Thursday, January 17, 2008

Disney World!!!!

I love Disney World. Ask anybody that knows me and they’ll tell you I’m a freak for all things Disney. It’s not so much the characters and the movies as it is the Company itself.

I used to live in Florida from when I was a pre-teen til I was an adult. I LOVED living in Florida. I loved everything about living in Florida. The weather, the beaches, Disney World, the weather, the beaches, Disney World, the weather, the beaches, Disney World…you get my drift.

Anyway, my mom and dad were separated at that time. The divorce wasn’t final. We were living in another state and mom got notification that she was getting a promotion and a transfer. A transfer to FLORIDA!!!!!! I was 11 at the time. Since mom was going through a divorce, she thought it over and decided to take the promotion and transfer. She thought it would be a fresh start to a new life for the two of us. It was a hard move for me (despite Disney World being in our backyard) because I was leaving the only place I ever knew and I had some problems (mostly being made fun of for my accent and loneliness and alienation) but after a couple of years, it was fine and I really got into living there.

When we first moved there, we bought the FL residence passes. At that time, it was a pass that allowed you to go only certain months of the year. Like January through March, July through September, etc….Those weren’t the months, but you get the picture. We went nearly every weekend we could for the first year or two but then the desire died down. We were down to going just when guests stayed with us (the only reason they came to see us was because of Disney World…..I’m teasing, but I wouldn’t blame them one bit).

When I was a senior in high school, I decided on a whim to go lookin’ for a job. Not any job would do, though. I wanted to work at Disney. Several people in my high school worked there and they paid well (better than minimum wage). I hadn’t been in a while but I knew I didn’t want to do anything related to the characters. I just went on a total lark. Seriously, I work up one morning and while I was getting ready for school, decided to go to Disney that afternoon after school got out. It was about a 25-minute drive. I found the casting building and walked in. I had no references and had dressed nice but not too business like. Being in high school, I didn’t have any professional clothes anyway. I asked for an application and they gave it to me. I filled it out. I didn’t have my SSN card or anything like that with me (didn’t know I would need it as I had never gone on a job interview before). I sat down and filled it out. My references were people I had baby-sat for and neighbors. Absolutely no job experience other than baby-sitting. However, I had been baby-sitting this one family for about 4-5 years and made it a point to list that. I turned my application in and they said that they actually had an interview spot open that day and asked if I could wait for about 25 minutes. I said sure and sat down. In the waiting area, they played Disney movies on a TV in the corner. I sat and watched a Disney cartoon for the duration. About 30 minutes later, an interviewer came out and got me. We went into the little office and I was interviewed for about 15 minutes. They asked me questions like, “What park would you like to work in?” and “What job would you absolutely not like to do?”. I answered as honestly as I could but really didn’t care what I did or where I worked. I didn’t know if at that point I would accept any job they offered. She said that they had an opening at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom for a seating hostess. She asked if that was something I’d like to do and I said, “Sure”. Next thing I know, I’m given a date and time to come back to casting with paperwork and then given a date and time for training. It was so easy!!!! I got hired just like that. I found out later on that it’s usually not that easy but that it was their downtime and pretty much anybody that walked in the door would get hired. Doesn’t do much for my ego, but that the hell. I was just hired by Disney World!

I went through a two-day training period. Because so many high school students get hired, they have training on Saturday and Sunday. Both were all day sessions. I had to get trained on how to count money back (not as easy as it sounds) and we actually had to go to SMILE class. Yes, you read that right. SMILE class. They wanted to teach you the Disney way to do things. You must always have a pleasant look on your face (to make you seem approachable) and you must never point at anything with just one finger or even point in a stationary position. You must use your first two fingers (pointer and middle) and gently sweep your fingers from side to side in the direction you need to point. This was because in several countries, it’s offensive to point with a single finger. Since Disney gets so many foreign visitors, it was their way of being politically correct. I found it funny at first, but after working their and having to do it literally like 20 times a day, it became second nature and for years after I quit working there, I still did it!

After that, I started work. I worked nearly every weekend. Once I graduated from school, I worked at least 50 hours a week. The pay was good and the job was fun. We had management turnover like crazy but that was all good. I got to mostly work the early morning shift at the cap cart outside (the cappuccino cart). That meant I got to work at 6 am and got off at 1:30. I then had the rest of the day to play in the park! My friend Mimi and I used to try to get the same shift so we could play in the park after work. We would go to the arcade at the exit of Space Mountain and play air hockey and Ms. Pacman. We would walk up the exit of Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain and flirt with the boys working there so they would let us ride without having to wait in line (I know, I know, we were soooo bad). One time, my friend Harley and I were off work at the same time. He only had a couple of hours to play so we went to stand in line at Splash Mountain. The line was so long that we decided to leave in the middle. As we were exiting, a CM (cast member) came up and asked us why we were leaving. We explained that we just got off work at Tony’s and that Harley had to leave now and we couldn’t wait any longer. He gave us a plastic card and told us to go up the exit ramp and when we got to the top, just hand the CM that was manning the ride the plastic card. When we got to the top, we did just that. The CM looked at us and said, “Your picture came out bad, huh?” and (not knowing what he was talking about) agreed. We got on the ride next and had an awesome time. We found out later on that if you take a bad picture, they let you ride again (with the understanding that you will most likely buy the re-take). We had so many ways to have fun in the park.

I loved working there. If I could make a living working there today, believe me, I would. Unfortunately, the only way I could work there and be able to support myself and light of my life, is if they offered pay me $50k and to move me. Otherwise, I can’t afford to live in Florida (at least at this time). Since you can’t make 50K off of just above minimum wage, it ain’t gonna happen any time soon.

However, once light of my life graduates high school and goes away to college (or even stays here for college but doesn’t live with me), I’m making plans to move back to Florida for a while and will hopefully work at the Kingdom once again.

I have lots more to talk about when it comes to Disney but I’ll let y’all off the hook for now.

The picture above and to the right is of light of my life at MGM Studios (now known as Hollywood Studios) this past May. She had just gotten her face painted (she paid for it herself) and was admiring the way it looked. 20 minutes later, it was all off as she splashed and played at the Honey I Shrunk the Audience playground! $12 down the drain!!! Oh, well, it was her money. LOL!!!!

Later,

Mama Dawg

4 really cool people who give a rat's patootie:

Jodi

as you know, i love love love disney too. i wonder if they are paying better now since there is such a labour shortage.... might be something to look into.

Mama Dawg

I know. I thought of you when I wrote the post! I'll have to look in to the pay. I know that at one point they had a position that I might have been able to do that was a salaried position (in their insurance department) but I wasn't ready to make a move at that point. Oh, well. Maybe later.

Tracey R.

Love love love Disney. We are saving up for a trip - I have said for years that we would go in spring 2009 when Lucy turns 5 (we're talking, like, the year she was born we said "Okay, she's our youngest, when she turns 5 we can do a family trip to Disney!")

But with the past year, I'm not sure it's in the financial cards. :( If we can't go next spring, DEFINITELY the following spring (2010).

Minako

Hi... just happen to cross your site... I see that you also love Disney... me too...

Im planning to go to Tokyo or Hong Kong Disney this Christmas. Hoho and I found some stuffs from Hong Kong Disneyland here as well:
disneycloth.cwahi.net

I will definitely take tones of photos there!!!

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