Magic Monday!

A World with Color

Walt always appeared to be challenging the status quo and attempting to find ways to improve the quality of everything his studio created.  In the early 1930’s, Walt and his team of animators were already experimenting with something uncommon at the time – color animations.  Unfortunately, the technology that Walt needed to produce the stunning color animations he desired did not exist at the time and their current methods were very expensive and created sub-par results.

In 1932, the company Technicolor, released a three-color process that was exactly what Walt believed he was missing.  Still, at the time, creating color animations was three times as expensive as creating traditional black and white, not to mention, the additional production costs needed.

Walt’s brother, Roy, who managed the studio’s finances, was strongly opposed of experimenting with color animation. He couldn’t understand how the studio would cover all of the additional costs.  In addition, their current contracts for Mickey cartoons and the Silly Symphonies did not pay extra for the animations being in color.  From a financial perspective, creating animations in color was a poor financial decision for the studio.

Technicolor was not financially strong at the time as they were having difficulties convincing studios to spend the additional money required for color.  Walt wanted it badly and Technicolor was supportive because they wanted to showcase what their company could help create and attract other users.  Through negotiations, Walt agreed to make thirteen Silly Symphony cartoons in color and Technicolor agreed to allow Walt to use the three-color Technicolor process exclusively for two years which would give his studio a competitive advantage.

Still opposed to the idea, Roy was left to figure out how to fund these increasing costs to support Walt’s desires (this was hardly the first time).  Luckily,  the Disney brothers found the support of Attilio “Doc” Giannini who worked for his brothers bank, the Bank of America.  He was known for investing in new ideas and was familiar with the film industry.  Doc agreed to loan them the money they needed which allowed Walt to pursue his passion of creating color animation.

Despite the many people who were skeptical about creating color animation, the studio was rewarded when Flowers and Trees was released in 1932 in Technicolor and went on to win an Academy Award.  Color soon became the way of the future.

Silly Symphony Cartoons Part Eight – 1937: A deeper realism ...


Magic Monday!

The Disney’s

Walt Disney is one of the most well-known names in households across the globe, but many do not know much about the family that shaped him.  Walt Disney was given his middle name, Elias, after his father, Elias Disney.   Elias was strict, religious, hard-working, frugal, and suffered through many financial failures and disappointments throughout his life.  Walt’s mother, Flora Call, on the other hand, was much softer and a well-educated school teacher.  Elias and Flora were married in Florida on January 1, 1888.

Elias and Flora Disney

On December 8, 1888 the first Disney child, Herbert Arthur Disney was born.  Not long after Herbert’s birth, Elias and Florida moved from Florida to Chicago where Elias’s younger brother, Robert, was living at the time.  Elias moved to Chicago with the desire of financial stability and they arrived in Chicago in 1890.   At this time Flora was already pregnant with her second child and Raymond Arnold Disney was born on December 30, 1890.

The third child of the Disney family, and the brother that Walt was closest to, Roy Oliver Disney, was born on June 24, 1893.  Following Roy, on December 5, 1901 Walter Elias Disney was born.  Two years later, the youngest Disney child and only girl, Ruth Flora Disney was born on December 6, 1903.

Learning more about the family that shaped Walt is very telling of the man that Walt was.  Similar to his father, he was a go-getter, hard-working, and wasn’t content doing one thing for too long.  Like his mother, he had a softer side as well as a sense of humor.  Most people are not familiar with Herbert or Ray the two eldest Disney sons and it is generally due to the fact that Walt was not close to them, thus, they are not frequently discussed.  Ruth and Walt kept in contact, but by far, Roy was the closest to Walt of all of his siblings.  Roy was known as the financial brains to Walt’s creative genius and he is responsible for overseeing the opening of Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in the years following Walt’s death.

Take a Look Back at Disney in the Year 1923 - D23
Roy Disney (left) and Walt Disney (right)

For anyone who is interested in learning more about the Disney family or Walt’s life, I highly recommend the book “Walt Disney” by Neal Gabler.



Five not-so-popular tips for the Disney College Program

I completed my Disney College Program in 2017 where I worked as a custodial Cast Member at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.  I always get a lot of questions about my experience on the program and love to give advice that you don’t typically see online.

Keep reading to see five tips that many people don’t talk about that I would give to ANYONE who gets accepted to the DCP!

  1. Pack WAY less than you think – I stuffed my car with so much stuff that I never even unpacked it all from my trunk during my program.  If you’re living in program housing, you will not have much space to utilize so don’t over do it.  Also keep in mind that you will be wearing a costume for 5-6 days per week so you do not need a ton of outfits.  You will want lounge wear for before/after work and maybe a couple of “going out” outfits, but let’s be honest, you will go to the parks and you will see ALL the cute Disney merch and you will have a discount.  YOU WILL BUY CLOTHES!  So pack as little as you can and thank me later.  Check out my more detailed packing list here!
  2. Make a bucket list and make a plan to complete things each week – I made a bucket list before my program began which was a fun way to get excited about the program and I highly recommend it.  I did make time to experience a lot during my program, but there were so many opportunities that popped up and I said “I’ll do that later, I’m here for 7 months”.  Well…let me tell you, most of those things I said I would do later, I never did.  Once you get in the routine of working 40+ hours per week you are exhausted and believe it or not, you will not have the desire to go out and do things…DO IT ANYWAYS – this is usually a once in a lifetime opportunity.  You can sleep when you’re dead! 🙂
  3. Don’t waste your precious money on groceries – this one probably sounds strange, but let me tell you a story to illustrate my point. While living in CP housing your paychecks will not be that big.  Each Thursday (payday) I would get paid and go to the grocery store.  I’d buy healthy things for breakfast, things to pack in my lunch bag, and things to make for dinner on my days off.  It was REALLY hard to leave the grocery store without spending at least $80-$100.  I know that doesn’t sound that unreasonable for food…but then…Thursday night I would stop at McDonalds, Friday night my roomies would want to go out to dinner, Saturday we would order pizza, Sunday I’d eat dinner at work, Monday I’d have my leftover restaurant food, Tuesday I’d eat at the Parks, etc.  Basically, all of my planned meals would go out the window and I was wasting SO much food.  Not to mention it was almost like I was paying double for meals because all of my groceries were going to waste.  It ended up being cheaper for me to eat out and skip stocking up on groceries.  Is this healthy?  Probably not, but you will be working so hard you will not be in the mood to cook and if you’re in a role that walks a lot like I was, you will burn off everything you eat. Trust me, I love to cook, and I rarely did it (and I still lost 25 pounds from all of the walking).  If anything, I suggest stocking your freezer with some cheap, quick meals in case you are home.  Just remember 95% of the time, you won’t be home!
  4. Pick your roomies in advance and keep the peace – I was blessed to have INCREDIBLE roommates for the DCP.  But I credit this to the fact that we chose each other ahead of time.  Can you go random and have your roomies be cool?  Yes.  Does that happen often and is it worth the risk? NO!  Find the DCP Facebook group for your arrival date and look for people that are similar to you.  Be honest…if you are not a clean freak, don’t plan to live with one.  If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t room with people who do.  If someone just seems “off” to you, don’t room with them.  Remember, if your “home” life is toxic, it will make your DCP miserable…so try to find people that you will get along with!  I got lucky and some of my DCP roomies are now my very close friends. 
  5. Don’t forget to think about the future – There is nothing wrong with doing the DCP just for fun because that is exactly why I did it. What I will say, is that when I finished my program, I had no intentions of going back to work for Disney.  Luckily I completed my program satisfactorily and did not have any reprimands when I left.  Later, when I applied again to work for Disney, I was an attractive candidate.  Maybe you know right now you want to work for Disney long term or maybe you just want to experience the program for fun, but my best advice is to give it your all and don’t burn bridges.  I sometimes called out sick when I wasn’t, but I never allowed myself to get a reprimand.  I followed the rules (mostly) and I did a good job in my role.  I had good relationships with all of my coworkers and I stuck out the program and finished it.   Had I not done any of those things, I probably would have never been hired back.  This is basically a nice way of me telling you don’t screw it up! You never know where this opportunity could take you, but if you blow it, you don’t get another shot. 

Happy Earth Day!

For a seemingly “normal” day of quarantine, today is extra special! If you haven’t heard yet, today is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.  I am even more excited to write that it is also the 25th Anniversary of the Disney Conservation Fund.  While working at Animal Kingdom I have been able to experience the intense focus on conservation efforts and how much our Cast Members care for the safety and happiness of our animals.  I am so proud to work at a place that cares SO much for the planet.

Photo Credit: Disney

FUN FACT: Did you know that Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)?  This is a HUGE deal to our properties as the AZA sets the “gold standard” for things like animal welfare, veterinary care, and conservation.  According to the AZA website, “Fewer than 10% of the approximately 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture are AZA accredited!”

Many of our Guests get to learn about the Disney Conservation Fund when exploring the Parks, but there are many unique ways to donate to the Disney Conservation Fund.  Below is a list of a few of my favorite, less-known ways to donate!

Fun Ways to Donate to the Disney Conservation Fund:

  • Buy a Flat White Latte at Starbucks  Next time you are at Animal Kingdom, stop by Creature Comforts (Starbucks) and purchase a Flat White Latte.  A portion of the proceeds will go to support the endangered Cotton-top Tamarins.  You can also visit these cute monkeys as you sip your latte as they are just steps away from Creature Comforts.
  • Take a behind the scenes tour at Animal Kingdom  Animal Kingdom offers a few different tours that take you behind the scenes to get up close with the animals and learn more about Disney’s conservation efforts.  For example, the proceeds from the Caring for Giants tour I went on recently all went towards helping African Elephants!
  • Buy a mini banner at Nomad Lounge Nomad Lounge located at Animal Kingdom embraces the spirit of adventure.  Upon entering the lounge, you will find banners hanging all over the ceiling.  You can also share your own travel adventures and purchase a mini banner for $1.  Your mini banner will be displayed in the lounge and $0.85 of it is donated to the Disney Conservation Fund!

I hope you can try out one of these unique ways to donate next time you visit Animal Kingdom.  Also know that you can donate to the Disney Conservation Fund at most Animal Kingdom registers and Disney will match 100% (P.S. you can get a commemorative Disney Conservation Fund button).

“You’ve probably heard people talk about conservation. Well, conservation isn’t just the business of a few people. It’s a matter that concerns all of us. It’s a science whose principles are written in the oldest code in the world, the laws of nature. The natural resources of our vast continent are not inexhaustible. But if we will use our riches wisely, if we will protect our wildlife and preserve our lakes and streams, these things will last us for generations to come.” – Walt Disney



Gertie the Dinosaur

When walking around Disney’s Hollywood Studios you may notice a giant green dinosaur in the middle of Echo Lake that is seemingly out of place.  After all, we are not in Dinoland, aren’t we in old-age Hollywood?  Why is there a brontosaurus in the middle of Hollywood?! You start thinking to yourself “hmm…I must have missed that Disney movie…”

Who is Dinosaur Gertie at Hollywood Studios and Why is it There
Photo Credit:

As it turns out, Gertie the giant green dinosaur has not been featured in any Disney movie, but Walt Disney Imagineering does not make “giant” mistakes, and Gertie is in a perfect spot.  Gertie the Dinosaur was one of the first animated short films that premiered in 1914. The short film was created by the American animator Winsor McCay.

Many credit Gertie the Dinosaur with founding the idea of adding personality to animation.  One of Walt Disney’s most well-known achievements was being excellent at creating animation with not just personality, but by also incorporating story and emotion.  There is no doubt that Gertie the Dinosaur influenced how animation was going to be created in the future.

Even though Walt was only a child at the time that Gertie the Dinosaur premiered, he discussed the importance that Gertie played in animation during “The Story of Animated Drawing” on his Disneyland television series in 1955. (See a clip of this show in the link below) Walt credits McCay with being a pioneer of animation.

“Winsor McCay’s Gertie and other animation novelties stimulated a great public interest and created a demand for this new medium. This, in turn, encouraged other pioneers to creative efforts that in time, led to the establishment of the animated cartoon as an industry.” – Walt Disney

Make sure to stop by and check out Gertie the next time you are at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Click here to watch a clip from “The Story of Animated Drawing”



Caring for Giants

A few months ago I found the perfect way to surprise my youngest sister.  She was visiting for Christmas break from Wisconsin and I wanted to find something fun for us to do together.  My sister, Kylie, LOVES elephants, so I surprised her with the Caring for Giants tour.


Caring for Giants is one of the tours offered at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  This tour gives you a close up look at the African Elephants.  If you have taken a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safaris, this is basically a “behind the scenes” look at the elephant area.


  • The tour is approximately one hour in length
  • The tour is $30 per person (as of April 2020)
  • Only for ages 4+
  • Check in for the tour is located at the Curiosity Animal Tours kiosk which is located near the entrance to the Kilimanjaro Safaris (arrive 15 minutes early)
  • You can reserve space on the tour by calling Disney (407) 939-7529 or you can stop by the Curiosity Animal Tours kiosk to see if they have space
  • You will be with a small group of around 12 people
  • You will be escorted backstage, driven via bus to the elephant area, and you will be walking/standing for the majority of the tour
  • You will get to experience the African Elephants from less than 100 feet away
  • You are not allowed to take pictures backstage, but pictures/videos are welcomed once you are near the elephants
  • You get to learn more about elephants from experts (sometimes even the cultural representatives from Africa)
  • All profit from this tour goes directly to elephant conservation efforts

What this tour does not include:

  • There are no food/snacks/beverages provided
  • There are no restrooms once the tour begins (use the restroom before your tour)
  • You do not get to pet/ride the elephants
  • You do not get to tour where the elephants sleep/eat


I really enjoyed this tour.  It was only an hour long so it went rather quickly, but if you have a love or an appreciation for the elephants, you will enjoy this behind the scenes look.  We were also excited to get to see baby Stella, who was very playful.

The value of this tour at only $30 per person is very reasonable – especially since all of the profits go to helping elephants!  I would highly recommend doing this tour when the weather is cooler or in the morning as you will be outside and it could be very hot in the afternoon in the summer.

If you want a longer tour of more safari animals, check out the Wild Africa Trek!

A close up of baby Stella!

Quarantine Update

This has been a challenging time for all of us.  Never has anything like this happened in my lifetime and some days have been harder than others.  Although I am an extrovert and desperately miss socializing (I would give anything to go enjoy a drink at a bar right now), I have been trying to focus on the positives and wanted to share my happy thoughts!

  1. I am healthy and so are my family and friends!  Even though this virus has impacted many people across the globe, I am grateful that I am healthy and that the people I care about are too.
  2. I am employed!  Working for Disney during this time has been a new experience.  We all have had to change the way we do our work to incorporate more technology (lots of video calls) and our roles are beginning to change too.  Disney unfortunately had to furlough many people, but I am blessed that I am not one of them.  This is definitely something to be thankful for while I see so many people suffering and struggling with unemployment.
  3. I have been learning more than ever!  Not only have I been learning new roles at work while some of my coworkers are being furloughed, but I have been taking extra time to grow.  I have been listening to lectures on Khan Academy, a free resource that has many different lessons (I have been studying US History). I have also made the decision to start studying for the GMAT so I can hopefully start school this fall to get my MBA.
  4. I found my passion for reading again! I have always loved to read but I have been doing it slowly.  I am usually so busy that I read a little here and there but I don’t make the time to sit down for a few hours and enjoy a good book.  That has changed during quarantine as I am already on book #6!  I forgot how much I loved to read and hope to keep this habit going strong when life resumes back to “normal”.
  5. I am focusing on me! With no distractions and no excuses it is easier for me to focus on myself.  I have been working on creating a routine that I want to maintain when “normal” life resumes.  I have been taking a relaxing bath on Sundays, working out for an hour each day, going on lots of walks with Mowgli, focusing on healthy eating, and really trying to enjoy simple things in life like going to the grocery store and playing card games with my sister.

I have found that when you are like me and used to a life of constant craziness, it can be difficult to learn how to slow down.  But through this time, I have found an appreciation for living simply.  Not every day is easy, but I hope that everyone is staying home and staying safe as best they can so that we can all come back stronger and wiser!

Thanks Aunt Lynne for the masks!