Hey hey everyone! I’m currently typing this from my apartment where we have basically no internet until Monday, so I don’t know when this will be posted. It’s Tuesday night and I’m doing laundry, showering, and other things in preparation for Traditions tomorrow morning. Firstly I just want to say I’m having the time of my life. It’s amazing here. Anyway, let’s review the last couple of days, shall we? (Well now it’s Saturday at 2 am and I can’t sleep. Basically I’m updating and adding to this when I can.)
Saturday was my going away party which was fun, but a little stressful since it was right before I left. I got about an hour in total of sleep this night after tossing and turning so much. Who’s going to sleep when they’re SUPER AMAZINGLY EXCITED FOR DISNEY!?
Anyway, I went to breakfast with my parents around 4 am on Sunday, headed to the airport, said a quick goodbye, went through security, and got on the plane basically. I wasn’t tearful or sad for me at all because I knew I had so many amazing things to look forward to. P.S. It’s a week later and I haven’t had one twinge of homesickness or sadness at all. I love my hometown, but this is quickly becoming the normal, awesome life for me.
The flight was…alright. It seemed longer than 45 minutes, but I was in Memphis soon enough. I HATE THEIR AIRPORT. They don’t have any kind of tram between terminals, plus I had to walk for B1 to B42. Think of a really long way to walk. Now double it. That’s how far I had to walk, just to get to my gate and discover I had to spend 4 dollars on bottled water and there were no seats. Anyway, that flight was actually really good. I read Castmember Confidential the whole way, and although I’m not sure of it’s credibility, I liked it a lot.
MCO was great, finding Magical Express was actually EASY this time, and I was on my way to Disney before I knew it. I was surrounded by little families that were so excited for their vacations. Check in at Pop Century took literally less than 2 minutes and then I met up with my roommate Megan and Joe!
Joe’s been here a month already, so he showed us around Orlando a little and we got to see his apartment at Chatham. Then we headed to the Poly was dole whips and a few trips around the monorail! But Tracie and Mary were waiting for us so me and Megan went back to Pop Century, got an overpriced lunch, and met up with the other roomies. We all headed to DTD afterwards (on a completely empty Disney resort bus!) where we met Elliott, Sara, Abby, Lyanne, Laura, Suzie, Ryan, Brent, etc etc etc. So many awesome people.
That night is kind of a blur but we basically strolled in and out of the shops and then sat outside Wetzel’s just talking. Oh, and a bunch of us went to Trex, shared appetizers, and got harassed by fake dinos.
This night was so much fun and almost when I knew that this program would be as fun and amazing as I had thought it would be.
Check in! This was quite a long day. And honestly guys, the more and more I write the less and less detailed my posts are going to get, lol.
We woke up ridiculously early (it was ridiculous for this day, it would quickly become the norm for training) and Megan drove us (the first of many Orlando driving adventures) to IHOP where we met up with the other roomies and Ryan for pancakes and excitement-sharing.
Now for check-in. We got there around 6:30 and the security guy opened up the parking lot across the street for us. We saw a black cat there…which, I mean, I really don’t think we’ve had bad luck at all. Anyway, we sat outside of security on these awkward benches for an hour and a half (about a handful of people trickled in, no more than 20, our arrival date was super small.) Also a warning girls, there are days where the humidity is RIDICULOUS. You can’t even imagine how humid it can be until you’re sitting outside for a long time in the early morning and your hair start to go insane. I’ve started putting half my hair up which helps a lot.
Anyway, at about 8:01 security told us to head on back to the Welcome Center which is kind of in the back corner of Vista. We were the first people in line. They gave us sticker-y name tags and there was a DJ there with far too much energy for 8 am. Then we basically just had to fill out a couple forms, get some stuff signed, and then went into the room where we they assign housing.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get Chatham or Patterson like we had hoped for, but we did get a 3 bedroom at Vista, so we’re all together and HAPPY. Vista’s not so bad actually, and now I couldn’t see myself at any other complex. It’s older and some of the stuff was a little creepy at first, but now this really feels like home. We have rearranged the furniture (I’ll get pictures up sometime), put a slip cover thing on the couch, decorated the walls and such all to make it feel a little more like home. Which it does.
Anyhoo, Casting was next, so we hopped on our assigned bus (they guide you through every single thing these first few days, no worries) and headed to the very cool Casting building. Here we stood for a few minutes and a woman came down the line telling everyone their work locations. I’m…..Tomorrowland Merchandise!
Basically after that it’s a bunch of weaving in and out of these little stations, filling out paperwork, and learning about the paycard, Disney Look, getting fingerprinted, etc. It’s seriously over before you know it and there’s very little waiting.
Now, our housing meeting wasn’t until Day 2 so after we got back to the apartment we were free to do whatever we wanted! So we…sat around and talked about how hungry we were. Megan went to pick up our luggage from Pop Century and I unpacked a little. Sara came by to tell us that unfortunately she was just having too hard a time with everything, which I completely understand. It just wasn’t the right time for her to be doing this so she left. We got a new roommate the next day, Paige, who seems nice. Oh, let me tell you who my roommates are if you didn’t already know!
