Monday, December 30, 2013

Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

I was finally able to see Saving Mr. Banks the other day! It was an absolutely fantastic film, and I definitely recommend everyone to go see it! I explain more about the details in the video above.

If you've seen Saving Mr. Banks, what did you think? Have any favorite parts? What do you think they could have done better, or changed?

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

BIG News!!!

I'm extremely excited to finally announce that I'm writing a book about my Disney College Program experience, called Sara Earns Her Ears!!

As I explained in the video, a publisher from Theme Park Press noticed my blog and asked if I was interested in participating in such a project. He sent me a copy of Amber Earns Her Ears, the first book in the new DCP series. After reading her story, I decided that I definitely wanted to be a part of this project!

Writing a book has been one of my biggest dreams since I was little, even before I had the dream to work for Disney. I'm so excited to be a part of this series, and share my experience in even greater detail with all of you!

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my journey, whether you've just started reading my blogs or watching my videos or have been with me since the beginning. Without you, this wouldn't have happened, and I'm eternally grateful for every single one of my readers and viewers.

I highly recommend checking out Amber Earns Her Ears if you're interested in learning about the DCP, or if you're just curious about what it's like to work and live at Walt Disney World. Also take a look at the other Disney books Theme Park Press offers on its website!

I'll still be writing blog posts and uploading videos while I'm working on this project, I promise. I'll even give you guys updates with the progress and also still inform you about life working in Disneyland, and any new advice you might need about the DCP!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, and thanks again for all of your support!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Meeting Thor!

Loki's helmet and cuffs!
At the beginning of November, Thor became available for meet and greets in Disneyland. Before he was ready to meet with guests, Disneyland cast members got to experience the exhibit and meet him in the Asgaardian throne room!

Jesi and I woke up early in the morning and carpooled over to the park before her classes. Once we parked we head on over to Innoventions before the park opened to wait in line and see the Asgaardian exhibit. It was pretty neat to see imitation props such as weapons and Loki's helmet. After you wait in line, you walk into a room filled with these props and listen to Odin explain how Jane Porter built the exhibit for everyone on Earth as a gateway to Asgaard. After his speech, the doors open and you walk in to see Thor standing tall and proud in front of the throne. He started talking about Asgaard and then had one of the cast members in the group try and pick up his Mjolnir (the man failed, of course).

First sighting of Thor!
After his short performance, Jesi and I were near the end of the line when they started to do meet and greets. Most of the time Thor would ask each cast member where they worked and if they wanted to pose like a fearsome warrior. When Jesi went up to meet him, he asked her about her CSUF sweatshirt, and she said she's from the home of the titans (our mascot). He got pretty excited and said he's heard of them! I thought she was pretty clever for saying that.

I was curious with how Thor was going to react to the shirt I was wearing. You see, back in Florida I met Captain America in Universal Studios with my Iron Man/arc reactor shirt. Captain America didn't say anything about it, but Thor definitely noticed when I walked up to him.

Thor: "Hello! I see you know my metal friend!"

Me: "Yes, why yes I do!"

Thor: "Now, he's not your favorite, is he?"

Me: "Uhhh.....yeahhhhh he kinda is..."

Thor: *laughs* "Ah well, you seem to like the narcissistic type. It's fine, he makes a very good Avenger."

(I said something stupid that I can't remember to try and stick with the story.)

Thor: "Would you like to pose like my metal friend?"

Me: "Of course!"

Which lead to this picture:

Since this happened, it's now on my bucket list to take a picture with Thor and bring my own Mjolnir. However, I'm still trying to figure out how I would obtain one...

If you're in Disneyland and want to meet Thor, he can be found in Tomorrowland's Innoventions on the second floor, right next to the Iron Man exhibit!

In other news..I have a HUGE announcement in store for you this weekend! I'm officially done with finals, so I can film the video and share it with you guys very soon!

Have a magical weekend!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Training at Monsters Inc.

My attraction, Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the rescue! (Source)
I can't believe it's almost been three months since I starting working, and I still haven't told you guys what it's like to train and work in my new role!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was assigned to work at Monsters Inc., Mike and Sulley to the Rescue in California Adventure. Before I started actually training at my attraction, I was assigned to work during the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun parade...even though I hadn't officially been trained for guest control shifts yet. Everyone was nice and helped when I had questions. I also met and really got along with a girl from Soarin' Over California named Shannon, who quickly became my parade buddy whenever we had a shift together. (I just found out yesterday that she got accepted to cross-train at Tower of Terror, I'm so jealous!) I have more to say about guest control shifts, but I'll write a separate post to explain everything in better detail.

