Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tales From The College Program: Getting Fired. Part 2

Getting my job back:

Since Rat Face had gone as high as possible to get me fired, I decided to do the same when trying to get my job back.  Ed Backlor was the VP of Downtown Disney at the time, I decided to email him.  A day later I received an email from Djuan Rivers (who I just discovered is a Disney big shot now).  Ed was out of town and had forwarded my email to Djuan.  We arranged a time for him to call me the next day.  I was pretty nervous as a sat there staring at my phone waiting for him to call.  I didn’t know where the conversation would go.  Djuan was very friendly, he had read my email and asked me some more questions about the firing.  I left out the part about how everyone eating for free so I wouldn’t get anyone else fired.  He told me the typical “well, I know it’s not a lot of money, but if everyone gave away $3.25 worth of food, it would really hurt the company.”  He said I could reapply with Disney in 6 months and when I did I would most likely be asked to write a paper about how sorry I was for costing the company money and the lesson I had learned.  I told him thanks, but my lease was up in December and I wasn’t going to sign up for another year on the off chance I could get my job back in 6 months.  

Now I just needed to figure out how to get into the parks for free for the next 3 months.

Rat Face Strikes Again:

After I knew I was not going to get my job back, I stopped by The Link to tell Missy the whole story.  Right when I walked in, she gave me a free ice cream cookie sandwich. it was a very nice gesture.  As I was telling her the whole story, Rat Face came through the kitchen door.  When he saw me, he dropped his head and high tailed it out of there as fast as his rat legs could carry him.  I was pretty disappointed he ran away so quickly, I had already come up with a plan in case I saw him again.  I was going to grab him by the face look him in the eye and say; “I know it was you, you broke my heart.  You broke my heart!”  Apparently, I was really into channeling Al Pacino in September 2004.  
If you don’t get the reference, click here.

Missy and I kept talking, when I noticed 2 Disney Security guards were waiting at the door.  Rat Face had walked out and immediately called security on me.  I finished talking to Missy and headed out.  They followed me until I was off Pleasure Island.

Going to the parks for free:

When I interviewed for the College Program my friends Ralf and Steven also applied.  We did our interview together.  Ralf and I were two of only three people accepted from the 100’s of applicants from the University of Houston.  Steven joked around so much during the interview, I was amazed Ralf and I were accepted.  He wanted to be a character.  When he was told those auditions were being held in New Orleans he decided to run around the room like King Louie to prove that he didn’t need to make the drive.

Steven came to visit me for a few weeks and ended up moving in.  He wanted to prove to us that he could be a character

 and wouldn’t you know it, he got the job.  He had been working about a month when I was fired.

When you are a new hire you are issued a temporary work ID.  It’s basically the same one the CP’s get.  Instead of being colored and having your photo on it, it’s just a plain white card with your name.  After 90 days you are issued a regular ID.  Work ID’s are what Cast Members use to log in, get discounts, park, and most importantly, get into the parks for free.  Just like a guest ticket, the first time you go through the turnstiles with your ID, it registers your fingerprints.  Steven had no desire to go to the parks, and had never set up his fingers to his ID. (In 2004 they were still using the weird “insert 2 fingers and squeeze” system.)  My plan, set Steven's ID to my fingers.

I went to the Magic Kingdom Main Gate with all the guests, inserted Steven;s ID, put my fingers in the machine, and squeezed.  My pulse was racing, waiting to see if this plan would actually work.  I thought maybe since it was the first time they would ask to see my ID, but they didn’t.  A few terribly long seconds later, I was in the Magic Kingdom.

The scam worked perfectly, Steven and I even went to the park together once!  Steven wanted to go to Epcot with me and a friend, so we came up with a plan.  My friend and I would go in, then she would take Steven’s ID from me, leave the park, give Steven his ID, then the two of them would go back in.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, Steven’s fingers weren’t set to his ID!”  That 2 finger system never worked right, I told Steven that when it failed, tell the Cast Member that it never worked, then just pull out your drivers license, when they saw the matching names they let him in, no questions asked. 

The timing worked out great; I was able to go to the parks for free until I moved back to Texas in December.

I can’t even volunteer:

I moved back to Houston that December and started going back to school.  A year or 2 later I noticed the familiar College Program Recruiting signs all over the place.  I decided to watch the presentation; they try and become a campus rep.  Campus Rep is a pretty sweet gig, you help set up the presentations, put up signs, go to a couple meetings and as long as you keep helping out you get a work ID/Park Pass.