Jenn - MK Tomorrowland Merch
Abby - (room roomie) DHS Hollywood and Vine FSFB
Tracie - MK Toontown Merch
Megan - MK Toontown Merch
(isn’t it cool that they get to work together!?)
Mary - Epcot Mission Space Attractions
Paige - DHS Sunset Boulevard QSFB
Woke up early AGAIN. This is becoming normal for me, and I’m actually awake and ready to go at 3 am today (Saturday) when my training isn’t til 8. So the housing meeting was…as fun as it possibly could be. Our facilitators for this were really funny and tried their hardest to make it interesting for us, but let’s face it, you can’t make boring info that fun, lol. Also, the room wasn’t that cold at all for me. It was actually perfect. But I’m weird like that.
The bus back to Vista was really crowded so we had to stand, and on one of the particularly sharp turns I fell into this random guy. Nice to meet you. We came back to eat at Chick Fil A, which is really close to Vista. A lot of things are, like Walgreens and Wendy’s. It was tasty, but I was getting tired of eating out so I really just wanted to go shop for my own groceries! Which is what we did next. The Walmart there is pretty huge and has everything (except the kind of bread I eat, grrr). I spent about $100 which was what I was expecting. I had to get a lot of basics, so in the future I doubt I’ll spend that much on food.
After unloading our MASSIVE amount of groceries into the kitchen we took another driving adventure to Ikea and Target. I got a couple things like a cute trash can. Ikea has a lot of adorable stuff for really cheap, but I didn’t want to spend too much money. Then at Target we got more things to decorate our apartment with…and Starbucks. Tracie promptly spilled her drink on herself in the parking lot and it looked like she got shot. Nobody could breathe because they were laughing so hard, especially me. I love you Tracie, haha.
That night was spent at the Polynesian! We got sushi (crab cake roll for me, deliciousness) and sat at the far end of the beach that was very out of the way and just talked and talked with Megan’s friend Brent who writes books about Disney. (From Screen to Theme by Brent Dodge - read it!) and has the most awesome job and car ever. Anyway, we were just sitting there staring at the castle, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary all lit up and I almost felt like crying. I couldn’t believe this was my life now. The fireworks were amazing but we couldn’t hear the audio very well.
Then later that night I just did some laundry (our laundry room is literally about 5 steps from our front door. AWESOME.) and other things. We have to share one Ethernet cable right now until Megan’s wireless router gets here. No big deal, I’m not missing Facebook.
Traditions! I was feeling pretty terrible on this day. My stomach felt all weird and my throat had been hurting for days (my nose is still stuffy!). The bus ride was kind of miserable for me, so of course it would break down in the middle of the street and we’d have to be rescued by a resort bus. Of course. We finally got to Disney University and got split up into some groups. I was with Tracie and Mary. We also got into this line to receive our ID and be checked over for the Disney Look, but the guy didn’t really seem to be looking.
The first 30 minutes is the worst. Especially for me because I was already sick. It’s just a very dry video on something I can’t remember now. Everyone was literally falling asleep. But after that it gets better! We met our facilitators Sara and Ben who were pretty funny and really sweet. We just basically went over some Disney history and how we should act as Disney Cast Members. Then the fun part came! (Not fun for my feet however, they’re still not recovered.) We slapped on some walkie talkies and got to wlk around the utilidors and onstage at the Magic Kingdom. I felt very official, lol. We were basically just supposed to be observing the cast members.
After heading back to the classroom we had a surprise. Since I saw the reaction of everyone in my group, I’m just going to keep it to myself if you don’t already know what it is. How everyone reacted, however, is absolutely priceless. I loved it. The class went pretty quickly after that and before we knew it we were finally on a bus back home.
All my roommates went to MK, but I was still feeling crappy so I stayed in. Yes. I had my ID to get into the parks for free, and I stayed in instead. Well, I actually went to Subway and Walmart and got registered for the Hub, but still, I stayed in. I know I needed to rest up and stop burning myself out so much. I think I’ve finally found some balance.
My park orientation, or Once Upon a Time…Is Now, was on this day. (Wow the days are starting to blend together.) Our facilitators were Jo Ellen and Joseph who were also quite funny and sweet. I’ve been so lucky with all my trainers. Oh, Megan and Tracie were also in this with me which made it even more fun.
There was lots of walking today. Please please please I cannot stress enough how important it is to buy comfy shoes for this, even if they’re ugly. And wear them in a little before you leave. We basically walked all around Main Street, a little of Fantasyland, some backstage, some onstage. Just learning fun tidbits about that part of the park which was actually really interesting if you’re into Disney. Then we got told this intricate story of the Haunted Mansion and actually got to ride it!
