My Disney Experience

Over Spring Break, I attended a Disney Leadership Experience to Disney World in Orlando Florida. We attended two leadership classes, which would take us behind the scenes to learn about important leadership skills that will be useful later on. The first class in HollyWood Studios was basically about Leadership Strategies and the second class was in Magic Kingdom and was dealing with the culture of Disney. Each of the classes took up three hours and the rest of the trip, we were free to do what we want at Disney.

The first class, “Leadership Strategies”, was dealing with different kinds of leaders and how communication barriers can get in the way. I learned about four different kinds of leaders and I found that I am more like a visionary and opportunist leader because my dream job is to start a theatre for those living in poverty and below. Theatre is a place where you must be able to see the big picture along with the smaller details and at the same time, you must be willing to take risks. We talked about what can happen if you run into a communication barrier. One time we had to guess what our partner was doing, but the problem was she was not allowed to speak. The same thing happened where we had to design something for a dog company and we all picked one leader. But once again the leader was not told what product was to be made. Seeing that communication barriers can exist in leadership makes me realize that being a leader is harder than it seems and takes a take of experience. One part of this trip was spent walking in a costume section of Disney World, which made me love all the handwork put into the character costumes more and shows me that whenever they make a new costume, it has to be made just right because a kid knows when something is wrong with the costume.

The second class, “Cultural of Excellence”, taught us more about the culture of Disney. The initial question was “are you creating a culture at Gardner Webb?”.  They wanted us to understand how their beliefs/values, standard of excellence, heritage/traditions, and storytelling reflected the culture of Disney. Out of all of these, storytelling is Disney’s strongest. They show storytelling everywhere including on the rides. Walking up to the castle, I had to find elements that represent storytelling with a partner. We both agreed that the castle was the strongest element. The different groups eventually discussed what they found relating to their aspects. Everyone agreed that storytelling is one of Disney’s biggest strengths. As part of the class, everyone was required to ride the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. We had to pay attention to how the ride uses storytelling to get the guests involved in the story. Throughout the ride, you saw the seven dwarves and the different jewels along with Snow White and the Queen. By the end of the class, we had to think about the things we learned in terms of our college. Based on the elements of culture at Disney World, we had to choose the area that Gardner Webb had to improve on the most and the majority said that beliefs and values needed the most work. They use a stop, add, and continue method. It means what will stop, what will replace it, and what will be continued. Everyone agreed about Dimensions and that it needs to be more accessible. We feel as if the topics are sometimes irrelevant.

Most of the trip happened outside of the two three hour Disney Leadership classes. That meant we could truly get a full Disney experience. The classes made me look at Disney differently. It added something to the experience because we got to understand the culture of Disney World. Because I am young at heart and am a fan of Disney, I felt like a five year old kid. We had breakfast with Lilo, Stich, Mickey, and Pluto and dinner with Pooh/ Eyore/Piglet/Tigger, dinner with Mickey/ Pluto/Chip/Dale, dinner with Prince Charming/Cinderella/ Step-Mom/Step-Sisters and dinner with Mulan/Belle/Ariel/ Snow White. Outside of meals, I met Chewy, Tinkerbell, Donald Duck, Anna, and Elsa. Out of all the characters, I loved meeting Anna and Elsa the most because they are my favorite Disney characters and really love Frozen. Thinking of Frozen, I got to attend a Frozen Sing-Along, two parades, and other exciting things. I got to go on the Kilimanjaro Safari, Festival of the Lion King, TeaCups, StarTours and other attractions. Riding on StarTours made up for Soaring being temporarily closed in Epcot. StarTours is basically like riding in one of the StarWars starships. The Festival of the Lion King is like an aerobatic show and the songs from the movie are being sung.I ended up getting a number of souvenirs which are a stuffed Sven, stuffed princess Minnie, stuffed socerer Mickey,  blue “Let it Go” cap, Olaf mug, pink cheetah mouse ears, and a Walt Disney World T-Shirt.

