Sunday, December 23, 2012

Living in the Kingdom: To Infinity and Beyond

Peter told me to do it...photo credit

I have officially made my decision to stay in Orlando, FL for a year and see where it takes me. I actually made this decision several weeks ago and have since been going back and forth from "What am I doing? " to "This is a good experience, " and every where in between.

One of the curses/blessings about being a lifeguard is that you have a lot of time to yourself to think. So I'll go into work thinking I'm fine, I have a plan, and in 6 months I'll put in a transfer to Front Desk or Concierge. But then about 2 hours into my shift, I'm itching to send out about 10 more application to hotels or cruise lines. Plus people always want to try to give you advice so that doesn't help my ambivalence at all.

As of this moment I am going Full Time as a shallow water lifeguard at Pop Century Resort starting January 7th. At the same time I'm looking for part time work/a different full time job in the Orlando area (so if you have any leads on hospitality jobs, let this princess know). I'd love to start full time with a chain like Marriott, with potential to move around the country down the road. At that point I'd go part time/seasonal with Disney.

This is a very concise explanation of some of what's been on my mind all month. Basically I'm going to be up for anything this coming year, I just hope 2013 is ready for me.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dear Incoming CPs...

My program is swiftly coming to an end. So is just about every other CP/ICP here at Disney, which means that a huge, NEW group of CPs will be arriving shortly. I know a lot more eager, young faces are checking my blog for a taste of what's to come lately, so if you are one of those people, this post is specifically for you!!

Dear Incoming CPs,

Congratulations on making the amazing and life altering decision to try the Disney College Program! It may not be for everyone, but if you are excited to meet new people, get some guest service experience, and want to create magic for yourself and others on a daily basis...well, I think you'll do just fine!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to give a bit of advice. Not only have I now done the program, I've graduated college, and I am actually on the mature end of the College Program spectrum (I'm 22 and graduated, while the average CP could be about 20 and still has a few years of college left), so I'm not giving this advice lightly.

1. Make friends.  I know you probably don't need this advice. Honestly you'll probably find friends without even trying, so make more friends! You'll be meeting people from all over and learning so much from them. For at least the first month of your program, try to go to every social event you hear about, whether it's Housing Events, going to House of Blues, Bdubs, or just out to dinner with roommates or coworkers. The more connections and friends you make early one will help later when you get homesick or stressed about work.

2. Expect to get sick and have a game plan.  Basically every 2-3 weeks you'll get a new cough or cold. Some will be serious and keep you in bed for 3 days straight and some you'll be able to live through, you'll just sound terrible. Talk to your parents about your health insurance, pack some cold meds/nasal spray/aspirin, and look up the nearest Urgent Care place (there are 2 equidistant from Vista Way). When you can barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom, you'll be thankful you already have some cold medicines in your closet.

3. Try to get to know your Managers/Coords and ask about their life stories. Depending on your area, you may have some awesome managers or some not-so-awesome managers, but regardless of their caliber, you can still learn a lot from them. Learn from the career paths they've chosen. Learn from their advice. Learn what NOT to do when you're a manager some day. If you have a great manager that is interested in you and what you get out of this program, please take advantage!
4. Graduate college first.  I know it may be tempting to try and go part time/full time after your program ends instead of going back to college, but if you lose that college momentum, you are not likely to get it back. Make sure college is a priority because down the road, they will help with your Disney dreams should that be the path you want to take.
5. Make goals for yourself and accomplish them.  One of my goals was to work in one of the theme parks, and I actually did that! I did it early on before I had a chance to over think it.  Working in the parks when I don't normally work there was actually really stressful for me, but I'm so happy I did it. So make yourself a goal or two that makes you go past your comfort zone. Like trying a new ride, attending the career workshops, or auditioning for character performer. Remember that it's not so much the goal itself that's life changing, but how you are able to accomplish it that can show you just how much you can accomplish.
7. Look for a positive in every situation.  I'm a very positive, optimistic person by nature and this program has shown me just how strong and positive I can be, despite what other people are saying around me. Working with different people at different places can make a world of difference on your mood. One area everyone is actually excited to be at work and is exceptionally friendly, while another area everyone is burned out and not even making an effort to have a better day. Believe me the latter can suck your soul away. It's easy to take the easy way out and join the crowd, but life should be fun (and if it's not, then you're doing it wrong)!
6. When in doubt, present! (AKA take pictures!) Whenever I don't know how to pose in a picture, I present. It's a great go-to pose in Disney. You can present the castle, the Eiffel tower, a statue of Mickey, fireworks, a great meal, the list is endless. And it works in places other than Disney as well. Feel free to steal my pose and take pictures while you're on your program!
This is how you do it. In our nation's capital.

