Christmas in July: Auditions for Candlelight Processional

It’s the time of the year again- Christmas in July! It seems strange to start thinking about Christmas when it’s a million degrees out, but in theme park world, you prepare for the holidays early.

 

One of the signature Disney holiday events is the Candlelight Processional. The event started in Disneyland in 1958 and came to Magic Kingdom in 1971, but it moved to the American Adventures pavillion in Epcot in 1994 and has stayed there ever since. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a thirty minute concert that features a celebrity narrator telling the nativity story, interspersed with a choir comprised of cast members and local high school choruses singing Christmas songs. It’s a wonderful event to watch, and I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the cast member choir for two years now (technically three, but I had to drop out my first year because I didn’t have a car!)

 

Previously the cast choir was selected by just signing up- so as you can imagine, it was a mad rush to sign up for the limited spots! They tried for a year or two to use a lottery, but that was wildly unpopular. Everyone would sign up, and then the final choir was drawn at random. Definitely not a good time. Starting in 2013, they moved to an evaluation system. It’s not a formal audition- no headshot, no resume, no 16 to 32 bar cut of a song showing off your voice- but it’s an effective way for the clinician to evaluate those who want to be part of the choir.

 

You can sign up online for one of the many audition sessions- but sorry, folks, if you’re not a cast member you’re not eligible. It’s only open to current and retired Disney cast members. It’s held at one of the backstage buildings, and you should be wearing your cast member nametag (if you forget, they have sticker nametags use can use). Once you’ve signed in, you wait for your selection process to begin. I brought a book with me, which turned out to be a great choice. I also had headphones, which worked nicely. They provide MP3 files of the music selection, both for a group and for your specific vocal part, as well as sheet music, so I used the piano app on my phone to play through the trickiest part of my selection and get it ingrained in my head.

 

At the beginning of the selection session there’s introductions of the clinicians, some announcements, and a warmup. The warmup was super helpful- auditions of any kind, no matter how laid back, make me nervous! They also ran through everyone’s vocal parts individually to give everyone a chance to hear their part. Then they started calling people back.

 

In previous years, they’ve offered several options for song selections, all songs from Candlelight with the cuts already marked. This year everyone sang the same song. I came in, introduced myself, and the clinician told me to start whenever I was ready. I did fine for the first part, but I also struggle with finding the second soprano notes in the second part of that particular song! The clinician gave me some advice and let me try the second half a second time, then gave me a few more tips and sent me on my way. Easy as that!

 

Now I’m just waiting to hear back about whether I made the cast choir- they gave us a date when emails should be going out, so I’m hoping for good news! The evaluation scoring process itself is a mystery, but basically they’re looking for personality, energy, and if you can pleasantly carry a tune in a bucket. Now I just have to wait! I’ll probably post on Instagram first if I get chosen, so feel free to follow me (themetaphorgirl) there too. I’m also going to post a video about what I carry in my audition bag, since I’ve done three auditions in the past month and I’m about to do a fourth one this weekend! Subscribe to my youtube (themetaphorgirl) if you’d like to see it, and comment below if you have questions about Candlelight or auditions in general!

Hey friends! Today and probably will be a little bit of radio silence. I found out today that my beloved home, the Great Movie Ride, is closing in only a month. I have worked there for nearly four years and have truly loved it, so I’m having a lot of trouble wrestling with the idea of its sudden closure. In the next few weeks I’m going to have to prepare for the close, find a new work location, and take my final bows as Kate Durango and Mugsi Toccata. I’m a stubborn and resilient human, and I’m sure I’ll be fine and ready to chase my new dream soon, but right now I need to take a little time to grieve. I’ll be back soon! Any kind words and encouragement are super welcome right now. 

Dapper Day Wendy Darling

Oh lord. This dress. This dress nearly killed me.

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So for starters, my sister and a bunch of her friends were visiting for Dapper Day, and we decided to do a big Dapper Day Peter Pan squad. I was unanimously chosen as Wendy (because really, have you met me? I’m a Wendy.) I planned my outfit pretty quickly-  a sky blue lace dress with a blue sash. Nice and simple, right?

Wrong. I procrastinated. I waited until literally the night before. Oh, and guess what else was also the night before? My first 10k. I was running the inaugural Disney Star Wars Dark Side 10k race, and for some reason I decided to procrastinate.

I used Vogue 2960, which is a vintage reprint pattern, and I’ve used it before to make my Ellie Frederickson dress. I did the same alterations- I cut the front pieces on the fold so that the dress could zip up the back instead of button up the front. I adjusted the shoulders. I checked all my measurements. I cut the pieces from a sky blue lace and a sky blue cotton and had sky blue bias tape to hem the edges.

