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Archive for the ‘My Disneyland ADVENTURE!’ Category

Every time I look at pictures of Disneyland days, I cry. I honestly thought that once I left and came back home, my life there would fade to a distant memory, that it would become ‘something cool I did back when I was in college’. But it hasn’t. It’s been 6 months since I’ve left Anaheim, since I’ve left my roommates, since I’ve left my apartment, since I’ve left the happiest place on earth and it’s not getting any easier. Truth be told, I miss one particular roommate so much that  every time I wear the leather bracelet she bought me for Christmas, I tear up. Every time I glance down at my wrist I feel a compelling need to tell someone about Katie. In fact, I once had a customer at PetSmart, a young girl maybe 15, who was wearing one identical to mine (of course it said her name instead). I excitedly asked her if she got it at Disneyland and she said yes with a big smile. I proceeded to point to mine and started to explain that my roommate, from when I worked at Disneyland, bought it for me only to realize that I wasn’t actually wearing it that day.

While the DCP experience was incredible, there were some parts that weren’t so great. I’m not going to butter up my experience and make it sound like an absolute and complete dream because parts of it were not. I worked. A lot. So much in fact that I developed Plantar Fasciitis, an extremely painful tightening of the muscles in the arch of my feet. The very second I sat my feet on the ground in the morning (without even standing up) my feet ached in pain. I walked and walked and walked so much, literally all day long, and my feet were not used it at all! From 8 am until I got home at night (late at night if I went to Disneyland after work, which I almost always did). Walking to the bus stop four blocks away, walking from the city bus to the security check point, from there to the backstage tram, from the tram drop off to clock in behind my attractions and then finally to my attractions. Thankfully, Disney provides gel mats to stand on at every safety position, so once at work, my feet were saying hallelujah. But  the first days of training were an absolute nightmare, feet speaking.

When Kylie and I went to buy work shoes, we both chose different shoes based on what we thought would be comfortable. I chose WRONG. The shoes I chose were slightly to large which meant that the end of the shoes rubbed the back of my feet raw. Not only that, the actual shoes were not comfortable in the least. The ‘gel cores’ were extremely hard and had no ‘give’ for my bruised, tired pathetic feet. They hurt SO BADLY, that, I honestly shouldn’t admit to this but…..almost all of my training I didn’t hear a word of. In all truth, it was all I could do to stand up straight. I made myself stand on my tip toes and I also balance precariously on the side of my feet (so the soles  weren’t touching the ground) to help alleviate the pain. It helped for a few seconds. I remember I was almost okay when I was standing still, but when he announced we were going to walk somewhere else (which was very very often) I wanted to sit down and c-r-y.

Do not make the same mistake I did. Buy good shoes before you work at Disneyland! It was an absolutely miserable week for me, and extremely dangerous and irresponsible since I could not pay attention to safety spiels and disaster preparedness from the pain. After my first paycheck I was able to beg a ride from my wonderful roommate Kylie to return the shoes to get much better ones and a pair of Dr. Scholls insoles. Strangely, my feet still killed me BUT only when I was barefoot. If I wore shoes, I was absolutely fine.

Kylie, one of my roommates I mentioned before, had the same attractions as I did and we lived together (obviously). It is very very rare to have a roommate that shares the same position as you (even to share the same field as you like attractions), particularly since we were the only two of the three hundred who ran those attractions!  We also were the same height, 4 ’11, and had the same curvy-chubby-large hipped body type. It was truly fantastic to not only enjoy the perks of commuting to work together and being able to share each others costumes (which we did quite often, especially coats) but to also have someone who always understood what I was talking about when I came home after a long day at Jelly. We shared funny/sad stories, new jokes to spiel to the guests, the potluck dishes we brought to work, friendly criticism, books (we both loved to read) and the same amazing cast member friends. We even helped each other study for our attraction assessments, which was an immense help. I really can’t imagine how my Disney experience would have been without Kylie and me always being the others shadow. I remember several times when the cast members we worked got us confused with each other or would call us by the wrong name. I also had several people tell me that I was beginning to talk like her! Kylie used to say we were actually the same person.

