Friday, October 31, 2014

It's Raining Because You're In Florida and It's Hurricane Season for Crying Out Loud

Remember this moment from early on in Gilmore Girls?

I'm sure everyone's gotten far past season one by now (even I'm on season three by now . . . I'd totally be done by now if netflix had put it up in September when I was only working two days a week, but now that I'm back up to four . . . ), but can I just say I loved this scene the first time I saw it.  Michel is my hero.

I had quite the Michel day yesterday.  To the point where there were too may stories for one facebook status, but they're all too good not to share.  So much so that I'm putting off the treatise I've been writing in my head about the different flavors of touron for another day.  But once it is written, I will have a blog post full of examples for it - this one.

I was at the upgrade booth yesterday, which makes for a slightly greater variety of questions because you get the people coming off the train who haven't quite figured out that they're in a different park yet.  And the ones who know they're in a different park . . . but might not be quite sure about which park they're in now.

So there I am, minding my own business, doing my best to be friendly even though I'm super tired because it's the first time I've opened in, like, six weeks and it's way too early.  But I have my sunglasses on and I've relearned how to fake being all chipper, so it's all good.

Until a group gets off the train . . . and one of them asks me "hey, where's the gringo?"

Yeah, you read that right.

It took me approximately 7.5 seconds to realize they were asking how to find the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride, but 12 seconds to find my voice again because let me tell you, that was one I hadn't heard before.  And since I was literally incapable of replying in those twelve seconds they asked a follow up question.  "You know, that green goat ride?"

Which, naturally, rendered me speechless for another 15 seconds, so I couldn't only point and stutter "left" a couple of times.

Luckily most tourons aren't exactly looking for eloquence in their theme park peons, so a two-fingered point is more than sufficient and 95% of the time they don't even notice the confused look on your face.

That would have been memorable enough (seriously, still trying to figure out how you get "green goat" out of "Gringotts") but an hour and a half later (almost exactly - yes, I looked) here comes another guy off the train - completely different guy - who yells at me, without even stopping "how do we get to the green goat?"

At this point my only regret was that the only pub I could send them to was The Leaky Cauldron . . . and it's in the same direction as Gringotts. But at least I knew what they were looking for as soon as they asked this time, you know?

(side note: I'm not quite sure what to make of all the people coming just to ride this one new ride because it's a new roller coaster - I can't help but think those people are getting off the ride very disappointed.  As a Harry Potter ride is really cool, but as a roller coaster . . . it's really not.  Cool, I mean.)

Anyway.  Story two.  A couple of hours later.  A couple of little old-ish ladies (as in older than my mother but probably not as old as my grandmother) come strolling slowly off the train - meaning they were just at Islands of Adventure, and I know they were at Islands of Adventure, but . . .

So they come strolling over to me, and are all sweet and smiley and kind and friendly.  And then they ask me, "so when we're done here, dear, will the train take us back to Disney too?"

Somehow they never realized they had asked an odd question - even though my jaw actually dropped and I (mostly) involuntarily cocked my head and it probably took me a full twenty seconds to be able to say "the train . . . doesn't . . . doesn't go to . . . Disney . . . "

Little old-ish ladies: Oh, so where does the train go to then?

Me: Islands . . . of Adventure?

Little old-ish ladies: So how did we get here then?

Me: I honestly don't know.

That last bit?  Absolutely true.  (suffice it to say, the little old-ish ladies fall into they type 2 category of touron, as shall be explained . . . sometime soon . . . ish . . . )

So after that the day went on for a little while with only the typically repetitive questions (where's the restroom?) and the typically stupid questions (why is it raining?  can you make it stop?) and it seemed like the day's weirdness had passed.  And then one more group got off the train around lunchtime.

Let me take a moment to make things clear.  I was at King's Cross Station yesterday.  King's Cross Station is at Universal Studios, which has Diagon Alley.  The other end of the train goes to Islands of Adventure, which is where Hogsmeade is.  And Hogwarts Castle.  That one thing you must remember, or nothing that follows will seem wondrous.(my apologies for skipping over Thanksgiving, but ten points if you gt the reference)

So they get off the train and this time the conversation goes like this:

Touron: Where is Hogsmeade?

Me: *slight pause* You just came from Hogsmeade, ma'am.

Touron: Oh, so Hogsmeade is just a train station?

Me: No, there's also a village. (side note: depending on which way they came from, they may have come upon the train station first and not noticed the village beyond that.  unobservant, but completely possible)

Touron: So where is the castle?

Me: The castle is back in Hogsmeade.

Touron: Okay, I get it now.  So Diagon Alley is over there (points in direction of Diagon Alley)?

Me: Yes.

Touron.  Okay.  So what's over there (points in direction of Diagon Alley)?

Me: *long pause* Diagon . . . Alley . . . I think . . . ?

