Monday, October 18, 2010

Austin TX: Bats, Bagels, & Butt-Kicking Auditions

My dream of being a Character Performer at WDW sent me on a journey to Austin and a very unforgettable weekend...

So Friday morning was spent with two of my very best friends, Kelly & Perry! Perry came up to visit us Thursday night!! Perry helped me make some final minute errands and then we all had lunch! Vanilla Bear, thank you so much for coming to see us!! We love you! :o)
Friday afternoon at about 12:15, we began our 7 hour journey to Austin. My first thought was "oh-my-gosh-how-can-we-find-7-hours-worth-of-conversation?!" but I guess I forgot that Alex Peyroux was sitting in my passenger seat because the drive was probably the funniest and most entertaining 7 hours ever spent in a car...but we won't go into detail.

Halfway through the trip, we had to stop at a McDonald's because Alex had a free burger coupon. Of course the McDonald's we would stop at would have a fancy indoor play-place and of course we had to sneak in & play! and let me tell you: those tubes are far more constricting than they appear. After taking what felt like 25 minutes to climb to the top of the 15 ft tubes (I was surpassed by the same child TWICE) we took the slide down, shocked by each little metal dot thingie on the way... ah nostalgia.The only thing missing was my hair sticking to the sides of the walls from the static electricity. I had no idea how much bigger I was since the last time I was in one of those things. After receiving dirty looks from every parent and cashier in the place, we hit the road.
So at about 9pm, we reached Austin, checked into our lovely Days Inn. For 50 dollars I could not have asked for anything better than what we got. We definitely lucked out. We decided to relax & call it an early night. It's really amazing how exhausting sitting can be.

I woke up 4 minutes before my 8am alarm and started getting ready for the day. Our first stop was to check out Lake Travis & The Mansfield Dam. The scenery on the drive to the lake was absolutely beautiful! And of course, the scenery once we got there was pretty amazing as well.

Upon Arrival, we were greeted by a real live ROAD RUNNER!

So we spent the morning exploring the dam...
Which, sadly, was not open to walk across...
Which didn't make me too happy. So we moved on, paid 3 bucks a pop, and decided to explore the Lake & park!
After a very peaceful morning by the water, we decided it was time to explore downtown Austin....
However...once seeing this on the side of the road it was imperative to make a pit stop. I cut the wheel as fast as i could & pulled up in front of this little gem:
Now, for those of you who know me, i am THE BIGGEST FAN OF CUPCAKE WARS ON THE PLANET!!!!

After some research, i found that Cupcake Wars has them scheduled for next season's line up!! To be able to brag & say I've been there makes me one happy camper indeed.

This is the "Pumpkinator" in all of its sweet, sugary glory
(insert angel chorus here)

Cupcakes for breakfast. The world would be a happier place if we started each day this way.

After our pit stop at Hey, Cupcake, we headed to 6th street downtown to do a little exploring. the first stop on our journey was the ORIGINAL Whole Foods Market. (Eat your heart out, Andrew Billion) In all seriousness, the only thing i love more than cupcake wars is WHOLE FOODS MARKET! When we walked up you would think I was at the front gate of the Magic Kingdom. I was giddy like a six year old. We did a good bit of exploring and i'm telling you, if you've never been, this is the coolest place on the planet. It's like the mecca for healthy food. they have anything and everything you could ever want food wise. At this point, my mind was pretty much made up that we were never coming home. I love Austin!

After Whole Foods, we explored 5th & 6th street, then made our way down to South Congress street which was pretty much a hippie paradise. We found a lot of cool novelty shops and antique-esque places. I felt like the odd-girl out without crazy colored hair or rainbows sandals on my feet or a trendy straw fedora on my head. Over all, I love downtown Austin. Its funny though, how much I was reminded of New Orleans. A less trashy New Orleans. I guess big cities all boil down to the same things: food & pretty things to look at.

Now, I was told by a few people "You have to see the bats, you have to see the bats" & after some research on said bats, I was pretty darn excited to go check out what they claim is 1.5 million bats that exit under this bridge each evening at sunset. So we sit on a hillside, and we wait, then we move, and we wait, then we wait some more and its finally dark. Still no bats. However, when a boat flashes its red light under the bridge (which, if you ask me, the light should have been the same type of light they used in the old Batman comics. But that's just me.) You could see hundred and hundreds of bats flying around and raising cane! I was getting pretty pumped thinking "this is it! here they come!" which after a while a few came flying around, but no big ta-dah as everyone claimed it would be. However, the few bats that swooped in front of us scared me enough that I was satisfied with what we got.

