Friday, September 16, 2011

The Magic, the Memories, and Me!

I want to try and sum up my experience in the Disney College Program. Kind of a weighty task, huh? Taking a page from Rent, how do I measure it? In how many times I saw wishes? In how many inside jokes Natasha and I came up with? In how many creme brulees I consumed from Epcot's France? Haha well I'm just going to leave this as a way to post some of my favorite times, my favorite jokes, and my favorite memories.

*Traditions * That first time as a cast member * Have a buh buh * Itsakadoo...Z! * Watching wishes for the first time with my new friends * Manderella, Manderlla * Obviousleeeee * Pamela: I hate her * Tale as old as time * Casle Sweets! * Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from Roz! * David and David *Creme Bruleesa (mmmmm) * Bil! * We're pirates! * Why are you two inches tall? Why are you 12 miles tall?! * The time Natasha and I worked Golden Horseshoe and had Prince Naveen jump up on a bench beside me * Pooh bear is eating TJ's head...because it tastes like honey * Shoes on ma feet! Shoes on ma feet! * That kid who owned the magic carpets of Aladdin * The time we demolished the kitchen sink * The time we got serious judgment for eating a beach pail at Typhoon Lagoon * The time Natasha got picked for the Indiana Jones show * The time I got picked for Backlot Tour * Seeing Fantasmic for the first time in ten years * Seeing Wishes for the last time and bawling my eyes out * "Gosh, Minnie. You've always been a princess to me!" * Having the manager pull me from working at 'Ohana to go watch Wishes down on the beach * Finally getting my jungle cruise vinyl! * Deciding to trade it away on my birthday... and getting the castle vinyl! * I'm a dancer * Having the best birthday you could possibly imagine *Going to Wild Wings with Katie & Natasha... and going to McDonalds afterwards (or should I say after words) * Eating at Taco Bell... A LOT * Hearing the entire audience of Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue chant "Ky-le, Ky-le, Ky-le" as the performers egged him on to propose * Finally getting a picture with Mickey * Looking like a coffee bean * Giving away free coffee to Mommies on Mother's Day * Getting picked for Monsters Inc Laugh Floor... A LOT * Roomie breakfast at Crystal Palace * "I want a soft cold pancake on my arms: * Are the dodgers from Brooklyn? * Hi Sam. * Dan the Man * Trying on costumes... and wearing them to class * Steak & Shake! * That  time Frozone and I had a moment backstage * Getting a (henna) tattoo on April Fool's Day * NOT going to Epcot on that day it rained... then having an epic nap on the couch * Lots of epic naps * Did I...fall asleep? * The time the picture on Spaceship Earth future was me for both people! * Seeing Topiary Woody have eyes again * Tomorrowland Dance Party * Seeing some random girl try to grind on Chip * Seeing Dale dance to Ke$ha songs * Putting on pretty clothes for a Magic Kingdom photo shoot * Visiting Melbourne to see my Mommy & Aunt Patti * Eating at Restaurant Marrakesh * Having the cast members in Cosmic Rays sing me happy birthday * Getting free water bottles from Pinocchio's Village Haus * Dancing in MISICI for my birthday * Dancing in MISICI just because * Everybody scream... "AAAAUUUUUUUUUUUGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH"  *Getting awesome Jungle Cruise Skippers: Zac, Clay, & Nathan * Planning out the SBS complex * Never.Wanting.To.Leave. *

Yeah... I think that about did it.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Going Seasonal

Towards the conclusion of my program, I was able to apply to go seasonal, or in Disney terms, CT (Casual Temporary). I did this by informing my manager that I was interested, and he then relayed the message to his supervisor. They reviewed my performance and noted any incidences, (i.e. being late to work, calling in sick). In late April, I was approved as a seasonal cast member (eeeeeeeeeeeee!).

Now a few weeks ago, I received a letter saying that they were changing the requirements for CT cast members.  Many locations had different requirements of how often you needed to work and how many hours per year, but now they are standardizing it to 150 hours per year. Yikes! That's a lot of Disney time! Now I graduate school in December and have no further plans, so I can manage. But for people who live in, say, California, 150 hours is a big commitment. I think they're probably changing the rules because there are people who sign up, use the benefits, and never show up again. I can't really say anything against that behavior, because I haven't worked a single hour since my program (not for lack of want).

Additionally, I have to submit my availability for the next year by September 30. I'm hoping to go down in December post graduation and get all my hours done, but who knows how that will work out? Updates to follow! Who else out there is seasonal? What are you guys doing?
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PDD (Post Disney Depression)

People don't realize how much this experience is going to impact your life. I certainly didn't. Of course there's that amazing sense of possibility and excitement and anxiety before you leave, like you're about to embark on this incredible journey, but you really just don't have any clue what you're in for. Some of the best months of your life. Some of the greatest people you'll ever meet. A chance to do something you never thought possible.

Being away from family and friends is hard, but you know you're going back to them after a few short months. Being away from Disney is awful, because it really is a once in a lifetime experience. Even if you extend. Even if you do a second, or a third, or a sixth program (hey... it happens. There are some people who spend more time at Disney than at college). You're never going to have that same experience with those same people who changed your life in a time where you felt like anything was possible, and it was.

