Tuesday, February 28, 2012

traditions

On Wednesday morning we got up at 5:00 A.M. so we had enough time to get ready before getting on the bus to go to "Traditions," which is just Disney's name for basic training. The bus usually takes between forty-five minutes to an hour to get to Magic Kingdom/Disney University from our apartment complex, which is why we got up so early.

What two roommates look like at 6:00 AM when the flash goes off by accident
I'm not going to spill any major Disney secrets, but we spent about eight hours going over policies and learning the basics and hearing stories from people who have been on the CP and stayed forever...which happens a lot, apparently. We also took our first tour of the Utilidors (the first of many) and walked onstage and backstage just getting a feel for the area. For some people, it was their first time ever seeing Cinderella Castle, so it was pretty wonderful to see the magic come alive for them. The most magical part, though, was when my boss came in and gave us our nametags. I got a little teary eyed. Here is my boss, in case you didn't know:


Truth be told, I got teary eyed quite a few times during Traditions (and not just because at times I was bored to tears! No? Anyone? Bueller?). It was just so nice to be around other people who are into Disney and into the magic. On Thursday, I went to my Magic Kingdom orientation, where they led us around onstage and backstage and showed us where to go if we need help or get lost. We also heard a lot of cute trivia, and rode Buzz Lightyear and the Haunted Mansion. Yes, you heard right. They paid us to ride attractions.

On Friday I started my area training! I and two other CPs were led around Fantasyland and shown the layout of all the stores etc. There was more, but it's a secret. It seems like a great area to work in. Even today, people were saying "Welcome to the family!" :') The next day I took a class on "Merchantainment," which is basically Disney's way to entertain while selling merchandise. We learned how to use the registers and how to give a good show, even if we're just talking to guests about where they can buy a burger.

***cell phone quality***
I had Sunday off, so Devin and I went to Hollywood Studios! I decided that I wanted to get a Fastpass from every location on property as a ~memento~ so we were going to try to get a few. We were going to get up to be there at opening....but instead we got there at noon. C'est la vie.

This was our idea of a "fun pose."




Yesterday, I had more training. And then today, I had even more training, but I also had my assessment, which I passed! So now I am a full-fledged Cast Member, and you are all caught up. Tomorrow is Leap Day, and Magic Kingdom is staying open for 24 hours, so I'm going to go experience the madness after having brunch with Grammie, Pop Pop, and John, who are driving up with the million packages I had sent to their house when I was in online shopping mode. Devin and I are also going to check out Cast Connection, the CM-only store where we can apparently get Disney stuff at a discount. Bye for now!

Friday, February 24, 2012

check in

I know I'm a little behind, but I've been pretty overwhelmed with information/people/walking in the past few days so I haven't had the energy to write up a blog post. I'm just going to give you the past few days in installments, otherwise it will be way too long.

Sunday night I drove to Orlando from Weeki Wachee, a two hour drive on the darkest road on Earth. One thing I've noticed about Florida is that there aren't many street lights. There are lights in front of gas stations and grocery stores and things like that, but the state itself just didn't feel like putting lights on the road. Maybe Floridians don't go out at night? Whatever the case, I made it to Disney property safely, give or take a few scary cab drivers and a lot of traffic. I stayed with one of my roommates, Lindsey, at the All Star Movies hotel, and we fell asleep around midnight. At four, we woke up again. We wanted to get to check in at five, but were a little late because all of Lindsey's things were in the room, and we had to bring them to the bag check so they could hold them until we could pick them up later since my car was full.

Once we got to check in, Lindsey realized she forgot all of her paperwork so I told her to wait in line while I went back to the hotel to get it. Thirty minutes later, I returned to Vista Way, one of the three apartment complexes that College Program kids stay in. One of my other roommates, Divinity, arrived a little after I did. Around six thirty or seven, a few coordinators came out and led us to the welcome center. Officially, check in starts at nine, but all of us in the know (read: on the internet) heard that they start early if there are enough people in line, hence the four a.m. wake up.

