And they lived happily

Wow… It’s over.

For 10 years now, I have been dreaming and praying for a chance to be a part of Disney.

Since the 6th grade: I have not dyed my hair any color that doesn’t look natural. I have attempted to keep the length of my hair and fingernails conservative. I have refused to get any tattoos or more than one piercing. I have measured myself fairly often to make sure I was still the same character height.

To be fair, some of my dreams did not become a reality. I wanted to be a Disney Princess, and that clearly did not happen. But I am so glad I was blessed with Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Safaris was in some ways an answer to all of my deepest desires. 1. I love to talk. 2. I love to teach. 3. I love animals. 4. I love kids. 5. I love Disney.

However, as many of you know, it was not all a walk in park (see previous posts for reference).

I have been pulled, stretched, beat, and bruised. I have been mentally and physically exhausted. I have been filled with intense love and hate for guests and animals.

I have been so focused on showtimes that I have forgotten to thank my guests for coming. And I have been so invested in my guests that I have a 25 minute showtime even though no one was in front of me.

I have learned multiple new languages: phrases in Swahili, Portuguese, ASL, Spanish, and all the radio codes.

I have accumulated a strange knowledge of good and bad quality strollers and how to fold and/or put the parking breaks on said strollers (even the foreign ones).

I have heard elephants trumpet, lions roar, and hippos grunt.

I have seen giraffes sprint, okapis lick their eyeballs, and antelopes spar.

I have been on broken down trucks and have had to entertain 40+ guests for an extended period of time with only bushes for inspiration.

I have learned to sneakiest ways to tell a guest ‘no’ and still make them feel like I just won a new car.

This blog is not enough to tell all of the stories I have stored in my memory from this place. And these stories will last me for years and years.

Thank you- To those who have been by my side at Safaris. Kwaherini my friends. You made every day an adventure. From the times you danced with me at Departure to the times we panicked about the addax, you have made an imprint on my life and I will treasure you in my heart forever.

Thank you- To my sweet and wonderful roommates who were either there to sit and complain about a long day with me, or force me to go do fun things. We have been through so much together and you will all forever be in my prayers!

Thank you- To any of you who have followed this blog. Whether you are a family member, Sagebrush member, friend, or random internet user, thank you for caring about my life and reading the words I type. Sharing in these experiences with all of you has made it even more fun than I had expected!

Thank you- To my family who supported this dream, even though they didn’t fully understand it. I would never have gotten here without you!

Thank you- To Maddy Potter, who walked this entire journey with me, from beginning to end. From the application, to the audition, to Traditions, and to our final days here. We are going to need a support group when we get back to Virginia.

Thank you- To my best friend, Georgia Schaefer, who had the craziest schedule in the world when she came down here and yet still made time for me even though she clearly needed sleep more than another ride on Splash Mountain.

Thank you thank you thank you- To ALL who were part of this journey. I stepped into a fantasy when I first came here. A fantasy that became a nightmare that became a Happily Ever After.

On to new dreams and new adventures! Wherever God leads!

Love to you all,
Megan Dorine

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Cuties!!! (Part 2)

You all really seemed to like my first installment, and the cute kid stories at Disney are endless. So here are a few more of my favorite moments with kids:

Just Kids

So there were twin boys coming down the line all decked out in safari gear. They were dressed head-to-toe in khaki, sporting some very fashionable safari helmets, and had binoculars around their necks.

As they came nearer I said, “What are you guys doing?? You’re supposed to be out there driving trucks and doing safaris!! No wonder this line is so long!”

They looked really confused at their mom. She explained, “She thinks you’re safari drivers.”

The boys looked at each other and smiled wide. In perfect synchronization they took off their hats and, as if they were telling me a huge secret, said, “We’re not safari drivers! WERE JUST KIDS!!”

“Oh what a relief! You looked a little short for those steering wheels!”

The Black Rhino Boy

I have worked with kids long enough to know that they like to touch and feel to understand, so when a little kid wants to touch my name tag, hiking boots, or what have you, it doesn’t freak me out in the least.

Well one little boy came up to me and went to touch the black rhino emblem on my belt. I said, “Do you know what kind of an animal that is?”

He nodded really slowly and whispered, “A rhinoceros…”

“That’s right! It’s a black rhino. They live alone by the water and roll around in the mud to cool off. Does that sound like fun?”

“Mmmhhmmm. I would like to live with a black rhino.”

