Tuesday, 18 October 2011

On our best behaviour

Because all the higher ups are staying at the lodge at the moment. Tom Staggs (boss of EVERY Disney park around the world); Meg Crofton (boss of Disney World) and even (I think) James Cameron are all pottering about the place, causing the various managers to run around with stressed looks on their faces. It are very amusing.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Catching Up

Phew. Life gets away with you here. A whirlwind of work, exhaustion and good times that leaves very little time for things like this blog.

But then I remember that one day a lone little African CRP may be surfing the net, lost and confused, wondering what to expect from their program, and I felt duty-bound to continue. That, plus I've been up to some most excellent stuff in the past month:

* Dinosaur walk through work team builder (we went on a lights-on tour of the ride, then rode it with the lights off). On the same day, we went to watch Lion King in 3D at Downtown Disney. The 3D was lame, but c'mon - it's the freakin' Lion King.

* Grocery Bingo. Housing arranges tons of events. Grocery Bingo is the most appealing. You can win packets of groceries. I didn't (must be rigged).

* Cici's Pizza - All you can eat, with salads, pasta, pudding and drinks for $5.50. Ridiculous.

* Cast Connection/Property Control - sooooo much cheapness.

* Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party - Awesome.

* Weird Al at Hard Rock Live - the best concert I've ever seen.

* Universal Halloween Horror Nights - Even more awesome than Mickey's Halloween.

I may get some pictures up if I have energy in the next week.

Watch this space

I'll post an update soon, promise. It's kind of hard to motivate yourself in your spare time.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Animal Kingdom Day

So today was Animal Kingdom Day, and the final day of training. It. Was. Awesome. Epcot Day was cool, but I think this one edged it. Emily (one of our co-ordinators) was taking pictures, so I'll have to grab them when I have time.

We started off with a couple of classes, then went on a shortened version of the backstage safari at Animal Kingdom, checking out the behind-the-scenes bit at Rafiki's planet watch, the animal pens, feed preparation rooms, surgery rooms, etc.

Then we popped onto Kilimanjaro Safari for a little trip with Mel (another co-ordinator) giving us a private rundown of all the nifty little hidden tricks and imagineering.

Afterwards, there were prizes to be handed out (for participation in previous training classes) and the official earning of the ears, but the best part of the day was getting to visit the elephant pen, where we met 2-week old Jabali, who is due to go out on the savannah tomorrow. He was immensely cyoot. His sister was immensely protective, and his mother was immensely cheeky with her food demands.

To finish the day, we had VIP seats at Festival of the Lion King (a show at the park). I was the designated "attractive warthog" (people who have seen the show will know what I mean), so as I say, I'll have to get photos from the co-ordinators.

New roommate from Wales has just arrived and is setting up. Bit of an adjustment not having a room to myself anymore, but he seems nice enough.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Friday, 2 September 2011


New arrivals on Tuesday, and I still haven't got any kind of letter about a new roommate, so hopefully I'll have a room to myself for a little longer.

I've completely jinxed it now, haven't I?

Should've done some learnin'

Assessment day tomorrow. I haven't studied much, but I'm not too worried.

Hit Animal Kingdom on Thursday after waking up far too early to sort out social security (apparently I'm not on the immigration system. Also, apparently that's not a problem). Vicky, Megan and Myah happened to be going as well, so we all went together.

Animal Kingdom is a great place, but as an entertainment venue, it's lacking a bit compared to the other parks. Expedition: Everest was fun, especially when it started pelting down with rain. Since we were soaked, we hit Kali River Rapids a coupla times before going home.

Listening to others, I'm tempted to argue early on that the Savannah Guides have the best program here, but I'll do some more research (read: tons of work) and get back to you.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Training away

Let's see, it's been a week since Traditions. What have I been up to?

Lots of training. I only "earn my ears" this Saturday if I pass an assessment based on a 300 page booklet. I've had some on the job training, so I've learnt a little about the operation here (basically standing around chatting to people, then occasionally doing an activity with 'em). One bummer is unlike the other countries, we don't get new arrivals every month, only every 3 months - so I'll be a noob until Novemberish.

What have I done in training? Mostly the usual values, safety and policies stuff. But we also went behind the scenes at The Seas (Disney's aquarium, the 2nd biggest in the USA) and rode Soarin'. Not too much to worry about with the job, but I do have to learn some stuff before I go out there by myself. Oh, and I got freebies from the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund: a snazzy badge they usually only give to people who donate $100 or more, a shirt and a little cardholder thingie. Score!

