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Old 04-24-2013, 06:28 PM   #196
Cheshirecatty
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WOW!--just WOW! to your experiences in trying to get your foot in the door!

I found myself racing through your post to find out WHY in the world they could possibly not have called you both right in for an interview.

I'm glad you gave us a "we're not working there yet" heads-up at the beginning of the up-date, or I would have had a fit at the end to find that out!

Persistance, Persistance, Persistance! It will pay off in the end.

Like SherryE says, where there's a will there's a way! Hang in there--it will happen for you when the time is RIGHT!!
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:42 AM   #197
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I've learned so much from reading your Disney job-hunting post and from another poster that I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever be lucky and get to work for Disney. I have applied 3 times to the College Program and turned down and also applied to the Professional Internships. Last year I was still being considered for 3 PI's up until the very last week and still haven't given up. I am currently "in progress" for an undergraduate internship and two positions at the Glendale/Burbank locations and anxiously awaiting an interview. I moved here in June 2012 with the hopes of somehow getting at least an interview with Disney for a corporate position, Professional Internship or getting into the College Program for Front Desk or any hospitality role (even though I'm much older than the majority of applicants, my recruiter was very positive in my interview saying they hired someone in their 70's and to never give up on my dream). I definitely hope both of you do not give up on your Disney dream of working for such an amazing talented company! I have been pursuing this dream for almost 10 years and now that I live in the area, I'm more excited than ever to get my foot in that coveted door

I truly appreciate you writing about your experiences so far - your experiences have encouraged me in many ways! And I can't wait to read about your first full day at Disneyland!!
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:25 AM   #198
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieDisneyNut View Post
What a saga! I'm sorry that your Disney career dreams are on hold, but hopefully you are enjoying whatever you are now doing. Sometimes, working for your "dream" company can take the magic out of your dream, so perhaps it's for the best at the moment. I actually work for my "dream" organization (museum) and although I love working there, I find that I don't spend much of my leisure time there, as it is now work. Go figure!

Looking forward to hearing the next chapter and hoping you are still enjoying the Disney magic
Sometimes that's exactly how we feel when we think about working for Disney. I don't think it would ruin the magic per say, but we'd never want to get to the point where we didn't want to spend our free time there because it felt like going to work. I think for the time being, everything worked out for the best. We'll see what happens in the future when it comes!

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Originally Posted by flamingglobessigmund View Post
I was finally able to catch up on reading the story of your journey & move to OC. You probably don't recall my long ago reply, but we moved here too last year. I'm sorry the Disney jobs didn't work out, but I'm glad you & your wife found employment. Also you got passes! We didn't get ours until Sept 2012. It's been really nice (to put it mildly) to be able to run over to DL for a few hours during most weeks.

Looking forward to reading more!
Glad you got all caught up! I'm glad you and your family have been able to enjoy the parks as well. I certainly know what you mean about it being great to head over for a few hours whenever the mood strikes. We've been averaging about 4 times a week since we got our passes and we still love it each time! Maybe one day we'll be there at the same time and we can say hi. Hope you keep enjoying our stories!

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Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
So sorry that the Disney jobs opportunities didn't work out this time. Hope it works out in the future.

But at least you're a lot closer to the Mouse!
It's quite all right. We're definitely happy just being close to Disney even if we're not working there! And maybe someday we will still end up as cast members. We shall see

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
I have not had time to catch up with everything other than an occasional peek-in to see the apartment choices and to learn that there was a possible Disney job for Tracy...which didn't work out. You will both eventually get in, if that's what you both want. I know you will! It must not have been the right time yet, but it will happen!

This made me think about employment with Disney, in general, and what I've 'heard' about it through the years. I hope you don't mind if I share it here, but it seemed to be a good place to share it!

I've known people who have seemingly gotten into Disney jobs fairly easily, both in the parks and behind the scenes, and yet it still seems to be very hard to get hired! Plus, there are so many different levels and branches of Disney employment - the Burbank-Glendale jobs (which could include ABC or could include Disney Parks), the Corporate jobs in Anaheim, the jobs actually at DLR, the entertainment jobs inside the parks, the Vacation Club offices, the jobs at the hotels, etc.

I used to think that it would spoil the magic for me if I worked for Disneyland, and that I would have to work for a non-parks aspect of Disney if I worked for them at all. Back when I was a kid, working for Disney seemed like an unattainable fantasy anyway (even though I've always lived in SoCal, which is forever attached to the entertainment business and many folks have jobs in entertainment offices all over town).