I can't just decide to go watch wishes tonight. I can't hop on the monorail after work for some late-night Laugh Floor. I can't go grab pizza in Italy then creme brulee in France. There will be times when I go back, and things will be amazing again, and I know that Disney is forever changed for me in a way that most people can't understand, but for the time being, I'll just have to live off the memories.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

And Now, the Most Dangerous Part of our Journey: The Return to Civilization

Today was my last day of work! Granted, I am now a CT (casual temporary) or Seasonal cast member, but I am done with my college program. And what an amazing time. Right now I'm packing up my car and then I drive home tomorrow morning. Fear not, I have more posts to come to cover the past like three months I haven't posted anything.

Speaking of which, if anyone has any questions or requests for topics, please post in the comments!
Sunday, May 1, 2011

Typical Shift: PACing!

Parade Audience Control shifts are some of the most fun shifts I've worked while I've been down here. You get fantastic interaction with the guests, and get to be outside for all the action (not we get to watch it- our job is to watch the guests, not the parade).

Well seeing as I have worked a shift or two and definitely couldn't have done so if I hadn't gotten the proper instructions from Natasha on how to do it, I thought I'd pass along the knowledge. Since this is online, I'm going to try to use as much discretion as possible while still being helpful. I hope you understand. : )

First of all, for those of us who do not go to Magic Kingdom costuming on a regular basis, CHECK THE HOURS! I didn't get to work the first shift I signed up for simply because costuming was closed! On top of that, I forgot my stinking nametag. Stupid me. The second go round was much more successful. I had my costume (if you need help finding it, ask one of the costumers- they'll point you in the right direction), I had my nametag, and I was ready to go!

Now take the bus from West Clock - be sure you have your ID- and go to stairway #17 (I think). You should see people in costume heading that way, so if all else fails, follow them! Head towards the firehouse, and you'll clock in upstairs. Make sure you get there early enough to find your way and also get a seat for the meeting.

There will be tons of people who do PAC full time. They're going to toss around a ton of terms that you are completely unfamiliar with. Then everyone is assigned to a station, which will be in a pre-designated spot, and you'll have to locate your group and leader and go find one of those fun light up blue light sabers (good luck finding one that works, though). Follow your leader to your station, and listen to instructions. Answer questions from guests. Play light saber with kids. Get goosebumps from seeing "just married" couples. Get tears in your eyes from couples celebrating huge anniversaries. Joke with guests. Tell people that the park exit is under the train station, and yes, food is allowed on the monorails. Wish them a happy evening. Parade. Wishes. Remember why you applied to work for Disney.

Well I'll be. It's the Blue Fairy. <-- After you work a PAC shift, you will know why this is significant. Be prepared to have an amazing time. Yes, you will have guests who are angry that they can't stand there. Yes, you might get bypass (ugh). But you will also have guests sincerely thank you for your help.

One day while working an afternoon PAC shift, I was assigned to stand in a spot directly in front of the castle (score!). Later, my leader came over and asked me to assist a couple he had met. The woman was in a wheelchair, and wanted to watch Dream Along with Mickey, as well as the afternoon parade. The couple was from Canada, and they were down in Florida celebrating their 30 year anniversary. They were one of the sweetest couples I have ever met, and spending the afternoon with them was an experience that will stick with me forever. As they were leaving after the parade, she asked for a picture with me. She looks down at the camera after we'd posed, and she says "This picture is now my favorite souvenir from this trip. Thank you for a wonderful afternoon."

It's experiences like meeting that couple that make working at Disney incredible. It's something you can't possible describe the depth of; you have to experience it for yourself. I hope you have many wonderful PAC shifts!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In Every Job That Must Be Done, There is an Element of Fun

So we all have those days where one too many guests complained about how crowded the parks were... or how cold the restaurant is... or whatever! Those lovable people who make us want to pull out our hair. However, these days are definitely outnumbered by the awesome, amazing, disneyfied days. I thought it would be cathartic to point out some of the things I love most about my job, so if I do have a not so magical day, I can look back and say, "Wow! Am I lucky to be here or what?!"

  • I love that I can see the castle from my coffee bar
  • I love that the monorail runs righst by my restaurant
  • I love that people from Georgia will look at my nametag and immediately make a connection
  • I love saying "Aloha!"
  • I do not love my costume, but I love that I wear one, and not a generic polo and khakis, like everywhere else
  • I love answering questions about the parks
  • I love calling other resorts to help guests make reservations (eeeeeven though I'm technically not supposed to...)
  • I love in the morning hearing about the exciting things people have planned out
  • I love in the evening hearing about the fantastic experiences people had that day
  • I love watching the sunrise over the castle
  • I love guests who have just checked into the hotel and come up to us for breakfast
  • I love hearing the 'Ohana servers open the restaurant
  • I love spieling
  • I love the people I work with, I love the people I work for, and I love the people I really work for, our guests! They're the ones that make all the negative stuff worth it : )
Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reunited & It Feels So Good

Helllllooooooo Humans!

Sorry it's been a little while since I've been up. I've been busy, vacationing, and lazy. Also, everytime I get online stumbleupon, facebook, and EHH surfing are too enticing to keep me focused long enough for a good post.

I try to keep this blog about a general experience of the college program. It's true that it is a personalized experience of my time here, and I really enjoy reading folks' posts about their day to day adventures in the cp, but I also started this to give answers to the people asking the same questions I had before I came down to Orlando.

However, I am going to use this particular post a little selfishly. After three months of not seeing each other, my boyfriend Kyle and I spent an amazing week together. Then Kyle and Jessie tag-teamed and I spent the next three days with my mom, sister, and her friend. Week Awesome.

