Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Well, I certainly fell off the face of the earth, didn't I......

Life has been amazing!! I am still here, still chugging along on my second program, however I know have exactly 7 days of work left, and 9 days til my second program is officially over. I seriously can't believe how time has flown by. This second program definitely went much faster than the first one. The awesome thing is that I applied, and was accepted for, a Part Time position with Photopass attttt..... EPCOT!! That's right, I'm going back to my original home!!! I can't believe how unbelievably lucky I am!!! Generally, it's a 3 month waitlist to go part time, and I got the call a week and a half after applying! Im sure that it has something to do with the Fantasyland expansion that will be opening in a few months. I've heard talk that they're hiring A TON of photographers for there, so I know they're pulling from seasonal and PT to fill the FT positions. So my program is over August 3rd, and I am officially PT starting Aug 5th. I have found an apartment down here with two friends and we get the keys this Friday!! It's pretty easy to find a place to live, but prices depend on location and amenities. Generally it's $1,000 - $1,200 for a 3 bedroom. My two friends and I are living in a 3 BR for $1,200/mo, cable and garbage included. The kitchen is not upgraded, but the rooms are huge, so that's what we went with (after looking for a month).

I am going to do a more complete update later, but here are some pictures of how my life has been:

Cinco de Mayo event at Chatham Square

Ryan ( DAK photopass) Goofy, Me, Erin (roommate, qsfb) Meg (DAK photopass)

Ryan and I on a photo outing

Lotso makes a break for it

Meg and I got along terribly well. 

Meeting Merida before she was officially doing Meet & Greets!!

Ryan, Meg and I at Universal's Curious George Splash and Play zone (I put my iPhone in a plastic bag!)
We fired upon small children who shrieked and ran. It was an unbelievable day :)

 More to come!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cast Events

So back in March, DAK had two employee parties that were SO MUCH FUN!! EPCOT never had events like this that I was able to go to (Danny was able to go to a Soarin'/Land movie night one time, though) So this was a nice change. The first event was in Dinoland and they opened up Dinorama for all the cast members from 7:30pm-9pm. This meant that Primeval Whirl, Triceratop Spin and the carnival games were open for us to enjoy. We didn't have to pay for the carnival games and we got fun toys as prizes (besides the typical stuffed animals, they also gave out DAK lanyards, Disney mister fans {which are like $10 each!} and other fun things) They also fed us a lovely barbeque.
The following week, they held it at Everest and it was beyond awesome. Seriously, I don't think I've ever had so much fun before with coworkers. I was friends with my EPCOT ppl last year, but not as close as I am to my DAK workers. There was NO ONE really going on Everest, and it was always a walk on. I was one of the few ppl who didn't have to work that day, so I got to go in normal clothes, while everyone else was in work costume. I think I rode it 7 times. And there were no Merchandise ppl working (since everyone but attractions ppl were off), so we weren't able to buy our photos. Luckily I had brought my camera and took pictures of our ride pictures. The event was open from 7:30-9pm again, and in the middle of it, they actually turned on the lights inside the ride. We were not able to take photos while lights were on, but I have to admit that while it was cool to be able to see everything, I prefer the ride in the dark! I love that when you go through the mountain, that you can't see anything! And then the Yeti just comes out of nowhere! At this event we were fed unlimited ice cream bars (frozen banana, mickey bars and mickey ice cream sandwiches) At one point, DAK's Vice President, Michael Colglazier was even in our car and he was super nice and easy to talk to!.This whole event was awesome, and afterwards my coworkers and I all went to Waffle House and ate really bad cheap food.

Rio does not like roller coasters. Ryan however, is very excited...

First ride up!

This one's my favorite! I love my smile :)

I may love DAK more than EPCOT now... :D

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Midnight musings

So it's actually after 2 am, but I like the title. So last spring break, when I was at EPCOT, I maintained my normal hours and was scheduled like 36.  This year I actually made it up to 40 hours. I picked up the PAC shift for almost 4 hour for one of my days off, and then base called me asking if I could come in on my other day off, and I ended up working 5 hours that day, ending at basically 50 hours for the day (rounding). The next official Spring Break week I again had 40 hours and 45 minutes, and I will tell you, I did NOTHING my days off but sleep and it was amazing. Because of the fact that I didn't have a day off the week before, i worked like almost 70 hours before a real day off.... I don't think I'll be doing that again, lol. This week is not Spring Break, and as such we have Disney classes again, but I was still scheduled 40 hours and 45 minutes. I picked up a short shift in the West on my "saturday" and I imagine I'll have fun with it. :) This shift brings my total to 45 hours even. I have to admit that the overtime from that 50 hour week made my pay check REALLY nice. :))
Next week I took Tuesday off (for a total of 3 days off) and so have 30 hours BUT my friend Jasmine won tickets to go see The Lion King from Broadway when it comes to Orlando and invited me to go with her!! I'm super excited!!!! I have ALWAYS wanted to go see it, and now I finally get to!!!!
The Expedition Everest Challenge is only 2.5 weeks away, and if I haven't mentioned it, it's a 5K that I signed up for... and I HATE running. We'll see how this goes.......
On a completely random note, I have applied for the Wild Africa Trek job posting from work here.... and I really really want it. The posting is actually for a bench position, so they're not hiring right now for it, but kind of hiring a bunch of people that they can pick from when a position opens up. It's a pool, but now they call it a bench. This is the initial stage, so if I make it past this stage, I'll be offered an interview. I REALLY hope I can get at least part way into it.  Forget that.. I want the job!!! I feel like I would be perfect for it!! I love to talk and take pictures. Done.