“Would you? Where would you live?”

Without missing a beat he said matter-of-factly, “I would dig us a tunnel and we would live there together and I would ride the rhino around the jungle.”

“Wow that sounds like a pretty great gig!”

“Yep. And we would fight dragons together.”

You’ve got to love the mind of a child.

Queen Elsa

So one morning I saw a mini Elsa walking along and I waved saying, “Jambo Princess Elsa!”

She immediately spun around and said, “Excuse you! I am a queen!!” and turned right back around to get in line.

These are the attitudes I work with every day at Disney. You’ve got to laugh it off or you get these knots in your neck that just won’t come out except with very expensive masseuses.

P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E

Crocodiles open their mouths to release heat from their bodies and cool down. When I go over croc bridge I will usually throw this fact out if the crocs have their mouths open.

So I started my spiel, “Some of you may be wondering why those crocodiles have their mouths hanging wide open…”

One girl’s arm shot up, “Oh! Oh! I know! I know!!!”

I love interaction from guests so I said, “Alright princess, go ahead, tell everyone why they do that.”

She slowly turned around to the rest of the truck, got really low in her seat and said very deliberately, “They are very patient for their prey…”

I never knew I could feel cold chills and belly laugh at the same time until that moment. I’m fairly certain I didn’t even correct her because I was laughing so hard.

Two Weeks

At the beginning of the safari before we even get on the reserve, a lot of drivers will mention that we are going to be out on the reserve for two whole weeks. This usually gets a laugh from a few people and a lot of hilarious confusion from others.

Well I said my two week thing and no one reacted. So I moved on, no use trying to push a joke on a boring truck. Everything from that point on was pretty normal until we get to the overlook in west savannah.

This is where I say, “This is my favorite view in the entire reserve: These are the Serengeti grasslands. They stretch for hundreds of miles across Africa and serve as the super highway for millions of migrating animals every year.”

Well I didn’t even get to finish that last part because as soon as the words “hundreds of miles” left my mouth one kid yelled, “What?? HUNDREDS OF MILES?!?! NO WONDER THIS SAFARI LASTS FOR TWO WEEKS!”

Banana Man

For girls it’s princesses, for boys it’s superheros. That my friends is called science. (Just kidding. I’m awful at science. Please don’t get all political on me.)

So a family with three boys came up in the line and I saw the youngest had a Batman shirt on. Immediately I said, “Batman! What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be out there protecting Gotham?”

He got really shy on me and so I turned to the next youngest brother who was wearing a Superman shirt. “Oh I see! You’re just hanging out with your buddy Superman over here. How’s it going dude?” I high-fived him and then I look to the older brother.

Yellow. All I see is a yellow shirt. “Aww man,” I said less enthusiastically, “You totally threw off my groove! You couldn’t have tried? I mean really, who are you supposed to be right now?”

He laughed and said, “I don’t know. I guess I’m just a guy wearing a yellow shirt.”

His mom jumped up and got really excited saying, “You’re Banana Man!” (Keep in mind this kid is probably about 15 or 16.)

“No Mom, that’s super lame.”

“No way! You can slip out of any situation. Your catch phrase any time you finish a villain off can be ‘Let’s split!’ All the girls will find you really apeeling.”

She began to rattle off as many banana puns as she could come up with and soon dad started adding his too. I was nearly on the floor with how hard I was laughing.

The kid was taking it lightheartedly at least, but he kept insisting, “No Mom I don’t want to be Banana Man.”

Finally when all of us had run out of puns I said, “Look dude, seriously, bananas are super cool. They have radiation in them and if you eat enough bananas you can actually get radiation poisoning. So maybe you could have like really awesome radiation powers.”

He paused for a good 10 seconds before looking up, placing his hands on his hips and saying, “Alright. I’m Banana Man.”

We all cheered and they got on their truck- Batman, Superman, Banana Man, and their super awesome parents.

That’s it for today. Trust me, I have a lot of stories left in me. My program will be over in about 2 weeks (a real 2 weeks, not safari 2 weeks) and then my life will become drastically less interesting. Let me know if you all want me to keep up with the blog when my time at Disney is over. Thank you for faithfully reading.

Until next time,
Megan Dorine

How to Make a Cast Member’s Day: A Guide

When people come to Disney, they want to have magical moments. They expect a lot out of cast members, and that is a completely fair expectation, but what many do not realize is that there is a lot of magic out of making a difference in another person’s life.

