Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Interview a CP: Sarah (Hollywood Studios Merchandise)

Sarah and some of her coworkers!
For those of you who are interested in participating in Merchandise during the Disney College Program, Sarah was kind enough to tell us about her experience working in this role in my favorite park, Disney's Hollywood Studios!

What role did you have during the DCP, and where did you work?
I did Merchandise in Hollywood Studios. I worked the entire back half of the park, aka the Backlands.

What was a typical day like at work?
I worked over 15 different locations so I never got bored in the Backlands. My days usually consisted of waking up, packing my backpack and taking the terrible Transtar bus to work! But really.....the E bus was awful. I'd walk back stage to my break room, change into the costume I had to wear that day (the Backlands has different 3 costumes depending on the location), hopefully grab some food, walk to my clock in location and clock in! The day consists of being at registers, restocking over and over again, creating Magical Moments, helping guests, and making sure my store had that Disney look. I'd open and close carts, or build lightsabers or droids if I was as Tatooine Traders, I'd talk with guests about their vacation. Then at the end of the night, I'd help close the store and registers, clock out, and fight to get on the bus to go back home! 

Is this the role you originally wanted? If not, are you happy you got it?
Like everyone else and their grandma, I wanted Entertainment. But I am actually really happy I got Merch. It's basically one of the best jobs ever and you learn valuable skills that translate well to any workplace. I got offered two jobs the week I came home from my program. 

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
My favorite part of it is the guest interaction. You actually have time to talk and get to know your guests. You get to know regulars and the guests that spend two weeks on property; you get to talk to them as yourself, not as a friend of Mickey or Goofy or Peter. You get to Pin Trade and create Magical Moments. You get to make kids smile and you get parents that thank you over and over again because you helped them have a great time. But of course, there are downsides. Guests can be THE WORST. When a guest has spent all day in the hot sun or the Florida rain, they get cranky and mean. When their child didn't get to participate in Jedi Training Academy, they take it out on you. When the foreign tour groups run rampant or the bratty cheerleaders take up most of the park, they will always and forever find a way to make it your fault. If you look ethnic in any way... everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, will assume you speak Spanish or Portuguese. I have had racial slurs thrown at me more than once. 
But the first time you make a kid smile just because you gave them a Mickey sticker, or when an 80 year old avid pin trader finds the pin he was looking for on your lanyard. When a mother cries because you spent ten minutes building a lightsaber with her son and his face lights up when he activates it... man... those are the moments to live for. 

Sarah hugging Peter Pan
Any specific magical moment you want to share?
I was building droids with three kids and their parents. I was a little stressed and I was close to going on break. But these kids were just so cute and polite, I almost didn't want to go on break. When they were done building them, the parents thanked me and each child hugged me, which just warmed my little heart. Then the mother handed me a card that they had made that said, "Oh boy!! You were great!! Special thanks from our family." Tears welled up in my eyes as I thanked them. I carried that card next to my ID for the remainder of my program and I still keep it in my wallet.

What made you want to do the DCP?
I am head over heels in love with that's a little self-explanatory. Also I was ready to see the world and I had a tad bit of wanderlust while I was stuck in my small little college town. The DCP was my Neverland and I was ready to stay young forever! 

Is there something you wish you would have known before doing your program?
BRING A CAR. DO IT. BRING ONE. You hear it all the time before your program...BUT DO IT. THE BUSES SUCK. I survived without one. But the time spent on the bus going to and from work or the parks adds up.

What advice would you give to those who are going to be participating in your role?
Get good shoes and good socks and wash them regularly. Your feet will thank you. Also learn the prices for color coded tags by heart.

What advice would you give to people who are interested in doing the DCP?
What you get out of it is what you put into it. You are there to work, remember that if you plan on getting wasted every weekend at House of Blues. It can be one of the best things you choose to do in your life if you have a good attitude. 

If you would like to ask Sarah any questions about her role, experience, anything, you follow and message her on Tumblr! She'd be more than happy to help you!

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!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Holidays in Disneyland

This was my first time experiencing Disney during the holidays! I absolutely love Halloween, and all of the Christmas decorations and shows were so beautiful! The crowds may be pretty crazy during this season, but it's sure a magical experience!

