Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Where in the World?

At which Walt Disney World Resort would you see this sign of "Davy Crockett" Mickey?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Where in the World? The Backside of Magic Edition

This picture shows what I like to call "the backside of magic." I like these pictures because it's a glimpse into everything Disney doesn't want you to see. Loading docks, delivery vans, scaffolding, cast members eating, etc. However, right now in the Magic Kingdom, they are building the Dwarf Mine Car rollercoaster out in the open for everyone to see, mostly because they have no choice.

Another "backside of magic" you can see in the Magic Kingdom, also in Fantasyland, is the metal substructure of the outskirts of Fantasyland. You can see it as you're walking from Tomorrowland to the Storybook Circus area, closer to Ariel's Grotto. I always snoop on this because it lines up with the entrance of the Utilidors for Cast Members. Just a little fun fact for you.

I took this picture on a transportation tour I took on Sunday. It was specifically for All Star Concierge, and it was so much fun! I'll post more information about it later, but now without further ado....

Where in World? This one has two parts.

First, which Walt Disney World Resort hotel are we looking at? And second, aboard which mode of transportation going from where to where (point A to point B) would you have this view?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Conquering Concierge: Concierge Class Day 3

 

Tuesday April 23, 2013

Destination Concierge (Day 3) 0830-1700

Today was saved for Chase Visa, Dining reservations (A La Carte), and each dining plan in more detail. Most of my classmates were starting to get anxious on Monday because they were wondering when we would ever get to A La Carte. I had already heard from some current Concierge CMs that they save it for the last day, so the class was going exactly like I had expected.

Again this goes back to the typical setup of a DU Class. You begin with very broad knowledge during the first two days, and you save the last few hours of the last day for really technical and sometimes very difficult concepts.

We began the class covering Disney Visas. There are two: Disney's Premier VISA Card and the Disney Rewards VISA. The first has the best rewards, BUT there is an annual fee. I really cannot imagine a scenario where I would want to sign up for the Premier VISA, but if you were interested, you could potentially apply and receive your VISA within a little over 24 hours while you are on vacation at Walt Disney World.

Once we had covered Disney VISAs, it was finally time for DINING! I'm not going to lie, I took many notes on Dining. They didn't have a workbook for us, just a blank sheet of paper. I love blank sheets of paper. The only thing I love more than blank sheets of paper, is filling them with writing. For dinining reservations and any other reservations, we use A La Carte. Because this is the world, and the world just adores acronyms, of course a la carte stands for something. The acronym is AppLicAtion for  Children's Activities, Recreation, Tours, and Entertainment (I know it's kind of a stretch). 

As you can imagine from this acronym, we use A La Carte for basically any type of reservation our guests would want to make. You want breakfast at the Crystal Palace? A la carte. Your princess wants her hair done a the Bibbidi Bobbiti Boutique? A la carte. You're interested in the Keys to the Kingdom tour? A la carte. You want to see Cirque du Soleil La Nouba tomorrow night? A la carte. You need to print your tickets for the Hoop de Doo Musical Revue? A la carte. You want to go fishing tomorrow morning? A la carte. Should I keep going? Okay two more...

You'd like to dine at Victoria and Alberts? Oh excellent choice! Let me give them a call (no a la carte).
You want to experience Richard Petty's Driving Experience? Let me call and see what I can do for you (no a la carte). Yes, those would be the two exceptions to booking things on a la carte. As well as golf. We don't cover golf.

The rest of the class was more information than you can imagine about reservations and using a la carte. We also did a lot of practice, which was mostly "Okay, just look some things up on your own." Unfortunately, it was a training environment so we couldn't actually book any reservations.

We ended class with the finale of our game. I won the Disney trivia game we played for Monday and Tuesday. I can thank countless hours of Children's Activites games for that. Specifically how much was adult admission when Disney World first opened. And how tall is Cinderella's castle. While everyone else is like, "In feet? I have no idea how tall anything is!" I'm all, "I hear this question at least weekly in close counts at the pool. It has to be just under 200 ft, so there's no blinking light, duh!

Biggest Takeaways
  • If you book Cirque at a resort, be prepared to pay with one credit card. You cannot split payments and it should be a US credit card as well (except I was able to book Cirque for a guest from New Zealand a few days ago).
  • If you have an allergy and you let your server know at a Disney restaurant, the chef will come to you table personally to talk about it. Even if it's a tomato allergy (I've reassured a guest about this before, but she didn't seem to believe me).
  • There is a cake hotline for ordering cakes for special events! I already knew this, but I still think it is amazing!
  • The Hoop de Doo Musical Revue runs every day of the year! Cirque and Spirit of Aloha run Tuesday through Saturday.
  • Disney is very lenient about cancellations. As long as you cancel by 10pm in person or by midnight online the day before, you may forgo the fee. Of course there are many exceptions to this rule, so make sure you know or cancel with plenty of time in advance if you have to.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Conquering Concierge: Concierge Class Day 2

photo credit
Monday April 22, 2013

Destination Concierge (Day 2) 0830-1700

We had a new instructor join our class for Monday and Tuesday (we had to say goodbye to our original after Sunday's class, so there were still just 2 instructors). He introduced some games to our class. It was such a great idea because class can be...well, a lot like class.  The games would get us up off our chairs and let our minds wander onto something else for a while.

