Friday, February 21, 2014

Disney Bounding

As some of you may know, I dressed up as Flynn Rider for Halloween. So, I decided to bring it with me here to Florida. I had the day off so I dressed up and walked around the park in my costume. They call this Disney bounding; when you wear a home made costume to look like a characters.

Well I got several people looking at me because they either didn't know who I was or why I was dressed the way I did. Others were so excited to see Flynn walking around the park. Not many people talked directly to me but my ears were very keen on picking up the conversations around me. I had a couple people stop and ask to take a picture. The first lady I told her before she grabbed her kids that I wasn't working so she didn't ask so I felt bad. Later I ran into a lady dressed like Pocahontas who just finished a 5K and we took a picture.
The second was a middle school girl who caught me after Wishes and asked for a picture. The fun part was actually going back to meet Rapunzel where she meets guests. It was a fun meeting. 

Then I also got another chance to meet Snow White and she was very good to meet. We had a fun little conversation about Rapunzel and jokes from the movie. 

It was a fun day of roaming the park and hopefully spreading some Disney magic even though I wasn't working. I also got to see my roommate at work.

Friends Around the Parks

This past week has flown by in such a blur. I made friends with Sulley over at Monsters Inc. and had such a blast with him for the day. I also got to hang out in Andy's room with Woody and his pal Buzz. Buzz sure is more popular than the sheriff. Just a friendly memo for any going to visit my friends from the Toy Story world, Andy is at college and isn't coming. haha. They won't react when told Andy is coming. :)

But of course it hasn't been all work for me. I have had several times to have fun with friends and go visit them at work. I also just got to explore the parks and meet new characters.

As an added incentive, they gave the cast some back stage magic and had Elsa and Anna come by for the day to greet us. It was so cool meeting them, especially when I didn't have to wait an hour+

 Last night we had a great roommate dinner night at the Cheesecake Factory. I got the S'more cheesecake and had to walk around Downtown Disney to alleviate my food baby.
Me, Silas*, Jason, Eric, Michael, Andrew, and Dylan
 While Silas isn't living with us, it was still cool to have another friend joining us. Plus our waitress was amazing.

There are still days when I cannot believe that I live and work here. I still can walk around and feel the excitement and magic seeing it all and thinking I'm a part of this. I help make this place come to life. At least once per shift I'll get a tear in my eye at the thought of years from now, I'll be in a family picture or how a little boy just learned to walk and I get to be a part of some of his first steps; to come hug me.Yes, there are bad times where guests or employees don't lose the magic and make it difficult, but I still know why I am here. It's for the one guest whose waited 80 years to meet Goofy or that little girl who sees Sulley and calls him Kitty. It's for those who can see the magic and love being absorbed by it.

"We must always believe in our wishes. For they are the magic in the world."

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Earning My Ears

After a few days of fun and entertaining training, I have officially earned my ears at the Walt Disney Company. On our last day at Epcot, I got to hang around Baloo for the day and have fun with the guests.

That night, my group decided we would celebrate our end of our training. So we went to a place called Beaches and Cream. It's a great 50's style soda shop on one of the resorts. Here we got a dessert called the Kitchen Sink. I'll just let you see it to believe it.

The next day I got a day off from work so I went exploring to the Animal Kingdom where I visited my roommate Michael and to ride Expedition Everest. This was my first time in the park so it was a brand new experience. Seeing the Tree of Life in person was quite awesome. I didn't get to venture around and in it but got some good views. On my way to find Everest, I some a lot of cool characters.

Once I found my way over to the ride, the line was not too bad. I had such a blast on the ride. Disney never ceases to amaze me in how well they keep the magic going. The queue lines and ride themes are always big and amazing. The thrill of the ride itself was also quite fun.

After my short time here, I headed to Hollywood Studios to meet up with a few of my entertainment friends and to see Fantasmic.
The rest of the day was spent roaming the park and remembering the few sights. Like Honey I Shrunk the Kids and the Star Tours ride from Star Wars.
When everyone arrived, our first stop was the Hollywood Tower of Terror. I had never ridden this before so I was really excited to see what all of the talk was about. Wow is all I can say. It was just a fun ride full of so many surprises and unexpected turns. I definitely suggest going on it if your stomach can handle it. 
For dinner, I was so excited to see the one of the coolest places from Toy Story actually exists. 
I felt like such a kid in here. It was like stepping into a dream from childhood. Once again, this is why I love where I work. Everywhere places and people only from your dreams come to life and are real. You can meet cartoons and eat at a pizza arcade with a space port theme. 

That night, I am sad to say, Fantasmic was rained out. We made it about 15 minutes into the show and the weather rolled in. We did not let our night end there though. Since Andrew met up with me for the show and we ran into our roommate Dylan, we all decided to go to Downtown Disney for some food at Splitsville, a bowling alley restaurant. Here we escaped the rain and cold for a while. Michael managed to join us after work. We even stopped by the Ghirardelli chocolate shop again for a free chocolate square.

