Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interview with a Vacation Planner

So I thought I'd interview my friend Tracy, who was a Vacation Planner during our cp. She was also an amazing roommate! :)

Name: Tracy

Role: Vacation Planner

Location: Magic Kingdom, TTC represent!

Were you excited when you first found out you were a VP? Kind of. I didn’t really know what it was until I got there. I thought I was going to be planning peoples vacations. Like hotels, tickets, Disney dining.

How long was your training? Oh god… I think it was ten or twelve days, with a day or two off towards the end. I think (the day off)  was right before my final assessment.
My training was in class training for 4 ou 5 days, with on the job training for another 4 or 5 days. My final assessment was being able to sell tickets the proper way we were trained. There is a four step process.

What was your favorite thing about being a VP? Probably the people I worked with. We were all really close since we spent all day in the booth together.

Least? Maybe not having the option of picking up more hours.

You were able to pick up PAC (parade audience control) shifts. What did you think about that? I loved picking up PAC. I loved being able to be at Magic Kingdom during Wishes! multiple times a week.

Did you ever work in any other parks? I did work in EPCOT for one shift cause they had a whole bunch of people call in sick. I was actually at MK partway through my shift and had to take the monorail over to EPCOT to work there. We had to take off our vest on the way over (So they weren’t in full uniform You are not allowed on public Disney transportation in uniform).

What would be your advice to any incoming VP’s? Start studying the parks now! Like what kind of rides and restaurants are in each park. As well as the water parks.

Did you get asked any crazy questions? I did have a really religious lady come ask me about if Disney was supportive of gay rights and lifestyle.  She didn’t want to buy a ticket from me until she knew more about Disney and their interactions with gay groups. I ended up telling her that we don’t discriminate from anyone coming into the parks. I also always got asked, “Where’s Harry Potter World?” or “Can I get a ticket to Universal?” 

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's a (photopass) picture post!

Apologies to people with slow internet.... :)

Jump shots; So cliche, yet so fun!

Those flattering shorts are part of my uniform! Worked a shift and then went straight to Donald's line.
Best guys to work with EVERRRRR!!! They're my favs. :)

Photopass members unite! From left: Rapunzel, Hillary - DAK, Kelsey - EPCOT, Flynn (duh)  Me, Traci - MK

Fly awaaayy!!
Traci and I found a Rover and made them do our bidding!

The caption says it all.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Once more with feeling

Oops... has it been two days already?? Ugh, in between Thanksgiving I got sick, and then logistically I hadn't really told my work the news yet, but it's not like they read this anyways.... but I have been accepted back to the WDW CP for SA 2012 for Photopass again!! I'm super excited, and actually pretty shocked that I got the same role! I mean, Photopass (from what i've heard) is really hard to get into, and the fact that they're letting me do it again, rather than a role like merchandise, is really kind of flattering. I need to set myself some goals this time, but I don't even know what park I'm going to be in! I was asked in my interview where I would like to work, and I said that I would LOVE to work in EPCOT again. I feel like it's my home, and I think the tone in my voice really showed my love for that park. At the same time, I said, it might be good to get out of my comfort zone and try a different park. As such, I said that I would love to work in MK as I feel like that's the epitomy of what people think of when they think of Disney World, and there's just so much magic that happens there. I think everyone loves their first park, but I have to admit that I would be kind of bummed if I got Studio's or DAK. I'm sure I would learn to love them, but i LOVE EPCOT!!!
Okay, so I got that announcement out of the way, and will try to blog more, but between finals coming up, not really sure how good that will be, lol. But I shall venture on!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wow, it's been how long...?

Well, that's just embarrassing. I didn't even come back on to do an end post! Truth be told, I was REAAAAALLLY depressed. I have made some of the best friends doing that program, and I couldn't believe that I was leaving them. I went back to California while my friends went back to Wisconsin, Texas, Chicago and New York. August 12th really was the saddest day of my life, and I cried a lot (and had very little sleep). I think that's something to be prepared for. No matter if you love your job, if you stick it out to the end, you leave with some of the closest friends. And I mean, I'm closer with these guys than I was with the friends I made in college.  Living and working and playing together for six months will do that.
Let's see, how did I end my program:
August 3rd: One of the BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE! I went to Universal: Islands of Adventure for the last time with my friend Danny and his friends (some of whom I knew, some I met for the first time). Being in Disney really gave me back the passion for photography, and I think you can see that in some of my photo's:

Personally, I claim Ravenclaw, but the boys all claim Slytherin.  It was an "interesting" day, lol :)
  Katelynn claims Hufflepuff, and was also picked for the wand show in Olivander's.

The Hog's Head pub serves several types of beer, as well one made specially for HP land.

Since we all went home August 12th, August 11th we were not scheduled to work as to get all our packing done. See, the trick is to get all your packing done early so you can spend that whooooole day in the park (much like I did with my friend Sahil when he went home). As such, I kidnapped Danny and we went to MK for a few hours before he headed back to pack.

 I made him ride Big Thunder while I took our pictures. They came out pretty good, imo :) (it was seriously 110 the last two months of the program. Prepare to sweat....)

One of my favoritest pictures EVER!!
I went off to EPCOT to say good bye to my friend Kelsey, whose extension was granted, and as such was working.

  I then headed back to MK to meet up with one of the Tracy roommates where I took this SICK photo!!! It was during The Magic, The Memories and You. The whole stupid park was shut down because of a lightening storm in the area, which meant that alllll the rides were closed. >.< HOWEVER! As I was taking a picture of the castle lit up, lightening struck!! I could not believe my luck!

Sorry guys, had to put my name over it, I'm so proud :) It's even better since the castle is lit up with cute fluffy clouds :)
More to come.... promise much sooner than four months... more like less than two days as I have some exciting news to get to! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mind the gap....

Hi guys! I'm so sorry about disappearing for two months (ish) but I am still here, trooping along in photopass.  After my friend went home in June (after his Spring program ended), I got kind of depressed because it's scary to think that this is coming to an end.  I would find myself writing entries in my head, but just kind of avoided putting them down here.  It's like... as long as I don't think too hard, I don't have to be reminded that it's ending.  I realized when he left, that I think I hate the spring program, but only because you have to say good bye to everyone early.  When you're in the fall program, Advantage kids arrive early, and while you make friends with the left over SA kids who leave in a few months, you still have the majority of the fall kids coming in later, and you all leave together.  For Spring, everyone arrives at the same time, but it seems like you're saying goodbye to people every month, if not every other week.  It was really hard.  This has really been the best decision of my life, to come out here. I have made friends out here that I know I will always talk to and cherish.  I didn't save a dime, and even raided my savings (a lot) but I enjoyed every dime that I spent out here.  Sometimes I'm the only friend with money and treat people to places/things, but I have fun the entire time, and know if would have been different if so and so hadn't been there.  This program (and life) is short, so enjoy it to the max!!!

I did apply for the extension, but sadly did not get it.  Applications went up June 8th-17th, and we found out July...1st? I think.  Either the 1st or 3rd, which was funny since it said we would find out anytime between July 4th and 11th. Very few people got acceptances. And I mean, VERY FEW. The majority were denied, even if they had no points. This led many to believe that there was some mistake, and that people got denial letters who should have been accepted, and the real letters are coming out on monday... blah blah blah. It was all rumors.  All I can say, is please don't go with the mob mentality. It's so frustrating to read people spreading stuff when they weren't actually told themselves by a Disney employee.  I will say, keep your record card SPOTLESS.  Just because they say that you only need less than five points to qualify for extensions, the people who were accepted had 0 or 0.5 points.  I had 4.5. Which is another thing.  Photopass apparently has a completely different requirement to go seasonal or PT (transfer guidelines) So the whole time I thought I was okay with the 4.5, i was actually 0.5 over.  Photo is 4 or less which I didn't know and didn't find out until a few weeks ago, shortly after my extension denial.  (Like I said... a little depressing the last month or so...)  I'm working with a head manager to see if there is anything that can be done, otherwise I have to go home and wait til September 12th for my first point to fall off (six months after I got it) at which point, I can apply for seasonal or PT work.

