27. mai 2011
So, last sunday I attended Give Kids the World volunteering with my workplace again. This time I was responsible for making trays ready for all the guests…
23. mai 2011
This is how one of Norway´s biggest TV-channels (TV2) presented the Norway pavilion in their most important news-broadcast today:
Norway from the 80´s
Mullets, clothes from the 80´s and computers from 25 years back; this is the picture millions of tourists visiting Disneyworld in Florida gets of the nation and tourist destination Norway. The Disney company and Norway has argued for years about who is going to pay for the update of the Norway pavilion in Epcot.
Smile and tourist joy in the Norwegian pavilion in Epcot in Florida. Since 1988 Norway has been one of the eleven countries that gets to show themselves for millions of visitors in the theme park connected to Disneyworld.
The little piece of Norway in USA is extra popular because it has a indoor boat ride with a waterfall. Little boy: “Amazing! You think theres a giant drop, but there isn´t…” At the end of the boat ride you enter a cinema and get to see a movie about Norway. Hilde Gundersen, cast member: “Its a little old, but I still thinks it gives an impression of how Norway was before…” The movie shows Norway how we usually market ourselves abroad. But the movie is made in the 80´s, see details as mullets and pretty outdated computers. Martin Eltvik, Cast member: “Americans think we live in the 1980´s with big telephones we have to carry around… This place should been updated throughly.”
For years Norway and Disney discussed who´s going to pay for the modernization of the pavilion.
Reporter: “Viking-theme is always a seller! But Disney wants to update the Norwegian movie, it will cost about 20 million NOK, and the Norwegian governments input only has to be 5 million NOK.”
Geir Ness: “Have you guys been to Norway?” The perfume-king, Geir Ness, sells both his own fragrance and Norway with convincing talk. He thinks the promotion of Norway through the movie, is tragical. Geir Ness: “I would nearly call it junk! I think its terrible that we have´nt done anything more out of this…” No matter how much Norway promotion, some myths are impossible to kill. Guest: “You got polar bears in Norway. No, no polar bears in Norway? No, well theres a polar bear exhibit in there. So, did they all kinda run away or what happened to them?”
The AmCham in Norway have for one year tried to get the government in on a joint effort to finance the upgrade of the Norwegian pavilion. Of 20 million NOK, they ask for the government to help with 1/4, but have´nt received an answer. Tone Nymoen, AmCham: “Its very sad, because its many people that have their first impression with Norway through the pavilion, and we want more tourists to Norway, and this is a perfect marketing opportunity for Norway as a tourist destination and for private companies.”
In Norway´s parliament, the Progress Party means its embarrassing that Norway is shown in this way. Harald Nesvik, MP: “I mean its a scandal that we cant follow this up now. Its clear that we have a responsibility as a nation for the product that we are going to sell is as correct as it is shown, because if not we lose this opportunity we have to market ourselves.” He means the Minister of Industry immediately should hand out the 5 million NOK it takes. Trond Giske, Minister of Industry and Trade: “I agree that the movie is completely outdated. But Disney has its own financing solutions which is very expensive and we have to consider if this is the best way to market Norway, or if there is other ways we can get more tourists to Norway.” Broadcast end.
Very disappointed that the government still cant make up its mind, yet not surprised. If Disney decides to kick Norway out, I would only blame Norway´s government with the weak Labor Party in front, even though they are the biggest party and the government have majority in parliament.
Can someone step in and save Norway? Please.
Btw: Norway HAVE polar bears, I dont know how the reporter thinks Svalbard is not part of Norway, but it is, and there is polar bears there… Trust me. And Disney´s resort in Florida is called Disney World, Disney Land is in California.
19. mai 2011
So, here comes the post about 17th of May celebration in Norway pavilion, Epcot.
I got up early, like 8 a clock to get ready for the celebration in the park that day. Watched the weatherforecast and made sure that the weather would be on our side, read a little news from the celebration back home in Norway, got my stuff and headed over to Epcot.
