Seattle, Washington | 9.17.17 – 9.20.17

So for those of you who don’t know, as soon as I received my new job offer and put in my two weeks notice with Disney, I began planning a small trip for my boyfriend and I. The options were between Seattle, Portland and Denver. I have always, always wanted to go to Seattle (thank you, Grey’s Anatomy) so that one won, easily. We snagged tickets for $150 round trip through Alaska Airlines and booked a cozy apartment on Airbnb. The entire planning process took maybe one hour……..I live for this stuff. Planning our vacations gives me such a rush. Before I knew it, I worked my last shift with Disney (it was pretty heartbreaking, we’re not going to talk about it) from 2:30-11pm on Saturday, Sept. 16, and on Sunday, Sept. 17, Andrew and I were on a 7am plane to Seattle. That maybe four hours of sleep felt really great….but I can’t complain, I did it to myself. WORTH IT.

{ DAY ONE } 
We arrived in Seattle around 9:30am or so and by the time we got an Uber, we got to the Airbnb around 10:30 am. Luckily, we were able to check in early and in typical Jeannie fashion, I knocked out for at least a solid two to three hours. (Jeannie: *goes on vacation, takes a nap as soon as physically possible, even though she napped on the plane*) After I woke up and got ready for the day, we had brunch (of course) at Tilikum Place Cafe. We got there around 2pm, right before they closed at 3pm. I had the Eggs Benedict and Andrew had the classic breakfast platter and we split a Sweet Dutch Baby on the side…shockingly, I refrained from ordering their French toast. Also, PSA: to everyone who ever asks me how I “find such great brunch places”…….Yelp. Literally, all Yelp. I’m not that great, I literally just use an app and go based on reviews. But anyway, the service at Tilikum Place Cafe was great and the food was excellent. 10/10 recommend.

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After that, we walked towards the Pike Place Market because it’s Seattle and you have to do all the tourist-y things because if you don’t, did you even really go to Seattle? It was a little later in the day at this point, so they were wrapping up shop but we got a chance to see all of the cool vendors and all of the beautiful flowers they were selling and whatnot. We explored the market and went down to the Great Gum Wall of Seattle which was kind of gross but also fascinating. We had lunch so late that we weren’t hungry until like 11 pm and ended up having leftover breakfast potatoes and a Hot Pocket for dinner. It was amazing.

{ DAY TWO }
For our second day, we woke up bright and early and went to Enterprise to pick up our rental car. After picking up our car, Andrew took me to one of my favorite breakfast spots, McDonald’s, so I could get my usual Sausage McMuffin with egg and a French Vanilla iced coffee (@ McDonald’s…sponsor me). I’m either full-blown bourgeois Instagram worthy brunch or McDonald’s 24/7 breakfast menu, no in-between. It’s called taste, people. We rented a car because we had planned to drive up to Vancouver. It was only about a two and a half hour drive and also, I did not mind because I did not do any of the driving (thank you, Andrew!). The drive was actually quite nice and didn’t feel far from Seattle at all. Crossing the border was interesting because the people at Customs ask you a million questions and suddenly, I forgot who I was and why I was visiting. Just kidding, but seriously, they ask you like rapid fire questions and thank God Andrew is on his toes because I just stared at the lady. In other news, this was our first time out of the country together so that’s kind of cute.

I had found a place I wanted to try for lunch called Meat & Bread (again, thank you Yelp!……..you can also sponsor me, if you are so inclined). Andrew had the grilled cheese and I had their porchetta sandwich. It was amazing….so good that as per usual, I ate about half of it. It’s hard being a hungry girl who wants to try everything and then only being able to finish half of my food. Rough life.

Afterwards, Andrew took me to the Vancouver Art Gallery because they had a Monet exhibit and Claude Monet is my absolute favorite artist of all time. The exhibit was visually stunning and it was so interesting learning more about Monet’s life. And that’s all I have to say about that. His paintings are really great. Go look him up.

While walking downtown, I also got to get Tim Horton’s coffee and a donut because I hear Tim Horton’s is all the rage in Canada (that’s right, right? Or did I make that up? I don’t know of very many Canadians other than Kaitlyn Bristowe….that’s right. Bachelorette, Season 11 and the best one yet). Anyway, after that, we went to Stanley Park because according to TripAdvisor, this was a must see. Their gardens were really beautiful and the view of the city was also stunning. We came on a good day because the weather was perfect for exploring.

After our short time in the park, we had dinner at Jinya Ramen because it was cold and ya girl loves ramen when it’s cold. This place has like 3.5 stars or something like that on Yelp BUT IT WAS SO GOOD. The portions were great, the service was great and the prices are cheap! Andrew had a rice bowl, I had ramen and we ordered a pork bun on the side AND I ordered panna cotta for dessert and it all came out to maybe $30 in US dollars. That’s pretty good for a dinner for 2, if you ask me. UGH. So good.

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{ DAY THREE }
Our last full day in Seattle! So we had to return the car and after that, we had tickets to go to the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass. This was like $38/person or something like that. We did the Space Needle first at 9:30am and it’s great because once you’re up at the top, they let you stay for however long you’d like. Luckily, we came in the morning and it wasn’t too crowded so we got to take a lot of photos (as my friend Kim would say, “Jeannie’s life is a photoshoot”……….she’s not wrong). The city looked beautiful from 520 feet in the air.

After our time at the Space Needle, we visited the Chuhily Garden and Glass……it was truly one of the most beautiful exhibits I have ever seen…not that I’ve seen a whole lot but it was beautiful and I can’t even imagine the amount of talent it takes to create such artwork. I mean, LOOK at the detail in some of this art……incredible.

