Walking from which Walt Disney World Resort would you have this beautiful view?
Friday, September 28, 2012
|Do you see the hidden Mickey? credit|
If you missed the previous posts, be sure to read about my Ellis lifeguard Class Day 1 and Days 2 &3.
9/16 Sunday 8:30am-5:00pm
First day OJT TrainingThis was my first day in full costume. That meant the white polo, red swimsuit, red shorts, hip pack, whistle, name tag, hat, and sunglasses. Oh and don't forget those black crocs!
I took the bus to the Contemporary Resort. I was early enough to go to my locker by Costuming to put things away. I waited until about 10 minutes till 8:30am, clocked in, and headed out to the Coordinator's office. My trainer was a Kelly, from Louisiana who has like 3 kids, but if you didn't know that you would assume she was like 20. She looks very young (in a good way!). She did her Disney College Program at Hollywood Studios working at the Great Movie Ride (jealous!), and she was a theatre major. Lifeguarding with Disney was her first lifeguarding experience and training me and another boy from my lifeguard class (Sam) was her first training experience. She kept reminding us that this was her first time training, but honestly I would have never known if she hadn't said anything!
We started the day at 8:30am just talking and making sure we were in the lifeguard look. Also Kelly told us to take off our "Earning our Ears" sticker because guests don't like to see Lifeguards "Earning their Ears." I was happy to oblige. Besides I already did earn my ears as a Lifeguard. Now I was just getting trained on a specific pool.
We went to costuming to get Sam a hat and then just talked until around 9:45am when the lifeguards come in for "Break Out," a little talk with the Coordinators before everyone goes out to their first stand at 10:00am. Then we helped with the "Magical Moment," which is how they open the pool. They pick 2 kids (today we chose 4) and let them wear a sorcerer Mickey's hat and gloves. Kelly told the kids, "Usually we get Mickey to turn on the slides and fountains, but he's busy today, so you guys are going to have to help us out." They teach the kids a little dance and then do the dance 3 times to turn on the fountain, spray wall, and finally the slide. It really is pretty impressive when they get the timing down right, and it looks like the kids are causing the water to turn on.
The rest of the day was a wave of information. Not like overwhelming because we went over the same things over and over. But enough of the same that I can't remember the exact breakdown of the day. We walked both of the pools multiple times (Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower), Kelly pointed out where everything was located like Towels for guests, trauma bags, red phones, backboards, first aid kits, drink stations, restrooms. Anything that we would need as a lifeguard and pretty much anything a guest might want to know. We sat down several times in the day and just talked through the layout of the pools and how to make radio calls. We also had a lot of time during the day to ask questions. I asked a lot of questions, and I specifically asked to get VATed, so I could start getting used to that experience. We also had about an hour where we read through the OGs (operating guides) on the hub. I especially enjoyed the section dedicated to "Shooing Ducks." (Shooing not shooting!)
Overall it was a good day, and I was starting to feel comfortable enough with the area. The only downsides to the day was that I learned that they no longer cross train guards in things, like Children's Activites or to work at multiple hotels. That was incredibly disappointing, since I would've loved to pick up shifts, but I am still not taking no as an answer. I'm still hopeful for more training...
9/17 Monday 12:30pm-9:00pm
Second day OJT
|This...is Bay Lake Tower|
Our second day was more of the same, but this time with a lot more VATs. First Kelly would just put the VAT in different places and see if we could spot it. Then later we would turn around, let her place the VAT, and she would choose one of us to scan in and jump in for the VAT. It was great practice, and I'm really glad we got to do it.
Kelly was really impressed with us (we'd both lifeguarded before) and felt like she was running out of things to teach us, so she developed a scavenger hunt for us to do on our second day. She left us alone during our lunch, so she could put her clues all around the pool deck. Then she gave us the first clue and let us begin. It was actually a lot of fun! My family used to do Scavenger Hunts for Easter and different holidays when all the cousins were little, so it made me think of that. One of the clues was even planted on a roving guard! (When I was a baby one of our scavenger hunt clues was planted....on my diaper---that brought back memories!) It really was a great idea, and I hope she continues to do it with new guards.
During the day a storm came in, and we had to close the pools for "electrical activity." There were some lightning strikes that were right on top of us! It was a very good experience to witness how they close the pool for weather. Once they cleared everything, we huddled in the pavilion at Comtemporary pool and handed out towels to guests coming in from the boats who had to run through the rain. Those guests were super appreciative!
We had more time to read another OG and attended "Break out" at the end of the lifeguard's shift. Then we had an hour to kill, so we just talked till it was 9:00pm, and our shift was over.
