Monday, August 11, 2014

How It Goes

So.  Five days of orientation, five days of training, and three days of actually working (mostly) by myself.  What have we learned/relearned/remembered/discovered we'd forgotten?

~ King's Cross station has the most amazing air conditioning known to man.  Serious, it's at least thirty degrees colder in there than it is outside.  It's kind of fabulous.  Especially when you consider how much we have to wear at work.  Heavy black pants and two layers on top (shirt/vest) . . . and that's just the work wardrobe!  I've only trained on the Hogsmede side so far, but I have two shifts over there next weeks and I'm already dreading them.  (no air conditioning at all!!!!!)

~ Either people have gotten dumber in the last five years, or tourons are just stupider than I remembered.  No particular specific example here, just . . . yes, there are two different and completely seperate theme parks here; no, you are not a Disney World right now; and no, your ticket to SeaWorld is not going to get you onto the Hogwarts Express.  Also: if you choose not to ride because/complain about a TWENTY minute line and whine when I tell you that there is no express pass/fast pass . . . you need to get over yourself because that's pretty much the shortest line you're going to wait in all day.  Also I hate you.

~ Universal treats their employees a lot better than Disney does.  At least that's the impression I'm getting.  I haven't decided yet if I'm going to stay at Universal permanently - I had kind of carved out a mental career path for Disney before we got here, and it involves positions and places that just don't exist at Universal.  That said . . . I get a 35% discount on merchandise that goes up to 50% at Christmas (versus 20% and 40%) and there is some AWESOME Harry Potter stuff available.  I may just stay long enough to buy pretty much one of everything and then renew my oath of loyalty to the rodents.

~ The Wizarding World sections of the parks are among the most AMAZING things I've ever seen.  Seriously.  We're talking indescribably incredible here.  Especially Diagon Alley.  Ho.  Ly.  Crap.  There are no words.  And what does Disney do to compete?  Spends the summer gluing cardboard snowmen to popsicle sticks and builds Avatarland.  *insert sad trombone noise here*

~ That said . . . Universal's fireworks show is basically a fifteen minute trailer for every movie Universal has ever made on a water screen punctuated by fireworks whenever there's an explosion in the movie clip.  Compared to this, this, and this . . . well *we all know what goes here*

~ There seems to be a somewhat alarming number of people desperate to see the Harry Potter stuff when they have neither read the books nor seen the movies, and in fact, have only the vaguest idea of who/what Harry Potter is.  Setting aside the sheer bizarreness involved in wondering how that's even possible, it makes it rather difficult to be a Muggle working at King's Cross these days.  Watching kids giggle when you ask them why they're wearing a snuggie (Hogwarts robes) and carrying a stick (wand)?  Fun.  Telling a couple of twenty-somethings you have no idea what Diagon Alley is and having them say "oh that's right, you don't!" and hurry away?  Fun.  (getting away with playing dumb and not actually answering people's question?  very fun!)  Watching an eight-year-old's eyes go wide as she frantically hides her wand in the pocket of her robe when her mom whispers to remind her she's talking to a muggle and that's why I don't know where platform nine and three-quarters is?  Fun.  Having people say they can't find Diagon Alley anywhere?  Less fun, but then you ask them if they've read the books, and then you ask them if Diagon Alley was out in the open for anyone to see and their eyes get all big as things start to click and you just say "think about that for a minute" and they turn around because now they know exactly where to go even though you didn't actually tell them anything.

Angry people (these one are always angry) complaining that they've been up and down this area twenty times (they haven't) and this ride is on the stupid map so where the *insert colorful word of choice here* is it, and you personally have ruined their entire vacations and by extension their entire life because you personally designed this new addition and personally deliberately misprinted the map so that they would look in the wrong place and they're going to have you fired on the spot if you don't tell them where this thing is YESTERDAY and no, they haven't read the books, who reads books in this day and age and no, they haven't seen the movies, why would they watch movies made for five-year-olds, just tell them where the *insert string of colorful words of choice here*  ride is already!