When I came in to the pavilion, I was met by flags all over the place and a banner with “Norway Constitution Day 17th of May, 1814″.
I talked with all the Cast Members and congratulated them. Then got ready for my stand down with the World Showcase Lagoon.
I stood there all day and talked to the guests about our traditions, what constitution day is and how it led to Norway´s independence in 1905, about the graduating students (russ) traditions and anything else the guests might wonder about our country. There was a lot of Norwegians visiting the park that day, also a big group from Daytona Flying School.
At 4.15 it was time for the 17th of May parade around the pavilion. I gave out a lot of papers with the songs we were going to sing in the parade to guests and cast members all day, so that everyone knew what we were going to sing.
I lent a big Norwegian flag from the Oddyses restaurant in Epcot, and got ready to lead the parade. We started off with our national anthem “Ja, vi elsker dette landet” and started the parade from the scene outside Akershus, we walked over to Maelstrom and around with the waterfall, headed towards the exit of the pavilion, passed the Stave Church and continued towards the beercart and Kim Possible, walked besides the Kim Possible station and returned to the scene area. It was about 120 people participating in the parade, which was really cool. It was probably the first and only time Ive been leading a 17th of May parade. We should have had some band or music leading the singing, because the distance in the parade made the songs a little mixed up, but maybe next year… Im really proud of what we made the day become, and would really like to thank my great area manager, Shandon Benton, for doing his best to make this day so special.
17. mai 2011
So, today is the 17th of May, which is Norway’s constitution day, our national day.
Im going to be working with sharing the culture and story behind 17th of May and Norway´s history.
I have used the last few days planning some stuff thats going to be done in the pavilion. Ive learnt that you cant always get what you want and desire when youre working for one of the worlds largest companies, things needs to be approved by different people and you have a whole system you have to go through to maintain a good-show standard according to Walt Disney Worlds policy. But I believe that what I have arranged so far, will make this celebration atleast somewhat like home, except we actually have sun in Epcot today…
So. Im going to be with the entrance to the Norway pavilion all day, and talk to guests, making Norway flags for the children and have fun. We are also planning to have a parade (17.mai-tog) at 16.15 in the pavilion where we are going to sing some Norwegian songs used in the parades back home; Ja, vi elsker dette landet, Vi ere en nasjon, 17. mai sang and Det er Norge i rødt, hvitt og blått…
Here is a little information about the 17th of May:
What are we celebrating?
17th of May 1814 is a special day in Norways history, its the day the country got its own constitution, which eventually led to Norways freedom from many hundred years being ruled by Denmark and Sweden.
In 1813 Napoleon lost a battle in Germany against the Swedish Crownprince Karl Johan, Denmark, which then have had ruled Norway for over 400 years, had to give Norway to Sweden because Denmark was an allied of Napoleon, this was decided in the Treaty of Kiel 14th of January 1814.
The Danish Crownprince Christian Fredrik was in Norway when the treay was signed, and decided to act to regain the power in Norway. 112 men from all over the country (except the most northern areas) were called in to meet in Eidsvoll to make a constitution, they were gathered in Eidsvoll from the 10th of April to the 20th of May 1814.
Even though Christian Fredrik was a very popular person in Norway the men of Eidsvoll did not want him to rule the country alone, and based on the constitutions after the French and American revolution, the men made the most radical constitution in the world at the time, giving the people the power and decleared Norway as a free and independent nation. Christian Fredrik was decleared king of Norway, but had to realize his powers was now strongly reduced.
Sweden, with support from the other supreme European countries at this time, did not accept this constitution. They attacked Norway the 26th of July in a war that lasted for about two weeks, in the treaty of peace called the Treaty of Moss, Christian Fredrik agrees to abdicate and leave Norway as long as Norway could keep it parliament and some suverinity. It ended with a personalunion between Norway and Sweden where the only affairs Sweden had the power was in cases regarding the king and the foreign politics… Norway stayed in a union with Sweden for nearly 100 years, but gained its indepence in 1905.