My first training shift was a closing shift that lasted until late at night. What's different about training here and my experience at the Polynesian is that we actually had one trainer throughout the entire training process. At the Poly, I had a different trainer each day when learning something new. Also, I trained with another person at the same time at Monsters. I actually really appreciated this structured set up, because having one trainer means they understand where you are, what you've covered already, and can give you more accurate advice near the end of your training process to see what you still need to work on. Training with another person is also nice. If one of you has a question, usually the other can help out. It's helpful going through that experience with another person, especially since I learn by watching others demonstrate the process over and over again.

My sexy Monsters costume (missing the hat)
The first day we met up with our trainer, Kayla, who was honestly the best trainer ever. I'm not just
saying that because she was mine. She was extremely thorough and explained everything we needed to know, and always elaborated in case we were confused or had any questions. She first took us to get our new costumes. They're...uh...not nearly as festive as the one I used to wear for the Poly that's for sure. Sara had the most accurate comparison for me, "You look like a janitor." That basically sums it up.

After we changed into our costumes we walked over to Monsters. The first day of training is mainly filled with briefly explaining each position, describing the ride and its details (which of course includes riding the ride at least once), and reading LOTS of the Operation Guide, which honestly made me almost fall asleep. I learned that there are seven main positions within Monsters: Booth, Greeter, Unload, Load, Dispatch/Main Console, Grouper, and Grouper Assist.

Booth: Honestly, I can't say much about booth. Let's just say it's a fun and interesting way to interact with guests ;)

Greeter: When someone is at greeter, he or she is standing in front of the ride entrance, mainly in charge of answering any guest questions (yes, this is a ride, not a show), maintaining stroller parking, and making sure the wait time is accurate.

Unload: This position is pretty straightforward. We're in charge of making sure the guests unload out of their cab quickly and safely before sending it back to load more guests. If the attraction breaks down due to a monster getting loose (which tends to happen quite a bit at mine..), unload is one of the positions in charge of walking the track and helping guests evacuate safely out of the attraction.

Load: This is my favorite position, because we're constantly moving. After a semester in quick service food and beverage, you get used to the constant busy nature of the restaurant and the fast pace work environment. I really thrive in busy work environments like that, so load is right up my ally. Load starts at a small console, spiels to the guests to take all backpacks off and load little monsters into the cab first, closes the gates, checks all lap bars, then pushes the first button to approve sending off the cab before dispatch double checks from the main console to make sure everyone is seated and ready to go. If the monsters become loose in the attraction, load is in charge of evacuating the other half of the building similar to unload.

Dispatch/Main Console: This is one of the most important positions. Dispatch is in charge of watching to make sure the cabs are not backed up, eying the cameras to ensure guests are safe on the attraction, and double checking to make sure load has the guests in their cab safely. If the monsters escape, dispatch is in charge of powering down, spieling to guests, as well as powering up the attraction after the monsters are back safe in their houses again.

Grouper: Grouper assists guests into designated lanes for each cab. They're the one who asks guests, "How many in your party? Okay please go to rows one and two."

Grouper Assist: Grouper assist helps the grouper fill lanes in case row three remains empty, as well as assists guests with disabilities when they need to be loaded into a separate cab.

The first day of training we mainly practiced Unload and the Booth, and the other two days we went over all of the procedures for powering up in the morning and also powering down for closing. The very last day of training we were scheduled to have our PA (Personal Assessment), but the monsters were let loose for at least two hours, making it difficult for us to practice our spots. We did, however, practice a lot of powering up and down, which was helpful. At the very end of our shift, one of our leads took us through the positions and watched us perform each role independently, asked a few questions, and said we passed! Just like that, I earned my ears!

I honestly love working at Monsters. The people there are great and it's so much fun interacting with the children. It's nice having an attraction with no height limit, so we get to see babies and small kids all day that we wouldn't really see at larger, more intense attractions.

Even though I was trained at Monsters, new hires usually see more guest control shifts during their first few months during their probation, which I will explain more about in a later post.

Until then, have a magical day!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New "Maleficent" Trailer

The first teaser trailer for Disney's future film, Maleficent was released this morning! I'm personally very excited for this. The CGI effects look breathtaking, and Angelina Jolie is sheer perfection.

Take a look!

What do you think? Are you excited?

