All Over The Place

I am all over the place.

I mean this in two different ways.

I mean that I am all over the place because my work schedule is absolutely nuts. Only during my third week working here at Walt Disney World have I had a repeat location. Each and every day it seems I am at a new meet and greet location. I am learning how the area and queue work from my captain. I am memorizing the rotation in a dining location. I am meeting new managers. I am remembering where the nearest restroom is.

I am all over the place.

I’ve worked in Frontierland, Fantasyland, Liberty Square, Town Square, and Hollywood Studios. Next week I am in Tomorrowland and Adventureland for the first time. I am also with Anna and Elsa, which excites and intimidates me simultaneously. There is so much pressure to make the Anna and Elsa experience amazing and I want to put even more of my best foot forward when I work with them. Not that I haven’t been working hard. I try to outdo myself each day, making the next day better than the previous one. There have been successes and there have been failures. I have had disappointing managers and incredible managers. I’ve been given stern looks and I’ve been called “amazing.”

Hopefully soon I will begin to become more familiar with all my work locations and won’t feel as though I am a helpless little thing each time I show up 45 minutes before I can clock in.

But even then, I will still be all over the place.

I am all over the place.

I feel as though I have a million things on my plate and no time to do them.

I am currently preparing for Disney Professional Internship applications and EPIK (English Program in Korea) applications. Yet, the only time I find to work on them is when I should be sleeping. And I really should be sleeping, because I come home from work beyond exhausted every day.

Is this what adulthood feels like? To constantly feel all over the place?

I am truly enjoying myself, don’t get me wrong. I love my job, love my time off, and am truly thrilled to get my applications for PI’s completed.

But I can’t help but feeling a tad bit overwhelmed. And that’s saying a lot. It’s very difficult to overwhelm me.

But today I had a day off and was able to get some things done. Tomorrow I’m going to Hollywood Studios. And life will keep moving forward as I continue to push myself. Because that’s how Walt would have wanted it. Because that’s how I want my time here to be.

For now I just need to concentrate on being in one place – in Walt Disney World – and perhaps that feeling of being all over the place will slowly fade.

Keep moving forward, everyone.

Becky

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Life in Character Attendant Training

The DCP life is a busy one. Nowadays I can hardly find time to spit.

This whole week I have been in training with other Character Attendants, learning my role and understanding Walt Disney World a deeper level. Of course, much of what I have learned cannot be explained here. Walt Disney World is a magical place – sprinkled with pixie dust everywhere. And just as a good magician never reveals his secrets, neither does Disney, and thus neither will I.

I will say this, though. Cast Members at Walt Disney World work tirelessly to make guests have the best and most memorable vacations they can. They work hard come rain or shine, regardless of temperature, stuffiness of costume, or whether guests smile or scream at them. So treat them well. Because they’ll do just about anything to get a smile out of your child – or out of you.

Seriously, if it made guests happy, we would learn the perfect cast.

We would also make crazy faces all day.

In my training I have learned some important lessons and experienced some amazing things.

My first day in training I learned that a few of my items were not Disney Look appropriate.

1) My shoes were not appropriate. They must be made of a polishable material! Mine were not, despite being plain black with no visible logos. (Darn!) I had to run out and buy some from Walmart.

2) My watch was considered to be too sparkly for work. It is not sparkly, really. It has a small band of not-very-shiny rhinestones along the face, but I did not think it would be an issue. However, it is considered a bit too flashy for the Disney look. Hello, Walmart watch! My new watch has a simple black band and a plain white face.

3) My sunglasses, despite being very plain and black, were white on the inside, and thus not Disney Look appropriate. Plain black sunglasses were then purchased at (you guessed it!) Walmart.

Other than that, I was Disney Look appropriate. However, the purchase of new items (2 pairs of shoes, 1 new watch, and 2 pairs of sunglasses) put me back about $70. So be prepared with the right stuff, kids.

Otherwise, training has been fabulous. I cannot speak to training in other roles, because each role’s training is different.

For Character Attendants, training is broken down into 3 parts.

The first part was discussed in my last post. It involves two classes you will take after Traditions. These classes are very long and can be good or awful depending on your facilitators.

The second part lasts four days. These four days are your core training days. During these four days you will learn what it means to be a Character Attendant and how to be a good one. I had several different facilitators/trainers during these days and boy did I learn a lot! I won’t say much about details, but I will say that we were given a lot of information to process in those 4 days.  Not to worry, though. Our trainers were amazing and helped us all to approach our new job without panicking.

After completing my core training days, I had Core plus training days. These days are specific to Character Attendants. Non-Magic Kingdom attendants have one day while Magic Kingdom attendants have two. Why do Magic Kingdom attendants have two days? Because while other parks have around eleven meet-and-greet spots, Magic Kingdom has nearly triple that.

