Friday, December 18, 2015

Interview a CP: Noelle (Animal Kingdom Custodial)

It's been a while since I've posted a college program interview! I apologize for my absence...I was focusing on finishing college! Now that I'm done, I'm ready to dedicate more time towards this blog and share even more interviews with you, like Noelle's!

What role did you have during the DCP, and where did you work?
Custodial at Disney's Animal Kingdom during Spring Advantage 2014! (Jan-Aug)

What was a typical day like at work?
Typically, I got street shifts and mostly closing. With that, I'd usually work 6-8 hour shifts where I'd be assigned to a specific area in the park. I'd have 1-2 trash runs and would get a radio for my area depending on the schedule. When I didn't have a trash run I'd be sweeping and interacting with guests (and also watching the animals or doing water art!) I'd occasionally get called for codes (I actually rarely had anything: 1 BBP, 1 code U, and just a few code Vs during my whole program). DAK is really relaxed and I loved the people I worked with. I'd get restroom shifts too which would typically start an hour before the park opened and end an hour after it closed (10-12 hours or I'd help cover a restroom which is a much shorter shift). Restrooms are either one or two depending on how busy the restroom or the park is. I'd even get back of house shifts (too many) which is really relaxed and you clean the restrooms backstage.

Is this the role you originally wanted? If not, are you happy you got it?
It was my top choice! I have anxiety so I loved how relaxed this role is! I wanted to be in a park but my last choice was DAK because I heard it was the hottest. Of course I'd get it but I'm so happy I did and wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else! It's actually not as bad with heat because there is so much shade (heat and humidity in FL will always suck).

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
Least: POPCORN SPILLS. Especially after it rains. People seem to love to spill all of their popcorn and no matter how many times you sweep up around a popcorn cart, there will ALWAYS be popcorn. It's even more difficult cause people step in it. I also hated when it would rain because the drains have to be cleared and they're terrible at DAK (and MK) and cause massive floods. Some people aren't always helpful but I had a lot of other coworkers who were amazing. I didn't like getting BOH shifts because I like keeping busy and being in the park interacting with guests.

Favorite: The park, guests interactions (for the most part), and my coworkers. DAK is so great with all the entertainment and animals! It's super detailed and easy to keep yourself from being bored. Guests aren't usually ever out right rude to custodians (but some can act superior but you start laughing at it and it's not bad and most are super kind and grateful). I had a lot of cool interactions with guests especially because I LOVE facts about Disney and the park. I also had a really great group of coworkers that I still talk to all the time and some are even my best friends. It's like a family at DAK  cause it's small enough to know everyone but big enough to not feel lonely. 

Noelle and her best friend creating pre-parade water art!

Any specific magical moment you want to share?
I LOVED getting to do pre parade water art! One of the best times I ever had was when I got to draw Donald with my best friend who drew Mickey and see all the kids get excited and trying to pump up the crowd (which is really hard and you learn to have a great time even if no one is listening haha.) A specific magical moment was that time because I got to draw Donald for a little girl that was sitting away from the crowd and couldn't see. I got to talk to her one on one and had her guess what I was drawing. It's such a magical experience to watch as kids try to guess what you're drawing and she was so excited to guess Donald correctly! While some of my friends were more into interacting with larger groups and making everyone super excited, I loved getting to have special smaller moments. Having preferences for magical moments is so much easier in custodial because it has more freedoms and is flexible.

What made you want to do the DCP?
I wanted to do the program as soon as I found out it existed! Doing the program also helped me figure out more specifically what I want to do in school and after I graduate.

Is there something you wish you would have known before doing your program?
After a "Harambe Nights" special event shift!
Don't panic during training and as soon as it's over. Your team won't just let you loose without knowing you're ready. Most of the job is learned through doing. Don't take things personally. Don't trust Transtar [company in charge of the bus system for the DCP]. Do as many thing as you can including housing events. It can be really hard transitioning back home after your program if it was amazing so be prepared and keep in contact with the friends you make. Go into work at 100%, your worst personal days are some of your best work days.

What advice would you give to those who want to participate in your role?
I think custodial is probably one of the best hourly paid roles because it's low stress and has lots of freedom. Don't be scared of the responsibilities and what people may think of you because I LOVED it even though I came in with a low tolerance of anything gross (you can work on it too!). It's a great role for anyone with anxiety! DAK is a perfect location too so I'd highly recommend requesting it!

What advice would you give to people who are interested in doing the DCP?
Research the program! Make sure it's something you want to do and you understand it. It's not a vacation and it can be super hard and stressful but for me and so many others it is life changing. If you have roommate or work drama don't let it get to you and try to work through it. Do things that are outside of your comfort zone but also don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable to the point of panicking. Make a bucket list and set time aside for your roommates because it can be so hard to stay in touch when your schedules are conflicting. Also make sure you know a staff member from your school who understands the program and how it will affect you if you're taking a semester off. 

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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