The one in blue is my heaviest, November 2011-237 lbs. 

The one in red is where I am right now, July 2012-222 lbs. 

Week Number 1

I’m sitting here, aboard the Disney Fantasy, typing this in one of our crew recreation rooms, “Fathoms” while I wait for my laundry to dry. “Fathoms” isn’t quite done yet, as none of the ship is really completed at this point. In fact, there is still quite a bit of construction that needs to be done, but it will all come together quite quickly, and when it is finished it will be absolutely beautiful. 

I arrived in Germany last Tuesday after a very long flight, a two hour wait in Frankfurt, and another short flight to Bremen. When we reached Bremen and met with the Disney representatives, we were then told we would be boarding a bus to drive us the two hours to Papenburg. I can assure you, that first day was very exhausting. When we reached the hotel in Papenburg, we were immediately shuffled off to do some paperwork, take our photos for our crew IDs (yuck…mine is awful) and get Disney jackets. After all this, we were finally able to eat and shower or go to bed, or do whatever we wanted. The hotel was really beautiful, probably one of the nicest hotels I have stayed in, and that evening we had a very elegant and delicious buffet dinner. After that I showered and pretty much passed out for the evening.

The next day started our training with “Disney Traditions” where we learn about the history of Walt Disney himself and the Disney Company. It was a lot of fun, and in that class I started making some new friends who have proven to be really fantastic people. A lot are from England (and I love British people, so that is great). When we finished Traditions in the afternoon, we gathered all our luggage and boarded a bus to the ship!

The ship is really stunning. Its giant in person, and its still hard to believe that I am here and that it is my new home. That evening was all about finding our cabins and eating dinner, and the real training started the next day.

We have had training and/or work everyday since boarding, and you would think I would be entirely exhausted, but I actually feel rather energized for the most part. Towards evening I get a bit tired, but then I typically get a second wind. Our days have been filled with classes on Safety, Policies, Procedures, and other really important information. On Saturday I had my wet drill to earn one of my safety certificates in survival techniques. That was a blast! I was with a friend, and two German men taught the class. One of them was a handsome older man and we had a fun time giggling like school girls about him, because we are bad stereotypical Americans. Speaking of, there are very few Americans here. There will be more once all the crew arrives, but I think I have only met 4 or 5. It is very strange to be in the minority, but its awesome to meet so many new people from around the world. 

I haven’t worked much yet, but so far I am really enjoying it. Its definitely up my alley as far as what I have done before, and it actually reminds me a lot of the days in the costume shop when we did a lot of organizing, re-arranging stock or cleaning. Right now we are unloading costumes and moving them to their appropriate stock rooms and just doing some general set up and organization. There are only 4 costume girls on board, and that includes my supervisor. One of us is still not here, but the rest of us are and I really like my team. I am looking forward to getting to know them better. 

Our evenings have been spent doing various things. Typically we all meet each other in the crew mess and eat dinner, and then decide what we want to do for the evening. Most of us have been going into town to get on the internet, buy things, or just do some general exploring. Friday was my birthday, so we went to the pub to have a few drinks. One of my new friends, Nick, and I share the same birthday, so it was a joint celebration. Our new friends gave us both cards and bought us drinks and it was very sweet. Later in the evening Nick and I wanted to go to a club, so another friend went with us and we had a few drinks there and danced for a while and that was a lot of fun. Tonight we have a ship wide blackout test from 6-10 so everyone is required to get off the ship. We are going to McDonalds for dinner (exciting, I know…but it is actually much better here) and then I need to do some shopping and maybe go to the pub. 

Overall, I really enjoy ship life thus far. We aren’t actually moving yet, so that will be a huge adjustment to get used to after being in port for so long…but it has already been a grand adventure, and I am very excited to see whats around the corner. 

I will keep you all updated as often as I can.

 

Cheers,

 

Leandra

5 notes

Mailing Address:

Hello all,

I fly to Germany TOMORROW!!! Hard to believe.

I will type a longer update in a bit, but for now, I wanted to post my mailing address for anyone who would like to send me mail.

I don’t currently have the address for LETTERS…that will be coming soon, but I have the address for PACKAGES…so if you want to send me a package, here is where you will send it.

Disney Cruise Line Warehouse
Fantasy, Leandra Watson, Costume Technician
8633 Transport Drive
Orlando, FL 32832-USA

Stay tuned for more updates and the address for mailing letters!

Always,

Leandra 

58 notes

20 Days Until I Ship Out:

Well, I only have 20 days until I fly to Germany. I am starting to get very anxious and excited, but as the time rapidly approaches, more and more nervous. To be honest, I don’t really have an idea what to expect. In my process of interviewing and e-mailing Disney representatives back and forth, it really hasn’t been discussed what my daily tasks will be, what shows I will work on, what my daily schedule will be like, etc. I’m not worried about it. I think it will be something I can handle, well, I know it will be, but I am starting to get anxious just to KNOW exactly what I will be doing. But you can be sure that once I know what I am doing, I will inform you too!

As I start to prep for my travels and new career on the sea, I find myself under more and more stress. I have several projects I am currently working on for friends and finding myself with less and less time to get them done. I am done with my job at Kmart in two days though, and am hoping time will open up. I also have so many people I want to see before I leave and that has proven more difficult than I expected. I am holding several going away parties, and I know I still won’t see everyone I would like to. 

