Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Disney World tale

Here I am, Anna.

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Let's go back to last August, waiting to go to Disney World for my 2010 college program after a delightful summer of working at the Big Dipper ice cream store.

I was super excited!
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So excited to leave on that jet plane! I got there after 16 hours of flights and airports, and headed to check in at Vista Way. This was taken on August 11, 2010:
So, so tired. But I got free balloons! And walked outside into pouring rain. I didn't have an umbrella.
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I was not as prepared as Totoro.

I learned I would be in Fantasyland! This meant nothing to me, having never been to Disney. But I tried to play it off.
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I found I would be working on Winnie the Pooh, the teacups and Snow White's Scary Adventure.
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Good stuff.

I did a little dance when I first saw Cinderella's castle.
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I became a stroller guru, knowing where every stroller lock was, and moving them, sometimes 2 at a time to the wall where they were supposed to be parked.
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It was...the best part of the job?

No, the best part of the job was making people happy. "You haven't ridden Peter Pan yet? But it's your birthday! How 'bout going on the ride with no wait?"; walking the family over to the ride and sending them up the fastpass or wheelchair line with almost no wait for the ride. Giving kids stickers and seeing them smile. The emotional hugs from the mothers. The adorable hugs from children who couldn't reach any higher than my legs-so that's where they hugged me. Telling families where to find their favorite character. Getting paid to watch the fireworks almost every night. Riding the carousel with my coworkers 3 times in a row after the park had closed one night. Calling little girls 'Princess' and seeing them smile. Asking little boys if they were a knight, or a prince. Asking them if they were a dragon-slayer. Pushing buttons to make the rides work. Getting high fives every day from strangers. Waving, when people actually waved back.
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It made me feel all bouncy like Tigger on the good days.

On the bad days, well, they were really bad. Getting soaked in the rain at 11pm on Christmas and dealing with an abandoned baby at the teacups. Guests yelling at me, telling me that they would get me fired for telling them that the park was closed for the night. Working until midnight on Thanksgiving. The woman who complained to Guest Relations about me for not getting her on the ride fast enough. The parents who accused me of stealing their strollers because it had been moved. The night I had to spend 6 and a half hours JUST moving strollers in an unfamiliar area in Fantasyland. The mother who called me a bitch in front of her children. Getting rained on one night and not being able to get my poncho from my locker because we were understaffed. My work shoes were squelchy for 2 days afterward. Not making enough money to buy another pair of work shoes because my original ones had holes in the soles. Getting yelled at because one of the rides broke down. Working on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve, and New Years.
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The job sometimes made me cry.
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A lot of times, it felt like people were laughing at me.
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But really, all I could do was wait it out, take some deep breath, and put on a smile.
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And eventually, it would get a lot better.
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I made some really fantastic friends, who are going to be in my life forever.
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"You and me, we're in a club now."
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I hope I can pass on that same 'grape soda pin' feeling.
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I flew home on January 7, 2011. But it wasn't leaving forever. It was as Mickey says, "See ya real soon!"
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