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!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Holy Cow! Where has the time gone? I can’t believe that I have lived in Florida and worked for Disney for a month already! I honestly can’t believe how fast it has gone! So much has been happening lately and I feel like there is so much that I haven't even told you yet! I feel like I am on a speeding roller coaster and the end is near. I just can’t get over how quick this month has flown! I knew it would once I got into my new routine and started exploring and meeting new people, but honestly, A MONTH ALREADY!? Come on Father Time, just this once could you pause, slow down or freeze?! I NEED more time!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Today was AWESOME!!! Scott and I really didn’t have a game plan for the day, so we decided to get on the first cast member bus for the parks that came. Turns out it was the Epcot bus, so off we went! Once again, I was baffled by the cast only areas and how easy it is to get all turned around! We had to take another back stage bus, and I was surprised to find that we had somehow gotten to the front of the park when it felt like we were driving towards the back!

Our day at Epcot began on Spaceship Earth (inside the Epcot ball). This ride was awesome, you get to travel back to the beginning of time and see how the history of mankind has been shaped. You even get a chance to imagine your own version of the future by answering some questions while on the ride. I think we ended up living in the country, with a machine that told us what outfits to wear everyday, our house helped us schedule out the days activities and then we caught the flying train (so something like that) to work. LOL…. It was so much better to watch playing out than how I’m describing it.

Other rides for the day included but were not limited to:

The Seas with Nemo and Friends - you get to ride in a “clamobile” under the ocean as you help characters from the movie find Nemo once again!

Journey Into Imagination With Figment - this was so much fun, Figment is such a cute little dragon with a huge imagination! And trust me; he puts it to good use on this ride. You never know what he’ll throw at you next!

Living With the Land – This is a nice boat ride located in The Land Pavilion that takes guests on travels through the rain forest, on an adventure to explore new plant growth technologies, while trying to preserve and protect the environment. You are introduced to many beautiful plants and creative ideas to better use our limited resources.

Soarin’ – We ended up getting a Fast Pass for this ride because we decided the wait was too long. This could quickly become one of my favorite rides! It simulates hang-gliding over beautiful California. There are a couple surprises thrown into the ride to give you the full flight experience. A word of caution, if you have a fear of heights, or are prone to motion sickness, this is not the ride for you.

Test Track – By far my most favorite ride at Disney World! The best way to describe this ride is ask a question: When you see the commercials for car dealers that use the crash test dummies, have you ever wondered what that would feel like? Well wonder no more because this ride gives you a first-hand look at the life and job of those brave dummies! This is a ride that you must first ride during the day, but if you are a thrill seeker, you will go back at night and do it again!

We tried sodas from all around the world at Club Cool… best part, it was FOR FREE! There were a few that were really good, others need to be avoided (but that is my personal opinion, feel free to try any and all). And speaking of around the world, we went on a quick world tour around Epcot’s World Showcase. This is where you can enjoy the variety of many cultures all in one location! The countries represented at include:

1. Canada

2. United Kingdom (where Scott tells me they have really good Fish & Chips)

3. France (My favorite country in all of Epcot, here we saw some crazy performing waiters that were balancing on top of chairs that were     balancing on top of wine bottles. But it’s not as exciting to hear about as it was to see, so check out Scott’s vlog to see what we saw!)

4. Morocco

5. Japan (Here we found a hidden Mickey on a drain. We also explored the stores a little, cool things to be bought in Japan!)

6. United States

7. Italy

8. Germany

9. China

10. Norway

11. Mexico

I knew today was going to be amazing, and I wasn’t disappointed. The weather was perfect, the park wasn’t overly crowed and I had an amazing time spending the day with Scott. And believe it or not, there was still a lot to see and do! But that will have to be another day! Another adventure!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Extra Magic Hours

Ahhhhh! Yesterday I worked my first “Extra Magic Hours”! Usually, Animal Kingdom stays open until 5:00pm, but on certain days during the week, we stay open until 8:00pm for Guests staying at the Disney Resorts. This means that my work location was also opened until 8:00pm instead of our usual 5:00pm.

I didn’t have to be at work until 1:00pm, so I spent my morning sleeping in, playing on facebook, doing laundry, and watching the Today Show! Thinking about it now, it’s a really good thing I didn’t have to be in until the afternoon because I needed the sleep after the late night I had yesterday! (But trust me, I’m not complaining about it at all! Last night was about as perfect as a night can get!)

Once at work, I spent most of the day bussing tables, sweeping the floor and taking out the trash. Not glamorous work, but someone has to do the dirty work in order for the whole restaurant to run smoothly. And besides, part of the magic is coming to a place that is clean and organized! And my managers must have thought I was doing a good job because they decided that I would also be closing bussing at the end of the night, but holy cow, thank goodness that is a two person job! There is so much to do and we only have an hour and a half or so to do it! I’m not kidding, I felt like I was running from one task to the next trying to get out on time. I think I clocked out at 9:50 and the bus didn’t come pick the cast members up until 10 something. Then it was an hour home (thanks to sitting at Vista Way for 20 minutes), so by the time I walked back to my apartment, changed and ate something for dinner it was well after midnight and lucky me, I had to be back at work at 11:00am! But, that was fine with me because I knew that once I clocked out at the end of the night, I was going into a 4 day weekend!!

And now I just can’t wait until tomorrow! I will be spending the day running around one of the parks with Scott. He promised to show me all of the cool things that I haven’t seen yet, which is a lot still!! So I can’t wait, wherever we end up, it’s going to be a lot of fun! Well that’s all for now, off to watch a movie with a friend! So until I post again, good night readers!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Yeah!!! Today was my birthday and celebrated Disney Style! Sadly, I had to work, but thank goodness it wasn’t too terrible. I did a lot of prep work, I was cutting tomatoes, getting the desserts ready, prepping trays of bacon for tomorrow among other odds and ends. It was great at work because the new College Program students that trained with me knew it was my birthday thanks to Facebook and they kept wishing me happy birthday whenever they saw me! (For the past week they have been trying to convince me to wear my birthday button to work! Haha, I didn’t because I knew I’d have to take it off.) Also, there is this one full time cast member that I have gotten close to named Violeta, I believe I’ve mentioned her before. She also knew it was my birthday and told the managers before she left for the day. I didn’t know that until we had our post closing meeting and they brought out a cheesecake with a lit candle in it for me! And then all the cast members sang “Happy Birthday!” Then I made a wish (can’t tell you what it was, but I’m thinking it’ll come true!) and blew out the candle. Then it was off to catch the bus home so I could get ready to go out with my roommates! But the surprises weren’t over yet. Scott was waiting for me at the bus stop! And he also remembered it was my birthday! It was a strange ride home, it went by really slow because I wanted to go out and celebrate, but it also went by really fast!

