Posts Tagged ‘Costume’

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Drive-by Posting

December 16, 2009

In case you’re still unsure, this whole College Program thing is exhausting.  Fun, but exhausting.  So even though I love updating my blog, I just don’t seem to have the time anymore.  I’m hoping to sit down in the next few days and write some full-length catch-up posts, but just in case that doesn’t happen, here are a few thoughts and tidbits that I just feel the need to record.  I’m too tired for segues!

Today was our CP completion program, a.k.a. Graduation Day!  There was a huge picnic at Mickey’s Retreat, we all got graduation mouse ears and diplomas, and got our picture taken with the boss.  Tons of fun!  It lasted from 10:30 to 2:00, but we didn’t get there until around 12:30.  They had so much fun stuff to do, I wish we had gone earlier.  I went with all of my roommates, and we had a great time goofing off, taking pictures, and just hanging out.  I love these girls, and I got a little emotional about leaving for the first time today.

I’ve been working insane hours since I moved to Tomorrowland.  I almost never go in earlier than 5:00 pm, and if I get off before 1:15 am, that’s an early night.  Yesterday I worked for more than 14 hours, but I only have myself to blame.  One of the girls from work was trying to give away her shift because she had family in town, so I picked it up.  I already had a shift of my own that day, so I ended up working from 9:00 am to 11:45 pm.  It was exhausting, but I also have to admit that it was a little exhilarating.  As I clocked out, I really felt like if I could survive that, I could survive anything.  It was a really good day for it though, because I was working at Space Mountain, and it went down four times.  So it wasn’t a very busy day, and one of the times it went down I was at Preview so I just sat on the big comfy couches for almost an hour waiting for the ride to come back up.  I’m telling you, this can be a rough job. 🙂

The insanity is about to end, though, because all 6 of us who came to Tomorrowland after Food & Wine Festival are being sent back to Animal Kingdom.  I was really upset at first, because they weren’t sure if we would all be together.  But it turns out we’ll all be in Asia together, so at least I won’t be totally surrounded by strangers for my last couple of weeks.  Right now we’re only deployed there for the week of Christmas, but they may deploy us for the week of New Year, too.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  I’m definitely excited to have some normal hours!

In honor of leaving Tomorrowland, here’s a picture I should have posted a long time ago:

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A Whole New World (Well, Park, At Least!)

September 17, 2009

I know I”ve said it before, but today was a very, very long day.  Could be because I got less than four hours of sleep last night! 

It all started yesterday with a good, responsible decision.  Brit, Melissa, Holly, and I went to the Cool Beans Cafe over at Vista Way.  I have to say, this was my favorite housing event yet.  Karaoke.  What else can I say?  I love the spotlight, so I sang a song, and then Brit and I did a duet.  We chose that great standard, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan, complete with human-video style motions.  It was super fun. There were a lot of really entertaining performances, but I’m pretty sure ours was the best.  😉 We actually had strangers come up to us after we were done just to tell us how awesome we were!

But a little after 10:00, I decided to do the responsible thing and go back to Chatham so I could get some sleep because I knew I needed to be at work at 8:00 this morning.  So I called Erik on my way back, and as we were talking, he asked me what time I was getting off tonight.  Well, when I looked at my schedule to check, I noticed that it said I was supposed to be at Epcot for Food  & Wine Festival Training this morning!  It was 11:30, and I had no shoes, no costume, and no idea where I needed to go for training.  Just to say “Epcot” isn’t really enough information!  It’s huge! 

So I ran out the door to Wal-Mart to buy the requisite white tennis shoes, waited through the world’s longest line (apparantly, Wal-Mart is the cool place to be on a Wednesday night in Orlando), and rushed back home so I could get in bed.  Finally, just after 1:00 AM, I was flipping off the light.  Costuming would open at 7:00, which would give me an hour to get my costume, figure out where I needed to be, and get clocked in for work at 8:00.  But, alas, I wasn’t to get the four and half hours of sleep that I was hoping for, because I woke up with a nosebleed at 5:00 this morning!  Half an hour before my alarm was supposed to go off!  Ugh! 

So the day didn’t exactly get off to a great start.  But at least I got out the door on time this morning, had no trouble getting my costume, and even found the training group!  Come to find out, though, I WAS SUPPOSED TO COME IN BUSINESS DRESS!  They made a mistake on my schedule, and didn’t put that it was supposed to be a Park Discovery Day, like DAKlimation at Animal Kingdom.  So they moved my Discovery Day to Monday, and had me do the training for Monday today.  It was a real mess.  And the worst part of it was, if I had only known that I could wear business casual, I would have been able to easily get in 6 hours of sleep!  6!

