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Brent's Blog

Welcome to Brent's Blog. Here I will share my thoughts and stories about my book, show, website, and Disney parks, books, and movies right here. I hope you enjoy!

Brent's Blogs

June 1, 2014 - A hectically fun day

As we all know, I strive to do everything at Disney at least once or twice or a hundred times. I am very distraught to announce, however, that I had never camped out for Star Wars Weekends in order to obtain a celebrity autograph before. Today that all changed!

Star Wars Weekends autograph fastpass

After getting off of my pay the bills job at 2AM last night, I rushed home real quick, updated the website, and was then off to Disney's Hollywood Studios! I arrived at 4AM and found a spot in line that had a nice little patch of grass next to it calling my name. I slept for about an hour or two while trying to ignore the loud talkers in line for Ray Park.

Who was I in line for? John Ratzenberger. He made a very brief appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, but he is better known for his portrayal of Cliff Clavin in Cheers or as us Disney fans know him best, Pixar's lucky charm! He has provided a voice in every single Pixar film from playing Hamm in the Toy Story films to John in WALL-E!

John Ratzenberger

Being new to this whole camping out for an autograph thing, I figured I would share a few tips I gathered from my experience. Once you arrive, the area for the autographs are separated into five different lines. The line practically guarantees you a chance at meeting up with one of the Stars of the Saga, but the earlier you arrive, the earlier autograph session you will receive. For instance, John had three autograph sessions today (10:00am, 1:30pm, and 4:30pm). I was about halfway back in the line so I received the 1:30pm timeslot.

Star Wars Weekends Fastpass

The first two hours in line consisted of nothing but sleep. Eventually the person next to me in line woke me up to inform me that the line was moving. Unfortunately, it only moved about fifteen feet and then the endless line of fellow nerds consisted of us standing up, away from my comfortable pasture, and waiting an additional hour until we all received a wristband. Once we received a wristband (around 6:45) we were ushered to the front of the line where we received our Fastpass.

Star Wars Weekends wristband

The one thing I learned quickly was there really was no purpose for me to arrive so early. As soon as the Cast Members with the wristbands arrived they declared that whoever was at the end of each line would officially be the end of the line and refusing to let anyone else in. This meant that John Ratzenberger's line, which was about three times longer than Taylor Gray's line, was cut off at the same time. What does this mean? It means if guest arrived around 6:30 they would have still received a Fastpass and would have had the added bonus of sleep on a pillow!

Overall, it was quite the experience that I'm sure I will do again in the future. But in the meantime, enjoy some pictures of the event:

Meeting John Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger autograph
I had him sign the section of From Screen to Theme that he was mentioned in.

John Ratzenberger autograph
He also signed my Evil Dr. Porkchop Vinylmation (John provided the voice in the Toy Story films)

February 2, 2014 - Four Year Anniversary

A little over four years ago, my weekly podcast, The W.E.D.nesday Show! was about to celebrate its six month anniversary while my first book, From Screen to Theme, was merely a month away from its release. In the midst of all of that, four years ago on this date I launched my website, FromScreenToTheme.com.

While the site started off with four pages, today we have thousands of pages filled with Disney info, fun facts, history, games, videos, stories, and a whole lot more! I would like to thank everyone out there for the continued support and for helping the site continue to grow into what it is today! And as usual, we have some exciting things on the horizon...

October 18, 2013 - Bringing people together

I often get asked by both my Disney loving and non Disney loving friends why I love Disney so much. While I could sit there and spout off facts about the parks or discuss the amazing storytelling in the films, my answer usually boils down to a simple idea: it brings people together.

For instance, four years ago I started to do my weekly Disney podcast which in turn has brought me some of the greatest friends I could ever ask for. On top of that doing research in the parks for the website or my books has resulted in lifelong friendships with Cast Members. While the rides and cruises and tours and films are great, everything boils down to people coming together due to a shared interest.

Yesterday was a prime example. I was sitting in my apartment when I received a message from one of my good friends, and writer for this website, Erik. The two of us met due to this website and over the past four years he has become a brotherly figure for my little brother and I, but more importantly one of my closest friends. In the message Erik asked me if I would like to be the godfather of his child.

I was extremely honored and of course accepted. Last night while thinking about the fact that I could no longer dump Erik as a friend due to this bond we will now have, I realized that once again Disney has brought people together in bigger ways than I could ever dreamed. And that my friends, is why I love Disney so much!

October 15, 2013 - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

I think my favorite park day each year is Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Not only does it feature an amazing parade, fireworks show, and lots of candy, but it is the one time each year guests go all out and dress up. While most people dress up as a stereotypical pirate, princess, or in yesterday's case, Smurf, I have always opted for a more creative (and cheaper) route.

I attended my first Mickey's Not So Scary during my college program in 2004. I dressed as Waldo and it was a huge hit! All night guests were asking if I could hide in their pictures so they could find Waldo later and I had several people running up to me exclaiming that they had been looking for me for years. Overall, it was a great experience.

Mickey's Not so Scary

The next time I was in Florida during the Halloween party was shortly after moving down here in 2010. I made up a list of rules for my costumes that year which are as follows:

1) It must be Disney related
2) It must consist of construction paper, cardboard boxes, and creativity
3) It can't be Haunted Mansion related (several people go this route every year)
4) It must be worthy of one "Best Costume of the Night!" exclamation from at least one Cast Member

Fastpass Brent

So in 2010 I made my first unique costume. As seen above, I went as a Fastpass. The costume was so popular that the following year I had Cast Member friends tell me that despite seeing no Fastpasses they year before, 2011 saw several guests dressed as Fastpasses. It was then I knew my first year was a success, but 2011 I would need to once again step up my game. Naturally, I turned to my car, and went as Herbie the Love Bug!

Love Bug Brentie

Herbie was a huge hit throughout the night and caused the first time I had a Cast Member give a button to me stating, "Best Costume of the Night." When 2012 came around I decided to up the game a little more and go as one of my favorite attractions found within Walt Disney World, Toy Story Midway Mania:

Brent Toy Story Midway Mania

Throughout the night I had people pointing out I was a toy in a toy box, but for the first time in all the years I had the best feeling in the world. People would look at the costume trying to figure out what it was and as soon as they knew they would give out huge congratulations on the creativity. Which brings us to this year.