9/18 Tuesday 2:00pm-6:00pm
Lifeguard KAPA aka Test out day
|This is the view from the Rove Lifeguard stand, where I was VATed.|
I'm not sure what KAPA stands for (nor did my trainer), but it's the final day of training I had as a Contemporary lifeguard. Let me just say now, I was terrified for my KAPA day. Not cause I did not know my lifeguard skills or the layout of the Contemporary. I paid very close attention to all my training and was honestly really prepared. I just didn't know what to expect and if I would get VATed and that just made me exceptionally nervous. Plus I had a different trainer facilitating my KAPA.
My KAPA wasn't until 2:00pm, so I had my morning free. I went to my first Career Development workshop (resume writing). I'm glad I did, first because I learned a lot and second because it kept my mind of my KAPA.
Once I got started with my KAPA day though, I was cool as a cucumber. My trainer just said we were going to go through a rotation, starting at Bay Lake Tower, and I would just scan in and out like I would if I was the guard on duty. As soon as I started that, my lifeguard skills just kind of kicked in and it all felt like second nature. I was really calm, until we moved over to the Contemporary pool. Then I knew something was up. I was going to be VATed. My trainer was talking to the other guards, probably giving them a warning. Next thing I know a guy in red swim suit trunks (always a big give away) is laying something black at the bottom of my zone. I whistle, jump in, and retrieve it and Chelsea, my trainer, is congratulating me. I scan out of Rove and move onto the other 2 lifeguard stands at Contemporary.
After I'm done with all my rotations, Chelsea tells me how well I've done. She says she's never gone through a KAPA this fast. During each of my stands, she's been either out of sight watching my scanning or behind me asking me random questions as herself or as a pretend guest. She even said she was trying to stump me, but I still knew the answer to everyone one of her questions. She says she's really impressed, and she doesn't really say that ever. She says she's actually a pretty strict trainer. So that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, especially since I've really upped my lifeguard game for Disney.
After pool time Chelsea took me inside, so I could complete an online test. I only missed about 2 questions, mostly because they are weirdly worded. After I was done with all of my online quiz stuff, I was done. It was almost 4:00pm, and in my head I'm thinking, "That's all?" I got at ER (early release) and headed home, happy to finally be an official Contemporary Resort Lifeguard.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
If you missed it be sure to read about my Welcome to Recreation Class and my first day of the Lifeguard class.
|The aftermath of baby CPR practice|
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012
|This is what the majority of my day looked like. Coffee cups and resumes|
I did have one fun guest interaction today. I had a few, but this one was the most notable. I always try to smile or at least have a pleasant look on my face when I'm rotating. I was walking over to Bay Lake Tower, and a guest caught my attention. She asked where the best place was to watch the fireworks, since she figured getting into the park would be way to crowed. I told her about the observation deck off of the fourth floor (typically used for smokers throughout the day haha) and said it was a great view. I also told her that the park wouldn't be that bad for getting in to see the fireworks, but that leaving the park would be the nightmare. But she could always shop her way out on Main Street. I was just really excited to be asked my opinion and for her to be so receptive of my advice. She walked off and immediately told her husband where they needed to go for fireworks. Just exciting for me, especially since lifeguarding isn't a "customer service heavy" role, but it can be if you make the effort.
Back to today. Today is the deadline for Management Internship Applications for Disney!! Aaaah! I hate leaving things down to the wire, but that's just how it happened this week. I am so happy to have today off to get this ironed out. If I worked today, I probably would've spaced it and missed the deadline :( So thank you scheduling gods for throwing me a bone!
I've been up since 7:30amish and here's what needs to be done:
Drink coffee Eat breakfast Drink more coffee
- Scan/upload Transcripts
- Write cover letter
- Update resumes
Blog about what I'm doing
- Think positive thoughts
- Showcase what an amazing candidate I am
- Add Disney to my resume
Take out trash
|The top sample resume was a handout I received at the Career Development Workshop.|
I had a great time at the workshop and if you attend 5 of the workshops, you get a certificate! Guess who wants a certificate... This girl! Alright back to professional development for me!
Monday, September 17, 2012
|This is what recreation looks like to me :) Credit|
The day after my Traditions class, I was scheduled for a "Welcome to Recreation" class from 8:00am-4:30pm. The Recreation family includes lifeguards, the marinas, arcades, children's activities, campfires, archery, boating, and much, much more. My class was predominantly populated by lifeguards, but there was also a few guys working at the marinas, a girl working children's activities, and a few doing arcades I think. The girls presenting were pretty cute and made it a fun day. One was a lifeguard at Yacht and Beach Club and the other was in children's activities.