Once back at my apartment, I was met by a lovely birthday display waiting on our dining room table. My roommate Amanda even made red velvet cupcakes! After I quickly changed and got all cute for my birthday, we decided to go eat at Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney. What was awesome about that was that as cast members, all we had to do was show our IDs and we were treated as VIPs, meaning we got the VERY next table that was available. I think we waited all of 5 minutes. The inside of the restaurant was crazy! There were all kinds of memorabilia from movies and shows, TVs everywhere playing music videos and a DJ taking requests. My roommates told our waitress that we were there for my birthday and she had the DJ announce it to everyone! He even played a Mariah Carey song dedicated to me! We all had a blast at dinner, the food was good. When we were getting ready to leave, our waitress brought me out an ice cream sundae with two lit candles. My friends sang me happy birthday and once again I made a wish (okay, I wished for the same thing as before, so hopefully that increases the chances of it coming true!) and blew out the candles. The 5 of us ate that little sundae, even though we were going to be heading over to Beaches & Cream to get a “Kitchen Sink”, the ultimate ice cream sundae!

Left - Back to front: Mary, Me, Hannah
Right - Back to front: Kari, Ashley, Tiffany

We met up with another roommate at Beaches & Cream, and it was a good thing too, because we needed all the help we could get if we were going to finish that thing! I don’t even know where to start in describing this thing! Try to imagine this: Eight Scoops of Ice Cream served with all the Toppings in the house (including, but not limited to: fudge, strawberries, caramel, pineapple, almonds, Oreos, Snickers, and more) and a whole can of Whipped Cream on top! Oh and the best part about this thing, it’s served in a bowl that looks like a Kitchen Sink, faucet and all! When our waiter brought it out to us, the whole room was alerted with loud noises and flashing lights! Our waiter even paraded it around for everyone to see! He also brought me a birthday balloon, too!

And then it was time to dig in! But where was the ICE CREAM! It took us forever to find it hidden under all that whipped cream! It was a surprise every time you put your spoon in the bowl! You just never knew what flavor or hidden treat you would pull out next! Between the 6 of us, we finished most of it and we had the stomach aches to prove it! We would have finished the bowl, but the ice cream was melting too fast and all the flavors were mixing together, just didn’t look appetizing after that! 

Back at the apartment, I opened my gifts from my family, my grandparents and my roommates! My awesome roommate, Hannah, even took pictures for me so I could send them home to my family! But my night didn’t end there; Scott invited me over to watch “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” with him! Not going to lie, that movie was super cute! What a birthday it was! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate! Or better friends, either! Thanks everyone for making my day super special! It’s a birthday for the record books!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Today was a somewhat stressful day at work. It was my first time flying solo on the fryers, and I’ll be honest, I was scared! I was in charge of left fryers and my only job was to keep the regular fries fresh and hot on the expo line because I was the ONLY ONE cooking them! I was doing well until the lunch rush hit. But I am proud to say that I only got behind once! I was so proud of myself. When the lunch rush was over, they closed down left fryers and I was sent on break. While eating my lunch, I discovered that I had new burns on my arms from hitting the hot metal on the expo line when I was putting the fries on the line and blisters forming on my palms from lifting and carrying the heavy fryer pans. It also didn’t help that my gloves were holding in moisture and keeping my hands moist, causing the gloves to slide. But, in all, it could have been worse!

After my break, I found out that I was going to be closing fryers, which is a job that I don’t mind at all. I actually kind of enjoy it, because I know what I am doing now and I can go faster. I know where to find all the equipment I need. I like feeling like I know what I’m doing now! And boy, were those fryers nice and clean by the time I was done with them!

While waiting for the bus in the cast parking lot, I was really excited to get a text from Scott, who I met down here asking if I’d like to go see the fireworks at Epcot with him when I got home from work. I decided that it sounded like a good way to make a not so great day at work better. So I called him when I got off the bus and we decided to meet up after I had a chance to change out of my costume. 20 minutes later or so, he was waiting for my outside my building, and off we went to meet the bus.

On our way to Epcot, we talked and got to know each other better. He told me he was into magic, and even showed me a few coin and card tricks during the evening. I will admit, I was VERY impressed. The whole time we were on the bus, we were laughing and talking and enjoying each other’s company. Once at Epcot, I felt like I was on my own personal tour of backstage, as Scott showed me all the things that were different in Epcot’s backstage, as compared to Animal Kingdom’s, where we both work. Once inside the park, we still had a while before the fireworks were scheduled to start, so we got in line for “Test Track” (about a 5 minute wait, it was so wonderful!), which was not only one of his favorite rides, but mine as well. Now, if you have never been on “Test Track”, you NEED to do this on your next visit to Epcot. But if you want to have even more fun on this ride, you will ride it once during the day and then again at night! Even though it is the same ride, the experience is totally different! I was in such a good mood after that, and we still hadn’t seen the fireworks yet! The evening could only go up from there!

Since Scott has been here since May, I asked where the best place to watch the fireworks show is. In his opinion, it was from Mexico, and so, we found a nice spot and waited until it was time for the show to start! Once again, he did more magic tricks for me! I loved it! It was a perfect night, I was at Epcot with a great guy and we were having a great time, he was making me laugh and doing magic and when the fireworks started, the evening went from 9 to 10!

Like I said, he has been here since May, but this is also his second program, so needless to say, he has seen “Illuminations” many times, and thus has learned the musical cues for when the fireworks go off. It was so fun to watch as he acted out the opening few minutes of “Illuminations” as if he were controlling the show! (Yes, it was that good!) The show itself was breathtaking! There were a few things I remembered from seeing it as a child, but the ending (and in my opinion, the best part) I had somehow forgotten! Watching the fireworks was a wonderful way to wind down my night. The combination of fireworks, water and other special effects was just what I needed. Believe it or not, during the whole show, I didn’t take ONE PICTURE! LOL…. Shocking, I know. My roommates couldn’t believe it either when they asked me how many I'd taken when I got home!

When the fireworks ended, we made our way back to the cast members’ bus so we could head back home. It was so crowed on the bus that we ended up sitting on the stairs by the back door. I can honestly say I’ve never sat there before, but it was nice because we were out of the way. All in all, the evening couldn’t have been much more fun! I truly love how going to the parks as a guest after a hard day at work reminds you why you are here. Seeing the joy on the faces of the guests (all ages, not just children) reminds you that you are a part of this magical and elite family that is responsible for making the magic and providing an escape from everyday life. It’s in those moments, that I know I am in the right place at the right time for me!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What are you Celebrating...?

