A Quarter of a Century (Wild Africa Trek)

Birthday 1

25 times around the sun

Last week I celebrated my birthday and I have to say that it was definitely the most memorable, happiest, greatest birthday that I’ve ever had. To be fair we had a lot of stuff going on, but this was the first year that I felt like time was honored. It was the first year I planned something in advance that I had been wanting to do for a long time, and the first year when I was thrown a little surprise party.

I have always found that I have loved adulthood far more than childhood. My ability to create my own life without any boundaries has created far more happiness than the past gift of zero responsibilities. I get a thrill out of paying my rent every month because I know that I get to live in a city I love, with friends I love, and get up to go to a job that I love.

My intentions this year were to make good on the past saying of: “We should do ____”. Which mostly consisted of my roommates and I talking about things we wanted to do but then never making solid plans or saving for. My birthday was the start of crossing one of those off the list which was The Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom. My Mom, friends, and I all stayed at the Cabins at Fort Wilderness which we had also never done. It was absolutely gorgeous and is now one of my favorite resorts.

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Valley of Mo'ara

Exploring the World of Pandora

Valley of Mo’Ara

I realized this morning that I’ve never posted anything about Pandora either here or on my youtube channel since the land opened at Animal Kingdom. Mostly because everytime I’ve been it’s either incredibly crowded or too rainy to bring my camera. But I’ve come to change all that because I do have a few pictures from this beautiful land that I would love to show you! First of all make sure you guys check out my flickr HERE to see all these beautiful photos in hi-res!

I’d like to give a shoutout to my beautiful friend and roommate Celine who helped open this incredible world to Animal Kingdom. She’s a complete boss and I’m so proud of her. Therefore a lot of these photos are of her in and her homeland.

Valley of Mo'ara 8

 Valley of Mo'ara 7

Valley of Mo'ara 6

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4th Cover

4th of July – Disney Style

photography vs vlogging

I have to say that between the two I’m not sure which I enjoy more. If you guys didn’t know I still run my youtube channel HERE which you can check out if you’d like. I have a few vlogs up from Disney but recently most of them have been about BOOKS! And when my entire apartment had off for 4th of July I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to take photos, film, or both.

I ended up having to choose just because it was such a hot day filled with shenanigans that I really didn’t want to have to keep switching my lenses. If you didn’t know I only own my kit lens + a 50mm portrait lens and switching them back and forth is a pain and not something I’d like to subject my camera to all day long.

As per usual, I opted for photos! So if you’d like to check out our vlog from that day, make sure to keep an eye on HILLARY’S channel for that video soon.

Getting patriotic

Kayla in front of Spaceship Earth

Hillary Vlogging

CJ & Kayla Spaceship Earth

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Looking Forward

Big news

Shoutout to my beautiful roommate and friend, Celine for the cover photo for this post.

There are a few things that I don’t really post in my blogs immediately about my life. Usually it’s career related, but it is mostly because I am not even sure how things are going to play out. At one point in the Spring I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be staying here at Disney. I don’t want people to think that I absolutely 100% know what I’m going to do all the time, because I don’t. I post the good stuff because me posting about how I’m just waiting to hear is rather useless. That’s boring, nobody cares, everyone has to make those adult decisions.

The good news is, I did decide to stay at Disney. I did end up loving my roommates, I did end up finding an apartment almost immediately with 3 of my best friends (whom last minute even decided to join) and I did end up getting an extension in Photopass. At one point, I thought I was stuck and yet here I am with exactly what I wanted. What a dream!

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Summer Wonder – It’s Heating Up at Hollywood

It’s only been about two and a half weeks since I last posted, but I feel like life is completely different from then. Last time I was around I was heading into my last shift at Mousegear and had just moved into my apartment a few days beforehand. I was soon switching my role to Photopass at Hollywood Studios. It’s been weeks of settling in, but everything is really starting to brighten up from the unknown and worry I had at the end of May.

