Thursday, December 31, 2009

time flies...

A few months ago, I felt like the semester would never end. Two weeks felt like two years, and as I still tried to wrap my head around the fact that I was thousands of miles from my family and everything that I knew, it seemed like I would never get settled. What I've realized, I think, is that everything is so transient right now... where I am, what I'm doing, who I know... and one day, settling down in one place is going to be so great.

I was lucky enough to have my family visit me last week over Christmas. And when I say lucky, I mean... blessed, elated, so happy! We had a fabulous time... even though Dad ran us ragged through the parks every day. (I'm pretty sure we would've been fine without going a day or two the whole week... but it made him happy, I guess.) It was hard to let them leave, or not to leave with them, but I have things to finish here. If not to find a position in the creative dept, to keep putting one foot in front of another and not give up until I can't go anymore.

That being said, I guess it's a good time to let everyone know that I am sticking around, at least until May 14. While I wasn't accepted for any of the Professional Internships I applied for, my application to extend my program was accepted. And while it's not the most ideal — I would've liked to at least move up just a little — it's something. So I'm going to stick to it for now, ride it out, and see how it goes. Maybe being at Hollywood Studios next semester will offer different opportunities.

Yep, I'm headed to DHS. I think I will be at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Car Stunt Show. Exciting, right? I hope I get earplugs with my costume. It's not my favorite attraction over there, but I'm not complaining. I'm going to see how it goes, and realize that other than working outdoors all day, there are a lot of pros about it that might make it all worth it.

So, until then... and until I can remember that I have a blog I need to update... thanks for reading. :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

my favorite show

“You see, it’s just like I told ya!
Wishes can come true, if you believe in them with all your heart. And the best part is, you'll never run out of wishes! They're shining deep down inside of you. 'Cause that, my friends, is where the magic lives.”

–Jiminy Cricket

Wishes, the fireworks show that happens (almost) nightly at the Magic Kingdom, is my favorite show. It has been since I first saw it... and I love working nights when I can hear the soundtrack in the restaurant. One of my absolute favorite things to do here is to be out in the middle of the park to see Wishes (it's a lot easier when you're just one or two adults and can duck in at the last minute). Not only do I love the show, but I love being there with all of our Guests as they see Tinkerbell fly, and hear Jiminy talk to everybody about having dreams and wishing that they will come true.

Yep, there are tears in my eyes every time... it reminds me why I'm here, and why I'm working so hard to be here. Here are the song lyrics... but I truly hope that all of you can come stand with me in front of Cinderella's castle one night, and be swept up in the magic of it all with me.


Music composed by Gregory Smith

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight.
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish, I wish tonight.

Ohh, a world of wishes,
A world where dreams come true.
So make a wish, see it through.
Dare to do what dreamers do.

Wishes... dream a dream.
Wishes... set it free.
Wishes… trust your heart.
Just believe!

We’re all just children,
Reaching for our dreams.
They’re shining high above us,
And even though it seems so far (so far)
We put our faith and hope on a shooting star.

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight.
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish, I wish tonight.
We’ll make a wish and do as dreamers do.

And all our wishes,
Will come

Friday, September 25, 2009

One Month Anniversary!

One month ago, I was checking into the program and getting keys to my apartment. It was the last time I saw my Mom, as I dropped her at the airport. And it was the beginning of (at least) a semester's worth of experience and adventure.

I am doing well, just working a lot and trying to take baby steps to doing something worthwhile. I'm working in Magic Kingdom Restaurant Operations, at a quick-service restaurant in Tomorrowland. Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe is host to a stage show by the outer-space star Sonny Eclipse, who performs... perpetually. haha We also have three different bays and twelve registers, seating 1162 guests at a time — but not including those that can't find a place to sit and take food to go. Overall, we have around 300 employees at our location, nearly 100 are College Program participants (that's me!), and we are THE largest grossing quick-service location in any of the Disney parks, in the United States, and the third-largest grossing in the WORLD — topped only by two McDonald's, one outside of St. Petersburg Square in Russia and one in Hong Kong, China. The reason they beat us? They are open 24 hours a day.

