Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Final Tour


I am very proud to say that I have no successfully completed my Disney College Program! I actually finally just made it back to the wonderfully College Station, Tx. These last few weeks were very busy, but I learned a lot. It really made me thankful that I was given the opportunity to go work for Disney for a semester! By far the highlight of my internship was what I was given the opportunity to do on my final day. I got a to attend a tour of Disney's Floral and Gift Department. Although I can not share much from my tour, nor was I able to take pictures, I will do my best to describe what I wonderful experience it was!

I was given the opportunity to go on this tour after talking to one of my managers and expressing my interest in the subject. From there, he set up the tour for seven Disney's Pop Century front desk cast members to take a tour. It was about an hour tour, lead by one of the event planners, named Rose. She was fantastic and took us all over the rather large building. We were shown where the floral arrangements for all of Disney are made. This includes flowers for the resorts, parks, sent from guests to guests as well as florals for special events. Rose explained that they they do an average of 1,100 events a year. Everything seemed larger than life. I have never seen so many vases, tools, and ribbons. They had three rather large walk-in coolers to house flowers and fruits. I was like a kid in a candy store, my eyes were huge! Rose explained about the custom designs they make, as well as how they organize their floral area. She also explained that within each floral design they create, they put a tiny "hidden Mickey" somewhere in the design for the recipient to find. From the floral department, we moved over to the gift section. Here, was a room just as large, with a numerous amount of baskets, balloons, ribbons, and goodies. The number of customized Disney ribbons alone they had was astounding. Between the floral and gift area, I would estimate that they had approximately a little over two dozen employees. Rose briefly explained to us about how they can customize rooms to a certain celebration at a Disney Resort. She showed us room sets for couples who were just married, engaged, people celebrating birthdays and holidays. It was obvious that Disney had thought out every last detail.

The second portion of the tour was of the event design, audio visual, photography, digital graphics, and customization departments. Each office that we passed was decorated to the inhabitants desire. It was amazing to see what such creative people designed for their own space! We were able to see photographers at work editing photos, graphic designers creating logos for upcoming clients of Disney, and event planners transforming basic ballrooms into winter wonderlands. The pictures that were hung on the walls of the event planners were events unlike I have ever seen. Rose said that they consistently create custom fabrics, logos and even products for clients who have their events at Disney. It was honestly like a dream, I would of gladly of taken any position offered to me in that building! It truly was an amazing experience, and it really ended me on the highest note possible with Disney.

As my time came to a close at work, it really struck me how lucky I was to be working there. I learned so much about customer service, floral, events, and even business. I was able to apply things I learned in classrooms in College Station to real life situations. I made contacts and networked with people who will could potentially help me in my long term goals and success. Was it tough at times? Yes. Did I work long hours? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend my Disney College Program Graduation ceremony because I was working. However, I still earned my tasseled ears and my Certificate of Completion!

Heres a picture:

Have A Magical Day,

Friday, April 25, 2014

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival


My time here in Orlando is quickly coming to an end. I can honestly say it flew by! One of my very favorite things I have done during my time off of work has been visiting the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival. The festival is held yearly each Spring to display seasonal foods, over 100 topiaries, and seasonal flowers. When I first heard about this festival I knew right away it was something I had to see. The Festival this year runs from March 5th- May 18th, so I have been multiple times. Here are some of my favorite parts of the festival:

Outdoor kitchens are located throughout the park. Served in these kitchens are foods featuring specific plants and fruits such as pineapple, sweet potato, strawberries, eggplant, and oranges. Outside each outdoor kitchen is a tiny garden that has these items growing. Heres an example of Pineapple Promenade where you could purchase Dole Whip and see what was grown to make it:

Topiaries are displayed all over the park of different Disney characters and friends. There are around 20 in total.

Tinker Bell's Butterfly House was probably my favorite area. You enter a green house like area filled with different varieties of flowers and plants. That is not the impressive part though, tons, hundreds, of butterflies are flying all around you. You can watch them fly around, land on flowers, and sometimes even land on you. It is a beautiful sight, but is very hard to catch on camera.

It was not all just for looks, I learned something new that I found very interesting called Aquaponics. Aquaponics is the combination of fish and hydroponic vegetable crops in a recirculating system. The fish and the plants work together to improve the living of each other. The plants act as a filter to improve the water quality for the fish, and the fish provide nutrients that the plants need to survive and grow.This helpful system has many benefits  including saving money on filtration systems and fertilizer. It has also helped the creation of more organic and natural products. Below is a sample of an aquaponics system that they had set up.

Finally, here are some of the garden areas that were scattered throughout and some feature displays.

