Monday, September 14, 2009

The Most Magical Place on Earth

So . . I've been away for a while at Disney. My FB friends may have noted on my status before I left that I was unsure of how much I would enjoy this trip -- not big on crowds, or heat, or bratty kids, or parents who fail to keep their bratty kids in line. But I was pleasantly surprised by many things on this trip. I'll list a few:

1) The LACK of crowds -- which was the reason we picked Labor Day week to go. My Disney freak friend Meredith said it's the deadest week of the year there, and I don't doubt her now. After Labor Day Monday, we hardly had any lines of any kind. Sweet.

2) Disney seriously does this stuff well. Disneyworld is one monstrosity of a resort size-wise, but they have it running like clockwork. Everything was about as easy as it could be, considering. For example, our room keys served as our admission tickets to the parks, as make-shift credit cards that we could charge pretty much anything to, and as our meal cards to get food at restaurants and food stands throughout the resort (plus we got a free meal deal for visiting this week! I repeat -- sweet!)

3) There's simply no way I could work at Disney -- I'm not cheerful enough. I've never seen so many nice people one place, especially in the service industry. And really, if you're a person who just loves to perform -- sing, dance, etc. -- and who doesn't have any hang-ups or attitude about needing to do highbrow stuff, Disney is heaven. There have to be thousands of performing jobs. But again, you have to be the cheerful type. Plastic smiles required.

4) Amazing shows. The main street electrical parade (or whatever they're calling it now) was beautiful. The fireworks displays at Magic Kingdom and Epcot were awesome. The Lion King show was really exciting (and Eastin got pulled out of the audience to participate). And I thought the puppetry in the Finding Nemo show was absolutely gorgeous.

5) Most surprising of all, I was amazed at how unannoying the general public was. Other than the two women behind me at the Magic Kingdom parade the first night who started arguing and spoiled about a third of the parade for everyone around them . . . people were generally polite and decent. Able-bodied folks gave up their seats on the bus for children and elderly. Parents, for the most part, made their children behave. I even saw a couple strangers jump in and help some women struggling to lift their handicapped companion out of a ride. I usually hate places like this because they remind me of how overall jerkish the human race can be. But humanity was redeemed in my eyes this week. Made me wonder what was in the water.

However, I was wondering about myself by the time we headed home. I caught myself in far too many eye-rolls over the course of the week. Perhaps I'm a bit too cynical ....? But that's a topic for another post . . .


Meredith said...

Yayyyy!! I've been waiting for this post!! I'm glad that you were glad you took my advice, ha I LOVE going Labor Day week. And Disney DOES work sooo hard to make everything easy and smooth, a truly no-worries vacation. I love the "key to the world" that is really ALL you need in the resort. But they HAVE to make everything smooth and easy, can you imagine what it's like at BUSIER times of the year?? Christmas?? Oy! You were spoiled by going this week! With regards to the performing jobs...yes, there are a lot, but they are SOOOOOO competitive! You have to be absolutely perfect at your craft to get an entertainment gig at Disney. But there are other opportunities for regular "cast members" (ie employees) to do artistic stuff. Like at Christmas, Epcot has the "Candlelight Processional" where a famous actor tells the Christmas story interspersed by Christmas music sung by a choir of ordinary Disney cast members (not the normal entertainment types). And as far as people being nice...I think people get swept up in the magic! What goes around, comes around. When you have all these cast members being nice to you, you just want to be nice to everyone else! They work so hard to make sure that you are NOT unhappy, so of course everyone's going to be happy and nice...even at the end of a 14 hour hot sweaty exhausting day, people will still give up their seat on the bus to women and children! And the shows...I always end up choked up at least once during my Disney vacation, I just want to be a part of it, and I want to be that happy and magical all the time! Except I do NOT want to work there!! lol I know that! I'd be happy to live in Florida and have an annual pass to go whenever I wanted, ha. I'm glad you had a good time and that it was better than you expected!! I get to go in 10 days, woo hoo!!!!

GJK said...

So, Mer, I wondered while I was there -- how exactly do they ensure that all these employees are so friendly? I mean, how do they screen for the grouches in the application process, and how do they get rid of those that squeak through?

And I also wondered how much those performers get paid . . . but even more so now that you tell me it's so competitive.

Meredith said...

Well, I think they can get a jist of how friendly someone is during an interview. And I met my share of boring people at Disney, so there are "behind the scenes" jobs that people can work in. But honestly, if you were not really into Disney and excited about it, why would you even be working there?? I mean, if you do NOT like Disney, you could go INSANE working in a place like that!! So I think that weeds people out from the get-go. People WANT to work there. And that goes into your compensation question...people do not get paid much there! I'm not sure about entertainers but my roommate was a character and she didn't get paid any more than I did, which was ~$6.50 an hour. The full-time permanent people don't get paid much more than that, though they have holidays and benefits. But there are lots of other admission to the parks, discounts on food/merchandise, etc. I think people who work there are not there for the money so much as the experience and the perks! I remember talking to a chef manager at work one day. I had just gotten my offer letter to work at Kraft full-time. And I found out my starting salary was more than like $10,000! And he was management. So people work at Disney because they love it. Because they do NOT treat their workers that well! lol