Left to right: Minnie, Viola, Me, Tameesha, Merric and Mickey

Today happened to be one of my first days off since “Earning my Ears”. To celebrate, I spent the day running around Magic Kingdom and eventually Hollywood Studios with a group of girls that I work with. The first thing we did upon arriving at the park was locate the cart with all the Disney buttons! We each wore one that said “I am celebrating my day off!” and then I also had a “Happy Birthday” button! Then it was off to “The Hall of Presidents”. It was the best 22 minute history lesson ever! I couldn’t believe how life-like the Presidents were! I really can’t explain it; it’s just one of those attractions you will have to visit at the Magic Kingdom! From there it was off to “Splash Mountain”. I’m not going to lie, that ride had me a bit freaked out! I was in the very front car BY MYSELF! Hahaha, there were three of us in our group and my friends quickly jumped into the second car, saying “the birthday girl needs to ride in the front!” (Thanks guys! LOL) But it was a lot of fun and I ended up buying that picture! From there it was off to “Big Thunder Mountain”, “The Peter Pan” ride, and the “Mad Hatter Tea Party” (aka: the tea cups). We also walked around Minnie and Mickey’s houses, met three Disney Princesses (Cinderella, Belle and Aurora), met Mickey and Minnie at the Judge’s Tent in Toontown, had lunch at Cosmic Rays, went on “Space Mountain” and finished off the day at Magic Kingdom at the “Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor”! That was one awesome show! The monsters interact with the audience. I won’t tell you a lot because you have to experience it for yourself, but I was a part of the show! My picture showed up on the screen and a cast member came over to where I was sitting with a microphone. I got to help the “mind reading monster” with his act. He asked me to think of a number 1 – 99 and then to tell the audience after he CLOSED HIS EYES SO HE WOULDN’T HEAR. Then he had me put my hands on the side of my head, stick my pointer fingers up like antennas and say the magic words: Boom-shacka-laka Boom-shacka-laka, Boom. I was so embarrassed, but it was a lot of fun at the same time! Then the monster said the number he thought I was thinking of! LOL… wrong answer, but he got it right on the second try! He also pointed out my “Happy Birthday” button to the entire audience!

From Magic Kingdom it was onto the ferry boat, which would take us to the parking lot, where we would catch the Disney bus to Hollywood Studios! Here, we decided to see the 10pm “Fantasmic” Firework show. So, we had some time to kill before we needed to stand in line, and it was spent on the “Rockin’ Roller Coaster”! That ride is INSANE, but I can’t wait to do it again. I kid you not; it goes from 0 – 60MPH in seconds! Another must ride when you visit the parks! By the time we made it through the ride and the store that you exit into, it was time to stand in line (it was around 9:00pm) in order to guarantee a seat for the show. They started letting us into the stadium around 9:40pm and I was thrilled with the seats we found! Almost perfectly center! The best way to describe the show was a mixture of music, characters, fireworks, water effects, fire and video clips! It was amazing! One of the girls I work with described it perfectly from the standpoint of a College Program participant: “ Seeing Fantasmic makes our role in the Disney show so worth it. It makes getting up and going to work easier on those early mornings.” And after seeing the show, I would have to agree with her 100%! You will never look at fireworks or characters or water effects the same after you have had the chance to view Fantasmic!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Yesterday was the most fun I've had at work yet! When I got to work at 11:30am, I found my name on the board (spelled correctly today! Hahaha!), and it said I was going to be a greeter! I was so excited to see this because I would finally get to interact with the guests and when we were training that area I really enjoyed it. So off I went to find Violeta, the full time cast member I was going to be working with. She told me to just relax and have fun with it, that it was okay to be silly as that's what guests expect when they come to Disney. She showed me the best place to stand and how to direct the guests to the cashier line that is moving the quickest. She told me that when we are "slow" we have more time to interact with the guests. We get to ask how their day has been going, where they are from, how they are enjoying Disney, what they've done so far/plans for the rest of the day, that kind of thing.

So, for the first 15 - 20 minutes, I was kind of shy and didn't really get into it. And those of you who know me, know this is normal when I'm trying things that are new to me. But once I get the hang of it and feel comfortable, I just let go and have fun with it. I decided that I work for Disney, the happiest place on Earth, I wear a cheesy costume, and I can act silly and be paid for it, so why not go full out enthusiasm? And so I did, and LOVED every minute of it!

I've decided that this position was made just for me! Once I started really letting go of my fear, it all came so natural. I was able to start talking to anyone, children, adults, didn't matter. All I had to do was start the conversation and the guests would take it from that point on. i heard all about seeing different animals while on the safari ride, riding Mt. Everest in Asia, and seeing the different shows playing around the park.

But my favorite part about being greeter.... PIN TRADING! I am not kidding, it is so much fun! And it's not just the kids who get excited when they see the cast members wearing the different pins, it's the adults, too! i was wearing the popular lanyard yesterday, it seemed like every 10 minutes or so I was trading with a different guest. Now, let me explain this to you a little. There are tons of different kinds of pins the guests can buy in the park. Then, if they see one a cast member is wearing and if it is one they like and want or part of a set they are trying to collect they can trade with us. However, a guest can ONLY trade two pins per cast member per day... and the cast member HAS TO TRADE (even if the guest wants the cast members favorite pin that they are wearing that day). Also, the pins the guests with the cast members have to be in good condition and official Disney pins. So, like I said, I had the popular pins, and as a result of that, I had a completely different set of pins at the end of the day than what i had when we opened in the morning. i got just as excited as the guests when they found a pin that they were looking for. Honestly, before yesterday, I had no idea how popular pin trading actually was. I mean, I knew people liked to trade pins, I just didn't know HOW MANY PEOPLE really got into it! My location also has a pin board that we keep in the managers office with 30 or so more pins on it that we can bring out to show the guests if we know that they are looking for a specific one. I had the chance to make a few guests days when we were a little slower by showing them that board. it's such a wonderful feeling just watching their eyes light up and the smile they get when you hand them their new pin! Nothing at my job will ever top that feeling.

