Friday, September 14, 2012

Earning My Ears

Wow. These past two weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. During my six days of training I had to memorize a 40 page script, three different shows each with different shift points, then all of the land positions. And then I had to work closing shifts for the next five days, fun, but exhausting. And in the middle of my training, we got a new roommate!

Her name is Kelly and she is actually from Georgia, only an hour away from where I am from, so we actually have a lot in common. She works at Studios at Sunset Boulevard Merchandise (she gets a really cute costume.) I'm kinda jealous, actually. She's wonderful and I really like her. :)

After the stress of my assessment day, I've officially "earned my ears" and I've been on my own, which I like quite a bit. Even though my trainer was pretty much the coolest and nicest person I've ever met, I felt a lot less stress without someone there watching me. I've only been doing "B" shows lately, but I've had mostly closing shifts. I closed a vehicle twice, which was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and I closed a land position once. Land positions are front usher, who greets the guests as they walk in; head usher,who helps the wheelchair parties and is in charge of the queue; assistant director, who loads the vehicles and sends them off; and casting director, who opens the doors and decides when to load the vehicles.

I'm pretty sure my favorite position is Front Usher, because I get to greet guests and talk to them, give out stickers to princesses and pirates, and just have fun in general. The shows are fun too, but I'm still trying to find the balance between performing the show and interacting with the guests. It's quite difficult for me, but maybe the more comfortable I get with the shows themselves, the more I'll be able to time my interactions.

I had two days off, Saturday I mainly spent the whole day doing chores. I went to Walmart with Kelly and then we FINALLY got Chinese food. (which I have been craving for WEEKS now) Alex came home and we went to Studios for an hour before it closed where we got to ride Rockin' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and then I got to ride Toy Story Mania for the first time ever, because the wait was less than 15 minutes. To top everything off, as soon as we got off the ride, we were able to get on it AGAIN before the park closed at 9. The first time I rode the ride, I got the highest score in the entire car at 154,400 points! (The second time I only got 144,200 points.)

I got a new sketchbook with Mickey on it (and two pencils), and I've pretty much decided everything that I want for Christmas with my Christmas discounts. I have yet to go to Company D (which is a Cast Member only store.) But, I'm excited!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Traditions and First Days of Work

Well....these past few days have felt like seven years. I'm am seriously on information overload and I couldn't be more excited. I'm sorry I've been slacking on this, but once I describe everything that's happened so far, you'll understand.

On Wednesday when I woke up, I found out that my roommate, the one I was sharing a room with had to leave the program due to some sort of complication, so after a heartfelt goodbye, my roommate Alex and I went to the welcome event, which was Alice in Wonderland themed. They had tea, chick-fl-a, and biscuits. An odd combination, but totally fitting for the tea party theme. We stood in line to take pictures with Alice and Hatter, but every time we got to the front of the line, they switched off with Mary Poppins and Penguin. So, we only got pictures with them by the time we left the party. (My roommate has the pictures, so I'll upload them later.)

After that we went to Universal Studios for my first time ever and I got to see Harry Potter world and ride all of the rides there. (The Dragon Challenge was my favorite. The red dragon is the best one. Just sayin.) But I have to say that the Forbidden Journey was pretty much the coolest (and scariest) ride I've ever seen. It's so different than anything I've ever experienced and the dragon shooting "fire" in my face along with the giant ass spiders that attack you was pretty much the only reason I didn't immediately ride it again.  I can't even properly explain how much I enjoyed that ride, both the experience and the honest appreciation of the engineering of the ride. Anyway, enough of my inner nerd.

On Thursday we had TRADITIONS! I can't exactly go into much detail about it, because there isn't enough TO describe honestly. I know I hated it when people said it's "something you have to experience yourself" but really, it truly is. Yes, its four hours, but it was FUN. There was only one section that kinda put me to sleep, but they get that out of the way very quickly. Everything from then on is pretty exciting! But long day short, I became an official cast member! I got my first day of training schedule and I had a park orientation the next day. But since we finally got our Cast IDs, my roommates and I decided to celebrate by going to Studios to see Fantasmic! for the first time. Alex and I had never seen it before, but Daurie had, and let me just say that I was BLOWN AWAY by how cool everything was. My mouth was open pretty much the whole time in complete and utter awe. When Steamboat Willie came in, I FREAKED out I was so excited.  (Cause he's my faaaaaaaaavorite.)

