Friday, February 10, 2012

Disneyland Time, Part 2

Yesterday, I touched a bit on some of my time as a Disneyland Cast Member, and I’m going to talk a bit more today about that. The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage was not the only attraction that I helped work, although it was my original and it was my favorite. A few months after I was trained on Finding Nemo, I was cross-trained on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.

I didn’t work at Disneyland, I worked at Pixarland.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is an interactive attraction where you take the role of a Space Ranger in your Space Cruiser. There are lasers and targets throughout the attraction that you shoot at. At the end, you get your score and your picture taken, which unlike other attractions where you have to buy it, you can instead email it to yourself. This was a very simple attraction, with a steady rotation and a lot of motion. Instead of standing on a dock, occasionally moving to lift and lower hatches with plenty of time to interact with guests, many times you were on a moving walkway, gesturing where to enter and exit the space cruisers, and trying to make yourself heard over the sound effects.

I never really enjoyed working this attraction, since I loved the spieling at Nemo, and whenever I worked Lightyear, I ended with a headache and having lost my voice. While I did enjoy the constant motion on the sidewalk, the sheer amount of noise in the attraction drove me batty, and I loved the breaks where I was just sitting in the quiet camera room, making sure nothing obscene was going through for people to email themselves. Plus, the attraction never really liked me, having made sure it would break down and have to do an evacuation during my proficiency test when I finished training.

Through the good and the bad, my time at Disneyland is hands down one of my favorite work experiences in my long history of employment. It is a shame that they barely pay over minimum wage, and it’s impossible for a cast member who doesn’t have tenure to get full time, despite any lip service they give you saying that “if you do a good job, you’ll get full time in no time.” They were right, there was no time that I got full time, despite getting guest compliments and recognition from the supervisors of the attractions where I worked. However, I do still have some good friends from the park, and some knowledge and a familiarity with the park that I do like. I do like learning about behind the scenes of theme parks, so having a chance to see places like the Roundhouse where they store the train and Monorails, or Float Storage, or seeing how they did the effects for the subs really were a good thing.

Plus, shaking the hand of Gary Busey is always good bragging rights.

When I left there, I did become an Annual Passholder. Now, Annual Passholders are known to be, well, Passholes sometimes, and that’s something that I tried really hard not to be. I love the park, I know how bad some of the Cast Members have it, so I try not to add to it. The Geekling loves going to the park, and I love going to the park with her and her Mommy.

It was an experience that I’m glad I had the chance to be a part of. California always breaks me financially, but it does give me some great experiences, gifts, and friends.


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