The Disney Adventure

The Disney Adventure
The Cinderella Castle!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New friends

We got a new ice bucket in the concierge lounge yesterday. He's much cuter and appropriately themed to the resort than the old one. True to form, I named said ice bucket. Herbert. Herbert the ice bucket. My manager made a sign to introduce Herbert to the rest of the cast. I love that noone here says I'm crazy for naming things. I name everything. Anyhow, check out the sign! 

True Story

You know you work for Disney when you put a wall clock in a corner on a time out to think about what it's done, and no one thinks that's wierd. I legitimately scolded a clock for falling off the wall onto my head today. Never a dull moment!!The bad clock! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lounge Guests

I just love the lounge. I really have a chance to bond with the guests. Yesterday I met some guests who will be here for a week. I got to talking with a father and his son, and it turns out the son played basketball and competed in Canada and actually played against UVic  (UVic beat them, just for the record). So we had a really interesting chat about the differences between Americans and Canadians and fun things like that. The thing that I really like is that they will be here for the whole week. So I'll get to see them every night and see what they did during the day and really interact with them. We don't really get a chance to do that when we're working on the desk because we get so busy. Don't get me wrong, we still do bond with guests and they will stop by and visit day after day but it's not quite the same as the lounge where they get to sit and eat and drink. It's a much more relaxed atmosphere will less pressure because there's no line for us to get through.

It looks like I'll also be getting a little bit more responsibility around here soon. We have something coming up called 'The Basics Rollout'. You might recall me mentioning the Basics, they're the four basics of Disney service. So what's about to happen is a bit of restructuring within the Disney World Resorts. Now, we at the DAK lodge have been doing this already for a few months to be better prepared when the basics rollout hits resort wide. So there's a few positions that will be introduced that we already have been doing, like curbside. As you all know, I LOVE curbside. So one of the managers approached me hoping that I would assist in training the new batch of CP's for things like curbside. Of course I said YES PLEASE!! I'm pretty excited about that. I also have been really curious about the IPO position. IPO is Itinerary Planning Office. Basically, these cast members work with guests before they even arrive at Disney World and help them build their vacations. Which sounds like something I'd LOVE!! Now realistically, I won't be here long enough to get any training in IPO, but I did ask if I can shadow them once or twice whenever there's an opportunity and they said yes!! So I'm very excited about this new opportunity to learn  some more sstuff!!

Learning is FUN!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Club Level!

So it's my first OFFICIAL week at the concierge club level. I've been assisting them randomly here and there so at least I kind of know my way around, but now it's official!! It's so much fun, we have different food services at different times of the day and TV's and a Wii! Lots of fun. It's a nice change from the desk, you get to walk around and intereact with guests and you see the same families all day long and you get to know them. It's a lot of fun. Up in the lounge level there is both lounge serving and the club desk. The club desk is like the lobby desk but there's only two cast members there and you get to sit down and talk to the guests. You also get to book all the special savanna tours and fun things like that. So once I've been up in the lounge for a few weeks I'll get trained on the club desk also. So much fun and so much to learn!! Yay!!

Monday, May 16, 2011


So Disney has a very good reputation for being really accommodating of people with food allergies. We hear that a lot and we tell guests that a lot but until you see it for yourself you don't actually realize how good we really are. My food allergies consist of lactose intolerance but I never really need to worry because it's pretty easy to find things without dairy in them. While Tanille and Tammy were here, it was a different story. They are both celiacs (no gluten allowed) so we weren't really sure how it was going to go when we tried to eat in the parks. Turns out the rumors are true. Everywhere we went, as soon as we said 'food allergy', the cast member would call either a manager or a chef who would discuss the options with us and then make sure that the food was prepared correctly. It was amazing. If we were in a sit-down table service restaurant, the chef came out and talked to us and would come out later again to make sure we didn't have any problems. If it was a quick service location, the manager would come out and chat with us. Everywhere had amazing options, like actual whole meals, not just salads or burgers without buns. It was a nice treat for the celiac ladies because it's very difficult to get delicious gluten free meals. I also was THRILLED to discover that most Disney World restaurants have Tofutti and Soy ice cream so I was able to have a fantastic soy ice cream sundae!! AMAZING!! So now when I advise my guests, I know I'm correct!! I have some photos. Some are from the Expedition Everest Race and some are from Disney's Yacht and Beach Resort. I was back there this week because I'm picking up another shift there tomorrow! Let's see them, shall we!!