A picture is worth 1,000 words, and I'm getting lazy again, so I'm going to recap the week in pictures:

Islands of Adventure
Spiderman Attempt #1000000 (the ride kept breaking down)

 Dinner at Ohana! AAAAmazing

 I also got to participate in the Backlot Tour Pre-Show.

 For those of you who have never seen this, 

 You get very wet. 

Lunch at Sci Fi!

 Boating on the Sassagoula

 Lunch at Teppan Edo

 Building our future on Spaceship Earth

 Mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens. (Kyle won, but I came close!)

Dinner at Hoop Dee Doo 

I'm going to miss this kid a lot for the next 29 days. 

Speaking of which, omg! 29 days until graduation!! I'm not graduating until December, of course, but I'll be parading around in a cap and gown regardless. I am now entering the awkward zone of feeling like my program is ending way too quickly and also wishing I was with my family asap. Don't take it for granted, kids! Live it up while you can! By the way, in case you were interested, I promise we did more than just eat all the time, but DDP does make it difficult to ever get hungry. Cast discounts for the win!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bucket List Revisited

Everyone needs a Disney Bucket List. Even if you don't accomplish everything on it, it encourages you to go out and experience the parks and everything Disney has to offer. Here's mine! I have added and deleted things as we've gone along, and I probably won't get everything on it, but it's fun trying! 


Completed:
  • Eat the entire Kitchen Sink... with help!


  •  Kitchen Sink
    Kitchen Sunk

  • NOM NOM 


  • Ride the monorail 



  • I do this all the time!


  • Use extra spots on my main gate pass to let someone in for free


  • Pam & Frank for their second honeymoon!


  • Have the dessert trio... but not all at once (Pineapple soft serve from Adventureland, Mickey Dilly Bar from MK, and Chocolate Banana from AK... family tradition)


  • I have done this on multiple occasions haha 

  • Pending:

  • Ride every rides and see every show and all the parades in the world at least once


  • Save some money to walk away from the program with


  • Eat in each of the World Showcase countries

  • -Mexico: Nachos
    -Norway: Potato Cake Rolls
    -China
    -Germany: Pretzel
    -Italy: Chicken Alla Tutto Italia
    -American Adventure: Cheeseburger (typical amurica)
    -Japan
    -Morocco
    -France: Creme Brulee (more than once... haha)
    -United Kingdom
    -Canada
    Not Completed: 

  • Ride something back to back without having to wait in line


  • Go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


  • Ride Space Mountain with the lights on


  • Pick a pearl in the Japan pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase


  • Do a backstage tour


  • Visit Disney Quest


  • Get a picture with Mickey



  • Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Typical Shift! (By Natasha)

    Here is a post by my awesome roomie and role twin Natasha! She works at Cinderella's Royal Table and is super fantastic and I am so jealous of her retro life. Here she is!

    My restaurant is located inside the Magic Kingdom... arguably the most popular park here at the Walt Disney World Resort. Because I don't have a car here, I am one of the (un)lucky that get to ride the "A" bus to work. This bus is always full and, until another bus was added to the schedule, was a nightmare to get on. To ensure that I get to work on time I need to get on the bus approximately an hour and a half before the start of my shift.
    As a seater at my location, there are two main shifts that I could work: breakfast/lunch or dinner. I almost always get scheduled dinners, but some CP's at my location get almost all breakfast/lunch shifts so it can vary. My shifts usually start at 2:45PM and end anywhere between 10:15PM and 12:15AM.
    After getting off the CP bus, I usually run inside the costuming building to pick up my costume, then catch another bus that takes me backstage. When I am changed into my costume, I go clock in. One of the things that was hard to get used to was that when working the dinner shift, you are assigned to go on your lunch break right away...I have now learned to love that and enjoy the time spent with my coworkers before we all go start in our positions :)
    When my break is over, I clock back in and get an assignment. As a seater there are quite a few assignments that I can receive: seater, seater/setter, updater, set-ups, greeter, greeter assist, or podium (I won't go into detail about each of these because I think this post is already getting pretty long!)
    In between rounds of seating, I will go down into the break room and fold napkins. In addition to the side work you are assigned at the end of the night (cleaning high chairs/boosters, lost and found, etc.) there needs to be 22 bins of napkins folded and ready for the next day. After that number is reached, you can either clock out or stay and do task work until your scheduled out time.
    After clocking out, I go change out of my costume and say a little prayer that I wont have to wait too long for the "A" bus...and that I will get an actual seat :)
    Oh! And because I hate doing posts with no pictures....here is a picture of me in front of my work location with a yummy treat :D hahahaha

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Typical Shift! (By Lisa)

    Hey guys! I recently received a request to share what a typical shift is like for me. Now, what a day is like can vary greatly for me from day to day because I have different roles within my FSFB role. Additionally, my restaurant's experience can be greatly different from another restaurant's. Therefore, I'm going to bring on a guest  poster to share about their shifts. But first, mine:

    I have a car, so that cuts back a lot on my travel time. The time of day can change how long it takes to get to work, but typically I leave about forty minutes prior to the start of my shift. This gives me ample time to drive, park, and go clock in. Depending on what kind of shift it is differs here. If it's coffee bar, I have to go set it up. If I'm assignor, I know ahead of time (usually haha) and start by pre-assigning the parties and making sure the dining room is ready. If I'm a seater or greeter, I usually just walk up to the podium and make sure there's someone available to greet guests and answer questions.