After the first round of paperwork, Lindsey, Divinity, and I waited for Devin, our last roommate, to arrive. We couldn't get our building assignment until she showed up so we were a little antsy, but around 8:30, she caught up to us and I scampered over to one of the housing coordinators. By some stroke of good luck, we got the exact specifications we wanted, a two bedroom apartment in Chatham Square. Chatham is newer than Vista Way, but older than Patterson, and it has a bus stop, which Patterson does not. It's a little more expensive than Vista Way, but worth it for the peace and quiet (Vista has a reputation for being the "party" complex). The next few hours were a blur of paperwork and trips to pick up and drop off all of our various baggage and luggage. Then, we hopped onto the bus to Casting, where we found out where we would be working and filled out two hours' worth of paperwork.



I'm going to be working in Fantasyland! It's the most happening place in the Magic Kingdom right now, because it's under construction to expand over twice it's size. Even though I was not-so-secretly hoping to be placed in another park so I wouldn't have to work late hours (Magic Kingdom is always open the latest, sometimes until three a.m.), I'm glad I got placed where I am. After we got back from Casting, we went to get Lindsey's luggage and arrived a little late to our "mandatory housing meeting," which was pretty standard but basically everything they told us was taken straight from our Program Guides, which are little booklets that look like day planners that give an overview of the entire program. It's ninety-nine pages long, so it's pretty extensive. After the meeting we went searching for food, and ended up spending about three hours in Walmart fighting off tourists and all the other College Program kids who were swarming the store. I finally got to sleep around one o'clock.

The next day, Devin and I woke up and tried to set up our router, but it hadn't worked the night before and it still wasn't connecting so we called to the front desk and they eventually sent someone over. Apparently something was wrong with their modem, so after it was fixed we all connected and spent the next hour engrossed in our computer screens. After we tore ourselves away, Divinity and I went to Universal Studios to pick up our annual passes (!!!!) and ride a few rollercoasters. We wanted to hang out in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but it was so busy that we just rode one ride and left. We went to bed around one, buzzing with anticipation for the next day, when we would go through our general orientation and get our nametags!

Most importantly, I had my first College Program churro. 



See, I told you that would be long.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I am alive and well in Florida!

Please ignore Rick Scott's stupid name.
I'm currently in the adorably-named Weeki Wachee, where my grandparents will be staying for the next month and a half. I'm staying here until Sunday, when I'll drive to Orlando to stay with one of my new roommates, Lindsey, so we can get to check in early Monday morning. On that note, did everyone else know it was President's Day except for me? I just made a myriad of online purchases, and waiting for them brings my blood pressure up to about the level of a dog waiting for a treat. I assumed that I would spend around $400-$500 in gas driving down to Florida and was pleasantly surprised when I didn't even hit $150. So then I spent the rest of my tax return on a new pair of boots and Doctor Who DVDs and most importantly, an annual pass to Universal Studios (that I will be making payments on until next March. When I'll be in New York. Sigh.). I think I need to delete my Paypal account before I don't have any money left for groceries.


Anyway, I've been hanging out with my family and eating a lot of chips and reading a lot of Sookie Stackhouse novels. But most importantly, I HUNG OUT WITH A MANATEE. We went over to visit with friends of my g-parents, Dewey and Elizabeth, and they took us out on their boat. The channel that their house is on is connected to the Gulf of Mexico, so when it gets cool the manatees swim in toward the warmer water. I wasn't really expecting to see one, despite the signs posted everywhere that said "Manatee Zone," so when we started seeing them pop their adorable little faces up I was basically crying with joy.

I was really terrified of getting in the water (did you guys know there are alligators in Florida because there are and they live in the water that I was lowering my body into) but I sucked it up and jumped in because manatees.  I swam over to one that was probably eight feet long, and just hyperventilated for ten minutes while I stared at it. I didn't want to bug him while he was feeding so I didn't touch him but I was so close that I could have. We probably saw seven or eight more on our way back to the house but that one was the only one I saw up close. I think my reaction to swimming with a manatee was on par with Kristen Bell's reaction to meeting a sloth.

