Archive for the ‘In The Parks’ Category

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Titles Are SO Overrated

November 18, 2009

Even though I ended up dropping my Exploring Marketing class, I guess someone somewhere still hasn’t gotten the memo, because I ended up getting today off after being back at work for only one day.  Not that I’m complaining, though.  I spent my day doing mostly nothing, but that was just what I needed.  I’m still exhausted from all the vacation time I’ve taken lately!  I did go mini-golfing with a couple of friends today at Fantasia Gardens and then we went for ice cream at Beaches and Cream.  Other than that, though, I haven’t done much at all!

Tomorrow will be a much busier day, though.  I’ll start the morning with an interview for the Campus Rep position.  I got an email from them yesterday, saying that they wanted me to call and schedule a time to talk with a recruiter.  I really have a good feeling about this.  I can’t imagine that it’s very competitive.  As far as I know, only about 10 people were even accepted from the schools in my area, based on how many people showed up for the meet-and-greet events they held back before we came down.  I have no idea how many of those people ended up coming down.  Even if there were 5 of us down here, I can’t imagine that more than a couple of us applied to be Campus Reps.  I think that, at this point, it kind of all comes down to how well I do in the interview.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out I’m the only candidate, so it just depends on whether they think I would be a useful addition to the recruiting team.  We’ll find out tomorrow, I guess!  My interview is at 10:30 with Anne, who I’m pretty sure is the same recruiter who hosted the information meeting I attended way back in March.  Fingers crossed!

Then I will go to my first regular day of work at Tomorrowland, which, in reality, isn’t all that regular.  I’ll be working a “Call In Factor” shift.  I had never heard of this before, but was told that I’ll just be put wherever they might need me that morning.  If someone should call in sick, I will take their spot.  Part of me kind of hopes that maybe, just maybe, no one will call in.  Then maybe they won’t need my anywhere, and I can just hang out in the break room all day!  But the other part of me knows that will never happen. *sigh* I can dream, though, right?

I really do like Tomorrowland so far.  My last day of training on Tuesday went great.  We worked on Photo Imaging, which I had never done before, but it was super easy.  By the end of the day, my trainer was kind of just letting me goof off.  It was a Christmas party night, so we stood outside and watched the Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show (which was terrible!) and the Christmas Fireworks (which were good, but not as good as the Halloween fireworks.)

Just a few minutes after the fireworks started, a much more interesting, much more sad show played out right in front of us.  A mom came out of Space Mountainwith her son following her, screaming at the top of his lungs.  The kid was about 10 years old,and I couldn’t tell what he was saying, but his tone made me think, if that was my kid… Well, apparently his mother had had enough, too, because just then she smacked him upside the back of the head, Three Stooges-style.  It’s never right to really hit a child, but I have to admit that it made me laugh a bit.  But then all of a sudden she kicked at him!  I mean really reared back and tried to kick the crap out of her son!  The kid jumped out of the way just in time, and the mom jumped towards him, grabbed him, and held him down in the flower beds.  It was dark, and they were pretty far away so I couldn’t swear to this, but it looked like she had him around the throat!  I turned to my trainer and pointed the situation out to her and asked what we should do.  Just then an Attractions leader came out of Space Mountain and started walking towards the two.  We decided to watch and see what he would do.  He stood and watched them for a while, and just a little later security showed up.  I have no idea what ended up happening: when we left, security was still talking to the mom.  But my question is, if she would treat him like that in public, how does she treat him at home?  Somehow, sad things seem even more sad when they happen at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Aside from that little…adventure…it was a fun, successful training day.  My hours are definitely going to be crazy–I work until 1:15 am the next two days and work until 3:45 am on Sunday.  Yikes!  It’s going to be tiring, but I’m hoping that maybe I won’t have so many closing shifts when I’ve been there longer.  Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but my shifts always got better after the first couple of weeks at DAK and Epcot.  Time will tell.  For now, though, I’m going to take advantage of the early night and try to get some sleep: it may become a scarce commodity in the coming weeks.

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A Ferris Bueller Day

October 29, 2009

Today was a Wednesday: the day my Exploring Marketing class meets.  I, however, did not go to Exploring Marketing.  When it came time to get ready to go, I thought of Ferris Bueller: “How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?”  For the Exploration Series classes, you’re automatically dropped after on your second absence.  So I haven’t actually dropped the class yet, and I may not for a couple of weeks.  But I decided today that there is just no point in making myself go to a class that I don’t want to take.  I’m not getting any credit for the class, and even though my instructor is entertaining and energetic, I just didn’t feel like I was going to learn anything that would really help me in life.

