10 Must-Dos in London

10 Must-Dos in London
10 Must-Dos in London

Venice Trip Report

Venice Trip Report
Venice Trip Report

Disneyland California Trip

Disneyland California Trip
Disneyland California Trip

Working at Disneyland Paris - Day 11 (26th Dec)

Today I started at 10.30am. After getting changed, I saw Mickey on a golf cart being driven around from one park to another which was kind of cute and funny. Didn't expect to see that the first thing in the morning.

Apparently today is not a bank holiday so the buses run on normal timetables and not on Sunday timetables...something I didn't know and I may have informed some people wrongly...oops! The 31st is also not a bank holiday.

I saw the parade floats for Star and Cars [or as me and Eilidh think 'Stars in Cars' would be a more appropriate name] being driven around with no characters at around 2:20pm.

There were 44,000 people in the park today. [We got told the day after there were actually 53,000+ people this day] and it was horrendously packed, just as we'd anticipated for Boxing Day. It was a 45 minute queue for Casey Junior today with both trains running and Storybook had a 30 minute wait. Wow!

Lots and lots of SAPs today (disabled people) due to the increased attendance which seems to be proportionally correct.

I had to do 'la fermeture' for both rides - which includes the fun job of 'le sweeping' which includes changing the bins.

At lunch the staff toilets had a sign saying that "nettoyage en course" and that the toilets were closed. A woman comes in and says to me "Regarde! [opens chain and lets us through] Magie!!" HAHAHHA I couldn't stop laughing.

At lunch I saw a girl whose ID said "parade and characters" though I couldn't tell who she was meant to be without costume and/or make-up. Characters must be hard to cast.

Back from lunch and Storybook was closed due to a 101 caused by a code 44 [fainting].

Eilidh was ill today, so me and Andrew met up and went to watch Fantillusion, then I suggested we should go through backstage along main street and exit before the parade moved again. We went backstage hearing the music playing and then realised we only had a minute or so to sneak back on stage before we got run over by floats. Adrenaline was rushing at this moment. Andrew said we should go back so we did that and went through the arcade back to Main Street by which time we couldn't get through and so we watched Fantillusion twice that night. No problem as I love the music.

Today I got stuck in a toilet as the lock wouldnt unlock for about 5 minutes and then I got stuck in a lift for about a minute as none of the buttons worked. So that was fun. (-_-)

Me, Francesca, Jamie and Katy spent a few hours talking that night, when I suddently realised I could only get 4 hours of sleep. Oops!

Read Day 12.

Working at Disneyland Paris - Day 10 (25th Dec) - It's CHRISTMAS!

Well, so today was Christmas day and how do you know when you work at Disney? Christmas decorations? No, those have been up since November 8th. Christmas music? Nope, nov 8th too. Christmas parades? Nope, same as above. As staff you know it's Christmas as in the briefing room we had FREE FOOD AND DRINKS! WOOP! I had a hot chocolate and some nice croissant-style treats too as well as some chocolate.

Isn't it just the most magical place to work on Christmas day?

As it was Christmas day I started a tad bit later at 10.30am and when I got there I was told that Casey Junior had gone 101 just 2 minutes after opening. Oh dear. Nice present everyone.

Briefing had said that there were going to be 38,000 people in Disneyland Park that day which was probably going to be the lowest attendance of the busy part of the Christmas season.

My family were in the park and they got to see me in my nice (ahem) costume and they had a nice ride on Casey Junior while I was in the control booth and they had a nice smooth ride.

My Christmas present from Disney? My first 101. I was at dispatch and it was lucky as I could see both trains and therefore we wouldn't have to use the remote controls and it could all be done by me in the booth, of course with the help of the other cast members and maintenance. Everyone was very nice and helpful - I guess it didn't go too badly as we were only down for 16 minutes in total. Not bad. Also today someone decided to stand up as the train was leaving the station so I got to make use of the "arret en gare" button which was exciting. Training really paid off for today! I've got to admit I wasn't 100% sure what to do though but it was all there in my brain, everyone was safe and even if may have been done faster by more experienced Cast Member but it WAS done safely.

