lauren spitler

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Festival of the Lion King | Disney Happiness Project

We've come to the end of the first week of my new year-long project! If you haven't read my previous post explaining what the project is, you can read it here! I will always post the picture of my journaled page at the end of the post, so keep on reading for a look at this week's! 

For those of you who didn’t know, my time spent working at Disney was spent at Animal Kingdom. On a pretty regular basis, I was asked questions about when the next showing of Festival of the Lion King was, or where it was located. For the first 6 months or so of my time down there though, the show was actually closed for refurbishment.

I had to disappoint many people and tell them the news that the show wasn’t currently running (at the time). I actually always wanted to answer their question of when the next show was with a sassy “um… sometime in July…maybe!” but I never did, don’t you worry!

I even met a woman who travelled down to see the show because she was on the team that opened the show (hello there, I want your job!). So many people were interested in seeing this one show. What makes it so special?

I will admit that I was a little disappointed when I initially came down and knew it would be months before I could see the show because it was on my bucket list of to-dos. I accepted that fact though, and carried on.

See, I knew that I had seen the show before. I didn’t remember much of it from when I was a kid though. I remembered it being in a roundish (it’s a word now) auditorium, there was something involving a trampoline, and a display of many bright colors. That was all I could remember from seeing it as a kid, and I hadn’t seen it in the many years between that first time and just a few months ago. I also remembered fanning myself with the park map because it was sweaty hot, which is what hot and humid Animal Kingdom will do to you!

As a DAK (Disney's Animal Kingdom) cast member, when the new theater was finished, I was able to get a look at it during one of my lunch breaks. Sitting in the finished Harambe theatre was quite exciting! I knew I would get to see the show again very soon.

A few days after it reopened, I was able to go on one of my days off. I’m 20 years old, but it was like a 5 year old took over my body. I sat there with my camera in my hand debating if I wanted to try and take pictures, watching the show through the lens of my camera, or just sit there and soak it all in. I’m happy to say I went with the latter. My face was beaming with a smile the entire time. I joined in for all of the parts requiring audience participation, and even those that didn’t, haha! I can’t help but sing along!! I went to see Festival of the Lion King many more times before I moved back home.

This past week, I was in Florida for less than 48 hours. I am incredibly grateful for the chance I had to be there even if it was ridiculously brief! I really hoped my time back in Florida visiting would include some Disney time, and it sure did! I had an amazing day with two of my Kali River Rapids coworkers and friends where we hit 3 of the 4 parks. I am so pleased with the amount of things we accomplished in the one day we had.

Our time at Animal Kingdom was spent surprising old coworkers who didn’t expect me to just show up randomly in line, which was really fun, and made me feel extremely loved. Our visit to DAK would not be complete though without a visit to good ole Harambe theatre. It was a must-see for me. I have missed the show in my life. Julie, Kaitlyn, and I went and sat in the lion section because where else would you want to sit when you knew King Simba would be present? I mean, come on.

After the show, I finally purchased my very own copy of the show’s soundtrack. I now listen to it every time I drive anywhere in my car. It is crazy good! Track 8 is AH-Mazing.

So why does this show mean so much to me? It is 30 minutes of adventure. It is an escape from the theme park atmosphere and life beyond the parks. Essentially, the show is a celebration. I leave feeling so positively energized. The show makes me feel grateful for life. It is so lively! My memories of the show as a child were not wrong, but I didn’t appreciate fully what the show really is and was back then. I love sitting in the audience, watching a performance, but at the same time really feeling a part of it.

The show comes with some of the Lion King’s main themes. Hakuna Matata, anyone? Yeah, it’s a good one. The show reminds me that even though there is darkness in life, we can create light. It teaches me to rejoice in moments of triumph and take hold of my dreams. It teaches me to be prepared for the bad times, but know that a colorful life may be just around the corner. I’m quite a serious person at times, and this 30 minute show allows me to shake it off and enjoy life, and enjoy this moment, because it is what I have right now. The past is the past; it is just a memory now. Why should I let that bother me and weigh me down still? I just need to learn from it, and live in the now. Easier said than done, and it has become quite a cliché in our society, but it is still an important one.

(L-R) Me, Julie, and Kaitlyn

Asante sana, Festival of the Lion King. (Meaning “thank you very much” in Swahili. I didn’t look that up, I actually knew it, thank you very much! Haha or should I say asante sana :D) I know now why people asked me every day for months when the next showing was, and why they wanted every one in their family to see it. It is a special show. Please go see it if you have the chance. It really is a show for everyone and I think it can teach us all something different. Even just the message that it is okay to celebrate life and experience joy makes it quite the worthwhile spectacle in my book.

x Lauren

P.S. if you can’t make it to DAK in person, the show is on YouTube in its entirety :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Disney Happiness Project

I made my first blog post one year ago and created my blog in general in anticipation of my going down to Florida for about 7 months to work at Walt Disney World. I blogged all throughout that time, and long story short, it was the absolute best time of my life so far, hands down.

Once I moved back home, I continued to blog because I enjoyed it (and still do!). No longer having the fact that I was living, working, and playing in the Disney parks as my source for content, my blog went in a few directions with posts. Following the end of my Disney College Program, my blog has been having a bit of an identity crisis! I wanted to expand what I wrote about beyond Disney, but I quickly realized that Disney has seeped into every bit of my life. Not in a brainwashed, Disney is the only way sort of thing, but it has been in the best way possible, infused into my life from an early age. It’s been a really positive influence for me! Disney has always been a large part of my life from the moment I was born really. I posted about why all things Disney mean so much to me in an earlier post. (You can read it by clicking…here!)