Much affection,
Julie

Be sure to check out my posts on Check in Day and Traditions. Also if you're a future lifeguard CP, check out any posts with the tag Guarding the World to give you a taste of what the role is really like. If you have any questions at all or posts you'd like to read, please leave me a comment!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Outskirts of the Kingdom: Favorite Things

These are a few of my favorite things! ...photo credit

I am actually loving living at Vista Way. I like my apartment itself and the complex is very nice. But I especially like the surrounding area, which is good since I'm only moving across the street. So here are just a few of my favorite non-Disney things about living in the Vista Way area:


  • Commute to Work

It takes me about 20 minutes to drive into work (Contemporary). Probably more like 17 minutes honestly. And I get to see the castle as I drive in.

Edit: The drive to Pop Century/All Star is even quicker, about 15 minutes on the dot.

  • Shopping

I actually prefer the outlet mall down the road on International Drive, so if you don't have a car you may not share the same love as I do. The Victoria Secret outlet is my new best friend. I'm also loving Express. I shopped there for the first time just a few weeks ago. The mall closest to Chatham does have a Charlotte Russe though, and I've made a few trips just for that.

  • Chick Fil A

I love and hate this. Chick Fil A is literally neighbors with Vista Way. I go for a run around the complex and all I can smell is chicken. When I have a really exhausting day, I go through the drive thru for my chicken sandwich and a sweet tea, and I am never disappointed. But now I'm trying to cut back.

  • Starbucks

I would describe my perfect day as a Sunday where I don't work. I get up, make a Starbucks run and then head to church. Lucky for me Starbucks is right there! I just applied for part time at Starbucks, since it's right next door to my future apartment, but I've applied to Starbucks in the past and never had any luck, so I'm not holding my breath.

  • Good Food

There is a little sushi place right by Publix (across from Little Lake Bryan). Enough said.

  • Close to Church

I am actually in the market for a new church, since I'm going to be down here full time, but it's hard to beat how close I am to Mary Queen of the Universe. And the shrine is beautiful. I also really like the priest. I think he's from Scotland originally? At least he sounds like it. My biggest disappointment is the lack of singing by the congregation. They have a wonderful choir come in and believe me, it's heavenly. But I come to church to sing, myself, so I hate missing out on that.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Disney Diet: Progress Report

A bag of apples is an excellent idea..photo credit
I started to write a blog post with a list of random spurts of information/advice that I wanted to tell people about living on the Disney College Program. Then I realized that most of them revolved around eating and groceries and buying things. So I decided to do a Progress Report about my life on the "Disney Diet." (see this post for background information)


First of all I have 5 roommates, and I hate cooking for myself when there's a lot of people around.  I have luckily had times when it’s just me in my apartment. Some days 3 will be at work and 2 will be at the pool. This is typically when I do some cooking, because I like having the kitchen for myself for meals.
I have very little in my pantry/fridge/freezer. I’ve been on my own enough to know my food habits. I tend to buy a lot and then not use it up and sometimes have a bit to throw out before I move. I’ve actually cooked a lot on my own, even though I probably have the least food items of my roommates haha.

My pantry items: pasta, canned tuna, splenda, corn, black beans, brown rice, peanut butter
Fridge: margarine, apples, carrots, celery, condiments, lunch meat, tortilla shells
Freezer: bread, tilapia
I use corn and beans a lot. Chicken and ground turkey when I feel like paying for it. I have frozen tilapia for healthier days/fish tacos. Also I try to add brown rice to meals because it’s cheap, but can be filling and nutritional. I always have some bananas and apples on hand, and I buy celery and carrots and cut them up so I can snack on them with peanut butter at work.

Since I work 10 hour days, I have to pack lunch and dinner. I'll usually make myself a wrap and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then along with that I'll pack chips, a chocolate peanut bar, an apple, carrots and celery. And then I can sit down to a full meal for my break and still have plenty to snack on throughout the day.

I also did decide to bake during my program. It was definitely worth buying flour, sugar, baking soda, etc. I've been able to make quite a few things using my baking supplies. Plus it's so much cheaper than buying box mixes or cookie dough every time. I've mastered a few new recipes too.

More Food Tips!

  • If you don't have a car, make sure you have extra staples on hand. Buy an extra loaf of bread for the freezer, so you can always have toast/sandwiches.  Consider soymilk that doesn't have to be refrigerated (until opened) in your closet, so you always have milk. 
  •  Only put what absolutely must be kept cold in the fridge. 
  • Go to the grocery and cook for yourself. When I avoid going to the store, I end up eating Chick Fil A more than I should because it's right there and seems convenient. Also you'll save money, so the times you do go out to eat with your friends it'll be a treat and not so destructive to your bank account.
  • Share basic pantry items with your roomies, like olive oil, nonstick spray, salt, spices, margarine, mayo, etc. We've had like 5 different tubs of margarine in the fridge before and it was not the most efficient space-wise.
  • Get tupperware or lots of sandwich bags. If you pack your lunches/have leftovers, you'll use them plenty. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Where in the World? Thanksgiving Themed

In which Walt Disney World Resort hotel would you be able to pose in front of this working, gingerbread carousel?

Why is this Thanksgiving themed, you ask? Read past the bump for my little tale of epic ice cream proportions.