Sunday 26th June – Ellis Day Two
Today was the second day of 8.00 – 17.00 Ellis Lifeguard Training at Mickeys Retreat. As I mentioned in the previous weekly blog, I am going to be writing a dedicated post regarding Ellis Lifeguard Training as there is quite a lot to cover and not a great deal of info online.
Once we got back to Patterson Court we had dinner and then met at the pool to practice for our test the next day!
Monday 27th June – Ellis Day Three (Test Out Day)
Today was our Ellis test out day and another 8:00 – 17:00. However, you might get to leave early if they get through everyone quickly! I was really apprehensive about the test out day and was worried I was going to forget everything. In hindsight, you really don’t need to be – Ellis prep you so well in such a sort space of time. Safe to say I passed and was officially a Disney Lifeguard!! As I’ve already mentioned, I am going to be writing a more detailed post on the whole Ellis Lifeguard Training process.
Tuesday 28th June – Day off (Outlets, Publix, Welcome Party)
After three long and tiring days of Ellis Lifeguard Training, I was glad to have a day off. Becky, Eleanor and I went to the outlets for a little mooch around. We also needed to get some appropriate footwear (i.e. ugly crocs). I also needed some black sunglasses and a black waterproof watch for work. (FYI – you can buy a black waterproof watch for $14 at the outlets!) We also went to Publix for the first time and spent way too long chosing what American foods we wanted! I then realised how expensive fresh fruit and vegetables are – poptarts are cheaper than a bag of grapes! My weekly shop was around £20 in the UK – over $50 in Publix really? You can walk to Publix from Patterson Court in about 10-15 minutes, but there is also a transtar bus if your shopping is too heavy.
That afternoon Becky and I also headed over to costuming to collect out lifeguard gear. They were really short on the sizes I needed so I ended up grabbing whatever I could. You can take up to five of each item (i.e. five swimming costumes, five pairs of shorts etc). If you find a size that fits, then keep it!
Once we got back to Patterson Court we decided to have a lil fashion show trying on all our stuff with our ‘fanny packs’. Lifeguard, ready!
That evening, Becky, Suzie, Eleanor, Emily and I went to the Disney Housing Welcome Party at Chatham Square. There was lots of music, character meet and greets, a photo booth and free Pizza – they even had gluten-free slices for me!
Wednesday 29th June – Welcome to Operations a.k.a The Worst Day Ever
Today, we headed back to Disney University for our Welcome to Operations class. The day was from 7:30 – 16.00, so it was a very early start for us all. Let me tell you now, this is one of the most boring days off your entire life. The class is a mixture of CP’s and non CP’s. They teach you a bit more about the company and then some incredibly basic things like how to tell the time using the 24 hour clock (I thought everyone knew this). We also learnt about Disney’s Safe D Begins With Me policy. The ‘Safety In Motion’ portion is probably one of the most patronising and boring portions of this class. Good luck, and try not to fall asleep (honestly, it happened to people).
After we stopped for lunch, we had more recreation specific induction. It involved a presentation and some questions from Disney trainers. We then had to complete some readings online followed by multiple choice questions. It’s all rather straight forward and largely common sense. They also set you up on the hub and get you linked to the cast member wi-fi across Walt Disney World – this is much better than the guest wifi, so use it!
Once Welcome to Operations was finally over, we headed to costuming to collect our free lifeguard shoes. Lifeguards get the choice of receiving a free pair of either white trainers (sneakers) or crocs. I would highly recommend choosing the white trainers over the crocs. The crocs that Disney provide have no holes in and are terrible for getting lots of water trapped in them. I also knew of people who burnt their feet through the crocs because they got so hot! It’s best to collect the free shoes and buy you’re own crocs/tevas – the Croc store at the premium outlets always have some kind of offer available. Generally speaking, resort guards tend to wear trainers, whereas water park guards (who tend to be in the water a lot more) will wear crocs or tevas.
Thursday 30th June: Typhoon Orientation
I met Chris (another UK CEP at Typhoon Lagoon) at Chatham Bus Stop and we headed over to Typhoon Lagoon for our ‘Forecast Typhoon’ class. You are required to wear clothes similar to Traditions attire. My advice is to make sure you have something that is both smart, in Disney look and comfortable in crazy florida heat.
The class ran from 8:00 – 12:00 but because of the bus timetable, we ended up arriving really early. (Transtar is the devil). It was quite strange entering the backstage area of Typhoon Lagoon as I hadn’t even visited the park in the day! We went into one of the training rooms and had a presentation on the story behind Typhoon Lagoon.