I’m proud of myself for ‘working my way up’ since my first teenage job of chopping cotton. I’ve climbed the job ladder going from fast food, to private coffee shop, to taking tickets at a swap meet to Disneyland. A month before my internship had ended I applied for a couple jobs back home, secretly terrified I wouldn’t be able to find work once I got back. I remember the economy and the struggle to find work when I left. Amazingly, the wonderful folks at our towns not-opened-yet Petsmart saved a position for me and hired me immediately. Now I work here passionately putting my heart and soul  into everything I do, feeling at the end of the day like it doesn’t really matter, because I’m not really making a difference. At least not like it did when I worked at Disneyland. Because my problem has been and always will be caring to much. I can’t do something half heartedly. It’s either all or nothing. I can’t understand the concept of doing something for a living and not actually caring about it. There’s no such thing as a job. I don’t mean necessarily loving what you do, I mean putting all you’ve got into it and not saying afterwards that you could have done a lot better. I’m confident that I did my best after every encounter I have with a pet parent. Just like at Disneyland, the valuable skills I picked up transferred over to not only this new job but also my life in general. I never tell anyone ‘I don’t know'; I always find a book or find another employee who does know. I also genuinely care when someone cares to share with me how they’ve struggled after losing their family dog of 14 years.

In fact, there is one gentleman who, after coming in within the first couple of days after we opened, shared with me his little long-haired Dachshund’s name (Tessa) and explained that his wife had just died and that he and chose Tessa from the Animal Shelter to help keep him company in his big, now lonely, house. This story truly crushed me and nearly made me cry when I saw the tears in his eyes after he utter the word ‘died’ and how much hurt he must have been feeling to share a story like that with me, a simple cashier. He now brings her in biweekly and gets her groomed, perfumed, and shops for her until she’s done in the salon. He speaks of her with sheer delight when I ask about her and never fails to bring her by the register on his way out to let me see how pretty she is and pet her. The last time I saw this gentleman, I asked how Tessa was, and after he told me, he patted my arm and said, ‘You know, I shared with you the first time I came here that my wife had died and that I had adopted Tessa and you make a point to not only ask me how she’s doing but remember her name! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your kindness.’ He was nearly crying as he emotionally said this, and it was all I could do to keep myself composed. Him letting me know how much of a difference I made in his life, keeps me believing that working at Petsmart isn’t just a job like some people believe but that it’s an experience, somewhere exciting, a place for memories, a place to battle fish tank issues, to get advice, to tackle problems, to be consoled, to be cheered for. I take pride in being ‘just a cashier’ because experiences like this make me feel like I matter, like I have a purpose. It’s amazing how two people that come from different walks of life can uplift and encourage each other, with very little effort. So yes, I care immensely for people and I’m grateful to work at Petsmart.  Even though I miss Anaheim and even though Petsmart isn’t as prestigious or as ‘cool’ as Disneyland, what I do is still important. To someone.

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I miss Disneyland, my job, and all of my friends like crazy. Now that the program is over and I’m settled into what my day-to-day life will be like from now on, I realize it’s a lot different; it’s calm and blah and very predictable. I miss the exciting Disney days. The funny-heartwarming-wild-often ridiculous tourists, working in unpredictable weather, walking walking walking everywhere, my high-waisted cullottes… I work at PetSmart now…I literally stand at the cash register for only 16 hours a week schmoozing people and their dogs, offering tips on the care and keeping of fish, or just waiting and waiting for someone to check-out. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and I’m grateful to even have a job, but I’m used to being busy and being responsible…I can’t seem to shake the Disney lifestyle and ethics. This compared is lacking and completely unfulfilling.

The sad news is I think I’ve ‘officially’ decided I WONT be coming back to Disneyland to work. If I came for spring I would have to come back for summer and winter, every year, forever. I can’t have two separate lives, back and forth… PetSmart would NOT like me continually asking for a month off and it would be hard on my family and myself. I will eventually have to either choose to move to Anaheim to work at Disneyland as my life-long career, or end it. I might as well end it now. Who am I kidding? I know I will never move there permanently. I miss my JOB to death but I can’t live that far away from my family and the valley. I still don’t know what I’m going to DO with my life but I do know that my elderly grandparents (all four of them) and my four-year-old little niece are more dear to me than any career (even my beloved Disney one). The good news is, during Spring break I’ll be in LA (going on a cruise!) and will hopefully (I don’t see why not) be able to come to Disneyland and see everyone. I could never bear to completely remove Disney from my life…I wish I could always work there but I’m just not willing to live so far away. I plan on visiting as often as I can. It won’t be the same, but it’s something.

Its going to kill me to say that in just three days, I won’t be a cast member anymore… I will most likely never work for Disney again. It’s so weird to think it’s over, that it was just ‘something I did when I was in college’. I’m going to miss it incredibly, but I’ll still come as often as I can to be one of those crazy tourists I miss. I’ll still hopefully get to see all my cast member friends and my much-loved roommates (404 forever!).