There was a really unpleasant English man today who sat in a three instead of a two and I asked them to move into a two and a one - he then went on to say that it was the fact the grouper was French and so they didn't understand her and started blabbing on about the French and blah blah blah. Rude!

Lots of questions when walking to lunch: How do I get out of the park? [Really though?!] and twice in 10 seconds: Where are the toilets? [Literally finished explaining to one person then the next asked immediately]

There was a kid dressed in a stitch costume on who I called stitch when I saw him, his parents found it funny. Speaking of characters, they were out in force today; just by Casey Junior there were Little Red Riding Hood, Chip and Dale, Cinderella, Minnie and a few others all posing for photos. I wish I could have got some :( I still don't have any with characters.

The guy I may have mentioned previously that spoke really good English with a strange accent was actually English. Awkward!

I finished at 18h25 and went into the park and met my family to watch Princess Aurora's Christmas wish, aka The Castle Lighting Ceremony - it was brilliant, much better than I had anticipated. I'm yet to see the tree lighting.

Me and my bro went on Big Thunder Mountain which he was terrified of, despite being fine on Space Mountain. The photo was so good I had to get it: £11.25 instead of £15 with my CM discount.

Then we went to Colonel Haiti's for penne bolognese [no your not having deja vu, I did this yesterday too], then we went to Cable Car Cafe [once again, I know I did this yesterday too but the chocolate cake is delish!]. Then it was onto Phantom Manor, Pinocchio and Indiana Jones. I saw one of my friends from work working whilst I was in the queue for Pinocchio and she said I could have skipped it and she'd have let me through the exit but I thought that was unfair on the other people waiting and with just a 15 minute wait it was fine - great people working there though! I also saw Alison at Colonel Haiti's and had a nice chat (Alison whom I met on Day 1).

We caught the last show shop of Fantillusion too around the hub and I was really disappointed mum didn't get to see the full parade as she would have loved it! We got the bus at 9:20PM back to the hotel.

I then went home [bit of a tip today], did my washing and realised I STILL haven't been on my own Casey ride.

Read day 11.

Working at Disneyland Paris - Day 9 (24th Dec) - Jour off

I've finally fixed the dates now on these blog posts. But for now "on y va."

This was my first day off in what has felt like AGES. I took the opportunity to sleep in till 11am and just as I woke up. Francesca, Stefano, Jamie and Alwyn too were all in the kitchen and we all had beans on toast with an egg too. Mmmmm. Thanks guys!

I went to give Jamie his ID as he had forgotten it, then I hopped on the RER to val d'europe and waited for my mum, dad and brother which was nice. We went to Auchan to buy food and then checked in to the Adagio hotel which is much nicer than the reviews online made it sound. Nice having a kitchen and being able to cook food as opposed to always eating processed food out.

Went to Disney village and there was a little stage where they got everyone dancing. We wandered around the shops too.

I went to buy some batteries for the camera which my parents had brought and got a huge (sarcasm alert) 10% off these batteries. About 7 euros for 8 which I guess wasn't too bad [although they were Kodak and not duracell and therefore pretty crap].

I then went to meet up with Eilidh and Andrew in Planet Hollywood and over the next hour Andrew became just *a little bit* tipsy. Eilidh then ran off to get the 10pm bus. Me and Andrew stayed and went to Annette's Diner. The queue was long and with only 40 mins left till the bus left at this point, it was off to the every trusty imaginations building.

We went back home and with the flat empty I took the opportunity to sleep. The WWS (wild west show) crew arrived around 1am when it was then CHRISTMAS!!

Read day 10.

Working at Disneyland Paris - Day 8 (23rd Dec) - It's raining, it's pouring.

Today we had a VIP at storybook, I didn't know this one either. Being a late start I had to "bacher les bateaux" with the others at the end of the day.

