Saturday, 17 March 2012

It's Not Easy Being Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Apparently over 39,000 people thought that the best place to spent the day was Epcot. They may have been right. 

So yesterday was my Sunday, and started off my the pool as my days off have been. Eventually I decided to be a productive member of society and went to Walmart with a few other Canadians. In the evening, Laura and I went to Epcot to play, which is what it's called if you show up as a Guest. Pretty much every attraction was 80 minutes or more for standby, and I haven't gathered enough friends yet to get Fast Passes (I am coming for you, Soarin' Cast Members who share the break trailer with Canada), so we were only able to get on Mission to Mars (the green, less intense training) right away. 

Laura and I "playing" at Epcot.
By next Thursday, I'll have been there 6 days in a row. 

Then we joined the epic queue for fish & chips in the UK Pavilion, had some British beer beside the Pooh character topiaries while listening to The British Invasion, the UK entertainment (Canada's is Off Kilter and they're fantastic). I then experienced IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, Epcot's firework show, for the first time. It was amazing! So much better than Wishes at Magic Kingdom. Seriously. Plus, having now seen it, I was prepared to close during the show the next day.

Winnie the Pooh and his red balloon.
Would you believe my phone takes better pictures than my camera?

I didn't work til 1315 today and had every intention of waking up with the sun to go play at Epcot, but then I was too tired and got up at 1000 instead. I picked up Katie (yeah, no bus for me anymore) and 20 minutes later we were immersed in the hugest sea of green I have ever seen. I don't know why so many people flocked to Epcot for St. Patrick's Day, but I know 4,000 more guests than expected showed up. I learned to do leather engraving today. Not hard, but as soon as I started, about 30 guests each decided they needed a bracelet and 6 bag tags each, so I became really good at engraving really fast. It's pretty much a laptop (more like a notepad) attached to this tiny little power tool that carves the letters. We just have to hold the bracelet in place and not make a typo. Katie even recognized my efficiency at our closing meeting with our manager and the UK merchandise cast. Woo!

Spaceship Earth lit up for nighttime viewing. Gorgeous. 


Note: I saw so much green beer today (straight from Rose & Crown, the UK pub) and didn't get any. Don't feel too bad for me though, I'll feel super tomorrow for my opening shift. 

Thanks to: Mary and her mom for both sending me mail! YAY! 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Think of Paths that Moonbeams Make, If the Moon is Still Awake

Today was my Saturday. I usually dislike it when people say that, but I have to because I usually don't know what day of the week it actually is, and at least for awhile, I'll have Thursdays and Fridays off.

This afternoon I hit up Hollywood Studios (not to be confused with Universal Studios; this one is a Disney park) with a few English, Italian and Canadian friends. We immediately lined up for Aerosmith's Rock'n' Roller Coaster while one of us went to grab Fast Passes on Tower of Terror for everyone else (we can get a Fast Pass an hour with Disney ID), as well as snacks and drinks. It was an 80-minute wait, and it was worse for me cuz I had never done it before and Ashleigh convinced me that the first row of the first car was where we were sitting. I did it. It went so damn fast it whipped tears from my eyes (I swear I wasn't that scared). 

Rock'n' Roller Coaster: Conquered 
As soon as we were through with Rock'n' Roller Coaster, our Fast Pass time had come up for Tower of Terror, so we were able to bypass the entire line and immediately get on the next ride. Bless the Fast Pass. I completely forgot that Tower of Terror makes me think I'm going to die. 

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Conquered
Then we had reservations (always always always make reservations) at the Sci-Fi Drive-In Theater, a restaurant on the other side of the park styled to look like a 1950s drive-in movie theater. I'm sure you would've figured it out. 

I have no idea why I got to be the driver.
Glittery tables! Cute costume on hostess!
The park was closing as were were leaving, so there were a ton of Cast Members at the bus stop. I squealed every time I saw a Tower of Terror costume (there were four of them!). I'm still really confused on what constitutes backstage and onstage, but I'm pretty sure pictures weren't allowed at the bus stop. I'll have to clarify for next time so I can make Tower of Terror friends. 


Note: Remember the pond across the road from my apartment? It's full of glow sticks tonight. I've never seen litter look so magical.

Thanks to: The College Program Participant on the bus to whom I taught some French. Did you know that only 20% of Canadians are fluent in French? Now you do. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

It's Such Fun to Hum a Happy Working Song

My second day as a lumberjack and a week into my program! Only 51 left to go...

I don't think I'll be taking the morning bus anymore. It was packed full of people this morning and they had to send another one for the folks getting on at Chatham Square (another residence). Generally unpleasant and will now be avoided.
My work day started with a party. Literally. World Showcase West - Merchandise (Canada, the United Kingdom and France) is celebrating going over 365 days being incident-free, so we got a Safety party today from 1000-1600. It was in a venue called the World Showplace, which is a huge hall backstage Epcot. We all went in our costumes, and there was a huge, delicious-looking buffet set up. All our managers, as well as some of the Epcot higher-ups (like the VP of Epcot, Erin Youngs) were there to congratulate us. Why yes, I am taking some credit.

Safety 365 Party buffet - reward safety with food? Count me in. 

Some of my new Merchandise Cast Members
My day was spent training inside the store on the cash register, as well as some backstage training with Katie (those Disney Service Basics again). I also spent time on our merchandise cart outside, which was considerably busier than inside, likely because it was another gorgeous day. I met so many Canadians, and mostly Ontarians today. If you visit from Canada, we have a Guestbook you can sign! I didn't check for more Perth people, but they're bound to come by sooner or later!