So Friday was park orientation where we pretty much walked ALL of Hollywood Studios. We learned about the different attractions, where and what the themed restaurants were, where restrooms are, basic park ops. Then we were taken to a classroom where we were split up and we found out where exactly we were working. I am pleased and SUPER excited to announce that I am working.... Great Movie Ride!

I am seriously BEYOND excited about this. I get to be a tour guide on GMR and I get to put all of my wonderful theater experience to use! I got my training schedule and then I had the day off on Saturday, where I played in Studios and Magic Kingdom.

Today I had my first day of on the job training, and I have pretty much a 40 page script to memorize with different shows and different line options. Along with learning how to drive the car, and all of the land positions. (Land positions meaning "loader," "greeter," "head usher," etc.) Today was more of an overview of EVERYTHING GMR entails, so my brain is a little on information overload, as I've said before, and the rest of my training is going to be more in-depth. (I'm excited!)

 My costume is...interesting, but it's not terrible. I like it enough and I'll post pictures at another time. For right now I'm going to go to sleep because I have to wake up at 3:30 in the morning to get the bus to Studios that will get me there by 6:30 AM. I'll learn how to open the ride and drive the car tomorrow! Yippie! Brb, sleeping.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Check-In Excitement!

Okay, so now that I'm not completely exhausted out of my mind anymore, I feel that it is time to update everyone on check-in!

Check-in line around 7:00
(this was BEHIND us.)
My roommates and I got to Vista around 3:30 AM and we weren't the first people in line. There were roughly 30 people in front of us by that point. Apparently the first person got there around 2:00 AM (which was CRAZY.) We then proceeded to wait on the sidewalk in front of Vista until 7:30 when they finally let us in! We then received a notebook with all of the super important information that any CPer would need to know. It's basically like a planner you would get from your school...but a lot more pages.

After we got that we walked into a room where we met up with a very nice lady who assigned us to our room. Luckily we got EXACTLY what we wanted, a two-bedroom in Chatham. We were on the third floor, which was SUPER fun when we all had to unpack our very heavily packed suitcases...BUT I'M STILL SUPER HAPPY. Side note: Apparently after the Fall program, it is the last time where you'll be able to choose where you live. From Spring on, you'll be assigned to your apartment complex. 

Mural  in the hall of
Casting building
We then got our apartment keys and took pictures for our housing ID which were printed right there in the room. After that we got on a bus to CASTING! Stopping to take the much needed picture of the doors, we proceeded to wait in the really pretty room with all of the statues. That was where I found out that I'll be working in Hollywood Studios Icon Attractions. I was SO excited for Hollywood Studios, but I wasn't sure what "Icon Attractions" consisted of. So, when I asked, I was informed that I could possibly be working Great Movie Ride, Star Tours or any other attraction to the left of the Sorcerer's hat. So, imagine my excitement when I realized that the Great Movie Ride was a spieling ride! I could possibly have to memorize stuff! And Star Tours? Dude. I'm a nerd, I love me some Star Wars.

After that excitement, we had to do fingerprinting and stuff and a bunch of kinda boring stuff. Then I received my time for Traditions on Thursday, I got the second session (I believe that they're alphabetical, so since my last name is in the second half of the alphabet, I got the second session. Along with all of my roommates.) Then I received my first training schedule! I have my orientation to Hollywood Studios on Friday. Then my visit with casting was complete.

Since my stomach was threatening to cause me harm if I didn't feed it, we made a quick pit stop for food before we proceeded to Chatham. Then I got to unpack all of my extremely heavy stuff up three flights of stairs and unpack and organize everything in my room. Our apartment is HUGE. Honestly. HUGE. There is so much room that we don't know exactly what to do with everything. But there were a lot of things that were DIRTY. I was pretty much cleaning everything in the bathroom twice before I could possibly use it. The bathtub had some mysterious yellow stain that I'm not even going to wonder what it was, because I don't WANT to know.
My bed. :)

But the end result was well worth it! I love my room! It's so DARN CUTE. Also, my roommate Brandi is the best. As a welcome gift to me, I got a Mad Hatter Pook-A-Looz doll. I LOVE the pook-a-looz dolls, SO MUCH. (As you can tell by my bed.) I drew all of my roomies a picture of their favorite characters for my gift. :) That was fun. After I went to dinner with my parents, I pretty much just passed out asleep. Brandi and I tried to watch Alice in Wonderland, but I was so tired, I didn't even make it past the first Absolem scene.

