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Guest Blogger: Ice Cream, Tea Cups, & Dancing After Dark

Please welcome guest blogger Grace Schmidt.  Since 2008 or so, I've been working with high school seniors and some college students, tutoring them in creative writing with a focus on college admissions and scholarship essays. This post is Grace's Common Application essay responding to this prompt:

"Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?"

I thought she did such a great job on it that I wanted to share it with you as an example of an essay with a fresh approach that's entertaining and well-done. Grace generously gave me her permission to post it; enjoy!


“Come on, come on, come on! There’s nobody in line for the Teacups, Mommy!” Charlie and I raced to the best ride in all of Magic Kingdom as our parents walked behind us, pushing Martin in the stroller. Smiling, the cast member welcomed us aboard as Charlie and I got into a lavender cup. We waited for Daddy to join us (he always spins the teacup the fastest). Once the ride began spinning faster, I felt the pressure of that giant ice cream sundae I ate all by myself at the Plaza Restaurant on Main Street earlier.

To the seven-year-old palate, the food at Disney just might be the best in the world. All-you-can-eat buffets filled with macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and ice cream. Those amazing fries from Casey’s Corner. The pastries and confections from the Main Street Bakery. Plus all the wonderful foods at the Epcot World Showcase. The World Showcase features pavilions representing eleven countries from around the world, where people can listen to cultural music, see performances, watch CircleVision 360-degree movies about the country, and of course, eat. There’s the sweet School Bread with sliced almonds and custard on the top from the Norway pavilion; from Japan, the icy and sweet kakigori; and from Canada the ketchup chips that taste like the world’s best batch of french fries with ketchup.

The Biergarten Restaurant in Epcot’s Germany is one of my favorite places to eat. There, you can eat your fill from the buffet, then Polka with other guests center-stage. It’s like a massive dance party. Of course, the parks are always throwing parties for their guests. For example, last May my family drove all the way down to Orlando for the weekend when we heard Magic Kingdom was having a twenty-four hour celebration day. We woke up at four in the morning, got ready, and headed from our hotel to the Magic Kingdom for the six o’clock opening. We rode all the rides in the park that day, and even fit in two twenty-minute naps in the Hall of Presidents and the Carousel of Progress. If not for those two naps, my mom and I might not have had the energy to dance as much as we did at the two a.m. party in front of Cinderella's Castle.

We are not normally the type to let loose in public, but something about being with thousands of strangers and being stupid-tired inspired us to dance like no one was watching. We danced, Veronica Mars style, boxing the air, to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration.” We sang, full volume, along with Frozen’s “Let it Go” and “Love is an Open Door.” And if we had not been so hungry, we could have danced all night! Instead, we went for ice cream--my favorite: the giant sundae I always got when I was a kid

And it was good, too--until I began tasting it for the second time as the Teacups whirled round and round (some things never change). But then, the music stopped and the Teacups slowed, and like magic, I’m all better. Indeed, at Walt Disney World, I am free to be myself: past, present and future. After all, it is the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

974425_558810757551999_110159164_nGrace is a senior at the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville. Upon graduation in 2015, she plans to attend a state university in North Carolina. Grace is a little bit fond of the Wonderful World of Disney. Just a little bit.