Friday, October 1, 2010

Ryan's Magical Moment

I had to choose the guest of the hour at work today (yes, STILL at Flame Tree). I asked the manager for advice as this was my first “Magical Moment.” He told me to choose any guest, give them the special certificate and get all the other guests and cast members to make a big deal! I don’t have the best public speaking skills (but working at Disney is helping them to improve greatly), so I was just a little nervous. After scanning the crowd, I noticed a cute little boy wearing an “It’s My Birthday” button. I went over to him and whispering so only he and his parents could hear me, I asked if he wanted to be my guest of the hour! His whole face lit up, he was so excited! After finding out how old he was, I dug up my courage and made some magic happen. At the top of my voice I shouted, “Everyone, I’m here with my new friend Ryan and he is our guest of the hour! Can you please join me in giving him a big round of applause?” To which they all clapped and cheered. When the noise died down again I yelled “Ryan is here celebrating his ninth birthday, so to make today extra special for him, let’s sing “Happy Birthday!” Ryan could not stop grinning when I handed him his certificate and a giant birthday cupcake! It was so wonderful to see how excited Ryan got because I took the time to recognize his special day! And it made my day a lot better too! My heart was racing and I felt like I was shaking like a leaf, but when you feel like that on the inside, my instructors, trainers, managers and parents have always given me the same advice: “Put on your show shoes and never let them see you sweat!”

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Yesterday was a BLAST!! Scott and I went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom! However, before I was able to enjoy the party with Scott, I had to spend the day at work (yes, I’m still at Flame Tree). Work was not so fun. We were having major technical problems with the printers not working in the kitchen, so orders were being skipped, and then right when the lunch rush hit, both soda machines decided to STOP WORKING… thus, we had to hand pour each and every soda. Needless to say, by the time 4:45pm (or 16:45 as I continue to learn to recognize military time) rolled around, I was ready for some fun. And while I was “struggling” at work, Scott went and got our tickets!

So, like I said, it’s 4:45pm and I head for the cast member bus stop with a spring in my step because I just know that my day is going to improve 100% once I make it to Magic Kingdom. However, getting there was a NIGHTMARE!

To start off, I was catching the 5:18pm bus, which I was surprised came EARLY for once! However, the bus driver was training, and he missed the turn to the Animal Kingdom Lodge where we pick up and drop off more cast members. So, it took us an EXTRA 15 – 20 minutes to get turned around and back to the lodge. And because of this misfortune, I missed catching the F or K or D buses that would get me back to Chatham faster than the J bus (which I was on). Therefore, I had to sit on the bus at Vista Way for 15 minutes because it was during a driver switch time slot. I was so mad! Of all the days for THAT to happen! Once at Chatham, I practically ran all the way to Patterson because I still needed to shower and change and get back to Chatham to catch the A bus that would take me to Magic Kingdom.

Finally I make it to the Magic Kingdom and it’s around 7pm and I make the mistake of thinking that NOTHING ELSE CAN GO WRONG…. When I find out the monorail is currently not working and all guests must take the ferry, which takes around 7 – 12 minutes compared to the 2 – 3 minutes on the monorail. By now I was thinking the universe must be against me or something! I could come up with no other explanation as to why there were all these delays! Not to mention, the whole time I was trying to get there, Scott has been waiting for me in the park! I felt so bad because it was taking FOREVER!

But just when I thought I was never going to see Cinderella’s Castle or the Magic Kingdom Train Station, there it was, beckoning me to come and leave my trouble at the turnstiles. And so I did… and the rest of the evening was magical, the end. Just kidding, you want to hear about the party!!

Like I said above, we had to buy special tickets to be there as the park actually closed down to the public and only those of us with the cool Halloween wristbands could be there from 7pm – midnight. To start off the evening there was the villains mix and mingle. This was a special show on the castle stage featuring all the classing Disney villains! Afterwards, Scott and I were the first two in line to have our pictures taken with Maleficent, the evil queen in Sleeping Beauty.

Then we were off to find CANDY! There were candy spots located all over the park. There was even a candy trail in Toontown. These awesome locations were marked with a sign that said Goofy’s Candy Co. See one of those, and you knew there was candy close by! We ended up leaving the park with 2 full bags of candy each!!

Not only did we collect candy, we enjoyed the “shorter” wait for the rides as well! We went on Space Mountain (the picture of Scott from this ride was really funny! He’s so goofy!), Pirates of the Caribbean (in the gift shop of this ride, Scott showed me where the actual key and coin from the movie are located, many guests miss seeing them because they are kind of hidden), we went and saw Mickey's PhilharMagic 3D movie (where I’m not sure if I was more entertained by what I was seeing on screen or Scott, who was making little kids jealous by grabbing the jewels out of the air with a mysterious red light, the same little red light that he was using to entertain me all night long! It's cool watching him do different magic tricks!).

