Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guarding the World: Deployments, My Life as an All Star

Calypso pool, photo credit
One of the rites of passage as Lifeguard CP is getting deployed somewhere other than your home location. When Typhoon Lagoon was closed for refurbishment, most of those CPs were scattered either to Blizzard Beach or to different resorts to finish the rest of their program. The Contemporary got CPs from both Typhoon and Blizzard. But resort lifeguards (and other roles, like Resort Activities) also have the privilege of being deployed to other places.  These deployments typically last a week or two.

Deployment Tour

My first deployment was to All Star Resorts. Let's just say, I was not excited for this week long adventure. In the back of my mind, I was thankful because once you are deployment trained in an area, you can pick up shifts there, but I was not crazy about All Star, so I have yet to pick up extra hours at the resort.

My Deployment Tour was at 1pm before my 3pm shift. Deployment tours last 2 hours. The Coordinator who was training me only took about 40 minutes to tour all 6 Pools. Yes six! Fantasia, Mighty, Calypso, Piano, Grand, and Surf. I Barely kept any of the that information in my head. It was such a blur. He kept telling me 2 things. Ask questions if you have any and there's no way anyone can remember all this information after 2 hours. That did not help my confidence about the day.

Disney's All Star Resorts

Since All Star is one of Disney's Value Resorts , the pools have no slides and no hot tubs. Also towels are not provided on the pool deck. Guests have to bring them from their rooms or go to the front desk. Also they provide life jackets, but they are not out on the pool deck. Guests have to pick them up from the arcade. 

And just a note about the term "Value Resorts." The resorts are still really nice. I stayed at All Star Music with my boyfriend (the week after my deployment haha) and our room had a refrigerator. Our room was right in between the two pools, and our walk to the main hotel was not that bad. We even used the bus for the majority of our trip and did not have any major waits or long drives, despite being further away from the magic.

Also even though they are Value Resorts, Disney did not skimp on any of its signature story telling. All the pools are very well themed. I loved Calypso pool. It's shaped like a guitar (so it has curves), and it always smelled like cookies!
Hey now, you're an All Star.

Back to the Deployment

Instead of going through every monotonous day I was there, here is a list of some of the main differences from what I was used to:

1. Split shifts.

I had my first PM shift 3-10:30pm at All Star. It included lots of ACing time, which I didn't like, mostly because it was lonely and I wasn't used to the area. Like my shift started at 3:00pm, so we'd meet at Recreation Base for our Breakout. (No safety tip of the week :( ), then we'd be given our rotations and sent out, but we wouldn't have to be on stand until 3:40! It was a ridiculous amount of time to do nothing.

2. Calling your own OAs. 

I was at Music all week, so if I had to jump in at Calypso 1 (the bigger pool), I'd radio "OA Calypso 1, OA Calypso 1," then whistle and jump in. Apparently the other lifeguard doesn't always hear your whistle? The coord said that and didn't even seem very worried about. I'd think it would be a bigger deal than that, but oh well. Tis All Star.

3. 3 Different resorts.

 If you're an All Star guard, you cover Music, Sports, and Movies. All my rotations ended up being Music, which was really nice, so I only had to learn how to get to 2 pools and the break room. Each resort has its own break room, so depending on your rotation, you could be at a different break room.

4. Passing radios. 

They all passed radios when the other guard was scanning out. Little thing, but it felt very odd to me and I never got used to it. Plus once or twice the guard I was scanning in for completely forgot to give me the radio, till I asked.

5. Names of stands. 

They have a lot of pools and deployed guards, so all the stands were named similarly (so it's easier). So at Music the rotation is Calypso 1, Calypso 2, Piano, Break. Calypso is the big pool. Calypso 1 is the stand with the First Aid kit (one-First-kind of the trick to learn). Calypso 2 had the trauma bag. Then Piano was a small pool, so it only took one lifeguard to guard it.

6. Movie shown at the pool.

Okay this was a pretty exciting different. Resort Activities sets up the movie screen right on the pool deck, so the lifeguards could theoretically listen to almost the entire movie (depending on your rotation). Lady and the Tramp was playing, but I only payed attention to the beginning. Keeping my 10/20 and walking back and forth prevented me from getting too distracted from the movie.

7. No safety tip of the week.

Like I mentioned before they didn't even mention the Safety Tip in breakout. Every day begins with the safety tip of the week at Contemporary, so it really threw me off. I have heard from other guards that Contemporary is the only place that does it. Good for you, family :)

8. One coordinator.

If I needed to call in anything on the radio, I would radio Rec 10. At any of the 6 pools, I would radio Rec 10. At Contemporary I radio a different Coordinator (Rec 4-7) depending on which pool I am at and what time of day it is. I am definitely not complaining about only having to remember one Rec number.

Next Adventure?

My next deployment starts next week at Pop Century. I didn't think I'd get deployed again, but c'est la vie. This time I am actually deployed with 3 other guards from Contemporary, which I am so excited about. I even have my deployment tour with one of my good friends. So I am already anticipating that I will enjoy my experience at Pop Century a little bit more.