Dinner at Whole Foods followed the bat sightings and it was amazing, of course...oh & in true Austin-wannabe fashion I bought my first pair of TOMS! I have been waiting to buy TOMS for months now but I couldn't find them anywhere and if i did find em i didnt like em and then i found em online where the shipping was out of this world yadda yadda yadda.

So thank you Whole Foods, you've outdone yourself yet again...

Sunday morning we decided to sleep in because we knew we would have some time to kill before the audition which started at 4. Around eleven we checked out of the Days Inn and made our way to Panera Bread for breakfast.
This is panera breads breast cancer awareness bagel! It was cherry vanilla flavored and down right nasty but hey it was for an amazing cause thats near & dear to my heart so i HAD to buy it!

Not only did I buy the breast cancer bagel, but I bought five others as well...I've been enjoying bagels all week & I cant tell you how sad I'll be when they're gone. After getting our fill on carbs, we roamed around the little shopping center where Panera was located. We entertained ourselves at Best Buy & a costume shop. So far, a very lovely day.
Once we made it downtown, we found free parking right across the street from the ballet studio. We had an hour or so to kill so we roamed around downtown yet again. With each step i felt absolutely anxious, excited, sick, and thrilled all at the same time.
Here is Ballet Austin, where the Disney Character Audition was held!
Here are just a few members of my new Disney family.
Its really funny to walk into a room where everyone is just as strange and in love with the same things you are strangely in love with-- Like Disney & its furry friends. It's like this instant connection with perfect strangers from different cities, backgrounds & walks of life. I know how rare this is so I appreciate these people so much already. I look forward to our adventures in Orlando, gang.
Here is Shelby & me with our audition cards.
What a precious girl!
Tell me she is not a total Alice look-alike?!

So we fill out our audition cards & each get assigned a number. We are measured and take a head shot and then we wait, because when you have to go through this process with about 130 other people, you do a lot of waiting.

First, we meet our choreographer. He's super spunky and energetic, classic Disney performer. He has been in performance at Disney World since the year before I was born. He was, ahem, "friends" with characters such as Peter Pan & Porkchop in the Doug Live show (which was awesome, i totally miss that show) In other words, he knows his stuff. Our first assignment is to learn a 2 eight-count march just like the do in the parades. We do this march to the song "A Star is Born" from Hercules. I did the march with no problems, but my adrenaline was through. the. ROOF. I could barely believe my audition was finally happening! If this was all the audition would be, it'd be smooth sailing right? --WRONG!

So after the magical march, we wait for what seems like 30 years to find out if we made the cut. How relieved I was to hear number 42 called. Sigh of relief and then back to learning our next dance which was six 8 counts. Let me tell you something right now: Disney don't play! Oh, how i regretted dropping my Beginner's Ballet class this semester! This dance was pretty much a challenge for all the remaining candidates. I believe they gave us such a difficult & technical dance just to see how we handled the pressure and to see how much fun we had learning & performing. Hopefully my beliefs are correct because I BUTCHERED the dance, but had a heck of a lot of fun doing so!
Not only were we to dance to a High School Musical song, but we were to do a little improvisation. Whenever our choreographer said "plant a tree" we pretended to plant a tree...and when the choreographer said to "be a monkey" that's what we did. Now, dancing may not be my thing, but i can be a total and complete HAM when it comes to acting a fool on a stage. So i did my thing. I made eye contact with a judge and she laughed rediculously and afterwards a guy pulled me to the side stating "you did the funniest impersonation of a monkey I've ever seen in my life" So....this means one of two things: I have a very animated body/face...or im just so ugly its hilarious.. eh, who knows?
Auditions are comes the wait!

Phenomenal job guys! you all did amazing!
We won't know for a few weeks if we are performers, but until then we will anxiously await an email from the mouse!
I am so thankful for the new friends I've made! We already text, are facebook buds, and even have plans to meet up before we head to Orlando! Brenden: can't wait to watch yall perform at Tulane & to have a NOLA adventure day! yay!
We say our goodbyes & head back to bayou land...but not before forgetting Houstons keys in my purse & having to turn around on all of the crazy one-way streets of downtown Austin!

Heading back to Louisiana was a very chill & very relaxed ride home. Around Lafayette we decided it was time for a stroll down memory lane. There is nothing quite like ending a fabulous road trip with a 90s sing-a-long at 2 in the morning!

Overall, the weekend was nothing short of a total and complete blast!
I am THAT much more excited to be heading to Orlando in just a little less than three months! I already know that Disney will be giving me so many opportunities and I am so thankful for each and every new experience!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

growing old is mandatory...growing up is optional.

Well...another year older...& none the wiser. hah!