Yet somehow, when I sewed the skirt (a gathered dirndl), somehow the bodice was DRASTICALLY longer in the back, making the whole thing droop and making the skirt hang too low. I was devastated. I honestly could not figure out what was going wrong with this stupid thing. And by then it was around nine at night, and I needed to be up at 3 am to run the 10k.

Luckily my friend Kimberly stepped in and offered to do some work on the dress and to finish the sash. I cried my way home (did I also mention I put myself into a panic-induced asthma attack? I’m a quality human.) carboloaded with some pasta from Panera, and crashed.

Somehow, though, I dragged myself out of bed, got to the race, and did a fairly respectable job! My time wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible, and I felt pretty good about things. When everything was over I drove to where my sister and her friends were staying at the Caribbean Beach resort, showered, and wrestled into this stupid dress. I had preemptively packed my Rapunzel Dapper Day dress from the year before and picked up a blue ribbon as a backup sash,but magically the Wendy dress was wearable! Kimberly had done some magic to raise the waistline in the back and finish the sash. It still wasn’t perfect, but it was going to work, and that’s all that really mattered.

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I clipped my beloved cheap eBay weave into my hair and my sister’s friend Torrance styled it into a nice half up-half down for me, and I added my Wendy bow from Extra Sweet Boqtique. I wore black ballet flats from the kid’s section of Target (I wasn’t even going to try with heels) and wore my thimble necklace from Whosits and Whatsits.

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Somehow I survived the entire day walking around. I don’t know how. My friends were like “do you want a wheelchair? We can totally push you in a wheelchair” and I was like “I AM STUBBORN I WILL WALK.” I ended up walking 38,000+ steps that day between the race, Epcot, and Magic Kingdom.

And then I crashed. I crashed so hard.

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At least I looked cute, right?

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Ready When You Are, CB! My Performances on the Great Movie Ride

I fell in love with the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios when I was fifteen years old and went on my second Disney trip (I hadn’t been since I was five!) Who knew that I would start working there as an adult?

I originally trained at the Great Movie Ride as a participant in the Disney College Program. I was only eighteen years old and it was my first job ever (and my first time away from home). It was a huge undertaking, but I loved it so much. In fact, I loved it so much that when I came back to Disney as a part timer, I immediately signed up to cross train there again (I was originally placed at Star Tours.)

I trained for the second time in March of 2014, and have been there ever since. In the past three year and half years (thereabouts) I’ve done probably thousands of shows as a tour guide, a gangster, and a bandit. And within those thousands of shows, I’ve gotten filmed and photographed probably hundreds of times. Sometimes they even pop up on YouTube. It’s a little weird, but kind of cool at the same time!

This is my original tour guide show, before the Turner Classic Movies update. I’ve got to say I miss it! It was a LOT of script to memorize, but I did really love it.

Here’s my tour guide show again, this time after the Turner Classic Movies update. (I also just have to say that it’s always so strange to hear my voice over the vehicle mic! I’ve been compared to Minnie Mouse and Snow White before. And one time a kid just asked “do they pay you to sound like that?” Thanks, kid.)

This is the first video I found of my gangster show! I was gangster trained about a year after returning to the Great Movie Ride. It really was a dream come true- but let’s be honest, it’s super tiring. That’s what happens with you run up and down stairs in heels while firing a gun (and you repeat it every eight to nine minutes).

I trained in bandit about a year and a half after gangster, and it’s SO much fun. The stage show is terrifyingly quick, but still- a lot of fun.

Here’s another take of my bandit show! (Also you can hear me hollering at people. It sucks, but when people don’t sit down or take flash photos, you have to call them out!)

I absolutely love working at the Great Movie Ride (as you can probably tell). I think I have some more videos of my gangster show somewhere, and in a box somewhere I definitely have a video of my very first tour guide show when I was a teenager!

Do you have any questions about the Great Movie Ride or about a job at Disney? Leave your comments below, and I’ll answer them in an upcoming post or a video!

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
And in Western Town
#thelittlestbandit was running around
Her stocking was hung by the chimney with care
Though she knew full well there would be nothing there
For Kate was a bandit, she’d been naughty all year,
And all she would get would be coal, no good cheer
But you can hear her exclaim, as you run out of sight
“Merry Christmas, y’all, watch out for dynamite!” (at The Great Movie Ride)