Thursday, September 27, 2012

Happiness > Hurt.

I know I've been mostly focused on Disney for the last few posts, but I came across something in my devotion this morning I felt was worth sharing:

"God didn't give us life so we could suffer. He suffered to give us life. Shake off the hateful and negative people in your life. You can love and pray for them at a distance. Always choose happiness over hurt."

Those words really struck me as I've always thought the goal was to salvage relationships and hang on regardless of what people put you through. But, as I'm beginning to understand more everyday, people take advantage of that attitude. Some people don't care for your happiness, only how you can increase their happiness. Some people find gratification in your failures and live to exploit your flaws.

God didn't design us to deal with that. He didn't intend for us to allow people into our lives who emotionally drain us and leech off of our happiness. God designed friendship as a bond between people of like mind, a bond of equality, not entitlement. He didn't intend for us to utilize our friends like stepping stools to be used to rise up and then discarded. Friendship is a mutual climb, a shared quest for happiness and bettering ourselves.

Pray for the clarity to discern between happiness and hurt. Pray for the strength to separate yourself from the people in the latter category and the integrity to pray that those people will find happiness of their own.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The DCP Series: Food and Wine.

It's hard to believe that I've been living it up in Lake Buena Vista for just shy of a month.

Working for the Mouse, thus far, has been an incredible experience, one that, up until now, I didn't realize how much I'm going to miss when it's over. Already, there's a part of me slowly becoming consumed with sadness, dwelling on the fact that I will inevitably have to turn in my Cast Member ID come January.

But I digress. I'd much rather talk about all the fun and exciting things that have happened over the past few weeks.

So, just as I'm starting to bond with my new friends and learn the ropes, my time at Pinocchio's has abruptly come to an end (at least, until December). This came as a shock to me as I've only been here for four weeks, and actually, there's quite a bit of speculation as to how a handful of CPs and a select group of full-time CMs were suddenly uprooted from their home locations. My trainer assured me that Disney didn't mess around when deploying for special events and that each of us were observed before being selected. After I let the swelling of my ego go down a little, she explained that we were recommended by our home-location leaders for the 2012 International Food and Wine Festival.

For those who don't know what F&W is, I'll try to squeeze it all into one or two super informative paragraphs. This year marks the 17th year of the International Food and Wine Festival, which takes place in Epcot. Spread across the two-mile promenade encircling World Showcase Lagoon, approximately 27 countries from around the world are represented through various kiosks themed to fit that particular region.

Belgium's F&W Kiosk

Each kiosk will feature up to four food items from the country being represented as well as an assortment of wines, beers, and mixed drinks also hailing from that country and paired specifically for the available dishes. The locations are designed to briefly immerse our guests in that country's culture through taste, sight, and sound before sending them on to the next, hence this year's theme "Taste your way around the world."

All in all, Food and Wine, recently deemed the largest food-based festival on the planet, is an incredible celebration. It's a marvel to simply look at, let alone experience, and conceptually, the festival is meant for "responsible" adults to "sample" our vast assortment of international fares. However, as you may have already guessed, that's not how most people come to celebrate. "Drinking around the world" has become a popular spin-off motto year after year, and although it has been deemed illegal by the state of Florida (no, I'm not kidding), guests still attempt to drink one of every alcoholic beverage served throughout the two-mile festival within the 14 hour period the park is open.

Needless to say, most don't make it through the German kiosk still standing. Seriously, I've seen pictures.

I've gone through extensive training regarding all aspects of special event work, but naturally, they place the majority of the emphasis on interacting with, identifying and, of course, cutting off drunks. Although I don't condone the behavior nor do I find it to be responsible in any way, shape, form or fashion...

...this is undoubtedly going to be the most fun I've ever had while getting paid. (Well, maybe besides getting paid to ride The Haunted Mansion.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The DCP Series: Check-In Day.

It's my fifth day here in the Sunshine State, and so far, I've had a pretty stellar time. For those of you who don't know this (and if you're reading this, you most likely do), I'm currently a Disney College Program intern working at the Walt Disney World Resort. I'm still coming to terms with it, being an ACTUAL Disney Cast Member in REAL-LIFE, not just pretending in my room. Not that I've ever done that before...

While on the program, the three segments they focus on are living, learning, and earning. Your adventure begins with settling the living portion through a little process called check-in. Being the most daunting day of my experience, I figured I'd give a rundown to hopefully ease the mind of some prospective CP somewhere.

When you arrive at check-in, you're going to be whisked away to a magical office where all of your paperwork will be processed, your room will be assigned, and you will be worry-free for the remainder of the day. At least, that's how I hoped it would go down. But you're not checking into a Disney resort, and you're most certainly not treated as a "guest." The check-in process is about as smooth as off-roading in a Prius.

That first morning, you will report to Vista Way where two million students and four million parents* will be waiting in line. Many CPs will tell you to get there early before all the good apartments are taken, but the truth is, all the apartments are good quality, seriously. You're paying pocket change for the location you're living (practically in Lake Buena Vista), and you're not going to spend that much time at home anyway. So, my advice? Get some rest. Check-ins don't begin until 9AM officially, so you have time. I got there at 7, got the roommate I wanted, and got an awesome apartment (C-Square is where it's at!).

Now, on to what actually goes down at check-in. As you progress, you'll eventually make your way into the heart of Vista Way, where you will need to have ready your government issued ID and one of the forms of identification listed in section C of your onboarding information.

Do not put your ID away throughout the check-in process. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. You will be asked for it repeatedly, so just keep it in hand. The actual paperwork is fairly simple, you'll sign several documents confirming your SSN and basic info as well as agreeing to not drink if you're under 21 and not to have guests in your room past 1AM. Simple stuff.

You will then be assigned your apartment complex and roommates. You will stay in one of three complexes: Vista Way (the party people, mostly 21+), Patterson Courts (the newest, most retirement-home-like complex), or Chatham Square (where the cool people go and the closets are like Narnia). All three cost practically the same amount, they're literally a couple dollars apart from one another, so choose based on what you think would be the best fit, not based on the money. You'll then get a CPID for your respective complex. GUARD THIS WITH YOUR LIFE. You will be required to have it on you at all times while on property and in order to ride the bus to and from the parks and local amenities. Security is not nice here, they're not employed by Disney either, so they aren't required to be nice. Keep that ID handy and accessible.

The good part comes next! After apartments are assigned, you'll be taken to the Casting Center via bus where you will be assigned...wait for it...YOUR JOB! Yes, the number one question on everyone's mind will finally be answered. There will be cheers, tears of happiness and sadness. It's a glorious time. The Casting staff will also reaffirm your personal information, take fingerprints, and set your schedule for Traditions and job training. The Casting Center is truly your first peek at the magic that is the Walt Disney Company. Make sure to take it all in, but no pictures or the Disney Ninjas will find you.

Welp, after that, it's time to move in. You'll head back to Vista Way where you or your parents will either take your vehicle that you drove and parked at Vista to your respective housing unit, or you will pick up your luggage that you stored at the building provided at check-in. Take the rest of the evening to unpack your stuff, go grab a bite to eat with your new roommates, start shopping for groceries, or maybe just go explore.

You survived the first day!

* possibly, slightly exaggerated figures