The training itself was a whole other story, but one that I just don’t have the energy for right now.  I mean, you heard the story!  So check back for part 2 of this epic adventure, which I will finish after a quick nap!  (or tomorrow.  Probably tomorrow. :))

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Video Blogging–The Lazy Blogger’s Best Friend

September 13, 2009

My first video blog!  Hope you all enjoy it.  These may happen more and more, but I’m not sure I’m happy about it.  Does anyone enjoy watching videos of themselves?   I sure don’t!

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Howdy, Y’all!

September 7, 2009

I thought I’d had some long days: I hadn’t even come close to a true long day.  Today, I left the house at 7:00 a.m. and didn’t get home until 11:00 p.m.  For the mathematically challenged, that’s 16 hours.  I worked a total of 12 hours – 6 in Discovery Island and 6 in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom.

I have to say, though, that today was really great.  Stocking at DAK went really quickly and smoothly.  Before I knew it, I was on my way over to Magic Kingdom. All I can say about MK vs. DAK is…wow.  At Animal Kingdom, Cast Members park in a designated lot right next to guest parking, and walk in in the same area as the guests.  We walk on-stage to get to our work areas, only going backstage once we reach our destination.  At Magic Kingdom, Cast Members have to contend with the infamous Utilidors, the underground tunnel system beneath MK.  Cast Members park very, very far away at MK, and take a bus to the entrance of the tunnels.  Then you walk forever, through color coded tunnels, to get to your destination.  You store your things in lockers in the tunnels, take the elevator up, and get completely into character before stepping on-stage.  It really is a whole different experience.

After going to get my special issue costume and finally figuring out how to get on-stage, I had a little time to kill before work.  So I wandered around Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square (in street clothes, of course.)  I caught the end of the “Celebrate a Dream Come True” parade, shopped, and watched the Pirate Tutorial in Adventureland.  This little show was such an unexpected treat!  It’s a street show, where Captain Jack Sparrow and his assistant come out and teach the kids in the crowd how to win a swordfight, Captain Jack-style (by running away!), and make them Official Future Crew Members.  Both Captain Jack and his assistant were very good, and of course the kids were adorable.  They finished off the show by leading the crowd in a sing along of “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me”.  The whole thing was too cute, and definitely a pleasant way to pass a little time. I highly recommend stopping to watch if you ever pass by a show in progress. 

Once I finally got to work, I rotated between Big Al’s (an outdoor stand), the Frontierland Trading Post (a Pin Trading Center) and Prairie Outpost (candy and other treats).  I had an absolute blast!  Working in Animal Kingdom, sure, there’s a theme.  We say things like “Have a Wild Time!” and talk about how we’ve heard that there’s a Yeti hiding in the mountains, and just generally staying in character.  But working in Frontierland, I was really able to unleash my inner drama queen.  I’d greet people with a great big, “howdy!”, call kids “sugar” or “pardner”, and make any of the kids buying toy guns promise me that they wouldn’t use ’em to hold up any trains.  I sort of created a character for myself, and I loved every minute of it.  I was a rootin’, tootin’ frontiers-woman!

The costume in Forntierland is also way cuter than the one on Discovery Island, although it isn’t as comfortable. 

The Frontierland Get-up.

The Frontierland Get-up.

The long skirt is fun, but hot, and the material for the skirt and shirt is really thick.  Plus, I had to tuck the shirt in.  Yuck!  It was definitely nice to have a waist, though! 🙂

I was really disappointed that I was getting so few hours, but now I”m thinking it could be a good thing.  I had so much fun tonight; I’m going to pick up Extra Hours every chance I get!

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I’ve Earned My Ears

August 24, 2009

I’m no longer “Earning My Ears”: today was my last day of training, and my first day of working in the regular rotation on Discovery Island.  This morning we were trained in the Baby Care Station and finished up our assessment tests, and then after lunch we got our official assignments for the first time. 

Assignments are given out when you clock in to the computer backstage.  When you clock-in, it prints out a piece of paper that tells you where to go next, and who you’ll be “bumping out”.  For example, it might say “Bethany – Register 1, Store A.”  So I would go to Register 1 in Store A.  It would also say, “Mary – Register 1, Store B”.  This means that when I got to Store A, Mary would be working the register I was supposed to be working.  I would give Mary this sheet of paper, and she would go to Store B like it said.  I would then take over in Store A.  Make sense to you?  It’s not as hard as it sounds.

