Spring 2019 Weekly Recap #6: Work and Fun

Hello, everyone! Welcome to the sixth installment of my “Spring 2019 Weekly Recap” series, in which I detail the happenings of this exhausting, but unique period of my life, which has already been occurring for over a month (!!!).

Without further ado, let us begin!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Yet another stressful day was upon me, even though my shift was quite a bit shorter than the one the day prior. I did allow myself to wake up at 8:00 AM, and before my departure at about 1:50 PM for a bus that would get me to Epcot at 2:43 PM, I elected to work on my blog and applications, talk on the phone with a family member, and eat lunch. On the bus, I was able to meet up with a fellow Disney College Program participant who had the same start time of 3:45 PM; thus, we could chat about our mutual habit of arriving early to work, just in case of any bus issues. Ultimately, I was very nervous about my first assignment, as it involved a position that I had never been placed at without a trainer. I surely felt guilty about asking as many questions as I did during this period of time, but afterward, I was able to help with more of the support positions (which did involve a somewhat exhausting special assignment). Next, I organized materials and was placed at my original position, where I would only stay for a few minutes before my break. For essentially the rest of the shift, I had a role and closing assignment that I completed on a prior day in this location, and as a consequence, I could have some semblance of comfort with what I had to do and how to do it.

Finally, my shift ended at 11:00 PM, and I boarded a bus back to my apartment that arrived at about 12:05 AM. Right before I went to bed with my sore legs and feet in tow, I scarfed down some snacks and got myself ready for the night.

Favorite Memory: Going to sleep (sorry)

~Feelings~: Stress and insecurity

Timestamp: 2/24/18 10:07 AM

Sunday, February 24, 2019

I most definitely had more interesting experiences on this particular day. Once again, I woke up at 8:00 AM, started to get myself ready for the day, had breakfast, worked on applications, talked on the phone, and ate lunch before heading to the bus for my 5:00 PM shift. This time around, I opted to arrive at Epcot even earlier than usual, for doing so would permit me to check out better-fitting shorts for my costume; the process did not take long, so I relaxed (and worked on an application essay) for just under an hour and a half before starting my shift.

As for my day of work itself, I had a somewhat intimidating assignment that I had never experienced before, and as a consequence, I most likely appeared incredibly nervous and insecure while preparing to head onstage. Thankfully, coordinators and other cast members helped me get ready, and soon enough, I was interacting with guests. This portion of the shift actually went by quickly, sans too much stress (and as a plus, I was able to essentially dance along to one of my favorite Disney Parks background music loops), and after IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth ended, I was starting another new-to-me assignment. The task, while one that involves a bit of calling out directions, was actually quite fun and involved many great guest interactions. To end the night, I had another relatively grueling closing assignment; anyhow, I ended up having a relaxing bus ride back to my apartment complex at 11:38 PM and was able to talk on the phone with a family member and decompress for a little while prior to finally heading to bed at about 1:25 AM.

Favorite Memory: Merchantaining (and giving directions) with “glow” merchandise

~Feelings~: Some stress and insecurity, but also some happier excitement

Timestamp: 2/25/19 8:44 AM

Monday, February 25, 2019

Today has been quite the adventure! Back before I knew of my exact placement for the Disney College Program, I was lucky enough to sign up for a free UnDISCOVERED Future World tour at Epcot, and finally, as a cast member at the park, I was able to take part in the offering as a guest. Therefore, I woke up this morning and began getting ready for the day at 7:00 AM with much excitement, which continued (but was accompanied by some nervousness about my timing) through my 9:26 AM bus ride to the park. The entrance was a bit crowded and hectic, but I made my way to the check-in location with some time to spare. As for the contents of the tour itself, I will not reveal much, although I will say that even as a proclaimed Epcot geek, I learned a substantial number of amazing facts and details about Future World West and East that I had no clue of prior to the visit. In combination with my fantastic tour guide, I found the tour wonderful for a Disney Parks fan like myself.