On top of all this, I find the biggest and hardest thing to prep for is purchasing the items I think I will need and figuring out what to pack. I find that I have less “professional” clothes than I realize, so its been a process to try to acquire some to be properly dressed once in Germany. I know once I start getting paid more I can buy some more professional clothes, and it will help to see what everyone else wears, but I am nervous about being ill prepared. 

Right now, the biggest thing on my mind with this upcoming change is my realization that I will miss my friends more than I know. I take for granted my ability to see all my friends fairly easily and the fun I have with them, and its hard to think that in 20 days I won’t see them for six months. I know I will meet new wonderful people on the ship, and I make friends easily…but I know I will miss everyone here so much. 

Well thats all I really know for now, but as I get closer I will continue to update everyone.

L

2 notes

Papenburg, Germany:

Hello All, I thought I would post some photos of Papenburg that Disney sent me, so that you could have a glimpse of where I will be living and working for 2 1/2 months. 

Also, in other housekeeping news, my blog is not supposed to be titled “Untitled” or have such a boring theme. When I keep attempting to change it, the screen just says “saving” for literally hours, and doesn’t actually do it. So if any of you have advice, I’d love to hear it. 

Well thats all I have for you now. Only 49 days until I fly to Germany!

-L

8 notes

The beginning of a grand adventure:

Well, here we are. As most of you reading this probably know, I have promised to keep a blog of my adventures as a sea-faring lass with Disney Cruise Lines. So for those of you who aren’t as in the know on my day to day life, let me catch you up to speed.

For the past four years I attended Western Michigan University in the Theatre Production and Design program, focusing on Costume Design. In my time there, I worked as wardrobe for several shows, assistant costume designer, and designed Chicago, Eurydice, and My One And Only. I am extremely proud of my accomplishments in the program, and to be honest, it is hard to believe how fast those four years flew by and that I am now a college graduate. 

For those of you who don’t know the different costume distinctions, let me break down my job titles:

Wardrobe: This means that once a show is in dress rehearsals through the end of the production, I take care of the costumes. I launder them after every show, I hang them, take them to their appropriate dressing rooms, iron, and make repairs. More importantly I help dress the actors, making sure the costumes are worn the intended way, and I assist with quick changes during the show. This is one of my favorite costume related positions! (I love working with the actors directly!)

Costume Technician/Seamstress: This is basically what it sounds like. I alter or construct the costumes. If the costume is already sewn, I might make alterations on it, or just keep up with the maintenance of the costume. Sometimes buttons need replacing, or seams reinforced, and thats what this job entails. 

Assistant Costume Designer: This position involves working directly with the costume designer, keeping him or her organized, and assisting with whatever they deem necessary. It could mean copying paperwork, shopping for fabric and notions, purchasing ready-made clothing online, assisting in costume fittings, and in some cases, designing a few costumes in the show, depending on how the designer likes to work. In past experience this position involved a lot of shopping and hand dying garments, but that was for a particular show.

Costume Designer: This is my other favorite position, and what I would eventually like to do for television and film. You may be able to guess what this job entails. The designer literally designs everything the actors on stage (or screen) wear. Sometimes this just means going to stock and picking appropriate choices, or shopping online for perhaps a modern show. Other times, designing can be completely out of the box and an entirely creative process. Either way, each designer has a unique take on a show and its characters, and no two designers will do a show the same way. I love seeing the original vision I had in my head take life onstage. Its a wonderful feeling. But don’t be mislead, this is a difficult job that requires some sleepless or late nights and a lot of brainpower. It involves sketching designs, working with directors to come to a common vision, doing final renderings (often watercolor paintings) of the costumes, attending every actors multiple costume fittings, figuring out how many materials are needed, what they should be, and making sure it all stays within your budget. Its a stressful job, but is absolutely rewarding!

These positions are the ones I held for four years. Now that I am out of college, it is my plan to pursue costume design and wardrobe work for film and television. Right now, I am really leaning towards work in the UK. Don’t worry, I will continue to keep you updated on that line of work as well.

BUT….right now, I have the amazing opportunity to work for Disney Cruise Lines as wardrobe and costume technician for the live entertainment on the ship. Most people, upon hearing this job title, ask how I got such a job. I kind of think it is a silly question…how does anyone get a job? Typically by applying and interviewing, right? Well I did the exact same thing. I sent a resume and cover letter to a hiring agent online, and before I knew it, they responded with interest and I started the process of interviewing over the phone.

My position starts January 11th, 2012, in Papenburg, Germany. I will be working for the newest cruise ship, Fantasy, which is still under construction. I will be living in and training in Papenburg until mid March, when we will sail to Florida to pick up our first passengers. Our maiden voyage takes place March 31st, 2012! 

In this blog, I will update you all on what it is like to work on a cruise ship and more specifically with Disney. I know it will be a huge adjustment, and not always easy, but I am thrilled by this opportunity. What girl hasn’t dreamed about working for Disney? For those of you interested in a position in costume as well, I hope that perhaps you can use this blog as a tool or guide to the industry. Its useful to learn from someone else’s triumphs and mistakes when entering this industry. 

There will be more to come in the weeks to follow, as I share with you the process of preparing to live and work on a cruise ship. But for now, let me just wish you,

Bon Voyage!!

-L

1 note