It has been a week since I turned left off the Wilds Ridge Road. A week! Honestly, it feels as though it has been a lot longer than that. The week has been busy! First off, I need to just say that the Lord has been good in all things (but when is He not?) during this transition. Not only was I granted safe travels to Florida, but I was reunited with good friends from college and given a place to live. How cool! I have also taken note that apparently I have a pretty prized status within the Walt Disney Company — full time. God never ceases to amaze me.
Last Friday I rolled into Orlando with a car filled as if I was fleeing the country. I showed up to my friends’ house (shoutout to Alex and Kara) that evening and went straight into work the following morning. The first part of work was the initial company orientation called Traditions. Traditions teaches history, philosophy, and basic cast member etiquette for an enhanced guest experience at Walt Disney World Resort. One thing I need to orient you on is some lingo I will be using. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are all considered to be a show which immerses guests in stories. With that, there is show terminology used to keep with this. All employees at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are called cast members (those working together to bring the show to fruition). There is a back stage (areas guests will not enter) and an on stage (all guest areas). For guest areas to be clean, tidy, and ready for guests is called stage ready. But enough of that technical stuff.
Traditions was an eight hour day, but was very informative and interesting. This was the day I was looking forward to the most. I had that Sunday off and went to Calvary in Winter Garden for the morning service. Another college friend I had not seen in years was on the resort for a work conference so I met up with him and we hung out the remainder of the afternoon. Monday I went to operations training where I learned about the importance of my role as operations and how to create happiness for our visitors. Tuesday through Thursday I went through a 3-day lifeguard course that is required of all Disney lifeguards (no matter prior training). Yesterday I had orientation and a tour of the Contemporary Resort (where I am working). That place is fancy! Prior to leaving I went to pick up my costume (uniform) and double check my work schedule. Now I am off today and I do on the job training Sunday through Tuesday!
Wednesday is when I travel back to the Carolinas to start my AT (Annual Training) with the Marines. Once I get back from that I will go straight back to Florida and finally begin working at the Contemporary Resort. What a wild ride!
One thing I have already taken advantage of is my free park admission. It is so great to be able to visit the parks and experience new things (or favorite things). For example, today I am planning to drop by Epcot to ride Soarin’ before they debut the new adventure. Last night I was able to experience Animal Kingdom’s safari at night as well as Expedition Everest at night (way better than during the day, by the way). And a few days ago I was headed to Publix and somehow ended up at the Magic Kingdom. Oops! Of course a couple days ago I had a free afternoon so I ventured around Hollywood Studios. It has really been a blast.
Something I love about all this Disney training is learning how we do things well and why. At The Wilds (and as Christians) we are committed to excellence because it is expected and because it glorifies the Lord. I don’t know if you knew this but Disney does not have excellent service because it brings God glory. I feel like it is too easy at camp to tell someone that excellence is a core value and we are to do it to the glory of God. These are indeed fact and are not wrong to tell someone (don’t misquote me here), but you can’t expect an unbeliever to be motivated to do things excellently based on God’s glory alone. It makes no sense! The training I have received at Disney has helped me understand a different perspective as to why a commitment to excellence is important. Part of that was like camp — “What week are we on? One!” Someone is experiencing your service and your organization for the first time. Give these people (all people) the same experience you remember from your first visit.
Well, I am blessed beyond anything I deserve. This new adventure has been a blast so far and has great potential to turn into something long-term. If my praying people are still reading this, could you please pray that my apartment will be ready when I return from training? Also, I would like to start building relationships, get aquatinted with my schedule, and have time to attend Calvary in Winter Garden often.
If you have any questions about what’s happening, future plans, etc., feel free to comment, email, or text me. It will be good to hear from old friends. Also, don’t be a stranger if you’re visiting Orlando! Until next time: Be strong. Love God. Love others.