Then after watching a short video we met up with other trainers. All the merchandise people were pulled into the same group and our guy took us to Costuming. My costume isn’t so bad, it’s just not that comfortable or flattering at all. I have never worn shorts that had to go above my belly button. Warning! You WILL have to go up probably 2 or more sizes in the pants/shorts. Don’t freak out, it’s just a number. You know you’re really a 6 and not a 10, you’ll be okay.
That was it. All done for the day! After coming home, showering, and eating I was supposed to meet up with my friend Kristin at MK, but it started MASSIVELY down pouring and there was loud thunder and lightning everywhere. I didn’t really know where to go on the bus, so I didn’t feel like it would be good to navigate while storming. A little tip: Just be flexible. Sometimes the plans you make will fall through but that doesn’t mean you can’t reschedule.
Later that night my roomies all finally awoke from their naps (Abby sleeps through anything, btw) and we decided to go on another driving adventure to find shoes and try and hang out at DHS for a couple hours. The Studios was fun even though the only thing I really did was ride ToT (awesome awesome awesome) and wait for them outside of RnRC. We were full of energy, so when we got home we took silly pictures with our costumes on and had a lot of laughs. I love these girls!
Good day. First day of on the job training basically. We met at Costuming, and my trainer Sharon was super sweet and awesome. It was just me and this other guy Mike training with her, so I liked how personal it felt. She showed us how to navigate the tunnels a little bit and where to find our lockers and other important stuff like that. For anyone who will work at MK in the future, the tunnels are big and scary and confusing at first, but you will quickly get the hang of it. I’m already a pro at getting to my area from the entrance and to a few other places, although it is still a scary maze! I’m sure after a while it will all be second nature to me.
She showed us the break room, where to clock int and tc. We met some leaders (managers) and then went out onstage to see the different zones. In Tomorrowland we work in all the shops and they’re divided into three zones. Basically you work one zone per day and it will be on your schedule. She took us around to each zone to show us what was included and just the basic layout. Then we met with one of our leaders, Bonnie, who described herself as the ‘momma’ of tland. She sat down to get to know us a little and then took us onstage to have a little guest interaction of ourselves. She just wanted us to go up to a guest and use one of the basics (the things that will be drilled into your head.)
I found a woman taking a picture of her mom with this Stitch plush, so I simply asked them if they wanted me to take a picture of them together. They were so delighted and overjoyed that I would even offer! After we got a great shot of them, the mother (who was Brazilian and couldn’t even understand English) was so happy she actually wanted a picture with US. ON MY FIRST DAY. Wow, right? Those people will look back at their camera and remember me. I’m in people’s vacation memories already and it was only my first day. Bonnie was also just really excited since both of us who were training were really outgoing and not at all afraid to go up to guests.
This awesome thing called a BREAK came afterwards. I went to the Mouseketeeria (I’m pretty sure I just misspelled that made up word..) and had a really yummy salad with chicken, pecans, and ginger dressing. There seemed to be tons of options, but I was unnecessarily rushing so I didn’t really pay attention. There’s also my favorite, Subway, but the line was a little long.
Then we did some terribly terribly boring e-learning stuff about safety and chemicals, got our water bottles and pin trading lanyards. Then our area leader, Daniel, who is kind of in charge of all the college program people had this meeting with a whole bunch of CP’ers from tland. It was two hours in this really nice conference room and we basically had a lot of fun talking and getting to know each other. Some of them had been there a month or so already. Daniel used to be a CP, then a PI so he really seemed to know what we were going through. I also got paid to eat a Mickey Bar. Yes. This place is amazing.
We didn’t have much time left after this since we also got another 30 minute break, so Sharon just had us set up our register usernames/passwords and we spent about 20 minutes at Star Traders playing on the register. We actually got to do a real life (and really complicated) transaction!
Then I came home, shower, rested, and had a fun night. That’s quickly becoming the routine.
So here we are. This is a detailed account of every day so far. I can’t guarantee I’ll keep going into this much detail (actually I know I won’t) but I know these first few days are really interesting to all of you people who are still waiting to check in/apply/whatever. It really is a whirlwind and you quickly have to learn how to pace yourself. You’ll be really really busy and it will be a little overwhelming at first, but then it becomes normal. You just have to keep your energy level up and try and grab sleep whenever you can.
I really really really love it here. It’s almost exactly how I imagined it to be so far. I’ve only been here a week and this already feels like home, like my normal life. I can’t wait til you fall kids get here (wait..actually I can. I don’t want that much of my program to be over with yet!) because it’s so amazing. Everything is going great. Except the fact that I woke up at 2 am this morning wide awake and I have merchantainment tomorrow. Luckily I’m out at 2:30, so maybe I’ll be able to squeeze a little nap in. It’s 4 am now and I’m getting a little sleepy again, so I think I’ll try to get a little more sleep in.
Oh, the beds are SUPER uncomfortable at first but I’ve gotten used to them now. I’m usually so exhausted by the time my head hits that pillow that I don’t even notice.