I started training on the 15th with a class at DU entitled “Welcome to Entertainment”. For merchandise you have a Welcome to Operations class, but Entertainment was a lot more fun because you left the classroom and were able to explore around Magic Kingdom. I won’t specify the entire day as it’s kind of a fun surprise, but it was a short class and I met some nice people that day. The next day I had my 2 core training days. We had to get our costumes before our training so myself and a friend picked out our costumes at Magic Kingdom after Welcome to Entertainment. I ended up visiting Animal Kingdom the next day because they had no shorts available at MK and it’s been sweltering. I was able to find a couple pairs.

Core training is basically the same as merchandise, only you’re obviously learning how to use the Nikon cameras instead of handling cash. I had a lot of fun with the girls in our class and the trainers those two days. We went outside our classroom to shoot and on the 2nd day visited Hollywood Studios to take shots of each other and guests to learn the photos we’d have to take on the job. In the end I was sad we all had to split up to start training at our home park. Altogether there was 3 of us heading to DHS, though there are more CPs than we had met that had classes on different days.

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Flower & Garden #4

Exploring Epcot (Flower & Garden)

Dang, Kayla, back at it again with the blog posts!

My program this time around differs so much from my first program in that for this program I was a lot less active in the community due to prior relationships and so I didn’t really make many new friends before I moved down here. Thus this means that I have been exploring the parks by myself a lot more because of work schedules and not being able to get my days to match up with some of my friends. I can’t complain too much though because I love traveling Disney solo. This time around I decided to spend the entire day at my new home, EPCOT, and attempt to do all of the attractions that I had never done in my 23 years.

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Unlimited Time Magic

Hiya pals, it’s no surprise that I haven’t been around for a couple of weeks. At the end of January I made my way to Florida with my parents as I posted about earlier this year and the whirlwind of my second DCP has definitely kept me busy, but here’s what I’ve been up to…

On January 30th we packed up the cars and started our 18 hour journey to Orlando from Kansas. It was pretty uneventful, with beautiful scenery and a lot of naps, but on Sunday morning we took a few minutes to see the beach in Destin and it was gorgeous! Later that day we arrived at Pop Century Resort and had dinner at The Boathouse at Disney Springs as check-in for my program was the next day. I’ve been through this process before so I’m not going to go into great detail as it was maybe even less uneventful than the first time!


Monday I checked in at 12:15 and visited my friend Hillary who lived in CP housing (you may have seen her in other posts), I found out I was going to be living in the building next to her with 5 girls in a 2 bedroom apartment. That’s right: BUNK BEDS. And since I was the last one to arrive that day, I was lucky enough to get the top bunk. ///the sarcasm. Regardless I’ve made it a good space and everynight I throw myself up the ladder and pass out from exhaustion so, who cares. We were lucky enough to get the 2nd floor and have the laundry room right across the street and we are also very close to the classrooms where I will be taking a Marketing Seminar. The first few days consisted of grocery shopping, saying goodbye to my parents  and making the house ours. We all went out with some friends to Rainforest Cafe at Disney Springs for dinner!

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Internship Update (145 hours Complete!)

The Featured Photos is a banner I made for a friend’s youtube channel banner. Spaceship Earth and Earful Tower were hand-drawn, but the Tree of Life and Cinderella Castle are copied from some original Disney designs. 

Wow! It seems as if this summer is really flying by fast. I started my internship at my current job mid-May and I’ve already completed 145 out of the 320 hours that I need to earn my credits. That means I’m 3/8 of the way done (math is my strong suit). I thought that I’d come back and give you all a bit of what I have been working on and the personal projects that I’ve also managed to create along the way. You can click on each photo to make it larger! 

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A Very Disney December

I’ve made a few posts since I got back from Orlando, but I’ve finished finished up most of the photos and kind of gotten everything straightened back out. I start back to school on Monday, so the posts may be later than normal (or not, I might be superwoman), so be prepared. 

I went to Disney from December 21st through December 28th. We visited Universal as well as all the Disney Parks. I only used my 50mm lens while I was there since I wanted some more detail shots. I didn’t take as many as I usually would, it was pretty dreary for most of the trip which was fine as I missed that Florida rain. I also purchased my first Annual Pass so I’m planning on returning in March for Flower and Garden and in October for Food and Wine and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. 

These are just a few shots, but you can view all my Disney photos here: cm_kayla on flickr: Disney 



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