Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Which I Join The Pirates League

Again, my posts have been lacking, but I've been busy with a number of things the past week, the least of which is not Canoe Races of the World. That was originally my planned post for tonight (since it's my day off and I usually have time to post something) but I've had a change of plans.

Today we went to the park to celebrate one of my friend's birthday. She doesn't really like celebrating her birthday, but we decided to go to the Pirates League, which is like the Bibiddi Bobiddi Boutique. Only instead of princess makeovers they do pirate makeovers. Sarah loves pirates, so we convinced her to do this one thing at least.

I was a little nervous since usually the people doing the makeovers are kids and we are obviously not children. But despite my nervousness I'm glad I went because we had so much fun (and by the way, it's wayyyy cheaper than the Boutique too).

First up when you arrive they have you choose the face makeup you want. There's six different styles, and I choose "Empress" which is the pirate princess style. Yes, I have a repressed inner princess and I like sparkle. So even when being made over as a pirate I choose the glitter. Then they bring you into the League and have you roll two dice. The numbers on the dice are combined with your birthday month to give you your pirate name. I was Anne Calicocash, Sarah got Bettie Shipmonk, and Kristin was Kat Squidcheese.

Next they bring you into the studio where they do the makeovers. I snapped a picture really quick while the stations against one wall were empty. I ended up getting that one in the middle right there for mine:
he detailing here is amazing. Just like everything Disney does really. There was pirate themed decorations all over the place, and the cast is really good about staying in character. I want to work this store so bad. Plus, there's pirate music playing all the time, which was awesome. This was what was on the wall above the styling stations:

In other words, plenty to look at while you're waiting your turn. But it's not super busy either (unlike the Boutique) so we got in really fast.

Then came the actual makeover. We each got a pirate temporary tattoo on our sword hands, the makeup effect of our choice, and some other pirate accessories. Since I was the empress I got bright green eyeshadow, rouged cheeks, hot pink nail polish, bright pink lip gloss, a crown jewel sticker for my cheek, one silver pirate earring, and lots and lots of glitter. To top off the look I got a reversible pink pirate bandanna, complete with a pink pirate eye patch (which helped hold the bandanna in place because my hair is HUGE). We then each took the pirate oath and became an official member of the "crew".

Next was a visit to the Bosun's station, where we got our sheaths and official pirate swords and a short lesson in swordplay (i.e. don't hit anyone with your sword or they will hit you back, move it slow so you don't stab yourself, etc.). Then we got let into the secret treasure room where we had a photo shoot (I didn't end up getting the portraits, which were extra) and then receiving our official Pirate's League exclusive pirate coin medallions.

It was super fun. We spent the next few hours trundling around the park, and having lots of fun. And to finish off the post, I'll share a photo of the finished product:


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Monday, July 12, 2010

More Goings On

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. It's been quite the roller coaster around here for the last few days (no pun intended). I've been very busy with work, and have also been trying to catch up on sleep in my few free hours. So here's what's been going on since my last post.

Friday morning our water got shut off for three hours. Complex wide. So that meant no cooking, showering, or even flushing. So rather than deal with the problem, I got up early Friday morning and went to Panera for breakfast. We have Panera back home, and I LOVE it. I was so excited during my last program when I discovered that we drove past a Panera on the way home every night. So now I always wave hello and dream about cinnamon chip scones and sourdough bread bowls as the bus drives by. Yum.

Anyway, by the time I got back home the water was on, and it was time for me to get ready for work. So that's what happened Friday. Saturday I started work at 3:00, and since I didn't get to sleep until 3:00 a.m. the night before I slept in a bit. The rest of the day was spent getting ready for our cleaning inspection, which was today. All because yesterday (Sunday) I had church plush an 11 hour shift so I couldn't do the cleaning then.

And then this morning was get up early again to try and spot clean anything that's gotten dirty since Saturday before inspections. But we passed inspections (I was afraid we might not for a second because my roommates waited until 3:00 a.m. last night to do any cleaning) so that's all over with for now.

Work has been work as usual. I was stock yesterday, which are fast becoming my least favorite shifts. Not so much because I mind stocking as they are very loooooong shifts. You also don't get a lot of guest interaction, which I kind of miss too. I did have this cute little two year old who decided she was my new best friend and was "helping" me straighten the key chains by taking them off the hooks and handing them back to me. She was adorable, and she made my night.

I did the Pooh store yesterday, so I've now stocked all four locations at least once. And speaking of locations, our Info booth is now gone. They are expanding the construction around the Winnie the Pooh ride and Info was one of the casualties. So it's now gone for good, which makes me kind of sad because that was my favorite outdoor location. I loved trading pins, answering questions, and handing out buttons there, which you don't really get the chance to do in any other location.

It's also kind of sad for a historical reason too. For those of you who are old enough to remember them, the park used to sell tickets (A-E) that you would use to get on the rides. Our info booth was the last of the original park ticket booths from the opening in 1971. I really hope that they didn't demolish it and saved it for a museum somewhere or something.

Anyway, I need to go catch a bus for work, so that's it for me now!

