Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why Hollywood Studios has the most potential

Hollywood Studios in Orlando FL, formerly called MGM Studios, has the most potential to grow and expand out of all the other Disney theme parks in America.

I've never liked the park that much. I'm not interested in the stunt shows or performances, there are only two big rides in the park and one of them scares me, and Fantasmic is my least favourite fireworks show out of the three (the others being Wishes in The Magic Kingdom, and Illuminations in Epcot). For these reasons I believed that Hollywood Studios would always be my least favourite Disney theme park.

But one day at work this summer I asked one of my eight managers, where did he see himself in the company in ten years? His answer surprised me and changed the way I look at Hollywood Studios.

He said he wanted to be the Vice President of Disney's Hollywood Studios because it had the most potential. If he were the Vice President, he would bring in three more adult rides to go along with the two that are already there, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. This would establish the theme park as the fun 'kid free' park and bring in the older crowd. He would completely renovate the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre restaurant with a bigger screen, nicer seating in the cars, and more entertaining movies (right now the screen shows the same five minute reel over and over again). Along with that he would bring in more Star Wars themed attractions and activities.

My manager also pointed out that Hollywood Studios has something that The Magic Kingdom doesn't. The ability to change without fear of an uprising from loyal guests. The Magic Kingdom today looks very similar to how it looked the day it first opened. Sure the buildings and rides have each been refurbished over the years, but save for a few new rides (like the loss of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride) and the addition of New Fantasy Land, it remains the same classic theme park it has always been, right down to the old Robo-Newz bot.

Hollywood Studios, however, has seen a number of changes and additions to the park over the years, including the name of the park itself, with minor and short-lived push-back from guests. That is why I now hope to see more improvements to the park, until one day it moves up in my rankings.
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Grocery Bingo in the Disney College Program!


Grocery bingo! It is a real thing, and contrary to what you may think, it is a lot of fun.

Let me start by saying that you should never expect to win at grocery bingo, unless you're from New York. Seriously, the night I played 50 people won, and 20 of them were from New York, and this was the day after a large group of us Canadians had arrived. Anyways, while there may be a pile of bags of groceries and toilet paper at the front, there are five times as many college kids playing bingo, so go for the fun not the food. 

Grocery bingo is one of the many 'outside of work' activities that Disney organizes for the college program interns working in the parks. They know how much we make working at the parks and the resorts, so they know that we'll appreciate the chance to win those much needed boxes of crackers and other necessities. 

When I was working at Disney and living in the college housing, there were a lot of activities to attend like movie nights, low-organized sport games, pool parties with snacks, and trips to the market. None of those events were ever as popular as grocery bingo. 

The actual game is pretty standard. Everyone gets a bingo board with sliders (yay, no plastic chips!), the host calls out the letter/number combinations, and each round players need to win by either filling out a line, all four corners, a 'T' or an 'H', or any other design. 

Between each round the host plays music, asks people in the crowd about what it's been like working for disney, and tells short stories about funny kids at the parks and roommate issues at the apartments.

Look at all that toilet paper
I never did win grocery bingo, but a friend I worked with had. Inside the bag were apples, apple sauce, ritz crackers, cereal, a loaf of bread, some dry pasta and pasta sauce, and some other items.

The toilet paper bags had toilet paper, dish soap, laundry detergent, and dishwasher soap.

If you ever have a chance to play grocery bingo, do it! At least once. It's a lot of fun, you get to meet folks sitting around you, and while you may not win, it's a nice change from always going to the parks and riding roller coasters on your days off. 
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Year, New Banner, Same Great Show


It's a new year so that means it's time to look at the things in our life and see what we can do to make them better. For a lot of people that means improving their health by working out more and eating better, getting a new job that fits their lifestyle more or fulfills a life-long dream, or maybe letting go of old 'toxic' relationships so that they can move on to brighter and better ones.

