Saturday, May 22, 2010


For the next four weekends, Disney's Hollywood Studios is hosting Star Wars Weekends, where every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a month, the whole park is transformed into a Star War geek's dream world: decorations, and especially, the characters to take a photo with and real actors from the Star Wars series and the voice-actors for the new Star Wars cartoon: Clone Wars. Haily, Kara and I had some special experiences of our own:

As we neared the entrance of the park, I said "I really want to see some Storm Troopers!" and Kara said "Look up!" and I screamed! There above the turnstiles was a troop of Storm Troopers guarding the entrance of the park!

We found this Imperial Soldier hanging out on Sunset Boulevard. He said "I assume you are with the Empire" and I said "Of course". Then he said "I expect to see this photo on Facebook" and I said "Of course"

We waited in line a very long time to see Darth Vader. Apparently he is a big deal or something....who knew....

Darth Maul is INTENSE! He was staring us down with those yellow eyes, I was getting seriously creeped out!!

It was a super fun day, despite the HUGE amount of crowds. How nice to not have to maximize your day at Disney! We took our time looking at things, and only stayed in the park for 3 hours. Ahh, free admission and residence in Orlando. That's the life.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Horray! By a miracle, my pictures have aligned themselves in ORDER! How wonderful! Sorry sorry sorry for not keeping up, I realize a lot of people are keeping up with me, so I will try harder! This week was especially special because my FAMILY was here along with my wonderful boyfriend Jake! Sadly, I only got 2 full days off while they were in town, but I got to spend every night with them with was great. We went to all 4 parks, swam a lot, and got to see a space shuttle launch! So, a great week!
Jake and I Squaring off at Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Magic Kingdom

Link and I watching Jack Sparrow entertain a non-respondent crowd.

Kelly, Mom, and Sarah on the Tea Cups. Apparently they were spinning twice as fast as Jake and I even though we were going as fast as we could and were feeling nauseous! So, good work ladies!

It really was a fabulous week, having everyone in town.

Other than that, I completed my training and passed my assessment and now am an official member of the Kali River Rapids Raft Crew! It is a lot of fun working there and have made a lot of friends. Even though I work long days in the hot sun, it is great to make personal interactions with guests and to go out of my way to make their day more magical.

Last night, my friends and I made our way to Magic Kingdom after work to see SpectroMagic before it leaves! It is a cute night-time parade. We went to the Confectionary, I got this lovely caramel apple, and watched the parade standing on Main Street USA. I had one of those moments, where you take a look at yourself and say "wow, I have an awesome life!" It still is surreal that I live in Orlando and work at DISNEY WORLD! Insane!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kali River Greeter

Hey friends! I am finally updating again! Every day after work I have come home so trashed! The combination of sun exposure and staying on my feet sure has been wiping me out! But, I am finally starting to get the hang of the demands and have more energy after work, for fun things like the Spring Formal!
This year's College Program Spring Formal was held at Disney Coronado Springs resort, which was beautiful! They had us in a huge room and providing dinner and dancing! Also, there were several character sightings -- Mary Poppins in "London", the Ratattoui Rats in "Paris" and Mickey and Minnie dressed to the nines in "New York"! They had huge murals to show which city they were in. It was a really good time, but it was quite a different feel than BYU dances....nuf said.....
Now let's talk about work! Here is me in my River Guide outfit, prepared to make magical adventures for children of all ages along the rivers in Anandapour. My first day at on the job training, I followed around my trainer Jeremy to get an overview of all the positions at Kali and realized that a lot more goes into working an attraction than the guests can see.

On that first day, my trainer was showing me the First Aid station, and in there was a young couple with a 2 year old boy, and he was crying so hard and holding his wrist. My trainer felt really bad for the little guy, so he took me into "Creature Comforts", the children's store next door. He talked to another Cast Member about the "No Strings Attached" policy, where Disney Cast Members can sometimes go above and beyond and use merchandise or food service to make someone's day. So the lady gave us a little Mickey plush to give to the boy. Well, my trainer handed it to me and told me to make a Magical Moment for the boy and to give it to him. I did so, and he looked terrified, but the parents were appreciative.

I didn't think much about it the rest of the day, but when we were at Fast Pass Distribution about 4 hours later, a young man called out to me, and it was the Dad! He thanked me warmly and said it meant the world that I gave his son the Mickey. Wow!

And that is not all! An hour after that, they were around again, and the Mom thanked me this time! She said he would not let go of that Mickey! The next day, my trainer handed me a paper -- the family had filled out a positive comment card for me at Guest Services! Great for my first day!

Making Magic is such an awesome job. Yesterday there was a little girl who had gotten separated from her parents, but I calmed her down with a hug, some soothing words, and a conservation pin! We found her "lost parents" shortly after. She came back later, grinning and holding out her pin, calling me by name "Ashley! Thanks for the pin!!" It is so easy to make people's day.

