I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained. -Walt Disney
I know I know I said I wouldn’t do this to you guys again, but here I am. I skipped over another week writing to you all. In my defense though, it’s hard to set aside time while you’re in the midst of working 10 straight days and have family in town. However, like anything else I’ve done in life, I’m not making any excuses and will just take the heat from anyone who decides to throw it my way. Any who… enough with the fake little apology or whatever we want to call this and lets get on to how I’ve been the past two weeks!
To begin, like each and every post I’ve made this far, it has been and absolute pleasure of a time here. Every one I have met and continue to meet has been wonderful, I’m making more and more friends each day and most importantly, I’m having fun. A lot of fun. A common question that’s been asked to me lately, is if I’m enjoying working at Galaxy’s Edge. My answer, and I can firmly say this now being that I’ve been around for about a month, I am absolutely am.
One thing I’ve heard on numerous occasions from different people in different industries, is that if you like a job so much, after awhile, it doesn’t begin to seem like work anymore. After a month, I’m beginning to feel that way with my new role. I say this because, when I go into work and am going through the daily grind, it just doesn’t feel like “work” to me. Instead, I feel like I’m helping a bit with a show and trying to give our travelers a great immersive experience. To put things kind of into more perspective here, the best day of work I had before starting with Disney, was always 4th of July at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. Being that was my first place of employment, and we put together a huge fireworks show for people of all the nearby cities to come and enjoy, it was just a great time on that day. It was fun. Wasn’t a regular day of setting up events or weddings and things like that, but just having a good time and enjoying our country with everyone who came by.
With that said, everyday I go into work now for Galaxy’s Edge, it feels like I’m working 4th of July back at the BGC. It’s been that much of a time for me. No matter if I’m working at the cantina, the milk stand the coke stands, whatever it is I’m doing, I’m having fun with it and taking it all in. To go into more detail, when I’m working, I don’t even feel like I’m at work. Like, literally. I feel like I’m a guest that just so happens to be doing stuff within the planet.
The other day, there was some down time and it was empty across the Black Spire Outpost and I just took a look around for about 5-10 minutes and just was in awe. I still can’t believe I’m here and get to call this place “work.” As I’ve said in numerous posts and I will say it again here, I have been so blessed on my program and have been given such a great opportunity with being part of the opening team for GE. From a professional and personal standpoint, I have never been in a better position and am taking full advantage. I still have a ways to go and time will tell how stuff is when we open to all other planets next Thursday, but life is great for me right now and am continuing to love the work I am putting in.
Now, with all of that out of the way, lets dive in deeper into how my last couple of weeks have been here.
To begin, like every other post, lets go over my Disney Adventures List. With being in the midst of having four days off from work, I’ve been able to make it back to the parks on somewhat of a daily basis. With this week being the last week I can go to Hollywood Studios before getting blocked out for the foreseeable future. With that, Hollywood is still the leader of my adventures with being there 12 times on my program. After that, however, is something new. We have a tie for second with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom at nine followed by Epcot with six. As usual, the parks are still just as fun as they always are. I haven’t gotten bored of them one bit and enjoy myself every minute I’m in one. Just a shame I won’t be able to go to Hollywood for a little while; my favorite park 😦
Overall, the last couple weeks have been filled with joy and excitement. I’ve tried new things, went to new places and have had new experiences that I wasn’t having within the first two months of my program. I’ve loved getting closer with my fellow Batuuan regulars and am starting to do my program the way I had dreamed of from the beginning.
Better Late Than Never
Starting off, a first thing I did within these past two weeks was able to hang out in Disney with my aunt and cousin. My aunt told me about coming down here a few weeks back as she surprised my cousin with a back to school Disney trip. It was a swell time meeting up with them in the late morning/early evening and was able to go around to a few places with them.
In doing so, I got to eat at my favorite resort on property, the Boardwalk the first night they arrived, got to go and swim in the Old Key West pool for the first time in a minute and tried this new Dublin place to eat at Disney Springs with them. In addition, they came at a perfect time and were able to go to the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, with me being in the midst of working 10 straight days and all being closing shifts that week, my time with my family was limited, but seeing them a couple hours a day and doing something was really great and I hope they enjoyed their stay.
To my aunt, if you’re reading this, I won’t forget about the mugs! And to my cousin, good luck with this year at school. Hard to believe you’re going into seventh grade! Feels just like yesterday, I was holding your hand and you were still in a stroller. Also, to my uncle, and I know damn well you’ll be reading this, I’ve got a special surprise coming your way here shortly, so stay on the look out and stay up.
