Why I Quit Disney…

Hey all,

So I’ve been toying with the idea of this post for a while now, but I think it’s time I breached the subject. So stay tuned and read on for why I left Disney.

So I officially stopped working for Disney Cruise Line January 8th 2016. I has decided I was not going back to the ship about 2 months into my last contract. This is largely because I didn’t like who I became while I was working/living there.

Working on a ship;

My life while working on the ship became eat sleep work. This is not so different to life on land, but the main difference is you are mostly trapped on board. You can’t just pop to the shop or get delivery pizza or basically feel like you left work at all. You are stuck 2 mins from your work with a group of people who are on board for a bunch of different reasons and you don’t always like or get along with them either. You are never off duty.

I worked an average of 70 hours or more, most often more just to try and punch my pay check up. Your average day is in 2 or 3 large chunks. With between half an hour and 4/5 hours break between the chunks of work time.

I loved my job, if I could do the job but on land and for 40 hours per week would do it in a heartbeat. It is literally customer service at its finest. You met amazing and inspirational people from all over the world. You get a new challenge with each new person and it teaches you problem solving, empathy, and resilience. One of the things working for Disney had taught me is to be yelled at all day (in multiple languages) and still be able to sleep at night because I don’t take it personally.

While you are at work you are expected to give 110% on day one and more and more everyday while you get less and less sleep and with no further incentives. You start to play roulette with yourself to see what is more important to keep you sane.

On my first ever day on aboard my training officer told me I would give up food for sleep and I laughed, I LOVE food I wouldn’t give it up for anything!! Oh no she was so right on a good day I would have at least 1 meal in the crew mess. Most days however consisted of various amounts of coffee and sugar and n real food because I could find the energy to go to the mess when instead I could eat the snacks in my room and then pass out for 3 hours till my next shift.

The pay;

I didn’t realise when I agreed to the job at just what I was agreeing to. 70 hours’ minimum per week, over time is paid out at like $5 per hour. In America I know that this is maybe more than the average waitperson gets paid, but I was unable to accept tips to buffer this amount of money.

In New Zealand when left minimum wage was $13.50 it is now almost $15, I was earning about half working twice if not three times as hard.

However, I will mention while you are on aboard your food, board, uniforms and their cleaning and utilities are covered. The only things which you need to pay for yourself are: internet around $20 for 500mbs, any snacks or alcoholic or speciality beverages read drinkable coffee.

Life on aboard;

When you work in guest services you are one of the only departments, and the only one guest facing that is open 24/7. This means you very rarely can get time off in port, you often find yourself unable to go to the crew events because you’re working. So you start to decide what is more important rested and getting enough sleep to function at work or stay up late to have a few drinks with your friends and let off some steam so you can stay sane while trapped on a hunk of metal in the middle of the ocean for 6 months at a time.

For my first contract for the first 3 months I cried in my cabin at night, I txt my mum and told her how miserable I was. I had no friends I was working way to hard and I had no energy.

I eventually made friends and started going to the crew bar, but the fun and joy I had of spending time with people was also met with a bitter lack sleep and early mornings. There is little to no balance in this life style and you have to work very hard to find time to remember why you are or find someone to make you feel wanted and appreciated because you don’t get it anywhere else.

Extras;

On top of working 11-13 hours per day at top speed, you are also expected to be willing to save the ship and sacrifice your own life for the good of the guests and other crew. I was a first responder while on board, this consisted of weekly drills which no matter your shift when the alarm sounded you had to be fully dressed and presentable and at work to answer phones and help at the desk. Every second week was a full drill this meant muster stations and pretend evacuations.

So when I was on night shift I would work 10pm – 9am with no breaks, then at 10 the alarm would sound and I would have to go back to work for an hour finally at 11am the day was done.

My decision

At the end of my first contract I looked at why I wanted to go back

  • 1 year at Disney Cruise Line on my CV
  • Experience a dry dock
  • Try and get a step up position
  • Friends

All of these reasons pooled together into my decision to return to the Disney Dream.

However, I accomplished all of these in my second contract, I became the guest services coordinator, I hated dry dock with a passion. I lost respect for a lot of my managers and I watched perfectly amazing people lose sight of who they were under the mounting pressure of not being enough to fill the gaping needs of the company.