When 12 am rolled around this morning, I was nowhere near sleep, up to my eyeballs in homework, research, and presentations. Just when I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed I was stricken with memories of my tenth birthday. I remember such random details like what I wore (a lovely leopard ensem. *whistle, whistle*), some of the gifts I got, and my family enjoying the day with me. I think my dad called me "double-digit-midget" like 900 times. clever, no? I love my dad, no matter how weird & unbelievably cheesy he is. some things never, ever change.
ten years later, here I am. A junior in college with such a promising future, but no matter how old I get I still feel like awkward-gawky-frizzy-haired-headgear-wearing Stephani.
Its funny how much changes in a short time...and also how much things stay the same.

So anywho... A very early morning conversation I had with a friend today reminded me of just how fast time is flying and how many things i want to accomplish before another 10 years zooms by. Realizations like this only make me that much more confident in my decision to attend the Disney College Program.
It's kinda sad how I can relate almost anything & everything to Disney World in some sense. But in all goal for the next ten years is to do absolutely EVERYTHING I dream to do. to not be afraid to take a risk, a leap of faith, or a chance. who knows, maybe ill even revive the old bucket list blog!!

Thank you Lord, for blessing me with another amazing year. I am so thankful for the multiple blessings I receive day in and day out!

p.s.--to all of those who made my birthday amazing...thank you!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"is it still real?"

Jordan Keiff & I are still squealing like little 5 year olds about the fact that we will be living in Disney for five months. But hey, who in the world cold blame us?
our text convo this morning was something along the lines of:

JK-"Is it still real?!"
SC-"Yes, AAAAH!"
JK-"I know!! AAAH!"
SC-"what do your parents and g/f think?"
JK-"They're peeing their pants about it."
I don't think the excitement of this news will fade anytime soon.

I drove to Thibodaux last night to share the news with my family. Everyones pretty stoked...I think its because they can visit and stay with me for a discount? Eh, who knows?

But in all seriousness, I am beyond excited to begin my preparations for my departure. Visiting the website, gathering info and learning more about what ill be doing when I get there has got me wishing it was January 12th! However, theres a TON to be done before leaving.School required documentation, Medical Forms, and meetings with my advisor will all take place before leaving for the fall break next weekend, and thats on top of my extremely busy school week..and my BIRTHDAY! Yippy skippy!

Not only is Disney a big event coming soon, but our road trip to Austin is quickly approaching and of course the 3-Day for a Cure in Dallas will be here in about 33 days!

Thank you Lord for the continual blessings and opportunities you have placed in front of me!

I feel like my life has become such a crazy whirlwind in a matter of a week, but for this afternoon, I think I will just slow down, enjoy time with my dad, snack on sushi, watch football and bake funfetti cupcakes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

and so it begins.

After many years of anxiously waiting...
after a very nervous internet interview...
after a very exciting phone interview...
and after a week of impatiently anticipating a response...
I have just received the best news I have heard in quite some time....

I'm going to be living in the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!
Living with the big Mouse himself!
yep thats right! I have been hired on for the Spring 2011 DISNEY COLLEGE INTERNSHIP!
im moving to DISNEYWORLD im moving to DISNEYWORLD im moving to DISNEYWORLD!!

When I tell you I am over-whelmed, over-joyed, and just plain THRILLED...these are all understatements. Words could not even begin to express how I felt when I got my acceptance email today. Congratulations also to Jordan Keiff & Joshua Austin! My fellow R.A.'s who will be joining me on this amazing journey!!! Can't wait can't wait can't wait!!!

So January 12, it all begins. I will be moving to Orlando, living in Disney's apartments with seven new roomies (but i decided to be pun-ny and call them my dwarfs! HAAAH!) and I will begin my college internship and a character attendant...that is, unless my performance audition goes well (but that's another story)

So you may find yourself asking, "What does a character attendant do?" Well let me tell ya:

Responsibilities may include:

  • Providing Guests with information about show schedules, Character locations, and visitation times
  • Providing audience control, including handling challenging Guest situations
  • Ensuring the safety of Character Performers and our Guests
  • Partnering with Disney's Photopass® photographers
  • Maintaining show quality and Character integrity
  • Setting up and removing stanchions, ropes and poles
  • Assisting Character Performers with putting on costumes
  • Retrieving and arranging strollers
  • Maintaining cleanliness and order in work location
  • Standing for extended periods, working outdoors
I am so excited to have the job of my dreams working for one of my favorite corporations while representing my favorite university!! But as I begin to prepare for this new journey, I ask that you all pray for me. That I will shine brightly for the Lord as I enter a new chapter of my life, that I will make great friends along the way, and that I can gain great experiences and opportunities from my journeys through this new wonderland!!!

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.