This year I decided to chase that feeling once again of having something most Disney guests see, but at the same time it may take them a little while to realize what I was. During last years party someone simply mentioned Soarin'. As soon as I heard the one word I began planning in my head on how to pull of Soarin'. Naturally three boxes, one ping pong ball dressed a golf ball, a pair of Mickey Mouse ears, a pair of fake legs, and a lot of wrapping paper and construction paper resulted in this:

Soarin' Brent
Front

Backside
Backside of costume

In my personal opinion, this costume was my favorite so far because of the obscurity yet obviousness of it. As the night began I had several people approach me about how much they loved my costume to which I would thank them. Eventually my friend Alex, who had joined me for the evening, and I began to realize that most of these people were most likely being polite and had no idea what I was. That's when the real fun began. As soon as people would say, "I love your costume!" I would respond with, "Do you know what I am?" This of course resulted in several people stuttering and coming up with obscure answers. Some of my favorites are:

- Mission: SPACE
- The fish from Finding Nemo (I'm guessing the one who attacks Marlin and Dory in the dark)
- The Lunar Landing

However, if guests or Cast Members got the answer I awarded them with a blast of orange grove smell! That's right, the final piece of the costume was a can of orange car freshener which security almost wouldn't let me bring in the park. However, it resulted in hysterical laughter and one sneezing fit throughout the night!

Alex and Brent and Maleficent

While the parade, fireworks, shows, etc. are amazing, Alex and I both agreed that it was our interactions with the Cast Members and fellow guests that made the night so much fun. I'll never forget our Liberty Square friends who ran backstage after the park closed to give us candy or the Cast Member who had the screaming contest with me while discovering I was Soarin'. But most of all, I'll never forget the Cast Member who was unsure of what I was and wasn't sure whether or not she should ask, smile, or keep walking. Instead, she awkwardly waved.

Soarin
Me as Soarin' as a guard in Enchanted Tales with Belle

 

Now if you excuse me, I have to get to work on next year's costume...

June 4, 2013 - How I Met Your Website Part 6

This is a love story. Not the typical boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy and girl live happily ever after kind of story. Not all love stories are like that.

You see, life is full of small little moments that forever change your life. It's not until years later that you look back and realize that those little moments really were the big moments. So getting back to my story. I sat down at a table, and my life was forever changed.

There I was with my roommate Ajuane and sitting across the table was a girl I had met the previous day during one of our classes. After introducing her to Ajuane, him and I noticed two girls sitting next to the girl from the class. For some odd reason, 19 year old Brent knew exactly how to win the hearts of every girl around so naturally he began to speak about the Easter Bunny.

Why? I honestly have no idea looking back. It was a conversation that had my fellow classmate, Ajuane, and I in stitches from laughing so hard, but the two girls that sat across from us seemed unimpressed. Actually, unimpressed would be a compliment for what they were. They seemed irritated by Ajuane and I and you could tell that both of them had a look of fear on their faces as if one thought was racing through their minds: What if we are stuck working with one of these two?

Unfortunately for them, one of them ended up working with me while the other ended up working with Ajuane. Of course after going through custodial classes with Erin, she pointed out the fact that it was ridiculous that we were talking about the Easter Bunny on that fateful January morning. It was at that point that I remembered her and her roommate and their looks of dread smeared across their faces.

From that randomness we began a friendship that would last up until this very day. It's funny because throughout the years it's been something Erin and her table companion have continued to bring up to me. The fact that the first thing they ever heard from my mouth was about the Easter Bunny.

It's a good thing that we were talking about the most obscure topic ever though, because if we didn't then maybe none of us would remember sitting at that table. And that'd be a shame, because the other girl sitting there ended up changing the fate of my professional life as I knew it. And yes, she pushed me towards one of the biggest loves of my life'the very site you are on right now.

It'd be a shame to not be able to look back and remember how this all started or if the fate of my life began with something a lot more sane like, so where's everyone from? I think it's good that everything started off some random, because, that was the day I met Marielle.

May 3, 2013 - Goofy's Mystery Tour

Yesterday, I participated in the Cast Member event, Goofy's Mystery Tour. Goofy's Mystery Tour is an event that is part trivia, part scavenger hunt, and a whole lot of fun.

Goofy's Mystery Tour

My team consisted of our Sunday Brunch writer, Reuben, one of our best friends Randi, and our new gal pal, Lauren. The trivia questions consisted of Where in the Worlds (much like we do daily on this site), and questions like, "Who is the only actor to speak twice during the final film montage of Great Movie Ride?" (answer:  Marlon Brando).

Goofy's Mystery Tour

After going through 75 questions, some easy, some hard, our team was tethered up. We went throughout the park to compete in 25 separate puzzles. These puzzles ranged from easy to extremely challenging. After completing each puzzle we would receive a letter and number which would correspond to a chart with different symbols. After all 25 symbols came (along with one confusing fife) we had a brand new question which pretty much asked us a simple question: What will the next Star Wars Episode be numbered? (answer: 7)

Goofy's Mystery Tour
Map of Goofy Mystery Tour clue locations

Here's a look at some of the puzzles:

Goofy's Mystery Tour

Goofy's Mystery Tour

Goofy's Mystery Tour

So how'd we do? We ended up solving every one of the puzzles in the two hour time period and correctly getting the final question right. We correctly answered 67 of the 75 Trivia questions. So overall, we felt extremely confident going into the awards ceremony that we may have placed in the top three of the entire event. Second and Third place actually tied with a total of 68 Trivia questions correct, while first place had 69. So we were merely one question away from the top 3 and two away from first place.

While it is slightly disappointing knowing we didn't come up on top, I'm extremely proud of how we did. More importantly, it was great spending an evening in the park with friends and it's made me eager for next year when our team will hopefully reunite and take home first prize!

April 16 - Praying for Boston

Yesterday, yet another horrible incident occurred in Boston. I immediately wrote to three people I know from the area. Luckily they were all safe, but unfortunately the one was just a block away from everything as it unfolded and another one was safe and sound only three blocks away. Facebook and Twitter have had a variety of posts discussing anger, hope, fear, but most importantly, kindness.

While an event like the Boston Marathon is one of a huge accomplishment (I feel awful for all the runners who should have been celebrating their incredible feat), yesterday there were people who ran towards the danger in order to help one another. Both types of runners deserve a lot of credit.

As a Disney site, we clearly focus a lot on the idea of love, happiness, and good verses evil. While we all know they are stories, all stories are somewhat rooted in reality. Thinking about that defining moment in A Bug's Life where Flik helps all the other ants realize that they outnumber the grasshoppers, therefore they shouldn't be afraid. That is one of the most powerful moments in any Disney film and I feel like it truly stands for what we should all do today.

Yes, sometimes the bad guys win the small battles, but in this time of need, realize that just everyone's power to band together and pray for one another and love each other outweighs the evil in the world. Sometimes the world is a scary place, but always remember that there is hope and love out there because happily ever after is a very real possibility. We just have to work together to make it a reality and in the process make sure the crazy people in the world don't hold us down as a society.

April 15, 2013 - How I Met Your Website - Part 5

So where were we? Back on my second full day of being on the College Program I attended Traditions, a class for Cast Members to learn the history of the Walt Disney Company and the guidelines made for Cast Members across the Company.

I sat down at a table that only had one person sitting at it at the time. A large Texan named Billy. We sat there and talked while our table slowly filled up. It was at that moment with Billy I began to see what the entire experience was about. Billy and I came from completely different backgrounds, but while talking with him we really hit it off and all I could think was how much fun it'd be to hang out with this non-Disney fan.

That's right, not everyone on the College Program is a Disney fan. In fact, on my program it was tough to find people who actually were. Some of them I just never met, and others just wanted an escape from their every day life.

Traditions went on and I answered every question correctly (the facilitator found me about eight months later and said I'm the only person in any of his Traditions classes to answer every question). It was a great time. I began to realize that I knew more about Disney than I ever thought I did and was coming into the program with a one up on most others when it came to Disney Nerdom.

The next day, however, was the day that my entire life changed. As I stated in another entry, it was the morning of my Magic Kingdom tour. I asked if a seat was taken, which would change my life forever. You see, that was the day I met her...

April 4, 2013 - Autism Awareness Day

A little over three years ago my life changed for the better in more ways than I could ever imagine. I began to do a Disney podcast and in turn, people started tuning in on a weekly basis. One of the huge advantages to doing a live video podcast with a chatroom is you get a chance to interact with fans of the show on a weekly basis.

I had always been aware of Autism, but it wasn't until my weekly W.E.D.nesday Show that I began to meet more and more people who either had it or had someone they loved who has it. The more I learned, the more amazed I was about these amazing people.

Today is Autism Awareness Day and I'm seeing several postings online (which led to this post) about how we should be praying for a cure and feel bad for these people. Honestly, that's not what this day is about. Autism isn't something to be fearful of, but something to celebrate! The brain of an autistic person just functions differently than others. That's not a bad thing. In fact, nearly every person I know that has autism sees the world in a way I wish everyone would see it in.

When asked what Autism means, my good friend, Tommy Des Brisay who has autism responded, Autism means friendship. And with that response, his own website was born. Make sure you explore Tommy's site, www.AutismMeansFriendship.com. While there you will realize that this isn't a day where we should pity people with autism, but instead, celebrate the uniqueness that autism is. And that uniqueness truly makes this world a better place.

March 31, 2013 - A Perfect Engagement

They say that life can change in a second, and boy are they right! Last May, I was walking through the Magic Kingdom doing some research for the site when the most unbelievable thing ever happened to me. I was walking near the Mad Tea Party minding my own business when I was all of a sudden bumped into. I was having an awful day at this point and this just added to my irritation for the day.

I was about to shoot the person a nasty look, but when I turned to look I was staring into the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. Not quite blue, not quite green, I was mesmerized. While I'm usually not one to try picking up random people...especially at the parks...I apologized to  her. The next thing I knew she was laughing about the happy little encounter and invited me to join her and her friend for the day.

While at the Main Street Bakery her friend got an "emergency phone call" which left the two of us alone. We stayed at the park until Wishes where all I could do was smile about this happy little accident.

Here we are, ten months later. Yesterday I spent most of the day at Epcot by myself trying to calm myself before the big day. Around 5 I met up with her at Magic Kingdom and subtly took her to the place where we first met. We then went to Gaston's Tavern to have a cinnamon roll, the item we had at Main Street Bakery. While watching Wishes I got down on one knee and proclaimed my love by stating, "April F. Oolsday, I sure do love you!" Happy April Fools Day everyone!

March 4, 2013 - More Secret Identities

Last May, I wrote a blog about revealing my secret identity. During that blog I revealed my big secret of working at Ghirardelli in Downtown Disney. It's time to reveal what I've been doing for the past ten months in a brand new Secret Identity reveal!

So ten months ago I was looking for a new change in life. It wasn't anything to do with the job, I'm just not the type of person to stick to the same job for a long period of time. I get bored easily (unless of course it's working on this website. That is exciting and the best job I've ever had!). In fact, working at Ghirardelli for a year and a half was the second longest job I've ever stuck at (working at a KinderCare in Wisconsin was the longest).

I found a job in a location I had always wanted to work: Disney's Animal Kingdom. To keep my time flexible with my website, I opted for a third party and found myself at Yak and Yeti Restaurant one April day last year asking for an application. I filled it out and a few weeks later was asked to come in for an interview. I got hired on the spot for the quick service area (Local Foods Cafe or LFC for short).

I moved up to a leadership role as Captain and truly enjoyed the people I worked with and the amazing location. I mean, it doesn't get any better than being able to watch your favorite Disney parade, Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade, and watch monkeys everyday! Out of the blue, however, I got a phone call asking if I would be interested in a new job opportunity. I listened to what new opportunities the new job would have to offer to me and they seemed pretty good. So after a few weeks of debating, I put in my two weeks notice making yesterday my last day at Disney's Animal Kingdom (and today being my first at my new job!)!

Overall, it's going to be odd not watching the parade every day or walking through a nearly empty Dinoland, USA every morning, but my check list is continuing for my life time goal: work at every section of Walt Disney World. I've now done Magic Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Downtown Disney! Only Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios to go!

Just like last time, I am not revealing where I'll be working for one simple reason. I'm a huge believer in the guests always coming first and it's tough to do that when friends come to visit you at your job. So if you discover my new location, great! If not, pretend like you are playing "Where's Brent-o?" Also, you need to find my missing backpack, camera, cane, and dog with a red and white tail...

February 26, 2013 - How I Met Your Website - Part 4

So there I was about to sit at a table that would change my life forever, but before we get there, let's flash back a few days. There I was in a rental van packed up consisting mainly of every DVD I owned (my theory was I never knew when I'd get the urge to watch a specific movie over the next eight months so I better bring them all).

My dad and I made the two day trek from Wisconsin to Florida and overall, I was extremely nervous, but was about 90% positive I was making the right choice. There's something that is quite remarkable about life. Whenever you make a big decision, you typically think about what others are going to think of your decision. This wasn't just a decision however. It was a dream. A life long dream at that.

You see when I was about four years old I vividly remember driving in a motor home back from Disney World. We were on the road overlooking a cliff and it was then I thought about how someday I was going to live in Disney World. I'm sure I wasn't thinking about working there. Just living there and hanging out with the characters while riding Peter Pan's Flight and Maelstrom over and over again.

The whole work thing happened a few years later. My Grandparents decided that they would take two grandkids at a time on a special overnight trip to their house. While there, we would go and do some sort of special activity. Recently a new Disney store/restaurant opened up in Illinois so my Grandma and Grandpa Dodge took my cousin Colleen and I down there and allowed us both to buy a souvenir. I bought a Dalmatian puppy (101 Dalmatians had recently been rereleased in theaters), which Colleen and I threw back and forth over the bushes in the town square until his head began to come off.

That night, after my Grandpa and Colleen went to bed, my Grandma and I were sitting at her kitchen table talking about the day. I told her I had a secret about Disney that was just going to be for her and I. The secret was quite simple: I told her that some day I would work for Disney in some way, shape, or form. I was six so I didn't have a plan. I just had a dream.

