Sorry it’s been so long. But I’m back now, and this is going to be a long post since it is going to recap my entire life–WITHOUT SPOILERS– for the last three weeks. SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED IN MY LIFE, YOU GUYS HOLY CRAP.
I guess we can start with the night before check-in. I won’t be talking about the cruise or the drive here, because I’ll write a recap of that in another post. But DCP takes priority. We got in Sunday and went to EPCOT, and met up with my roommates at the Polynesian! We ate dinner at Captain Cooks, and Jenna and Athena were the first ones there. I was worried it could be potentially awkward, meeting the people you’re going to start living with the next day. But IMMEDIATELY I knew rooming with them was going to be awesome. Paige came a little later because she was at Hollywood Studios with some friends. When she came, she brought her friend and her roommate from her previous program.
How precious are we? Instant friends.
We got Dole Whips from the Polynesian, which is the best place to get them, since you pay for the cup, not the amount you get. <– Yes that is abused, and Paige's friend taught me how to abuse it; it's called "Stacking a Dole Whip." They have competitions to see who can get more.
No, I didn’t eat it all. I didn’t know what she was doing until she handed me this massive mountain of sugar. I threw half of it in the trash can and immediately felt bad for wasting it.
We then went to the beach at the resort and watched Wishes. Apparently that’s something EVERYONE wants to do at least once during their program. Whoops. The little bit of hipster in me was disappointed that it wasn’t more original. 😉
Wishes is always beautiful, though. No matter how or where you watch it.
We decided to wander around the resort, and the others along the Monorail stops. This meant the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and The Contemporary. The Grand Floridian is so beautiful on the inside–I’d never been in before. Here is the view from the top of the Contemporary if you’ve ever wondered:
We went our separate ways for the night then. But morning came, and check-in happened. Waiting in lines…and more lines. And waiting in lines for lines. Pretty much a boring, but necessary process of paperwork, ID photos, schedules, and more lines. We met at Vista Way around 9:00, and spent several hours there until it was all done. I was told a little more information about my role; I went from knowing I was in Attractions to knowing my location: Adventureland/Liberty Square. I was super disappointed not to find out my specific attraction that day, and I didn’t learn until Thursday.
After check-in, we all went to find our apartment until Athena and I had Casting. Paige rode over with me, and when we got there, Jenna and her mom told us they’d been outside the apartment for about thirty minutes because the key didn’t work. We all tried our keys–no go. So Jenna finally went to find maintenance to come fix it. When the man finally got there, I got to take two loads of stuff up before I needed to get on the bus to head to Casting. More lines awaited me there. But there was a lot of interesting things to look at in the Casting building that made me cry all over everything in my mind because of all the Disney and DCP heritage on the walls.
I didn’t get a typical photo of the doorknobs of the main door. But I didn’t want to hold up traffic just for an Instagram photo.
I met a lot of people at Casting. When you wait in line with the same people for four hours, you kind of have to make friends. Everyone was so nice, and each of the Cast Members helping us through the lines were wonderful and excited for us. After that, I was done for the day and went back to my apartment and unloaded my car and started to unpack.
The next day, Tuesday, I had to do a drug test because of my role. But that was all I had that day, and Wednesday was a housing meeting. Everyone complained that the housing meeting was boring, but it wasn’t that bad. Yes, to ME it was all obvious things because I’m not a party-crazed alcoholic idiot. But for those who are, they can sit through an hour of rules and suffer and maybe feel guilty for being dumbs. But they won’t. But that isn’t my problem.
Thursday was Traditions, and the first magical day on property. The bus picked us up to take to Disney University for a day of learning the Disney Way. Firstly, every part of the DU building is magical. Every wall is covered in Disney, and characters are peeking out of nooks and crannies.
I won’t ruin Traditions itself. The point of my posts about the DCP is not to give a “tutorial” of what to expect from the program. That ruins the magic and fun of going through it yourself. I’ve seen pretty much every other blog tell you step-by-step what you will go through, and I don’t read those. I want to know your PERSONAL experience that is unique to you and your feelings. Not giving everything away.
I DID get misty-eyed through pretty much the whole day. We watched a lot of videos and actually went into Magic Kingdom for a few minutes and it became even more real what I was doing. Through the whole process this week interacting with current CMs, it made it even clearer to me that I want to be here for forever. I want to be able to see the new Cps or CMs come in and be excited for them to begin their journey, knowing I was in their shoes.
