In this blog post on my life in the Disney College Program, I’ll be covering everything from my last day working at Alien Swirling Saucers to my first day of class at Disney University (yes, that place actually exists). As a heads up, I skipped a couple of days throughout the week to cut out the boring stuff for your entertainment. Without further ado, let the magic begin!
On Thursday, March 31, 2022, I had the day off, so I went to a place called Cast Connections with a friend I met through the Disney College Program Spring 2022 Facebook Group. Cast Connections is a store for Disney cast members that is filled with old Disney merchandise for cheap prices. Some of the merch is still in good condition, while others either have stitching problems or are really beat up. I had high hopes for Cast Connections because I’ve heard Disney College Program (DCP) vloggers talk positively about the place and the cute merchandise they found there. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with what I found. The merchandise they had available was average.
I did, however, find one thing that I liked. It was a cast member purple spirit jersey in celebration of the 50th anniversary for Walt Disney World. Unfortunately, the spirit jersey was almost $60, but it was still cheaper than the spirit jerseys I found at World of Disney weeks ago.
After our trip to Cast Connections, my friend and I went to Disney Springs for lunch, and we ate at a place called D-Luxe Burger. My friend got a kid’s meal sized cheeseburger, while I got a barbequed burger and a cookies ‘n cream gelato shake. I didn’t take a picture of my meal, however, because I was so hungry and I just wanted to eat my food already. The burger was really good, but man, it was so messy. I’m not the type of person to eat finger food in public, but that day, I just really wanted a good burger. I got what I wanted, but I’m never doing that again, haha! After lunch, my friend and I took the bus back to Flamingo Crossings Village and by that point, it was mid-afternoon.
Friday, April 1, was basically me stressing over who could drive me to a Backstreet Boys concert that I really wanted to go to on June 21 in Tampa, Florida. I missed my chance to see them when they came to Hawaii a few years ago (same thing happened with Bon Jovi when they came to Hawaii in 2010 and Richie Sambora was still in the band). I moved to Florida to escape my boring life in Hawaii, so I want to attend at least one concert while I’m down here. By the way, I’m sorry to the cast members at Alien Swirling Saucers that had to hear me vent about my dilemma.
Saturday, April 2, was my last day working at Alien Swirling Saucers. That day was memorable for two reasons: one, I learned that everyone goes through sh*t and two, it was raining hard that afternoon. My shift was from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. and while the morning was fine, the lightning and thunder came at us with full force for the first two hours of my shift. I guess you can say I was thunderstruck! I didn’t bring a jacket either, so I was freezing at first, but when I went down to the break room for my first break, the coordinator at Alien Swirling Saucers let me borrow an unused jacket that I could wear for the rest of my shift. So, thank the lord for her!
But back to my point about sh*t happens, my friend from Alien Swirling Saucers was going through something with her sister and I’m not going to badmouth her sister because that would be rude. A day or two beforehand, I asked my friend if she wanted to go to the Backstreet Boys concert with me. She said yes, but she wanted to bring her sister, her sister’s girlfriend, and the girlfriend’s daughter too because they’re planning to visit her during the summer. I wasn’t thinking straight, so I said yes. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a bad idea, especially since she wouldn’t be able to pay me back for the tickets until the end of May (at least that’s what she said). Plus, I wanted to get good seats and the seats we chose originally sucked.
That was the dilemma I was talking about with my co-workers at Alien Swirling Saucers on Friday. And long story short, after telling my friend that I only wanted it to be the two of us at the concert, she changed her mind and decided to have just us at the concert. Also, if my friend’s sister is reading this, I’m sorry. But that’s what I mean by sh*t; everyone has problems they go through, my friends, co-workers, everyone. I was unaware of that because I just avoid people that irritate me in order to create less problems for myself.
On Sunday, April 3, I worked up the courage to finally purchase the Backstreet Boys tickets for Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheater at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida. I got pit seats, which are right in front of the stage. Pit seats are tricky because you have to show up EARLY in order to get a good view of the stage since they’re general admission. Thankfully, they were cheaper than the Harry Styles tickets because I spent about the same amount of money, but the tickets for Harry weren’t even close to the stage. I also paid for insurance in case plans fail, and my friend and I can’t go to the concert anymore.
After I purchased the tickets, my roommates and I drove to a boutique about 40 minutes away from Flamingo Crossings Village called Gasp. And boy, did it make me gasp and not in a good way.
One of my roommates found out about the boutique through TikTok and she wanted to do something exciting before work, so I said, “why not?” I was happy to get out of the apartment and explore the buildings around Florida, but man, that boutique was weird. First of all, the building was pink, yuck! Their products contained cheesy, positive messages, they were overpriced, and I saw Taylor Swift stuff (gross). Buying anything from that boutique would ruin my reputation. I hope my roommates enjoyed the boutique, though. On the bright side, we saw a lot of cute dogs that day, including a couple of golden retrievers! After we got back to the apartment, the rest of the afternoon was pretty chill for me.
Monday, April 4, was my first day of “On the Job” training at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, sort of. I didn’t do much physical job training that day. I just read part of a big book about the front desk job role and watched a few training videos. I also got my costumes that day, which was nice. The costume building was a far walk from the resort, but I made it out alive. Plus, the cast members that helped me out were really sweet.