Look at that! Some of my photos!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Special Moments

So I forgot to mention some really fun/funny moments from yesterday.
The first actually happened at Typhoon Lagoon, where I went with my friend Mackenzie. We were floating down the lazy river and it was breezy. Leaves had been falling on us and into the river. I was floating in an  innertube when I felt something land on my thigh. Not thinking much of it, I lifted my head to look at this leaf, and discovered that it was NOT a leaf, but in fact a green tree lizard, staring right at me. Now, before I continue, I'd like to mention that I am not a girly girl. I played waterpolo in highschool and paintball with my dad. Last college program, I actually had guys ask me to come and remove spiders from their rooms. Yet when I saw this lizard, I had full on freak out, complete with hand flailing, and according to Mackenzie, a blood curdling scream. As I was thrashing about, I felt the lizard run up my leg and across my stomach, where he discovered we were currently surrounded by water. He then ran down my other leg, stopping at my knee. It was about this time that I realized he couldn't do anything to me, and probably desperately wanted off. So as Mackenzie laughed and laughed, I stuck my leg straight out (en pointe) and paddled my way to the shore, where the lizard proceeded to run further down my foot, eventually leaping from my toes into the dirt on the shore. It was probably the funniest thing that has happened to me in Florida.

The second moment happened later when I was working the PAC shift. It was a short time between the marching bands and the electrical light parade. I was wandering back and forth on the street when I came across a group of like 8 girls, made up of different groups of guests, all sitting together on the ground. One girl asked how long until the next parade. I responded that it would be in 7 minutes. "oh." I talk to some of the other girls for a bit when the girl asks, "How many minutes now."
"Well now there's six minuites!"
"oh....How many now?!"
"5 minutes, 30 seconds."
Another girl looks at me and says, "Can you just stay here and count it down for us?!"
I said no, because then it would seem like it would take forever! I wandered off down the street, keeping an eye on the time. Right before 9, I started making my way back to the group with a plan, when the announcer comes on the loud speaker, introducing the parade (and, I thought, ruining my plan). I get back to the group and say, "Guys! Guess how many minutes now?!" And at this moment, all the lights go off on main street. Oh my gosh, I was not expecting that to happen and I could not have planned this any better. I mean, I found myself thinking, 'Stuff like this doesn't happen in real life!" All the girls yell out, "ZERO!!!" which I echoed back to them, and then continued on to my parade spot. I felt pretty damn cool :D

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An Everyday Conversation II

This takes place several weeks ago. It is night time and I am photographing families in front of the tree of life. Since it's dark, they have to stand still for almost a second so as to not blur out. This can be hard for kids...
Me: Alright guys! I'm going to have you stand really still like Popsicles! Ready??
I take two photos
Me: And you're done! You did great! What flavor did you pretend to be?
Son, looks to be 8ish: I was grape!
Daughter, age 4ish: Guess what! But I'm not sweet, I'm spoiled!
Me: .........
Mom bursts out laughing.


Hello, friends! It's been a month since my last update, which is TERRIBLE. Seriously, I have no excuse. But it's been an amazing month! I have a lot to write, so I'm going to break it up into several posts. First will be all about me! (surprise...)
 My birthday was on the 9th, and my friends Kelsey and Jasmine went with me to Tusker House for my birthday Brunch. We met Donald, Mickey, Daisy and Goofy, and ate some seriously good food. I made the reservation for 10:45am, so that we would go in at breakfast, and be there through the lunch changeover, which happened at like 11:30. And yes, I planned it that way
 on purpose. What really did us in was when they brought out the dessert buffet at 11:45... so much food.