After that, we kind of wandered around and we did end up back at Pike Place Market because we had our last lunch at The Pink Door in Seattle. I was in the mood for carbs and this place had like 4.5 stars on Yelp or something like that. Hard to argue with 4.5 stars. This place was super secluded and there were no signs to the restaurant so we almost missed it but the giveaway was…you guessed it, the pink door. The food was amazing and the service was great. I had the pappardelle al ragu bolognese, which was basically just a homemade pasta with meat sauce, and Andrew had the mezza rigatoni al fumo, which had eggplant and tomato sauce. We also ordered Tuscan fries on the side, which came with (MY FAVORITE) aioli sauce. For dessert (no, I did not finish my entree, yes, I ordered dessert…that’s usually how it goes and Andrew has just accepted this by now. I’ve convinced him that dessert goes to a different part of the stomach. I don’t know if he’s actually convinced or if it’s easier for him to just let me order the dessert), I had the trio of ice cream, which consisted of a amaretto cherry, honey lavender and roasted apricot. The ice cream changed my life.

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After lunch, we wandered around again and went back to the Gum Wall. We ended up going to Target and getting a bottle of wine and turning in early. We had our leftovers from lunch for dinner (see? I’m pretty easygoing……..and I love leftovers) and watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 and then I fell asleep at like 9pm because I am a 85 year old woman, basically.

{ DAY FOUR } 
On our last day, we checked out of our Airbnb and had to go try this biscuit place that my friend had recommended. It’s called Biscuit B*tch and they had a variety of biscuit combinations to choose from. I had a biscuit that had scrambled egg and bacon on top and Andrew had a biscuit that had cheese and bacon on top, as well. I think I nearly died because THE FOOD WAS SO GOOD. I love vacations when it means trying new, amazing food. We then walked over to Occidental Square because it was nearby and it was so cute. I felt like I was walking through an old city and once we got to the park, there was a music performer and people were playing ping pong and giant Jenga and the environment was fun. And then, I started craving ice cream but all of the nearby ice cream places didn’t look too appetizing. The only ice cream place I wanted to try was Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream and that was 1+ mile away. I told Andrew we could walk but he was afraid we would miss our flight. I told him we would make it so we walked maybe 8 minutes and then he called us an Uber so I could go get ice cream. We ended up making it and I got my ice cream and we got to the airport on time. Everyone (just me) wins! P.S. Molly Moon’s was amazing, I had their honey lavender/earl grey single scoop in a waffle cone…………pretty sure that changed my life too.

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Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream 🙂

Overall, a perfect trip and definitely one of our best. Everything was so easygoing and though I did plan some of it out, it was nice just being able to explore together and try new foods and make new memories. This one is definitely a trip for the books. Thank you, Andrew for making vacations with you so easygoing and so fun. I love you.

Our vacation’s not quite over yet. Next adventure: Las Vegas for Life is Beautiful! So excited for all of our adventures before I start working forever.

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Disney College Program: The End 

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So it turns out I am just as terrible at blogging as I thought I would be and it is no better, if not worse than actual journaling….oh well. Here’s another cheesy long post to hold everyone over for the next few months because I know all of you were dying for my next post.

Anyway…if you can believe it, because I sure can’t, 8 months have passed and the Disney College Program Spring 2016 session is OVER! I don’t know where the time went and I am going to do my best not to get emotional while writing (not that any of you can see me, so it’s fine…..I’M FINE). Oh boy, where do I start?! Get ready, it’s gonna be another cheesy one.

So in the fall of 2016, I was doing what most almost graduating seniors were doing and I was freaking out about my future. I was graduating a semester early so I wasn’t feeling like it was the end of the world if I didn’t have a job post-graduation………wait. Who am I kidding? I was freaking out regardless. Anyway…I knew little of the Disney College Program and basically all I knew was that there was a program in Orlando and there was a program in Anaheim and that it seemed like a cool experience because it’s DISNEY and who doesn’t want to work for Disney?! Upon further research, I found that the Disney College Program at the Disneyland Resort offered positions in Hotels, working Front Desk, which was my primary focus upon finishing school so I applied in late August. Phone interview went well, and I was told I would hear back no later than late/mid-November. I thought to myself, “Great. Gives me time to look for other jobs and decide what I want to do with the rest of my life.” I had more or less emphasized during the phone interview that I would only want to do the program if I was accepted into the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, working Front Desk, because your girl was trying to move home for a hot minute. Well….instead of the two months I thought I had, Disney got back to me in about a week and told me I had 7 days to decide whether or not I wanted the position. They offered me the exact position I wanted, in the exact location I wanted. Coincidence? I think not. After many pro/cons lists (shocking, I know) and meetings with mentors, talks with mom, etc., I decided why not? Let’s do it. I’m graduating early and I have time to do this internship and see how it works out for me and hopefully, I can get my foot in the door with Disney. If not, it’ll still be a fun experience.

On January 15, 2017,  I had the pleasure of moving into Carnegie Plaza with four other women. Shortly after, I found out I was placed at the Disneyland Hotel with two other Disney College Program participants. Since then, I have grown to absolutely love my location and role. My trainer (hi Kim!) and I became basically best friends on Day 1 of my 9 days of training and 8 months later, I still look forward to every single shift I get to work with her. In my eight months with the company, I have learned so much. I am lucky to have the opportunity to be a Trainer in my location, something that I didn’t even think was a possibility during my internship. I have been blessed with amazing mentors at work that keep me grounded and teach me new things everyday, that believe in me more than I believe in myself and that empower me to work hard and make decisions on my own. I think I got really lucky because I fell in love with my work location and I was so fortunate to find a job that suited me so well and one that I could learn so much from. I love my coworkers (hi Michael!), I love my hotel and I love being part of the Trainer team. I got incredibly lucky and I will never forget the coworkers that were so kind to me and who shaped me to be who I am today.

