Life: 15 Years Ago

California, Disney, Disneyland, Dreams, Growing up, Life, Orange County, Southern California, Uncategorized

It all began shortly after high school like most great fairy tales begin. Right?! 15 years ago I walked into a bakery bright eyed, timid, and a total nervous wreck but little did I know that my life would change forever.Sweets and Life: Blue Ribbon Bakery Disneyland

I grew up in a very small town in the Central Valley where after high school you either enter the military, get married (more likely pregnant), or you leave town in hopes of a better future and I decided on the latter. In a manner of a few days I applied, had a phone interview and was on my way to my first real interview. With my parents blessing I took enough clothes for 3 days and headed out as the Dixie Chicks say to Wide Open Spaces. By the end of the week I was given a position as a “culinary hostess” at the Happiest Place on Earth.  Words cannot describe my delight as I began working on October 23, 1999. The friendships and memories that I made there by far exceeds what I ever expected out of my “first” job. (I worked as a welder for a summer when I was 16 so technically my second job.)

Sweets and Life: Cast Member name tag

I worked full time in several positions throughout the park for almost a decade while I attending school full time on and off. I wouldn’t change anything about my time there because I believe it has made me who I am today. The values the company instilled in me will be part of me for as long as I’m alive and I’ve very proud to take to any company I might work at in the future. At Disneyland I learned how important it is to initiate guest contact, that picking up trash is done by everyone throughout the park, maintaing the “show” aspect is what makes this place special, and genuinely caring for our guest is the number one priority. Keep in mind that when I refer to the guest I’m not just talking about the adults but to children as well. I learned how to communicate with children more easily and how to get down to their level. I learned about public speaking and now I’m able to communicate with anyone I come across.

Sweets and Life: My buddy Mickey

I was part of the magic that was created there on a daily basis.  Some of the moments guest felt were above and beyond were documented at guest relations and in 2008 I was lucky enough to be nominated for a Service Excellence award for it. Most of what I did will never be known and I’m okay with that because it will stay in my heart.   Here is just a small glimpse of what I helped create and to my defense I left the couple without refills to go get a piece of cake at another location. Guest go to the park for different reasons and one cannot assume that they are simply there on vacation.  Wether it be for an afternoon of fun with their families, trying to escape something difficult in their lives or to celebrate something people always turn to the Park. Some of the individuals that go saved up for months or years to be able to take their families there. (My family was one of those people.)  I was taught that you threat everyone the same whether they be an annual passholder, a celebrity, or a regular person.  I learned how to deal with different personalities from all over the world. Through my guests I learned about different cultures and customs. My co-workers became part of my family as I spent most of my holidays working long hours.  In fact I loved working holidays because everyone was so happy to be  there celebrating. What better place to ring in the New Year or 4th of July?

Sweets and Life: Carnation Cafe

The company also instilled in me a sense of citizenship. I participated in several VoluntEARS events throughout my time there. They encourage cast members to help out in their community. I relished in helping out in any way I could whether it be by raising money for a walk, painting a playground, spending time with the children at CHOC, or other events throughout the year.

Sweets and Life: Disney VoluntEARSOut of all my time working for the company the position I cherished working the most was being part of the Dream Squad. In order to attain that position you had to get nominated and approved by the operations manager, turn in a resume, and get interviewed.  I’m not going to say much about the Dream Squad except imagine being Santa Clause everyday. It was simply phenomenal.

Sweets and Life: Dream Squad

So, you might be asking yourself why on Earth did you quit this magical place? I quit simply because I was accepted into UCLA on a summer scholars program and I was unable to work full time, commute on the Metro, and attend all my classes without something suffering. I could only stretch myself so far.  But before I’m done reminiscing I would like to say that Disneyland gave me the greatest gift of all, my Husband.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen when the person that interviewed me on the first day told me that I was going to find love there I dismissed it.  Little did I know how truly magical my time being there and how it would change me forever.

Sweets and Life: Disneyland

Maybe one day I will return to the place I consider my second home but for now I’m setting my sights on other things.  I’m very happy about the work skills I acquired while I was with the company. My Husband often thinks I’m weird for asking people if I can take their photo for them when we are out and about but I can’t help myself. There are so many magical stories that I’ve yet to share with you and so many things I have learned that I would love to list but that will have to wait until next time. In the mean time here’s a little glimpse of me when it all began circa 1999.

Sweets and Life: Cast Member of the Month



{Date Night Fridays} The Getty Villa

California, Date Night Fridays, Getty, Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades, Southern California

A perfect place to go on a date in Southern California if you love art and great architecture is the Getty. The hubby and I have gone to both the Getty Center and the Getty Villa but our favorite one is the Villa. Like I’ve previously stated we love going on cheap dates especially when you get to experience such a beautiful place.

We’ve been here a few times and we can’t believe how beautiful it is every time we come back.  To get tickets you need to make a reservation with them here.  Entrance is FREE but parking is $15.  Can I suggest you either carpool with a group of friends, take public transportation which gets you in for free, or get dropped off if you want to save on the parking fee. This place is good for older kids but keep in mind it’s a museum.  If you want to make it a super romantical date you can always have a picnic at the nearby beach and then drive up to the Villa.  They also serve wine and lunch if you would like to eat at the Villa or you can order a picnic lunch and eat it on the grounds.  We enjoy sitting on a bench overlooking the outer peristyle and people watching while having a great conversation.  
17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, California 90272
(310) 440-7300

{Date Night Friday} Balboa Park

Balboa Park, California, Date Night Fridays, San Diego, Southern California

A few years ago I went to Balboa Park to work on a school assignment and I was hooked.  Not long after that I went back with my hubby and he loved it.  Fast forward to a couple of weekends ago when we decided to finally go back.

Our first stop was at the Visitor Center where we gots of helpful tips.  We decided that instead of buying tickets we where going to walk around and enjoy all the free things to do.

Here’s a glimpse at what we saw and by no means does justice to the amount of things there are to see:

This place is pretty amazing to spend a whole day walking around in.  They have several restaurants around there but beware for all the fast food lovers out there you have to drive a little to find fast food.  They do have hot dog carts that sell bottled water, ice cream, and nachos.  Parking is awful on a beautiful day but don’t be discouraged there is plenty around if you’re willing to walk far for it.  Make sure you don’t park in 15 minute parking because they do give tickets.  We have visited several of the museums there along with the San Diego Zoo but this time we opted to walk around and relax which made for a splendid day.  They have palm readers, tarot card readers, local musicians, and very interesting people out there. Besides museums they have performing arts centers, a Spanish village, and a lot of gardens.  This place is great to bring out of towners to and is also wonderful for kids.

549 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 239-0512
  Do you know of any other places like Balboa Park you are willing to share with me?