Anyways, this entry is getting long. I am loving my job, it is super fun. I start my actual training next week, so I can work all the positions. But for now, I need a nap!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Week 1

I am sorry to all my faithful followers -- I CANNOT figure out how to properly load photos onto this thing, so this will be a text-only blog for now. All my pictures that I have taken so far are up on facebook, so refer to that album for the photos to the stories :)

Day 1: Woke up early at the hotel and ran across the street to the Vista Way apartment complex, where we had to wait an hour before we could check in. There we got our keys and our housing IDs and found out that Lisa, Steph, Bec, and I would all be rooming together in a 2 bedroom apartment in Vista Way! Vista Way is the oldest of the 4 complexes for Disney College Program students, but are nice anyway. Our apartment is spacious, and we love the vaulted ceilings from being on the top floor! Then we headed to the Disney Central Casting building which is famous for its design. We just got fingerprinted there, and that's all! The rest of the day was ours, so we shopped at Wal-Mart (expensive!) and in the evening went to the Avatar viewing party at The Commons (another complex) to get free Disney popcorn and sodas. Then we hit the hay on our plastic mattresses!

Day 2: Woke up early again (this would become a trend) and eagerly awaited finding out where we would be working. We filled in all our important work documents and got looked over to see if we fit the "Disney Look", which is much like the honor code, but even more strict. I DID find out half of where I would be working, they told me "Animal Kingdom: Asia Operations" which could be a number of things, so I still didn't know! We also had a housing meeting for a few hours to learn about our complex, the rules, and the upcoming events. At night, there was a big Block Party out on the street in front of our building, so we partied, and I even won some prizes for answering trivia questions correctly! A dip in the pool and hot tub, and off to bed again.

Day 3: Traditions! Traditions is a class that all Disney employees go through, that goes over the history of the disney company and discusses our past, present, and future. It also covers important things like safety, courtesy, efficiency, and show. As part of the class, we got to go behind the scenes of the Magic Kingdom to see for ourselves those principles in action. The even gave us "whisper sets" in our ears so our instructor could talk at a normal level and we could hear her in our ears. Magic Kingdom is built on the second floor of the earth, because the whole first floor is tunnels under the actual park! We got to go in those tunnels! I am sorry, but no photographs are allowed! In traditions we also received our Disney nametags and Disney ID cards, which get us free into any Disney Park in the world! SO, we sprinted home to change and dashed back to the Magic Kingdom to play the rest of the day! We rode everything! The park was so empty. We got buttons to "celebrate" "working for the mouse" or "bring a member of the club made for you and me" or "being paid weekly. very weakly!" haha, that is what the cast member wrote on our pins for us. It was a fun day and I slept well!

Day 4: Turned out I didn't start work until Saturday, which meant I had 2 whole days completely free. I continued on my park tour to Animal Kingdom -- my new home! And braved Expedition Everest -- my new favorite Disney rollercoaster. Animal Kingdom is a very fun park with cool rides and lots of animals of course! After AK, we went over to EPCOT to visit Steph on her first day of work, and also went on the rides! One of my new friends threw-up on Mission:Space! We felt so bad! Next time some says they get motion sick, we are going to listen! I also love Test Track. At the end of the day, we ate dinner in Japan and watched IllumiNations firework show from Norway. How beautiful to view the world!

Day 5: Today was the day for Hollywood Studios, after another trip to Wal-Mart of course. We grabbed Fast-Passes for Tower of Terror and then rode Rockin' Rollercoaster, The Great Movie Ride, Backlot Tour and Little Mermaid Stageshow before our fast passes we ready. Then we rode and survived the Tower of Terror and finished the afternoon with Toy Story Mania (it's a new ride, check it out!). It was amazing to come to a park late in the day and leave early in the evening. That's what you can do when it is free and unlimited!

Day 6: DAKlimation! DAK stands for Disney's Animal Kingdom, and this day was the time for all new DAK employees to get to know their park better. Here I found out I will be working on Kali River Rapids! It is a rapids water ride that gets you SOAKED! It will be fun to work there. We learned all about conservation and the goals of DAK and then took a park tour, ending with a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris. We ate lunch at the backstage cast cafeteria Pride Rock and then went to Wardrobe to get our costumes! Photos to come of my hot river-guide look :). After a short nap, a huge group of CPs (college program) met at Cici's pizza and then 5 of us went to Downtown Disney.

Day 7: Whew! We made it! Today, I had the day off, so I got to go to church! The ward seems really great and I am excited to get started. I am especially excited about the missionary efforts in this ward and plan to go out with the Sister Missionaries later in the week. After church I napped :) and later watched the CES broadcast on my computer, then watched High School Musical 3 with Steph before bed. Lovely Sabbath!

Wow! I have done SO much in a week! I can't believe it has only been a week. I'll try to keep more updated than this -- but we'll see!