Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Experiences at the Studios

So yesterday I was on my way to work, and I couldn't figure out why the time 3:00 (when I would get off the bus) was sticking in my mind so much. It was important somehow, but I just couldn't remember. Well, when I got backstage I found out really quick.

You see, the parade at Hollywood Studios (The Block Party Bash) starts at 3:00. So when I came around the corner, my exact thoughts were "crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap" since I had to get across the park. So I had to weave and dodge all sorts of entertainment people who were getting into bug, monster, and toy costumes (nearly tripped over Bo Peep) and have security yell at me in order to book it across Hollywood Blvd before the parade actually left and I got stuck on the wrong side of town (so to speak).

I worked at Coaster that day, and I met a guy from Carmichael there. When I checked his ID (he was using a credit card to charge a photo) I was like "Oh, you're from California! Where at?" and he basically told me that I would have no idea where it was, but it was near Sacramento. He laughed pretty hard when I told him that I was from Sacramento too. It's little things like that that make my 10-13 hour shifts not so bad. Speaking of which, I get to work until 4:00 AM on Friday, June 7. Oh boy.

Anyway, the other thing I've noticed lately, is that the park gets kind of creepy when there are no guests left at night. Okay, to be truthful, Sunset Blvd (which is the road I walk down to work) is more creepy than the rest of the park anyway. For example, if you're ever at the Studios, look at the lights on Hollywood Blvd. They're all turned up. But when you turn onto Sunset, they are all turned down, and the lighting level is dimmer. Why, you ask? It's to prepare you to meet the Tower of Terror at the end of the street (insert Twilight Zone music here).

But back on track. It's just weird having no one around. A lot of time there will still be background music playing because there is always one or two guests that take 3 hours to leave the park, even though they can't do much but stand there. Yeah, I'm guilty of staying after hours too, so I know I can't say much about them. But everything's so empty when I'm leaving work, it's a little unnatural.

Oh, and speaking of Tower, I noticed something when I worked there the other day. Our break room is actually inside the tower, right between the two ride shafts. And if you listen carefully, you can actually hear the walls creak as the elevators go past. Oh, and screaming. Lots and lots of screaming...

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When Things Go Wrong

One of the things that I love about Disney (aside from all the tiny details that they put into making magic) is the great way that they improvise. For example, in the last two days, there has been a few mistakes in the Fantasmic show. For those of you who've seen it, you know that Maleficent is supposed to turn into a dragon at the very end of the show (for those of you who haven't seen Fantasmic, look it up on YouTube. It's good).

On these two nights in question, the dragon didn't make an appearance. Not good, right? Wrong. They just stuck Maleficent up there twice. Bingo, problem solved. The show goes on.

So when I was at Fantasmic a few days ago, and it started to rain, I improvised. I ran all the way back to the shed (where we keep the excess merchandise so we can restock our trays) and dumped the glow toys. In minutes I was outside selling ponchos instead. The only bad thing (other than the fact that it only rained for 5 more minutes) was the fact that those ponchos are sooooooo heavy!

So, as usual nothing much is going on. Pretty much the same old at this point. The most exciting thing that happened at work lately was when I worked at Tower on Monday. We had one of the security guards hanging out in the fake bushes we have in the "lobby." He would periodically move the branches and stare at people. Very funny to watch, actually.

I did get to play in the parks a little bit yesterday though, since it was my day off. I headed to Epcot (again) because that's where my roomies wanted to go. Didn't really do anything new, but we did zip over to the Yacht and Beach Club resort to go to the ice cream shop there. It's pretty famous, and it's called Beaches and Cream. I just had a small sundae, but the ice cream was really good. The butter pecan ice cream actually had HUGE pecans in it!

Then it was off to the Studios to meet up with more roommates. We were meeting to watch Fantasmic. I know, I work there, but I haven't seen anything but the top 1/3 of the stage since I've been working there. We also made a brief stop at the Animation Courtyard. I learned how to draw Dopey. That was cool.

