Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guarding the World: A Day in The Life

My role is actually "undercover mermaid," but don't blow my cover! credit
Maybe you've been waiting for this post (maybe not), but I'm finally going to go in detail about what happens during a normal shift as a Lifeguard at the Contemporary Resort (cue fireworks--oh wait those happen after my shift).

The Contemporary is on 10 hour shifts because they have lifeguards on duty from 10:00am to 8:00pm. My roommate works at Yacht and Beach and has split shifts, but I believe their pool/slides are open later. So the Contemporary doesn't do any changing of the guards fun things. At least not on this current schedule.

I actually really love the 10 hour shifts. Okay, maybe love isn't the word, but I do enjoy that I always work the same hours and that I can potentially have 4 days off in a week. And even if I pick up a shift to work 40 hours, I still have 3 days off. This is coming in handy for next week when my brother visits. I have 3 days off in a row for the beginning of his visit!

As a CP I am only guaranteed 30 hours, so I typically expect to see myself scheduled for 3 days a week. This week I picked up a shift so I'm working 4 days, and next week I was scheduled for 4 days, so I'm thankful for that. I could used a little extra cash flow, especially since I just bought a Universal annual pass!

A Typical Day...

 9:00AM I leave my apartment and drive to the Contemporary. It's only about a 16 minute trip.

 If I was taking the bus, I'd be at the bus stop at 8:40, get on the bus around 8:50, and I'd get to the Contemporary at 9:12. In a perfect world. We just got new a new bus contract, so right now the bus system is all out of whack, which is why I'm thankful to be able to drive myself.

9:17AM Turn in to the Cast Member parking lot at the Contemporary (just pass the pedestrian crossing from the hotel to Magic Kingdom). Park

9:20AM Walk to the hotel and to the Cast Member break room to chill out with the other lifeguards before our shift

9:30AM Clock in and head to the Coordinator's office to get ready and most importantly put on sunscreen.

9:45AM Break out, where they "Welcome us to Work!" We go over safety tip of the week, any new concerns/advice, and any other pertinent news to us as Cast Members or Lifeguards. At the end of break out, we're given our first stand of the day. It's either one of our 5 stands or slide test.

10:00AM Go to first stand/do slide test

Like 60% of the time, I'm slide tester. Usually at Contemporary. As slide tester I'm just the first person to go down the slide. At Bay Lake that's all I do, test both slides. At Contemporary, I test the slide, then they turn off the slide and I do the "Magical Moment," where I get some kids to help me turn on all the water features. I talked about it here, but I really do think it's a pretty neat trick.  They time it just right, so that it really looks like the kids are turning on the water. I did the magical moment for the first time by myself, and at first 2 of the boys were really excited to help. Then they decided it wasn't cool to do a dance. Then we turned on the first fountain, and I could tell they were really impressed even though they tried to hide it.

10:25AM Bump/get bumped to next stand. So if I was CT Slide Test, I would start the bump at the CT pool. If I was already at a stand, I would wait for the bump and then moved on to my next stand, and just follow my posted rotation all day.

I get 2 official breaks during my shift, one 25 minute and one 45 minute, except we have to bump at least 5 minutes early so the breaks don't actually last that long. And if I'm walking over to Bay Lake Tower I give myself a good 5 minutes to get over there. More time if I need to use the restroom (TMI? I don't know, but they are really long stands for my bladder!).

There are 3 stands at CT and 2 at BLT, so I'd do three stands at CT, have a break, then 2 at BLT, have a break, and repeat all day! Most of the stands are 25-30 minutes, but 4 during the day are 45 minutes, so we can get our breaks in.

If we skip ahead...

7:30PM Last stand! Thank goodness.

7:50PM "Last Call for the Slide!" Whoever is at the stand with a water slide, at either pool, will announce this at 10 minutes till 8pm.

8:00PM Once the slide has been shut down (hit the E-Stop), one of the guards will do the closing spiel for the night. Essentially they explain that the lifeguards are going off duty, and they are swimming at their own risk. Then the lifeguards scan out and shut down our lifeguard stands.

8:13PM We have another "break out," basically the same thing as the morning, but from the PM Coordinators.

8:15PM Clock out and go home!

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