Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yesterday was Traditions, and it was a lot of fun!  My roommate and I got up at 5:45, got ready, and boarded the bus to Disney University at 6:45.  When we reached the University, we were divided into groups and placed into classrooms. Upon entering the classroom, we received our official Disney employee IDs.  We heard lectures about corporate culture, Disney's legacy, and giving back to the community.  We even got to walk through the Utilidor, Disney's system of tunnels under the Magic Kingdom (hint:  if you're taking Traditions, wear comfortable shoes so that you can walk!).  Sorry, no pictures--they're not allowed!  After our romp through Magic Kingdom, we returned to the classroom and had a visit from a very special guest:  none other than the star of the show himself, Mickey Mouse!  That's right, folks, THE Mickey Mouse!  He came to check on us and welcome us to the Disney family.  He also quizzed us on a few things, such as the Disney motto:  We create happiness!  I answered correctly, and Mickey gave me a special award (the Donald Duck figurine that you see above) and a huge mouse hug.  As he was leaving the room, he gave us all a very special present:  our name tags!  I'm so excited!

After Traditions, Michele and I went over to Magic Kingdom to bum around our new home.  We went on a few rides and scoped out the costumes on Main Street.  Now I'm even more excited!  After that, we met up with Michael and his group of friends at Hollywood Studios and saw Fantasmic!  It was a great day.

Today is Training Day 1 for me.  I have Food and Beverage Basics, so expect an update about that later!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm here!  I can't believe I'm finally here!

My adventure started on Thursday when my friend Josh and I set out at 7 am, my car stuffed to capacity with all my things.  We drove all the way down I-95 from New Jersey to Orlando, stopping occasionally for food and gas breaks.  We reached the area around 4 am, crashed, and then woke up at 10.

View from our hotel balcony

After that, we left the hotel, and met my super cool new roomie, Michele, and her friend for lunch at Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney.

Birds outside Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney

After that, Josh and I explored Lego World in Downtown Disney. We were kind of geeking out.  It was great.

Dragon in the lake outside Lego World in Downtown Disney

We then headed for the Kennedy Space Center.  We got to see lots of really great, nerdy, space-y things, and we went on a really amazing simulator.

What Josh and I would look like as astronauts

After our adventures through space, I dropped Josh off at the airport and met my roommate and a bunch of people from our program at Downtown Disney for ice cream and dancing.  It was a lot of fun, and I met some really great people.

A hastily taken picture of Michele and me

We wrapped the night up early because we had check in on Monday morning.  Check in was really easy.  First, we all sat around waiting for the line to start at Vista Way.  Around 8 am, the line started, and we all ran towards the back of the complex where the Disney team was waiting for us. We got in line, and Michele and I wound up near the front.

Some of my new friends waiting in line

As soon as we entered, they gave us little name tags and we filled out some paperwork.  Then we entered a room where we picked our housing assignment.  Michele and I had talked about just getting a one bedroom, but by the time we checked in, all the one bedrooms were gone.  We wound up with a two bedroom at Vista Way, and boy are we glad!  Anyway, after that, we turned in some paperwork, got our house keys, and got our apartment IDs made.  Soon after that, we filled out our last forms and were briefed on how to take the bus to the Casting Center.

As soon as I could, I made a trip over to our apartment building to check out our living quarters.  I wasn't sure what to think when I realized we'd be on the third floor, but as I started to look at the place from the outside, I realized we'd have a huge window and vaulted ceilings.

Our large window and lovely sofa

We had just enough time to put down our papers and head over to the Casting Center to find out our jobs and fill out all the pertinent paperwork.  As you enter the facility, there are tons of gold statues of Disney characters.  We went down a beautifully painted hallway and our jobs were revealed to us there.  I was excited to find out that I will be working quick service food and beverage on Main Street U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom.  I am so excited: Magic Kingdom has the best costumes!  The Casting office was a whirlwind of paperwork and background checks and information about classes.