Those people . . . I long to ask them what they're even doing here.  But you're the peon (and the part-time peon at the moment at that) so you smile and say "to the left"and hope they just go away instead of asking for more specific directions, forcing you to break character in front of half a dozen little kids carrying wands and wearing robes and spectro-specs amd deathly hallows necklaces and Hogwarts house lanyards and holy crap I am seriously getting myself one of everything and Rogan is getting one of everything too because DID I MENTION THEY HAVE PLUSH HIPPOGRIFFS AND PLUSH CORNISH PIXIES?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! 


~ On that note, if anyone would like a postcard that is post marked from Hogsmede, let me know.  I'll also, you know, need your address.

~ So Pottermore sorted me in Slytherin, and I feel like that's pretty official, you know?  Like, as compared to just some random person making up an internet "what's your house?" quiz.  But I've always sorted myself into Ravenclaw, and I prefer that house's colors.  So I'm not sure which house colors to collect everything in (although I am seriously considering both).  Any advice/opinions would be appreciated.  (also if you're on pottermore you should add me)

~ They also have plush spiders.  Rogan is NOT getting one of those.

~ Butterbeer is pretty much the most amazing thing on the face of the planet.  I'm told it's eclipsed by butterbeer ice cream, but I haven't tried that yet.  I'll keep you posted.

~ Should I get a pink pygmy puff, and purple pygmy puff, or both?

~ Say purple pygmy puff five times fast. :-)

~ It's quite a different thing having to leave for work an hour before your shift starts.  Especially considering a few months ago I could leave seven minutes before I was supposed to be at work and as long as all four lights were green I could get there with time to spare.  On the other hand, I could not get off work, change clothes, and go hop on a roller coaster before going home.  You win some, you lose some.

~ Universal is really hard core about taking pictures backstage, so if anyone wants to see me in either outfit . . . well, you'll just have to come visit me while I'm working I guess.  Or search twitter/facebook/instagram for any pictures tagged Harry Potter or Universal or Wizarding World or anything like that.  I've posed for, like, a million already.  I know I'm out there somewhere, I just need to find me . . .

~ You should all come visit me anyway.  :-)

P. ost  S. cript
Going to have to start checking youtube for me again . . .

Sunday, July 13, 2014

And Then

Did I mention that I applied at every single operating participant at Downtown Disney?  Well, no . . . because last time I blogged I hadn't done that yet.  (side note: operating participant = there's a bunch of stores at Downtown Disney that aren't staffed by Disney cast members so I theoretically had a shot at at least working on Disney property and getting a smaller amount of perks)  Anyway, that happened.  And then nothing happened. 

And did I mention that the owners of Basin are in our ward?  And that I totally love those stores and could totally work there?  And apparently half the people who work there are also in our ward and every time we've told people in the ward I'm looking for a job they ask we've talk to Brother Basin (not actual name, lol) yet because half the ward works there and I should totally do that?  And that they don't think they'll be hiring anybody in the foreseeable future, but they have my application?

Because, yeah.  All that happened.

So I applied at Universal.

And they got back to me pretty much immediately. (And before you ask, there was a personality test which I totally took myself.)

And I had an interview on Friday.

And now I'm basically a conductor on the Hogwarts Express.  (it's slightly more complicated than that, so if you want a more accurate explanation of what I'll actually be doing let me know)

Luke is TOTALLY excited.  And I'm certainly happy . . . but strangely nervous.  After looking so long I just can't quite believe getting this job was so easy in the end (I got hired on the spot).  It's like there's got to be some sort of catch . . . and I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Or maybe I just can't believe that I actually have a "real" job again. 

