Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For New WDW CPs: Transportation

This is my first post, because it was the first thing that confused me. So: Transportation around Walt Disney World. Most of you reading this probably came down without a car. Or you came with a car, but then your mom or dad drove the car back home. Either way, you're in the same boat I was in: sitting pretty at Housing without a car, wondering how you're going to get anywhere.

Well, my friends, the answer is the glorious bus system! If you didn't get a bus schedule the day you arrived, go to your Front Desk and get one. Now. Insist. They might tell you that it's available online. It is, but it's hard to get to, and it's important for you to have one on hand. You won't always have internet access.

Now that you have a bus schedule, the next step is to program the Dispatch number into your phone. Call this when the bus runs late. Yes, sometimes the buses are late due to traffic, but more often than not, the buses are late because they sit for way too long at Vista Way(their break room is there). Your rent goes to pay for the bus system, so there's no reason to tolerate tardiness. Especially when it can make you late for work.

Speaking of being late for work, I recommend going at least a bus ahead. Example: The A bus that picks up at Chatham at 3:32 would have gotten me to the Magic Kingdom at about 4:15(my shifts usually started at 4:30, but you can clock in 15 minutes early). There was a 3:12 bus that got me there around 3:55ish, and a 2:52 bus that would get me there at around 3:35ish. I usually tried to go for the 2:52 bus. It gave me more flexibility in terms of costuming or stopping at the cafeteria or going to the bathroom or whatever. The 3:12 bus was fine as long as I had everything ready- costume, lunch, etc. I took the 3:32 bus once, and I clocked in with two minutes to spare, and that was after sprinting through the utilidors. Lesson: take an earlier bus. This will also help if a bus is late or doesn't show up at all.

In the first week, everyone tells you to make friends with people who have cars. This is such good advice, but I have one caveat: don't drive with them until they're familiar with the area. I made that mistake on my first day. We got crazy lost- toll roads, back roads, everything you can imagine. Thank goodness we were only going grocery shopping.

Now, buses: So the CP buses will take you pretty much anywhere on Disney property, which is cool. But once you're there, there's another way to get around. Disney encourages the use of their mass transportation system. Animal Kingdom to the Magic Kingdom? Take a white bus. Magic Kingdom to Epcot? Take the monorail. Epcot to Hollywood Studios? You can actually walk, or you can take a Friend Ship, which will stop at a bunch of resorts along the way. Something trickier: Let's say you're at a park, and you want to go to Downtown Disney. You want to have dinner, watch a movie, go to Cirque du Soleil, whatever. So you go to the bus stop, and realize.... there are no buses from any of the parks to Downtown Disney(parking is free at Downtown Disney, and they don't want people in the parks using that). Fortunately, there's a way around that- you don't have to go all the way to housing and then take the F bus. Instead, hoof it or bus it over to the nearest resort and wait at the resort bus stop... for the Downtown Disney bus! See, they want people to go to Downtown Disney to spend money. They just don't want people using it to get out of paying for parking. And you aren't! You're using it so you can spend money at Downtown Disney, which is exactly what the buses are for.

So that's... pretty much it for transportation around the resort. Even if you have a car, you'll probably end up using the on-property system to get around, since there's no reason for you to drive from park to park when it's faster to just use the mass transit system. And if you have any questions about ANYTHING, new CPs, please feel free to leave them in the comments. There's no such thing as a dumb question. :)

Conclusion/See ya real soon!

Well... I'm back in Yakima. For now.

Thoughts upon ending the college program:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I don't want to grow up! I want to stay in Neverland forever! I miss my friends! I miss my job! I miss the parks! I want to stay at Disney forever!

In other words, I had an amazing time. I can't see myself not working there again, to be honest. Granted, it hasn't even been a week since I clocked out of my last shift(I forgot to take a picture of my last Mickey...). So the glow might just be taking some time to wear off. But it was a really awful last week, and if I miss THAT, well, that has to mean something, right?

I feel like I learned more about myself and life during this program than about anything else. Yes, of course I learned a lot about Disney. I learned my way around the utilidors. I learned how to run the registers there, and how to use a cash apron. I learned how to load a glow cart into a too-small elevator. I learned that when the QSF and Stands people left the grease bin open, it stank up the Adventureland utilidor a million times worse than usual. I learned the ins and outs of transportation around the resort as a CP without a car(so easy. Time-consuming, but easy). I learned that guests can often make your day, but they usually can't ruin it. I learned how to say five, seven, ten, and fifteen in Portugese. I memorized whole parades, castle shows, and fireworks shows. I learned what the best food items are, at least in the Magic Kingdom. I learned about using cast discounts.

But those are lessons specific to my life at Disney. Here's what I learned about myself and life in general: I learned that I like living on my own. I learned that I can make friends pretty easily, if those friends want to be made. I learned that people everywhere love talking about themselves, and if you let them, they'll be happier for it. I learned that it's easy to love absolute strangers. I learned to be proud of who I am, whether that's a Mormon, Alaskan, Washingtonian, CP, Merch cast member, Glow girl, or whoever. I learned that's it's important to be able to be open with people, especially ones you live with. It's easier to get everything out there instead of bottling stuff up or feeling awkward. I learned that while I love biology, I also, to a certain extent, love retail(possibly because I'm good at it, but there are worse reasons to like something). And I learned that the best sorts of magical moments are ones that comes straight from the heart.

I'm going to miss everyone so much. To both sets of roommates that I had, you were all amazing. To all of my Adventureland cast members, you guys rock. To the Glow people, more specifically: I will never, ever forget you. To the amazing members of the Buena Vista Ward, thank you so much for being awesome. The Church is SO true. And to Walt Disney World: See ya real soon!

(I'm going to begin a series of posts geared for new CPs. But I'll definitely be posting more stories from my program as I remember them. Ciao!)