If you didn’t pick up on it yet from my posts, Food and Wine is in full swing at Epcot! It started on September 19, and I went to the Cast Preview with my dad the day before. It was more of a soft opening because the stands were open to anyone, not just cast, but it was really empty and great to check out! I’ve also gone with some coworkers and Leah and her roommates. When I went with Leah we really did it right and ate SO much. I was in a serious food coma afterwards. I can’t decide on what my favorite thing has been so far. But, I can keep track on everywhere I go with a passport! They give stamps at each stand for the country and you can get a “completion” stamp too. It’s so cute and the cast members seem to love giving the stamps.
Okay I decided on my favorite thing-alcoholic Dole Whip. Like whoa.
Working during Food and Wine is a different story. Weeks before it started our managers were warning us that crowds would be bigger, parking would be harder, and there’d be lots of drunken people. They were not lying.
On weekends, our attendance is well into the 30 thousands. Yesterday it was 40k. So crazy! I don’t mind it though, it makes rotation go quicker because there are always guests to help. Especially at greeter—so many guests have questions and I love it. Even when they’re dumb. Everyone’s just excited. It’s later a night that people are more drunk. Usually it’s not an issue, it’s just funny watching them on the turntable. They try reallyyyy hard. Also an entertaining group has been the bridal parties. One bride was with a huge group and she was already on the ride. She stood up while still in the loading area and mooned her group. That was special.
As far as parking, I got a window parking pass I have to show when I go to cast services. If that lot is full, they open up a guest lot for us. Definitely got lost the first time I had to go there. Oops.
Also walking into cast services, sometimes they’ll ask where I work or scan my ID. They do this so cast coming as guests for Food and Wine don’t use our parking. No problems so far!
So I definitely have to be a lot more patient with guests during this festival, but all the interactions, even when negative, I can walk away from laughing at the end of the day.
It sounds crazy, but we have apartments inspected throughout our program for cleanliness. It’s a little annoying that we live in a place that we have people checking on us, but I will say right now that it’s not so bad!
We’re all very clean in our apartment, making inspections not as threatening. In fact, it’s nice that we’re expected to keep our place in good condition, that way you get to live in a nice environment. I mean compared to Pi Phi at times, I’m glad I don’t live in a sorority turned frat house now (no offense sisters, but that just got gross…)
We were alerted about upcoming inspections by a sign near the security gate of Patterson, so we get plenty of warning. We had all heard horror stories of people failing in certain areas of the apartment for really dumb things, like there being some trash in the trash can. Warning now, they are weird about that, even if it’s just a little. And you have to keep the sinks and bathrooms clean and microwave and no big piles of messes. It’s really not that hard. Regardless, we were still worried. We scrubbed our place so perfectly the night before it was going to start.
The frustrating thing is that inspections were going to be 9/15-9/26, at anytime 9-5. We were just praying we’d get inspected the first day so we didn’t have to live so perfectly for two weeks! I felt bad using anything in the kitchen or looking like I used a sink. It was definitely going to be a lot of work for the two weeks feeling on edge.
Luckily, on the first day of inspections around noon, they came! There were 4 of us and we all jumped at the loud knock. To avoid the trash problem, we had just been using grocery bags to fill so we never really used our big trash cans. When they came in, we quickly turned on our dishwasher (because it was full and we didn’t want them to get mad that we had dirty dishes) and grabbed the bags of trash. Vanessa literally just held the bag so casually it was hilarious. There were two employees from Lincoln Property Company and they just walked through our rooms, checked our IDs that we were 21 and I signed off that they came.
To our surprise, which it shouldn’t have been to us, we got the WHITE GLOVE! This award is for exceptionally clean apartments that don’t fail in any aspect (if you fail enough places you are fined, you can fail in one area and still pass but no award). We passed everything, got free cookies and they took our picture which is now on a bulletin board in our clubhouse. talk about embarrassing. We had no intention of exceeding so much to get this award, but it was really cool! I wish the award was that we didn’t have to do inspections next time ;)
So overall, not too bad, but you can get around the dumb things you may fail by our trash bag trick and starting the dishwasher. Thank goodness they came the first day!
So I’ve been on my own post-training for a few weeks now and it’s definitely become a routine. But I am finding the little things in each day that make going to work more fun.
I started by getting Mickey stickers and giving them to cute kids. It’s amazing how simple stickers can create such magic for a family! It reminded me of the reason people come to Disney: they want to be happy!
Then, even better: a manager got me a pin lanyard. Pin trading is a really big culture at Disney, so I was happy to get a chance for this guest interaction. So I didn’t have to pay for the pins or lanyard, so I will trade whatever a guest would like. Most of them trading pins are pretty small, but people love to collect sets of pins. The funniest thing though is when people ask to see my pins. It sounds creepy. But I love the interaction. Worst part though is when they don’t like any of your pins—ultimate rejection!
There are certain areas of our rotation we can’t have our lanyards on, which are in safety critical positions so loading and unloading. I like loading positions best (though sometimes stressful) and wasn’t always crazy about the post show area (picking up 3D glasses, helping out at Wheelchair, watching people exit…) but the pin trading makes it more fun now. I also get the most trading time greeting at the front of the ride.
If I get crappy ones that no one seems to want, I can go to Cast Services and trade out some of my pins. We can trade 6 at this pin board at a time. I like switching it up sometimes!
Also, so many little girls come in princess dresses, which I assumed they would only do at Magic Kingdom. Well they don’t discriminate Epcot, thank goodness. I absolutely love saying, “Hello [insert princess name]!” The BEST is when they are totally into it and even bow or curtsy. My heart melts every time. And this may come as a shock, but Elsa dresses are the most common. Even better when sisters come in Anna and Elsa dresses. I’d love to see how they decided who got which dress.
One family came up while I was at the Greeter position, and they asked us to take a picture with their young daughter because it was her first Disney ride ever!
I was worried I wouldn’t get much guest interaction at Spaceship Earth, but things like this remind me it’s actually a great location and I can make the best of it.