Disney Bucket List Update

Like everyone else on the Disney College Program, I have compiled a bucket list of things that I would like to accomplish while I am here.  Since it is already May, I figured that I should list everything that I have done and everything that I still want to do.

1. Four park challenge

2. Conquer the Kitchen Sink

3. Resort hop

4. Eat at every country around the world showcase

5. Pick up a PAC shift

6. Horseback ride

7. Mini golf at Fantasia

8. Golf

9. Cirque du Soleil 

10. Disney Quest

11. House of Blues

12. Watch Wishes, Fantasmic and Illuminations in one night

13. Eat at Chef Mickey’s

14. Eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table

15. Eat at Be Our Guest

16. Get a picture with Prince Eric

17. Get picture with Flynn Rider

18. Get picture’s with villians

19. Sky Dive (planning is currently in the works)

20. Go to Universal Studios

21. Make a magical moment for a guest outside of work

As you can see from the list, there are many things I have yet to do.  This list does not include everything because there are a lot of things I have yet to do.

Toto, I Don’t Think We’re In Kansas Anymore

IMG_0933Remember in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy first realized that she was no longer back home in Kansas.  Well, that’s how I felt when I decided to go horseback riding with Chyrelle at Tri-Circle D Ranch.  The only difference between my experience and Dorothy’s experience was that I no longer felt that I was at the most magical place on earth.  Although Dorothy probably didn’t feel like the Land of Oz was magical until she got her red heels, but that’s beside the point.  Tri-Circle D Ranch, for those of you that didn’t know Disney had its own horse stable, is located at Fort Wilderness Lodge which is conveniently connected to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.  The theme of this area is meant to make one feel like they are at camp or a secluded woodland retreat and that is exactly where I felt like I was at.  A lake at Fort Wilderness supplies more fun for guests where you can rent out boats, sit on the beach, etc.  They also have golf carts for rent as well.

The stable itself contains around 15 or  so horses (not positive on the number since I never asked, but that’s what it seemed like).  Each trail ride lasts around 45 minutes and only 10 guests can go at a time.  I wish that I had a better memory because I can’t for the life of me remember the names of our two wonderful trail guides.  They did such an excellent job and I have to say that we all had some pretty interesting conversations.  Also with us on our trail ride were three kids from Ireland, which I thought was pretty cool.  Just goes to show that Disney attracts all kinds of people from around the world.  My horses name was Cowboy and he was a fabulous horse to have.  All of the horses that were on the trail ride seemed to do a great job and were trained really well to be trail horses.   Overall, this out of park experience was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone who comes to Disney who doesn’t want to be in the parks the entire time.

Disclaimer: I wasn’t allowed to take my camera on the trail ride, so I don’t have any pictures of the horse I rode or anything.  Sorry for any disappointment that may cause.  Oh, and special cast member tip…Disney cast members get 50% on trail rides 🙂

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Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival

Every year during the Spring time, Epcot hosts its annual International Flower and Garden Festival.  This year Flower and Garden started on the fifth of March and will be ending on the eighteenth of May.  During that time, the World Showcase comes alive with different topiary displays of different Disney characters.  There are also eleven different food stands located throughout the countries where you have more international food to choose from apart from the usual restaurants.  I haven’t really taken the time to go around to all of the food stands, but if I had to recommend something then it would definitely have to be the Lemon Scones at the Buttercup Cottage in the United Kingdom.  One of my friends had gotten them and I tried them.  So good and lemony!! The aftertaste is just glorious 🙂  But one of my favorite things about Flower and Garden has to be the different topiary’s that they put up.

Of course the United Kingdom has to represent none other than Peter Pan!

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Cinderella and Prince Charming as well as Prince Phillip and Aurora are located at the bridge right before France

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You’ll find Beauty and the Beast characters in France

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Woody and Lotso the Bear from Toy Story will be found in America.

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Lady and the Tramp in Italy

 

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And Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be found in between Germany and Italy.

