Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jazz Baby Jazz

We had our first event this week and it was so much fun! Because I would be working Saturday for the festival I got to take Tuesday off, and that was nice. Tiff and I had the day off together so we went to blizzard beach for the afternoon because we get in free till the end of February. There are some really fun slides to go on, and some scary ones. Tiff did the really tall scary one that I wouldn’t. They have a radar gun showing how fast the people are going down the slide. The person that went before tiff was clocked going 67 mph. The gun for some reason didn’t get her so I don’t know how fast she went down. People ranged from 50-70 mph. The only bad part about the slides is that you had to climb up the mountain to go down any, and boy some of those steps were really steep.

Thursday was the first day of the Jazz Celebration. I was scheduled to work in the office so I got to run around making sure all sorts of last minute things were good to go. They had an opening night kick off with a performance by Arturo Sandoval and his band. He is really talented and he is hilarious, there were times he would just sit there and ramble on about things that just made us all laugh. Friday I hosted two groups. One was a middle school from Orlando and then a high school from New Jersey. It was fun and I got to be the time Nazi and make sure that they were on schedule so that everything went on time. The clinicians didn’t like it when I told them time was up because they were having fun working with the students.

Saturday was like the best because I was at Epcot in the huge World Showplace temporary permanent tent (Disney does funny stuff like that; this tent has been there since 98) helping with the master classes. I got paid to sit in on a vocal jazz master class with big names in jazz. I wish it could have been longer, it was not long enough, but I learned some good stuff. The guy that they brought in for percussion was so good, and fun to listen to, he seems really nice and was talking about how his son was doing solo and ensemble this weekend. I love it when people are down to earth and love to talk about their family. When I was done helping with the master classes I got to go to the studios and get a minivan to go pick up some of the guest artists for the Awards ceremony.

Then my day of work was over and so I went and got something to eat with others from work and we decided we wanted to watch the American Idol Experience before the awards ceremony started. The girl that won was 14 and has some mad chops. She might be on the actual show in a few years. We then ran over to see the awards ceremony, which was fun because they had the 3 top groups perform. The vocal group was so good, as were the instrumental, but I am more into the vocal. Then they had the “all star” big name people perform. It was pretty sweet and then the evening ended with Mickey. How could there be an awards ceremony at Disney without the big guy himself? Now we have a week to recoup and get ready for the Disney Honors, which I am so excited for because Craig Jessop is coming and working with the choral groups. I hope I get to work with him and sit in on some of the stuff that he’ll do. So we’ll see what adventures will come up this week! One exciting thing that happened this week is my niece Cali talked my brother and sister-in-law to come visit aunt Wendi and aunt Tiffany. I can’t wait to play with her in the parks!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dancing with the Mouse!

My week was jammed packed full of fun! The start of the week was normal just work FHE and sleep! Tuesday at work I got to go to the warehouse to get some stuff for festivals and because of that I got to wear jeans! I like it when I don't have to get all dressed up for work. The warehouse is huge and full of old a new stuff for Disney, kind of cool the things that are in there. Wednesday I got to work on my talk to speak in church today. I had a very different topic, speaking on the perpetual education fund and the other offerings on the tithes and offerings slip. It went well and I'm glad it's over. Then Thursday was an amazing day. I guy that works on my floor his wife works for La Nouba. Crowds have been down and to make it a better experience for everyone they were giving out tickets and so he secured some for us. La Nouba is an awesome show, I have now seen it three times and I love it. This time we were on the third row, and I didn't like too much being up that close. When the trapeze artists were performing it was hard to watch because they were right above me. I prefer seats further away so that I can catch everything.