I suppose one could consider the catch to be that it's only part time (sixty-something cent pay cut . . . but, like, triple the hours.  So it kinda works out, you know?) and there's no telling how long it will be before I could make the switch to full time.  But either way I have all sorts of paperwork and took the picture for my ID and picked a hometown for my name tag (cannot wait to hear people try to say Puyallup!) and have been told my youngest cousins are going to flip several times over when they hear what I do - but somehow it still doesn't seem quite real.  I suppose it won't until I start orientation . . . which isn't until a week from tomorrow, so this week should be interesting.  I am looking forward to the one day of just Harry Potter training; the guy who interviewed me made it sound like it's a lot of Harry Potter trivia and a little bit of training (and with any luck riding a few things, because we left before the first half of the Wizarding World opened so I haven't done any of it and it all looks AMAZING)  There was even a separate list of questions they ask for people they're considering placing in the Wizarding World . . . consisting of some of the easiest HP trivia known to man.  Seriously - name the four houses, what is Parsletongue, name three horcruxes (I named all seven), that sort of thing.  Of course, considering I haven't reread all the books since shortly after Deathly Hallows came out, this is a fabulous excuse to read them again (like I needed one . . . well, I guess I kind of did . . . ) and the PERFECT excuse to finally get copies of the first four (which came out when I was in high school and also when personal books were basically consider family books so I read Rian's).  So all in all it's a pretty win-win situation.

Conveniently enough, Luke's sister Emily was off yesterday so we went to Epcot to celebrate.  You know, as you do.  I mean, doesn't everybody celebrate getting a job by designing their own roller coaster?  And eating chocolate and caramel covered pineapple spears in Germany?  And ducking into a Canadian mine for half an hour to wait out the rain?  Other than an afternoon in Magic Kingdom about a week after we got here this was the first we've been into any park, so naturally it was awesome!!

Side note for those who've been there and might be interested in changes: holy Tron Track, that one was trippy!  Going to have to do it a few more times before I can decide what I think, other than it's a bit hard on the eyes.  (also - totally need to start a sunglasses collection so I always have a pair with me)  Club Cool has been completely changed out - VeggieBeta is still there, as is Beverly (of course), but everything else is new.  The pineapple fanta is good, but quite the odd choice considering you can get it at Walmart.  My favorite though, is this non-carbonated juice from (I think) Thailand . . . kiwi-mango, and holy crap, I'm pretty sure I drank a gallon of it!!!  Or maybe just a quart.  Seriously, it's good.  Someone needs to go to Thailand and send me, like, everything they can find.  I can't say I'm impressed with the idea of magic bands - what with facts of life like Brazilians and tourons and varying combinations thereof it just strikes me as asking for trouble.  Granted, I haven't exactly used the new system much yet . . . but the mere fact that they used it as an excuse to put fast pass at Spaceship Earth is enough to tell me that whoever had this idea spends, like, zero time in the parks and put zero thought into how a lot of things would actually work when put into practice.  Today's lesson: just because something looks good on paper doesn't mean it's actually a good idea.

Long story short, it was an immensely fun day, but it left us both a little exhausted since we're both totally out of practice with the whole spending-the-entire-day-in-the-park thing and I'm not entirely sure that I didn't get slightly dehydrated.  But I did successfully avoid any sort of sunburn and since I'll be working partly outside it would appear that in about a year that gradual, sort of almost-tan-ish-ness that I developed last time will happen again.  (I'll never forget the trip I made back to Utah between college program and going full time.  My skin had gone from its natural shade of deathly-zombie-pale-so-white-it's-practically-blue-from-the-veins to being light-skinned-but-clearly-living-human-being colored and pretty much everyone I saw had the same reaction: "Holy COW you got TAN!!!!!!!!"  Half the time I was still lighter than whoever said it.  Good times.)

So there's our good news.  I know I should be bouncing off the walls right now, but I'm quite calm.  Glad, grateful . . . but calm.  Maybe I'm just getting old.  On the other hand, I didn't get nervous about the interview until I was walking out the door to go to it, so maybe I'll get all excited next week for orientation.  Mostly I'm just trying to tell myself that there's no catch.  (and did I mention that I get in free/almost free to basically everywhere that isn't Disney?  Not sure what kind of passes I get for other people I get yet, but if you want to come down let me know!)

