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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"I have to go to the bathroom!!!"...

...the little girl wailed as the big black figure lined in red lights materialized out of the darkness. "I have to go, c'mon mummy I HAVE TO GO!!!"
"Ashlie, do you really have to go?" her mother asked skeptically.
"YES!" the little girl cried frantically as she tugged on her mother's hand.
"Honey, she has to go, just take her" her father said to her mother.
"She doesn't have to go!" the mother whispered, "She's just afraid!"
"Mummyyy! I have to go to the bathroom! Hurry!!!"
So her mother took her by the hand and gently maneuvered her out of the thick parade crowd. The little girl escaped the yellow glowing eyes of the horrible chernabog devil-monster of Bald Mountain and felt relief that she was far from his wide open wings.
"Are you sure you still have to go?" her mother asked gently - slightly exasperated but mostly amused - as they finally broke their way out of the crowd. The little girl looked over her shoulder and saw that three little pigs were on their way, as well as Snow White and her Seven Dwarfs. The evil chernabog had moved down the street away from where they had stood just a few moments before, in perilous danger from his evil influence. The soft, sweet music had returned and the white lights lit up the once-scary darkness. She was safe.
"Mmmm...no, I guess I can wait," she looked up at her mother with huge, innocent green eyes. Her mother sighed and took her back to the parade.

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The anticipation waiting for today made me wish I could escape to the bathroom. Today was my interview and it was.....AMAZING! It was SO much fun and yet very nerve wracking at the same time.

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9/7/09
So school has gotten very busy already, but I didn't want to leave you readers without telling you all about my interview! This is a recollection of word-for-word as best as I can remember almost a week later...

At EXACTLY 4:45pm my phone rang. "Private Calling." I screamed, not going to lie.

My boyfriend was sitting on my bed at college and one of my best friends ran out of the room, closing my door behind her.

"Hello?" I answered. Immediately a I exhaled a huge breath of unexpected relief and smiled.
"Hello, is this Ashlie?"
"It is."
"Hi, this is Kristen with the Disney College Program. You listed now as a good time to interview. Is this still a good time for you?"
"Oh yes! To tell you the truth, I'd say I've been waiting for this interview for hours or days, but truly I've been waiting for years. I am so excited!"
*She laughs* "Well, we won't keep you waiting any longer then."

Then she proceeded to explain the interview process. She'd start off with some introductory questions. Then she'd ask me about specific roles. Then she'd ask me some yes or no questions.

