"We allow no geniuses around our Studio." -Walt Disney

Today was my first day of training in Hollywood Studios, a little program they call "Merchandise Tier 1". Basically it involved an introduction to the park, as well as each of the three places I will be working (Rock'n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Fantasmic carts). First I got to wear what they refer to as the "High End Merchandise" costume. I don't have any pictures of myself in it because I was a little too excited to think of that sort of thing, but basically there were a lot of red with white polka-dots involved and a VERY interesting green skirt. One thing to know about costumes...women wear about two or three sizes larger than their street clothes. So I'm a size eight dress, but I wore a 14 skirt and a 10 blouse. Made things a little difficult, especially because seemingly every other girl has the same sizes as me. =P
So you've all heard of the tunnels under the Magic Kingdom for cast members to use to get from place to place? Keeps people in princess costumes out of Adventureland and vice versa. Well they don't have a system like that at Hollywood Studios. Rather, they have a whole lot of "backstage" area, which is accessed by tons of little Cast Member Only doors and passages, which I have begun to refer to as "Secret squirrel holes". Doesn't make any sense, but seriously, it's so easy to get lost back there. No signs, just your own basic knowledge of the park (which we call "On Stage") and maybe you can see some big landmarks along the way. Luckily I didn't have to navigate by myself most of the day.
Training was fun. My trainer was a "Disney Legend", Don Rogers. Pretty cool! It was Star Wars Weekend, of course, the second to last one of the year. I got in at 10 and by the time I was dressed and we were ready to get going, the 11 o'clock Star Wars parade was getting set to go. Because Don was such an awesome guy, and because he QUICKLY learned how big a Star Wars fan I am (it was a little obvious with how much my nerd was showing), he took me around back to see all the performers preparing for the parade. I got to see Shaak Ti, Kit Fisto, Mace Windu, Ahsoka Tano, Darth Maul, Darth Revan, Vader, Chewbacca, you name it! I also got a brief glimpse of Sam Witwer, who voiced Darth Maul for the Star Wars: Clone Wars show, and is the vampire Aidan on "Being Human". Let me just say, it's SO WEIRD to see someone in person when you're used to seeing them on television. Seriously. I also saw Warwick Davis (Ewok and Professor Flitwick) and the voice of Admiral Ackbar ("It's a Trap!"), Tim Rose.
Today was overall just a great introduction. I traded a bunch of pins and got to learn my way around. I even helped find a little boy who'd ran off from his grandmother. I got to meet tons of people who I'm going to work with over the next few months and I feel a little better now, at least having some idea of how things are going to roll. I also got these...
...my "Earning my Ears" ribbon and my pin-trading lanyard. Ignore the "I <3 Food and Beverage" pin. Merchandise is better anyways =P I had a great time and I'll let you know how the rest of my training goes!

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