I can only imagine how many hands and hours it took to complete all of the topiaries and gardens. It is truly a beautiful sight. The colors are so rich, and the designs are intricately planned. It is definitely a project that I would be interested in working on sometime in the future. Hopefully I will be able to at least visit it in the future and see how much it has grown.

Have a magical day!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pop Front Desk Runner


These past few weeks have been very exciting for me! I returned home for a couple of days to receive my Fightin' Texas Aggie Ring and to spend some time with my family. I returned back to Orlando just in time for the Easter weekend rush. I also was trained in an additional position at Pop Century this week. My new job, in addition to working the front desk, is to be a front desk runner. I was trained in three specific shifts of this job. They include the 5 pm closing shift, noon dispatch shift, and the basic runner shift. During each specific shift I have different responsibilities to complete. Below is a break down of the responsibilities for each shift.

Basic runner:
- Assist guests that are locked out of their room.
- Deliver packages sent to guests at the resort.
- Deliver floral arrangements, and gift baskets to guests.
- Deliver and make birthday items such as balloons and cards.
- Restock basic items such as towels for the front desk.
- Deliver and pick up items from other Disney resorts and parks.
- Retrieve lost and found items for guests.
- Check the status of rooms.

- All the responsibilities of the basic runner.
- Sign for packages and floral arrangements delivered from Walt Disney Floral, UPS, USPS, and Fed-Ex
- Input all packages delivered from UPS, USPS, and Fed-Ex into the Pop Century package system
- Organize and sort through all packages delivered.
- Notify guests that they have packages, and confirm tracking numbers.
- Give guests their packages if they come to the front desk to receive them.
- Keep other runners "in the know" about what needs to be completed.

- All the responsibilities of the basic runner:
- Pull all packages that need to be delivered for the following day.
- Log all Return to Sender packages.
- Locate Magic Bands that were not given to guests during check-in.

I enjoy this new position very much. I get to handle and deliver floral arrangements and gift baskets multiples times a day which is excellent practice. I am also able to interact with cast members who work in the floral department of Disney. I also have much more room to be creative with the birthday balloons and cards and how I present them to guests in their rooms. It is a very active and busy job. Tons of floral arrangements, packages, and gift baskets are sent to the resort each day. With Pop Century being such a large resort, you have to deliver all over the place! I also have a lot more responsibilities in this position. I have access to every room, as well as company vehicles. It was a learning process, I had two days of training where I learned how to log and deliver packages with a new program. I am so excited to see where this new position takes me. I can not explain how excited I am to be working with flowers again! My shifts will now be split between my previous position and this new position. I have begun to work an additional day each week due to a larger amount of people visiting Disney. Unfortunately, I do not have any new pictures to show. I will make sure to have a few for my next post.

Have a magical day!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Everything Pop!


Today's post will be on a Disney guest's view of Pop Century Resort. Just like most things at Disney, it is the cast's job to engross the guests into the story, or theme, of the resort. The idea of resort is to let the guests experience the unforgettable fads of the 1950's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. This is done at Pop Century through the display of timeless fashions, catch phrases, toys and dances all over the resort property that were popular during those decades.

I'll begin by sharing a bit about the resort itself. Disney's Pop Century opened it's doors to the decades on December 14th, 2003. Pop is considered to be in the "value" category of Disney resorts. The value resorts are typically the most affordable option for families that would like to stay on Disney property. At 2,880 rooms, Disney's Pop Century is the 7th largest resort in the United States as well as the largest on Disney's property. Pop contains eleven total buildings, one being Classic Hall, three 50's themed buildings, two 60's themed buildings, two 70's themed buildings, two 80's themed buildings and one 90's themed building. There are three pools on property, the Hippy Dippy pool in the 60's, the Bowling Pool in the 50's and the Computer Pool in the 90's as well as one playground. Below is a map of the entire Pop Century property.

Guests that start their journey to Disney via plane, first encounter Disney's accommodations at the Orlando airport. Disney's Magical Express is a complimentary bus system that will transport you, and your luggage, to and from any Disney Resort from the airport. At Pop Century, the Magical Express drops you off right at the red carpet at the doors of Classic Hall. Here is where the story truly begins for guests by vehicle, or by bus, that are staying at Pop Century. Walking down the red carpet, guests are greeted by guests members welcoming them home. They continue to follow the red carpet straight into Classic Hall. Classic Hall features photos, memorabilia, posters and more from the 50's-90's and is also home to the check-in/ out desk, concierge, arcade, and Everything Pop Shopping and Dining. 

