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...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ack! Where was I....?

Okay, so we checked into Vista, and because we were so early and so far up front, we flew through the paperwork.  We were on the 8:30am bus (which left at 9am) and we were done by about 10:30am.  We flew through the paperwork and the finger printing.  We returned to Vista way and moved into our apartment.  We had about 3 hours to unpack and then we were off to our apartment housing meeting, which was at 2:45 (I think...).  The housing meeting was.... slow.  They have some hokey movies you sit through and I'll admit, it's kind of dry, so if you're going, bring something to draw on or something to eat in order to stay awake.  The meeting was two hours and then we were back to the apt's.  It definitely pays to get there early, as we were the first bus for everything. The late arrivals had to wait to have their housing meeting on Tuesday, so to me it seems like they lost a day.  We had a full day of meeting and then a full day to ourselves, while they had half days.
Tuesday was technically a day off, but I had the option to pre-register for classes before arrival, and it just happens that my class was on Tuesday.  So while the roommates headed off to Walmart (note: this place will ALWAYS be cleared out on arrivals day, and for a few days after) I was off to my Advanced Hospitality Management class from 1:30-5:30.  If you want to get a look at Disney and how they do guest services, complete with field trips and guest speakers, take the Exploring Guest Services class instead.  The Hospitality Management class is all work and more theory.  There are no field trips or guest speakers, lol.  But I still think I'll get something out of it, so I'm sticking with it.  Also, this means I'll probably get to sleep in on Tuesdays (or use that day as laundry day, but I think we all know what I'll actually do...)
Today was traditions! The beginning where we went over the rules was a liiiiiiitle slow. But afterwards we had 2 great presenters! I had Joe and Jason and they were kind of cheesy at first, but they grew on me.  :)  We went over the past, present and future of Disney, poked around Magic Kingdom for a little bit, received our nametags and of course got our passes for getting into the parks for free! (the pass to get friends and family in will come in 2-3 weeks).  Afterwards some of us went to Target and then on to exploring Disney Hollywood Studios! It was so cool to finally see the sorcerer hat! There was barely anyone there. We rode Rockin Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror (which is slightly different from the Disneyland one), Great Movie Ride, Muppets 3D, and then we saw Fantasmic, which was a great ending to today!  I have Thursday off, so some of us (from the picture at right) are off to Disney Animal Kingdom tomorrow, and then there's a welcome pizza party that night as well.  More pictures to come!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Check-in Day rewind

Check-in day.  Wow! I can't believe that it was yesterday already! I had been waiting for it for so long, and now Im sitting in my apartment, getting ready to go to my first Disney class, Advanced Hospitality Management in..... 45 minutes!! I'm not going to go over everything, because there's a TON of blogs out there that go over it, but I'll touch on the basics:

First off, my check-in day had about 350 people check in.  My roommies and I met at Vista at about 6:30am, and there were only about 15 people there ahead of us.  At this point we were just grouped together under a tent, but as the small tent filled up, Security had us move over to the sidewalk and stand in a line.  If you are bringing luggage, try to actually NOT bring it with you to check in.  It was just bulky, and luckily one of my roommies had her hotel room for two more days, so some of us stashed our bags there before walking to Vista.  At about 7:45am a Disney employee came out (on a segway!) and told us that shortly they would let us in, and told everyone where the parents should go, and where we would go.
At 8 am they let us proceed on to the next stage.  Unlike other check-ins I saw, nobody ran, which was nice, but I was ready to sprint!  I was up in the front group, and got in really early.  As soon as we got to the next stage, we got little sticky nametags and went right in. We then were broken up into little groups and filled out some basic paperwork. Don't worry if you're not with your roommates at these little tables, just make sure that you're all done at the same time and wait for them to walk through to the next room.  That's where you pick you're room, and they will make you wait for everyone in your group that you want to room with.  We have a later arrival date and really wanted a 3 br in Chattham, but there were none.  We were the second group to pick our room, and even the girl who was the very first one up was not able to pick a 3 br.  (There were 2 br, however).  There were 3 br in Patterson and Vista, and even though my roomies and I had SWORN that we didn't want Vista, we chose Vista over Patt, lol!  And after having been here for a day, I love it! Yeah, the kitchen isn't new, and we dont' have that cool food pantry like the other newer places, but it's really nice (although the beds are hard and squeaky, as they're apparently covered in plastic....)

okay, i have to get ready for class so I'll finish this up later...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

T-1 day....