So it’s looking like I may never get my Mouseters degree. 😦   But that’s okay!  Plenty of great stuff happened today to distract me from my crushing sense of failure: I went shopping at Downtown Disney, where I experienced the awesome life-changing taste that is the Holiday Dinner Sandwich at Earl of Sandwich.  This unbelievable creation is turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mayonnaise, and gravy, all squeezed between two toasted pieces of bread.  I washed this down with a glass of the Earl’s Grey Lemonade, which is lemonade mixed with Earl Grey tea.  I think this meal may be a new addiction, but luckily the price is reasonable enough that I can satisfy the cravings without busting the bank: the sandwich and drink cost less than $8.

Later, I got the chance to see the newest show at Magic Kingdom, Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee.

Tiana, Naveen, and Louis the Alligator from “The Princess and the Frog” have taken over the Liberty Belle riverboat, and now perform songs from the movie as they and their friends sail down the river.  In between shows, the new royal couple do meet-and-greets behind the Christmas Shop in Liberty Square.  The whole thing premiered on Monday, and Tiana rode in a special procession down Main Street to the castle, where she was greeted by all of the other princesses.  I wasn’t able to go to any of the opening day festivities, but the show was so awesome that I wish I could have seen it all.  They’re really starting to get me excited about this movie.  When I had seen the previews, I was a little unsure of how I felt about Naveen.  He seemed a little too cartoonish, with his outrageous accent, almost more like the funny sidekick than the leading man.  But after seeing the character on the showboat today, I got a little bit better idea of his personality, and he just seems fun.  All I can say is that this movie better live up to my ever-growing expectations or I will be a sad, sad, girl.

After Magic Kingdom, I met up with some friends from work for another trip to Epcot.  We got to see Boyz II Men perform at the Eat to the Beat concert series.  Boyz II Men was a little before my time, so I wasn’t really all that excited about going to see them.  But when they actually started singing, I was surprised at how many of the songs I knew.  And, I have to admit, I really liked it.  We had a blast, and the crowd was just great.  We stayed for Illuminations, and it was fun to actually get to see the fireworks.  Lately, I’ve gotten to hear them so much, but I’m always inside the World Showcase Tent counting the drawers and closing up shop during them.  Seriously, it’s really, really hard to count when giant explosives are going off every few seconds.  It was nice to be on the other side of those tent flaps tonight.

I don’t know if I’m going to go ahead and drop my class, or if I will wait and see if I feel like playing hooky again later.  I really didn’t dislike the class, but I also realized today that I’m probably not going to get any lasting memories or unforgettable experiences out of it, either.  So who knows if I’ll go next week or not.  But I’m definitely glad I decided to go with my gut and just let myself have a fun-filled day the Ferris Bueller way.

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A Practically Perfect Halloween Party!

October 23, 2009

“Boo to You”, dear reader!  It’s been an EXTREMELY busy week.  I’ve been wrapping up my resume for the Campus Rep position, working on my class schedule for next semester, preparing for visits from friends and family, working (of course!), and trying to have a life on top of all the rest!  It’s been really tiring, a little stressful, but fun and exciting at the same time.  So many great things are happening!

One of these great things happened this past Tuesday, when I went with all 5 of my roommates to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom.  Of course, we all went in costume: Melissa was a creepy vampire, complete with eerily realistic fangs, Brit was a gypsy reminiscent of Esmerelda from Hunchback, Traci was a flirty German fraulein, Holly was Alice, and Kat was the Queen of Hearts.

Left to Right: Traci, Holly, Kat, Brit, Me, Melissa

Left to Right: Traci, Holly, Kat, Brit, Me, Melissa

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I went as Mary Poppins.  I ended up being so happy with my costume, and it definitely got a great reaction!  Everywhere I’d go, I heard people saying, “Look!  There’s Mary Poppins!”.  People would shout, “Hi, Mary”, or tell me how much they loved my costume.  I even had tons of total strangers asking to take pictures with me.  Seriously!  I was asked to pose with at least five separate groups.  The best of these came at the very end of the night: we were heading out towards the front of the park, and I was lagging behind a bit because I had been wearing  heels for the last five hours and my feet were killing me. A big group is sitting on a bench beneath the Astro Orbiter, and as I walk past they scream, “Mary! Can we get a picture?”  I waved, told them (in a terrible excuse for a British accent) that my group was leaving me behind, and kept walking.  “But we have Bert!”  They point behind me, and, sure enough there’s Bert the Chimney Sweep coming out of the bathroom.  His costume was fantastic, so of course I had to let them take pictures, and even got them take one with my camera.