Today we got to sleep in for a little while before we walked to The Commons (the International students complex) where we had our housing meeting. It pretty much just explains all of the rules of the complexes and tells you who to go to when you need certain things. But the beginning was super fun, we walked in and there were laser lights, a disco ball and loud music playing and it was an exciting start to an hour long meeting. :)

Tonight, my roommates and I might be making a stop at Walmart before heading over to the Polynesian resort and watching Wishes from there. Then tomorrow is an Alice in Wonderland welcoming event! I'm so excited! I'm going to take like, a bajillion pictures with the Mad Hatter. I <3 him, SO MUCH. Then it's a roommate adventure to Universal Studios to finally hit up Harry Potter world and the Marvel Superhero island! (Can anyone say AVENGERS MERCHANDISE?!)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Late Post is Late.

Okay, so I haven't had a lot to update in a while because I was just really playing the waiting game until it was time to leave for Orlando. Now here I am, the night before I leave for four and a half months on the adventure of a lifetime and I'm STILL not done packing. So forgive me if this post seems....scatter-brained.

I'm scared to DEATH that I'm going to forget something important. At the same time, I have a BUNCH of stuff. I'm worrying if I brought to much (which is the most likely of cases) or if I brought the bare minimum. I also wonder if I'm going to be on say the...THIRD floor of the apartment complex and I have to bring ALL of this up the stairs. (There is NO elevator in the apartment complexes.)

I've been running around packing things and then suddenly remembering that I have to bring this or that and I still have to run to Walmart or something along those lines. Speaking of which....I need to pack up the board games I said I was going to bring....crap.

Okay! Time to catch up on things.

This past Sunday my parents through me a going away party which ended up turning into a giant photo shoot, because none of my friends are really picture-takers. I'm the one with the camera, so if pictures ARE taken, well...I'm usually not in them. Which would be a problem. But I had a lot of fun and I'm going to miss everyone SO MUCH, but at the same time....Dude. I'm going to be in DISNEY WORLD. But my scatter-brained thoughts are getting ahead of me.

Tomorrow I'll be driving down to Orlando where we'll be staying in a hotel close to Vista Way, which is where the check-in will be. My future roommates and I are going to have dinner on Sunday and then we're pretty much going to be camping out in front of Vista Way at 3:00-3:30 AM to hopefully make sure that we get a two-bedroom apartment at Chatham, because we've been reading on other blogs that people haven't been getting them. (Apparently Chatham is popular. lol)

I don't have a lot to really update here, but I was long overdue for one. My next update will be about check-in and my adventures at Casting! I'll be able to find out (and post) where I'll be working! Yay! See you soon!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Road Trip!

M&M store in the Florida Mall
Since I only live about four hours away from Orlando, my parents and I took a trip down to explore the area and get a feel for what's around the area OTHER than Disney World. This was also a good chance to go shopping for clothes and such, because it's difficult to find clothes that actually fit correctly where I live. So Saturday morning we got up early and made the drive down.
The Florida Hotel

When we finally got there we stayed at the Florida Hotel. For those of you that don't know the Florida Hotel is a hotel, connected to the Florida Mall. That's right, readers, CONNECTED to the mall. It was a REALLY fancy hotel, which honestly surprised me and then to find out that I could walk into the GIANT mall through the lobby? Let's say I was impressed. We spent the rest of that Saturday walking the mall, going into the M&M World store, the Apple Store, the Disney Store (I had to. lol) and a lot of other stores that I've never heard of before. This trip to the mall also blew my mind with prices, the stores were...SWANKY. Nordstom, Saks Fifth Avenue, H&M, all stores I had never heard of and that were kinda expensive.

Anyway, after a day of shopping, I came away with four new dresses and the ability to power through large groups of people without dying. (There were SO MANY people there, it was ridiculous.) All things essential to my Disney College Program. The next day we drove to Chatham Square.

Chatham bus stop
Can I just say that it wasn't like anything I was expecting? I guess I honestly had low-ish expectations since it was for primarily CPs but when I got there, my mind was BLOWN at how pretty everything looked. The buildings were pretty, the lawns were well-kept, and I was freaking out a bit about the stone work on the signs and along the roads. (Cause I'm a dork who appreciates such things.) Our GPS took us to the wrong side of Chatham at first, and I got a good look at Patterson Court as well. Patterson did indeed look newer and very pretty, but I'm already kinda in love with Chatham. When we finally got around to the entrance of Chatham, we saw the bus stop, which is nice and shaded and there's a porch. (I'm guessing that's the "main office" of the complex.)
I obviously couldn't get in because of security nor did I expect to be able to get in, so we were stuck being creepy and taking pictures from our car. Haha. Anyway, as we were finally leaving, we had to turn around at the end of the street where I saw the enterance to Mickey's Retreat, it is quite literally across the street from the Chatham bus stop. That made me happy, and I got a brief look at some of the things they had there. I saw some CPers playing soccer, so that was kinda cool.