I went to the presentation, hit it off with the recruiter, she gave me her card and told me to contact her because they needed campus reps. I sent her all my info and she called me the next day.  After a couple minutes of small talk she asked me about my program and if I had ended it on a good note.  I told her my program ended fine, but that I had been fired while I was a part time Cast Member.  She then made me go through the whole long story.  We were on the phone for another 20 minutes before she finally said;  “Well, you have a no re-hire status with the company, so we can’t bring you on as a campus rep.”  She knew the minute she called me that she couldn’t hire me, she just wanted to hear what someone could possibly do to be banned from working there forever.  Well the answer is, cost the company $3.25.

There you have it, the long story of why I am permanently banned from working at Walt Disney World.  If any of you run into to Djuan Rivers, tell him to give me a call, or if you see my old manager John, just tell him you know what he did to me! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tales From The College Program: The Day I Was Fired...

All of my College Program posts up to this point have been in no sort of order, until now.  Today's post is written 10 years to the day, the day I was fired.

When you're a CP, working less than 40 hours a week is pretty much unheard of, but when you're a part time Cast Member, 40 hours a month is a miracle.  My program ended in January 2004, instead of going home I found an apartment a few miles away from Downtown Disney with my coworker Dan and his roommate, Rickli.  During the next program Dan and I worked a couple days a week.  It was almost no different than when we were CP's.  When that program ended in the summer our hours dropped drastically.  We were only working one or two days a month.  Instead of getting second jobs, we started doing medical experiments for money.  We'd spend a weekend at a facility in Gainesville and make a quick $1,000.  This is how we were able to afford our apartment.

My birthday (September 18th) came and I was finally scheduled to work.  There was a new CP at The Missing Link who was still in training, his name was Steve.  Steve was on the grill that night and he was having a hard time.  I was the middle man (I worked the fryer and made the drinks) so I would jump in and help him.  The Link was a pretty easy place to work.  It was the only quick service restaurant on Pleasure Island, but with so many other food options at Downtown Disney we stayed pretty dead most of the night.  Our big rushes would only last 15 minutes or so, but if you weren't organized at the grill you could get swamped fast.  That was Steve's problem, he could only make one order at a time and he had trouble organizing the tickets.

The next day I went to the Magic Kingdom with my pal, Matt Biddle.   My manager John called me later that night and asked if I could work on the 21st.  I hadn't worked 2 days in the same week in forever, I said yes.  The reason he needed me to work was because Steve had called in.  He had a class that let out at 5:00 which would cause him to miss the CP bus that would take him to work.  I had ridden that bus for the majority of my program, I knew that wasn't true.  The bus stop is literally 30 feet from the building where the classes are held.  My thinking was Steve had hated working at The Link and he wanted to get out of it for a day.

I went to Downtown Disney a little early on September 21st so I could buy Green Day's American Idiot album which had been released that day (This is the only reason I know the date of my firing).  It was Missy and I running The Link that night.  She took first break, and I had just started making myself some cheese sticks when Steve and his girlfriend walked in.  I said hello, but inside I was thinking "What are you doing here?  You called in, don't you know the first rule of calling in is don't show up at work later?"  He said they were Downtown for a movie and just wanted to stop in for a snack.  They ordered cheese sticks and a water.  I took the cheese sticks I was making for myself out of the fryer and gave them to Steve with a cup of water.  He offered to pay, but I told him "Don't worry about it, you're still in training, you eat for free."  Obviously, this was not  Disney policy, but The Missing Link was such a small place we always ate for free.  Even at the end of the night, instead of throwing away the leftovers we were allowed to eat what we wanted.  In fact, while I was a CP I usually didn't eat until I was at work.

Steve left and the night dragged on.  After we closed I was in the kitchen washing dishes, John came back from closing Cirque (Missing Link managers would manage Cirque and The Link, other nights just Cap'n Jacks).  I noticed that he had a Cirque kid with him.  This was odd because Cirque had been closed for a couple hours by this time.  John asked the kid to take over washing my dishes and asked me to come upstairs with him.  PI was kind of like Main Street, above The Link's second story facade were offices.  Above The Link was John's office and a small office for Loss Prevention.  As I was following John up the stairs, I jokingly asked "Am I in trouble?"  He didn't say anything.  Thats when I got nervous.  'Hey, John am I in trouble?"  He said "Let's just go to my office."

