lauren spitler

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Music of Frozen | Disney Happiness Project

Well helloooo there! Nice to see you mid-week!

With my train trip delaying my Week 4 post, this post was delayed only slightly, but don’t worry folks! We will be back on track this weekend!

Speaking of my train trip, since it took place over the course of two weeks, this post was somewhat inspired by it as well. If you have no idea what I’m talking about as far as my train trip, check out last week’s post! Sometimes when I would be cleaning a train car, and I was able to go into my own world while working, I would listen to the music on my phone! I remember when I was vacuuming one of the lounge areas, “Let it Go” from Frozen (in case you’re unfamiliar with the cultural phenomenon that has taken over the planet and infused its way into everything at Walt Disney World) came on.

Cleaning is much more enjoyable when you can lip-sync to the power ballad that is “Let it Go,” let me just tell you!

When I came home, and relaxed back into life with a television, commercials for the Frozen Sing-Along DVD frequently played, and I have found myself singing along to whatever snippet of a song they would preview.

I’ve come to the realization that I have yet to be sick of the music of Frozen. The movie came out ALMOST one year ago! (Tomorrow marks one year if we’re going to get technical). That is CRAZY! I feel like it has been out much longer than that!

Maybe it is because I worked down at Walt Disney World following its release and watched its overwhelming presence come to be, but it seems like it has to have been out longer than just one year.

Now, everyone has his or her opinions about Frozen. It seems that the majority of opinions are either strongly in favor of it, or are fed up with it all and completely over it. I will say that I have a friend who has yet to see it, and has managed to stay completely out of the loop on the story, and characters, and such, and I think she deserves an award for that accomplishment!

I have been a fan of Frozen since I saw it in theaters last year. I think it is a well-made movie with a great cast, and an inspiring story that has ridiculously catchy music. As someone who struggles with depressive spells myself, it was encouraging to see a character presented that I felt I could relate to in that sense. Lyrics like “I’m never going back, the past is in the past” from “Let it Go,” and “Say goodbye to the pain of the past, we don’t have to feel it anymore” from “Love is an Open Door” were empowering! They still are! I still find myself bopping my head along to the soundtrack as a whole, as if the movie just came out and the music was just introduced to us all. I mean there is a reason this piece of work has won awards… it’s good.

I think back on all the times Nicolette and I sang along and gave it our all to belt out the movie’s anthems and do them justice while driving in the car. I remember when Nic, Jordan, and I waited nearly 3 hours to meet Anna and Elsa in EPCOT’s Norway pavilion before they were moved to Magic Kingdom with a FastPass+ queue. Pictures from our meeting can be seen in this old post. Jordan and I went to the Sing-Along show at Disney's Hollywood Studios, which was the strangest cult-like, yet greatest feelings in the world because everyone was united singing these songs! If you really love the music like I do, and are up for it, buy and sing to the Karaoke CD. You can ask Nicolette, but I will tell you, it was one of, if not, the most embarrassing and humbling experiences of my life. It is not that easy!! At least, it wasn’t for me… if you can just rock it out, well then, power to you!

I won’t get into all of my thoughts on the movie’s current presence in the theme parks, but I will say it has become quite much. A lot of treasured things in the parks have been Frozen-fied. I believe my home park of DAK, has yet to be touched in that sense, but Anna and Elsa have made their way into the other three parks of WDW, and there is no denying they’ve arrived, and taken up residence indefinitely. I’m not anti-Frozen, don’t get me wrong! I just wrote a post about how I’m still loving it and celebrating its musical aspect on a regular basis! I’m just ready to see it scaled back a bit to be on a similar level to other works.

There is so much I could say about this topic! I'm just trying to keep this as a somewhat guided post (As all of my posts clearly are! Haha jokes!). For now though, I’m going to continue to shuffle through the songs when I drive around, and I’ll continue to fully sing out with the commercials and music videos on Disney Channel (yup… I watch Disney Channel), and I’ll embrace every moment of it, because it makes me happy. The music is so positive for me, and I can smile along and appreciate its power and influence still. I don’t see anything wrong with that!

Have you seen Frozen? What is your favorite song off the album?
AND... Happy Thanksgiving everybody! What are you thankful for this year? If you say, Disney's Frozen, then WOAH this post was well-timed for you :)

Let's just pretend there is a white background in this picture! Okay, thanks!

x Lauren

I'm just going to leave a few things here for those of you who stay until the end of the post!

Love this so much! I pretend I can sing it, but in actuality, 
I am just saying random vowel sounds in a somewhat chanting manner.

When it comes to the physical cold of winter, 
this kid knows what's up. Winter in the Midwest is 
BRUTAL. Help us out, Elsa!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Week on the Train | Disney Happiness Project

I have been a little absent from my blog lately, and this post has been delayed because I spent 10 days on a train. You read that right… I was ON a train for 10 days. It was actually a train tour of the Midwest (ooh exciting, I know), and let me just say, it was something else.