My dad and I pulled into the newly opened Pop Century Resort and I began to wonder what my Grandma and other Grandparents, my parents, my brothers, and everyone else in my life thought about this new change in my life. Did the approve or did they just think it was Brent simply being Brent?

During the check in, the Cast Member was excited to hear about why I was there and wished me luck on the College Program. He then asked my dad what he thought, to which he replied, "I think it's a good fit." I had my answer and I was now 100% positive I was making the right choice. As for the taking a seat at the table? We'll get there soon, but first we have to talk about Billy...

February 11, 2013 - How I Met Your Website - Part 3

There's a building behind the Magic Kingdom known as Disney University. This is where different management training, Disney Traditions classes, security checks, and other behind the scenes Disney things take place. More importantly, it was the location of a turning point in our story.

Depending on which park Cast Members work at in Walt Disney World, Cast Members get different tours of the park which help open their eyes to the marvel and mystery that is Disney. For the Magic Kingdom the class is known as Once Upon A Time is Now and our tour began at the cafeteria found within Disney University.

I vividly remember waking up early that morning and headed over to the Magic Kingdom with my, up to that point, silent roommate Ajuane. The bus ride over to Disney University consisted of the chatterbox in me rapidly asking questions about his family, home, school, etc. while he most likely sat there thinking about how he wish he was assigned a different apartment on the program. I was showing off my Disney knowledge and pointing out some fun facts to him (0 bricks on the Castle, Master Gracey is at the Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean wasn't an opening day attraction) while he polietely nodded while questioning what was in store for him today and over the next nine months.

We pulled into the parking lot and I dragged him along to the cafeteria where our tour was going to begin. He hesitantly followed, but I could tell he was going to play the day carefully and stand by my side. It's better to be with your crazy roommate than with no one at all, after all. We entered the room and found a table in the back left corner with some empty spots.

Sitting at the table was a girl that had been in my Traditions class the day before so I approached her with the simplest question.

Let's pause right here, because the question that's about to be asked is one of the most crucial moments in the entire story. Most people in life plan for the big moments that will change their lives whether they're proposals, accepting jobs, or where to live. Those moments don't really matter though. the moments that matter are the simple ones. Those are the ones that truly tie everything in life together. If it weren't for the small things in life there would be no point for the bigger things since they wouldn't be as big anymore. Now, let's get back to our story.

"Is this seat taken?" And my life was changed forever...

February 2, 2013 - How I Met Your Website - Part 2

Today marks the third year this website has been hanging around the World Wide Web, so I think it's a perfect time for Part 2 of my series, How I Met Your Website (read part 1 below).

So I had been accepted into the Walt Disney World College Program. Now up to this point in my life I had never really had people question my dreams. Family, friends, teachers, neighbors, etc. always seemed to be full of encouragement no matter how far fetched a dream may be. For instance, Six year old Brent: Some day I'll be a Ninja Turtle! Naturally, no one told me that I would first have to become a turtle in order to make that happen. I always figured that if they mutated, so could I.

So after getting accepted I called up my family and told them the amazing news and just like always, they were full of hope and words of encouragement. At the same time (literally within minutes of my news) one of my hall mates found out he got into a study abroad program. We decided to head across campus to tell our favorite professor our good news.

Let's flash back a second. "Senior in high school Brent" was a HUGE movie fan and wanted to be the next George Lucas or Steven Spielberg so he naturally went to college for Film. His first year in college he lived on a floor which consisted of students that had art as their primary interest. The entire floor had a class to help enhance our creative minds and was taught by two professors. One was amazingly supportive, the other hated Disney.

So here we were headed to the classroom with the amazing professor and the critical one. After sharing my good news, the Disney hater immediately started pointing out how awful the program would probably be and how I would probably hate Disney after going through it. A few of my college friends started pointing out that I shouldn't go (not because they wanted me to stick around), but because they felt I would hate Disney by the time my program was done.

It's an amazing thing in life really. You tell a toddler not to touch a hot oven and they go and touch it anyways. The same is true later in life. You tell a dreamer that they are going to come out the other side bitter and angry and all you do is light a fire. It was at that moment I realized one thing. Not only was I going to take advantage of the program for everything it could offer me. I was going to let it change my life just so I could show those people back at college how wrong they were. And boy, were they wrong...

January 22, 2013 - How I Met Your Website

Last week on the W.E.D.nesday Show! we did an "Ask the Expert" segment where guests ask different Disney related questions and I answer them. One question was simple. How did this website come into my life? I explained that I've been compared to Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother and if you really wanted me to, I could tell the whole story, but it'd take forever.

Amazingly enough, this past week I've received several emails from people asking when I'm going to start the story of How I Met Your Website. What was a joke has turned into something real, so here is the first entry of an ongoing series which will be updated whenever I feel like it. :-)

Kids, I'm going to tell you an unbelievable story. The story of how I met your website. Back in 2003 I was in my second year of college and, while I wasn't exactly happy with the college I was staying at, something amazing happened on November 17. My friend Toy and I attended a seminar about the Walt Disney World College Program and signed up for interviews the following day. During the interview I was asked a simple question: Why would the Walt Disney World College Program be a good fit for me?

Now you have to remember this was me before interviewing Disney Legends, hosting a Podcast Awards nominated show, writing a book, running a website. This was just a 19 year old sitting in a room with his entire future on the line. Let's backtrack.

My family had been coming to Disney on a regular basis since I was born and whenever a new Disney film was released in theaters you could bet my family would be there watching a beast and beauty fall in love, a dog who wondered why he should worry, or two little mice headed to Australia to save a boy. Ahh, those two little mice play an important role in this story, but we'll get there.

So why would the program be a good fit for me? I explained to the Cast Member that I was a huge Disney fan and I began to point out random Disney facts (like he was interviewing me on the 75th birthday of Mickey Mouse) and shared with him that it was a lifelong dream for me to be there. In fact, years earlier, when I was only about five or six I shared a secret with my Grandma Dodge: someday I was going to work at Walt Disney World. Here I was years later seeing if my secret would become a reality.

Yes, I'm sure 19 year old Brent was quite nervous during the interview and his voice probably squeaked like a teenager hitting puberty due to nerves. Afterwards I had to play the waiting game. I would check my email on an almost hourly basis just hoping and praying I got in. Then at the start of December I saw an email entitled, "Walt Disney World College Program." I turned to my roommate Eric and asked him to leave the room knowing that no matter what the outcome was, tears would be shed.

The email opened and the next thing I remember was running through the campus of The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh yelling, "I'm going to Disney World!" But, as I said, this is going to be a long story...

December 31, 2012 - Mark down another one

2012. It's been filled with happiness, sadness, new opportunities, tearful goodbyes, and a whole lot more.

This was the year I took my first Disney cruise (on the ship that my fellow Peoplemovers and I will always claim as our own), got nominated for a Podcast Award, met some amazing people that have become great friends, and it's the year where I attempted to eat the largest calzone I've ever seen.

I've heard a lot of people being reflective on the year both in person and online over the past few days and a lot have of them have reminded me of Merida's mother in Brave. They've discussed how this is what has been meant to be, but it's made me think of the famous Dr. Emmitt Brown quote at the end of Back to the Future III where he assures Marty that the future isn't set in stone, but is whatever you make of it.

Whether 2012 was the best year of your life or one of the most challenging, remember that in just a few hours that ball will drop (which I still think should look like a Block Party Bash Ball) and we will have an imaginary clean start. Sure, the day will switch over just like every day has done throughout all of time, but there's something nice and refreshing when you think of that new start.

Fate may have brought you to where you are today, but don't forget that every now and then fate needs some push, so make sure you follow your dreams, do what you love, be with those you love, and overall, have an amazing time in 2013. We only get one life on this amazing place called Earth so go make the best of it.

Happy New Year everyone! I'll see you in 2013!

November 14, 2012 - A long journey

Back in 1991, 7 year old me went to the movie theater with my parents and three brothers. The movie? Beauty and the Beast. While I honestly don't remember watching the film in the theaters, I do remember when the credits began to roll I saw the name of the producer: Don Hahn.

My best friend throughout all of grade school was named Andy Hahn so naturally 7 year old me ran to school the next day and asked Andy what his dad's name was. When he replied Steve I asked about his uncles, grandpa, etc. Unfortunately, there was no relationship whatsoever.

21 years later and tonight I will be interviewing the man who as far as I can remember was the first true Disney celebrity that I knew. The nerves haven't kicked in, but the excitement sure has. It's so crazy thinking about how 21 years ago little Brent sat in a movie theater and here I am, just slightly older mentally, about to interview this Disney icon. I feel extremely lucky, but also extremely thankful for everyone who has helped me reach this moment in my journey. So thank you to those who have supported me and please join me tonight at 9:30Eastern as we pick Don Hahn's brain! I can't wait!

June 28, 2012 - Why I could never be a Cat Burglar

This morning I woke up to discover a comment had been left on the picture I had stolen for the Picture of the Day today. The person wrote down, "lol. go for it!" Alright, maybe I should explain as to what goes on for Picture of the Day at sometimes.

Almost two years ago we began a "Picture of the Day" segment on the website. The idea was simple, but a lot of fun. Every day we feature a picture taken by one of our awesome viewers on the bottom of the home page. This allows others to get a little glimpse of Disney on a daily basis. Pretty simple premise.

At the start we had several people sending submissions, but then one day something happened that got me super nervous. We were on our last submission and I needed a new Picture of the Day. The idea was quite simple, I'd go to Facebook, find a person who I know frequents the website, and take one of their pictures. Of course at the same time I didn't want them stumbling across the picture on my site and being upset that it was there without them knowing so I posted, "Stolen for Picture of the Day" or simply "Stolen."

Back to how this all got started. I don't think I can ever be a cat burglar. I can just imagine the paper one morning after me pulling off a job. I think it'd go something like this:

Cat Burglar Gives Away Identity

October 11, 2026

Recently a strange turn of events has occurred in the world of crime. While most burglars leave a signature mark behind to show the world what they got away with (hello Wet Bandits from Home Alone), others just blatantly tell authorities who they are.

Yesterday at a quiet home near Walt Disney World a family of four returned home from a day at the park. Little Susie, age 9, returned home with a souvenir that would be the envy of all her friends: a certificate that allows her to have a tour of the global superstar Earl of Sandwich and a free sandwich from said Earl for every day for the rest of her life.

While Susie was skipping to her room and being prepared to send the message through her brain power onto the social network, FootNook, some strange things began to take form.

"Our dog Beatrice just started going bonkers looking out the window," stated mother Beth. "I sent my husband Mitch to figure out what was going on, but he couldn't see anything." The husband and wife duo took their two lovely children away from the house in fear of the worse. When they returned hours later poor Susie came across a missing certificate that had been replaced by a sheet of paper which read,

"Stolen for a new blog on FromScreenToTheme.com"

Authorities checked out the website and, after spending hours of brushing up on their Disney knowledge, learned that they could find Brent Dodge, age 42, at Disney's newest park, Super Sentiment Station, where he would be watching Block Party Bash. Authorities arrested Dodge after dancing to "Block Party. Yeah yeah!" with him and naturally, fighting over the Block Party Bash balls. And that, as they say, is one for the books.

 

So there you have it my friends. When I'm 42 I'd really appreciate it if someone could bail me out of jail because there is no way I would ever make it in life as a Cat Burglar. Thank you for your future contribution of making me a free man.

June 25, 2012 - Top Three Pixar Shorts

Recently I was talking with our very own Saturday Matinee writer, Albert, about Pixar's newest short cartoon, La Luna, which debuted with Brave this past Friday. Our discussion quickly turned to us discussing our favorite Pixar shorts and it inspired me to write a short blog about my top three.

So naturally I rewatched all 21 (excluding Cars Toons with the exception of Mater and the Ghost Light which was released theatrically) and established my own top 3. Let's begin with number 3:

#3. 2006's One Man Band

This short features a simple setting: a town square. When a one man band arrives with the hopes of achieving his fortune he is pleasantly surprised to see a little girl approaching the town well in hopes of making a wish. He distracts her with his musical talent and tries to win over her coin. Just before she is going to give him her treasured coin another one man band arrives in the town square and the two one man bands try to win over the single coin the girl is giving up.

When they scare her she drops the coin into a drain and demands a violin for her loss. She begins to play the violin and voila! a whole bag of money appears showing everyone who the greatest performer in town truly is!

Much like most Pixar shorts, the short focuses on action instead of dialogue. While we have no idea what the names of any of the characters are we know exactly who everyone is within seconds of the story. Not only that, but just watching the story evolve is hilarious. Ever time I laugh at the fact that the only thing these two grown men want to do during their day is battle one another for the possession of a little girl's sole coin.

#2. 1989's Knick Knack

Early in Pixar's life they were working on telling stories with inanimate objects that most people would see on a regular basis. So what better way to tell a story than by using an object as simple as a snow globe. The storyline for Knick Knack is very simple, yet hilarious.

Upon a shelf is a group of different objects someone has collected from around the globe. For the most part all of the items are from nice and sunny areas with the exception of one: a snow globe from Nome Sweet Nome, Alaska. Within the snow globe sits a snowman yearning to be amongst the other figurines, especially the bikini clad figurine from Sunny Miami who beckons him to come over.

After several failed attempts to escape the snow globe he eventually pushes the snow globe off the shelf and escapes in midair! However, when he lands inside of a fishbowl the snow globe lands right back on top of him. The worst part of all? Calling him from inside the fishbowl is a mermaid.

Again, the fact that Pixar doesn't use voices (with the exception of the very catchy voices humming about) and just focuses on short gags cracks me up every time I see it. Hopefully one day our snowman friend will escape his chamber and be amongst the other figurines for good.

#1. 2001's For the Birds

After much consideration, I'm giving my number one spot to For the Birds. Again, a very simple short cartoon that is full of laughter. When a bunch of small birds begin to bicker with one another about who gets to sit on top of a telephone wire a much larger bird arrives and lowers the wire to nearly ground level. When the other begins to try and peck his claws off they fly off into the air and lose their feathers in the process.

The thing I love about this cartoon is the sound effects. The birds' voices crack me up to no end and once again the story telling is just great.

In all honesty, my top three changed about fifty times since Friday when I talked to Albert about our lists, but it's very tough to choose which is my favorite. Pixar not only knows how to make amazing full length feature films, but the have put the bar so high on their quality of short cartoons as well I get just as excited about their short cartoons as I do for their full length films.

So make sure you head out and see Brave, because not only is it an amazing film, but La Luna is out of this world (quite literally)!

Head over to the forums to let us know what your top three favorite Pixar shorts are!

June 17, 2012 - Finding Fastpasses

Every now and then a small event will change your day in ways you never would have dreamed of. This is my story of finding two Fastpasses and how it changed not just one day, but two days at Disney.

Just last week one of my best friends Kayleigh (or as most of you know her as, one of the Canadians) was in town visiting. Kayleigh, Alex (of Hidden Mickey Monday fame), Caitlin, and I went on Star Tours and while exiting something caught my eye. There upon the trash can at the exit were Fastpasses for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and they were still valid for a few more minutes!

We rushed across the park and made our way to the entrance of the attraction just to have a rude Cast Member out front point out to us that our Fastpasses were no longer valid (we barely missed the cut off time). We pointed out that we were on the other side of the park and missed it just by minutes, but the Cast Member, who was extremely rude, told us that if we had a problem with it, we should complain to Guest Relations.

Now, I'm not usually one to complain to Guest Relations unless a Cast Member really bothers me and the way this Cast Member was handling the situation was definitely not the Disney way. As if the Blue Fairy were watching our misadventures, things began to change. Two girls in their teens approached us saying the saw the whole situation and felt bad, but they had two extra Fastpasses they were willing to give us. Next thing we knew another guest pointed out that he had seen the scene too and thought we were treated unfairly and it ends up he had an extra Fastpass as well.

When the Fastpasses were valid just a few minutes later we approached the Cast Member once again and showed him the Fastpasses that were given to us by the good found in our fellow guest. He hesitantly let the group of us in line. While in line we approached another Cast Member who didn't seem to thrilled about her job and we began to wonder where all the good Cast Members had gone.

Then we found one! Steph, an amazing Cast Member from Australia began to talk to us about our day and truly showed us what a Disney Cast Member is all about. While talking to her I pointed out that she is easily the best Cast Member to work the attraction and she asked us what had made the others look bad. We explained our story and Steph, being awesome, gave us four more Fastpasses that were good for any attraction in the park! We continued to thank Steph as we boarded our limo and all wondered if we'd ever see her again.

The next day while exiting Toy Story Midway Mania (which we got on using our Fastpasses) a guest approached our group (this time only three of us) and pointed out they had three Fastpasses for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster that were good right then! Not believing the situation we had found ourselves in, we rushed to the attraction and low and behold! There was Steph once again at the exit of the attraction! We thanked her for the Fastpasses from the day before and she explained it was the least she could do for us. Amazingly enough, there was still more she wanted to do for us!

She asked us if we would want to ride the attraction one more time by going through the VIP entrance and we obviously didn't hesitate to agree! She escorted us through a door that took us to the load area of the attraction and we rode the attraction once again! Along the way we met another amazing Cast Member that worked the attraction, Miranda who totally showed off the Cast Member spirit we all know and love at Disney!

So next time you walk around the park, keep your eyes open for Fastpasses lying around. You never know how it'll change your day and the types of friendships the power of randomness are going to give you!

May 31, 2012 - Farewell to an old friend

Eight years ago Snow White's Scary Adventures meant practically nothing to me. Sure, I'd go on it from time to time on my visits to Walt Disney World, but I had no personal connection to it whatsoever.

While on my College Program I worked as Fantasyland Custodial. Every day we'd find our assignments for the day on a sheet of paper just next to Mrs. Potts' Cupboard. While being trained my trainer was explaining what each of the assignments on the sheet of paper meant. While he talked I constantly heard on the other side of a wall, 'Quick Princess. Run away and never come back. Go. Goooooo.' My trainer, obviously realizing that I had heard this at least five times at this point, pointed out that I would be hearing that a lot.

For the next year every time I would go for my assignments I would hear the Huntsman talking from Snow White's Scary Adventures giving Snow White advice that would ultimately save her life. What could have been extremely obnoxious instead became something comforting.

As the year on my College Program continued my fellow Cast Members soon realized that I truly was the Disney nerd in the area and whenever a new person would join our Fantasyland Custodial family, I was given a simple duty: give them a tour of the land! For the most part the tour I'd give consisted of pointing out what each ride was like. However, there was always one stop I always made sure to make. We would enter the handicap lane for Snow White's Scary Adventures and I would give a talk about the amazing mural at the load/unload area. Here I would point out the amazing Hidden Mickey's.

One of my friends that worked the attraction, Marielle, gave me an odd request one day. Find her two brothers somewhere in Fantasyland and bring them to her at Snow White's Scary Adventures. I retrieved the two never realizing that over six years later those two wouldn't just write for my website, but be considered some of my greatest friends as well.

Snow White has meant a lot to me. It may not have been the flashiest ride, fastest ride, or most amazing ride, but it was one of the most simple which brought a lot of charm to it. Tonight I took my last trip through Snow White's Scary Adventures (and naturally sixteen other trips throughout the day as well).

As the clock got closer to 10 I began to get a little more sentimental and began to reflect on what the ride has truly meant to me. When I realized that my final ride was about to take place I sat in awe one last time at everything I was seeing. I did a pretty good job keeping it together until we entered a room and I heard, 'Quick Princess. Run away and never come back. Go. Gooooo.' That's when the tears came, but I had no idea what else was in store for me.

Today the Disney community truly joined together to pay honor to this classic attraction that is leaving way too soon. While most would think people would be fighting over who would be the last to go, something much more magical happened. There was a boy present who has always considered Snow White's Scary Adventures to be his favorite attraction. Him and his family have ridden over 2,000 times prior to this week and Disney has helped him this week hit 3,000 rides.

At 7, he was accompanied by Snow White herself for one final ride. I stood near the exit and the look of pure happiness upon the boys face brought tears to everyone's eyes. It was at that moment everyone seemed to have a mutual understanding: he must be the last rider on this attraction.

As Snow White's guests began to dwindle our friend was escorted through the handicap entrance and, being seated by my best friend Alex, was given the great honor of being the final guest ever to board the attraction. A group of roughly one hundred guests stood by waiting for his mine car to come through the final door and once he stepped off the crowd applauded: for the boy, for the attraction, for Disney.

I will miss Snow White's Scary Adventures. I've had some amazing memories connected to it. While all of those memories are happy, the one that I believe will forever bring a smile to my face is watching the attractions' number one fan step off the attraction while both him and the attraction received a well deserved applause.

Until next time, always remember, 'Quick Princess. Run away and never come back. Go. Gooooo.'

May 10, 2012 - Never stop believing

Last year on February 4th I wrote a blog about my friend the dreamer and how she was finally pursuing her own bit of happiness. A lot of people read that blog and wanted to know what happened to her afterwards so here it is.

This past weekend I attended a wedding for "Jessie" and her new husband. I was the ring bearer (and yes, it was awesome). After I wrote the blog Jessie took the chance and let the guy know how much she cared for him. Luckily he felt the same and just a few months later the two got engaged. Now they are living out their happily ever after in the D.C. area.

While driving back from the wedding my mind began to drift over the past year and a quarter since I wrote that blog and I began to realize the main reason I run this site, write the books, do the podcast: it's the dreamers out there and watching them have their dreams come true. In the past year so much has happened in both my personal life and my friends life that it has been quite amazing to watch.

For instance, Reuben moved down here and achieved his dream of being a baker in Walt Disney World, Alex returned to her dream of working at Disney.

 Two of my friends, my dad, and I set out to win a huge scavenger hunt and won, I went on my first Disney cruise, I've known about three people who've moved to their dream locations (even though some of them didn't go to Disney we can accept it).

People have left jobs they are unhappy with, and pursued people they are interested in. People have gotten the pet they always dreamed of having while others made a ball pit out of Block Party Bash Balls.

One of my friends conquered their fear of heights by going skydiving while someone else conquered their fear of leaving the life they are used to and took their first vacation ever. People lived, they dreamed, they laughed and cried.

You see. Life isn't about going through the same routine day in and day out. Everyone has a dream (Tangled showed us that) but it is our job to pursue the dream. No one can make your dreams come true except you. Sure, people can help you along the way, but unless you set out to make your dreams come true your dreams never really will come true.

So take some advice from Jessie and pursue the guy, your dream, your life. If you don't they will never come true. So go wish upon a star, kiss a frog, or just have an amazing dream and here's wishing all your dreams really do come true.

May 3, 2012 - Revealing secret identities

Everybody has secrets that they keep for certain reasons and in a way those secrets create a secret identity for each of us. Over the past 18 months I have kept the biggest and longest secret about myself for a while and, keeping with our super hero theme this week, it's time to reveal my secret identity.

Picture the end of Iron Man when the famous words, "I am Iron Man" are muttered. Now it's time for mine: I work at Ghirardelli in Downtown Disney. Actually, I should say worked. Yesterday was my last day. So why keep such a big secret for so long? Great question!

Since I began working any job (Barnes and Noble, Disney, Kindercare, etc.) I always have lived by the motto that the guest always comes first. I think its a great way to work and in every one of my job experiences in the past people would eventually discover where I was working, come visit, and I always felt I wasn't doing my best job since I was spending time with people I see outside of work while essentially ignoring the guest. Due to that I often keep my jobs a secret. The bigger question, why Ghirardelli, what did I do, and why did I leave?

Alright. When I moved down here I lived off of book sales and my savings for a while, but eventually decided that I really should get a job (or choose the option of moving back home with no money in my pockets) in order to pay the bills. Back in 2004 I loved working on Disney property and figured I would love to do the same again, but there was one problem. With my book, website, and podcast, Disney is more reluctant to hire me (and anyone who concentrates a side job to Disney knowledge like me). So the answer was quite simple. Work for a third party.

The two locations I thought of almost instantly were Ghirardelli and Earl of Sandwich. Ghirardelli hired me almost instantly and I began work on November 1, 2010. About three months in I became a trainer, five months in I was honored to be named Star of the Quarter by my fellow chocolateers (that's really what they called us), and eight months in I became a Supervisor. It was great place to work (especially with the free ice cream during the shift) and I have met some unbelievable people while working there. In fact some of these people became my closest friends in Florida and I wouldn't trade knowing them for anything.

The entire time I was there I promised myself one thing: supervisor was the highest level I would go. I just don't want to get stuck in management since I was afraid I would lose track of books, website updates, etc. So recently I began to reflect on my time with the company and realized it was time for me to move on to new things. I applied at a few places and did receive a new job (and yes, that will become a new secret identity). I am excited for a new opportunity, but am sad about the friends I am leaving behind. I do feel like I made an impact on some people and will always hold a special place for them within my heart.

One last thing I would like to share is quite simple, but my favorite part of the job. About two or three months in to the job I was asked to replace light bulbs on the roof of the building and not wanting to pass up the opportunity to get a unique view of Downtown Disney I went straight on up. Here are some pictures of the unique view and a picture of me on one of my last nights. Enjoy and consider one more secret identity revealed!

April 19, 2012 - How to date a Disney fairy

Editor's note: The following should be read in the voice from the Goofy How To short cartoons.

Since the dawn of time one question has plagued mankind more than any other: How do I go about dating a Disney fairy? One can only assume you have asked yourself that question once in past, even if it means just reading the previous sentence.

First off, let's take a look at our candidates:

Ah yes, as they always say, ain't no party like a fairy party and as you can see from the above picture, that statement is true (even though it may not be the best party). The first step to gaining a date from a Disney fairy is quite simple, approach them with a clever pick up line that will blow them away. If you are short on ideas try out:

- You smell Fairy nice today (throwing the word fairy allows them to connect with the sentence and they may laugh at your pun)
- I'm glad I didn't wear my shoes with giant fluffy balls on them today or this would be embarrassing.
- I've been tinking about you
or when all else fails
- If you and I were on a date flying amongst the stars I would hope we would never never land.

Now that you've won over your Disney fairy with ease, it's time to talk about dates. Now most guys would do the cliche dates that consist of visiting the Pixie Hollow Games or riding Peter Pan's Flight (trust me the latter does not work with Rosetta. She'll give you an entire lecture about how Peter Pan is no good for her friend Tink and how that boy is always getting her into trouble).

Now that you know which dates not to go on, it's time to learn which dates you should go on:

We're sorry. But due to the author knowing diddly squat about dating Disney fairies our article ends here. If you have any tips on how he can woo over the likes of Rosetta, please email Brent@fromscreentotheme.com with the subject "Dating fairy guide."

March 31, 2012 - Some Changes!

The past week has been one of the best of my life, but at the very end of it something devastating occurred. Throughout all the birthday cakes, cruise adventures, and time with family and friends I came to a realization: I can't go on living like this forever.

Yes, this is the good life. I love this life like no other, but unfortunately it comes with a price and I can't afford that price right now. I talked to my parents about it before they left and they gave me some good advice on what I should do with everything. They pointed out while I love the website and Disney it just wasn't the best idea financially and that maybe its time for me to return home for a little bit while I build up my savings.

One of my dads friends just opened up a brand new Taco Bell and, knowing me for years, has offered me a job as head taco maker. Not the most glamorous job, but he told me that if I do well for the first year he may make me head drive through window taker. I think I would talk too much to the guests though and ruin it all.

I'm just not sure what to do with everything right now and have realized that maybe they are right and maybe its time for me to return home for a year or two while I get my feet back on the ground. So as of next week, life in Florida will be behind me, but hopefully not for long since I do love it down here. But in the mean time, it's time for me to shut down the website for just a little bit while I figure everything out financially, personally, and most importantly, how to change the date on a blog from the 31st of March to the 1st of April.

Happy April Fools my wonderful wonderful fools!

December 31, 2011 - 2011!

One year, a million stories to share. Last year I remember sitting at this very spot writing all about the year 2010 and what a wonderful year it was. With the start of this website, my move to Florida, my book being released, and so many other great moments it was an amazing year and one that would be extremely difficult to top.

2011 may have done that though. While this year wasn't the year of new books, pod casts, or websites, it was a year filled with friends, family, and fun. Let's take a look at some of my favorite moments from the past year (in no particular order).

The amazing WEDfriend meet! In late May/early June several WEDfriends joined together in Walt Disney World for some of my favorite moments ever in a Disney park. While not everyone was there we had an amazing time playing The From Screen to Theme Amazing Race, riding Splash Mountain (with bags on some of our heads), and just being together. While every Wednesday I am extremely proud of how the show brings people together I never got a feeling quite as happy as seeing a group of strangers being together acting like they've been best friends for years.

Ohana means family. There are two families that I was part of this year. The first one I'll talk about is my actual family. I love my family. That's pretty obvious for anyone who knows me, but there are a few moments this year that really stood out to me. The first was earlier in the year when my cousin arrived in Florida with her husband and three ADORABLE children! While we have always been close, experiencing something that I love so much (Disney) with them was an unbelievable feeling.

Then later in the year my family had our annual badminton tournament (The Golden Shuttlecock Tournament: Quest for the Dodge Cup - see it's not just From Screen to Theme with an unbelievably long subtitle). This tradition stemmed from a joke I had said about five years back and since our family joins together each year. While my brother and I did win again (every year now, not that I'm bragging), the best part of it is just being with the people you love.

My other Ohana consists of Reuben (of Sunday Brunch fame), Alex (of Hidden Mickey Monday fame), and Caitlin and Kayleigh (of being Brent Dodge's friends fame). While at the start of the summer we didn't all know one another extremely well, by the end of the summer we had gone on so many adventures through Disney that it's tough to imagine never having known them before.

Two of my biggest dreams were also realized this year. The first was to interview a true Disney Legend and just a month ago that dream became a reality when I had Disney Legend Dave Smith come on my show! The other dream was one set out years ago when I wanted to show the world that I knew more about Disney than anyone else out there. In May my dad and two of my closest friends, Frank and Dave, set out to not only win a Disney scavenger hunt, but won a cruise in the process (more on that next year).

The final significant moment was having two of my closest friends move down permanently. First off was Reuben (mentioned above) and my college friend/Kara's friend Amanda. One piece of advice I received shortly after moving down from someone who lived here year round was very simple: don't befriend the college program kids since they leave after a certain amount of time. Of course I didn't listen so after a certain amount of time friends would go and I'd always wish that some of my closest friends would be closer all year round and now that's going to be possible!

So who knows what will happen in 2012, but I know that more dreams will be realized, friendships with grow, and most importantly, new memories will be made!

Thank you everyone for an amazing 2011! I hope everyone out there has a very happy and safe new year! I'll see all of you next year! 

July 10, 2011 - 200 Consecutive Days!

200 days is a long time.

201 days ago I was deathly ill and it was the first time since I moved to Florida that I wasn't able to make it to a Disney park. The next day I promised to make it every single day once again (after all, I did have the record according to Disney of 159 consecutive days at one point). So I showed up at the Magic Kingdom and every day since then have been to the park. However, today, on my 200th day in a row, I began to look back at the last 200 days and I decided to highlight my five favorite moments during these days in no particular order.

Living the Dream
When I moved down here I made a promise to myself that I'd take advantage of every moment. Over the past 200 days I've gotten a private tour of the Tower of Terror, sat behind the Security Desk at Muppet Vision 3D, special events and a whole lot more. However, one of my favorite moments happened while walking through Disney's Hollywood Studios on the day Star Tours officially opened. While near the exit I saw none other than the main Imagineers that worked on the attraction and rushed over to get a picture with them! These are my kind of celebrities!

Family is what it's all about!
I love my family! I mean LOVE my family! To me, family always comes before everything else so when my cousin, her husband, and their three kids came down I was in heaven! I hadn't seen my cousin in two years so her kids barely remembered who I was, but we soon became the best of friends! I spent every possible second with them and it really reconfirmed my belief that family should and will always come first in my book!

The Canadian Invasion!
You know that feeling you get when you meet someone and you just feel an instant connection? I felt that way all of the WEDfriends, but last year when Alex (from Hidden Mickey Monday) came down, we became like brother and sister and spent a lot of our time at the parks. So this year when she came down and became roommates with friends from her last program, they joined us on our crazy adventures as well. Very quickly we became a family away from our actual families. We don't call it our Disney family (that's what everyone else does, we want to be different). We are Ohana, because Ohana truly does mean family, and in this one, nobody gets left behind...or forgotten...except the Mountie on occasion.

Hello WEDfriends!
Since day one, I have loved working on this website, my book, podcast, etc., but even more than that I have always loved the fans of everything I do! So in May when several of those fans joined together in Florida for a meet up (which lasted two plus days) I felt incredibly happy! Some of the highlights were the first ever From Screen to Theme Amazing Race (although some competitors probably wanted to kill me), a colonial meal at Liberty Tree Tavern, a late night talk with the founders of the W.E.D.nesday Show!, or my favorite, a log full of WEDfriends!

And the winner is...
I've always been a HUGE Disney fan and have always thought of myself as very knowledgeable on all things Disney and I finally had a chance to set out to show people how much I did know. That's right, I'm talking about the D23 Scavenger Hunt!

The Peoplemovers (my Dad, Frank, Dave, and myself) set out on a fierce two day competition throughout all four WDW theme parks. The Disney trivia really spoke to the Disney nerd in me while the completion really spoke to the competitor in me. After two days, four parks, and three amazing teammates support, we won the competition and made Disney history by being the first winners of the very first Disney run WDW Scavenger Hunt!

So there you have it. Five of my favorite moments from the past 200 days! Looking back now I realize it was all about the people. That's what truly makes Disney such an amazing place. So thank you to everyone that has been involved in any of my memories (both mentioned and not) over the past 200 days! I can't wait to keep the streak alive until next month when I return home to Wisconsin for a week for a visit with family!

 

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