Episode XI A guide for the Disney College Program: Where should I live?
For those who are reading this and are going to the DCP… CONGRATULATIONS!
This post is both a story and information for future CP’s who don’t know which housing complex to choose.
I had a rare opportunity to live in 2 apartment complexes and had 3 roles during my program. So I have a lot of knowledge regarding this issue.
Choosing either Vista Way, Chatham Square, or Patterson Court is as difficult as a choice between picking Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander.
I lived in both Patterson Court and Chatham Square so I’ll give you pros and cons of those and some second-hand knowledge of Vista Way.
Patterson Court Pros As you may have heard, they are the newest of the 3. The apartment complex is much quieter than the others, and it feels like a legit apartment complex. Not many trees around and it’s kinda bland with the colors. However, the kitchen is much larger than Chatham and so is the family/dining room. The appliances are relatively new as well as you’ll have a couple extra storage closets that I noticed Chatham lacked. The Pool/gym/and offices are also centralized making it easier for anyone to walk a short distance.
Cons I think the main reason some would be deterred from choosing Patterson is the bus stop location. This complex does not have a bus stop as you have to walk to Chatham to get on the bus. It’s about a 2-4 minute walk to the bus stop so those hot and long days at work don’t get much better when you’re walking home. It lacks that homey feeling that some people would like. The speed bumps are horrendous! I apologized to my car after ever bump!
Chatham Square Pros
It has that homey feeling with all the trees and people walking around. The bus stop is literally just outside your complex so there should be no reason why you shouldn’t take the bus. I mean $5 for a gallon of gas??? Disney hosts many events in the fields inside and across the street of Chatham Square which makes it really easy for you to go to. I noticed the bedrooms in Chatham are slightly bigger than Patterson’s.
Cons The pool and offices are in separate locations. The pool being on one side of the complex so if you live on the opposite side, the incentive isn’t as glamourous. It’s the most chosen of the 3 complexes so the day you check in, ARRIVE EARLY so you can get the apartment complex you want. The kitchen/family room/dining room are noticeably smaller than Patterson’s. I also ran into some issues with the appliances in Chatham, but that was just my apartment.
Take note: I never lived in Vista Way so again, this is second hand knowledge
Pros You also have a bus stop, but this time it’s inside your complex. It’s also the main bus hub so if you happen to be running late, the bus usually hangs around Vista for about 5 minutes while they change bus drivers or to have a coffee break or something. This is also the cheapest complex to live in. It’s also the only complex with a basketball court, which I was sad the other 2 didn’t. If I’m not mistaken, every building has a laundry room rather than a separate building like Chatham and Patterson. You can also hear the Disney fireworks from your room when living in Vista as well ^_^
Cons Don’t listen to what everyone says about Vista Way. It’s a nice place and that’s where you’ll be checking in and if you have any questions regarding your program. I don’t know many cons about Vista as I have never lived there but I hope this helps your decision a bit more.
In the end, when I choose where to live, I would choose Patterson Court. I felt much more comfortable there with a bigger kitchen (I like cooking) and a bigger family room (I brought and will bring Rock Band). However, I wouldn’t mind living in Chatham again.
For those of you who are going for the Fall 2012 season, I’ll be seeing you there!
The one thing I’ve learned while working at the Stitch Complex in the Magic Kingdom was; even with a terrible job, you have to make the best of it. You must try to have fun with everyone!
A shift I had was an Extra Magic Hours shift. It was about 13 hours long. From 2:00pm-3:15am I was working. After my last break I began my marathon of Stitch shows. Typically, a cast member would watch 4-5 shows before the next cast member comes in. It was late, no more cast members were coming and I was stuck watching Stitch’s Great Escape! until we closed. I quickly did the math and came up with 18 shows.
The first 5 went rather quickly. After 10 I was seriously getting annoyed. By the 14th show, I had an idea. What if during the darkness, and in between the flashing lights, I were to change my standing location to freak the guests out?
I started small. Between the flashing lights, I moved to the side about 5 feet. Baby steps.
With the small shows at 2am and empty rows, I became ambitious. Could I make it to the other side of the theatre? During the 20 seconds of darkness, I went down an empty row to the other side of the theatre. I wanted to freak out the guests.
They didn’t notice.
I want to have fun by scaring the guests. I decided to challenge myself.
My second to last show only had 5 guests. In their mid 20’s they looked to be a good group of guests. They would repeat, in sync, with the narration of the show. They all sat together in the front row.
Here’s my chance.
During the first dark scene I go all the way down to the first row, next to the guests, lift the restraint a little bit, and snake my way under the seat. Now I’m sitting next to them.
The lights turn back on and they freak out that I’m sitting right next to them..
Guest #1: Look! How’d he get there?! Guest #2: I don’t know! Guest #3: What the hell?!