After our training was over, I signed onto the computer for my assignment.  First place it puts me is the “Tree of Life Cart”.  This is one of the little outdoor carts that sells merchandise, which meant that, for my very first assignment, I was working all by myself!  Aah!  I panicked a little bit, but I actually had a great time.  I didn’t sell much merchandise; I spent most of my time answering questions and giving directions.  All of the guest interaction was very nice.  I then worked the register at Disney Outfitters, and the “Tigger Porch”.  The Tigger Porch is an area right outside of the doors of Outfitters, that mostly sells the “Tigger, is that you?” shirts, towels, and bags.  Hence, the “Tigger” porch. 

Tigger, is that you?

I finally got up the courage to use my newly aquired Spanish skills, limited though they are.  We had some guests who spoke only Spanish, and while a Spanish-speaking Cast Member answered questions for the husband, I worked up the courage to try out my language skills on the wife.  “Como esta usted?” I asked.  Her face lit up and she said, “Ahh! Habla espanol!”  I told her I only spoke a little bit, and then she asked me something about my shoes.  I didn’t quite understand, so I asked her to repeat it slowly.  She did, but it still didn’t help.  She just chuckled, and kept repeating and gesturing.  Well, by this point I knew that she was asking me where I got my shoes, but I had no idea how to answer her!  Ahh, the perils of learning a second language!  So when the Spanish-speaking Cast Member finished up with the husband, he came over to translate my answer.  She laughed, and we said our goodbyes–I even managed mine in Spanish!  It wasn’t a complete success, but her patience gave me confidence to try again.  And it was better than just smiling at each other awkwardly for five minutes!

The only real hiccup in the day occured at clock-out.  Late in the afternoon, one of the girls I trained with asked me why I was still working: I was supposed to have clocked out five minutes before!  No one had come to bump me out, though, so she went to tell a manager that I needed to be relieved.  When I finally got to clock out, it was 17 minutes late, and, if we’re any later than 15 minutes, it’s a half a point on our record. You can also get points for being late, or not showing up at all, and if you get more than 3 points in 30 days, 6 points in 60 days, or 9 points in 90 days you get a reprimand.  Too many reprimands, and you get terminated.  Even though a half point isn’t putting me in any real danger, I didn’t want to have a point for staying late to help guests!  So I went to find a manager to extend me for the two minutes I was late.  She was very nice, but said that i should have checked with one of them to extend me before clocking-in, as they can’t do it afterwards.  She did get my name and ID number, though, and said she would see what she would do, and this evening it shows on my record that I was extended for those extra 17 minutes.

I used the laundry room at Chatham for the first time tonight.  Ugh.  I hate that laundry room.  It costs $1 per wash and $1 per dry, which can really add up.  The washers are tiny, and there’s not even a temperature control on eiter unit!  And the cards….ugh!  As I’m starting to complain, I think this laundry thing needs its own post.  So check back tomorrow for the full scoop.  Right now, I’m off to bed, as I have to get to costuming by 7:30 tomorrow to pick up a new costume.  I have to have a different costume for floorstock than I do for register, so my lovely circus tent dress will get a break.  Once I have both costumes, I will be posting pictures of them here. 

Good night, everybody!

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Putting In a Full Day’s Work

August 17, 2009

It’s not even 8:30, and I’m ready for bed.  I expected to be tired after work, but I really had no idea how truly exhausted I would be.  Today was my first full day working in the park, and even though I never got behind the cash register, there was more than enough information thrown at me to make me feel a little overwhelmed.  But I also really enjoyed finally getting to interact with guests.  After some online training, we ventured out into the park for more tours, equipped with Pin Trading lanyards. 

The view I'll see every morning on my way to work.

The view I'll see every morning on my way to work.

Pin Trading is a very popular hobby among WDW visitors, but I used to think it was a bit silly.  Guests buy pins they like, and then can trade with each other or with Cast Members.  Cast Members are provided with lanyards and pins, and are unable to refuse a trade.  This makes Cast Members very popular with Pin Trading guests–if they see something they like, it’s theirs, as long as they have a pin they’re willing to give up.  As I said, I’ve never been interested in Pin Trading.  But today I realized how people could totally fall in love with this hobby.  It was a great feeling when guests would walk up to me, especially the kids, and ask to trade.  I would get down, ask them which pin they liked, and then talk to them about it or about the pins they already had.  By the end of the day, I had an almost completely new set of pins, and had gotten to talk with lots of guests I probably never would have talked to otherwise.  It was fun to find out where they were from, what kind of pins they were collecting, and what rides they had enjoyed.  And it was also fun to ooh and ahh over the pins with my fellow trainees: even though they’re not technically ours, its still exciting to get a really pretty pin, or one featuring a favorite character. 