Outside of the classes, I learned other valuable skills such as patience and navigation. Those were the only moments we were not with our chaperones. We are with at least one other student. Miranda and I had to figure out how to navigate the different parks and how to hop from park to park. Sometimes we had to speed race to get somewhere due to the time, but sometimes would get lost on the way. Outside of reading the map, we would also ask for directions. We had to figure out what we wanted to do outside of the fast passes.

Being at Disney shows how much of a Disney fan you are. Disney means a lot to me because I grew up with it. I understand the greatness of the old Disney musical movies and the new Disney musical movies. I still love “Beauty and the Beast”, “Lion King”, and the Pixar films such as “Finding Nemo”, “Lilo and Stich”, and “Monsters INC”, etc. It is hard to believe that the Disney musical movies are part of the origin of my love for musicals. All because of this trip, I realized that I want to see “Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast” again because I have seen them before, but have no memory of seeing them.

A Dream Job Idea

I got this idea for a dream job, but I feel like it is a bit far fetched. I have two passions and I have found a way to bring them together. For starters, I have a passion to help those who are less fortunate than me especially the homeless and poverty. Ever since high school, I knew I have been called to help those in need and I have a deep connection to that community. It is a passion I do not treat like a passion, but it is one. That is why I joined a service club at school. My other passion is obsessive, which is theatre. This passion is obsessive because I have a deep obsession for “Les Mis”, which led to an obsession with musicals. I thought of this crazy idea lately that could bring the two together.

I was thinking of maybe starting a theatre company for those living in poverty and homelessness. But it sounds a bit far fetched because I know it takes a lot of people to put on a show. It just sounds a bit crazy even though it brings my two main passions together.

Seeing God in unexpected ways

God can speak to people in many ways. But has he ever showed up in a way that did not seem possible. That happened to me yesterday at school. Gardner Webb was under a tornado watch yesterday and it was very very windy. I just did not want to leave my room at all. After  I finally left, I saw a rainbow in the sky, which was not excepted during a tornado watch. It wasn’t really raining and if there wasn’t much rain, how can there be a rainbow in the sky. Rainbows are a sign of God because people do see rainbows that often.

So God does like to work with you in mysterious ways. Sometimes you do not know what is God’s doing and what is your own. That is usually difficult to know, but sometimes you just know. If you just happen to see a rainbow in the sky, than it is a sign from God. Seeing signs such as rainbows helps you see God’s creation better. The same goes for the sun shining through clouds and beautiful sunsets. There are times in your life where you feel like something is meant to happen. Those moments are God’s doing, but it usually is your doing of getting you to that particular moment. God works through everyone each and every day because we are made in his image, which means all humans have a bit of his spirit deep within each of us. That spirit needs to be filled with God’s love, forgiveness, and compassion in order to become a strong spiritual person. It allows us to become closer to God. Sometimes God like to work through us in our weaknesses and our emotional scars we have to battle each and every day. Some people are more broken than others and need to find a way out. People who are very broken sometimes can feel like God is ignoring them when reality he is staying with them. He is the main reason why humans manage to thrive and why it is important to have a close relationship with him.

Through experience, I know how hard it is to know if God is listening to your prayers or not. But everyone can continue to strengthen their relationship God from the start to the end of their life. That can be accomplished through giving back to those in need or being out in nature. I am a very strong spiritual person who connects to nature and Christian music and those two things make me feel close to God. I also feel close to God through writing down my prayers. That seems to be the only way he listens to what I am asking of him.

Musicals vs Operas

Recently I was able to experience my first opera at school. Così Fan Tutte is a comic opera with music by Mozart. Not only did I get to watch the show, I also got to be in it. I was in the overture as a dinner patron. I was required to watch the show for class and I had to talk about a performance that stood out and a performance that might have needed improvement. That was hard because the cast was so wonderful and it was hard to see an actor that needed improvement, but I just picked one anyway.

I spent all my life with musicals and never thought I would witness an opera. Operas and musicals are both part of musical theatre, but they have some key differences between each other. The most obvious difference is that musicals are traditionally have songs and spoken dialogue and operas are sung-through. But that is not really the difference because some operas have spoken dialogue and some musicals are sung-through. One thing I noticed about this opera is that the style of singing is quite different than how a musical singer sings. The technique of opera singing is much harder than a musical and it is also harder to understand what an opera singer is singing. It is hard to pick up on some of the words due to the technique. Musicals sound more contemporary than operas sound because musicals are much younger than operas.