The lights turn off again for the second dark scene. I snake my way under the restraint again to get out and retreat back to the third row. Just as the lights turn back on, I wiggle under the restraint and get comfortable.
Lights come back on.
Guest #1: Where did he go?? Guest #2: Look! he went to the third row! Guest #1: How did he do that in the dark?? Guest #3: That’s so freaky!
After that show, my last show came in and I did the same thing, this time with an older lady. At 3:30 in the morning, I never had more fun on a shift.
Now whenever it gets dark inside the theatre, I move to different parts of the theatre. When I have moderately full shows, I’m not overly ambitious with my scare tactics but I will move just a bit.
I’ve even turned on my fellow cast members in the dark as well. But that’s another story.
Whenever I close, I hope I end up watching Stitch shows just so I can be a ninja in the darkness. I plan on scaring all the tour groups and cheerleaders now.
This isn’t my story but a story my leader told me about a magical moment he witnessed and was a part of.
Working at Mission: Space my leader was working outside as a greeter. He saw a little girl playing with her new Eeyore plush toy. She was dancing around with him and was so very happy that mommy got it for her. She hugged it, talked to it, and was dancing and spinning with Eeyore.
During my last few weeks working in Tomorrowland I was working on the PeopleMover. It was my favorite place to work because I was walking the entire time and telling people to get in or out of their cars.
As I’m telling guests to watch their step as they exit, the cars suddenly stop. I was confused and ran through my memory of training as to why they would stop moving. Then as quickly as I remembered the reason, I heard it.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP
The high-pitched beeping only reinforced my first thought.
We have an intrusion. Someone probably jumped out of their car inside Buzz Lightyear.
It’s been a busy month of May for me. I’ve been quite the ghost for a while and it’s about time to tell you whats been going on with me.
At the end of April, I had an interview with Disney about a position in Front Desk at our resorts. I thought the interview went well and didn’t think much about it after I left.
Now to the fun part!
A week later I visited Casting to apply for Part-Time and Full-Time positions in Disney. About a week and a half later I was called by Casting saying I got part time at Future World East in Epcot.
I found out I was going to train at the new Test Track!
If that wasn’t big news enough, I mentioned I was training at another attraction. How is that possible if I’m already training at Disney World?
Well…I wasn’t only working in Disney World
I was offered a job at Universal Orlando to be a student at Hogwarts for the Forbidden Journey at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
It’s wonderful being a student/wizard!
Training/working there was amazing. By far my favorite attraction to work at! I got to see little wizards and witches, see little muggles with their first wands, and send these muggles on a trip with Harry, Ron, and Hermione on a trip they’ll never forget!
But then something happened.
I’m training at both Test Track and The Forbidden Journey when I got a phone call.
It was Casting again.
They told me I received part time for Front Desk at Fort Wilderness!
My major is Hospitality Management. I would have loved to stay at Test Track and Harry Potter but I know I need to move up in the company and not work attractions till I’m 30.
So I made a decision.
I quit Universal. I left Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Test Track so I can be trained at front desk. It was an opportunity that I could not pass up.
So where have I been? Well, I’ve been hanging around Magic Kingdom with Stitch, then I became a Chevrolet car designer, then I became a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and now I’ll be helping Disney guests plan their vacations at Fort Wilderness as a Front Desk.
That’s the story! And that’s this episode of Chronicles of a Cast Member (and former Team Member)
I’m glad you guys have stuck around this blog this month, its you that makes me continue writing about my adventures to the career of my dreams!
It used to be called the ‘Garbage Bucket’ but ‘Sand Pail’ sounded a little better.
Here’s the process of making these bad boys:
Creating these mammoth buckets was no easy task. Nevertheless, it was always fun making them. It was the same ingredients every time. A couple squirts of hot chocolate and caramel sauce at the bottom, fill half the bucket of ice cream, repeat the sauces, add some strawberry sauce, and other toppings, then top off with ice cream, sprinkles, whipped cream, and a cherry on top!
Oh and we can’t forget the yellow shovel!
As you can imagine, we go through a lot of ice cream. In fact, there is an entire fridge in that shack that is dedicated to ice cream mix. Needless to say, we made frequent trips to refill our ice cream machines.
When Typhoon Lagoon closes, everyone wants to buy one of those Sand Pail Buckets before they leave. We’ll have a long line of sugar happy guests. We would always run into a problem when constantly using the ice cream machine…
Jimmy: How many sand pails do we need to make? CM: We have 7 in the order window! Jimmy: Crap! Ok I’ll put the ice cream in the bucket and you put the toppings! CM: Deal! Go!
5 Sand Pails later..
Jimmy: Uh oh…the ice cream machine isn’t working! CM: What?! Jimmy: Ice cream is coming out very slowly! I just refilled it too! CM: What do we do?!
