Saturday, September 26, 2015

Facilitating "All Jazzed Up" - Port Orleans' Property Orientation

Hey Ya'll!

That's our themed greeting at Disney's Port Orleans Resort! It took a bit of getting used to as I am from a Northern state, but now it just flows naturally!

Back in May I had the opportunity to audition to become an All Jazzed Up facilitator. This position would allow me to teach our resort property orientation to new Cast Members 1-2 times per month. I was selected and went through a training process before finally being officially signed off to facilitate in July!

All Jazzed Up is the property orientation for Port Orleans. Every Cast Member, regardless of their role takes this four hour class before beginning their on the job training. During the class they learn the exciting activities and amenities our resort has to offer and get to take a walking tour of both sides of our resort.

I wanted to audition because I felt this would give me a great opportunity to share my love of the resort with new Cast Members and get them excited for their new role with us! Also I knew that this role would help me both personally and professionally, by working on skills like communication, training and leadership. And I knew it would be FUN!

The audition process required me to get my leaders to sign a leadership support form, saying that they supported me for the role and that I met all the requirements (You needed to meet record card requirements, have great communication skills, worked at the resort for at least 6 months etc). I was also given a portion of the class script, that I would need to present at the audition. Finally there was an interview portion. I was excited and nervous during my audition. There were 3 people there, two were training mangers at Port Orleans and the other was the Operations Training Assistant.  I did not know how to feel after my audition, I felt it went well but not sure that I had "nailed it"

But I was selected to become a facilitator! The next step was training, for 4 days we learned the script, and how to manage different situations that might occur during the class. We also went to Disney University to take a 'Facilitator Skills' class which helped us fine tune our skills.

My facilitator costume!

Then came time to actually teach! My first time I taught with Jenna, who also had just completed training with me, while Danny, a seasoned facilitator, sat in the back and watched, jumping in to help if we struggled.

I was nervous but as soon as I got up there and started teaching, it felt completely natural, like this was what I was born to do! I really loved it!

I taught two more times with a seasoned facilitator before my "check out day" During this class the Operations Training Assistant sat in on the class and offered me feedback on my performance. She was very happy with how well I was doing, and offered a few areas of opportunity for me. But I had passed and was a full fledged facilitator!

I really enjoy facilitating and I feel that this has opened the door for other training related opportunities for me. I have always been interested in Cast Development and what better way then to get them started and set up for success at our resort!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Finding my Full Time Home at Disney's Port Orleans Resort

Back in October I was told I would be transferring to part time concierge at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Unfortunately this location could not accommodate my medical restrictions. This was a process I was all too familiar with as I have had difficulty being placed in a location before because of this. However this time the process was different. Someone from the Health Services department had contacted me ahead of my transfer, she had told me the process had changed for transfers and that they now reviewed restrictions ahead of time to make sure people would be able to be accommodated in their new locations before they were transferred, that way they didn't encounter the issues I had run into in the past.

Unfortunately, after speaking with the leadership team at Fort Wilderness the health services team decided due to the unique set up of Fort Wilderness and their Concierge locations, they could not accommodate my restrictions. I could not transfer to that location, and my transfer date of Nov 7th was canceled. I would be placed back in the pool and wait for another spot to open up. The person I spoke to seemed to think that nearly ANY other resort on property would be able to accommodate my restriction.

Then I got my call that I would be Part time at Disney's Port Orleans Resort! That would allow me to work at both Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter. My Transfer Date was Sunday  Dec 7th!

So on Wednesday  Dec 10  I went to casting to  to put my name on the list for full time. I chose 5 resorts for full time, I picked deluxe resorts because I was interested in the club level experience. On Friday Dec 12, Casting called and offered me Full time at Port Orleans. At first I was confused. I told the casting representative that I had not put Port Orleans as one of the choices for full time. She said that I had been pulled from the 'Any' list. I said that I thought I had taken myself off the 'Any' list when I picked my 5 locations on Wednesday? She said that I had been pulled on Monday.

So I guess Port Orleans was just meant to be! And now that I have been there for the past 8 months I am so glad that this resort is my home. I work with a fantastic group of cast members and an awesome leadership team. I have learned and grown so much in the short time I have been at the resort and had some awesome opportunities. One of which is teaching our property orientation "All Jazzed Up" which I will post about in a future post!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Vacation Planning Role

I spent about 3 months in the VP role before I transferred to Concierge. I thought this was a fantastic role and I was sad to leave it, but I knew moving to concierge would set me up for my career goals.

Working at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) at Magic Kingdom was a great experience. It was often very busy, some days so much that we would have all 9 booths open with 6 people in each and there were still long lines at the ticket booths!

