Monday, June 20, 2011

7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

7 weeks

6 theme parks

5 flights

4 Emporium shifts

3 states

2 HUGE suitcases

1 VERY tired girl
I've been gone for 7 weeks. It's nice to be back in my own bed, with my own pillows, and I should be able to stop living out of a suitcase as soon as I unpack. I've missed my family, though I'm really going to miss all of the people that I had to say goodbye to.

Here are some highlights from my trip:

-I visited Hogsmead, ate at 3 Broomsticks, tried Butter Beer, went to Ollivander's wand shop, rode the Forbidden Journey and took about a million pictures.

-Spent 2 fantastic days at Typhoon Lagoon with the wonderful Amanda Babb

-Spent 9 days in Georgia with my Aunt Ramona, Uncle Bob, and cousins Lexy, Matt and Katie

-Saw 2 movies in the theater! (Something Borrowed and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.) This doesn't sound like a big deal, except that the last movie I remember seeing in the theater was Life as We Know it, and Toy Story 3 before that.

-Cuddled up with 2 ducks in Georgia. I bet you didn't know ducks cuddle!

-Had tea at the Grand Floridian with the lovely Holly Hynes

-Got a HUGE self-esteem boost in Georgia!

-Got to meet Rapunzel and Flynn Rider

-Got a miriad of tan lines: everyday = a new outfit = a new tan line

-Met Darth Vader, Chewbacca, 2 Ewoks, Jango Fett, Aurra Sing, Zam Wessell, a Storm Trooper, Luke Skywalker, and C-3PO at Star Wars Weekends. C-3PO was FANTASTIC! He talked and asked questions. He DOES NOT like Jawa's.

-Spent 3 weeks with my 'little' sister, Lisa, her husband, Bryan, & my ADORABLE nephew, Blake!

-Ate at the Sci-Fi Drive-in Diner (mediocre), Friar's Nook (alright), Pizzafari (just don't try and get parmesean cheese for your pizza), Kona Cafe (wonderful as usual), Via Napoli (fantastic!), and the ABC Commissary (where I joined the dark side for the most amazing chocolate & peanut butter cupcake!)

-Rode the Amnityville Boat tour, took on the Hulk & even rode the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit with Jonathan Warren (the Rip Ride Rockit has a minimum AND maximum height!)

-Met Curious George and had to get a picture for my nephew, Cameron

-Spent a girl's day with Holly Hynes and Amanda Babb watching movies, eating pizza, and finishing the night with a midnight run to Walmart for a Subway sandwich

-Got to do a backstage tour of Fantasmic! ... it was a backstage tour, which means no pictures

-Spent a day at Animal Kingdom with Holly and Max... We saw FOLK twice, Finding Nemo: the Musical, Flights of Wonder, Kilimanjaro Safari twice (once with a WONDERFUL driver and once with a less than mediocre driver) and I got to protect Holly from a Dinosaur. (I really should have bought that picture... CLASSIC)

-Did the Great Piggy Bank Adventure, raced around the world with Lightning McQueen then helped Kim Possible save the world at Epcot with Jonathan Warren

-Discovered milk candy, got Kaki-Gori (a snow cone) and watched Miyuki in Japan

-Saw the Bush Man in San Francisco... Mom was VERY jealous.

-Spent the morning at the Walt Disney Family Museum. AMAZING! I got to see everything from Walt Disney's discharge papers from the army to all of his Oscars, including the 7 mini ones for Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, to a huge miniature replica of Disneyland and so, SO many other things! No cameras allowed inside the museum though, sadly.

-Spent the afternoon at Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square.

These are just a few of the things from my trip, there's a million more I could add, so if you aren't on here, don't feel bad, I just probably didn't have a picture of us doing it. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Life doesn´t always turn out the way you plan

That's a quote from While You Were Sleeping. It's so true. I've spent the last 6 hours looking everywhere I can think for something. I'm pretty sure a little elf or something has walked off with it, but either way, I've been searching and searching. So, now, 6 hours later, I'm laying in bed in the middle of the night thinking about where else it could be, not being able to sleep, so instead I'm blogging hoping it'll clear out my mind a little bit and I can sleep.

Okay, so what does life not turning out the way you plan have to do with searching for something lost? While I was searching, I came across a project that I had done in high school... I did it my sophomore or junior year for my English class. It's called, "My American Dream". Reading through it, it shows what my American dream was. There's a lot of pictures, taken from magazines mostly, some of my own pictures, but here's the captions that it has... "Marriage, temple, true love forever - family - kids, mommy - beaches, sunshine, sunsets, family friends, California, Disneyland - forever friends - beautiful house - pets - great cook."

