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Working at Disneyland Paris - Day 127 to 152 - Halloween Soiree, more training, empty parks, and much more

10th October 2014 (Day 127) to 4th November 2014 (Day 152)

It's time for the latest round-up on what has been happening over the last month or so at work at Disneyland Paris. If you want to see a full index of posts, you can of course click here to see these.

Morning opening of attractions:
So, usually in the morning when I start at 8:00am I am one of at least five people who help to open Indiana Jones, but recently I was asked to open La Cabane des Robinsons...this involves doing some basic safety checks, setting up the queue line ropes and then doing a walkthrough of the treehouse. This walkthrough involves an incredibly long checklist which must easily detail over 200 different items that I have to check for the 'show' part of the attraction - that means making sure that things like lights, spoons, books, candles and many other show elements. It is tedious to say the least but it guarantees that when things have gone missing they can (eventually) be replaced.

Photo: Disneyland Paris

On this day I also had the luck of opening La Plages des Pirates which is an outdoor playground area, and Le Passage Enchante de Aladdin which is a walkthrough telling the story of Aladdin - this also involves another checklist looking at all the items and effects that should be working.

Formation de Bons Gestes:
Disney invests a lot of time and money into training its Cast Members - so while you may think that your initial training is all you will get, it certainly isn't. One of these extra bits of training is 'Les Bons Gestes' which is a two-hour session talking about good posture and practices to take, especially when lifting heavy loads. It was taken by a medical professional and was actually fairly interesting and I did learn quite a bit.

The Halloween Soiree:
I signed up to work the Halloween soiree which ran on the 31st October 2014 from 20:30 to 01:00. I was given a shift finishing at 23:45 which in the end ended up being really great as I was able to get the RER straight home. For anyone finishing late, there are taxis made available to take you home which is great.

Photo: @InsideDLParis (Twitter)
Halloween during the daytime was officially (numbers-wise) the busiest day since I have been here. It felt like a typically busy summer day and although I can't tell you exactly what our maximum wait time was...it didn't feel as busy as weekends in September which are to be avoided.

The soiree however WAS busy...very, very busy and that I can safely say that it was the busiest I have seen the park since I've been here. Although, I can't reveal numbers, the Halloween party was sold out (making me wonder why there wasn't another one on the 30th October like they do in the States). The park closed officially at 19:00 and the party started at 20:30 as I mentioned earlier, however from 17:00 party-ticket holders (who were given orange wristbands) could get in - this meant that from 17:00 to 19:00 party-goers were mixed in with regular park guests and it was at this point that it did start getting busy - from 19:00 to 20:30 all rides were open as usual but only for guests with wristbands and the queue lines got busier and busier and I think we eventually topped out at about a 50 or 60 minute wait time. Considering there were tonnes of characters out, and unique live shows I was very surprised to see how busy the rides were.

One of the fun things about the soiree was that we were allowed to be creepy and I admit to making quite a few guests jump. We were also allowed to be made up so my friend and fellow Cast Camille did a wonderful job of turning me into this...

Halloween soiree make-up
Overall, it was a fun night and it was a different atmosphere and adventureland was done up in a  slightly spooky fashion. There was Pirates of the Carribbean music and projections too which was cool.

Photo: @InsideDLParis (Twitter)
I was not a fan of having Fastpass open during the special event as it meant that everyone tried to get in the line without a Fastpass complaining that the regular lines were too long...which is what happens daily but it was intensified to 10x or 20x more often during the soiree. I understand that the lines are long and there is limited time but asking to skip through the Fastpass lane is unfair on others. At €41 (and Annual pass discounts making the price as low as €28) the soiree is excellent value in my opinion for entertainment from 17:00 to 01:00 (8 hours), especially considering the one-day ticket price is €88 for a few hours more and there were lots of unique bits of entertainment on that evening. I did hear, however, from guests that character organisation was not great.

The parks are empty
Literally 24 hours after the Halloween soiree is over the parks are incredibly empty - they are 10% of the number of guests today (4th November) than there were on Halloween for example. And there are about 20% of the number of guests that were here during a typical summer day. The result is 5 or 10 minute queues everywhere except for the characters. Not bad for the most visited place in Europe. Even Crush's Coaster and Ratatouille have had posted queue times of 5 to 15 minutes!

American Indiana Jones cast came over
Although here is no Indiana Jones ride at Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort certainly has an incredible attraction that is not to be missed. A few weeks ago some Cast Members came over from the Disneyland Resort who worked at Indiana Jones and wanted to bring us a present - so they had a frame made with photos of all the Cast from the American ride, and brought us all queue line decoder cards and Fastpasses from the Californian Indiana Jones Adventure attraction.