I wish I had the words to describe exactly what this program has done for me. This was my first (and will be my last) Disney College Program and before arriving, I read all the blogs, watched all the vlogs, etc. I wanted to know everything about the program. Everything I read sounded just as cheesy as I am about to. If you’re reading this and considering doing this program, 10000% do it. Take a semester off school and go do the program. Graduate and go do the program. Do whatever you can to at least do one College Program with this company. I can’t speak for the Walt Disney World experience, but I can speak for my experience here at the Disneyland Resort, and I can honestly say I have no regrets doing this program. There are so many networking opportunities in whatever field you are interested in and you will meet some of the best people. I have learned so much about what makes Disney so amazing and magical, though I was a little biased because my DAD, THE IMAGINEER, has been spoiling us with Disney my entire life. I have learned so much about myself and what it is I want and value in life through this program.  I have met amazing friends and roommates that I will never forget…friends that have taught me how to be more open-minded, who have shown me more love than I knew possible, and that have truly changed me.

To the amazing friends and coworkers I’ve met through this program, thank you so much for everything you’ve done. From late night Mario Kart sessions to coffee dates to random park days, this program would not have been the same without you. To my Katy, Mariel, Emily, Ricky….you guys have been absolute gems and I would literally not have had such a great experience if it wasn’t for y’all. To the Programs Office…thank you for all that you did. Thank you for always letting me use your office for therapy sessions and for letting me rent DVDs for 5 weeks. Your team is incredible and I can’t wait to join it one day 😉

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From left to right: the brilliant Branden, lovable Lucy, sassy Sara and phenomenal Philliam. (I should be a writer, honestly. Look at that alliteration.) 

On that note.…this journey has been an incredible chapter of my life and one that, as all good things do, must come to an end. I officially submitted my two weeks notice to the company yesterday and my last day as a Disney Cast Member will be on September 16th. I am so thankful for all that Disney has had to offer me and so thankful for my time with this company. I can assure you that this decision did not come lightly and has been a long process in the making but ultimately, is a decision that I think will help further my career and will teach me so much I have yet to learn about the hospitality industry. The most difficult thing will be saying goodbye to the cast members I’ve grown to love over the past few months but big things are coming, friends, and I could not be more excited. Until then….I’ve got 12 more days with the company and then I’ll be travelling to a few fun places….stay tuned for that blog (in 6 months).

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Had to make sure I got to party with Pirate Goofy & Pirate Donald before I left the company.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

 

Mission: BREAKOUT! and DCP: LA Day!

June 4, 2016: Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT! Project Team Preview

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Imagineer Preview of Mission: BREAKOUT! on June 4, 2017

So it’s been a pretty fun week so far! And thank God for that because today is Day 1 of 7 straight days of working in a row so….I have that to look forward to. But anyway, on Sunday, June 4, I got to see my family early in the morning for the first time in a few weeks and we went to Disney California Adventure for a cast preview for the Imagineers who worked on the new Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT! ride. The best part was probably getting to wear a cool Guardians of the Galaxy badge (AND THE FREE FOOD!!). We got there around 7 am and waited in the queue, but my parents didn’t ride because they were too scared (probably).

We got to take photos with Groot and Gamora, which was pretty cool and I showed Groot the baby version of him on my shirt, to which he responded “I am Groot.” Gamora translated it as “He says he really likes your shirt.” Gamora was like 8 feet tall which wasn’t terrifying at all. But she was wonderful and I relate to her on a spiritual level.  I also relate to Rocket and Baby Groot on a spiritual level as well….so….

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Groot & Gamora are perfect.
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Missed you, Jon! 

So Jacquelyn and I rode it 3x that morning with 0 minute wait time (#BLESSED) because our badges got us through the fast pass line until ~10 am. The first scenario we got was “Born to Be Wild,” then “I Want You Back,” followed by “We Got the Funk.” I think “I Want You Back” is my favorite. It’s such a well done ride and there’s so much detail in the queue, as well as on the actual ride. It’s amazing. 10/10 would recommend. I also got GROOT BREAD before the line was 6 miles long so that was exciting for me because every other time I’ve gone, the bread was sold out or I was too lazy to wait in the long line. I love Groot and I love bread. So this was a good combination.

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My dad, the Imagineer………..

It was an awesome day. I love my family so much. My dad and I only bickered a little bit so we’re getting better at this whole family thing. It’s hard when you’re both the same person and argue about everything, ha! But he’s pretty great and I owe everything I have to him. The day was awesome and I am always thankful for what my dad has done for our family and for what Disney has done for literally everyone. Disney knows how to put on an amazing show and they never cease to amaze.

June 6, 2016: Disney College Program’s LA Day

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All my favorite people……….I see you, Branden & Phil.

So the Disney College Program puts on super cool events from time to time and yesterday, we were able to take a field trip (ha!) out to Los Angeles. I love being a tourist in my own city because I never like going anywhere because traffic is disgusting and trying to look for parking is even more disgusting. I refuse. But they rented a bus for us and took us to a lot of cool spots so that was exciting. We started off the day at the Griffith Observatory which probably would have been better if the fog/smog wasn’t so heavy but it was still really fun taking photos and just enjoying the day off with friends.

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Who needs a backdrop when we’re the view, am I right!?! HA. 
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LA is so beautiful, huh! 

I think we probably could have Photoshopped ourselves onto a backdrop of LA and that would have looked more like we went to LA than the actual photos of us in LA. But anyway, it was fun and we stayed there for a little while. After that, we went to Hollywood to do a tour of the El Capitan Theater. It was cool learning about the theater and seeing all of the decorations for Disney’s new Pirates of the Caribbean film. I’ve never seen a film in that theater before but it was gorgeous and it was so cool learning about the theater’s history and learning about all the special events they put on for Disney film premieres!

After that, we went to the Farmer’s Market/The Grove and had lunch. That was my first time ever visiting the Farmer’s Market there and it was so cute. I had empanadas and they were yummy. I was happy. After that, we went to the lights at LACMA and of course, that turned into a photoshoot.