Chim-Chiminee, Chim-Chim-Cheree, a pic with a sweep who's a stranger to me!

Chim-Chiminee, Chim-Chim-Cheree, a pic with a sweep who's a stranger to me!

In between posing for pictures, we watched the “HalloWishes” fireworks show, the “Boo to You” parade, and hung out with Jafar, the Queen of Hearts, and Frollo at the “Villains Mix-and-Mingle.”  We also hung out at the Character Dance Party in Tomorrowland, where we learned that Chip is a fantastic break dancer!  Check out Brit’s video by clicking here.

One more piece of news: although I had a fantastic time at the Halloween Party, and work has been going well, this week has been a little tough.  Of course, there’s been the usual drama that comes with trying to sign up for classes and fill out applications, but we also had a some bad news for the family.  My great uncle has been sick for a while: unexplainable weight loss, terrible muscle pains, and just general poor health.  A few days ago he was diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Please keep him and the entire family in your thoughts and prayers.  Pray for strength, peace, and healing, because no diagnosis or disease is too powerful for God.

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Lucky 13

October 8, 2009

13.  That’s how many days in a row I will have worked when I have my day off next Wednesday.  But I can’t complain too much, because it was (mostly) by my own choice. I was supposed to be off work yesterday and today, but a few days ago I picked up a treat shift at Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary for today.  Then a couple of days after that, I found a two and a half hour shift at my old stomping grounds on Discovery Island for this afternoon.  So, I figured, I’m already working on my day off, I might as well go ahead and make it a full day.  It would be nice to see everybody at Animal Kingdom again, anyway.  And I would still have one day off.  But then one of my managers at Epcot was desperately looking for help for yesterday.  One of the other girls was going out of town for a funeral, and so they needed somebody to cover her shift.  I didn’t have to take the shift, but I didn’t really have any plans anyway, and decided to volunteer.  And that is how I came to be working on my “weekend”—working an extra shift at Epcot on Wednesday, and working at Animal Kingdom and Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary on Thursday.  So by the time my next day off rolls around, I will have worked 13 days in a row.

It really hasn’t been bad so far.  Since I’m not going in to work until 3:30 most days, I still get to sleep in, lounge around the house, hang out with my roomies, and run errands before going into work.  And my paycheck will definitely be great next week! 

I just finished up the Animal Kingdom shift, and I’m killing time before my 9:00 shift at MNSSHP.  I’ve decided that this is definitely my favorite costume so far, although the headband does bring it down a bit.  But, hey, I’m happy anytime the costume gives me a waist and is half-way feminine. 

Costume for Mickey's Not-So-Scary

Costume for Mickey's Not-So-Scary

Speaking of costumes, I’ve been working feverishly to get my costume ready for the night I attend MNSSHP as a guest.  I’ve decided to go as Mary Poppins.  I have a little jacket that will work, I’m knitting a scarf, the shoes are in my closet, and my mom is making me a skirt.  The hat is really the only major detail I’m still missing.  I’ve looked on eBay and haven’t found any luck finding something I could transform, and tomorrow I plan to hit the thrift stores.  There just aren’t that many thrift stores here, though!  As small as Springfield is compared to Orlando, I think we definitely have them beat in the thrift store department.  But I’m going to give it the ol’ college try, and I’m sure I can find something that will work.  Even a baseball cap would look Mary Poppins-ish after I spray painted it black and stuck flowers and cherries to the brim!  (Okay, I’m just kidding about the baseball cap.  I’m not that desperate…yet.)

The titular nanny...

The titular nanny...

...and my (very) rough interpretion, based mostly on what I've got in my closet.

...and my (very) rough interpretion, based mostly on what I've got in my closet.

On one hand, I hate that I’m probably going to see the Halloween parade and fireworks tonight.  I don’t want to spoil anything before I get to come as a guest!  But I can’t deny how excited I am to see the shows, the costumes, and to get a little sneak peek for our own visit.  It will still be exciting the second time, and I’ll be here with all the girls, so what could better?  It’s time for me to head into the Utilidors, and towards Main Street for the festivities.  So until next time…Boo to You!

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My Mid-Week Weekend

October 2, 2009

For the first time since the program started, I had two days off in a row.  Yesterday and today.  Count ’em: two.  It was really great, and its amazing how much more relaxing you can get done in those extra 24 hours.  But I didn’t waste my time vegging out in front of the TV or watching stupid videos on the internet (Okay.  Maybe just one stupid video.) I actually did a lot of real stuff on my days off! 