When the show was over our manager had us wait around for a minute, we thought he was just going to tell us stuff about work, but no we were wrong. A friend of his works there and took us on a tour. I had gotten to go on a tour the first time I went with a guy from the ward, who had just left La Nouba a few weeks ago because he got a part in Dralion and is now training in Canada to join them on tour in Australia (rough life huh?). We got to see pretty much everything in the building, all 9 floors! It was neat to see how everything works in the show. I am usually not too afraid of heights, but the catwalk 7 stories up was a bit scary to look down. We even went up to the 9th floor and walked around on the grid, high above the seats! It was way cool. It was an amazing experience, that I wasn't prepared for, I was wearing heels, not good footwear for a 2 hour tour, but I survived and finally made it home at 1 am. Lazy Tiffany and her roommate slept in and Tiff didn't go to work the next day because she was too tired.

Incase you haven't figured out yet, I really love my job. It is pretty much one of the best jobs ever! My manager is amazing and knows all sorts of people. Friday after La Nouba all of us at work were like "Did we really just do that?" Who does our manager not know? I had even more fun at work on friday. I got to go shadow a Magic Music Days Guest Talent Coordinator at the Magic Kingdom. I was so excited because it was my first time ever to work at the MK. We met the marching band over by Splash Mountain and brought them backstage to the Magic Music Days facility where their bus was waiting for them. We gave the band some instructions and then had them get ready to march before the 3 o'clock parade. We got to lead them down the parade route through the Magic Kingdom. It was so fun, and we got to make sure that everyone was out of the way for them to march through. This is a job I could do more often. Then we took them back to the MMD facilities to change to go back into the parks. It was fun to talk to the kids and see how things were, how they were liking the trip and their favorite part. Some of them even wanted to know how I liked my job and how I got there. I like guest interaction like that, makes what I am doing more fun. Then after work Tiff, Tiauna and I went and saw Confessions of a Shopaholic. Go see it, HILARIOUS! It is funny and has some good lessons to learn.

Saturday morning I got to wake up way early to be at the Magic Kingdom by 7:30am. I was able to pick up a glorious 12 hour overtime shift for saturday helping with this crazy event called Twirlmania. We were meeting our first group of baton twirlers at 8am. They were marching at 10am. It took awhile to get them all gathered and marched backstage to MMD to get lined up for their march. This group was funny very interesting. It was about 200 girls from somewhere in florida. They were all ages, but that wasn't really supposed to happen. You see at Disney there are some things you see backstage that can be traumatizing to some, so they make it a rule that they need to be at least 8 to come backstage. We were talking to some of them and finding out how old they were. One girl told us that she was 5, but her mom told her to tell us that she was 8. So we marched them down the parade route and then released them back to their families and then took a lunch break and then got our next group of girls. The next two groups were intense, 500 of my closest baton twirling friends! We would get them gathered and start sending them down to keep things moving and relieve the congestion where they were gathering. Then we marched them again, and this time they were before the 3 pm parade, so there were lots of people already lining the parade route.

Getting ready for the last parade of the day was kind of the best and craziest. We had to take them to the staging area backwards because of timing of other shows and yada yada yada. We got them to the staging area and then waited for the new "Move it, Shake it, Celebrate" floats to come back in. When characters and other performs come backstage they quickly leave character, so they weren't too happy to come through the gate after dancing the past 30 mins to see 500 people waiting backstage. The Mad Hatter had the greatest face, he finished the song and then look over and made the face of, oh crap there are tons of people over there, dang it! I'm sure he might have been thinking other things but they aren't too Disney friendly! We then got to watch everyone take their costumes off. For some it is traumatizing, for me intriguing, I love the whole backstage process of stuff, and it doesn't ruin the magic for me. After that was all cleared it was time to step off for the 3rd time. I had so much time leading these twirlers, it must just be my love of performing and being onstage. I would love to pick up more of these shifts. Our first festival is this weekend. I am so excited to see how it goes. It is the Jazz Celebration, the first one that Disney has done, so it is fun to be part of the inaugural event, and there are some big name Jazz people coming. All I have to say is YAY for overtime! I'm excited for my paycheck the next to weeks.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Spring is in the Air

