Walt Disney World's Whispering Canyon Cafe

Some of the best experiences that I had with friends in family while in Disney World revolved around food. Whether it be cooking for friends and family, or eating at some restaurant either in Disney or around the area. I have to admit though, eating at Disney restaurants were some of the most amazing experiences. The theming and the food are always spot on.

The first restaurant that I wanted to write about is the Whispering Canyon Cafe in Disney's Wilderness Lodge. From the second that I walked into the Wilderness Lodge, I fell in love.  I was meeting these two goobers above for lunch a few weeks before my program out there ended. I didn't know anything about it before walking in, but it exceeded any expectations I could have wanted. 

One of the greatest things about it is the fact that it's all bottomless platters, bottomless milkshakes, and bottomless drinks. It's such a fun atmosphere where you can choose either to play or opt out. We decided to play because, why not? The point of playing here is to make fun of you and your table. You have "bad" service. Whenever you ask for ketchup, every single  bottle of ketchup in the restaurant is brought to you, or if you ask for straws they're thrown at you or thrown on the table. 

We decided to do the bottomless portion and share it between the three of us and it was so very worth it. It came with pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken, beef brisket, mashed potatoes, baked beans, corn on the cob, a mixed salad, and fresh cornbread. My personal favorite? Beef brisket, potatoes, corn on the cob, and cornbread. It reminded me of home and my moms cooking.

We ended up not having anything for desert because I had to run to work, almost literally. Our waiter was great all throughout the meal, and even at the end he took special care of us and really got to know us. He asked us so many question about where we worked and how it was. He was really great, as was the service. Would I go back? In a heartbeat. 

Image Map

The Hardest Goodbyes

There were a few goodbyes that I had to say on the way out of Florida. They were some of the hardest goodbyes that I've had to date. The first ones came in the form of coworker who had to leave a little early. He was one of my best friends at work, and his fiance was one of the sweetest people I've ever met in my entire life. They were some of the closest friends I had there and the easiest people I've gotten along with. After a dinner with most of our coworkers, we had to say goodbye. It was a tearful goodbye, on my part and then theirs. 

The next came in the form of my goodbye: I had to say goodbye to my coworkers. We all said goodbye on the same day, it was just the fact that I was the first one to leave (besides Sonya, my roommate). We all ended up going to breakfast and shared stories and just talked, for a good two hours. After breakfast we decided to take our family pictures, because that was what they were to me. Family. We look like a freaking Christmas card. And I love it. 

Saying goodbye to these people was the hardest thing in the world. They were my rock for the past six months; they were my best friends. And it was worth it. This entire program was worth it because of the people that I met there. After saying goodbye to my work family, I went back to the apartment for one last look. My roommates and I agreed not to say goodbye; it was too hard and it wasn't goodbye for us. 

Afterward, I started to drive out and I went to say my hardest goodbye. The pinnacle of the hardest goodbyes. My best friends down on the program, Tom and his wife Sonya. They've been the closest things I had to family while I was down here. He's my older brother and she's my older sister. 

The family that I've made while working in Walt Disney World will never go away, we still talk on a normal basis and that's something I'll forever be grateful for. 

Image Map

Beaches on the West Coast: Corona Del Mar

On one of our days off the first week here in California, Sonya and I decided to go to the beach. We had to decide between Huntington, Newport, Laguna, or Corona del Mar. In the end, it was a no brainer because Corona Del Mar has a Sprinkles Cupcake and a Sprinkles Ice Cream near it. So we got up and quickly got dressed and ready for the day and headed to the beach. 

Driving out there was astounding for me. It was so crazy to see the hills/mountains/whatever you want to call them. It makes me so happy to see different landscapes. When we came off the top of a hill and could see the ocean, my heart immediately fluttered.

The houses here are so diverse, there are a ton of different styles of architecture and that's crazy to me. It's not something that you really see as prevalently in Louisiana. The beach is so different from Florida, and it's amazing. There are rocks, and cliffs, and the beach, and a jetty (still not quite sure what that is). And it's beautiful, and diverse. 

We parked at the top of the hill and found stairs down to the coast for the Coronal Del Mar State Beach. We walked, as carefully as possible, down the stairs to the beach. We walked around the beach, and played in the water. We talked to some other beach goers, and played with a puppy. Then we climbed the large rocks, and found another pathway to the beaches. I wore my sling because my shoulder had been bothering me and the entire time Sonya and I kept laughing and saying how it was so irresponsible of us and how if anything happens my best friend would kill us.

