Friday, March 6, 2009

     It was my first day of work at my new internship in Disney World I was so excited. I had been going through training the last past week. I had to learn how to wave correctly, how to sign my new work name, I had to get sized for my costume, then see the stylist so she could show me how to do my hair and make-up for the days I had to work. All of this and now I could finally play the part. I landed the part of being an actual Disney Princess and not just anyone but the one that as I was a little girl dreamed about growing up to be. I was one of the Disney’s Bells from the classical movie Beauty and the Beast.
     I arrived right on time backstage to get my wig on, have someone do my make-up and put my yellow Bell gown on. Once all of my last touches were taken care of, I went and stood in front of the huge mirror in the dressing room and just froze. I couldn’t believe it; I had made my childhood dream come true.
     My Disney escort Emily interrupted my fascination at looking at myself by asking me if I was ready to go? Still in shock I just nodded yes. We walked down the halls under the park to my first meet and greet, this is where I had to sign autographs and take lots of pictures with little adoring fans. I was so nerves, I wanted everything to go well, I didn’t want to mess up on my first day as Bell. We arrived at the door that opened to the actual castle where I would begin. Before opening the door for me, Emily looked at me and once again asked me “are you ready?” I just simply replied back, “ as ready as I’ll ever be”, and threw on my huge Disney smile. Then the doors opened and I made my graceful debue.
     As I walked to my post, there were a ton of flashes from cameras and little girls screaming, “look there’s Bell.” I could feel the butterflies in the pit of my stomach. I just keep going on though doing my graceful wave I learned and kept smiling. Once at my post before Emily let the first little girl over to begin the meet and greet, she looked at me and said, “breath, your Bell and your fabulous.” I laughed and every that all me nervousness disappeared.
Fifty-seven meet and greets later and I was done with that part. Now it was time to change my dress and get ready for the Disney Year of a Million Dreams light parade. Which ended up being a lot less nerve wrecking then the meet and greets. It was always such a fun way to end a busy workday.
     In the end I realized being a Disney Princess can be somewhat exchausting, but it was always worth every moment. From making a little girls dreams come true by giving her Bells autograph and taking a picture, to dancing with my Beast on the floats. I realized that when you wish upon that big star in the sky as a kid, your dreams really could come true.
     “Thank you for flying with us today and welcome to Orlando, Florida.” I was there, I was only four years old and I knew exactly what the stewardess that was making the announcement should have really said,” Hannah welcome to Disney World.” I was so excited! My mother and grandmother had decided to take my older cousin Erin and I to Orlando for my great grandfathers birthday and for a two day adventure in Disney World and an adventure it would be.
     I had been counting down this trip for two months, I could not wait to see the one person who I idealized, who I wanted to grow and be. My goal while here was to meet Bell from the Beauty and the Beast.
     Bell was my all time favorite Disney character. I was her for Halloween, I had her doll, Bell make-up, and I even had the Beauty and the Beast sheets for my bed. I was crazy about her and my mom promised me I could meet her, take a picture with her and get her to sign my new autograph book. I couldn’t wait!
     It took me what seemed like forever to find where Bell was. We had already meet half of the other Disney Princesses and I asked all of them, “Do you know where I can find Bell?” It wasn’t until when I got to Snow White to get a straight answer. She told me that Bell was in a show that started in about thirty minutes. I gave Snow White a hug, told her “Thank You for the information” and then told my mom that we had to get to that show!
     My mom made sure all four of us were going to get there on time. See what Snow White didn’t tell me was Bell’s show was at the other Disney Park Hollywood Studios, we were in the Magic Kingdom. I saw my mom pull one of the character escorts over to the side and I saw him make a call on his walkie-talkie, I had no idea what was going. Once the gentleman was off his walkie, he said something to my mom and then my mom, grandmother, cousin and I were off to the front of the Magic Kingdom. As we were walking, my mom was explaining to my grandmother how Disney goes above and beyond for the kids here and how they are going to make a little wish come true.
     Once we got to the front there was another Disney employee holding up a sign with our last name on it in front of a small Disney shuttle. We boarded the shuttle and off we went to the back of Hollywood Studios. I asked my mom “why are we back here?” I was getting anxious and upset. I started to worry and think I’m never going to see Bell; I’m going to miss her whole show.
     The shuttle stopped and there was another Disney employee dressed in a suit this time, my mom introduced him as Mr. Rob. He came up to me, got down on one knee so he was at my level and asked me, “is it true you are Bell’s biggest fan?” I went blank, I didn’t know what to say, and I just looked back at my mom. She just smiled and said, “Go on, tell him, don’t be shy.”
I looked back at him and explained how I have tons of Bell stuff, how I have not been able to find her all day and she’s the only person I really want to see. After I finished my long, breathless explanation, Mr. Rob stood up, took my hand and we started walking towards a small building.
     Once we were in front of the door to the building, Mr. Rob knocked, took a peak in and then opened it wide so I could walk in first. I walked in and their sitting at her vanity putting some make up on, in her yellow dress was Bell. She turned around to face me and said, “I’ve heard you Hannah have been looking for me all day.” I was speechless, Bell knew my name, and she knew what I had been doing all day. I couldn’t say anything I just walked up to her and gave her a huge hug.
      Once all my jitter bugs went away, I got my picture taken with her, got her autograph and explained to her how I wanted to be just like her when I got older. It was a true Disney Magical experience.
      About a year ago when I got into Disney University my brought this story up again. She told me that she really does now Mr. Rob they went to college together at University of North Carolina and she had gotten in touch with him right before we went on the trip. I still have the picture of Bell and I hung up in my room with her autograph under it. Every time I look at the picture I always think “man Disney really does go above and beyond.” They try to make sure that every child that enters through the Magic Kingdoms gates dreams comes true.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