The people who need the most magic at Disney are the people that work there!!

So here is my guide of a few simple things you can do to have awesome moments with cast members.

____________________________________________________________________________________

1. Say hello.

Simple right? But you’d be surprised how many times a day we get overlooked by guests. This is especially true for those not directly involved with an experience such as show keepers (custodial) or tram drivers. They don’t get as much thanks as waiters or even attractions cast members.
Also, when saying hi, use their names! We have name tags for a reason. Please don’t address us with, “Hey lady!” If you can read, you can call me by my name.

2. Ask them about their home town.

Another really convenient thing on our name tags is a conversation starter! Have you been to our hometown? Want to go there? Have no clue where it is? Want to know how to pronounce it? If you see a university on the tag, they are in the college program. Ask them how they are enjoying it or what major they are pursuing.
My favorite thing to ask New Yorkers is what the best and worst things are about Orlando in comparison with New York. Ten times out of 10 they will say the worst thing about Orlando is the pizza. It cracks me up!

3. Don’t stand there awkwardly for more than 10 sec.

Count to 10 mississippi and then start a conversation. We don’t like standing there awkwardly either. This is a great time to ask about some behind the scenes stuff: How many vehicles do you have? How many people do you load a day? Do you like your job? What is the most magical moment you’ve had while working at Disney? Cast members are all story tellers, so give us a prompt and we will entertain you!

4. Pick up your trash

Nothing makes a cast member smile like seeing someone else pick up their own trash. Bonus points it you take time to recycle.

5. Watch your kids and get them talking.

I really admire the parents that let their children get involved in the vacation planning. The kids that are aware of how their vacation is going to work are the ones that are paying attention and understand the significance of their time at Disney. Parents, PLEASE COME PREPARED!! Wait times will be long, create games to play in line. Make a bingo card for seeing if you can get cast member to do certain things like do the hula or make a super funny face. Make waiting part of the experience.
At the very least don’t let them climb on anything or zigzag from FastPass+ to the Stand-By line. It just stresses everyone out.

5. Wear interesting t-shirts.

Maybe this is just me, but it have the best conversations with people who wear cool shirts. That is my way of making interesting conversation. Wear obscure fandom tees and see how many people comment. Weird people work at Disney, there is a very likely chance one of us will watch that show or web series. Just go into your closet and look for something with words and you’re probably good to go.
If you don’t do t-shirts, then DisneyBound! Any Disney fan feels really good when they can figure out your subtle nod to a Disney character.

6. Take a photo with them.

If a cast member makes a difference in your day, ask to take a photo with them. It will make us feel just a little extra special and you can delete it in like 2 sec if you really don’t care to look at it again.
Even better though- if you are planning to post it on social media tell us what hastag you are using and we can go find it later! That is pretty fun for us!

7. Get excited!

Our job is to be excited at all times of the day 5-6 days a week about the same thing. Safaris is really lucky in that our attraction changes on an hourly basis depending on the animals’ moods, but that poor Toy Story cast member has to pretend to be genuinely excited about serving the 2,579th guest of that day.
When you are excited about going on our attraction, or eating our food, or buying our merchandise, we can get genuinely excited too!

The main thing about making a moment with cast members, is treating them like human beings. We are so often dehumanized by guests and it is exhausting. When you remind us that we are not a Disney robot, but a living a breathing person with physical and emotional needs, then you truly make our day.

Thank you to every guest who has made my job a little easier.

God Bless,
Megan Dorine

I could have any superpower right now, it would be the ability to crawl through this computer and give you a big hug.

So a couple of days ago I DisneyBounded as Honey Lemon to meet Hiro and Baymax. (Go to disneybound.tumblr.com if you have no idea what that means).

Baymax and Hiro are headed back to San Fransokyo on Monday so this was my last time to meet them. The line was tremendously long, so everyone waiting was a super fan! This made our interactions pretty exciting.

I was talking to a girl who had brought a box of legos to play with Hiro (which by the way is the cutest idea ever!). And over my shoulder I hear a mom say, “I’m so sorry, but my daughter was wondering if she could say hi. She’s a big fan.”

I had honestly forgotten about my Honey Lemon status until the little girl whispered, “Hi Honey Lemon…” I waved hello and asked her if she was going to meet my friends Hiro and Baymax later. She nodded yes and then really slow asked, “Where’s Hadashi?”

