Amber Earns Her Ears

About the Column

Amber Sewell is 'earning her ears' at Disney World from the ground-up: her first experience as a Cast Member was her participation last year in Disney's CareerStart Program. Maybe you saw her at EPCOT's Electric Umbrella? If not, you'll be 'seeing' a lot of her on Disney Dispatch as she shares her stories about what it's like to be young and working for the Mouse. Amber's stories are fun, fascinating, and plain ol' fantastic. And maybe, just maybe, they'll put you on the road to earning your ears, too.

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FROM: Amber Earns Her Ears Published Mondays

Amber Circles the Wagons

Lately, Amber has had some hard times in the happiest place on Earth, with mouse malaise marring what she hoped would be a magical internship. But after an unfortunate 'sick-up' near a Captain EO cart, Amber appears to be regaining her mojo.

The Disney College Program is a competitive, paid internship open to college students who want to spend a semester at either Disneyland or Disney World working, learning, and possibly laying the foundation for a Disney career.

After a successful stint in Disney's CareerStart Program, Amber Sewell began work in May 2011 at Disney World as part of the College Program. We'll follow her adventures every week right here...

"Edmund, bad things are going to happen if you send me out there. I didn't eat breakfast or dinner, I already feel ill, and my roommate woke me up at three in the morning to tell me a guy thought she was cute. It's not gonna be pretty."

"Chris! Stop knocking down the motor oil! The fort's never gonna stay up!"

A Hurl in the Kingdom

It has been an eventful week, to say the least. I started it off by getting sick on Monday - yet again. I came in and felt a little woozy as I worked register three (which is on the rotation to go out to the EO Cart), but what can you do? I was hoping it would go away by the time my bump came and I had to go outside.

It didn't.

I was out there scarcely thirty minutes, and was frantically trying to figure out how to work the radio to page Edmund, the coordinator, inside. At first I didn't get a response, and leant up against the counter for a bit, watching the lovely little stars float around. Luckily, the EO Cart doesn't get much business, so I didn't have to worry about a guest coming up to purchase something. By the time Edmund paged back, saying he'd been on the telephone, I was crouching behind the cart.

"What?" he croaked in his grouchy old man voice (he is frequently compared to Carl from Up, and I'd say it's an accurate description, for the most part).

"Um, yeah, I'm going to either pass out or throw up. Can you send someone out?" I could hear his annoyance in the silent radio. My friend from Attractions wandered over to see if I was alright.

"Yeah, yeah, just a little sick. I swear, Edmund is going to give me so much crap for this!" He stood there until Edmund came out with another Cast Member, pointed me to the bathroom, and told me to take five. I hurried to the bathroom and sat for a bit, but the feeling wasn't going away and I eventually just gave up and went back inside.

Where I was sent back to the cart.

My Attractions friend gave me an encouraging sort of pat on the back as I made my way back to the cart, and I was drinking water like no one's business while I waited for the rotation to kick in. I wasn't out there for more than ten minutes, and was sent inside to Theatre Sales (the person who stands beside the wall of photos with the clipboard).

Usually, when I go inside, I'm better after a bit, but this time I was still feeling ghastly. A few people commented, especially when I had to sit down for a few seconds when there were no guests around. Someone had brought a big bag of pretzels, and they sent me back to the closet to eat a handful. I consented, but not three minutes after eating just a handful of pretzels, the same person who had had to take over the EO cart while I passed out was watching Theatre Sales as I walked hurriedly to the restroom to throw up.

I at least felt better afterwards.

Amber Has a Fort Day

Though I considered ER-ing (getting an early release), the stubborn side of me really did feel better, and I decided to stay the rest of my shift. It was a good decision; nothing about going home would have made me feel any better than moving around and doing work. But I swear, before this program ends, I'm going to be the girl who always gets sick at work. It doesn't make any sense, quite honestly; I don't get sick playing in the parks, and I've survived band camp without any incidents. Heat shouldn't be the problem. The only thing I can think of is that I'm just allergic to my job.

Work progressed normally, and then Thursday came around. Probably the best day I've spent here in Disney on my program thus far. I was telling one of the people that I worked with why I liked being busy, and how when I got bored on my program last year, I even went so far as to single-handedly construct a fort in the living room. Which got him all excited, of course.

And when minutes later I turned to talk to one of my other friends, Lauren, we started talking about food and carrot cake. Somehow, both of these conversations culminated in Fort Day, an all-day event that would take place at Lauren's apartment, where she, Chris, and I would bake, build a fort, and watch movies. Another girl, Grace, got in on the project, and we all assembled recipes and gathered blankets for the big day.

Around one-thirty in the afternoon I pulled into Vista, my car Dinosaur loaded with blankets, chips, and a bean dip that is absolutely wonderful, and my collection of movies (of which we watched none). Somehow I managed to get everything up to her third floor apartment in one trip, and while she began baking cookies and preparing Oreo truffles, I tackled the fort. She had already started it, but neither of us could figure out how to anchor the sheet to the window ledge. After much deliberation, I went out and checked the trunk of my car, returning with a quart of motor oil, another of power steering fluid, and a mostly used gallon of window spray. While not the sturdiest of anchors, they served their purpose as I sat inside the tent, linking all of the blankets together with safety pins.

Eventually, Chris, Grace, and another girl from the north area of Future World, Kristen, came in, following the sounds of the Hercules soundtrack that we were blasting. It was a good thing I got to the fort before they came, because clearly no work was going to be accomplished now that the whole group was there. Lauren kept having to chase Chris out of the kitchen as he tried to steal some chocolate, Grace was dancing everywhere, and Kristen and I were busy introducing ourselves, as I haven't been deployed to the Future World North, yet.

From Marrakesh to Pottermore

The day was fantastic. We cooked (no carrot cake) junk food, and Grace made shrimp with rice and garlic sauce. We toyed with the idea of going to Beaches and Cream and attempting a kitchen sink, but that idea was rapidly abandoned as we consumed even more junk food. The fort, which had been the central idea of the day, was quickly torn down after we all made it inside; it was large enough, definitely, but the couch that we were using as a backrest kept scooting backward as Chris leaned against it, and the motor oil anchor kept falling. And it was just way too hot for five bodies to be inside the little mini-oven the fort had become.

Movies were watched, balloons were beaten around the room and popped, and much fun was had in general. Around three in the morning, though, our energy was starting to peter out, and as Grace and I started to fall asleep where we were - she on the floor with a body pillow, and I on the couch in a nest of blankets - Lauren went into her room, gave each of us a stuffed animal, and we all situated ourselves. I was the only one who ended up not sleeping on the floor, choosing the arm chair to curl up in instead, and every blanket, sheet, and towel that had gone into the construction of the fort was used.

The next day, we awoke to Lauren making "muffins", which were really spice cake cupcakes. Kristen and I ran to Walgreens and got some orange juice, and we sat around on the floor goofing off, eating cupcakes - er, muffins - and dozing off.

Most people had work that afternoon; Lauren and I were off, and were going to spend the day in the World Showcase. We dispersed, and Lauren and I spent the evening meandering about the Showcase, dropping into Restaurant Marrakesh for an early dinner and ending with pastries from Boulangerie Patisserie.

The week ended with another Harry Potter nerd-out session, wherein I stayed in front of my computer from about ten o'clock until six in the morning, waiting for Pottermore to open. The group of us who'd met in New York all have a Facebook group, and we chatted nonstop until the clue was open and we had all received our validation e-mails. As I type this, I should probably be up and getting ready for my wonderful six hour shift today, so I shall bring this week's column to a close, and get up and have a bagel.


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