Monday, November 18, 2013

After Earning my Ears

When you start working for Disney you get a name tag and a special badge that says "EARNING MY EARS." I'm not sure if this is the same for office jobs or positions at ABC, but it is true for all the positions at the theme parks and resorts where a cast member is interacting with guests face-to-face.

The only time this isn't the case is with Push, the talking trash can. He's a great guy and you can only find him in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom!

This small little badge tells the people you work with and the guests you serve in the parks that YOU ARE NEW! You have not worked at Disney for years, you do not know where all the hidden Mickey's are, and you probably don't even know the quickest way to get to the Spinning Teacups, or Splash Mountain, or even the exit.

Technically you can keep the badge on for the entire time you work for Disney (although maybe not after a year when you get a special pin for your name tag. They may not let you keep wearing it after that.)

I kept my badge on for one day. I thought about keeping it on for a week or two, but I wanted to look cool in front of the newbies. That's right. I'm that kind of person.

But looking back I'm glad I didn't keep the badge on for too long. It forced me to learn my Disney stuff really fast. Not Disney movie trivia, but theme park trivia. Here were some of the questions I was asked in my first week at The Magic Kingdom.

Where can I buy those turkey legs I see everyone else walking around with?
Where is the closest bathroom if I'm going to the Haunted Mansion?
What time does Epcot close today? (Answer. Epcot closes at 9 p.m. tonight, and this is The Magic Kingdom.)
Why isn't my Key to the World card working?
I have reservations at this restaurant at 6 p.m. and my fastpasses for Space Mountain are at the same time. Is there anyway I can change my dinner reservation?
When does Tinkerbell fly through the sky?
When is the 3 o'clock parade (Yep, totally legitimate question)
Where is the best place to see the fireworks? No, where is the super secret really really awesome place you only tell to special guests like me?
Can I have one of your pins?

In my first week of work I didn't know any of those answers. If I had been wearing my badge those guests may not have asked me their questions or I may not have felt the pressure to find them the answers. Because all cast members look exactly the same, guests assume that we all know the answers to their questions.

By the end of the week I knew so much about the Walt Disney World theme parks, because whenever a guest asked me a question, instead of saying, "I don't know, I'm new here," I said, "I'll find out."

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