Oy.

Core plus days consisted of a tour of each of the meet-and-greet locations, learning how the queues work to ensure that that when we did get to work at that location we would be able to take on each location with confidence.

Now that I have finished all my training, it is time to get started as a real-life Character Attendant! My first shift is TOMORROW in Town Square with none other than the practically perfect Mary Poppins.

I cannot wait, because I swear I have the best job. Watching a child’s face light up when she sees her Tinker Bell or Mickey Mouse is incredibly rewarding, and knowing that you had anything to do with creating a magical moment or a memorable photograph for them is priceless.

I don’t know if my heart can handle my job. Seriously.

That’s all for now! Tomorrow is a big day!

Becky

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Traditions!

Hello, Katz and The Mouse followers!

Life has gotten extra hectic since I last posted. Right now it is Sunday night, so I will have been at Disney for a full week beginning tomorrow. So much has happened. SO much.

It’s all a little overwhelming.

TAKE YOUR PIXIE DUST

But the good kind of overwhelming.

There is lots to absorb in a relatively limited amount of time, so come to Disney with your eyes, ears, and brain wide open.

This process of absorbing begins in Traditions, Disney’s official orientation. There is a lot of mystery and magic surrounding what actually happens in Traditions, so of course I don’t want to be the one to spoil the magic.

I will say this, though.

Some of Traditions is like this: And some of Traditions is like this:

And a good chuck of Traditions is like this: And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

After Traditions you can get access to The Hub, the Disney intranet system, as well as getting your ID and your name tag!

Tears of joy.

Tears of joy.

And of course, then you can get into the Parks! The night after Traditions I went to The Magic Kingdom. It was absolutely incredible as a cast member. Everything just seems that much more special, and the joy radiating off the guests is palpable. I also felt joy as well. I ate a Dole Whip float, rode Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Journey of The Little Mermaid, and Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, and watched Wishes.

Training began two days after that on Sunday morning. I had to wake up at 5AM this morning to get to Disney University by 7:30AM. Luckily, I decided to pack my lunch and shower before I went to bed last night. That made for a much less hectic morning.

I had two courses today: Welcome to Operations and Welcome to Entertainment. Operations is a course everyone has to take as far as I know. It’s basically a very detailed orientation about the nitty gritty of working at Disney Parks. Welcome to Entertainment is a special class just for entertainment cast members (Character Performers, Character Attendants, PhotoPass, and Costuming) and it was really fun. Special kudos to the four facilitators I had today. They powered through many hours of non-airconditioned class. Oh yes. I didn’t mention that the air conditioning in DU broke during my classes today, did I?

It was oh so much fun in the August Florida heat. But to compensate they gave us all popsicles.

Today we picked up our costumes after training and I am so stoked, though navigating the costuming building for the first time is a bit intimidating. I look so official in the Character Attendant costume. I stared at the mirror at costuming for a decent chunk of time, trying to comprehend what was actually happening.

Now I have a day off (I am EXHAUSTED), but I intend to go to the parks tomorrow. Probably Magic Kingdom, as I will be going solo. Can you say Seven Dwarfs Mine Train?

Beginning Tuesday I have training all through the rest of the week until Saturday. Busy DCP life has definitely begun. I am excited for all the new arrivals tomorrow. Welcome, August 11th arrivals! We are so excited to meet you.

Until next time!

Becky

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

DCP Arrival: My First 3 Days

I can’t believe I’m here.

After waiting months and months, the time has finally come and I can hardly believe it. I’ve only been at Disney for three days and already have had quite the experience. Everyone has their own version of an arrival post, so consider this to be mine.

Before I explain how my arrival went, I have to give this DISCLAIMER: chances are, your arrival schedule will be different from mine. Your arrival schedule is catered to YOU and there is no set way the first few days are supposed to go.

Here’s how it went for me!

DAY 1:

I had not been sent a designated arrival time, so my mom and I decided to head to Vista Way at 8:30. Beforehand we ran to Perkins to eat a quick breakfast and arrived at the Welcome Pavillion at Vista right on time. The line was already out the door.

Check in goes as follows:

Step 1: Wait in line for a really long time.

Step 2: You get to the covered area outside of the building. There you will receive a name tag and be separated into two lines, one last names A-L, one last names M-Z.

Step 3: Wait some more, but this time, inside.

Step 4: Find out your role location! Freak out!

Step 5: Find out your housing location.

Step 6: Take your ID picture. Make sure you’re Disney Look appropriate chest up!