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Dapper Dans

So yesterday I ran over to Magic Kingdom really quick (ha! there's no such thing as really quick at MK) to check on something in the collectibles shop. On my way back out I stopped to watch the famous Dapper Dans of Main Street. For those of you who don't know who they are, the Dapper Dans is the barbershop quartet that occasionally performs during the day on Main Street. They're really good and fun to watch, but usually I don't have time to stop. But yesterday I did, and I was glad I did.

The Dapper Dans are great at singing (of course) but I also love the banter they've got going on back and forth. I wish I had brought my video camera, but of course the one day I don't have it is the day I want it. Ah well. Anyway, they had a few jokes I really want to remember, so I'm transcribing them for you here. It was much funnier in person, but hopefully you'll get a few laughs out of these.

The conversation went something like this:

Dapper Dan 1 (I don't know any of their names except Tom, who's the green one on the end): Hey!
All: What?
Dapper Dan 1: What do you call a cow with two legs?
All: What do you call a cow with two legs?
Dapper Dan 1: Lean beef.

Dapper Dan 2: Hey!
All: What?
Dapper Dan 2: What do you call a cow with no legs?
All: What do you call a cow with no legs?
Dapper Dan 2: Ground beef.

Dapper Dan 3: Hey!
All: What?
Dapper Dan 3: What do you call a cow that's just given birth?
All: What do you call a cow that's just given birth?
Dapper Dan 3: Decaffeinated. [Say it out loud, you'll get it]

Tom (Dapper Dan 4): Hey!
All: What?
Tom: What do you call it when you're in milk up to here (holds hand to forehead)?
All: What do you call it when you're in milk up to there?
Tom: Pasteurized. [Say it out loud again]

(After several groans from the crowd after the last joke);
Dapper Dan 2: Hey Tom!
Tom: What?
Dapper Dan 2: Is it true the Irish are known for their great wit?
Tom (proudly): Yes, it is true that the Irish are known for their great wit.
Dapper Dan 3: Yeah, you're only half-Irish aren't you?


And after that I had to leave so I didn't hear anymore. So anyway, if you ever get the chance, stop by to see the Dapper Dan on Main Street. You'll hear some great music and they can be a riot to watch.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

The Glitter, Duke, THE GLITTER!

Happy 4th of July to everyone. Yes, I know I'm a day late, but the 4th happens to be one of the busiest days at Magic Kingdom. So I was working all day, and then managed to get off just before the fireworks. So a friend and I tried to head over to the Hub to see them from in front of the castle, but we got stuck at Liberty Square. Oh well, we enjoyed them anyway.

But as far as work goes, it was busy. I mean really, really, really busy. We reached capacity sometime between 4:00 and 6:00, which would have happened earlier except it was drizzling all day. Lines were HUGE. Even in Fantasyland. It's a small world had a 40 minute wait and Peter Pan had a 70 minute wait. And those were just the two I happened to see.

And me... I was stocking the Princess store. It was my first time stocking that location, and although that store is always busy, it was almost ridiculous how crowded it got in there. I couldn't even get people to move out of the way so I could put stuff on the shelves. It was insane. There were two of us stocking in there yesterday and even then it looked like a bomb had hit the store.

For my readers who've never been to the parks and been in a store of this kind, I'll give you a quick rundown. We sell princess merchandise of all kinds. One side of the store is dedicated to toys, dolls, frames, books, etc. while the other side is all of the dress up merchandise: the dresses, wigs, shoes, crowns, gloves, and other assorted accessories for each princess.

And if you haven't seen the princess dresses we sell at the parks, let me tell you they are very, very glittery. And to add even more to the glitter, we do a magical moment where we "pixie dust" little princesses (and their families too) by sprinkling superfine glitter in their hair so they can make a wish. So I was already glittery from the stupid dresses. And then one of my fellow cast members ambushed me with pixie dust, so I had glitter ALL OVER. It even got under my shirt, heavens knows how...

And if you don't believe me about the glitter, I'll leave it at this final image. The stockroom upstairs for this store is pretty much just dresses. Everything else has to be brought up from the downstairs stockroom in our dumbwaiter. So there's probably about 200 dresses of assorted sizes hanging on two racks along the walls that are perpendicular to each other. In the corner where these two racks overlap is the portion of floor where excess glitter and pixie dust get swept out of the way during the day. The glitter on the floor here is 1/4"-1/2" deep. No joke. It looks like very sparkly sand. And that's just from what falls off the dresses. Lots more of it stays stuck to them. Or gets on me when I'm stocking them apparently.

Three more fun things from my shift yesterday:

1. About 3:00 we got this family who had a little girl and a baby boy in a stroller. About every minute or so the kid in the stroller would shout "NO!" at the top of his lungs. Just randomly. Not in response to anything. His parents just ignored him, so I assume he'd been doing it for awhile. I think somebody had just learned a new word.

2. There was a mother who really wanted to buy her little girl (she looked like she was maybe 2 or even a little younger) a Belle dress. But the girl wasn't having any of it. So Mom finally grabbed her and (literally) shoved her in the Belle dress. And of course the girl started screaming bloody murder. So one of my coworkers brought her a mirror and as soon as she saw her reflection she stopped screaming. She stayed perfectly happy until they left the store.