Despite all this, work has still been amazing!!!  It's hot as heck out here, and the humidity makes it hard to go to work sometimes, but I think i'm getting a little used to it!  I'm really glad I came for Spring (despite what I wrote earlier...) because it was a gradual change to this humidity.  If I had come straight out here from California, in the middle of summer, for the fall program, I don't know if I would have made it.

That's me in the back! Second from last.
Take advantage of every opportunity that comes up!!!! I did the scavenger hunt back in May, and this past couple weeks I participated in C.R.O.W. which stands for Canoe Races Of the World.  This was a contest between 75 teams around Tom Sawyer island in Magic Kingdom.  EPCOT DPI put together a team, and it was hysterical.  We raced one at a time and had two practices, on a Monday and a Wednesday, at 6:30 am and 7:30 am. I had to be at MK by 5:30, so I was up at 5am. and it was haaaaaaard getting up that early. Another friend said that Soarin thought of putting together a team, but then realized that they wouldn't wake up for it, lol. Our race was the following Monday at 6:30am, and we didn't come anywhere near the top, but I had so much fun nonetheless.

I have more as I want to write down everything before the end. August 12th is quickly approaching. :(

The EPCOT Photopass CROW team!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a quickie

Going back through my old posts, I would like to reference my post from March 4th, where I mentioned the Toy Story soundtrack? Yeah, by the end I was sick of it, but only because there were only FIVE SONGS THEY PLAYED!!! If it had been, oh, an ACTUAL soundtrack, i'm sure it would have been great. But it was only a select few, lol. It's scary to go back and read posts from two months ago, and remember writing them like they were just yesterday. :/
People have indeed been having surprise inspections here lately (we really were thinking they were just myths...) so we had a bout of spring cleaning and the apartment looks really nice.
My friends Jasmine, Tracy and I rode Star Tours three times today at Hollywood Studios, and it was amazing!!!!! The graphics blew me away. And that's all I'll say since the ride isn't technically up until this weekend, so more later. :)
The Fall Advantage kids arrive tomorrow (today) and it's weird.  Fresh faces coming in, so I guess that means I won't be getting any sleep in the beginning from all the parties, lol.  We'll see what happens. I tried to convince my friends that we should get up at 7:15am to serenade them with the Be Prepared Song from the Lion King, but they all looked at me like I was crazy..... :D I remember my night before check in, hanging out with everyone in the Sunspree (Now Holiday Inn Buena Vista. But it'll always be the Sunspree to me). and then waking up suuuper early to get in line at Vista Way.  That was 99 days ago.  My program is halfway done. Sad face.
Did ppl actually like it when I posted my schedule? I'm scheduled for 35 hours this week (oooo!) and picked up two shifts at Hollywood Studios, bringing my total to 42.  This Saturday is one of the opening days for Star Tours and also a day I picked up an opening shift. I can't wait to see how many people show up for it!! It should be awesome. :) Sunday I worked 12 hours total, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. On the other hand, sometimes I can barely make it through an 8 hour shift, so I don't know why I lucked out Sunday. :) Saturday I have a morning shift, and then i just put in for another one next saturday.  It's not so bad, a quick 4 hour shift before my normal shift at EPCOT, and its' overtime. :) On the other hand, this cold is trying to kill me.... time for sleep!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photopass Pet Peeves

Okay, making up for lost time here.  So as I've been taking photo's these past three months, I've noticed a few things, and I'm sure this list will grow as I remember ones I haven't written down here.  But here are a couple things worth noting:
  • When you come in to greet a character, be excited!! We (the photographers) are expecting to take like 7 pictures of you!  We have the initial reaction (if we can get it), the hug, the interaction between u and the character, the posed shot, and then saying good bye.  Don't just walk in and stand there.
  • It's actually kind of hard, but when you get up there, try to hug the character with your face to the camera.  This is harder than it sounds if you're used to hugging on one side of a person, lol.  But you may actually like the picture of you hugging Minnie if you can actually see your face, and not your back.
  • If you're with a group, try not to walk in front of us if your friend is hugging Donald.  Man, I have had so many shots not come out because someone walked through to the other side (not your fault, really. You're just trying to get to the other side of Donald). OR WORSE!! If you have a child in your arms, don't stop right in front of them with your back to us. We can't see anything that's going on and may miss that kiss they give them on the nose. :( 
  • I don't mind taking a picture with your own camera.  I don't mind taking it with two personal cameras.  Three is pushing it, and really anything over that, you guys can just email the pictures to each other. (this is a personal opinion)
  • We're trained to let you take your photo's first with your own camera.  If you have kids, they are automatically going to look at you because you're their parents.  So until you put your camera down, they aren't going to look at me, which means if I take them while you're taking them, they aren't looking at my camera.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

picture updates

So I know it's been a while since I updated, but it's been a whirlwind two weeks of activity (and i'm paying for it now, being sick) but it was amazing!!!  First the family came out for their first trip ever to WDW and they stayed at the Boardwalk. I was able to get them a 40% discount and they loved every minute of it out here. The weather cooperated the whole time and only rained the last day. I could have gotten a 50% discount if i had said that I was staying with them, but I came home every night and would have felt bad lying to the company.  Oh well!
The last couple days have been crazy and amazing!! On Wednesday I got to work with Belle and Beast in France alllll day!! They have a weird location, in a small walkway by the lagoon, and are surrounded by wrought iron fences, so it's not exactly easy to move around the back to take pictures of a kid who just wants to stare at Belle, so I don't think my pictures were great but I know i got some good ones. :) Beast is kind of hard because he's so big, he frightens a lot of kids.  Belle however was brilliant!! She was so much fun and totally into her character. I picked up that shift from a co-worker who wanted to get rid of it, but this week I"m assigned two character shifts, Friday with Donald in Mexico!!! This is a shift EVERYONE always wants to work, I think just because it's Donald in a poncho, but it's in the sun all day. Saturday I'm with Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger in the UK and that's indoors!! Woo-hoo! Cause let me tell you, it's freaking hot!!
Umm... Friday and Saturday (the 12th and 13th) were AMAZING because I participated in the D23 Great Disney Scavenger Hunt, which took place in all four parks. We did two parks a day, with MK and EPCOT on day 1, and DAK and DHS on day two. We had 3 hours each for MK, DHS and DAK, while EPCOT had 4 hours because it's so big.  MK was a little hard because since it was our first park, we had no idea what to expect and didn't have a game plan.  There was much running back and forth and not much progress. EPCOT I finally got a system down and we did really good there. It helped that the country's were in a line and so were able to knock them out.  DAK was HORRIBLE tho, lol. Definitely our least favorite park! There were a lot of people, it was hard to get from one area to another, and the clues seemed hard. However, we made up for it at DHS by just kicking butt!! We figured out almost all of the clues there, and ended on a high note.