    For seating, you wait until the table's ticket pops up, you prepare the appropriate menus (adults vs. children + sushi if it's dinner), page or go find the party, and walk them in to their table. We have a spiel, as most restaurants do, but the length and tone vary greatly.

    For greeting, when a guest approaches the podium, you welcome them, answer questions, check in reservations, create new parities on the walk-in list, assign pagers, and deal with a lot of complaints. We do not have the reservation system on our computer, but many restaurants do.

    If it's a dinner shift, we have a meeting half an hour prior to opening, but breakfast is usually more relaxed and casual. Once we open, the other seaters and I will take turns bringing guests in and greeting at the podium. I personally prefer greeting guests, but I know a lot of people who prefer seating, so it's a personal thing. During the am shift, you get a 15 minute paid break and a 30 minute unpaid lunch. During the pm shift, you don't have time for such foolishness. Haha so typically for pm at the end of the night we sign a sheet saying we didn't get a break and then our paystub will reflect the change.

    If things start getting slow, someone will go fold napkins or make trays or wipe down high chairs. This is a lot easier when there are more people scheduled but sometimes you just have to make due with the people you have available, because we have to have six tubs of napkins and one cabinet of trays prepared for the meal, regardless of how many people are working.

    After the meal, we get things set up for the next shift, and go clock out! Granted this is just a typical shift and there's no such thing as typical at Disney World, however it gives you an idea at least. Toodle-oo! I'm off to have a non-typical day of fun in the parks with Natasha!
    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    A-loooooooo-ha! (Cross-Training at Ohana)

    I had such a crazy morning today! I started out at 5, opening the coffee bar. However, I was told there was a chance that the guy originally schedule for today might show up. This wouldn't be the first time something like this happened; I was just glad he didn't show until seven or so. There's nothing worse than getting to your job at 5, only to find out you could have slept in another two hours or so, haha. So the other person shows up, and I'm told that if I want, I can go over to 'Ohana to cross train for a bit. I tried not to hide my excitement, but I'm pretty sure my answer came out as"omigosh totally awesome yeah that sounds good"

    If you recall, Ohana was actually in my top three choices for work locations, so getting to cross train there (and pick up more shifts later on) is just incredibly amazingly awesomely terrific. I love working at Kona. I love the people, I love the antics, I love the diversity and flow of my shifts. However, the atmosphere at Ohana is just so much more thoroughly Disney. For one, when you walk in, Mickey is usually right there. For another, they have THE best view in the entire world. Or, rather, entire "World." From Ohana's windows, you can see the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Grand Floridian, the Main Street Train Station, and of course... CINDERELLA'S CASTLE! *magic sparkle sparkle*

    Ohana is so much different from Kona, and I love working at both for different reasons. I am so fortunate that I have had so many great opportunities in my program. If you are interested in cross-training, let your manager know as soon as possible. Tell all your managers. The more you let them know you're interested in expanding your experience, the more they'll be able to help you out. Disney is an incredible company with endless opportunities, so take advantage of it!
    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Picking Up Extra Shifts

    One thing I was interested in finding out was how much I would be able to pick up shifts at places other than my statused location. For those of you know don't know, you are typically statused to one location. This can vary based on your role from being in one location (e.g. Kona Cafe) to an entire land (e.g. outdoor foods in frontierland). Your other options for adding some diversity into your work schedule are: (a) deployment- happens by chance and work needs; (b) cross training - I'll get into this is a later post; and (c) picking up extra shifts!

    Since this is a blog about Full Service Food & Bev, I can't really speak for other roles because I don't have any experience with them. However, for me, there are actually a few different options in what I can pick up. These include other table service locations (having podium excellence training really helps), quick service shifts (they're always looking for people at the value resorts and at Magic Kingdom), bell services driving (basically driving people back and forth from the resort parking lots- requires a driving licence), and Parade Audience Control (yaaaay!!).

    I love love love PAC shifts. Their only requirements are that it won't put you into double time and that you have a role that involves heavy guest interaction. Let's face it. Every CP role has heavy guest interaction, so you should be set.  PAC shifts are so much fun! They can get really stressful, depending on where you're stationed. They can also be really boring (if you get bypass- booooo). However, every shift I've worked has been more than worth it. The parade atmosphere is generally a fun one to be around. If you don't mind herding people and answering questions, you should give it a shot sometime! I'll give a more detailed post about PAC shifts later. Until then, Happy Leif Ericson Day! A Dinger Dinger Dargon.

    Guests Say the Darndest Things

    Everyone has complaints about their job. Everyone runs into strange guests, and everyone has their frustrating days. For the most part, I love love love my job. I love the transformation of the Polynesian from night into daytime when I work the coffee shift. I love seeing the monorails pass by. I love how, if you look carefully, you can see the castle from the cash register.

    However, there are still those funny folks who say those funny things. For example, there are an insane amount of Twihard moms out there. If I had an extra dollar for every preschooler Bella I encounter, well I'm not allowed to receive extra money. Kona is a non-tipped role. Unnnlessss I say no three times, but I would never even thi... no no no, thank you!

    Anyways, here are some of my favorite questions that I am asked:

    "Where is the monorail?" (We are literally right next to the monorail)
    "My pager just went off. What does that mean?" (Well, when I said "we'll page you when your table is ready," I wasn't kidding)
    "Are there any better restaurants around here?" (I'm sorry, but would you like it if I walked into your workplace and asked if you could recommend a better place for me to go?)
    "How much time is left on this?" (I'm sorry, ma'am. It's a pager, not a ticking time bomb. We'll let you know when it's your turn.)