In high school, I was always the one who everyone said I was going to be married by the time I was 19, one friend was giving me "the benefit of the doubt" and said I'd be able to make it to when I was 21. I wanted my American dream to be marriage, family, kids, being a mom... Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I didn't get married at 18, 19, 20... I've gotten to do some really fun and memorable things with my life, but now, I've just turned 27 and wonder if I'm ever going to get my American dream. I had a poem on the back of my project, it was a requirement to have one. I remember just wanting to finish the assignment and threw one I found on there, but it's surprisingly meaningful now.

The Oyster

There once was an oyster whose story I tell, who found that some sand had got into his shell, it was only a grain, but it gave him great pain, for oysters have feelings although they're so plane. Now, did he berate the harsh workings of fate, that had brought him to such a deplorable state? did he curse at the government, cry for election, and claim that the sea should have given him protection? No- he said to himself as he lay on a shell, since I cannot remove it, I shall try to improve it. Now the years have rolled wround as the years always do, and he came to his ultimate destiny - stew. And the small grain of sand that had bothered him so, was a beautiful pearl all richly aglow. Now the tale has a moral: for isn't it grand, what an oyster can do with a morsel of sand. What couldn't we do if we'd only begin, with some of the things that get under our skin. This is my sand that has gotten in my shell, and someday I'll have all of those things I want and that will become a pearl.

On another note, some of the other things I HAVE found

-I have 11 sets of Mickey ears, and none of them are the same. (ironically, including one embroidered with "Mom" and yes, they were meant and worn by me.)

-I found my certificate from completing a "successful" tandum skydive - do you think they give you a certificate if you complete an "unsuccessful" tandum skydive?

- Pictures of helping my brother install a fan in his house in Chandler, AZ... We've since learned that there's a better way to install a fan than standing on a ladder with a towel on your head, balancing a fan while the other person stands on the otherside and screws it into the ceiling.

-Pictures from all of my dances in high school... I went to a lot, I have a lot of amazing memories with friends, and the random, spontaneous pictures are the best. (I have one of my writing a locker comination on my leg... you can tell it was taken in the moment and so not posed by the angle of the picture and that my head is mostly cut off.)

-I have 64 pairs of shoes/flip flops/crocs in my closet. and yes, I mean just in my closet. I'm sure I've got a bunch more floating around the house. I like shoes! especially comfortable ones like tennis/running/athletic shoes.

- I always have one sweatshirt or another that's my favorite, and I still keep them when I move on to the next. I can look back at them and remember some of the fun times and places I had worn them. Often, I start cycling through them again when I remember why it was my favorite.

-I was once a size 4. wow, that's all I'm going to say about that.

-I lose my remotes more than anyone I know. I lose the remote for my Ihome every few days. It always shows up under my bed, in my sheets, somewhere, so I guess technically it's not lost... It's just 'misplaced'

-I have a lot of books... I love to read, so this makes sense. I know, I could get a kindle and have them all in one place, but for some reason I just love the feeling of holding the book in my hand and turning the pages.

-My favorite Disney campaign was the "Where dreams come true" "Where night is as bright as day" "Where everyone screams at the sight of a mouse" ""Where trouble takes a break" "Where elephants fly" "Where everyone is dying to meet you" "Where everyone is happy no matter what their name" "where the clock never strikes midnight" "Where dead men tell no tales" "Where it's a whole new world"

-The easiest way to make me crazy is get my mind set on something, then have something get in the way so I can't accomplish it.

Alright, I think I've rambled enough for tonight!

(I'm really not as depressed as this sounds... Just found it interesting.)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hey! A blog!

Look! I do have a blog! It's been SO long since I've updated. I found a list I made when I was getting ready to leave for Florida... and you know, I was pretty much right on the money! I thought I'd share. :)

Things I will miss:

The Emporium

The castle

My costume

late night/extremely early morning IHOP runs

Warm weather

Being around single people

Palm Trees

Real rain!

Having a job

My apartment roommates

Things I will not miss:

The Emporium

My costume

My room roommate

Having to remember my ID and key absolutely every time I walk out the door

Big bugs!

Being homesick

Drama, drama, drama

Florida's water


Carrying my laundry across the street to do it

Things I'm looking forward to:

My family

Family dinners

My own room

My car!

fresh peaches, fruit, vegetables

the mountains!

Dyson vacuum

Okay... I'll really try to blog more often. All of May will be spent in Florida and Georgia, and the first week of June in San Jose. I have so much to catch up on! I also got to go to San Jose for Blake's birth... but that's a story for another night.

