Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm Part of Disney Heritage (Now that I've gone through Traditions)

In one word, Traditions was amazing. In many words, well... that's what this blog is for!

My bag's all packed for Traditions!
My day started when I woke up around 8:30am to get ready for a long orientation in the afternoon. I got dressed in my business professional clothing and did my hair and makeup in the Disney Look (which, in one word, can be described as natural). My roommate Erika and I had lunch and got everything ready for Traditions and then headed over to the Clubhouse, which houses the main office and other complex resources, to pick up a few of the kitchen things that we were missing in our apartment. We ran them back to our apartment and then walked back to the bus stop, where we waited to catch a bus to Disney University, which is where our Traditions class was held.

Passing under the Magic Kingdom gates!
Waiting for the bus, I met a lot of amazing people who are doing all sorts of interesting things throughout Walt Disney World. They come from all around the country from vastly different universities and background, which was very cool to see! The bus came just after 1pm and got us over to Disney University just before our Traditions start time at 2pm. I even befriended a few people while on the bus, as we all got super excited with our first sightings of Disney landmarks such as Space Mountain and Cinderella Castle as cast members.

When we made it to Disney University, which is just behind the Magic Kingdom, we were split into five different groups based on numbers we got when we went through casting a few days earlier. I was in group 504 and Erika was in another, so we got split up. As my group waited to go into the classroom for Traditions, I met even more interesting people from all over, including another girl from Wisconsin! (It is super exciting to have someone who's from around my hometown.)

First things first, we got our official Disney IDs - which also act as a privilege pass so I can get into the parks, every single day, absolutely free!!

Waiting in line... look at Chip and Dale coming from the ceiling!
Then, we got settled into our classroom in groups of five - my group was part of Team Woody - and we got started with what turned out to be an amazing afternoon. First, the afternoon started with an online presentation about "Working with Integrity" which was about the legal rules and regulations while working for the Disney company. After this presentation, which took about a half hour, we got started on Traditions!

Our two Traditions leaders were charming, charasmatic and definitely loved their jobs - which was a great first impression on the corporate side of Disney. They showed us a video introduction to Traditions with clips from Bill Iger and even Walt himself - which definitely set the tone for the rest of the afternoon! They gave us an idea of what we'd be doing for the rest of the afternoon, which was jampacked with useful information about working and succeeding with the company.

But, first things first, we got to have a tour of the BACKSTAGE portion of the MAGIC KINGDOM!!!

It was AMAZING. The "Utilidors" as they are called (which is the backstage portion of the Magic Kingdom) are fascinating. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed, but it is just as whimsical as you would imagine it to be. I can't wait to get to know the backstage area since I'll be working in the Magic Kingdom for the next four months. After walking through the Utilidors, we were taken up onto Main Street.

It is just as magical as I remembered it, and to be honest, I almost burst into (happy) tears. It's finally real to me that this is where I'm going to be living, working and playing for the rest of the semester. I can't believe that I am lucky enough to be part of this family and have this opportunity.

After a quick tour around the Magic Kingdom, it was back to the classroom for some more presentations - which were fascinating. We learned about the past, the present and the future of the company. I astounded some of my fellow cast members with my extensive knowledge of the Disney company and its origins during a timeline activity about Disney's past. We learned about important dates in Disney history, were reminded on what has recently happened to the company (for example, the new aquisition of Marvel) and what is upcoming for the company. (Those, however, are company my lips are sealed!)

After learning about Disney history, we learned about the common goal for the Disney company, which we are supposed to keep in mind every day. We did an activity that involved naming Disney characters, and my tabled won! We named 24 characters in a minute and we managed to score cute little Disney figurines to take home. We then learned about the Disney values, the four keys to the Disney experience, the company's commitment to community and the perks we get as cast members.

After taking in all this information (which I took tons of notes on!), it was time to get our official Disney nametags. The boss, that's MICKEY MOUSE!, came to visit our classroom to deliver them and I soon had my hands on what makes my Disney employment feel even more real... an offical engraved nametag. EEK!

After recieving our nametags (which are put on over our heart), we finished off Traditions with a video presentation with clips from Walt Disney and other important leaders in the Disney company, both past and present. The things that were being said in this presentation were so inspirational and impressive that I got chills. I am so thrilled to be part of this company and now have the opportunity every day to make magic.

Then, I met up with Erika again and we hopped on the bus heading back to our apartment complex. We giggled and talked nonstop about the whole Traditions experience, which we were both so happy with! It was definitely an amazing experience.

In the end, the Traditions orientation took about four hours, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I have never been more happy and proud to work for this company.

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