    This leads into some of my other favorite scenarios.

    There's the guest who has a skewed conception of time. "I have been waiting forty-five minutes and I want to be sat now!" I have a timer that shows how long you've had that pager, and it's been eight minutes. Calm down.
    There's the guest who sends their kid to do the dirty work. "Excuse me, ma'am, I was just wondering if we would be getting a table soon. I'm just so hungry. Being four is hard." *Sad puppy dog face*
    Then there are the people who don't understand that there are other people who want to eat at our restaurant, too. The people that don't understand that a quiet booth with good lighting and a comfortable temperature close to the window away from any children doesn't exist. Not in Disney World at least. Come on, people! It's Disney! The place is made for kids!

    When I encounter these crazy people, it can be easy to forget the good things. To forget that I have one of the most beautiful views on property. To forget that at 8:00 every night, Wishes is piped into the resort's sound system and if you listen hard enough, you can follow along. It can be easy to just get lost in the frustrations, but when you see a little girl light up when you call her princess, or see a couple in love celebrating their 50th anniversary, it's not so hard at all : )
    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    I left my apartment at 4:15 AM today

    I am exhaussttttttttttteeeeeeeeedd. Was planning on posting something but I am too tired to do anything tonight. Got some post ideas for near future. Sorry for sentence fragments.
    Friday, February 18, 2011

    VoluntEARing

    The other day, Natasha and I signed up to volunteer, and it was SO much fun! Every Wednesday and Sunday, a group of CP's drive out to Give Kids the World, an organization that hosts children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. They house the families in villas and provide the kids with the opportunity to have the most amazing week of their life. Wednesday was "Kids' Night Out," where we take the kids to go play and have dinner for a few hours, so the parents can relax while we're having fun.

    As a recreation major, babysitter, and employee of the largest family vacation destination in the world, I've had plenty of access to children, however the situation was obviously still delicate, and I was a bit nervous going into it. What if I said the wrong thing? What if I couldn't think of anything to say at all? However, I had such a great time, and I definitely would recommend this to everyone!

    The day began with Natasha and I meeting up at the Commons, where you drive over as a group. However, when we went to check-in, we found out that they had signed us up for the wrong day! We just had to wait and hope someone wouldn't show up. Luckily, there were just enough open spots, and we got our t-shirts and headed to the van.

    When we got to the village, I was just amazed. It is like they took a kid's vision of a perfect world and created it for these children. After a quick orientation, we headed over to Amberville, the gaming area. They had a mini-golf course, arcade, tvs, and this awesome train set. There weren't actually enough kids signed up for everyone to have a buddy, so Natasha and I ended up helping set up for dinner.

    We went back to round up the group when we ran into a family with three kids who wanted to join up with us, so Natasha and I got to have buddies! We headed back to dinner and then to "Village Idol," where the kids and their buddies can show off their dancing and singing skills. It was soooo cute and you could tell everyone was having a great time.

    I had so much fun and will definitely be signing up for some more volunteering events!

    P.S. The next day we ended up running into the family at Hollywood Studios!! Crazy!!
    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    You Wanna Be On Top?







    Yesterday, Kristina and I attended an open call for face character auditions! Neither of us made it, but that's probably a good thing. Kristina would really love to be a performer someday (hopefully as Belle), and I wanted to see what auditions were like, so we headed over to the Animal Kingdom Rehearsal Facility after a day at Epcot.

    I know some of you are probably interested in the auditioning process because at some point, you're going to consider what it would be like to a princess or something. I did... briefly. Then I remembered that I don't really like children, acting, or being uncomfortably dressed up. I would much rather be friends with Goofy or something where I could be a little less dressy and a little more... goofy? Sorry, couldn't think of a better word : )

    Anyways, here's how the day went: There were two "auditions": one at nine and one at six. Check in begins an hour before auditions start, so we got there around 4:45. There were already about 100 girls in line. Since we'd been walking around a park, we went and changed (which later proved to be unnecessary), and by the time we came out, another 100 had lined up. We ended up being #s 203 and 204 out of 250. Turns out there were another 500 in the morning audition, so out of around 750 girls, only about 30 were pulled to go to the second round. I wish I could tell you more about that part, but I wasn't one of the 30.

    So you stand in line, get your height measured (mine was right on target), write your name on the check-in sheet, get a sticker with your number on it, and wait for your group to be called. They take you in groups of 50, so we were the last group to be called. We lined up, were taken down a hallway, and told to go into a room with a large mirror. You stand in lines of ten, they play music, and you smile at the person at the front, who will write down notes about what they see, I guess. Or maybe they're drawing rainbows and unicorns, who knows. Basically you wait for a long time for something that takes less than five minutes... a lot like going on a ride at Disney, haha.

    In other news, I have officially earned my ears and taken off my ribbon. Yay!!
    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Edumacation

    So now for the Learning part of "Living, Learning, and Earning!"

    For the classes, you register within two weeks of your check-in date at the Education center at Vista Way. There are usually two options of either a morning or afternoon class, but they are all for four hours, and could be on any day of the week (m-f). Mine is 8:30-12:30, which is nice because I'm done early... except for the fact that I am scheduled every week for a pm shift on class days, so my Mondays are quite long.

    You take your class in one of the classrooms at either Vista or Patterson, which is totally convenient. Well, it's better than having to trek out to Disney University.

