Archive for April, 2009

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Flying Solo

April 27, 2009

Yestday was Emily’s birthday (happy birthday!) and we went out for lunch at Chili’s. Emily’s deadline to accept/decline date was the same as mine, but she still hadn’t quite made up her mind what she wanted to do. She had some other colleges to visit, and wanted to see how those were looking before she commited fully to Disney. So she accepted her invitation, and made use of the two-week time frame for paying the assessment fee. Yesterday was the payment deadline, though, and, coincidentally, the same day she got back from another college visit. Her visit was a success, and so she has decided not to go to Disney.

I’m definitely sad, because how cool would it have been to be at Disney with my best friend? Super fun, right? But while I think Disney would have been tons of fun for both of us, this will probably be a better choice for her in the long-run. I’m just really glad that she was there to go through the whole application process with me, though. Gave me someone to worry about my interview with. 🙂 So, Emily, good luck! Love ya, girl!

Since Emily’s not going, I will probably sign up for roommate notification in the next couple of weeks. Disney can match CPs up with one of their roommates before they go, so that they can get to know each other and coordinate what they will bring for the apartment. This whole roommate thing is a little nerve-wracking, as I’ve never even had to share a room with a sibling, much less with a total stranger! But I suppose it’s all part of the experience. So from here on out, my safety net is gone–I’m on my own. This is looking more and more like an adventure all the time, huh? 🙂

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Dream Work Locations

April 23, 2009

Since I’m going to be working Merchandise, and I love lists, I thought I would share my list of the top 5 stores I think I would like to work at. I’m not even sure if CPs usually work at all of these stores, but oh, well. This is just for fun. Ready? Here we go!

Sid Cahuenga’s One-of-a-Kind –Hollywood Boulevard, DHS

This shop is one that immediately jumped out at me as a place that I would LOVE to work. I’m a huge, huge movie fan, and this store, which carries autographed posters, authentic props, and other movie memorabilia, seems like just my cup of tea.
Animation Gallery–Animation Courtyard, DHS
Like many people, my first Disney love was their animated movies. I have a true soft spot in my heart for these films, and a true appreciation for the art that goes into them. So I think I would also truly appreciate this store, which sells authentic cels, and other Disney animation collectibles. I loved shopping here as a guest, why not working here as a CP?
Castle Couture/Tinkerbell’s Treasures–Fantasyland, MK

These two stores may represent the epitome of “Disney merchandise” to many people: girly and glittery. It’s really one large building, divided up into two sides: Castle Couture sells dress-up get-up, while Tinkerbell’s Treasures sells…well, I don’t actually know. The last time I was there, it was all one store, and they sold mostly princess stuff. While I was looking for pictures for this entry, I came across the news that it was now two stores. I’m assuming that, since Tinkerbell and her fairy friends have their own franchise now, Tinkerbell’s Treasures sells fairy stuff. I think this would just be a really fun, fun place to work. Little girls shopping for tiaras, tea sets, and those little plastic dress-up shoes. What could be more sweet? Plus, over in Castle Couture, you can see Princess Aurora’s color changing dress really changing colors, and at Tink’s…well, if you have a really good eye, you might just spot Tinkerbell herself flitting around the store! No kidding! You’ve just gotta love the Disney magic. 🙂

World of Disney–Downtown Disney

I like to think of this store as the Wal-Mart of Disney. They sell absolutely EVERYTHING. If they can slap a Disney character on it, they sell it. This size of this store is truly unbelievable, though. It’s hard to know for sure because of the way the store is divided into themed rooms, but it may be even bigger than your average Wal-Mart Supercenter. I mean, it…is…huge! This store is always jam packed, which would make it a very, very exciting place to work. Plus, it’s actually not located in a Disney park–it’s a part of Downtown Disney. This has its downsides, of course, but I think it would be kind of neat to save the actual parks as a place for pure fun and days off. So this mega-store makes my list.

Tower of Terror Gift Shop–Sunset Boulevard, DHS
I can’t have a list of Disney shopping without an attraction gift shop, right? Basically every ride at WDW has at least one gift shop that you must exit through to get back out onto the street. Some sell very generic merchandise, while others sell merchandise that is specifically themed to their attraction. By far, my favorite of these shops is the one attached to the Tower of Terror. The elaborate theming from the ride pours out into the gift shop, where you can buy all kinds of hotel-inspired merch: bathrobes with the Hollywood Tower Hotel logo, bellhop bells, and even this…

Mickey, my face looks the exact same way every time I ride. 🙂

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Hustle, Bustle, and…Something Else That Rhymes With Bustle

April 17, 2009

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon. This semester, I took mostly easy classes–a bit of a reward to myself after a crazy semester last Fall. But I am taking one truly challenging class: AutoCAD for Interior Design. Yuck! The program has a lot of really neat features, but also a lot of bugs which make for a really frustrating experience at times. Plus, it’s a night class, which is never a good thing.

In all, I have four exams, two sculpture projects, and two final projects due in my classes before finals can start. I also need to apply to my degree program, and register for classes for next semester (just as a backup–you never know). *whew!* I’m definitely getting ready for a break.