The bus ride home probably took like an hour and a half but we watched Hercules so that was fun. It was a really good day, overall. It’s so refreshing spending time with people who are fun and carefree and positive. It makes for a really fun day. The night was spent at Trader Sam’s followed by watching Wonder Woman for the third time (Girl power. Gal Gadot. Chris Pine. Need I say more?). It was a pretty good day and I am so thankful for that. For anyone who knows me, most of my days are spent worrying…mostly about the future and work, etc. But this was one of the few days where I didn’t feel worried at all. Here’s to hoping for so many more carefree days like this.

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Ricky about to slide into your girl’s DMs. 

A perfect little 3 years.

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It’s been three perfect little years with my best friend and boyfriend and I could not be happier. For those of you who don’t know, Andrew and I met when I was a wee baby, at the age of….thirteen? Fourteen? I don’t know. It was an awful time of Abercrombie & Fitch and trying too hard to fit in. Middle school was the worst. Anyway, we met in middle school and we “dated” for two months….as much as any middle schoolers could “date.” My dad said no dating til’ I finished college, so naturally, I went out and got a boyfriend at 13. Sorry, dad!

We broke up because….we were children and I’m dumb. Dated other people, whatever. The usual. Learned about what I wanted from relationships and what I expected of a boyfriend. We went to the same middle school + high school and were in the same friend group senior year of high school, so we were friends throughout but it wasn’t until freshman year of college when we started dating again. And thank God for that.

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Like that couple in a lifestyle magazine that no one reads.

Andrew is a very special person. It takes a special person to put up with me, I think. I have a whole lot of love to offer, but this man exceeds even that. He is patient beyond anything I am able to comprehend, he is kind and loving, and he is reasonable. He is calm and collected, he thinks twice before he speaks and he is understanding. He takes care of me when I’m down and knows exactly how I operate. He knows exactly how to cheer me up and knows me better than I know myself. He is everything I aspire to be in life and more. He makes me a better person.

Beyond being probably the world’s nicest man, he is so funny and so intelligent. We have the same taste in movies and television shows, we have the same sense of humor and I would say we have the same taste in music except I have recently developed a lowkey love towards country pop, so I’ve strayed away from him in music preferences. But anyway, the man is smart….and that’s pretty attractive. He’s studying to be a chemical engineer which regularly blows my mind because I’ve sat in on those classes and they are not fun. Andrew is the opposite of me in many ways but is the perfect balance I need in life. He is carefree, easygoing and patient. I am……..working on being all of those things. 🙂

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Ugh. The best.

We’ve been an old married couple since Day 1, if not even before that, of dating. I, unlike many 20 something year olds, it appears, despite dating. I hate dating. It is exhausting and I can’t do it. Tinder scares me. By the time Andrew and I got together, I knew exactly what I wanted and needed in a man and I let him know that upfront…like everything else in my life. (Note: I would not recommend this approach to anyone you haven’t known for 10+ years because “Hey, if we’re not getting married, don’t waste my time” doesn’t seem like it would work on a first date in normal situations.)

Anyway, I knew what I wanted/needed. I needed a man who would support me but would leave me alone to go about my business because my father raised a pretty independent lil’ girl and I like to do things on my own. I needed a man who could calm me down when I freak out because I tend to worry too much. I needed someone who would be honest and loyal. I needed someone who would never control me or tell me what to do. I needed someone who would trust me. I needed someone who shared the same values as me and placed importance on family and a career. And if I man couldn’t be all those things for me, then I would rather be alone.

BUT THANKFULLY, I lucked out and hit the jackpot because Andrew fulfills all of this and more. He’s not perfect though and I’m really not perfect but life is infinitely better with him in it. He makes me fall in love with my own life on a regular basis and for that, I am thankful. Find someone who takes an ordinary life and helps you see the extraordinary in it.

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People either thought we were celebrating 3 years or that I was turning 3. Who knows. We got some looks.

Relationships are no walk in the park (like these pictures! HA!). The first 2 years of our relationship were long distance with me going to school in San Francisco and him going to school in Irvine. This relationship was work at the beginning but it was worth it. I’m not going to pretend like our relationship is perfect though most of the time, it is. We still bicker like an old married couple….and I would say 94% of the time, it’s because I am hangry or because of me snapping at something. Somehow he manages to stay calm and waits it out and then I’m fine in like 15 minutes. It’s not perfect all the time but it’s pretty damn close.

This relationship is precious to me and I hold it very close to my heart. He is absolutely a priority for me and I treat him like family, because he is. My family adores him (or they do a very good job of pretending) and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.

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My love.

P.S. On a much lighter, less sappy (apparently, I’m just a big ball of cheese nowadays) note, isn’t it amazing what you can do with a tripod and a clicker (THANK YOU, AMAZON!!)? Every year, we hire a photographer to take our pictures but it was a complete different experience taking these photos on our own. Uh….would not recommend using balloons on a windy day like I sadly attempted to….because it was quite a struggle. Also would recommend you check the weather before taking photos. That probably would have solved the whole balloon thing but. Whatever. It’s not like I went to school to learn how to plan events or anything (I did).

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Pretty much sums up our relationship.
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We were standing in duck poop the entire time. Duck poop. Everywhere.
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That foot pop. Important.

“It’s your job to be yourself.”

“It’s not your job to be likable. It’s your job to be yourself. The right people will like you anyway.”

One of my favorite bloggers recently tweeted this and it really resonated with me. The blogger’s name is Jeanne and you can read more about her here. She’s like an actual blogger though, so vastly different than this very scatterbrained online journal I keep. I’ve met her in person and she’s an absolute gem of a human being, who deserves the amazing recognition she gets on social media. I’m not sure if this is an original quote or whatnot, but I really liked it. So thank you, Jeanne, for sparking this thought in me.