Then, I heard that it was supposedly a nightmare working for Disney and it temporarily shattered any illusions I may have had.

Then, a friend of a friend began working for Disney (in a non-parks division) and she was with them for years. It didn't seem to be a nightmare! It was a great job! In fact, this person actually left that great job to work elsewhere! But she eventually went back! Even after she left her first job and worked for a non-Disney company, Disney took her back because she had been a good employee during her previous tenure! Ultimately, her particular job was cut because her particular department was closed and she moved on to another company.

I asked this person-who-used-to-work-at-Disney to point me in the direction of anyone in HR that she used to deal with, or anyone she knew. A contact, a name. Something. And that was a dead end. I began to think that if a person who used to work for Disney couldn't help get me in, then I may never get in.

I've been told on more than one occasion, by Cast Members and others, that "once you're in, you're IN." Once you get past the barriers and walls and get into the Disney empire, the sky's the limit and you can move all around to different branches and different positions. You can even leave a Disney job and then return again, apparently, and still have an advantage over newcomers!

I just met with a CM at the Disney Vacation Club offices at DLR last December (not for an interview, though), and she said, "Why don't you work here? You have a great smile, a nice demeanor and disposition, and you love Disney." I had to kind of giggle because I know it is not as simple as all of that! If only it were...

One CM told me to try to start out in something that is easier to get into at DLR, "like Vacation Planning at the Parks." Then, once you're in that position for a while you can transfer or get promoted.

Another CM told me to try to get into one of the Burbank-Glendale Disney jobs first, just to get a foot in the door, and then that will pave the way to Disneyland-specific jobs (either in the parks or out of them).

Yet another person once told me to find a temp agency that has a contract with Disney (there are a few), get assigned to a Disney job and get your foot in the door that way.

Any way you slice it, it seems to be very easy to get in to Disney for some folks and very hard for others, and there isn't always much rhyme or reason to it. But...everyone agrees that once you're in, you're IN!

Good luck to both of you! I'm glad that Tracy got a job that she loves!
Thanks for sharing your experiences! I think it's fascinating to hear about how different people have gotten involved in the company and their experiences. I think all the different departments spread all over SoCal definitely confused us when we were trying to decide what exactly we wanted to do. Obviously, we had first thought of the Burbank/Glendale area for our move, but then changed our minds. Partly, I think that the fact we're not working for the company but are still learning more about Disneyland every day as locals will mean that when the time seems more right for us to work there, we'll be a lot better informed than we were this time around. If we still want it to happen someday, I think we'll find the right time and the right jobs for us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheshirecatty View Post
WOW!--just WOW! to your experiences in trying to get your foot in the door!

I found myself racing through your post to find out WHY in the world they could possibly not have called you both right in for an interview.

I'm glad you gave us a "we're not working there yet" heads-up at the beginning of the up-date, or I would have had a fit at the end to find that out!

Persistance, Persistance, Persistance! It will pay off in the end.

Like SherryE says, where there's a will there's a way! Hang in there--it will happen for you when the time is RIGHT!!
Glad that my disclaimer kept you from being too disappointed to find out we're not working there That was my intent!

I definitely think that when it's the right time, we'll make it work, if that's still what we want. Right now, it may just be better for us to be locals/frequent guests, getting to just enjoy the parks rather than working there. We'll see what the future holds!

Quote:
Originally Posted by heaven2dc View Post
I've learned so much from reading your Disney job-hunting post and from another poster that I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever be lucky and get to work for Disney. I have applied 3 times to the College Program and turned down and also applied to the Professional Internships. Last year I was still being considered for 3 PI's up until the very last week and still haven't given up. I am currently "in progress" for an undergraduate internship and two positions at the Glendale/Burbank locations and anxiously awaiting an interview. I moved here in June 2012 with the hopes of somehow getting at least an interview with Disney for a corporate position, Professional Internship or getting into the College Program for Front Desk or any hospitality role (even though I'm much older than the majority of applicants, my recruiter was very positive in my interview saying they hired someone in their 70's and to never give up on my dream). I definitely hope both of you do not give up on your Disney dream of working for such an amazing talented company! I have been pursuing this dream for almost 10 years and now that I live in the area, I'm more excited than ever to get my foot in that coveted door

I truly appreciate you writing about your experiences so far - your experiences have encouraged me in many ways! And I can't wait to read about your first full day at Disneyland!!
I'm so glad reading about our experiences has helped you in your job search. It sounds like you've had quite the experience yourself! I hope that everything works out for you and that one of your prospects come through As for us, I think we'll end up there if and when the time is right, which just wasn't right now.

