The Disney Adventure

The Disney Adventure
The Cinderella Castle!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crzy things

So here's another crazy thing that someone did the other day. There's a lot of parades at WDW, one of which is the 'Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It' parade. Now Donald Duck is on the float in this parade and some of the characters get off the float to interact with the guests. Donald doesn't get off until the 'shake your tailfeather' song. A woman was trying to get onto the float with Donald and the security/character attendants tried to stop her, at which point she grabbed Donald's hand and yanked on it so hard, trying to pull him off the float, that she broke his wrist. So she is banned from Disney parks for life and Donald is pressing charges. Seriously. What were you thinking?!

The Yacht Club

So I spent the other day at the Yacht Club on their concierge desk and had an AMAZING time. I just love the resort! It’s so cool. Totally nautical themed, very well done (as per usual in a Disney resort). The Yacht and Beach are considered one resort, kind of like Jambo and Kidani are both part of Animal Kingdom Lodge. They are right next to each other and share that magnificent pool that I was telling you about, which is GORGEOUS, by the way!! The beach resort looks and feels amazingly beachy (shock and surprise) and the yacht is full of sailing memorabilia. One of the things that I absolutely love about picking up shifts in other places is that you meet so many interesting people. Everyone at the Yacht Club was so sweet and wonderful and I had a such a great time.

One of the gentlemen that I was fortunate to work with is a fantastic gentleman named Scott. He told me some marvelous stories. You know those people who are really good at telling stories because they just know how to lay the verbal groundwork to really get you involved before he finishes the story. He and I quickly got into sharing Disney trivia. When one Disney junkie meets another one, things get real! So I just wanted to share this story that he told me because I think it really shows why the Disney company is so special.

Scott’s little brother was born 05/05/55, which is very close to the opening date of Disneyland (07/01/55). The boy’s mother took them to Disneyland when it had only just been open for a few months. Their mother loved it there so much that they started coming all the time. She even told the youngest brother that Walt had built the park especially for him on his birthday. So the little boy would always look for Walt in the firehouse on Main Street that had been his offices during construction. Everytime they went to the park they would lose the little brother and would find him trying to climb up the fireman pole to see Walt. As Scott and his brother grew up, they continued to love Disney and all the work that he was doing. In grade school, the youngest brother had an assignment to write a paper about his ideal American. He chose Walt. We wrote a beautiful essay about how wonderful Walt was. Turns out that his teacher lived on the same street as a Disney cast member. The teacher gave the letter to the cast member and the cast member passed it on to Walt’s secretary. Months later, the little boy received a letter from Walt Disney himself. The little boy was overjoyed. The letter thanked him for writing the essay and included some pieces of memorabilia that were signed for him. So years go by, the family still stays in love with Disney. Scott comes to work at Walt Disney World. The brothers get to chatting one day and the younger brother talks about how he has all these neat pieces of memorabilia but he doesn’t actually have his essay. So he called Disney archives, not really expecting much, he explained his story to the cast member and she said she’d look and to call back in a week. So he did and the cast member was SO excited to tell him that not only did they find the letter, but they found it in the contents on Walt’s desk that had been there when he passed!! All those years and the letter was still that close to Walt.

That story gave me chills when he told it. How amazing is that? I just loved it. And this is why people love Disney so much. People get emotionally connected to the company and Walt’s vision. It was simple, he wanted a place where families could have fun together and be safe and clean. People have emotional ties to this company more so than most others. For a company of it’s size, it still remains true to  it’s roots and really follows the groundwork that Walt laid. The company cares about people because the cast members care about people. And we care about people because that’s what Walt would have wanted us to do. I truly feel like I am helping keep Walt Disney's dream alive each and every day!


Crazy guest story of the day:
I was chatting with one of our managers who did some cruise ship work and had this lovely gem to share. I really think it's fantastic!!

