Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Where in the World?

In the queue line for which Walt Disney World attraction would you see this friendly lifeguard?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Conquering Concierge: Concierge Class Day 1

photo credit
I just finished my 3 day class at Disney University covering the role of Concierge. Brace yourself because...It was SO MUCH FUN! Personally it was such a different experience than my Front Desk Cashier Class. It was a normal size class with 14 of us, about half being CPs or ICPs, so I had the chance to meet some hilarious characters, I mean new friends...

Sunday April 21, 2013

Destination Concierge (Day 1) 0830-1700

We spent a good 40 minutes introducing ourselves. I had one other person from All Star, who I'd met before. He actually goes to Purdue University, so our friendship happened instantaneously. The other cast members were from Old Key West and Saratoga Springs (they are a region), Wilderness Lodge, Port Orleans, the Grand Floridian, and Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was fun hearing each person tell stories about their resort. You could really tell that they all loved their resorts, specifically their resort families. I cannot say that I'm in love with my new area yet, but I already really really like it, so I know with time, I will probably have the same passion.  

After we finished going around the room and introducing ourselves (we also each shared a magical moment we had while working for Disney), we went over information about each of the 4 parks. We paid close attention to fireworks, parades, and proper nomenclature. We also covered what was new in each park, specifically in the last 10 years, since to many guests, rides like Soarin' are still brand new.

When our instructor introduced Disney's Animal Kingdom, he asked, "Why is it so important that we emphasis that this is a theme park?" And I couldn't keep the next 3 words to myself. 

 "Because it's nahtazu?"

The answer he actually wanted was that Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge are so similar in title that many guests get them confused when it comes to dining reservations. So we need to make sure they understand that Tusker House is inside the theme park, not the hotel, to save them the trouble.

It's okay. I liked my answer better too.

After the theme parks overview, we covered special events, Fastpass, Extra Magic Hours, Recreation, Water Parks, and Downtown Disney. If you didn't already know a lot about Disney, this class would definitely be overwhelming. Thankfully I have a wonderful grasp, so I was able to pinpoint a few things that I needed to learn, like the names of the five full golf courses on property.

Next our class covered the sales process, why loyal guests are so important to Disney, and briefly began covering types of Magic Your Way Tickets. The more and more training I do at DU, the more and more I think the classes are seven and a half hours of general information, and the last half hour is saved for actual technical knowledge.

Biggest Takeaways
  • We cannot print/sell annual passes or Florida Resident passes. Those must be printed from the Parks
  • Tickets that are lost cannot be replaced, unless you have your entitlement number. Whenever you buy Disney tickets, ALWAYS take a clear picture of the entitlement number. You might also want to write it down.
  • Park tickets can usually be put on your room keys (however, there are plenty of exceptions). If it's possible, I would highly suggest this, since room keys are very easy to replace.

This blog post is part of my Conquering Concierge Series. If you missed the previous update click here. If you're looking for the next post click here!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Guarding the World: A Day in the Life of an Art Guard

Welcome to the Cozy Cone Motel! credit
I've already written this post. Kind of. I wrote one which covered what my day was like working at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Well, it turns out as much as being a lifeguard at different resorts is similar...it is also very different. Pretty much every resort will have a different rotation due to different number of stands or different set up of pools/slides. Also the culture of each resort differs so much. That's why deployments can be overwhelming. You don't know anyone when you first get there, and the way they operate their pool could be drastically different than what you do day to day.

Since I've had the luxury of working at different resorts, I'm going to share a typical day for me at Disney's Art of Animation and maybe a few others if I can remember enough details.

A few things to mention before I begin. I have never worked split shifts (besides at All Star), which is the schedule lifeguards are on from late March to late August/Sept. So if your fall program begins in say July, you will probably not be on 10 hour lines until September. Instead you will get either an AM or PM shift for 8 hours, so you'll either come in at 9am or 3pm and work till either 5pm or 11pm.

A Typical Day...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Flights of the Kingdom: Sake Flight

I might as well rename this post "Everything I know about sake I learned in Disney World." The actual Sake flight is served at Tokyo Dining in Japan, which is located upstairs of the merchandise shop. But before we climb those stairs, let me take you through a little tour of my new favorite pavilion in Epcot.

Since I live a stone's throw from the magic, I make a point to visit every other weekend or so. And when I am going by myself, I like going to Epcot because there is always something to shop for or taste or take pictures of. One of my last solo trips I stopped in Japan because I realized I had never had a drink in Japan. I love drinking around the world, but I have my favorite drinks in Mexico and France and that's it. So this was my effort to branch out.

I approached the stand in the middle of the pavillion, which served cocktails with Sake. Hmmm...this sounds appropriate for a drink in Japan. I asked one of the girls working what she would suggest. I didn't want something too sweet, so I settle on the Green Apple Sake. It was still very sweet, compared to what I like, but I still loved the drink and I think it was a good introduction to sake for me, since I had only tried sake in sake bombs before.

I'm trying to work on my food/drink photography skills
My next encounter with the Japan pavilion was with my boyfriend, when we both took time off work for our own little Spring Break adventure. We did Animal Kingdom in the morning and went to Epcot after because I wanted to get a free picture at the Chase Visa Photo spot in Innoventions. We got to Epcot before the Visa spot was open, so we decided to do lunch at Germany.