When it came time to look at whether I wanted to return for a 3rd contract there was only 1 reason which was friends, all the step positions had been filled for the next 6 months which basically mean there would be no opportunities in my next contract, I would be stepping down and losing everything that made the rest of my last contract bearable. I had stuck it out for a year and now had 2 years at Disney under my belt. Id decided that for my own sense of self I would not be returning to the Disney corporation.

The aftermath;

Personally my feeling is Disney is a great place to vacation, they treat guests better than any company I’ve ever experienced. The magic is truly real when you are a visitor, but that does not extend to working there.

It’s been a couple of months since I was supposed to go back to Disney, I miss my friends like crazy they are spread around the world and every time I see them on Facebook I feel like I left a piece of me with them. But I would be so unhappy to still be there working alongside them.

I have since moved home, and while I can’t say I’ve found the perfect job, I have definitely found a new challenge and this one is only a 37.5-hour week and treats me (mostly) like a human and not a machine.

I don’t regret my time working on the ship, but it definitely wasn’t what I had dreamed about. So I am once again adrift looking for my next dream and trying to accomplish everything I set my mind to in the mean time.

My 1st Contract in Review

Hey wanderers

I know it’s been forever since I last posted. This is due to several things the least of them being my contract with DCL.

IMG_6051IMG_6192

My contract started on October 27th 2014 and ended on March 30th 2015. It was originally supposed to be March 27th but I pushed out my contract by 3 days in order to have a vacation in Orlando before flying home.

What can I say about my contract? It was a steep and severe learning curve for me and also a complete and utter culture shock. The college program did almost nothing to prepare you for what life on board is like.

My first month on board was the hardest time of my life. I felt completely useless and unwanted most of the time. I messed up everything there were living challenges as well as working challenges. Managers who won’t back you no matter what and being so exhausted you don’t know which way is up. You are thrust into a completely new environment and in the guest services position you have to know everything about the ship, the itineraries and also what’s on offer in each port. This of course gets easier with time and one of the ways I learnt about the ship was my trainer used to tour me around the ship after work. We would go for walks and find all the places. She would fill me in on handy hints and common questions and answers.

IMG_6316 IMG_6371 IMG_6344

At the end of my first month I was ready to quit. I was so tired I had no friends, internet on board was a crazy $20 for less than 500mbs. Because of this I felt like I couldn’t talk to my friends and family. I cried while texting my mum and dad but ultimately decided not to quit as this was a dream I had been working towards for so long.

IMG_6340 IMG_6621 IMG_6630 IMG_6637

Months 2 thru 5 were a lot easier, to start with our management team changed and I found a lot of support I didn’t realise I was missing. Our team got stronger and stronger and soon we were bringing in results that 3 and 4 day cruises had never seen. Due to this my team earned first a half day off and then at the end of contract a whole day off!!!! This in itself was amazing. I also came 3rd top Guest Services Hostess twice which is an amazing confidence booster.

Some Notable Moments:

  • Swam with Dolphins and stingrays
  • Living in America mean free shipping on online shopping which then equals mail!!
  • Making new friends from all over the world
  • Breaking Disney records for friendliness and problem resolution
  • Captains recognition parties, my favourites being the dessert gala and St Patrick’s Day in the guest nightclub area.

IMG_6026IMG_6501

Earlier I mentioned I had extended m contract by three days, this was due to not being able to exit the ship on my B1/2 visa at the end of my contract unless I finished work in a Bahamian port. So this took a long time and a lot of frustration before it was finally resolved and sorted. Basically in the end my manager approved the 3 day extension and the crew office approved a flight delay. This ensured that I could spend a week in Orlando before flying home.

IMG_6637 IMG_7078 IMG_7089 IMG_7132

By the end of my contract I had decided that I would be returning. My end of contract review was outstanding and I am hoping to explore a couple different roles once I get back on board.

If you guys have any questions in regards to life on board or of my experience on board leave a comment below.

Bye for now

xx

Flying to America 2014

So I began my trip at 2am on Mondays the 27th of October. We had to ER up early so I could finish packing and coffee before leaving the house at 3:45am to get to the airport by 5am.

Said my goodbyes to my grandfather and my cat and then we were on our way. We got to the airport super early cos surprise! There is no traffic at 4 am. So we decided to have a McDonald’s breakfast a wee waited for check in to open.

