Monday, November 24, 2014

Interview a CP: Nikki (Magic Kingdom Custodial)

Nikki in front of Be Our Guest during her last shift!
Imagine spending every day getting paid to walk and maintain the beauty and cleanliness of the wonderful Magic Kingdom. Nikki was able to do this during her program, and created some wonderful memories that she was kind enough to share with you!

What role did you have during the DCP, and where did you work?
I was custodial in Magic Kingdom east, which took care of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

What was a typical day like at work?
It depended if I was assigned to a restroom or on a streets shift. In a restroom, your only responsibilities are to keep it looking pretty much perfect; no toilet paper on the ground, no messes on the seats, making sure toilets are flushed, trash cans are emptied when they are full and keeping the water off the sinks. 

If I was in the streets, my day consisted of picking up trash off the ground and sweeping it into my pan, sweeping up popcorn at ninja-like speeds before guests can see it on the ground, and emptying trashcans assigned to my zone. In the streets you are also responsible for any codes that happen in your zone; Code V (vomit), Code H (feces), BBP clean up (blood), etc. If you are assigned to a zone with an attraction, you are also responsible for all trash cans inside the attraction, along with any codes that happen. It sounds like a really terrible job, but I promise it’s not. You have the most room for guest interaction, which leads to making magical moments! 

Is this the role you originally wanted? If not, are you happy you got it?
I said to the woman on the phone that I would gladly take any role, but when I got my email telling me I was Custodial, my heart dropped. I began to research it and everyone was telling nothing but horror stories and I dreaded it. Looking back on it now, I couldn’t have asked for a better role and when I move back down in August 2015 I’m applying for custodial part time. 

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
Obviously no one enjoys cleaning up codes, but Disney makes it really easy to clean any code...yay efficiency! I’d have to say that [cleaning up codes] was my least favorite part. My favorite part was hands down making magical moments. In custodial, your costume is universal throughout ALL of Walt Disney World. Because of this, if in order to make a magical moment you needed to go from Tomorrowland to Adventureland, you could, because your costume does not restrict you to a certain area. It’s great.

Any specific magical moment you want to share?
Gosh, I have so many. Ok here’s a good one. It was my last night of work, and I was crossing the bridge going to clock out after I had spent the day working in the Be Our Guest bathroom. I was sad for a number of reasons, as my program was ending, but I was really upset because I had not seen a single proposal during my program. It's pouring rain, and there's a couple leaving BOG, dancing in the rain, and running. Normally, I would have said something about them running, but whatever, last night of work, don't want my last guest interaction to be a negative one. The boyfriend slips and "falls" onto one knee, and proposes right there in the pouring rain. I stopped dead in my tracks and BURST into tears (oops). the girl said yes and a group of their friends came running from the Gaston area to congratulate them. I told one of their friends to make them stay put while I ran to The Fantasy Faire Gift Shop and explained to a manager what I saw. He gave me the bride and groom mickey ears for a magical moment. I went back, and told the couple that Belle and the Beast had been watching from the library and wanted to congratulate them on their engagement. I handed them the hats and the girlfriend started to cry. Her boyfriend explained that the whole trip she had been wanting a pair of Mickey ears but they couldn't let themselves pay over $20 for it. I took some pictures for them, crying the whole time, and told them it was my last night as a cast member. The couple took a picture with me, hugs all around, and then I went to clock out. Thinking about this makes me choke up every time, but I honestly could not have ended my program on a better note.

What made you want to do the DCP?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Disney. When I went in 2011 on my senior trip I asked a girl working at Pizza Planet how she got her job here, and she told me she was on the Disney College Program. I did my research once I got home and my mind was made up.

Is there something you wish you would have known before doing your program?
There is NO NEED to bring every article of clothing you own. I was working so much, I think I only did laundry like four times on the program because I barely wore street clothes. You don’t need 40 pairs of shoes, ladies! 

Nikki's "fan club" before the Electric Parade!

What advice would you give to those who want to participate in your role?
Don’t listen to the horror stories. Make the most of the role, and make as much magic as possible. The magical moments really outweigh the terrible days. 

Any advice for the character performer audition? What should someone expect when they audition?
I only went to one character audition, before my program, in Philadelphia. There was like 400 people there. I have a background in dance and theatre. I didn’t make it past the first round. I just wasn’t what they were looking for today. Don’t give up! If it’s really what you want, keep going, make big movements and get them to look at you without being obnoxious. The audition process was like this- I got there, they gave me a number. They called people in groups of 30. We learned a really simple dance combo, and then did it in two lines for the judges. After everyone was done the first round, they called  a bunch of numbers and said anyone who wasn’t called thank you, you may leave. My friends made it through to the next round and said the dance combo was a lot harder, and more advanced. One friend made it all the way to the end and got fitted for a wig, and had her pictures and measurements taken.

What advice would you give to people who are interested in doing the DCP?
If you make it to the phone interview, know why you want to work for the company. I had a little script written out and knew what I wanted to say. Also, do not give up hope. I was denied four times until I was finally accepted. The DCP has been the best thing to ever happen to me and it was so worth the wait, because if I hadn’t gone on my specific program, I wouldn’t have met the people I met and my life wouldn’t be the way it is today. Keep moving forward, and never lose sight of your dreams!

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 hope everyone has a magical day!

1 comment:

  1. aw what a sweet magical moment, and great job being so positive throughout! just a little advice for next time, don't be afraid to ask for a particular position, it can't hurt to ask! :)