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Monday, January 30, 2012

Magical Memories

On Saturday night I had my first shift as floorstock in the sports resort.  I've decided I don't enjoy floorstock becuase it's tiring and there isn't as much interaction with the guests.  However, since it was my first night as floorstock one of my managers, Hilary, pulled me aside to discuss the job.  She explained how to use critical thinking based on the financial reports.  I mentioned the fact that I love numbers and she let me have a look at her reports! I was in heaven! 

Sunday night was my first night in the movies resort and I was so glad to find out I was on a register/ a greeter.  We also had a CP welcome meeting for all of the CP's in merchandise who were working the night shift.  It was with Whitney and Adam who are both CP Alumnae.  Adam talked about how he is always there to help us get where we want to go.  There was so much information that we went over in the meeting that just made me so excited about the fact that I work at Disney, including info about backstage tours.  As I was working as the greeter I came across many language barriers, but most of the time I was able to work with the guest to overcome that obstacle.  My favorite story of the night was this little girl and her mom.  The girl never got out of her stroller and she bought a goofy plush toy.  Her mom was helping her count out the change so she must have been pretty young.  Then her mom said it was time for bed because they have a big surprise in the morning.  I was so excited for it and I didn't even know what the surprise was.  Turns out the surprise was tea with the princesses because she has been cancer free for a year now! It was all I could do not to tear up.  I also helped another family get started with pin trading.  The kids kept coming back into the store all night so excited about finding pins to trade.  It really is magical getting to be a part of these people's vacations! 

Today Courtney and I took our own vacation to Magic Kingdom! We took the monorail from the Polynesian Hotel and "Santa Fe'd" it up in the car by ourselves with the handrails.  When we got to MK we saw the show at the Laugh Floor and they said the joke that we texted in!  Next, we rode Buzz Lightyear's ride and saw Kalyn working!  It was so cool to see her at work!  Courtney total skunked me though.  Since we were in Tomorrowland we HAD to ride Space Mountain.  Out of the six of us in our car 2 had a birthday!  We got some cookie sundaes from the Storybook Treats shop, DELICIOUS and rode the carousel side saddle.  We rode Its a Small World and half of the Haunted Mansion.  Halfway through HM the ride shut down and the work lights came on.  Then the cast members came through and evacuated everyone so we got to walk through the ride with all of the lights on! It was the coolest experience ever! They were nice enough to give everyone a fastpass for any MK attraction and it didn't expire for 24 hours.  We decided the Jungle Cruise was a must and our tour guide was hilarious.  On our way out we stopped by to see some characters!

We used our fastpasses to see the princesses, Aurora, Belle, and Cinderella.  We took pictures with the first two and stopped to talk to Cinderella for a while.  Cinderella was asking where we work and told Courtney to watch out for Stitch because he made a mess of the castle the other night.  He's a master of disaster and put toilet paper all over it!  She was so nice and asked if we had any princes.  Courtney said she didn't and Cinderella said maybe she'll find one down here, but she needs to be careful with her glass slippers.  After that wonderful time we saw Mickey and Minnie!!!!!!  Minnie mouse loved Courtney's TOMS and commented on them immediately.  They all took a picture then the four of us took a picture.  Mickey then went to kiss my hand and Minnie got upset, so Mickey gave her a kiss too.  The Cast member pointed out my necklace and I had to confess it was Minnie mouse because she's my favorite.  Minnie got so excited and was so glad I said that.  Those two made the perfect ending to our magical trip to MK today.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Second day off and first closing shift

On Thursday, two of my roommates and I went to Hollywood Studios!  We walked in and danced with Chip and Dale.  They were a lot of fun and took pictures with us after our short dance session.  Then we saw Goofy and Pluto and took pictures with them.  We wanted to see Minnie Mouse in her cute pink dress, but she had to leave and go to Magic Kingdom.  After all the fun with the characters we went on The Great Movie Ride.  The other two had never been on it and they enjoyed it a lot!  Next, we rode Rockin Rollercoaster, my favorite ride at Disney!  The line was so short we got to ride it twice in an hour!  My roommate loved that one as well!  The Beauty and the Beast show was showing right after we got off the ride so we HAD to go watch it!  I had more fun trying to take good pictures of this than I did watching it this time around.  We walked through some shops on our way back to Hollywood Blvd and made it just in time for the flash mob before the parade! It was a lot of fun dancing on the street together, then we got to see all the pixar characters in the parade.  The last thing in the Studios was Toy Story Mania!  SUPER fun!!!  I finally got to win best in car this time with 139,100 points!  I was sooo excited.