I was finally trained to work Tusker House. I'm not sure if I mentioned that in my previous posts, but basically I was trained on how to take the Donald Picture that you see here, how to assemble the packages that we offer to the guests, and how to run them out to the tables. It's really different from what I do normally in the parks, and I actually really enjoy it. Many of the people who work there have bid for that location, and so may only work in Tusker House (as opposed to out in the parks). I don't know if I could do it everyday, but I have been picking up shifts and trading with people here and there. You have to not take anything personally and be really open to people, but it's a lot of fun to watch the kids dance with the characters and talk with families about their trip.
I really am falling in love with DAK. I'll be honest in that I was really apprehensive about being assigned here (as I've mentioned) but it is definitely growing on me. The cp's that I'm with are pretty awesome, as are the regular cast members. I love working at Boat Landing, which is where you can find Winnie the Pooh and friends. Pooh is just unbelievable and loves kids, and I feel like I take the best pictures when working with him. SPEAKING OF! My photo that I took with Pocahontas back in February, that won photo of the week? It won photo of the month for DAK!!! I was so shocked! And then a couple weeks ago, I took the CUTEST picture of this little girl just laughing and laughing at meeting Goofy. Her hair was all curly and she has just this look on her face as she's squealing at him. And THAT photo was selected as a photo of the week. It feels really good, but I know a lot of it is about timing, and really luck. There's been so many times I've thought, "Oh man! That would have been an awesome shot if I had grabbed it!!" I think that soooo many times a day, it can get you down if you let it, but you have to focus on what you can do and just never put the camera down (which isn't possible, lol). There's usually five or six photo's of the week so it's nice to see what other people are doing and get ideas from there.
Today I picked up at Parade Audience Control shift in the Magic Kingdom. I worked 1900-2245 and got to pick up the COOLEST costume!! I normally can't see these shifts to pick up on the HUB, but since it's spring break and there are a lot of guests in the parks, they needed extra help. I had always wanted to work one, as my roommate last year Tracy loved them, so I jumped at the chance. It was a little hard to find the base, but luckily there were a lot of people in the costume so I just followed them. I was assigned to stand in front of Mickey's Town Square Theater from 1900-21:30. I had a giant container for bubbles to play with forever until we had to start clearing the streets and getting ready for the Electrical Light Parade. Then it was my job to make sure people stayed on the curb and anyone who was recording, that they didn't have a spot light to blind the performers. I then moved allll the way down to the popcorn cart on by the castle and helped direct traffic during Wishes!. I didn't see one minute of Wishes! even thought i was RIGHT there, as I was constantly trying to keep people moving. I tried to make it funny because people were tired and since it was so crowded, they couldn't move very fast (sometimes barely at all.) So I'd yell out, "You're doing great, friends! Just channel your inner Dori and just keep swimming! You're in the EAC!!" Several people actually thought this was funny and helped break up the tension of trying to get out of the park, so I feel I did my duty. I really loved every minute of it and will definitely pick up more (whenever I can.)

It is the height of Spring Break right now, and we have one more week to go of it. I know that DAK has been really crowded and we were expecting to hit capacity today, but I'm not sure if we did as it was my day off. Cast members are blocked out of visiting WaterParks for free right now, but we do still get our discount (half off). I'm was assigned 41 hours this week, and am at just over 45 with the PAC shift tonight. My roommate is Merch in DAK with me and she was assigned 57 hours, but is at about 60 now due to forced extensions. That is going to be something you have to deal with. (It's also REALLY warm right now for March/April). It's been 90 the past few days, so you're going to have to ask yourself how you're going to keep the magic going. I know I've said this before, but several people are having a hard time of it now that we're busy and its hot. Make sure you take a job that you're willing to work. If you don't love food service and you don't love the heat, dont' put down qsfb! lol, sure you could end up in an air conditioned location in a park, but you could also be selling pretzels in the sun, or in a resort (not even in a park!) If this sounds fine to you, then go for it! Just make sure you're going to love it! Cause that's whats going to get you up in the morning.

That's all for now (that was a lot). More coming (unlike those fabled Africa Trek photos... which are still coming!!!)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

An Everyday Conversation

The following is an actual conversation I had today:
The Setting: I am at Boat Landing, where one can find Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger. We are running a bit behind and normally Pooh will go off for some honey, followed shortly by Eeyore and then Tigger. Today though, Pooh has made it back from his snack before Eeyore and Tigger have left. As such, I have to make sure Eeyore leaves after his last family, and explain to the new family that he'll be right back. Please note, there are two families in this story, A and B.