After the Casting Center, my friend Michael and I went to a seminar about Disney classes.  They all look really great.  As a CPer, you can take two classes per semester, so I will be taking the maximum workload.  I just need to decide which classes to take.  I will be making a more informative post about classes soon, I promise.

Finally, after that, I started to unpack.  I also met my two other roommates, Kelly and Morgan, who are total sweethearts.  So, now you're all up to speed.  I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I am officially in Disney.  I owe you guys one heck of an update, but that's going to have to wait until tomorrow.  I am exhausted!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hey, everyone!  Tomorrow is the big day:  I start my drive from NJ to Orlando.  I will try to post updates from the car.  I'm sure it should be pretty epic.  In honor of that, today's Fashion Friday post is what to wear on Moving Day!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tonight was my sister's final orchestra concert with her high school.  As a farewell, she arranged a medley of songs from "The Lion King". For your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I just received my welcome email from the College Program!

How Should I Dress?
+ You will be moving into your apartment on the day you arrive, so dress comfortably.
+ Your hairstyle, hair coloring, and fingernails must be within the Disney Look guidelines upon your arrival.
+ All body modifications not within the Disney Look guidelines must be removed before arrival.
+ For males, all facial hair must be within the Disney Look guidelines.

What kind of documentation should I bring?
+ Original (no photocopies) employment eligibility documents so you can complete your I-9

What time should I arrive?
+ Between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Where Do I Go?
Vista Way Apartments in Lake Buena Vista, Florida!

When will I receive my Main Entrance Pass?
+ Your Main Entrance Pass allows you to admit your friends and family members into the park for free a certain number of times per year
+ This will be mailed to you between two to four weeks after your first shift, using the mailing address on file in our system (you can opt to have it mailed to your Orlando address instead--more information upon arrival).

The first few days
There are several things that must be done over the first week.
+ Check in: find out where your apartment is, get ID card, and get parking pass
+ Orientation: meet with education team, find out about role, and get training schedule
+ Not all work: also time to acquaint yourself with other College Program participants and explore the area surrounding Disney
+ Traditions (must wear Disney Look): Learn about heritage and traditions of Disney; after this you are an official Cast Member!

Needless to say, I am super excited.  My future roommate left today to start her drive from Colorado to Florida.  Smooth sailing, roomie!
In exactly one week I will be approaching Florida.  Have I finished packing?  Nope.  Am I terribly excited?  Yep.  Eight days until my internship starts.  I can't believe it!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fashion Friday:
Minnie Mouse
The original style icon!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I just got a reminder from my college team representative with some reminders, so I figured I would share them with you.

Here are some things that you MUST bring with you:
+ State issued ID/driver's licence and social security card/birth certificate OR a passport--these are needed for the I-9 form and you need your photo ID to receive your Disney ID.  If you have any questions about the I-9 for, click here.
+ Professional Disney Look clothing--this is needed for Traditions, orientation, and classes.
+ Dress shoes--sneakers, Uggs, and flip flops are NOT the Disney Look!
+ Linens, linens, linens
+ Jacket/coat--Florida is pretty warm, but it could get chilly at night or during the "winter"
+ Ethernet cord or wireless router--you may be able to leech a signal off another apartment, but if NOBODY brings a router, then everyone is out of luck
+ Sunscreen:  If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Things you should know:
+ Avoid Walmart on arrival days--you'll never get on it
+ If you live at Chatham or Patterson, Walgreens and Publix are 10 minutes away (walking)
+ Goodings is overpriced!
+ Check the donation bins when you arrive
+ The I-Ride trolley stops at the Premium Outlets located next to the Commons. This trolley goes up and down International Drive, hits most Orlando tourist destinations, several malls, and costs $1 each way. (Ask for student rates! Some drivers only charge students 25 cents!) It’s a great way to check out some non-Disney activities, including Sea World, Aquatica & Wet’n’Wild.
+ Get a Sea World Fun Card--it costs the same as a 1-day park pass but is good until the end of the calendar year
+ There's no easy way to get to Universal Studios without a car--take a cab, it's much faster than the 2 hour bus ride (111 Lynx bus at Downtown Disney and transfer to the 37 Lynx bus at Florida Mall)
+ Get your Disney discount book ASAP
+ Don't bring candles, incense, weapons (real or fake), drug paraphernalia, pets, bikes, or mini fridges 
+ The apartment is fully furnished, but the only appliances you have are a stove, oven, microwave, fridge and dishwasher--talk to your roommates about going in together and buying a cheap toaster or blender if you need one
+ Learn military time--your work and bus schedule are written in it
+ Have a roommate meeting the first day
+ At some point, you will ruin someone's vacation--it happens to everyone, so don't take it personally
+ Put the call-in number in your cell phone as soon as you get it
+ Don't call-in too much!
+ CPs don't get a discount at quick-service restaurants but they do at resorts--it's usually 20% but you have to let them know that you're a cast member when making the reservation or upon check-in and if you don't, they don't have to offer you the discount
+ Check out the networking opportunities--there is a calendar under the Develoopment Connection link on the HUB
+ Take an earlier bus to your first day of work, ideally one that gets you there 45 minutes before your shift starts. You can figure out during your training how much time you’ll need between getting off the bus and getting to your location and see if a later bus is an option. (If you work at MK, it’s not.)
+ Visit the Florida beaches if you can
+ Do the things you've always wanted to try
+ Have fun!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hello, fellow Mouseketeers!

