Saturday, October 20, 2012

EHH Shift at Flame Tree Barbecue

This is what the front of the restaurant looks like (credit)

I made one of my Bucket List goals a reality yesterday. I picked up a shift at the Flame Tree Barbecue at Animal Kingdom. Let me just tell you, it was wild. I picked up the shift because it was the first time I saw a shift on the hub with no special training, and it was at Animal Kingdom. What if this was my only opportunity to work in a park? So I took a leap of faith, signed up immediately, and then let the worry come into play later. (EHH=Extra Hours Hotline)

What was the worry? Well, I had to get a costume. Never been to Animal Kingdom's costuming place. Also I had to navigate Animal Kingdom and find a restaurant I'd never been to before. Luckily one of my roommates works at Animal Kingdom in Outdoor Foods, so she was a huge help. She was working that day at the same time, so I was able to give her a ride and she was able to help me find my costume and give me some brief advice about where to go for my shift.

My shift was at 11:30am, so we left the apartment and got to costuming around 10:50am, giving me just enough time to find my costume and get changed, then head to Animal Kingdom. The costuming is in a giant warehouse a little way away from Animal Kingdom. You actually follow signs to Animal Kingdom Lodge and then make a turn before you get to the hotel, to get to costuming.

My costume was 4 pieces. I had a shirt and pants, a red tank that I could wear under the outfit, and then an apron which went on top. There's also a hat that goes with the costume, but they were out. I also had to wear my own black socks and shoes with the outfit. If you do have to wear this outfit, it actually runs a little small. I got a small for all my pieces and was fine for a 3 hour shift, but I could have used a bigger tank and maybe longer pants. The apron does not have pockets, but the pants do, so plan accordingly. Oh and those aren't dinosaurs on the costume. I always thought they were. They are actually ducks/duck like creatures...?
This is the outfit minus the apron and hair net/hat. I'd love some pajamas just like this!
So after costuming we drove to the Cast Parking Lot at Animal Kingdom. It's in front of the park like the normal parking, just on an opposite side. I got dropped off toward the front (another roommate drove, so she could borrow my car), and then walked past the resort buses and into the normal entrance for guests. From there I followed another Cast Member to the right of the turnstiles into a sneaky Cast Member entrance. Then I veered to the left, asked how to get to Flame Tree Barbecue, exited backstage in Dinoland and walked towards Discovery Island. The Cast Member entrance to Flame Tree is the the right just over the bridge from Dinoland to Discovery Island.

Once I was inside I found several other people who don't normally work at Flame Tree. They had picked up shifts just like me. I was surprised because I had only seen one shift on the hub, but excited because I definitely wasn't alone. I was directed to walk to the front of the kitchen and clock in on the computer up there. I entered my Perner number, clocked in, and then clicked Get Assignment, which printed out a receipt of what my job would be.

Myself and 3 other people had Bussing-Lower Tables. We all went out of the kitchen as a group. The lady kind of in charge of deployed people showed us which areas were considered Lower Tables, showed us were towels and sanitizer was, and where we would stack trays. And then she left us to it.

For the next 3 hours or so I: wiped down tables, offered to throw away guests' trash, picked up trays, straightened chairs, made small talk with the people working with me (it was a fun group), talked to some guests, took trays to the dish room, picked up trash, directed guests to the bathrooms or smoking areas or Finding Nemo, and bird watched. There were a lot of well fed birds at Animal Kingdom.

This is what I actually saw all day. Birds and tables (credit)
It was a pretty chill day. It also didn't get very busy all day. I think they had expected a lot more guests. 2 people took an ER from their 3 hour shift...I did not...I actually really needed the hours. I was also still a little congested, so the shift seemed a little longer than normal. It was nice to just be free to roam around though. There weren't managers or anything following us around, so we had a lot of freedom to chat with guests or each other when we had a lull (which was often).

In summation if you need to pick up a shift, Flame Tree Barbecue is a pretty good option. It's a little boring if it's slow, but it really easy job to do, and you have the freedom to interact with guests as much as you want. Especially nice when you're usually lifeguarding and not interacting with guests at all.

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