From Our Seats

     The first day of class and I arrived at four, being the first one in the room. I sat there thinking I wonder if this teacher is going to be hard? I wonder how many assignments we could really get being that it is only an eight-week class. Would he teach us new steps on how to write, give input on our essays or just hand them back with a huge red letter on the paper? I was wondering is he going to be an old mean grouch like some professors. By this point people were walking in, Nick, Jennifer, Pierre Amanda and a few of the other students. Then in walks a red haired guy, who I thought was a student until he started taking every thing out of his bag on the desk up front. Once he had everything organized and was passing out our first syllabus, our first class started, “Hello, I’m Mr. Gasparo, this is English 111, hope everyone is in the right spot, and I’m your teacher for the next eight weeks.”
     The syllabus showed that over the next eight weeks we were going to be writing a novel, or so it seemed like that, by the time this class was over. It was going to be essay after essay after essay. As I was looking it over I was thinking what have I got myself into? Can I handle this class and all of my other schoolwork? Right after thinking all that and getting a little stressed out for a minute, Mr. Gasparo told us he was an understanding guy and knows this seems like a lot of work and he can help out if we just make sure to let him know what was going. That was a nice sigh and relief after that comment from half of the class.
     We jumped right into learning how to put an essay together. We learned how to format, how to begin your introduction and how to blend that introduction with your conclusion. We went over things step by step, reviewed it a few times, read other essays that we discussed about how the writer wrote the paper and then we got into the real challenge, we had to start writing on our own.
     In the beginning the writing seemed to be a breeze. The topics were enjoyable they weren’t mind bending; they were topics we could all get a good story out of. We worked diligently on them and did a few peer reviews, which were great. It was nice being able to have someone look over your paper make corrections and give their input about what they think should be added or what should not be in your essay. Once we made our corrections, it was time to send our essays in.
     Emailing our essays in was so much easier then having to hand them. It’s less paper, which some say saved the trees, but really it was less for us to carry around or sometimes forget to bring them to class because you left the essay on the kitchen table. And it’s easier to argue when you say you never got it and we did send it by proving to you we did send it by going to our sent mail. It may have been a little difficult in the beginning to figure out how you wanted us to title the subject line of the email but we all eventually figured it out, only took us half of the quarter.
     In the end this eight-week class was well worth it. Mr. Gasparo ended up not being a mean grouchy old professor; he ended up being a teacher that would encourage you to write more. He could give you the criticism you needed so that you could improve. He made himself as much as he could available to his students, which is uncommon in some professors. I really could not have asked for a somewhat easier eight-week English 111 class then I expected.