3. A little girl and her big sister were walking through the store when she tripped and fell. And although I don't think she really hurt anything, she started crying buckets. Her mom knelt down to see if she was okay, and as Mom hugger her, little sister caught sight of the princess barbies over Mom's shoulder. The tears instantly ceased and she skipped over to the toys perfectly fine. Mom just rolled her eyes and apologized for her little drama queen. We gave her some pixie dust and sent her on her way happy as a clam.

So that's it for me today. I hope you had a safe holiday!

Oh, and for those who are wondering about the title of this post, it's a sort of parody from this Popsicle commercial I always used to see as a kid:

Don't know why, but it seemed to fit the glitter (in my head anyway). And I love you can find stuff like this on YouTube...

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Favorite Question Ever (Not)

Just a short post today, since although it is my day off I'm still really busy. Okay, so yesterday was my day off too, but I ended up playing at Downtown Disney with a few friends (went and saw Eclipse and did some shopping, another post on that later maybe) so today I have to catch up on all the chores. Like laundry, etc. Bleh.

Tuesday was my second stock shift, and I learned the second fundamental rule of stocking: Whenever you are actually doing something you will get asked a question. Whenever you have nothing to do, everyone will go out of their way to ignore you. Ah well, life goes on I suppose.

And which question did I get the most on Tuesday? Well, it's one I've gotten with increased frequency over the past week or so. I've gotten some stupid questions before, but I think this one takes the cake. It goes something like this:

Guest: Do you work here?

I mean, really? Really? I'll admit I like my costume, but I certainly don't wear it just for fun. Oh, and the name tag might be a dead giveaway as well. And how about the fact that I'm using a register? They don't let just anyone use those you know!

Okay, rant over. And here's one more question I've gotten a lot lately:

Guest: Speak Spanish?
Me: No, I'm sorry, I don't speak Spanish.
Guest: (Proceeds to ask their question in Spanish anyway).

And there you have it. Until next time, have a great day everyone!

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!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A New Shift

So yesterday was my first stocking shift. I was really nervous because I wasn't sure I knew how to do everything, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. As stocker you're not only responsible for keeping the store stocked and looking nice, but when it's time to close, you are responsible for EVERYTHING getting done correctly before closing the store. It's a little nerve wracking. It was a little brutal too (12 hour shift) but I survived okay.

But I can report that I successfully learned the number one rule of stocking:

Wherever you need to get to a guest will be standing in the way. ALWAYS.

And the tour groups are the worst with this. We have a lot from Brazil right now, and they always stash stuff they want to buy "later" in the most random places. Um... this is Disney. It looks messy where you've put it, and trust me, it won't be there if/when you come back for it. Because we can't have messy at Disney!

Anyway, in other news, I found out this morning that our apartment has been harboring a colony of spiders. Eeek! The two things I can't stand are snakes and spiders, so this really grosses me out. Luckily Pest Control came by to take care of it today, but I still hope I don't imagine things crawling up my legs when I'm sleeping tonight.

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!

Monday, June 21, 2010

When Things Go Wrong (2010) Edition

So something interesting happened at work yesterday. About halfway through the Nightastic fireworks the show suddenly stopped. They hadn't been doing the castle pyrotechnics for a few minutes, but then the show just randomly stopped altogether. About 30 minutes later it resumed, first doing all the castle pyro that hadn't gone off before and then catching up to the big fireworks for the last section of the show.

So of course when something like this happens, every cast member gets tons of questions about what happened. And as a merchandise cast member, I usually have no idea. So my answer is usually along the lines of "I have no idea, but you can try asking one of the fireworks people standing over there. But they probably won't tell you anyway because it's a trade secret."

But rumors always get spread around too. Because the fireworks people do tell our managers why they stopped. So the rumor going around is that the show was stopped because of a guest call.

For those of you who haven't seen the new show, there's a part that makes it look like the castle just got hit with a bunch of fireworks. They're really more like glorified smoke bombs, but the effect is nice. Anyway, supposedly a guest called the fire department and reported that the castle was on fire. So the show had to be stopped while they went in and made sure nothing was burning. No idea if this rumor is true, but it's interesting to think about anyway.

In other news, there was an absolutely gigantic spider hanging from one of the carts yesterday too. I pretty much started freaking out, especially when it was moving towards me. Luckily there was a guy standing there at the time. He grabbed the spider and threw it into the bushes, for which I was enormously grateful.

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!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Trailers!

Okay, I know I posted YouTube stuff yesterday too, but this is exciting! Those of you who know me really well know that I'm a huge Disney Princess fan. So I've been looking forward to the new movie Tangled for awhile now. I don't really know much about it, but count me in for any princess Disney movie.

With the release of Toy Story 3 this week, Disney's also released the first trailer for the movie too. It looks awesome! Check it out for yourself:

I'll admit I was a little nervous about the fact this one was computer animated, especially after the fantastic return Disney had to hand drawn animation in Princess and the Frog. But after seeing that, I'm more excited than ever.

And here's another new trailer for you: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the new Narnia movie. And while they aren't Disney anymore (I think Fox is the new studio that's doing them) it still looks amazing. I never really liked this book in the series, but seeing this teaser makes me want to read them all over again:

Too many movies to look forward to! Too bad they both won't be out for awhile. *sniff*

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Some Toy Story 3 Fun

So today I have that 10 hour shift I talked about yesterday, but since I'm trying to do better about posting, I'm putting this up.