We sat down in his office and I was scanning my brain for anything I could have possibly done to get myself in trouble, I was coming up blank.  John sat back in his chair and let out a long sigh, "I have been dreading this all night."  Now I was really nervous, "What did I do?" I asked.  John replied "Did you give Steve free chicken fingers and a coke?"  It was at this point that I knew my Disney life was over.  "No" I told him.  John let out another sigh, this time of relief.  "I gave him water and cheese sticks."  John said "Well, someone saw you, and went over my head with it."  I asked John who it was but he wouldn't tell me.  It didn't matter, I knew exactly who it was...Rat Face.

As I stated earlier, Loss Prevention was also located above The Missing Link.  The guy who worked in that office looked like the health inspector from Ratatouille. (just. like. him.)

He always walked through The Link when going out to PII, instead of the back of the building where he would get a nice view of the Saratoga Springs construction. (This is always the best place to be at 12:00 New Years Eve because you can see the fire works from all over WDW at once)  Missy would always say hello to him, and he would always ignore her.  This really annoyed her, so one day she said something to John about it.  John talked to Rat Face about it and he started giving Missy a very forced hello whenever he walked through.  I knew he was the one who ratted me out.  He did not tell John, he didn't even tell John's boss, he went as high as he possibly could.  I mean, why wouldn't he, this was a matter of $3.25!  Sure, you could say "Well, he was just doing his job."  but he could have  easily told John.  HIs office literally 6 feet away, this was revenge for the scolding.

I asked John what would happen to Steve, he said that he would be fired too for accepting the food.  I had to write down what happened and made sure to include that Steve had tried to pay more than once to help his case.  Then the worst part came, John asked for my employee ID.  This was also my park pass.  In just  a matter of seconds I lost every reason I had to be living in Florida, it was awful.  John felt bad, I made him call Dan and tell him what he had done to me, which he did.

There was nothing left to do after that but go home.  I got up and walked towards the door.  Before I walked out I stopped and turned back, "Hey John."  He looked up from his desk "Yes?"  I told him "If it was gonna be anyone, I'm glad it was you." John's response was "You're going to make me cry."  

Don't tell him, but I stole that line from Al Pacino in "Donnie Brasco." (watch the scene here)

There you have it, the day I was fired.  Since this post was long, I'm going to write a part 2 next week where you'll learn about how I tried to get my job back and the scam I used to keep going to the parks.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Look What You Did You Little Jerk: The Time I Met Macaulay Culkin

Last night I saw Macaulay Culkin's band "The Pizza Underground" at the Hi Ho Lounge in New Orleans.  If you aren't familiar with them, they sing Velvet Underground songs, but change the lyrics to be about pizza.  You can listen to their demo here.

Like everyone else on the planet, I love Home Alone.  I saw it in the theater when I was 8 and have been a fan of Macaulay Culkin ever since. I live in Houston, so New Orleans is a 6 hour drive, but this was not something I was going to miss.  Two of our Houston friends; Eddie and Martha also wanted to go, so we all met up in New Orleans.

The Show:

We didn't realize it until the day of the show, but the Hi Ho Lounge had added a second earlier Pizza Underground show.  The doors for our show were supposed to open at 9:30 with the show starting at 10, but because of the early show everything was pushed back and we couldn't get in until after 10.  I think this made the crowd a little antsy, especially when there were two opening acts.  Neither Carte Blanche or Toby Goodshank played for very long, but the crowd talked over them the whole time.

There was a girl in the crowd who had made a giant pizza slice out of card board and attached it to her head band.  The crowd put up with her wearing it for the opening acts but before The Pizza Underground came on people started throwing paper at her and yelling for her to take it off.  She was close to the stage and was blocking everyones view.  Luckily The Pizza Undergrounds mascot "Anchovy Warhol" came out and told the girl she could either take it off or move to the corner.  She decided to move.  I thought it was really considerate of the band to do that.  After showing a video of various pizza related things on a screen at the back of the stage The Pizza Underground came out.  Macaulay Culkin asked the crowd "Hey, do you guys like pizza?" A couple band members went behind the screen and brought out at least 10 boxes of pizza handing them out to the crowd telling everyone to take a piece and pass it on.  Then The Pizza Underground started their set.

If you've listened to their demo it's only 9 minutes long.  If they would have come out, handed out the pizza and played for 15 minutes I really think the crowd would have been satisfied.  Instead they would leave the stage between songs and have someone else come out.  First it was one of the members from Carte Blanche who came out and rapped.  Macaulay's girlfriend came out and sang a poem that he had written for her.  One of the female members of Pizza Underground stayed on stage and sang a song by herself.  There was even a Nirvana tribute performer named Kurt Cobained under the band name "Nevermound" who sang Nirvava songs in the past tense (Come as you were).  The most bizarre of the side acts was Pussy Joel.  The band left the stage and a video of cats played on their projection screen while Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" played over the P.A. all while the hashtag #PussyJoel would randomly appear on the screen.  Like I said, I would have been fine with just 15 minutes of Pizza Underground, the side acts were a but much.