My previous knowledge of ticketing helped me in this role, but honestly Disney teaches you everything you need to know to sell the tickets. There are some people that come on the College program and have never been to the parks before and no nothing about tickets and they still do an awesome job!
VP Costume and Baymax

Lots of people have asked me if I felt there was a lot of pressure to meet a quota or goals. There are goals that you need to reach, but I never felt pressured or like it was difficult to meet those goals. If you are friendly and a people person you can meet these goals easily. And if for some reason you do not meet the goal one month they have people to help you review your process and see what you can do to improve and meet the goal next time.

Vacation Planners also get to participate in a few different product knowledge events. I received one free ticket to the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. We also got to sit in on info sessions about Memory Maker, Food and Wine Festival and much more!

On Halloween or Christmas Party nights we got to wear a different themed vest with our costume, and on Halloween Party nights we played "Costume Bingo" were you would mark off if you saw certain costumes. Some nights it was super easy, like the night the leader made every square say "Elsa and Anna" and other nights it was really hard .
Halloween Vest for MNSSHP Nights

As I have mentioned before MK VP does Parade Audience Control or PAC. I disliked this at first as it was so hot during the day. But throughout November and December I picked up many night time PAC shifts. I really enjoyed working at night and seeing the  Castle Lighting, Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes.
Parade Audience Control Costume

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Updates to Follow

Life has become crazy lately and I have let this blog slip my mind! I will be adding additional posts in the coming weeks to catch up on my adventures including:

Vacation Planning at Magic Kingdom
Transferring to Disney's Port Orleans Resort
Getting FULL TIME!
Front Desk and Concierge Training
Facilitating "All Jazzed Up"

Stay tuned!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Vacation Planning Training and Exciting News

I have finally finished my training for Vacation Planning and I really enjoy this role. However I am excited to announce that my stay at MK VP will be short as I am transferring to Concierge at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground!

I will be transferring on Nov 9th, this is a big move for me as I am finally joining the lodging line of business and can work toward my goal of becoming a lodging leader. I will still be part time but will be on a waiting list for full time in the role. Fort Wilderness will give me a very different resort experience than I had at Pop Century and I have always said I want to learn everything there is to learn about lodging. 

But let me get back to Vacation Planning training. This role is really fantastic and I am sad to leave it behind. The first day of training was a property orientation for Magic Kingdom, we toured MK and talked about all the areas and major attractions. This was a lot of walking, unlike the property orientations at the other parks I have done, we had the chance to ride an attraction. We rode Haunted Mansion, some people had never ridden the ride before so that was a neat experience for them. The only downside to this orientation was that we didn't visit the TTC, where I was going to be working. At the end of the orientation we were met by an area trainer. So myself and a woman who was going to parking and our trainer rode the ferryboat to the TTC. Then we took a tour of that area. Costuming for TCC and MK resorts is located in one of the parking lots of MK so we had to be driven there to pick up costumes. (On a side note I have done a property orientation for every park and Downtown Disney except for Blizzard Beach)

Then I had 5 days of training at Disney University for Vacation Planning Core. There were four of us in the class and we were all going to MK. Our trainers Judy and Vanessa were really awesome! In this class we learned about the different ticket types and how to use the computer system to sell tickets. Now because of my Guest Relations experience this was extremely easy for me and honestly I knew a lot already. I told the instructors that I was allowing the other girls to think it through and try to answer questions versus just blurting out the answer each time. But there was MORE to learn than just the tickets. VP has a very specific way they want you to interact with guests and try to find the best ticket option for them.

Then there was 4 days of on the job training. These days I was in the booths at MK with my trainer, Travis. Travis was very helpful with anything I was unsure of and offered suggestions for improvement when talking with guests or collecting information to find the right tickets for them. At the end of the 4 days we took a written test and became almost full fledged VPs. I spent a few shifts alone in the booths and had no issues. I really like the role, and I really like that we get to wear Halloween vests on Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party nights! 

But there was still more training! We also had one more day at Disney University for a Product Knowledge class. This class taught us about the major attractions and experiences at each of the parks, we went inside MK again and walked around again. I was nervous that we were going to do basically the same thing as the property orientation and I was not too happy about that. It was very hot and walking around MK in business professional clothing was not something I was looking forward to. Luckily it was a quick trip and we did get to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!

But wait there's more! This past week I had training for Greeter and PAC. The greeter position makes sure guests are getting into the correct lines and trying to keep each line the same length. When the tram pulls up people tend to get in the first line in front of them, even though there may be no wait at the next booth. The greeter directs them to shorter lines. PAC stands for parade audience control and is a role that only MK VPs do. Each day 6 VPs go to assist PAC for the afternoon parade at MK. 