Here's me at work, a picture taken by my roommates who stopped by while playing on their day off:

Anyway, that's about it for now. I'm doing fine — a little under the weather lately, but I'm hoping to be better to work tomorrow. I'm also doing an okay job impressing my managers with my attitude at work and following The Basics, or the Disney standards for employees. One thing at time! It is just so hard to believe that it has only been four and a half weeks!

Hope you all are well... I am missing you.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

alright, so it has been awhile

This is the first night that I got off after midnight. It was about 1:45 am by the time I got to clock out, and 2:30 before I got back to my apartment. Now, it's nearly 3 am and I am not at all sleepy. Must be magic...

I do realize I have a lot to update about... So much has happened since my Traditions class! I have wanted to write, and postponed it... and then not wanted to write, because I didn't feel like it... and on and on.

Anyway—my job is a hard one. I think everyone that is working here would tell you that their job is the hardest, or the most pressured, or the worst to have, etc. It reminds me every time about how often we feel entitled to things today, and how quickly we rule out jobs for ourselves because we are "too good" for them. I know that there are jobs out there that I would love to do... but I am also realizing that all too often, we have to start over completely in order to convince people of our usefulness. If I could walk around telling everyone what I am good at, and have them trust my every word, I would have nothing to prove... nothing to earn. And, I suppose, as hard and painful work as it is sometimes, I am part of a team. And while I already know how to BE part of a team, I'm proving that I can. I'm also going to prove that I won't quit when I start something, that I'll do what is asked of me and be dependable, and that I'll smile through things that may be uncomfortable, boring, or even painful. (Being on my feet for so long every day is teaching me a lesson in endurance as well!)

And one day, I hope and pray with all my heart... I'll get the chance to prove that I can be a part of a team that doesn't just excel at guest service—but a team that is imaginative, that brainstorms and creates... I'll be able to prove that I can contribute well to an environment like that, to a group of like-minded people, and be part of creating the happiness and entertainment that this company is all about.

As far as how everything is really going, logistically, I suppose... things are good. My feet hurt, but I try to remember how insignificant that pain is in the scheme of things. I should hold my tongue, for I am grateful for so many blessings, and the opportunity I have to be here. (Eventually, I'll know what to do with it, for real!) My roommates are great, and I love being with them and coming home to my apartment. That, in itself, is one of the greatest blessings I know I have. We have done many, many fun things on our time off that I will try to share when I can. And those days off help make all the hard work worth it.

I'm still reading Walt's biography... and will probably reread it as soon as I finish. There are times during the day when I'm just standing around, feeling like I'm wasting my time, or sweating as I shovel ice into coolers, or losing my mind while I try to count how many grapes go with which kid's meal and whether or not everything made it to the tray while making small talk with guests at the counter... and I really want to roll my eyes or grimace as my feet throb... I wonder if my manager knows someone that might be able to help me in my career, or if the dad I'm handing food to might be my next boss, or if someone who could help me out is watching how I talk to guests. And then I think to myself, "If Walt could walk in right now (as he did so many times at Disneyland), would he be happy with the job I am doing?"

Sure, call it corny, whatever you want. But I want the answer to be yes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My first day... my hire date!

Today was my first day as a Cast Member of the Walt Disney World Company. I am so excited to say that! And so proud to work for a company that has such incredible business philosophies and enthusiasm for making magic.

Me and my roommate on the SUPER EARLY bus:

Yes, my hair was still wet, but it was DARK outside, and we were styling the Disney Look to a T!

Everything that I learned this morning at Traditions did exactly what I'm sure they hoped it would — it told me about what the Disney company is really about. We covered the past, the present, and the future of the Company, and where we fit into the magic. Because really, that's what it's all about. And that's what is so awesome!! It was really neat to realize how HUGE the Company is, and how many different areas, initiatives, departments, and programs are involved in making it what it is today. There is so much involved in relaying the business structure and missions, but it is all done so well and with such enthusiasm, that it even makes orientations seem almost... magical!