Guest: Yesterday, you all told me that the doctor's service would be open at 8am!
Cast Member: Yes ma'am that is correct
G: Well, I've been calling for an hour and they haven't answered yet!
CM: Well ma'am that's because it's currently 7am
G: Well this is all your fault. You've been changing the time on me several times since we got on this ship. Now I don't know why you don't want me to get things done but I think it's quite rude of you to continue to try to trick me with these new times.

Seriously. She was mad. It happened

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yacht Club

So I know what you're're thinking 'Erica, wasn't one of your goals to work somewhere different one shift a week?' Well you are correct. That is one of my goals. Sometimes it's just not possible. However, this week brings exciting news!! #1: I'm officially done concierge training as of today!! So I'm a full fledged concierge cast member!! Which brings me to #2: I picked up a shift at the Yacht Club for tomorrow morning. I know, right? Bold move, I just finished my training today! Yes, it is bold, and that's ok with me. I'm a bold person. Plus we're all a little short on shifts this week because as soon as easter is over our occupancy drops, so all of us have 4 shifts this week. Plus, I feel ready, I'm not scared of concierge at all, I'm excited. My trainers all said good things and gave me great advice and I'm ready!!! Plus I feel like new resorts keep me on my toes! Soooo I won't say too much more because I need to go to bed and get some beauty sleep so as to dazzle the Yacht Club cast members tomorrow morning bright and early. I'll get a photo of the costumes, they're DARLING!!!! And, here's the link to their website and a few photos!

Fun fact: Disney flies special sand in to cover the bottom of the pool at The Yacht and Beach Club, it remains the only man made swimming pool of it's kind!

Fun fact: Mountain Dew was invented in Virginia (this is one of those things I learned from a guest that I would have NEVER known)

The link to the resort!!

PRETTY!! K bed time!! Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Concierge is cool!

I love concierge. It's so much fun!!!! I get to chat about the parks and restaurants and help people plan their days!! It's SO COOL!!!!!! There's a lot of stuff to learn. And there's still so much I don't know about Walt Disney World, but we have a lot of resources to help us, which is fabulous. There's this really amazing program that works with A La Carte (the learning program that I told you about before) but isn't an official Disney created program. It's the coolest thing, a lot of the time people will ask to see all their dining reservations and the A La Carte program doesn't really make a very pretty itinerary. So prix fixe was created by some front office cast members at a resort!! They're so brilliant, it actually links with A La Carte to build a much more convenient itinerary and it's much better looking. I don't know how they did it but they did and it's genius. Now not all resorts use the software because technically it isn't a Disney program, but we are lucky enough to use it at the DAK lodge! It's so cool. I love having new things to learn. I'm going for lunch tomorrow with my friend Katie at the Whispering Canyon, which is apparently a really great restaurant and right now we get 40% off lunch dining, so that's awesome. They really encourage us Concierge cast members to try all the restaurants and stuff because we have to recommend things to people but being that we don't make a ton of money, it's hard to justify eating out all the time. The 40% off really helps with that. Plus I already spend so much time in the parks that I have a very good idea of how to get around and where everything is. i LOVE my job!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I keep forgetting to talk about the birthday board. Every month, some magic fairies in the back office make a super awesome board to post of the wall in the back-stage hallway showing who has birthdays that month. They are SO cute and super creative and obviously, Disney themed. Last month it was Titanic themed and I didn't get a photo but this month it's Despicable Me themed and it's ADORABLE!! So here's a photo for you!

