Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Me In Costume

I'm only sharing this because I'm in one of those moods. I took it with the intent of cropping it into a Splash Mountain photo, but that turned out to be way difficult/I don't really have the time, so...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Picking My Nose and Staring Out the Window...

... Is NOT what I was doing when I came up with the title for this blog post. At any rate, the last week has really been insane. My good friends Bird, Caitlyn, Sarah, and Ben all came to visit me and run around Disneyland during the same two day span, so my 48 hour break from Splash Mountain was spent within a half-mile proximity of the attraction waiting in line for everything else. By the end of my Tuesday/Wednesday weekend, my feet were blistered, my good spirits exhausted, and my work week just beginning. I've only now begun to recover. We had a great time, though, and many shenanigans were had. Bird and I even treated ourselves to a spendy lunch at the Blue Bayou before everyone else showed up.

Otherwise, I've been working. And working. And working. My detestation of the "Base of C" position has sunk to new depths, as my previous least-favorite shift, "Merge," has proven itself manageable once the cast member responsible for its functioning knows what the hell they're doing (read: I've been at Splash for over a month now and am no longer fresh-faced to the ways of its world). "Merge" consists of standing at the point in line where the Fastpass and Standby guests collide, which is about 100 feet away from the load station. By this point in time, Standby guests have been waiting in line for anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes, and they've been watching Fastpassers whizz by them at disconcertingly unfair rates. So, when I heave my bulk in front of the Standby line to stop its flow and allow an obscene amount of Fastpassers to cut - just when it seemed there was nothing left to obstruct the Standbyer's from their logs - people get PISSED OFF. Like, seriously pissed off. They swear. They push. They spit. It's not a fun time. I've heard so many lowly stories of how long people have spent waiting for Splash Mountain now that all I can do when I hear a "new" one is stare in bemusement.

Anyway, my new system is this: stop both lines until there's practically no one in front of me (but not so few as to give the loaders no one to work with), and then let in the Standby line up to a designated person who I've picked ahead of time that's standing at the bend in the rabbit hole queue. Everyone after this person has no idea what's going on, because they can't see me until they've rounded the curve. Then, I stop the Standby line again, wait for the area ahead of me (my "buffer zone") to clear out, and let in everyone who has a Fastpass. The official ratio of guests I'm supposed to allow past me at a time is 45 Fastpassers to 5 Standbyers, which is a ridiculous proportion and not one I follow. My system allows for at least 20 standbyers to every 45 fastpassers, and it hasn't backed up on me yet. Wohoo!

In other news, my roommate Kyle totally sucks. He wasn't too great a sport about three of my friends sleeping on our floor last week, and since then I've said three words to him (which were: "hey," "okay," and "night" [as in, "goodnight," which I found too appallingly long a word to communicate to him with, and so abbreviated for my own sanity's sake]).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Base of C

There's a position in Splash Mountain called "Base of C," during which one cast member is paid by Disneyland to sit in the dark recesses of the lift hill that pulls logs and very-much-suspecting guests up to their final plunge. The job of this individual is to stare resolutely at a small monitor that screens each log for lap-sitters or standers and, if they spot one, to enact a manual ride stop, enter the view of the guests with a flashlight, and stand there shouting until whatever was an issue has been fixed. Whenever I'm stuck at Base of C for inordinate amounts of time, such as last night, I start to go a little cuckoo. First of all, there's the vulture spiel playing directly over your head, on repeat, for however long you're down there.

"Everybody's got a laughing place... looks like this one's for you. Wait 'til you see what happened to that old Brer Rabbit... he learned his lesson alright... but I'm afraid he learned to late! Laughing place... we'll show you a laughing place... right up here. If you've found you're laughing place, how come you aren't laughing?"

x 400.

Guest response to these animatronics varies according to age and weight. Little kids cry or scream. Fat little kids laugh back in an obese attempt at cleverness (because the vultures have just asked them why they aren't laughing). Dads stare, entranced, at the mechanical gadgetry displayed before them. Mothers are usually too busy either shielding their sight from a drop that's still a good thirty seconds away or scrambling to secure all personal belongings to notice what's happening. Minorities swear (not being racist, here, just observing and making rash generalizations), and inappropriately skinny adults (read: chain smokers or meth heads, but like there's really even a difference, right?) flip them off. The same-old, same-old nature of this position gets tiring quickly.

Plus, from where I sit, I can watch the logs pass by from the corner of my right eye, which positions myself firmly to the left of their track. On the video screen, though, my view is an overhead one, with the camera perched just above the vultures. Seeing each log from two unique perspectives gets my mind all cracked out on the nature of reality/existence/whether or not I'll still be sane by thirty, and I wig out a bit. Plus, on the far left side of the monitor's image, I can see the entrance to the recess in which I sit, and sometimes I stick my foot out a bit so that I can see my own foot on the monitor. Me watching myself from a distinctly removed position - while also watching logs from two contrasting perspectives - doesn't go over too well. I leave each Base of C shift feeling dizzy and confused, or, as I've taken to calling it lately, "confizzled."

Go ahead, try it! It's fun, I promise: "Confizzled."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Some Crap About Time Going Fast

I keep meaning to update this here thing, but the minutes in my days keep whizzing past at a positively alarming rate, and before I know it the next day's already gone by, followed by the next, etc...

