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What I’m Listening To Today

I love to go to other people’s blogs and websites and hear music!  I’ve collected a lot of great songs for my iPhone that way.  So in case you care, this is what I’m listening to today.  The band is Hurts, and the song is Stay.

Let The Memories Begin – My Own Fondest Disney Memory

Thank you for calling Walt Disney World Reservations!  My name is Caroline.  How may I help you?

Yep, my name was Caroline.  For a short time in the 90’s.  Not my stripper name – get your mind out of the gutter.  This was my telephone name as a reservation sales agent for Walt Disney World.

We moved to Orlando in 1993, right after Brighid turned 2.  It was the first time I had ever moved entirely away from my family (except for the summer I spent in the Outer Banks of NC living with my aunt, but she was family!), and I was feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed by my new surroundings.  Living in Orlando was a bit surreal for me.  This was a vacation destination, after all, and here I was, home all day with my two year old, wondering what I should do with myself.  We had annual passes to Walt Disney World, Universal, and Sea World, but at some point in between all the fun of the theme parks, I had to become a productive member of society.  I lounged around as long as I could, went to school for a while, and then decided to look for a job.

On a whim, I headed to Disney Casting. I walked in, not knowing what to expect, and by the end of a couple of hours, I was a Disney World Cast Member!  It was my dream job for my dream company – I was going to be helping people plan a fabulous Walt Disney World vacation!

The first day of training came, and our initial responsibility was to change our names.  Everyone had to have a unique name, so that if a guest had a compliment or a complaint about you, when they called in and said, “Anna is a wonderful cast member!”, there had to be only one Anna out of the hundreds of us at Central Reservations.  I went down the list of names, and not seeing my own, chose the next normal sounding one on the list.  Caroline.

My time as a cast member flew by, and job transfers for Jim prohibited me from staying very long, but I remember every day that I worked there, and I treasure them!  I loved shopping at Company D and having the opportunity to preview new attractions and resorts.  It was a job, no bones about it, but there was a lot to be said about working for the Happiest Place on Earth, and I’ll never regret having the chance to do so.

Frugal Christmas – A Gift For Your Favorite Traveler

We’ve got rules now, people!  No longer can I pack up half of my bathroom – the soap, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, moisturizer and makeup – and pack it all into my carry on luggage to head off on vacation.  Everything has to be small – under three ounces – and it all has to fit in ONE zip top baggie.

If you’ve ever traveled – even just going away for a weekend once a year – you know that the smaller sizes of toiletries don’t last very long.  So if you have a traveler on your holiday gift list, this is the perfect gift for them!

You may collect the soaps and lotions that they give you for free at your hotel when you travel.  We did for a long time to send to my brother-in-law when he was in Iraq.  At one point, I ended up with some spares that weren’t really enough to send.  Wondering what I could do with the few extras I had, I decided to make a small gift for some friends I knew that would be headed to Disney World!  It was an almost entirely free gift, except for the Dollar Store makeup pouch I used as my “basket”, but you can recreate it very inexpensively even if you don’t have access to hotel freebies.

Head to your drug store, Target, or WalMart, and you are likely to find a small section where they sell small size toiletry items.  You’ll find toothpaste, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, shaving cream – pretty much anything you would need to take with you on vacation.  Many of these items are under $1.00 in price.  Theme your colors or your packaging to your traveler’s destination.  If you know they are going to Disney World, for example, pick up a red or black makeup pouch or a black Chinese take away container with some red tissue paper.  Is a tropical destination in the offing?  How about snagging some Garnier Fructis products, which are in lime green bottles, and nesting them in a small plastic basket in bright orange.

You can easily assemble a gift that is under $10 – even cheaper if you use your hotel freebies!  It’s useful, looks beautiful, and you can easily adapt it to an adult, a teenager, a child, or even a baby!