The Red Carpet walk from the Disney Magical Express into Classic Hall

When the guests continue to check-in, they are greeted by cast members just like me, with a phrase similar to, "Welcome to Pop Century! Where we celebrate POP culture!". From here, the typical check-in process occurs and room assignments are given. Cast members use themed phrases to suite which ever decade the guest is staying in. For example, phrases like "far out", "radical", "stellar", and "totally awesome" are commonly used. Most check-ins are concluded with a phrase such as "Have a groovy stay!"or something comparable. Along the wall opposite of the check-in area, are shadow boxes that showcase items from all the decades. Also in Classic Hall, is Everything Pop Shopping and Dining. Here quick service breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are served to hungry guests all day. In the shopping area, guests are offered a variety of Disney souvenirs, as well as necessity items and sweets.

Check-In Counter inside Classic Hall
Everything Pop inside Classic Hall
A portion of the merchandise in Everything Pop
The Quick Service Food Court in Everything Pop
Dining seating in Everything Pop
The next thing for the guests to experience are the decades they will call home for their remaining length of stay. Below are descriptions and pictures of each decades, their larger than life icons, and their special details:

First up is the 50's section, here guests will find Lady and Trap from Lady and The Tramp listening to a great big juke box. Lady is just outside building one, the juke box is outside building 2, and Tramp is outside building 3. In the center of all three is a bowling pin shaped pool, known as the Bowling Pool. On the ends of the 50's buildings are 65 foot tall Brunswick Bowling pin stairwells.

Lady, outside her building in the 50's

Tramp, outside building 3

The Bowling Pool in the 50's Section

A close up of Lady outside building 1

A portion of building 1 that shoes the rooms outside.

The Bowling Pin Stairwells
Next is the 60's section. This is known to be the "main" area of the resort, due to its close proximity to Classic Hall. It is also home to the biggest pool on property, The Hippy Dippy pool, which is shaped like a flower. Guest can also find a kids pool, a pool bar, recreation activities that happen daily out between the two 60's buildings. The larger than life icons located in the 60's are Baloo and Mowgli from Disney's The Jungle Book outside building 5, and a can of Play-Doh with Play-Doh characters outside building 4. The Play-Doh can icon is 22 feet tall, and large finger prints can be seen on the animals to make them appear to be hand sculpted by a child. On the ends of the 60's buildings are large Yo-Yos that house the stairs for the building.

View of the 60's section walking out of Classic Hall
The Hippy Dippy pool area.
The Hippy Dippy Pool
Petals pool bar in the 60's
The Kids Pool
View of Classic Hall from opposite the Hippy Dippy Pool
The Play-Doh can outside building 4
Jungle Book characters outside building 5
A portion of building 4 in the 60's
Moving on over to the 70's section, we find Mickey on the telephone outside building 6. This 30 foot tall icon includes a base that is 8 feet tall, buttons that are each 1 foot wide, and a handset that is 20 feet long. Just across the way in front of building 10, is a giant Big Wheel tricycle. It has a sticker on it that states that it can accommodate a rider that weighs up to 877 pounds. Also found in the 70's section are two games of outdoor twister, and an oversized foosball table. Huge 8-track tapes are on the ends of each 70's building and display popular songs during that time.

Mickey using a telephone outside building 6
The Big Wheel and portion of the foosball area outside building 10
A portion of building 10
The 8 Track tapes on the stairwells of the 70's
The 80's and 90's section are grouped together in the final portion of the resort. The 1980's area features a 33 foot tall Sony Sports Walkman outside building 9. The headset to the Walkman is 37 feet wide and the earphones are 4 feet in diameter. Across the way outside of building 7 is Roger Rabbit. The 1990's area is home to the third pool on property, the Computer Pool, which is in the shape of a computer...also known as a square. In front of it is a large keyboard that kids can run and play on. Outside of the 90's building, building 8, is a giant laptop. The 90's buildings feature 55 foot tall cell phone stairwells, each that contain an important phone number for guests of Disney.

Sony Walkman outside of building 9
Roger Rabbit outside of building 7
The 80's and 90's area
The Computer Pool
Larger than life Computer Pool keyboard
The 90's building 8
As you have probably already noticed, the Pop Century Resort is ginormous. There are so many things for guests to see and do during their stay here. Disney has done an excellent job of throwing guests back in time while visiting. Here are some other small details around property that add to the experience.

An area in Classic Hall where kids can watch the Disney Channel while adults are checking in
A cart for cast members to use to get around property

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head near the 70's
Goofy outside the 60's area
The Fast Forward Arcade in Classic Hall
The Shuttle stop out front of Classic Hall
More activities in Classic Hall

I hope you have enjoyed this groovy tour of Disney's Pop Century Resort, and hopefully one day you can experience the decades in person!

Have a Magical Day!