Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The one about my first week! -Warning all about Disney!

I just finished my first official post-training week as a research specialist at the world's most famous theme park, and wow, do I have some stories for you all! If you're a little fuzzy as to what I do all day, I'll break it down for you. Yesterday, I asked 130 people for their zip code and if I could scan their park ticket. 10% of those people asked me why and looked very concerned-they are the same people who probably wear aluminum foil on their heads to make sure the government isn't reading their thoughts.

After I get zip codes, I collect emails in various ways so people can do a survey at home. 10% of the people ask me if I'm going to sell their email. In this instance, I don't blame them for asking actually but Disney doesn't spam so we're all good.

Then I survey people about every little last detail about their vacation and/or their experience at the Magic Kingdom.

The rest of my time is spent building up courage to approach more people so I can meet my survey quota and not get fired. I have to read the surveys verbatim so I wouldn't be surprised if someday a kid kicks me in the shin thinking I'm an animatronic robot like he saw on the Pirates ride or the Carousel of Progress, or pretty much any other Disney attraction because I do in fact sound robotic from time to time.

Anyways, I just have to say, Americans by and large are probably the most rude guests of all. Every time I talk to a guest from another country, they are so polite and say please and thank you. They reject me less when I ask them to take a survey and if they do they are all "Sorry, I'm in a terrible hurry, or I would" meanwhile Americans go "No!" and give you the "you're a waste of space" look (no lie, they do, it's like the look you give your shoe when you step on a piece of gum). I will give the American population the benefit of the doubt because they make up the majority of people I talk to so chances are greater I'll run into a rude one from time to time. And there are so many more nice ones than rude ones I suppose!

For example, I talked to the sweetest girl the other day whose dream it is to work at Disney World. She's old enough to and even moved here to do so, but is too scared to apply because she's heard some people say it ruins the magic or is not as fun as one would think. We had a great talk about it and I told her that I had the same fear and that if anything, it's just more magical, and it'll only be fun if you have the right attitude. I personally love seeing Cinderella get pop in the cafeteria and Prince Charming checking his email in the learning center, I think it's a cool/weird job perk (yes, I am a nerd, I know). I didn't tell her those example specifically because that wouldn't be keeping the magic for her but she'll see it when she's a cast member, which I'm sure she will be one day.

I had the cutest moment with a little boy riding the train the other day too. Where I do most of my work is the courtyard from the gates into the Magic Kingdom to the train station. When it's pulling into the station, the train overlooks the courtyard and a little boy, about 6, was waving at people in the courtyard but no one was waving back because no one was looking up there! But I saw him so I waved and smiled back and he got the biggest smile on his face and his wave became 10 times more enthusiastic. It honestly could have been a Disney commercial the moment was so precious.

Yesterday, a guest approached me asking for any tips I had because it was his first time to Disney World.   I started by telling him to get a first visit pin at Guest Relations then asked him if there was anything specific he wanted tips on. He then tells me he has a Walt Disney World app on his iPhone. He showed me the app and honestly, fast forward 10 years, everyone has a phone w/apps and Disney World requires 10,000 less cast members because people don't need as much help anymore, that's how good that app was! It knew everything, including wait times on rides, which I can't fathom how it knew! Think of a question you would want to know about the Magic Kingdom- it knows the answer! He even had a Magic Kingdom GPS app that told us exactly where we were standing, so I didn't even need to tell him where Guest Relations was, because he already knew by looking at the MK GPS!

Everyday I run into people that love telling me their Disney stories. I just have to hold onto positive and forget about the rude people who yell at me for my surveys being too long (yeah, that happened!) while in the meantime, never forgetting that this job is only temporary and something else will come along in time!


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