As part of Traditions, we went out into Magic Kingdom to view some of the things we had learned about. The room was split into two groups: Team Stitch, and Team Olaf. It was my suggestion for Team Olaf that won. Then each table had to have a team captain to make sure everyone from their table kept up with the group through the park. I was voted captain and the other two guys with me were Alex and Matt. I still run into Matt a lot, but I’ve yet to see Alex again since Traditions!
At the beginning of Traditions, I met a lot of people I ended up having orientation with the next day. That was really nice to have familiar faces in my area that I now get to see often. When we went to Park Orientation, we had a big group of us that toured Magic Kingdom, then we later split up into our areas and toured those more specifically. At that point we found out what attraction we would be at. Since my interview I have wanted to be at Jungle Cruise. I had been told I had a good chance of getting it, so I had a lot of hope leading me on. Our facilitators for the day were David and Dan; David is mostly a pirate, and sometimes a butler, and Dan is a skipper. David was handing out the papers with our roles on them, and he came to me and asked what I wanted. I said, “Jungle Cruise?” And he handed me the paper. Jungle Cruise was at the top. My heart caught in my throat, and I couldn’t breathe. Then I looked further down on the sheet and said, “But I’m not Hannah Miller! I’m Hannah Jackson! But I’ll be her so I can be at Jungle Cruise!” And tried so hard not to cry because of all the disappointment. My actual schedule was at the bottom of the list so I had to wait, and finally got met REAL assignment: Pirates of the Caribbean. Before, I had said that Pirates would be an awesome second choice if I didn’t get Jungle. I would have been so excited if I hadn’t gotten excited over the mistake. It took a good 20 minutes to get over it, but now I couldn’t be happier to be a pirate.
The other people in my Adventureland/Liberty Square (forever now referred to as Ad/Lib) group were:
- Rebecca-Jungle Cruise
- Haley- ATT (Aladdin/Tiki/Treehouse)
- Sarah- Haunted Mansion
- Pam- Pirates
We went through Ad/Lib and saw our break rooms, rode a few of the attractions, and learned a lot about our area. I had so much fun walking around hearing about all of the behind-the-scenes and history of Ad/Lib, and David and Dan were really great. During lunch, David was telling us about all the other things he’s done and still does, like building haunted houses and doing horror makeup. We talked about jobs before coming to Disney, and where we would like to see ourselves after the program. It was really nice to get to spend time with the people I will most likely be working with for the next six months.
The next day of orientation, we had Laura and Lindsay. Laura has been at Haunted Mansion for 17 years, and took us behind the scenes of the ride. She told us about meeting Neil Patrick Harris, and touching Tim McGraw’s butt. Lindsay pretty much works everything in Ad/Lib, and they were both great resources for the questions I had. I have been going through everyone I’ve talked to, asking how they got started at Disney and what they would suggest for me, since I’m wanting to stay on after my program ends.
On Sunday the 20th, I began my first day of On The Job Training. Jon and I had the same training schedule with Kristina, and we started bright and early that morning, arriving at Magic Kingdom at 6:30 am. We had four days of training before our assessment, and I feel like we learned a lot. I loved the way Kristina trained us. She would verbally explain what we were going to do, show us, then have us do it. Then later we would read the Operating Guide and all the legal jargon about what we had just learned. I felt very well-prepared for the assessment as well as being at work on my own.
After my first closing shift during training, we were all leaving together and there was talk of going to IHOP together. So I got a ride with one of the girls, and went to IHOP with a group of people I had just met. I felt so comfortable with this group of people, and it made me so excited for this program and to be able to work with them regularly.
I had my assessment on Sunday the 26th, and felt confident enough. Cera assessed us and made it very fun and not stressful at all. It was no different than anything we had done in our training, just with an added written test. But the training room was full of other trainees and trainers from all over Ad/Lib, and they were talking and joking around the whole time. Not to say it wasn’t taken seriously, but it’s just a fun place to be.
That’s mostly an update of my first few weeks, though I do have a few other moments and experiences to share; they just don’t have much to do with the getting settled/training part. But I’m very excited to be here and learn all I’m going to, and meet the people I will. Wish me luck on my first day being on the job without a trainer helping me through!