{Family leaves}
Me: Okay, Eeyore, go grab some thistles real quick. Turning to girl 1 from Family A Sorry Princess, but Eeyore will be right back, okay?
Dad 1A: Oh okay, no problem. Proceeds to walk towards Tigger
Me: Actually, if I can just have you stay right here for Eeyore.
Dad 1A: Oh, we were just going to go see Tigger while we wait.
Me: Actually, Tigger is going to be leaving right after that family, too, but he'll be right back.
Child 1A: Tigger's leaving too?
Me: Yup! He's just going to get some cake real quick, and then he'll be back.
Child 2A: Cake?! I like cake!
Me: You do?! I like cake, too!
Child 1A: Pooh already left (she states, matter of factly)
Me: He did! You saw him leave, and waited for him, didn't you? He ate some honey and then he came right back.
Child 1A: Honey? I like honey!
Me: Me too. I put it in my tea sometimes. Which do you think you'd like better: Honey, Thistles or Cake?
Child 1 and 2A: Ummm.......
Child 1A: Honey! My mom gives me honey cause it's kind of like medicine. She gives it to me on a spoon sometimes. Look at my baby! It's a mere cat! And she has a baby fox! (points to Child 2A)
Child 2A literally puts baby fox about 2 inches from my face
Me: Those are really neat babies!
A wild Child 1B appears!
Child 1B: Look what I can do! Proceeds to hop on one foot across the set
Me: Look at you! You're hoping on one foot! Make sure you show that to Tigger when you see him!
Child 1B: ....Whaaaaa?
Me: Make sure to show Tigger how you bounce! Hey look, I can see Eeyore coming down the pathway!
Child 1A: I see him too! And Tigger!

About 4 minutes later, I look over to Tigger just in time to see Child 1B slooooooowwwwly hopping towards Tigger. Tigger looks down at him and then begins to hop in place, which causes Child 1B to explode in giggles. I go back to shooting my family at Eeyore.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

One More Disney Day

LOVE! Oh man, that is the word for yesterday. I somehow had both Feb 29th AND March 1st off, so you know what I did!!!! I got up at 4:30am, Feb 29th, picked up my friend Dan from Pop Century and we went to Magic Kingdom at 5:45am. There were soooooo many people.

We unfortunately didn't get one of the free hats that they were giving away, but I actually didn't care for them all that much, so I wasn't too sad. (I WAS sad that Disney didn't make any collector pins, though! I am a pin collector for sure, and was really looking forward to one. They did make buttons, though. I grabbed several of those for friends and family.) When we first got in, we went straight to the Emporium to purchase a shirt, and if you have ever seen footage from Black Friday sales (preferable from Target or Walmart) then picture that. People had this look in their eyes that said they were about to do harm. So I calmly backed away from the rack of shirts, and heard a cast member call out that shirts were also available at the cash registers, so Dan and I went and stood in line to get our shirts. (please note, no harm happened) If you wanted to purchase a hat, they were at Le Chapeau and Sir Mickey's, and they also had a collectors watch at Uptown Jewlers. I bought a shirt and hat, but wasn't too interested in the watch. We then continued down mainstreet, where I hit up every photopass person I could see.

Did I mention it was foggy? You may notice that despite being 6:30am here, I'm in shorts. I think it's gonna be a hot summer.... Dan and I spent the morning wandering, where I met Tiana, Cinderella's step family (who, i believe I mentioned last year, are AMAZING!!!) Seriously, my dream job would be to be friends with Drizella or Anastasia.

The back of my hat, which had the special stitching added in. You could only get the stitching the day of, and you couldn't come back on a later day to get. (I mean, you can't come back March 5th and ask for it to be added on). By the time it was 1am, March 1st, there was a 3-4 hour wait to get your hat done.
Color is off on Lotso... I'll have to fix this pic later
We did go on some rides, but really not many. The park wasn't that crowded, and someone even remarked that there were more cast members than regular guests, which I though was funny. I also met Peterpan and picked up a Lotso bear, who Peter was very interested in.
I absolutely LOVE the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! parade, so I made sure to watch that as it went by as well.!! I could seriously shoot this parade everyday and be happy. It just makes me want to dance. :)

I went home to work on homework a bit and get a second wind, before setting out with the roommates. The night time was DEFINITELY more active than the day. First off, parking was hard to get in to. But there were SOOOO many characters out that normally aren't! Snow White AND the Seven Dwarves!!!!! Augh!!! Never thought it would happen.
Feb 29th: 11:40pm Waited almost 1.5 hours
Piglet, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger, too! (Neither Pooh and friends, nor Snow and Dwarves signed autographs. Imagine how long that would have taken? o.0)
March 1st: 1:30am Waited 15min
Jack Sparrow was also out!! Now, I have tried two years running to get a picture with him in Disneyland during the Halloween parties, and failed both times! So this year, I waited the hour to see him and get his autograph, as he WAS signing. I'll warn you, the photo looks TERRIBLE, lol. At this point, it was 3am, and I was really tired. I also apparently stood really weird so my face looks off, BUT I DON'T CARE (as you can tell....)
Great meet and greet. He was perfect.
I called it quits at 3:15 and headed home to sleep. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider were there, but no joke, their line was 3-4 hours long all night. I had met them last year, and so passed. Mickey and Minnie were also available to meet in their pajamas, but their wait was 60-75 minutes, and at the end of the night, I was just too tired to care. If you look up the pictures, they really did look cute, but my bed seemed cuter at the time, if you know what I mean. I was tired.
As we left the park, the lines to get to the TTC were HORRENDOUS! I mean, oh my God. They only had one monorail track running, and the ramp was packed all the way up the ramp. The boat dock didn't look any better, and even though the boat can really pack the people on (as opposed to the monorail) we found out that there was a super secret Bus 18 that was running to the TTC. They weren't advertising it, and in fact one cast member had said I could only use monorail or boat back, but in talking with a different cast member five minutes later, he told me to just get on #18. There was no wait for the bus, and we made it to the TTC in, I kid you not, 9 minutes from leaving the turnstiles. Will have to remember this bus during the 4th of July...
Back to the salt mine, tomorrow! Working 9am-1500. I really need to go grocery shopping....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bah! Midterms