So although the day was exhausting, it was still really exciting to finally get out there “on stage” and interact with the guests.  We also got to meeet our managers, see backstage, visit all of the shops where we can work, and even watch the afternoon parade.  Tomorrow I have the day off, but I will continue my training on Wednesday and by Saturday afternoon, I will be able to start working my regular rotation.  I’ve already gotten my schedule for my first week after training, and it looks like I’m going to be spending most of the time in the stock room.  Unfortunately, this means later hours: DAK usually closes around 5:00 or 6:00, but on nights where I have to work in the stock room, I have to work until 9:00.  It also means less guest interaction, but our trainer said that stock room is actually a really fun place to work, and will allow us to get to know the merchandise in each store before we really start manning the registers.  It doesn’t sound as exciting as register to me, but I guess we’ll see next week!  The worst part about working the stock room is that I’ll have to go back over to Costuming to get another, diffferent costume.  I’m trying to look on the bright side, though: I’m going to use it as an opportunity to drop off some of my dirty costumes, and get back some nice clean ones.  Yay for no laundry!

Random fun fact about working at DAK: bikes called “DAKcycles” are provided for Cast Members to get around backstage.  There are bike racks all over, filled with bikes that anyone can grab and ride to their destination.  When the they’ve finished with the bike, it can just be left at any bike rack for another Cast Member to use.  I haven’t used this system yet, but I’m sure I will soon!  Looks like fun to me!

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I’ve Been a Bad Blogger!

August 16, 2009

As I was reading other people’s blogs, preparing to do this program, I noticed a trend: many people began really strong, posting several times a week, but once their program started, the number of posts dropped off dramatically.  As a reader, I found this understandable, but frustrating.  I really wanted to know how the program would go, what I could expect, what would happen when I finally got to Disney.  I promised myself that I would be diligent with my blogging, continuing to record my experience no matter how long the days were, or how late I was working.  I told myself that I would find the time. And yet, here I am, five days into my program, and I’ve only posted once.

And, oddly enough, time hasn’t been the problem.  Sure, I’ve been busy.  But there has also been plenty of down time.  I still haven’t worked a full day since I got here half a week ago.  But the real issue has been content.  Although there has been plenty of exciting things happening, there has been a lot of hesitancy to share too much, and this has intimidated me whenever I thought about sitting down at the keyboard.

Disney is very serious about protecting the magic: they take the revelation of backstage information very seriously.  So much that’s happened in the last few days has taken place backstage, that it’s difficult to know what is considered confidential, and what I can write about freely.  Even if I was sure what I could write about, I wouldn’t know where to begin.  So much has happened in these last few days.  I’m going to try, however, so this post may be extra long.  Let’s get started, shall we?

On Friday, I went to Traditions, the general Walt Disney World training session.  Parts were a little…less interesting than others.  But most of it was actually  interesting, and even a little inspirational.  The things they talked about—how we can create magic for guests, why so many people return to WDW over and over again—made me feel lucky to be a Cast Member.  That afternoon, two of my roommates, Brit and Melissa, and I went to the Magic Kingdom to cap off a great Disney day.  We spent several hours at the park, seeing favorite attractions, viewing the parade, and just soaking up the atmosphere.

As exciting as Friday afternoon was, Friday evening was less inspiring and a little more depressing.  I spent the evening with my Mom and stayed with her at the hotel so I could take her to the airport first thing Saturday morning.  I was prepared for a long goodbye on Saturday and maybe even a few tears, but, after being told at the ticket counter that they would be closing the gate 30 minutes before takeoff, leaving my mom 2 minutes before they closed, there was so little time for goodbyes that we just hugged quickly before she ran off through security.  It really did make the process easier, though it was a little startling to find myself on my own so quickly.

On my way back to the apartment, I decided to take advantage of the full awesomeness of having nearly unlimited entry privileges at the Disney parks.  I swung by Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where I will be working, to check out possible work locations.  It was around 8:30 when I arrived, and, although the park wasn’t supposed to open until 9:00, all of the areas seemed to be open.  I shopped for a little in some of the shops on Discovery Island, and then decided to see if I could get on Dinosaur.  I could and did, and walked almost straight onto the ride.  Then I left.  I was out of the park before 9:30, just as it was starting to get crowded and hot.

Today was my first real training session, called DAKlimation.  If Traditions was the general WDW training, then DAKlimation was the general Animal Kingdom training.  Tomorrow I’ll have training specific to my  area, but today was mostly about learning the basic theming of each land in Animal Kingdom, and taking a guided tour around the park and backstage areas.

Then we got our costumes.  Mine is pretty bad, but at least I met several other people who have to wear the exact same thing.  It has a skirt, which isn’t bad, but the top is like a tent with a giant striped collar. So when I go to my training tomorrow, bright and early, I’ll be wearing my gorgeous new ensemble, complete with hose.