Good news is, we didn't fall and we didn't get hurt. We climbed the rocks, played in the water, and still had a really good time. Being by the beach, by the ocean and the water, made me think of Louisiana. It reminded me of home, reminded me of my paw paw's fishing camp. I grew up by the water, and being nearer to it here than in Florida makes me so happy. Do I know where I'll end up? No. But we'll get there. 
Image Map

The Mysterious In-N-Out

My roommate was very gracious to pick me up from the airport. She and her boyfriend had been spending some time together in Anaheim, and they picked me up from the airport the day before we had to check in. After picking me up, we drove to the hotel, dropped off my bags, cleaned up a little bit, and then got right back in the car and went straight to In-N-Out. She's done the program here before, and so she knows quite literally everything about the area that we're in and the surrounding areas. 

I was so curious about In-N-Out because I've heard a lot about it, and wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was pretty good. It's not the best burger ever, which is what a lot of people made it seem like, but it was good. I ended up just getting a cheeseburger and fries, against the many suggestions of friends who have eaten there before. 

Next time, I'll get the double double with animal style fries (is that what it's called?...I need to get the lingo down...). Because let's be honest, we all know there is going to be a next time. And a next time. And a next time. Because I'lll be here for the next eight months.

Image Map

We're Going to Cali!

I didn't know if I would actually want to go to California when I signed up for it, but the moment that I was flying into Anaheim, I knew I made a good decision. I was nervous, scared even, to go to a place where I would only know one single person. I didn't know if I would like California. I'm an east coast girl, hands down. I grew up in the south, in the east, I love it there and wouldn't trade where I grew up for anything in the world. 

But then I flew into California. I saw hills, that looked like mountains to me, and the beach both at the same time. My nerves started to go down, and I started to become excited. You see, I'm the kind of person that has to see the destination before I get really excited about it. 

I'm still very overwhelmed by it. It's a lot to take in, especially growing up under sea level, and the fact that I can see hills/mountains/whatever they're called is really, really, awesome. My flights to get to California were very, very well. Luckily, I flew into a small airport in Houston and there were only a couple of gates (maybe 20?), and my flight out of the airport was at the gate right next to the one I had just gotten off of. 

I flew with Southwest, the first time I've flown with them, absolutely wonderful. Especially because they let you have two bags checked for free. That was seriously great, and so helpful. I've got another flight booked with them for later this year, and then soon after that there will be my flight home.  California's been great, and I couldn't think a better way to start off the new year than with a change in scenery. 

Image Map

Packing to Unpack Only to Repack

There are a ton of things I want to talk about, to write about, to remember, and I'll get to them eventually, but right now I want to write about the things that are fresh on my mind, and then work backwards. It may not seem like a lot of sense but It makes sense to me. So now, that we've talked about what's on my agenda for the next few days: I'm going to talk about attempting to unpack my car because lord knows that was the biggest task I had. 

Packing up my car took a literal week, between working and attempting to pack my car, and pack up my apartment, and still keep up a social life for the last week of my program. It was stressful and probably the least fun thing I've done in quite some time, but it was done. My car was an absolute wreck, much like my emotions that last week, and I literally only had enough room to see my mirrors and to see out my back window, just a little bit. 

After the 12 hour drive home, I took about a three hour nap and then decided to tackle the task that was unpacking my car. My room, and the kitchen, and our spare room looked as if a hurricane had come through there. It was crazy, and intense. It took me about an hour to unpack everything from my car, and then about two days to put everything back in place, only to have to pack it up again. 

Packing for California was stressful, and something I hope I never have to do again. Moving across country with two suitcases, to live there for eight months was difficult. Two suitcases, under 50 pounds each, a carry on and a personal item. My dad and I must have weighed my suitcases at least 20 times. And finally we got them both down to right under 50 pounds each. It's been a crazy journey, but one I'm quite thankful for to say the least.

Image Map

And Onto The Next One

Going back and forth from Louisiana to Florida is never easy - it takes about 12 hours to get there, with stops here and there for bathroom breaks and food. I decided to drive through the night for multiple reasons - the first being I could barely see out of my windows. I made enough space so I could use my mirrors and see out of my back window, and that was good enough for me. 

I drove through the night because it was cooler, and there was less traffic. Also because I could see peoples lights on the road if they were next to me, just in case I needed to pass other cars. But let's be honest here, there weren't really any other cars on the road. For about two hours, I was literally the ONLY car on the road. It was intense, and scary, but fun at the same time. 

What was a lot of fun for me was the different states each had different stickers in SnapChat. It was fun to see all the different things, especially when I was stopped in different towns getting gas. It was a long ride home, but luckily I had a ton of friends who were more than willing to talk to me all night as I drove through by myself to make sure that I would stay wide awake. Plus, my dad couldn't sleep at night because he was worried about me driving home. 

It was an easy drive, and nothing really went badly (besides me having to pee once or twice and not being able to find a stop easily). I made it home quite easily and giving my dad a hug after being in the car for 12 hours and not seeing him for two months was definitely welcome. 
Image Map

East Coast or West Coast? An Impossible Decision

The hardest part of my decision came down to where I would be living. The east coast or the west coast. The east coast would have been the easy decision: I've lived here my entire life, I'm comfortable here, I've made the greatest friends here, and I love it here. It's easy and predictable. I could do it quite easily. But I never do things the easy way. I've always done thing the hard way. 

So the decision was clear to me from the moment that I had both offers on the table: take the West Coast choice. The west coast choice was the harder choice, it was the one where I don't know anyone, that I don't know where I'm going, I won't have a car, where I don't know what I'm going to be doing, and it's going to be okay. 

I'm freaking out about this more than you'll know. My best friend down here, is like my big brother, in fact I call him my brother a lot, and he'll introduce me as his little sister. His wife is like an older sister to me as well. We do the same. They're my little family down here, and they've seen me freak out more than once. They text me everyday to reassure me that they're always here for me, that they'll do anything for me and that if I don't take this opportunity then I'll regret it for the rest of my life - they're right. 

So that's exactly I decided to do. I took the job. When it came down to it, it was either continue my experience in Attractions at Walt Disney World or take myself out to California and work in attractions out in Disneyland. I've never been further west than Austin, Texas, so while it was hard to tell myself 'Go to Cali' that's exactly what I'm doing. 

I'm moving to California. 
Image Map

So What Comes AFTER the DCP?

Going into the Disney College Program, or DCP, I didn't really have a plan. I just decided that I was moving to Orlando, sans family, or friends, with a job that I didn't exactly know what I was going to do. Well, now that's over and I didn't really have a plan.

Halfway through my program down here, I wasn't happy. See, I hated this place at first. So I did what any normal person would do and apply for another DCP, but out in California. You know, normal. And then, I fell in love with Florida. So I decided to extend my program here, in Florida. Well...I applied to extend my program. 

Then this crazy thing happened. I got both positions, within three days of each other. I found out that I got the Disneyland program whenever I was taking my best friend Kelsey to the airport. I may have had a slight freakout whenever I was driving her car and made her read the email to me. She did, and we started freaking out...and crying...because that's what best friends do when they get exciting news together. 

Then a few days later I got my email about my extension for Walt Disney World. I got it. I got exactly what I wanted. Same role, different location. Don't get me wrong, I love my attraction for the people who are there, not for what it is. Then I had to make an impossible decision. Do I stay in Florida, where I found my heart again, or do I move to California, where it's starting over all over again. It was probably the hardest decision I've made to date, but I'm starting to be happy with my decision. Yes, you read that right, starting to become.
Image Map

Back to the Basics

Coming into the Disney College Program, everyone always says that they're going to keep up with everything - blogs, vlogs, facebook posts, etc. But nobody ever does. When I was going into the DCP, I thought I would be the exception. I would keep up with it, I would write down every memory and everything. And then I got here. 

You don't realize that you're going to be working 10 hour days, or 14 hour days, or even 6 hour days. Then you don't realize that you're going to be hanging out with coworkers all the time, or your roommates. The people on this program become your family. They become your best friends and your support system. 

You'd rather sit around talking with everyone then sit on your computer and type out blog posts. And sometimes, getting four hours of sleep before a ten hour day at work is okay because there are more important things in life than sleeping. I've met some of the greatest people here, and it's going to be hard to leave them...which I will do soon. 

I'm so grateful for the experience I've had here, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. This has been the greatest five months I've experienced. The people here are crazy, wonderful, and hands down some of the best people I've met. I can't imagine leaving Orlando, or Walt Disney World, but that's exactly what I have to do soon. But don't fear, I have a plan. 

And you'll find out about it soon. 
Image Map

Latest Instagrams

© From the South. Design by Fearne.