My Disney Trips
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Click to go to the Official Disney Institute Site

The Disney Institute, May 10-13

We had a wonderful trip to The Disney Institute. We had a lovely bungalow that had a kitchenette (fridge and microwave). It was within walking distance to all classes (although there are golf carts). We go to Disney World at least once a year and find the food very good with large portions, although expensive. We have two suggestions to make this easier on the wallet: 1) share an entrée, we just did this at Artist Point and had a plenty of food and they didn't mind splitting it at all.. 2) Take home leftovers for lunch the next day, if you have a kitchenette this is not too difficult. If your doing the Park it may be tedious to return to your room for lunch but at the Institute you have plenty of time to go home and eat.

There are two sets of classrooms one set is the newly built buildings next to the lobby and restaurant. The photo classes I took were there. The other is an older building that is in the style of the bungalows (we are trying to decide what it was when it was part of the Golf Resort, we think it may have been the restaurant and club house). This building houses the radio station, kids stuff, cooking classes and the garden classes. The bungalows were arranged around a like and had the feel of Lake Tahoe.

We had the three day plan and took about six-eight classes each. If you don't go to the park with the free ticket (which is expires by the way) you can ignore the three class suggestion.

I took:
Advanced Photo Techniques
Disney Architecture
Candid Portrait Photography
Creating Disney's Magic
Gifts from Your Garden
Painting Illusions
Culinary Techniques: Sauces

Joe took:
Imagineer It
Portable Gardens
Studio Bakery: Apple Pie
Taste of the World: Mexico
Celebrations
Gifts from Your Garden
Improve InterActing
Time and Organization Skills
Culinary Techniques: Sauces


Advanced Photo Techniques
This program is changing it's name to photojournalism. It is a fairly advanced course. You learn about f-stops and apertures. You get a Nikon camera with three lenses and you learn when and how to use each lens. The best part is that we got to go into the park. We went to Epcot's China pavilion. Our instructor said that taking pictures should invoke a story (this theme will come up again).
Although the class was mis-named it was a very
interesting class. Take it even though you will probably never have such an advanced kind of camera. Film was provided.

Disney Architecture
Do not take this class on a weekend. This is a very interesting class. You actually take a field trip to some of Disney's most notable buildings. We went to Team Disney, the Casting Center, and the Swan and Dolphin. We would have gone into the two office buildings if it was a weekday. Although you can do this when not on the tour, I'm sure it would be much more interesting with the instructor. (And I have a feeling, getting into Team Disney may prove a little difficult, the instructor said to tell the receptionist that you just want to see the rock garden)

Candid Portrait Photography
This class also uses more advanced camera's than most of us have, but it is well worth it even if you never have one. This camera had two lenses and we used both of them. You pair of into teams and shoot each other learning some of the techniques you learned in the first have of the class. Film was provided.

Creating Disney's Magic
This is a wonderful class. We learned a lot about Walt Disney and the whole history of Disney. It was taught by Charley Kartz (question on spelling), Imagineeer. The most impressive part of this class was finding out that he designed Splash Mountain! He told of stories of presenting the idea to Frank Wells and his wife. There is even a bronze statue he did of the rabbit in Song of the South in the hub that is in front of the castle in Disney World.
Then we took a field trip and learned a lot of secrets inside the park. The very last thing we did was go underground. This was a very special trip. There is a whole set of tunnels that connect each land of Disney World so that cast members and service items can move quickly from land to land without going around or through. This is well worth the trip.

Gifts from Your Garden
We created a kind of bath assortment gift basket. We made soap (not from scratch), bath salts, and a candle all scented with orange (this will probably change depending on the season. We added a loufa sponge and a orange pekoe tea bag. Then we placed in all in a small create decorated with end-panels we stamped and colored and wrapped it with cellophane and tied it with a dried orange slice.

Painting Illusions
This class stared with learning about how Disney paints illusions to make the park look real. Almost everything in Disney World is not real but is painted to make it look like wood, marble or stone. They are always painting. The castle is painted 70 time a year (and sometimes in different colors; red, white and blue in 1976. We painted tree different type of faux material; two marble patterns and one stone. Our instructor also showed us how to simulated rusting metal.