Guest interaction really is the thing that keeps you going in a job like this. Asking how their day has been, what rides they've done, whether they've seen any princes or princesses, etc. or just waving at the last carriage. It really makes you smile and happy on the inside knowing that guests are enjoying themselves.

This evening me, Andrew and Eilidh went to Disneyland Park (I say that as if we had the option to go to the studios but that closes at 7pm everyday) and rode Phantom Manor, Big thunder mountain and Captain EO (which was much better than I remember - probably because we talked through the shameless Kodak ad and then the "making of" pre-show).

It was now raining LOADS and I mean LOADS. Eilidh very kindly leant me her hat... after I had been whining for a while.

In an effort to stay dry, we went to Space Mountain which looked closed. A nice little cast member moment followed where I went: "Vous etês 101?" and the cast members at the entrance replied "Exactement. Cast members?" and I go "oui. Bonne soirée!". [I'm typing this blog post on my iPhone and exactement just got autocorrected to excrement hahahah]

Moving on. As well as everyone saying bonjour to each other we also say bonsoir. Ain't we all lovely.

We then went to Colonel Haiti's Pizza Outpost and had Penne Bolognese for me and Andrew, and Eilidh went for the more aptly named item on the menu: "pizza." I used my staff discount (25%), the others seemed to have forgotten.

Eilidh modelling the wait time board for us - that's right
a 5 minute queue for EVERY single ride.
We left there and saw it was raining even more than before. I thought it was very heavy, the others didn't. As its my blog I win - so we will all agree that it was raining very heavily. So much so that when we went to the information board EVERY SINGLE RIDE had a wait of 5 minutes!

Clearly the guests were disappearing and/or taking refuge in restaurants. Looking back maybe we should have used this opportunity to go on rides but instead we went to Cable Car bake shop and had cake and donuts. we all used our discount here and I got a slice of cake for about 2.70ish.

I've now talked to a few more of the French people on breaks who work on other attractions. Theyre all very nice and it helps breaks go faster. I also burnt myself on a burning hot tap today. Ow! Also used the chauffe mains [hand warmers] for the first time which are these little bags which you expose to air and put them in the gloves and they provide 8 hours of warmth. Lovely. They make a world of a difference and are free. Yay!

I'm still meeting people which all already know my name haha. Even worse are the people I work with everyday whose names I forget and then have to stare at their nametag. Bad, I know.

I learnt about the French "roast beef" expression. Essentially we call them "frogs" and they call the Brits "roast beef." Fair enough I guess.

Andrew hands down wins funniest story of the week: he had a scouse customer who said: "je voudrais like two like hot dogs like" and he replies "C'est like twelve euros." Hahahaha the way I was dying at the story when he told it.

I haven't written this yet but one of these days when me and Eilidh were waiting for Andrew (think this might have been today even!) we walked in and Just Like We Dreamed It was playing and we Sang along (not JUST us though, other people too) through the whole song making very emotional expressions along with the lyrics. This is my favourite moment so far and I'm sure one I'll never forget. [I wish I'd had a camera to film it on]

"I've imagined being here like this so many times before...reaching out to take your hand as the butterflies in me soar!!" Never has a song been more apt. I think this will defo be one of those highlights of the trip.

P.S. I find that one of the most common things I am saying when I'm out anywhere is "Vous Avez des reductions pour des cast members?"

P.P.S. Hi Jamie and Jamie's parents who read the blog! Dont worry you didn't mess up my queuing system that day, I was doing the unload position. :)

Read Day 9.

Working at Disneyland Paris - Day 8 (23 Dec) - Il y a personne!

Today was good. Got to work and the first thing I said was “il y a personne” but literally no-one. Not a single person in the queue line in the morning.

We also had a VIP today, some radio personality apparently in France. Thibaud said I wouldn’t have heard of them and I hadn’t..I can’t even remember their name, maybe Claire?

I saw the parade service bus backstage today which brings all the characters to the floats. I also realised today that the costuming building that you used to see in the old Studio Tram Tour was actually real so you did in fact get a look backstage at Disney for real, then again it was completely irrelevant to the “Studio Tram Tour” name and experience. 

