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!