One of the things I quickly learned while working for the Mouse is that you are going to be asked a LOT of questions and no question is unimaginable. I, of course, got asked on a daily basis standard questions like, “Where is the closest bathroom?” and “How do I get to the front of the park?” However, I also got asked some of the craziest things during my time at the Wildlife Express Train and it was my job to somehow answer them, ha!
I will never forget when I was training and one of the higher-up managers asked how I felt about my question-answer abilities. I naively told him I felt pretty confident and I truly did, because I had been to Animal Kingdom so many times and thought I was pretty knowledgeable about the park. He then drilled me, asking questions like: “Which is the better show to see: Finding Nemo or Festival of the Lion King?” I didn’t know; I hadn’t seen either. Shameful, I know!; “Where can I find the princesses?” I didn’t think there were any princesses. Wrong. Pocahontas, duh!; “Where was the old Festival of the Lion King location?” Really, come on?! So, after fumbling through his questions, I realized that all my vacation to WDW really didn’t prepare as well as I had thought.
What helped me the most were two things: 1 Ask your fellow cast members. Most likely, they have probably worked there much longer than you have, therefore are pretty knowledgeable people. In my experience, a cast member is more than happy to help a newbie and teach them everything they know. 2 Study your park map and know it like the back of your hand. Guests are going to expect you to know everything about the park you work at, even if you never leave your attraction area like I did. Typically question topics include how to get to point A to point B the quickest, what attractions are better suited for the younger kiddos, the locations for beer and ice cream, etc, etc.
As I said earlier, I got some pretty interesting/hilarious questions while working at the Trains. Sometimes it was hard not to laugh or be like, “Really?” You just have to remind yourself that: (a) they may have never been to WDW before and are truly unaware of seemingly obvious things or (b) are in what we call “vacation fog”, where all common sense goes out the window. No matter how trivial, obvious, or laughable the question was, I also did my best to answer it correctly and with a smile.
Here are some of my favorite questions, along with their answers. And by the way, some are a tad bit more snarky compared to how I would have normally answered them to the guests, ha!:
“Does this train take you to Epcot?”
Answer: Nope, the train brings you to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, which is – and always will be – located in Animal Kingdom.
“Can I bring my drink/food with me?”
Answer: Yes you may! PS: I always loved answering this one, because guests would get so excited, like you told them they just won a $100, haha!
“Can I leave my child with you?”
Answer: As much as I love kids, your children must accompany you.
“What tree/bird/flower is this?”
Answer: I have no idea. I am not a botanist, ha!
“Where is the monorail?”
Answer: I’m sorry, but Animal Kingdom does not have a monorail.
“Wasn’t there a boat ride here?”
Answer: Unfortunately, not anymore. But there is a water ride located in Asia called Kali River Rapids. PS: Brownie points goes to the guests that ask this question, because YES there actually was a boat ride in Animal Kingdom years ago, which is something I did not know until I worked there.
“Who is Rafiki?”
Answer: He is the monkey from the Lion King. If that answer didn’t suffice, I would then do the raising-Simba-to-the-heavens move and that usually did the trick, ahaha!
“WHERE AM I?!!! HOW DO I GET BACK TO THE PARK? WHY DO I HAVE TO TAKE A TRAIN?!”
Answer: You are at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and the only way to and from this location is via the train, which arrives every 5-7 minutes. Don’t worry, you won’t be stranded here. =D
“What time is the 3:30 parade?”
Answer: The parade starts at 3:30, beginning and ending at Pizza Safari.
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