Anyway, that's whats new. I'm gearing up for another long day tomorrow, so wish me luck!

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Playing Catch-Up

Well, it had been a few days since my last entry, but to tell the truth, there really isn't that much to report.

First off, I think I'll save my entry about Toy Story Mania until later. The ride opening got pushed back until May 31, so they can do some final testing to make sure it won't break down anymore. Thought if that's a ride that it would be okay to get stuck in, Toy Story Mania is it.

Other than that, it has pretty much been the same old, same old. Tuesday and Wednesday were my days off this week, so I used that to catch up on a lot of stuff (like laundry). Three of us headed over to Epcot on Wednesday, but everyone but me had work so they left early. I decided that I wanted to see IllumiNations again, so I stayed by myself at the park for the rest of the day. It wasn't so bad, since Epcot has a lot of street entertainment in the World Showcase area. I stopped and watched these amazing Chinese acrobats, that was very cool.

Yesterday (Friday) was the first time I'd worked anywhere other than Fantasmic for a whole week. I had a 14 hour shift (ouch), but I made it through okay despite a pulled muscle in my shoulder. I was at Tower of Terror unitl 6:30, and then ran over to Fantasmic for a quick costume change before going out to sell stuff there. I get to do the same thing about 3 or 4 times next week, so that will be interesting.

The one fun thing that happened was last night while I was doing the show. I ended up talking to these 4 little girls here on a chorus trip. They were all very cute and very excited, and when I went to leave they asked me to sign thier autograph books. So my signature is right there next to Mickey's go figure. :-)

Well, I'm off to another Fantasmic night. I should have time to blog in the next few days, so if something happens, I'll be sure to let you know!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hollywood Studios: Work and Play

Yesterday a few of my roommates had the day off, so they decided they wanted to go to one of the parks. Since none of us had been to Hollywood Studios (except for me for work) we decided to go there.

One thing I've noticed more than any other is the fact that with the Studios, you really have to plan your day around the shows you want to see. There isn't many rides (maybe about 6?) but there are a LOT of shows and exhibits. We ended up seeing Lights, Motors, Action!, Beauty and the Beast, and the Indiana Jones show. Kat and I opted out of the Block Party Bash parade and went for Star Tours instead. Other than that, the only rides we went to were the Great Movie Ride, and Tower of Terror, which I opted out of. I just can't do that ride. The first time I went on it, I couldn't bring myself to take an elevator for a month.

Anyway, it was also my first time being in the park when not there for work. I've decided that I really do like the atmosphere at the Studios. I can't explain it, but there's just this special feeling I can't find anywhere else. I really wish I had had time to go on the Backlot tour, but that will have to wait for another day.

Speaking of rides, Toy Story Midway Mania opens up on Thursday. The cast opening ceremonies was this morning, but there was no way I was going to get up and get on a bus at 6:00 AM after last night. We had two Fantasmic shows and I came home with a migraine. I did get to ride it at cast previews last week, so maybe I'll post more about the actual ride for tomorrow. But if you are coming to WDW anytime soon, you'll be able to ride the ride starting Thursday.

And in other Disney news, Prince Caspian comes out on Friday. Yay! Can't wait to see it. We get discount tickets (only $6.50) for the AMC theater at Downtown Disney so maybe my roommates and I will catch it there. Can't wait.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Flordia Weather Makes Me Grumpy

No really, it does. Everyone's always going on about how nice Florida weather is, but I hate it. California has much better weather. Don't believe me? Two words: no hurricanes.

Take today for instance. If I really wanted to be in the wind all day long, I could have stayed in Idaho. Wind makes me grumpy. Then it rained for about half a minute tonight. If it's going to rain, can't it just rain outright? On second thought, I'm glad it didn't rain. That way I don't have to walk in it.

The worst thing for me is the humidity though. I hate feeling sticky, which is pretty much a given in Flordia when outside. It will be interesting to see what happens when July rolls around.