Step 7: Receive your house key and your housing ID. Keep that ID and key with you at ALL TIMES.

Step 8: Head outside to the big tent, where you’ll receive your itinerary for the first few days. Then a person at a nearby table will explain your itinerary.

Step 9: Fill out your I-9 form for Casting.

Step 10: Talk to a cast member about opportunities for your program and pick up your DCP gift bag (I won’t spoil what’s in it!)

Then I was free! Here’s what I found out at Check-in. I am a Magic Kingdom Character Attendant. I actually jumped up and down when I found out.

I also found out that my roommates and I got placed in Vista Way, our 4th choice. Womp womp.

My itinerary was as follows:

Monday: Check in. Tuesday: Casting & Housing meeting Wednesday: Language Testing Thursday: nothing Friday: Traditions session 1 (morning)

Thus, while 4 of my 5 roommates went on to casting on Monday morning, one other roommate and I stayed behind to unpack. And unpack we did. My mom helped me organize my space and we went out to lunch and to Target for an initial grocery shop.

Then my roommates and I ordered pizza and passed out. It was a pretty exhausting day.

DAY 2:

I had Casting at 11AM on Tuesday! I caught the bus by the Welcome Pavilion and spent the next several minutes being entertained by Brian, a cast member who told us terrible jokes and asked us Disney trivia questions. I answered one (Who is the Indian princess from Peter Pan?) and received a DCP pin!

Casting was quite the process, but I filled out my I-9 forms, received my further training schedules, and attempted to get fingerprinted (my fingers didn’t want to be cooperative). Everyone there was incredibly friendly and someone even told me that she thought I was going to be a “fantastic character attendant.” I was so touched.

You’re so nice! Can I hug you?

The Housing meeting was at 4PM (I had it with one other roommate — other roommates had it at other times). Housing was at The Commons, so we took a bus there. The meeting was essentially an introduction to housing. If you’ve lived at a dorm at school you’ll basically be aware about what will be discussed, but you should be aware that Disney is very strict about certain things. So pay attention!

There is also Disney trivia at this event. I answered the question “What is the tallest attraction at Walt Disney World?” and won a pen and a retractable ID holder!

After that, I was free to play with roommates! I’ll tell you what we did on another post!

DAY 3:

Day 3 has been really relaxed. I only had language testing. Because I marked on my application that I spoke Japanese I was scheduled for a language test for a pin on my name tag. I was scheduled for a 9AM testing but showed up a bit early. No one in the office spoke Japanese so I had to hold an interview over the phone. I am a firm believer in academic integrity, so I won’t say what’s on the test. I will, however, tell you that it is only oral.

Oh yeah, and I passed!

I have the next couple of days free, but I’ll let you know how Traditions goes! I’ll also tell you all about our new apartment in Vista Way.

Vista…

But to keep it positive, I MADE IT!!!!

Until then…

Becky

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Hello, Lake Buena Vista!

We’ve made it.

Today is Sunday, August 3rd. Check in is tomorrow! This is about how I feel:

My mom and I left home on August 1st (Friday) and have been on the road ever since, stopping once in Tennessee and once in Georgia before arriving here. It has been a long journey complete with heavy traffic, rain and shine, the license plate game, and a pirate-themed restaurant in Savannah in the oldest house in Georgia (it really made me want to ride Pirates of The Caribbean…)

The drive took between 17 and 19 hours, and we are a little road weary. The beds at the hotel are nice and soft for a good night’s sleep tonight.

To celebrate our arrival and the start of my program, my mom and I have dinner reservations at Narcoossee’s at The Grand Floridian and intend to watch Wishes from the beach at The Polynesian. If it stops raining, that is. This is the sunshine state, huh?

Please don’t rain on check-in day!

That’s all for now! Tomorrow I check in at Vista Way between 8 and 10AM and will have many tales to tell.

TTFN! Ta-Ta For Now!

Becky

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

 

The Trouble With Packing

I am having trouble packing.

It’s for multiple reasons.

First, I tend to over-pack. For sure, I could never live out of a single suitcase. I am a compulsive “Well, what if…” type of person. I’m the type of person who will always pack an an extra shirt, a bag of band-aids, and scissors — just in case. Maybe deep down I was meant to be a Boy Scout (“Be Prepared” and all of that). Thus, when it comes to packing for a 5-month internship, it’s kind of difficult to know where to draw the line. I tend to personify my belongings, and if I consider leaving something like a t-shirt behind, I feel badly for it, as though the item is aware that I am abandoning it. Thus…I bring EVERYTHING. Then, of course, I have too much stuff and I somehow become the queen of STUFF.

Does anyone else do this, or am I a complete weirdo?