The ice cream machine was working at capacity and as a result, it froze over! I didn’t know that was possible. The ice cream machine would struggle to let out any ice cream. This made guests unhappy as they paid for ice cream and we cannot give it to them.
Everyday was the same: cans of whipped cream emptying, sprinkles flying everywhere as if there were explosions of candy, and the ice cream machine barely keeping up with demand. Like everyday, our ice cream machine will somehow make it through the rush.
The aftermath was intense. It looked like a bloody battle scene with strawberry sauce, cherries, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, and oreo pieces everywhere to be seen. The clean up process was always the worst as sprinkles are like sand; they get everywhere!
As we cleaned the ice cream machine, we always find out why it wouldn’t keep up with demand and just spit out a little ice cream every minute or so. Dismantling the inner workings of it, we notice that they are all frozen together. The vanilla or chocolate ice cream turned into ice and stuck to the machinery. This prevented the ice cream machine from operating at full capacity. There really wasn’t a way to prevent it at the time so we had to deal with it every single day.
This story takes place when I was working in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I was backstage on my break with my friend Amanda when the most amazing thing happened.
Amanda and I were having our break backstage directly behind Star Tours and the Jedi Academy Show. We normally have our lunch on some picnic tables and talk about the fun stuff that has happened throughout the day.
Amanda: Hey, guess what? Jimmy: What happened? Amanda: During the Jedi Academy Show, a little boy took an extra swing at Darth Vader when the Jedi Master wasn’t looking! Jimmy: No way! The boy hit Darth Vader with the lightsaber? Amanda: NO! Darth Vader saw the extra swing and caught the lightsaber in the air with his hand! Jimmy: Holy crap! That was the real Darth Vader!
As if on que, Darth Vader appears backstage on his way to the next show. Amanda and I see him walking and then the most amazing thing happened.
He looks over at us and stops walking. Looking directly at me, he points at me. I was strangely terrified and excited at the same time. He then points to Amanda. After a few seconds of pointing at her, he fashions his fingers into the “call me” formation and raises his hand next to his ear.
Amanda and I were laughing so hard we were crying. Tears of joy flowed down our cheeks for the rest of our break.
She never called him. I fear that it might have been a mistake. The Galactic Empire shall soon find her. If Vader tells you to do something, you should do as he says. I wouldn’t want to make him angry.
As a huge Star Wars fan, this was the coolest Star Wars moment for me. Even backstage, CM’s can get magical moments!
In my previous stories, you all knew I worked at Mission: Space in Epcot. Before that, I was working in Quick Service Food and Beverage in both Hollywood Studios (MGM) and Typhoon Lagoon. Here’s one of my stories when I was working in Typhoon Lagoon!
I was working in the kitchen at Typhoon Lagoon, specifically, Leaning Palms. It was really a fun place to work, as the both the cast members and management were fun to be around.
One day in that kitchen, it was a typical boring day. I was putting chicken tenders and fries together and everyone wasn’t in a good mood for some reason that day. It might have been the overload of BBQ pulled pork that overloaded our sensory.
I had a friend who is Chinese, we’ll call him Tommy. He spoke english perfectly as he was born in the USA. He took the liberty to start singing “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” He would go to every single person with a lyric,
Tommy: “Let’s get down to business!”
then to the next person
Tommy: To defeat the huns!
the next person…
Tommy: Did they send me daughters Tommy: When I asked for sons?
you get it.
At first not everyone was thrilled with him singing and serenading each and every single person.
about halfway through the song, some people had joined in..
Tommy: I’m never gonna catch my breath Boy 1: Say good bye to those who knew me Boy 2: Boy, was I a fool in school for cutting gym! Jimmy: This guy’s got ‘em scared to death Girl: Hope he doesn’t see right through me! Boy 1: Now I really wish I that I knew how to swim!
Yes, I joined in. But then something amazing happened! The entire kitchen, and I mean THE ENTIRE KITCHEN joined in!
Kitchen: BE A MAN!!!!
Tommy: You must be swift as a coursing river!
Kitchen: BE A MAN!!!!!
Tommy: With all the force of a great typhoon
Kitchen: BE A MAN!!!!!!
Tommy: With all the strength of a raging fire, Mysterious as the dark side of the MOON!!!
We really got into it when that chorus came back. Our guests ordering food were singing along with us. It was honestly, my best experience there at Typhoon Lagoon.
Have you ever stood in line and a cast member gave you a red card and told you to take it up to the next cast member?
They are called FLIK Cards, and they help us and help you with wait times. They’re quite simple to use. We scan it at the beginning of the line, you wait with it, then we scan it again at the end and after a few FLIKs, we get the average wait time and POOF!! We have an updated wait time!
Working at Mission: Space, it was a quiet night and I was bored at my outdoor position. About 30 minutes before we close (and illuminations begin) I send a couple FLIK Cards down the line. And then I think,
“What if I sent the remaining 30 cards in less than 20 minutes?”