At 7, or should I say at 19h as they say in French, I met Andrew at Imaginations. I think on this day me and Andrew went on Big Thunder Mountain and then on Pirates though I’m not 100% sure. After we took a look around the Newport Bay Club Hotel which is nice but not as nice as the Disneyland, having also been into the Sequoia with Andrew and Eilidh earlier in the week I much preferred that theming to the NPB Hotel.

Just random... but in Traditions they told us to address everyone by toi: team leaders, older people, younger people - and everyone does it. Sometimes I find myself going ‘toi’ to guests which is really rude I know but it soon becomes automatic and I just repeat the same thing with ‘vous.’

Read day 8 [I sort of messed up the day numbers somewhere in the last few days - this day 8 is different I promise]

Photo: William McIntosh

Working at Disneyland Paris - Day 7 (22 Dec) - Alone...

Today was my first day “Alone”... by that I mean that there was no-one there to guide me anymore after my whole two and a half days of training. To be fair it was a pretty standard day - no 101s (attraction temporairement fermee) at all. I noticed that we have quite a lot of disabled guests with cards both at Casey and at Storybook. It’s more annoying on Storybook as the boats have to stop for everyone but that’s the nature of the ride.

Today I also fully understood the idea of “la capacite” the max/ideal capacity per hour of the attraction - essentially there is some sort of monetary bonus attached to the attraction which can process the most guests per hour by being the most efficient with points also available for courtesy. I will assume that I won’t be seeing any bonus in my paycheck we have much too many disabled guests on our rides compared to some others - again it is not their fault but the competition shall not be won by us by numbers, however in terms of courtesy the team are all fantastic!

I also noticed that a lot of people need “le bar” to be opened because their children have sat down and pulled down on the lap bar. One misplaced lap bar means we have to open them all and re-check them all. Other people decide it is appropriate to sit in a three, even though it is pretty obvious that there is only space for two people - and yes your baby counts as a person.

Other things at work: There’s a mirror before you go “on stage” to check yourself, talked to more people during breaks, it’s fun waving at the last carriage when you are on unload and seeing some people’s fascination as you press the validate button and a few seconds later the train goes - only with the confirmation of the dispatch too, they don’t know that though. It’s also cute when really little kids call me by “Excuse moi monsieur.” 

After work my housemates and Francesca wanted to do the Studios and some of Disneyland Park before we went to watch Buffalo Bills Wild West Show at a discount of 65% for Cast Members. We did Rock N Rollercoaster which had no music on-ride (I have since heard from another friend that she went on three times and the music didn’t work at all so it wasn’t just our train). After that we did Armageddon. Then we went over to Disneyland Park and did BTM and Star Tours.

Then it was over to Buffalo Bills Wild West SHow in the village - the show was fine but there was no storyline at all and the cast were American which was brilliant for us Brits but they butchered the French language so much it was unbelievable. The food was fine - chilli con carne, then sausages, ribs, and chicken. Then dessert which was Apple crumble, and three drink refills - water, coke or beer. If I had paid full price I’d have felt ripped off; even at Cast Member price I still felt it was expensive. Plus we missed out on the photo with Mickey which I never got...it was the main reason for me going. I still don’t have a photo with him :( He’s always doing meet and greets when I’m working and then busy with shows when I’m off :(

A random thought: I had to stop myself today waving at kids when out of costume, that’d be creepy. But some are so cute you just want to wave at them.

Read Day 8.

Working at Disneyland Paris - Day 6 - Paris, Paris, Paris!

Today was an interesting one. I was meant to meet Andrew to go to the studios but he wanted to be there for around 10am, I wanted to be there for around midday so I met him then and we queued for Crush’s Coaster...65 minutes. The time did go very quickly to be fair and soon we went surfin’ the Australian Current. It wasn’t as fast as I remember it being, nor did it spin as much but it was still a very very good ride. Defo one of my faves in the Studios park.
I should note that this was my day off and I wasn’t just skipping work - same with Andrew.
We went to see Animagique, Andrew for the second time that day. I absolutely LOVE that show. It’s my favourite show in the parks. I love Crush's coaster too by the way!

