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Robert Niles
Editor

Theme park cast member stories: Phantom of the Hoedown

Published: November 1, 2009 at 9:45 PM

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

The Five Bear Rugs, in the Country Bear Vacation Hoedown

Hey! This is great. I couldn't have spent more than 20 minutes in the rotation so far. Ten minutes pushing strollers and another five in pre-show, and now I'm in theater. Heck, I didn't even have to spiel! At this rate, I'll get an extra break before lunch, easily. And maybe a second extra break before I go home.

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

Okay. Theater's loaded and the show's running. It's so cool here in the darkened theater, with a nice place to sit - heck, it almost makes me feel sorry that the rotation's moving so fast.

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

Eh, okay. So I had to sit through another show and load the theater again. Hey, at least the rotation froze while I was in theater, instead of out there in the Central Florida summer sun, pushing strollers around Frontierland.

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

Um... okay. Four shows of Country Bear Vacation Hoedown? In a row? Really?

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

Great. Now I'm going to be late getting my lunch. Ugh! Make the singing stop!

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

Fishing? Yeah, right. Just once, I'd like to see some mutant bass jump out of the river and drag one of you sorry bears under for good.

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

Five Bear Rugs? That's what you ought to be, you miserable singing animatronics. Five stinkin' rugs on some Imagineer's floor, instead of the glorified the Chuck E. Cheese's floorshow that you are here in "Dante's Frontierland."

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

Make. It. Stop. Please. For the love of God, just make it stop.

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for thinking bad things about the bears. I love them. I really do. I... uh... I'd just like to, well... I'd just like to see daylight again. Once. Before I die. I promise that I'll never say, or think, anything bad about any Disney animatronic character again. Please?

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

Softly, deftly music shall caress you
Hear it, feel it secretly possess you
Open up you mind let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness which you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night....

If you've just been wishing 'bout going fishing and you're still on the shore
Grab your cap and gear and meet us right here
We've got all kinds of fun in store
It's time for a vacation, for some rest and relaxation.
Forget your cares, and join us bears
In the great outdoors...

"Hey, Robert. Sorry about that. The rotation kinda... got messed up. You can go on lunch now.

"Uh... Robert?"

Here is the archive of Robert's stories about working in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Replies (12)

Anthony Murphy
Writer

Published: November 1, 2009 at 10:01 PM

Come on now. We all get sick from hearing the same thing over and over again. I thought when Henry "peed" himself was your worst day.

Still a great story!

198.99.32.5

Published: November 1, 2009 at 11:31 PM

My first shift post-training in Tomorrowland (Buzz Complex) was one that I worked straight through. My breaks never came, and didn't know the procedure for how to contact a manager. Apparently, someone in deployment didn't check me off for breaks in CDS. And, silly me, I worked 8 hours straight through. It was only when I started working past my end time that I grabbed a random manager who happened to have left the trailer (a rare occurance indeed) that I was able to go home...
James Rao
Writer

Published: November 2, 2009 at 3:38 AM

Hmmm... a little Andrew Lloyd Webber never hurt anyone! Funny story, Robert!
TH Creative
Writer

Published: November 2, 2009 at 5:14 AM

Loved it! :o)
David Sutter

Published: November 2, 2009 at 5:58 AM

great Story Robert! Sad but so true its funny. When I worked at Walt Disney World at Epcot I got stuck in "The Circle Of Life" Theather for over 2 hrs..OMG! Gimme a gun Im going hunting.
Nick Markham

Published: November 2, 2009 at 6:03 AM

Very funny story Robert! Brightened up my morning for sure! :)
129.171.150.71

Published: November 2, 2009 at 7:54 AM

Hilarious story! Didn't see the Phantom music coming. How am I not going to have this running through my head when I see the Bears this week?
Dan Babbitt

Published: November 2, 2009 at 8:10 AM

How about 40 straight shows in the Library at the Tower of Terror? I had to stand there for every show!
Anthony Murphy
Writer

Published: November 2, 2009 at 8:31 AM

I get the listen to the Jonas Brothers for 4-8 hours every 20 minutes. Who has it worse now ;)
Brian L