We then drove to Vista Way, which wasn't far, but it's definitely not a walk. It's not even on the same side of the highway as Patterson and Chatham. (Unless we took the long way, which is entirely possible because we don't know our way around Orlando very well.) So, we looked at hotels close to Vista for check-in and finally decided on the Holiday Inn with the Applebees attached to it. I figured my roommates and I could eat there the night before check-in. :)

All-in-all it was an eye-opening trip that made me even more excited for the internship than I already was. I didn't think it was possible, but it sure is. While I was there it started to sink in, but we left too soon for it to have any positive or negative effects. So while my brain is still sort-of in denial about this whole thing, my heart is freaking out about everything.

Yesterday was 50 days until check-in, today is 49, and now that my parents and I have reserved the hotel room, it's only 47 days until I'm in Orlando. I remember when it was over 200 days. It's honestly going by so quickly and I'm getting more and more excited. AHH!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Had a Realization Today

I never really thought about it before, but most people who will be doing the program have never been to Florida for an extended period of time. I lived here my whole life and when I'm reading blogs about people currently doing the program, I think to myself, "Yeah? Lizards and Muscovy ducks, that's normal. What's the big deal?"

I just never put it together that people in other states actually don't HAVE these types of problems. (Then I'm quite envious, to be honest.) I can't count how many times I've been chased by an angry Muscovy or how many times I had to catch a lizard (or make my dad do it.) The bi-polar weather is nothing new to me, and wait till the dreaded lovebug take over. (Boy are you all in for a surprise.)

Muscovy Duck
Muscovy ducks are originally from Mexico and South America, but they have slowly made their way to the Sunshine State. They're very territorial and can be very mean. They have been known to chase dogs and people when they feel threatened. Not only are they ugly, but they also are considered pests. They eat away natural vegetation from lakes and ponds and then proceed to poop everywhere else. The males are bigger than the females at 34 inches long, and roughly about 10-15 pounds. The females are only 25 inches long, 6-8 pounds. So yeah, they're huge AND ugly. Wonderful. Pretty much, my only advice for you is to leave them alone and for the love of God, don't feed them.
The joyous lovebug

Lovebugs are harmless little creatures that's only goal in life is to annoy the hell out of everyone. They do not bite, they're just EVERYWHERE. About three times a year in Florida, we have a "lovebug season" where it seems we have black "snow" falling from the sky. This is not snow my friends, this is much worse. This is snow that once it falls to the ground, it gets back up again to fly about. There are so many lovebugs in the air that you can't walk outside without having hundreds of them swarm about your face.  There is no possible way to keep them out of your house, unless you barricade yourself in until it's all over, but even then you might get a few stragglers. Lovebugs have a simple life. They are single, the find a mate, attach to said mate to the butt, and fly around doing nothing for a couple of days until they lay eggs and die. The sad thing is, if you kill one of the attached bugs, the dead one will stay attached to the live one and the live one will carry it around until it too dies. Tragic, I know. But it's okay, you'll have a few hundred thousand take that ones place. (A bit of a side note, if you get a whole bunch on your car after driving it, try and rinse them off occasionally, the decaying bugs will eat away at the paint on your car.)

I have read that people are having a problem with frogs, also. Not big frogs, but the tiny tree frogs that are super abundant in Florida. Don't worry, they're not poisonous, but be warned, they do in fact pee on you. You go to catch it, to get it out of your home and back safe into the wild where it belongs, and BOOM your hand is now covered in frog pee. Cute, right? So, I advise that you wash your hands once you get the little one out on its merry way.

Lizards. They're pretty self explanatory. I can just say that don't grab it by the tail, it can pop it off whenever it feels like it. So you can think your crafty and grab its tail, but the lizard will make its grand escape and all you'll have is a lousy a souvenir to remember it by. So, if you have to grab one, try and get it on a newspaper, or paper in general, or grab it in the middle. I don't know if they bite, because I try to avoid all contact with them, but I wouldn't be surprised if it tried to. Fun, huh?