We all went back home after our last ride to pick up our last roommate.  I met my mom in Magic Kingdom before the rest of them got there.  We walked around the shops and got a cookie to split.  The nice gentleman handing out the samples noticed that I was watching him very intently and handed us a sample.  We met everyone else on Main Street USA for the Magic the Memories and You and of courses Wishes!  It was so much fun having everyone together for the show finally.  I am so super glad my mom got to make it out there with us.  We all stood around after the fireworks talking and laughing and having a great time.  After my three roommates left my mom and I walked through the shops and it made me SO glad I don't work in Magic Kingdom.  It would be magical working there everyday, but it was SO busy.  My mom got me some sweats, a tshirt and ADORABLE placemats.  The placemats are Minnie Mouse themed and look FABULOUS on the table.  We both walked back to the Contemporary together and got to talk a lot.  It was really heart breaking to have to finally say goodbye to her.  A lot harder than I thought it would be. 

After my wonderful two days off I had my first real work/closing shift.  I was really terrified walking in because I didn't know anybody and my "Earning my Ears" ribbon fell off!  The shift went well though and I didn't have any major screw ups.  Closing wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I did feel really lost and didn't really feel prepared for it.  Everyone else was just doing their own thing so I walked around and pretended I knew exactly what to do.  It wasn't incredibly busy, but it was busy enough that the time went REALLY fast, which was nice. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Catching Up

Yikes! It has been so long since I've written, there is certainly a lot to  catch up on!  Since my last post I've completed my training, been working in the gift shop for two days, been to Magic Kingdom, and went to Downtown Disney! 

On Tuesday, January 24, I completed my assessment!  I am officially qualified to work in merchandise in Walt Disney World.  The assessment wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and I passed with a 92%.  On Monday and Tuesday I actually worked in the gift shop in the All Star Music resort!  It was very stressful because I was so nervous, but Tuesday was much easier than Monday!  Tuesday morning I had my first magical moment with a guest!  She was probably 3 years old and she asked why I had a princess Tiana pin.  Come to find out, that is her favorite princess.  So after talking with her a little bit I asked if she would like to have the pin.  She had a huge smile on her face as she took the pin and walked out of the store.  It's the moments like that that I was most look forward to, and they are just as rewarding as I imagined they would be.  So many guests come through, but each one has a different story if you stop to listen.  Disney World is such a magical place, I still can't believe I'm on the cast members who gets to create that magic.

Wednesday my roommate and I went to Downtown Disney!  She has never been, so we took our time and just looked around.  It was so hard not to buy EVERYTHING, especially with our discount!  She did purchase her first pair of ears though!  That was really exciting!  Then we ate at the Rainforest Cafe and enjoyed our discount there as well.  After dinner we strolled over to Goofy's Candy Shop and got a cookie for dessert!  We decided it would be fun to go see Wishes and ride the Haunted Mansion because she's never been on it! 

We arrived at Magic Kingdom with an hour until  Wishes.  After some pictures we ran straight to the Haunted Mansion.  We walked through the new interactive queue which I have never been through before, and it is a lot scarier than the ride itself!  The man who was running the ride finally opened the door without a smile on his face.  I made my roommate lock arms with me and it freaked her out.  She kept asking what was going to happen.  I reassured her it wasn't that bad and nothing was going to pop out at her.  We all walked into the enclosed room next where the walls grow.  The lights went out then flickered, and right when they came back on the Cast Member (who is a CP) was standing RIGHT in front of us with that creepy look again!  I screamed SO loud!! We laughed it off and got on the ride, she LOVED it!

We had plenty of time so we walked over to the castle to get ready for The Magic, The Memories, and You show, followed by the fireworks.  We both cried throughout all of it.  It never ceases to amaze me how Disney can create so much magic for so many people around the world!  We walked into the emporium on the way out and I got an oversized Minnie Mouse and she got a Dumbo.  Instead of going straight to wait in line, she taught me how to climb the wall so we could take a picture with our ears!  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Beginning of Training

I actually started training at All Star Resort yesterday.  Yesterday was really all about an orientation of the resort and today was starting to get into more merchandise specific stuff.  It has been really busy, but I promise I will still try my hardest to blog as much as possible. 