So sorry about the slightly ranting post, but I needed to vent. Not really anything happened at work and I needed something to post about after all. :-)

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Saturday, May 10, 2008


This is my second post in one day, so hopefully that makes up for the days that I haven't posted. Although sometimes just nothing happens, so that could be a factor too.

Tonight I worked at Fantasmic! which is pretty much how it's going to go for all of next week too. Tonight was my first night working the carts in the actual theater. It's different because there we actually have cash registers, we get to stay in one place, and there's some exclusive merchandise we don't sell anywhere else (CDs, blankets, playsets, etc).

It was also the first time I got to actually see part of the show. Normally it's a bit of torture since I can hear the show, but I don't get to see it. I thought that tonight would be better, but in a way it was almost worse, since I was even closer (actually in the theater!) and still had to concentrate on work. Boy, they certainly know how to torture a girl.

Anyway, we finished early, so I was able to have enough time to write this when I got home. It's up early tomorrow morning for church, and then back to work at 6:00. Hopefully I'll be able to get Sundays off in the future, but right now I haven't had any luck. Oh well.

By the way, if anyone ever wants to leave me a comment, please do! Even if you just want to say hey. It helps me know who's reading my blog, so I know I'm not just rambling to myself. Though I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing...

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Vote in my Poll!

If you hadn't noticed, I have a poll going on in the sidebar of this blog. It will still run for a few more days, so go ahead and vote if you haven't already! All you have to do is tell me your favorite Disney park. :-)

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First Day on the Job

Well, yesterday was my first full day of work off training. I was really nervous, but I guess things worked out okay. I spent the night working at Tower of Terror, so that was what had me the most worried, since most of my training was spent at Rockin Roller Coaster.

The worst thing that happened was I got lost on my way to the break room. We'd had a tour of it my very first day of training, but I hadn't really remembered how to get there. Which was a bad thing, since there are certain doors you DO NOT want to open when you are backstage at Tower. They lead into the ride shaft, etc. so they can shut down the entire ride when it is opened. Anyway, long story short, I had to ask about two people how to get to the break room. But I know now, so it's all good.

The only other interesting thing that happened was that we had 8th grad Grad Nite from 9:00-1:00. That's AM. So we had almost 2000 screaming teenagers pass through our echoing store during those hours. I think my ears will stop ringing sometime in the next week...

Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful night. I did get to spend some time on Edit, which is where we preview all the pictures from the ride. We have to moderate any where people are flipping the camera off, or flashing, or something like that. I can't tell you in the 30 minutes I was doing it how many I had to moderate because a bunch of silly teenagers thought it would be funny if they gave the camera the finger. I wonder what their reaction was when their picture didn't show up on the screens at the end?

Well, now I'm working Fantasmic for pretty much the next week. So I get to sell glow things all night! But I'm only on for 5 hours, so that's a good thing too. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so that will be interesting, since they don't cancel the show until the last minute. Which means we'll be in the rain, trying to sell glowing Mickey ears. Unless there's lighting. Then we get to stay in. Guess we'll see what happens tomorrow!

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Our day at Epcot

So yesterday myself and two of my roommates had a day off, so we decided to hit the parks. After a brief discussion on where to go, we decided to hit Epcot. The park wasn't too crowded, so it was a nice day to go. I think the longest we waited in line was about 40 minutes, and that was because Test Track broke down and had to be fixed while we were in line.

As far as rides, we went on Mission: SPACE, Test Track, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, the Gran Fiesta Tour, and Maelstrom. We also hit some of the Flower and Garden Festival highlights, including Minnie's Butterfly Garden, and Peter Pan's Garden. I've been sort of disappointed in the Festival this year. There's not as many topiaries as last year (in my mind at least), and a lot of them have been recycled. For instance, pretty much all of the world showcase topiaries were the same, and the Captain Hook, Peter Pan, Crocodile, and Tinkerbell in the Neverland Garden were recycled from the park's main entrance display last year. I'm all for recycling, but it would be nice to see a few new things too.