After the show the bar cleared out pretty quickly.  Within an hour there were probably 20 people left, with most of them standing at the bar.  Becky, Martha, Eddie, and I decided to hang around for a while to see if Macaualy Culkin would come out.  A couple girls kept one of the pizza boxes the band had passed out and had asked one of the guys who was helping break down the stage to have the band sign it.  He went backstage, had Macaulay sign it, then found the rest of the band and had them sign it too.  I had brought my childhood Talk Boy with me (my wife was carrying it in her purse) hoping we could get Macaulay to sign it.  Since the pizza box had been a success for the girls, Becky went over and asked him politely if he could ask Macaulay to sign the Talk Boy.  He was pretty excited "Man, I haven't seen one of those in a long time!"  Unfortunately though, he said he could not ask Mac to sign it.  He told us that he was the bands manager.  "But, when he comes out to leave, you can ask him to sign it."  That was good enough for us so we waited around a few more minutes to see if he would come out.  There was another girl who had been waiting near us, one of the bar backs came from backstage and told her that Macaulay had left.  Martha had heard the bartender tell someone that the band had been practicing their karaoke earlier, so we assumed they went to a karaoke bar.  When we left the Hi Ho Lounge, we saw one open bar across the street.  We decided to try our luck and check it out.

The Karaoke Bar:

Right when we walked into the bar I knew we were in the right place.  There was Anchovy Warhol, and next to him was Macaulay Culkin.  He was leaning against a pole in the middle of the bar.  I honestly don't think anyone in the bar realized he was there.  He was standing there by his manager and one of his bandmates watching people do karaoke.  When the manager saw Becky he waved her over.  He tapped Mac on the shoulder and said "Mac, this is my friend Becky."  He turned around, avoided eye contact, quickly shook her hand and turned back around.  I thought it was a really gracious move of their manager to introduce Becky as his friend, giving us an opportunity to ask him to sign the Talk Boy, especially if he thought it was for a friend of his manager.  Becky gently tapped him on the shoulder.  He did not stop looking at the stage (even though no one he knew was singing) but turned his ear slightly towards her.  Becky said "I really hate to bother you, but I have a Talk Boy in my purse and I was wondering if you could sign it for me."  Without looking at her he said "Nah, no, no.  I don't want to make a big deal."

Now, I am not an unreasonable person, I understand his thinking behind that.  Sure, you don't want to sign one autograph and get ambushed, but like I said before, no one was talking to him.

I have been waiting to meet this guy since I was 8 years old, and here I am 2 feet away from him, I'm not about to pass this chance up.  I did not want to not take up too much of his time, so I decided to offer to buy him a drink.  I tapped him on the shoulder and got the same slight head turn that he had given Becky.  "Mac, can I buy you a drink?"  He turned his head away from me, raised up a beer and said "Already have one."

Becky and I went back over to Eddie.  The three of us stood there like Charlie and Grandpa Joe at the end of Willy Wonka. "What did we do wrong?"

That's when I noticed Martha talking to a very drunk, very angry woman.

The Incident:

I walked over to Martha to tell her about our strike out.  That's when the angry woman (I never heard her name, but for the sake of this story lets call her Roxy) told me her story.  I had seen her at the Hi Ho while we were waiting for Macaulay to come out.  I had seen her go backstage.  She told me "I gave him $75 worth of mushrooms (I'm assuming they were from Whole Foods and were for putting on his pizza) and he didn't acknowledge or even thank me, just took them!" (I edited that a little, just drop an F bomb in wherever you want.)  Then she started yelling about how she was going to grab him by his pony tail and slam his head into that pole.  Becky and Eddie had still been standing over by him and saw us talking to Roxy so they came over to see what's up.  Eddie said the whole time he was over there that Macaulay had been bragging to his girlfriend about how how was the king of karaoke and how he was better than all these people.  Naturally this made Roxy even more angry.  Then Becky told her the talk boy story.  At this point Roxy was boiling and walked away.  We were standing around discussing how we should probably just leave before we are disappointed even more.  That's when I looked up and saw Roxy screaming in Macaulay Culkin's face.  Then she pointed over at us and started screaming at him even more.  I didn't know what to do, I just figured we should get out of there. I started walking towards the door, that's when Roxy grabbed Mac's head by his ponytail and bashed it into the pole he had been leaning against.  Anchovy Warhol and the manager jumped in-between them and yelled "Get her out of here!"  As the bouncer came to haul Roxy away, safe behind his 2 friends, Macaulay started egging Roxy on.  Arms out telling her to "come on" with an obnoxious smirk on his face.