P. ost  S. cript

Still wishing I could have this job (and still resenting that it's no longer a thing!).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Off to the Same Start

So we're getting all settled here in Orlando . . . three weeks in and I have to say, it's a little weird being back.  The apartment complex we moved in to is seriously right in the middle of the area ( i.e.  it literally sits right on the WDW property line) we were most familiar with before so there hasn't been a lot of "learning the area" stuff to do.  Things have changed, but a lot of the stuff that was here five years ago is still here.  It's a little trippy to see how much is the same . . . but on the other hand we've kind of just slipped right back in.  Like we were gone on a ridiculously extended vacation and now we've finally come home and everything is familiar and homey because that's what this place has always been.  It's hot, and I'm learning again how to breather underwater.  Seriously, I was doing some major gasping for breath unloading the cars when we got here, but it wasn't from the exertion.  It's honestly not that much hotter here than it is in Logan this time of year (although I hear that's not quite the case this year).  I never understood the whole "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" thing you hear people say all the time until I lived here last time, but now . . . I understand!

The good news - we're pretty much set up in our teeny little place (which actually isn't that much smaller, it just seems that way because we went down a bedroom), and set up pretty well too thanks to room renovations at a few hotels.  We have a lamp that used to be in the rooms at the Polynesian, a work desk for Luke that was in the Grand Floridian, and a TV table (probably) from the Yacht Club.  The bad news - we have everything but a couch.  And sitting on the floor just gets old after a while, you know?  But overall we've got a lovely little set up here and as soon as we get a couch and are truly done moving in we'll do another video tour and put it on facebook with the others. (sad news for those who have been enthusiastically following our apartment tours: this counter is un-swim-able.  believe me, I'm feeling the tragedy as much as you)

In other news, I'm still job hunting.  Kind of wasn't expecting that.  I was planning on going to Disney Casting after we got here, but it turns out Disney's gone pretty much internet-applications-only, just like pretty much everyone else on the planet.  So I applied online a couple of days before we left thinking I could have an interview almost as soon as we got here and with my full rehire status I'd have nothing to worry about, even if all they had to start with was part time or something.  So then we get to San Antonio and while it is currently home to one freaking adorable nephew I have another reason to say nothing good ever happens in San Antonio.  I got an email saying I'd qualified for an internet interview, which it turned out was just code for one of those stupid Meyers-Brigg-ish personality tests that EVERYONE AND THEIR FREAKING DOG has made part of their application process.  And apparently there is just something fundamentally wrong with my personality because as soon as I finished it the "thanks but no thanks, you suck" page came up.  Phrased, you know, more diplomatically than that.  And now, a month later, I'm past all the emotional breakdowns and ranting and raging and all that fun stuff and just kind of numb to it all (except for noticing that now the internet ad I get the most is the "Come apply at Disney World! Now Hiring!" one.  Thanks, targeted advertising!  You suck too!) so I'll just say this: for the last five years I thought my biggest problem was location and that Logan just wasn't a place to get a job unless your fifth great-grandparents crossed the plains in the wagon behind the hiring person's fourth great-grandparents - and judging by the way I got the one job I did, that's partly true (and because it worked once I will always have mixed feelings about such nepotism).  But judging by the fact that the only three interviews I got were from applications that didn't have a personality test . . . clearly I'm the biggest part of the problem here.  And after five years of making cracks about how I'm apparently unhire-able to have it proved to actually be true . . . ouch.  That stings a bit.  But hey, when your problem is a personality so apparently awful you can't even get passed from the computer to a human being - what can you do?