This cool Everest wall has our signatures on it!

We found some more Canadians who were racing in Expedition Everest too!! Obviously we needed a photo!

The race afterparty included visits from some VERY special friends!

The dock at the Yacht and Beach Club

The Yacht Club as seen from the dock (you can take a boat to Hollywood Studios or Epcot)

The Yacht and Beach Club has one of the most exclusive pools on Disney property. You can't swim in it unless you are staying there!

The Beach Club has a restaurant called 'Beaches and Cream'...they are very well known for their desserts as well at the decor, fabulously themed (as per usual with Disney), including these fabulous ice cream tables!

Gorgeous globe that actually spins in the lobby of the Yacht Club

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Feels Like Home

I experienced a perfect example of why Disney is like a family to me today. Remember when I picked up that shift at the Yacht Club? Well I picked up another one. So today after work I went to get a costume. I ran into one of their managers in the hallway and got a wonderful warm welcome and a big hug. I've worked there once. But yet he remembered me and was happy to see me. That's why it feels like home here. Even when I'm not at my home resort I'm greeted warmly. Its a really good feeling. It feels like home. Speaking of home, I have some cute pictures of us girls waiting for the jungle bus to take us home from the Animal Kingdom after work. Love the DAKL girls!

Aren't we cute?? These ladies are all FABULOUS!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Email Diaries

As I have mentioned, sometimes things happen at work and I need to write them down before I forget, so I send myself emails. So here's two that I've sent myself this week. 
May 11th:
I just had the funnest time with some guests. I had two gentlemen come up and ask me about the Boma restaurant. They have wood burning grill fires there and these guests were wondering how much wood we go through in a day and where we get it from. Apparently there's laws in the states prohibiting the transport of some kinds of wood across state lines, which I did not know. Some people might not have liked this kind of question. I however, am someone who LOVES random trivia and was very excited to find out the answer. So i googled it. No answers. So I called Boma. the hostess didn't even know that they had a wood burning grill. So she put me through to the manager. The manager didn't know. So she transfered me to shipping and recieving...I spoke with Mike who sounded very shocked to be hearing  from the concierge desk. Mike knew all about the Boma wood. Apparently we use about half a pallet of oak a day and it comes from our warehouse. We have a wood warehouse. I asked Mike what happens when the wood warehouse runs out of wood....he said it hasn't happened yet. So I learned a fun fact about the wood burning ovens in Boma! I love fun guests, they really make my day!! 
May 12th
Guests make me so happy sometimes! I've had two more really fabulous guest recently.
I had a woman yesterday that I checked in who looked as though she was going to cry when I said 'welcome home' to her. She was SO excited to be here. Her and her sister had been dying to come here together for 6 years and finally they were here. She was just so overwhelmed and excited and didn't really know what she was doing so I spent about 45 minutes with her helping her plan their trip. I found out that she's a scrapbooker so I made sure she had extra copies of everything and she even took a picture of me holding her welcome packet to put into her scrapbook.She was so happy to be here that she made me even happier to be assisting her!! Soooooo I sent her some ammentities. I think I'll check in on her today, see how everything is going!
I also just had a guest who told me that I reminded him of Flo from the progrssive commercials. I really liked that it made me happy. She's such a cool character!! I feel flattered!


So when we take our concierge training class, they talk about using mantras to get yourself in the right Disney headspace to go onstage. Concierge isn't easy....don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my job. However it can be stressful and totally draining. As Disney cast members we are expected to be cheerful, happy and helpful every moment that we are onstage. As concierge cast members, we have to do all those things AND know every answer to every question that a guest might as about Disney or the surrounding area. Our guest have extremely high expectations of us because it is Disney. Some days its tougher than others to get into your Disney mindset. So they tell us to use mantras. Things like 'I will be the beginning of a magical day for my guests'. I've already used mantras. I do it when I train and when I race. But I've never done it at work. Then one day last week I really wasn't feeling it. I didn't want to talk to people about Disney for 8 hours straight. So on my walk in from the bus, I said 'I can make my guests day magical'......and I said it over and over in my head until I really believed it. And you know what? That turned out to be a really magical day. So now mantras are moving from just the racing aspect of my life into the work aspect. Sometimes you need a little boost and you can't count on anyone but yourself for that. Try it some day, I swear it works, even if you don't think it will!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Expedition Everest Photos