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If you have yet to experience Spring time in Disney, particularly Disney’s Flower and Garden, then I suggest at some point in your life you make time to go.  It is absolutely one of those things that you don’t want to miss, especially if you are a foodie.  You will love all the different flavors and smells that come from the food stands that only come out during this time of year.  YOU WILL NEVER GET TO EAT THESE FOODS AT DISNEY ANY OTHER TIME!!!  Except maybe during the Food and Wine festival Epcot has in the Fall, but that’s a whole other story to get into.  Flower and Garden is considered to be the MINI Food and Wine.  Food and Wine is just the same as Flower and Garden, without the topiary’s.  Just what we need at Epcot, more food options!  It’s not like we already have more restaurants than most of the parks.

Not Just About the Parks

One of the greatest things that I enjoy about Disney is everything that Disney has to offer.  What most people don’t know or don’t realize is that there is much more located on Disney property that doesn’t include the four main Disney parks.  Of course, not every vacation will allow you the opportunity and time to explore all of these other options, but it doesn’t hurt to know what else is out there.  Last week Chyrelle and I planned to go mini golfing followed by dinner and dessert at Beaches and Cream.  Disney has two different mini golf courses located on property and they both contain two 18-hole courses.  The first golf course is located at Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park and its theme is Christmas in July, meaning that we were listening to Christmas music while we went through the course.  After we were finished our game we hopped on a resort bus and headed over to the Boardwalk.  This was my first time walking around that area and I absolutely fell in love with it.  The atmosphere is just calming and relaxing, at least to me.  The Boardwalk contains several restaurants and shops.  It is also home to Yacht and Beach resort and Swan and Dolphin.  This is also the area where Beaches and Cream is located and we had a 7:40 pm dinner reservation and a lot of time to kill, so we ventured into the Bakery.  WORST DECISION EVER!!!!  As soon as we walked in the door, smells of sugary sweetness wrapped around us and pulled us into the purchase line.  Our first unintentional purchase of the day and it was deathly good.  Don’t believe me!?!  Well fine, none for you!

After the brief pit stop we decided to head over to Epcot, which you can easily walk to from the Boardwalk.  Even on our days off we find ourselves back at the park where we work, but hey who can blame us.  Epcot most likely contains the most food and restaurant options between all of the parks and it certainly contains the most alcoholic beverage options which are located around the World Showcase.  The main purpose of us going to Epcot was to get a drink (and yes, I do mean of the alcoholic kind).  For a while now I’ve wanted to try the Frozen Margarita’s that are located in Mexico and so I ended up getting the Mango flavored one.  LOVED IT!!!  Just what I needed after eating some chocolate and peanut butter cake.  Chryelle got this grapefruit flavored beer in Germany which she liked, but I didn’t try it because I’m not a beer person.  Being in Epcot means also means that we get to run into the other cp’s who were working, so we ended up talking to a few that we saw as well as some coordinators.  Walking around the World Showcase was a great way to kill time because at that point we needed to head back to the Boardwalk for dinner.  Beaches and Cream is a nice, small restaurant where reservations are highly recommended.  The atmosphere is a back in the day soda shop.  I ended up getting the Pot Roast Sandwich for dinner which was just fabulous!

Pot Roast Sandwich - Beaches and Cream

And for dessert (yes, I did have two desserts in one day 🙂 ).  This lovely, delicious thing is called No Way Jose and it’s a chocolate and peanut butter sundae.

No Way Jose - Beaches and Cream

With dinner over the next thing on our to-do list for the day was to head over to the Fantasia mini-golf course for another round of mini-golf.  The Fantasia golf course can be easily accessed from the Dolphin and Swan resort, which is incredibly beautiful to walk around.  The golf course is located just across the street and about half way through it started to rain, but we didn’t care because we wanted to finish since we paid for it.  Why let a little rain ruin our fun?  We should be used to the rain by now.  We have to work outside in it.  Our day had finally been completed with a few more things added to our Disney bucket lists because with everything there is to do at Disney, you’ll never get bored.  And this goes to show that you don’t always have to go to the parks to have fun when you’re at Disney 🙂

 

If life gives you lemons or in this case Fanatic Cards…

Let me explain to all of you a little gem Disney calls Fanatic cards.  These are cards that other cast members, particularly coordinators and managers, can give you if you have done a good job at something or if they want to recognize you for your hard work.  I have heard that for some roles it is a bit harder to acquire one or they don’t give them out at all, but within the role of custodial at Epcot, I see them all handed out all the time.  March seemed to be a really decent month for me because by the end of the month I had a grand total of three fanatic cards!  One thing about fanatic cards is that they also go on your record card which is a good thing because other people who are thinking about hiring you within the company can see them.  A little birdie also told me that two fanatic cards are enough to take away one point that you could possibly have on your card.