Martha and I went outside to look for Roxy so we could find out what she said.  She was already in the back of someone's car, but saw us and came out.  First she had yelled at him about his lack of gratitude with her generous gift of mushrooms.  Then she told us she said "Those people came all the way from Houston to see you and you won't even sign something for them?!"  That's when she grabbed his ponytail.  "Then Andy Warhol shows up and I tell him F**K you Andy Warhol, Your'e washed up!"

The Conclusion:
Martha and I went back to the bar to find Becky and Eddie.  They were inside watching Mac's girlfriend rub his sore head.  It was almost 2 in the morning at this point so we decided it was best to leave.  As we were waiting for a cab to drive by, out came The Pizza Underground.  I thought to myself.  "This could have been one big misunderstanding, maybe Mac will see Becky (one of the only people who recognized him) his conscience will kick in and he will say "Hey, I'll sign that Talk Boy for you now."  That didn't happen thought.  As they walked past us I heard one of the members say "We'll just do Karaoke when we get back to New York, and we'll make sure to get a private room."  Then they crossed the street, got in their van and left.

Maybe he was drunk, maybe he had eaten Roxy's mushrooms and didn't want to be bothered.  The truth is though, you were in New Orleans to play a show, your name is on the ticket.  If you didn't want people talking to you maybe don't advertise it as a Macaualy Culkin show.  Let's be honest, he's the only reason anyone outside of Brooklyn knows who this band is.

I've played the night over in my had a million times at this point.  Was I overreacting?  Is he just short with people?  On stage he had been laughing and joking and seemed like a really pleasant guy.  I checked twitter and one guy had tweeted about seeing Roxy slam his head into that pole.  He also tweeted that Macaualy Culkin refused to take a photo with him.  So, the whole time he was in that bar  only a handful of people approached him and he was rude to all of them.  How hard is it to just be nice to someone who took time out of their day to support you and your band?  "I already have a drink right now, but thanks, maybe later."  "Find me when I leave and I'll sign your Talk Boy outside, I don't want to cause a scene." "Hey, Roxy, thanks for the mushrooms, they'll really add to the delicious factor of my next pizza!"  Just a few nice words and he could have avoided the whole thing.  If he would have just taken the slightest amount of effort I would be writing "I met Macaulay Culkin and it was the best night of my life!" instead of "I met Macaulay Culkin and I will probably never watch Home Alone again."

He had told Becky he didn't want to make a big deal by signing our Talk Boy, but by not signing it, that's exactly what he caused.

Gas to drive to New Orleans: $60
2 Tickets to see The Pizza Underground: $30
1 Night in a hotel: $200
Seeing a woman slam Macaulay Culkin's head into a pole: Priceless

Friday, January 17, 2014

Tales From The College Program: Guinea Pigs and Sorority Girls

You may find this hard to believe, but being a Disney Intern does not pay very well.  It was because of this, that Dan and I decided to find ways to some make extra money.  The easiest way we found was to sell our plasma.  There were a few draw backs to this though.

1. It only paid $15.
2. We had to pay $5 in tolls to get there.
3. It was 40 minutes away.
4. We had to sit in a waiting room with mostly homeless people for an hour.
5. Plus another hour in the chair with a needle the size of a Capri Sun straw in your arm
6. Dan took one of the plasma girls out on a date and never called her again.
7. The one time Dan's roommate Rickli came with us, he got violently ill in the CiCi's pizza bathroom afterwards.
8. One time they jammed the needle through my vein which gave me a hematoma that went from my shoulder to my wrist.

Eventually we found something much easier that not only paid more, but also fed us.  We became professional guinnea pigs.  Using the website gpgp.net (Guinnea Pigs Get Paid) Dan found out that we could make $1200 by simply staying at a resreach facility in Gainsville for the weekend.  The three of us signed up, passed the physical inspection and before we knew it, we were locked up with 20 other lab rats. 