So I made it to Orlando!! Everything went great with flying.  The plane left EXACTLY on time (how often does that happen?) and landed 20 minutes early. When I woke up that morning, I realized that I hadn't check-in online for my flight, so I did it right before I went out the door.  Turns out my flight wasn't sold out and they had an AMAZING deal to upgrade to first class, and after talking it over with my mom, I totally took the deal!! That may be one of the best choices I ever made, lol.  Because I did, I didn't have to pay for either of my two checked bags, nor did I have to pay for food or drinks! And man was the food good. :)  My seat was huge and I couldn't even touch the chair in front of me with my foot, I had that much leg room.  Definitely made my five hour flight more than bearable (I don't really fly well... lol).
I have a friend from college who moved out to Orlando so he totally volunteered to pick me up at the airport, and dropped me off at my hotel, The Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista (formerly Sunspree, they changed their name).  He had to drop me and run because he had a dinner date with his fiance's family.  My room is pretty big, I have two queen size beds (one for each night!) and my room faces the back parking lot.  Not exactly an ideal view, but it sure is quiet! And that's all that matters. 
I have to admit that I had a little moment, alone in my room, where I thought to myself, "What am I doing here?"  I get really stressed out traveling ,and the traffic was kind of bad getting out here (enough to make me NOT want to bring my car, but I"m sure that will change....) and then I got lost in the hotel.  Who get's lost in the hotel?! And it was warm.  I mean, 93% humidity and i HATE humidity.  Hence, the "what am I DOING here?" moment.  But I called my parents and they totally made me feel better (while I made them worried, lol) but with some encouragement, pulled myself together and agreed to give Florida more than an hour's chance.  I saw on facebook that I had been sent a message from Tracy from the fb group, who was also staying in the hotel, and we met up down in the lobby.  Neither of us had been to Downtown Disney, so we decided to head off out there.  The hotel said they would call us a taxi so we proceeded to wait for about 10 minutes, when a limo pulls up.  Tracy said to me, "wouldn't that be funny if that was our taxi?"  AND IT WAS!!! There was a stretch limo for just the two of us!! LOL It didn't even say taxi on the side. It was about a 10 minute ride down and was only $15. He gave us his card if we wanted to go back, but we ended up just taking a regular yellow cab home, as they were right there and we wouldnt' have to wait.  So we strolled around DD for about 2.5 hours going into EVERY store we could see.  I even got Tracy to purchase her first Vinylmation figure!! She may be addicted now... As it got closer to 11:30pm, we started wandering back to where we had been dropped off. We were saying to ourselves, gosh, I thought DD was bigger.... We found a map and discovered that in the 2.5 hours we had seen less than 1/4th of the area! It was a really great night and I'm so glad I was able to finally meet Tracy.
Today more people are arriving from my check in date, including my roommate, so I can't wait to meet everyone! What to do till then..... :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

So much TIME, so little to DO!!!

Wait... scratch that... reverse it... (name that movie reference!)

