This is going to be one of my long and introspective posts – you’ve been warned – because I’ve had a pretty big development recently!! If you haven’t already heard the news, I am now training to work in Guest Relations at my favorite park – Epcot!! This is a journey that’s been a very long time coming…I actually originally wrote a post about this MONTHS ago but didn’t put it up, because it didn’t feel like the right time. Now seems like the right time 🙂
My journey to Guest Relations is something that I’ve mostly kept quiet about for the past few months. When I first started this blog, I wanted to write about things that happened in my life not necessarily to share with everyone, but for myself, for posterity. This may not be the most interesting thing to read about, but it’s been a stressful (and exciting!) past few months for me, and I want to be able to look back and remember it all.
I had been interested in Guest Relations since I started at Disney. I had always kind of seen GR as the “ultimate” cast member – they can fix anything. The idea was always on my radar, but I was a bit hesitant. However…as I learned the role of front desk, it became clear that we were basically the “Guest Relations” of the resort. We were doing a lot of the same things, but in a different setting. Once I figured that out, the idea of GR kept coming back to me. I knew that it was something I could be really good at, but I was also sort of afraid. I think it was just fear of the unknown, but anyone who knows me knows that I would rather look back and regret doing something than regret not doing something.
Anyway, fast forward a little bit – to summer 2016. There had been whisperings that there would be a GR posting soon, and I kept pondering the idea of going for it. My managers were very encouraging and I decided to apply the next time a posting came around…and I didn’t have to wait too long, because on July 11 a posting went up for the Guest Relations Bench. The “bench” just means that I would be applying to be in a pool of potential candidates, and if I got in I can be pulled from my area to go to Guest Relations. I wouldn’t be pulled permanently – just for a temporary assignment, or TA – but it could turn into a permanent position later on. I liked the idea of doing a temporary gig there to see if I liked it. I was still a bit nervous, but I looked over my resume and submitted it. The posting closed on July 23. On the 29th, I got an email to schedule my interview!
My interview was August 10. My managers (and Chris) helped me prepare with mock interviews and practicing what I would say and wear. On the day of, my emotions wavered between feeling super prepared and wanting to throw up. It was weird because I don’t normally get nervous for things. I think it was because deep down I knew how much I wanted it. The interview was with one other GR candidate, and I remember being so surprised at how short it was! I was also pleasantly surprised at how prepared I felt once I was in there answering questions. Practicing in mock interviews had definitely paid off.
After the interview I told myself I would put it out of my head and completely forget about it until I heard back. Obviously that did not happen and I thought about it non-stop. After a week and a half that felt like an eternity of waiting, I was at work on the following Friday, August 19. On my break I saw I had a voicemail from one of my interviewers and immediately panicked. I called her back and she apologized for taking so long to get back to me, and said she could only imagine how nerve wracking it was to still be waiting. Finally, she said she wanted to be the first one to congratulate me because they wanted me for the bench for GR!!! She also said I should pat myself on the back because I was one of the highest scoring candidates they interviewed! I was so shocked and flattered!!! I thanked her a million times. I was so excited and it all happened so fast I couldn’t believe it.
So fast forward a few more months, to early 2017. I had no call yet but I was still chugging along at work, trying to keep my performance up and continue improving myself. I confided in my managers that I was starting to get discouraged because I had been waiting for so long with no movement. I found out it wasn’t just me…barely anyone had been pulled. It made me feel better in a weird way to know it wasn’t just me waiting around for something. My managers helped me a lot with touching up my resume, staying on track, and not giving up hope.
I’d been doing some meet and greets with different GR managers and talking to my own managers about everything I can do to improve my chances. I also went to a panel meeting for GR candidates, where I was able to meet with managers and cast members from all the different areas and get my name out there.
Then, in the first week of March, something in the universe shifted. One night at work one of my managers ominously looked at me and said, “you’re gonna be so happy soon.” Another manager, when looking at my schedule, said to me, “it’s okay, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” They would all look at each other and whisper and giggle when I was around. They knew something and they were keeping it from me!!!!
I quickly found out what “it” was, though – on March 6, while I was on break, I got a call from an unfamiliar number. It was a Guest Relations manager from Epcot…offering me a TA! I was SO thrilled and couldn’t even believe it. I basically blurted out that of course I accept it, and she explained the rest of the process but I was pretty much in a daze at that point. I couldn’t BELIEVE that after over 6 months, I was finally going to be in Guest Relations!
The next 3 weeks seemed like they took FOREVER. I was so excited to get started with training. My last day at Pop Century was bittersweet – my managers told me to make them proud and I was like STOP I’m going to cry hahah. Also during my last week at Pop, I went to go get my new costumes:
I literally almost cried in the dressing room hahaha I was (and am) so excited to be in the plaid!!! I love my new costume so much, I want to wear it all the time! Just gotta figure out how to do the tie…
Also I won’t lie, I am beyond thrilled that I’m going to be at Epcot. I would’ve obviously said yes no matter who offered me a position, but Epcot is my FAVORITE park and since Chris works there too, it was just so perfect!! I am so ridiculously excited to join the Epcot Guest Relations team and I hope that I’ll get to stay for a long time.
So that brings us to now! Today I finished my very first day of training and I’m already learning so much. Like I said, this is only a temporary assignment for right now, but obviously the hope is that my TA will get extended and I’ll get to stay longer! If not, that’s okay too – I’ll take from this experience what I can and try to get back into GR as soon as I can. More than anything I just feel extremely excited and grateful to even get this opportunity!!
And that’s pretty much my Guest Relations journey so far! I don’t know what’s going to happen from here but hopefully I’ll get to wear the plaid for a good long time 🙂 I don’t blame you if you skimmed this post, it was pretty long haha…but I’m glad that I got to write about it somewhere so I can look back years from now and remember all of this. If you got this far, thank you for reading, and if you enjoyed it, I’ll hopefully have more to write about GR soon! I can’t wait to dive into this awesome experience!!