Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Starting Work At Downtown Disney

Well, it's official, I began working at Downtown Disney a few days ago!  I'm finally getting around to posting about it because it's been a crazy week - my sister is in town, too, so when I haven't been at work, I've been spending quality time with her (she's sleeping now, so I get a few minutes on the laptop!)

I'm a market rep for the Disney Visa Premier Credit Card, which basically means I get to stand at the kiosks in Downtown Disney and try to get people to sign up for the credit card.  I get a super cool white shirt with the logo, a red rain jacket and a red winter jacket.  My boss is finally ordering me a name badge, so for the last few days I've been Candace from Chicago.  Apparently it's very common for new Cast Members to wear someone else's badge for a while in the beginning, because lots of CMs have had fun teasing me about it (in a good-natured, been-there-done-that sort of way).  But it'll be nice to have an official Disney name tag proclaiming me, "Rachel, Beverly, MA."

The shifts are generally about six hours long, during which I am not allowed to do anything other than stand in front of my kiosk (I'm only allowed to be behind the counter if I'm processing an application).  No sitting, no leaning on the kiosk, no cell phones, no looking bored or tired, etc, etc.  My feet are absolutely killing me!  I get a half hour break but that only works out to about 20 minutes of sitting down.  I will say that it is pretty cool to get to go through "Cast Member Only" doors, even though the break room is far from magical.

Despite the sore feet, the job is actually pretty fun.  I probably spend maybe 10% of my time actually selling people on the card or helping them apply.  Giving directions and answering general Disney questions accounts for another 20% of my time.  I get to wear a pin lanyard and pin trade (actually quite fun), and that takes up maybe another 20-30% of my time, depending on which kiosk I'm at.  The rest of the time is just standing in front of the kiosk, smiling, waving at people, wishing them Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary if they're wearing buttons, telling them to have a great day, asking them how they're doing, etc - basically trying to get them to stop and notice what we're doing.

The selling is okay, but it's the other stuff I really enjoy.  I know some of my favorite Disney moments have been unexpected moments with CMs who were funny, or who took the time to chat, or who complimented us on something we were wearing, etc.  I love being able to say, "Hello Princess!" to the little girls all dressed up - they just light up!  And most guests genuinely seem to like it when you show an interest in something they're wearing or carrying, or you ask where they're from and how often they get to come to Disney, etc.

It's great for people watching, too.  Hearing my trainer and fellow employees talk, it seems like that'll be a good source of entertainment.  There are plenty of "People of Walmart" types, and also women dressed quite formally with incredibly high heels (why?!?), adults who dress in full Disney costume just for fun, and people speaking all sorts of languages.  You get dumb questions (apparently people really do ask, "When is the 3 o'clock parade?" in the Magic Kingdom) and really random, specific questions.  I cracked up at the guy who asked, "What is the absolute fastest way for me to get an alcoholic drink?"

Okay, so I'm trying to talk this up a bit as a reminder to myself, too, that it's not such a bad thing to have to work here.  It's been almost seven years since I've worked outside the house, and while I'm happy about working in several ways, it's still kind of a bummer.  I hate being tied to a schedule that is not my own.  It's been frustrating to have to spend six hours of work (almost eight when you include travel time) when my sister is here.  I'll be giving up a significant portion of my weekend time with Doug and the kids.  I was feeling really disgruntled about it all yesterday before work.. but you know what?  When I was in the car, and driving under the Disney main gate, I remembered that it could be much, much worse!

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