Amber Earns Her Ears

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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

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Amber discusses the difficulties of getting around without a car and using a bus for such simple tasks as grocery shopping.

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...

One of the major perks of participating in the Disney College Program is the convenience. Disney provides housing so you don’t have to. They provide cable and water and electricity – Internet, too, if you bring a router. Buses to take you to and from work, to the post office and the grocery store.

As I’d brought my car with me, I’d used the buses as transport to and from work, but not much else. As Dinosaur’s decided not go on a brief hiatus, I’ve had no choice but to rely on the American Coach buses to get me everywhere I need to go.

They’ve changed the set up for the bus stop at EPCOT. One of the major complaints about this particular stop is that it’s the site of incredible potential injury as everyone jostles and shoves to make it onto the bus – preferably ahead of enough people to actually snatch a seat. As I’m good at weaving in and out of people, this setup didn’t really bother me; if you could judge where the bus was going to stop, and you could squeeze your way into the mass of people from all over the world, you were in. Now they’ve set up a queue, which works well, really. My only complaint is that if you want to sit and wait for the bus, you might lose out on a seat on the bus, and that when people in line decide to smoke – a big pet peeve of mine – you can’t move anywhere to escape the fumes. But there’s less stress involved, less shoving and invasion of personal space.

And of course, there’s always the enjoyment out of watching people dash for the bus as soon as they emerge from the revolving gates, regardless of whether there’s a line or not.

I’d never had to take the bus to the store before, but I’d imagined the inconvenience. I tend to buy a lot of food; not too much that I can’t carry it up the stairs from my car all in one go, but a good amount. When I boarded the H bus last week to catch a ride to Publix to pick up some groceries, I had already decided to finally utilize my crock pot and make a meal that would last all week, that way I wouldn’t have to return to the store for a while.

Let me tell you, for a wimpy kid like me, carrying a bag of potatoes, a thing of juice and milk, on top of the rest of the groceries I’d bought was not easy. I managed to knock into quite a few people as I lugged my three bags of groceries through the narrow aisles of the charter bus. It was an interesting journey. But the ride there wasn’t long, and by the time I’d finished shopping, the bus was almost there to pick us up. The Publix stop, unlike Wal-Mart, where there are a few benches set up along the side of the building for you to wait at, isn’t really organized as a stop; it lets you out near a sidewalk, and then you return to that sidewalk until the bus arrives.

Taking the bus earlier is probably a good idea; the last bus comes around seven for final pickups. Some times are more crowded than others; the bus I rode to Publix had a grand total of five people on it, whereas the bus I took back contained considerably more people.

I miss my car. I wouldn’t mind riding the bus to and from work, although I do like the convenience of saving an hour of my day to laze around rather than boarding the bus and waiting as it makes a few more stops on our way to EPCOT, especially when I have the misfortune to catch a driver’s change or break. Then you spend about thirty minutes waiting at Vista Way while the driver disappears and someone else comes to check everything on the bus. It’s a good time to catch up on podcasts.

Grocery shopping? Not so much fun without a car, although clearly not unmanageable, as most people here do it. I’ve seen various ways to avoid carrying too much; some people take rolling suitcases that they load up, others bring massive backpacks, although that relies on your ability to pick it up in the first place.

But I like the feeling that if people got together to go somewhere – Steak ‘n’ Shake, Universal, the beach – I can get there, no problem. In two weeks – October 1st – my parents will be down here with a different car from home, and a trailer to take Dinosaur back to Tennessee to fix it for when I return for school. Maybe I’ll continue to ride the bus to work, simply to save gas money, but I will be extremely glad to have my own mode of transportation back.


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