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Liz Bouzarth

I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and went to Walt Disney World (WDW) regularly with my family between the ages of three and seventeen. After not visiting Disney World for over a decade, I returned as an adult on a family trip that included my six-year-old nephew. By this point, I had already graduated from Dickinson College with bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physics and had earned my Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I studied applied mathematics. Returning to WDW after so much time has elapsed inspired me to discover what an interesting place it is for both adults and children. After making the realization that there is a lot at Disney World for adults to enjoy, I started noticing that there is a lot of mathematics, science, and technology that makes WDW run smoothly and efficiently while appearing effortless to guests. This realization I made as someone visiting Disney World for the first time as an adult was the seed that grew into this May Experience.

I am excited to get to spend three weeks immersed in educating students, learning from those around me, and experiencing various aspects of Walt Disney World. I am very thankful that I work at an
institution that has an opportunity like this to do creative things with students that will be unique, engaging learning experiences for all people involved, myself included. As an applied mathematician and a Disney fan, I'm excited to mix these two interests. In addition to getting to create this course with amazing colleagues and work with fantastic students, Math and the Mouse is also quite special to me because I was on our 2016 program when I found out I officially was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. Our students surprised me with a wonderful, meaningful souvenir to commemorate this professional milestone. I was surprised and quite touched by their thoughtfulness and seeing this souvenir in my office serves as a daily reminder of how lucky I am to work with great people!

Favorite Attractions

I'm excited to explore Pandora, the new land in the Animal Kingdom, especially Flights of Passage.  Pandora wasn't open during my last trip to WDW. Hopefully we'll be able to find a way to visit it during this trip without waiting in line for hours! I enjoy thrill rides, especially riding roller coasters at night.  Expedition Everest is fantastic at night -- it's a totally different ride at night than during the day!  I also really enjoy Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and even more so at night.  In fact, it's best when you can time it to ride it during the nightly fireworks. It's magical! Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was the first rollercoaster I went on as a kid (it took lots of convincing), so I love it even more now that I've gotten to experience it with my own kids. I also like Rock 'n Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios with its mix of Aerosmith with a fun limo ride.  I love lots of rides in Disney World, so this brief list just scratches the surface!

Favorite Restaurants

Disney World has lots of good food, from classic treats like Mickey ice cream bars and Dole Whip pineapple soft serve to award-winning fine dining.  Three of my favorite restaurants are Be Our Guest, Boma, and Victoria and Albert's.  I love the ambiance of Be Our Guest, set in the Beast's castle with theming from Beauty and the Beast.  The chandeliers in the main ballroom are beautiful and there is falling snow outside the windows. The grey stuff really is delicious! Boma is an African-themed buffet that offers the perfect opportunity to try new cuisine and flavors without committing to an entire entree of unknown things. The food is delicious and after dinner you can explore the hotel and check out the giraffes and other animals wandering around outside. Victoria and Albert's is a lovely place to eat dinner. It's quite fancy and exquisite. The food, service, and ambience are incredible. I've been lucky enough to eat there twice already -- once on my honeymoon and once to celebrate our five-year wedding anniversary. It's definitely a restaurant reserved for very special occasions, but it is certainly one of my favorites!

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