So apparently whenever I write anything along the lines of, "Will post more!" or "Updates coming" i'm actually shooting myself in the foot because I never come back.... :( But this program is already so different from the last one. I'm working just about 40 hours a week, plus since I'm not getting work experience this time around, I actually had to take CLASSES which means homework and midterms. I'm taking all online classes: Photoshop 2, Art History and a quick 6 week course on how to research stuff (seriously?) that's required by my school. It's 7 units total, but it's seriously cramping my play time! Oh, the horrors of being an adult.... ;)

So I received some really good questions from Danielle, (who I hope doesn't mind that I'm posting them on the main page!) But I felt they were really good and warranted an actual response!
 In your opinion, what is the best park to work in as a Photopass?? 
 This is a hard one! One of the bests I have to say, is of course Magic Kingdom. I think that it's the epitome of what people picture when they think of Disney, and it has the princesses! The main street costume also looks fantastic, but the park itself can have some of the longest Photopass hours to work. My friend Traci from the last program was usually going in to work around 6pm, and would get off at like 4:30am (in the summer) so that can be crazy. EPCOT of course was ( and always will be) my home park. It has a bunch of indoor, air conditioned locations, which you will LOVE in the summer months. It also has the world showcase where you can be with a character all day, which I found to always be a lot of fun. But you don't get as many hours! As I mentioned, I really only worked around 32 hours a week my WHOLE program, so I would have to pick up hours Sunday morning when they were released (at 6am....) to make up for it. The schedule comes out every Sunday morning (at 6am....) as do Extra Hours you can pick up on the HUB. These shifts go really fast though, so the early bird catches the worm, as they say. Since you're going in the Fall, you'll have the tail end of the heat, and also the Food and Wine festival in EPCOT, but i heard the park gets really crowded for that, which can definitely be a negative. Animal Kingdom is growing on me, but it has a lot of bugs, lol, and no indoor areas (i'm spoiled...) So I would say MK and EPCOT but those are definitely just my biased opinions ;)
I heard AK has lousy hours, though I don't understand why because they close earlier than the other parks.. Do you feel that way or were the hours worse at EPCOT??
 If you're talking work hours, you really can't beat the fact that AK closes earlier than any park, leaving you the whole night if you want to go out. The latest we close is 8pm, but right now it's usually 5 or 6pm. I'm also getting more hours at work, which means more money! On the other hand, EPCOT I wouldn't go in til like 1 or 3pm and work til 9:45pm or midnight, which left me the whole day to park hop before work. There were several times I would go to MK or HS in the morning, just to meet the early characters, and then catch a resort bus to work. I can't do this now that I'm at AK because I start around 9 or 10am. Also, sometimes when you get home after a long day and eat, all you want to do is fall into bed and just lay there not moving, lol. So I guess it depends on what your looking for: money or play (which you kind of need one to afford the other...)
Also, did you find that the rooming situation worked out better for you going in knowing your roommates or going in as a single??
This is a funny question, as the first time I went in with a bunch of roommates, and then switched out two at the last minute. I got along SO well with everyone last time, and was so excited to finally meet Hilary and Chelsea, but knowing someone online doesn't tell you their quirks and habits. At the same time, knowing people through the facebook groups at least gives you a foundation to go on to build a friendship. I think at this time (one month in) I was closer with my last roommates than I am with my current ones (I also wasn't working as much). My roommates now are amazing and we get along great, I just think I knew my last set better. I also know people who went in, having chosen their roommates through FB and it didn't work out (are they a slob? do they leave their dishes everywhere? are they just plain loud?) These are things you can't really know before you go. That said, it's really scary going in blind, lol. I was so worried that I would be in an apt full of wild partiers, and luckily that didn't happen, but in the end, I'm going to go with: I liked knowing before I went. I liked at least trying to get to know the people a bit, and knowing that we already had something in common.