Waiting for Mickey's PhilharMagic to start!!

Of course we went through The Haunted Mansion, where the bride was sitting outside talking to the guests as they were waiting in line (while we were on this one, it stopped a couple times), then it was Peter Pan’s Flight and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (where I had no idea what I was doing!) And I feel like I'm missing some rides, but you get the idea, we were busy! We even had our picture taken in front of Cinderella's castle!

We also watched Mickey’s Boo To You Parade. It started off with a ride by the Headless Horseman and was followed by characters dressed up and ready for Halloween! The parade featured the classic Disney villains as well as the cast from The Haunted Mansion. One of my favorite parts included the grave diggers who had flint shovels. They would scrape them along the road and they’d let off sparks! It was so cool, but the sound reminded me of nails on a chalkboard. The parade ended with Goofy’s Candy Company and cast members handing out (you guessed it!) EVEN MORE CANDY!!

And let’s not forget how awesome watching HalloWishes was in front of the castle. (We were so close to the castle, at times it felt like the fireworks were going off feet in front of me, which they weren’t. The colors were amazing! Ahhh I can’t even describe how cool it was to see, many of the villains had a part during the show. To see the fireworks yourself, check out Scott’s vlog!

At the end of the night we were both so tired, and it was somewhat frustrating waiting for the bus to come pick us up. And my goodness, what a full bus that was. I don’t remember the ride home, I think I fell asleep. And after such a full and exciting night, sleep was a wonderful thing to get as I had to be up bright and early for work.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Running around....

Yeah for days off!!! I decided that today I was going to spend the day wandering around Animal Kingdom. Now I know what you are thinking, “Why in heaven’s name would I want to go to the very park I work at on my day off?” Well, the answer is simple, because even though I work there, I only see one building 5 days a week for 6 – 8 hours, and there is so much more that needs to be explored!

My day started on the 8:44am bus to Animal Kingdom where it would first drop me off at wardrobe so I could switch my dirty costumes from last week with nice new ones for this week .When I got back home I was met by a surprise birthday package from my best friend, Kira, who is currently living in Germany! I was so excited! She sent me German chocolate and a wonderful letter! It’s been so long since I’ve heard from her!

Then it was back out to the bus stop to catch a bus back to Animal Kingdom. It was so strange walking through the main entrance. When I go for work, I peel off to the right before the main entrance and make my way backstage where it takes me 2 minutes to get to work. Today, however, I had to walk through the whole park (okay, just a part of it) to get back to where my restaurant is located. It took about 10 minutes! I couldn’t believe it! On the way there, I stopped long enough to get a picture of Flame Tree, my “home away from home” if you will. Once at Resto, I decided to stop in for lunch and visit my friends while they were working! I ordered our Shrimp Po-Boy, which was DELICIOUS! After I was done eating, I took pictures of Resto. I love all the decorations! Just thinking about the amount of imagination that went into to creating that one location boggles my mind!

Then it was time to wander! But I didn’t manage to get very far because I got distracted by the “Finding Nemo The Musical” which was starting soon (just my luck!). And because I love that show so much and because I really didn’t have a plan for the day, I decided why not see it again?! (That makes 3 times since I’ve been here! And I will keep seeing it over and over!) It truly is an amazing show! Today, I saw the best actor playing the turtle, Crush. His vocal range was amazing! And the song “Go With the Flow” is quickly becoming my favorite! I already have it memorized! Check out this amazing youtube video (I don’t know if it’s the same guy that I saw or not) of the song!

When the show ended and we were all getting ready to leave the theater, Mother Nature decided THAT would be the PERFECT time to let a massive rain fall! It was pouring! You couldn’t see five feet in front of you! The cast members working at the theater were all very nice, they said that we could stay until it slowed down, but at the same time they were trying to get ready for the next group of guests coming in to see the finial production of the show that night. I stuck around the theater for 20 minutes or so hoping the rain would slow. It didn’t, of course, but lucky for me, I remembered my Disney raincoat (no hood, boo!) and had that to keep some of the water off me. I got tired of waiting and made a break for the bus stop. I was freezing by the time we got back to Chattam, I was soaked to the bone! So I made a snap decision to get on the Wal-Mart bus to buy a hoodie and sweat pants. (I really didn’t think I’d need those in Florida, I guess I was wrong.)
While waiting for the bus at Wal-Mart, I received a text message from one of my roommates begging me to come save her in Downtown Disney. She was there with a guy she met down here and she said the whole situation was just awkward. He wasn’t really talking to her. He didn’t really say anything to me when I got there either. Bright side of the evening, we at Earl of Sandwich, and my meal was so good! I will go back there to order something again! Anyways, we finally convinced this guy that we needed to be going for the night and he offered to drive us home, instead of us having to ride the bus back, so that was nice of him.