Monday, July 12, 2010

In the big, blue world...

I thought this title was pretty fitting, especially since I'm going to start with the blue dress story from (now 3) blogs ago, and some Finding Nemo later on. So I was at the Magic Kingdom waiting to see Wishes! before it left for the summer. (Wishes! is the firework show) Since it was just me, while I was waiting, I was looking around and realized how blue the sky was behind the castly. My camera has a stetting where you can select a color and the camera will just show that color then everything else shows in black and white. This is the picture I took.
Honestly, not the greatest picture ever... Kind of blurry, but I'm not going to lie, I was mostly just playing with my camera and killing time. While waiting for the fireworks, I got bored with my camera (let's be honest, I often have a short attention span.) and started texting some people that I love oh so far away... I turned off my camera and unknowingly left my camera in the manual color selection screen. (I have an on/off switch instead of turning the dial from manual to off.) The next night, our complex had a pool party that Stitce was at, so we decided to get a roommate picture with Stitch. The character attendant had made a comment about how cool my camera was, but I didn't think anything of it until later that night when my roommate and I looked at the picture-it was still set to pick up the blue from the sky behind the castle, which happened to be a very similar shade of blue to what I happened to be wearing. (Once again, let's' be honest, I wear a LOT of blue.) My roommate, Brianna, claims I set my camera to do that on purpose... What do you think?

Occasionally on my day off, I do all of my boring adult stuff and still have some time to go out into the park and play. A week or two ago (or now closer to a month...) my roommate, Bri, and I along with Kristina, a girl I work with, went to Animal Kingdom. We walked onto Dinosaur, which will ALWAYS remind me of Dennis. :) After Dinosaur, we got in line for Finding Nemo: the Musical. I was able to take some fun pictures... Here are a few of my favorites:
P.S. Dory will forever make me think of you Mom. **delay fish**

As promised, I walked around and took some pictures of my apartment, the complex etc.
This is my fantastic security station/whatever. I live in a gated community. To get into the complex, you have to go through here. All of us have housing ID's that we have to show to get into the complex or on any of the buses. The bus system that I use is ONLY for college program students. It's just like a normal bus system, different buses go to different locations. Back to the security... You MUST show your ID to get in. If you dont' live in the complex, you can't get in without someone who lives in the comples signing you in. Even if you are signed in, 2-7am is considered quiet hours and ONLY people who live in the comples are allowed in. So, don't worry, I'm being safe.

This is my fantastic apartment.... Okay, so it's really not so fantastic, but it could be lots worse. :) It's just your pretty typical college apartment. There's one bed/bath suite off of the kitchen and two more off of the living room. I know it's not particularly clean, but it's how it looks by the end of all of our work weeks, then we clean it really well and the cycle starts all over again.
This is my bedroom... Notice my pillow stack compared to my roommates. YUP! Even down here, I have a bunch of pillows. Once again, pretty mediocre, but it definitely covers what I need. Next to where I'm standing there's a bureau with a mirror with drawers and a walk-in closet... I didn't take a picture of those because, well, they just aren't that interesting to me.

Okay, this is my last picture for this post... I took it really just because I thought it was fun. This picture shows really how much we all are immersed in Disney. This was written in some cement that I walk everyday on the way to and from my bus. I'm not going to lie, it just makes me smile. I thought I'd post it just for the heck of it.

I hope you all enjoyed! Let me know what you think. :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

I made a GUEST cry at work...

Before I go into anything, I'll just start out with making this guest cry was a good thing, so it's not sad like my last post.

Tuesday, I was starting to get sick, but I just wanting to finish my shift so I could have my next two days off.

I had a guest that came to me asking about a beach towel that she had seen. Her and her daughter had looked at it at a kiosk outside of Pirates called the Crow's Nest. Because it's a little kiosk, they close earlier than the regular stores. They had looked in the Pirates store, but they didn't have it, so OF COURSE they came to us. (Regardless if we have something or not, people from everywhere else in the park send guests to our store and tell them that we'll have it.)

I got the description of the towel from her, and went to do a little research. I came back and told her that I was working on it, but it was going to take me a little bit of time. The family had a reservation at Crystal Palace (a restaurant) that they were just heading to. I told her that would be perfect, they could go enjoy their meal, then gave her my name and told her to come find me after. I told her if it was at all possible to get it here, I would have it for them when they got back from the restaurant, then sent them on their way. This seems like a large promise, but as long as another store in the Kingdom has it, then we can send a runner to pick it up and bring it back to our store for the guest to buy it with us.