Once it opened I went to check my bag and get my boarding passed for my 3 flights of the day. It took a while because she was really interested in what I do and why I was going. I also had a question about luggage that wasn’t easily answered. My question was on my itinerary it said baggage limit: 4 pieces. And that was it no actual information on weight or size also there no helpful information on the help pages. Tash had to ring 2 different places to find out and the answer that came back was it is 4 pieces of 23kgs each!!!! Holy crap that’s a lot of luggage. I checked one bag that weighed a grand total of 16kgs.

After checking we headed up stairs to get coffee and spend my last 2 hours in the gateway lounge. It was really tough leaving my dad but I found it a whole lot easier than last time when my best friends and family were there. Besides I knew I’d be back in April so it’s not like in going forever.

I bought a magazine, a bottle of water and for some money changed in to Australian dollars and some into American, I used the notes in my wallet making the most of my immediate resources. I boarded the plane to Sydney and it was tiny I felt like I had no space in my seat, I was also seated next to a giant man who took up all the room without trying. The flight took 3 hours or so. I think we landed a little late. I then had to go through transfer security where they made me throw out my water. I then spent the next 4 hours wandering through the airport, I found an Asian noodle place for lunch which was delicious and I felt much better after that. But the free Wi-Fi refused to work on my phone which sucked

The plane was late leaving Sydney. It was a 14 hour flight to Dallas, Texas. It was actually a really nice flight I enjoyed the food and the staff were friendly, it was just way to long. Speaking haha of food there was a tonne of it haha with dinner which was a honey chicken salad and fruit bowl I had a Bloody Mary and then a vodka ginger beer. In the middle of the night we got ice cream and sliders. And then scrambled eggs and beans for breakfast. They also had a serve yourself snack station as well.

We arrived late into Dallas, where I had to go through customs, passport control and bag pick up and re check. Then back through security and then find out I was in the wrong terminal all while my flight was boarding. After running through the airport for half an hour I finally get to the desk to discover my flight has already left and I had been rebooked on to a 7pm flight. So I spent 4 hours in Dallas, sitting in TGI Fridays drinking cocktails till I felt better about life.

This last flight was killer. I was so over flying g and being cramped in tiny planes. Luckily this flight was only three hours but it seemed to drag on forever. Once I got to Orlando I picked up my bag and wound my way to the Disney ground transportation and caught a Disney magical express to pop century.

Once I arrived at Pop I discovered once again the frustration of knowing how to do that persons job better than them but not being able to. So I went up to my room and met my roommate. Larissa 50 years Old Russian from Australia. She will be in merchandise on board the Dream.

And so ended my long Monday I left New Zealand at 8 am on the 27th and arrived 35 hours later I arrived in Orlando Florida 10pm on the 27th of October.

 

Day Four – St Maarten

Ok so the day dawned somewhat brightish and earlyish, we were docking in St Maarten.

We had decided on breakfast at the enchanted garden at 9am.

Breakfast was surprisingly a buffet ha-ha,  during which our waiter spilled a glass of water all over our table we all had good giggle and after breakfast spent a few hours chilling on board, this was because we had booked a tour but it wasn’t due to start till 12:30pm. So at around 11:45am we made our way through to the Buena Vista Theatre to await our briefing.

We arrived nice and early and spent around 20 minutes waiting for everyone else to arrive. We had booked the Under 2 Flags tour which was $29.00 per person and took us on a coach tour around both sides of the island. We stopped at a market place where we perused all the token souvenirs and bags and what not. We even chanced a look inside the mall, which was filled with various expensive stores with nothing overly interesting. I purchased some post cards for my collection.

We decided we were thirsty and so we stopped at a juice bar for some fresh fruit juice. Kat got a vitamin C juice which was deliciously tart as it had no added sugar. I had an island blend and Christopher had a Pina colada smoothie – no alcohol added. After which we boarded the bus again and headed for the rest of the tour.

IMG_3816

mhmmmmm all of the ice cream Flavours

Our last stop before the ship was at a famous carousel and Italian ice-cream shop. We all had a free go on the carousel and a scoop of ice cream, there were so many flavours it was really hard to choose but they let us taste a couple first. I ended up with a Bounty flavor, which tasted just like bounty chocolate bars.

