It's Three Things Thursday, and for once, I have a theme!
1) Today is May 1st, 2014. Twenty-five years ago today, what was then (and will forever be in my mind) the Disney-MGM Studios opened. I wasn't on the opening crew, although I went to the park as a guest that summer. I knew in May of 1990 that I would need to get a job, and I just couldn't imagine myself doing any of the typical college student type jobs. So I went to the Disney casting building and applied for a job. The first one they offered me was in monorails, but the idea of driving a monorail intimidated me at the time-it seemed like a huge amount of responsibility and liability. I said no to that, and came back a week later. It was then that they offered me the chance to read for a tour guide position at the Backstage Studio Tour. Little did I know that the joke was on me. Monorails run on a rail, and have speed regulators...the tour trams are essentially semi truck cabs that are hooked to parking tram cars and do not run on a track of any sort. You drive it. The "rotation" went 1) give the tour as the tour guide, 2) drive the tram for the next tour guide, 3) work one of the other positions like loading guests on board, or greeting people at the entrance, etc., and then a break. I loved it. Here's a picture of the crew from when they moved the entrance of the tour to its current location (it used to be where you go into the animation stuff now). At that time, they also changed the name to the Studio Backlot Tour, a little easier to say. (Not that that matter now-there is no live tour guide anymore, it's all recorded :-( ).
2) One of the best things about working at Disney is the people. Just like any job, you aren't going to love everyone you work with, but really, working at Disney is unlike working anywhere else, and the people you work with day in and day out become like family to you. Even now, 25 years later, we keep up with each other on Facebook, plan yearly reunions, mourn the loss of one of our own, and go out of our way to see each other if we are in the parks visiting. In fact, there's a girl in the photo above who lives close to me now, and we're going to try to meet up. The camaraderie is truly indescribable. I've trolled Facebook all day today looking at old pictures and walking down memory lane as my fellow cast members have shared their memories from our time together.
3) The other great thing about Disney is that, as one of the largest single-site employers in the country, if you don't like the job you are doing, it's super easy to change jobs and do something else. I started in attractions on the tour. I opened the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure (playground), I came to Jim Henson's MuppetVision 3D just as it opened, and I learned Great Movie Ride because I had always wanted to do that. And I was a trainer of other cast members in each of those locations. But along the way, I also was "cross-utilized" teaching the Youth Education Series programs at EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom. Working at Guest Relations had always been on my "bucket list", so I transferred there. I also worked in Marketing as a secretary for about half a year because of an injury. And I was privileged to work on the Press Event for the 25th Anniversary of WDW. My role was to bring in about 1000 of the 2500 kids we brought in from Boys and Girls Clubs from around the country. It was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I've ever been part of. I still have some of their sweet notes and thank yous.
Apparently, my love for Disney has rubbed off on my kids. My daughter Mimi's aspiration is to be a face character as soon as she is old enough. And I have every confidence she could do it...I'm just not sure I'm ready to have her working several states away. We'll cross that bridge in 2 years.
To join up with Three Things Thursday, just visit Heidi's Head.