My first day at the Polynesian resort wasn’t really stressful like my first day at Alien Swirling Saucers, but it was very odd. First of all, the leader that was supposed to meet me in the lobby never showed up, so I had to ask for help on who was supposed to start my training (I was supposed to start at 8:00 a.m.). Then, there was the long walk from the resort to the costuming building, which I discussed earlier. I’d go into more details on what happened, but I don’t want to say anything I’m going to regret.
Tuesday, April 5, was my first day of “Concierge Core” class at Disney University, a building where cast members take classes relating to their job roles. According to Wikipedia, “Disney University is the global training program for employees of the parks and experiences divisions at The Walt Disney Company also known as Cast Members.” The previous day, my leader told me that I had to take a three day course at Disney University as part of my training. It was pretty cool being in a room with computers and desks, and taking notes in my overpriced notebook I bought from the Polynesian resort at the last minute (because I forgot to buy one when I last went to Target). Since it’s called “Disney College Program,” I enjoyed getting that learning aspect of the program.
There were only four students in the class, including me, so it was a very intimate class, which I liked. All of us were going to be a concierge at different Disney resorts, and interestingly enough, not all of us were DCP participants. The guy that taught the course has been with Disney for over 22 years; he currently works at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. He did the Disney College Program twice: the first time, he worked attractions at EPCOT and the second time, he was a concierge at one of the Disney resorts. He loved the role so much that he decided to stay with the company. Stories like that make me want to try hard to succeed at my new job as concierge for the Polynesian resort.
Wednesday, April 6, was my second day of “Concierge Core” class at Disney University. Throughout the three day course, I learned about the different types of resorts that Disney has to offer, how to check a guest into a resort, how to check a guest out of the resort, how to sell theme park tickets to guests, and guest service recovery, etc. On the second day, my instructors started off the lesson by talking about theme parks, which made me sad because I haven’t been to the parks in so long. Because of spring break, cast members are blocked out of the parks, especially Magic Kingdom.
As I’m typing this now, it has been very difficult booking a reservation for the parks. Even though the blockout dates calendar says that we’re not blocked out of Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom on some days, it’s almost impossible to book a park reservation. If we’re lucky, the easiest park we can book a reservation for is EPCOT. Cast members are blocked out of Magic Kingdom until May and I am kicking myself for not suggesting to my parents that we go there for that one day we had on our spring break trip. Don’t get me wrong, Hollywood Studios was a blast and I love ‘Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster,’ but I would’ve picked Magic Kingdom instead, had I known that we’d be blocked out of that park for two whole months.
That Wednesday, I had the bright idea of doing laundry when I got home because I needed more clean clothes. By the way, I got home at about 6:00 p.m. because the classes were from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and I took the bus home at about 5:00 p.m. I had to wash my hair too, so that didn’t help. I would’ve gone to bed at a decent time, but when I put my clothes in the washing machine the first time, I forgot to put soap in the opening for some reason. So, I had to do a second cycle with the soap inside, yeah! It was a long night of washing my clothes, putting my clothes away, and waiting for my hair to dry.
Thursday, April 7, was the last day of “Concierge Core” class at Disney University. You’d think that by day three I’d know the names of my three classmates, yeah? Well, I don’t unfortunately. I never even bothered to learn the name of the girl that sat across from me in class and she was a DCP participant too. She lives off-property (not in Flamingo Crossings Village), is doing her second program, and she has an annual pass to Disney World. The only classmate I know the name of is the older male classmate that was my lab partner when we practiced the check-in and check-out procedures.
Another cool thing about the “Concierge Core” class was that there was a room where we could practice what we learned in class. So, we practiced different scenarios for check-in, check-out, selling park tickets, and guest service recovery. The first time I practiced doing a check-in procedure, I was so nervous and forgot everything that I was supposed to do. The first time I practiced doing a check-out procedure, I was stressed out. The other DCP participant was already a pro, while I was struggling big time. I already failed at one job role on my DCP, so it’s hard not to worry that history would repeat itself.
Thankfully, the instructors were really nice. Both the guy (the one I mentioned before) and the girl (she works at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge) were really encouraging and told us things would get easier with practice overtime. In fact, the last time I practiced doing a check-in process in the lab, it went by very smoothly. I did everything I was supposed to do: I greeted the guest, filled in the guest’s info, asked if they wanted to put their credit card on file, asked them how they got to the resort, got them to sign the registration card on the iPad, and all that good stuff. It wasn’t a perfect check-in process, but it was better than what I’d done previously.
I left the classroom at Disney University in a good mood that day. However, an hour or two later, when I got back to Flamingo Crossings, I realized that I forgot to clock out. Oh my gosh, how could I be so stupid! I was panicking that I was going to get in trouble for that. But thankfully, the record card for Disney showed no violations, so I should be good. I just need to be more careful next time because the last thing I want to do is start my new DCP job on a sour note!
If you remember from my last DCP blog post, I said that my friend from Alien Swirling Saucers and I were planning to go to Universal Studios Florida. We were going to go that day (Thursday), but it was raining mostly throughout the late morning to mid-afternoon. I didn’t want to risk getting sick after getting drenched on my last day at Alien Swirling Saucers, so I told her I didn’t want to go anymore. Better safe than sorry.
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