Aside from Dan, Rickli, and I only 2 other people in the study spoke english.  They were girls our age that went to the Universty of Florida.  What they were doing there I have no idea, because they didn't look like your average guinea pig.  One of the girls even bragged about a time that she made out with Nick Carter at a bar. 

We checked into the facility on Friday morning, slept over Saturday and Sunday, then had to come back on Monday with our pee jug and poop journal for a final check up.  This study was for high blood pressure medication, to test the effects on someone with normal blood pressure.  It was also the only study we did that required us to pee in a jug and take notes on our bowel movements, but hey this story is supposed to be about a Sorority right?

We had become friendly with the Doctors who ran the facility and they knew we lived in Orlando.  They offered to let us stay at the facility Sunday night so we wouldnt have to drive back and forth to Gainsville for 6 hours on Monday.  We had nothing better to do so we took their offer.  One of the girls asked us if we had dinner plans for Sunday night, we did not so she invited us over to her sorority house for dinner.  We may have been guinnea pigs, but we weren't complete idiots, we accepted.

We had all day Sunday to ourselves, we grabbed our pee jugs and headed to the movie theater to see "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" then we snuck into "Euro Trip."  Spoiler alert, both movies are awful.  Our date with destiny was approaching so we headed back to the research lab to get ready for our big night.

Our host had told us to dress up, but when you know that for the next 3 days you're going to be peeing into a jug, wearing nice clothes isn't your number one priority.  I borrowed a shirt from Rickli and we left.  This was before GPS on phones and none of us had ever been to Gainsville before, so I have no idea how we found this sorority house.

As we approached the door we realzied that we didn't even know this girls name.  Who were we supposed to ask for if she didn't answer the door?  Eventually one of us knocked and a girl who wasnt Heather/Jennifer (pick your favorite sorority girl name) opened the door.  Luckily instead of asking who we were there to see, she asked for our names.  We passed the inspection and she had us sit in a holding area with some other dudes where she explained the rules to us.

Now, you may be thinking, "I've seen college movies, there are no rules!"  Well, this sorority had one, "Guys were only allowed on green carpet."  This meant we could be in the entry way, main room, or dining room, that's it.  When you got to the stairs the carpet changed colors.  After she was done explaining the rules Heather/Jennifer showed up and took us to the dining room.  It was huge!  I don't know how many walls they tore down, but this dining room felt like a school cafeteria. 

We sat down and were waiting for our food when one of the head girls stood up to make announcements.  Maybe I was extra hungry or tired of peeing in a jug, but the announcements went on forever.  After the head girl was done, guys from neighboring Fraternities would come to the front to say something along the lines of "Hey Ladies, I'm Brad and this is Chad we're from (insert frat name here) we are having a car wash/party/bake sale/t-shirt sale/(whatever frats guys do) coming up and we want to invite you/sell it to you/get you drunk!" This was always followed by squeals of excitement.

Finally the announcements were done, time to eat.  Nope, not yet.  Now all the girls had to introduce their guests.  The first girl stood up "This is Dave and Rick from (insert Frat name)."  The guys names were also followed by squeals and screams, but those were nothing compared to the noise made when it was announced "And guess what ladies...Theyre SIIIINNNNGGGLLLLLLEEEEEEE!"  The girls went nuts, apparently Sorority girls have a thing for single Frat guys.  Do you want to guess how the next Frat guy intoduction went?  The same, they just kept getting louder.

Dan, Rickli, and I looked at each other, we were all thinking the same thing.  We turned to Heather/Jennifer and said "You know, we're cool if you dont introduce us."  It was too late though, we had already been spotted.  Maybe the girls had screamed themselves tired, or maybe it was because Heather/Jennifer gave us the worst introduction ever, but the girls reaction to the three of us was worse than we had expected.

Heather/Jennifer half stood up and in one quick breath said "HeythisisDanRickliandDonnie" she started to sit down when she remembered she needed to tell these girls about our obvious relationship status. "oh yeah, theyre single."  She mumbled it even faster than she had said our names.  The sorority girls were not pleased, they did not squeal, the did not scream, the did not make a peep.

We ate our spaghetti as fast as we could, stood in the main family room long enough as to not appear ungrateful then got the hell out of there.  Since we spent the night at the research facility, we were the first ones checked out in the morning.  We took our checks and headed back to Orlando, we never saw Heather/Jennifer again.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tales From The College Program: Smush and The Pretty One

I received a special request to write out this story, so here it is.