After the tour concluded at 2:45 PM, I went off to select items to test from the menus associated with the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, which was having the last day of its run today. First, I had the delicious Wild Mushroom Risotto from the Masterpiece Kitchen in the Canada pavilion, followed by L’Art de Cuisine Française’s Crème de Brie en Petit Pan, which proved incredible for this cheese lover (*points to self*). Following the consumption of these heavier foods, I made sure to cool down by viewing the (somewhat crowded) 3:45 PM showing of my beloved Impressions de France, and afterward, I went on my way to a FastPass+ kiosk to confirm my plans for the rest of the day. As I had hoped to do, I redeemed my Living with the Land FastPass that would expire at 4:45 PM about a half-hour early; in the process, I was genuinely ecstatic to be placed in the first row of one of the boats. While I did find myself endlessly power-walking around the park afterward, I certainly enjoyed looking through MouseGear and boarding Spaceship Earth (my favorite attraction) sans any true wait.

Now, I could utilize the Soarin’ Around the World FastPass that I was lucky enough to acquire at the bus stop this morning; thus, I walked back into The Land pavilion yet again and waited for about 15 minutes amid fun parties for the lovely attraction. In accordance with one of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts offerings that I most looked forward to viewing on this final day, I moseyed as fast as I could to my desired dinner location, which should be no surprise: Tangerine Café in the Morocco pavilion. Of course, I got a Vegetable Platter, which, once again, was great (even though I was rushing through the meal). About 15 minutes before the performance would begin, it was time for me to enter the America Gardens Theatre for a special showing of the Disney on Broadway Concert Series, featuring Ashley Brown, Josh Strickland, Kissy Simmons, and Alton Fitzgerald White. Luckily, I could grab a seat just before the area filled up, so despite the fact that gnats were swarming me, I was grateful for my spot near other enthusiastic guests. This 6:45 PM show truly was sublime in its display of the performers’ talents, such that when the concert concluded by 7:15 PM, we were all wishing it could have been much longer. Anyhow, I then joined the large group of guests exiting the theatre and proceeding through World Showcase. On my way out of the park for the night, I took brief stops in the Germany (Karamell-Küche smelled amazing, by the way) and China pavilions, and despite my heart starting to break from the prospects of exiting Epcot before the start of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, I went through International Gateway and walked over to Disney’s BoardWalk, where a wedding reception and magicians fostered much palpable energy. There, I would walk around some gift shops and take in the details of the resort hotel’s lobby before ensuring that I would make the 8:15 PM bus. Now that I have been back at my apartment complex for a while, I can say that my exhaustion is making itself apparent, so I hope that my day off tomorrow will be both rejuvenating and productive!

Favorite Memory: Generally taking in Epcot as a guest

~Feelings~: Excitement and gratitude (with a bit of frustration from my desire to rush to and from everything)

Timestamp: 2/25/19 10:12 PM

Good night, my dear friend

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Alas, the last day of my “weekend” is coming to a close; I am grateful, though, that it has been so lovely and rejuvenating! I began my day at 9:30 AM (before which I did wake up from a dream about going into work, worried that I had slept through my alarm for a shift), at which point I did not fully get ready for the day, but instead had breakfast on the couch and relaxed for a bit. I was already feeling guilty about not having made much progress on my applications the day prior, so I spent the next 90-or-so minutes finishing the process of writing and editing an essay for one of the submissions. As expected, I felt quite better after completing the nagging task, so I talked with a family member on the phone while I prepared to take on the next hidden step of the application process; I did not foresee, though, that I would have to write yet another essay (probably my fifth). Anyhow, amid my frustration, I had a late lunch at about 2:30 PM and proceeded to send out an email, take a shower, and solidify my plans for the rest of the day. At 5:35 PM, I was on my way to the bus, just before rain began to fall, that would take me (seriously, I was the only one on the vehicle) to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.

