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.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Networking while on your Internship

Let's talk about Networking! This is a very important skill at any company but espcieally so at the Walt Disney Company.  The Disney College Program and Professional Internship Program boasts that you will have the chance to network with others in the company. While this is true, it does take some effort on your end to make this happen. I did not do very much networking on my first college program, my second was also very limited, however I chalk that up to nervousness and inexperience. This time around I have done several meet and greets with different people in different areas of the company.

First the programs office offers several networking events each season. Make sure to attend the speaker series that are advertistised in the Housing emails. Attending these events will give you the chance to learn about other areas of the company and to mingle with those working in other areas. Get contact information at these events from these people.

Can't attend the events due to your work schedule? Living outside of housing? Don't worry there are other ways you can network.

Start by talking to your leaders.
Your leaders can be one of your best resources in helping you network and work toward your career goals. ask to schedule one on ones with them to discuss your performance but also your career goals. Leaders at Walt Disney World have often worked in many other areas and can offer advice based on what you should do to move your career forward. If your career goals are outside of your current role don't be afraid to ask if they know anyone who works in Marketing, Events, Finance, Recreation, Entertainment, or whatever it is you are interested. The Walt Disney Company is a very large company, but because they often promote from with in it is very likely that someone your leader worked with at The Great Movie Ride 15 years ago is now working in Public Relations.

Talk to other Interns 
Have you met any interns working in other areas or an area that you are interested in? Ask them who their leader is or who would be a great person in the department to talk to. Connecting with other Professional Interns can be tricky because unlike CP you are not all living in the same housing. You may be the only intern in your department, floor or even building! Utilize the facebook group to connect with other interns across property. 

Ask new contacts for additional contacts
Once you have had the opportunity to network with someone always ask if there is someone else they could set you up with. Did they mention their team works closely with another team or department frequently? Ask for a contact in that department to learn more about different aspects of the company.

Here is an example. I am trying to get a feel for the different areas of events at the company. I spoke with a friend who was a former PR intern who referred me to someone in the Marketing department. I emailed this person saying that so and so had given me your name and that I was very interested in learning more about Marketing Events and would you be willing to set up a time to do a meet and greet? That person then gave me the name of someone in Park Event Operations who then gave me a contact in Catering and Conventions. Once you get started it is easy to get the ball rolling.

How to ask for a Meet and Greet
Now here is the intimidating part, but once you do it a few times it becomes easy. Once you have your contact you will want to email them to ask to schedule a meet and greet. Depending on the situation this person may already know you will be contacting them. Sometimes a leader or someone else you have met with will send an email to that person letting them know you will be contacting them. Other times all you have is a name.

I always start out by introducing myself and where I currently work. Then I explain how I got their contact information (Ex, Your current intern "Joe" spoke very highly of you and said you would be a great contact in Events) Then state that you would like to schedule a time to talk about their current role and the operation as a whole in order to learn more. I usually give examples of my current schedule and days off so they have an idea of when I would be available then thank them for the opportunity.

Sometimes it might take a few days for people to respond. Remember that most roles do not have regular days off so you might have sent an email while this person is out of the office. Other times it can be very busy and the person may forget but then email you later. Only once have I not received a response from someone. And honestly you do not have anything to lose. The worst they can say is No, or not respond. But it has been my experience that many people at the Walt Disney Company truly want to help others succeed and reach career goals.

If they email you back to set up a meeting time, Great! Now think about what you want to know about their role, such as daily tasks, how they got into the role, how you can transition into a role like this, and also don't forget to ask for contacts in other areas! Other important things to remember is to wear business professional clothing AND your name tag. I like to bring a copy of resume and always remember to write a thank you follow up email.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


You know the saying "Roll with the punches" well that's sort of what is like being in Guest Relations. We recently had a "town hall" meeting with our Guest Relations cast at DTD. We talked about the changes that Guest Relations has gone through in the past year and what additional changes were still coming.

The ability to adapt and work through new processes is a very important skill to have in any job. Being in  Guest Relations right now is very demanding in this sense. But I am enjoying the challenge. As the weeks progress there are new issues, procedures and opportunities to make our guests feel special. Something new this week is the ability for Annual Passholders to order their very own Magicbands! This is very exciting as many of our Passholders have been asking for months when they would finally get the chance to have their very own Magicbands!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

DTD Training, Working, and Construction

I've finished my training at DTD. I did not have to do very much because I have spent the last 6 months at Animal Kingdom.

One thing I did need to do is become Window and GR@PE trained, as well as do property orientation at Typhoon lagoon.