    For my class, which is Advanced Studies in Hospitality Management, the majority of our grade comes from a business plan that we work on throughout the course of the program. For the most part, I believe I will enjoy this class a lot.  I'm taking it with one of my roommates and it's a topic that I find very interesting, especially considering I'd like to work in the field of hospitality someday. However, you choose your group on the first day and you are randomly assigned the topic that you will base this major assignment off of. I understand that the course material has to be thoroughly approved by Disney Legal, but I feel like there are a few things that they could improve upon.

    I did not create this blog to be a diatribe or a forum for my complaints. I want it to be a document of my experience working in FSFB so that other people interested in this role can understand a little more about it. Because of this, and because the internet can be a nasty place when unleashed, I am not going to go into the personal details of my teacher or any of my classmates.

    However I will say one thing about my personal feelings towards the instructor. From what I currently understand of her, I do not believe that she is the most qualified person for the position. She has no experience either teaching or even in the hospitality field. She has been in the position for a number of years, and yet I still felt like she was unsure of herself. I won't say any more than that so that her privacy is respected, however I can't help but be disappointed. When I read other's experiences with their classes, they had teachers from the tops of their fields who had a passion for their subjects as well as for the company. The only reason she gave for taking the position was so that she could have regular hours.

    I hope this doesn't discourage anyone from taking the classes! This is just my one experience, and the collegiate classes are much different from the exploration series and professional development series. I'll keep you updated with how the class goes!
    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Waking Sleeping Beauty

    Hey all! Things are still going magically, of course. I'd LIKE to be able to post about how I am done with my training. I'd LIKE to be able to talk about how wonderful it is to not have that pesky ribbon on my nametag. However, after nearly a month of training, I still am not able to do so. Kona Cafe apparently has the most thorough training process on Disney property. While other people have been official non-trainees for weeks, I am still earning those ears. Oooooh well.

    This week has been crazy! I've had three coffee bar shifts, which means three 4 am wake up calls and three mornings where I have to leave the house before 5am. Not cool. However, coffee bar is awesome (once I'm awake enough to appreciate it). It is so much fun! I have my own space and am in charge of the little coffee world. And people at Disney, they like their coffee. It takes a lot to deal with children dragging you around the park for twelve hours. Parents, we salute you. Now buy some five dollar coffee. Just kiddles. Wow, I'm sorry. I will never say kiddles again. That was horrible.

    I will leave you with this: if you have the opportunity to see the documentary "Waking Sleeping Beauty,"  DO IT! It is an amazing film that talks about the revitalization and rebirth of the Animation department of Walt Disney Studios during the 1980's. It shows how the films we grew up with came to be and how those years shaped the company to be what it is now. The Eisner era is really one of the most interesting times in Disney history and I've always loved learning about it. Believe me, you won't regret it!
    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    It's My Money Card, and I Need It NOW!

    Just a brief word of advice: don't put something in the oven right before you go out to do laundry. It's highly possible that the money card machine will break down while you are loading your clothes and you will have to run around your apartment complex like a mad person and go to three laundry rooms AND the clubhouse before you find a machine that works.
    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    OJT Schedule

    Now I know this will be very different for every single person who goes through Full Service Food & Beverage training, but I thought I would share what my training schedule was like so you could maybe get an idea of what yours will be like. I know for a fact that various locations for fsfb OJT,  or "on the job training", are different because I had ten days of training before my assessment, while my roommate Natasha only had two. Haha maybe Kona Cafe is just very thorough.

    Anyways, after Traditions, I had my resort orientation day, a day of online learning basics at Disney University, and a day with both online learning and location orientation. I didn't start my OJT until a week after Traditions, but from what I understand, that was a long time to wait. But believe me, I made up for the time wasted because I then had seven straight days of shifts lasting seven hours or more. It was tiring, but I was just glad to finally be starting work and getting some hours in.

    For our location, there are five different roles that a front of house seater can do. They are: seater, greeter, assigner, coffee bar, and runner. This breaks up into several smaller tasks that I won't go in to. Here is what my training schedule was like to learn these roles.

    OJT 1- Culinary, Bakery, Bar... aka tasting day! Read more about it here
    OJT 2- Podium Overview... learning a little bit of everything about my different roles as an FOH seater
    OJT 3- PM Server & Runner... follow around a server and run out their food when it comes up
    OJT 4- PM Seating & Greeting... seating and greeting at night (obvious)
    OJT 5- PM Assigning... assigning the parties to the servers and tables
    OJT 6- Podium & Assigning... working both of these roles
    OJT 7- AM Seating & Greeting... seating and greeting during the day (also obvious)
    OJT 8- AM Podium... doing podium stuff for the breakfast and lunch shift
    OJT 9- Coffee Bar day one... working the coffee bar! Fun but early in the morning (5:00 am!)
    OJT 10- Coffee Bar day two... see above
    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Taste Testing

    Yesterday I had my first day of on the job training, but oddly enough, I didn't even touch anything relating to my actual role. Instead, I donned my nifty chef's outfit and followed people around the kitchen all day for my culinary training. Our location does it so that we're familiar with the menu and can adequately describe and recommend dishes. And because it's yummy. But mostly, it's kind of boring and hurt my feet. I literally just watched people cook for like ten hours. It was interesting, but I always felt like I was in the way. The kitchen is a scary place with lots of scary terms and words. I really enjoyed the free Banana-Chocolate Creme Brulee, though!!
    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Time to Face the Music

    Okay, after a long and wonderful day off playing at the parks, I'm ready to face my costumes again, with their too-short pants and the too-high waist. I feel like a mom from the early nineties who makes her clothes from left over fabric other people don't want.