Because of my recent job working at an event venue, my manager, who has worked these train trips for years, recruited me to work on this one! These were private rail cars with about 35 passengers that travelled on a circular route of some of the Midwest’s finest cities. Personally, I probably wouldn’t fork out the cash to be a passenger on this particular tour because the cities don’t strike me as the most interesting, but our passengers were a group of older train enthusiasts who live for this sort of a thing.

I knew what I was getting into, but I didn’t really know what I was getting into until I stepped aboard in St. Louis. I actually became really anxious the morning I was leaving, and then when I reached the train and walked into my room, it sunk in again… what am I doing? What did I just get myself into?

(L-R) Me, Megan, and Melisa, right after washing the train's outside windows in the cold! 

Long story short, it was very physically exhausting. I worked all day, with little downtime. From serving breakfast, lunch, and dinners, to cleaning rooms and bathrooms, serving other snacks, and drinks, and such, my schedule was quite busy. It took me a little bit of time to adjust to doing these activities on a moving vehicle, and oftentimes not on the smoothest of tracks. Watching me trying to maintain balance while vacuuming was probably fun, but the most comical had to have been when we served dinner the second night. The meal included a soup course. The soup was served in a bowl that sat atop a plate. Simple enough, right? Wrong! You are carrying these from the kitchen, across one train car, into the next car, and up stairs to the dining area. Walking around in general made anyone look either drunk or like they were a young child learning how to walk, so add the task of carrying soup and desperately trying not to spill it, and you can imagine how comical we must have looked!

I tweeted for a few days on the trip some random thoughts, and I logged the journey with #laurenonatrain. I stopped tweeting at some point, and my phone broke while on the trip so some people were concerned for me, but all was well! It was quite a random job, that confused a lot of people when I tried to explain it, but it was an experience that I decided to take advantage of. My reasoning was, well one, it’s a job, but also, when will I ever do this again? (Probably never.) I learned a lot from the trip though. It was definitely the case where when you step out of your comfort zone, you are stretched, and can actually grow as a person, and for that bit, I’m thankful.

If you are reading this post, and wondering how this ties into my Disney Happiness Project, let me now explain! The work environment was not the most positive, and it made it easy to sort of slip into that negativity if you weren’t careful or being mindful of it.

The night we gained the majority of our passengers who boarded in Chicago, I met Christine and Jeffrey. They were passing me in one of the lounge cars, and I noticed the shirt Jeffrey was wearing. It was a Disney’s Wilderness Lodge shirt! Up until that point, I hadn’t encountered any Disney on the trip other than what Disney things I had with me. This was so fun to see! We briefly chatted then about some of the other resorts they had stayed at, and how I was a cast member, and how their daughter was a cast member too, and their family is all Disney freaks.

YES! I found my people!! Haha! We had many more conversations throughout the trip, and it was so encouraging! They were lovely people, and wished me well when they left the train! I am so glad he decided to wear that specific shirt the first night, because just seeing that little bit of Disney created a connection between us that added light to my days confined to this train.

Walt Disney loved trains; they truly fascinated him. Railroading had a big influence on his life and work. It is safe to say that I don’t love trains the way he did, in fact I’ll be okay if I don’t go on another train for awhile :) Still, it was satisfying to know that I was partaking in something that the man and legacy I greatly admire took much joy in.

One of his earliest jobs was selling snacks and magazines on trains that covered similar ground as the one I just spent some time on. Although, we didn’t directly travel through Marceline, MO, to my knowledge, I know that we had to have been pretty darn close to it. Marceline was Walt’s childhood hometown, and what inspired his vision of Disneyland, and led him to create Main Street, U.S.A..

I clearly have a great love for the Disney parks, and I personally LOVE Main Street, U.S.A., it feels like a large hug. The small-town charm that welcomes you into Magic Kingdom is what gives me feelings of nostalgia for a childhood I didn’t really have. Disney in general gives me the warmth and joy of growing up that I felt robbed of. I’ve gone on a slight tangent here, but what I am saying is, I am thankful for Walt’s love of the railroad town, and trains in general because of what it ultimately led to, which I have had the great privilege of participating in.

My train career has been a brief one, but it taught me to slow down, and appreciate the small things in life. Those 10 days removed from everything else, created a feeling of much simpler times.

In the end, I am glad I did the trip, and I walk away with many interesting stories that make me laugh looking back on them now!

It is good to unplug every now and then, and try something new! That’s what I did here! I said yes to this experience I knew little about beforehand, dove in, and came out stronger because of it.

What did you do while I was gone? Now that I am back, I feel like I need to play catch-up! What’s been going on? Fill me in!

x Lauren

Here are a few pictures of the train that I took on my phone! Take a gander, why don't you?