Hope you keep enjoying reading about our shenanigans, and I can't wait till I finally get to share our experiences in the parks!
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:34 AM   #199
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Chapter 26
Learning Curve


So now you know what happened with our apartment search and our job searches. That means it’s time to tell some of our tales about life in Orange County as we adjusted to the move. For this, I’ll take you back to where our chronological story left off—the night of our arrival at the Fairfield Inn in Fullerton/Placentia.

Moving everything into our hotel room after the road trip wasn’t easy, but we could almost hear Dumbo’s sigh of relief as his load got lightened. We were preparing to move in for a few days at the max (or so we hoped). The fact that we would be calling the hotel home for almost two weeks was not a thought we would have been too happy about.

Our first evening in Southern California was pretty uneventful. We celebrated the completion of our long journey by hitting up Chipotle. I know, after moving to a new state filled with delicious local food options, we decided to start off our culinary experience with a chain, but Chipotle is delicious and one of our favorite restaurants in the world, so who cares?

You know about the next few days for the most part. Our first day was filled with apartment hunting and then our first trip to Downtown Disney while the next few days were mostly taken up with more apartment searches all over Fullerton, Brea, Placentia, and eventually Orange. While we were living in the hotel, we started to establish a sort of routine. We got in the habit of waking up early (for us) because the hotel had a really decent free breakfast each morning. We could choose to make our own Belgian waffles, microwave some breakfast sandwiches, or just eat muffins or yogurts. Everyone else at the hotel seemed to be vacationing at Disneyland, so we jealously eavesdropped on them as they discussed their plans to head to the parks after breakfast.

After several days straight of apartment hunting and trying to familiarize ourselves with Fullerton and Brea, we made our first excursion out of our little bubble. We headed up to L.A. to meet up with Steve for lunch. We decided to meet somewhat in the middle, though it was still a decent drive for both of us. Since he knew the area much better than we ever would, he picked the place to meet. He chose a restaurant in Arcadia that served soup dumplings much like the ones we loved in New York. These were as delicious as those had been, and we were excited to get to catch up with Steve now that we lived in (generally) the same place.

After lunch, we were about to part ways but Steve asked if we had any plans. Since we were just planning to head back down to O.C., he offered to show us around one of his favorite haunts in the area, the L.A. Arboretum and Botanic Garden. After a quick drive from the restaurant, we arrived at the gates, and when we walked through, we left all the urban sprawl behind us.



The gardens were really pretty, and some of the trees were HUGE!



This tree was hard to get a picture of that adequately represented it, but it grew sideways before starting its ascent, so you could go out and stand on the trunk. It was cool.



Steve tried to relate the story to us about how this cottage in the arboretum was used in the opening credits of the TV show Fantasy Island. Apparently when he and Tracy’s parents had been visiting a few weeks prior they had recognized it. It all went over our heads however…





The gardens just kept on going.





Suddenly, we were at a waterfall.



And we followed that up with some cacti.



Several of these looked like Hidden Mickeys.



We only spent about a half-hour in the gardens—we had to make it back to Orange to tour what turned out to be a VERY important condo—though we could have easily enjoyed it for hours. We made the drive back to O.C., saw the condo we ended up moving into, and called it a day.

The next day (Monday, November 19th if you’re really trying to keep track) we had to figure out how we felt about Orange. We had only visited the condo thus far, so we started our little exploration of the city by heading to its Olde Towne section, Orange Circle.

First, a word about the cities in Orange County. Every one of them seems to have an old-timey downtown area with a mix of local shops and chains (designed to look like local shops from the outside). We’ve visited the olde towne areas of Fullerton, Brea, and Orange, and I know these downtowns exist in at least a few other cities here. They’re all fun to walk through, but they’re also all pretty similar.