Here I am having just received my team lanyard and commemorative patch! 9:30am and it was already 85+ outside, ugh!! We were team Sharkbait :)

Hillary took this of the three of us in MK on Day 1 :) Josh was Peach, Isaiah was Bloat, Hillary was Dori and i was the fish who was obsessed with bubbles :)

Team in action!! This was taken by a D23 photographer in DAK as we were running around (before the frustration, lol). This pic is featured on their web page with several others.
A picture of our book halfway through our run through HS.  I was the book keeper and told everyone what we were looking for, and they decided what area we would head to next. I wrote notes in the books for where each clue was located (i.e. GMR = Great Movie Ride, M = Muppets, S = Sunset, St = Streets of America) I then purchased a note book and each area had it's own page, so I would write Muppets! at the top, then underneath list the question numbers. This way I could easily find them in the clue book.  Questions were worth 1, 5 and 10 points.  The page above is 1 pointers, here's a page showing 5 point questions on the left, and 10 point questions on the right....

Like my chicken scratch writing? It's really hard to walk fast and write at the same time. Several times I put the answer on the line above the question, meaning I wrote the answer in the wrong question line. There was lots of scribbling.

SO that's been my life!! It was so much fun!! Of the 520 teams registered, 517 showed up, 1 team earned only 5 points (i think they gave up really quickly because it was so hot...) and we placed..... 62nd!!! I'm so proud of us! yeah, it would have been nice to win a prize, but really! 62nd out of 517 teams that started. Yay us!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Oh dear...

My Friend Sahil and Me at the Formal

Eep! I dont even know where to start, i'm so behind!!! I owe posts on Photo Pet Peeves, visiting CentraCare when sick, and tonigh we just had our CP formal! ..... Let's go with the formal!!!

First off, this is sadly a "dry" even. There is no alcohol served or sold at all at this event. I had several friends go off in search of the Hotel Bar to buy alcohol so there is that option. Our event was held at Disney's Coronada Springs Resort and was a formal event (although formal wear was not required).  Most girls wore dresses though, in the color of our theme which was black and white. There were some bright color dresses, so you won't look weird if you wear a hot pink dress to a black and white ball.  The other theme was Disney Villains and that part was soooo cool because almost all the disney villains were out! There was the Evil Queen from Snow White, Maleficent, Hades, Lady Tremaine and the step sisters, Cruella, and Jafar. We also had Sorcerer Mickey, who I wish I had gotten a photo with, but Im not too broken up about.  I waited in line for Maleficent but she left before I got up front and was replaced by the Queen from SW. So my friend Marissa and I stood off to the side to wait for her to come back. After a while we realized that people weren't really paying attention so one of us stayed in the secondary line while the other jumped in and had our photo taken with the Queen, lol. I'm actually bummed because while there was a CM there to take pictures, Photopass he was not!!! My pictures aren't even in focus, I don't know what he did! :( I'll put them up here, but at least I have something, eh? Anyways, we just had to wait 20 extra minutes for Maleficent to come back, and it was totally worth it! These were the only two I was interested in (besides Sorcerer Mickey, of course).
This was the first pic and I didn't pose.

This time I planned ahead!
You can tell my face is all out of whack on the Maleficent one, but oh well!! There were easily over 2000 people at this, and for the most part I've seen only positive reviews for it!! One guy apparently felt it sucked, but I had fun.  It wasn't as much fun as House of Blues, but it was made fun by my friends.  :) It's free to go, there's food provided and a ton of ppl go. So at least go check it out when you're here!

Umm.. I've been going to HoB a lot lately, which is to make up for not going in the beginning. Something that seperates the SPring program from the Fall is, well a) that they accept more ppl for Fall and b) for Spring, everyone starts within a month of each other, but the Spring ppl leave in May and June while the Advantage ppl leave in August.  (For Fall, the Advantage ppl start really early, like in May, while Fall ppl start around August). But a lot of my friends are leaving in the next couple weeks!! :(  So I'm spending as much time as possible with friends. It's really easy to say, "Oh, I'm here for 6 months, I have time." I've been here for three months on May 7th!! OMG!!! So I'm cutting back on sleep and going out more!

HoB with friends that are leaving :(

The family is visiting this week and are staying in a concierge level room at Disney's Boardwalk Resort and it's amazing!! I'll have pics of that to come soon :)  Night!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Everything's good, please send Vinyl's....

Ugh! So I picked up a bunch of hours on the hub this week, hence no updates (boooo!!) but there should be one coming. Including WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GET SICK!! One person in the hospital with pneumonia and another out with strep.  Oh man... time for the vitamins. :)  Worked with Goofy and Minnie yesterday and it was great, as usual. :) 600 + with Goofy and 630 with Minnie, both two hour sets, plus a great Magical Moment closing with this Japanese couple who came through FIVE TIMES the last hour and a half just for pictures. And they kept giving the characters presents every time they came through, lol, from Disneyland TokyoSea (i think that's what it's called...) Man, it was so cool when they realized that they were going to get tons of pics with alllll five characters at once. :) It was great.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fluff and Stuff

This post is all over the place, as it's stuff that's just been floating through my head and wanted to mention.
So if you're a potential Photopass member, you may be asking yourself, "i wonder how many photo's I'll take..." For comparison, yesterday I worked at the fountain in France (which is a beautiful shot!) and I took around 600 photo's in six hours.  Compare that to Monday where I worked in the C Spot for six hours and took over 1,300 photo's!!!  Yeah. So it really depends on where you are ( I worked Minnie, Pluto and Mickey that night).

Yesterday (like i just mentioned) I picked up a shift out in World Showcase, which will bring my work week to 39 hours.  Since I'm only scheduled for 32 a week, I've been picking up shifts on the hub to try and make some extra money. I will also work around 39 hours a week next week, which will be fun! Sunday is going to be interesting because I picked up a morning Hat Shift at DHS from 830-1245, then I work my normal shift at EPCOT from 1545-2145, so it might end up being a long day for me. :)  As I'm writing this, I'm realizing that I told a friend that I would go with them to House of Blues that night... oh man...  We'll see how this goes, lol.

So the weather has been good, still warm from the last time I posted. We did have another girl go down the day after the incident with the little girl. This time she was a high schooler, but it happened at the exact same time as the previous day. So if you are coming down for either the CP or just to visit, make sure to drink LOTS of water. I know soda tastes really good, but trust me, it's not going to help you at the end of a long day.  Also, make sure you're really noticing how you feel. If you're tired, sit down in the shade or an air conditioned room. Give your body breaks!! I know you only have so much time to fit in the sights, but think how much time you'll save by taking a 10 minute break, vs a trip to the hospital.

So they announced the theme for our Formal Dance, and I'm actually really excited about it.  At Night of Stars, they announced that it was going to be a Villains Theme, called, "A Night of Oppulent Evil" which is sooooooo cool.  So my roommates and I immediately started planning on what to wear, and weirdly we started off going the costume route, which is kind of not what "formal dance" means, so we decided to wear colors and do makeup that hints to our villain. A bunch of us went to the Premium Outlets (oh man... so expensive...) and we ended up in BCBGMaxazria where Traci found an AMAZING dress that reminded us of Maleficent and is three shades of purple, and I found an AMAZING dress that fit what I wanted to do, which was go as the Hyena's from The Lion King! :) Then a couple days later the official email comes out announcing that there's a color theme of..... black and white.  Eh? So there's a theme theme, and a color theme?  Weird... But we're still wearing our dresses! I'll post pics later, but I just realized I have to go to work and I'm not even ready! Eep!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hello, 911. Please state your emergency...

