Sunday, July 22, 2012

Finally, a post!

I've been here for two months, as of yesterday. I love, love, love my job as a Character Attendant. One day, I'm in Morocco with Aladdin and Jasmine, the next I'm with Belle and the Beast in France, Mary Poppins in the United Kingdom, Character Spot with MickeyMinniePlutoDonaldGoofy, or in Mexico with Mexican Donald. I love the variety, I love talking to guests, I love reading the 'fur characters' animation for the guests- "Chip loves your tiara, princess!" "Will you give Donald a kiss on the beak?", I love the responsibility. I help the characters get their costumes ready, get them off set on time every set, and talk to more guests.

Here are some stories. I had a mom getting upset with me one day at Aladdin and Jasmine, and she told me that I had ruined her daughter's trip. She kept yelling at me, until her daughter put her hand on her mom's arm and said "It's okay Mom. I don't need to meet Jasmine." Thanks, mature child! She was about 9.

In Mexico one day, Donald was getting ready to head back to Character Spot for the night, and I had closed the line. A man walked up me and asked politely if he could get in line. I had to say no, because I had been telling others no. He then told me it was his birthday and he loved the Three Caballeros more than anything else at Disney World.  We chatted for a bit, and then a light went off in my brain. I told him to wait by the stairs, and as Donald left, I would make sure that he got a picture with him. He thanked me profusely, and went to wait by the stairs. I told Donald that he had one more guest to greet, and led him over to the stairs. The man-he looked about 30, and all muscle-gave Donald a giant hug, and took a few pictures with him. He then started to cry. He said "Donald, I just love you, man!" Donald gave him another huge hug, and the man thanked me profusely as he left, saying that I had made his night-and his birthday.

Another day with Aladdin and Jasmine, I started talking to a very bright girl from Scotland. She was 9, and we talked about our mutual love of reading, especially Harry Potter. When I told her I had to leave her to close the line, she said "Dad, I really like Anna. Can we give her something too?" She handed me a bookmark made from wild heather from Scotland, and wrote on the back "with love from Faye". I was really touched. It's holding my place in The Hobbit right now.

Working with the characters gives me some magical moments every day. I know that it sucks if a line is closed, and it does suck that not everyone can meet a character. I have lots of empathy for the guests, which might be why I'm good at my job. I've heard nothing but positive reviews from my managers, my performance specialists and analysts, the characters I work with, most Photopass photographers, and my captains. My program ends in January, and I'm trying to figure out what I want to do then. I'm going to apply for a few professional internships, I might try to extend my College Program so I can continue to live in CP housing and take the bus, thereby saving more money for a car, I might try and go full time for a few years as a Character Attendant-I don't know! Everything seems very up in the air right now.

I did get a new name tag today! I graduated back in May, but my name tag had 'University of Montana' on it. I was getting a little tired of everyone asking me what year I was-I'm graduated! So it now says 'Helena, MT'. I'm looking forward to seeing how people pronounce my capital city. I've only met two other Cast Members from Montana so far, both Character Attendants from Missoula, where my university is.

My schedule for the next two weeks looks like this:
7/23 4:30-9:45, Crystal Palace, Magic Kingdom
7/24 10:45-6:30, France, Belle and Beast
7/25 11:45-7:30, UK, Mary Poppins
7/26 off! I'm going to a free wine seminar in Italy
7/27 off! I promised to visit a friend in France
7/28 8:30-4:30, Character Spot
7/29 11:15-7, UK, Alice in Wonderland
7/30 off!
7/31 10:45-6:30, France, Belle and Beast
8/1 12:45-8:30, UK, Pooh and Tigger
8/2 8:30-4:30, Character Spot
8/3 off!
8/4 10:45-6:30, France, Belle and Beast

Epcot has the best hours, character-wise. I hardly ever start early.

I am having a little trouble making friends. When I get done with work, I want to eat dinner, call my mom and dad, and go to bed. I get up about an hour and half before work starts to catch my bus. Also, because I work with different people every day, and a lot of them are full time-they have their own plans and friends. I got free tickets to Brave for working the Highland Games, and I haven't been able to find anyone to go with me. I have lots of acquaintances, but it's a different atmosphere from my first program in Attractions at Fantasyland, where I worked with the same people every night and we spent a lot of time together. I'm sure I'll make more friends in time, and I really like my 5 roommates. We all have such different schedules, and I go to the parks by myself a lot, so we never see each other.

One of my favorite occurrences at work is when a guest hands me their camera and says some variation of "it's the button right there". Oh, on the top to the right? Like on every camera ever made? Awesome.

I love my job! It's the perfect job for me after college graduation.