As you have learned by now, working at Disney taught me a lot of things. I was trained on how to point correctly and the importance of fanatic cards. I also learned a whole lot about Florida’s extreme weather. I know this doesn’t sound like the most interesting of topics, but it is amusing, I promise! =P
Now, being born in Florida and spending many of family vacations there, I knew it got hot. However, I did NOT know it got so hot that your chapstick would literally melt in your pocket. And how do I know this? Because it happened to me on a daily basis while working at the Wildlife Express Train, haha! My job was 99% outside…and about half of that time was spent outside of shade, completely vulnerable to Florida’s omg-it-so-hot-my-skin-might-melt-off sun rays. So, one day I went to use my beloved Fresh Sugar lip treatment (hello Sephora birthday freebie!), and what do I find? A liquid mess, that’s what! BUT hey, if you’re chapstick is going to get liquidified, at least it is at the “Happiest Place on Earth”…right? =P
I also learned something else about Florida’s weather. IT RAINS EVERY DAY IN SEPTEMEBER! Okay, I don’t know if that is 100% factual. But no joke, every day I worked in September, I got rained on at some point. It may only have been a five-minute rain shower, but it happened…Every day! I learned really fast the importance of bringing your raingear, because without it, you were a soaked mess.
Which brings me to my next “fun fact”: at the Wildlife Express Train, you work in nearly EVERY weather condition. Many of the attractions throughout Walt Disney World will temporarily shut down for various weather conditions. Us “Train Kids” were not so lucky. Rain? Ugh yeah, and don’t even think to ask otherwise. Thunder? Yup. Lightening? You betcha, so stay away from anything metal. (Which is kind of hard to do when you drive a train, hahaha!)
Even though this sounds cruel (and almost not legal) for the workers, there was a legitimate reason for this. Unlike the majority of the other attractions, the Wildlife Express Train transports guests from two locations: Harambe and Rafiki’s Planet Watch. So, if the trains were to close temporarily due to weather, that would mean all the guests at Rafiki’s would be stuck there until further notice. Clearly, Disney would never allow this. Because of that, and in the words of the great Johnny Cash, “that train keeps a rollin’.”
So wanna hear my funny weather story? One day, a really bad rain storm hit Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I’m talking bolts of lightning that lit up the whole sky and thunder that vibrated seemingly everything around you. And as I just informed you, of course the train was still operating.
During this monsoon of a rain storm, I was working “platform”, which meant I stood on the train platform to communicate with the conductor and engineer as they approached the station, interacted with guests, and made sure no one crossed the safety lines. This also meant that I was completely unprotected to the rain.
Although I did have my rain gear, it only went to the middle of my shorts. That meant the lower half of my body got completely drenched. As for my upper body, between the insane wind and rapid rainfall, water quickly started finding its way inside my raincoat. So basically, I was soaked from head to toe. But, being the good Disney employee that I was, I laughed it off and made jokes with the guests. And they took full advantage of it, because almost all of them laughed at how ridiculous I looked. (As did my lovely coworkers, ha!)
Despite the crazy weather conditions, I absolutely loved working at the “Trains”, as we so aptly nickname it. And because of them, I got to exemplify one of the key components of a Disney employee, which is to always put on a good “show.” That means no matter what is happening, you remain in the Disney spirit and cater to your guests. I think this is really a great way to be and outlook to have in general.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this week’s WDTM post and be on the lookout for more!
Written by: Brittany Madden
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- Disney Food Favorites – Dessert Edition
- Five Facts | Disney Imagineer Mary Blair
- Disney Food Favorites – Snacks Edition
- Disney Food Favorites – Dinner Edition