Have a magical day!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

New Life at Disneyland

Hey guys!

I'm so sorry I haven't posted about what's happening in my life lately. With classes, work, and homework, I've been swamped! However, I feel like there's quite a bit I need to fill you in on the past month since the last time I posted.

Last month I announced that I got a job in attractions at Disneyland and took all of the initial orientation classes to get prepared for work. I was initially going to be in the Disney Animation building in Hollywood Land, but that changed at the last minute because it was just about to go under refurbishment. I had the option of moving to Paradise Pier and continue training that same weekend, or stay in Hollywood/Condor Flats and train the following week. Since Tower of Terror is my ultimate goal and destination, I decided to stay in Hollywood.

I took this unexpected free time to hang out in the parks for a little bit! The first day I met up with my new friends Jesi and Jeffrey, who I both met on Tumblr and work as PhotoPass Photographers in the parks. My main goals were to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones, since Pirates isn't the same in Florida and I've missed Indy so dang much. I swear, no matter how many times I ride Indy and Space Mountain, I can never decide which one is my favorite in the Disneyland park! The next day I was able to see one of my lovely friends from my DCP, Raisa! She was in town for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party for the week. I was so happy to see her, even if it was for a short bit! We got to meet Jack Skellington and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas, which I actually was finally able to watch on Halloween this year for the first time! I have to say, if you have the chance to meet these two, DO IT! Even if you haven't seen the movie, they're delightful to meet in person!

With Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas!

The weekend ended and I went (reluctantly) back to class. I can tell you one thing...even though I work at Disney again (and love it, might I add), it's not quite the same because I still have to deal with school and homework. My classes are getting rather difficult because I'm going further and further into my major, which requires more time and attention that I'm not used to balancing with a part time job. It took me a couple weeks but I can finally say I'm starting to become more accustomed to the new schedule. I just needed to sort out priorities and stay focused....and stay away from Tumblr as much as possible when doing homework.

I had a couple parade shifts and World of Color training that next week. It was interesting because these parade shifts were actually supposed to be my "Post Training" for my attraction. Since I wasn't actually at an attraction yet, I would automatically be placed in Guest Control to work the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade in Hollywood Land. I quite like parade shifts! World of Color is also growing on me, but I'll get into more detail on that later.

After a couple of parade shifts, I got a phone call from the cast member in charge of scheduling informing me about my new attraction: Monsters Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue! I was definitely excited! I'll talk about what it's like to work there and training in another post, but I enjoy it! All of the cast members there are extremely nice and helpful, and my trainer was the best.

Again, I apologize for my lack of posting! The other day I filmed some footage at Disneyland, but not enough to make an entire video. I think I'm just going to film a little each time I go to make one bigger compilation of Disneyland and then California Adventure. I'll even try and show you guys my ride!

Right now I'm actually back home with my family for the long weekend. I wanted to be able to visit before the holidays really started to kick off, which means that requesting days off would be more difficult. I'm EXTREMELY excited because as of tomorrow, Lizzie will be visiting me in exactly a week! Also in less the two months, Jake will be here! I can't wait to see them!

I hope everyone has a magical weekend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Interview a CP: Valentina (All Star Music QSFB)

Valentina and Minnie!
Valentina participated in the DCP during Spring Advantage 2012! Unlike many other food and beverage cast members that I previously interviewed, Valentina actually worked mornings most of the time at her resort. Read on to hear about her experience!

What role did you have during the DCP, and where did you work?
I was quick service food and beverage, and I worked at the Intermission Food Court at All-Star Music!

What was a typical day like at work?
I would normally start between five and seven am. If I started at five, 5:30, or six, I had to open one of the different areas we had (pizza, grill, specialty, bakery, waffles, beverage island or market), which basically just meant getting everything ready for the breakfast hours. We were usually pretty busy between six and eleven am, but after that it was basically pretty slow for the rest of the day because all of the guests had already left for the park. At eleven we switched to lunch, so if you were in pizza, grill, specialty or bakery, you had to do changeover, which meant spending the morning getting the lunch things ready. Depending on the length of my shift, I'd be off around 11-12 or 2-3. 

Is this the role you originally wanted? If not, are you happy you got it?
It wasn't even in my top five. Or ten. But I did learn a lot and while there were a lot of ups and downs during my CP, overall I had a good experience.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
Valentina and some friends at Typhoon Lagoon!
My favourite part was working in the grill! That's where we did pancakes and French toast in the morning, and burgers and chicken nuggets for lunch. It was always very fast-paced, and shifts there went by super quickly! I also really liked specialty, because the salad bar was really fun to work. My least favourite part was having to work so early — I felt like I was constantly missing out on hanging out with my roommates and doing fun things because I had to be up at three or four am.