Today, June 18th, is the long-awaited premiere of Toy Story 3. For those of you who haven't seen the trailers and don't know anything about the movie, one of the new characters for this film is Ken, Barbie's famous counterpart. Here's a clip of their first meeting in the movie:

I totally love how they both move like you know Barbie/Ken dolls move, even though they're alive. Just one more way Disney is all about the details. So while browsing on YouTube, I also found these funny Ken's Dating Tips videos. They're pretty hilarious. So here's something to keep you entertained while I go do my time outside. Enjoy!

And here's a little trivia for you. Guess who does the voice of Barbie in the Toy Story movies? It's Jodi Benson, who also did the voice of Ariel for all three of The Little Mermaid movies. So also makes a cameo appearance as Robert's secretary in Enchanted.

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!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Let's Try This Again, Shall We?

Sorry about the lack of updates lately. I actually do have a lot of things I want to post, but my work schedule has kind of gone INSANE and even on my days off I'm too tired to do anything but take it easy all day.

But anyway, I digress. Today is my day off and so I'm going to try again. Nothing too exciting has been going on around here lately. The Summer Nightastic fireworks and Main Street Electrical Parade have both premiered here at the Magic Kingdom, and guest attendance has skyrocketed in their wake. This week alone they extended park hours an additional hour at least three times. I'm not sure about tonight, since today's my day off, but it wouldn't surprise me...

The other main event has been the end of Star Wars Weekends for 2010. I never managed to get a day off, but did manage to go before work. This past week I spent about 4 hours between two days waiting in line to get autographs for my darling brother (see how much I love ya kid?). I did get to see the whole Stormtrooper show, which is probably my favorite part of SWW, so that was good.

Tuesday was training for me, so I actually got off work at 6:00, which was nice. I am now an official sewer (that's sew-er not sewer like the drain) which means I can put your name on a Mickey hat. Provided the machine doesn't break, because I still don't know how to fix them.

Yesterday and today were both take it easy days again. I actually have a 10 hour shift tomorrow, and I'll be outside the whole time, so I figure I should get my rest while I can. And I had to do fun things like grocery shopping and laundry yesterday anyway.

Today I decided to go to Property Control, which I LOVE. This is essentially like an outlet mall just for cast members, and I love, love, love visiting the damages trailer. This is where they send all the merchandise that gets "damaged" and you get 75% off the original price. Which makes buying Disney affordable. Some of the stuff really is broken, but some of it is damaged because the packaging tore, or it was returned, etc. I pretty much did all of my Christmas shopping at Property Control last year, which was great. I found some great stuff today, so it was totally worth almost getting hit by lightning on my way back across the parking lot when I was done (ha ha).

I came home to wait the huge storm out, and then headed back out into the weather to hit Downtown Disney. I haven't yet been since I came back, and some of it's changed quite a lot since 2008. I wasn't really in a shopping mood, but I did wander around and trade some pins. And drool over some of the painting in the Art of Disney store. They are really nice, but I don't have $500+ to spend on a painting at the moment. Besides, where would I put it? I finished the evening off by treating myself to a Wetzel's Pretzel. Mmmmm... cinnamon. Maybe I shouldn't have, but the smell was too good to resist.

So that's the update for now. I'm going to try do better about posting, even with the crazy schedule. We'll just have to see what happens!

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!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer Nightastic

As a quick overview for those of you who are a little confused by that term, Summer Nightastic was an event that premiered at Disneyland last year (2009). This special summer event included the premiere of a brand new fireworks show (Magical), a revamped Main Street Electrical Parade for DCA, and the brand new dragon and other improvements for Fantasmic! And apparently it worked out well, because not only is Disneyland doing it again this year, but they have moved it over here to the East Coast as well.

Here at the Walt Disney World Resort, Summer Nightastic includes a (sort of) new fireworks show and the premiere of the revamped Electrical Parade here at the Magic Kingdom, some new glow effects for the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, and a summer concert series for Epcot.

I have yet to see the new parade yet, but the fireworks are a recycled version of those they used to do for the old Pirate and Princess parties and they are awesome. I need to see them from the front of the castle, since all I've seen so far is the back part in Fantasyland because I'm at work.

But anyway, the main purpose for this post is actually a celebration for the West Coast. This year the Summer Nightastic festivities at California Adventure include the premiere of Disney's new show, World of Color.

This show looks amazing. For those of you who've seen Fantasmic, think of the movie projection parts of the show, only taken to the next level. Add in a bunch of colorful water fountains, and you've got the idea. But that doesn't even do the show justice. This is the reason the lagoon has been torn up with construction for the past two years, and it premieres tonight (June 11th).

So here for your viewing pleasure, is a video courtesy of the Disney Parks blog. There's some very cool behind the scenes footage here, as well as some great footage of the show itself, and some time lapse footage of the construction. It's very worth checking out, so enjoy!

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!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Main Street Electrical Parade

Well, today is one of my precious days off. Weather willing, I'll be going to the Magic Kingdom cast preview of the Main Street Electrical parade, which is making it's way to Florida once again for a very short summer run before heading back across the country.