Her tweet came at a good time for me. I think your early twenties are weird. It’s not like they make it out to be in the movies….or maybe it is and I’m just doing it wrong. I have always said I’m essentially a 45 year old woman in a 22 year old’s body….so maybe that’s it. But anyway, personally, my early twenties have been very interesting thus far. It’s strange navigating through life and trying to get my career and all of my relationships in order. I think it’s super easy to lose yourself in the process but I am happy to say that I don’t think I have lost myself and I have amazing family/friends to thank for that. I feel strangely sappy tonight so I will do what I always do and just write it out until I understand it myself.

This program has barely two months left (?!?!) and has taught me more about myself than I ever thought it would and more importantly, it taught me about the type of people I attract. It has taught me about how I want to live my life, what I expect of myself, and what I expect of my relationships with those around me. I am only picky with one aspect of my life and it’s with who I choose to spend my time with. Time is the best gift you can give/receive, and I try to be picky with mine. I often wonder if I made the right decision doing this internship post-graduation and I know for a fact that no matter what happens, this will not be a decision I regret. The people I’ve met, the relationships I’ve developed and the magical experiences I have created…….irreplaceable. The program is set to end August 5 but I am hoping to continue my journey and career here beyond that.

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The worst. 

I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. I have met some people through this program and through my work location that have made a very large impact on my life in a very short period of time. It’s only been five months and I have met people that I feel like I’ve known my entire life. Too blessed to be stressed, am I right?! Sounds like some cheesy tattoo I should get tattooed on my foot or something but anyway.

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world and sometimes it’s hard but I need to remind myself that amazing things don’t need to be happening 1000% of the time for me to feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Things are going very well, in all aspects of life right now and I am so grateful for that. I have met friends here who (going back to that first tweet I mentioned) have accepted me for who I truly am and have embraced me and supported me through everything. I like to think I know myself pretty well and I am an open book. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be writing all of this on the internet for the world (or just my mom)….but I am pretty proud of who I have become and who I am becoming.

I am a handful but I’m lucky to have loving, caring and supportive friends & family. I know myself and I know I can be hardheaded, stubborn, blunt, independent and straightforward (pretty sure I got all of these qualities from my dad so thanks for that….hi dad!), but on the other end of that, I know I can be very caring and loving and I am fiercely loyal and protective to those who have proven to be loyal to me. I don’t like things sugarcoated, I like people who tell it like it is and I do the same because life is short and I don’t like wasting time. I love my friends and family more than I love myself and I would do anything for them.

I am thankful for the friends I have met through this program that are there for me when I need them and know when to leave me alone to figure things out on my own. I am so thankful for those that I have chosen to open up to and those that have embraced me for who I truly am and have still unconditionally loved me for it. I owe them everything. It goes without saying that my family has supported and embraced me for who I am (do they really have a choice….) and I am thankful and love them so much for that because where would I be without them? Beyond that, to the best friends I have made through this short time at Disney, who haven’t known me for very long and who owe me absolutely nothing….I am endlessly thankful for what y’all do for me on a daily basis.

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Dole WHIP….

You don’t owe anyone anything. I keep this in mind when I’m having a rough day and Katy brings me flowers and ice cream. I keep this in mind when I drive an hour home on a random Tuesday night for 2 hours because I don’t get weekends off and my parents stay up to cook me dinner at like 10 pm. I keep this in mind when guests yell at me and my boyfriend buys me an entire pizza and flowers to salvage the day. I keep this in mind when my friends take the time to listen to me vent about some first world problems. I keep this in mind when friends take time out of their day to spend time with me. I keep this in mind when my friends pick up the phone to talk to me when they could be doing other things (who talks on the phone in 2017?!). I keep this in mind when friends bring me food at work (notice how a lot of these have to do with food……). I keep this in mind when those who love me and those I love go out of their way to make sure I am taken care of. Literally, none of these people owe me a thing. How could a girl not feel so lucky and loved and blessed with so much love and friendship surrounding her?! I’d be stupid not to be thankful.

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“Welcome to the frickin’ Guardians of the Galaxy!” – Baby Groot via Rocket

 

So going back to the main point of this post since this is starting to get a little repetitive, I am thankful for those around me who have embraced me for me. I am thankful I have not had to compromise who I am and am still able to stay true to my values, all while having a handful of friends (and family!! HI MOM!!!) that will support me through anything.

I will continue to be the loud and bold and stubborn and loving and caring and loyal girl that people know me to be and I will continue to love my life and love my friends. I think what that quote says is true. I think it is absolutely your job to be yourself (it’s pretty hard to be anything else………trust me, high school Jeannie could attest to that) and I think regardless, if the right people are meant to be in your life…then they will be. It’s that easy.

Til’ next time, lil’ blog.

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Halfway through the Program!

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So we are officially more that halfway through this program! We’ve actually been more than halfway through the program but I am terrible at keeping up with this blog so here we are. I feel like a lot of things have happened since I last wrote….so where to begin?

I completely forgot to write about the Mid-Program Celebration! So the Mid-Program Celebration took place on April 27 on the Boardwalk at Disney California Adventure and it was literally better than a dream come true. I know a lot of planning went in to the event and it was amazing. The event took place from 9ish-pm to 11ish-pm and the theme was Boundin’ on the Boardwalk…so we Disney Bounded. Obviously. I know it’s a little hard to tell who I am but I was Boo, the very lovable lil’ thing from Monsters Inc. It was super fun to Disney Bound for the first time!! We got to ride Toy Story Mania as many times as we wanted (imagine that, no 90 minute line!) and got free churros (I am not afraid to admit I ate about 17) and danced all night. The DJ was shockingly better than any DJ I’ve had at sad high school/college dances. Props to you, Disney.