Another BLTN moment for me came just a few days ago when me and some of my roommates went to the new NBA Experience over in Disney Springs. If you’re a basketball fan like myself, I suggest to EVERYONE to come out and try this experience. For $36, you get to do so much and get so many free pictures. Within this experience, there are two levels. On the first, you get to go watch film and see how it is for players and how they study the game, there’s a section that explains every NBA Champion and who they beat and what the significance behind each title was, you can see your favorite team and players to see their overall stats and the team history as well. Also, you are able to go and test your wingspan, your vertical and get to see the arch your shot has and what you need to do to be better in terms of shooting. In addition, you can take pictures with the NBA championship trophy as well as the MVP trophy. I would show pictures in here that I took from it, but still am waiting for them to download on my app.
To the second floor, is where it gets really fun. Upstairs, they have all the arcade basketball games you would want. The normal ones are 3-point games and the others are 2-point games with a moving rim. You get to play those as much as you want to try and get the top overall score. They also have a slingshot game, where you take a ball from a distance and try to make it into the assigned hoop in front of ya to earn points. In addition, they have a trivia section and a dunk session where you go in, put the rim anywhere from 7-10 feet and dunk as much as you want within a minute and get photos from all angles on the dunk. Sounds great, right? Just through a lot at you, but that’s still not all of what they have there. If you’re ever in Orlando and want something to try out, I’d suggest doing this. The best part about it, is the ticket for it, is like a park ticket and you can go and come as much as you please throughout the day. In which, $36 for an anytime during the day experience, is pretty worth it I’d say.
The last BLTN moment for me is a few days ago, I finally hung out somewhere that wasn’t Disney related. With my location at GE and not having that many people on the college program over there, you start to get in and tight with those who are full-time employees. With some, they live in complexes like myself, but just a little further away and gladly were able to go on over and have a little nighttime pool party. As you can imagine, it was a fun little time and I enjoyed a good amount of adult beverages, but it was something I had been waiting to do for a long time with the right group of people.
Afterwards, we all went to Waffle House (which, if you haven’t tried one like myself before this program, do yourself a favor and go to one) and then called it a night. I’ve been having a lot of fun lately and it couldn’t be possible without my great friends I have met over in Batuu. No offense to my old location, but I wasn’t nor was I going to get it with the crew over there. For example, with everyone being off tomorrow, we all have planned a trip to Typhoon Lagoon since this will be the final time we all get a day off at the same time. Just events and stuff like that I couldn’t get on Sunset.
All in all though, and I’m going to repeat myself here, but this group that I’m around is the best group I’ve ever been around from a professional standpoint. I’m able to be myself, work my ass off and be the person I’ve always meant to be. Around them, I feel great, look great and am doing so much better. I just can’t wait for tomorrow to have everyone in the same place at the same time and not working for Oga at the Black Spire Outpost.
To end off this section, enjoy a nice little image of me and a fellow traveler inside the Cantina! Just do me a huge favor and don’t tell Oga because she doesn’t like it when her workers are not working and taking images instead 😉
Highlight of the Week
Like my last post where I talked about two things for highlight of the week, this post is a little different given the magnitude of this highlight. Last week, I was given what we like to call hear at Disney a “Grape Soda.” You’re probably wondering what that is and basically, if you’ve ever watched the movie UP, you’ll notice the Grape Soda Pin from the movie and like all things Disney, we relay it back to work stuff.
To go more further, a grape soda is what we like to call a cast recognition. By getting this, it means you help demonstrate one of the four keys that Disney prides itself on and teaches everyone at Traditions about. I was honored as I looked at the HUB and saw I got a notification for being recognized and lost it! I was (and still am) beyond ecstatic for receiving one and happy that so early in my program, I’m able to cross of a very high goal for me.
To help explain what I did and what key I got, I’ll fill you in here on the how part. So, I came in for an early shift last week and we had so much time to spare before we let travelers in that they were adding more places to sit down across the BSO. They had tables set up in various places and we had to go out, open up boxes, take chairs out of them and walk them over to the set tables. After doing that and cleaning up all the trash from the area, it was just a normal work day, but the crew that was doing it needed help and I had nothing better to do.
So, by doing that, I was awarded the cast recognition for portraying our efficiency key. At Disney, they definitely jam down your throat on the whole work smarter, not harder thing and in this case, with going over a help move a couple hundred chairs from point A to point B, that was me helping be efficient. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but just goes to show that just by extending an assisting hand can lead to something rewarding.
As I mentioned before, this goal was huge for me to accomplish. Not just for myself, but because it was a goal my mom set out for me at the beginning of my program. When I called her to tell her the exciting news, she was thrilled and her reaction was what made it so worth it for me. Now that I have a grape soda, the next goal is to get a cast compliment on social media. It’s what I’m working towards and have been for a few weeks now, but the reward is going to be so worth it.
It’s a great challenge for me because I’ve never had this type of challenge at work ever. It gives me something to look forward to everyday and something to strive for as well. Plus, given where I work now, when I transferred over, the leaders made something very clear to us since day one, and that is: Oga only hires the best. So let’s be the best.