So I have a few photos from the other night and the Everest race that Tanille and I did. I checked our official time and we came in 23rd out of 420 women's teams! We're pretty proud of ourselves! These are just the ones that someone else from the DAK lodge took, there are more coming later from my camera and Tanille's camera, so stay tuned!
This is Natalie and myself, posing with our fabulous medals after the race!

This is (from left to right): Megan, Bren ('riding' an ostrich), Natalie, Myself, Tanille

Bren dressed up as a guy riding an ostrich in support of all of us!
We had such a fun time! And I now have a dangerous love of Disney races....I may have to come back for a few in the fall!! At least I know I have places to stay while I'm here!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


So I had a delightful time working at the Polynesian! I loved it over there!! So much fun!! I got along really well with everyone and it sounds like they want me to come back soon which is great! Here is a photo of their lovely costume!! It's pretty comfy and breezy, I enjoyed it!!

Some unfortunate news, I won't be able to take the Hilton Head position because I can't get a visa extension. Soooo looks like I'll be coming home after all. Which is good to, Derrek and I are planning a very fun trip home, so that should be exciting, and I do miss home!

Tanille and her mom are visiting right now which is fabulous! We're staying right at the DAK lodge, so it's the best commute to work EVER for me! Tanille and I ran in the Expedition Everest Challenge to night. It was amazing, a 5km run through the Animal Kingdom park, with an obstacle course and a scavenger hunt component. And there was even an after party with a dj and characters! Disney sure knows how to throw a party! The race was so well organized and perfectly executed. I was blown away.  AND the finisher medals are spectacular!! They are actual compasses that work and everything!! I loved every minute of today. It's so nice to race with Tanille again, we haven't raced together since our last triathlon, so it was a really great that she could be here for this! Photos of the race coming soon! 

I don't think I put bowling photos up on here from our cast Bowl-a-thon, did I?? Silly me, I should do that right now!

That's myself with some of our super fun cast members from the lodge! We had so much fun!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BIG NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!

SO EXCITED!! I was on my merry way into work this afternoon after finishing our very last corporate analysis class, all happy and full of a delicious iced coffee beverage. My day was already lovely. And then the phone rang. On the other end of that phone call was a lovely lady from Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, extending me an official offer for a Professional Internship in Recreation with them. I almost jumped out of my seat on the bus. SO EXCITING!! There's quite a few details that we need to work out. They want me to start quite a bit before my program here is over so I need to figure out if I can leave my program early. Even before that I need to figure out if they'll even give me a visa! So I'm off to casting on thursday to try and get myself a shiny new visa. Everyone keep your fingers crossed for me!!! EEEEK!!! SO EXCITED!!!!! The Hilton Head property has some really neat recreation things there so I'd be changing up duties all the time, campfire singalongs, bike rentals, lifeguarding, taking groups to movies, water sports. EEEEK!!!! I need to calm down until thursday when I can find out if I can even stay. I think that maybe if I come in with some line graphs that show how guest satisfaction goes up in direct correlation to my being with the company that will ensure me a visa for SURE! More later....stay tuned...

Warm Fuzzies

So I was off to make some magic tonight, headed to a guest room with their dining reservations for tomorrow in my hot little hands. I was excited because this particular family hadn't thought they would be able to get any reservations and I was able to find them all the places that they wanted. So off I went, delivered the reservation information, made them happy, felt all magical and began to make my merry way back to the desk. And then I was stopped by a guest, who was so happy with the room that I had gotten for them several days ago. So he wanted to tell me how much he appreciated it. And then I encountered another guest who has been here for several days and who is always wearing a funnny tshirt, so he stopped me to show me his funny tshirt that I hadn't seen yet. I got back to the desk really remembering how much we are a part of our guests lives. They really get attached to us while they're here, It's nice to know that the hard work we put in every day pays off. And I got the sweetest thank you card from a guest, I'll have to take a picture and put it up!! Oh, speaking of pictures, I know you are all just dying to see what the yacht club costume looked like from last week!! Here it is!
I think it's quite darling! It's definitely one of my favorites so far!!  oh also, I know you're thinking "Hey Erica, what new resort are you working at this week?" and the answer is the POLYNESIAN!!! Yesssss so much fun!! That's tomorrow, I'll keep you posted.  Oh and you also haven't seen a photo of my new DAKL costume. Our concierge costumes are different than the front desk ones, so here's my pretty burgundy costume!!
Oh so flattering I know!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Epic Win

I’ve come to realize that the best tool I have at my disposal is my freakishly cheerful attitude. For instance, with the guest that dumped garbage on my desk. She was determined to be in a really horrible mood. I may have neglected to mention that the reason they didn’t want to stay in the new room was that she could see a tree outside her window. Oh really ma’am? Well I am so very sorry that there is a tree in the savanna of the African themed resort that you are staying at. Is what I realllllly wanted to say. However I smiled, and apologized, and fixed the situation, and continued to smile until she smiled too. This is what I do, please, bring me your anger, bring me your attitude, because I can guarantee that it is no match for my cheerfulness. You can be as angry at me as you want, and I will be cheerful right back at you, while I fix whatever is making you angry, until you are so tired from being angry that you just have to smile. And by that point, the problem is solved and somehow you’re not angry. And I win. End of story.

One of those days!

So I just had an older couple come down and they apparently had been checked into a dirty room, which happens once in a while. I apologized profusely and got them a new room that was clean. soooo 10 minutes later the couple came back and the woman shook out a bag of garbage all over the front desk. I didn't really know what to say. She said 'this is the garbage from our first room, this second room is NOT our room, we will not take it, i will clean the first room myself, I just came to let you know.' Guests do the strangest things sometimes. I smiled and told her that if she really wanted to stay in the first room then we would go ahead and have it cleaned for her. At first they didn't even want to leave the room so we could have it cleaned, but I managed to get them to go to the pool. The reason that she didn't want to be in the second room is that she could see a tree from her window. Oddly enough, the savanna had a tree in it.

The last few days!

So I recieved a call from the director of HR over at the Hilton Head Island Resort, much to my surprise. The last time I spoke with them I declined to continue the interview process because of the length of my program and not being able to extend my visa. I did tell them that if anything came up with a later start date that I'd love to be interviewed again. Soooo I called her back and she put me in touch with the director of recreation whom I interviewed with yesterday. This position would be a professional internship within the recreation department. So ther would be some lifeguarding, some working at the bike rental stand, some guiding campfire sing a longs, and things of that nature. It is definintely different than what I'd like to do ideally, but I also want to stay within the company, and that resort would be such a fabulous opportunity to do so. At this point I'm also getting excited for my trip home so I'm kind of on a fence here. Also, I don't even know what's happening with my visa. So I'm going to casting after work today to see what steps I need to take to have Disney sponsor my visa. So I'll know more tonight. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Well the royal wedding happened the other morning and I would be remiss if I didn't mention it. Not because I watched it, or am particularily interested, but because the whole event highlights a very interesting cultural difference. Here, the wedding is all over the tabloids, people are talking about it non-stop, there's been a made for tv movie done about it, all kinds of shenanigans. I work with two lovely British girls and they are shocked at the amount of attention the wedding is getting. Neither of them planned to watch the wedding and both said that in England, it's not at all publicized like it is here. It's not on the tabloids, it's not gossip over there because it's their government. One of the girls simply said, 'The queen would just not allow the royal wedding to be in gossip magazines, it just wouldn't happen.' I thought that was really interesting. It's also very interesting to see the reactions of guests when they see that we have British cast members, most of them ask if they're planning on watching.........they aren't. Among the more interesting and less intelligent questions I've heard is, 'Did you get invited?'. One of the girls thought that was hysterical, her response being 'Did you get invited to Barrak Obama's wedding?' All in all it's been a very entertaining few days.