New Job: Week 1!

I just finished working seven out of the last eight days at the new job, and boy are my legs tired.

For those who don’t know, I’ve moved over to the resorts arm of the Disney empire. My eventual job will be “Bell Dispatch”, in which I’ll work in a little booth with a computer, telling the bellmen (I keep wanting to call them bellhops) where to pick up guests and their luggage, and where to take them.

Thing is, I’m not scheduled for my classroom sessions at Disney University for two more weeks. So until I’ve learned the software used to dispatch bellmen, I’ll be doing other work. I’ve shadowed a few people, and I’ve been trained to do an easy temp job (more on that below).

So how was my week? Busy. Tiring. And unfashionable.

The first day was orientation for the resort. It was actually a combined orientation for two resorts, then at one point we split apart and did separate tours. There were a dozen or so of us, headed to many different jobs: dispatch, front desk, housekeeping, food & beverage, and a couple of managers. We had to do some getting-to-know-you exercises, we learned about the Disney service basics, we got overviews of our resorts, we took our tour, and we went to costuming to get our outfits.

I’d heard about Disney costumes from Scott, but this was my first time trying them on. The bottoms are like something out of 1983 — a high and tight waist, several pleats, and tapered ankles. The sizes are also from the past, which is apparently standard for uniform companies. The blouse is a boxy camp-shirt style, with poofy shoulders. It’s as if they decided that since they can’t make everyone look great, they’ll make everyone look equally odd.

All right, fine. I had Scott take a picture of the trousers:

There’s also a pocket on the right side. It adds to the weird saggybaggyness. On the plus side, there’s also an option for shorts. On the minus side, they also have the high and tight waist. Oh well, it could be worse. There are some seriously awful costumes out there. Dinoland USA, I’m looking at you.

Anyhoo, after Monday’s orientation, I got Tuesday off, then headed into a 6-day workweek. Wednesday was spent shadowing the job of “Greeter”, which will be my job for the next two weeks. Basically I hang out in front of the check-in building, under the porte-cochère, greeting guests. I answer their questions, direct them to places, and help with their luggage. If their flight leaves at 7pm but they had to check out at 11am, I can take their bags and put them in storage so the guests can go frolic in the parks. I hold doors for people, and just generally smile and stand around, being available for any guests. It’s not hard work, and it’s not mentally taxing, but it’s standing for 8 hours, which I’m not used to.

Thursday I got to go out with a bellman for the first half of the day, and I learned how they do their work. Which is basically getting calls from the dispatchers, and fetching/delivering guests and their luggage. Then I spent the rest of the day in the Disney’s Magical Express luggage office. It’s a system where you check your luggage into the airline with special tags on them, then at your destination the bags are loaded up and brought to your resort. There, they’re sorted and sent out to the rooms with bellmen, so you don’t have to fuss with the bags. You can just check in, then head off to the theme parks.

So for half of Thursday, and again all day Friday and Sunday, I was slinging luggage. It came in stacked in big locked cages, which we laser-scanned and sorted onto shelves for later retrieval. I learned that I’m stronger than I thought! Although I did bruise the heck out of my knees and legs, what with all the bumping against suitcases and using my knees to help heft bags up to the upper shelves.

My knee is pretty much capped with bruises. But they’re no big deal — I bruise if you look at me wrong. You can also see the mole-removal scar down there on my calf. They’re all healing nicely.

Saturday and Monday, I was a Greeter all on my own. No tranier, not shadowing anyone. Actually doing the job! I answered questions, sent people to places, stored luggage, opened lots of doors, and did it all hanging out in the shade on a warm spring day, with a breeze rustling through the palm trees. Seriously, you could do a lot worse.

Most of the people have been lovely so far. The bellmen are extra nice to me, but I suspect they’re sucking up a little because they know I’ll be dispatching jobs to them eventually. Many of the people in my area have been with the company lots of years, and they’re all well older than I. There are also a number of kids here on the college program, but quite a few of them are leaving this Wednesday, so I only barely got to know them. However, a new batch of fresh faces should show up in the next few weeks. It’s one of the strange things here at Disney — everyone seems to be either 20-something or 60-something. I’m in a weird middle ground.

This next workweek I’ll get a taste of some evening shifts (everything I’ve done so far has started in the morning). I hear it’s a lot less busy in the evenings. Then on the 23rd, I get to hit the classroom. I believe it’s 2 weeks of on-the-job training after that, and I should be a full-fledged dispatcher by mid-June. Since I’ve changed unions, I’m coming into this job at the bottom of the seniority ladder, so I may be working nights again. Time will tell, and we shall see.