Upon my arrival, I walked around the main vestibule, gift shop, and hallway over to the Riverside Mill Food Court, where I would have my dinner. The eatery was actually quite crowded at this time of 6:15 PM, but anyway, I braved the lines to receive a hearty bowl of create-your-own pasta, for which I requested fettuccini with alfredo sauce, spinach, peas, and parmesan cheese, and with which I received a breadstick for good carbohydrate measure. I then sat at a window seat and ate my large meal at a slow pace, which I chose to complement with a relatively long period of time spent sitting on a window-side couch in the resort hotel’s wonderful lobby and–you guessed it–writing out a draft of the aforementioned surprise essay. Before I departed for the journey back to my apartment complex, I walked back outside to both look at the horse-drawn carriages and obtain the Seasonal Cobbler à la Mode from Riverside Mill that I was eying earlier in the evening. I actually happened to purchase the dessert from a cast member I had interacted with earlier, but this time around, I sat in the opposite corner of the fantastically-themed area to devour as much as I could of the delicious combination of cranberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream while enjoying the atmosphere and browsing through Twitter. Soon, it was time for me to head back to the bus stop in the rain, so I went out with my umbrella, only to find that the bus was, evidently, running behind. Consequently, I passed the time by literally singing in the rain, with my chosen songs being from the boygenius, Phoebe Bridgers, and Courtney Barnett discographies. Just when I was starting to lose hope, the bus arrived, and I was on a novel journey back to my apartment. Now that I am officially back, I am organizing my materials and still waiting for my sugar rush to end so I can head to bed. I hope that tomorrow–a day that will entail a novel work experience–will go as well as possible!

Favorite Memory: Writing an essay about Disney while sitting in the Port Orleans Resort – Riverside lobby (also, singing in the rain)

~Feelings~: A bit of frustration, but also appreciation

Timestamp: 2/26/19 11:06 PM

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

After harboring a decent amount of worries about the day, I am glad to say that today was fairly enjoyable! To begin, I woke up at 7:00 AM, actually got up about 20 minutes later, got myself ready (sans putting on my costume), and relaxed a bit before returning to the application essay that I had begun yesterday. For the next two hours or so, I sat at the dining room table and on the floor of my room while heavily editing my first draft of the brief exploration of a way in which I have dealt with a cherished belief of mine being challenged; as a break at about 11:30 AM, I went to check the mailbox, send out a postcard for my family, and talk to a family member on the phone. The time I had left before my departure for work was diminishing quickly, so I hastily ate a kale salad and chips with hummus and organized my materials until 1:05 PM.

The bus ride went smoothly, as did my arrival to work and time spent waiting in a break room for my actual clock-in period to begin (right as I was on my way over, by the way, a kind cast member–whom I would see again later on–offered me encouragement and comfort). This day, I was finally having my first day without a trainer at what one may deem one of our more hectic merchandise locations at Epcot, hence my nervousness that lasted through the start of my shift at the main outlet of the three comprising the area. There, I had some interesting guest experiences, fairly consistent tasks, and the added drama of rainfall, but overall, this period of time was certainly manageable. After my break, I headed over to a different cart with some tension in tow, which soon proved unnecessary, for when combined with the night’s low crowds, the location’s unique qualities made my experience less than frantic. Consequently, I was able to spend much of the rest of the evening ~merchantaining~ and having lengthier, more meaningful interactions with guests. As the clock struck 9:00 PM and IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth began, it was time for me to head back to my apartment, so I hopped on the next, crowded bus at 9:23 PM and enjoyed listening to music on the journey. To end the day, I have talked on the phone once again, consumed many a snack, and am now anticipating the many tasks and stressors of tomorrow. I truly hope that tomorrow will be one of success!

