June, 2012

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23rd Jun 2012

12 days of Disney

Another long gap between posts but this time I have an excuse, I’ve been working 12 days in a row with some very long shifts.

On the evening of the 10th I went to the last Hyperspace Hoopla. The show was a few minutes late starting and I received a notification on my phone of a severe thunderstorm warning for the Lake Buena Vista (Walt Disney World) area. The show was as awesome as ever but they were clearly rushing through to finish before the storm arrived. Just as the show was ending the sky went really, really dark; by far the most ominous sky I have seen since I got back. Then  we saw some distant lightning and then the fun really began. Being experienced florida residents by now we knew we needed to move indoors at the first spots of rain so we hid in one of old stores on Sunset Boulevard just in time for a massive storm to arrive which had spectacular lightning and torrential rain. I managed to get a nice video the tower of terror with real lightning behind it. After the storm had mostly passed we made a run for Sam’s car and got drenched before coming home to dry off.

On the Monday my epic work week began bright and early with my service class at 8am at Disney University. It was quite interesting and explained all about the Disney service standards and why they are important but I must admit it put me off going in to service even more. The thing I have always really enjoyed about working for Disney has been working with large numbers of guests in a fast paced environment and the class made me appreciate even more that service is about working with a small number of guests over an extended period of time and right now that is not something I want to do. As I have said to a lot of people I am not saying I never want to go in to service, just not right now. The afternoon was a wine class which was a basic introduction to types of wines and how to differentiate wines. Again it was interesting but as I had decided by that point in the day that I probably wasn’t going to go in to service it sort of felt a bit like a waste of time for me. We finished at 5 and went back to the Commons to get changed before Sam, Craig, Lesley and I went to Magic Kingdom for an evening of park fun.

Tuesday was another early morning where I had to be at work at 8.30 for a focus group/town hall with the Epcot senior management team. This was basically a 2 hour session where they discussed the new Four Keys Basics and some of their experiences. It was also a chance for us to meet all of the senior executives who are at the end of the day our bosses. It was quite an interesting session and it was certainly nice to put some names to faces so when you see people walking around the park looking important you actually know who they are! After the class I was in work at 10.30 to open Chippy so I had plenty of time to get it all ready. I finished work at 7.30 and met up with Sam and Emily who were spending the evening in World Showcase – we grabbed some food and watched a bit of illuminations before leaving in time to be ahead of the mob of people leaving work, it was nice to actually get a seat on the C bus for once.

The following day was my first training shift. I was training Amy & Aimee (who though putting them together was a good idea?!) on Seating. We met all of the newbies outside Cast Services as we got off the bus and Katie walked with them to the Pavilion while I went to get changed. The girls got the hang of seating pretty quickly which made my day nice and easy. I really enjoy training because I feel like I can help ensure that the pavilion works well for the next few months. After work we had our first Pizza night in weeks over at Lesley’s apartment – mmmm Dominos!

Thursday I was back in Chippy yet again but with my earliest finish ever at 5.45. It was Dave Sergison’s six month anniversary so he had arranged for a few people to go over to Hollywood Studios to the 50s Prime Time for Dinner. I walked out of Cast Services into a torrential downpour with no waterproofs and had to run in to MouseGear and pay $10 for an umbrella just to stay dry on the way. We had a really nice dinner although our server was not as good as I have had before and I think our 10-way cast discount split checks did not help matters! It was nice to finally eat in a WDW restaurant on this program, I only realised afterwards that this was the first time in 3 months that I have actually done that.

Friday was my standard Assigning shift which was going OK but then in the evening my Manager told me to not stop taking walk-ins and keep a 15-20 minute wait all night. I managed it but boy was it stressful – I beat the budget for the evening though so I was quite pleased with that. After work we went straight to McDonalds for another delicious yet enormously unhealthy dinner.

Saturday I was back in Chippy yet again (sensing a theme here) but I cam in and looked at the number of people on podium and it was obvious we were going to be in trouble later as we were massively short staffed. I offered to extend and ended up working open until close being moved around from podium to Chippy to help out wherever I could. It was totally crazy – we definitely need the newbies trained up as soon as possible! After work I was really tired but wanted to go to Cowboys as I had not been yet and it sounded fun. I had a fantastic night and will definitely be going back again although my line dancing skills definitely need some work. Sunday was another podium shift and another McDonalds dinner… I am going to get so fat!

Monday I got up early to go over to Chatham Square to do a college program class called “Networking 101” which is all about how to make contacts while on the program. It is run by David Horvath who used to work for International Recruiting and has some wonderful insights into how Disney works and is a really engaging speaker. He runs a whole series of classes and I am hoping to attend as many as possible, next week’s is about interview technique. It will hopefully be really useful to hear about what recruiters are looking for from a previous Fortune 500 company recruiter. I never did any of the classes on my previous programs which is something I really regretted and hope to rectify this time around. After the class I went to Epcot for another Chippy shift before coming home and crashing out from tiredness.

On Tuesday I was meant to be in Chippy but got moved over to Podium and spent most of the day bussing for Janet. As the restaurant is starting to get a little bit busier it makes the assigner’s life a lot easier if one of their seater’s busses for them and as an Assigner I feel obliged to help others out. After work I met up with some of the newbies, Emily, Andrew, Lesley and Bailey at MK. We did Stitch (I really hate that attraction), Mansion and watched the Magic, the Memories and you before grabbing some food and heading home. It was nice to get back to the parks in the middle of a long stretch of work, a little bit of a reminder of why I am here.