Melissa and I both had yesterday off, so we had planned to go to Blizzard Beach, one of Disney’s water parks.  I had never been before, and even though I’m not usually a water park person, I was really looking forward to it.  Of course, we’re in warm, sunny Florida, so we wake up, put on our swimsuits, go outside…and run back in the apartment shivering!  It was actually cool here yesterday!  It only got up around 80, which, while not cold was still too chilly for either of us to want to go to the water park.  So instead we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the day.  We strolled around, shopped, rode a couple of the big rides, and then ran into a couple of Melissa’s friends.  So the four of us hung out for the rest of the day.  We watched the Block Party Bash parade for the first time (awesome!) and also saw the American Idol Experience (meh.)  But the highlight of the day was getting our pictures taken with the cast of “Up”.

Today was my “Get Stuff Done” day.  I woke up, worked on making resort reservations for when my family comes in November, talked to the scheduling people about getting October 20th off for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party, and picked up a shift on the Hub handing out candy at the aforementioned Halloween Party.  Then I spent the rest of the day running around Orlando.  Went to Downtown Disney, shopped for a little while, went to Joann’s and bought some new needles for the yarn that I bought last week.  I love my roommates, but sometimes I really, really miss the privacy I had at home.  So it was really nice to just go around on my own, be by myself, and not really have any agenda.  This is the biggest reason I recommend bringing a car for the program.  Without a car, you have no escape.  Even if you leave the apartment, you leave it on a bus filled with other CPs.

Yesterday, I mentioned to Melissa that I would like to see Cirque du Soleil.  Coincidentally, her and Josh, one of the guys we ran into yesterday at DHS, were planning to go tonight.  So Melissa told me I was more than welcome to come.  Josh, unfortunately, didn’t know that I was planning to come, and so he went ahead and bought tickets this morning, but only for Melissa and himself.  But Melissa convinced me to try to get a ticket anyway, and so I went to the box office about an hour and a half before show time.  Luckily, they had a ticket right behind her and Josh’s seats, so I went ahead and bought it.  When they showed up later, we went to talk to the box office one more time.  Because it was so close to the show start, they were starting to open up other seats.  I’m not sure if they were seats that people had cancelled on, or if they just hadn’t shown up to pick up their tickets.  But they had three new seats available, together, a few rows up from where our original seats were.

Cirque du Soleil was everything I had hoped it would be.  By the end, my hands hurt from clapping, and I know at least four times I let out an audible gasp of astonishment.  The little Chinese girls with their Diablos were my favorite, but there wasn’t a single part of it I didn’t love.  It was worth every penny to see it, and I wouldn’t be against going to see it again.  And if you ever get a chance to see a Cirque Show, DO IT! 

It’s back to work tomorrow, but I have next Wednesday and Thrusday off, too!  I’m thrilled that my schedule is starting to look similar from week-to-week.  Hopefully this Wednesdays/Thursdays off thing will stick, because it’s really been great so far!

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Does Anybody Even Read These Titles?

September 24, 2009

Today was one of those days where all sorts of events that I’d been looking forward to just so happened to fall on the same day.  I had the SALSA sale, the Cast Member preview for Food and Wine Festival, and my first real day at Epcot.  The first couple were sort of a bust, but the last one really was a nice change of pace.  The “SALSA” in SALSA Sale is supposed to stand for “Spend A Little, Save A Lot” (don’t ask me what happened to the extra L from ‘Lot’!) But today I didn’t even spend a little!  We got there right as the sale was supposed to be beginning, but everyone was still standing in a line outside.  Come to find out, they only let in a few people at a time to keep the place from getting too crowded.  We waited for almost an hour before we finally got inside, only to be disappointed by what we found.  there were lots of things to choose from, but nothing that grabbed our attention, and certainly nothing worth waiting through the crazy lines for.  So we left empty-handed.

After a little rest at the apartment, we headed over to the Cast Preview for the Food & Wine Festival, which was fun, but the booths didn’t open until 1:00, and I had to start work at 3:45, so we didn’t get very many places.  I only ate at the South Africa ki0sk, where I had the beef tips with sweet potatoes and mango chili sauce.  Although the portion was tiny for the price, it was delicious and I definitely could have eaten an entire meals’ worth.  We had a good time, but I have to say that I think I enjoyed working the Festival this evening more than I enjoyed attending it as a guest.  I worked in the booth where Heather French, an artist who has designed the festival’s poster in the past, was selling her own paintings, and it was really neat to hear someone talk about their work like that.  I really hope to get to know Ms. French better when I work in her booth, because I would love to hear how she became the “unofficial artist” of the Epcot Festivals. 