Yesterday's training we were with the food and beverage people, housekeeping, lifeguards, and front desk/concierge CP's.  I made a couple of friends in food and beverage and we hung out throughout the day.  We learned how to clock in then we sat down and went over an overview of the hotel.  It turns out the All Star Resort is the busiest resort on property and it is the 3rd largest resort in the world!  Then the manager of the resort came and talked to us.  He was a very nice man and I think I will enjoy working for him.  Then we took a tour of the resorts three themes, music, movies, and sports.  We learned where all the break rooms were and where our cast member areas are backstage. 

After our tour we got our beautiful costumes (uniforms.)  They are high waisted royal blue pants with a bright red top.  I must say it doesn't look good on anyone.  The pants run REALLY small, which meant that we had to get pants two to four sizes bigger!!  After our costumes we had to go over some SUPER boring safety stuff, but at least our trainers made it less painful.  Then I clocked out and arrived home about an hour and a half later, I think I'll start driving!  

Today was more merchandise specific, which was better.  I got to wear my costume for the first time!  It certainly made it easier to get ready this morning.  The first thing we did was some e-learning.  I was sincerely worried I was going to fall asleep I was so tired after an hour and a half of it!  Then they pulled us away to begin our merchandise training.  It was another orientation really, we took tours of all three merchandise stores in the hotels and learned all the rooms attached to it and behind it.  I'm really nervous about having to work in all 3 stores because of the differences in the 3 resorts.  It will definitely take some getting used to all of the differences so I don't lead the guests in the wrong direction!! 

After today I decided that I was put in a resort because of my Disney World knowledge.  This way I can help the guests with the questions they have about the park when they get home.  I met a couple of managers and they seemed super nice.  Also, my trainers said the managers are really nice and will never humiliate us in the store, they try to help us out by joking around.  That's definitely more of what I'm used to!  I made more friends today!! 

One of the last things we did today was receive our lanyards and pins!  The trainer told us to watch out for the pin traders who are out to make money on it.  Apparently there are people out there who see the pins as a money making scheme, which makes me sad.  I can't wait to make that magical moment for a guest, and maybe with a pin!  I am really excited about this journey I get to take and I can't wait to see what the next 4 months has in store for me! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012


First day in the Disney Look

According to Webster's Dictionary, tradition means the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another.  So yesterday I had a Traditions class with Disney.  They taught us all about the values that Walt himself put in place for the large company.  Even today the company is still using those values at keys to success in anything and everything that they do.  We started off in a classroom at Disney University and received our employee id's!! Then we got to observe the values in action... In the Magic Kingdom!!!!

We all got earpieces to be able to listen to our tour guide/teacher.  The teacher that took us on our tour is currently the manager of entertainment in Magic Kingdom!  He knew everyone that we saw.  We entered the Magic Kingdom through the underground tunnels, which was SUPER cool.  Then we walked down Main Street USA looking for examples of the values in action!  I mentioned something about the number of trash cans, and he asked if anyone knew the number of trash cans down Main Street up to the castle... 168!!  Then we went back to the classroom and talked about the examples some more.  

In the middle of our training class there was a knock on the door... it was MICKEY!!  He came in and was so excited to see everyone.  I got to hug Mickey and got a little character for answering a trivia question.  When Mickey came in he brought a present with him, which had our name tags.  We all got our name tags and became official Disney employees.  

This class really inspired me and reminded me of the magic Disney creates every day.  I can't wait to get out there and start learning and creating magic for others.  After watching so many Disney employees and how much they truly LOVE their jobs I want to be them.  I truly hope this is just the beginning and maybe one day I'll move up in the company and continue to work for the most magical place on earth. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Checking In!

Today has been absolutely crazy!  It started at 7 am, but it wasn't very hard to get up this morning considering I was headed to Disney.  We left my grandma's condo right on schedule, only to be stopped by a stopped train.  After going around that obstacle we made it to check in at Vista Way Apartments right outside of Disney World.  I hopped in line with my roommate and our suite mates were not far behind.  It was a little chilly, but the banana man provided us with bananas! 

Since so many people arrived early we were allowed to start checking in early.  We proceeded to the check in building where we received our College Program Guides, aka our best friend, and our room assignment.  When we were getting our room assignment I was chosen to be the "leader" and the other 3 got to hang out with "the cool people."  I walked up to the counter and began talking to the lady about anything and everything while she was doing some paperwork.  Then she asked the big question, "Where do you want to stay?"  I knew exactly what we all had discusses, a two bedroom in Patterson Apartments.  There were none left!! I was freaking out, I didn't know what to do.  So I looked back at them and asked if they wanted a 3 bedroom in Patterson.  The lady told me they had a two bedroom in Chatham Square.  We all decided that would be a good pick!  After getting our room and car decals we were on our way to the Walt Disney World Casting Center!!!!