After I showed Andrew the Baloo building backstage as he wanted to see it so we got on the navette “wanna baloo” and got off - as we walked in I noticed that Jessica 2 was open. The discounted staff shop. We probably spent about 20 minutes in here even though it is tiny. I got a small slightly-broken snowglobe for 2 euros instead of probably 12 [the broken bit was a non-existent hat on top of the snowglobe which I think it honestly looks better without]. I paid 10 euros for a sidebag and got a slightly dented photo album for 3 euros instead of 20. Total spend: e15, Full price: E60.

We then met up with Eilidh (when reading this remember this is pronounced Ay-lee and NOT Eye-lid, readers) to go to Paris at a 15h45 (look at me adopting the French's 24hour clock). We eventually got to the Louvre at around 5-5.30PM - we got out of the metro at Chatelet-Les Halles to actually see Paris before it went dark and we walked a good 10-15 minutes to get to our exit and then probably about another five to the Louvre.

The Louvre is free to everyone under 18 and free to EEE citizens under 26 with ID. That was fine for me and Eilidh. However Andrew had forgotten his. We had been joking over the last few days that the Disney ID could get in through anywhere security, gates, airports.
We went up to the ticket desk and showed our ID and then it came to Andrew...he put his cast Member ID down along with an EU health card. Together they were accepted and he got a free ticket. See...the ID gets us in anywhere haha.
In the Louvre we literally followed the signs to the Mona Lisa looked at it and admired how small it was compared to the humungous painting on the wall opposite, then we saw the Venus de Milo which I recognised once I’d seen it but didn’t know its name. After that we left. I’m sure we spent no more than half in hour in there. It was huge! We could have spent days there if we were to look at everything!
Then we went to the shopping area and went to Starbucks for about 45 minutes and the Apple store for about the same time - I know. Disgraceful. In Paris and in an Apple store and Starbucks.

Out the Louvre we went, and I had read online that the stop from the Eiffel Tower to the metro was a fair distance and to us all it looked walkable, surely it would just be crossing the river turning a bit left and we’d be there. 

Well...through the streets of Paris we went including some dodgy neighbours we eventually got there over an hour later. Never again. The Eiffel Tower is humungous - much, much, much bigger than I imagined. The queue even at around 8 or 9pm was still huge to go up in the lift. Around it there is a park with no pathways just lots and lots of mud - my trainers look disgraceful now. Instead we opted for the Christmas market and the others had vin chaud...I’m not a fan. We got some photos and then walked it to the metro which wasn’t anywhere near as far as people made it out to be online --_-- It’s about 300m or about 4 minutes walk. One of the highlights today was when Eilidh got trapped in the barrier doors :D as you can imagine me and Andrew found it a lot funnier than she did.

We got on the train and when it started moving there was a man playing accordion in time with a stereo playing a background track. He then went around asking for tips, I think Eilidh tipped him something like 20 cents. It was really nice moment because as he started playing, the Eiffel Tower also started twinkling and we were crossing the river Seine on the bridge. I’ve got a nice video of the man playing below:


We went back home and then it was time to sleep. 

Read Day 7.

Working at Disneyland - Day 5 - Last Day of training & Test

Well today was a pretty standard day really just going through the last things that I hadn’t talked about, this time with Guillaume as Raffa was off. The day was leading towards the test at the end which Disney have called a “Check Out” - I had heard it was 250 questions and thought that it was a joke, well...the test lasted 3 hours in total and was lots of talking and pretending to press buttons. If I got something wrong, it was explained correctly but a lot of the questions were not the most important anyway such as “what does the greeter do?” “what is the ride based on?” but of course others such as the evacuation procedures and start up were more important.

I passed the check out with Noora asking the questions so tomorrow I’m ready to be a fully fledged Cast Member.