Sooooo.... Not a good day at work yesterday.  It was warm yesterday, but not as warm as it had been last week, and the humidity was pretty low as well. I started out at Entrance 3 for about three hours with mixed feelings and results about my photo's. I did take a really cool mini-photo shoot for this family and their two kids who looked about 3 and 4.  I can do that when it's slow, and especially if the parent's are receptive, as these were.  You really can actually do this when working any of the 3 entrance positions or as Rover (which requires special training) because everyone else is on tripods around the park. Anyways, cute kids, fun times.  Then I went to lunch for 30, Backside 1 for an hour before receiving my 15 min break, which i wasn't too happy about, but apparently they were running behind on breaks, and needed me to go on mine now so that i could go to Character Spot and start breaking people there.  This was to be my closing position.  I call in to get my assignment after my 15 and dispatch actually has me go to the View just so this girl (we'll call her Macey) can go on her 30, and then I'll be sent to C spot. Okay, cool, no biggie, I like the View.  Ohhhhhh mannn..... When I get there, there's only two Photopass workers for the four stations we have, and the line is out the door!!!! Okay.  Okay.... So Macey and I call base and tell them the situation, and it's decided that Macey and I will both stay there, bringing the count up to 3 to work through the line.  The first family I get is visiting from India, and the parent's accents are really thick; so much so that the kids are translating for me. A girl about 8 and boy around 11.  They go through their pictures, pick 15 they want, and then ask about packages. Okay, we have the capture the magic package which gives you 4 pictures for $30 (you get two 5x7's and two 4x6's). They get 3 packages, leaving 3 pictures to buy separately.  The dad says he wants all of them as 4x6's, oh, except this one, which he wants as a 5x7.  Now. In retrospect, if I had explained to him that it would be much cheaper to get all three as 5x7's, maybe I could have averted what was to come.  But they were really firm what they wanted when picking their pictures and borders, so I figured that I wouldn't be able to sway him on this either.  So when we get up to the cashier, he's taken aback by how much more it is.  He wants the other three as 5x7's.  Also, as I was putting together the package, I discover I printed one picture twice and now have to figure out which one I forgot. That takes probably 10-15 min's.  Then when we go to ring him up again, the math isn't coming out.  UUUGGGHHH!!!! Seriously?! And it was the poor merchandise girl's first day; she had been dispatched from a different park to work with us. So she had no clue where the shortcuts were to ring stuff up manually. Takes us another 10 minutes or so to figure it out. The dad stays super calm through all of this, which is really nice.  We finally figure out the register, the price is right, everything is good, and then the little girl faints, hits her head on the floor and starts convulsing.  Okay.... Okay.... Deep breath... So the parents pick her up, freaking out a little, naturally, and I turn to the Merchandise girl and say, "you need to call a manager and get them here right away." To which she responds, with wide eyes, "It's my first day! I don't know the number!!"  In short, I call my base, who calls the merch base to get the managers over there. I then call 911 and explain the situation.  The parents are confused with what exactly 911 is, as the merch girl is panicking a little, which I can tell because she's having a hard time explaining what 911 is, but due to the severity of what happened, and what other guests in line told me they saw, I knew she was going to need to be checked out. She was out for around 30 seconds and then was definitely out of it compared to how bouncy she was at the beginning of the interaction.  Paramedic's came and looked her over for a long time. It was really weird to have to continue working with guests while this was going on and I felt sooo bad, but Macey pointed out that I shouldn't feel bad because we don't know if it would have happened later when they were in the car ride home, and at least they were here where we had care available almost right away.

So! What have I learned from this, because it's only going to get hotter:
  • Know the number to your managers
  • Know the extension you're calling from (I did not, and it was embarrassing to admit that to 911...)
  • I now know how to ring stuff up manually, which is important b/c we get a lot of merch people dispatched to us for some reason...
I had to leave before the situation was fully resolved, but I'm sure the little girl was fine. I think having stood for around an hour combined with the heat is what did it. Here's hoping today brings better experiences... : /

Friday, April 15, 2011

Work schedule 4/15-4/23

Friday 4/15 1600-00:15
Saturday 4/16 1500-2145
Sunday 4/17 1530-2215
Monday 4/18 1500-2145
Tuesday off
Wednesday off
Thursday 4/21 1616-0015 (*Note! EMH have moved from Fridays to Thursdays. weird...)
Friday 4/22 1515-2145
Saturday 4/23 1530-2215

this is one of the weeks where we were told that we wouldn't be having class due to guest occupancy levels; that we would in fact be working crazy hours, like 50+ hours.  While this is true for allllll of my roommates and friends who work for parks OTHER THAN EPCOT, us epcot people have a normal amount of hours.  I was actually looking forward to extra money :( I tried to pick up some shifts on the Extra Hours page,but everything that's available is for times I'm already working.  Laaaamme!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Work related post :)

So I left of with Minnie's camera issues, which did plague me the rest of my shift with her.  The coordinators were out there with me trying to trouble shoot it to no avail, and we went through a new pda battery, a new cable, and a new pda.  Eventually we just gave up and i just kept resetting the camera.  During one of the good period's though, I took this great photo of this cuuuuute baby girl.  She had obviously just learned to walk and was playing with Minnie when she turned around and saw me taking her picture.  She got this huge grin and started walking towards me.  I jumped back and zoomed in really close, taking a picture of her walking towards me with Minnie blurred out in the background.  It was soooo cute, i was really happy with it :) Hopefully the family will be too.
I seem to work with Mickey A LOT!! It even got to the point that the coordinators were laughing on the phone,s saying that he personally requests me.  I wish!! However, it's really just the luck of the draw.  Mickey really sets the pace for everyone else afterwards.  If I take a long time taking pictures at Mickey, then that slows the line down to get in, and yet allows the crowd in C Spot to thin out through the other four characters.  Its' not too nerveracking, but I know understand why some people only end up with 2 photo's with Mickey, while other's will get like 4 or 5 photo's with the other characters.  Especially if people don't have any sort of interaction before the posed shot.  We're supposed to get shots of guests when they first see the character, then the hug/interaction between them, then the posed, then the goodbye. But if a guest just walks up and stands next to mickey, then I only get those two shots, especially if they then walk off with only a wave.   (there's going to be a pet-peeve post coming soon, of stuff I wish guests either knew or didn't do so that I could take great photo's, lol).
Let's see.... Last friday I had my shift out in World Showcase, and I REALLY lucked out!!! There are around 4 locations, and I pulled the only one that has shade!!! Because it was REALLY REALLY humid.  I actually went out with two water bottles and drank both of them, lol.  I was at World Showcase spot 4, which is on the bridge leading to France.  I had a really good time because I was really close to where the British Invasion band sings, so I was rockin out to Beatles music every other hour for 45 mins. :) Beats the Toy Story soundtrack, lol. However, I was also right next to Great Britain, which I swear only has 4 songs on their soundtrack, and most of them consist of Greensleeves. That song can get really annoying fast, lol.  This location was on Tripod the whole time so there were no creative shots; just placing people so we could still see parts of France and the Eiffel Tower in the background.
That's really all the work related stuff I have. Another post will be coming up with fluff where I'll talk about hours, inspection, water parks and just general comments. Today I work from 15:45-22:15, only six hours, which really sucks.  Everyone has a lot of hours due to spring vacations and park occupancy, except for me. :( So it's ramen and pb&j sandwiches for a while. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Come back rain!!!

