So the last two days have been all about getting to know the Disney company: learning to point directions with two fingers (because one finger is rude in some cultures), discussing how to bring even more magic to a child's park experience (hint: kneel to their level and treat them like a prince/princess!), chatting it up with all the people I tried avoiding the first day (networking is everything), forgetting to shave and then being forced to upon arrival at the Team Disney Anaheim complex (one's face must remain squeaky clean), and memorizing whether safety, courtesy, magic, or efficiency is more important (for the record, that's the correct order). It's been loads of fun. Loads.
But seriously, it has been loads of fun! The Disney College Program so far is like the study abroad experience I never had. Last night I met my other two roomies, who threw a party for me the moment I walked into our apartment. They're both named Stephen; one is a cool Asian kid from San Diego who kind of flops across whichever seat he's on, and the other is a crazy loud flamboyant southern guy whose voice would certainly induce headaches if everything he said wasn't so funny. Last night at 1 am he marched out pulling a dolly and a massive rubbermaid container to get more beer from down the street. Yes, he keeps a dolly and a massive rubbermaid container in his closet for situations requiring them. He also lost all his money in a madcap, 36-hour trip to Vegas a few days ago, so I have no idea what he's about to do next.
This morning I woke up at 7 am to dress in business attire and attend our Traditions class, the last boring seminar of the college program. Green shards of glass from smashed Jagermeister bottles littered the living room's hardwood floor (I don't know what happened after I fell asleep last night), and there weren't any clean dishes for me to make breakfast with. But I digress. Let's fast forward to 1:30, right after I'd eaten (discounted) lunch at the (backstage) cast member food court, which is filled with old memorabilia from the park's defunct attractions. We split into small groups in order to tour the park. My group leader informed us to pocket and turn off cell phones, spit out any chewing gum, tuck in our shirts, and follow her. We walked several hundred feet from the building I've spent the last three days in to a massive cement wall lined with support beams that held strangely familiar green hills atop them. This was the backdrop for Toontown!
A small mirror next to the gap in the wall we walked through had the slogan "remember to put on your smile... and check your teeth for food!" printed over it. I turned a sharp left, then a sharp right, and exited the turnaround in the middle of Toontown. People milled everywhere. Music was playing. All of a sudden, and without warning, I. WAS. IN. DISNEYLAND.
I'd like you all to take a brief moment and appreciate the magnitude of this milestone in my life. I don't want to toot my own horn here, but I'm 21, and I never actually thought I'd get to walk into Disneyland through any other entrance but its front one. And here I was. In the middle of the park. Wearing business attire. Freshly shaven. As if I'd apparated. I remember having to catch my breath after the shock of it all subsided.
I don't think it's ever going to get any better than that exact moment.
The tour was awesome! And on the way out we took another cast member exit through Frontierland that involved a massive tunnel and a glimpse at the backstage corral where all the horses are kept. Kickass! Plus, I made friends! After I met my family for dinner at Goofy's Kitchen (the menu of which, by the way, is starting to be a little too kid-friendly for my tastes), I met up with some people to go to Disneyland for the evening. I used my snazzy new ID card to get in for FREE (and I later used it for a 20% discount on a soda!). My dad followed me to the park entrance to get a photo of me using the ID for the first time, which was only minimally embarrassing, and then I got to hang around the park all night! And there was no big rush because I'm gonna be here all summer! Kickass!
Anyway, there's a lot more I could say, but I'll sign off with this for now:
- I still don't know what ride I'm working on (but I find out Monday... I think).
- I can see the park's fireworks show every night from my bedroom window!
- One of the guys I got to know today, Jeff, had a bunch of pets when he was younger; a gerbil named Brandy (after the singer), a turtle named Rosie (after Rosie O'Donnell), and a cat named AJ (after the Backstreet Boys singer). I'm definitely not the craziest one here...