But I don’t think I’ll get one in the near future. In the next couple of days, I’m going to begin searching for a part-time summer job. I’m currently a student worker at my school, and we’re limited to 20 hours a week. But I’m going to need some money, and I’m also going to need something to kill the time. Last summer I made the mistake of only working my regular part-time job, and found myself bored more often than not. And, because my boyfriend is going halfway across the country (aka: home) for the summer in only two short weeks *sob*, I’m definitely going to have more time on my hands than I’ve had in a while. Finding another part-time job would basically mean that I would be occupied full-time.

Becuase I’m going to have SO much free time, I’m also going to try to get in some volunteer work this summer. Last week, one of the corkboards at school had a list of volunteer opportunities for the summer, and one of the locations was the Make-A-Wish foundation. We actually have a local chapter, and I think that would be an amazing organization to be a part of. After I get all of my job stuff settled and I know what my schedule is like, I might try to see if I could help out there on weekends or in the evenings.

I’m tired just thinking about all of the changes that are coming my way! I’ve got a lot to do, and here I am, blogging away. I’m not getting anything done! I’ll talk to you guys again after I’ve achieved something (or just the next time I have something interesting/silly/noteworthy on my mind)!

Extra Note: After publishing this post, I noticed that yet another of my post titles is two lines long. I wish one of three things: either that the title font was smaller, that the column was wider, or that I would learn to be more succinct!

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The Wonderful World of Disney (Discounts)

April 16, 2009

Here’s that long-promised post about what may be one of the most important and interesting aspects of the Disney College Program…discounts!

CPs get tons of discounts, not only at Disney, but at places all around Orlando! Local restaurants, hotels, and shops offer Disney Cast Members discounts…because we’re just…that…cool. 🙂 These discounts aren’t so easy to know about in advance–they’re called TEAM Discounts (I’m sure ‘TEAM’ is a cute acronym) and are listed on the HUB (which I won’t have access to until I check in) and in a book that I can get once I get down to Florida. But Disney is fairly open about the discounts they offer, and, boy: even just that list is enough to make me want to sign up for the CP all over again!

For one thing, I get discounts on dining at Disney. I get a 20% discount, which can also be used by those eating with me. This will definitely come in handy as I complete my first big mission at WDW: eat at every restaurant in the World Showcase at Epcot. First down? Probably gonna be Akershus, the restaurant in Norway. What in the world do Norweigans eat, anyway? Inquiring minds want to know. For some reason, I’m thinking a lot of fish…

I also get a discount on merchandise. And since I’m going to be surrounded by merchandise all day, I can see me finding lots of things that I just have to come back on my day off to buy. That is also a 20% discount. But even better than the regular merch discount: I’ll get to shop at Property Control, otherwise known as Cast Connection. This is where they send discontinued and overstock merchandise, and only Cast Members are allowed to shop there. Basically it’s the ultimate Disney outlet! The discounts here range from 50-75% off original in-park prices. How cool is that?

Now it’s time for the two biggies: resorts and…drum roll…park admission! Here is what everyone needs to keep in mind: I get some pretty sweet discounts, and if you want me to get you some deals, you better be nice to me between now and August. Are you listening (reading), family?

Ah, I’m just kidding of course. (But, no. Really. Be nice.) But the deals are pretty awesome. On resort reservations, there are two different deals Cast Members can get. If I stay in the room, I can get up to a 50% off discount (depends on the season–busy times for the resorts, I can’t get as big of a discount). These reservations are unlimited. If I won the lottery between now and August, I would never even have to stay in the CP housing–I could just stay in a different Disney resort every night of the semester.

If I don’t stay in the room, and just get a reservation for someone else, then the discount is only up to 40%. These are limited to 5 reservations. The length of the stay is unlimited, however, so that really is quite a few discounted nights when you think about it. And even though I’m assuming each room would count as a separate reservation, I don’t know about that. (See? As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I don’t know everything.)

And now, the grand-daddy of all “I know someone at Disney who can get me a discount” discounts…park admission. Of course, I get in for free as often as I want while I’m there. Definitely sweet. But that doesn’t help you, my friend, family member, or slightly creepy stranger who is trying to figure out how to bum tickets off of a blogger you’ve never met. For all of you (except you, creepy stranger), I get 6 Main Entrance Passes. These passes can be used to get up to 3 other people in. That means if I use one of my passes to get in two people, well, I’ve basically lost a free ticket. 3 people…6 times. It was a little confusing for me at first, but maybe I’m the only one out there who has trouble understanding this. 3 people…6 times. These tickets are Park Hoppers, which means that my guests can leave and enter as many different Disney parks as they’d like on the day that I get them in.

So, now you all know all about the super sweet discounts I can get for my friends and family. Let the schmoozing begin! 😉

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Now or Never?

