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.

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 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!
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!