The flying cockroach from hell
But the fun does not stop there, my friends! There's no way you can properly be welcomed to Florida without a lovely greeting from the giant flying cockroaches from hell, Palmetto bugs! They look a lot like cockroaches, but do not be fooled. They're 1 to 2 inches long, and can FLY. Yes, you read right, they can FLY. It's personally my worst nightmare come to life, because roaches are the only things I run away from screaming. Add flight into the mix and I'm reduced to a crying 3 year old girl. Another lovely fact, when you "disturb" them, they produce an odor. A "disagreeable" odor, to quote Wikipedia. They like to stay in warm damp places, so, try to keep things dry. A plus side for those brave enough to go after the winged beast, they're slow. So if you can swat them down from the sky, you have time to kill them twenty times over. Have fun!
This can happen to you.

As for the weather, I can't determine how we thought it was a great idea to be called the "Sunshine State" because clearly we are the "Weather Can't Really Make Up It's Mind" state. Every day is humid, we have three days of spring, a week of fall, a few months of "cold" winter, and all the rest is "rainy, hot, sticky" days. We have flash floods all the time in the summer, it rains sideways for about 10-20 minutes and then there's not a cloud in the sky. The humidity kills every inch of your hair and decides that "frizzy" is the best look for you that day. Don't try and tame it, it won't work. You don't know how thick your hair really is until you come to Florida and the humidity decides that each strand has to be completely messed up. My advice, try to look up helpful de-frizzing anti-humidity hair products. I can't really suggest any because my hair is too short now to have a serious problem with humidity. Don't get me wrong, it's still annoying, but it's not as bit of an issue to me anymore.

There's no real point to this post, just that I've never thought about how different Florida might be to other people before. I've been more focused on what's going to happen at Disney when I finally get to work there, that I've completely ignored the fact that most people have to adapt to the weirdness of Florida. I'm lucky (un-lucky?) enough to be able to skip that step. (For the most part anyway.)

Image sources:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's Official! And the Roommate Search is OVER!

I'm moving out soon.

Yeah! Stuff!

Today my mom came home with a whole bunch of supplies I would need for my apartment at Disney World. She bought me a bed set for my room and a bunch of kitchen supplies and brought them home to show me and I just stood there in shock. I'm so ridiculously excited, I don't know what to do with myself. The next day she brought me a mattress pad, a egg carton cushion (because apparently the beds are uncomfortable...) and stuff for my Mickey Mouse themed bathroom.

Everything just hit home, in 68 days, I'm moving to Walt Disney World to pretty much have the experience of my life! My mom and I just started looking around at clothes to find me some business casual dresses for Traditions and my Disney classes, but we're having trouble finding ones that are long enough, because I'm freakishly tall for a girl. Haha.

Last night, I had a G+ Hangout with my roommates. It was AWESOME. I love all of them already. I'm super excited to see these girls in person and to spend almost five months with them. They will be my Disney family and we'll be celebrating all of the holidays together, which is a big deal for me. A brief description of all of us:

  • Alex- She's working Pirate's League, she's the only one who knows what she's going to be doing already. She's the shortest out of all of us, she's planning on doing a character audition, and she's pretty much the cutest person I've ever met. She's very bubbly and LOVES Peter Pan.
  • Brandi- She is the one who will be sharing a room with me, hopefully. She's going to be working merchandise. She wants to work at Magic Kingdom, somewhere in Adventureland. She's the oldest out of all of us and she's pretty much into everything I'm into, which is really awesome. We have a lot in common. She loves Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo, and she also shares my love of Captain Jack. ;)
  • Daurie- She is the one who seems the most down to Earth and calm out of all of us. While we're bouncing off the walls, excited about Disney, she's sitting there watching us, agreeing, and smiling. She's the one who has all of the Disney-themed board games that she'll be bringing so we can have game-nights. She will be working Quick Service Food and Beverage, she wants to work at Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios. She lives the furthest away from Disney out of the four of us. I don't actually know which movie is her favorite, but she is the only one who will be flying into Orlando.
  • Katie (me)- I'm the techie nerd of the group. I'm the one who knows how to fix technology (most of the time) and I'll be the one drawing pictures for everyone. I'll be working attractions, and I only know that I'd want to work at either Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. I love Pirates of the Caribbean and Aladdin, but my main man at Disney World is the Mad Hatter. :)
We all agreed that we want to live in Chatham Square in a Wellness (under 21) apartment, but nothing else has really been discussed. We all agreed that we'll be meeting for dinner the night before check-in, but we haven't decided where. Any suggestions?