A high school anatomy classroom skeleton shows off the castle...oh wait, that's me...
In January, I entered a casting call with EF Tours, an educational tour group geared for middle and high school students wanting to explore the world and learn about its incredible features (think edutainment), and after a 15 minute Skype interview with two casting directors, I was cast to appear in the Berlin and Munich promotional videos and pictures for the tour group.
I found out the news and had a mini breakdown that stemmed from excitement. I couldn't believe I would have this opportunity to travel the world all while learning about a small sliver of the entertainment industry. When my fellow cast members and I asked about the itinerary, the producer would keep his lips sealed, trying to keep the anticipation at a high at all times. After 9+ hours worth of flights, we arrived in Berlin, Germany and were immediately thrown into the shoot. We got mic’ed and cameras followed us as we walked to the bus.
As the days progressed, the cast and crew bonded in a way which I have never experienced before. Waking up in Central Europe and seeing the same 18 people every day and enjoying their company until bed was a great feeling. Throughout the trip, we tried to get the crew to spill, and one bus ride, they finally cracked. Our last day would be spent at the Neuschwanstein Castle.
For those unfamiliar, Neuschwanstein Castle was Walt’s inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland. I heard the news and, once again, had an excitement breakdown. The day came to take the hour drive to view it and I was on pins and needles. I listened to the Teen Beach Movie soundtrack on the way there (the obvious thing to do) and looked out the window, hoping to catch a glimpse as soon as possible.
When we arrived, I was blown away at the detail and grandiose nature of the castle. From afar, it didn't seem like Sleeping Beauty Castle, yet, as we entered through the opening tunnel, the classic Disneyland symbol design showed itself. Being able to see the inspiration for a Disney institution was an incredible experience. After a tour of Ludwig’s castle, we took a short hike to an iron bridge 100 feet above the rocks below. The iron brace paired with the shaky and crooked wood planks didn't sit well with my head, but I dealt with it to gaze out across the German countryside and think about what Walt thought when he saw the castle for the first time.
Isn't it incredible?!
I got to see a lot of incredible things those 11 days. The Glockenspiel, the TV tower in Berlin, the Munich Hard Rock (I kid, I kid) were all incredible, but nothing will top the original Sleeping Beauty Castle.