Eep! Bad amanda! It's been a week! Just a note to say that I'm sitting down later today to write an update since i left off in the middle of one last week. But it's been STINKING HOT!! Ugh, i HATE humidity, and it's not even hot yet.  I'm so tired of people telling me, "oh this is nothing compared to summer."  I hate to say it, but I miss the cold rain....
Post and pics to come later TODAY! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I work with a real bunch of characters....

So I have to say that i LOVE working with the characters (although people look at you weird when you say, "Today was cool, I shot Minnie" to which my friend responds, "that's cool, she had it coming"...) I don't think I have ever taken so many photo's in my life.  In fact, I'm sure of it.  The last time was when I went to Vietnam and Cambodia for 2.5 weeks and shot 13 rolls of 36 exposure film... On my first day of character shots, I took 588 photo's while working with Minnie for 2.5 hours.  It was crazy!! Luckily, my trainer from WAAAAAY back in February had advised me to pick up Tender Tape. I hadn't had to use it before now, but luckily I always carried it in my backpack and so taped up my thumb before hitting the floor. Due to how I hold my camera, I pivot it around my thumb.  After Minnie ended, I discovered that I also need to tape up my middle finger, also on my right hand, as apparently I support most of the camera weight with that finger/hand. I guess I don't use my left hand for anything when it comes to holding the camera.  Now that I"m aware of it I"m trying to use my left hand more for support, but in the mean time, I tape up my thumb and finger.
The next day (day 2) I pulled the Fairies right off the bat.  Oh man, talk about intimidating! Due to the closing of ToonTown, the fairies have temporarily been moved to EPCOT. I spent 3 hours with Tink and Terence, and Vidia and Rosetta before my 15 min break. I then moved to the man himself, Mickey, where I spent the rest of my shift (just under three hours).  Unfortunately I didn't pay attention to how many photo's I took that day, as when you change out your pda batteries, it resets your data.
Sunday brought some frustration, but some cool photo's! I first pulled Goofy, who sometimes was in a great mood and super playful with the guests! Although this caused the line to back up quite a bit... Sometimes after Goofy went to check his fishing hole, he came back and just seemed to get through the line. With Goofy, I took 463 photo's in an hour and a half.
After Goofy I actually pulled Minnie again, where I had a lot of camera difficulties.  The camera wasn't communicating with the PDA, which means that the pictures weren't' uploading onto the guests cards.  In this case I have to then take a photo of the back of the guests cards so that when QA sees it, they know to put the previous photo's onto that card. Unfortunately it took me one family to realize what was going on, and so there's a family out there that didn't get their pictures, and another family who now has a strange family on THEIR card. :(

Ooop...I have to run to go to Blizzard beach, so i'll finish this later. :)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A GREAT couple of days!!

Oh my gosh, I don't even know where to really start! My last two days have been amazing! So yesterday was Wednesday (i know, that doesn't make sense since you're reading it now, but to me, yesterday was Wednesday) and I had picked up a 2.75 hour shift at MK, from 9:30am to 12:15pm. I left really early, taking the 8am bus from Vista Way which dropped off at 8:30am, to make sure that I gave myself enough time to get thoroughly lost in the tunnels.  Which I succeeded in doing nicely.  But I only was lost for about 20 minutes before I found my way to the MK DPI base.  The cast members there were super helpful in showing me where to find maps so I'd know where I was going, and letting me know what my camera settings would be.  Despite having the same weather as EPCOT, they have completely different camera settings o.0 so I was a bit lost at first.  At 9:30, I grabbed a cast telecast, which has all the park info on it so we can answer guests questions. (Note to self: Next time, make sure to check that the telecast is in English.  Go high school level Spanish!!) I grabbed an assignment from the computer and saw that I was working Popcorn Stand, which is RIGHT in front of the castle!! Yay!! It turns out that my friend Wes who is also DPI at EPCOT had also picked an MK shift, and he's a full timer and has worked MK before, so he took me through the tunnels and showed me where to go.  As I was relieving Vanessa from the Popcorn station, she says, "so you know what to do with the bands and during the parade, right?"  To which I say, "huh..." Oh man, you should have seen the look on her face when I tell her that it's my first day in the park!! Turns out, I pulled one of the most active locations to start my MK experience with! Disney had invited some high school bands to come through and march down Main Street, and as photopass I was responsible for taking their pictures.  So from 9:30-10 I was a normal DPI member.  At 10, the bands came through, and I had to change all my Metadata in my PDA from Popcorn Cart to Marching Bands. I was responsible for standing in the middle of the road and capturing a picture of the band's banner, then quickly moving to the corner of the road and taking picture after picture of the bands as they marched by me.  There were three bands that I got to do this for and it lasted about 10 minutes. I then switched back over to Popcorn Cart setting and take normal pictures of guests until.... 11am? (I think) when Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It (or as we call it, MiSiCi) started, which is the parade.  I then switch my data to MiSiCi 2, and run across the street where I stand there for the first 10 minutes or so as the parade goes on around me.  At a certain point, the announcer invites everyone into the street to dance with the characters, at which point I become a rover and take pictures of kids and guests dancing with the characters in the street. I have to make sure to scan the correct photo's to the correct cards, and at one point had three different cards going on. I then had to figure out who the children belonged to and pass the photopass card off to the correct parents. I have since talked to my roommate Traci who actually works at MK, and discovered that I made this harder than it should be.  She just follows one family for the event, while I think I did like five, lol.  After the parade I went back to Popcorn Cart settings and finished out my shift. Time just flew by, and I will definitely be looking to pick up more of those shifts!!!

Today I had character training, finally!!! And it was SOOOOO much fun (with the exception of the weather, which has STILL been freaky.)  The rain was pouring, the lightning was flashing, the thunder was booming, and for a few hours we were under a tornado watch! I got soaking wet walking around the park to our different character locations, but once we were with the characters, it was amazing!! There were four of us, and at first we split into groups of two and one pair took turns shooting Marie the Cat, while the other two shot Chip and Dale.  When it rains, they move all the outdoor characters into this long hallway, so try to imagine, if you will, we had C&D by the door, next to Snow White. Then there was Tinker Bell and Terrance next to Marie the Cat (from The Aristocats). It was hysterical when Tink and Terrance came out, as they were totally in character and tried to "sneak by" Marie, so she wouldn't see them and try to catch them (since you know, cats like to catch and eat flying things). So they're walking slowly along the wall all afraid, until Terrance yells, "run for it!!!!" and they ran screeching down the last 15 feet to their spot. It was great.
I did not take this photo, but it's great!
We then had lunch and went to shoot Donald Duck in Mexico. Now, if you've never seen him at this location, he's great!!! He has so much energy and loves to move around and interact with the guests, and I really learned a lot. I hope that I'm placed with Donald a lot this year, even if he is outside (except when it's raining, at which point he goes inside the Mexico pavilion to a little tiny area where it's hard to move around).  After Donald, we headed over to China where we met up with Mulan who was also amazing, and had lots of great tips and suggestions for us! It was so nice to hear her talk with the guests about her friends Mushu and Cricky, the cricket her grandma gave to her as a good luck charm.  She also thanked them for coming all the way to China to visit her, but to look out for the Huns as she had heard that they were in the area.
Now that I'm trained, we'll see where I end up tomorrow! Probably closing down Character Spot (C spot) as that's where most people end up, lol.
Oh man, I just looked at my little counter and I've been here for 52 days already!!! I can not believe that! That's just insane to me, as it doesn't feel like that long.  It's supposed to be sunny tomorrow, so here's hoping for better weather!
Note to self: Buy rain boots.... :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Drip drip drop and the rain is falling...

