Sunday, June 30, 2013

Interview a CP: Melissa (Recreation)

Melissa hard at work!
Earlier last week I interviewed Caitie, who was involved in the children's activities aspect of the recreation role. Melissa had a different role for recreation, boat docks/marinas! Here's what she has to say about her experience as a resort recreation cast member:

What role did you have during the DCP, and where did you work?
I am Recreation! I worked the Sassagoula Region, which includes Port Orleans Riverside and Downtown Disney.
What was a typical day like at work?
My typical day is closing docker. Like most cps, I close almost every day...(which is fine by me because the marina is only open until 7pm!) I'll come in around noon, speil and load guests into boats, bring boats in, fuel up some searaycers, maybe break the cashier and be tormented by the lakers. Especially be tormented by the lakers. 
Other things included in our role is cashiering, surrey bikes/regular bikes, and fishing hole.
Is this the role you originally wanted? If not, are you happy you got it?
Originally when I saw Recreation, I was hoping for Children's Activities. But I actually really really enjoy my job and the people I work with. I wouldn't want to work anywhere else :)
What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
Constant hours. The marina hours are constant. No extra magic hours. Marina closes at 7...latest I work is 8:30. No force extensions. I also love mostly everybody I work with. Everybody has a great sense of humor, and they are a lot of fun to work with. At Port when it's slow we play games like corn hole, jenga, and four square. We blow bubbles, hula hoop, dance, whatever we want. My coordinators are like the older brothers you've always secretly always wanted. They squirt me in the eye with water guns, throw footballs in my face, and almost run me over with their pargos...the list can go on. I also really like that I work in two locations and I love both locations for different reasons. Downtown Disney is the busiest marina in all of Walt Disney World, and it definitely holds true. Some days, you blink your eye and its over. Port is more slow paced, and you get way more guest interaction. You can talk to the families a little more and get to know more about their vacation which also means that there are more opportunities to create magical moments. At Downtown, you're always on the go, so it's a little harder to give every family special attention. All in all though, I really do enjoy my job. Also, I sometimes get to go on a boat. It's a good day when they take you out on a lake patrol boat.
If you're a docker, you're outside for a very very very long time out in the sun. You are doing a lot of physically draining work in that humid Florida sunshine. You are running up and down the dock loading and unloading families, making sure children don't run off the dock into the lake, trying to direct in pontoons with crazy, clueless drivers without being knocked into the lake, starting and spieling large groups of seayracers at once, etc. etc. Its just a lot of hustle and bustle in the heat (especially in Downtown!) and sometimes it's hard to just stop and take a drink of water. Another con are the guests that don't speak english. We have to go through a very important safety speil before we send each family out. (How to drive the boat, what to do if you need help, what to do if the boat stalls, waterway etiquette, etc) and a lot of times, these people will have absolutely no idea what I am saying which is incredibly dangerous, especially if they have never driven a boat before. It's definitely a huge inconvenience.... this also goes out to the guests who don't want to listen to your speil! It's like you're talking to a wall! Also, fishing hole at port. Blech. And checklists. We have lots and lots of checklists. 
Melissa with some fellow cast members!
Any specific magical moment you want to share?
There's only one I can think of right now.... I was cashiering at Downtown and a dad and his son (around maybe 6 years old) just came back from going on a searaycer. So I was doing the usual 'welcome back! did y'all have a good time? yadda yadda' and the little boy was like "My dream just came true!" and I was like "Oh yeah? What was your dream?" and he said "To go on a boat!" And I just gave him like 100 mickey stickers and he was adorable. 
What made you want to do the DCP?
The moment I heard about this program I knew this is where I needed to be. I love everything about Disney, and I knew since high school that this is where I belong. 
Is there something you wish you would have known before doing your program?
No, I did my homework before coming! :) 
What advice would you give to those who are going to be participating in your role?
  • Drink LOTS of water
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Be prepared to be outside for 8.5 hours
  • Thunderstorms are your best friends
  • Bring two pairs of shoes & socks, and two shirts. (If it rains, it's nice to have a dry pair of sneakers to change into. Also, two shirts because there are a lot of birds who like to use the dock as their potty and sometimes the dockers get in the way...)
  • Accept the fact that you'll probably fall in the lake atleast once.
  • Searaycers are going to be a pain in your butt. But they do get easier. I promise. 
  • Know your spiel. You're going to get audited, and just know your spiel because audits are scary. 
  • Also, don't wear expensive sunglasses. You'll go through about 50 pairs. 
  • Be prepared for an awful farmers tan.
  • Know your knots! 
  • During lightning storms, cps are sent out with metal rods to go see how close the lightning is. CP sacrifices are common. (jk :P )
What advice would you give to people who are interested in doing the DCP?
 Be prepared to work! Don't come here expecting just to party and goof off. You will work a lot and you will work hard. Not all days are going to be magical. Just come with an extremely open mind. If you come with certain expectations and aren't willing to try to accept things are the way they are, of course it's going to suck. I wasn't totally excited to work at a marina at first, I was pretty bummed about it. But I had an open mind and did my work, and eventually I grew to love it. And be prepared to meet your future best friends.  I grew to love a lot of people down here who changed my life for the better. This program changes you and your whole life. This experience molded me into who I am today, and I am forever grateful for this experience and everyone who made an impact on me. This program will truly change things (hopefully for the 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!

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