Quick non-Disney related train moment to share: There were 3 women that were like grandmothers to me on the trip! One, very sassy, reminded me of Betty White, and I hope that I am like her when I grow up! The other two, were very quiet, gentle, and kind British women that I wanted to take home with me! They were all great to chat with and get to know a bit, and I am very grateful for their presence on the trip! They made me smile each and every day, and I love that.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives | Disney Happiness Project

The “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives” exhibit has been at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for more than a year now. I had plans to go visit last year, but never made it! I spent a good portion of this year being down in Florida, and now with the exhibit leaving town in less than two months, I thought it was about time I got myself down there! A Disney exhibit? Yeah, you’re really going to have to work hard to convince me to go… jokes! I was pumped!

I cannot remember ever going to the Museum of Science and Industry in general growing up, so I was looking forward to feeling like a well-cultured human being just by stepping into the building! There were so many kids on field trips running around in the general exhibit areas, and the excitement and energy they outwardly displayed was a pretty good representation of what I was feeling, but not showing, because you know…I’m an adult, haha!

Lobby of the Museum of Science and Industry 

The Disney exhibit requires a separate ticket for entry and it comes with a specific time. The ticket and museum maps say the exhibit is 40 minutes. I was relieved to find out that they didn’t actually time you and give you only 40 minutes to see what you could, and then force you to leave! There was a lot of reading to do, and while I started off reading very thoroughly all of the facts and dates plastered all over the walls, I did get to a point where the art of skimming became my best friend. I wanted to see all that there was to see! Well, all in all, I spent a total of an hour and 45 minutes in the exhibit (and they said it would be only 40 minutes, HA!).

Ooh! Artsy, out of focus shot... :/

I’m not going to lie, after reading a biography on Walt Disney, working for Disney, visiting Disney many times as a guest, and taking a class at Disney all about Disney’s heritage, I did know quite a bit of the information shared. Of course, there is always something new to learn, and I was pleased to learn more than what I walked in knowing. Mission accomplished!

The exhibit is said to have nearly 300 artifacts, some of which are not widely seen by the public. While I didn’t count them all (nobody expected me to, I'm sure), I would have to say that there were quite a lot of things to actually see and look at! As a Disney fan, I was pleased to see things too that I hadn’t seen in person before! I spent more time looking at them with my eyes and taking them all in that way than I did taking pictures of every little thing, but I am glad I spent some time actually seeing it all, and not just through my camera lens. (I did obviously take some pictures as I am sharing a few here, and the biggest challenge in taking them was trying not to get a ton of reflective glare because everything is behind glass!)

These are the large prop books seen being opened in each respective film's opening!

Visiting the exhibit was a nice reminder of the history of the company I love and grew up with. Seeing the history of something I was able to be a part of as a cast member is always humbling and encouraging. I hope to be a cast member again soon, and looking at the company’s roots and what all has been accomplished over the years, just makes me want to get back down there as soon as possible! I am always inspired seeing things Walt worked on and what has come from the legacy he created. It wasn’t always a walk in the park for Walt, and so is life for us all. It just makes me think that anything is possible, and just because things may feel like a failure at times, doesn’t mean a huge success can’t be achieved just around the corner! Walt lived his life as a visionary, and a dreamer. I want to be known as a dreamer as well. Dreaming is hopeful.

If you haven’t seen the exhibit yourself, it is at the museum through January 4, 2015. If you are able to get there and see it, then go! I absolutely loved it and felt it was extremely worth my time. You can read more about the exhibit and about what it showcases on the museum’s website by clicking here!

If you go or have visited already, please let me know what you think of it! I would love to hear what stuck with you after seeing it all!

Oh yes, I did take this picture of myself on the wall of princesses!

This had to be one of my absolute FAVORITE items to see! This is a text draft for Disneyland's entrance plaque from 1955. The annotations are made by the man himself, Walt Disney! I love to see his scribbling process in figuring out how to perfectly phrase the now iconic plaque. That is actually his handwriting! That is SO cool you guys! Am I such a geek or what?

I have yet to see Maleficent (I know, gasp!) But this is the ring from her costume, 
and it looks pretty dang cool if you ask me!

Please tell me you know what this is from! Comment down below or 
message me with the film it's from!

Teen Beach Movie! I didn't imagine the surfboard being this large! 
(I'm basically 5'10" to give you some frame for reference)

I felt like I was back at Hollywood Studios drawing beloved characters! I included the final product of this drawing in my art journaled page! (You can see that finished page at the bottom of this post :D)

A little selfie in the Windy City. From my Instagram.

x Lauren

Please note that next week’s post will be published quite a few days later than usual because I will be out of town for work (now doesn’t THAT sound like an adult thing to say!). So in case you are following my posts, don’t you worry! Week four wasn’t forgotten about, it will just be later than usual!
 photo s_03.jpg  photo s_04.jpg  photo s_05.jpg  photo s_06.jpg  photo s_07.jpg  photo s_08.jpg  photo s_09.jpg  photo s_10.jpg