Wednesday was out arrival group’s 3 month anniversary. Just by chance Housing had arranged “Breakfast with the Characters” at Vista Way with free food and the chance to meet Mickey and Minnie. We could not get on any of the first few busses as they were too full so we got there about 30 minutes after it started and the line for food was already around the block. At one point they actually ran out of food! In the end we waited about 45 minutes to get food and did not have time to wait to see the characters. I headed off to work while the others went to Universal (sucks to be me…). I ended up getting extended by 2 hours and missed most of the 3 month anniversary celebration at Sam’s but got back in time to enjoy some drinks and chill time with the whole gang.

On the 21st I was supposed to be on podium but extended to Chippy registers to cover for someone who was not feeling well. It was the midnight screening of Brave that night so I was happy to stay as I had no plans until the late evening anyway. I ended up going straight to downtown via Port Orleans and was there in about 20 minutes. I met up with Aimee and some of the Canadians. I was really tired and I mean falling asleep in my feet tired at the end of day 11 but I really enjoyed the film. I did fall asleep for about 10 minutes but not because I was bored, it was simply my very long week catching up with me. In the end we got home about 3am and I was up again at 9 to go in for my final Assigning shift of the week.

Assigning on Friday I weeded myself badly at both Lunch and Dinner. We did quite good numbers considering the weather but it got pretty stressful at times. It is nice to know your limits and yesterday I think I found them! I did have a really nice moment at Diner though, we had a party of 4 come to podium and tell us there was a party of 7 with a reservation at the same time who were all part of the same family but they did not know that the 4 were in Disney. Originally they had not been able to make the trip but managed to change some things around and wanted to surprise them. We arranged it so the 7 would be seated and the 4 would sit next to them a few minutes later. It worked perfectly, it took the 7 a few minutes to recognise the 4 but then they were screaming and laughing – a nice magical moment to end my epic week.

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10th Jun 2012

Becoming a Disney Trainer and a drowned rat

On Sunday I took a shift from Janet (our permanent assigner) which was one of my best assigning shifts so far. We had a really good day with no rain at all and so lower deck was open all the way through. That meant that I managed to get pretty good numbers of guests in the restaurant throughout the day.

On Monday morning I got up early to get in to work for 8am to do my ‘Train The Trainer’ class to officially become a Disney Trainer. The first part was e-learning about the expectations of a Disney trainer and tips and techniques to help teach people with different styles of learning. The second part was practical and we had to practice teaching each other something new. At the end of it all we got our Jiminy Cricket pins which you can only get once you have completed the class. I have waited a long time to become a trainer so I have to admit I got a little bit excited! After the class I was on podium for 3 hours before I went home at 1430 which was my earliest finish ever. I spent the afternoon mostly chilling out and getting some food. I went to Lads in the evening which was pretty messy but lots of fun.

On Tuesday I had an 11 hour extra magic shift in Chippy. I was filling all day long and the air conditioning had failed so it was like working in a Sauna. We had some great people on registers so we got through and I had a pretty good if knackering day.

On Wednesday I woke up to heavy rain and was heading in for another 10 hours of Chippy filling. When it rains Chippy tends to be a little quieter so that was some relief. By the end of the day I was a little delirious with tiredness and coming home to discover I had basically no food in the house was not the best. I ended up walking over to McDonalds where I came across Leon and Rosie who were already there. We sat and chatted for a while before heading home for an early night (by CRP terms).

I had a nice late start on Thursday, podium 1430 to close. I should have got up and gone food shopping but instead I had a lie in and wandered over to the outlets to get a Subway. When I got to work it started raining and it did not stop for the rest of the night. I was greeter for most of the day and it went pretty quick as we were quite busy. I also found out that I might be able to do GT training as well which was quite nice – I should hopefully find out for definite in the next few days.

Friday I was back to assigning and I had a really good lunch where we got lots of walk ins and t he restaurant was nice and busy. The evening was not so great with lots of big parties sitting for ages and keeping the numbers down a bit. I came home totally exhausted from a 6th day of work but Sam, Emily, Lesley and G were playing sports on the Tennis court so I headed down and joined in as best I could with my legs in massive pain.

Saturday was the last day of my 7 day week and I was in theory on podium. In reality I did a few hours of seating before getting Dave’s break as the Assigner and then breaking Craig as the stocker. Just as I took over from Craig a massive storm started with torrential rain, hail and lightning. We had to close Beer Cart and I got absolutely soaked to the skin, despite wearing rain gear, while trying to put the cover on. At the same time all the Guinness kegs ran out in the bar which meant I also had to run through the rain to get them sorted out. Luckily I finished about 15 minutes later and could go and get changed in Cast Services before heading for a few hours in MK with Sophie Clarke. We did all the standard stuff and she even managed to persuade me to go on It’s A Small World! When we got back I got the standard text from Dave inviting me to McDonalds which of course I went to! I had planned to go to Cowboys but I was destroyed after my 7 day week and an early night was very needed, plus I was not feeling too great either – not sure if it was the food or just life catching up with me!

Today I got up early to get my hair cut and then went over to Epcot to pick up a costume for my service class at Disney University tomorrow. This evening is the last Hyperspace Hoopla of Star Wars Weekends so I am going there a bit later and a few people are going to meet me over there straight from work. The schedule for the next 2 weeks also came out today and I am working 12 days straight until I get another day off so I am making the most of this one. I do get to train some of the newbies this week though which I am very excited about – I have not even managed to meet them yet!

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