Monday, October 26, 2009

My farewell letter to the Guard


I wanted to share this letter with you all. I announced my departure from the Tahquitz Colorguard today to the band director and my girls. After a LONGGGGG wait, I feel a bit relieved now that it's over with. I didn't announce it earlier to them because I wanted to make sure everything was solid and set in stone before I did. I don't think I've ever heard a room full of teenage girls be so quiet or seen as many tears as I did today. Broke my heart =(

I hope my girls realize how important they are to me and had it not been the experience I gained from working as their instructor I probably wouldn't have made it into the college program. I gained so many life lessons that helped me grow and learn professionally and personally, I can not thank them enough. Anyways here is the letter I wrote to them, it came straight from the heart and I cried my eyes out while writing it. Grab some tissues...you might need it ;)

To all of my guard girls,

I wanted to take a moment to let you know, that it is with great sorrow that I will be leaving my position as your Color Guard Instructor at the end of December. I received an exciting offer for an Internship and position in the Disney College Program in Anaheim, CA. This position will help me further my education in college as well as provide me the opportunity to build a career within the Walt Disney Company.

I truly cherish every moment throughout the time that I have worked with you ladies. All of the laughter, tears of joy and dedication that you all brought to the team have made my experience a journey that I will never forget. You all have taught me so many valuable lessons in life; lessons that will help give me the confidence to take on the new challenges I face in the future. I am extremely proud to call Tahquitz Color Guard my team. Even though I will no longer be around to instruct, please know that you all will always be in my heart and mind.

Each one of you holds such a special talent and passion for this sport, I hope that you find it within you to continue on with the program and help take it to new heights. Color Guard is an experience you won’t find anywhere else. It is a place to build teamwork and leadership skills, make friends that will last a lifetime, and allow a place for you to PROUD of all that you have achieved. Don’t let this opportunity go!

From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate all that you have done for the program and hope that you will trek on to be the amazing and successful team that I know you are. Without your help, I would not be able to stand here today and say that my time with the program has been a triumph and major accomplishment for Tahquitz High School history. If there is ever a time that you are in need of guidance or support, I am only a phone call away. I wish you all the very best of luck in the future. Just remember, a dream is a wish your heart makes. Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow will come shining through.

Sincerely your #1 Fan,

Coach Kira

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ohh, That CLOCK!

"What a killjoy. I HEAR YOU, come on, get up you say! Time to start another day!"
Halloween is just around the corner. Where has the time gone? Next thing I know we will be packing up all of my things and checking in at Disney. Last saturday I paid off the some $800+ housing & program fee. You could say it was my first taste of the real world. That fee included first months rent, security deposit & the program fee that helps pay for housing events. Now that it's paid off, I am BROKE.
It's just under one month since I found out that I was accepted into the College Program, and its been almost two months since I actually applied. A little bit of the excitement has worn off. Don't get me wrong, I'm still SUPER excited to be going, but parts of my heart are just a bit sad as I count down the days until move.
I know, it's not like I'm moving to, as Jason said, Bangor, Maine. Anaheim is only a little over an hour away. While I'll have plenty of family and friends making day trips to visit me, it just won't be the same. But it feels like I'm leaving behind the only life I've ever known. Technically I am.
I was born and raised in Hemet. Hemet has been my home for 24 years, some of my good friends are still living here and a majority of my family lives here. When I leave in January I won't have much more time to spend with my brother before he leaves for the Navy in March. That makes me sad, as well as leaving behind all those fun filled days and nights I spent going on spontaneous adventures with my friends. There isn't much to do in Hemet and its amazing the things we all found to entertain ourselves with over the years. Not to mention that I am leaving behind my colorguard team, a wonderful group of kids that I've all 'adopted' as my own. So much laughter and memories are involved in this little town.
Of course I will meet new friends and have new adventures, but I don't think anything will ever top all of the time I've spent at home with my hometown friends and family. I was so eager to leave this town all the time and now I'm beginning to wonder why I ever wanted to leave in the first place. I'm already home sick just thinking about it!
What I am excited about though is getting to experience a new city, living on my own, working in the happiest place on earth and making dreams come true every day. I was checking out Anaheim's website and was making a mental list of things I want to do while I'm there. Going to sporting events like Angels & Ducks games, shopping in Gardenwalk, visiting the nearby beach, and just checking out the general happenings of the city are on the must-do list.
As the clock keeps ticking I'm finding myself busier and busier everyday. I should be starting back at the Disney Store soon for seasonal, which means school 4 days a week + 2 jobs, one in town one out of town. Temporary insanity is the only way to explain it. Althou I am excited to see and work with all of my Disney girls again. I've missed them. The money I earn at the Store goes straight into my 'emergency' fund for Anaheim living.
Groceries and gas will be taking their toll on my paychecks that will already be reduced by weekly rent, so I'm trying to save up as much as possible before I go.
I'll be requesting an area of the parks to work in next week. With the program you can't requst to work in certain stores or on certain rides, but you CAN request a certain area of the parks to work in. With Disney there are never any promises that they can fullfil your request though. But it's worth a shot! I won't find out what attraction/land/park I'll be calling home until check-in day! There's so many different and fun places that I would LOVE to work in at the parks, I just can't pick one. What do you suggest? If you got the chance to work in Attractions the parks where would YOU want to work? Help me decide! Leave me a comment with your answer =)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ACCEPTED



Yes, you read that right! I WAS ACCEPTED! I will be joining the Disneyland Resort Cast in January as an ATTRACTIONS hostess! I've known about it since this past Wednesday when Disney called me to tell me I was accepted, but I wanted to wait until I had something to show for it!