So, because most of my day at work was super wonderful, my managers decided I needed to "really work" yesterday, too. So for closing, they had me cleaning the friers. (Yuck!) I will be honest, I kind of panicked! I blanked on how to clean them! I just couldn't remember! Lucky for me, one of my trainers, Damaris, told me exactly what steps to do and repeatedly came over to make sure I wasn't to overwhelmed and that I was able to handle closing by myself. in all, I think I did a good job. I got all 6 friers cleaned and i only got burned by the hot oil a few times. By the end of the night, they were clean and I was dirty, so I guess that means I did something right! And the whole time I was cleaning them I only had one minor problem. When I was ready to pump the oil back into the last fryer, the machine wouldn't turn back on and I couldn't' figure out what has happened! I mean it was working not 10 minutes before! So I went to ask the manages, and they jokingly, asked what I had done this time! When I explained what the problem was, they told me that at closing, they turn off the hoods above the broiler, friers and salad bar, and when they do that, it turns the power off to select electrical outlets and chances were I'd just have to replug it in somewhere else. And what do you know, that was exactly the problem! So once I changer outlets, the rest was a snap and I was good to clock out.

However, it was POURING when I was walking to the bus, and I somehow managed to get soaked even though I was using my umbrella. (Darn sideways rain!) Also, I missed my bus at 6:25pm by 5 minuter because I was stopped and asked questions by none other than 6 different guests on my way out of the park. So because of that (while I was happy to help, all I wanted to do was go home and change), I had to wait at the bus stop until the next bus came at 6:55pm. Thank goodness I had my book with me! And that, was my day.... the rest as they say is history! :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Flying Solo and other stories

To start off my Friday, I went to the main office to pick up a package from home! When I opened it up, I was super excited to find my family had sent me "County Fair in a Box!" They sent me cotton candy and popcorn from my home fair, which I was really bummed about missing as it is usually the highlight of my summer! I was just so excited that they found a way to send the fair to me! : D

On Friday at work, it was my first day post "Earning My Ears"! I was kind of freaked out to be on my own, but over all it was a really good day! I had to be there at 11:00am and I could clock in at 10:45am, so I took the 9:51am bus. Why did I leave so early for work you ask? Well, it's because of the buses, I HATE waiting on them! (I miss my car so much!) So because I am at the mercy of the buses, I have a 35 minute drive to work, and it could be longer if the bus is late or waits around at the apartments or wardrobe building. Then when the bus finally drops me off in the cast parking lot, I have a 5 - 10 minute walk to work. And I made it to work with 20 minutes of down time before I had to clock in! Because you know, if you are early you are on time, if you are on time you are late.

After I clocked in, I tried to find my name on the board, but IT WASN'T THERE! I asked a manager and he looked, too. Then he saw my name (spelled totally funky which is why I missed it)! My position for the day was "Filler", basically after the guest has placed their order, they bring their receipts to the counter and we match their meal to the tickets on the trays that come from the kitchen. I would also get the guests drinks and desserts.

I loved this job, I had a BLAST! When we were less busy or waiting for the food from the kitchen we were able to interact with the guests! We got to ask them about their vacation, were they enjoying Animal Kingdom, was this their first time visiting Disney, have they gone on the Mt. Everest ride or been on the safari yet, have they seen the other parks yet or the firework shows at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Then, my favorite part, the Disney buttons! There are buttons for EVERYTHING...birthdays, just engaged, just married, first visit, family reunion, volunteering, and then an "I'm celebrating ___________" and the guests fill in the blank. (My trainer told me about a woman who was wearing an "I'm celebrating my divorce" button! HAHAHA. I don't know what I'd say if I saw one of those while I was working!) I loved seeing guests wearing the buttons because I was able to make their day a little more special by making a big deal about it! I met this little boy who was wearing an "It's my Birthday" button and when I commented on it you could see the joy spread across his face, HE was important. Someone was talking to HIM like a grown-up and LISTENING! I met a couple that just got married and a group of people at Disney for their family reunion! And what I love the most is that it's not only the kids who get excited when we mention their Disney buttons, it's the adults, too! I don't know what it was, but once they started talking, they wanted to tell us EVERYTHING about their trip and their experiences in the parks! I loved it; I had such an easy time striking up conversations with complete strangers.

And before you get the impression that all I did at work was talk to the guests, let me settle your fears, I really did work. There were only 4 of us filling orders, so when the lunch rush finally came, we were really booking it to get those trays out fast while at the same time making each guest feel special and noticed (harder than it sounds)! Also during the lunch rush, I learned to pour a good cut of beer from the tap! Hahaha, a skill I never would have imagined I would need to learn! But, by the end of my program, I will be a master! ;) I just thought I'd throw that out there, that I can now pour beer! (Funny picture if you really know me!)

When we closed at 5:00pm, I was on prep duty for the next day. My job was to tram bacon. In other words, I had to put bacon on a tray and fill the storage cooler. So, let me break this down for you: there were 10 pieces of bacon on a sheet of wax paper, there were 4 pieces of wax paper per tray and there were about 40 trays of bacon in the cooler when it was filled. So in an hour, I prepared 1600 pieces of bacon! If I never come in contact with bacon again it will be too soon! Hahaha. The sad thing is, as soon as I go back to work on Sunday, bacon and I will meet again. On the bright side, at least I wasn't preparing the turkey legs! (That looked like a really gross job!)
In other news, most of the people I work with, their native language is Spanish. Therefore, when I am at work I will answer to Mariah OR Maria. I can't tell you how many times they have looked at my name tag and had to remind themselves to pronounce it in English! But I love hearing them all talk in Spanish, most of the time it's too fast for me to follow, but every now and then I will understand something and it makes my day!

When I got home from work, I was so tired. I had no idea how exhausted I was until I had a minute to sit down. So my roommate, Kari, and I decided to call it an lazy night, and we watched Disney Channel's Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam. It was super cheesy, but some of the songs were really awesome! I love Disney Channel, don't hate me! It's why I work at Disney! And then all night, my parents sent me text messages letting me know the score of my hometown's high school football game where my little sisters are on the dance line. At the end of the game, we won!! I can't believe that the season I'm not home to watch, they are off to a 2 - 0 start!!! Go team!!! So that was my Friday!

I had today off (much needed!). I started off my day with a 4.3 mile bike ride in the gym, a quick walk around the complex and 70 + sit-ups. It was the best way to start off my day, I had so much energy and I was so awake! I've made it my goal to workout as much as possible while I am here. And so, I'm going to wake up early tomorrow (even though I don't have to be at work until 12:15pm) so I can get another workout in! Then my roommate, Mary, and I went shopping at the Florida mall. I bought 3 new shirts and new pair of shorts because all the new clothes I bought to wear down here are too big! I love that feeling, it's such a rush! I feel like I'm becoming a totally different person here, not only personally wise (I feel so comfortable just striking up conversations with people now), but physically, too. Hopefully, I can keep this feeling going throughout my whole program; I know that with this mind set it's going to be the best time of my life!