Two out of three fanatic cards!

      Two out of three fanatic cards!

I covered up my perner number because no one but me needs to know that.  But that is what a fanatic card looks like and they are fun to get because sometimes you don’t know that you are going to get one.  There is a very interesting story that goes along with the card on the bottom.  There was a huge thunderstorm that didn’t let up until about half way through the day and because of the amount of rain fall some of the drains were getting clogged and not letting water down.  Between France and Morocco there was a huge puddle that formed (i’m still surprised that none of the ducks were floating in it).  It took at least nine custodians, myself included, to push all of that water towards another drain.  It was a tough work out and by the time we were done at least an hour and a half went by.  It also stopped raining by the time we were done.  The fun part was that it was like we were putting on a show for the guests who braved the weather.  I even noticed that some of them took pictures of us pushing water 🙂  After all the rain and being in two inches of water, my shoes and socks were soaked for the rest of the day.  But what does that have to do with a fanatic card?  ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!

 

Animal Kingdom Lodge

I thought as a nice change of events I would write up a post about one of the many resorts that are located throughout Disney property.  Although I have yet to stay in this resort, it makes the top ten list just because of how gorgeous it is.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is located by Animal Kingdom and it happens to be the only resort on Disney property to have its own safari in its backyard.  If you happen to end up staying at this resort, I suggest a safari view because I believe other views would be pointless and just like every other hotel on property.  Why would you want a room with a pool view?  As you could have guessed, this particular resort is supposed to have an African theme and let me tell you, as soon as you get to the front doors of the hotel, you are in Africa.  From the designs of the flooring to chandeliers to color patterns.  Disney also goes over the edge by having African music play in the background and even some of the cast members are from Africa.

The main reason as to why I ended up exploring this resort is because I was with my Exploration of Guest Services class.  That week we were looking into resort management and instead of meeting in the classroom at Chatham Square, we met up at Animal Kingdom Lodge.  In my opinion, it is definitely better learning about what goes into a resort when you are actually at one.  One of my favorite parts of this little field trip was that we got to explore one of the Vacation Club rooms.  Keep in mind that this resort is on the lower end of Disney’s deluxe resort chains.  The room that we visited was a three bedroom, three and a half bath apartment.  There were two separate entrances into the apartment, a pool table, three balconies, a full kitchen and dining room and it was overlooking the safari.  Not a bad situation if I do say so myself.  From what I can remember, I do believe they also had a washer and dryer in there as well.  *And if you all were wondering, I do have pictures, so stop jumping in your seats.  At this point you’re probably thinking “This place sounds AWESOME! When can I move in!?”  Before you finish packing up those suitcases for your next trip to Disney, let me tell you the starting price range for this type of room.  The price that I am about to tell you is per night.  Not per week.  PER NIGHT!  (give yourselves a little drum roll in your mind before you read the cost)  Around $2,000 some dollars per night!  There you have it folks.  The cost of one night’s stay could be the cost of what a budget friendly Disney vacation could cost.  Aren’t you happy you’re not rich and have money to spend all the time!  If I ruined some people’s dreams with that price tag, then hey, guess I did my job.  Disney can’t always be the happiest place on earth.  WHAT AM I SAYING!?!  I think it’s time for pictures now.  I can feel a rant coming on.