I almost cried when I realized where we were headed next.  This is the place EVERY cast member goes through when they first become a cast member.  The bus ride there was SUPER fun with Cameron! He was hilarious and had us all sing Happy Birthday to my roommate.  Then we arrived!  It looked as magical as Cinderella's Castle inside and out.  As soon as we walked in we learned where we would be working for the next four months.  I was blessed with working in All Star Sport Resort in Merchandise.  I have to admit that I wasn't excited at first, but I have come up with tons of advantages to working there!!

1. Pretty normal hours, the stores won't stay open until midnight!
2. I'll see the same guests pretty regularly and be able to make relationships with them.
3. I won't get sick of the parks.
4. It will be really easy to drive to.
5. I won't have to learn how to deal with crowd control.
6. It will be pretty slow compared to the park merchandise stores.
7. I'll get to work with pins and trade pins!

That's a pretty strong list.  No reason to be upset there!  After the exciting part came all of the lines and paperwork.  There were so many lines and "stations" for us to go through, like background check, direct deposit for paycheck, I-9 documents, Disney Look, and so on and so on.  Then we got back on the bus with Cameron and went back to Vista Way.  I met up with my mom and dad, then we had lunch and headed to Chatham Square!

At Chatham we found out that my apartment is on the THIRD floor.  But its good exercise for me to add to my running routine.  My parents were awesome and helped me move in.  Everyone got settled and my bed looks AMAZING!!  My room looks like a princess room, very fitting for Disney.  All of our parents left, and it dawned on us that this is our new home.  So we all went out to Wal Mart after unpacking some.  We discovered there were no bed risers there so we went to a Super Target for a few groceries.  Again, they didn't have bed risers.  Apparently that's a good thing to buy BEFORE you come to Orlando.  Glad mom suggested I get mine earlier this week!  Then we took my roommate to Chic Fil A for the FIRST time in her life.  We decided to get the food to go so we could have our first meal in our new home!

She loved the food and we all laughed until we spit food, or choked on it.  So many great moments!  We have so much in common, but not enough to make us crazy.  I think the next four months hold a lot for the four of us!  And I will be sure to share it all with you right here!! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pre Arrival Event

So tonight I met my roommate and suite mates!!! I think we'll all get along just fine.  My suite mates are from Alabama and my roommate is from Michigan.  We all loooove Disney and can't wait to check in tomorrow! 

Tonight's event was eating at Captain Cook's and watching Wishes from the beach at the Polynesian hotel.  I met so many people, including someone from CP apartments and a professional intern who will be working for disney wedding planning!!! So jealous.  I would love to pick her brain and talk about how she got to where she is.  The girl from CP apartments is a full time cast member now, but she used to be a seasonal cast member.  I learned tonight that a seasonal cast member just has to work 140 hours out of the year.  There are so many options when it comes to continuing with Disney that I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Tomorrow morning is checkin and I'm going to be there at 7am!!! But I finally get to move in and figure out where I work!! It feels like Christmas because I'm so excited. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bittersweet Endings

This morning I taught my last Pure Barre class at work.  It was a fun class with five people at 6 am.  I wasn't upset or depressed about it until it was over though.  Throughout these next few days I need to stop and smell the roses a little bit longer than usual.  If I don't cherish these moments they'll be gone before I know it.

It feels like its graduation time, I keep counting all my "lasts."  I guess it is like graduation in a way because I'm starting a new chapter in my life.  Graduation wasn't a sad affair for me and neither is this.  I feel bad for not being sad about leaving everyone, but I'm leaving for Disney!  I won't lie, I have shed a few tears already, especially when I think about how much I am going to miss my boyfriend.

I have already downsized and taken things out of my room that aren't going to Orlando with me.  Now that I have started to pack it's starting to hit me that this is for real!  I still have a few things on my to do list.  I need to buy bed risers and a dust ruffle, and I need to sign up for calculus at Chattanooga State.

Over the next week I'll be busy getting ready for my move and helping my grandma get ready for her move.  On check in day I'm sure I will have tons to share!