Back to work on Friday. Today is my first official shift and I can't wait to start. Since I will be walking around with Goofy at Chef Mickey, I will be needing some more training for a dining location. It was not extensive training like before but just enough to help us get in the swing of it. I was so nervous going into it but I had such a blast after my first shift. It was a perfect fit for me. I get to walk around and meet kids and families. Then at the end they do a celebration where they play a fun song and we get to dance and just have fun. I am so glad I get more time here next week. Sadly they will be breakfast shifts at 6am but it will still be a blast to dance with Goofy.

Today I have the day off. Let's see what magic can be made.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dreams Come True

So a quick update. Everyday has been so nonstop and hectic, I have not had time to sit down and blog without falling asleep.

Since last I blogged, Andrew and I visited the Magic Kingdom. As a precursor, just imagine and know that all day was a mixed blur of emotions; happy, excited, crying with happiness, etc. Coming through the main gate and coming upon Main Street was just too magical, until I turned the corner. Down Main Street in the background, there it was; Cinderella's castle. The music, the scents, the sites, it was all so much and amazing. I felt so much like a little kid again.

I was also really excited to be reunited with my friend Danielle. She let us borrow her passes into the park before we got our own. I know her from my Goin' Band days. We started the day off in Adventureland at Pirates of the Caribbean. Andrew joined the pirates there at the pirates league. So that was the first ride I enjoyed. We then roamed off into Frontier Land. Here I was sad to see that Splash Mountain was closed but Big Thunder Mountain was wide open and the line was non existent.
Danielle and I

Once we got off, we were strolling through Frontier Land and there I spotted my first characters.
Following this, Andrew took us around to a shop by the castle for a Bulgarian waffle with Nutella and fruit. From here, I had another clear shot of the castle so I snapped a picture for my first Florida geocache. Yes, I had to wait 4 days to get my first FL cache.

Next we roamed around to the back side of the castle. Here we decided to get our Fast Passes and killed time at PhillharMagic. It was AWESOME!!!! It made me realize this is my home and this is where I am staying. It's a 4D show incorporating several Disney characters and musics.

Then...Oh My God!!! Another completely magical moment was made. We visited the Fairtytale Princess Hall across the way and there I met my princess. Rapunzel and I met and she was so lovely and friendly. We talked for like 10 minutes and she was so interactive and fun. She's coming to see my tap routine at the Snuggly Duckling next week. I even got a video. She was such a delight.

The rest of the day passed in such a fun blur, partially because I was fighting back tears of sheer joy all day. We visited Fantasy Land and then continued to Tomorrow Land. I finally got my first ride on Space Mountain. 'Twas an awesome first ride.

We managed to cover the whole kingdom in before 2:00 it seemed. Shortly after, our roommate Michael joined us for his first adventure to the Magic Kingdom. We got to ride everything again so that he could experience it all which was awesome. We rode Small World, Space Mountain with annoying cheerleaders, and got to see the Dream Along with Mickey show. 
Dream Along with Mickey

Conner, Michael, and Andrew after a ride delay near 20 high school cheerleaders
"First Time" buttons
At the end of the night, we got to watch the firework show called "Wishes". Besides the fog covering most of the fireworks, the show and music was amazing. Had quite a few man tears during it.

The next day, we had our Traditions class. This was split into several groups but I was lucky and got to be in the same class as Andrew. Here we went over a lot of basic safety policies and the history and traditions of Disney and Disney parks. After lunch, we got a special treat. They took us into the park and we got to walk around and see some concepts in action. Back in class, the boss himself with his ears and bow tie brought us our new name tags. We were all so excited to see Mickey.
We were even presented our own first pair of ears.
That night, all of the roommates decided we wanted to go visit Epcot.
 I finally got to see the ball and learned to my surprise that there is a ride inside. It was quite fun getting to go inside. After, we roamed further in and were launched into space on a mission to Mars in Mission: Space. Michael, Dylan, and Jason were in one module while Andrew and I were "trained" in another with other guests. By this time, it was time to make our way to the World Showcase pavilion to watch the firework/waterworks show Illuminations. Then we made our way around the world stopping in the UK first. Then the group split in half meaning Andrew, Michael, and I made our way to Paris and Morocco and the following countries. 

Saturday was a blah day generally. I had my Welcome to Entertainment class which was just a general overview of the entertainment crew like character performer, character attendant, and photo pass. It was fun however to again visit the park to see concepts in person. We got to go watch Dream Along with Mickey again to see all the entertainment roles in action. 

Today, I began my first day of what I feel was true training. It was just us character performers together getting down to business. I won't have picture, obviously, from today but generally we spent the morning going over basics. How to walk in character, how to read schedules, how to find proper characterization info sheets, and so on. After lunch, we got to, as Barney Stinson would say, SUIT UP! We went over the basics of all the parks of our costumes and assembly. Once in costume we got to practice movements and improv and even play charades. It was definitely a fun afternoon.

So since several people are asking about my new best friend, I'll let ya know. But, he isn't really a new best friend. He's been with me since I came to Disney when I was 4 ; when I never dreamed what I'd be doing today.