So that was the raging (although it would have been much longer a few weeks ago).  As for the ranting - when you leave Disney on good terms - which we both did - they tell you that you have full rehire status and make it sound like you'll be welcomed back with open arms anytime.  Maybe that was the case a long time ago.  But while one would think the fact that one worked there before and left on good terms would be like a Get Out of Personality Test Free card . . . yeah, no.  Rehire status turns out to be completely worthless unless you can get past the personality test.  Which five years of both answering honestly and trying every method known to man of answering "correctly" has proven I can't do.  So it's essentially as though I've never worked there before.  Yay.

So then I applied at this company that does in-room babysitting at hotels all over the area and childcare for local conventions and weddings and such.  Supposedly this is a pretty legit company.  Like, if you want an evening out without the kids on your vacation these people are the ones Disney refers you to.  And there's no personality test with their application!  So I send one off a couple days after we get here . . . and for all I know that application went to Pluto.  You download it, fill it out, and send it to their HR person who, the first time I called after not getting even an acknowledgment of receiving the email, was on vacation but going to be back in two days.  Fast forward a week and still no word and another call and now the HR person "is not in today, hasn't been in for a while, and there's no telling when they'll be back in."  Long story short . . . another bust.  I keep getting a different story from these people.  So we are oh-for-two.  Business as usual, really.  Remember how I was saying it sort of feels like we never left?  As far as job hunting goes, it feels like nothing has changed except the location.  And the fact that we haven't exhausted all our connections here yet (although we are moving down the list more rapidly than I thought we would).

There is a skylight in this tunnel though - this is the first summer where Luke's had this job.  So it's not like we're in the same situation we've been in previous summers after my paychecks dry up.  True, we won't be booking any spur of the moment "just because we can" cruises anytime soon - but it's also not like we're in danger of getting evicted from the apartment we just moved into either.  This isn't a frantic, urgent job hunt . . . just an obnoxious one.  Which is a faint light, but it's the most I've had five years so I'll take it.

But even as frustrating as the whole still-freaking-job hunting thing is, it's good to be back.  We've seriously eaten at Earl of Sandwich, like four (five?) times.  And Cici's twice.  And found a Christmas tree ornament that seriously made my year (suffice it to say that if you aren't following me on instagram you should be, lol).  And spent a fortune mentally shopping for Rogan because there is sooooooooooo much cute baby/toddler stuff . . . let's just say that when I do finally get a job that kid is getting seriously spoiled.  And spent an afternoon at Magic Kingdom mind boggled over all the changes (dear Disney: would it kill you to spend as much time/money/attention to detail on the BLT as you did on the freaking Rapunzel bathrooms?).  And eaten a ridiculous amount of grilled onions from the Pecos Bill's fixins' bar (thanks Sarah!!). And made two trips to Ikea because it's not a three hour drive just to get there.  And had dessert at Ghiradelli's three (four?) times.  And spent hours . . . a lot of time . . . combing over the Orlando groupon page looking at all the things we have to do.  Some that I've had on my list for years, some neither of us even knew existed.  And let's just say I honestly have no idea how I've resisted this one for as long as I have!

All in all I'd have to say this whole moving thing gets a solid A-.  Now everybody just needs to start visiting. :-)

P. ost  S. cript
Totally doing my best to channel Princess Unikitty these days.  On many levels.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Dear Florida

We're here!

Ready to try this again,

P. ost  S. cript
I'm not sure about popular demand, but we're totally doing the rest of this.
(one for the clip, one for the full song)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dear Utah

I thought it would be different this time . . . and it was.  I thought that would be a good thing . . . not so much.  I've made some (hopefully) lasting friendships and had some great experiences and I have only a few regrets.  But the judgement was still there, and now I am not only willing but eager to leave.  Pretty sure I'm not going to miss you this time.

Disillunsioned-ly yours,
(and also totally going to miss those lasting friendship people)


P. ost  S. cript

Top of the to-do list (although not necessarily first)? Finally swimming with these guys.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Lesson Number the Last

First graders hug regularly and without any particular reason.