Orange Circle is known as being the antiquing capital of Southern California. There are more antique stores and full-on antique malls there than I have ever seen in my life. There are also several upscale restaurants that we hope to have the money to visit someday, two Starbucks literally across the street from each other, and a selection of other local businesses like barber shops, smoke shops, etc. We walked around the circle itself, ate lunch at Wahoo’s Fish Taco (one of our favorite chains), and got a holiday drink from Starbucks. We sat in the circle and enjoyed the fact that they had recently put up the Christmas decorations, which included this giant Santa and, of course, the big Christmas tree.



It was the quaintness of this circle that really sold us on Orange, I think. It’s a little over a half-mile from the condo, and is walkable. What we had come to learn from every place we had visited since arriving here is that almost NOTHING is walkable. Everyone drives everywhere. So the fact that we could head over to this nice little part of town without having to get in the car was a big bonus for us. After all, we’d been used to walking everywhere in NYC.

Another word about our biggest culture shock in reaching Orange County: we had been well-prepared for the prospect of traffic, but I think that the “style” of the traffic is something that you can never quite prepare for without coming here. First off, we were shocked to find how much traffic plays a role on the surface streets. You expect it from freeways, with images of bumper-to-bumper sprawl for miles, but it’s really the normal roads that are constantly busy. I’ve never lived somewhere like this where every road is a busy one. Obviously, Orange County and all of Southern California are just overpopulated for what the cities were built to handle, so the prospect of deserted roads never really happens.

Second, I think it’s hard to prepare for the freeways around here until you live among them. When we pictured living next to freeways while we were researching the area from Colorado, in my mind I was just picturing the highways there. Usually two or three lanes wide in each direction, those highways can feel busy, but never feel overwhelming. Here, there are almost always at least six lanes going in each direction. This was just crazy for me to realize. The result is that there are no “small freeways.” They just all seem huge. And obviously, this is why it's so loud right next to them. Luckily, navigating them isn’t too hard, and we have rarely hit truly terrible traffic in our almost six months of being here. The traffic is just usually so stupid. There never seems to be any rhyme or reason to it. Suddenly, everyone will be stopped, but when they start moving again it’s never obvious why you were stopped in the first place.

Anyway, back to the day at hand. We wrapped up our trip back to Orange feeling pretty good about the city. We were a little bummed that the condo wasn’t right by many grocery stores or our favorite restaurant chains, but they were still within easy driving distance. After making this decision, it became a lot easier to finally decide on our condo. That settled for the day, we decided to head over to a downtown we already knew we loved and had no qualms about—that’s right, it was time for another trip to Downtown Disney.

Continued in Next Post
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

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Old 04-27-2013, 02:52 AM   #200
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I'm showing my age here.....I certainly recognised that house (Where is "The Plane! The Plane!?"). That's one heck of a gardens.

Sounds like you are settling in to life in the fast lane in OC.
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:24 PM   #201
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Was the Fairfield Inn you stayed at the one across from the park? Just wondering about that breakfast : )
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:59 AM   #202
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Great updates and a fascinating insight into trying to get a job at Disney and the whole interview process

When I bumped into you both I was dying to ask if you were working for Disney but I didn't want to spoil the story!

The thing is you are now living really close to your happy place and if working for Disney is on the cards for the future then great, but if not, you still can get the Disney magic with those (hopefully soon purchased) APs
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:18 AM   #203
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I think the thing we can't imagine as kids is that the adventure of building the life you want can be just as exciting and harrowing and any pirate saga or fairytale. I find it really wonderful that you two have followed your hearts, even though not everything has worked out as you might have wished. I am looking forward to reading more about your adventures.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:41 PM   #204
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I'll have to keep an eye out for you two while I'm there! Loving this TR
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:22 PM   #205
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I've been MIA for a while, but glad to catch up on your report. I've known many folks who have worked for Disney, but most of them have been musicians, so they hire out of a whole different pool for them than the other cast positions.

I'm enjoying reading about your exploits and who knows, we may meet out at the park some day. We don't get there as often as it seems that you do, but we are out there! Maybe we'll run into each other!
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:51 AM   #206
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Well I sat down at 9pm to do some planning for an upcoming trip and 1 hour and a half later I've read through your entire thread! And it was great. You certainly tell your story well! So after 27 chapters...here's my two cents!

You caught my attention when you talked about your trip to Qdoba and being able to pass for high school students. My husband and I, now 27 and 29, volunteer with high school kids and often are mistaken for students and not the leaders! And we run into that when we go to events where there is a student rate - movie theaters, local plays, etc. It's a blessing, but man was it not fun when I was 17 and looked 12.

