I drive past the monorail/transportation barn (right behind the Magic Kingdom) fairly early in the morning. The park isn't open yet, and often the steam train will be out, getting some polish and shine ready for a new day.
One morning as I was driving past the backstage area, the train let out the most enormous puff of steam. It billowed high up into the blue-pink sky, and the sight of it made me catch my breath.
The whistle blew as well, and it was as if the train was saying, "Here I am...getting ready for all the Magic Kingdom guests today!" In that whistle and that cloud of steam there was such a thrill of excitement for the work ahead -- it made me excited. I was off to be part of that same Disney show too!
One thing that my job requires that I wouldn't necessarily have expected is good conversational skills. lol! When I escort a guest somewhere, or when I'm talking to them while they're waiting for a bus or in line, I've got to think of something to talk to them about!
It's easy with a group that has kids, or really any party that's on vacation. Start them off and they'll be glad to tell you all about their plans, where they're eating, their favorite characters and rides. I love it -- it's like hearing a mini trip report from the DIS!
When I'm assisting a business person who is at Disney for a conference, it can be a bit trickier finding things to chat about. One thing I've discovered is that, even though their kids aren't present, the kids are still a great topic of conversation! Often the conference-goer's with their suits and briefcases will look rather longingly at the families around - and they love to talk about times they've visited with their family. It's really rather sweet!
There are *lots* of sweet moments when the little ones are along with the parents! I love it when the same kids pass by and remember me. One four-year old little girl named Maggie with a cute bob haircut was chatting with me with her family as they were checking in. I gave her some Mickey stickers, and we traded some pins.
That family passed through the lobby and outside quite a bit throughout the day - getting in the luggage, waiting for the room to be ready, going to the buses, etc. Every so often throughout the day I would hear a little "Hi Emma!" I'd look, and it would be Maggie, waving as she went by with her fam. "Hi Maggie!" I'd wave back. SO fun -- Maggie added some magic to my day. :)
It's fun when you get a guest who's really excited to be arriving for their vacation - like my fam always is, lol! I once was talking to a family on their very first trip to Disney World. The little boy and little girl, about 6 and 7, could NOT contain their jubilation. They could barely stand still, they were fairly bouncing off the lobby furniture with excitement!!
The boy was hugging a Stitch stuffed animal close to him, and I made some remark on it which launched him into all things 626.
photo credit: disney.wikia.com
He was trying to describe just how much he loved Stitch, so he says to me: "Ask me who's my favoritest of all favorite characters -- out of anything!!"
So I said, "Who's your favoritest of all favorite characters out of anything?"
And he says in a satisfied voice, "STITCH!"
And I pretended to be surprised and we both laughed!
The Halloween party is almost always a great topic of conversation this time of year. Especially as we get closer to Halloween itself, more and more of the party-goers seem to have costumes. On party nights, sometimes you'll see guests in costumes heading over to the Magic Kingdom. A couple dressed as Wendy and Captain Hook caught my eye one evening - the Capt. Hook had the best hat! I always give the little jedi's a "May the Force Be with You!" - and on party nights especially, there are princesses by the dozen!
Even when it's not a MNSSHP night, it's fun to hear what costumes families are planning on wearing. There was one group that reminded me of my family - the kids were older but just really nice and all dressing up for the party. The 10-yr old boy was going to be a zombie, the 14-yr old girl was going to be a cowgirl, and the gangly 16-yr old was going to be Thor (which I thought was just cute!).
Some conversations you end up having over and over again. One that always makes me laugh is when guests come up asking for directions and say "How do you get to Disney World?" lol, those are the Disney newbies, but probably by the end of their next trip they'll know the names and how to get to everything!
Also a question that gets a humorous response sometimes is when a guest is looking lost -- I'll ask, "Can I help you find something?" And sometimes the answer I get is, "My wife!" It's funny how most often it's the husband looking for the wife rather than the other way around. It makes me think of that country song, "Waiting on a Woman!"
It's funny how even after I go off work for the day, sometimes I'm still in that greet-the-guest mindset. Especially when I go into a park or go somewhere on property right after work, when I see a princess, or someone with a birthday button, I'll start to say "Hello princess!" or "Happy Birthday!" - then I realize that I'm not on the job anymore, I'm just a random guest, and the people are probably thinking "Wow, that girl is either really friendly or really weird." lol!
If I start the day with a "conversation" with the steam train, I end it on my way home with a quick "hello" to the castle. The drive back takes me by the Contemporary, and I love that I can see the castle peeking through the trees as I head home...after another day of magical conversations. ;)