Anyway... We also went to Club Cool, which is the place where you can try Coke products from around the world. I got my roommates to try the famous Beverly drink, and thier faces were absolutely classic. Never go to Club Cool with someone who is familiar with the Disney parks if you aren't. Some of the other flavors were pretty good though, including this veggie soda from Japan. I know it sounds gross, but it really was good.

Of course we ended the night by watching IllumiNations. It was my first time seeing it, although I'd seen videos. I loved it! Fantasmic is probably still my favorite show on Property, but I do really like IllumiNations. Brandon asked me to get him a good video of it so I recorded. I don't know if it counts as a "good" video.I would have uploaded it to YouTube, but they have a 10 minute maximum length now. Bummer.

On the way out of the parks my roommates humored me and let me stop and look at the main pin station. I'm very proud of the fact that I haven't bought any pins yet. I told myself that I would try to trade for any pins I wanted and wouldn't buy any until the end of the summer. I found a lot that I wanted, actually, but I might just have to break that rule. There's a few "Piece of Disney History" pins that are limited edition, so they may not be there by the end of the summer. I'm trying to decide how badly I want them. These pins have little plastic bubbles on them that have tiny pieces of whatever attraction they represent inside. The idea is that you can actually own a "piece" of Disney history. There's a few types of these, but I really like the Star Tours and Lights, Motors, Action! ones. Hmmm... this will take some thought.

At the pin station we met a very nice guy who's also here on the College Program. He's from Wales, and he was nice enough to smile off our stupid American questions about all things English (my roommate wanted to know what the royal family's last name was). It was a very nice conversation, and it kept us from the huge crowds on the monorail back to the TTC.

Well, that's pretty much it for now. Sorry Brandon, I tried to get a video of the Fountain of Nations for you, but every time it was going when we walked by, it ended when I got my camera turned on. Finally, we got to see the whole thing, but by that time my camera was completely dead. So guess who's buying batteries today. Oh well!

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Training Over

So my training is officially over as of Tuesday night. Monday and Tuesday I worked at Fantasmic! in the evenings. That was a whole new experience. You know those people who walk around selling the light up stuff that I used to make fun of? Yeah, don't make fun of them anymore. That's my new job.

I don't go back to work until Friday, when I work at Tower until 2:00AM. It's making me a little nervous. It seems like I have everything down, but what if I do something stupid? Oh well, guess I'll just work it out. I think I'm more worried about doing Fantasmic! myself than the others, and that's what I'm doing the most hours of next week. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Monday they gave me an offical pin trading lanyard. That was one of the best things to happen all day. I've discovered I love pin trading. Well, except for these two creepy guys who were like 50 who came up to me on Tuesday. That was a little weird.

Other than that, not much else happened at training. It was pretty much the same old stuff. I did get to pick up two of my new costumes, so I now longer have the most boring costume ever. These ones are just second runners up. Oh well, guess the merchandise people are supposed to blend in more...

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Sunday, May 4, 2008


So I've got a bit to catch up on. It's been a busy past few days and I haven't had much time to update stuff. So here's what's been going on.

Thursday we went to Traditions, which is the Disney Company's basic orientation for all employees. They talk about the Disney service standards, the company history, our benefits and then the normal boring work stuff like harassment briefings and safety stuff. They call the safe program "Safe D" (say it out loud and you'll get it). Our teacher, Caroline, was a complete riot. She was great. I thought it was interesting that she works on The Great Movie Ride, since that was the ride I wanted to work, but I got attractions instead.

I also bought my first company item, a lanyard to carry my Disney ID in. We also got our first cast member pin! Yay! It was just the basic pin trading logo with the word "Traditions" underneath. But still cool. Thursday we also got our official nametags, which was very weird. Complete strangers call me by my first name now, and I'm always like "how did you know my name?!?!?!" before I realize I'm wearing a nametag.