How are we celebrating?
17th of May is a national holiday, and opposite to many other countries that have big military parades, we have people parades.
The focus is mostly on our children, and its common for every child that they are allowed to eat as much ice-cream as they want this day.
17th of May is also a big day for our young adults, as around 42.000 students graduate from high school. These are called “russ” and walk around in red, white and blue dresses, they are celebrating the end of 13 years of school.
It is common to dress nicely at 17th of May, and a lot of people wear our national costume, the «bunad», which is also the costume for the Norwegian Cast Members working here in Epcot. There is a lot of different varieties of these «bunads», the ones we are wearing here is a replicate of the «Hardangerbunad», also the official «bunad» of Norway. While in Norway they are made of wool, ours are made of cotton.
16. mai 2011
So, sorry about the blogpost didnt come before now…
Was volunteering at Waterbridge Elementary with Megan Barclay last week, it was a very good experience!
This is my 2 time volunteering with Disney, and so far the best one.
We had so much fun with the children, and actually learned them something, I hope.
We got up really early in the morning and drove over to Epcot Cast Services, and from there we took a Disney Cruiseline bus to the school with everyone. At the school we got some free, and very good breakfast. Then we were talked to a little by Dan Cockerell, the Vice President of Epcot, who was also there to be in class with the children. We were picked up by some of the students of the school and escorted to the classrooms, when we came in, everyone looked really exited. We presented ourself, I brought with me a Norwegian flag and a postcard with a polar bear on it, and explained that this was “Knut, my pet.”… (No, I dont have a polar bear as a pet even though Im Norwegian.)
Then we went through the schoolday with all the material we had to teach, we also got to eat food from the school cafeteria and join the children in their specials. Here is a link to my album on Facebook with the pictures from the day. (all the childrens parent have signed forms that their children could be used in pictures.) I had a great time, and it was so much fun having all these kids around me, interested in Disney and Norway, I remember a lot of the kids names still.
10. mai 2011
Today I used the day at work, and me and Meagan started planning on our Disney Volunteering assignment; JA in a day!, that we are doing on wednesday.
Its basically that we are going to a elementary school and talk to children in the 4th grade about ourself and try to learn them about how the market and region affairs work…
Our focus is the region, Florida, and how the market is run. The steps of production, manufacturing, selling etc. So we used the evening to plan a little about how we can engage the children most as possible and to make it a big activity. We are on a good way, and we will do more work tomorrow evening before the big day…
8. mai 2011
So yesterday was the celebration of 5 months in America and working for Disney! (even though I came a few days earlier)
There was a lot of good things that happened yesterday, and right now Im totally good with how everything seems to work out. The last week has been though, to say it easy. I needed to find new routines, attitudes etc, and think Im on a good way there…
The day started with getting a new roomate, Vidar Losvik, so now I live in 7101 Patterson Court. Its a nice 2 bed apartment.
Then I headed off to work, and was seating all day, got some time to speak to some guests and do a tour around Norway between the seatings though… And for the first time in real life, I saw someone proposing, in the Akershus Restaurant.
The proposal was definitely the most interesting thing that happened. We got Snow White to visit the table after they were engaged, and she brought them a Veiled Maiden, a traditional Scandinavian desert; The dish is layered, with mashed apples at the bottom, followed by a layer of whipped cream, a layer of toasted bread or rusk crumbs, followed by another layer of whipped cream and usually a thin layer of crumbs on top.
Then I thought they also had to get a “Just Engaged” button, and went over to the Puffins Roost (merchandise) and me and Madeleine went over to the couple and gave them the buttons.
Now Im sitting in my new apartment, me and Vidar just had dinnerish and are about to head of to bed. I work from 14-21 today…