I was in my apartment at Vista Way when Dan called me "Some random girls just called my apartment and asked if I wanted to go to Tampa."  At Vista Way calling an apartment was simple, you added a one to the first number of the apartment (1205 = ext 2205)

Dan started telling me about these girls he was talking to and their plan to go to Tampa.  In the middle of our conversation I heard the click of another call coming in, I told Dan to hold on and switched over.    On he line was a very Puerto Rican sounding girl "Hey, so jew wanna go to Tampa with sum sexy girls?"  I told her to hold on and switched back over to Dan "Now they are calling me!" I told him.  I switched back over to mystery girl and told her that one of her friends was on the phone with my friend, she told me that we should all meet up at their apartment.  I walked over to Dan's and the three of us (Me, Dan, and his roommate, Rickli) headed over to meet these girls.

At this point, I cannot over stress that these girls spoke very highly of their physical beauty which probably should have been our first indication that we were in for an awful night.  Let's be honest, pretty girls don't need to dial random numbers looking for dudes to go out with.  When they opened the door it became apparent that they may have exaggerated just a little about how attractive they were.  This is not to say that the three of us were some sort of catch.  It felt like we had gone too far to turn back now, so we headed in.  The Puerto Rican girl I had spoken to on the phone was the leader, I don't think we never actually heard her name, so we started referring to her as "Smush" whenever we told the story.

A plan was made, the girls would spend the night in Tampa while Dan, Rickli, and I would drive back that night.  Smush and 2 of the girls rode in her car while Dan jumped into the car of the one we had named "the pretty one."  Rickli and I rode together in his car.  Now would be a good time to mention that it was 9:00 pm, foggy, cold, and mid November.  And we're off!

The drive from Orlando to Tampa is about 2 hours, while Rickli and I discussed pop culture topics, quoted episodes of Seinfeld, and sang the Perfect Strangers theme; Dan got to hear all about the pretty one's boyfriend that she had back home.  A few hours later we were in Tampa.  We pulled into a parking lot and I walked over to the beach.  It was so foggy and dark that you couldn't even see the water.

The girls decided they were hungry and we all headed over to some hole in the wall restaurant.  Smush did most if not all of the talking, while Dan, Rickli, and I sat there wishing we were back in Orlando.  It was dark, cold, late, and we were realizing that we had nothing in common with these girls.  After dinner the girls decided they wanted to check into a hotel.  A friendly homeless looking guy over heard and told everyone to follow him around the corner.  He took us to the shadiest looking motel I have ever seen.  If memory serves correctly, it was called the Diamond Motel.

It was around midnight and the motel manager who already gone to sleep, but our hobo guide knew she lived next door and he banged on her door until she answered.  The woman did not seem to happy to be woken up, but she gave the girls a key and walked us all to their room.  The motel was set up like a labyrinth, it was all outdoors with walkways that wrapped around buildings, and no exterior lighting.  The inside of the room was terrifying.  It looked like she had stumbled across an abandoned haunted summer camp and started charing people to sleep there.  The one light bulb in the room hung from the ceiling without a shade and emitted so little light that a man with an axe could have been standing in the corner and none of us would have noticed.

After the owner left, Dan, Rickli, and I looked at each other, looked at the girls and simultaneously said "OK, see ya."  The girls all screamed "No, stay!"  and this was in no way a seductive "no...stayyyy"  it was a "we don't want to die in this place!"  We all stood in that creepy room trying to decide the best way to wake up the owner and tell her that the girls wanted their money back.  We walked back to the restaurant, found the hobo, and Rickli explained our predicament to him.  He woke up the owner, who was more unhappy than the last time and we got the girls money back.  Now to find a suitable hotel.

Dan had joined Rickli and I in the guy car, and left the pretty one to talk to herself about her boyfriend.  The girls pulled into a nice hotel while we sat in the car and waited.  When we knew they had a room, we were going to floor it back to Vista Way.  They came out with no room.  Turns out all of the girls were under 21, and the manager would not give them  a room.  There was only one member of our little group that was 21, and it was me.

We drove down to the next hotel which was a Red Roof Inn.  We told the girls to wait in the car, the plan was for me to rent the room with the girls money, give them the key and leave.  Once inside, we let Rickli do the talking again.  He told the manager about the awful hotel we had escaped from and how we had very little money but needed a room just for the night.  He made no mention of the girls, just told the story as if it had just been the 3 of us.  The manager sympathized with our tale and even offered to give us a managers discount on the room.  The night was beginning to look up, then it happened.