So, here's hoping that this is the beginning of a really good week! Filled with more learning opportunities and chances to make Magical Moments for the guests! I really do work at the "HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH" and I couldn't be more thrilled! Good night everyone, and until my next post, I hope that you find some magic in your own lives, too!! Just remember, "Dreams really do come true!"

Where in the world has Mariah been?

Hey everyone, sorry I've gone missing for a few days. It got crazy around here quickly and it just came out of the blue! But I'm back and I have a weeks worth of information to tell you!

 Last Monday was my first day off since starting my training at DAK and I took full advantage of my time off! My roommate Amanda and I spent the morning and early afternoon at Disney's Blizzard Beach, a water park with a winter theme. Sadly, there are no pictures from this adventure because I didn't want to risk the chance of something happening to my camera. But Amanda and I both decided that the next time we go to a water park we should get a water proof camera from Walmart and then have all our pictures put on a CD! So, hopefully we remember for next time. Anyways, the decorations we just darling, little snowman families and heavy piles of "snow" on the buildings and slides.  I also loved the fact that there was Christmas music piped through the park... it really set the mood of the park! We went on the lazy river, up the ski lift to a family tubing ride down a twisty slide, on a tobogganing slide on purple rafts and a racing water tube ride down a steep slide. It was a lot of fun! On our way out, we stopped at a gift shop and saw the cutest beach towel. It was mint green and it had the seagulls from "Finding Nemo" on it, along with "MINE, MINE!!" I think I'm going to have to buy it before I go home, I just loved it!!! Still on my to do list is Typhoon Lagoon, where you can swim with sharks! Awesome, right?! I can't wait to do this, I love Sharks! I think they are so fascinating! But more about them in another post!

After the water park it was home to our second roommate dinner! Amanda (who loves to cook and bake) made chicken and potato's, Christine made a wonderful salad and I finished off the meal by making fruit smoothies like my dad does at home! It was such a fun evening, everyone was home and we just laughed and talked and relaxed. It was great to catch up with everyone, since we all work different schedules, it can be hard to keep up to date with everything we are all doing at work and on our days off!

On Tuesday, I had my second day off for the week and my roommate Hannah and I used it to do laundry and run around Epcot! We got our picture taken in front of the Epcot Ball, went on Mission Space, tried pop from around the world for free at the Cool Cafe, bought a Mexican Donald and French Minnie in the gift shop (our first purchases of Disney merchandise as Cast Members), walked around the world, stopping to ride the boat rides in Norway and Mexico. Also while in Mexico, we got a picture with Mexican Donald! We also had to look at the little gift shops in all the countries, deciding that we would be back to buy at least one thing from every country while we were here! In Morocco, we watched a man hand-carve these beautiful wood animals. he put so much detail into his work! In China we saw an amazing show put on by young Chinese acrobats. They were so talented! Once we made it all around the world, we finished off the day by off by riding "Test Track", "Finding Nemo" and "Soarin'". We packed so much into the day, but there was still so much that we missed seeing!! Since we both had to work the next morning, we decided not to stay for the fireworks, but we made plans to get back there soon to see them! They are set off over the waters and from what I remember as a kid from the last time I was at Disney, they were breath-taking! I can't wait to see them again! And just so you know, in the 5 hours we were at the park, I took over 400 pictures!

On Wednesday, I went back to work. i was trained on the expo line. We are responsible for getting the order when it prints and putting all the right orders on the tray as quickly as possible. During our training, I managed to burn myself twice, once on each arm. The one on my right arm was caused when I was reaching to get a veggie sub and i touched the hot metal (I was wearing my burn resistant sleeve on my left arm) and the one on my left arm happened while we were cleaning out the expo cart at the end of the night. I didn't realise it was still hot and I bumped the metal again while scrubbing out the inside. (Thank goodness I only have a thin scar on my right arm above my elbow that I hope will fade over time.)

Thursday was my last day of training! It was kind of nerve-racking because we were on cashier for the first time. But we got to start of the morning as greeters, so that was nice! basically all we had to do was welcome everyone who came in, make them feel special and noticed. If we saw Celebration buttons (i.e. birthday, just married, 1st time visitor) we got to make a big deal and be all excited! (I loved this part). We also got to talk to the guests and direct them to which line they should go to place their order. After an hour or so of this it was our turn to tackle the cash handling. I didn't do too terrible. I was able to place the order quickly and make the right change quickly. However, my downfall was counting the change back to the guest the Disney way. The reason I found this challenging was simple, I kept looking at the wrong line on the receipt for what their total was so I could count up from that to the dollar amount they gave me. I kept looking at the amount of change I was to hand back and tried to count their change back to them starting with that amount! It sounds confusing, I know!  But I got it all figured out and i think it will go smoother for me next time. We also got a chance to close the topping bar on the Plaster side of the restaurant (when you walk in the door as a guest, it would be to your left). This wasn't hard, it included cleaning the drinks station, restocking everything and spoiling the toppings that were not used by the guests and then recording the amounts. The last 15 minutes my shift was my assessment. basically, manager Eric asked us questions about Food & Beverage basics that we learned in class and during our e-learning courses, about different things in the restaurant, where to find things a guest might be looking for (i.e. restrooms, smoking sections, ATM) and other basic questions. It was terrible, I had worked myself up during the day for nothing! I knew I had passed when he told me to remove the "Earning My Ears' ribbon from my name tag. So when I left work, I was scared out of my mine because I knew when I went into work on Friday it would be my first time "flying solo". But I was also so excited to have completed my training and also because it means I'm no longer the newest new person there as I noticed the next group of CPs have started training this week!

Then Thursday night there was another welcome pool party at Patterson Court (where I live). The theme was Monster's Inc. It was crazy, I didn't know you could cram that many people into our pool area! But I guess that's what happens when you tell poor college students they can get free food and drinks, take pictures with the characters and dance. I am not kidding, I even saw people in the pool dancing to the Cha Cha slide! it was the funniest thing I have ever seen! So, Hannah, Amanda and I all went over to get free food, pizza and a bag or chips, (which is the best tasting thing in the world) and then Amanda and I had our picture taken with Mike Wazowski. Then we decided to go to Target and JoAnn's so she could get supplies to decorate her cork board for her room. It turned out super cute, too! And to round the evening off, we watched Jersey Shore with Hannah.