I started working on my task at hand. Calling from one store to another, especially at 6pm isn't always as easy as it sounds. Often, that's our really busy time that everyone is distracted during and so they don't answer the phone. After trying and trying, I finally got someone at the Pirates shop. I finally got them to understand what I was trying to have them do, and the guy said that he would go check it out and let me know. A half hour later, I was in the office and still hadn't heard from him, so I decided I needed to do a new approach. I started talking to one of my managers who used to work in that area and explained the situation. She started taking some manager control, and found out who their MOD was for the evening. She gave her a call, explained what we were looking for, and we started to wait again. It only took 5-10 minutes this time and Debra, my manager, got a message saying they had found the towel. We got a runner who was going to go pick it up for us. Debra also gave her a No-Strings Attached coupon to get it for the guest. No-Strings are really the golden tickets. A manager writes them out and can write them out for whatever they think is appropriate. I was so grateful my manager was going to do this, and take it the next step up.

So, our runner got back from Pirates and had the towel in a bag. My manager gave it to me and told me that I got this rolling, so she was going to pass it to me and I was going to take care of the rest. I love when managers trust us like this, let us take the reigns and have some fun. One of the "basics" at Disney is to stay in character and play the part. For example, in the Emporium, since we're a turn of the century, Main Street themed location, we don't go on break, we go on tea. We don't get our bump out to go home, our carriage arrives. We don't say we're going to the bathroom, we go to visit the mayor, or for girl's, the mayor's wife. These are the little things that keep the magic going.

I didn't want to just tell my guest that we got it from the crow's nest for her and my manager comp'ed it for her, that just doesn't really sound, well, magical. So I thought up my story for her.

Two hours later, I was a little nervous they weren't going to come back... More than once we've tracked something down for a guest and they didn't come back. After the fireworks, I made sure I was working in the right area so if the guest came back, they'd see me. I was checking out another guest, and looked up, and there was the mom and daughter who had been looking for the towel. They were both smiling at me and the mom was giving me a "thumbs up? thumbs down?" signal. I gave her the signal to wait while I was finishing with my current guest, then pulled them aside. I told them I had the towel, and to wait there for me. Then, I went in the back to grab the towel.

When we got the towel from Pirates, I had also gotten a little bag and filled it with pixie dust. Pixie dust is little mickey-shaped shiney confetti, we use it for special occasions, magical moments, just those little things we want to make a litte extra special. I grabbed the towel and baggie of pixie dust and headed out. I got to the family, pulled out the towel and made sure that it was the right towel, which it was, thankfully. I put the towel back in the bag and told them I had a little help from Tinkerbell and Mickey to get it for them. I started telling them my story that Tinkerbell had flown to the Crow's Nest, snuck in and searched around for it. She found the towel and brought it back to me. She wanted to stay and say hello, but she had to go get ready for the parade, so she left some pixie dust to know that she was there. I also said that I had been talking to Mickey. I had told him the whole story of what happened and all the stuff that we had gone through to get it for the family, and that he told me that he wanted to pay for it to make their trip a little more magical.

When I told them that, the mom got huge eyes and was looking at me, and asked me if I was serious. I told her that I was. She asked again, and I told her that I was very serious, we just wanted to make her trip a little more magical. She started crying and thanked me profusely.

I love that this is my job. I know handing out stuff for free doesn't happen often, but it's wonderful when the little things can make someone's vacation that much more special. She would have been over the moon that I had found the towel her daughter wanted, but I love that my managers and my company let us take it to the next level and I got to make the magic for this family.

This is why I love Disney.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I cried at work tonight....

Alright, so I know this isn't the blog I was planning on following up the last one with, but this happened tonight, and I wanted to write about it tonight. I'll continue the stories with the blue dress etc on the next blog. I should also preface this by saying this is a story about a guest interaction. If you don't want to hear any guest interaction stories, I'm going to go ahead and skip this update and wait for the next. This guest interaction was also a sad one, I'm not going to lie, I cried when it happened, I've cried everytime since. I might just be a baby, but don't say I didn't warn you.

First, I need to give you some background on WDW, the Magic Kingdom, and specifically the Emporium. Obviously, WDW is a very expensive vacation so many people save up for a very long time to come, and this may be the only time that they'll ever get to come. The Magic Kingdom is very often the first and the last park guests visit, or if they aren't going to be there for multiple days, it's the only park that they visit. Not only is the Magic Kingdom the last park they visit, but the Emporium is the last place that guests go before they leave. I can't count the number of times that I've been checking out guests and found out that they are leaving the park right after they're done with me and going straight to the airport, the car to drive home, etc.