Any specific magical moment you want to share?
The only thing I can think of is our area magical moment. I knew about magical moments before I started working at Disney, so I asked my trainer on one of my first days about it! What we did was called "Chef of the Day," where we picked a kid who was eating in the food court to be our chef of the day, asked him or her what flavour of ice cream they wanted and got them every topping in the house so they could make their own sundae!

 What made you want to do the DCP?
It was a total stroke of fate! I got an email in October of 2011 telling me applications were open, when I'd never signed up for any email alert, list or anything of the sort. Regardless, I went with my instinct and applied and it was the best decision I ever made!

Is there something you wish you would have known before doing your program?
I wish I'd been more selective with the roles I wanted when I applied, because I could have gotten a different role if that were the case.

All Star Music costume!
What advice would you give to those who are going to be participating in your role?
Be prepared to work a lot harder than you think you will, and for really weird hours because when you work resort F&B, you're either am or pm and you either start working really early or get off work really late!

What advice would you give to people interested in doing the DCP?
DO IT!!! It was the best experience I had and I'm so glad I did it. Do what you can to get here because it'll be worth it, and when you're here, make the most out of it. Don't forget that it's not always going to be perfect, and you'll have days when you'll want to go home, but at the end of the day, you'll be working in the happiest place on earth and doesn't that make everything a little better?

If you're a current or past college program cast member and would like to share your experience, email your name and role to to participate!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Interview a CP: Emily (Hollywood Studios Parking)

Emily meeting Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope!
When you think of Main Entrance Operations, most would immediately think about the turnstiles and working the entrance to one of the Disney parks. However, that's not all that you can do with this role! Emily was kind enough to share about her experience during the DCP as a cast member working in Hollywood Studios parking. She loves it so much she continues to work in this role and location to this day, months after her program!

What role did you have during the DCP, and where did you work?
My role is Main Entrance Operations Parking at Hollywood Studios.

What was a typical day like at work?
A typical day at work depends on whether you work a day shift or a night shift or a double which means working all day. If you work during the day there is a lot more going on. There are about eight possible positions. You can be Auto 6 which is the pointer position of whatever row we're parking. You could be Auto 9 which is in charge of assigning buses a spot in the charter lot, AAA Diamond Parking, Sending guests to the medical lot, medical overflow, and drop offs and pick ups. Auto 7 is the pointer of traffic to whatever section of our parking lot we are parking. Fielders is another option. There are usually between one and three helping the cars park, not physically, but directing them into the correct spots. Audience Control makes sure the guests are safe while trying to get from their cars to the trams or even walking to the park. Tram Loader does as the name indicates: load the tram and make sure everyone is following the guidelines. Tram driver obviously drives the tram. Tram Spieler spiels and lets guests know important information such as where they are parked and park information. That's basically every position you can have in a rotation. 

When you start you call Auto 5, which is the coordinator, and get an assignment. You are at that assignment until someone breaks you then you call for a break time. After your break, you call Auto 5 for a new assignment. Our role is a little different because we use CDS to clock in and out, but not for assignments. If you work a night shift you are either on a tram (so driver or spieler), Auto 6 repark and you do the same as day Auto 6, but you're in the Stage parking lot and usually you don't have a fielder, or tram loader. If you work a double it just means you work all day and transition from day positions to night positions which are the same just with less people. For CP's at Hollywood Studios Parking we usually work the night shift so it's not too bad and it keeps you out of the sun for the most part. For me a typical day at work is clocking in, getting an assignment which usually is a tram unless I get Auto 6 and sometimes I get tram load. For the most part though if I work a night shift, I am on a tram (which I love).

Is this the role you originally wanted? If not, are you happy you got it?
No, this is not the role I originally wanted. I originally wanted Concierge/Front Desk at a resort because I really wanted to see what it would be like. I also thought that would be a great role to expand my communication skills and put my bilingual abilities to good use. But here at Disney that is every role. Even though it wasn't my first choice, believe it or not I am very glad I got Parking and it has definitely changed my life and made me learn a lot about myself.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
My favorite parts are the people I work with because without them I don't know if I would enjoy my job as much. My favorite part is getting to work with my boyfriend. Yes we met in the parking lot. ;) I love being on a tram, I don't exactly know why, but I do. I like that we don't use CDS for breaks because that seems stressful to me. I like being able to add things to my spiel and the chance to sit down if you get to drive. 