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Boo! 

What else have I not talked about? I was on the Disney Programs Blog so I am practically famous now. I’ll remember all my fans when I make it big. Here’s the link to that blog where my roommate, Mariel, was also featured beside me….I don’t really know how we’re going to deal with the fame but take a peek here:

Disney Programs Blog: Disney Bound

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The best of the best.
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That feel when the program is more than halfway done 😦

Other than that, life has been pretty okay. There have been some ups and downs but there will always be ups and downs. I have a great support system to get me through the downs and for them, I am eternally grateful (….cue green aliens from Toy Story). I am very, very blessed and I need to remember that on the bad days.

Until next time, lil’ blog.

22 Lessons for 22 Years.

Can we take a minute to appreciate what a good photographer my boyfriend is?

And so birthday month for little Jeannie has come to an end. Happy May, everybody. It’s been such an event filled year, I don’t even know where to start. A couple of highlights from being 21:

  • I took my first (and last, it appears) college trip with my roommates and original loves, Noelle & Jessie. We went to Hawaii and it was amazing.
  • Andrew and I went on our first vacation together to Walt Disney World and it was…so humid.
  • Graduated a semester early with a degree in Business Administration and a major in Hospitality Management.
  • Moved away from my wonderful little apartment in San Francisco 😦
  • Accepted a position with the Walt Disney Company through the Disney College Program as a Front Desk Agent at the Disneyland Hotel.
  • Have met some of my best friends through the Disney College Program.

So much can happen in one short year, it’s crazy. My entire life changes on a year to year basis. Wild. That’s your twenties for ya, I guess. Anyway, my 22nd birthday was pretty nice. Pretty tame considering I’m 22 going on 65, but I still look 12. I worked an AM shift and it was a crazy day at the Disneyland Hotel but it went by quickly. Afterwards, I went home and got ready for dinner with Andrew. He came over and brought me birthday flowers and my birthday gift (Sephora giftcard? This boy knows the key to my heart. Food first, makeup second). But Diana takes the cake because she got me Minnie ears and MICKEY MOUSE SOURDOUGH BREAD FROM DCA AND WE ALL KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE THAT BREAD (with like 18 little butter packet things). We went to Carthay Circle at Disney California Adventure for dinner and the food was so good, I almost died. 10/10 recommend the ceviche and jalapeno poppers….SHOOK!!

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A little bit of Pimm’s punch and a whole lotta happiness lies ahead.

Went on Toy Story Mania after dinner and got whooped by Andrew. Boy won’t even let me win on my birthday. Are you kidding me? Met up with Diana, Katy and Ethan after at Trader Sam’s. Had a great time. I am lucky to have met such wonderful people through this program….one of many things to be thankful for.

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My love. ❤

Anyway, I’ve learned quite a few things in my short 22 years of life….mostly advice to myself. Brace yourself. It’s cheesy.

  1. It is okay to be in your early 20’s and not have your life planned out. 
    • I always thought I would have my life planned out after college. I thought I had it down. I had my five year plan, I had my ten year plan…(everyone and their mom reading this is laughing at me right now for thinking I had it all planned out, but I’m laughing too so it’s fine). But life doesn’t go according to plan. It took a lot to realize that that’s okay. There are a lot of moving parts to this weird thing called life. And it’s okay. And if it’s not okay, it will be okay, eventually.
  2. Work hard and stay humble. 
    • This one’s pretty self-explanatory, right?
  3. Find what you love and pursue it. 
    • Life is too short to do things you don’t love. So do what you love. I was going to school for Business Administration and I was miserable. I added Hospitality Management as my major and I thrived. I am so passionate about the hospitality industry that I ended up loving my education. When you find something that ignites that fire in you, chase that feeling.
  4. There will be so, so many bumps in the road. Do not give up until you achieve what you want. And then when you finally get what you want, aim higher.
  5. Family first, always. Remember where you came from. Family above everything….family is everything.
    • There will be so many jobs, so many different things that come up. Family first. You only have one family and life is short. Family over everything.
  6. Find a handful of friends who will love you for you. 
    • Find friends that will love you despite your flaws. Find friends that will take care of you when you’re down. Find friends that will stand by you through everything.
  7. Love and care for those friends, stay fiercely loyal to them. Protect them and make them happy — they will do the same for you.
  8. Life is too short to spend with people you don’t like. You have no obligations to anyone but yourself. Your happiness comes first.
  9. If you’re unhappy with something in your life, change it. You are not a tree…move.
  10. Don’t give 110% of yourself to someone who won’t give you the same in return. Again, life is too short to care about people who don’t care for you. It’s exhausting. Surround yourself with people who know your value and know your worth. You will find people who love you and show you that they care. Spend your time and effort on those people.
  11. (see above) Know your own worth. Don’t rely on others for your happiness.
  12. It’s okay to be sad sometimes. But don’t let it drag you down, rise above it, learn from it and be better (“…like a phoenix, I rise.”)
  13. Find a partner who will love and support you through anything. Find someone patient and caring and one who understands you and knows you, better than you know yourself. And most importantly, find a partner who can make you laugh when you want to cry.
  14.  Eat all of the ice cream. 
    • They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy me my double scoop of ice cream in a chocolate dipped waffle cone, so what’s the truth?
  15. Be honest. Be honest with yourself, be honest in your work and be honest in your relationships. There is no value in lying or sugarcoating. Admit when you’re wrong and learn from your mistakes. Move on.
  16. Do not compare yourself to others. This is one that I have a lot of trouble with on a pretty regular basis. You are not the person next to you. Move at your own pace, do what you need to do. Do not compare yourself to those around you.
  17. Don’t take life so seriously. Take yourself seriously but know when it’s not that serious. Stop freaking out over every little thing (still working on this one).
  18. Perception is important but it isn’t everything. People will see you. People will judge you, regardless of how hard you try. Some people will only see what they want to see. That’s okay.
    • Perception can be important and if being perceived a certain way is important to you, then take care of your image. But keep in mind, no matter what you do, some people will view you in a certain light. And that’s okay. Ignore those people; keep being yourself. Don’t let anyone who isn’t important to you negatively affect you.
  19.  Failing is okay, mistakes are okay. 
    • How will you ever have good days if you don’t experience the bad ones? Not every day will be a good one. Keep your chin up and keep moving forward.
  20. Country pop is actually not as bad as people make it to be. Give it a chance. I did and it changed my life. In other words, be open to new things. Except Nickelback.
  21. I’m stealing this one from one of the speakers we had at our Disney Leadership Speaker Series class but I really enjoyed this piece of advice and I kept it with me so I’m sharing it with you. Pick and choose your battles. And once you have chosen your battle, you better defend it with everything you got because you made that decision and now you have to stick with it.
  22. And as my dad used to tell me growing up and continues to tell me on a regular basis, “Don’t be stupid.” Such good life advice, honestly. Applicable in so many different scenarios.