The past two weeks have been fun and crazy. I had a great time going home for my Grandpa Riding's funeral. I did a lot of laughing and crying that weekend. We had an older cousin sleep over at the Thacker's. Since it had been a long day, we did not last long. We started watching "Return to Me" and I can't tell you when I fell asleep, but I do remember some parts of it. I think Lindsay was the only one who finished the whole thing. Each of us had puffy eyes from crying all day! We can however blame the falling asleep during movies to grandpa, well my mom always blames it on him, so I'm pretty sure it's a true fact! I didn't take any pictures with my camera that weekend, but there are plenty taken by everyone in my family. It was a beautiful weekend. I love that my family is very close and we seem tough most of the time, but we also have our tender side. I think that everyone got a little teary eyed sometime during the funeral. That just shows you how much we love and will miss our dear grandpa! The greatest thing about the weekend was getting the chance to hold my baby Abby for the first time. It was so fun and I can't wait till i get home and she is older to play with her more. I also spent quality time with Cali, we sat and cuddled and watched tv for awhile, oh how I needed some time with my nieces! We went to Texas Roadhouse for my birthday and it was delicious! G&G Jones and Juleen also came along because it was Juleens birthday. I got her a great gift and I will post more of that later because there are some awesome pictures that go along with it!

Flying back to orlando was great fun. We had a 6am flight which was not fun, but the fact that it was super bowl sunday and the super bowl was in Tampa, so there were tons of Cards fans on our flight! We didn't watch all of the super bowl because we opted to go to break the fast and eat some good food. Sadly we missed the half time show. I had the opportunity to have helped with the half time show because my awesome manager has a side job working with casting for the half time show. I was sad I missed out on that chance and experience that now the rest of my team has, but going home was a lot more important. My manager did bring me back a hat so that is cool.

I have had the chance to have the new cast member training at Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) and EPCOT. They weren't as exciting as I thought they would be. I think part of the reason behind that is that the trainers taking us on the tours treated us like we were 5. At the studios tour, the 2 ladies taking us around were weird and I have worked for Disney longer then they have! They didn't really like us, it was funny, maybe because we kind of know more than they do and it was a group of 10 of us that have worked together for 3 weeks and then a bunch of newbies. The guys at Epcot were a little better, they even let us ride a ride. There was an old guy who could barely hear and was confused at what our job was, he didn't understand what we were telling him. We did get to ride one of the friendship boats around the lagoon to tour all the countries instead of walking the whole world showcase. It would have been fun, but it would have gone on forever!

Work has been fun, we are starting to get into the heart of festival season, so we actually get to start doing our own stuff and not random "I need an intern to do this for me job!" I am starting to not like those jobs, especially ones that involve phone calls. Most of you know how I HATE making certain types of phone calls. One of my jobs was to call random schools and getting info about their step teams for Disney's Step Classic. I did not like it at all, it was kind of like pulling teeth. Needless to say I didn't make too many. I did not have a problem however making confirmation calls to the directors. That wasn't bad because they are coming to the festival and I was going over stuff with them. Some of the directors are cool, and some crazy. It is just the whole band teacher stereotype! Makes me laugh all the time!

On tuesday night I went with Tiffany, Tiauna (tiff's roommate) and our friend Erin to see "New in Town" it is a hilarious movie. We laughed pretty much the whole time. Go see it so that you can laugh. I will probably buy it when it comes out and laugh some more! When we were leaving the theater at Downtown Disney, we were treated to a great surprise, the Weinermobile! We just had to stop and take pictures! Then saturday night we headed over to the studios to watch the National High School Cheerleading finals. It was great fun. We had a blast watching all the different teams, laughing at the intense parents, especially the ones with the photo buttons (I always get a kick out of those ones!), and the parents were loving it because they could drink (and I don't mean soda!) while watching their daughters cheer, now how could it get better than that?! Tiff, Tiauna and I are working on our routine, stay tuned for more info on that one. Go P.C. foxes!