My least favorite parts about my job are sometimes having to be standing in the hot sun for hours. Sometimes I hate the long hours. I really dislike Auto 9. I don't know why, maybe because it can be a little boring. I don't like tram loading after Fantasmic because I'm incapable of being mean and people really don't want to listen after a long day, they just want to go home and don't understand that we do what we do for their safety. It can get frustrating sometimes.

Emily and her roommates!
Any specific magical moment you want to share?
When I first found out I was going to be in the parking lot I was like great so much for guest interaction, but I was wrong. I still get some guest interaction so I was glad about that. I have quite a few magical moments from the last six months, but I'll share the latest and probably one of the most magical ones I've had. 

A few days ago I was spelling on the back of a tram and was kinda down because I got moved away from my boyfriend and I wasn't having a good day. So I was put to spiel which I usually love, but I was just not in the mood to be magical, but I had this huge group (I think a tour group) and they filled up the whole last cart of my tram and they saw my name tag and they just started chanting my name the entire ride. Like, "Emily, Emily..." It lifted my spirits and put me in a better mood. That was a magical moment for me. One magical moment I created was that there was a family with three kids and they all had birthday buttons on, but they weren't triplets. So they were on my tram on their way into the park and on their way out of the park. I told the entire tram to say happy birthday both times and it totally made their day. The parents thanked me and even asked me if I would be there that Wednesday because they would be coming back and they told me they hoped to see me again. It was sweet.

What made you want to do the DCP?
I don't know anyone who knows about the DCP and doesn't want to do it, honestly. Well, I first heard about the program my senior year of high school. My ex was a freshman in college and found out about it at school and told me about it and I had to find out more. Then I started college and heard about it again. I tried to go to a presentation my freshman year, but never was available at the time. Then I came to Disney for the first time ever in my life last summer and my friend was doing the program and I learned more about it and I knew I wanted to do it. Last Fall I applied as soon as the application came out and eventually finally went to a presentation on campus. I really like Disney and once I did the research I knew that it was something I couldn't pass up. Once I saw how much my friend was enjoying it, I knew it was for me.

Is there something you wish you would have known before doing your program?
I wish I would have known the importance of bringing a car. Even though there's buses I really feel like life is easier if you have a car. Yes, you make friends who have cars and if you're lucky like me, have a boyfriend with a car. It's still helpful to have your own. I did my research so I was pretty prepared and knew what to expect for the most part. I wish I knew how humid it gets here. It is definitely a big change from Wisconsin.

What advice would you give to those who are going to be participating in your role?
Anyone who is going to be in parking (especially at Hollywood Studios) the advice I can give you is be prepared to work hard with long hours standing up unless you're driving. If you're doing Advantage like I am get ready for a hot and humid summer. Always stay hydrated. If you burn easily wear sunscreen. If you don't like it at first (because some don't), don't give up. I can't think of anything else at the top of my head, but if anyone gets parking they can definitely reach out to me and I'll be glad to answer any questions.

What advice would you give to people who are interested in doing the DCP?

First off, DO THE PROGRAM! It has changed my life and I could not be happier that I decided to do this program. You could end up like me...I like to think I found my prince charming and at Disney and I never expected that. Goes to show anything can happen. Advice I can give from personal experience is that do your research and decide when the best time for you to do the program, but make sure you do it. I say that because I didn't plan on staying here, I planned on coming back after graduation, but then after months of thinking I have decided to stay and go seasonal and will be going to school in Florida.

If you would like to contact Emily for any questions about her role or her experience during the DCP, you can find her on Twitter and Blogger!

If you're a current or past college program cast member and would like to share your experience, email your name and role to to participate!

I also want to personally apologize to Emily for taking SO long to post this interview. I'm so thankful she was able to share her story, and I'm so appreciative of her support and kind words. Thank you Emily!

Have a magical day everyone!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I'm a Cast Member Again!

My new name tag!
Hello everyone!

Last weekend one of my dreams came true: I am officially a cast member for the Disneyland Resort.

I had mentioned previously that I had gotten a job in attractions for Disney California Adventure, but I actually had to wait an entire month before I was officially re-joining the Disney family, as well as know which attraction I would be working.

