After a crazy two weeks of working in retail, I had the perfect way to de-stress before starting the new semester, and more importantly, Student Teaching! My best friend and I had decided that spending the beginning of January in Disney World would be a fantastic idea. It was the first vacation that either one of us had ever planned without the help of our parents, so it was very fulfilling. The trip itself was spectacular! We spent five days in weather that ranged from 70 to 80 degrees while enjoying a lot of Disney magic.
Our trip was inspired by the fact that we were in Disney at the same time last January, but on a Jan Term trip. We went with a professor who taught us all about animation and even arranged tours for us that allowed us to go behind the scenes of some of the attractions. We had so much fun last year, we wanted to go back again this year. However, this time, we had a very specific goal for our Disney trip: to meet all 11 Disney princesses. It was difficult and took a lot of planning to ensure that we could fit all of them into our schedules along with everything else we wanted to do. Most of the princesses asked her and I if we were sisters, which was very fun!
Overall, the trip was a blast, and a perfect way to start off the new year! We got to see many cool things, enjoy tons of fun Disney attractions, and eat massive amounts of delicious food! For anyone that comes to McDaniel and likes animation: go on the Disney Jan Term trip–it is amazing and will inspire you to spend more time in the most magical place on Earth!
On every tour I always tell my groups that Jan Term is the best experience I have had in my years on the Hill. It is one of those cool things that McDaniel provides to their students that ends up being an awesome opportunity for most people. January Term is the three weeks in January after our winter break when students have the opportunity to take a class on campus or abroad. Every student is required to do one Jan Term in their four years. It is designed to showcase professors secret talents or passions that they want to share with the students but don’t have enough information to cover a whole semester and to allow students to study something fun and interesting that they wouldn’t have had time to fit into their regular semesters. In early October, most students who have taken a Jan Term before get an e-mail from that professor saying that that Jan Term is being offered again and to talk it up to their friends. It is also the point in the Fall semester when Jan Term registration opens on our class registration website. So here is my shamless plug for what I think is the best Jan Term we offer…
Last January I participated in the Animating Life Jan Term. Mr. Peitre is a self proclaimed Disney nerd and visits with his family regularly. He also is a professor in the Exercise Science department and runs the Disney Marathon every year. Almost every year he takes a group of students to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL for his Jan Term class. The first week of the class is spent on campus learning about the history of the company and the parks, how the auto-animatronics work in the parks and the science the imageneers have come up with through the years. Then you hop on a plane in the early morning and spend the next week in the parks. We were sent down with a few goals we had to reach in order to receive an A in the class. We had to ride as many attractions as we could that had auto-animatronics, go through some of the most educational attractions in the parks and go on the Y.E.S tours. Oh, and the final requirement to get an A was, and I quote, “6. Have fun!” The Y.E.S tours were educational behind the scenes tours of how some of the physics of the park worked. We got to go on certain attractions to figure out how they operate. Even though waking up at 5am was not my first choice, getting to go in the Magic Kingdom before it opened was one of the coolest experiences of my life.
I am not a person who understands science at all, but mix it with Disney and I will be the first to sign up. At any other school, I would not have even gone near the physics building, but I will never regret taking this class. At the time I was majoring in Theatre Arts and had opportunities to go on two different theatre trips for Jan Term but I decided I wanted to take a risk and branch out from my comfort zone. I am so glad I did because it led me to figuring out what I really want to do after college. I would never have even realized some of the post-graduation opportunities I have if it weren’t for my Jan Term. I have already told Mr. Peitre that if/when I work for Disney, he will be one of the first to get free tickets because without him I wouldn’t have known it was even possible. I could go on and on about my Jan Term experience, along with my friends’ experiences, but, you should just come to McDaniel and experience it for yourself!