CUE HEART BREAKING!!!

I smiled and said I had to leave him at the front of the park because he got too caught up in the Frozen parade. She seemed to like this answer and the line moved up so we said our goodbyes.

That was the sweetest moment! I thought, I will treasure that forever, as I’m sure nothing like it will ever happen again.

Well God likes to bless us abundantly, doesn’t He?

A few more moments pass and I hear from across the building, “Oh my gosh!! HONEY LEMON!!!”

I turn and find two boys frantically waving at me from afar. I wave back and give them a peace sign. (Embrace it, right?) They start freaking out and go, “Wait! Where’s Fred??”

I laughed and told them he ran to Star Tours the minute we got into the park. The boys turn to their dad and yell, “Dad! We have to go to Star Tours! NOW!!!”

Their dad waved goodbye and mouthed a “Thank you” in my direction as he was dragged away.

This is so cool! Is this what face characters feel all the time?

The line was moving pretty well at that point, until we got the dreaded message that Baymax needed to recharge for about 15 minutes.

Okay, so we will be waiting here for a little while. Pretty much everyone sat on the floor at that point, but heels, dress, and knowing how often they clean that floor kept me standing.

Now I was really sticking out like a sore thumb. A girl a few families down said, “Hey, Honey Lemon, I like your work. Actually I want to be a scientist because of you. Girls can do science too, right?”

Woah! Yes they can girl!! This character means so much to so many kids. Why in the world is she not part of the meet and greet??

After waiting 1.5 hours I finally got to meet Hiro and Baymax. Hiro joked that I had gotten shorter since the last time we talked so I told him Fred and I were working on that shrink ray. I got a hug and a fist bump from Baymax. It was great, but the magic still wasn’t done.

I started to walk away, and a family was running after me. A little girl grabbed my legs as her mother said, “Is there any way we could get a photo with you? My daughters are obsessed.”

“Of course,” I responded as I wrapped my arms around the two girls. We took some photos and I gave them each a hug.

I walked away feeling like I had made such an impact just by wearing my hipster glasses and putting on a yellow dress. I didn’t do much, but for some reason it created a moment for some little ones.

Disney, thank you for making strong, smart women who can still be cute and girly. Little girls have more to aspire to than waiting in a castle for Prince Charming in these females.

And thank you to every family that made my day magical! Those interactions mean as much to me as they do to your kids.

Honey Lemon out!
-Megan Dorine

Every day, like the one before…

I think I’ve hit a wall with Disney.

That is partly why I have been so infrequent with posting. I’ll start writing an update and halfway through I’ll just get bored. And if I’m bored reading my own writing, you all would barely make it past the first sentence.

So what is going on? Well, darling Disney has become daily, basic, ordinary Disney.

Every day I get up, go work at Disney, go home, and then do it all again the next day.

On my days off when I’ve done laundry, gone grocery shopping, and cleaned the apartment, I might go to Magic Kingdom, watch wishes and ride Haunted Mansion before going to bed.

And honestly, that is pretty cool. I’ll sit on the Liberty Belle and think, “Wow, I am so comfortable here…at Walt Disney World! I know how to get anywhere here in less than 10 min. I have my ‘own spots’ that I’ve claimed. I know cast members in every park and I can easily slip into conversations with guests anywhere, because they are basically visiting my neighborhood.”

That is absolutely amazing!!!  However, it is also a little unfortunate.

The idea of going to Animal Kingdom, or any of the parks doesn’t excite me like it used to. Wishes doesn’t make me cry any more. When I walk on Main Street, I notice trash on the floor before I notice Cinderella’s Castle.

There is something so odd about being familiar with a popular vacation spot. I know FastPass+ better than I know the workings of the US government. I can recite the safety spiel of multiple attractions, but I can’t recite my memory verse that I’ve been supposed to memorize for the last two weeks. Disney is ingrained in my being, maybe forever…

That scares me a bit, because I’ve also seen the underbelly of the beast. I’ve come to understand Disney in a whole new light, not necessarily a bad one, but one that has made my relationship with Disney morph into something so unfamiliar.

All of this said, I think I’m ready to go home. I will cherish this experience for a long time, and I will take advantage of every opportunity while I’m still here, but come August 7th, I think I’ll be ready for the next part of my story.

