Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Disney College Program: Quick Service Food And Beverage

As my time at Disney is coming to a close, I have been thinking about my experience here.  The good the bad and all the memories that I will cherish forever.

However, I speak to you college program hopefuls who maybe just got offered a role as a Quick Service Food And Beverage cast member. Maybe you were like me, hoping to work Attractions, and when you got offered QSFB you thought, that's not for me. And let me tell you. It is quite an experience. But it is not for the weak of heart.

Before you accept your position for Quick Service Food and Beverage, just know this:

1.) As a CP you may close every single day

At my location, CP's got all the closing shifts. The Part timers and Full timers had nice shifts like 10:15am - 6:30pm. With those shifts you can get off work and still have time do go enjoy yourself at one of the parks. But CP's got all the long closing shifts. I often worked 10 hour shifts and the first half of my program we worked 6 days a week, with only one day off. My shifts usually began around or after 11:30am and ended at 9:30pm or later up to 10pm. I was at Hollywood Studios so rarely did I have to deal with late Extra Magic Hours.

The thing about closing every single day is that it's very demanding and very exhausting. There is so much cleaning and stocking that goes into it. At my location we start working on our closing position around 5pm and it's nonstop working until your leader checks your area around 9:30pm and you can finally go home.

2.) You may or may not have good leaders 

At my location some of my leaders were cool and some of them were, how do I say this, not very cool. Often I felt like the leaders had their favorite cast members and would give them the "good" or "desired" positions in the kitchen. Which I felt was unfair. Rarely did my leaders acknowledge us with Four Keys cards and rarely did I even feel appreciated for all the back breaking work I did. It takes a lot of cast members to run a Quick Service restaurant at Disney and not everyone's job is viewed as "the most important" or "desired", and that brings to my next point...

3.) You will have to do gross things

Including but not limited to: getting on your hands and knees wiping dried ketchup off the side of a trash can, taking out lots and lots of trash and when you fling it into the dumpster some of it lands back on you, cleaning out all the food waste bins that have been sitting out in the sun and have food caked on them all because your leader decided he wants them to be clean, preparing/marinating up to 50 pounds of raw chicken, wiping maple syrup off of tables, cleaning and rinsing and replacing the condiment pumps of BBQ sauce, ketchup and mustard and getting it all over you and all this just part of working and sweating in a hot kitchen for 8 hours.

3.) Your body will just hurt

Working in QSFB is very physically demanding. It's on your feet all day long with only one break. Unlike other roles at Disney, like Attractions, where they get 3 breaks, two 15 minute and one 30 minute, at my location at least, we only got one 1 hour break per day. And that brings me to another point. In Attractions, for example, you get switched between Tasks usually every 45 minutes to an hour. In my location at Quick Service you do not get switched very often between tasks. You could be on Bussing or Cash or Counter or Fryers or any other position for many hours, even the whole day. If you want to be moved, and have a valid reason, you can usually ask but normally cast members just do as their leaders tell them and go to the position they were assigned. My back and feet hurt so bad at the end of the day. As I walk through the parking lot to my car I feel so exhausted and sometimes I cry because I'm hurting so bad. It's true.

4.) Disney leaders expect a lot

And they should. I mean the interview process is very selective and acceptance rate is very low. Disney hires the best of the best. And you will see that when you come to work each day. But then there are the people that tend to slip through the cracks and you wonder how they ever got hired to work at Disney. But anyway I'm not talking about those people right now. I just wanted to say that as a Disney cast member, even as a QSFB cast member, you are expected to perform to the best of your abilities every single day. A lot of emphasis goes into making magical moments for the guests and being "show ready". If you forgot to put on a belt one day, your leader will, sometimes rudely, demand you to return to costuming to get a belt before you start your shift. Also, they don't care how tired you are or that you've been working one of the hardest positions at your location, there is no leaning or crossing your arms. And they will sometimes nicely and sometimes rudely yell at you "If you got time to lean, you got time to clean!" Which sounds funny or whatever but when you are exhausted from working and you have done nothing but be kind to annoying guests all day and you worked your butt off, it's the last thing you want to hear.

5.) You will come to love your location and your fellow cast members

As hard and as demanding as Quick Service is, you will bond with your fellow cast members over all the horrible stuff you go through and all the crazy guests and the long hours. They will become your family. You will see them more than you see your friends and even your own roommates. And they will become your bestest of friends. Which is pretty awesome. The hardest part is getting to hang out with them outside of work since everyone will have different days off!!

6.) You will be poor

I think it's a fact of DCP life. You will end up spending so much money while you're here! You will go out with your friends after work, you will eat the insanely over priced Disney food and buy all your favorite Disney merch. You will go to the insanely expensive Character dining. You will take advantage of all the great shopping right next to CP housing and go the malls and outlets. And you will be poor. No doubt about it. But at least you'll be working 40+ hours a week, especially if you are at my location and be getting a nice pay check.

If I haven't bored you yet I just want you to know that all in all I HIGHLY recommend accepting your role of Quick Service Food and Beverage with the Walt Disney Company. Yes it was hard. Yes I cried multiple times on the job and after work. Yes I injured myself. Yes guests were rude. Yes it was hard being away from home. Yes I spent a lot of money. Yes its the hardest job at Disney. (That's 100% direct quote from my leader.) But I made awesome friends and I met people from all over the world. I now have an awesome work experience to add to my resume (which has already helped me line up an interview for a great job when I get back home). And I got to live and work at Disney World, my favorite place!

I learned so much about myself on my program. It sounds so cliche and I've heard so many other people say the same thing, but it's true. I pushed myself to my limit at work and I learned to do things that I never thought I'd be able to do. I learned how to work under pressure and work fast. I learned how to be a better employee in my future jobs. I learned that I can do hard things.

I'm so grateful for the Disney College Program. No it's not perfect and there are some things about it that really need to be changed but I will never regret doing it and you won't either.

Also, I cannot say that I "lost the magic" after working for Disney. In fact I still love Disney just as much, maybe more, than I did before my program!!