After half an hour there we were dropped back at the port. Chris and Kat headed back to the ship and Michael and I window shopped at the port side shopping for around an hour.

i just want to apologize that none of these photos are in order.

IMG_3757

Ticket for the tour

IMG_3793

Can you see the Lizards ???

IMG_3801

Dodgiest rubbish bin ever

IMG_3808

Katherine and Christopher

IMG_3809

Michael

IMG_3821

teaching kat how to get the glamour shot

IMG_3823

glamour shots are hard

IMG_3820

Meagan wont get off the bus cos its too close to the edge

IMG_3788 IMG_3789 IMG_3790 IMG_3794 IMG_3795 IMG_3796 IMG_3797 IMG_3798 IMG_3799 IMG_3800 IMG_3802 IMG_3803 IMG_3804 - Copy IMG_3805 - Copy IMG_3806 IMG_3810 IMG_3814   IMG_3817 IMG_3819 IMG_3822 IMG_3824 IMG_3825 IMG_3826 IMG_3827 IMG_3828 IMG_3829 IMG_3831 - Copy IMG_3832  IMG_3767

IMG_3787 IMG_3786 IMG_3785 IMG_3784 IMG_3783 IMG_3782 IMG_3780 IMG_3779 IMG_3763 IMG_3767 IMG_3768 IMG_3769 IMG_3770 IMG_3762 IMG_3761 IMG_3760 IMG_3759 IMG_3758  IMG_3756 IMG_3755 IMG_3754 IMG_3815

Day four was pirate night, there was a lot of commotion happening with dance parties and pirates of the Caribbean themed shows and even fireworks. We had dinner at animator’s palate for the first time since we had eaten at Palo on the first night instead.

I must say that out of all the menus this was the one I was least interested in.

IMG_3858

Lamb shank

IMG_3857

Pot Stickers

IMG_3856

Shrimp and Israeli Couscous

IMG_3864

Choc Lava Cake

IMG_3861

Pirate beverage

IMG_3840

A Lost Boy(Girl) and Peter Pan

IMG_3834 - Copy IMG_3835 IMG_3838 - Copy IMG_3843 IMG_3844 IMG_3846 IMG_3849 IMG_3851 IMG_3866 - Copy IMG_3867 - Copy IMG_3871

 

 

After the fireworks there was a dessert buffet at cabanas but it was also a bit average.

Day 2&3: A Day at Sea

Days 2 & 3 were spent at sea.

We rushed through the waters heading towards St Maarten.

Day Two

Unfortunately day 2 was a very rough day at sea. I woke up at 10am feeling queasy and un-happy.  I headed up to breakfast by myself but only managed some fresh fruit before heading back to the cabin. Katherine was up when I returned so I headed back to breakfast with her and Michael for a second time.

Day 2 breakfast

day 2 breakfast alone

We spent the day at trivia, at a DVC meeting, and wandering the decks exploring the Disney Fantasy. I felt really queasy all day and at about 3pm I went back to the stateroom for a nap. The other three went off to meet characters.

At 6:15pm there was a Broadway style show playing in the Walt Disney Theatre – Disney wishes. It was about 3 kids who were following their dreams after finishing high school. It was the cheesiest thing I have ever seen in my life. Katherine thought it was the best thing she had ever seen, she is a sucker for cheesy Disney stuff from parades to movies she love it all.

After the show I told everyone I would meet them at dinner and went to back to the stateroom where I was violently ill for most of the evening. I did manage to make an appearance at dinner but the smell in the dining room was too much for me. It confused our servers to no end because I disappeared and never came back.

Enchanted Garden

The Enchanted Garden

Enchanted GardenEnchanted Garden

 

Day Three

I woke up on day three still feeling gross. Michael and Katherine woke me up for breakfast at 9am, which I attended and I had more of an appetite than the previous day which was a glorious feeling. Katherine and Michael went off to meet the princesses and I went back to bed.

Breakfast Buffet

Breakfast Buffet

Cabanas Buffet

 

View from the Buffet

Once again we frequented and won Disney trivia, we are now the proud owners of 2, read it 2 Disney cruise line key chains. I also went to guest services and they told me about some seasickness bracelets that they sell in one of the stores. So off I went and I got myself some acupressure bracelets, and let me tell ya I’m pretty sure they work.  Whenever I wear them I don’t feel sea sick! Yay!