"So first, let me ask you, why do you want to do the Disney College Program?"
"I want to do the Disney College Program because I've been going to Disney World since I was a little girl, and as I got older, I realized it wasn't just the rides or attractions, but the cast members that made it a special experience. And that's what I want to do, to make the magic for other families too."
"How do you see this program fitting into your future career goals?"
"Well, I am going to school for Broadcast Journalism and Spanish, so besides Spanish being very useful in the parks, my broadcast skills are transferable to the communications department. And I know that Disney owns ABC and ESPN so that's great too." (That was kinda a stupid ending I think...woops.)
"So you listed these roles as your options, are you interested in our Quick Service Food and Beverage, one of our most popular attractions which includes responsibilities such as.......[insert list off of the CP website]...?"
"I'm afraid not, just because it doesn't fit into my future career goals."
"Ok. So could you please tell me your top three role options?"
"Sure! My top three roles in order are Character Performer, Photopass Photographer, and Concierge."
"Ok, for character performer, what experience do you have?"
Then I listed my theater productions, modern/lyrical/ballet/jazz training, and ballroom dancing, which I told her comes more easily to me, which was cool.
"Why do you want to do character performing as your top choice?"
"Well besides the fact that dancing and acting are my passions, when I was a little girl and played make believe, all I ever pretending to be WAS a Disney character!"
[Not bad, but I should have added that I wanted to make fairy tales come true for children now myself.]
"If a child came up to you and was acting aggressive, kicking, hitting, and yelling, and you were in a fur costume where you couldn't communicate verbally, what would you do?"
"I would probably back a safe distance away and hang my head. I would cover my eyes and look embarrassed or ashamed until the child calmed down."
"So the next role you listed was Photopass Photographer. Tell me, what experience do you have with photography?"
I listed my photo class, how we did composition and the actual developing so I had a new appreciation for that (stupid, useless babbling), my photo being in our school newspaper, and how I am an avid photographer.
"I love taking pictures of people, I love taking pictures of Disney, so taking pictures of people at Disney would be amazing. When we go on vacation, I take a lot of pictures...I mean A LOT."
[Hahahahaha, blonde much?]
"If you were a Photopass photographer, how would you up-sell a package to a family."
[Insert mental FREAK-OUT. I have NO idea how to answer this.]
"I would probably explain a package and if they seemed interested I would check to see if the father was the type to carry a wallet with pictures and tell him about a package with that or I would tell them that packages with more pictures allows them to share their memories not just at home but with other family members as well."
[EPIC FAIL. I was dancing around the topic because I was super nervous and temporarily confused. I could think of MUCH better answers now...of course. My main answer NOW would involve "Bringing the magic home and experiencing it over and over again every day or in every day life." I'm an idiot.]
"So the next one you chose was concierge. What experience have you had with guest services?"
"Well all my jobs that I have had have mainly dealt with guest services."
I proceeded to explain my job at the Club Room at Agganis how the clientele is the same as those who stay at concierge.
"What would you do if a VIP guest came in and requested a specific room view, such as a room with a pool view, and you could not give it to him. How would you explain this to him?"
"Well first I would explain that it is probably a very busy time of year and I'd check again and if we still couldn't give him this room then I'd explain our other room options and let him pick from those. If he was still very unhappy I'd offer him a free [UGH...don't say FREE Ash, should have said COMPLEMENTARY] dinner or mini golf or something like that to make his experience more magical. If he still was not happy, I would offer a manager."
[Not bad right?]
Then she decided to ask about attractions. Which scares me, because she didn't ask my friend about her fourth choice. So did I totally flunk all the other questions!? Anyways...
I got the infamous Space Mountain too-short question. I had this answer prepared and memorized inside and out.
"Well, first I would bend down to his eye level, because you don't want to be intimidating, you know? Then I would tell him that this ride was maybe a little too big for him right now but I'm sure when he comes back next time he would be perfect. BUT, since he was so brave to want to try Space Mountain, maybe he would be brave enough to take a ride in Goofy's airplane on Barnstormer! Then I'd stand up and briefly explain what the ride is to his mother/parent."
[Only thing I left out is I shoulda' given the kid a sticker.]
Then she asked me about my best and worst job experiences.
I said the best was the Club Room and the worst was Elevator Duty but even then I still got some guest interaction and I gave them directions.
"Every little bit helps," I said.
Throughout the interview she kinda asked me the same questions about guest services and photo experience but I don't really remember in what order.
Then she asked me about how did I feel about confining, hot costumes and standing for a long period of time. "No problem; in fact, I love the heat."
Photopass, what about carrying heavy 10lbs of equipment and working in multiple locations for many hours.
"Multiple locations would probably be my favorite part and I worked in banquet events over the summer and I carried 30 pounds of a tray on my shoulder for 14 hours, so it would be no problem."
Then she asked me the yes/no questions which was basically the end of the application to make sure we understood the rules about the Disney Look, accommodations, pay, etc.
Oh yeah, at some point she asked me about living with roommates, I don't really remember when.
"I have lived in a double occupancy room before - my freshman year of college - and my roommate became one of my very best friends."
Then she asked me if I had any questions.
I did. I asked her about audition dates (which were not posted at the time - now it's Nov. 2nd...more on that in another entry) and that I really wanted this did she have any advice/insight?
So she explained a little about the process and basically said be animated as much as possible.
Then I just thanked her profusely and told her that it has been my dream so thank you so much for your time [I THINK I said "Thank you, KRISTEN." I HOPE I did.]
Then we hung up.
18 minutes and 21 seconds [which I just remembered off the top of my head, and won't ever forget] according to my phone.
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After telling my friend all about it and repeating it to my mom on the phone, I sat in this completely EUPHORIC phase. Literally sat on my floor, against the wall, and just smiled a huge, childish (slightly delirious) Disney smile. The interview of my life was over and I generally felt pretty awesome about it. [I am a little more nervous now because I have thought of many better answers since then, but it's ok.]

So there you have it...an interview play-by-play. Next blog entry...the email...





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