The legend goes:
“A furious storm once roared cross the sea
Catching ships in its path, helpless to flee
Instead of a certain and watery doom
The wind swept them here to Typhoon Lagoon.”
All of the theming in Typhoon is based on this ferocious storm; that’s why Miss Tilly is impailed on the mountain (the highest centre point in the park). The stories goes that the mountain still tries to dislodge the boat with an enormous geyser of water every half and hour!
The orientation involved some quizzes such as looking at a map of the park and answering where was the nearest QSFB location, the nearest first aid, the nearest restrooms etc. After a quick break it was time to head out ‘on stage’ and to see the park for the first time.
Typhoon Lagoon is beautiful. I couldn’t think of a more well themed water park and (although I am bias) I definitely prefer it over the theming at Blizzard Beach. Walking around Typhoon Lagoon did feel like a bit of a maze. I thought ‘how am I ever going to remember my way round or be able to get from the backstage area to one of my furthest stands in time!’ It also made me realise how busy the parks and the aquatic areas were going to be. I was excited, but also quite nervous.
After work, I headed to Magic Kingdom to meet the girls. Suzie’s roommate, who works in Fantasyland, had given her loads of fast passes for Magic Kindgom rides so we were able to beat the queues!
I went on Buzz Lightyear for the first time on my programme and lost miserably – I’m used to the Disneyland Paris Version, ok?
We also watched the Main Street Electrical Parade and despite the annoying music, I love it! It’s a love hate thing for sure.
We also watched Wishes from across the lake in Frontierland. I’d definitely recommend trying to see Wishes from different locations in Magic Kingdom!
Sadly, Eleanor and Suzie left early as they had work the following morning. However, I had the next day off and Becky had a PM shift so we decided to stay to watch the Kiss Goodnight. Of course this meant that we had to take some photos in front of the castle and I got my first Mickey Rice Krispie Treat of my programme. (The first of many, may I add).
Friday: Day off!
I had a day off, but everyone else seemed to be either at work or at training. I decided to head back to Typhoon Lagoon for opening and experience the park as a guest. I felt that if I was going to be working there for the summer, I may as well get acquainted with all of the attractions myself. I would really recommend going to either of the water parks for opening as you get on the attractions very quickly – I had managed to do just about everything by lunchtime!
I headed back to housing and decided to go lay by the pool in Patterson Court for some more sunbathing and swimming – I could get used to this life!
I decided to meet Eleanor after she had finished work. She was lifeguarding at Wilderness Lodge which is a Magic Kingdom area resort. I caught the bus over to the Contemporary and met her in Magic Kingdom. We didn’t get into the park until pretty late in the day. There was also a massive rainstorm and we got absolutely drenched walking from the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom main entrance. As soon as we arrived, we ended up spending $8 on the most touristy Disney ponchos.
The good thing about the storm was that Magic Kingdom had emptied out considerably. The bad thing about the storm was that a lot of the rides were closed. At one point, the lightening was right on top of us and struck right next to the castle. Everyone (including us) let out a little scream!
We decided to ride The Little Mermaid ride, It’s A Small World and Enchanted Tales with Belle. Enchanted Tales with Belle is one of my favourite attractions for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney film and Belle is my favourite Disney character. Secondly, Belle’s house is so well themed – I loved all the little details inside. Thirdly, I absolutely adore seeing the kids reactions to Belle when she comes to welcome us in her library. The parents reactions to their children reactions made Eleanor and I get all teary. There was one little girl dressed just like Belle and she was in complete awe of Belle when she entered the room; the little girls mum was beaming with happiness! That is what Disney is all about. I love seeing magical moments like this because it reminds me of my own family and all of our amazing memories in Disney.
Overall, our rain filled evening was one of my favourite evenings in the parks!
Saturday 2nd July – My first day of OTJ Training
Today I had training at Typhoon from 8:00 – 16.30. It was also my first day in costume – exciting! I was up at 6.30am ready to catch the 7am bus to the Typhoon Lagoon cast entrance. I didn’t officially start until 8am and the bus only takes 15 minutes from Chatham Square to Typhoon. However, the buses aren’t that reliable so it is best to get to work early. You are also given a 15 minute grace period to clock in and they encourage you to clock in at the earliest convince. However, don’t clock in before your 15 minute grade period as you’ll end up with a Disney point. Three points and boom, reprimand. Three reprimands and boom, please leave the country within 48 hours.
I am going to compile all of my On the Job Training in one post as there is quite a lot to cover and I never found a great deal of information on the process before I started.
That’s it for another week working for the mouse. Stay tuned for the weeks that follow!
YouTube: AnnieBelle – TheDisneyBelle