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A little less magical

Make a wish and hold on tight

By Bethany Cobbs
On October 28, 2014

I am alive and well but Disney is not quite as magical as I would like right now. I recently started a new adventure at Downtown Disney in Parking Operations. I realized that I complained a lot about PAC and it wasn’t my favorite thing in the world but I would so much rather be doing PAC than parking. I only have 68 days left in my program but when I think about the fact that I will be watching traffic go by rather than parades and fireworks it makes those 68 days seem like 68,000. 

Downtown Disney is currently under a lot of construction with the transition from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs in the moderately near future. Because of this parking has become somewhat of a challenge and more staffing was needed at this location. I was a part of a group of 30 CPs from Magic Kingdom that got transferred to this new location. When I was told that I would be transferred it was at the beginning of my shift in front of about 100 guest waiting for the Halloween parade. The news completely ruined my night but because I was in front of people on stage and alone in my area I couldn’t react to the news. That single moment made me realize how much I really did like PAC and wish that I could stay. The only thing that I wasn’t happy with in PAC at the moment was a few individuals that I worked with but I was still able to tolerate the job. The only thing that made the transfer seem tolerable was that one of my really good friends, Marissa, was also being transferred. 

The rest of the night and the next few weeks gossip spread like crazy about the transfers. About half of the PAC cast came up to me that night and asked about me being transferred letting me know that it wasn’t fair, how much it sucked, how I would be missed, blah blah blah, and things that I already knew and were out of my control. Marissa and I weighed every single possible pro and con about going to Downtown Disney (DTD) and talked to every person we thought might be able to help us in changing it if possible. That didn’t work and we got very few and very different answers to our questions. 

Finally my last shift at Magic Kingdom came around and I tried my hardest to wear a smile that entire night. My group of friends cried as we walked out of the tunnels together for the last time and I cried when I had to say goodbye to Jeff and Shelly (temporarily). Jeff and Shelly Bell are a couple that retired and moved to Florida to work at Disney World and have been there for 5 years. Jeff was one of my PAC trainers that I connected with almost instantly; he is from Olathe, KS and went to one of Ottawa’s rival schools. He and Shelly have been together for 42 years and adopted me for the duration of my program. They told me they were both incredibly sad when the found out about my transfer and would miss me greatly. When I walked into our meeting Saturday night Shelly hugged me and let me know that she had a gift for me. Over our break she gave me a pan of brownies and cookies that she had made me with notes from both Jeff and herself. The notes made me cry and they also invited me for Thanksgiving, Christmas and offered to help in any way they could with anything I needed. On nights that I am not looking forward to work they always make everything seem and feel a little better even if I don’t get to work with them and I miss those 2 SO much! 

Okay, back to parking (ugh). So far I have only worked at my current location for 2 days and it really isn’t that bad; everything surrounding the job is what makes it not so exciting and very frustrating. Shifts are 8 hours long and I am on my feet for about 90% of it. What I am responsible for doing depends upon where I am. When lots on DTD property are full guests are sent to 2 lots across the street and have to walk over to DTD. Those spots (cross walks) are super easy. All I have to do is greet and talk to guests as the come, help direct them where to go, and attempt to hit the traffic light button before they get there (to be courteous and fulfill Disney customer service I guess). At other spots on DTD property you just have to stop traffic as it is coming and allow for guests to cross the street, also very easy. The last 2 days have been very slow so for the most part I am just standing on a corner at work because not many people are coming through. It’s so easy but it’s frustrating and almost mind numbing but I guess the bright side is that I’m getting paid to do it. 

Another part of the job involves driving golf carts; this is done to help guests find their cars, rotate positions and relieve people for their breaks, and other things. Unfortunately I don’t get to do that. One, because I have not yet done that portion of the training and two because at the moment I don’t have a driver’s license. A while back I fell to peer pressure and did something I knew I shouldn’t have resulting in losing my license at a theme park! I ordered a new one but because I am out of state it will take 3-4 weeks before I receive it. That one little stupid moment has affected my ENTIRE time in Florida but I have tried to make the best of it. I’ve mentioned before that transportation has been one of the hardest things for me and the root of most of my stress and frustration. If I had my driver’s license I would at least be able to get a rental car (there are some companies where the rental age is only 18!) to take care of what I need to do, but I can’t, and I hate it. I no longer hang out with, talk to, or have any contact with  that person and I am trying to forgive them and myself for this situation. But yeah, I don’t get to drive a golf cart at work so it won’t be any fun at all. I really miss seeing the castle every day at work. That beautiful sight always made me feel better and remember why I took a leap to do this. At DTD i see cars and piles of dirt L 

Another frustrating thing about this job is that I work 6-7 days a week, working almost double the hours I worked at Magic Kingdom. I wouldn’t have a problem with that except that our location has a lot of hours to give people so most of the staff is working mandatory overtime making it harder to get time off or give away shifts. Once I get past the week that my parents are here I will just suck it up and let my bank account get fat since I won’t have time to do anything with that money anyway. 

I don’t like to say that I am stressed about things because that will then lead to me actually getting stressed out, but I am very anxious and kinda stressed out about the week my parents are coming. I only requested 2 days off that week and it was approved in August. My plan was to just give away the rest of my shifts because I didn’t know I would be transferred at the time and it is easy to give away shifts in PAC and at the Magic Kingdom. At Downtown Disney it is not. Because of the mandatory overtime about 90% of the staff is working 6 days a week so it is harder to give shifts away to other cast members. I also requested a Friday and Saturday off to attend an AKA Cluster but those days were waitlisted. I’m not sure if they were waitlisted for Magic Kingdom or just those days in general but it would be VERY nice to be able to give them away or get them off since I put those days in at the end of September. 

With everything that is going on between school and in my program I need as much time as possible with my family when they come to visit! We had so many plans and ideas of what all we wanted to do and I know if I will get to be a part of it anymore. I hate whining and complaining about being tired or stressed but that is what I am right now and I don’t know what to do. Everyone please pray for me to have peace and that everything will work out alright. I love being at Disney World, but I’m ready to come home, like yesterday. I hope everyone is doing well and your lives have a little more sparkle than my currently does. 

Blessings, Love, and Sparkles

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