There was so much about today that made it so exciting to know that you are joining THE Cast. There are 7,000 of us in the College Program, living on property. But altogether, the Walt Disney World Resort has over 65,000 cast members onstage every day!! And hundreds of thousands of guests visiting every day, to celebrate and to experience the magic.

Mostly, though, I am so excited to be working for the company that came from everything that Walt Disney was about. It is so incredible to see and hear so much about how the company is the same, and goes back to what Walt would have wanted. If only he could be here! But his spirit surely is, and his imagination, vision, creativity, integrity, and enthusiasm live on in the everyday workings of the Walt Disney Company.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

no passes... but we can still play!

It was a day to settle in, or at least that is what I'm sure the Housing team intended when they gave us our second day off. Instead, we took off for the Grand Floridian for lunch at Gasparilla, a counter service where we could see Cinderella's Castle out the window, just across the water! It was delicious, and so exciting!

Then we jumped on the monorail for a ride past Magic Kingdom (even though we couldn't get in yet), and stopped at the Contemporary to look around. We played in the arcade, got awesome nylon bracelets with our winnings, and did some window shopping. Ten points if you can find the five-legged goat in the mural above! haha :)

On our way back, we thoroughly enjoyed our walk through the Grand Floridian, including entertainment by my roommates on the grandiose stairs of the lobby. So hilarious! We practiced our Disney "point" by pretending we were giving each other directions, laughed so hard I couldn't breathe, stood around listening to the incredible "orchestra" band that plays over the lobby of the GF, and tried to take in the scenery as much as we could.

Later, we did some grocery shopping in a thunderstorm, and stocked up our little kitchen with all sorts of good stuff. All in all, a really great day of adventure, even without passes to the parks!

a day of total insanity

Today was THE day. So much happened. It was INSANE!

The entire day has gone by in a huge blur. It feels like we crammed three days worth of stuff into just a few hours, but it is so nice to be able to sit and write, make my bed, and start unpacking.

I can't believe I'm in Florida, of all places. And within miles of Walt Disney World. And, that I am not just here for a week to have fun with my family, but I am here. To work, and to learn, and to start doing things! INSANE!

My mom and I had quite a drive on our way down. I was so lucky and blessed to have her with me — to stay in hotels with me, to stop for gas in the middle of nowhere at 11:30 at night when the light started blinking, to let me take a nap when I got a headache, to go to Mass with me at a little church in Tallahassee, to sit at Starbucks with me and drink coffee as we checked our email after conquering connecting to WiFi, to listen as I talked her ears off when I was on a MAJOR caffeine high, to eat Blizzards with me in the car (Oreo for me, and of course, super extreme chocolate for Mom), and to reassure me over and over again that this is a good thing for me to do, even when I doubted this decision and myself.

We finally got here, (with way too many highway miles behind us) and got settled in our convenient but not quite as comfortable hotel room. We drove around, checked out the destinations for today, and then met some of the new hopeful roommates and their families.

It felt like we hardly slept at all when we crashed last night and got up for the whirlwind of craziness today! I wish we had a better plan, but it was basically... get there early, hope we room together, and then just... do what they say. And let me tell you — they have had a LOT to say. Mom had to go sit in some parent tent while we did paperwork and got assigned apartments and roommates, got keys, parking decals, and then meeting times for the rest of the day. About an hour later, I met back up with her and her FREE Disney coffee, and we unloaded just a couple loads of stuff before I had to go wait for a bus to take us to the Casting office.

I found out that I will be working at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, for my Quick-Service Food and Beverage role. For those of you who don't have a WDW map handy, that is in Tomorrowland of the Magic Kingdom. I'm sure I'll find out more at my training day, what Disney calls "Traditions," that I will be on the bus to at 6:45 am on Wednesday morning. Insane? I KNOW.

Before we left for all that at the Casting office, I had to ask Mom to go pick up the rest of our luggage and check us out of the hotel — which I should have insisted we do earlier, but had no idea what was in store! I made her promise me that she wouldn't unload the billion boxes and things from my car up to our THIRD FLOOR apartment, but what would you expect? When she came to pick me up later, she was driving an empty Trailblazer.