Saturday I had Traditions. Honestly...I actually enjoyed the way Disneyland did Traditions more than Walt Disney World. It's really small and nit-picky reasons, but overall they were pretty similar. (I was also hyped up on coffee since my class was at eight in the morning, which probably helped my attention span this time around.) At the end of Traditions I was extremely excited to get my ID and head to the parks to meet my friends Jesi and Jeffrey, who already had jobs as Photopass photography cast members. However, once I walked over to get my items, it turns out I was one of very few people who wasn't getting an ID that day...which meant I couldn't go in the parks. I was really disappointed, and felt bad to cancel my plans with my friends, but my roommate made tacos that night and the park was really crowded so I guess everything worked out just fine!

The next day was my Our California Story class. All cast members who are going to be working in California Adventure need to take this class to learn all about the heritage of the park. This was actually the first time I had visited the park in over two years, before the addition of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land. I really grew to appreciate the park and it's story after this class!

The third and final day of my orientation series was Welcome to Park Operations, where I learned all about the different roles that contribute to park operations! I enjoyed this class. It was definitely more fun and interesting than my Food and Beverage class (food safety is just so....awesome...). It's also probably because I've always been fascinated with theme parks, especially Disneyland. Learning more about the different areas and roles that contribute to park operations was really interesting.

My guest control/World of Color costume!
At the end of this class I finally was able to see my training schedule, as well as my location! They had placed my in the Disney Animation building, which includes Turtle Talk with Crush and other really cool rooms and activities. I was really excited to get started at this location, but by the time my first day of on the job training started on Wednesday, I discovered that Animation is going under refurbishment soon, so casting is going to need to switch me in a different location. This postponed my training for about a week, but I'm still going to stay in Hollywood Land/Condor Flats area. I haven't been told where I'm going to be yet, but I do still have a guest control shift at World of Color on Wednesday which I'm excited for!

Overall life has been getting very busy, but I'm loving every minute of it! I'll let you know as soon as I find out which attraction I'm going to be working at specifically. But until then...

Have a magical day! :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

DCP: Web Based Interview Advice

In the past, most people have been asking about advice for how to ace the phone interview portion of the application for the Disney College Program. This year, I've been getting many questions for advice on how to pass the Web Based Interview (WBI) of the application. After hearing back from people who have passed and those who unfortunately did not continue after the WBI, I have thought of some basic tips and guidelines to remember while taking your WBI to help better your chances of making it to the phone interview stage.

  1. Use "Strong" Answers: The WBI is going to give you a series of questions one by one. They're typically about you and your personality, such as, "Are you generally a positive person?" They'll also throw in some questions like, "In my opinion, the customer is always right." The way you will answer these questions is on a scale of "Strongly Disagree" to "Strongly Agree." When you agree or disagree with one of the questions, USE THE STRONG OPTIONS. It has been common with people who haven't passed the WBI to tell me they rarely used the strong answers. Those who have used the strong answers generally have passed. There's a rumor going around that if you use too many strong answers, Disney will "catch you" and "assume you're just telling them what they want to hear." Don't worry about that. Answer what you think describes YOU. With this in mind, it's okay to answer a few questions with neutral or just agree/disagree. I probably did about three answers neutral and two with just the normal agree/disagree options. Just don't make it a habit of answering with these options, or else you may find yourself in trouble.
  2. Don't Over Think: Some people are freaked out and nervous because the WBI is timed. They also might think too much about what they assume Disney wants them to put as their answers. Disney doesn't want you to put what you think they're looking for, they want you to answer truthfully about you. Also, don't be concerned about the timed aspect of the interview. They give you one question one by one with plenty of time to answer each individually. The only times I found myself worried about taking too long is when I would start over thinking about a question. Analyzing the questions too much is what could get you in trouble for the time limit.
  3. Don't Stress: Lastly, I want you guys to keep in mind that everything happens for a reason. If for some reason you don't get the option to move on for a phone interview, it's not the end of the world, it's just not your time to do the program yet. As long as you're not done with college, you have an opportunity to apply again. I know plenty of people that applied more than once to get into the program. Just stay persistent and everything will work out in the end.
One last note: Many of you are concerned about not getting the invitation for the WBI after getting your confirmation email after sending in your application. Personally, I was able to get my WBI invite and sign up for my phone interview all in the same day. However, this is not always the case. I know plenty of people who had to wait a few days before getting their WBI invite simply because of the massive amounts of applicants sending in their applications at the same time. The website's traffic is increasing every year. I doubt Disney wants everyone doing the WBI at the same time. I've even heard of people applying for part-time positions (they need the WBI too) and not getting the WBI until a week later.