Window training typically involves more complicated ticketing situations. I felt like I had a strong background in our ticketing system so I did not have much trouble with this training. In fact I'd say in the last two weeks at DTD I have become so much better at ticketing than I was before!

I am really enjoying DTD so far, I think the team and the leaders here are excellent! Everyone I have worked with is friendly and helpful and I feel that the leadership team is very cast focused and supportive. I also really enjoy the different positions at DTD. Because we rotate with Greeter positions and GRAPE at Disney Quest it really adds variety into the day. So each day I spend some time at the counter/window, then sometime out at our greeter positions assisting guests find shops/restaurants and answering questions. It makes the day go by quicker by not being in the same spot all the time.

Of course DTD is undergoing a huge overhaul as we transition to Disney Springs. There are big changes happening and almost everyday there is a new construction wall or signage for future expansions. This does make navigating DTD a little confusing for our guests, but that is why we have greeter positions at some of these new construction walls to help our guests get to their destinations!

Some exciting things that I know of that are coming to DTD is of course a PARKING GARAGE! Now this may not seem that exciting but if you have ever been to DTD on a Friday or Saturday night you know what a nightmare parking can be. And since with the expansion we will be almost doubling in size we will need more parking! And there will be not one, but two Starbucks! Slated to open in Spring of 2014 there will be one near World of Disney on the Marketplace side and one where Wetzel's Pretzels used to be on the West Side.

I myself am looking forward to the release of more information on new restaurants that will be joining the property. Most recently DTD added Food Trucks and House of Blues opened a quick service BBQ stand. I haven't tried out these yet, but I've been told they are very tasty!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Greeter Training at Downtown Disney Guest Relations!

Yesterday and today I had my Greeter training at DTD. My trainer's name was Christine who is called "Christine the Machine" by nearly everyone and Kyle who was shadowing to become a trainer. Both were really helpful and knew so much about DTD. Lauren, another PI who is extending from Magic Kingdom was also training with me.

So DTD is a big place. It is actually 1.5 miles from end to end. The first day of our training was focused on the Marketplace side. The purpose of these two days was to learn the greeter role at DTD. Basically it is our job to create more of a Cast Member presence at DTD, answer guest questions and welcome them to DTD. The greeter positions rotate with the lobby and West Side window locations. What is interesting is the majority of Cast at DTD aren't really Cast Members at all, they are operating participants, meaning they work for an outside company.

We went into every shop and resturant DTD has to learn more about what they have to offer our guests, as well as learning where the ATM's and restrooms are. We got to learn some really neat things about some of the places we went into, like getting to see how they print the T-shirts at the Hanes Create a Tee and even getting to see the kitchen at T-REX! Which interesting enough has two full kitchens, one for even numbered tables and one for odd numbered tables. Another interesting fact I learned is that the bars at Ragland Road were REAL bars from Ireland, they actually packed them up and shipped them here for the restaurant. We even got to eat lunch at Pollo Camperno.

The day was exhausting because of all the walking around we did. We did get to play some scavenger hunt type games to learn more about the stores so it was fun over all. However due to all the changes coming to DTD we were cautioned that things would be moving or be replaced by other things.

Today we did it all over again but on the West Side. The West Side is home to DisneyQuest, House of Blues, Cirque du Soeil and other shops and restaurants. We started off with a tour over at Cirque, which is celebrating it's 15th year at WDW. We got to see some cool backstage things today because the theater is dark  tonight (meaning there are no performances).

Later, Lauren and I had a scavenger hunt inside DisneyQuest.  If you aren't familiar Disney Quest is a 5 story interactive amusement park. It is like an arcade but also has several virtual reality games. We played a Pirates themed game and made our own roller coaster at Cyberspace Mountain. They even had a "Fix it Felix" game from Wreck it Ralph. It really is a hard game to play.

We also did a tour of AMC, and I got to see their Fork and Screen theater, where you can get food served to you. It looks really cool and I think I want to go sometime. We did another scavenger hunt later at some of the stores and finished by taking our assessment for Greeter training. We both passed! Tomorrow is "Our Town" which is the DTD property orientation.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Animal Kingdom GR Photos

About a week ago two other interns and myself got to work early to take photos around Animal Kingdom in our full plaid glory.  Just thought I would share since this chapter of our lives is coming to a close. The other interns in the photos are also extending their internships until June. Mehlanie will be going to Magic Kingdom and Mark will be at Epcot. If you ever see them there be sure to say "Hello".