In his joy of almost being rid of these girls, Rickli slipped.  He said something to me and Dan along the lines of "I feel much better now that the girls will at least have a safe place to stay."  After hearing this, the managers mood took a drastic turn.  "I dont run that kind of hotel!" he screamed.  We all jumped in "No, no, no, no, you don't understand, its not like that."  I tried to calm him down by explaining "No, you haven't even seen these girls, they aren't even hot."  He had already made up his mind, apparently Dan, Rickli, and I looked like some sort of casanovas brining a bunch of girls back to our hotel room.  We tried to explain how they were not 21 and I was just getting the room when the manager picked up the phone and started to dial "I'm calling the police, this is not that kind of hotel."  That was all we needed to hear, we ran back to the car and took off.

We started driving back towards Orlando with the girls following behind us.  They pulled into a small hotel along the freeway.  We sat in the car while they went in to talk to the desk clerk.  They came back with a room key a few minutes later.  The girls headed towards their room and we drove off in Rickli's car.

A few weeks later I received another call from Smush, she invited us over to their apartment for Thanksgiving dinner, we respectfully declined, I had to work on Thanksgiving.  We never heard from the girls after that.  I'd occasionally see Smush working at Pinocchio's at the Magic Kingdom, but she never saw me.

I found out later that it was my roommate, Dan's (a different Dan) fault that Smush called our apartment in the first place.  For Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Dan had dressed up like a character he called "Dr. Love" and handed out business cards with his Vista Way extension on it.  He gave one of those cards to Smush.  I owe that whole night to him.  Thanks a lot Dr. Love.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Honey, I Shrunk The Kids

I remember being up early on a Saturday morning watching cartoons and seeing a trailer for a movie with Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors.  I ran upstairs and woke my mom up.  I told her there was this great movie coming out called Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and asked if we could see it.  Without any hesitation she said no.

I was really confused by her answer, until a few days later when I saw the trailer again and pointed it out to her.  Turns out she thought I had said Honey, I Shot the Kids.

After the movie was released my Saturday morning cartoons were interrupted by short segments about Disney's newest theme park, MGM Studios.  One of these segments showed the backlot tour and how the "bee scene" from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was done.

In 1991 my family visited MGM Studios and while on the backlot tour my sister and I were picked to ride the bee from the film to show the rest of the tour how the effect was done.  A Cast Member came up and asked my parents if my sister and I wanted to be part of the show.  We said yes, obviously. They took us off the tour and onto a sound stage, and there it was, the bee!  Until we saw the bee we had no idea what we had volunteered for.  Having seen that special a few years earlier, I knew what we were going to do.  The rest of the tour caught up with us while Katie and I walked up a ladder and onto the bee.  From there fans were blown on us and we were told to act scared, but I remember just doing a lot of waving.  When it was over we were able to watch the video of us flying on the bee, then return back to the tour.

Does anyone know what happened to the bee?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tales from The College Program: 10 Years Later

Wow, This week 10 years ago my friend Ralf and I were loading up his tiny car and heading off to Orlando for our jobs in the Walt Disney World College Program. It really does not seem that long ago but since I was 20 at the time and 30 now...I guess it was.

I've decided that todays post will mostly just be pictures from the year and a half I lived in Florida working for Disney.  Let's see what has changed.

First of all, I don't think I could get away with this hair at 30.  This is also the shirt I wore when trying to meet Hilary Duff.

I was also a big fan of wearing my Thriller jacket everywhere.

but as you can see, it no longer fits

Back then I would collect Fast Passes off the benches in the locker room.  Waiting in line was for the tourists.  Unfortunately, you cant even use an hour old Fast Pass now, forget about one that's been expired for a year.

My workplace, The Missing Link Sausage Company has been torn down.

Here's Dan cheesing it up (maybe for Road Dog)

My beloved manager John is still working for Disney, if you see him in the parks, give him a big hug for me!

One time the dude in the middle told me the chick from Evanescence was a "Horses Ass"

Remember the 75 Mickey's?  Here is one painted like Kim Possible.

Speaking of Kim Possible, does anyone know how I can get in touch with Christy Romano?

If you thought my Thriller jacket was my most outrageous article of clothing you were wrong.  Also, my roommate was a pretty tough looking dude.

Can you still buy guns at Walmart?  How did this photo even happen?

I was really skinny back then, even though my diet was all Disney food, ice cream and pizza...lots of pizza

Most of my time was spent with this fool.
My phone can take and send a better photo than this in half the time!

When Disney wasn't paying us enough we became professional guinea pigs.

When I was not busy dying my hair, we were at the Magic Kingdom.

Now we are both married, and Dan has a kid.