You are not out of the running until they tell you that you are no longer in consideration. Just be patient. Applying to the DCP is one giant waiting game. It's frustrating, I realize that. You're going to have to learn to wait and see what happens because it's out of your control.

For those of you applying, good luck! I hope these tips help you in your WBI, and if you want any advice for the phone interview you can check out the video and study guide I posted earlier this year!

Have a magical day everyone!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Interview a CP: Erin (Outdoor Foods)

Erin working at the Spectacle of Dancing Lights!
QSFB has two basic sub-roles that cast members can be a part of: quick service restaurants (what I did), and outdoor vending. I've had some questions about outdoor vending before, and since I didn't actually take part in that role, I didn't have very many answers. Thankfully, Erin sent me an email saying that she had been a part of the program in outdoor foods! Here's what she had to say about her experience:

What role did you have during the DCP, and where did you work?
I was given the role of QSFB but when I got to casting I found out I would be working outdoor foods at Hollywood Studios. I could work at any of the outdoor carts around the park that sold items like ice cream (bars and soft serve), frozen drinks, popcorn, pretzels/churros, funnel cakes or even hotdogs at Herbies. ODF also included vending at Fantasmic. Oh...and I was there in 2012 for Fall Advantage!

What was a typical day like at work?
There were typically one of two possible schedules:

- An opening day would usually start around 10:30 where our shift would start with a meeting about the expected weather for the day, park capacity, and any new information about products or prices. We would then pick up our assignment on CDS (the park was split into 3 zones – Backlands, Icon, and Sunset and we would be assigned a zone on our schedule everyday but throughout that day we could work at any or all of the carts within that zone). After learning what we would be opening we would grab anything that needed to be taken out with us – like fruit, R2D2 steins, cups, or whatever the closers might have forgotten. All that stuff would go in a dolly and then we had to go get the register/count the money, the radio, and allergy book. Since I couldn't walk through the parks alone with the money I would have to wait for a stocker to come take me out and help me open. Most carts would be open around 11:15.

-A closing shift would start around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. It would start like a regular shift by getting an assignment and taking over whatever is next – usually someone else’s bump-out or break. You would usually find yourself at whatever cart you had to close after your break. And that place would close about an hour before we were scheduled to get off. A stocker would come out to help us close and walk us and our money back. Before we left we would have to take inventory of everything in our cart and bring the counts back with us to find out what the reload would be. We were one of the lucky parks and our GTs would count our money for us, we just had to sort the receipts based on “credit cards/room charges” or if they paid with a “snack plan.” Then if we were closing a soda/ice cream cart we would have to take all the bottles out and count them and then reload what we took out, plus whatever we needed to get the cart up to par. Popcorn and soft serve ice cream carts had to be cleaned. Popcorn machines had to be emptied and all the oil/butter wiped out. And the ice cream machines had to be drained, disassembled, and cleaned out. At first it was a pain and took forever, but if you work in certain carts often enough it became routine and you figure out shortcuts to help get it done faster.

-During the day some places would be busier than others. It was always a good day if you picked up a place that had 2 people working at it so when you did have down time you had somebody to talk to. And I actually liked working outside because there was always something going on in the park. The biggest things during the day were: we only got one break, sometimes it did get really hot (or cold), and we had to worry about constantly getting new product. Every 20-30 minutes, new popcorn had to be popped and if you were at a pretzel cart you had to call back to pretzel kitchen when you were running low on product.

-Then there was was always a fun, easy shift. It started around 4, you get your break right away, and then the coordinators hand out assignments (I always worked register or filler in a food pad. Nobody wanted to get vending, because you had to be able to count all the change in your head. We were give an hour and a half to set up. Doors opened an hour and a half before the first show and the food pads would close during the actual show. Since the second show is never that busy, most of the time the smaller food pad on the far end would close and you would get to go home early.

