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?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
~ AND ACTUAL QUILL PENS?!?!?!?!?!? AND SOME OF THEM ARE EVEN OLD SCHOOL STYLE WHERE YOU HAVE TO ALSO GET A BOTTLE OF INK?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
~ 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 . . .