    If this is my employer reading this, jk! I totally love my costume and my job : D : D : D

    Anyways, here they are! My "fantastic" costumes....

    FOH seater:
     FOH bar:
    Culinary:
    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Dressed For Success

    Well the past couple of days have been fun, boring, stressful, relaxing, and of course, very interesting. I feel so behind because I have yet to actually start working at my location. I've done a tour of my resort (the Polynesian), I've done a LOT of online training modules, I've gotten a tour of my location, and met some of the managers and people who work there.

    Today was my second day doing work on location at the Poly, and that meant that we got to go to costuming! I got a sneak peek of the Magic Kingdom costuming department yesterday, and that was intense. Luckily, we have one just beyond our parking lot, so I can even pick up and drop off costumes on the way to work. Like I said, since it's just for our resort and not an entire park, the building was smaller and didn't have as many different costumes in it, but it was still overwhelming, and it was pretty much a do-it-yourself kind of place. After several attempts of finding the right shirt and pants and other items, I was ready, and ended up checking out 18 items. Yikes.

    What's cool is that for my restaurant, I get three different outfits/combinations: culinary (where I get to wear a cute chef outfit), front of house seater, and front of house bar. Yay! I'll post later with pictures of the outfits. I don't feel like changing anymore right now.

    Piece of advice: when you go to get your costumes for the first time, don't wear a complicated outfit! Wear something you'll be able to take off and put on easily. You'll be changing A LOT.
    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Mahalo

    Hey! I've now gotten over 1,000 hits to this blog, most of which were probably from my sister. People from 10 countries have visited my site! Thanks to everyone who's come by to say hello. : ) I hope you're enjoying it!
    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Huh? What? Oh, sorry folks, guess you caught me snoozing there fore a second. I've never really had any problem with staying awake once I woke up, even if it was early. But for these training sessions I've been waking up in the 5-6 o clock range, and by the time I get home early afternoon, I'm tuckered out. And it's not just me: yesterday our entire apartment had a nap time for about two hours. The College Program wears you out.
    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Living in a Perfect Day

    Today was awesome. Traditions was fine, mostly boring, and afterwards I was exhausted and hungry, so I slept until 4:30. At five, we headed out to register for classes and spend some time in the parks.

    We didn't get to Hollywood Studios until six, and it closed at seven, so we decided to make the most out of our time, and we got on Tower of Terror, Rock N Rollar Coaster, and Toy Story Midway Mania within the hour. After that, we went over to Epcot and got dinner in Mexico by the lake, where it was verrrry chilly. We walked around World Showcase and when we reached France, it was dessert time, so we all got something from the bakery at the back of the pavilion. By that time, Illuminations was starting, and we got the perfect spot to watch them. Although we only spent about three or four hours between the two parks, it was a great way to kick off our time in the parks and I am so excited to go again!
    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

    Both Natasha and I recieved a phone call from Disney today, informing us that our traditions class was changed to the morning. Now all four of us will be loading on the buses at 6:45 tomorrow morning! SO excited to start!
    Monday, January 10, 2011

    My first week

    I am all checked in and moved into my apartment. We're not completely settled yet, but after the day we've had, having everything out of my car is an achievement.

    I got my work assignment today, as well as my apartment (obviously), and my training schedule for this week. I'm not going to go into all the details of the check-in process, because there are some other great posts that can do that for me, but it wasn't actually that bad. I'd say our time frame was perfect: we got there at 7:30, waited until a little before 8 when we were let in, left for casting at 8:30, and were back by 11. It was awesome. After that, we got lunch, moved in all the stuff, and headed to the housing meeting at 2:45, which was (no offense Disney) supremely boring and lasted two hours.

    Now, for the grand announcement, I will be working at...

    Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Resort!

    I am so so so relieved to have gotten a location I like. Well, I'm assuming I'll like it. I haven't been there before, but I wanted a restaurant that was in either MK or a resort associated with it, and I've always wanted to go to the Polynesian. I am so happy to have a nice location to be working at, and it was so cool to hear where all the different people I met were going to work. Our whole apartment seems to have lucked out: Katie will be lifeguarding in both Grand Floridian and the Polynesian, Natasha will be working at Cinderella's Royal Table (AWESOME), and Kristina is working icon attractions in Hollywood Studios (no clue on what that means.. she finds out Wednesday.)

    My schedule for this week is:

    Monday- Check in, Housing meeting 2:45
    Tuesday- Off
    Wednesday- Traditions 2:00 with Natasha
    Thursday- Off
    Friday - Orientation to Restaurant
    Saturday - Food & Beverage Training at Disney University with Natasha

    It's going to be a very exciting week and I can't wait to get started! It's nice to have so much free time but at the same time I want to be officially official : )
    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    1 Day!

    10 People I'm Really Going to Miss (In No Particular Order)

    AHHHHHHHH! Check in is tomorrow! I can't believe I've come this far and now I'm finally here, about to check in and become an official Disney employee. I'm so happy to start the program, but it's going to be soooo hard being without certain people in my life for four months. They're the ones that make my life great and I love them all so much. I'm not going to be able to write much for this post, because if I do, I know tears will ensue, and I hear they're not good for keyboards. I'll just leave it up to pictures to sum up some of the people whom I love most in my life.