Our team leader was talking to them about the differences and I don't know what we managed to do for them but we definitely gave them a load of ride height "diplômes"/certificates to take back. In case you've never seen one this is what our diplômes look like (they allow a kid that's too small to skip the line later when they are tall enough and to get straight onto Pirates that day without having to wait):

Photo: Disneygazette.fr

4 hours doing Propreté
In something that is becomingly increasingly frequent at work, people from Attractions are being asked to help out with Proprete (custodial/cleaning). A couple of week ago it was my turn to help out during the afternoon - I have no problem doing this as it gives you a different perspective of your work location and as long as it isn't a daily occurence it should be fine. I learned quite  bit about Adventureland by doing the rounds and discovered little passageways and details I had never seen before.

Propreté is a very relaxed job in comparison to attractions as you work at your own rhythm, but i did notice that these Cast have an incredible attention to detail and can see even the smallest thing on the ground that I would very easily miss. You spend a lot of time simply walking around and sweeping and then once or twice a day you will do the trash and empty all the bins in your sector of the land - this involves moving a big green bin which quickly becomes heavy as you empty the trash cans into it. I noticed as well that in propreté you get a lot of guest interaction and they will ask you about anything and everything. In the four hours I was there two people asked me for the location of the smoking areas, whereas I have been working five months in attractions and the same number of people have asked me the same question. I also learned a few handy tactics for when we are sweeping the queue line and doing the trash that will come in handy. Overall, it was an interesting experience but as I have said it is not something I would want to be long-term.

Parc Asterix for Halloween
We went to parc Asterix for Halloween recently.



I will link to a separate blog post on this subject once that has been uploaded.

Ate at Bistro Chez Remy
Last week I went to eat at the flagship new Ratatouille restaurant "Bistro Chez Remy" which is located inside the Ratatouille: The Adventure ride building itself.


The atmosphere inside is great and the Imagineers have done a great job - as you step inside the restaurant you can immediately see the attention to detail to make you feel like you have shrunk to the size of a rat. The starter consisted of a salad with cheese which I asked for without cheese and came...with cheese, the main which was the steak was excellent as were the fries the ratatouille was alright though I had never tasted this dish before and the chef's sauce wasn't great in my opinion - I much preferred the sauce at Blue Lagoon. Overall, the price was €40 for 3 courses (and €30 with the staff discount) which I felt was appropriate but a tad expensive considering the interior atmosphere isn't exactly premium. Though the service could have been much better and more attentive, the food and decor made up for it.

Bowling:
I went bowling for the very first time yesterday and it was actually really enjoyable. Although, I was worried about not being great considering it was my first time, I had quite a bit of fun and didn't do too badly.



I came third out of five the first round, and then second to last (but only by 3 points) during the second round. I would definitely go back!

Carte Vitale paperwork:
In the never-ending saga of paperwork in France, I am still waiting for my permanent social security number (note that this took process only two weeks in the UK for my cousin). I did get a letter through for my Carte Vitale which I attached and photo and sent it off so hopefully that will come back soon.

New security procedures and the safety challenge
The last update is to do with ride security. As Safety is the most important thing at Disney there is now an updated Ride Access Control procedure which in theory makes it much more difficult to accidentally send a vehicle or power up an attraction when someone is working inside the ride - it's a welcome change though I do remember it already being implemented in the States over a year ago. At the same time this is a company-wide safety challenge which rewards Cast Members for knowing all their safety procedures.

Coming up:



The next couple of weeks are set to be exciting as tomorrow it is Bonfire Night which brings with it fireworks on Lake Disney, and next Monday is the beginning of the Christmas season (and lots of new entertainment). Visitor-wise I am expecting it to be a very quiet season (Excluding Saturdays) until about to 20th December when things should start to kick into gear for the busiest part of the year.

Previous Post: Working at Disneyland Paris - A Halloween Trip Report - 9th October 2014 (Day 127)

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Giovanni!

    I found this blog last year, when I was preparing for my first contract at Disneyland Paris. I thought your posts from 2011 were very helpful! Today, 1,5 years later, I decided to revisit this blog, and was surprised to find that the author if this blog was working in DLP this summer as well, just like me! And then my jaw dropped when I read that the author was working in Adventureland, just like me! Interesting to read your thoughts on propreté, my area. I really like your blog, and how you include so many details.

    / Jonna, propreté Adventureland
    http://yonnalicious.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete