Hiatus…Sorry About That!

Hey readers! Sorry about that ridiculously long hiatus I accidentally went on! I received a full time employment position and needed to learn how to balance that out with everything else in my life including a side part time job teaching dance! But fear not friends, I am still here and I intend to continue blogging! If you have been following my twitter or instagram, you can see that I have been plenty active in the Disney Parks community! I will be giving the world a blog dedicated purely to my Disney adventures shortly! Thanks for hanging in there if you did and if you didn’t I totally understand! I shall be posting a book review of a book I read ages ago later tonite, so stay tuned and keep Sifting Through Shelves!

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Maintaining A Positive Attitude While Abroad

SONY DSC I know a lot of others like myself who have participated in an internship or study abroad program. My program was one that a lot of people have participated in, the Disney College Program; my program was in Florida but there is also one in California. I had the amazing opportunity to begin working with Disney at my local Disney Store before moving to the most magical place on earth. I participated in the Disney College Program and the Disney Professional Internship Program. This meant a year away from my home in Pennsylvania. I’m still in Florida now, happy as a clam so I figured I would share with the world how I maintain my positive attitude so far from home.

For one thing, I do maintain contact with my family and friends regularly. Technology has made it much easier to study or work abroad these days. With Facebook, Twitter, FaceTime, email, texting etc, I can contact family whenever they are available at the same time as I am, breaks from work, days off, etc. I also keep everyone in the loop through postings lots of pictures on social media and occasionally sending cards home. Sometimes it feels good just to put something in the mail. I also visit when I can and they visit me when possible! (How could they not?! I live in Disney World?!)

One of the most important things while being far away from home and family for the first time is keeping things in perspective and while I will openly admit that sometimes I’ve failed at this. However, keeping the future in proportion, and realizing that your family has your back will definitely keep the anxiety of future plans to come in check. I always try to remember that I am living in the Most Magical Place on Earth and that always lifts my mood whenever I am freaking out about jobs, money, or the future. Not every day will be perfect, but as a whole, being abroad anywhere is an incredible experience. I don’t know anyone who has every regretted it!

One of the things I can consistently add to and look back on if I’m feeling blue is my Magical Moments Journal. It’s like my own version of Ellie’s Adventure Book. I keep little scrapbook-able momentos in the back half of the pages and write down magical moments next to the date in the front half. I spend a lot of time in the wonderful parks and hotels of the resort and I want to remember as much as I can, whether that be through notes or pictures. Whenever I’m having a down day, these notes remind me of what an amazing time I’m having and what a wonderful place I get to work in and the difference I make in the vacations of families and the difference the people of WDW make in my life!

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 2.25.52 PMThis leads me to my next little trick. Gratitude, sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) when I am visiting the parks, whether on a planned whole day there with friends or on my own after work, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity I have been presented with. I get to visit this amazing place whenever I want and be surrounded by the culture of something I have been in love with for a very long time. I love Disney, unapologetically so. Being around the parks all the time and in one of the hubs of Disney culture, and being surrounded by other people who love Disney as much as I do has presented a unique opportunity to research and talk with people who are as passionate as I am. Since I am also a writer on top of everything else, I read a lot of books to supplement my knowledge so that I can eventually share it with others.

I also stick to my roots. I love dance, history and theatre and cosmetics so I have also picked up part time jobs at a local dance studio and at a new Lush Cosmetics store. I also volunteer at the local history museum giving tours. I then have a chance to explore the city of Orlando, and do research at the museum’s research center and the library next door. Sure, I have a really full plate, but it’s good that I keep myself busy so that I can keep that homesickness at bay and enjoy myself to the fullest.

If I ever find myself freaking out and just feeling really down for some reason and I have the financial means to do so, I treat myself. Whether it’s to a new pin or a side of Mickey Waffles at a resort. I know what I can do to pick myself up. Visiting a park or watching a Disney movie are other ways to raise my mood. Sipping a coffee while strolling down Main Street USA or riding the train around the Magic Kingdom while eating popcorn or visiting my favorite character at Animal Kingdom before watching Festival of the Lion King. One show that NEVER fails to cheer me up is Fantasmic. If I’m feeling blue, I hop on the Tower of Terror or Toy Story Midway Mania, grab some mac and cheese from my favorite quick service stand and head to Fantasmic. It’s a quick evening that I can do after work and it’s my ultimate pick me up. Sometimes I need something that’s not Disney, and that’s totally ok. I grab a John Green book, watch some reruns on Netflix with a Lush Bath Bomb or read some Harry Potter with a cup of tea. Whatever I need that day. Knowing how to cheer yourself up when you are feeling down is a great way to maintain your happiness while abroad.

The last thing that always makes each day lovely is living in the moment. I don’t mean forgetting about the future or abandoning responsibilities, I just mean taking each moment of each day as its own. Living in the future tends to lead to stress and living in the past leads to regret. Living in the here and now, as a professor of mine once put it, allows me to make each moment count and enjoying each day to its fullest. #YOLO as people sometimes put it, but in a sensible way. Not going out of control, just allowing time to enjoy myself, not everyone gets to live in a kingdom with a castle and everyday access to their favorite place on earth!

It’s a Small World

 

Sun collage It's a small world

I will always defend the truth in this song. It was written by the Sherman brothers for the 1964 World’s Fair and it rings with truth now as it did then. The world is, if it could be, smaller now than it was then. Social media has made connection with everyone who uses it instantaneous. The distance between myself and friends in the UK is nothing with Twitter, Instagram and Skype. The oceans only divide us physically and everyone sees the same sun, moon and stars, but what makes people amazing is how we can all see the same thing so differently. This point is made fabulously in the It’s a Small World attraction by showing a different representation of the sun in every area of the world that your boat goes through. With every day the world gets smaller. It was massive when we had to travel it on foot, it was huge when we had to travel it by train, carriage, car and boat. Now that there are planes and the internet, we can get anywhere we want in as little as the time it takes to Skype a friend, turn on a Youtube video, log in to Twitter or Facebook or the length of a plane ride. I could hop on a plane now and be in Japan by tomorrow if I wanted to. This used to be impossible less than a century ago. Think about that for a second. The world is a paradox, it’s so big that some of us only hope we get to see a fraction of it, yet it’s so small in that we can travel it in an instant from the comfort of our own homes. As the Sherman brothers said, this song is a prayer for peace. It’s a small world, and it gets smaller every day, coexistence and peace and harmony are crucial and yet still seem to evade us. I can only hope that eventually, the prayer for peace is answered with harmony between the people of this very small and ever shrinking world.

“It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears

It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears.

There’s so much that we share

That it’s time we’re aware

It’s a small world after all

It’s a small world after all (3x)

It’s a small, small world

There is just one moon and one golden sun

And a smile means friendship to everyone

Though the mountains are wide

And the oceans divide

It’s a small world after all…”

Keep sifting through shelves, it’s one of the best ways to explore the small world, after all.

 

As Dreamers Do: Movie Review

I recently saw an amazing film made by a gentleman named Logan Sekulow, written by Wendy Ott and starring Olan Rogers and released by Vision Films. The film is a biopic about Walt Disney called As Dreamers Do. The film tells the story of Walt Disney from his early days moving to Marceline, MO until he first drew Mickey Mouse. It covers his often glanced over childhood and introduces the viewer to his family and friends. It tells the not always happy story of the genius before success strikes. His journey was definitely not easy, but the film is incredibly inspiring.

The movie does an excellent job with one foot on the side of documentary and one foot on the side of a period piece. The film is narrated by Travis Tritt and all of the music is original. It feels like someone who truly knew Walt when he was alive is sitting with you telling you the whole story. They did a lot of filming on site in Misosuri and there was clearly a lot of research done into both the characters and the story. The authenticity is fantastic!

I got to watch the movie early because I pre-ordered the digital download of the film and I also got the commentary. The director is clearly passionate about the project and put a lot of work into it. The writing is great, as is the acting from the whole cast. Young Walt just makes me want to hug him and take him to Disney World to show him what his dreams and his art become. Olan Rogers, who plays Walt as an adult has all the enthusiasm that we have grown to believe Walt possessed and his relationship with Roy in the film is nothing short of a real brotherly relationship. They but heads at times but when it really comes down to it, they care deeply for one another.

The film is having several premieres throughout the country and the pre-sale of the film has ended, however, the film is set to have a full release but there has been no set date as of yet. The official website for the movie is www.waltmovie.com. When you go to the site, the trailer automatically plays and I guarantee, you will immediately be sucked into the story. I am an avid fan of Walt and all things Disney history and this movie told a beautiful story of a man who changed the face of entertainment, but as of the end of the film, he just doesn’t know it yet. The movie also has a Facebook page that keeps fans updated on the premieres with photos from the viewings and is a great way to interact with the amazing people who made this film. This is by far the easiest and best way to keep up to date on the happenings of the film; when they decide on a release date for the movie, this will be the place it is posted first. If you don’t want to miss out on the movie, I highly suggest following them on Facebook and signing up for email alerts from the filmmakers on their website.

 

(Photo is from http://www.facebook.com/waltmovie)

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story Movie Review

IMG_6283I finally got to watch the definitive documentary on two of the most famous behind the scenes men at the Walt Disney animation Studios, the Sherman brothers. Even if you don’t know much about the brothers themselves, you know their music. They are responsible for a lot of the great Disney songs of the time before Walt’s passing and even a few afterwards. They are most famous for their music in Mary Poppins, the Jungle Book and the theme songs for the Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World in the theme parks. Their songs get stuck in your head whether you want them to or not. (My apologies now for It’s a Small World being stuck in your head for the rest of the day). But one of my favorite parts of the film is where Dick is talking about It’s a Small World and how it’s a prayer for peace as opposed to a silly novelty. Listen to the lyrics in their entirety some time.

Like all true behind the scenes work done about Disney, it’s not all about the music and the pixie dust. The story of Bob and Dick Sherman or The Boys as they were called around the studio is rather tragic. As close as they seemed as a song writing dynamic duo for the ages, they are incredibly distant. In fact, after they stopped writing for the studio, they stopped speaking or really interacting outside of that required for polite society gatherings until the making of the documentary. Their sons barely knew each other until they sort of rediscovered each other while making this film. It’s a very true representation of what naturally happens when you put two very brilliant people in the same room for too long.

The movie tells of their struggles to succeed apart from one another in their respective fields of composition and writing. Dick wanted to be a composer for concert halls and Bob wanted to write the great American novel. Their father finally challenged them by saying that if they put their talents together he bet that they couldn’t come up with a good song. Well, we all know what happens when we are challenged…and so the dynamic musical duo of Disney was born.

It’s a beautiful story of how even if people don’t get along personally, they might still be brilliant business partners. It also does an amazing job of describing the phenomenon of the emotional artist. It’s well known that while all artists have art as their creative outlet, it’s occasionally hard for us to keep our emotions in check and sometimes artists lash out at those closest to them. You get the feeling that the results of artists are beautiful but the artists themselves can be hard to live with. IMG_3039

It’s also unfortunately clear that Walt was one of the things that held the Sherman brothers together and when he passed away, it was too much for the boys to handle and that was definitely on of the things that drove them apart. They no longer had the magical glue that inspired them to create such beautiful music. It’s beautiful when they say that they believed they were writing songs that would not last. They believed that they would fade into history when in fact, they are so beautifully simple and singable that they have become timeless treasures. They are still surprised at how much their music is engrained in the hearts of people of all ages all over the world. Unfortunately we only have one of the great Sherman brothers alive with us today. Bob Sherman passed away in 2012, but he left a collection of paintings here as his legacy along with his music. He used painting as a way to cope with the intense pain of having fought in WWII and the results are breath taking.

I loved every part of this movie and it was truly an eye opening experience to learn about the difficult story of the legendary Sherman brothers, or the Boys. There are so many beautiful stories in the film and it’s a great companion to another Disney documentary, Waking Sleeping Beauty. Both tell the hard but true story of the great Disney heritage that we still enjoy today! I sifted through quite a few library shelves to find this one and I’m sure glad I did. “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day”. Keep sifting through shelves!