Monday, June 20, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Things I will miss:
late night/extremely early morning IHOP runs
Being around single people
Having a job
My apartment roommates
Things I will not miss:
My room roommate
Having to remember my ID and key absolutely every time I walk out the door
Drama, drama, drama
Carrying my laundry across the street to do it
Things I'm looking forward to:
My own room
fresh peaches, fruit, vegetables
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
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:
As promised, I walked around and took some pictures of my apartment, the complex etc.
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.
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.
Friday, July 9, 2010
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
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
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.
Me in the blue sticking out does have a story... but I'll tell that next time. :)