I found this interesting video of the parade doing a test run on the Disney highways last time it came this way. Check it out:

I can't wait to see the changes they've made to it since the last time I saw it at California Adventure. Here's hoping it doesn't rain!

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!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stormy Weather

So today is my day off, but I'm stuck home doing things like laundry while my roommates are at Epcot. But actually, at the moment, I'm actually kind of glad and this is why:

Most of that noise isn't actually thunder, but wind noise because the wind was blowing really hard. I figured I'd take advantage of our 3rd story balcony and try to capture the brewing storm. Unfortunately I was pointing the camera in the wrong direction when most of the forked lightning went off, but you get the idea.

This is actually one of the worst lightning storms I've seen in my few months in Florida. The really weird thing is that it wasn't raining while all this was going on. Sometimes you get heat lightning without rain, but usually when it's a big storm like that, it's pouring buckets.

The storm got pretty close, so I tried to capture more of it inside the door. It didn't turn out so well, but here's the result:

Since this one was inside, all that noise IS thunder for this one. Especially that really loud crack.

So, long story short, I'm kind of glad I had laundry to keep me home. My roommates got stranded while they waited the storm out. And now I can go to Animal Kingdom in the morning with no problems because the storm seems to have moved on.

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!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kids Say The Funniest Things

The other day I spent most of my shift working in Fantasy Faire, which is the shop right after Mickey's Philharmagic. I love that shop. It stays pretty busy most of the time (which is nice because that means the time goes fast) and I love the instrumental music loop they have.

Anyway, about halfway through my shift a mom and her little 4 year old daughter came up to the counter to buy some stuff. A lot of it was candy, and the little girl kept asking how much everything was, so I was telling her the price of everything as it was rung up.

The last item was a small Stich stuffed animal. I scan the tag, and then she asks me how much Stitch is, telling me that that one is for her (the candy was for her siblings apparently). I look at the tag and tell her the price (I think it was $14.95, but I don't remember exactly).

Without missing a beat she says "How about we make Stitch $1 instead?". At which point both me and her mother burst into laughter. Apparently she's been versed in the art of price negotiation at only 4 years old.

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!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Star Wars Weekends 2010

Went to Star Wars Weekends this morning. And while I'm too tired from work to post much about it, I did find this cute video of Princess Leia Minnie and R2-MK (that's Jedi Mickey's R2 Droid) that I thought I'd share to keep you entertained in the meantime:

I'm planning on going back again the next two weeks, so maybe I'll have some time to share things at that point.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Photo Tour

So yesterday was my day off, and I decided to spend it at The Magic Kingdom. Funny how it's so much more fun when you are there as a guest.

Anyway, in addition to taking lots of video for my dear brother, he also requested lots of pictures. So while I was in Fantasyland anyway that I'd take some pictures of my work locations. My last post had an areal overview, and now you can kind of see what some of them look like on the ground level. So here we go.

First off is Sir Mickey's:

In case you can't tell from the sign, this one is themed like Mickey and the Beanstalk. You can see this a little better when you look at the shop as a whole:

There's a few pieces of beanstalk inside the store too. I wasn't brave enough to go in there and take pictures (since everyone knows me now) but perhaps I'll get the courage to do so at a later date.

Next up is Castle Couture (aka The Princess Store):

The funny thing about this store is that there is a glitter "halo" around the shop for about 15 feet out from each door. That pixie dust sticks to EVERYTHING! Here's a look at the inside:

That's Aurora's dress in the background there. Every few minutes it changes from pink to blue and back again. Very cool.

Fantasy Faire (aka the shop after Mickey's Philharmagic):

That sign is very, very small. So of course when you send Guests over to Fantasy Faire they have a hard time finding it.

Here's a look at the inside. Those of you who have seen the Philharmagic show know exactly why Donald's tied up near the ceiling there. Those of you who haven't seen it... well, you can see he's a bit upset. I'll just say it serves him right to end up there, and that's all I'll say about that. :)

Moving on, we hit on some of the outdoor locations, such as Stromboli's cart:

Which is actually two carts, but who's counting? These are themed to match Pinocchio's Village Haus which is right behind the carts in the picture.

Next up is the Sun and Fun Pin Cart:

This is the one I couldn't remember the name of. The sad thing is that this isn't open a lot of time apparently. Bummer.

And the Information Booth:

This has the most amazing air conditioner! Whenever I work outside I bet I'm going to be wishing I could spend all day in this spot. Supposedly this has been here since the initial opening of Walt Disney World in 1971.

Enchanted Grove cart:

Right next to Story Time with Belle. So I'll be able to hear it, but not see it. Probably a good thing, since I'm easily distracted. The unfortunate thing is that it's also next to the Teacups, which means I get to hear "A Very Merry Unbirthday" pretty much nonstop while I'm here.

Circling back around we have the last indoor location, Pooh's Thotful Shop:

When you're in the back stockroom here you can hear the rainy day scene from the ride really well. So it sounds something like this:

("And the Rain, Rain, Rain Came Down, Down, Down" playing in the background the whole time)
Tigger: We'll save you Piglet!
Piglet: Oh, this is a really big waterfall!