SO EXCITED!!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Interview Experience

My phone interview for the College Program was Friday August 28 shortly after 6pm. I had prepared myself all summer long for this interview, I DID NOT want to mess it up. I researched online Disney forums for advice and information about what kinds of questions they asked and I took THREE pages of notes for myself. I was prepared to answer any questions regarding my top 3 role choices (Atmosphere Character, Character Attendant & Entertainment Costuming), as well as answers for the basic job interview type questions.

I was nervous all day long, there is something about auditioning and interviewing for the Mouse that ALWAYS throws all my confidence out the window. My stomach was in knots and I was fidgety. I had worked myself up so bad that my voice was cracking when I spoke, making me sound like I had the worst case of a cold ever. I tried taking deep breaths to calm myself down but they proved to be little help. My interviewer (who was extremely nice) was about 15 minutes late in calling me, which only made my nerves worse. Finally the call came through, I answered and the interviewer apologized for being late. She explained that she had just arrived at work and was running a little behind.

She informed me that the interview would take in between 15 to 20 minutes. The actual time on my interview ended up being just over 28 minutes long. I think that was only because I rattled on so much. I couldn't leave any stone unturned, this was my only chance to shine! I started out by answering her questions about which college I was enrolled in, my past work experience, confirming I was over 18, confirmed that I wanted housing and why I wanted to be a part of the program. Although my voice was still shaky I was starting to feel a little more confident in my answers. I shared the story with her about when I was young how I always told everyone that I wanted to be 'Michael Eisner' when I grew up, not knowing what his real job title was CEO. All I knew was that he ran Disney and that he got to introduce the Disney movies every week on the Wonderful World of Disney, I wanted that job! The interviewer got a little giggle out of that one.

But of course this wouldn't be a true Kira adventure without some sort of snag. She asked me for my top 3 role choices, so I started naming them off. All of my choices were entertainment positions. She politely informed me that because the Disneyland program was so small that the Entertainment division is NOT hiring college program applicants this time around. The sound of DOOM came crashing down on me. My entire 3 pages of notes I had prepared covered everything about the entertainment roles, but provided me with not one back up plan. I started to freak out inside. She asked me what my other 3 options would be so I fumbled for a few seconds...I had no idea what I wanted. I figured this was the end for me. After a minute or so I ended up choosing Attractions, Guest Relations and Photopass (with the interviewers help of course).

Later I convinced myself that these 3 roles weren't such bad choices after all. Even if it meant that I would spend my semester in the janitorial division scrubbing toilets and picking up trash, I would have done it for the chance to be in the program. I listened intently to every question she asked about these new roles and had to stop and think a few times about how I could bring my past experience into play to give my answers some sort of substance and be more than just a simple yes/no answer. I was only asked one question about Photopass, so obviously I wasn't going to be chosen for that. That left me with Attractions and Guest Services. The one question that I felt pretty stupid over was "Why do you want to work attractions?". I was unprepared, so I BS'ed my way through an answer in an attempt to make it sound great. I don't even remember what all I said now, but I do know that I was embarrassed.

The interviewer hopped around with questions for both the Attractions and Guest Relations roles, so it kept me on my toes. Some of the questions asked were:
Describe your idea of perfect weather
Can you work indoors and outdoors
Can you stand long periods of time
Give an example of when you provided outstanding guest service
Can you handle large amounts of cash
Do you prefer to work alone or in a team environment
Can you memorize spiels
Are you comfortable speaking in front of large crowds
Can you remain calm in emergency situations *said yes, then was asked to give an example of why I thought so*
A question somewhere along the lines about how comfortable I was with information about the resort. I followed it with an answer about how all my friends and family turn to me as their personal tour guide when it comes to Disneyland resort.
How I handle stressful situations/negative customers
How comfortable I am with arriving at solutions quickly when problems with guests arise
What is the most rewarding thing about my current job

There were so many questions that I can't remember all of them. I was also asked a little bit about my time at the Disney Store. Most of my answers truly came from my past experience with working at the store and working as the color guard instructor. I made the interviewer aware of my experience with handling issues between teenage girls and upset parents on a weekly basis, how I worked to build the color guard program on my own from scratch and how successful it had become, plus all of the fun times I had working at the Disney Store and how I loved all of the guest interaction I had. The interview ended with a reminder that I would hear back in 4 to 6 weeks on Disney's decision to accept me into the program or not. I thanked the interviewer for her time and went on my way.

Over all, I felt it went decent. It could have probably gone better had I not been so nervous the ENTIRE time and if I had been prepared for questions about my newly chosen roles. I did fumble and mumble over some words and often had some long winded answers followed with some even longer examples. I definitely wasn't very "cut to the chase" about it at all.

But the worst of it was over. Now all there was left to do was wait...and wait...and wait some more to hear back from Disney.