       1. Kyle 
    I'm going to miss this guy a lot 

       2. Dad

    3. Mom 

    4. TJ 

    5. Jessie 
    She is my soul sister. And my sister sister. Being at Disney without my Mims will be hard : (

    6. Prince 
    Yes, my dog made the list. He is adorable and the best dog in the world.

       7. Mercy 
       8. Gillian 
       9. My Flagline Ladies 
       10. My Sousa Buddies 

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    Saying Goodbye

    Tomorrow, I leave to drive down to Orlando. It will be just my mom and me, because the next week's winter weather is making it look like it might be difficult to get back up after dropping me off, and people have school and work to take into consideration. Yesterday I said goodbye to my brother; today, I said goodbye to my boyfriend; and tomorrow morning, I will say goodbye to my sister, dad, and dog.

    As a send-off present, Jessie surprised me with a funfetti Disney cake, complete with Mickey candle and Disney princess shaped sprinkles. My mom sang "Happy Internship to You" and we all enjoyed one of the last nights we'll have together for a while.
    The cake... after our family got to it : )

    Saying goodbye to Kyle was tough. I'm used to my brother being in another state, and even though they are less than two hours away, my family and I still adapted to the change of being apart for the school year. However, even during the summer Kyle and I are not apart for long, and if we are, it's a 45 minute drive. I don't know how I'm going to handle being apart for four months. We haven't been apart for four weeks. Heck, it's less than four hours since he left and I'm not doing so hot.

    Maybe getting down to Disney and starting things up will help, but until then, the waiting is hard.

    Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

    Elsewhere! In Georgia, we're expected to get winter weather and snow all next week. In Orlando, the lowest low is 40. Awesome. This is why I'm glad I'm doing the Spring program. Well, among other reasons. : ) P.S. Does anyone else think they got Tuesday and Monday's pictures mixed up? 

    2 Days!

    2 Things I Will Not Miss At All (In No Particular Order)

    1. My stupid dishwasher which has been broken since I moved into the apartment. 
    2. The Milledge bus route and its riders. For those who know what I'm talking about, you know. For those who don't, be glad you don't.
    Friday, January 7, 2011

    3 Days!

    3 Things I'm Really Going to Miss About Georgia (In No Particular Order)

    1. Snow day in March
    2. Getting to see my family all the time
    3. G-day and all the excitement of spring semester

    The Final Countdown

    Aaaaand now that song is playing in your head. : )

    Since about the 70 day mark, I've had a paper chain counting down until Christmas (red and green links) and, of course, check-in at the CP (purple).

    Now I'm down to the last four links! I can't believe that check-in is almost here! 


    I can't wait to be walking main street with the castle ahead of me! I'm so sad to leave my friends and family, but I know that doing the College Program is going to be such a good way to start off my career and get my foot in the door. There are some amazing experiences waiting for me down in Orlando, and I'm so excited to get down there and get started! 

    I hope all my fellow Spring CPers are having a good time preparing to travel down to Florida!
    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Done!

    I have officially completed packing my car. With the exception of things I'll need in between now and Sunday, everything is in there, from my clothes to my printer to my on-boarding paperwork.

    I'm not going to lie, I've always considered myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to packing my car. I've made about eight trips over the past three 1/2 years in between college and home, and even with all the awkward angles of my trunk and backseat, I always manage to get everything in securely. I'm especially proud of this trip, because I'll be having passengers in my car, so I had to ensure that there was enough room for everyone and their long legs (a family trait). It's like a complicated three dimensional puzzle and I solved it. Booyah. Happy packing!

    4 Days!

    4 People I Cannot Wait to Meet (In No Particular Order)

    1. Katie
    2. Kristina
    3. Natasha
    4. Elizabeth 

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    If It Fits, It Ships

    So the more I load up my car, the smaller my trunk appears and it seems like the pile of things I need to bring is getting bigger and less likely to fit in there. I have an Altima, which has a decent amount of room, but my family is driving down with me, so EVERYTHING has to fit in my trunk so that people can fit in the cabin of the car. We'll see how this goes...I've got four days until we actually drive down, which should be plenty of time to find a shrink ray or space bag the size of my trunk.

    5 Days!

    5 Things I'm Excited About For The College Program (In No Particular Order)

    1. Trying all the yummy food
    2. Free admission to the parks!!
    3. Working in an awesomely themed restaurant
    4. Warm weather
    5. Grocery Bingo

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    6 Days!

    6 Disney Resorts I'd Like to Visit (In No Particular Order)

    1. Grand Floridian
    2. Wilderness Lodge
    3. Polynesian
    4. Port Orleans
    5. Animal Kingdom Lodge
    6. Boardwalk

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    7 Days!

    7 Characters I Want My Picture Taken With (In No Particular Order)

    1. Mickey
    2. Minnie
    3. Eeyore
    4. Pooh
    5. Tiana
    6. Belle
    7. Goofy

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    8 Days!

    8 Disney Movies I Love (In No Particular Order)

    1. The Little Mermaid
    2. A Goofy Movie
    3. Ratatouille
    4. Beauty and the Beast
    5. Up
    6. Finding Nemo
    7. Toy Story 1 and 2 and 3
    8. The Princess and the Frog
    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    9 Days!

    9 Rides I Can't Wait to Go On (In No Particular Order)

    1. Pirates of the Caribbean
    2. Jungle Cruise
    3. Rock N' Roller Coaster
    4. Great Movie Ride
    5. Splash Mountain
    6. Astro Orbiter
    7. Walt Disney World Railroad
    8. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    9. Expedition Everest

    Happy New Year!
     

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