Sorry Disney, but the affair is over. I’ve lusted after you for quite some time now, and I now realize that you were a fantasy that could never be achieved. God has waited patiently for my heart and I can finally give it ALL to Him, Disney you don’t get to have it any more!

That was my prayer coming here: “God allow me to come closer to being a Proverbs 31 woman than becoming more like a Disney Princess.” And I think that He has done that. I still have quite a way to go, but FINALLY my focus is singular. <<PEACE and SMILES>>

This post was a little introspective, so I promise to post some more cute little stories soon! Just thought you all should get an explanation for my absence.

Au Revoir,
Megan Dorine

I love Canada.

Today we got stranded on Kali River Rapids. The ride stopped because of a technical difficulty and we sat there for probably 15 minutes or so. Then they announced that the ride was no longer in service so we were going to have to evacuate.

I was pretty excited about this. Being evac-ed is one of the coolest things for someone who cares about Disney’s behind-the-scenes. However, the rest of our party was less enthused.

One lady and her son needed to catch a flight soon and were scared they weren’t going to make it. A pair of girls sitting next to us didn’t seem to be in a rush so they were pretty chill. Then there was the Canadian family. There was one older gentleman, his son, and three kids.

After a while of us sitting before the announcement was made, the oldest girl says, “So how’s everyone doing today?” We all chuckled a bit and smiled saying we were very well thank you. We all talked about what our days had looked like and those that were staying more days talked about what they most wanted to do later.

As a Cast Member, this is where I get to shine. I recommended things to them and gave them tips on making the trip easier. But all our conversation was because of this little Canadian girl who just wanted to make sure everyone was doing okay.

Conversation died down a bit, and my roommate pointed to the youngest Canadian kid telling his dad, “He looks a little warm…”

The whole family had on rain ponchos and the little guy was definitely overheating, but he didn’t seem to mind and his was the only one on the boat who hadn’t complained once (AND HE IS FIVE!!!).

I saw that he had a Wilderness Explorer badge, so I asked him if he knew his chant. He didn’t, so I asked if I could teach it to him. The girls next to us suggested that everyone on the raft learn it, so we all worked together until everyone on the boat could collectively go, “THE WILDERNESS MUST BE EXPLORED! CAW-CAW CAW-CAW! RAWWWRRR!!!” I’m pretty sure the whole ride heard us.

At this point we had been there quite some time, and many people were having a hard time staying positive. But this Canadian family continued to amaze. They made polite conversation with everyone, and if one of the kids started to loose their optimism, their dad reminded them what a great experience this was.

Once we were evac-ed out of the raft, we had to stand on the side of the ride for a little while. Here, the older Canadian man pointed to my Albuquerque Little Theatre shirt and asked if I was from ABQ. I told him I was and we talked about the west for a little bit.

Then he noticed the back of my shirt said Anne of Green Gables. He told me he was from Halifax!! It was then that I started freaking out a bit. I told him what a huge fan of Anne I was and asked him if he had heard of Jonathan Crombie’s passing (which is honestly still affecting me on a deep level). He told me all of Canada had heard about sweet Gil.

We spoke about the movies and the books and all of the wonderful things I love about a country I’ve never even been to.

Canadian family that got stuck on Kali River Rapids with me on April 26th, thank you for your positivity and your joy in the midst of something other people consider annoying. Thank you for loving Anne of Green Gables and indulging me in my love of Avonlea. Thank you for raising polite children, for understanding that Disney does everything for a reason, and for smiling when others frowned.

To sum it all up- I love Canada!

-Megan Dorine

Cuties!!!

Time flies when you are having fun! I’ve had a lot of visitors these past few weeks and I’ve also been working ALL THE TIME!! Spring Break is no joke in Walt Disney World. Today I don’t have to work until this afternoon though, so here is another addition to Darling Disney.

One of the privileges of working at Disney is the interactions you have with little kids. Sure, sometimes they are grumpy because they had to skip a nap in order to see Festival of Fantasy, but they always win your heart with a little smile and that unfiltered honesty!

So I thought I’d share a few of my favorite Disney kid moments (:

Baby Elephant

Some kids just don’t quite understand biology. Every antelope is a zebra, and anything larger than that is a giraffe.

If it has ears it’s a dog, if it has legs it’s a cat. I will never understand how they make these assumptions, all I know is that all my correcting them on the safari does absolutely nothing to change what they see.