The day was low key and not stressful. We watching some videos and presentations. We did a lot of E-Learnings which are presentations that you watch by yourself with headphones. One of them was actually funny and clever, while the others were strictly long and informative. For our lunch break we had to take the bus over to Magic Kingdom and eat at their cafeteria because Disney University's was under construction. Just having lunch there was a cool experience in itself. They have a Subway, pizza, a hot food line (they had mexican lasagna), and a salad bar. I bought a piece of pizza (a big piece!), a banana, and a bottle of soda for under $4. At first I thought the cashier forgot to ring up my soda, but no! It actually was that cheap. So if you don't bring your lunch every day, you can still get a pretty good deal. Also we sat across from a few "characters" for lunch, which was entertainment in itself...
After lunch we continued with more of the same. The last thing we did was an E-Presentation on Blood borne Pathogens. Depending on where you've worked, you've probably had a presentation like this before. We watched the presentation, and then we each completed a short quiz. I only missed one, and I got like a 95, so it's very easy. Then they had us demonstrate that we could take off dirty gloves the right way, we signed a vaccination form, and we were free to go. Again pretty simple day.
9/10 Day 1 of Lifeguard Class
All of the lifeguard class takes place at Mickey's Retreat. You'll get to know that place pretty well by the end. And if you are super lucky, there will adorable kittens living on the grounds.
|This is only like an eighth of all the kittens we saw!|
We had a small class of only 12 CPs, who were all assigned to resort pools. It was most of the kids from the swim test, except for one or two guys that had problems with their background checks. So if for some reason they have to delay your background check, it's not the end of the world. You will still get trained and work, but you will have to wait for the next lifeguard class which could be a week away. So I hope that does not happen to any other lifeguards out there.
Our instructor was employed by Ellis, not Disney, but he had worked recreation for Disney for several years prior to becoming Disney's personal Ellis associate. So he oversees the audits/trainings/creation of new pools for Disney. Since Disney is so big, they are his only client. It sounds like a pretty good job.
The first half of the day was spent talking through what Ellis is about, what the responsibility of a lifeguard is, and demonstrating some of the difficulties we face when it comes to scanning our zone. We also watched the "Touched by a Drowning" video. If you've life guarded before, you've probably already seen some clips from this. If you haven't you might want to mentally prepare yourself for it. This is where they weed out people, who don't think they can handle the pressure of being a lifeguard, which sounds mean, but it's a serious job and they just want to be sure they have the right people for it. So if some reason you are doubting that, you can ask to be reassigned. But I definitely suggest sticking out the class first. You'll probably realize it's something you CAN handle because they prepare you pretty well for it.
We took our lunch break and returned in our swim suits. We had to complete the swim test again (the exact same one from Check In day), and then we learned some basic lifeguard rescue techniques. We spent maybe 2 hours in the pool and then finished the rest of the class inside, learning CPR.
After class my roommate and I came home and got ready to go out to Magic Kingdom! Even though I had my Disney ID for 2 days already, I still hadn't been able to use it, so I was determined to do at least some park. MK was open till 9pm, so it was the perfect opportunity. We did basically everything of interest with little to no wait, including Peter Pan, which kind of blew my mind. We wanted to do the Monster's Inc show too, but I think it had already closed by the time we made it to Tomorrowland. We ended the night with Wishes. We watched from one of the bridges to Tomorrowland and were right beneath Tinkerbell's flight from the castle. It was a great view!
Stayed tuned for Day 2 and 3 of lifeguard training! It's going to be a lot more fun.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
|Look at the little critter I got!|
Again here are the highlights:
9/6-9/7 Days off
Thursday and Friday after Check In were a little slow. My roommates and I were bummed because we had all this free time, but no access to the Parks yet... Thursday I got up and ran around Vista. Then I chilled at the apartment for a bit, until our Housing Meeting at 1pm at The Commons, where they played loud music and went over the rules. After that I met up with my parents for dinner. Came home then went out to a party that night with my roommates (want more info on party bus/night life? leave a comment!).
Friday I got up and ran, kinda waited for the roomies to wake up. We spent most of the early afternoon at the pool (I love living right by the pool). Then we went out shopping and ended the evening with dinner at TRex at Downtown Disney. It was delicious especially because I was so hungry!
9/8 Traditions! At last!
