Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Let the Memories Begin

Photo credit: Natasha Woloschuk
Well it's been a while.

After almost three months of working in Walt Disney World this summer, and then another trip to visit my family in Ontario immediately after I returned to Canada, I'm finally back to writing for my school blog.

Last year this blog was a requirement for my Public Relations class, and this year it's still a requirement since I am majoring in PR. Woo! So get ready for some really interesting blog posts this year, because I'll be putting one up every week.

This summer it was really hard to tell people about my job at Disney because it was difficult to get past the 12 hour shifts, the homesickness, the torrential rain storms that took place every afternoon between three and four, the crazy room-mate I came home to every night after work, and the not-so-glamourous wages I was working for. But now that I am back home and have returned to eating regularly, and sleeping regularly, and talking regularly, I've had a chance to look back and miss the things I really loved while I was down in Florida.

This Monday was our first day of classes and all week I've been promising my class mates and instructors I would blog about my experience, so that's what I'm going to do.

So why not start this year's blog posts with a super cool topic?

'No strings', or as I like to call them, Freebies!

Most people working in custodial in the parks can give away stickers and pins off their lanyards (more about pins to come), everyone in merchandise can give those away too, as well as the occasional toy off the shelf, but for some folks in merchandise like me who are lucky enough to work in a store that sells photos after a ride, we get to also give away 'test' print outs whenever we feel it is necessary. : )

Now there are eight rides in all of Walt Disney World that take pictures; The Rockin' Roller Coaster and the Hollywood Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios; Test Track in Epcot; Expedition Everest and Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom; and Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin in the Magic Kingdom.

Because I worked in Tomorrowland in both the Space Mountain shop and Buzz shop, I feel as though I had the most opportunities to hand out test prints. I would almost always print them out at the end of the night. When it's almost 1 a.m. and the park's going to close soon, families are exhausted after a fun day in the park, and they're sad about saying goodbye to the happiest place on earth.

I can't count how many times I received hugs from guests who were leaving on a plane the next morning and appreciated the 5x7 photo I had given them as their last magical moment during their trip.

Moments like those always made the next two hours of cleaning the registers, stocking the shelves, and counting the inventory a little bit easier.

But more than giving printed pictures to families, I loved giving games in the arcade. You see, within the Space Mountain store is an arcade, and at one of the registers we had a special key that could open most of the games. We weren't allowed to open any prize games, but we could open all the racing games, the basketball hoop machines, and even the pin ball machines. Whenever a guest asked me to return their quarters after a game had ungraciously taken theirs, I would always offer them a few games at a different machine courtesy of Mickey. After I had successfully wowed a guest and saved the register from losing a few quarters, I would then move on to the next machines in the row and ask the surrounding kids to try playing them to “help me test them to see if they work”. Sometimes I would play with them. : )

When I started working at the Magic Kingdom, one fellow cast member told me that the more fun I was having at work, the more fun the guests would have. That wasn't always the case this summer because sometimes your smile just isn't big enough to make an angry person happy, no matter how wide you stretch it.

But it was true most of the time.  

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