Happy lumberjack heading home!


Note: I don't want to brag or anything, but the Canadian Pavilion is right beside the character meet and greet spot, for Duffy the Disney Bear. He's so cuuuuuuute!

Thanks to: Katie, who says I'm making her job as trainer easy. I'm fairly certain my MUMC trainers would disagree...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Look at the World - So Close, and I'm Halfway to it

No more business attire for me!

I finished my classroom training today. The rest of my training will happen in lumberjack gear at my Pavilion. 

"Earning my Ears" = I do not know the answers to your questions.

Today I reported to backstage Epcot, where you can find Costuming and Cast Member Services. My group watched a video on the history and concept of Epcot, what it was supposed to be and how it developed into what it is (if you don't know, check it out here). We talked a bit about diversity and culture, and touched on those darn Disney basics again (different than the keys I mentionned earlier). The Disney basics are:
  • I project a positive image and energy.
  • I stay in character and play the part.
  • I am courteous and respectful to all Guests, including children.
  • I go above and beyond.
I just did that from memory. It's etched into my brain forever. After we learned all about Epcot, we took off our nametags and went to the park as Guests to get a tour and experience some Epcot highlights. We went on Spaceship Earth, which is the attraction inside and the name of the icon of Epcot. We walked through Innoventions. 

Spaceship Earth, the geodesic sphere icon of Epcot

Close-up of Spaceship Earth's surface

We were going to walk the mile and a half around the World Showcase, but then surprise! Private boat tour for new Cast!  That was a way better way to experience the Showcase. That, or the Segway tour which I plan to take at some point in the year. Watch me wipe out in my own Pavilion. 

My own Pavilion, site of future Segway incident
We finished at noon, at which point I reported to Costuming to get more (duh) costumes. So it turns out I'm a very popular size for culottes, as there were no more. There's a form to fill out if that happens, which basically requests that they acquire more (MORE CULOTTES!). Lots of plaid shirts though! I also checked out a coat from Winter Wear. I would've needed it on Sunday, when it rained, but watch me never need it now that I have it. 

That's my day, back to lumberjack training tomorrow!


Note: When Spaceship Earth gets rained on, the sphere collects the rain water which is later used in the fountains throughout the park. Additionally, there are 11, 324 triangles on Spaceship Earth's surface. 

Thanks to: The horticulturists of Epcot for the gorgeous topiaries gracing the park for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Pluto, in plant form!

Monday, 12 March 2012

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

This morning I was on the bus before dawn to get to Disney University on time for my Merchantainment  (Merchandise + Entertainment) class. I don't think I mentioned yesterday that I'm the only new Merchandise Lumberjack. There was actually a classroom that's half chairs and half fake CashWraps/ POS systems/ cash registers, complete with fake US cash, fake Travellers' checks (cheques?) and fake credit cards. It was pretty elaborate for retail training. It also turns out I can't count out change anymore. Sure, I can draw blood, but I sure as hell can't count change. Oh boy.

Disnet University has a huge pest problem
Not as creepy as you'd think

The afternoon was spent doing more e-learning modules, which was pretty darn boring, but I'll have you know I'm now a pro on the 2012 Disney Dining Plans, and relearned everything there is to know about fire extinguishers.
After class, I wandered around Disney University and found Company D, one of the cast-exclusive merchandise locations (there's another one backstage Epcot). I also found Cast Connection and Property Control across the parking lot. Did I mention Disney University is backstage Magic Kingdom? Anyway, so are the cast stores. Cast Connections is basically super old or discontinued merchandise at ridiculously reduced prices, and they randomly sell fruit and milk. Property Control is things that were used around the parks that are now for sale to Cast, like mugs and plates and random German shelving units (straight from the German Pavilion), for more ridiculously low prices. Yeah, I'm coming back poor. But with a German shelving unit! Kidding! Or am I...
I found the mailboxes today and was able to get a few more shots of my residence. Enjoy!

Home sweet home. Only one entrance means superb security.

The mail center, where I'll be getting so much mail soon.

Lizards everywhere!


Note: There's a serious danger of me becoming a pin collector. I got a new Cast one.

Thanks to: Anyone at Disney University who called me by name today and didn't laugh when I was surprised they knew it (nametag, duh).

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Watch and You'll See, Someday I'll Be Part of Your World

This is the one. The one you've been waiting for.

First thing this morning, I met my trainer Katie, and we went straight to Costuming (it's a costume, not a uniform). Many of you might actually die if you saw Costuming. Sadly, backstage pictures are not allowed at all, but if I can remember what it looks like a year from now, ask me then. So I got my lumberjack on in my red and black plaid shirt (not flannel!) and tan culottes (not a skirt, despite what it looks like), put on my fancy name tag from Traditions, and was given a lanyard for trading pins. They give us some special pins you can only get from Cast Members, if they are any collectors out there (I know at least one, you know who you are).

I work all night, I sleep all day
About half my day was spent Backstage with Katie, going over a few e-learning modules and more safety stuff (WHMIS, anyone?), as well as the keys and the Disney basics, which I can recite if anyone wants me to. The other half was spent Onstage (anywhere where a Guest can see me), interacting with Guests, getting a tour of the Pavilion and watching "O Canada!", the Canada Attraction (do it!).
I'm back to Disney University tomorrow for my Merchantainment class. Maybe I'll get a diploma this time?


Note: There's a very real chance I ate lunch near a princess.

Thanks to: Any of the Guests who got the full dose of my awkwardness today. That's not all Canadians, I swear.