One such cutie was in the 3rd row of my safari. He was amazed by every animal and always tried to reach out and touch them. I was getting pretty annoyed by the end of my safari (because that is a safety hazard). Finally we get to warthogs and I see some white rhinos that are going to be pretty close to our truck. So I say, “Please remember to keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle as we go past this rhinoceros.”

The kid’s mom gently holds her sons hand and points the rhino saying, “Look sweet, a rhino.”

The child’s eyes got really big as he saw how close it was. He slowly raised his hand and waved whispering, “Hellow baby elwephant. I wuv you.”

I melted. Stick your hand out of the vehicle any time kid. You’re adorable!

Wild African Disco Ball

As we start heading into the reserve, I look in the back and see an overwhelming amount of kids. They were all very talkative and were already asking a lot of questions. I knew from the beginning this would be an interesting trip.

Everything goes as planned until about halfway through the journey.

I look to the left and right and see a whole tower of giraffes. I’m talking about them and giving out all of my giraffe facts. I slowly run out of things to say about them, so I just say, “Phew! That is a lot of giraffes, huh folks? It’s just a big giraffe party!”

One kid yells from the back row, “It’s not a party! Where is the disco ball?!” Great question kid. I mean, what kind of party is it without a disco ball? There is some real logic there.

Well he was clearly waiting for a response and some of the other kids started to agree with him saying, “Yeah! Where is the disco ball?” “I don’t think it looks like a party at all!” I was going to have a mutiny on my hands! So I say the first thing that pops into my head…

“Well the rare African disco ball isn’t found in these parts much any more. In fact, they have become pretty endangered since the 1970s.” That got a big laugh from the parents and seemed to satisfy the kids.

Now every time I see the giraffes running around like it’s a party, I find myself looking for the wild African disco ball. Just incase (;

Warm Hugs

Frozen is EVERYWHERE! I see more Elsa dresses in one day than any other person should see in their lifetime. It’s last year’s Halloween on steroids. So when I see someone with Frozen merchandise, I usually don’t even acknowledge it, but with this kid I just couldn’t resist.

I was loading trucks, and I see two little boys in matching Olaf shirts that say, “I give warm hugs.”

I got down on their level and asked, “So who gives the WARMEST hug, hmm?” The youngest looks down really shy and the older brother says, “He does for sure,” then talking to his brother, “Go on, give her a hug!”

I don’t like to force kids to hug strangers, even at Disney, so I assured the little boy that he didn’t have to hug me, especially because he looked so reluctant. I put up my hand and asked for a high five instead. He high-fived me and then retreated back to his mom.

I talked with the older brother for a bit asking him what his favorite animals were and getting him excited for the trip. Just as I was about to let them go, I see the younger brother creeping forward again. I just smiled at him and gave him another little wave. He slowly walks up to me and gives me the biggest and best hug in the world.

I smiled after he let go and said, “Wow! You do give warm hugs! That one is going to keep me warm all day.”

The older brother laughed and hugged me saying that his hug was to keep me warm the day after that. I let them get on the truck then and watched as the littlest boy turned back around and gave me a little wave. “These are the moments that make it all worth it.” I thought. “No matter how difficult other guests might be and no matter the heat and the pressure and the hours- THIS is why I work at Disney.”

-Megan Dorine

DAPPER DAY!!!!!

Dreams come true at Disney!

I have been obsessed with the idea of Dapper Day from the beginning. Dressing up in vintage styles and going to Disney together?? YES PLEASE!!!

So of course when I found out I was accepted into the Disney College Program, the first thing I did was start planning my Dapper Day. I have been looking forward to it for months and yesterday all of that waiting paid off. YAY!!!!

It was a very large event this year. I’m not sure what the total numbers were, but basically everywhere we went in Magic Kingdom (MK), there was at least one other group of dapper dans and dames walking around. There were four official meet-ups in the park and all of them were insane!! We had the line for the Liberty Belle backed up all the way to Haunted Mansion!!!!! (If you know any MK geography, you know that is unheard of and completely ridiculous).

Being a part of this “non-Disney” hosted event was oddly like joining a family I didn’t know I had.

I dressed up, went to the events, and walked around the park by myself- but I never felt alone.

As I walked through Liberty Square, Frontierland, and Main Street, USA all of us “dappers” would nod or curtsy at one another. Men would tip their hats as you walked by and we would all very politely wish each other a “Happy Dapper Day.”