I have so much respect for your persistence and your willingness for adventure! From NY to CO to LA - talk about different cultures! After reading it, I feel like I traveled with you.

Thank you for sharing the details of your interview process with Disney. I'm sure those who are looking for info will benefit greatly. To me, honestly, phone interviews just sound plain awful, but it sounds like both of you handed them very well albeit realizing they weren't going to lead to anything further. I would have been a nervous wreck!

I hope that someday you'll both find the perfect jobs at Disney - being so close to the parks and consistently checking, you never know! And it looks like you'll have a lot of us visiting you in the parks (or hopefully the front desk at the hotels!) after reading such a unique story!

Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:01 AM   #207
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Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
I'm showing my age here.....I certainly recognised that house (Where is "The Plane! The Plane!?"). That's one heck of a gardens.

Sounds like you are settling in to life in the fast lane in OC.
Very good! I finally looked it up on You Tube so now I sort of get the reference. The gardens were definitely impressive. It was crazy knowing we were surrounded by L.A. while in that quiet expanse.

We're definitely adjusting to the O.C. lifestyle. Getting more used to it every day!

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Originally Posted by junmatno View Post
Was the Fairfield Inn you stayed at the one across from the park? Just wondering about that breakfast : )
Ours was not the one across from the park, but was about 20 minutes away on the border of Fullerton and Placentia. I would imagine that the breakfast is pretty similar at all the Fairfield Inns though.

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Great updates and a fascinating insight into trying to get a job at Disney and the whole interview process

When I bumped into you both I was dying to ask if you were working for Disney but I didn't want to spoil the story!

The thing is you are now living really close to your happy place and if working for Disney is on the cards for the future then great, but if not, you still can get the Disney magic with those (hopefully soon purchased) APs
Glad you enjoyed reading about our exploits! That's funny that you didn't want to be spoiled when you saw us

I definitely think that now that we're here it will be much easier to get a job if the right one comes up, and in the meantime we're very happy just being AP holders!

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Originally Posted by Mrs. Gumdrop View Post
I think the thing we can't imagine as kids is that the adventure of building the life you want can be just as exciting and harrowing and any pirate saga or fairytale. I find it really wonderful that you two have followed your hearts, even though not everything has worked out as you might have wished. I am looking forward to reading more about your adventures.
Very true! We definitely make every effort to take the leap into fun adventures, but we always find that nothing turns out exactly as we planned. And that's what makes life interesting!

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Originally Posted by lego606 View Post
I'll have to keep an eye out for you two while I'm there! Loving this TR
So glad you're enjoying reading along! Please say hi if you ever notice us in the parks

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Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
I've been MIA for a while, but glad to catch up on your report. I've known many folks who have worked for Disney, but most of them have been musicians, so they hire out of a whole different pool for them than the other cast positions.

I'm enjoying reading about your exploits and who knows, we may meet out at the park some day. We don't get there as often as it seems that you do, but we are out there! Maybe we'll run into each other!
Yeah, the audition experience for working at Disney is a whole other ballgame (I've been there too!), but it was interesting getting our insights into how regular casting works.

We generally make it out about 3-4 days a week for a few hours. If you ever see us, be sure to say hi!

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Originally Posted by hurleysweety View Post
Well I sat down at 9pm to do some planning for an upcoming trip and 1 hour and a half later I've read through your entire thread! And it was great. You certainly tell your story well! So after 27 chapters...here's my two cents!

You caught my attention when you talked about your trip to Qdoba and being able to pass for high school students. My husband and I, now 27 and 29, volunteer with high school kids and often are mistaken for students and not the leaders! And we run into that when we go to events where there is a student rate - movie theaters, local plays, etc. It's a blessing, but man was it not fun when I was 17 and looked 12.

I have so much respect for your persistence and your willingness for adventure! From NY to CO to LA - talk about different cultures! After reading it, I feel like I traveled with you.

Thank you for sharing the details of your interview process with Disney. I'm sure those who are looking for info will benefit greatly. To me, honestly, phone interviews just sound plain awful, but it sounds like both of you handed them very well albeit realizing they weren't going to lead to anything further. I would have been a nervous wreck!

I hope that someday you'll both find the perfect jobs at Disney - being so close to the parks and consistently checking, you never know! And it looks like you'll have a lot of us visiting you in the parks (or hopefully the front desk at the hotels!) after reading such a unique story!