Almost everything else about our booth was nice, too, and I really had a good time getting to know people.  Things at Epcot are definitely much different than at Animal Kingdom, and there were a few bugs that will hopefully be worked out for the Grand Opening tomorrrow.  For one, there are no lights in the stock trailer!  None at all!  Lights are sort of important, ya know?

 Because today was our “Soft Opening”, we closed at 8:00, an hour earlier than normal.  But we were scheduled to work until 9:45, so they sent us over to “Mouse Gear”, Epcot’s enormous store, to finish out the night.  All I can say is that I’m glad I don’t work there all of the time!  I didn’t like their setup at all: it was really crowded behind the registers, and the store is just overwhelmingly large.

It was a fun day, but I have to admit I’m glad it’s over.  My knees are killing me!  I’m too young to hurt this badly!  I just keep thinking how great all of this walking is going to be for my legs: who needs to do extracurricular exercise when they walk around the World every day at work?

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So Close, And Yet…

September 21, 2009

Well, I never did finish writing about my first day of training at Epcot.  But it’s all for the best, because now I can write about day one and day two!  But first, you guys get to see pictures of our White Glove Award-worthy apartment! 

Chatham - Bedroom Chatham Front Entry Way - Dining Room, Kitchen

Chatham Living Room

We had our first apartment inspection this morning, so we spent all day yesterday cleaning furiously and even putting out a few tasteful Halloween decorations.  By the time we went to bed last night, our apartment looked so good that I had almost no doubts we’d be getting the White Glove Award – the highest honor apartment cleaning has to offer.  Not only is it prestigious, the title comes with a giant box of Ferrer0 Rocher chocolates!  Unfortunately, though, notice our apartment is only White Glove Award-worthy, not White Glove Award-winning.  😦  One of my roommates was in the shower this morning when the inspectors came by, so they couldn’t inspect their shower (which was sparkling clean!) and therefore couldn’t give us the award.  But we got perfect marks on everything else, and I know we’ll get it next time!  We did get a consolation prize of sorts, though: all six of us got a little snack-sized pack of Knotts Raspberry Shortbread cookies.

I had Park Discovery Day today at Epcot, and, of course, had lots of fun touring the park.  We rode Spaceship Earth, and walked around World Showcase before it opened, but the highlight of the day was…a secret.  Unfortunately, we were sworn to secrecy about this super cute, super fun initiation ritual for new Epcot Cast Members after we participated.  We raised our right hands, said, “I do solemnly swear that I will never speak of _________________, so help me Mickey,” and promised to preserve the surprise for future Epcot CMs.  So I will honor that promise.  But for all you future Epcot-ians, prepare yourself for a little fun when you get to the Showcase Plaza. Beyond that? My lips are sealed.

After today, I’m much more excited about the move over to Epcot and the Food and Wine Festival.  My first day of training had me down a little bit, because, number one, it involved a lot of tedious legal information and lots of listening to presentations.  Number two, we were informed of an interesting little tidbit involving days off and requesting leave.  Apparently, the people who signed up for F&W knew what they were gettting in to, but it came as a bit of a shock to the rest of us: they are not going to be honoring leave requests during the 6 weeks of the Festival, including those requests that have already been approved on the Hub.  We have to have full availability.  This means that it’s not only going to be very difficult to get off to use the ticket I bought for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but that I will probably have trouble gettting any time off while my friends are here the first week of November.  They’ve already bought their plane tickets and everything, so I’m just hoping that maybe I’ll be able to trade some shifts with people, or that they were over-exaggerating the difficulty of getting time off.  Maybe it will also help that the time I’m really needing off is at the end of the Festival.  All I can do right now is keep my fingers crossed!

As I said, today was much more interactive, though, and even my scheduling worries are begginning to take a back seat to the excitement.  I do love Epcot, and I hear that F&W is a blast.  I know that lots of the seasonal CMs come back year after year just to do the Festival.  So I really am lucky, I guess.  The Soft Opening and Cast Member Preview for the Festival is next Thursday, the 24th, and since I don’t have to work until late that afternoon, I plan to spend part of the morning checking out the booths.  The early part of the morning I will be at the SALSA sale–a giant Cast Members-only sale.  I don’t know much about it, except that people have been talking about it for a month already and people are planning to be there hours before they open on the first day, sort of like Day After Thanksgiving shopping.  The way I see it, that’s got to be a good sign for any bargain hunter, right?

For a parting shot, here’s a picture of me in my latest costume. Cute, right? 😉

My Costume for Epcot Food & Wine Festival.  These pants are disgustingly see-through!

My Costume for Epcot Food & Wine Festival. These pants are disgustingly see-through!