I think this might have been the night I properly met Francesca, a girl who has English parents but lives in France so has near perfect English with only a slight accent. What a character. Loud to say the least but very very friendly.

I think this night me and Andrew went around the Disneyland Hotel where he gave me a guided tour. He even tried to use his Cast Member ID to access the private suites which didn’t go to well when all the lights started flashing. We left that area promptly. We saw the pool, an arcade, had a long sit down on the very, very comfortable sofas and saw a poster with Walt and Duffy together. For some reason I think he would not approve...

Read Day 6.

Working at Disneyland - Day 4 - Training: Day 2

I'm not going to lie to you, I found
these icicles online.
Today was a very, very cold day. Lots of ice everywhere, so much so that in the morning while running for the bus I slipped and fell in front of some girl (-_-). Got backstage eventually, got changed and had breakfast and arrived within the 5 minute late grace period, so was technically on time.

Today was very, very icy as I was saying. The platform on Storybook was a death trap with people making jokes about being able to host Mickey's Winter Wonderland on there instead of on the ice rink in the theatre (oh how drole). Casey wasn't much better as the trains wouldn't move very far and were making a horrible noise, eventually they got stuck and then moved back into the garage. We waited for maintenance until about 11am ish when we tried again, by which time they were now going round fine as most of the ice had melted. I did a tour a pied [walking tour] looking for any stray items and checking the emergency exits. I then did dispatch (in the control booth) most of the day here.

I also did dispatch at Storybook which requires so much concentration staring at monitors constantly and making constant spiels asking people to "Mesdames et Monseuirs veulliez rester assis, merci! Ladies and Gentlemen please remain seated, thank you!"

Another thing I did today was see the Disney Dance Express train when I walked through the park - it's not as annoying as Andrew says but then again I don't see it ten times per day.

Got to say it's been brilliant so far as rain is concerned at the moment - none at all!

Read day 5

Working at Disneyland Paris - Day 3 - Training - 18th December 2011

So Day 3 was a bit of a strange one, yesterday during orientation I had met some of team I'd be working with on Casey Jnr/Storybook, they were all very nice and I had also met Marine (french girl) who was also on a CDD contract [fixed-term] for Christmas. Also forgot to mention yesterday we got to try on our costume - it actually looks pretty nice:

As it's winter we also wear a blazer on top which is purple and also very nice. All these layers to keep us warm as well as gloves and under gloves too. When it rains though we wear a horrible yellow raincoat.

Everyone at work knew my name because they were betting on whether I was Portuguese or Italian. Actual bets of food and money as well - haha. Most thought I was Italian, wrong!

So the day started at 8.30am with Raffa training me, I was told  I'd have a test in three days (or in Disney franglais "Un Check-out" - this joining other franglais words used such as "le sweeping"). We got to Storybook Cruise (a.k.a Le Pays de Contes de Fees) and noticed that the whole rotating platform and the bridge was covered in ice. We had to 'debacher les bateaux' which is remove the covers off 15 of them, get rid of all the ice, hoover all the water off the boats that had managed to get wet and eventually I think we only opened a few minutes late despite all the ice. I don't actually know if we opened on-time, as by about 11am I was off for lunch.

After that I went to practice Dispatch and Grouper at Casey. Dispatch (a.k.a the control booths) are fiendishly difficult to operate as as well as launching the train, you have to open and close doors, keep your hand on the emergency-stop button in case anyone goes over the yellow exit line, open and close the restraint bars, look at other Cast Members' hand signals, answer the phone, note down any disabled passengers getting on, log breaks and take the numbers on the photocell which tell us how many visitors we have. We also of course need to know ALL the emergency procedures.

I also did Grouper, the person who greets the guests and asks them how many there are - this would be simple if all the carriages had four people, but no. The first has 2 people and the other 8 have 4 people - so 34 people in total, in practise getting that many people on a train is nigh on impossible. We also have to observe the Unload Cast Member who checks whether there are any disabled guests getting on through the exit and asks to reserve a carriage for them. In theory a very easy job but you will come across an awkward number of people such as 5 where you have to put them as a 3 and a 2. You also come across numbers such as 30 once in a while when the train is already half full.