Can't wait to hear more!
I'm glad to have captured your attention, though I hope I didn't throw too much of a wrench into your vacation planning

That's funny about you and your husband being in the same young-looking boat. It still drives Tracy crazy that people think she's 14, but I don't mind looking young. Better than the other way around in my opinion!

We definitely have had our fair share of adventures and experienced lots of cultural differences. Right now, we're very happy with where we are, luckily

Glad you enjoyed reading about our interview process (however short it was). Even though it didn't turn out perfectly for now, I'm confident we'll end up working there someday in the right jobs for us if we decide that's still what we want. In the meantime, we love being locals, and we LOVE running into our readers at the parks. Meeting people who know our story is one of the coolest things that ever happens, so even as guests that's really fun.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you keep enjoying!
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:09 AM   #208
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Chapter 27
The Lay of the Land


Since Tracy and my wedding anniversary is June 19th, we try to make it a habit that we do something fun every month on the 19th to celebrate another “month-iversary.” Usually we go out to dinner somewhere fun, but this month we decided to go to Downtown Disney—an obvious choice now that it was only about 15 minutes away from our hotel.

This time, Daniel led us there on surface streets rather than the freeway since we were arriving at rush hour and apparently the 5 was backed up (what else is new?). After arriving, we parked in the Lilo lot and started the walk toward one of our favorite arches.



We went back to World of Disney first, both to look around again and because we had a purchase we wanted to make. I liked this popcorn cart shirt and tweeted a picture of it to Lou Mongello because he always raves about Disney popcorn.



Next, we made our purchase and exited the store. So what did we get? A Christmas outfit for Duffy, of course!!



With our savings constantly dwindling, we were stingy about buying anything for ourselves, but we couldn’t let Duffy suffer…

Next, we headed over to our restaurant for dinner. We were going to try out another repeat from our last trip to Disneyland because we had really enjoyed it: Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express.



One of the main reasons for wanting to eat here is that Tracy wanted to try out the Classic Red Beans and Rice. If you remember, that was the meal that Steve got when we came with him on the first night of our September trip, but he wasn’t feeling well so Tracy ended up eating more of it than he did. She raved about the dish and was dreaming about trying it again. Red beans don’t agree with me, so Tracy ordered her own entrée.



I hate to say it, but she was disappointed! Something about it just wasn’t the magic that she remembered… She thought it was drier and not quite as flavorful. Not bad per say, but not great.



I got the BBQ Pork Po-Boy (and ate a couple bites before remembering to take a picture).



I was really happy with it. I’m not very picky when it comes to pulled pork sandwiches, but this one was definitely good! I also thought the fries were good. I know I bolted down the whole meal.

After dinner, we decided to torture ourselves a little. We headed to the end of Downtown Disney and wondered what we would see if we went through bag check. We entered the Esplanade, and saw Disneyland to our left and the new (to us) DCA entrance on our right. We went up and took a picture of Main Street Station, welcoming us from behind bars.



It looked beautiful, and we stood there for several minutes just wishing we could go in. Alas, it wasn’t the time for that yet. When we broke our trances, we headed back out into Downtown Disney. We decided to console ourselves with a Disney treat.

We went into Marceline’s Confectionery and bought ourselves a Marshmallow Wand. It wasn’t quite a Tigger Tail, but it would more than suffice.





We brought it to the Grand Californian to eat in the lobby by our favorite fireplace.



This time Duffy got to enjoy it too.





I really like all the details in the lobby here, especially this tree ornament on the hearth.



We sat there for a while taking in the atmosphere. Again, our favorite pianist played some Disney ditties on the piano. It was all very relaxing, and it was a great way to end our day.

The next day, we decided since we had been in California for almost a week, we really needed to go check out the ocean and the beach. Researching the beaches around us, we decided on Seal Beach (pretty much for no reason other than that we hoped there might be seals or sea lions there).

The drive was very quick. I think when you’re in the inland portions of Orange County, it can be very easy to forget just how close you are to the ocean at all times. Within about a half-hour, we were there and had parked.



Seal Beach seemed like just the more laid-back beach environment we were looking for. Between it being a weekday and it being pretty cool outside, there was almost no one else there.



We liked their Christmas tree. The whole area just seemed really quaint.



We made our way down the pier.



There were some people surfing and a few others milling about like us, but really it was quite deserted.