She said she got "bored."

So yes, even after a whole weekend of driving and sitting while I drove... my mom unloaded all my stuff for me. I'm just so grateful, I feel like I have to tell the WHOLE WORLD! :D My mom is the best.

No wonder it was so hard to drive her to the airport, but I knew a plane was waiting to take her back to Texas... and that my dad and sisters might need her there, too. We stopped for a good lunch, hit up those toll booths like pros, and I had to drop her at the curb so I could rush back for another dang meeting. I hate goodbyes. I think we both do.

It was a decent but unfamiliar drive back — I'm also very thankful for my GPS — and we walked to another apartment complex for our Housing orientation. Long, typical, but necessary... and then it was nearly 5:30, only eleven hours since we got up to start all the insanity, and we were done for the day.

Went to Downtown Disney tonight for dinner and shopping, and to walk the whole place. I'm loving my new roommates more with every hour that passes, and I know that I am blessed to have walked into such a good situation.

I have finally made my bed, but I think a shower is the last thing on today's crazy itinerary. The first of many, I'm sure. Oh, one more thing... this was my horoscope when I logged onto Yahoo for today... :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

about halfway ready...

I'm still packing, trying to simplify and cut back so everything will fit in my car comfortably. I'll probably end up cramming it in anyway. I'm about halfway done, I think. Just clothes and bathroom stuff left, and then to do some cleaning up before I leave. Said goodbyes today, at least one more tonight, and then Mom and I are heading out before 9 am tomorrow. Yes, I'm excited, but I'm also tired of packing and thinking about so much change. Hopefully two days on the road with my Momma will help get me pumped up for what I need to do this semester to make things happen. Anyway, signing off for a quick nap before I get back to packing-- my last night at home for SOOOO LONG!!! I'm going to miss my family. And my bed!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

two more days at home...

AAAHHHHH!! My countdown is now down to 4 days until check-in. SO CRAZY! I have been trying to hold out on posts, because I know if I wrote something every time I got excited or nervous or antsy, there would be a BILLION entries!

I have been busy getting things together, trying to enjoy these last few days with my family and hometown friends... it's hard to leave again, especially when I'm so awful with change. But I know it's happening, and I'll have to move forward.

I started a new book this week: a biography, Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas. One of my heroes. I realize I've already said that on this blog... ;) He was a man of vision, imagination, laughter, and great determination, something I can only hope to keep becoming. Well, not the man part. But you know what I mean! I was so surprised to learn: I had absolutely no idea that Walt started out as a commercial artist— nowadays known as a communication designer! His first job as an artist was not at a paper as a cartoonist, it was for a commercial art firm, where he drew logos, did illustrations for ads, programs, and pamphlets, worked on letterhead design, and did hand-lettering. I gasped as I read it, (dramatic, I know) but I had no idea! We have more in common than I thought!

Anyway, it's a great book. I might post quotes or comments about it... seems fitting, since I'm headed to the park named as a memoriam to him! For the time being, I'm off to start *ahem* I mean... finish packing, doing last little errands, and all that good stuff. My sisters are back to school and Becca left for her place this morning, so it's lonely around here during the day. Good motivation to get stuff done, I suppose! :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

See Ya Real Soon!

I got this in my email box this morning — how exciting! I have begun a packing list... and it has turned out to be far longer than I expected! It's hard to remember that I'm only planning on being there for a few months. I have a couple of questions that I need to email the recruiters about, but I'm trying to hold off until I think that's ALL the questions I have!

But for now, that's all I got. The gang's all there... and I'll see them reeeaaal soon!

Monday, August 3, 2009

buzz and fizz

We talked about playing this game with the youth group called Buzz and Fizz, where you count around a circle, and when you hit a multiple of 7, you say "buzz" and a multiple of 5, you say "fizz." I was thinking buzz buzz buzz all day today, because it's THREE WEEKS until I will be settling in to my new apartment with my new roommates in a new state for a new job. So crazy.