Of course, this blog post isn’t a packing list. I’ll create something like a packing list soon.

But packing right now is more than that; the issue is twofold.

Because I recently graduated from college, I don’t quite know the next time I’ll be home. This September I plan on applying for Disney Professional Internships. If I get one (cross your fingers for me!) that will start in January in either Orlando or LA. I don’t know if I’ll have time to come home in between, so I feel like I’m packing up my life in a weird sort of way.

Maybe my trouble packing is all in my head. I’ve packed and moved places many times in my life, but I always seem to know the next time I’ll be coming home.

Not any more, it would seem.

No more home for you.

I suppose that’s part of growing up, though. Some day soon I’ll find a new place to call home that isn’t with my parents and isn’t college. And that’s where I’ll feel most comfortable. But until then, I can’t say it’s an entirely pleasant feeling.

Preach it.

So I will keep packing, even if it’s difficult. Even if it somehow signifies my growth into an adult. Even if I can’t find a place for my stick blender to save my life.

If only it were as easy as Genie makes it seem…

Check in is on Monday – just 5 days away!

It’s hard to believe. I promise to keep you all updated!

Becky

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

DORMS

I mentioned in my last post that I would write about DORMS once it was completed.

As promised, DORMS arrived yesterday and was completed today, so I thought I’d inform you all.

DORMS stands for Disney Onsite Resident Management System, and is how we pick out where we want to live and with whom we want to live.

DORMSDORMS emails are typically sent out within 2 weeks of arrival.

For the August 4, 2014 arrivals, DORMS emails arrived on July 22, 13 days prior to arrival. We were given until July 25th to complete the forms, so those working on placing us in rooms have time to do so. And not to worry, no apparent computer requirements this time – my Mac worked just fine.

My personal experience with DORMS was interesting.

First, like always, I had to confirm personal information. I also had to list emergency contact information, whether I wanted to live off-site, whether I needed married housing or accessible housing, etc. This is also where you register your vehicle if you are bringing one. I am not.

Next comes the reading of the forms. These have to do with basic housing policies at Disney. The usual: don’t have more than 16 people in an apartment at once, guests must sign in and leave before 1AM, yada yada yada. Make sure to agree to the terms!

It’s not quite the contract like Ariel signed, but there are a lot of rules.

Next it was time to pick my roommates. At this point you get two options.

1) Check “I’m adventurous! Pick for me!”

OR

2) “I know who I want to live with.”

Even though the whole stranger-meeting-stranger-and-becoming-BFFs could be a possibility, I’m not sure of how confident I am that a Once Upon A Dream-like situation could be realistic.

Sorry, but I don’t take to dancing with strangers as well as Aurora does. Let alone living with them.

I definitely have roommates with whom I want to live – you can read about how we met here! Here’s where it gets complicated.

Among my roommates we designated me as the group leader. This meant that I was the first to log in to DORMS. All my roommates give me their “Roommate Numbers,” which are included in the email from Disney about DORMS. Once the leader is in DORMS, he or she can select up to 5 potential roommates. To do this, you simply submit their roommate numbers (which basically confirms you know them, as the person would have to tell you themselves). Once you paste in a number you can click a button to verify the identity of the person. Once the names and numbers are on the form and verified, you can submit it!

Once this form is submitted, your other future roommates will be sent an email notifying them that I (the leader) put their names down. They can then log into DORMS and confirm.

The interesting part of my DORMS experience happened in this stage. As the designated leader, I had to collect roommate numbers before I could begin the process. By this morning (July 23 – the day after the email’s arrival) I had 4 of 5 numbers, but one roommate was still MIA. No one could seem to get in contact with this last roommate. Someone suddenly remembered she had just had surgery. We didn’t know if she was in the hospital or would even have access to a computer or was even conscious! And we only had 2 more days to fill out the email.

So, there was a brief interlude of this:

I was in the process of writing an email to Disney Housing attempting to beg to give us an extension or somehow register this roommate without her number when the roommate suddenly logged onto our Facebook chat and gave us her number.

What a relief! DORMS was happily completed after that.

After selecting your roommates you can select where you want to live. Our first choice was a 3-bedroom apartment in Patterson Court. However, depending on how many roommates you list, all of your options are listed and you must select an order of preference.

What do you mean we can’t live in the castle?

We had a general order of preference, but for sure, triple occupancy rooms were on the bottom. We’re all in our twenties. No triples, please.

And then, DORMS was all filled out!

Only 12 days until arrival…trying not to freak out here…

Ah, who am I kidding, I am freaking out and SO excited!

With my classes, paperwork, and housing all figured out, I guess it’s time for me to officially prepare for arrival!

Have a magical day!

Becky

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”