I hope I find something that makes me happy and fills the hole in me that yearns to do something worthwhile, something that HELPS people. I may be making a huge mistake but the choice is mine and I guess I’m choosing that family comes first. I love you Walt Disney and Disneyland. Thanks for the opportunity, the wonderful experience and all the wisdom and utter inspiration it has given me. Now I move on to ‘bigger and better things’ *she said jokingly* Just trying to cheer myself up….

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I just renewed my domain and I realized that its definitely time to write another blog. I’m afraid I’ve been putting it off for a LONG time and I’m sorry…For one thing, the longer I put it off, the more I’m stressed and avoid it at all costs. I am so busy, every single day! It’s hard to have time to send a letter or do laundry, forget exercising, writing blogs and cooking real food haha.

I’ve officially been working at Disneyland for one month. There are obviously a million things I could say (truly, a million) but if I did, this would become an absolute novel. I’m also unsure of what exactly I’m allowed to discuss about my role and everything about the Walt Disney company in general.

I am in Attractions and I run the Jumpin’ Jellyfish and the Golden Zephyr. My role is great because I get to be around guests ALL day long. I really love telling silly jokes on the Zephyr and making people laugh…there’s nothing quite like seeing a little girls face light up when I hand her an Honorary Scuba Diver sticker… Making guests happy is what I strive for; as I said in my interview, I treat people the way I would like to be treated…and believe me, I expect a lot when I’m at Disneyland! I really do try to go above and beyond.

It hurts a lot when a guest is upset (especially when they blame it on you specifically) but, as difficult as it is, you have to try not to let it bother you. I take everything personally myself; when a guest is upset for whatever reason, I try to fix it if I can. I absolutely hate telling guests that California Screamin’ is down for a month, for example, or that they aren’t tall enough to ride the Jellyfish… I know it makes them unhappy (sometimes VERY unhappy) and they are both things I cannot resolve. But, you have to get used to it and know that you’re doing the very best you can to make the guests have a great time, and if they go away upset or unsatisified…hey, you know you did everything in your power to change that.

No matter how monotonous the job gets (‘Please stay inside your rocket vehicles until they come to a full AND complete stop’ 50 times a day) you must remember that every three minutes your attraction is filled with new guests who are all unique and special, who have never been on this ride, who are with their families, who are having fun. You have to remember this and stay as happy, as friendly, as ‘Disney’ as possible. It’s a great job though and I love it immensely.

Everything in life has some cons with its pros but my job has more of the latter and less of the former, thank goodness.

Overall, I like my roommates, I really enjoy my job, I’m having lots of fun! I do miss my family horribly (and my poor car)! I also miss ANIMALS. I never realized what a big part pets have played in my life…I miss petting cats and dogs so so much. What I would give to have a warm little body resting next to me on the couch, or to hear my Benny Joon barking at his squeak toy. I would love to have a little betta fish but alas…we aren’t allowed even that. I joke with Jake that when he comes to visit me, he should bring one of his thirteen cats over with him for the day, let me pet it and then take it back with him. I’m only half-joking.

Me and my Roommates!

Me, Katie, Kylie, Cynthia and Alyssia

Much has happened since I left, I know that much is true. My dear ‘little’ cousin got married two weeks ago and I MISSED it. I’m truly crushed and heartbroken I couldn’t be there. I am going to try as hard as I can to come home for Christmas for a few days but we’ll see.; I don’t have a car, its hard to get days off, and gas/transportation would be expensive.

But on a positive note, this experience has been/is wonderful. Being truly on my own, paying real bills ($600 rent, yikes!), grocery shopping, cleaning, working a full-time job, going to class, all with the good ol’ city bus. My everyday life takes some serious planning, just to get all the trivial things done that need to be done. I’ve always been mature and independent so it’s not anything new…I know I’m grateful for already having been ‘an adult’ BEFORE I got here; I know many people who are having a hard time being away from mommy and daddy; they can’t budget, clean up after themselves or get to work on time.

Having fun on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

So…this is all for now. A big, unexciting ramble of mush. I’m sorry it’s not amazing, especially for having been so long from the last blog, but like I said…I’m so busy and right now I’m tired and I would like to lay in my bed and read some good ol’ Jane Austen. Tomorrow I’m waking up early, going to the boardwalk games in Disney California Adventure and winning me a Bullseye plushie (from Toy Story). Wish me luck!

I miss you all! Come and see me. We’ll have so much fun, I promise! :-D

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Hey everyone! Sorry it’s been slow lately- expect it to get much slower. I’m afraid my family and I aren’t doing very well financially. My cellphone, the internet, and a variety of other things are/is getting shut off. Stay tuned though; I promise to bring regular blog posts back in the near future, hopefully. My Disneyland career is coming up fairly quickly, not quick enough though haha. Come on August 14th, please hurry…pretty please?