I easily slipped into conversation with these people I had never met. We all shared the same love of classic styles, different eras, and of course, Disney. When you are dressed to the nines, it is hard to act like a snob. Put any guy in a bow tie and he will be holding doors open and offering his jacket to ladies the the rest of the day. All of us had an understanding that today we were putting aside the pettiness of the 21st century and we were enjoying the peace of living in a different era, even if for just a few moments.

The meet-ups were spectacular! Riding on the Liberty Belle surrounded by flappers and newies? Can a girl’s life get any better??? The carousel ride was also so enchanting. I do not have the words.

Another fun part about Dapper Day is the interactions you have with other guests. I mean those poor people who just happened to show up to the parks on this most glorious of holidays that they didn’t know existed, they were pretty confused.

At the beginning of the day I got stopped a lot. Guests looked at me in awe and asked what in the world was going on. “Is there some special event?” “Do you work for Disney?” “Are we supposed to follow all the people in dresses? Are you doing a show?” We had to make sure we said it wasn’t technically a Disney sponsored event, but nearly all the guests were on board. Many said they would be attending the next event in the fall and some just hung out with us regardless of their attire.

As the afternoon waned on, I was stopped more for photos than anything else. Guests that weren’t dapper would get really excited with us and cheer when they saw a big group of us walking by. It was an odd sensation being adored for being a part of something larger than yourself. If I would have dressed up by myself on an ordinary day, I would have been stared at, but never would I have had so many conversations with random strangers and have had my photo taken so often.

It was easily the best day I’ve ever had at Disney EVER. I wish every day was Dapper Day.

A few tips for going to Dapper Day:

1. GO TO DAPPER DAY!!!! And go all out.
Just do it. It’s amazing. And all you really need to make it work is a pretty dress, some pearls, and a parasol or white gloves. You will make new friends, taking amazing photos, and enhance your Disney experience like never before. For more information on upcoming Dapper Days in WDW and Disneyland got to dapperday.com.

2. If you wear heels, bring flip-flops.
I have 4 blisters on my toes and 3 cuts on the back of my heels. It was worth it.

3. Wear sunscreen and be able to adjust your outfit.
You are going to want to bring a sweater if you are spending a lot of time in air conditioned areas, but make sure it still looks dapper! Nothing ruins the illusion of stepping right out of the 1940s like an Bieber sweatshirt draped over your shoulders. Remember that FL is HOT!! Tights and boots and 4 layers of skirts and hair permanently hair sprayed behind your neck and large hats and gloves- that is the way of a dapper dame. But maybe play with your outfit some and see if any pieces can be worn simply during photos, or get rid of them all together. Don’t sacrifice the outfit, but don’t torture yourself either.

4. Talk to people!
These are artsy types that have great stories to tell. Ask about their outfit, how they found out about dapper day, or where they are visiting from. It isn’t weird because the fact that you are wearing a crinoline under your dress and he is wearing his grandpa’s suspenders while waiting in line for Peter Pan’s Flight is already a pretty unusual situation! Some of these people are here to network and they will give you free things or sometimes just their business cards. This is an opportunity to meet some oddballs, that are just like you. And you could get the inside info on an up and comer before they reach the big time and that is pretty cool.

5. Take lots of photos and LIVE the experience.
This is not the day to get a ton of fastpasses and sprint around the park trying to squeeze everything in. You need to stroll on Main Street and take time to just walk around the rest of the park to flaunt your style! Hey, you worked hard on this look, the world deserves to see it! Go to the meet-ups and then stalk the #dapperday tag to see if you ended up in anyone’s photos. Get photopasses to spend a lot of time with you to get that one unique shot. And spend at least 40 min on Tom Sawyer’s Island. The peace and the water will make you feel like maybe you really don’t live in a world overcome with insecurities and technology. Just pretend for a moment that this is your life every day. *sigh*

Until next time Dapper Day… ❤

-Megan Dorine

Happy Dapper Day everyone!

Practically Perfect In Every Way?

One reason why Walt Disney World is so successful is because they are always growing and changing. They are determined to have perfection, so they constantly alter attractions, cast members, and the atmosphere in order to reach the impossible.

Living in a near-perfect world is intimidating. You are expected to meet exceedingly high expectations. You can do everything right and make every. single. guest happy, but the minute you slip-up (even on something small) you are disciplined severely. And when you’ve finished with that talking to, you wonder if you’ve ever actually done anything correctly the entire time you’ve been at Disney.