For me my resolutions were simple. 
  • Continue to do well in school and graduate in a few months. 
  • Bake more, because I love it and haven't allowed myself the time to do it.
  • Meet with old friends regularly, instead of twice in a year
  • Go back to learning Hangul on Memrise (which has been an easy thing to do with their awesome app!)
  • Purchase a membership to CPRS while I'm still a student
  • Update my resume and creative portfolio
  • Update the logo for Kpop Town
  • Take a trip to Chicago or Toronto sometime this year

Over the weekend I was able to cross one off my list. Above you can see the design for Kpop Town's banner on the Red River Radio website. It's nothing special, just the show title, tagline, and an illustration of myself wearing my cat-ear toque. Yes, I actually own a cat-ear toque, and just in case you were wondering, it is the warmest toque I own. 

But it is a big improvement from the show's first design which was pretty flat and had more of a wifi signal symbol rather than a radio signal symbol.

Original show design


I also had a chance to write a brief description about the show. Something short and fun that would appeal to my audience. At first it was going to be a simple explanation of what I talk about each episode and the music I play, but I felt it didn't convey the energy and excitement Kpop Town has, so I wrote a description that was more fun and contained a lot of commonly known terms in the kpop world.

"Kpop Town is fangirling, lip-rubbing, and aegyo making awesomeness that will make you want to jump up and dance like a smoky girl (or boy) when you listen to the latest Kpop news and hit singles on this weekly online radio show. Tune in to Kpop Town on Red River Radio every Wednesday from noon to 1:00 p.m. to hear current kpop music from popular idol groups and solo artists from South Korea. Each week your host Natasha, certified ‘Shawol’,  ‘Nasty’, ‘Kissme’ and ‘Starlight’, will talk about the latest news from the kpop music industry and will update you on all the Korean stars you love to hear about."

Be sure to listen to past episodes of the show on iTunes or on the Red River Radio website here. Also tune in to hear the show live every Wednesday from noon-1 p.m. You can stream it live off the Red River Radio website, or listen to it through the TuneIn Radio app.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Being the Sports and Lifestyle Editor for my college newspaper


Happy New Year everyone!

The winter break was a blast and full of some amazing opportunities, but now it's time to get back to school and back to work.

Although most of my posts have been about my time spent working at The Magic Kingdom in Disney World this past summer, today I'm going to talk a little bit about what it's like being the Sports and Lifestyle (S&L) editor for The Projector, Red River College's bi-weekly newspaper. I know, a lot less exciting than rollercoasters and fireworks shows, but still pretty interesting.

I began working as the S&L editor last March. I was just finishing my first year in the Creative Communications program, and there were a few reasons I applied. It would look great on a resume, I'd still get to use my interviewing and article-writing journalism skills while majoring in PR in my second year, and it would help me form relationships with the first-years, something that has been really hard for my fellow second-years from what I have heard.

So almost a year ago I filled out the application for the position and dropped off my package at the Student's Association office. Soon after I was being interviewed by the new Editor-in-Chief Meg Crane, and then I received an email saying that I had gotten the job. Yay me!

Little did I know that the position was assigned immediately, not at the start of the next semester in August. I and the rest of the new editorial team worked hard to send out the last two issues of the paper in March, and then we returned in August when the fall classes began.

Being a section editor has easy and hard parts. Editing articles is easy for me, and so is finding news stories to write about. Finding people to write the articles is a little bit harder. There have been a few issues where I feared I wouldn't be able to fill my section due to a lack of writers, but some how each issue has come out with a full S&L section.

Over the year I have seen amateur writers turn into hard-hitting journalists, and every time I see a new article appear in my inbox, I’m always amazed and think to myself ‘these guys are writing better articles than I did this time last year!'

The Projector team has started discussing the timeline for hiring next year’s editorial team, and already I am sad at the thought of my position coming to an end. I look forward to seeing who will apply and encourage all of those who have an interest in writing for the paper to send in their resumes soon. It doesn’t matter what your major is (look at me, I’m in PR) all that matters is that you love writing to inform people on what is taking place in their world.

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