After a while, we started getting a little cold being right by the water, so we walked through the streets of the little town and enjoyed all its little shops. When we got to the end of the main street, we decided to stop in for our first drink at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. While California is littered with these shops, they had only just moved into New York right as we were leaving, so we had never gone. Our friend Lainey raved about their chai, so we decided to try it out.



The chai was definitely good. We enjoyed walking down the streets of Seal Beach sipping it. While we had sat for a few minutes at Coffee Bean, however, I had been wondering aloud why we were seeing no sign of seals here at their eponymous beach. I did a little Googling and found out that there aren’t seals here at all anymore. They had lived at Seal Beach some years ago, but no longer do. We’d have to search elsewhere for me to find my favorite animal.

We wandered back toward the beach, heading toward our car, when we stopped in a store we hadn’t visited on the first journey down that road. It sold a wide variety of dog-related items, from pet clothes to awesome t-shirts devoted to dogs. We struck up a brief conversation with the owner/proprietor who welcomed us to SoCal and confirmed our suspicions that Seal Beach seemed like a quiet sort of place. He described it as a family beach as compared to the ones on either side of it (Long Beach to the north and Huntington Beach to the south). We were glad to have found this place first and to enjoy exploring the little town. It was a fun way to get exposed to the Pacific Ocean without having to fight for parking, and we knew we’d want to return sometime when the weather was a little better.

Departing from Seal Beach, we realized we still had a couple hours of daylight left, so we decided to head south along the Pacific Coast Highway to check out Huntington Beach.



The fact that somebody decided to build the PCH many years ago makes me happy, because I love the fact that you can drive along the ocean for the entire stretch of the west coast.



Upon reaching Huntington Beach, we tried to find some free parking because we had already paid to park at Seal. We ended up finding a garage with a free half-hour, so we decided that would at least give us time to check out the pier and the main shopping strip. There was a big street fair going on, so it was fun to walk by all the tents and see the wares they had for sale.



We only just peeked out onto the pier itself before deciding it was too cold and realizing we should head back to the car anyway due to time.



You could definitely tell that Huntington had a much livelier atmosphere, however, and had earned its reputation as the “party beach.” We decided it would be fun to come back sometime!



And now, we hopped back in the car, hit some of the worst traffic we’ve encountered to date on the way back to Fullerton, and returned back to our little Fairfield Inn. Another fun day of getting accustomed to O.C. in the books!

Continued in Next Post
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1987 - WDW Visit in the Womb * 1990 - First WDW Visit * 1993 - First DLR Visit * March 1996 - Family Reunion at Treehouse Villas * March 1999 - Family Vacation at Treehouse Villas * March 2005 - One Day at MK with Friends * May 2008 - First Visit with then girlfriend (now wife) at POP * June 2010 - Disneymoon at Best Western LBV * Sept 2011 - Return to Disneyland at PP * May 2012 - Grand Prize WDW Radio Trip at POR Royal Room * November 2012 - Move to CA to become DLR locals!

Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

Last edited by tayalltheway; 05-02-2013 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:11 AM   #209
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I actually like Seal Beach because of that strip of shops. It just seems really beachy to me.

Not sure if there are any seals in LA proper; but there will be seals at La Jolla.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:26 PM   #210
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Hey, I really enjoyed your trip report so far. I'm glad you have persevered through OC's outrageously expensive real estate market to follow your dream. I grew up here but moved away a few years in my 20s just fed up with it all. I moved back to be around family a few years later. Honestly, I think I missed the weather almost as much as the family. I actually developed vertigo while we were living in Arizona so I know how you feel with the illness. One good thing about living in OC is the access to some of the best medical care out there.

I enjoyed your report so much I thought I'd return the favor with some of my favorite places in OC that I think you guys would like and aren't too pricey (if you haven't already heard about them). I hope I'm not being presumptuous, but I figure it's easy enough to ignore me if you aren't interested. :-) I'm enjoying your adventures so much I want to be sure you have fodder for many more. :-)

First, if you're still looking for stuff for the apartment, I think Irvine is having one of their "community sales" this Saturday, May 4. Since HOA's like the one in Irvine are only allowed to have garage sales once or twice a year a lot of families participate. Tis the season to replace your barely used patio furniture in planned communities like Irvine, Ranch Santa Margarita, Aliso Viejo etc. Check Pennysaver.com for the ad/info.