So thankful for everything that has happened to me thus far that has helped me realize all of this cheesiness. As much as I like to complain about my first world problems, I actually have such a blessed life. I have food, I have shelter, I have a job, I have a loving family, a loving boyfriend and loving friends. And a lot of makeup. I am always striving to better myself, but I am appreciative of how far I’ve come.

Life has treated me well so far. There have been so many bumps in the road, but in the grand scheme of things, they were all minor and I’m still learning. There will be far bigger bumps ahead and that’s okay. I’m learning how to be okay with that. I’m excited for what 22 brings me and for what 22 can teach me about myself and about life. Bring it on, 22. I am ready.

Disney College Program: HOW IS IT APRIL!?

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So glad the #lynnmaidynasty got to hang out last month.

Hi mama! Hope you enjoy this post. See above for photo of your photogenic children.

How is it mid-April already?! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve sat down to write. It’s been a wild ride for the past few months or since the last time I wrote. We’re about halfway through the program now (our mid-program celebration is next, next Thursday on the Boardwalk!) and I have no idea where the time has gone.

Things are going pretty well at work, all things considered. I still love my role and coworkers and location. I’m also still learning a lot everyday and still able to create magic on a daily basis, which is nice and keeps what little soul I have alive. I’ve been working about 40 hours per week like an actual adult but I work at the Disneyland Hotel so how adult am I, really? Childhood Jeannie is loving life right now. The only updates I have are that I’ve finally nailed getting my costume on in about 15 minutes instead of 45 minutes (pantyhose is the worst, people) and more importantly, I got a mentor! There’s a cool mentor program they do at our hotel where we get paired up with a lead and they teach us all that they know and love us and take care of us and protect us and nurture us and raise us like we’re their own. Half kidding (my trainer, Kim, already did that for me) but I am looking forward to the mentor program. I got paired with a great lead so I am so, so stoked about all that he can teach me. We get along well and I look up to him……literally. He’s super tall. And also mentally, I guess. He’s been really helpful so I am lucky to have gotten him as a mentor (#blessed).

Also, my family keeps asking me if everything is okay with Andrew (????). Which is kinda funny at this point, since we’ve been together long enough that everyone can just assume that we’re good, okay. I’ll make a public service announcement if we ever break up…..which won’t happen so don’t look forward to that. You’ll get a PSA when we send out our Save the Dates in ten years, lol. But also, weddings are expensive so do I even want to have one?? Stay tuned. Anyway, MOM, our relationship is almost as perfect as he is and we’re coming up on three years together soon….hehe. Ten years of friendship, three years in a relationship. Crazy. I’m like actually twelve years old so how have we been friends that long? Anyway. He’s the best. This relationship rocks. He’s wonderful and spoils me. Love you ♥

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Ugh. Look at him. I can’t.

Anyway, today was a beautiful day. Went to the parks (shocking!) with roomies and friends…saw Mickey & the Magical Map for the first time TWICE in a row and I think I nearly fainted. What an amazing show and hidden gem in Disneyland. 10/10 recommend since I will be at every show on my days off from this point forward. See you there! Also watched the Soundsational (….is that how it’s spelled? Why does that look incorrect?) parade for the first time in full and that parade blew my mind. Disney is so much fun. ALSO, little side note but last Friday, I thought I had made a reservation at Carnation Cafe because I was really craving those Mickey waffles but it turns out I never hit that little “Book” button so we got ready and showed up……for no reason because they didn’t accept walk-ins and I had forgotten to make a reservation. Mariel and Katy were super forgiving but I almost cried over not getting a Mickey waffle. I literally went to school to plan events and I couldn’t even make a brunch reservation. BUT ANYWAY, I actually made a reservation for this morning at Carnation Cafe (I ACTUALLY DID IT THIS TIME, I triple checked) and the hostess, Vanessa, HOOKED IT UP with the cutest outdoor table under the gazebo because “we were so patient and looked like princesses.” I die. Vanessa, shoutout to YOU, you beautiful, magical soul. Disney magic is REAL, PEOPLE. We spent way too much time there taking photos……….but you know I got that good brunch pic.

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I’m that girl standing on her chair to get this AMAZING SHOT.

Anyway, today was perfect. Life hasn’t been treating me all too nicely (I mean, it’s all a long series of first world problems so in the grand scheme of things, life is really great and I’m too blessed to have this life honestly, but also, I’m allowed to have small problems sometimes, right?) but today was the perfect day off and just what I needed. I had one off day this week but my recovery time is about 24 hours which I feel like is pretty good for the average human being. Like I could have stretched it out to like…17 years but I shoved all that sadness into one little day. I also have the most supportive roommates because I can literally text them “I’m sad” and Katy will come home with flowers and my favorite ice cream for me and the next day, Diana and Ethan will drop off Starbucks and macaroons for me at work. No joke, this literally happened this week. So……if your friends don’t do this for you when you’re sad, y’all need to UPGRADE. I am SO blessed.