Is this the role you originally wanted? If not, are you happy you got it?
I actually did not want QSFB. I had it as low interest. I wanted attractions, character attendant or merchandise. However, I ended up loving my job, so it worked out for the best. Working with food at Disney is much better than working food anywhere else.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
Favorite:  It sounds cliché, but the people were amazing. I met some of my best friends through my job. And not just the people I worked with, but all the employees at studios were so nice all the time. I even was able to become friends with some of the guys in Mulch, Sweat, and Shears and the 4 main cast members of the Hollywood Studios Film Crew. And I even enjoyed being outside. I got to work in the middle of a Disney park. I would spend my days singing and doing the choreography to the parade and Disney Channel Rocks (RIP Studios entertainment), The Beauty and the Beast stage show, and Mulch, Sweat, and Shears. And when I worked Fantasmic I got to watch the show! Plus....I got a lot of free food. If a pretzel cart had a lot of leftovers the managers let us eat them and I got a few free Mickey Bars and on my last day I got a cup full of soft serve ice cream and toppings.

Least favorite: CLOSING SUCKED SO MUCH. It would take AGES. I can’t even remember how many times I clocked out late because closing took forever. And it was very tiring. Especially unloading and reloading the soda wagons. Towards the end of the program we all had zones we worked at pretty much everyday, mine was Backlands. Which at first I hated because everyones least favorite place (the giant coke bottle) was part of that. But I eventually became a pro at closing Herbies so I would get put there all the time, which I didn’t mind closing. I could do it in 20 minutes.

Erin performing with Mulch, Sweat and Shears!
Any specific magical moment you want to share?
I had magical moments every day. Studios was the one park where we were encouraged and required to give away free food every day. So it was fun to be able to make someone’s day in such a simple way. I had my personal favorite people to magical moment – I loved a nice old couple to surprise, or a family with a lot of kids, and especially young children who would order by themselves and were really polite. A few stand outs were I was talking to a nice family right before the park closed. And there was a high school girl who was asking me about the program and if I like it and what I do. Her whole family was nice so I gave them free ice cream sandwiches and they were floored and right before they left the girl told me I inspired her to do the program. Another one was I was at Peevy’s where we do frozen beverages with one of my best friends working with me. And we had a bride and her family (no groom) and gave her a free drink to congratulate her on her nuptials. Her whole family was like OMG and we were like where is the groom?! You have to bring him by later. SO sure enough about an hour later we hear “ERIN AND MANDY! THIS IS *grooms name*” So we gave him a free drink of his choice and they told us we made their entire vacation. And my favorite moment was more of a magical moment for me. I was having a long day and it was really hot and I was kind of cranky and this little 5 year old girl and her mom come up, order ice cream, and pay and the mom says, “What do you say?” and the little girl looked at me and said “Thank you so much for working hard all day so kids like me can have fun in the park.” I almost cried on the spot. It turned my entire day around. Not all kids are spoiled brats at Disney.

What made you want to do the DCP?
I did the program because I wanted to do something big. I was tired of just sitting at college and I wanted to go out and make a difference. I wanted to try something new that other people don’t get to do. Plus Disney has always been my favorite.

Is there something you wish you would have known before doing your program?
 I wish I knew how hard it was going to be to say goodbye. I wasn’t expecting to make such good friends. Leaving and having to say goodbye to everyone was the hardest thing I have had to do. Especially because everyone lives all over the world. Not just the country, the world. But it does give an excuse to travel.  Also, I wished I believed people when they said the winter months actually get cold. I was freezing. I wish I brought more jeans and jackets.

What advice would you give to those who are going to be participating in your role?
Don’t go into the job with a negative attitude. A lot of people were upset about getting stuck in food and it ruined the experience for them. The job isn’t bad. It is what you make it. comfy shoes. The first 3 weeks my feet have never been in so much pain from standing all day. Be prepared to work hard. ODF is not an easy job, it is physically demanding. And MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE STOCKERS AND COORDINATORS. If the stockers like you they will be more likely to show up to your cart early and actually help you close or open or unload you cart backstage. And if coordinators like you, they will give you an ER. And let you close places that you actually like to close. I even had coordinators that would help me clean. You don’t want coordinators to hate you.

What advice would you give to people who are interested in doing the DCP?
I would say be prepared to work. During the holidays most people only get one day off. Also, a lot of people self term because they thought it would just be playing in the parks all day. Don’t go and make stupid decisions like underage drinking in the apartments. YOU WILL GET CAUGHT AND FIRED. If you don’t plan on taking the program seriously, don’t do it. You are taking a chance away from someone else who actually wants to be there and follow the rules. Don’t be selfish. Really think about it.

If you would like to contact Erin about her role or the program, you can find her on these sites:
Twitter: @Rinny92DANCE

Have a magical day everyone!

If you're a current or past college program cast member and would like to share your experience, email your name and role to to participate!