So, with my blog, who.what.Ren. turning a year old, I am giving it more of a clear, guided vision for the year ahead. Everyone says to write what you know, and what you feel passionate about. They say to write content you care about, and what you would want to read. It became pretty clear that my favorite content to create was Disney based. I love Disney and like to think I’m pretty well versed in Disney, and I could talk about it all day, every day, and not run out of things to say. I know that it makes me happy to experience Disney, and I know that when my life is crappy and I feel like crying, a Disney song makes me smile. I care about my own happiness, and this project will help me! I’ll have something to look forward to each week, and I will learn new ways to appreciate the mundane things of this life. I hope to be inspired.

I know that everyone has their opinions on Disney, and everyone is entitled to their opinions! To some people, the idea of going to a Disney park means chaos, large crowds, headaches, noise, and an overwhelming sense of ahh… but to me, it’s completely therapeutic. Disney in general creates such happy moments for me. I spent 7 months of this year working at Walt Disney World creating happiness for guests that came to the theme parks, and I loved every single minute of it. Still today, I get to experience the magic of Disney and that is absolutely delightful.

So for one year, I am doing what I’m calling, “The Disney Happiness Project”. Creative title, I know ;) The project is subtitled however: A year of finding positivity in everyday life through the magical and imaginary world of Disney.

Basically for 52 weeks, I will spend each week immersed, if you will, in something Disney related. It can be a Disney film, a quote, a song lyric or entire soundtrack, a Disney show, or an event related to Disney…anything really! After fully experiencing that Disney thing, I am going to pull out what I find to be little positive nuggets of wisdom or truths that I feel I can relate to my life for the better. Thoughts or new insights I can learn from.

This isn’t Lauren living a year according to Disney. My life isn’t going to all of a sudden become this fairytale that is free from the pain and negativity that is unfortunately a big presence in my life. Let’s be real here. But, this will help me focus on seeking out happiness, and finding the positive in things. Life is full of ups and downs. My life has been a lot of downs, so I’m working on creating more ups.

I’m going to take those positive nuggets that I referred to and put them in this book. Each week of the project will have one page spread to cover and fill any way I want to. There is no right or wrong way to do it, that’s the beauty of creating my own project for myself—there are no rules here! It is a blank canvas, literally. The possibilities are endless. Well, they are limited to what will fit on these pages, obviously, but there is no way to fail at this, and that is a cool thought.

I’m going to then post a picture of the finished page spread on my blog each week with some of my insights to share with anyone who wants to participate! By creating a visual journal of some positive moments, I will be able to look back at this tangible representation of positive memories any time I want to. Even if the page just consists of a picture from the week, the goal is to find happiness tied to it.

Also, if you have any suggestions on a Disney thing, that I just have to be sure to include as one of the 52 things I focus on, let me know! And if you have any ideas on ways to improve my project, let me know! I would love to hear them!

I have been thinking about this project for a while, but I made myself wait to start it until it was my blog’s actual 1-year anniversary. I am just excited to finally start it now!

I appreciate you reading my posts, but if you want to go one step further and follow my blog, or enter your email to have my posts go right to your inbox, I can see that you specifically are being a part of this journey then, and that would be really cool for me!

Check back on my blog soon, because the first post of what will end up being 52 in total will be posted shortly! Eek! That is exciting! If anyone else is encouraged through my project at all, even in the slightest bit, that will make me so happy because that means more positivity in the world! And who doesn’t want that?

Disney gives me happy moments. Happy moments make up happy days, and happy days can make up a happy year.

My life doesn’t always feel the greatest, and I can live in the pain and suffering, or I can choose to find the positive, and create the positive for myself. This project is just the start of it for me! I hope you will be excited to follow me along! If my explanation of the project hasn’t been the clearest for you, as I start making my weekly posts, hopefully it will start to make more sense!

What makes you happy? Whatever it is, hold onto it, and embrace it fully! Until we chat again soon, I'm sending positive vibes your way!

x Lauren

Sunday, October 19, 2014

who.what.Ren. turns One!

Image courtesy of tiveryluck at

Happy Birthday to who.what.Ren :)

Exactly one year ago, I made my first post on this blog! I had been preparing my blog for a bit before the post, but there was officially content on the 19th of October!

I have loved blogging for this past year and will be continuing going forward! My next post will explain a new year-long project I'm starting which will be documented here to share! 

A lot has changed in my life this past year, but at the same time, I'm the same old me (just maybe a better version)! I am still blogging for the fun of it because it is something I truly enjoy! I know that people read my posts and that feels very rewarding, but I don't expect a huge audience! Anyone that wants to come to the party is welcome, and I celebrate you!

To celebrate the fact that I've been blogging for a year, I updated the template of my site and gave it a bit of a face lift, if you will! I also recently updated the "About Me" page, but if you've been with me for awhile, you already know that stuff about me :)

In all honesty, it feels extremely good to have hit a milestone like this. I know, it is just a little blog, but I feel like I have succeeded at something, and in a world that can sting us and make us feel like failures, this feels pretty dang good.

So here's to one year *raises imaginary glass* and more in the future! 

x Lauren

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