At the Orange Circle, eat at Byblos Cafe. It's family owned by the sweetest family. The hummus and skewers are beyond amazing. And go for a drink at Orange Hill for the hilltop view of Orange, or a meal if you want to splurge. Also try out the nearest SuperMex for heavenly salsa. For a unusual twist on Mexican food, try Taco Mesa. I've only ever been to the one in Costa Mesa, but I guess they have one in Orange now.

Huntington Beach: Visit the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. There's an interpretive center with parking off PCH. There's a dog beach right at Goldenwest and PCH if you are lonesome for some doggie time. Then head inland to Central Park (there's a restaurant there that serves dogs too). Explore the giant bushes. We used to play hide-n-seek in them, and they were cool/creepy enough to warrant braving the giant spiders that live there. Be sure to stop by the Huntington Beach Library next to Central Park. Head to the stacks in the back where there's little stream and at least there used to be a some couches next to it to sit and have a snack. The whole library is beautiful--maybe one of my favorite places in OC. Wings-n-Things on Beach Blvd has AMAZING chicken wings. Keep on the lookout for grunion runs and red tides that make the ocean glow fluorescent blue. Often the red tides are announced in local papers etc and last a few days. For the grunion, it's only a few hours certain times, so with some web research you might get lucky. Maybe try one night after having a bonfire at one of the beaches that have pits, like Bolsa Chica.

Santa Ana: The Santa Ana Zoo is really small with no big-name animals like lions or elephants. It's mostly monkeys, but it's not too expensive for an annual pass and they have a petting area, which I incidentally never found open. :-) They have an aviary that's beautiful and peaceful to sit in with turtles and scarlet ibises walking around freely with you. Peacocks also wander the zoo grounds freely. Their annual pass also gets you into some other local zoos (not San Diego).

Irvine: Woodbridge Dollar Theater (www.starplexcinemas.com) for cheap older movies, usually just before rental release. There's one in Seal Beach too, but the one in Irvine has some 3-D showings. The Woodbridge Irvine lake very close to the theater has a nice walking path around it where small flocks of Canada Geese like to hang out (most winter there but there are some that stay all year). Irvine Regional Park (which is much farther east) has a little train and water bike rentals etc. (http://ocparks.com/parks/irvine/). Green parrots live wild all over the park.

Newport Beach: Check on groupon and travelzoo for discounted cruises to Catalina or whale watching during the season or kayaking around the Back Bay (which is nice to walk around as well). Ride the Balboa Island Ferry. Eat breakfast at The Omelette Parlor in Costa Mesa for fresh squeezed oj and amazing breakfast, but it can get crowded. Stop for a cupcake from Sprinkles in Fashion Island. Habana at The Lab in Costa Mesa has the most incredible sangria and ropa vieja--you barely have to chew. I read baby pigs were just born at Centennial Farm at the Costa Mesa fairgrounds (http://www.ocfair.com/ocf2/community...nnialFarm.aspx).

Corona del Mar: Visit the tide pools at Little Corona at low-tide. Check out Rogers Gardens. It's just a retail nursery, but it is very beautiful.

Laguna Beach: Drive at least one way by way of the canyon, i.e. the 133 between the 405 and PCH, just avoid rush hour and weekend mid-mornings, especially during the summer. There's a Hari Krishna temple that has a Sunday dinner (http://iskcon.lagunatemple.org/page/295/Sunday-Feast) that's free/donation only. They do chanting, then a lecture then serve food family style while you sit on the floor. You can be of any faith and there was no pressure whatsoever the times I've been. Unless they've changed it, you can arrive after the chanting or after the lecture too. The food is pretty good and the chanting is really relaxing. There's info about the feast etc on their website. They are happy with whatever you donate for your meal and are very nice. There are lots of art galleries, coffeehouses, places to grab a cocktail as well as volleyball and basketball courts. Also, head up to Top of the World for a great view. And the Sawdust Festival will be starting up in a few months.

San Clemente: Have a drink and some clam chowder at Fishermen's on the pier. The left side is their fancy restaurant and the right is their bar. You might have to hover a minute to snatch a table near sunset with an amazing view of the water and the chowder is awesome. Be sure to be close to the tracks at least once when the train goes by.

Most of these things you should find easily with a web search. If you can't and I didn't include a link, just pm me. And pick up the OC Weekly for a good events calendar and some very sassy editorial. I hope you love living in OC!
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