Back at home, I was still so cold that I put on my new warm outfit and climbed under all the covers on my bed and took a nice nap. And now that I’m up again…. Who knows what I’ll do now!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I’ve been deployed! I don’t know why, but for some reason or another, for this week I’m being sent to work at another restaurant in Animal Kingdom. I will be at the newly reopened Flame Tree, which means that I had to go get a NEW COSTUME! I like wearing this one because it feels like I’m wearing my PJs to work, but at the same time, I feel more comfortable in my Resto costume.

I had no idea where to go this morning or any idea about Flame Tree at all, so I was very grateful when I met a woman named Susan who showed me where the backstage entrance was and introduced me to everyone at Flame Tree so I would feel included.

It was weird being somewhere else. First of all, I had to walk through the park to get to the location, which is on Discovery Island, right around the corner from Dino Land USA, where I usually work. Also, everything but the kitchen is outside in the open. And there was no music playing! But, when Flame Tree opens at 11am, it is the most fun! We get to bang on pots and pans and yell and make a big deal so that all the guests know that we are open and ready for them to come! I suggest hanging around Flame Tree at opening to see this for yourself, it’s a lot of fun!

Because I’m not trained at this location, the only thing I could really do was filler on the counter, which was fine because you get to interact with the guests, but it’s done so differently than what I’m use to. There are four people who bring the trays of food to the guests, and four other people who fill the drinks orders and take only those to the guests. In theory, this method should work, however, it doesn’t because we aren’t suppose to take the food to the guest UNLESS they have their drinks and 9 times out of 10 the food will be sitting on the counter because the drinks people are so far behind in filling the order because the printers haven’t been working properly. Then you get that random guest who ordered only food and no drink, so we will be holding their tray on the counter not knowing they had no drink (they are the ones who get mad, which is totally understandable).

Anyways, that is what I will be doing all week long because I’m not trained to work in the kitchen. But I guess I could help prep for the next day, or help cast members clean. Who knows…. All I know is that I am going to be so glad to go back to Resto! It’s been one day and I miss it already.

Oh, one other thing about Flame Tree that I love! You can watch the parade if you are working on counter because it goes right by! Also, Flame Tree cast members are assigned PAC (Parade Audience Control) duty, which is something I wish we got to do at Resto. I think it would be a lot of fun to help out along the parade route, friends I’ve told this to who do PAC think I’m crazy, but I wonder if it has more to do with they get to do it all the time and I’ve never had the chance.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dr. Feel-Good Account Update

So I promised to share some of the things that I deposited into my “Dr. Feel-Good” account this week, so here they are.

On Tuesday, September 21, 2010, one of my managers came up to me while I was working on the counter and asked if I would mind doing some “Magical Moments” with a couple of toy Mr. Potato Heads. Basically, I got paid to play with little kids in the dinning rooms while they were waiting on their food to come. It was amazing to see how excited and animated they would become, and as they were putting together Mr. Potato Head, many of them told me all about their day and were thrilled when I asked more questions. But it wasn’t just the kids who were happy that I came over, it was their parents, too. Many of them would be sitting at the table with the kids while another person from their party was waiting in line, and I could tell that some of them had no idea what to do to keep their kids entertained during the wait. I was glad to give them a rest as well. And many of them asked me questions about working at Disney and my experience with the Company. A few families I met were visiting from my hometown area, so that was really neat for me because they would recognize the name of my school on my name tag!

Also while I was walking around the dinning rooms, I saw two of my roommates who had come to my restaurant to eat on their day off. It was fun talking to them for a couple minutes as they were finishing their meal.

Later that night, all of us who were home watched “Glee” together in the living room, kind of like one big family! It’s so wonderful to be surrounded by roommates who make me feel included and important. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to live with!

On Thursday, September 23, 2010, I was very glad to see that someone had taken the time to write God = : ) in the sky. It really made my day to see that while walking into work. It also helped that I was already in a REALLY GOOD MOOD!

Today, I got the chance to do another Magical Moment. This time, I was on counter again when a manager came over to me and asked if I knew how to draw the hopscotch game. When I told him I did, he told me to get the chalk and draw the game on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, them to encourage the guests (off all ages) to play a game of hopscotch as they were coming into or leaving our area. I had a BLAST out there! When some of the younger children didn’t know how to play, I got to show them. (Believe me, it was interesting playing hopscotch in my Resto costume! But it was so much fun to make them smile and laugh!)