We had someone from PAC train us on this day. She showed us how to set up an area with the ropes and stanchions. Then she showed the 6 positions VP would do, and we helped out in one of those spots. As the parade was ending she instructed us to start taking down any ropes that weren't holding guests back and what to do as soon as the banner went by. I was shocked how quickly everything was broken down. Every PAC cast member had a specific job and position. As soon as the parade was through the gate and the gate was shut we were backstage where cups of water where set up for us. It was super hot and I ended up getting sunburned. After the parade we learned how to roll the rope and let me tell you it was more difficult than I expected. You have to keep the rope tight so it doesn't fall onto the ground, because if you pull it up a guest could trip over it. The trainer made it look easy!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

New Role! Vacation Planning

Tomorrow I start training for my new part time role in Vacation Planning!

Several months ago I applied to a posting on the MyDisneyCareer site, it remained in progress for a very long time and finally at the end of July I was invited to do an interview. I made it through the interview process and was placed on the transfer list. About two weeks later I was called and was told I would be transferring to part time VP at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) This is the location for Magic Kingdom.

I am still on a waiting list for Full Time in this new role. I am very excited to start this new role and share it with you. If you do not know what this is, Vacation Planners are those you see in the ticket booths outside the park. It will be my job to assist guests in purchasing the ticket combinations that can help them get the most out of their vacations!

Tomorrow I have "Once Upon a Time is Now" the property orientation for Magic Kingdom. After this I will have done property orientation at all of the parks and Downtown Disney.

Next will be 5 days of Vacation Planner Core training at Disney University. I am wondering what we will be covering in those 5 days. Guest Relations only had 2 days of ticketing training, so I assume it encompasses other information about the role.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

What happens when your internship is over?

Today was the last day of my internship in Guest Relations and I will be moving to a new role in Merchandise at World of Disney.

I'd like to talk a little bit about the process of what happens at the end of your PI. There are several options.

1. You leave Disney

Maybe you aren't finished with school, or maybe there is another opportunity for you at home. Either way I'm sure you had a blast and learned some great skills to bring to another position

2. You get a position in your current role.

Some internships may have the ability to take you on in your current department. Every area is different, some may offer you a statused position as part or full time, while others may offer you a Temporary Assignment or TA. Guest Relations at this time did not have any positions available, but many interns will take option 3 and be chosen for a TA later on. Some internships do not have any capability to take on even TAs so be aware of what other options you have.

3. You take on a Part time or Full time role.

This is the route I had to take. 6 weeks before your internship end date you can visit casting. You will then need to book an appointment for an "interview" to discuss role choices. You may remember my career goals are in Lodging. Well I was quite disappointed to discover that you cannot just transfer to Front Desk or Concierge any longer. Infact all of the positions that would be a good match for my skill set were not available to me. If you are interested in Front Desk, Concierge or Vacation Planning, you must wait for a posting to come up on the MyDisneyCareers website, apply and go through an interview process. After that if you are selected you will be put on a transfer list and wait for a spot to open up. They last posted in October of 2013 and there is no indication of when these posting will happen.

I told the person I was interested in Merchandise as I had done that role previously. Now was another shocker, the first available appointment was on May 27th. 10 days before my internship ended. The person at Casting was unsympathetic to this fact and told me to ask my leaders about a seasonal position (Which wasn't available) She said I could call back and see if other days would open up. So that's what I did. I kept calling and eventually an earlier time opened up. When I went to my interview it was very short, I was told only Part time was available, and he read me a list of places to pick from. I picked World of Disney because I felt it would be easy to get more hours there. The recruiter told me he was sorry he didn't have anything better to offer me for my skill set.

Honestly, working Merch feels like a waste of my skills but it will allow me to focus more on "soft skills" Some feedback I got from the team at DTD was that my technical and problem solving skills were very good but that I had difficulty with "soft skills" while doing the technical stuff. Basically I found it difficult to have those conversations with the guest like "Where are you from?" or "What parks have you visited?" while working to fix their issues. Working in Merch is going to allow me to step away from the technical side of things and really just talk with guests. If you've met me before, you know I am good at talking, its the merging talking while working that I will work on.

So in my new role I will take the feedback from my previous area and work to improve. Also working Merch is a fun job! Lots of positive guest interactions and the chance to help guests locate a special item. It's important to remember that while this role may not be the one I wanted, it is a chance to learn and work toward my goals.