After experiencing this opera, I hope to see more in the future. I heard rumors about the tragic operas and those rumors make it sound it sound like most operas are tragic, but because I am new to operas there is no way of knowing if that is true or not. The tragic opera I want to see the most is La Boheme especially because the musical, “Rent”, is based off of it. I want to see the differences between the two and I have an idea of what the plot of La Boheme is like. If it is true that most operas are tragic than operas and musicals are basically opposites. That is due to the fact that most musicals are comic, which I know is true due to many years of experience. I also know that operas are generally longer than musicals meaning they can last four hours or more, which sounds crazy.As of now, I love operas more than plays and I love musicals more than operas. Musicals will always be the closest to my heart, but I am open to seeing different types of theatre now. Musicals and operas are able to heighten emotion because they are communicated through song and they add a dimension of joy.

Embrace the Past, Celebrate the Present, Anticipate the Future

Embrace the Past- this is important because it shapes who you are. Yes, the past may hurt at times, but remember you should never run away and not learn from the past. Also do not forget that there are times in the past that are some of the best parts in my life. Every thing that happens in the past were meant to happen for a reason. These means realizing how important the past is to a person’s identity.

Celebrate the Present- this means to make the most of the present. It means to take every opportunity you have. Sometimes the smallest of memories can bring so much later in life. In the college years, it is when you can make an identity for yourself. College offers you so many opportunities and it is important to take advantage of that. It can range from joining a club, doing service work, going on a school trip, or participating in theatre.

Anticipate the Future- this is a harder concept to understand. College students fear what their future will be like. It is better to predict what you want your future to hold. Your past and present make you who you are. It is hard to know what the future will hold, but try to make a guess of what you want in life.

Syrian Refugee Crisis

Should we let the Syrian Refugees enter the US or not? This question has been a constant debate for the past couple of years. It took me a while to come up with my opinion and mine makes sense in many ways. I believe that we should let them in. I do not believe hate can fix any broken problem. Hate cannot drive hate, only love can do that and violence cannot drive out violence, only kindness can do that. These people have been going through a big time of crisis. We just seem to not care at all about their current situation. Don’t forget that Jesus was a refugee and he saved us from our sins. In times of crisis, we are supposed to help those in need. It is usually when we come together the most. I am tired of the stereotype, “all muslims are terriosts”. That is a silly thing to say because that is so not true. They are fleeing from ISIS and people fear that one of them is part of that group. Just because on 9/11 those that attacked us were muslim does not mean all muslims are terrorists. These refugees are scared for their life  and they need us to show them comfort, peace, and compassion. Nothing is stronger than God’s love for us and we need to respect that by giving back to those in need. This conflict has been going on for too long and we can make an effort to help by allowing them to enter our country.

MLK Day Service

Yesterday was Martin Luther King remembrance day. The thing that stood out to be the most was the service that my college was doing. I went to Miracle Hill with my club and the women’s volleyball team. My club usually goes there to serve lunch, but this time it was different. We volunteered longer and there was more meaning due to what this day represents.

This large group was split up into three groups. It was nice volunteering with people other than Campus Civitan. I usually volunteer mainly with Civitan and I love giving back to the club I call my family. I was the only member of my club in the group I was split up in, but it was nice getting to know other Gardner Webb University students. We had to organize and hang up clothes. We had to make sure that everything was in the right spot. We had to hang up women’s clothing in the women’s section and the men’s clothing in the men’s section. This area of Miracle Hill provides clothing to the clients that are currently living at Miracle Hill.

Serving on MLK makes Martin Luther King JR’s legacy continue. Hate can drive out hate, only love can do that. Violence cannot drive out violence, only kindness can do that. He believes in a better world and that is what he did on this special day. We helped give back to the community and that makes a large difference on someone’s life. I have a deep connection to those who are less fortunate than I and that I was why I joined Campus Civitan, a service club. The more love, kindness, and compassion we show, the more fixed this broken world will be.