Let's bullet point!

* Went to Hollywood Studios with 3 Canadians and a Scot. They got drenched. Then we ate at Mexico (the pavilion, not the country). I had chicken-something-or-other, and it. was. AWESOME. Plus, you get to eat in here:

So what if it's heart-stoppingly expensive?

* Been on tons of rides already - luckily Disney's generally less intense than Universal, and I'm getting better with the whole motion sickness thing. Currently my favourites are Tower of Terror, Soarin' and Haunted Mansion. I still haven't been to Animal Kingdom. Also, PhilharMagic is AWESOME.

* In fact, pretty much my entire first trip to the Magic Kingdom was awesome. Went on Haunted Mansion 3 times (walking on to a ride is most excellent. Unlike Peter Pan's Flight, which I'm going to have to get fastpasses for at some point), ate at Cosmic Ray's cafe and ended by watching the Electrical Parade and Wishes.

* The lamest ride I've been on so far? Tomorrowland Speedway. Avoid.

* Next day off: Animal Kingdom. Don't know exactly when that'll be though. If I get through my social security ish on Thursday quick enough, I may be able to do it then. Otherwise I think I may be off on Sunday.

Monday, 22 August 2011


On Saturday we had Traditions, which is (for the uninitiated) Disney's introductory training course. Even the CEO's and higher ups have to do it.

It started with a visit from the union, who tried to get us to sign up without mentioning weekly costs and so on. Very dodgy, and I chose not to. After the union, we got a boring "working with integrity" introduction, and then Joe came in and started our Traditions class.

Disney have pretty much got this down to a fine art. The facilitator hands out exclusive toys to those who answer (so pretty much everyone ends up getting one - I got 4, and so did several others), there's a mix of him talking, video, gentle interactive bits - but no sign of the usual awkward roleplay ish that these things involve. In fact, at one point Joe said we should split into groups and come up with scenes to show the "four keys" (Safety, courtesy, show, efficiency). Just as everyone was mentally running for the door, he said "or maybe we should just visit the Magic Kingdom instead".

Hell Yes. Of course, while we were at the Magic Kingdom (mostly underneath the Magic Kingdom - Utilidors ftw!) we had to keep an eye out for the 4 keys, but I couldn't be bothered - there was far too much going on to actually attempt work.

When we got back, the boss himself showed up to distribute name badges and hand out a few more critters (I got 4 in total - they're totally unique to Traditions. Most people end up getting at least one). After a few closing issues, we headed out, with me at least having really enjoyed the whole thing.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Busy, and not so

 When I arrived in Orlando, I stayed in a cheap motel-y place (which made me extremely happy. Motels are very much part of the American experience, after all - as are the local ads from dodgy car salesmen and lawyers which were plastered all over the TV) which had pretty damned decent rooms.

Met up with some UK CRP's who I had met on Facebook (Daria, Myah, Vicky & Matthew - holla) and we marathonned Universal.

We spent about 12 hours between the 2 parks. 12 hours. In mid summer in Florida. It was crazy, but somebody had to do it. My first ever proper theme park ride (I'm not counting the twee little haunted ride at Durban beachfront, though as a kid, that thing was AWESOME) was Spiderman, followed up by the Hulk.

That's the Hulk rollercoaster in the background.

I had already been nursing a cold upon arrival, and the intense heat did nothing to help the motion sickness. I'm going to get some meds or something, otherwise I'll have to take it easy and do one or two rides a visit so I can recover (I've certainly got the time...). I struggled on Forbidden Journey (the Harry Potter ride), so I definitely have to come back and give that a full go when the crowds are a bit more manageable.

On Tuesday we all waited at the wrong place for half an hour (our driver had taken the printed directions he was given at the gate, glanced at them, then set them on fire and thrown them back at security. Ok, he didn't do that last bit, but he could've. Maybe), then got checked in.

I'm at the Commons, tucked in the back in building 23 (an area which I've heard referred to as "The Ghetto"). I'm in a 4 bedroom apartment, which means I have 7 flatmates: 3 Mexicans, 1 Frenchman, 1 Canadian, 1 Irishman and 1, er, Hongkong-ian? who is also my roommate. They all seem pretty swell, and the apartment's nice 'n clean, so it's looking good so far.

Paperwork today. Two days off (what to do without my Disney ID?), then Traditions on Saturday.