Published: November 2, 2009 at 9:25 AM

Getting suck at merge point for an hour and a half is not fun either. Especially when guests are standing in line in the Florida sun for two hours waiting to get some relief on Splash Mountain, they love for you to hear their opinions about you. I even got in trouble during this marathon of doom by snapping back at a guest, "That's why it's called Fast Pass. Cuz it's fast." At that point though i just stopped caring as the barrage of insults whittled me down to a dark core. Apparently the other cast members thought it would be funny if they play a little prank on the new guy and just skip him in the rotation.
Dan Babbitt

Published: November 2, 2009 at 4:32 PM

I hate getting skipped in rotation unless I like the position I'm in of course.
Albino Pygmy

Published: November 3, 2009 at 11:30 AM

At least you were indoors and not having to spiel, or get stuck at FP merge point as mentioned above. Several times during my stay at the Jungle Navigation Company, our neighboring Pirates decide to break down and cause for an evac. When this happens, all Jungle rotations freeze and any 'free' skippers are rushed to Pirates to help with the evac. Sometimes this takes about 20 - 30 minutes until our rotations 'unfreeze' and return back to normal.

Now, imagine if you will, you are just entering a 5 spot rotation for Jungle. Normally, 5 spot rotations start off as greeter, or some other form of dock position, and then boat, dock, boat, break. Somehow, this 5 spot rotation started off with boat, dock, boat, dock, break.

So needless to say, I started off in a boat when I hear that pirates is down, everyone is frozen in place until further notice, and did I mention that I'm now stuck in a boat? Fantastic. I ended up doing 9 trips, almost 10 (I got lucky that my bump caught me before I left the loading dock for the 10th time.) Now again, pirate evac normally takes about 20 - 30 minutes, which is roughly estimated to 2 - 3 extra trips around the Jungle.

How I ended up with 9 really got me wondering what went wrong, and then later that day I found out what happened. My bump was on lunch when he was pulled to help with evac, so when he got back when everything went back to normal, he started his 30 minutes back to minute 1 and enjoyed his lunch. I don't blame him, I would have done the same. Ok, so that would have counted for 3 more trips around.

So now we're at 4 - 6 trips. Still not 9, but getting close. 7th time around, starting to get paranoid, watching the other skips get bumped out, and I'm still stuck on Zelda, ugh. "Where's my bump?!" Still on lunch. 8th time around. "Where's my bump?!" He should be back by now. 9th time around. "Please tell me he's hiding behind the dock box or something, get me off this thing!" We don't know where he is.

I pull up to load, and see him loading my boat. "Um . . . what are you doing?" "What's it look like I'm doing? I'm front load." "No, you're supposted to bump me out, remember?" "No, the board said F-Load, and then Zelda." (Apparently, our coordinator was revising our rotations, which is normal, but it is also normal that everyone affected was in the know, but not this time.) We ended up switching places, and during some free time as we loaded Wanda up (our wheelchair boat) I went to the dock box to talk with the coordinator about my rotation.

I wish this story ended here where we all finished our days logging in countless hours behind the wheel, but it just keeps getting better.

Pirates opened back up again, and within 30 minutes, went down again and needed to evac. This time, I wasn't on a boat. (Thank GOD!) This time, however, was stuck at FP merge point. I really don't know what's worse, being stuck on a boat for 9 trips in a row, or being the road block of thousands of angry and upset guests for 40 minutes. What got me through that mess was the fact that I had the power of making their line move quicker.

The more angry taunts and insults I get from one line, the more I clear the other. Usually these taunts are from standby guests obviously upset of the sudden mob of people filling up our FP line. These are the same guests that were just recently evac'd off pirates and given a re-ad ticket to be used as a FP for any attraction, it just so happens they came next door to us all at once. So FP line is whining that FP isn't "Fast" enough, and standby thinks I've completely ignored them. There's no fair way to please both sides, so no matter what you do, you are always the bad guy preventing you from riding this ride.

And you know what's even better? When you continue your rotation and go back on a boat, and get a fully loaded boat full of the same people you held up in line. As a skipper, you probably won't recognize them, but they all know you very well, and makes for a really delightful 10 minute cruise of ackward silence and angry glares. And I thought this was the Happiest Place on Earth.

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