Today we covered more information about ticket sales. The funny thing about selling tickets, is that we've always been capable of doing it as cashier....we just never thought to venture into it. LILO is the system we used to check in guests. In each reservation there is a button for tickets just at the bottom the screen. You just click on that and a whole new world....of possibility opens up.

I basically know anything you'd ever want to know about Disney Park tickets. The basic business rule is 14,14, Sign, which means ticket entitlements expire 14 days from the date of first use. Guests have 14 days from the first use in order to upgrade their tickets (as long as there are still entitlements remaining). Guests need to sign the backs of their tickets (honestly resorts I am very bad at remembering to remind my guests of this, but I assume they will make you at the parks if they notice).

Biggest Takeaways
  • Military tickets must be bought at Shades of Green
  • Resorts can query tickets purchased prior to 2005
  • At the resorts we can put an old tickets onto your room key (as long as you don't have tickets on your reservation already).
  • Current resort guests can upgrade their tickets (within the 14 days) even if there are no entitlements remaining
  • Guests can pick up their park tickets (from a package) 10 days in advance of their reservation. Yay more playtime!
  • Disney refers to Disney enthusiasts as worldphiles. If you are reading this blog you are probably a worldphile. I prefer Kingdom Hoppers ;p

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Guarding the World: What is a VAT?

Keep your guard up!
This post began as information about VATs, Live Audits, and Visual Audits, but as I started to write about each, I just kept writing, and kept writing. I looked over the novel that had formed on the page and decided, "There's no way I'd want to read that all in one sitting..." So I am breaking up the posts.

The following information is everything you would ever want to know about VATs. I worked as a lifeguard prior to Disney, so I anticipated the terror of VATs coming into the role. I searched all over the DCP blogosphere for as much information as I could find, but I came up short. This post will hopefully fill that void. So if you have any other questions regarding VATs, please try to ask them here, so I can help you be as informed as possible!


What is a VAT? 

VAT stands for Visual Awareness Training. The typical VAT is a silhouette that is black on one side and nude on the other. When placed at the bottom of the pool it is supposed to resemble what a person would look like unconscious on the bottom of the pool. I know this sounds terrifying, but really it's just a test to keep all lifeguards vigilant. The silhouette is the only type of VAT used at Walt Disney World Resort. Ellis also uses "dummies" that they'll sink to the bottom of the pool, but Disney put the kibosh on those because...well, they don't want to worry guests on vacation if they can help it.

How does VAT training work? 

Your coordinators and managers have a certain amount of VATs to complete in a month. A (sometimes sneaky) coordinator will roll up a VAT and hide it on their body (usually under a rash guard). They will swim into a zone, unroll, and lay the VAT. Once the VAT is dropped the lifeguard has 10 seconds to identify the VAT and 20 seconds to reach the VAT, but the most important part is the 10 seconds to identify. If you don't whistle and point and get your butt into the water, then you will fail the VAT.

You can also be "live VATed," which happens when your coordinator swims into your zone and pretends to drown. You have to treat it like a rescue and jump in after them. Any time a coordinator is swimming in your water, be suspicious. Also don't think you're off the hook after someone else has been VATed. My third VAT at the Contemporary was immediately after another guard scanned back in after going in for a VAT. The coordinator who dropped the VAT decided to swim over to me and conveniently forget how to swim. No worries. I helped him remember. ;p

What happens if I fail? 

Failing one VAT is not the end of the world. If anything it's a great wake up call, and it will make you that more vigilant on stand (ie. you will NOT let yourself miss anymore). If you do fail, your coordinator will have you do some visual training immediately after. They will have you turn away from the pool, and they will lay the VAT a few different places and you will point them out when you turn back around. This is just to make sure that you understand what they expectation is, so next time you will have no excuse to fail the VAT. Sometime in the next 10 days, you will be VATed again. If you get it, GREAT! You're all set.

What happens if I fail my reVAT?

If you miss it, I believe you have at least one more try. I never failed a VAT, so I'm sure. Most people that I worked with also got their second VAT, so I don't believe there was an issue. I believe after failing 3 VATs, they will talk to you about switching roles, which is still not the end of the world.

How often will I be VATed?

It really depends on where you will be working and your luck. If you work at the water parks, there's a greater chance that you won't be VATed. I was VATed 4 times at the Contemporary (2 live) and 0 times at All Star, Pop, and Art (but I was audited).

Do you have tips about passing a VAT?

Learn the bottom of your pools and do your job. Coordinators usually don't try to make VATs tricky. The times guards miss them is whenever they are just completely zoning out. Whenever I was really tired on stand or distracted, I would make myself rove or put my feet into the water. Also I'd sing to myself. Be vigilant, but try not to stress out too much. Chances are you'll have no problem!