Again I got up, ran around Vista and then spent a little time pool side before I got all professional for Traditions. 4 of my roommates had the early Traditions (6:45am at bus stop), one was asked not to go because her background check was not complete yet, so I was the only one going to the later class (12:45pm at bus stop). My roommates said that they did not really enjoy their Traditions classes, but I absolutely LOVED mine! I met a trio of roommates while I was waiting for the bus, who I sat with for the day. The day lasted about 4-4.5 hours, but it was amazing. The bus took us to Disney University, which is right by the Magic Kingdom/West Clock stop for CPs. They led us in and then split us up into 3-4 groups. They led those groups one at a time upstairs, where they checked us one at a time for Disney Look, looked at our Government ID's and then gave us our...
Wait for it...
Wait for it...
Our Disney IDs! Aka our access to ALL the magic! Our blue magical passes!
But we still had the class to get through before our park adventures could begin. So we went into our classroom, and the class began. We had 2 presenters, Matt and Zuli. They had both been with the company for 10-15+ years and had lots of inspiring stories to tell. Every group is going to have different presenters, which I think is why my other roommates weren't crazy about their classes. My presenters were a good mix of "too much excitement" and "genuine showmanship" (Matt's experience was in Entertainment), so they really balanced each other out.
The first video they showed featured part of Walt's speech for opening day at Disneyland. It seriously made tears come to eyes which I had to fight back throughout the day (happy tears!). The class covered history, traditions, a tour of the Magic Kingdom, and then went into depth of the "4 Keys" which Disney Cast Members are to focus on (Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency-in that order).
Curious for some examples?
Safety: Our trainer took a picture of some guys on the bridge to Tomorrowland. One of the guys tried to sit on the rail, but our instructor asked him "not to sit on our friend!" He could've fallen in the water. I would've saved him, but I hadn't gone through lifeguard training yet.
Courtesy: "Ma'am, can I take that picture for you?" "After you, Princess!" "Sir, can I help you find the Tea Cups today?" Basically any way that Cast Members go out of their way to help their guests or make them feel welcome.
Show: Our costumes, the new Halloween decor, store fronts, music, smells, etc. You can probably name a few too...
Efficiency: During our tour we tried to stay on one side of the street to get through the crowd. Also we looked at some of the queues which wrap around to minimize space (and confuse guests about how long they are waiting ;p ).
The tour through Magic Kingdom was really to showcase all these keys to make them easier to understand. My mom and I went on the "Keys to the Kingdom" Tour at Magic Kingdom, where I first heard about these 4 keys. I felt like Traditions was a less detailed version of that tour. So if you want to know more, but don't see becoming a Cast Member in the future, I would really recommend that tour. I loved my tour guide. Maybe guiding that tour will be in my future...
So that was my Traditions class in a neat little blog worthy package. I'm sure I've missed some things so leave a comment if you have more questions!!
My next posts will be on my "Welcome to Recreation" class, 3 days of lifeguard training, and my Legacy Day at the Contemporary. Whew that's a bit to cover.
In magical passes,
PS: You get to meet your boss during your Traditions class. And if you're anything like me, your face will light up like a Christmas Tree when he brings in your name badges.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
|This was me after Check In day was complete|
Check In When it comes to Check In, well, that day was seriously a blur. An exhausting, dehydrating blur. So here's the highlights:
The Morning I met up with a future roommate who I'd met on the Facebook group. We got breakfast at All Star Movies, and my mom dropped us off at Vista Way. There was already a line formed along the walkway, which stopped right at the security gate. We got in line about 7:15am, by 7:30am we started talking to the girls we decided to be roommates with, and a little before 8am the line started moving inside.
The Queues They lead the line all the way inside the Vista Way complex to the back where the "Welcome Center" is and where check in is housed. It's a very Disney process. Lots of winding queues leading you on a patio and then outside and then back inside again. First station they checked my ID and had me double check some of my info. Next I got a sticker name tag. Then more waiting until we were grouped up with about 7 other girls to sign a housing rules contract/get lectured on alcohol/drugs. After we turned those in, we received our CP handbooks which have all the contact info you could ever know, basic rule guidelines, as well as a nice day planner section. The girl who "lectured" us had us put our names in those and we had to hand them in at every station to get more information.
So after we finished there we were back in another queue. I forget the order now, but basically we did housing next, then our pictures were taken for our Vista Way IDs and picked them up, then if you had a car you could get a decal for your car, then one more girl kinda debriefed us and let us know when to be back for a bus to Casting. That's right, we still had more lines in front of us.
We had to be back for the bus at 10:00am, it was already 9:00am so we just had time to find our apartment, get an inventory for our kitchen, and decide who would get the room with a bathroom in it. We literally picked names, so that no one could really get mad at the outcome.