It was really odd for me because I didn’t get sea sick on the last cruise.

Perry and Phineas

Us and Peter Pan

 

IMG_3717

IMG_3725

Dinner Day 3

Day three dinner was a much happier we were at the Royal court. Nicola and Mariya our servers were very happy to see us. They spoilt us rotten giving us extra appetizers, extra mains, and extra desserts whatever we wanted. Mariya gave me 2 extra crème brulee that night because they were DELICIOUS!! We left dinner practically rolling away from the table.

Bread and Fried Brie

 

escargot

Potato and Leek Soup

Rack of Lamb

Tahitan Vanilla Creme Brulee

Grand Marnier Souffle

Christopher Michael 8 forks balanced on a wine bottle

After dinner we headed up to the hot tub and whiled away the hours in the pool and the hot tub.  And then we all rolled off to bed.

and that ends days 2 and 3

TTFN

disney cruise: Day 1 embarkation

May 17th

Saturday dawned bright and early suprisingly enough as i had spent an amazingly long night at a Cher concert.

Image

Flying Cher

Image

cher was amazing, it was my first concert and i had the best time.

DISNEY FANTASY

Image

saturday consisted of last minute getting ready which took a lot longer than i wanted so i was getting pretty grumpy by the time we finally met up with Michael and got on the way to the port.

once we arrived at port canaveral we got all of our stuff  out of the van, and christopher had his big suitcase sent to the room because its wheels were broken and it was  full size suitcase. the rest of us (katherine, micheal, and I) gather our stuff and went through security and up into th line to check into our 7 day cruise!

Image

I have been waiting for this day for years/months! and finally we were there, checking in to our adjoining staterooms on the Disney Fantasy for a 7 day eastern caribbean cruise. nothing but luxury and disney trivia ahead of e for days and days.

After arriving in the stateroom and getting our selves sorted with our new quarters:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

After getting ourelves situated we started to roam around the ship that we would call home for a week.

We stopped by Cabanas on the 11th deck which we discovered has an amazing seafood buffett which we all stuffed ourselves with.

We then explored the ship for a few hours till it was time to pretty ourselves up for dinner at palo.

IMG_3706

lobster Ravioli

IMG_3707

Lamb Shank

IMG_3708

gnocchi and marscapone soup

IMG_3709

Chocolate Souffle

IMG_3676IMG_3686IMG_3685 IMG_3697 IMG_3699 IMG_3700 IMG_3701 IMG_3703 IMG_3704

we gorged outselves on plates and plates of rich and delicious food for over 2 hours. the somalier talked us into buying 2 bottles of wine for the table, and our server plied me with as much prosciutto as my heart desired.

we had planned an evening of fun and roaming the ship after dinner but i had started to feel ill and mostly food coma, so we all went to bed to sleep off the amazing food we had all eaten.

 

that ends day one of  my disney cruise

TTFN

Nutmeg

 

7 days to go

20140509-184056.jpg

Woot 7 days to go !!!!!

Katherine and I went shopping and I now am the proud owner of a dress, some shorts , bathing suit and down spanx. All I need now is some alcohol, and some new shoes and I’ll be ready for cruising.

20140509-184329.jpg

I have been practicing my Princess hair , I have gotten some cute fake eyelashes and some glitter hair spray as well ….. Now I just need to figure out which Princess I’m going to be, and a costume for pirate night.

CRUISE INFORMATION

so I have booked 2 staterooms, they are deluxe ocean view verandah rooms, we have linked our reservations together so currently they have is in staterooms side by side with an adjoining verandah. We hope we can open this and just have a giant open deck.

20140509-185246.jpg

20140509-185256.jpg

20140509-185303.jpg

20140509-185317.jpg

20140509-185323.jpg

So as you can see we have booked the adults only restaurant PALO for dinner on the first night, this was due to availability, the thing with the Disney cast discount is that it only comes out like 2 weeks in advance so most things are booked up.

We also have a tour booked on St Maarten which I’m quite excited for.

I’ve been doing a lot of research ( meaning YouTube videos and blogs) about the Disney fantasy and the caribbean cruises they do and they all look amazing !!

We have completed our online check in we filled in all of our information and passports and credit cards and we are ready to be off to wonderland at practically a moments notice 🙂

T. T. F. N.
Nutmeggle