Hmm.. I've managed to get behind a bit, so this post is going to be a summary and catch up at the same time.  I've gone back and re-read my old posts and there's some weird stuff I want to elaborate on.

First off, we're having some CRAZY weather right now.  This morning at 4:50am a lightening and thunder storm moved through.  How do I know it was at this exact time? Because of the HUGE crash of thunder that had me flying out of bed.  And I'm not even joking about that. It was so loud that literally my arms and legs were flying everywhere as my body flew upwards. The dork that I am (after unplugging my laptop and iphone from the wall) went straight to facebook to post about it, where a bunch of us from Vista and Chatham had a great conversation about how we all almost peed ourselves, lol.  The thunder continued for several hours, and one at like 10am was so loud that it sounded to me like a gun shot.  It has not stopped raining yet today, and I'm going to call in to base to see if they still need me to come in today.  There are only a few EPCOT rain locations so I'm not sure what they'll do with all of us.  We shall see how that goes.  Work has been kind of slow for me.  Don't get me wrong, there are LOTS of people in the parks right now as we're going through spring breaks, but because I"m not character trained, there are only so many positions I can work.  3 at entrance, the view room, 3 at backside and test track.  I won't even list how many character locations there are, let's just say there are more character spots than non character spots.  But after thursday this won't be a problem!! Yay! However, there have been several days where I haven't taken a single picture. :(  The other night at the View was hard because I had a family from India who spoke English with a really thick accent and we spent 45 minutes on 4 pictures.  They were really nice but I felt bad because the line behind them was super long.  I'm usually really good with accents, able to understand them really well, but this one was hard.  They left happy though, and that's all that matters.

Back tracking
So, first off I referenced my car in MANY previous posts, and at this moment I do not have it and so far don't regret it.  It's been almost two months (eek!) and it's okay.  I know several people with cars so we've gone some places. I have taken the bus to Wal-mart, and it wasn't that bad! (just make sure you go on a day when there are 2 buses running, instead of only one.  That way a bus comes every 30 minutes, rather than once an hour.) It IS a challenge to get on the EPCOT bus at night. It can be a crush of humanity to get on, which is stupid, and a few times I have been one of the last ones allowed on and we've left people behind, but there's a bus every 20 minutes or so, so you're not stuck forever.  I do want to still go out to the beach and to the space center, so I'm trying to find a day where I'm off and so is my roommate Traci, who has a car and could perhaps be bribed to go out there. :)

Item Two: So originally before I came down here, I had a set of roommates. Chelsea and her roommate June, Me and my roommate Hillary, and two other girls who I didn't know at all. We had hooked up on the FB page and agreed to room together.  Now if you go back to my post about when I originally arrived, I met up with Tracy, who I kind of knew from the FB page, and we went to Downtown Disney in the taxi-limo.  The next day was the Super Bowl and Hillary and Chelsea flew in.  Hil, Chels, me, Tracy and HER roommate Traci (we call them T2...) all went out to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the game and discovered we REALLY hit it off.  T2 had their own set of roommates (2 other girls) and of course we had ours.  That night we all decided that we would rather all room together, and I will admit that while it was REALLY hard to let the girls know the night before that we were breaking the agreement, it may be the best thing I have ever agreed to.  They are so much fun to hang out with. Tracy is from Chicago while Traci is from El Paso, and we've taken to calling them by their first and middle name to differentiate who we're talking to, lol.  (As a side note, we actually lost June the first day.  She's from China and her government visa hadn't cleared fully in time.  Disney sent her home but she was able to come back two weeks later on the 21st when her work Visa had arrived in the mail. Mary ended up joining us as a room move from Chatham and she's really cool, so we lucked out! :) )

Things I wish I had brought: MORE T-SHIRTS!!!!! Seriously, I do not have enough normal clothes to go out in.  Even if I'm not going to the parks everyday, I hang out with my friends and I hate putting on the same clothes all the time. I've acquired a few Disney shirts (of course!) but seriously! Try to bring at LEAST 10 shirts, lol.
I wish I had brought more shoes.  My feet are tired of the same work shoes, tired of the same tennis shoes, and I don't really have any shoes I want to go out to the clubs in.  Which is another thing. There is a party bus almost every night that picks up outside of Vista Way, but my roommates and I decided that we don't dress..... ahem... in the types of clothes that everyone wears on the bus.  Yes, that's putting it diplomatically.  So if you like going out, bring your best dress clothes because EVERYONE goes on the party bus!! :)
A cork board. Okay, I don't wish I had packed it, but I need one.  Price Management is serious about onlyh putting stuff on cork boards, which is STTUUUUUPPID.  I mean, have you watched the e-presentation? You know that lovely decorated room with the curtains and the stuff on the walls? Yeah, none of that is allowed. No curtains, no posters on the wall. You can't even put a calendar on the wall, which, wait for it.  You are allowed two holes in you wall to hang a cork board, on which everything is to be hung from.  Hillary has a calendar on her wall.  JUST a calendar, and they docked us on our inspection and we didn't get the white glove award.  SO, I can have two holes for a cork board, but i can't have one hole from which a calendar hangs?  No ticky -tack, no push pins, no stickers (which I totally have on my wall, haha!!) no command hooks.  You get a cork board.  So my goal is to now find a GIANT cork board and put all my pins on them, as I have acquired quite a few....

Ahhh! This post is so long! I love to talk, that's probably why I love my job so much. :) 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Work Schdule: 3/27-4/2

3/27 1545-21:45
3/28 1615-2145
3/29 off
3/30 off (although I picked up an MK shift from 0930-1215)
3/31 0900-1730 (Character training!!!!!)
4/1 1615-0015
4/2 1545-2145

Work Schdule: 3/20-3/26

3/21 1545-2145
3/22 off
3/23 off
3/24 1515-2145
3/25 1600-0015
3/26 1515-2145

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's gonna be warm..

(Note, I started this post on the night of St. Patty's Day, and finished it the next day, so there will be different references)
Ugh.. today was a really warm day for me, and it was only 85! What am I going to do when it's like a billion outside with humidity?  lol One thing that I'm really glad about is that they supplied us with a clip on water bottle holder as part of our uniform, and it's really handy.  Today I worked 1500-2145.  From 1500-1730 I was at Entrance 2, or right at the turnstiles when you first enter the park, and it was HOT in the sun, let me tell you.  My entrance partner Jose is really cool so it was fun to hang out with him today, although I have to say that the weather was not leaving people in the bests of moods.  This is probably the first shift where I have seen guests snapping at, well, me, as well as at each other.  Something that is hard right now is that people really want an unobstructed view of the Toy Story topiary's. There are three of them, Buzz, Woody and Lotso (who FINALLY showed up, two weeks later) . However, we are now going into busy season and so it's not always possible to NOT have other people in your shot.  One lady actually got upset and said that she had been waiting for 15 minutes to take a picture and I could wait just one moment.  I had asked my lead's just what I should do in a scenario like this, and they told me that I should just place my people in front of/around them and take my picture.  We shouldn't wait for the perfect shot, because there isn't really going to be a time where there will be no people in your photo (especially if you're on main street!)
Speaking of main street, I really want to pick up a shift there but I'm a little leery of picking up shifts where I don't know where the break rooms are, the base, or even my location.  My leads encourage it, and one even offered to draw me maps, so maybe that will be my challenge for myself.  To make myself branch out and try different locations, especially to see how they run different from EPCOT.
Yesterday was St. Patty's Day and I have to admit that several of us were really dreading this day, lol.  Many people come to EPCOT to drink around the world (something that will run you around $100) and then are REALLY excited to either ride Soarin' or to get their pictures taken.  My Photopass friend and I were comparing stories of people that we've run into (you're my destiny.... giving suggestions and compliments on the photo's your taking even though you can't actually SEE the photo) and so we assumed that yesterday would be even BETTER!!! However I actually had no intoxicated guests at all, and I was at entrance most of the time.  (To be fair, Soarin' did not fair as well, as they had a mini-riot when guests got tired of waiting in the 3 hour standby line.... everything eventually worked out there as well, though...kind of)
Still no character training.  There are apparently 3-4 trainings a month, and I hope I make it in before the end of the month, even though you take like 600 pictures in 5 hours there.  Some people have reported wrist issues from rotating the camera so much, but Base provides us with wrist supports if we ask for them, so I'll tackle that when I get there.  Today I work 1615-0015 and it's supposed to be 85+.  Wish me luck!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