Fourth graders don't hug without reason . . . but when they have one, they come back for four more and try to tie you to a chair with a jump rope and swear up and down that you can't go because they said so.

Those kids were in kindergarten when I started working there . . . gonna be feeling that all the way to Orlando . . .

P. ost  S. cript
My go-to for these sort of moments.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Modern Marvels

Imagine this: you're driving down the freeway in middle-of-nowhere Nebraska (which has been scientifically proven to be flatter than a pancake) and you pass a sign that says "Monument ahead DO NOT STOP."

Little odd, no?  I mean, don't they usually want you to stop and take a look at monuments that someone took the time to create?  But then you drive a couple more miles and then you see this.

And you kinda get why the sign says not to stop.

That was the story at the end of my family's Mormon pilgrimage summer vacation (I'm oddly conflicted about which phrase to strike out there . . . ) back in 2001.  *insert obligatory moment to note just how freaking long ago that was here*  So naturally we had to stop and see just what the crap this was, even though it wasn't in the plan and it was the end of the trip so we were all pretty exhausted and more than a little sick of each other.

Turns out it's a museumAnd a pretty cool one too.

We didn't spend as much time there as I would have liked, seeing as it was an unscheduled stop and my parents are all about schedules, but we weren't rushed through it either.  The part I remember most was at the end.  While you're inside you can totally forget you're actually on a bridge over a freeway and there are cars speeding under you at seventy-something miles an hour (is the fear of being on a bridge when it collapses a phobia that exists?  I'm pretty sure this place could create it).  But at the end there are a couple of windows and you can see those cars whiz past while right behind you is a display talking about people traveling this same route on covered wagons and how the change from one to the other happened in only just over a  hundred years (1840s to 195-Eisen-whatever).  For some reason that's really stuck with me in the thirteen (oy!) years since.  The speed of advancement once the ball got rolling, you know?  Foot to animal took forever, then animal to wheeled stuff took less of a forever, then motorizing the wheel only took, like, a blink of a forever and then before you know it Montana has no speed limit and then BAM! it does before I get a chance to Autobahn it up to Glacier.

On another note, other technology has, naturally, kept up . . . or at least kept on advancing just as (or more) quickly (thank you Phonecians!).  In the 1840s you pretty much weren't going to see the people you left behind again, and you probably wouldn't be hearing much from them either - depending on where you ended up, anyway.  It might even be a year before they knew whether you made it without dying of dysentery or something. (side note: need that shirt!!)

Fast forward to the 80s when my parents (and I) moved from Washington to Idaho.  Not quite as far, but still far enough to have blown some 1840s minds if we'd told them we could make the trip in a day.  A very long day . . . but a day.  But still there was no way for my grandparents to know we hadn't all died of dysentery car crash or vanished into some sort of black hole until we got there, got moved in, got a phone line set up, and called everyone they knew (because as I understand it, they couldn't just text everyone their new phone number way back then) to let them know they were here and how to contact them.  But still, only a couple of days to get there and let everyone left behind know we were there.

Fast forward a bit more . . . I'm planning on instagramming our entire trip.  And updating my facebook status every time we stop for gas.  Not only will everyone we know know when we arrive (and pretty much the moment we do), the people we're crashing with will know almost exactly when to expect us the day we're heading to their place.  And if we do get sucked into one of those black holes?  There will be literally at least a hundred people who know roughly what area to start the search and exactly how long it's been since we were accounted for.

How amazing is that?!?!

It must have been nice to be able to let your kids just run all sorts of amok until it got dark, and it certainly must have been tons cheaper to grow your own non-chemically-infested food . . . but I'll take living in the here and now over pretty much any other time.  Because here and now is pretty freaking cool.

P. ost  S. cript
I wanted to post the cheese episode because it's eriously my favorite, but I'm having some trouble finding it.  I suppose this one will have to do instead.  :-)