That means that in less than 21 days, I will be heading out of the great state of Texas, leaving my family, and hitting the road for the 14ish hour trip to Orlando. I'm nervous, excited, a little squeamish... and just trying to get prepared. I suspect I'll need to start making lists of everything I need to have, and emailing my new roommate to see what all we will be trying to bring.

Two of my roommates and I will be sharing a hotel room really super close to where we will be checking in, so hopefully we can be the first in line and get our little Chatham 3-bedroom, non-wellness apartment! All six of us are going to try to meet up for dinner that night, but I'm sure our half-apartment slumber party will be fun.

I'm also hoping to find out my location sometime soon... I won't know "officially" where I will be working until I get there and go through Traditions, the Disney company history and training program, but I might get a heads up from someone that is already there and has access to the info. ;)

Lots to prepare for, and lots to prepare to leave behind, so please say a tiny prayer for me as I try to find my center in all of this change!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"I am an idea man"

Walt Disney is such a hero to me. Not because of the empire he created, or even just the art that he began and perpetuated... but his entire spirit. It's something to be admired, something to be embodied.

I just finished watching Meet the Robinsons, for the nth time. I love the movie itself, but I get chills every time I see the quote and dedication. Well deserved, for sure. I love the One Man's Dream exhibit at Hollywood Studios... and I can't wait to go walk through it again. Just to sit in the parks and marvel at what has become of a man with dreams and ideas... it's going to be awesome.

On another note, I think my rooming situation is pretty much set to go, which I am VERY happy about. I hate wondering and worrying about that stuff. Now we have a good two months to communicate with each other about who needs to bring what, etc. It's going to be six happy girls in one apartment complex, and I couldn't be more excited.

The days are counting down—almost out of the 70s! Sounds like a lot of days, but I know the time will fly by!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

getting excited

Got another email this morning—a reminder about the Disney Look guidelines. It's pretty basic... you've got to be a good-looking, clean-cut, all-natural kinda person to work in the parks. It's really interesting to see how companies use certain kinds of people as embodiments of their brand, and reminds me of a million other places that I have been where the people all seem to be an extension of what they are a part of. (Apple, Hot Topic, Starbucks, etc.)

What's funny is that we have already gotten all this information, and several times at that! haha I think they're just finding ways to send intermittent emails to get me more excited every time. It works! I can't wait.

In other Disney-related news, I think I found a roommate for myself. And probably two sets of apartment-mates. We are hoping to get a 3 bedroom apartment at Chatham Square! My roommate's name is Lauren, and she seems super nice and agreeable, so I'm sure we will get along just great!

I do keep up with Disney news, and am getting pretty excited about some things that will be happening while I am there—The Princess and the Frog comes out in theaters on December 11th! It was animated using the traditional methods, so that her movie matches that of the other princesses. It is set in New Orleans, so I'm sure the WDW Port Orleans resort will be having some big parties around that time. I am excited about some unveilings and character greetings!!

Also, there is a project going on in Pixar Place of Hollywood Studios, rumored to be a giant animatronic Luxo lamp! How cool is that?

Anyway, just an update for all of you. I'll post again sometime soon!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009, trust, and pixie dust...

Hiya! Here it is, a new start. It has been almost three weeks since I walked across the stage to celebrate earning my first college degree. And everyone wants to know: what's next? Where are my dreams leading me now?

I was on top of things enough to apply for the Disney College Program earlier this semester. When I got my purple folder (the universal sign of acceptance for the CP community), I was so excited to learn that I had been accepted to the program. I was a little let down to learn that my role would be QSFB—Quick Service Food and Beverage, but knew that I could not pass up the opportunity just to be in WDW and start chasing my dreams!

I will be working full-time on the Disney property in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. My role will be somewhere within the counter service or cart service for dining in the parks or resorts, and I absolutely cannot wait to enjoy the parks, new friends, and the Disney connections I will be making along the way.

Stay in touch and follow my blog to see updates, pictures, and other nonsense as this will be my main way of keeping friends and family posted on what I am doing now that I am officially in post-grad mode!