Of course, we also got our Disney IDs (aka free ticket to the parks) on Thursday, so naturally we decided to hit the parks since we had been dying to go since we arrived in Orlando. I gathered up 5 of my 6 roommates and two other friends, and we headed off to Magic Kingdom. It was very fun, simply because we realized we could take as much time as we wanted. None of the frenzied rush that you normally get in a Disney vacation, because we have 3 months to spend here. We split into 2 groups, and my group hit the updated Haunted Mansion, the Liberty Belle boat, Pirates of the Caribbean, stopped for a quick Dole Whip (yum!), watched the parade, saw the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and then went on Space Mountain while Wishes was going on (no line that way, and we can see the fireworks another night).

Friday we had Merchantainment, which is our orientation for Merchandise alone. It was pretty much a review of Traditions for 2 hours, and then we spent the rest of the class on the computers completing online training. I was so tired that I came home and took a 4 hour nap. Then we had to run to Wal Mart for all the stuff we'd forgotten on Tuesday. Yuck. I then spent the rest of the day at home catching up on email and stuff, since we had to be at Hollywood Studios early the next day.

That was for On With The Show, which is the Hollywood Studios version of Traditions. We spent the first 3 hours doing a tour of the park, and learning some of the history/theming behind it. Did you know there is a hidden Kermit on Star Wars? Anyway, our leader was really funny. He spends Friday, Saturday, and Sunday playing a character in the park, and the rest of the time doing training. I'm not going to tell you which character (I'm supposed to preserve the magic, after all...) but I'll give you a couple of hints: very tall, heavy breathing, likes to use lightsabers. You do the math. Anyway, I'm going to have to try and see his show one of these days.

We also got 2nd Cast Member pin then. I'm really starting to like this... I also got 2 pins for knowing questions on the tour. I knew why the Carthay Circle Theater was important to Disney history, and why Splash was a significant achievement in movies. So if you don't know the answer to either of those questions, and you want to know, leave me a comment and I tell you. '

But the rest of the day was spent doing online training again. HazCom and safety and Guests with disabilities and all that. Boring end again. After that we went over to wardrobe to get our costumes. I officially have the most boring costume ever for training. White shirt, gray polyester pants, bow tie and belt. Ugh. At least it's only for 3 days...

When I got home my roommate was like "Want to go to Epcot?" So I said yes and asked which time, to which she responded "right now." Which is why I didn't update yesterday. We went and walked around in the rain for a few minutes and looked at the topiaries for this years Flower and Garden Festival. The theme for this year apparently is surfing. Speaking of which, topiaries from last years festival have ended up at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. We went on Spaceship Earth, which has been totally redone since last year and is VERY cool now. I also convinced everyone to try Test Track, and they pretty much enjoyed that too. Which make me happy since that's one of my favorite Epcot rides. We missed IllumiNations though (sad day), but I guess we can see it another time...

So today was my first official day of training. I have now found out that Hollywood Hills Merchandise specifically means the stores after Rockin' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror and working Fantasmic at night. Plus, I have a different costume for all three places. So now I have four costumes, some of which I have to have more than one a day for. Crazy.

The beginning was more online training, (but I think I'm done now) and then we took a tour of the specific stores (stock, backroom, areas, etc.). We then worked register at Coaster most of the day. We did spend some time editing the photos from Coaster, which was fun. We get to look at all the photos and delete any of them that have inappropriate actions. Flashing and such, you get the idea. It took almost an hour, but we did get to delete one of a guy picking his nose with the bird.

The other interesting thing was that we had one of the Cheetah Girls on the coaster today. I don't know which one, but it is the one with the curly hair. Totally didn't look like her in her picture. Paris Hilton also made an appearance in the park today. She's a lot shorter in real life. I couldn't see much of her face because she was standing in line for ice cream, and she had huge sunglasses on. But she didn't look like I would have expected in real life either.

So now I think I'm going to bed. If anyone is interested in seeing my training schedule, let me know and I can email it to you. You'd probably only want it if you know what time I might actually answer my phone. Suffice it to say I'll be spending most of my next days working Fantasmic! and Tower merchandise.

More updates when I actually have time!

Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!
Have a Disney-related question about the parks, movies, or even about me? Check out the Ask A Cast Member feature and send in your questions!