night shots

So a quick update since it's 2:30am and i should realy go to bed.  Going back in time a bit, in the beginning i had all morning shifts, since I only knew how to set my camera for day shots, and also how to work in Test Track.  Test Track started off fun because you got to see everyone's photo's and hear them talk about their ride.  A month later, it's tedious.  I imagine I will be super excited to be placed there when it's stinking hot outside, but until then, it's annoying.  I'm not sure if I touched on why, in an earlier post, so I'll just briefly mention it's because you always have the same issues (im remembering now that I did mention it, so I'll just move on).
Night training came and was really fun.  We were trained in how to work in the Camera Store (called the View) where people come in to look at their photo's, buy photo's, buy CD's and combine multiple cards onto one.  We were also trained on how to find lost photo's, which can be a bit hard.  It's really easy if someone comes in and knows that they had a photo taken with, say, a certain character and they know what time. Other times I get, "Well I was in France around...2 I think? Maybe 3?" So then we go in and look at ALLLL the photo's taken in France during a certain time. Sometimes it's in a 2 hour window, and that's a lot of photo's.  Most of the time I'm just redeeming gift certificate's for free photo's that people get if they have a Disney Visa credit card.
Night shots.  Hmm.... How do I feel about night shots? Night shots are not as creative as the ones you take during the day. We don't zoom in, it's a set shot, and we can't do magic shots. Also, the shutter on the camera is open longer to grab the light in the background (so Spaceship: Earth shows up) so we have to tell people to hold really still, which can be difficult with squirmy children (or intoxicated guests who can't stop swaying, lol). Also, in the dark is when you can have more camera issues if the light sensor doesnt' have enough light to focus on someone. This can happen if everyone is wearing dark colors. The camera doesn't focus and you feel really silly not being able to take people's photos. It's even funnier when I ask them to hold their hand up over their shirt, hoping that the camera will focus on the hand, I hold the shutter button down, then have them put their hand down before taking the picture. Does that make sense? I just need a contrasting color for the camera to work, but if the camera isn't that great, then nothing helps. Today I had a bad PDA so it wouldn't scan the photopass cards, and then after I swapped it out, the camera sensor stopped focusing for like 15 minutes, and would randomly work.  Some people got pictures and some I had to turn away. I know a couple people had out of focus pictures because QA (quality assurance) sent me a message saying so.  At that point I was just glad the camera was taking pictures, but it eventually resolved itself.
I'm only working 31 hours this week which is kind of sad so I'm going to try and extend my shift tomorrow, even just for an hour. Tonight I worked Entrance 3, Entrance 2 and then in the View.  The cp's that arrived in January are being charactere trained next week but not the February cp's. :( Hopefully that comes soon so that I can get a better variety of shifts.
Until then, enjoy this shot of Japan from World Showcase. Having been to Japan (Kyoto, Mt. Fuji, Tokyo and Nikko) I know what a beautiful place it is and am really saddened by what happened. (edit: The earthquake and tsunami happened this day)

45 minutes after this was taken, a HUGE storm came through. Lightening and pouring rain. Oh, Florida...

This is a photo of Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan (not world showcase)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's my birffday!

Huzzah! I got to spend my birthday in EPCOT today. Even though I work there, i love this park! :)

As promised, here are pictures of some of the topiaries around EPCOT:

Friday, March 4, 2011

A rainy day (short update)

So today was a lot of fun, and not for the reasons I' would have expected.  First, I made dinner today before heading off to work, which was both good and bad. The bad was that I TOTALLY almost missed the bus because I thought it came 10 minutes later than it did.  Luckily I looked before it was too late, but still only had 10 minutes to get dressed, grab said dinner and run to the bus. And I mean I sprinted, only to discover that the bus was PACKED. (Note to self: Do not take the 3:09pm bus to Epcot.  Take the earlier bus) Luckily people shifted and made room for me, but I honestly thought the driver was going to ask me to wait, and then I would have been late. The good part was that my dinner was AMAZING!! :) Totally worth it (I made noodles in alfredo sauce with chicken).  Eating that tonight made the panic not so bad.
Another good part was that it's Flower and Garden festival right now, and the topiary's are so cool! We have Toy Story 3 up front, with Cars 2 in the back. Sprinkled throughout the park are other characters such as Belle, the Fab 5 of course, and Winnie the Pooh and Friends on the backside of Spaceship: Earth. Because TS3 is up front, they have changed the entrance music to the TS soundtrack, so that's fun to listen to. We'll see if that joy lasts the whole festival through May. (edit: it did not, lol!)
I closed tonight and we had Extra Magic Hours (EMH) so we were open until midnight. I was supposed to close backside (by myself!) however then the rain came through!!! I had just set up when it began a heavy mist. I covered my camera with the detachable hood from my poncho when people weren't having their pictures taken, which was quite often. It's amazing how people don't want to get wet ;)  However then it really began to rain. I called base and they said to hang out to see if it would stop. I waited about 10 minutes under the overhang, and the rain only got heavier.  The really cool part (that just totally made my night) was that I was standing next to Bambi's Butterfly House (which was installed just for F&G) and what song was currently playing? The "April Showers" song from the movie! It was so cool to stand there in night and watching all the guests run about in the rain, and I couldn't help the big grin on my face. I'll admit it, I waited for the song to finish before calling it quits and heading in.  Base sent me to the camera store (called the View Room) to hang out the rest of my night.  I have more to post about night shifts, but that's for another time. I should have photo's coming soon of the topiary's, but for now, enjoy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

ahhh! must post update!