While we're talking about Facebook groups, can I just say throw out there that there are going to be annoying people. There are going to be people who purposely try and annoy/badger/troll/flame whatever people to get reactions. And Disney DOES monitor what goes on. They monitor what's said in blogs, so I'm pretty sure they monitor what goes on in those groups. People can claim 1st amendment all they want, but in the end, Disney is a business. You have been hired and chosen to represent Disney, which includes preserving the magic. Just remember that. Also, not sure if I mentioned this, but they definitely won't stand for anything they consider cyber-bullying. They made this clear at our housing meeting this year. So always watch how you conduct yourself, and just be mindful.

Coming Soon Eventually:

  • Africa Trek (maybe I'll work on those tonight, actually)
  • I get Tusker House trained on Tuesday!! That's character dining, which is takes place in Tusker House at DAK. And (even better) it's with Donald!
Look!  A picture!
Erin, Diamond and myself at our last Welcome Event

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I got photo of the week!

So the Pocahontas photo I talked about a few weeks ago ended up being one of the Photo of the Week winners! I just found out when I went to work yesterday! I'm really excited! I don't get copies of any of my photos as they don't actually belong to me, but it's nice knowing that I take good photos. :)
So it turns out that there is some sort of bug out here in Florida that I am allergic to. And it's not fun. :(( So touching on a topic I brought up a year ago, I know of two walk in clinics out here, one definitely more expensive than the other, but I feel like they paid more attention to what I was saying. Last year I went to CentraCare, which not only allows you to make appointments online, but will pick you up in a van (note: it's kind of expected to tip the drivers, much like a taxi). CentraCare is basically down by CrossRoads, but is usually busy and way expensive if you don't have insurance. We're talking around $200. I went to a different place today, a Walk In clinic closer to Chatham, I didn't have to wait, and was $110. However I didn't really leave happy. I was originally bit a couple weeks ago while walking across the Chatham lawn, and figured they'd go away. Last night, I was basically the open buffet in my bed. :( The doctor was only able to give me something to treat the reaction, and I asked housing to come in and spray my room, which they did. And I mean, they sprayed EVERYTHING! Very thorough, lol. We'll see how it goes, I'm a little pesimistic at this point, as I basically had the same problem last year, and the bites only disappeared when I went home to California.  ::sigh::
So the family recently came out and visited me! We had an amazing time and the weather was just great! Of course, the day after they left, I was FREEZING! The weather totally changed, we had freeze warnings and work was handing out hot pocket warmers (no, not the food. I just don't know the official name for them, lol). It got down to 24 degrees on Saturday night! We couldn't even figure out how to get our heating system to switch to heat. It SAID that the apt was 73, but it was LYING!!! My roommate and I only had a sheet and our comforter, so we slept in socks, sweatshirts, and put our beach towels on our beds in a desperate attempt to stay warm!  Since it's low season, we have some cool cast discounts going on, including for Animal Kingdom's Wild Africa Trek. I arranged for the family and I to go on this 3 hour walking trip, and it was the best decision ever!!! We walked for the first hour and a half, and it wasn't strenuous at all. There was a total of 12 people in our group, and 6 of them had to be over 60. We got really close to hippo's and crocodiles. We crossed 2 "rope" bridges (planks of wood) and then had an amazing snack lunch waiting for us at a picnic site overlooking the Savannah of Kilimanjaro Safari. Breathtaking. We also had our own private Safari ride, where our truck would stop for as long as we wanted as we took all photos of the wildlife. The regular safari's are only allowed to stop for like 10 seconds, but we got to camp out and just watch the Giraffe's and the Lion as the other trucks drove by. We also were given binoculars so as to better spy on the animals. Included in the price is also a cd of photos taken of us on our trek, as well as the animals from that day. Family agreed it was the best money ever spent. :)
On to random some pics! I have some real professional ones from the Wild Africa Trek coming, but I want to put a watermark on them. They came out amazing! So look for those :)
Before heading to Orlando, I stopped off to visit Traci at her college, New Mexico State.
Yay! I hadn't seen her since we left Orlando in August. I had the BEST weekend

Kelsey and I goofing around in EPCOT on our days off. She is now PT at DTD

My sister, Erin, goofing off (also in EPCOT. It's the place to be!)

Me and 2 of my 3 roommates at the CP welcome event. It was a Pirate theme!