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These girls are perfect. (Ethan, who is also perfect, not pictured.)
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Ethan (pictured) and I….sponsored by Coca Cola.

In other news, my birthday is coming up (April 30th, for all 4 of you who were super curious) and I am turning the big 2-2 (I don’t know about you……..but I’m feelin’….like I don’t want to get any older). I already feel like a 65 year old woman with how much I like to sleep, watch Planet Earth documentaries, and lounge around in sweats but whatever. 22 works also. Not sure what to do for my birthday yet. I was thinking all 3 of my friends and I could get dolled up and go to the Costco food court because ya girl loves a good chicken bake but those plans are TBD.

Here’s some more photos for your viewing pleasure. That’s pretty much all I’ve got for you. Life is pretty……..normal. I mean, I’m trying to love every minute because you pretty much only get like…one life. So. More updates to come in the next few months. Blogging is hard. I could never get famous doing this.

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You guys, adventure is out there. Took a beautiful hike the other day and saw all that California had to offer. Iconic. Brilliant. Beautiful.
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I need almost as much attention as Tinkerbell does.
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Wayfinding is really hard when you’re not looking in the right direction.
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Buy me a Dole Whip and tell me I’m pretty.

Disney College Program: ONE MONTH IN!

Wow, wow, wow. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written on this blog. I know my mom has been wanting to read one of these so hi mom! I’m alive, I’m well and I’m writing. So it turns out blogging is just as grueling as journaling is and I’m terrible at both. So it’s been about a month since I started the Disney College Program at the Disneyland Resort and I don’t even know how to describe everything that has happened.

SO! From the beginning, I knew I was going to be working a Front Desk role, which was my top choice because I went to school for Hospitality, etc. You know the story. We had check-in on January 15 and a handful of us who got accepted for Front Desk & Guest Services had something called Global Training like the next week. So we ended up just sitting around for a week, waiting to start.

Global Training lasted for 4 days straight, 7am-4pm and it was just as terrible waking up for that as you think it would be. Just kidding, it wasn’t too bad. But we did sit in a classroom learning the entire system we use for check-ins and learn the check-in and check-out process, etc. Luckily, I had Katy (roommate who eats mayonnaise) and Sam (snickerdoodle) so we managed and had a great time.

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Here’s a photo of them for reference. Do you see what I mean? Snickerdoodle.

After Global, I went straight into 10 days of On the Job Training at the Disneyland Hotel. I was paired up with a girl (I say girl, but she’s kind of a woman, but acts like me so I’m going to stick with girl) named Kim who became my best friend within the first 2 hours of our training. 9 days of training and then an assessment on the 10th day, which I passed (yay!). Kim is amazing and sarcastic and funny and a day working without Kim is a wasted day. HA!

Anyway, work has been really great. I love my location and I love all the people there. Now if Katy could just transfer on over to the Disneyland Hotel, life would be perfect. It’s been a really fun month learning everything I have at Disney and meeting all the wonderful guests who stay at the hotel. Adulthood is great because you work all the time and pay your own bills and you’re broke and life is great! Half kidding. It’s been really fun though.

In terms of the program itself, I’ve met some really fun people. The Programs Office people are all amazing so it’s fun talking to them and they put on some really fun events. So far, we’ve ridden Space Mountain with the lights on and did a Backstage Tour of Soarin’. Next week, I’m doing a Backstage Tour of Radiator Springs, so I’m really looking forward to that! We’ve also had a College Program & Professional Intern mixer, where I got to meet some really cool people and network a bit.

10/10 would recommend this program to anyone trying to get their foot in the door with Disney and 10/10 would recommend living in Housing because it feels like I never left college. I do sleep top bunk, after all. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for ya. Tune back in a month and I’ll update you with any mildly interesting things about my life.

First Disneyland + DCA Day!

So, yesterday, a handful of us got to go to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. This was a very special trip because it was little Katy’s (and Sam’s!) first time. Eeek! So exciting. My precious little North Carolinian.

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The gang’s all here! Just kidding, missed you, Mariel & Lara! Also, doesn’t Lil’ K look like that tough girl from Recess?

We went to Disney’s California Adventure first because a few people had to leave early for work and Marco had never been to DCA. We went on a few rides throughout the day and ran back and forth between DCA and Disneyland because it was all pretty poorly planned.

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Disney, heard you’re looking for a new Mulan for your live-action movie. Look no more.

We went on Soarin’, Screamin’, Mickey’s Fun Wheel (scary version), Cars and whatnot. At Disneyland, we went on Hyperspace Mountain…and ate at Pizza Port. Did we do anything else? I can’t remember. See, this is why I started blogging but it defeats the purpose when I blog a day later because I can’t even remember what happened yesterday.

We took a lot of photos (story of my life…sorry) and met a lot of characters. HUGE SHOUTOUT to Sam for taking all of our photos. Thank you, tall friend…Tripod. Mariel joined us later and we wanted to go to Cove Bar but we’ll save it for another beautiful California day. We also stayed for World of Color, which is one of my favorite things to watch. If you haven’t experienced it, definitely a must-see!! Disneyland knows how to put on a show.

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Found this very plain, notoriously special blue wall!
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Don’t tell the boss man, Donald!

Afterwards, we went to In-N-Out for Katy’s first time and she loved it! Whew. Thank God we can still be friends. Anyway, that’s all I got for now. It was a pretty great experience and I can’t remember the last time I stayed at Disneyland/DCA from open to close. So fun experiencing it with new friends.

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Got some new orange ears. Sam loves them.

More trips to come and the first day of On the Job Training tomorrow!! AHHHHHH!!