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!