(Repeat every 2 minutes or so)

And last but not least we have Seven Dwarfs Mine, which is outside but not really because it has a huge roof:

You know, the best thing about taking pictures like this is that the people walking around have no idea they're being photographed. (hehe)

And that concludes this tour around the Fantasyland shops. And now I have to catch the bus for work. More later when I've got some interesting stories from work to share.

By the way, if you enjoy this sort of photo tour post, let me know. I'll try to do more of them for other areas/parks.

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!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Work Location

Things have been a little crazy the past few days, so I haven't had an opportunity to post this yet. But I promised my brother I would, so here you go.

I work in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, and unlike the Studios where my last program was, we bounce around in multiple shops per day, whereas when I worked Tower of Terror (for example) I was there for the entire shift.

I was able to get a map from Google Earth to give you an idea where everything is at. So here's the picture, and you'll probably want to click on it to make it bigger. Note: This is taken facing south, so the front of the park is towards the top of the picture (if it were to keep going).
And here's the list of shops:

1. Sir Mickey's (Red circle) - I think this one is kind of considered the "flagship" shop of the area. It's themed after Mickey and the beanstalk, and even has Willie the giant peeking through the roof of the shop. This is also one of only 3 shops in the Magic Kingdom where you can get your Mickey hats embroidered. Supposedly I'm going to be learning how to do that in a few weeks, which is exciting, and kind of scary at the same time.

2. Castle Couture (Orange circle) - Previously known as Tinker Bell's Treasures. Apparently this was a very recent changeover too, since most of the people who work in my area usually forget and call it by the old name. This is the princess shop, so of course it's my favorite. It's also the most busy and chaotic. One of the cool things about this location is that behind one of the registers is a replica of Aurora's dress from Sleeping Beauty. And every few minutes it even changes colors from pink to blue. How cool is that? This is also where the girls from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique get their photo taken, so I'm going to be spending a lot of time with little princesses here too.

3. Fantasy Fair (or Faire, I'm not sure which, Yellow circle) - This is the shop adjacent to the exit of Mickey's Philharmagic, another attraction which I love. This is also the only place you can buy DVDs and CDs in Fantasyland. I love, love, love the music in this one. It's all instrumental Disney music, and I don't know everything that plays, but while I was there I heard Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, and Fantasia 2000. I don't think I'll ever get sick of the music here, unlike Rockin' Roller Coaster.

4. Stromboli's Cart (Dark Green circle) - One of the five outdoor locations. Here you can find hats as well as sunscreen and the glow cart at dusk (can't get away from my Fantasmic merchandise completely, can I?).

5. Pin Cart (Light Green circle) - This one has a name, but I forget it at the moment. You can't really see it from this angle because the trees are in the way, but this about where it would be. But guess what? PIN CART!!!! Do you know what that means? PINS!!!! Hopefully working a pin cart will be as fun as shopping at them.

6. Information (Light Blue circle) - That's right, I get to work at the information booth. This one really isn't merchandise at all (people will probably just want to know where the bathrooms are), but there's things like camera and autograph books too, which is why we get it instead of Guest Relations.

7. Enchanted Grove Cart (Darker Blue circle) - Magnets and key chains. When I was here two years ago this was a pin cart, and the pin cart location was a Disney Vacation Club kiosk, so I don't know when it changed. I expect lots of things have been changed around because of the construction going on for the Fantasyland expansion. Which isn't shown in this photo, by the way.

8. Pooh's Thotful Shop (Dark Purple circle) - Pretty self explanatory, this is the shop that the riders from Winnie the Pooh dump into. Much smaller than the Pooh store at Disneyland, but very busy. Probably because the ride dumps into it, now that I think about it. Anyway, this is great because you get funny looks from people when you say "I work at the Pooh store".

9. Seven Dwarfs Mine (Light Purple circle) - The last shop in the area. This one is more of a outdoor shop under an overhang. Most of the stuff here is snacks and drinks, which is rather silly since it's right next to a quick service food location. But whatever. Here's an interesting fact for you. Of all the princesses located in Castle Couture, Snow White doesn't have any of her own merchandise there. Why? Because it's over here at Seven Dwarfs. Being the first Disney princess Snow gets special treatment and all. :)

Anyway, that's an overview of all nine locations. The way the rotation works, you either are scheduled to work indoors or outdoors. So if you're scheduled for indoor one day you'll bounce from Sir Mickey's, Castle Couture, Pooh's, and Fantasy Fair. And then if you're outside you'll hit all three carts, the information booth, and Seven Dwarfs.

At least that's how I think it is. I'm not 100 % sure since my training isn't done yet...

Anyway, tomorrow's the last day of training, so possibly more then if anything particularly interesting happens tomorrow.

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!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

You Can't Keep A Good Genie Down

Today was my merchandise computer training, so not much to report. BUT, I do have something to share anyway.

We're going to quickly hop over to the West Coast to talk about the Disneyland Resort really quick. One thing I really recommend doing if you haven't already, is stopping by the Hyperion Theater to see the Aladdin Musical. Even if Aladdin wasn't your favorite Disney movie, you really need to experience this attraction. It's got all the makings of a Broadway show, and it is fantastic!

