Wednesday, February 26, 2014

10 things you didn't know about The Magic Kingdom's utilidors

Guests call it 'backstage', but cast members call it the utilidors. Here are 10 neat things about the 'real' main floor of the park. 

1. Most cast members call the park 'upstairs' since we know the ground level is actually beneath the park.

Custructing the utilidors before the rest of the park.
Source: http://www.bigfloridacountry.com/wdw/utilidors.shtml


2. The utilidors is a huge tunnel system. Bigger than the park actually.

3. It's a confusing maze. I'm sure some people know every nook and cranny in that maze, but after almost three months of working at The Magic Kingdom, I still needed to use the giant maps posted on the walls to get to any area that wasn't Tomorrowland.

4. There's a place called "Pin Replenishment" where cast members who trade pins with guests can replace ones that have fallen off their lanyard, or ones they have given away as 'magical moments'. Outside of Pin Replenishment was my favourite place in the utilidoors. The display of every Disney cast member pin ever created, neatly pinned-up behind a clear window. Now that was a magical place!

5. No one is allowed to take pictures in the utilidors, although some people have. I saw a few folks take selfies with their work friends, but the backgrounds in the photos were unclear enough that it doesn't bother anyone.

6. The main entrance into the utilidors is actually at the back of the park. And you can only enter the main entrance to the utilidors after taking a bus ride. It's part of how Disney screens the cast members coming into the park. 

7. The utilidors isn't just a tunnel system that lets cast members and characters enter the park in secret spots. It has the Mousketeria, a small library with books and movies, computer rooms, training centres, and lots of dressing rooms.

8. It...doesn't smell very nice. Partly because all the park's sewage and waste is being sent below, but also because the tunnels have dumpsters below each of the lands.

9. The floors (especially under the lockers and in the dressing rooms) are covered in lost pins that have fallen off of people's lanyards! Yes, I know, I have a problem with pins. 

10. Costuming is in a completely separate building, a bus ride away from the utilidors. So is Cast Connection, the cast member-only store where damaged products are sold for 75 per cent off.

If you know any other neat things about the utilidors, leave a comment below.


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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Being Stage Ready



Are you stage ready?

Are your nails clean and free of polish? 
Have you shaved off your facial hair?
Is your hair a natural colour and pushed back from your face? 
Do you have your lanyard and does it have at least 12 pins on it? 
Are you wearing your name tag? 
Do you have your water bottle and poncho and are they awkwardly attached to your belt? 
Are your glasses all one colour? 
Is your make-up neutral and fresh? 
Are you wearing black socks with your black, logo-free, runners, or white socks with your white, logo free runners? 
If you're wearing a ribbon in your hair, does it match a colour on your costume? 

If you answered yes to all these questions, you are stage ready!

Disney has specific rules about how you should look when working, and they refer to it as being 'stage ready'.

I didn't mind the costume rules when I worked at The Magic Kingdom this summer. I got to choose between pants and shorts (yay pants!) while other girls who worked in the bake shop or at The Haunted Mansion ride had to wear those long and heavy skirts in the heat. There was one thing about my costume that I didn't like much though. 

Tucked-in shirts! Someone out there has said 'tucked-in shirts look more professional than shirts that are free from the confines of the waistband of your pants', and so now the majority of Disney costumes require cast members to tuck in their shirts. I wish they would change it though because tucking in your shirt after it came out when you reached for something high on a shelf is not very professional. 

Dan! He worked in custodial this summer in Downtown Disney and loved it. : ) 
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Majors no More? The Future of Creative Communications

The idea of Red River College's Creative Communications program losing its majors (Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising, Media Production) has been around for a long time. Four years ago CreComm bloggers were talking about it, and four years from now future students will still be talking about it.

Opinions vary when it comes to this topic.

Some instructors and students support the idea for reasons like, 'the majors relate to each other so much already anyways', 'it could give students an advantage over past graduates who focused only on one field', and 'students wouldn't need to worry about limiting their portfolio and could get a more rounded education'.

Some instructors and students don't support the idea for reasons like 'there's barely enough time to cover just one major in second year, let alone four', 'you lose specialization and the title of having majored in journalism or advertising', 'and 'there is a limited amount of equipment and space available for certain majors.'

Here is my personal opinion.

I would like to see Creative Communications lose the majors, but I don't think it can unless a few things change.

First, let me explain my choice. I am so happy to have chosen PR as my major and would make that choice a hundred times again, but as I look back on what others in my graduating class have done this year, I'm a little jealous of some of the things they did in their majors. Designing posters, key-framing animated videos, writing articles and interviewing politicians, creating apps and making personal websites, things that would look really good in a portfolio along with the event plans, strategies, and media kits we create in PR.

I knew that it would be valuable to have experience as a journalist when I enter the PR field, which is why I became the Sports and Lifestyle editor for the college newspaper. As section editor I'm constantly reading other students' articles, writing my own articles, and receiving news releases from local organizations. It has been a great experience for a PR major like myself, because instead of just writing news releases and pitch emails in class, I'm receiving ones that have been written by industry professionals. But try as I might, I still won't learn everything the Journalism majors will just as the Sports and Lifestyle editor.

It would have been nice to minor in one of the other majors, but it would have been even better to major in all of them! : )

But like I said, things would need to change in order for that to happen in real life.

First, change the program length from two years to four years. Colleges are slowly beginning to award degrees for specific programs, and in a few years I think RRC will be able to award a three or four-year degree in Creative Communications. If this happened students would have more time to major in another field and add to their portfolio.

The number of students in the Creative Communications program could potentially double (75 students x 4 years instead of 75 students x 2 years) causing a few issues regarding space and equipment. But I think these issues could be avoided. CreComm wouldn't need to take in 75 students per year. They could limit it to 50. And more and more students have their own DSLR cameras and Mac computers and laptops (I myself have a DSRL and Mac at home), so in a few years lack of equipment would be less of an issue.

I'm sure there are other issues or ways the college could implement a change like this, and if you think of one leave a comment below. I'd love to discuss this topic more.

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