Family's first ride on Rockin' Rollercoaster. I love my sisters face!
P.S. The artsy photo's were taken with an app on my iPhone, Hipstamatic (the paid version). I absolyutely love that app!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Not every day will be magical

The truth is that not every day is going to be as magically awesome as some of your other days, but it's going to matter how you keep yourself motivated. Today was veerrrrrry long for me. While nothing went wrong, it was just a day where I wasn't feeling the magic. Despite this, I was always trying to watch how I interacted with the guests, how I talked to them and helped them find their way around the park. I also had to be aware of my facial expressions, as I was kind of in a sour mood...lol. The day really culminated in getting to the security gate after work and realizing that I had left my car key back at base. It felt like I was never going to get home, lol. It was only a five minute walk back to base, but all I wanted to do was get home.
My roommate has definitely been having a hard time as well. Basically everything that could go wrong, did. From not getting cleared for Traditions til like a week later, to getting incorrect info, to costumes that don't fit right, to the A bus not showing up when it's supposed to, and finally, not getting paid because her payroll got messed up.  It has definitely been a struggle for her to keep going, and I'm really glad that she's pushing through. She's been late twice to work this week because the A bus either didn't show up, or left early. We're not sure which, but I know that she gets to the bus stop 10 minutes before the bus is supposed to be there, so we're not sure what's going on. She's quick service at an MK resort, and its' gotten to the point where she's leaving for work about 2 hours before her shift because she's had such a hard time with the bus.
Having my car here has been REALLY nice! (If only her work was by mine!!) My car officially came and I have taken it to work almost every day. I had planned on not using it to get to work, but the J bus only comes every 30 minutes, and it takes about 40 minutes to get home. So if I just happen to miss the first bus to come home, I won't be home til over an hour after I get off.
Work hasn't been terrible, though! I love my coordinators, and really I have gotten along great with all my other cast members. I already have some favorite character attendants; some even greet me excitedly when they see me coming! Due to the way that DAK is set up though, I don't work with characters here as often as I did at EPCOT. There's a lot of places where you shoot The Tree of Life, so I should be getting really good at that soon. (hopefully...) The Tree is definitely different than Spaceship Earth. I know it's a mental thing, but I'm having a hard time getting my framing right for the tree. I suppose I should give it more than three weeks though... ;)
Last night was fun, as I picked up a shift at EPCOT and got to see a lot of my friends who I hadn't seen in six months. I ended up at Goofy for about 3 hours and shot 1009 photos. It was really weird to work there, as all of my shifts at DAK are day shifts, usually 9-5:15, while the EPCOT shift was 6:15pm-00:15. I've gotten used to going to bed early and waking up early.
Sunday is my last day of work for a few days, as the family is coming in to visit! I was able to get Monday-Friday off to show them around. When they came last time, we hit up EPCOT, Universal: IOA and DAK, but missed Studios and MK (mainly because MK is VERY similar to Disneyland). We will not be missing any parks this time (but we will be skipping Universal). I can't wait! Especially since they're coming out while I still have my holiday discount for merchandise. I'll be the favorite daughter for a while :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Same Dance, Different Song

I think.
I finished Day 3 of work today at DAK and it's pretty much been amazing.  I wasn't sure how I would feel, having had the last five months off from work, but I really feel like I never left and picked up right where I left off.  I found myself thinking today that I feel like I can see more now than last time. I mean, I see more photo opportunities. Before, I would see the full timers moving around and grabbing these pictures from all sorts of angles, but not doing that myself. Yesterday I was behind the characters, in front of them, zooming in and taking pictures of just faces, just lots of different angles that I didn't do before at EPCOT. At the same time, I'm more conscious of what angles to avoid. Also what's in the background (signs, trash cans, etc). I feel like it's really coming together. :)
So I had Daklimation on.... what day is it? lol Saturday! I had Daklimation on Saturday and it went from 8:30-12:30 (exactly). I then had 30 minutes to eat lunch, run to base, change, and clock in for work. I was not happy with this short of a change over, but it worked out in the end (sometimes, that's all you can ask for). I then worked from 1-7pm in Camp Minnie Mickey. The first character I pulled was actually Daisy!! I had only ever worked with her once at EPCOT so I was super excited for this chance, and sure enough, she was amazing. At 2, she left and Donald came out and was really on it. I eventually worked with Goofy, who I absolutely fell in love with. He was such a charmer that day! I shot just over 1,000 photos that day. Yesterday (Sunday) I was with Minnie for my first two sets, before ending with Donald, and I shot apprx 1,200 photos. Today I was back in camp from 10-5:15 and actually got to start the day with my two favorite nuts, Chip and Dale!! I LOVED working with them at Studios last year, and I can happily say, they were just as crazy in DAK as at Studios! I laughed sooo much! I was able to work with a cool Attendant named Brian, and together we were cracking up with C&D. At one point I looked though my lens to see Chip holding a guys arm straight out and gnawing on it like a corn on the cobb.  I yelled out, "Chip! What are you doing, you can't eat him!!" Chip (still holding the guys arm out) pointed to the guys shirt, which read, "HERSHEY." I responded, "Chip, that's a shirt! He's not ACTUALLY a Hershey bar!" Chip then pantomimed unwrapping a bar of chocolate and pretended to eat it. I reassured Chip again that the guy was indeed, not made of chocolate. Chip spent the rest of the morning gnawing on guests that came up and I would have to yell at him. Chip also tried to escape a couple times today, to go harass Donald who had come out to mingle. I yelled out, "Brian! Chip's trying to escape!" and Brian went running over to grab Chip and shove him back towards his area. Dale thought he could succeed by putting a kids autograph book over his eyes, and side stepped his way towards Donald, but Brian was smarter than that and caught on quick.
After lunch I actually got to spend the whole afternoon with Pocahontas, who just recently was assigned a Photopass member. This was amazing, as I really haven't had much experience working with characters who can actually talk back. I had two shifts (I think) with Belle in France, but that was it. Pocahontas was AMAZING!! I feel like she and I really got a system down, and I could tell when she was going to give someone an extra special hug and was able to really take some fabulous photos. There was one girl who came through today that I think had cerebral palsy. She was in a wheel chair and spoke only Spanish, but her mom was able to translate for her. Pocahontas spent quite a while withe her talking and just really being down on her level. I was able to capture this great moment when Pocahontas leaned in and kissed the girl on the cheek (which she NEVER does) and the little girls face was just lit up with such joy. I really can't believe that I get to experience these moments and capture them for families. (It's also amazing I don't cry more, lol). I ended the day just under 1,000 photos.
I'm off Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursday I'm in DAK south, which is the bridge area, entrance and Boat Dock (where Pooh and friends are found). I'm the only CP so far at DAK, but I've heard talk that we should be getting some more in February (which is really right around the corner). I'm really going to be spoiled as since I'm fully trained, and the new cp's won't have character training for a while, I'll probably end up with most of their shifts. Once they're trained, I'm going to be really sad to not have as many character shifts, lol.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Exploration: DAK