A variety of languages are used by about 80-90% is French, a bit of English and some Italian and German too. Hand signals for numbers are universal though. Sometimes you'll tell people to stand by gate number 1 and they will go to a different gate which can slow down loading, but by the end of the day I had started to get the hang of it. You have to be very, very quick as you're trying to get as many people dispatched as possible - 32 if you can in under a minute and get them all in position.

Occasionally, people who have been told or noticed that the rows are of two people maximum sit in threes and the bars lock, so you have to make the signal to open the bar, then tell them they can't sit in a three - every bar unlocks on the train and therefore the unload has to start all over again. Annoying. Grouper at Casey is in my opinion the most stressful of any of the 6 positions on the two rides but it can be lots fo fun too.

Can't remember doing any of the parks this day - maybe "it's a small word: celebration" and Space Mountain but I honestly can't remember.

Read Day 4

Working at Disneyland - Day 2 - Traditions and Orientation - 17th December 2011

The second day was an early start - 8.30am if I remember correctly and it was meant to be the day of Traditions where we learned about The Walt Disney Company and its values and then Orientation would be the day after. Well, as we only had a two-and-a-bit-week contract they weren't going to use two days for this, so Traditions was shortened to a single video of about 5 minutes about the parks, and then we did most of the Orientation day.

This included learning about our Cast Member discounts (which included 30% off Disney merch until Dec 21st), Jessica 2 (the discounted item shop - old or damaged items), how to use our locker (a PITA the first time few times you use it), day to day life and some more. Then we did a backstage tour of the park and an onstage tour as well, got our IDs and nametags (a VERY EXCITING MOMENT) and then were left to do whatever we wanted.

We were told that it was forbidden to take photos backstage so the photo on the left is the one and only you'll be getting as I took it before and it doesn't ruin any of the Disney magic.

As it was still early - around 5.30PM and we could get into the parks, that's exactly what we did. Me, Eilidh and Andrew (a.k.a Disney93, friend we met yesterday - also from the photomagique forum) went to the park and with just 5 hours, I've got to say we did quite a lot - we started off with Big Thunder Mountain, then did Phantom Manor, Pirates of the Caribbean and caught the end of Fantillusion and danced along. Then we did Buzz Lightyear: Laser Blast, Space Moutain:Mission 2 (sans Andrew, he doesn't do loops), Star Tours, Pinocchio, Snow White and then the Gallerie du Chateau and la Taniere du Dragon. The longest we queued for anything was 15 minutes. We then went off to eat in Imaginations backstage and we were off home, or so we thought. Well we missed the bus.

So then it was time to go to Sequoia Lodge to see where Eilidh works at breakfast, we went to the Earl of Sandwich and used our 30% discount, got a pillow for me at the Disney store which was about 14 euros instead of 20 and then went home. The buses are nowhere near regular enough - in the morning they are every 20-30 minutes, every 10-20 mins throughout the day and at night they are only about once an hour. At least Disney is paying for 75% of my Navigo (bus and RER and metro) pass.

Tomorrow...training starts.

Day 3

Working at Disneyland - Day 1 - Arrival - 16th December 2011

An early start to the day saw me going to St. Pancras station and getting on the direct Eurostar service to Disneyland Paris. I planned to meet Eilidh (pronounced Ay-lee or Hailey without the H), a girl I met on photomagique's forum, there. Through security and I sent a text, turned out she was already there. We met and started talking, a little while later we got on the train only a carriage apart. When the train had crossed into France we met up in the buffet carriage and talked for about an hour and after that about 20 minutes later we were at Marne-la-vallee!

Once there we got the RER to Val d'Europe which was just a couple of minutes. This should now have been the simple part - getting to the Fantasia building / Batiment Fantasia - since I had studied the map and had seen it on Google maps. Unfortunately we went out the wrong exit at the station and ended up spending 15-20 extra minutes getting to the building but we eventually got there.