 

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Really cool entry way to the safari part of the resort

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IMG_0803 The pool table IMG_0804 Adorable little simba heads on top of the head board of the master bedIMG_0805 IMG_0806  The view of all three balconies from the master bedroom point of view IMG_0807 IMG_0808 IMG_0809 IMG_0810 IMG_0811 IMG_0812 IMG_0813 I love this wall above the tub in the master bathroom  IMG_0814 IMG_0815 IMG_0816  Cause everyone needs to watch tv while they are taking a bath IMG_0817 IMG_0818 IMG_0819 IMG_0820 IMG_0821  The back splash in the kitchen had cute little animals on it and I found Simba!IMG_0822 IMG_0823 IMG_0824 A Disney hotel room is not complete without a little towel animal IMG_0825 IMG_0829 IMG_0830 IMG_0831 IMG_0832

Working Hard or Hardly Working

This title is truly the most accurate portrayal of what it means to be a Custodian at Walt Disney World.  At least that’s what it seems to be like around EPCOT World Showcase.  (Disclaimer: I’m only using this one location because I have not picked up shifts anywhere else, so I can’t say that the same applies to the other three parks or the resorts.)  After being here for about 2 months already, I have come to realize that there is more to a custodian at Walt Disney World than anywhere else.  We take on the role of several jobs simultaneously.  Our shirt and hat say Guest Services.  Those are the two words that separate Disney Custodial from all the other custodial out there.  Most people think that being a custodial means that our only job is to pull trash or clean the toilets.  THAT IS NOT THE CASE!  Since I’ve started working here, I have kept track of every kind of job that I’ve done that you may not think would be in a custodian job description.

Busser

Around the World Showcase there are certain areas where we are placed specifically to keep the outside tables clean and trash from overflowing.  These areas include Fish and Chips (also considered hell just because of all the birds that hang around that area), Norway Bakery, France Courtyard, Sommerfest and Italy Courtyard.  And then during the Flower and Garden Festival, The Smokehouse in America and Florida Fresh by the Outpost become more bussing area.  Each area has its up and down’s, but most people tend to despise the Fish and Chips area.

Guest Relations

Custodians at Walt Disney World are technically front and center because unlike every other role, we get to move around every area, pick up shifts in every park or resort and guests like to ask us every and all questions possible.  I will get the usual questions like, “Where’s the restroom?” or “How do I get to ‘such and such’ ride?”.  Specifically for the World Showcase there are the questions that people ask regarding the Agent Perry scavenger hunt.  And then there are the questions that you hope and pray guests never ask, but they ask any way because they have not thought any thing through.  When you are working in France, you will sometimes get asked the “How do you get to the Eiffel Tower?” and my personal favorite that I hope to never get again, “How do you get to the boat that takes us back to the parking lot?”.  Really.  Hmm, a boat that takes you through Future World from World Showcase!?  I’m sorry to have to tell you this but there are absolutely no boats that go through Future World! None.  Nada.  Zip.  When people go on vacation, their minds tend to go on their own little vacation.

Pin Trader

One of the best things about being a custodian is that you get to pin trade with people!  For those of you who don’t know, pin trading is a huge thing within Disney and from personal experience, there are some pretty hardcore pin collectors and traders.  I have people come up to me who are looking for certain pins so that they can complete a collection.  I also have also seen people with big binders full of pins or people who have pins all over their vests.  It’s truly something you have to see to believe.  One of the best experiences that I have had with pin trading was while I was working streets in America-Japan.  I was in America and a boy, who looked to be between 10-13 came up to me to look at my pins.  When he saw that I had a Rapunzel pin and Pascal pin he became very excited.  Once I gave him the pins and he gave me two of his, he was about to go back to where his parents where when he quickly turned around and hugged me!  That literally made my day  🙂

Food Guru

I’ve decided to through this in here because one of my fellow cast members and college program friend seems to get asked questions about food and restaurants a lot.  This also applies to me because people have asked me about certain restaurants around the World Showcase.  In particular, I was in the Mexican temple and a family has asked me about whether or not the food at the restaurant is good.  People seem to think that because we work there, we have tried every single restaurant.  This is not the case.  Out of all of the countries within the World Showcase, I have only eaten food from two of them – Mexico and China.

PhotoPass

This one is fun to do because you are creating magical moments for families and who doesn’t want pictures of their entire family on vacation and not just half of it due to one member having to actually take the picture.  Most of the time when I see guests taking pictures of the people they are with, I will ask if they want me to take a picture with all of them in it.  Usually all of the families or groups I have taken pictures of are really grateful for the picture and I’m just happy that I could be of assistance.

 

As you can clearly see, there are many sub-categories when it comes to being a custodian at Walt Disney World and it doesn’t end there.  But this post will 🙂