels wonderful.

Before I get to that wonderful place, I have a lot of things I need to do this weekend to prepare for the trip. Wash clothes, start packing, buy toiletries, buy Clif bars, and purchase some birthday surprises for Matt. Ellie went to the groomers yesterday, so she is all set to spend the week at Matt's parent's house (that's her Disney World). On Wednesday, Matt and I are going to go get pedicures together. He got me a gift certificate for a mani/pedi for my birthday back in April, and I still have yet to use it. I'm not into the idea of going to a nail salon by myself, but if I have someone that'll go with me then I'm all for it.

Speaking of stuff to do, I should probably stop laying on my couch and writing on my blog. I've got a fun vaca to get ready for. :)