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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Three Things Thursday- 5/1/2014

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.

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4 comments:

Heidi Strawser said...

You and me both, girlfriend! Ashley wants so badly to be a face character (we think she'd make a fabulous Anna!) But, I can't imagine her being in Florida WITHOUT ME! I'd be so jealous I wouldn't be able to stand it.

Julie said...

The cast member that lives in my house got home at 1am and just headed back down there at 7am, he's loving every minute of it!

Kristy Hall said...

Except that Disney has been behind some rather egragious incidents in the movie industry, and its characters don't all represent the goodliness of Man.

oneblessedmamma said...

Welcome Kristy! I think it's wrong to look to any entertainment company to be your moral compass or any sort of guiding light. And I don't really think there is a "goodliness of man". The Bible tells us, "There is none righteous, no, not one." and that "all our good deeds are as filthy rags". Yes, man, or people, can do things we find heroic or inspirational or "good", but those are by human standards, and God judges differently than we do. So again, I'm not expecting Disney to be providing me with that. We don't watch every movie that Disney puts out...I don't think every show on the Disney channel is amazing, or wholesome, or anything like that. We are careful in what we watch, no matter what company puts it out. With that being said, having lived in Central FL and had passes to all the theme parks through the years, I can tell you that Disney is WAY more wholesome than Universal, and that I know, at least in the theme parks, where Disney draws the line in terms of family values, and I appreciate their having a higher standard than Universal does. I know no man is coming out on stage wearing a bra at Disney (happens at Universal), and that "OPP" won't be the BGM (background music) in ANY of the theme parks (it is in Universal). Each of us draws the line in different places as to what is right and wrong for our families, and I can totally respect if you don't agree with my take on Disney. But in terms of my family, we LOVE Disney in general, and we take what works for us and leave the rest when it comes to their entertainment options that aren't the best fit for us.