WDW has a lot of guests that are with the Make-A-Wish Foundation or Give Kids the World. Everyone knows that these organizations are for children who have faced extreme health challenges or are terminally ill. During training, we often talk about these families and the little things that we do differently for them. Obviously, every guest is special, but GKtW families or MaW get taken to the front of character interactions etc. When you are talking to one of these families, you don't ask something like, "What are you here to celebrate?" because it's often not a happy thing, so instead you would ask questions about their favorite thing they've done so far, what their favorite character is, etc. I've gotten pretty good at looking for the buttons, or if they're with a child in a wheel chair, then just asking 'safe' questions.

I'm sure you can see where this story is going. I was checking out a daughter and her mom. I didn't see any of the GKtW or MaW buttons so I don't know if they were there with them, or if they just came together. The daughter was in a wheelchair and though I'm not sure if she had heart problems, cancer, what but she was pretty obviously ill. She was somewhere between 10 & 15, which sounds like a pretty big gap, but I've learned that it's hard to judge age when a child is ill. I was talking to the mom while I was checking them out and bagging their merchandise. While I was running her card, I noticed it was a Disney Chase Visa card, and more specifically a charter member card. (They started back in 2003 I've found out from google.) If you're a Disney Chase Visa holder, and more specifically a charter member, it means you like Disney. I remarked to the mom how cool it was that they had been with us since the beginning and thanked her for coming to visit.

We paused while I was bagging their merchandise. She looked at me, and told me that she didn't want to leave the park. She said that when she left the park, she pointed to her daughter (who was luckily facing the other direction during this whole interaction) and said that it was going to be her last time, and that once they walked out, she wouldn't be walking back in again. My heart sank. I said I was sorry and gave her what I hope was a sympathetic look, and concluded her transaction. As I was giving her the receipt and her bag, she started crying and looked me in the eye and asked, "Do I have to leave?" I must have had a slightly puzzled look on my face because she responded with, "If I don't leave, then she won't die. We can just stay here forever, right? I don't want her to die." My heart just completely broke. I didn't know what to say. I had a mother in front of me, soon she was going to lose her daughter and have to say good bye. I can't even fathom that, and there's nothing I could say to make her feel better. I just apologized, pulled out our tissues from under the register, let her take as many as she needed. She got herself composed and left with her daughter. Thankfully, I had held myself together.

I turned and looked at the guy who was next to me who had heard most of the end of the conversation, and said I had to go to the back. I was barely able to make it to the back before the composure that I had on stage completely melted away and I was crying. I got to the back and was crying, so I had to tell why I was crying, which made me cry more. After the third or so person to ask me why I was crying and me telling them and starting to cry all over again/harder, I finally had a co-worker who told them to stop asking me or I wasn't going to be able to stop crying.

I know this may not sound big, and maybe you had to be there to have it touch you like it did me, but it was easily the hardest conversation I've had with a guest, and will stick with me forever.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Finally... An update!

Okay... So I'm sure I should post about Mom's graduation party, the family trip to her graduation, the trip to California with the family, going to Ohio to visit Dieter, Brenda and family then go to Emily and Alex's wedding... But, I'm proud that I'm even updating, so I'm just going to stick with a little bit from down here. There's still bunches and bunches of stories and pictures to update from here, but I'm just going to do a quick update and some pictures, then I'll put some more up later.

So, I'm down in Orlando for the summer working at Walt Disney World. I was placed in the Emporium on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. This is the busiest store in any of the theme parks, and the second busiest store on property- World of Disney is the only store busier, and it's 3 times the size we are.

I love working in the Magic Kingdom. Granted, the hours are less than fantastic most of the time, but it's amazing to be there, to be able to walk outside and see the castle, have parades go by throughout the day and evening (there's the 3 o'clock parade, 3 Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It mini-parades during the day, then 1-2 evening parades, which for the rest of the summer is Disney's Electrical Parade.) You can also hear/see the fireworks at night... All sorts of things throughout the day.

So, since I'm working at Disney, I obviously wear a costume. As far as Disney costumes go, it's really not a bad costume. Here's a description of some of my roommate's costumes... Two of them have khaki shorts and different colored shirts. One roommate wears teal shorts, and a teal and white strip shirt, the last wears black shorts, a blue shirt, yellow suspenders and a hat. Then, here's my costume.

Here's a picture of me and some of my roommates... I'll tell you more about them in the next post. I'm not going to lie, I'm going to head to bed in mjust a minute, but I promised myself I'd get an update posted before I went to bed... I didn't say it had to be a long one! :o)

Me in the blue sticking out does have a story... but I'll tell that next time. :)