I was really excited when I came across this post at the Disney Park Blogs the other day. Aladdin has been scheduled to close to make way for a Toy Story musical as part of the refurbishments to California Adventure. And although the show has had a good run, I was very sorry to see it go. But according to the parks blog, the show's run has been extended! Apparently there was a bunch of guests disappointed in the announced change, so Toy Story has been pushed back for now. How long? Who knows...

Anyway, the best thing about the musical is by far the character of the genie. Genie is a great character to begin with, but onstage he is pure dynamite. He manages to work tons of pop culture references into a show about the middle east... and it works! So courtesy of the Disney Parks blog, here's a video to show what I mean (feed readers might need to click over to the actual blog to see this... it's worth it, trust me):

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!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Even More Orientation

So today brought the experience of park orientation, which for the Magic Kingdom is called Once Upon A Time... Is Now. Honestly, I liked this much better than the class I attended for the Studios. We did a lot less computer based training (although I just know that's going to come up later) and our park tour went a lot more in depth than before as well. We got to MK right as the Welcome show was happening, which is something I've never seen before for any of the parks. So now I've made a resolution that I will go to rope drop at least once for all for parks this summer. Let's see how that turns out...

We also got to do two rides this time around, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and The Haunted Mansion. Both are favorites of mine (although Disneyland's Buzz is much, much better) so that was fun. Saw some weird stuff backstage too which I can't really talk about, but here are a few things I did learn today:

1. Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland is the 2nd busiest restaurant in the world. And not Walt Disney World, like, the real world. The only thing that's busier is a McDonald's in Moscow (as in Russia) which is winning because it has one more cash register.

2. The previously mentioned Buzz Lightyear ride is one of the busiest in all four parks. About 95% of the people visiting the resort go on that ride sometime during their vacation. No doubt Toy Story Midway Mania will pass it up in a few short years.

3. (This one creeps me out a little.) Every few months the cosmetology team has to go into "it's a small world" and cut the dolls' hair. Because it grows. The hair is made of yarn and after awhile gravity stretches out the yarn, making the hair look like it's growing. Ewww.

The tour finished with us getting our lovely costumes for our areas. In the hot Florida weather, mine feels like it's made of about 200% polyester. Ugh.

Well, tomorrow is the first day of in costume training. We'll just have to see if anything interesting happens.

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!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


So today was Traditions. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's like company orientation. Apparently the College Program class is an abbreviated 4 hour version. Last time our group got stuck in a room with a regular class so we got the full 8 hour version, which I loved. Our trainer was very entertaining, even when the material we were covering wasn't always fun in and of itself.

Anyway, today I got the abbreviated version. Not much changed, and it seemed like we did a lot of the things we had done before, so I guess it was just condensed a lot. Actually, the first part of the class was a new computer-based training session and I thought I was going to die of boredom from listening to it. They had one of those dynamic talking computer characters hosting it, but it still sounded like a computer voice. Luckily I only had to sit through that for about 40 minutes.

A couple things were different this time around. We actually got a visit from The Boss (Mickey Mouse) while in class, so that was lots of fun. He brought us our name tags, which apparently weren't pre-printed like they were last time. And we only got one instead of two. I'm hoping I don't lose it so I have to spend the day being "Ramon" again.

The other thing that was new was we went for a brief visit through the Utilador underneath the Magic Kingdom. We were looking for examples of some of the things we had learned in class, and so all 40 of us trudged through the tunnels, up to Main Street, down around the castle into Fantasyland, and back down again. It was kind of creepy, but I guess I'll need to get used to it since that's my new home now. I also had the chance to peek at the Fantasyland merchandise costume I'll be wearing. Not my favorite thing, but it's better than the Tomorrowland costumes, so I'm not complaining.

And we also got our Disney IDs, so now I can get into the parks. Yay! In fact, I was planning to hit Epcot as soon as I came home to change, but I ended up getting a super bad migraine headache. So I stayed home instead, and now the headache is gone I'm here writing this. So my headache is your gain I guess. I'm still dying to go to the parks though. My fingers are just itching to trade pins. Tomorrow, I guess.

So tomorrow is park orientation and then Friday I start my first day of on-the-job training. I'm hoping they won't hit me with the merchandise training day again, but since I've only gotten my schedule through Friday I'll have to wait and see.

And speaking of Friday, it starts off Star Wars Weekends on Friday as well. I'll have to see if my new schedule gives me some time to hop over there to see what's going on a little bit. Hopefully I'll be able to snag at least an hour or two there...

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!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Arrival Time: I'm Here!

So my internet decided to work finally, so I finally have a moment to blog.

I'm back here in Florida, and the humidity is killing me. It's really not that hot yet (only about 75) but oh, it feels so much hotter. Oh well, I knew it was going to be bad. :)

My arrival yesterday was quite different than my first program. We had a weird program date just for our school last time around, so when we arrived we did all the paperwork the first day at our housing meeting, casting the second day, and Traditions (company orientation) the third. When I arrived on property yesterday they had everyone fill out the paperwork right away in the clubhouse, and there were A LOT of people. Lots of alumni coming back to the program I guess.