At first I was a little apprehensive about Haunted Mansion Holiday, where the mansion is transformed into a completely new attraction based off of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. However, after riding it a few times, finally watching the movie, and meeting Jack and Sally three times, it really grew on me and I have to say I really like it! I wish guests could meet Jack and Sally year round. They're really entertaining, I've never had a dull meet and greet experience!

The parade Disney has during Christmas is called A Christmas Fantasy. Let me tell you, after listening to that parade's soundtrack just one time, the song will be stuck in your head forever. I prefer watching this parade at night. If you see it on main street with all of the Christmas lights shining from the shops and buildings, it's definitely something magical that really took my breath away.

I only saw the holiday fireworks once, but it's a beautiful show called "Believe in the Holiday Magic". I recommend getting there at least an hour before if you want a decent spot. My roommate and I stood there for about an hour, and managed to get a viewing spot right in front of the castle. So worth it!

One of my favorite aspects of Disneyland during the holidays is the decorations for "it's a small world". At night, every 15 minutes or so there's a projection show similar to "Celebrate the Magic" in Walt Disney World. The lights for the night time decorations on this attraction are so stunning!

World of Color: Winter Dreams is the final holiday show, and probably the most popular this year. This is the first time World of Color transformed into a completely new show for the holidays, and honestly it focused on promoting Frozen more than the actual holiday season. However, I LOVED Elsa's part, and I really wish they kept it when they switched back to the regular show! I ended up seeing this show around 40 times since I was scheduled to work it many, many nights. (So. Much. Olaf.) Many memories were made during this show, but I'm definitely glad it's back to the original!

Did you go to Disney during the holidays? What's your favorite holiday attraction?

Have a magical day!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

One Year Ago Today..

Today marks exactly one year since I was originally hired into the Walt Disney Company. One year ago today, I was boarding a bus to Traditions with my roommate Bethany to become an official member of the Disney family. I was anxious, excited, and overall overjoyed to finally have the opportunity and experience that I've been waiting for a very long time.

Since then, I finished my entire Disney College Program and my time with the Walt Disney World Resort. I worked in Captain Cook's in the beautiful Polynesian Resort, as well as the Grand Floridian and Art of Animation. I made amazing friends from all over the globe, and made memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

After a few months off over the summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to join the Disney family once again, but this time in my home state. I was hired on September 21st, 2013 as an attractions cast member in Disney California Adventure, and currently reside in Monstropolis at Monsters Inc., Mike and Sulley to the Rescue! I've also played along with Pixar characters during the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! parade, as well as experienced the magic of World of Color multiple times in one night. Spending New Years Eve at work during World of Color: Winter Dreams with all of my amazing coworkers that are quickly turning into a family was absolutely incredible, and I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for me!

I still pinch myself over the fact that this is my life. I can't even comprehend the fact that I'm going to be published and am currently writing a book about my experience with Disney so far. I have nothing but amazing things to say about my journey with the company, and I will always and forever be grateful for all of the opportunities that have been blessed in my life. Thank you to everyone who has helped make this experience so magical and incredible, without you none of this would have been possible.

Here's to many more years to come!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

DCP Alumni Survey (Vlog)

Found this fun survey from Kaela's vlog, and decided to share my answers with you!

Survey Questions:

1. Name/age on the program/when you did the program
2. Did you live in Vista Way, Chatham Square, Patterson Court or The Commons?
3. Did you get along with all of your roommates?
4. Where did you work?
5. What was the best thing about working there?
6. What was the worst thing about working there?
7. Who was your favorite manager?
8. Were you friends with your coworkers?
9. Was there anyone you would have liked to hook up with/date?
10. How did you meet your best friends on the program?
11. Did you ever have a guest get mad at you?
12. Did you ever get a reprimand?

Hollywood Studios show:
Nighttime show:
Land in MK:
Country in World Showcase:
Top 5 favorite attractions: (Woops forgot to do this one)

Eat at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre?
Go on Carousel of Progress?
Ride Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover?
Take any Disney classes?
Take the bus?
Do anything you're not supposed to on a ride?

Would you ever consider moving to Orlando?
Would you ever do another college program?
Would you ever do a professional internship?
Are you glad you did the program?

Happy new year everyone!