Because clearly she was looking for a different answer to the same exact area, but I honestly couldn't begin to guess what.  My answer seemed to be satisfactory though.

But the day ended on a high note.  Toward the end of my shift I was chatting with a couple of people who came off the train raving about how awesome it was, which happens every now and again. (side note: LOVE the people who remember we're people too and not just theme park peons) It started with them saying how much they loved the train, and then went into how Universal has been really improving lately and how WWoHP is really on a level where it's almost better than Disney (another rather common sentiment we hear about from time to time)  so of course I asked which direction they preferred for the train, because the ride is different both ways, but it turns out they didn't know that.  So I explain that they can go right back on the other way to check it out, and that this way they'll get to walk through Platform 9 3/4, which they got really excited for, and then I made sure they knew that by the time they got back over to IoA they might have to walk back to USF for HHN because the train stopped running in that direction as soon as the park closed to day guests.  And they're completely okay with that because honestly it's not that far a walk and nobody should be complaining about having to walk because before this year that was their only option, and yet (not so) oddly enough being okay with it is not the reaction we have all gotten used to bracing ourselves for.  which, you know, does not say much for today's society in general.  But these guys were super friendly and super nice and we had a great little conversation (and did I mention it's so nice when people acknowledge that we exist instead of ignoring us unless it's yelling at us for not giving them whatever stupid self-centered thing they want?) so I gave them a few extra tips to make sure they didn't miss anything and in the end I got added to the list of super helpful and friendly team members they were keeping and when they get home they're going to send a letter with the list to Universal so, yay!  Turns out the day full of both regular craziness and extra special craziness paid off in the very end.

But I'm still very happy to have a three day weekend.

P. ost  S. cript
Like there would be anything else here today.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

One Last Lesson

So a couple weeks ago?  That was intense.  A very overwhelming day.  It was fun, it was crazy, it was busy, it was the most massive family reunion I've ever been to and probably ever will.  There were cross country drives, last minute flights, and everyone who's still in Orlando offering couches and tickets and whatever was needed to get people here.  And the result was that for about an hour and a half a couple of weeks ago it was almost impossible for anyone to simply walk past BLT because there was a massive crowd in front of it making walking those fifty yards more difficult than navigating the crowds on black Friday.

It was everything I expected.  It was awesome . . . and it was awful (and let's take the obligatory moment to observe how odd it is that two words with the same prefix and essentially the same meaning can have such opposite definitions).  I've blogged before about how I am a majorly introverted person, and I have to admit that just knowing that about myself has always been a little confusing because I actually love being around people, especially people I know and love (which was a lot of the group in this case).  But by the end of the night I was drained.  So much so that it took me the bulk of the next day to recharge.

I haven't been in such a big group for such a long time . . . I'd forgotten just how intense it can be.  It really caught me by surprise, which is more than a little tragic because in the end I didn't talk to anyone nearly as much as I wanted to.  The whole situation just left me a little speechless, and in the end I could really only marvel at the size of the crowd and how many people had come from a gazillion states away - and how many people were still nearby, which was a lot more than I'd realized.  Sadly, that also meant I did not get all the pictures with people that I'd wanted, although I did get some good crowd shots (pictures coming soon for those waiting, I promise!) and a few of the kind I was planning on.  By the end of the night I was actually left more or less speechless - mostly because I was focused on continuing to . . . I don't know, function sounds a little melodramatic but I've been sitting here for literally twenty minutes trying to come up with the right word and it's just not coming to me.  But honestly my mind just kind of went blank.  Beyond, you know, instructions to keep breathing, or whatever.

Being social is hard.  It's definitely easier when you're with people who you know like you - but it's still exhausting.  And it turns out that five solid years of almost nothing but alone time doesn't work.  I mean . . . it's nice and all, and kept the batteries in a pretty constant state of charged at the time - but it doesn't build up the kind of reserve you need for such a massive amount of socialness.  I had worked out a pretty good balance before, but I completely forgot about it and before two weeks ago there hadn't been much of a need to rediscover how to manage.

I do hope I end up needing to re-figure it out though.  To continue one of the many mangled analogies, Monica and Chandler have long since moved and even Phoebe is married, but you know they're all still getting together - obviously not spending every day at the coffee shop, but still seeing each other when they can.  (side note: after you read this and feel really old, take a moment to notice that it was posted a year ago and even those ages are now off)  After all, you know what they say - blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb (fun fact! did you know that the full saying actually turns out to mean essentially the exact opposite of the way people mean it to mean?).  Not imply anything about the viscosity of anyone's womb water . . . but it turns out some ties bind a little more thoroughly and long term than you think when you first start twisting the strings around.

So . . . here's to keeping them a little more tightly knotted these days.  Assuming I can find the mental strength to do it.

P. ost  S. cript
Speaking of Disney attractions that are tragically closed . . .