So I think that covers just about everything from this week! I'm going to post about Friday in it's own post because I think it deserves it, lets just say that I couldn't have asked for a better first day on my own than what I had. But more about that later! Good night!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Life Lessons / Earning My Ears

I don't remember if I've told you or not, but I am working at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Restaurantosaurus. Well, my training in the restaurant started on Thursday. My schedule was really weird, they had my first day there as training day #2. Confusing, I know. I didn't understand why it was like that either, usually on training day one they walk you around the area, show you where to find everything, take you over to do computer e-learning and finally start you off easy busing tables and closing down the dining rooms. That was what I did today (second day at the restaurant, training day #1..... hahaha!)

So there I was, not sure how to clock in or where anything was or who I was even suppose to talk to find my trainer. But lucky for me, there was another girl who was just starting out, too. For our first day there, after our trainer, Mary, found us, taught us how to clock in, gave us our maroon ribbons that say "Earning my ears" to attach to our name tags and then she informed us that we were on Broiler duty. It was the scariest thing I've ever done. We were in charge of putting the two different kinds of burgers through so they can cook. Then you also have to remember that when you send burgers, you have to send buns, too. It got confusing when they used terms like "send a set of babies"... translation "I need 12 small burgers". Or this one, "kitchen is on a three foot"... in other words "when the last row of burgers are under the third burner, put in another set (12 burgers) and continue until further notice." It's all so confusing, people yelling, you responding that you heard, trying to remember that only the big burgers get salt and pepper, and while you are doing all this you have to make sure that you have enough meat in your coolers and prep area so you don't run out. It's stressful and confusing and I didn't like it one bit. But I made it my goal to ask questions and repeat back answers to my trainer so i could learn and remember all the information she was giving us. I kept telling myself that my shift was nearly over and that the more I put the burgers on, the faster and more proficient I became. So at the end of the day I felt so good when we closed our area because I didn't give up, I stuck it out.

At the end of the night, we had to take the broiler apart and scrub it clean. It was so disgusting! We had to be very careful taking the doors and burners off as they were very hot. We had to use not only rubber gloves but also towels to get the different pieces off and onto the cart to go to the dish room. There was grease everywhere, and we got the honor of scrubbing that monster clean. And yes, I called it a monster because it was HUGE! It was taller than I am and it was around 5 feet long, maybe even more. So here's the scene, one trainer and two trainees against one overly gross and extremely hot machine. But don't worry, we were victorious! By the time we were done, the "monster" was sparkling and ready to be put back together, which is comparable to a jigsaw puzzle. A really hard and confusing one. But when it was time to clock out, that thing was back in one happy, shining piece, happily back at home at it's spot in the kitchen.

The first two days have been hard, but I have faith that they will continue to get better the longer I an there and the more things I learn. And if that's not reason enough, this is a once in a lifetime experience and I have the opportunity to learn many life lessons while I'm here. I signed a contract, I'm in this for the long hall. I will make this the most wonderful time I possibly can, even if it means there are some rough days along the journey. Like my parents told me on the phone, this is a learning experience, when I make a mistake and I learn from it, I know how to do it correctly and more efficiently the next time around. This is the time to grow and develop. I'm well on my way, taking baby steps still, but I've come a long way in a week!

I also wanted to mention that tonight when I got home from work, I was greeted by a lovely surprise. Amanda, one of my roommates who loves to cook, decided to cook dinner for all of us tonight. It was so delicious. She made purple chicken (cooked in wine), a cooked noodle salad with cooked peppers and onions and garlic bread. Then we all had a nice roommate sit-down dinner, because you know "a family that eats together, stays together!" I love that I already feel like theses girls are like my sisters, we are becoming a family! Then we all spent the evening talking, laughing and playing on our laptops in a big circle in the living room. It was a great Friday night!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Today was my first day of at Animal Kingdom. I had to be at the cast Services building at 8:30am. So, in order to not be late on my first day at the park, I decided to catch the bus at Chattam at 7:00am. Therefore I had to leave Patterson at 6:45am, which meant I was waking up at 5:45am. (I honestly don't remember that last time I got up that early!)

The title for this post is DAKlamation, and that was the training session I attended today. The purpose of today was to get use to Animal Kingdom. We were also told to wear business professional clothing, so I decided on my "Safari Guide" outfit with my new brown shoes. I thought this was the perfect outfit because I felt like I was almost dressing the part. I quickly realised how wrong I was in my choice of shoes as I was walking from Patterson to Chattam. Even in that short walk I could already feel the blisters forming on my feet.

I still can't believe how hot it already is in Florida at 7:00am. By the time I made it to the bus stop I was already dripping with sweat, not a good sign for the day. So, one this I have already learned is to never trust the bus schedule. The "J" bus was suppose to get to Chattam at 7:00am, however it didn't get there until 7:05 - 7:10am. Once on the bus, it takes us about 35 minutes to get to the Animal Kingdom from our apartments. During the ride, I was able to meet some of the other CP that are going to be working in AK, too. I was really excited to find the girl I sat next to was the same religion as me, so that I kind of cool. She's going to be a driver at the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction.

The bus dropped us off and thanks to the help of a full time cast member also on the bus, all of us first timers were able to find the correct building. Those of us who opted to take the very early bus ended up being about 40 minutes early to work, which was a whole lot better than being 2 minutes late in my opinion. So we all sat in the lobby getting to know each other. It was a lot of fun finding out where people were from and where they would be working.

Our trainers for the day met us just before 8:30am to show us how to clock in using our new I.D.s, then it was off to the classroom and the beginning of a new adventure. We got an in-depth look at the history of Animal Kingdom and how it has changed since it's opening day. They showed us videos and hit us with facts and info. And then it was time to go out and explore the park. We were told that we were going on a whirlwind tour that would ONLY take 2 hours! (Don't forget that we were wearing dress clothes and heels!) But, like Traditions class, we first had to remove our name tags.

Our tour was so fast! We went into the park in one area, then we'd escape into the backstage area and reenter in a completely different location! Every now and then our trainer would stop and she would tell us important things about the area. For example I learned that the greeting in Dino Land where I'll be working is "Hi Cousins!" Each area of the park has it's own theme, message and greeting. It's so fasanating! And just like last time, there were were as a traveling as a group in professional clothing (i.e. dress shirts and long pants) in 90 something degree weather, the guests were looking at us like we were out of our minds. Who knows, maybe we were, but it's so worth it because it means I get to work here!

We actually finished our private tour of teh park ahead of schedule, so our trainers took us on the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction. We were all so excited! It was really funny, they had us get on where everyone else was getting off, so as we were driving by the loading dock all the guests were looking at us like "Why did you not get off?!" Our driver told us to smile, wave and say "Jambo!"... so we did!