I know, I know, I've been remiss about this blog.  I have had so many things on my plate recently:  the end of the semester, packing, cleaning, house guests, my brother and sister's prom, Mother's Day, etc.  I was doing so much that I completely missed Fashion Friday this past week.  Since Friday was my brother and sister's prom, I decided that this week's theme should be Cinderella.  So, without further ado....

And of course, I must include a picture of my brother and sister before prom:

From left to right:
John (my brother's best friend and my sister's prom date)
Steph (my sister)
Amarys (my brother's wonderful girlfriend)
Vince (my brother)

And don't forget to enter my contest--it's been extended one week!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I got another question on my Formspring!

What are some things that you absolutely want to do while down in Florida?

I have quite a few things I want to do while in Florida. First and foremost, I want to take as many Disney business classes as I can. I also want to network a lot. As far as fun things are concerned, I want to see Captain EO, drink my way around the world at EPCOT, go to Seaworld, see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, go to the beach, see the Phillies play the Marlins in Miami, go to Howl at the Moon, go golfing, form an a cappella group and perform somewhere, do a photo shoot somewhere in the parks (I like to take pictures), audition for the Disney parks, and possibly take a cruise (hopefully a Disney one). I'm not sure if it's actually feasible to do all these things, but I'm sure going to try! :)

Feel free to ask me a question here!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ask me anything!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I just saw the announcement on the Disney Parks blog.  It is scheduled to reopen at Walt Disney World on July 2nd.  It will replace "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" in the Imagination Pavilion at EPCOT.

What is Captain EO?  First off, I'm sad that you don't already know.  It's amazing.  Captain EO was a space fantasy film starring Michael Jackson that ran from 1986 to 1994.  When it originally opened, it was in 3D; when it reopens in EPCOT, it will be in 4D, incorporating some of the hydraulics used in the "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" ride.  Special effects include lasers, laser impacts, smoke effects, and starfields.  This film cost an estimated $30 million to produce, making it at the time the most expensive film ever produced on a per-minute basis ($1.76 million per minute).

As far as plot is concerned, it is a story of Captain EO and his ragtag team trying to deliver a package to the Supreme Leader of another planet.  Upon landing, Captain EO and the crew are captured by henchmen and are sentenced to being turned into trash cans and dungeon torture.  However, in true Michael Jackson style, through song and dance they are all able to escape.

I had the pleasure of seeing it as a child, although I was only four at the time.  I remember it being quite colorful, vivid, and very exciting, but that was twenty years ago, and memories fade, so I'm stoked to get to experience this again with new eyes.