These are just a couple of the things that I have added to my Dr. Feel-Good account this week. It’s amazing how many opportunities we have to add to our accounts if we only just open our eyes and look at what’s happening in the world around us. And it’s simple, everyday things to us that could mean the world to someone else. For example, it is my role in the show to smile and be positive and upbeat and happy. The guests expect that from me, and when they are tired, hot, and hungry, possibly even a little angry, I can help to brighten their day back up and add to their feel-good accounts just by being the happy and upbeat person that I am. It’s so magical to see the way people change their attitudes when you smile at them and take an interest in how their day has been going. Sometimes, all they need is a chance to talk and I am happy that I have the opportunity to listen to the stories they have to share.

Tonight I enjoyed some quiet time while I watched a (somewhat depressing) thunderstorm from my balcony. It was nice to have that time to myself to think and reflect on the day and my life. Sometimes we just go and go and forget that a little down time is what we really need in our lives. It’s during this time that we can refresh and recharge our batteries for the next day. And to add to my evening, I spent some time with Scott. He showed me a preview of some of the vlogs he’s working on. It turned out to be a wonderful evening.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Disney Classes

Today was my last day off in my 4 day weekend, but in my mind I went back to work because I spent 8 hours in class today. While I am down here working, I am also taking 2 classes through Disney that will transfer back to my university as credit in the spring. The courses I’m taking are: Marketing You and Corporate Communications. And the best part about my classes, the location. Both classes are at Patterson Courtm the apartment complet where I am living. So I literally walk down a flight of stairs and over to the pool area whre the classrooms are. Oh, and for class, I have to wear business professional attire and my Disney name tag (VERY IMPORTANT - NEVER GO TO CLASS WITHOUT THAT THING ON!) And after today's introductory classes, I really think that I'm going to enjoy them.

“Marketing You” is going to be my favorite class, I’m sure of this. My instructor is so funny. Her name is Miss Penny Hightower. She is so enthusiastic about her role in the show as our instructor. She is bubbly and just has an air about her that makes you want to smile! She makes the time go by so quickly. One of my favorite things that she talked to us about was our “Dr. Feel-Good” accounts. She showed us this basket filled with stuffed animals and notes from former students and told us that was part of her personal “Dr. Feel-Good” account. Miss Penny said that on days that are hard, when she just can’t remember why she needs to get up and put on her “show shoes”, she reaches turns to Dr. Feel-Good to remember. She shared with us stories and notes from past students and some of the ways they have made deposits into her “Dr. Feel-Good” account. She told us there were three ways to make deposits:

1. Do something nice for someone else
2. Acknowledge when someone does something nice for you

Miss Penny’s personal favorite:

3. Do something nice for yourself.

She challenged us to each make deposits into our “Dr. Feel-Good” accounts during the week and that we would start each class by sharing some of the deposits we have made. This idea makes a lot of since, and I don’t know why I haven’t thought about it before now. By remembering all the nice things you have done, or others have done for you, or even those times when you just have to take care of yourself, you forget about all those things that make life difficult, all those situations that make going to work depressing, or make dealing with certain individuals a lot easier. So, I’m extending Miss Penny’s challenge to you, find little ways this week to increase your own “Dr. Feel-Good” account. I’ll do my best to share some of my deposits with you in the coming weeks, but if I forget, feel free to remind me!

I don’t really have a lot to say about my Corporate Communications class. It is very similar to the Intro to Public Relations class I took as a freshman in college. So, in a way, that’s a good thing, because a lot of the information I will already have some knowledge of the subject. My instructor for this class is Brenda Vander Pol and she, too, makes learning a lot of fun. And I know for a fact that while I got really annoyed with this type of class back at school because of the professor, I know that this class is going to be a completely different (and hopefully wonderful) experience.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wishes at Magic Kingdom

Tonight I went to see “Wishes” at Magic Kingdom with my roommates Kari. We made it to the park literally 5 minutes before the show started! “Wishes” is an AMAZING firework show, and I don’t know why, but I still get kind of emotional when I see it (and this makes the second time). I think it mostly has to do with the music and the lyrics:
“Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight. We’ll make a wish, and do as dreamers do (do as dreamers do), and all our wishes will come true…”  
When the show was over, we decided to hang around the park until we couldn’t do anything because of Extra Magic Hours. We started out on the Tomorrowland® Transit Authority PeopleMover. Basically this ride takes you all around Tomorrowland and tells you about all the attractions there. It was a nice little ride. Then we made our way to “Big Thunder Mountain” in Frontierland. That ride is so much fun in the dark! We finished up the night by getting Dole Whips. I got an Orange and Vanilla twist. It was really good, but it was melting so fast!