 

I still feel that way, and it was over 24 hours. It was potentially the most magical thing I've ever experienced, and I'm going to work at Disney World

Monday, February 13, 2012

traveling forever

Day three of my journey is coming to a close. The internet in this hotel is acting up for me so I'm not 100% sure that this will post, but I'm going to try! I'm traveling with my grandparents and uncle John, which I didn't initially expect to be doing, but it's been really great.

Our first day we traveled about eight hours, mostly through Pennsylvania, which I've learned is the worst state ever if you want to make it through without a detour to Oz. You think I'm joking, but I'm almost positive I saw a cow fly by. It had snowed a little the night before we left, so in the morning it was just cold enough to make the air sting. Throughout the drive, we hit snow squalls and some heavy rain, and my grandpa (Pop Pop) drove my car because he was scared for me. Somewhere in there, we found a Chik-Fil-A, which was joyous. Living in New York has deprived me of the real gems of the South.



We pulled into Strasburg, Virginia around dinnertime and we were so glad, because at that point the wind had gotten so bad that it was blowing our cars all over the road. We ordered pizza, and the place we got it from ended up being a pizza parlor I thought only existed in Addison, New York. No, they're apparently a chain large enough to reach Virginia. You learn new things every day!

The next day we prolonged our departure as long as possible because we only had an hour's drive before we were going to eat lunch at at "The Pink Cadillac," a mostly Elvis-themed restaurant, but with a little James Dean and Marilyn Monroe thrown in. The bathrooms were labeled "Lucy" and "Ricky," which was extra cute. I didn't take any pictures but I won't hesitate to shamelessly steal one from the internet.


After lunch, we drove on and on until we reached Charlotte, North Carolina, where we ate at a Panera (typical) and then watched the Grammy's before crashing. Well, they crashed. I laid awake, listening to the heater blow loudly for roughly four hours before someone got angry enough to turn it off. Today we drove to Columbia, South Carolina to visit the Lutheran seminary Pop Pop attended many moons ago. It was warming up at this point so I took my winter coat off and embraced the world with only my sweater! The seminary grounds had a permeable sense of tranquility, especially the library and the chapel.



Now we're in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The town seems asleep because it's very obviously a summer town, but it's still beautiful. We walked out onto the beach to see the ocean, but it was so chilly that we only stayed for ten minutes. Now we're back in the room, and everyone else is asleep while I watch every trashy television show I can find. We're going to be staying here another night, because Pop Pop found a really cheap Groupon for this place, so it's like their mini vacation before their real one. Whatever makes you happy, guys. This has been really long winded, so I'm going to end it here. The next time you hear from me, I'll be in Florida!

Friday, February 10, 2012

introductions




Hey there! My name is Kaylyn, I’m nineteen, and I live in upstate New York. I just moved a little north of Saratoga Springs, which is where I lived for the past eight years. Even though I've always despised the cold grey winter and am glad to be escaping it, New York has always been my home base, so it feels weird to be leaving for so long.

I applied to the Disney College Program the first day applications were released and got pretty discouraged as I watched everyone else on the internet get in except for me. Everyone else had their roommates set up and I was still frantically refreshing my email. Eventually I just gave up. Three months passed, and on December 19th (what I was told would be the last day for acceptances) I remembered that I had applied and checked my email…nothing. But when I got up the next morning, there it was! Congratulations!  I’m going to be working in Merchandise from February 20th to August 10th

I initially started this blog as a Tumblr, which is the platform I'm more comfortable with so if you have one too, feel free to follow me over there: http://main-street-usa.tumblr.com There's a few tags on the sidebar that will point you to DCP-only posts, if you don't want to sift through pictures of Snow White. But if you're my grandpa, this is probably the place for you. I'm just going to cross post, anyway, so you won't be missing anything.

I'm going to use this blog as a helping hand for myself, as I found out after I was accepted that I could actually acquire six credits through my community college, simply by taking one of the Disney classes offered and writing a few essays. Writing is my strong suit, but my memory sucks, so I'm hoping that by blogging (if I remember) I'll be able to keep things fresh. Glad to have you along the journey with me!

Kaylyn