Working for the company is extremely difficult for “people pleasers” like myself. I CANNOT MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY and realizing that makes me want to cry in a corner.

Guests will always have different expectations. Little ones get scared as we go over a tilting bridge and I scream like it’s the end of the world, but adults have more fun if I make a big stink about it. Generally older folks want me to be informative and professional, but teenagers just want to laugh and enjoy the view without my talking getting in the way. I have a truck of 40 people every round, their expectations will never be fully met.

It’s all my fault and there isn’t much I can do about it. UGH! *heart pains*

My managers are hard to please too. Some stuff we do in Safaris is set in stone, but the flexible stuff is so confusing!

Yesterday I was told I need to talk about the elephants more as we go by them, but just last week, another manager told me we weren’t supposed to talk during the elephant show at all. WHAT?!??

That might not bother other people, but now when I drive by the elephants no matter what choice I make I feel like I’m disappointing people.

And perhaps it’s difficult for me to grasp because we humans have no idea what perfectionism looks like. There are flaws everywhere. So we create a skewed view of what a ‘perfect’ world looks like.

Disney, I have an message for you:
I think improving and growing and reaching for the stars is beautiful. And I really don’t want you to stop it. Feeling worthless when someone corrects me is my own problem and I’ll let God grow me as I take your criticism with courage. Being perfect is a wonderful dream, though unattainable.
But I want you to keep one thing in mind as you do this. The only one who has ever achieved being perfect is Jesus Christ. He did it!! And He did it not because it made Him a lot of money, or to become famous or to keep up His reputation. He was perfect because He is God with us.
It took me a long time to make this next statement right with my heart, but Disney you are not God. You are not even God’s special gift to mankind. You are never going to be perfect, and that is okay.

Alright, so that last little section might have been more accurately addressed to myself. In fact, reread that letter, but where it says Disney, put in ‘Megan’ or even your own name.

Perfectionism is it’s own mental illness and I have it bad. Disney is just another bump in my road as I struggle with people pleasing. If you are struggling with the same thing take comfort in knowing you are not alone.

Have a great day, not a perfect one, but one that is great despite all the things that go wrong.

-Megan Dorine

Darling Flower

I picked up a couple of weeds on the way home today.

That is not a phrase we hear very often, is it? People don’t pick weeds. People don’t want a weed because the very word means “a plant that is not valued where it is growing” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary). 

Weeds are undesirable. We never imagine weeds to be beautiful or thriving. Instead they are thorny, unkempt, an infestation. No one wants a weed.

I picked up a couple of weeds on the way home today.

I sympathize with weeds. I understand what it feels like to be undesirable and unwanted. Sometimes I feel like I’m not valued where I’m growing.

And that is hard, because we buy into these lies that we ARE weeds. But of course we won’t call each other that. No, we use words like “an odd-ball” or “a diva” or “a maniac.” We use “defining words” that “help us identify people.” when in actuality we are placing people in a box and not letting them grow!

Why are weeds not valued where they grow? Because they aren’t given a chance to thrive. They are never whispered those words that say, “You are beautiful. You are a flower. And if you will only reach a little more towards the Son, you will bloom.”

I picked up a couple of weeds on the way home today.

And as I walked down the street with this little weed between my fingertips, I thought of how despite it’s place so low on the ground, and despite the fact that it is ignored by most everyone who walks by, it still made me smile.

All of that hard work of growing, placing it’s little roots in unfertilized soil, and photosynthesizing each and every day, all for a little smile on a little cast member’s face. And I NEEDED that smile today.

This little weed that caught my eye was in a harsh environment for a plant, but it didn’t become harsh to match that world. And so I picked it.

God picked up a couple of weeds on the way home today. In fact, He picked a whole bouquet.

God LOVES weeds. He loves little pops of color and joy in this harsh world we’ve been planted it. Us weeds do a lot of hard work, but in the end God provides for us. He picks us!!!!!!! 😀 Isn’t that an incredible thought??

The God of the Universe who created galaxies picked a little weed like me. And God picked a little weed like you.

Because we aren’t all growing in potted topiaries. We are rooted in Christ and surrounded by a harsh an unforgiving world. A world that shouts at us that we are weeds.

Darling flower: Let God pick you. Keep growing though it is hard. From this low place, you can still make people smile. You are a flower. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” -2 Peter 3:18

-Megan Dorine ❤