After lunch we found ourselves wandering through the store at Japan. We made it all the way to the back where there is a little Sake Bar. My boyfriend decided he really wanted to try Sake, so we ordered a sweet, sparkling sake. Naturally we enjoyed it just outside of the shop, in my new favorite "hidden" spot in Epcot. It's in the very back of the Japan Pavilion and it looks like the entrance to a fortress with a moat and everything. It is replacing Venice in the Italy Pavilion because it is truly beautiful and most people seem to overlook it.

My boyfriend enjoying sake
While we were sipping our sparkling sake, I casually mentioned the existence of a sake flight in Japan and how I wanted to try it for my #flightsofthekingdom challenge. My boyfriend was sold in that instant.

Sake Flight:

We climbed up the stairs to find the 2 sit down restaurants in Japan. We reviewed the menus and chose Tokyo Dining to enjoy our sake flight. It was around 2-3pm, so we had no trouble being seated, but the restaurants also felt hidden from the rest of the pavilion since they were upstairs. I kind of wish the rest of World Showcase took more advantage of their space with more attractions being placed on a second story, but maybe that's not possible in the other pavilions.

This picture is misleading. I am horrible at handling chopsticks
We were seated right away and had the sweetest waiter ever. She was "earning her ears" and was super polite. As is everyone working in the Japan Pavilion. It's part of the Japanese culture to put a huge emphasis on respect and social etiquette, and it is so amazing to see it in place in Epcot of all places. Especially in comparison to say some of the younger Cast Members working attractions... If you're ever having a bad day, just order something in Japan. Believe me they will put you in a better mood!

We order the Sake flight as well as the sushi sampler. I'm not an expert on sushi or anything, but I've had enough to know, that this was the most amazing sushi I've ever had in my life! It was so fresh and so delicious. If you enjoy sushi at all, I'd highly suggest checking out Tokyo Dining on a Disney trip.

The sake was wonderful as well. If you've never encountered sake, it is like halfway between vodka and white wine, yet a little like scotch. It's a clear liquor which has many fruity notes like wine, yet can be smokier like scotch. So it's way more flavorful than vodka, but I can see it being used in place of vodka for some mixed drinks. I suggest sampling it like you would wine and definitely with something to eat.


Conquering Concierge: Front Desk OJT, Part Three

photo credit
This is the third installment about my second week of training to become a Disney Concierge. Start at the very beginning of Conquering Concierge here or check out Part One or Part Two. As always leave a comment if you have any questions for me! "Enjoy it!"

Saturday March 21, 2013

All Star Music Cashier OJT (Day 5) 0645-1515



So oddly enough I'm statused as Concierge at AS MU (so All Star Music) but Day 5 was my first and only day of training actually at Music. Since this is my 5th post about my OJT for Front Desk, I'm going to go into some more reflections about the whole process rather than a play by play of the day.

First the play by play:
We started like normal, banking in and getting set up on the desk. We had a normal day, and then we pulled early, so I could get signed off on my Front Desk training. The last thing I did was have a sit down meeting with a manager. She was very sweet. She genuinely welcomed me to the family and said they were happy to have me. It was really nice to have this sit down, because other than brief handshakes with managers, I don't deal with them on a regular basis. I talked to my managers all the time at Art, almost too much, but it was nice to know they were there, and I had no problem bringing up questions or problems to them if I ever had them.
I made it pretty clear to her that I was interested in getting trained for everything. Also I let her know I really wanted to be a trainer as a lifeguard, so once I had a good grasp on this new job, I'd love to be a trainer her as well. She confirmed what everyone has been mentioning, about how it's not too difficult to move up at All Star, so that was great to hear.
After our little meeting (which was very short because all I could really think about was the complaints I had about my trainer, but the door was wide open so it really wasn't an appropriate venue) I was completely finished with my training! Yay! And too celebrate my trainer gave me one of these, which just happened to be in the freezer in the break room.
Probably the highlight of my entire week of training
 Now that my play by play is out of the way, here is what I've alluded to in my past posts...

I really didn't enjoy my trainer. He wanted to teach me the bare minimum. He wouldn't explain more information for some things. He wanted me to wait for guest to come back or prompt for questions. So then when he did ask if I had questions, I didn't want to ask because he either wouldn't really answer or would make me feel dumb. It's mostly a language barrier thing. I experienced it at the Breakers as well, so as much as I felt it, I didn't take it personally. But also he's not very hospitable, like we opened a room for a guest, he turned his back. When they said thank you, he said you're welcome without even turning back around.

I just really feel like I didn't get my money's worth when it came to my training. It was 5 DAYS LONG, but I didn't get any of the questions I wanted answered. Also I know that the real learning experience typically happens when you're on your own and forced to fend for yourself, but I wanted to give myself the best chance to be successful with the means I had. I also really want to be a trainer myself, especially when I witness the people that Disney does have trainer, who do a poor job. I've encountered many, many excellent trainers all over and specifically at All Star now, who really enjoy being trainers and kind of embody the Jimminy Cricket pin they were. But I've also encountered a handful who just don't get it :(

Anyways those are my complaints. I'm not trying to scare anyone away at all. It has just taken me a little bit of time to warm up to my new role, so I want to be honest about that process. I'll go into more details on this in a later post as well.

Have a Magical Day!