If you have not be on the safari, you must go! It was so much fun and the drivers know so much about the animals. They really get you involved in the ride and the story! And the animals are so close. We caught a glimpse of the 3 month old baby elephant that was just introduced to the savanna, along with a mother groundhog and her three babies. I wish I would have had my camera with me (we had to leave all our personal belongings in the classroom), but I guess that just means I have to ride it again! Yeahhh! If you like to be bounced around, sit in the back. The whole ride it bumpy, but the back really makes you jump!

Then next big adventure was lunch in the cast member cafateria and then off to get our costumes. I was so excited when I finally saw mine, it's actually kind of cute! Its a torcuse blouse and skirt with violet stripes and a dinosar print  around the collar. We also have to wear and apron and a funky hat thingy. It's a good color on me, too, so that's an added bonus! Pictures will be coming soon. I actually have to go to work at Restaurantosaurus on Thursday in full costume, which means tomorrow (my day off) will particially be spent shopping for work shoes (black, slip on dress shoes that are flat and comfortable). At wardrobe, they were so helpful. When I left, I have 5 full sets of my costume. Wow, I'm starting to feel like an official cast member now! We waited 20 minutes for the bus to come after we clocked out and then it was another hour before I was back in my apartment for the night.

It was an exciting day, but I am beat. Time to put my feet up and get ready for bed. Hopefully this coming week brings as much excitement as today. In my opinion, this has been a great start to my Disney Adventures! Thanks for reading and coming along for this journey with me! Good night readers!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Hey everyone! Today was a lot of fun. On my agenda was to sign up for classes at the Learning Center at Vista Way and to attend my Traditions class. My roommate, Hannah and I went to sign up for classes around noon after we had finished spending the morning getting dressed and ready for Traditions (business clothing). I am now signed up to take "Marketing You" and "Corporate Communications". And I have wonderful news about them, the classrooms are right outside my door. My apartment sits next to the main office building, and that is also where both classrooms are, so that is excellent for me! Both classes are on Monday and I have an hour between them, so it will be nice to come home to eat lunch and relax before going back over for class number two. The only downside is they are both 4 hrs. long, however, we only meet once a week, so I guess that's not too bad. Classes start in late September and are finished in early December. I've heard such great things about the "Marketing You" class and I can't wait until the first day so I can learn even more. Now I just have to order my books.

When we finished signing up for classes, which took a little longer than we were expecting because one of the professors was there and he was talking to us, it was off to Chattam to meet the bus at 12:45pm that would take us to Traditions. However, 12:45pm came and went and still there was no bus. There was an A1 bus that some of the new cast members (you know who we are. We are the ones with the "Deer in the headlights" look on our faces, all dressed up professionally and carrying around our program guides without name tags) got on. Not knowing if that was the right bus (I think I remembered hearing something about a bus that would be marked TRADITIONS), I decided to wait, knowing that I had enough time because the class didn't start until 2pm. It was good that my roommate and I waited because we met a CP who has been down here since May named Ben. He works in the Magic Kingdom in merchandise. Anyways, we asked him about the bus and he confirmed what we thought, there would be a specially marked bus that would be coming soon. He also told us to NEVER trust the bus schedules, they frequently run late I guess. As we were talking, his bus came (he was on his way to work) and he had my roommate give him her number so we could all stay in touch. He sent her a text just as our bus was pulling up. The message was something like "This is Ben from the bus stop. I can't remember your name, and I need to know in order to save it to my phone. And send me Mariah's number too." I couldn't believe that he remembered MY name (which I don't consider to be common) over HER name (Hannah) which is common. Hannah decided that it would be easier if I just sent him a text that way we would both have each others numbers. I did, and we proceeded to text until he got to work and I arrived at Traditions. He was telling me that I was going to have a lot of fun, and that just when things start to get boring they throw fun surprises at us. He had me so excited for that class! In his last text, he said that if we went into the parks tonight to come find him at work, he'd be there until closing. He was so easy to talk to, I hope that we meet up again.

Traditions is a class that all Disney Cast Members have to take that teaches us about the Disney history. We talked about what has happened in the company's past and the ideas that sparked it all in the first place. We learned about some of what is going on now in the company and what we, as cast members, can do to help and be a part of that future. It was a great class and I learned so much.

My Traditions trainers were so awesome. There was Wendy and he was from Haiti, and Azitica (I know I spelled that wrong). They had so much energy and really knew their stuff! They made the class fun and encouraged us to participate. Speaking of participating, when we did, sometimes they handed out cute little character statues. So, sitting on my dresser now are Goofy and Pluto! And what's awesome, is we got these for free when normally you'd have to buy them!

During the class we got to go out and explore Magic Kingdom. It was a surprise to us all. Can you just picture is, 30 plus brand new cast members all dressed up in business clothing (heels included) walking around Magic Kingdom. Now, let me tell you, it was exciting but uncomfortable  at the same time. Today it was 90 something and it felt like it was 101 and there we were out in the sun! But I loved every minute of it. We got to the park at the perfect time, a show in front of the castle was just finishing and the fireworks were going off. And then there was Mickey and Minnie being raised up on a platform. I got chills I was so excited! However, by the time we got back to the classroom, I could feel the blisters forming on my feet. Sad, I know.

When Traditions was almost over (there must have been maybe 40 minutes still left) there was a knock at the door and when it was opened, there was the big cheese himself. Mickey Mouse came to visit us during Traditions and he brought with him OUR NAME TAGS! We were all so excited. However, our trainers told us that because we hadn't finished "earning" them yet, Mickey was going to keep them safe until we got to have them on at the end of class. When that blessed, magical moment finally arrived, our name tags were rolled in sitting in glass display cases. It was AWESOME! I can't even describe what I felt as I held my name tag for the first time. I was so excited to know that I was now a part of the magic. This isn't a dream, this is real life and I work for Walt Disney World! Back at my seat, I proudly replaced my name tag sticker with my 100% real deal, Disney Cast Member name tag. I believe I mentioned this before, but it is worn on the left, over your heart.

The other thing I got during Traditions was my Disney I.D. I am so excited to have this, because now I can get into the parks. With this I.D. I can visit Disney as much as I want in my free time as a guest for the next 5 months. I'm going to put it to good use. My roommate and I were going to go to Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks to celebrate, however it was just starting to storm by the time we got home from Traditions around 7:20pm. So because I have the day off tomorrow, I think I'm going to spend the day learning the bus schedule and explore the parks a little. I think I'll hit up Animal Kingdom and try to figure out where I'll be working.