Which leaves me at this here point right now, doing my best to follow suit. Work's become more all-consuming, as I've finished my group shifts for Fantastmic crowd control and am now on Splash Mountain eight hours a day, five days a week. Everyone's really nice, but it's an exhausting job dealing with so many thousands of people every shift. I've had two formal "conversations" with New Orleans/Critter Country management about clocking out incorrectly, which means one more and I suffer the repercussions of a mandatory, documented "coaching" session! Otherwise, my actual leads all like me. They say I'm "chill" and that I should know it's a good sign if they talk shit about all the other cast members in front of me. How am I so good with authority?

Simone visited for the last two days (shout out to Simone... my one official visitor so far!), which means she had to drive all the way down from San Francisco to spend a day in the park. All you whiny Oregonians, take note: true friends don't let mileage matter. We experienced 25 attractions, including every major ride in both Disneyland and California Adventure. Now that's some serious theme-parking! Several mini-escapades ensued, but for the full stories you're gonna have to talk to one of us in person.

On another note, I won four tickets to the Conan O'Brien show on August 13! I'm so stoked! And that's all I have to say about that.

Anaheim grows hotter with each passing day, which, if you read my intro paragraph, you should know means it's getting exponentially hotter. I'm so hot! Our dishwasher broke, and no one's exactly done dishes for about the past five days, so the kitchen's a mess. Consequently, I'm eating out more, which means burritos for every meal! Just kidding... not.

I don't know what else I should report about the behind-the-scenes goings-on in Disneyland. Honestly, I'm beginning to think I should maybe keep it all more magical for the rest of you by staying quiet. I mean, who wants to know that the delicious smell of waffle cones drifting from main street's ice cream shop is fake? Or that Mickey Mouse is almost always played by a young girl?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


A list of things I didn't find savory about today (presented in the order I type them):

- Waking up tired.
- Cleaning my roommate Kyle's accumulated toothpaste spit from the bottom half of our bathroom mirror.
- Having to be extra quiet all morning so as not to awaken/interact with said creepy roommate.
- Spending $24.80 on lunch at Bubba Gump's (which, by the way, is NEVER worthwhile, no matter what ANYONE says, ever).
- Discovering our new roomie is Kyle's "BFF" from upstairs, whose room flooded when the room above it broke their washing machine.
- First laying eyes on said new roomie's extra thirty pounds, snaggletooth, hopelessly-pulled-up white socks, and eager demeanor.
- Not getting an afternoon nap.
- Working Fantasmic crowd control from 5:30-10:30 instead of Splash.
- Guarding not one, but TWO "suspicious packages" for a half an hour apiece until the bomb-sniffing dogs made their way across the park.
- Getting caught texting as I exited the Fantasmic break room at the end of my shift, which is a BIG no-no On Stage.
- Spilling ketchup on my shirt as I ate In-N-Out (alone) in my car.
- Driving for at least two minutes on a busy commercial street at 10:50 pm before realizing I didn't have my lights on.
- Not being able to find out what smells like some girl's period in my bedroom right now.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm Not A Puppet, I'm A City Boy!

So I haven't said much about Anaheim aside from the living/breathing/eating Disneyland aspect. My apartment is in Carnegie Plaza on the Center Street Promenade, a convenient two blocks away from City Hall, Anaheim Ice (home of the city's hockey team), and a massive police department. We've got 24/7 security, palm trees lined with Christmas lights, and aesthetically pleasing fountains right outside the lobby. I'll never again live in a nicer location, and although I'm pleased with where I've been placed, I feel kind of cheated that this was my "immersion" into big city life. I mean, come on! I'm practically on vacation, here. Where are the shady neighbors? The suspect immigrants? The figures who make me walk more briskly?

Oh, that's right... they're just across the street. Aside from providing a spectacular view of Disneyland's nightly fireworks show, my living room/bedroom windows also look out over a mini ghetto that's sandwiched between a gas station (also arguably a vital element of said ghetto) and a suit broker. People walk around, shout, set off car alarms, and curse at police cars all through the night. It's actually a fairly relaxing background noise to fall asleep to.

What else, what else? There are a ton of really cheap mexican restaurants around. For $4.99, one can purchase two fish tacos, rice, beans, and chips and salsa... now that's how you spell "steal!" Also, when Steven left a few days ago, I didn't realize how much of the necessary shit around our apartment (knives, washing machine detergent, coffee filters...) was actually his. It's gone now, and I can't even cook food because I have nothing to chop a tomato (or any other vegetable that requires chopping) with. Also, I'm beginning to realize how incomprehensibly uncultured (read: simply not exposed to anything... at all) a LOT of people from Middle America are. What goes on between East and West Coasts is seeming scarier and scarier by the day...

I passed my PA (Performance Assessment) for Splash Mountain on Wednesday after my initial attempt was interrupted by a ride breakdown/evacuation. I had just finished my tower evaluation (where all the buttons and security monitors are) when the breakdown alarm sounded, setting in motion a thirty step reset operation that I was less than prepared for. Regardless, I did well, and now I'm an official Cast Member! Last night, though, I had to work crowd control for Fantasmic, which was awful. Four hours of shouting to "stay to the right... please... folks" is monotonous at best, and boring at worst (just because "monotonous" is so much more exciting a word than "boring," if that makes sense at all). And now I gotta head to the gym before my 6-12 shift, so I'm out for now. Take it easy, everyone.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Well... That's All, Folks

He's gone and done it. After high-tailing it back from Vegas (where he was married...) for a hearing, my crazy roomie Steven is fired. From Disneyland. From the program. From California in general. He's got until noon to leave.

The crazy bastard. I'll miss him.