After about 3 hours of filling in forms, queueing and queuing and queueing we finally were taken to our residence - La Boisserie - by coach. This residence is much nicer and closer than the other one The Pleaides. There I got my keys and met most of my flatmates - Stefano (Italian, lives in London, same name as my brother, different spelling), Alwyn (from Oxford), Jamie (from Southend) and two guys who have been referred to as the Polish guys.

Most of us went out for a meal with a flat across the road which mainly consisted of British people too but with some other nationalities as well. We went to Billy Bob's in Disney Village - without entry into the parks or Cast Member discount we weren't willing to spend too much and the total bill was about 12 euros. I'm the first guy from the left.

After that we walked through the village and it was the end of a long day. Unfortunately for me I only slept for 2 hours that night because of a very uncomfortable pillow and probably the strange feeling of sleeping with someone else in the same room.

Traditions tomorrow.

Day 2

Joining university societies better than a course?

As some of you may know I'm studying Broadcast Journalism at the University of Leeds. As well as this I've signed up to the three media societies - Leeds Student (newspaper), Leeds Student Radio and Leeds student: TV (LSTV). 

I've had a huge amount of fun over the past ten weeks at these societies, doing everything from reading the news, to investigating and interviewing people, running around doing supermarket sweep for the radio, doing links for LSTV, being a cameraman and writing articles. All very practical stuff. All stuff which is relevant to the course.
And I guess that's where the question comes from: Can joining a university's societies be better than a course?

Of course this will depend on your definition of better - does better mean more practical skills or does better mean being more professional or does better mean having a greater appreciation of the media?

If it means the latter then the course is extremely useful - you learn about the history of media, how it has changed, how and why things are done now.

If better means that we get more practical skills then for the first year the societies win hands down - we have a camera and editing module coming up next Semester which I'm very much looking forward too, but that will no doubt be basic due to me having studied the media for 4 years previously. For now the societies allow me to experiment with new things - vision mixing, sound mixing, radio recording, white balancing to name just a few. Societies for the first year win hands down in this case. The only exception to this would be learning to use the Marantz audio recorder and Cool Edit on my course.

If better means being more professional then both have a role to play - through the theory (and practice) of some of the modules you learn how to conduct yourself, through the societies you learn how to act around the public in certain situations that you might not yet encounter on the course, such as when you lug a huge camera into the uni as opposed to just a microphone for audio.

Then again I'm very lucky to have chosen and been accepted into Leeds Uni which has so many award-winning societies which are directly relevant to my course and profession. For other courses, and/or at other universities it may be different.

Overall, if I had to make a decision over which I am enjoying more it would be the societies - but at the end of the day I came here to get a degree. That is what employers want to see as a bare minimum. The societies will show initiative to them, while letting me enjoy myself. The degree IS enjoyable, don't get me wrong, and there's so much that we'll be doing on the course that I can't do with societies - Newsdays for example, or teleprompter reading (I hope).

Image: Leeds University Union

The Road to Disneyland Paris: Less than 2 weeks to go

Hi everyone,

So my work contract was sent off and Disney has got back to me with a confirmation email along with some repeated details of what to do on the first day which is useful. As a new Cast Member I will be attending Traditions and Orientation which means I do not contact my area of work directly. I will get more info about my first actual day of work when I arrive or by email on or before the 10th December.

I still have until Monday the 5th to back out if I wish so there's no huge pressure - but after booking travel and hotels for my family, I don't think so. Plus of course, I am massively looking forward to this.

A list of documents to bring was attached:

  • Signed contract
  • Signed housing contract
  • Map to Fantasia (housing) building.
  • ID card + 2 copies
  • Travel refund form plus originals of tickets
  • Bank account number - IBAN
  • Vaccination book and/or health records
  • Black shoes and black socks

So very, very soon I shall be in Paris! A bientot!