Then pretty much immediately they took us to Casting to do our employee paperwork and fingerprints. Last time around we had gone to the Casting building (apparently that wasn't normal for most programs though. Again, weird program date made our group special) but we didn't get to see much of the building except where they did the fingerprints. This time they took us up the main entrance, and let me tell you the Casting building is BEAUTIFUL! They've got all these cool photos, murals, posters, etc. all over the walls and models of the parks too. It was so much fun. Honestly, it would be worth it to work in Human Resources just to go to that building every day for work.

While at casting we also found out where we'll be working. They switched me over from the Studios, so now I'm working Fantasyland merchandise. It will be interesting to see how it varies from my old location.

So today was the housing meeting (since we already went to Casting yesterday) where they pretty much just tell us the rules. And then it was back to the apartment for a quiet day. We won't get our IDs until Traditions, which is our ticket into the parks. So close and yet so far. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get the chance to go to a park and play a little bit (finally).

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!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This is so COOL!

This is so sweet, I just have to share this all with you.

As longtime readers of this blog know, I'm heading back to Orlando this summer to do another term in the Disney College Program. And the other person in my family who's Disney crazy is my little brother (you may know him from Disney On The Brain).

So today as a going away present (I leave Sunday) he showed me this:

He edited it together from all the videos I took for him when I was there in 2008. Isn't it so cool? I love, love, LOVE it! You can get his full version of the creation by going to his post about it.

Now, I'm assuming you're here because you're a Disney fan, so for those who want to know, these are the videos he used (in order of appearance):

Test Track
Fantasmic (the finale)
Walking down Main Street, USA (At the Magic Kingdom)
Primeval Whirl
Stormtroopers from Star Wars Weekends
The Great Movie Ride (Western scene)
The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management
The queue from Star Tours
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Expedition Everest

*I also posted about this (with slightly different infomration) on my other blog*

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!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ask A Cast Member (1): Gators In Splash Mountain

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm starting a new series called Ask a Cast Member. So today I'm answering one of my first questions. And this one is a doozy:

Question: Is it true there are alligators in Splash Mountain?

Answer: Yes. Haven't you ever been on Splash Mountain? Look, I'll show you:

I couldn't resist, the setup was too easy.

In all seriousness though, the answer to this "urban legend" appears to be yes. Although I never saw a gator in Splash Mountain myself (I did see one in a water hazard at a Disney golf course though) there are YouTube videos of gators in various water habitats throughout the park, such as this one. Before you get all freaked out though, it appears as though this fairly young alligator was in the swampy water that surrounds the ride, and not the actual ride flume itself. Chances are the waters of Splash Mountain are a tad too chlorinated for a gator to be happy for an extended period of time. Nevertheless, make sure when they tell you to keep your hands and arms inside the log, you pay attention. You never know, after all...

Since a lot of the area around the Disney parks in Florida is undeveloped, there is a sizable wildlife population there (and I'm not talking about the wildlife who live at Animal Kingdom). You're going to encounter lots of birds, lizards, and squirrels. We even had a stray cat wander through backstage every once in a while.

Probably the most "wild" animals that I came in contact with at the park were a male and two female mallard ducks who made their home in the Fantasmic pond. We always wondered where they went during the show (since there's lots of boat, fire, and pyrotechnics going on), but in the few hours before the show actually started they were there pretty regular. About May a group of ducklings even showed up. Although there were originally 3 ducklings, after about two weeks, only one was around regularly paddling away after it's mother.

My fellow cast members named it Leroy. Of course, once Leroy's adult feathers started coming in it was apparent that Leroy was actually a female mallard. Oops!

And this concludes my first Ask a Cast Member feature. If you have your own Disney-related question, submit it using this form.

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!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Announcement and a New Feature

So if you're coming here after visiting my other blog, The Shady Glade, then I assume you've been made aware of some news that's going on around here lately.

And if not, well, you're about to be enlightened.

I've been invited back to work at Walt Disney World this summer for a special alumni summer program to follow up my college program completed in 2008. I'm really excited for this opportunity to go back to the WDW Resort, as I had a blast (and worked really hard) when I was there before.**

So now that that's out of the way, here's the new feature. To celebrate the countdown to my departure for sunny Florida in May, I'm starting a new feature, Ask a Cast Member. Now, I know some of you have been to at least one Disney park before, and I'm sure you've had questions about the parks, whether it's how popular something is, the best time to go, the greatest ride, and maybe some behind the scenes stuff.

As a former (and soon-to-be) Cast Member, I have answers about a lot of that kind of stuff. So lay your questions on me. I'll post a question or two every once in awhile with my answer.

Of course, I can't answer everything, since some things are trade secrets. But if I can answer, I will. So you can ask me anything you want about the Disney parks (I know a lot of stuff about Disneyland too), behind the scenes stuff, my personal favorites, Disney myths, anything you want to know. And if I don't know the answer, I'll find out for you.

So got a question yet? Just use this form to submit it.

And please submit it if you have something. Otherwise I'm like the awkward author doing a book signing who only gets asked questions about where the bathroom is...

**If you want to read about my experiences from my original college program just scroll down to the archives in the sidebar and check out my posts from April 2008 to August 2008.

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!