Casting So after that we walked back to where check in had been to find the bus stop, which took us to Casting. Now the trip through the Casting building is like the most elaborate, Jedi-mind-tricky experience I have ever had, mostly because I kept thinking every part would be the end, and I was always wrong. It ended up taking us 3.5 hours I think, and I was the last one to escape that labyrinth (seriously that's what it felt like-at least it was a very well marked labyrinth). If you have any specific questions about Casting let me know, but otherwise just expect it to be long and be sure to have a folder or backpack to put away all the paper work you will get.
I forgot to mention that you will get your work location/Traditions group at Casting. I forgot because lifeguards do not get their assignments until after the swim test, in case you don't pass.
Whew, fun check in day right? But at least at this point I got to relax right?
Haha. Good one.
Once check in was through, casting casted us out, and we returned to our sweet-home-vista-way I had about 2 hours or so to unpack, so my parents met up with me, and we went through that ordeal. It actually was pretty simple, and I was basically through with moving in in that amount of time. Which is good because next up was:
Drug Test Okay funny story. If you're not careful, you will get incredibly dehydrated during your check in day. They hand out 100 calorie snack packs randomly, even some fruit, but you'll notice they never hand out water bottles. Why? Well, my only guess was so that we didn't need the bathroom during our journey through Casting, but it may just be coincidental or a separate, arterial motive. Regardless I fell victim to dehydration, plus I was on a decongestant for my cold which further dehydrated me.
Okay, I know some of you know were I'm going with this, but for those who are still lost, let me explain.
One of my roommates was also a lifeguard and also asked to complete a drug test around the same time as mine, so we just went together to get it over with. Of course, this is just your typical drug test. A young, handsome medical professional hands me a cup, draws a line which becomes my new goal in life, and lets me go do my glamorous job. Well, it's this point in the day where I start piecing a few things together. "I really haven't eaten much today, nor have I had hardly anything to drink. Uh oh. What if I don't have this (excuse me for this) "in" me?" So I have to admit defeat, go back to the waiting area to drink up, only to find my roommate in the exact same situation with a big cup of water.
Long story short, our second try was an incredible success!
Lifeguard Swim Test (at 6pm at Mickeys retreat) Now I had one more obstacle before actual relaxing could commence. I had a my swim test at Mickey's Retreat (walking distance to Chatham/Patterson). The swim test was very straightforward and (a little too) easy. There were only about 15 of us and out of those 15 only 4 were selected to be "Deep Water" guards. The Deep Water group started first. They had to complete the swim test which is outlined on the website and my previous post. Everyone else only had to swim a 50 and retrieve a 10 pound brick from 5 foot water. I kid you not, that is ALL I had to do.
They do randomly select Deep and Shallow, which is incredibly frustrating for someone like me who's pride was insulted at being asked to swim a 50. One Deep guard could not finish the 200 (he had to put his feet down), so they subbed a shallow water guard in. At the time I was sad that it wasn't me. Again my pride was hurt, but if I had stepped in I may not have gotten the work deployment I got.
After we finished (everyone passed), the lifeguard/recreation coordinators congratulated us and handed out our work assignments, which also included our first 2 days of work. I had already snooped during Casting and saw S-CTR by my name, which I figured meant the Contemporary....And I was RIGHT! I would also be guarding Bay Lake Tower, but I typically just assume the two are one resort anyway.
I'm super pumped about my work location! I start on location on Friday (today's my day off). I'm working right next door to the castle. Can't get much more magical, right?
In pixie dust,
Your new Disney Contemporary Lifeguard, Julie :)
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Today was a very big day for me. Not only have I now been at Disney for over a week...I have also:
Passed my lifeguard class!! (CPR in one try, perfect score on the written, had to do the group test twice, but we still did it!)
Also our apartment got the White Glove award for our apartment inspection! (Yay! Chocolate awards!)
ALSO I looked on the hub, and it looks like tomorrow is Pay Day! Except it's only pay for..literally one day.. But I still love that I can look and see it and make sure I'm getting paid for all the hours I'm working, so I'm still excited about that.
Beyond that: tonight is Oktoberfest at Chatham Square which equals free food!
After that: tonight is Wednesday which means Bdubs is the place to be to celebrate all my accomplishments.
But I think the biggest, best, and most exciting aspect about today is, that I have tomorrow off. And so does my roommate, Leah. So do a couple of the lifeguards from my class, and we're going to hit Typhoon Lagoon tomorrow for some well deserved fun in the sun!
This wasn't a very eloquent post, but it does get across the point I'm trying to make. It's a very good week in the Kingdom.