Concierge Training

So concierge training is super awesome. It's a little tough to sit in the classroom all day with no windows and stay focused, but we learned something really cool today that I wanted to share. So when Disney made Lilo, they also made A La Carte, which is our dining/recreation/adventure reservation system. It's very user friendly and syncs with most of our other systems. The crazy thing is that it's one of the first learning computer systems in the world. The way this learning technology works is that the computer actually tracks how we as concierge cast members use it. So if I search for a reservation and it gives me three options, and everytime that I search those keywords I pick the same first and second option, eventually, A La Carte learns that the third option is less than ideal and it will stop offering that choice. As this system is in it's infancy, those of us using it currently (that's ME!) are teaching it the most appropriate behaviors to respond with for the rest of it's life. Now sometimes it will throw out something totally random, like you search for a seafood buffet and one of your options that pops up is a steakhouse. The way our facilitator described it to us is that if you click on that option, (even if in your head, you just want to see why on earth it would pop up) it's teaching the program that steak is an appropriate response to seafood. If you just ignore that option, it will go away. How cool is that?! Apparently the woman who wrote the program line that allows the program to learn got her doctorate in computer science from this research. However, it took an extra nine months for her to get it because the Disney security is so high that it took that long for the company to authorize her to present her paper and the information to anyone else. Since this information is of such a high-security nature, Disney allowed her to use it for her doctorate on the condition that it not be published. She is currently one of only two students at her University whose doctorate research is not published. How cool is that?! Disney is so neat. It's pretty crazy how much power the company has. I like it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Don't Mess with the Mouse

Remember how I told you that Disney is really serious about rules and not breaking them? It's true. A girl in my Corporate Analysis class missed three classes and was terminated from the program (we call it 'termed'). We were told at the beginning of the semester that if we missed three of our classes this would happen but apparently some people don't pay attention. I know what you're thinking. 'But Erica, surely she was just dropped from the class, not actually termed.' The thing is that attending and passing our Disney class is a required part of staying in the Disney College Program. Which means being employed. So yea, miss three classes and not only are you dropped from your class, you're also termed. Bye bye, you have 24 hours to get back to your country. Thank goodness I attend class religiously and am in no danger of this happening.

So this week is concierge class!! It's very exciting and I'm thrilled to be taking this next step, and I wish I could tell you how exciting the class is, however, that is not the case. So I'm just going to skip over that part and tell you that I'm THRILLED to be moving over to concierge this week. Then once I'm done this training and am all settle on the concierge desk I'm moving up to the lounge, which is even more exciting.

Right now it's really hectic over here for Team Canada, Linds just switched roles and is now working at a quick service location within Epcot. She's really excited about the move. We're all working like crazy right now because the next two weeks are the most hectic time of the spring so it's all hands on deck. It's also time for our online UCR (University of California Riverside) classes to begin. We're in week two of those and let me tell you, they aren't easy. They're very fast paced and we have a lot to do to keep up. We are also still in the end of our Disney class so we have a lot on our plates as far as school goes. All work and no play right now. Except for how I need to go to Hollywood Studios to ride the Tower of Terror on a very regular basis. Anyhow, right now I have a whole lot of homework, and I know I have more things to tell you but I need to go do homework and I'll write more later!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hilton Head

Ok wow, so much to catch up on! Sorry, my family has been in town all week so I've been spending all my spare time with them!! It's so amazing to have them here, I really missed them a lot. I'm very close to my family, so it's hard for me not see them all the time. We've been having a lot of fun doing the tourist thing. We're staying at Old Key West Resort and it's AMAZING. I couldn't have booked at better resort. The rooms are massive, and we're right on the river so we sit on the patio and watch the boats go by, so relaxing. I think they didn't really know what to expect coming here and this trip may have blown their minds. It was really neat to be a resort guest and not a cast member for a few days. It's amazing how every resort has it's own special array of activities. I may have mentioned that we have movie nights at DAKL where we project Disney movies onto a screen outside by the pool? Well it's not just us, they do it all over! My sister and I enjoyed Alice In Wonderland one evening. They roast s'mores by the fire some nights. There's always something fun to do! More on that later

So last I wrote I was about to have an interview for Hilton Head. It went REALLY well. The interviewer and I had a delightful time, it was fabulous. She wanted to send a rep from the resort out here to interview me. However, they would have wanted me to move and start over there either the middle or end of may. Which is SO SOON. So I had to go talk to international programs and see if that was even possible. It's possible but I would have to self-terminate from this position and then I wouldn't finish my program. Which would mean I wouldn't graduate. Which is not what I want to do. So, I had to politely remove myself from the interview process. So that's too bad, because Hilton Head would have been a fabulous experience and it sounds like I would have loved it. However, I still have so much to learn here. In conjunction with this news, I also found out that UCR is not authorized to extend my visa because our program is a pilot program. So that means I can't extend my program, or take any internship position that might be offered to me. So I'm coming home in august. I'm a little sad about this, I would have loved to stay here longer, but I do miss home and I have some classes to finish at Camosun, so it'll all work out. It just means my original 3 year plan is still on track. I can always come back once I'm finished school. I need to go to casting sometime soon to find out what the process is to get Disney to sponsor a regular work visa. Then that's what I'll do!

Oh, I've started writing emails to myself, especially this week because I've been so busy with my family so if I have something I know I want to put in here, I email myself to remind me. So here's an email I wrote sometime this week:

I was working the closing shift tonight and there was a guest in the lobby doing some work on her laptop. i didn't really pay too much attention to her, she sat quietly working and her child was napping and she was there for about an hour and a half while i checked in guests and did my thing. at 1am, she got up, woke up her son and proceeded to head back to her room. as she went by the front desk she stopped and I smiled at her and said hello and she said, "you know, you are really good at your job. You really seem to care about everyone and you have a lot of fun while you're working. It's actually been a pleasure to listen to you for the last hour or so." I thanked her very much and felt all warm and fuzzy inside. There's always someone watching apparently. It's so nice to hear things like that, very flattering. Warm fuzzies for EVERYONE!!

And one more, this one re-iterates what I was just talking about regarding my work visa but I'm still going to include it, because it seems like a fun idea, and it would be a waste of something I thought was important at the time:

So in my quest to stay here forever, i have reached a roadblock. I have been keeping in contact with  UCR and hoping that I will be able to get a visa extension or even a whole new visa. However, I just heard back and unfortunately, because our program is a pilot program, the school is not authorized to extend my visa or give me a new one. So that means I must go back to Canada. Which is a bittersweet thing. Obviously, I love it here and I want to stay forever but I do still have unfinished business at home. So I've paid my fall deposit for Camosun and I will be registering for a few classes and finishing off my program, which is necessary. So then I have a few options. I want to head off to La Trobe to get my business degree so maybe between classes and more classes I will look for a job on the Disney Cruise Line for 6 months. That would be a really fun opportunity. Then when I'm done school in Australia I could apply for a regular work visa and come back here. I really love the company and want to work for them again in the future. And while I'm in Australia, ideally I would work for the Four Seasons. So that's the new game plan. So I will officially be coming home in August. 

 So that's what I have to say at this point. I'm sure all kinds of things will come up that I'll need to talk about, and of course I'll post some photos that I've got from various things. OH, I also got to work up on the concierge lounge the other day! So much fun!! I go back to Disney University this week for concierge training!! No DAKL for me all week long. Sad panda. But DU is always a good time so I'll have fun over there!!

Monday, April 4, 2011


So I have my interview for my Hilton Head position today! So exciting. Oops, I just got called into work, gotta go, bye

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Super Fun Times!!

I don't have a ton of time, I just wanted to share a few things with you all! Sooooo yesterday I found out that I'm getting pulled to work upstairs in the concierge lounge!!  I'm so excited, I'll still be doing regular concierge work but I'll also be upstairs! The concierge lounge is the lounge that only club level guests have access to! Very exciting. VIP's and such. I can't wait!! So exciting! Also, remember when we finished our training at th lodge and I mentioned that we got mickey ears? Well there were photos taken and I got my hands on them! So without further ado, here you are!

I'm so excited to get my ears!
That was a fun day! We were all so excited! I thought you would enjoy those!  Have a magical day!
Oh, and yesterday I lent my phone charger to a guest and I don't even care if I never get it back, the look on his face was worth it. He was seriously the happiest man on earth, it was like his team just won the Stanley Cup.