April 15, 2009

Pixie dust ain’t cheap, kids. And with the recession, cutbacks, and the recent reorganization of the Disney Parks’ corporate structure (yeah. I’m a nerd.), in a way it really looks as if I’ve picked a bad time to do my CP. According to the Orlando Sentinal, about 450 jobs have recently been cut from WDW. Most were behind-the-scenes salaried jobs rather than by-the-hour Cast Members; but still, it doesn’t seem like a good time to be one of about 7,000 new employees coming in.

Of course, these 7,000 CPs/ICPs were figured in when Disney did their cutbacks. We’re exactly the kind of workforce they want–no benefits, no union, and we’re all there because we really want to work for Disney. So, even though nothing can be ruled out right now, I think my CP is pretty safe. Future programs…well, I guess we’ll just have to see.

Needless to say, I’m glad I’m getting to do the CP this semester because you just never know what may happen with a company like Disney in economic times like these. I don’t mean to sound like I’m saying Disney might not make it. Park attendance has actually been good lately, even if special deals like free dining and “buy 4 nights, get 3 free” are responsbile for getting people in the doors. Even though 1st quarter reports showed overall losses for the company and theme park attendance was down 5%, attendance in February was actually up over last year, as are advance bookings through June. Diney’s not going anywhere anytime soon. But if job cutbacks continue to be necessary, the CP may not make it, or at least may be scaled back. If forced to choose between temporary college “interns” and unionized senior Cast Members, Disney won’t really have much choice. In fact, this past February, the following appeared on Screamscape.com:

According to a Screamscape source Walt Disney World has begin some trimming of their labor force, starting with the Disney College Program / Career Start Program. Disney has begin to contact a good number of individuals who were scheduled to start working at WDW on February 11th and informed them that their offer of employment is being withdrawn due to current staffing needs. The upside is that they are offering them new contracts to come down and work on either May 20th or August 26th instead.

This shows exactly how flexibile those “contracts” Disney has with their CPs are. If necessary, the program could be drastically cut back. So, even though it may not seem like the best time to do the CP, it’s better to do it now than risk never getting to do it. Hopefully the program will be around for many, many more years. And also hopefully, I won’t be getting an email from Disney like the one described above.

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A Place to Call Home…For a Few Months

April 13, 2009
I will be checking in in just under 4 months. And by check-in day, I have several decisions to make, mostly related to housing. Now, for anyone who doesn’t know, here’s the housing situation: WDWCPs live in apartment complexes located on Disney property. Each complex features 24 hour security, and facilities including a fitness center. Every week, rent is automatically taken out of each CP’s paycheck for the for the fully-furnished apartments.

Above: One of the buildings at Chatham. Pretty!

There are three housing complexes for CPs–Vista Way, Chatham Square, and Patterson Court. Vista Way is the oldest, smallest, and also has a reputation for being a bit crazy at times. This does NOT sound like the place for me. I’m not against fun, but what I am against is stepping out of my door in the morning into a big pile of sick left by one of the revelers from my neighbors’ party.

Chatham and Patterson are both quite a bit newer, with Patterson being occupied for the first time just last year. This means that all of the appliances and furnishings will be newer! So no years-old gunk stuck in the can opener, and minimal stink in the microwave. Chatham’s just a couple of years older, though, and the apartments are larger. Plus, Chatham has a bus stop where CPs can catch a shuttle to the parks, the grocery store, etc. Patterson residents have to walk over to Chatham to catch a bus.

When I check in on August 12th, I’ll be able to state a preference for for which complex I live in. I’m planning to request Chatham. Check-in starts at 9 a.m., so I’m hoping to be there plenty early. That will help my chances for getting my choice. There are no guarantees, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

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“Rat Me Out to the Coppers, And I’ll Do To Youse What I Did To Pluto, See?”

April 9, 2009

*Whew*. The last of my major hurdles has been jumped. I just finished paying my assessment fee, and yesterday I met with my Financial Aid advisor. So I’m all set there. Now the only thing I really need to worry about before Florida is whether or not I’m going to take classes (probably not), whether or not I’ll get credit for those classes if I choose to take them, and how I’m going to fit everything I own into the trunk of my Nissan Sentra. Luckily, it’s a pretty big trunk.

So, now that there’s nothing more for me to write about (for now) how about some Disney fun?
I’m not usually a huge fan of those “Which ________ are you?” quizzes. Usually the answers are stupid, and the questions are easy to predict and manipulate. A great time-waster, sure, but not really all that fun or entertaining. However, I couldn’t resist this quiz: “Which Disney Mobster Are You?” Turns out, I’m Goofy “the Gun”.

My full quiz results:

You are Goofy “The Gun”. No one was really surprised when you went postal following your unsuccessful attempt to rename Epcot Center after yourself. However, it was only after this incident that your ties to the mob were uncovered. Now, the whole world knows that you are the reason why Pluto can not talk. You just couldn’t handle the competition, could you Goofy?

I played around with the answers, trying to get different results. They were all equally funny, and slightly disturbing. After all, who wants to imagine Jiminy Cricket as a high-profile member of the mob family? Oh, wait. That’s right. I DO! 🙂

Take the quiz at http://www.quizyourprofile.com/disneyquiz.php, and put your answers in the comments section. Let’s start our very own Disney mob!