Made by Luis Abdiel L C from Puerto Rico
Oh my god.... okay, 2 days until I leave, 4 days until check in!!!!!  Like most people on my arrival date, I waited until the last minute to pack, but I am almost done!! All that's left is really for me to go around and grab the little things, like shoes and stuff.  It's interesting to be checking in so late compared to everyone else; most of the arrival's were in January.  My check in date, from what we can tell, has around 100 people are so, we're guessing.  Our facebook group has 76 members, and we're still finding the stragglers on the main FB group page.  This is compared to the January 26 arrival date which had...brace yourself.... 600 ARRIVALS!!! Yes, you read that correctly.  600.  I can only imagine how long that day was, lol.  There were people in line to check in at 4 am, no joke, just to make sure they got the rooms that they wanted.  Since our group is smaller, I'm probably going to get in line at 6:30am because the people I've matched up with on the FB group, we really want a three bedroom in Chatham or Patterson.  There's a crazy rumor going around that those two apartments are full, but I've noticed that there's a habit of things going from, "I think...." or "I'm pretty sure...." to people stating it like a fact.  It's getting kind of hard to weed out OPINIONS from actual facts, but since none of us work for the apartment people, I'm not going to panic until I get there.
Things that are fact:
  • Walmart has run out of pillows
  • Walmart has run out of irons
  • Walmart has run out of hangers
  • People who close down Magic Kingdom are complaining about the buses being full, and having to wait 2 hours to get home
Eeek! I have to laugh at the Walmart situation though.  My mom and I have talked about it, and I'm packing a few hangers, and just going to buy hangers from Amazon once I get my address.  I am also not taking a comforter (can't remember if I've mentioned that yet...) So I will solve that when I get out there as well.
I tried to keep my packing to a minimum (my goal was one checked bag, one carry on suitcase and my backpack). Sadly, I am now up to two checked bags, one carry on suitcase, and my backpack.  I didn't even pack that much! Here's what I have so far:
  • 3 pairs of business pants (although it was 80 down there yesterday....)
  • 1 dress
  • 4 camisoles
  • 3 button up shirts
  • 2 skirts (one black, one cream)
  • 3 pairs dress shoes (black heels, brown heels, black DANSKO's {comfiest shoes ever!!})
  • 1 pair pajamas
  • 3 pair shorts
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 7 t-shirts (yes, just 7)
  • Pair of sheets for the bed
  • 1 felt  fleece blanket
  • travel toiletries
  • 1 towel (maybe 2...)
  • handful of hangers
  • 1 corduroy jacket (see first bullet about heat....)
  • Tattoo coverup (Note: If you are in, or applying for QSFB, you CANNOT have tattoo's on your hands or wrists.  They will not let you put makeup on these areas due to health codes, so don't even put down this role if you have tattoo's in these areas)
I've left off some obvious things that everyone packs, but I wanted to put up my list because I know some people whose list goes on for paaaages... In my carryon suitcase, I have my meds, 2 different business outfits (one for each type of weather) my Dooney and Bourke purse (yay!) my Vinylmation figures and my Pin's (all 15 of them....). I also packed my Mad Hatter Pookalooz and my Marry Poppins mug. :) I'm bringing only a handful of movies, because I really don't want to spend that much time in the apartment (ask me that again when it's a million degrees outside in three months...) I'm also bringing my Nintendo DS, but i really don't think I'll play it that much.

Oh!! I wanted to talk about travel.  Okay, so right now a major part of the country is being hit by Snowpocalypse, round 2! It's been a really bad winter for the midwest and east coast, and the one thing I have to say is to make your arrival plans early!! There are a handful of people in my group who have either moved their flight, or started driving earlier, and there are some who weren't able to and are now worried on whether or not they'll be able to even get out of their airport! Being from California, we don't actually HAVE weather so I don't have to worry(/sarcasm) but my advice would be to fly in a few days early! This gives you time in case flights get delayed, or the roads aren't driveable.  I am SO glad I decided not to drive right now, because I would be driving in this mess.  One girl who had an earlier check in date in January wasn't able to fly out and Disney moved her to the next arrival date, 1.5 weeks later.  So she wasn't able to room with the roommate she had and had to wait to check in (rather than just let her show up the next day).

I am soooo excited to start my job! To prepare myself for carrying around the camera equipment, I signed up for a Pilates Reformer class, and while expensive, it's amazing! I am so glad I did something because my old job (ahhh! My last day was two days ago!) I sat down all the time.  ALLLL DAY! I wish I had signed up a month earlier, but better late than never, right? My roommate, Hilary, is also photopass, so maybe between the two of us we could swap shifts and work in different parks! My update history has been random since I hadn't started yet, but it's so close! Huzzah!