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“The happiest place…”

Posted on 16/09/2014 by
Cara (ITC Graduate) working at Disney

Cara (left) working at Disneyworld in Florida after completing her course at ITC, with Natasha (right) ITC Campus Manager Botany

Natasha Allen, ITC Campus Manager Botany, recently returned from a trip to the happiest place in the world, where she caught up with ITC graduate Cara Adams.

Natasha says the excitement of the trip started before they had even left New Zealand at the Koru Lounge at Auckland’s International Airport where she, her husband and their two very excited children sampled the complimentary food (and Natasha and her husband the wine) before boarding their flight.

It was a long 30 hours of travel time across the Pacific Ocean and the United States before the family arrived at Palm Beach, Florida.

“With temperatures in the 40s and close to 100 percent humidity, it certainly was different from the winter chills of New Zealand,” she says.

The family spent a relaxing first week looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. “As it was a reunion with our UK family, it was the perfect place to enjoy each others’ company.” The week also allowed them to acclimatise to the time and weather difference before their drive up to Disney World in Orlando.

“Entering the 27,258-acre property, I had the same level of excitement, happiness and anticipation as my two children in the back of the car!” says Natasha. “This place is massive and we were very grateful to the GPS in the car to help us locate our hotel.”

Natasha says she was overwhelmed by the sight of the huge theme park: “It blew us away – this place, which is considered the most visited vacation resort in the world with over 52 million visitors each year, 27 themed resort hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses, one camping resort, one residential area and additional recreational and entertainment venues – and here we were, a small family of four from New Zealand right in the middle of it all!”

Staying on the 19th floor of the Hilton was another highlight and the first stop, after admiring the spectacular views, was the hotel pool complete with lazy river.

The family spent the next few days visiting the various parks, including a trip to the Animal Kingdom and its Yeti rollercoaster. “It was so much fun, but a little bit too much for my 7 year old who is now petrified of both rollercoasters and Yetis,” laughs Natasha.

While she says the summer holidays with its heat and thousands of other holiday goers might not be the best time to visit Disney World, the trip was a huge amount of fun and incredibly memorable.

A real highlight for Natasha was getting to see ITC Botany graduate Cara Adams, who is working at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

“For the first six months she worked in the attraction of “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and had a ball,” says Natasha. “She is now into her seventh month there and has recently started her second role working in one of the many restaurants that predominately serves up burgers, hotdogs and fries! The day I saw her she had been working in 40-plus degrees in the sun for four hours, however her smile was still beaming from ear to ear.

“Cara said that she was having the time of her life, meeting so many people, making friends with different nationalities and, to top it off, she got to work every day at the happiest place in the world. This work experience programme has really changed her life.”

After a tiring but incredibly fun week, Natasha and her family headed west to Hawaii for some relaxation on the beach. However, that looked like it might be problematic when their plane had to fly over Hurricane Julio, which was threatening to hit Hawaii a couple of days after Hurricane Iselle had gone through.

“The flight was very bumpy and I was certainly glad to touch down in Honolulu’s International Airport. Hurricane Julio was meant to make landfall within 30 hours, but we were lucky as it deviated around the islands of Hawaii and we enjoyed seven days of glorious sunshine.”

The family stayed at the famous Hilton Hawaiian Village where Elvis had stayed back in the 50s when he was in his heyday.

Natasha says it was with heavy hearts that the family boarded their flight back to Auckland after 21 amazing days, but that she and her family are grateful to have the wonderful memories and photos to look back on.

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