Oh my gosh, the one thing that killed me when applying for the CP was discovering blogs, and then seeing that they were NEVER UPDATED! So I swore that I wouldnt' do that, and here it is, a week later! ::hangs head in shame::  So my schedule has been...not crazy... but no joke, there were times I came home and took a 2-4 hour nap. I am NOT a morning person, and so having to get up 6:30am every morning the past 3 weeks has been killer.  Where did I leave off?  When I had my day.....5? I felt really good. I loved every minute of it, spent the whole time hanging out at Entrance 2 for Epcot, watching people count down to opening.  Even though the park opens at 9am, the greeters would start letting people in at 8:45am.  They guests would then walk past the EPCOT sphere to a new waiting area, but at least they were in the park! It was fun to see the greeters interact with the guests and help them pass the time. This period was Presidents Day so we were suuuper busy! Saturday they were estimating 30k people, Sunday was 45k, and Monday they were expecting us to hit 50k (I unfortunately don't know the real numbers). And I have to say the lines were craaaaaazy.  While fun, I would not necessarily recommend coming down to WDW for this weekend, unless you don't' mind waiting in line.  Umm.... For my tuesday off, I didn't do much besides go to my Hospitality Class, where I tried valiantly to suffer through. Sometimes, when you're just not in the mood to listen to people, that's when people can ask the stupidest questions.  Wednesday, I went with some of my roommates to Typhoon Lagoon and had a blast! We get in for free until the end of February. After March 1st, we can get in at a discounted rate.  Luckily this week it was in the 80's so it was great!
Right now it's been a little difficult in Photopass as I'm not really trained for anything.  Dispatch keeps having to find special areas for me as I'm not night trained yet (so I can't extend) and I'm not character trained, nor am I view trained (where people can purchase their photo's in the park).  My night training takes place tomorrow night (hooray! night shifts!) from 1pm - 9:30pm.  While I'm happy about sleeping in, this means no going to parks after I get off, and also I have to fight for a spot on the bus. I have a friend who works the night shifts at Soarin' and he says that it can be a real dogfight to get on the bus. Right now, sometimes I'm the only one to grab the bus at 2:30pm.  So I don't know if I want to sleep in, or if there are better perks to waking up early and working then.  I guess we'll see.  Yesterday I spent most of my day at Test Trak helping people scan their photo's to their cards.  This can be frustrating as sometimes people dont want you to help, even though they're doing it wrong, and then their photo goes away.  It's a real adventure in practicing patience, or how to communicate with people when you dont speak a common language.  But this is what I came for, the people connection!  From working Test Trak, I've decided I need to learn how to say, "I'm sorry, the camera broke" in Japanese, French, Spanish and Portuguese.  Because sometimes the pictures don't come through (and we can all imagine why they might be pulled...)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


This is  a photo of a) our kitchen in Vista Way (haha) and b) an example what I wear when required to dress for traditions/ Disney Classes

Finally! Some training!

Yesterday I finally had my first day of training for Photopass! Only took a week after I arrived, woo hoo! The training went allll day, but our trainers were REALLY cool. :)  They made it fun and before we knew it, it was time for lunch.  We talked about our role in Entertainment, our expectations; talked about what the Quality Assurance people look for in our photos; how to take good photo's; how to hold the camera; etc. We ended the day with us taking pictures ooooooffffffff..... Freddy the Fire hydrant! It was really just an experiment on focusing on the subject and then moving the camera to make sure the background is set up. We then practiced photographing our trainers with giant palm trees in the background, and learned how to scan the photo's to people's photopass cards. It was so nice to finally DO something related to my job! Now I just have to wait til Thursday to continue my training.  :)
Public Service Announcement:
If you are coming to the cp, I cannot stress enough how serious they are when they say that they will term you if you're an under age drinker, or are caught at a party with underage drinkers. The day of check-in, one of the facilitators said that the night of every check-in, he will term 3 people for doing something stupid.  How embarrassed would you be to go back home right after you got here?  You need to ask yourself this question when here, because it happens more often than I thought it would. Be smart! That is all. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Work Schdule: 2/14-2/20

Monday: 9am-6pm training
Tuesday: off, Class 1:30-5:30pm
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 9am-6pm training
Friday: 9am-6pm Training
Saturday: 8am-12pm tour epcot
Sunday: 8:45am-2:45pm work!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


The day started out early.  I stood in line in the tent at 6:30am.  At 7am, security moved us to the sidewalk to form a line.
The day after check in, a group of us went to Ohana's for dinner.  This was actually much harder to arrange than you would think, but ultimately well worth it.
The group of us who went to Ohana's.  Apparently 350 of us arrived this day.
On the.... fourth day (day 3 is MIA right now) we went to EPCOT, my future work location!! I tried to do the whole, "holding the ball" pose, and Holly and Amy decided to "help." :)

Group of us 2/7ers on Soarin in EPCOT.

View after Illuminations, looking from Future World across to World Showcase.

Day... 5? I have no clue now, lol. DAK, where I met Ranger Donald, who I think is better than regular Donald. I just love his little costume. :)
That's it for now. I think I have more photo's on my phone, and I definitely have more on my photopass card, but I haven't activated it yet. :)

My Schedule so far: weird or lucky?

So I feel like I've really lucked out with my schedule so far, with the exception of a  few minor issues.
This has been my life so far:
Monday 2/7: Arrival, meetings, done in the afternoon, dinner at Raglan Road
Tuesday 2/8: Class from 1:30-5:30, Group dinner at Ohana's
Wednesday 2/9: Traditions from 8:15am-12:30pm, Play at DHS, complete with Fantasmic
Thursday 2/10: Day off, play at DAK all day
Friday 2/11: Welcome to Entertainment class with other Photopass ppl, 8:30am-5pm (exactly!)
Saturday 2/12: Day off, slept in and then picked up our costumes (which was slightly confusing)
What's coming up:
Sunday: Day off, will play in either MK or Epcot
Monday: Training from 9am-6pm
Tuesday: Training 9am-6pm   OFF! Go to class 1:30-5:30
Wednesday: Training 9am-6pm  OFF!
Thursday:  Work 8:15-2:45pm  Training 9am-6pm
Friday: off!!  Training 9am-6pm
Saturday: Discovery Day at Epcot 8-12 (i think this is the day where I get a tour of Epcot...)

An issue here is that I have training on Tuesday, but my class also takes place on Tuesdays.  I have called my trainer (as instructed to do by my teacher) to let her know of the situation, but so far I haven't heard back from her.  I have a feeling that she'll call me back on Monday, but I would choose my training over class, because I really want to get into taking photo's!!!!
Hmm... Well as you can see, my supervisor actually got back to me, and they were nice enough to move my training days.  While I appreciate it, I feel like I'm behind here! Several of my photopass friends are training this weekend, while I have to wait for monday, and now I work a day  and have two days off until my last two days of training. I know I should just sit back and enjoy all this time off, as I wont have it later, but it's hard.  But oh well! I can thoroughly explore EPCOT now and all the other parks!! :)

Many people have been training FOREVER!! My suitemate Tracy is a Vacation Planner and her schedule is training for 7 days straight. Her roommate Traci is also a photopass and she started her Photopass training Today, whereas I start on Monday.  At the same time, some people just had Traditions today, five days after we arrived (I heard these are people who's background checks took longer than usual) but they weren't able to go to the parks, because you get your park card during Traditions.  So unfortunately they've just been hanging out at the apartments.  (also, I have decided to call that card the Magic card, as it is what you show to get yourself into the parks and to receive your discount. It is not the same as your id card for the apartments)

So far my experience with the buses has been mostly positive, with some issues.  One night we got trapped at the TTC because the 10pm bus skipped us to pick up all the MK workers at the 2nd stop, the 10:20pm bus seriously went MIA and mercifully the 10:40 bus showed up.  However we had been waiting there for quite a while at that point, and it was REALLY cold.  The weather has been so weird, as when I first arrived, it was humid and warm and we ran the air conditioning, and now I'm living in sweatshirts. BUT IT'S NOT HOT!!! and that's all that matters right now.

Note: When first picking up your costume, bring something to carry it in!! Overall, I walked out of costuming with 3 work shirts, 2 vests, 2 pair pants, 1 pair shorts, 1 belt, 1 blue safari hat, 1 fleece jacket.  And then I went back toTTC, waited for the bus, got on, made a couple stops, and then got stuck in commute traffic.  And the driver didn't have a really good relationships with the buses brakes... lots of halting stops.  Oh well, I'm not paying for gas! I think I'll make a separate post for pictures...