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I know that all of us are positively DYING with excitement and maybe a little friendly jealousy, hearing all about our fellow CMs experiences at Disneyland. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I am so proud of all the new employees, I’m so glad that everyone is having such a great time. I’m sure the first few weeks take a lot of getting used to and are probably quite stressful but you guys rock for going down to Los Angeles and toughing it out. Way to go! I know that I am sincerely looking forward to meeting each and every one of you in person; “See you real soon!” ^.^

Now on to today’s Countdown Fact:

One of the Imagineers on the technical team for the recent renovation of The Twilight Tower of Terror estimated he rode the attraction nearly 3,000 times and often spent as much as three hours at a time strapped in while the drop sequences were tested.

79 days left until August 14th, the day we begin our adventures at Disneyland!

:-)

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In the beginning, the narrator of the Goofy “How To” cartoons, animator John McLeish, was not told that the script was a joke and that Goofy would be doing everything backward. The deadpan narration that resulted is partly responsible for the series’ success.


Bonus Trivia: What were some of the names by which Goofy was known before the moniker “Goofy” firmly stuck?

Dippy Dawg, Dippy the Goof, and Mr. Geef

Only 91 days until August 14th- Check-in day for my job at Disneyland!

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During the recording sessions for the 1988 TV special “Totally Minnie,” Minnie Mouse’s voice, Russi Taylor, met Mickey Mouse’s voice, Wayne Allwine, and they fell in love and married.

104 more days until August 14th, the day I start working at Disneyland!

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In the 1940s, after a massive labor strike and huge financial problems owed to the uneasiness of the beginning of WWII, Walt Disney invited Lee Blair, and after permission was granted, his wife Mary Blair, on a trip with him to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. The government asked Walt Disney to go to South America on a ‘goodwill tour’. They also payed for Walt to gather research, sketches and the like to make a film, which would help unite our two countries at the beginning of WWII.

Thus, ‘The Three Caballeros’ and ‘Saludos Amigos’ were created and very successful, not only financially, but more importantly, they helped link North and South America together, creating loyal allies.

The Blair’s were asked to come along, with several other illustrators, secretaries, producers, etc. As I mentioned before, Mary Blair had to ask permission to come along on the trip; she wasn’t originally invited.

Her talent as an artist was at a standstill, or rather, hadn’t yet evolved. Before the epic trip to South America, her art was very hum-drum, typical for its time, and unable to be told apart from her husbands.

However, after the flavor and eccentric passion of South America, Mary began to develop her own unique style of art. Walt Disney noticed her protruding talent and asked her to work for him. Mary Blair worked extensively on the films Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Cinderella. She was also the main designer of the ride ‘It’s a Small World’.

Though much of her art veers away from naturalism toward abstraction, she was one of Walt Disney’s favorite artists; he personally responded to her use of color, naïve graphics, and the storytelling aspect in her pictures, especially the underlying emotions palpable in much of her art.
It would be difficult for anyone not to enjoy the witty, utterly charming art of Mary Blair, a dazzling and prolific sorceress of color and form. She saw the world in a fresh, new way and brought a special childlike beauty and gaiety to the works of print, theme parks and movies.

Advertisement, Children’s books, and other Art

It absolutely stuns and inspires me that this once common, run of the mill  housewife with a handful of talent, turned into an extremely successful, influential, unique artist. What makes her different than other women of her time? She didn’t take no for an answer, she didn’t say ‘yes dear’ and do what was expected.

Instead, she marched into Walt Disney’s office and asked to be included on the three month voyage to South

America. Look where the brave risk took her; directly under Walt Disney’s wing and into her own pool of talent that she may not have ever known existed. I would say the trip was VERY successful, in many more ways than one, wouldn’t you?

Only 115 days until I get to see It’s a Small World up close again, this time as an employee at Disneyland!

(to view more of her gorgeous art or read more about her life go here: www.magicofmaryblair.com)

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As I remember it, it was the toughest period I’ve had. But it was a healthy thing it was like, you know, sometimes you’ve got to build yourself up and explode. And then you kind of begin to pick up the pieces and take stock. Something comes out of it. You know?

                                                                                                                                   -Walt Disney on the cartoonist labor strike in 1941

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Walt Disney World’s version of Big Thunder Mountain was so realistic when the Imagineers finished, a host of rattlesnakes tried to take up residence there!

Only 119 more days until August 14th, the check-in date for the Disney College Program!

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