I still pick up shifts from time to time at Disney as a photographer. I always shoot at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK) so I’ve learned that park very well. I picked up an all-day shift last Friday, Sunday, and tomorrow then will be off for a few weeks.
But these last couple of days have produced some interesting stories.
- One thing that is really a lot of fun about working in a park is you get a perspective that no one else gets – that is I stay in one spot while everyone else is on the move. I’ve found a lot can happen if you just stay still. Friday I was in Africa by the drums. An African cast member came out with hand instruments and started a jam. A couple guys joined in on bongos, a teen girl took a maracca, a man grabbed a cowbell, and on and on. They jammed for about 15 minutes non-stop. Then they all left. Moments later one of the more interesting characters at DAK came out: the “tree lady” or DeVine. Meanwhile, behind me, one of the giant black, white, and red male storks was doing what looked like a courting dance while the female stork watched attentively.
- Technology is taken for granted until it stops working. For example, when all the scanners at the gates stop working, thousands of people get in long lines waiting for repairs. Twice. Some line up and are still excited to be at Disney. Some get angry and leave.
- I’ve worked many hours in the in-park store “Garden Gate Gifts”. It’s where guests can come view their PhotoPass photos. It also is a small gift shop. Lots of stories come out of there! Sunday something happened twice that I’ve never seen happen. Within an hour of each other, two women came in concerned because their camera stopped working. We don’t repair guest’s cameras, but we’ll take a look at it. Turned out, for both women, the batteries were dead. So we fixed them both when they purchased new batteries. Sometimes it’s not that easy. One day a guy lost all his photos on his camera because he reformatted the memory card at the end of the day. I felt bad but there was nothing I could do.
- I’ve worked retail many times throughout my life and as far as I know nothing has ever been stolen while I was working. It’s still true, but the streak almost ended the other day when a lady who was in too much of a hurry thought the line was too long to wait. So she held up her items and said “I’m just going to leave. If someone stops me then…” I couldn’t hear the rest as she already turned and was out the door. We all looked at each other with a “what did she say?” look. A cast member followed her out and fortunately she was at another register paying. I do commend her for at least being honest with us that she was going to steal. Then she paid.
- When you are a guest at Disney (or anywhere for that matter) and you are upset about something, consider taking out your frustration on the appropriate people. Usually the person at the cash register didn’t decide how much your item costs nor can she do anything about it. Telling her the entire company is a ripoff is both rude and ironic since you paid so much to visit. Disney is a magical place, but yes, memories can be expensive.