With the help of my friend, we sent every single red FLIK card down the line. Ohh that cast member at the end of the line not happy.
But then I took it a step further.
You see, we sent all 30 or so FLIK cards in about 10 minutes. Literally, every single guest in that line had a red card. So I took the liberty to send other objects via our guests.
I gave a guest a wet floor sign
“Sir, could you take this wet floor sign to the next cast member?”
I then sent a broom
“Hey Princess! Could you take this broom to the next cast member?”
The very next shift, that person decided to turn the tables on me. This time I was on the receiving end of the FLIK cards and she was in the beginning.
I’m getting FLIK cards left and right and I didn’t know what to do or how to keep track of which came first. Then I had a great idea!
Yes, that’s me and those are the FLIK cards on the floor IN ORDER of when I got them.
And yes, they continue down the center of the line. That little boy in the blue used all of his self control to not grab one. (I told him he’d have to ride the Orange side if he touched it)
The cast member (who happened to be not working) took this picture and added this caption later that night,
“the new way to flik…this is why we have issues with flik cards”
Cast Members get bored. Imagine doing the same thing every day. Imagine saying the same thing every day.
“Please move up in the line taking up all available space!”
“How many?” “Ok row 4”
It gets tedious. We need entertainment every now and then.
At Mission: Space we have a chain queue outside and sometimes we would attach the chains in a fashion that the slightest touch to the pole will knock the chain down. All you would hear is a ‘CLANK’ as the chain fell and slammed onto the metal pole it was attached to. We decided to take it a step further.
We set up about 5 metal poles with loose chains to create a…wait for it…a CHAIN REACTION!!! All we needed was a test subject.
Then the most unlucky child walks up to Mission: Space…
Have you ever had a job that you were nervous about? What if something goes wrong? What if I don’t know what to do? Well all that happened to me on my first day working at Mission: Space.
Most rides in any theme park have safety standards that prevent the attraction from going rogue. At Mission: Space, we have both Ride Stops and E-Stops. A Ride stop would prevent the attraction from even beginning and at Mission: Space that would be because a door wouldn’t close properly because a guest stuck their foot out or something.
An E-Stop was something no body wanted. Ride Stop in motion (AKA as the attraction is going through it’s cycle) would just stop the ride, there wouldn’t be a major issue as all the capsules would level themselves out and our guests can get out.
During an E-stop, the emergency brakes are deployed and the attraction is stopped as is. This means the capsules in Mission: Space would possibly be in an angle and the floors would still be dropped 5 feet, therefore our guests were stuck in a tight space.
My first day in Mission: Space, I was the Launch Director, I would start the ride and I had full control. On the first day on my own, I of course, would have the dreaded E-Stop.
It’s my first day by myself!! A loud screech is heard as my Flight Specialist and I look at each other, dumbfounded. I check our control panel and computer screen. Highlighted in red on an entire white screen read:
Red lights are flashing, our Mission Control has already seen it. They call to ask what happened.
Mission Control: Launch, what happened?
Jimmy: I have no idea! There was an E-Stop! Call everyone! Managers, Maintenance, everyone!!
Mission Control: They have been notified and they are on their way.
I was in complete panic mode. Even though I was recently trained, I didn’t expect that an emergency like this would happen to me. Managers and Maintenance arrived quickly as they diagnosed the issue as well as began to plan to get the guests out. We ended up bringing step ladders to escort the guests out of the attraction. As expected, no one was very happy. Free fast passes, a lot of saying sorry, and not that it was important, my break was super late!
My managers were astounded on how I was able to control myself and the people who I worked with, and at the end of the day, I was presented with a GSF card (Great Service Fanatic).
Since that infamous first day, I actually went through 2 more E-stops that summer and once a complete loss of power in the entire building during a thunderstorm.
The building is weather proof, they said. It can withstand a lightning bolt, they said.
The first place I worked at in WDW was in Hollywood Studios in Outdoor Foods. It doesn’t sound glamourous as I served popcorn and ice cream but it was honestly so much fun!
I was located right by Sorcerer Mickey’s Hat serving churros and pretzels when a show from the Great Movie Ride just ended right by me. All the guests start walking out just in time to see the characters start walking by.
There goes Goofy falling down the stairs again!
Donald Duck is waving at all the little kids! Awwww!
And here comes Stitch!
At my cart, I had a small chain to make the line/queue and my line was full of hungry guests!! Stitch then comes over and unhooks all the chains!
I look up from the guest I was helping, I see everyone in line laughing and I see Stitch running away! Oh Stitch, you’re so mischievous!
This happened 3 times. Every time he saw me working there, he would do something. He’s tried to steal ice cream, distract me, or unhook the chains again!