Ship life + Performing! Is this reality?

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Monday, 27 February

I’m typing from a breezy cafe in Nassau.  It’s sunny and very hot outside, and two of my friends have joined me for some tea, a little chit chat… and much needed wifi 😉  I’ve been on the Disney Dream for a month and a half now and things are finally starting to feel normal!  The cruise itself is such an incredible experience for the guests – there truly is something for everyone, and I’m surprised by how many adults come on a Disney cruise without children!  My life here – though not all vacation – is certainly surreal – at times wonderful and at times crazy…  It’s so much fun to perform our shows, and the Walt Disney Theatre is an amazing space in which to perform!  The beautiful auditorium seats 1400 guests and boasts Disney’s most technically-advanced stage, which is fully utilized in our shows – multiple lifts, pyro, flying, lasers – if it can be done on stage, it’s probably happening in our shows!

We opened our shows about a month ago, and it’s amazing how they have grown!  I love my cast and crew mates – we have a wonderful team, and I think the next months are going to fly by…

The first two and a half weeks on the ship were killers – we worked about 80 hours a week rehearsing and training (safety classes/certifications, ship policy, etc.), and by the end of it, we were all exhausted – and about half of us (including yours truly) were sick…  Opening each show was exciting, but not nearly the thrill I’d anticipated because I was so tired!  Now that we’re working a more normal schedule and almost everyone is healthy again, it really is exciting each time I get ready to step on stage.  That’s what I love most about performing – no matter what your day has been like, when it’s your turn to go on stage, everything else fades away and you just get to have the best time entertaining people!

Ship life has definitely been an adjustment.  Things are very up-and-down – sometimes life is great, sometimes it’s not.  I feel very fortunate that our cast is so close and supportive of each other – and that my husband has already been able to visit 🙂  Having him be part of my life here has made me feel renewed and much more at-home on the ship, even though he’s far away now.  My cabin is small, but I’m so glad that it’s all my own, and located close to the theatre, on a deck with outdoor space!

So, how do I pass my days on this glorious ship and in the beautiful Bahamian islands, you ask?  Here are some basics…  We begin each cruise in Port Canaveral, FL – my first “role” is as Assembly Leader for one of the guest evacuation stations.  We have a brief drill, then the guests head to our “Sailing Away” party – while I generally take a break before the show.  Fight call comes first – we go through any potentially dangerous blocking before each show, then shortly after, begin show #1 of “The Golden Mickeys”!  Between shows, I usually grab dinner or skype with my husband if the ship internet is working fast enough.  Show #2 can be interesting, as by that time, we’ve entered slightly rockier waters – so you never quite know what may happen 😉  After the show, we may have a company meeting/notes, some character greeting (we escort the famous Disney characters during various meet and greets throughout the cruise, about 7 hours per week), or just time off.

The next day we dock in Nassau, Bahamas – one of my favorite stops because it gives me a chance to use free wifi… and sometimes buy something new from the MAC cosmetics store nearby…  We have to provide our own stage makeup, so you can see why this is essential 😉  There are some beautiful parts of Nassau, so I try to explore when my schedule permits.  Our greeter schedule changes from day to day, but our performance schedules are almost always the same – so on Nassau night, we perform our second show, “Villains Tonight!” – again, beginning with fight call for our sword work, and then putting on 2 shows.

Our current itineraries are 3 and 4 night cruises, so Day 3 changes a bit.  On 3-night cruises we perform “Believe”, and on 4-night cruises, we have the evening off.  Right now, we’re doing understudy put-in rehearsals during the day (I’ve already performed 2 of the 6 roles I understudy!), but once we’ve finished those, we’ll typically have most of the day free to enjoy gorgeous Castaway Cay – Disney’s private island!  Even if I don’t have time to go to the beach, I always make sure to get outside for a bit – the island is absolutely stunning!

Believe” day – even though the busiest – is my favorite.  I love performing the show – both because of the show content in general, and because it’s the day my best friends appear – Mary Poppins and Mrs. Potts 🙂  We perform one matinee and 2 evening shows, and it really is a joy to do!  The last day of the cruise also has quite a few meet-and-greets, so our character friends are very busy, and we usually do greeting before the first or after the last shows – but in spite of the long day, it’s always rewarding 🙂

Well, my time in Nassau today is drawing to an end…  Thanks for following my journeys and I hope I’ll be able to coax you onto a Dream cruise soon 🙂 🙂