Hello! So I'm going to have to change the description of my blog, as I'm no longer an EPCOT photopass member; I'm now an Animal Kingdom Photographer! That's right, today is my third day (second day since check-in) and I have officially been placed at DAK. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed to leave EPCOT as I'll always consider it my home! I find it funny though, that I was placed in the one park that I was too afraid to pick up shifts in. It's as if Disney knew... What was it I said about stepping outside of my comfort zone...? I take it back!! The one thing I really remember from my roommate working DAK was that she had looong work weeks, and always came home tired. So I'm a little apprehensive. Well, at least I don't have to worry about a lack of stuff to write about!
The last few days have been CRAZY. I checked in on Wednesday the 18th, and people began lining up at 3:45am. Wow. What a difference from my last group (6:30am). By the time I showed up at 6:30, the line was around the corner and to the bus entrance. Probably a good 150+ people. I will admit, I totally saw someone I had been chatting with on facebook at the front of the line and wormed my way up there.  I went in without any roommates this time and was pretty nervous, but I knew that I wanted a 2 bedroom in Chattham this time. This was a last minute decision as I really liked being able to walk everywhere from Vista, but I really didn't want to live there this time. I wanted someplace nicer. And I am super glad everything worked out. Just like last year, the Chattham rooms went really fast. I really think that since I was a single, I grabbed one of the last 2 bedrooms, because I know my friend Jasmine was a bit behind me and they were gone by the time she got there with her roommates. There were however, 2 bedrooms in Patterson and Vista. Anyways!
I am not going to bore you with details, but things have not really gone smoothly with my checkin. It's nothing that I could have done, just miscommunication between departments, but it made for some stressful days as people had different information regarding me. This will not happen to you, and I think it's only happened because I was seasonal and didn't get switched over til last minute, but everything is fixed now. Because my last program ended in August, I am still certified in all my areas and did not have to go to any trainings!! I did not have to go to Traditions, or Welcome to Entertainment, or any camera trainings. As such, I just had to go to my park specific training today and am jumping straight into work. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because I will immediately be making money (yay!) Bad because I feel like i'm not really getting to meet any other program participants. (boo). Everyone is bonding over training or going to the parks, and I have 10 hour work days already!
The days have not been without fun though! And the people I have met are all amazing! I really like my roommates. They all came in blind as well (without roommates) and it's worked out great. They're all from the Chicago area, which is weird....
QUICK THINGS!! I LOVE my Chattham apartment. It is SERIOUSLY better than Vista. Don't get me wrong, i loved every minute of living in Vista. There were not that many parties, and I found it quiet and still quite social. Chattham is sooo much newer though, it's great. I do already miss being able to walk places. If I want to go to Cici's or Wal-Greens, i have to take the bus to Vista and make sure to be back inside Vista by 9pm, or else security won't let me in to catch the bus. However, I have actually also shipped my car out this time. It is currently on a truck in Georgia and should be here sometime next week. I plan to still take the bus a lot to save money on gas, but still. I will have a car!! :) More later.
Shoutout to Samantha and the other girl (I'm sorry! I forgot your name! x_x) I met today who read my blog!