I think that covers the adventures of today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but when you live at the most magical place on Earth, the sky is the limit...and then some! Good night, readers!

Where to Start?

I left for Florida on Tuesday morning, and I woke up kind of sad knowing that I would soon be leaving everything I knew behind for the next 5 months. I was flying down with my dad and our flight was at 11:13am. All morning I had been crying. Everything made me cry, I got text messages from my sisters as they were off to band, and a simple message from my sister Megan, "Thanks for the car", and I lost it. And then just knowing that I was going to have to say goodbye to my mom later in the morning had me crying all over again. The drive to the airport was so hard. But thank goodness, my parents thought to put a whole box of tissues in the backseat. I think I used a good handful of them up before we got the the airport. It seemed like every time I tried to talk, my tears were triggered. I couldn't help it and i couldn't stop myself either. It was a really good thing i wasn't wearing any makeup, it would have been a mess!

Once we were at the airport, it all started to sink in that I was really leaving home and I would be back until next year. I told my mom I felt like I was part of that ABCFamily movie "Picking Up & Dropping Off" because I was leaving her behind at the airport. I was so freaked out that our checked bags were going to be over the 50lb. limit, but when they were weighed, one came in at 43 lbs. and the other at 40 lbs. It really was amazing and all the credit goes to my parents. My mom for her talent of packing things in the best possible way, and my dad for the countless times he stood on the bathroom scale holding my suitcases!

As we were walking towards security we passed a gift shop and my mom went inside. When she came out, she handed me a shopping bag. Inside was a cute little orange monkey wearing a shirt that say "Hugs from Ohio" and when you hug her tight, she makes monkey noises. My mom told me that whenever I am really missing her, to hug that monkey and think of her. As you would be expecting, there were more tears involved for all of us. I knew it was going to be hard, I just didn't realize how hard until that moment. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was go through security knowing it would be a really long time before I got to see my mom again. There was a little girl in line before us, maybe 2 or 3 years old. Her poor mother was trying to convince her daughter that she had to let go of her teddy because the nice man wanted to take its picture and when he was done, she could have it back. The little girl wanted no part of this plan, and she clung even tighter to that bear. In the end, her mom had to pull the bear out of the girl's hand. The little girl and I both began to sob at the same time. I felt like that little girl, only I wasn't being asked to let go of my bear, I was being told to let go of my mom and the safety and security she represents to me. My mom waited until we made it through security before she left, I know this because I kept turning around to see that she was still there. And when I looked from the other side, she was gone. (aka: More tears.) I know it sounds terrible, but at that moment, I was jealous of the little girl clinging to her teddy for dear life. But I have a part of mom with me in the shape of a very cute and cuddly monkey that I have decided to name Diamond.

Dad and I didn't really have long to wait for our flight. As I waited, I decided to text Michael, mom (she sent me a text that I responded back to), other family members and change my facebook status from my phone to let all my friends on there know my adventure had begun. While we were sitting at the gate waiting, across from us were two people about my age. As I was texting, I noticed the girl's shoes. They were crocks with MICKEY HEAD shaped holes on top! As I looked closer, I noticed she also had a Disney name plaque on her bag. And he was wearing a shirt with a bunch of vintage looking Mickeys on it. Got me wondering if they were just excited to A.) Be going to Disney on vacation or B.) Maybe they were Cast Members, too. I wish now that I would have asked. Oh, well.

Once on the plane, I started to cry again as we pulled out of the gate. I guess a wave of homesickness hit me as I thought "The next time I see this airport there could be snow on the ground." (I really hope not, that would be AWFUL!) Dad and I had the two seats closest to the window on the left-hand side of the plane (I was next to the window, he was in the middle seat and an elderly man was sitting in the aisle seat). As we took off, I had my camera at the ready to capture everything and then some as the ground disappeared beneath us. For most of the flight I was taking pictures out the window. I took over 100 pictures and I think I got some really great shots! I was a little disappointed though, dad and I knew our flight had wi-fi, however we didn't know that you had to pay for it, so I wasn't able to blog and facebook from the air like I was hoping to. Oh well, I sent a message out to the masses the moment we were told we could turn our phones back on once we were on the ground in Orlando. Oh, my gosh, coming into the Orlando airport was kind of freaky. We were really low in the air and we passed over a major road and it looked like we were going to hit a truck! I'll admit, I kind of freaked a bit.

Welcome to Orlando where it is 20 degrees hotter than home. I walked outside and felt like I had walked into a brick wall. That is going to take some getting use to. We had to wait a couple minutes before our Mears suttle to leave. It took us a little over a half hour to get from the airport to our hotel, Doubletree Guest Suites near Downtown Disney. Our room was so nice and I loved the "Sweet Dreams" little pillow on the beds. Dad and I stayed in our room for a little bit before venturing off to find something to eat for dinner. On our way, we stopped so Dad could take my picture in front of the Welcome to Walt Disney World sign. I also took pictures of the Mickey sign and the Minnie sign. Then we had to cross 5 or 6 lanes of traffic to get to our destination, the coolest McDonald's I have ever seen. I wasn't really hungry, but knowing I hadn't eaten anything filling all day, I forced myself to eat my hamburger and fries. While at the restaurant, I talked to mom on the phone for a little bit. Then dad and I braved that crosswalk one more time to get back to our hotel.

Dad told me that he wanted to get something to take home for my mom and sisters and because we are in Florida, there was a Disney store right inside our hotel. We ended up finding a Goofy for Megan, Mickey for Macayla and a Stitch for my mom (I started to cry [I know you are getting sick of hear that by now!] when I saw the Stitch because I immediately thought of the line Lilo says in the movie: "Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.") I think they are going to love them.

Speaking of my family, I got to talk to them on Skye for a little bit the first night we were here. It worked almost perfectly. At first we couldn't hear them, but we soon fixed that problem. I'm so glad that even though I am so far away, with the click of one button, there they will be on my computer. Talking with me, face to face...almost. :)

Went to bed a little after midnight because I was posting pictures from the day on my facebook page for my friends and family back home to see. I am going to do my best to capture every stage for you all. You might not see it right away depending on my work schedule and the work load the classes I am planing on taking places on my time. But I can promise that I will capture and record as much as possible. I want you all to be a part of this journey with me. So come along for the ride.

As I crawled under the covered and hugged my new monkey from my mom, I kept reminding myself that this is the opportunity of a lifetime. I have a chance to be a part of the magic of Disney World, someone who helps to make the dreams of the guests come true. Someone who loves Disney and hopes to share that with many people while I am here. So ready or not, here I go. I am on my way to becoming a part of the magic that is Disney.