Favorite Memory: Waving “hello” and “goodbye” to Epcot guests

~Feelings~: Some nervousness, but also much gratitude

Timestamp: 2/27/19 11:36 PM

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Well, today as been another stressful one for the books, although such feelings seem to primarily come from within. (*Deep sigh.*) To start the day, I woke up at 7:30 AM and officially got up at 8:00 AM; next, I got myself ready and had a filling breakfast. After relaxing for a while, I knew the time had come to face the nerve-racking task of finally submitting my last college transfer application. Consequently, I edited the essay that I had written the day before, reviewed my previous materials, and talked to a family member on the phone while completing the process of sending in the application and ordering a transcript. By about 12:30 PM, I was ready to have a lunch largely comprised of delicious soup and allow myself to relax for a bit before making some progress on a different type of application, sorting through materials related to the Disney College Program, and leaving for work.

My bus rides (starting at 3:18 PM) went pretty well, so I did have a decent amount of time with which to relax and eat some snacks prior to the start of my shift. As for the rest of the night, I found myself more insecure than usual, perhaps due to the many pertinent situations with which I was unsure or wholly unfamiliar. Therefore, even though I went between two main shops that I had been placed in before (and I got recognized for my interactions with guests), my nervousness was difficult to dissipate. At 11:00 PM, I departed and made my way home, and due to an offer from a fellow cast member, I was able to bypass the buses and arrived back at the apartment at about 11:30 PM, at which point I, once again, talked with a family member on the phone. Now, I am dreading waking up early this morning and slightly regretting the amount of snacks I just stress-ate. Tomorrow surely has the potential to be a fun day, so I hope I will make it go smoothly!

Favorite Memory: Being done with my college applications (even though the stress associated with them will not end for a while)

~Feelings~: Stress and insecurity, what fun!

Timestamp: 1/3/19 1:07 AM

Friday, March 1, 2019

What an exhausting and interesting day this has turned out to be! First, I woke up at 5:00 AM, indulged in self-pity about having to do so, fully got ready for the day, and had breakfast; soon, the time arrived for me to leave for work by way of the 6:44 AM bus. The ride and my spell spent waiting to officially start work went fairly well, but soon after I received my first assignment, I knew that the remainder of the shift had the potential to be odd. Ultimately, I spent the entirety of the period working at one cart, at which I have worked before, while with another cast member in the morning and largely by myself in the afternoon. As always, I faced new situations and challenges throughout the day, but anyhow, I was able to depart from work at about 4:30 PM feeling fairly satisfied.

Since I had plans to meet up with a fellow Disney Program participant (and her friend) whom I have mentioned on this blog before, later in the afternoon, I raced back and forth in order to prepare myself to be a park guest once again. After power-walking through Epcot and taking a lovely trip on a Friendship Boat to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I was able to enter this park just after 6:00 PM and make a trek to determine what I would eat for dinner. In the end, I enjoyed a delicious Fried Green Tomato Sandwich from Fairfax Fare, where I would temporarily eat with another solo guest before meeting up with the aforementioned duo. Since the FastPasses we had all acquired for Fantasmic! could be redeemed by the time we were done eating, we immediately entered the crowded Hollywood Hills Amphitheater and found ourselves some seats. About a half-hour still had to pass before the nighttime spectacular, which I had not seen in many years, would begin; thus, we were all glad to have the broadcasted music and such antics as “the wave” keep us occupied. Needless to say, during Fantasmic! itself, I teared up at several different points, all while comparing this viewing to my memories of the show from my childhood. Once the 8:00 PM showing concluded, we headed out of the park amid the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show and waited about 20 minutes for the 9:12 PM bus back to the apartment complexes. The trip, which I spent standing up, must have done me in, for during my subsequent phone call with a family member, my true fatigue started to become evident. Now, I am beyond exhausted and stressed about my never-ending list of tasks to accomplish. I hope tomorrow will be a productive and smooth day for me!

Favorite Memory: Watching Fantasmic! for the first time in years

~Feelings~: A decent amount of stress, but also a bit of esteem

Timestamp: 3/1/19 11:49 PM

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this overview of the past week of my life. Have a magical day!

(Of course, the opinions and views expressed in this blog post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of The Walt Disney Company or any other entity.)



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