Questions for Reflection
In each episode, we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars Podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:06):
Where we share personal experiences so we can learn from each other. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:09):
And I'm Beth.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:09):
I've been in recovery for 15 years and am the author of Discovering My Scars, my memoir about what's done in the darkness eventually comes to light.
Beth Demme (00:16):
I'm a lawyer turned pastor, who's all about self-awareness and emotional health, because I know what it's like to have neither of those things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:22):
Beth and I have been friends for years, have gone through a recovery program together, and when I wanted to start a podcast, she was the only name that came to mind as cohost.
Beth Demme (00:29):
I didn't hesitate to say yes, because I've learned a lot from sharing personal experiences with Steph over the years.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:34):
We value honest conversations, and we hope you do too.
Beth Demme (00:37):
On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, "The Time I Snuck Into The Disney Underground."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:43):
Then we'll share a slice of life, and the show will close with Questions for Reflection, where we invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life.
Beth Demme (00:50):
So, Stephanie, episode 100 we talked about how we were celebrating, taking time to celebrate by going to Disney, and back in episode 40, actually, you shared a little bit about what it was like for you when you worked at Disney when you were in college, when you were a student at University of Central Florida. So we're going to talk today about a time that you actually made in it the Utilidor, the tunnels-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:16):
Yep, Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Beth Demme (01:16):
... that are under the parks. But tell us, just to start out, why did you want to work at Disney?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:24):
So growing up, we had gone to Disney my whole entire life, I have no idea how many times I've been to Disney, and ultimately the reason why we always went is because it was an inexpensive trip, which seems like, in today's day and age, you're like, "What, Disney?" But we had family members that worked at Disney, so we would get in free and we would stay at actually where me and you are right now. We would stay at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds, which had tent camping, so you could pitch a tent and stay in it, and that's what we would do. Luckily, I don't remember that, I was too young to remember that, but that does not sound awesome, I can't imagine taking a kid and pitching a tent here. We actually are staying in the cabins right now, recording the program.
Beth Demme (02:03):
We're super fancy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:04):
So we're a little fancy.
Beth Demme (02:06):
I mean, we're not like Wilderness Lodge fancy, but we are campground fancy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:11):
We're the second boat, we're the campground boat, but it's good. So I grew up going to Disney, and I'm not the typical Disney fan, I do not enjoy characters, I don't enjoy high-fiving Mickey Mouse. I've never been like, "Oh my gosh, that's Mickey," that's not me. I probably talked about this last time, but I was briefly traumatized a child, as a baby, by Chip, he got really close to me in my face as a baby, and there's a picture of it to prove it, and since then I never liked the character. So maybe if that hadn't happened I would be that traditional love-all-the-characters fan, but I'm not. So ultimately, I have always enjoyed Disney, doing the whole Disney thing, not the character thing, but everything else there is to offer. And I always was curious about behind the magic, what happened behind the scenes, I'd heard about these Disney underground area and I'm like, "Where is that?" I envisioned it very magical, this whole underground town where they had a mayor and... No, nothing too crazy, but I just imagined all the characters without their hats on out there, without their heads on, like, "Oh my goodness, how cool."
Beth Demme (03:25):
Headless characters, wait, wait, wait-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:26):
Yes, that was my dream, so I always wanted to see that, and whenever I would see a character like Mickey Mouse in the park, I'm always thinking, "Who's inside the suit?" That's always what I wanted to know, I wasn't like, "Oh, look, it's Mickey," I was like, "Look, someone's in there, is it a girl? Is it a guy? They're very short." And so that was why I wanted to work for Disney, because I ultimately wanted to see behind the scenes of everything.
Beth Demme (03:50):
How did you know that there were tunnels? Is that something you knew before you worked at Disney, or did you hear about that after you were working there?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:00):
There's always been rumblings about it, there's always things like rumors about Disney and this and that, and so I just picked up on it. And my mom actually had gone into the tunnels, she was in a children's department of a church and they had a conference down here, and one of the things they got to do was go in the tunnel. So she'd actually been in the tunnels and she said they were very cool, she did say something about the smell, I don't remember exactly, she just said it had a smell to it. But yeah, so she had gone and I had heard about them, and when I got cast as an employee, as a cast member at Disney, they asked me where I wanted to work, and I said Hollywood Studios, which was MGM Studios at the time. And I was like, "I'm going to be able to see the underground now."
Beth Demme (04:47):
Yes, yes, like, "I'm hired," you didn't really even expect to get hired that day, but you went to casting and boom, you got hired. On the spot you had to answer a question about where you wanted to work, and I guess the tunnels weren't the first thing that came into your mind.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:59):
Well, I didn't really know the extent of the tunnels, I thought they were all underground at all the parks, and so I said, "Hollywood Studios is my favorite park." And it seemed like a fun place to work, and Magic Kingdom seemed like the worst place to work, so I said then... And then I started working, and I was like, "I want to see the tunnels," and my trainer's like, "There are no tunnels here," and I was like, "Oh, but I heard of all the tunnels," and he's like, "Nope, there's no tunnels." And so that was disappointing, until I got another trainer. And I was like, "Yeah, I mean, I really like working here, but I didn't realize there was no tunnels, and I'm disappointed," and he was like, "Oh, we have tunnels," and I was like, "What? We have tunnels?" And he was like, "Yeah, I'll take you and I'll show you, it's actually a quick way to get out of the park," and I was like, "What?" And so I was like, "Oh, so excited, so excited."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:48):
So I worked at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular show, and the tunnels are actually over by Star Tours, which, Star Tours is technically in our area, which is called the icon area of the park, or was. And so it was still in our area, so he took me over to Star Tours, and basically there's this door you walk in and then you just walk down and you're in the underground, and it's all these machines and stuff. And it's basically underneath Star Tours.
Beth Demme (06:19):
Is it machinery that is used to make things happen in Star Tours or is it a storage area?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:25):
It's machinery, I'm assuming, to make stuff work at Star Tours, but it's big machines, it's old school-looking computers, but I don't think it was computers, I think it was electrical and stuff like that. So I'm assuming it's Star Tour stuff, and it's not a giant area, it's basically just under Star Tours. But it's basically a shortcut, so you just walk through and then you walk out and you're outside the park. So I was happy to experience the undergrounds, I was satisfied, I was like, "Okay, I got my underground." So for a while I was satisfied, I was like, "Okay, this is cool, I've seen the underground," and I walked that way sometimes, not always, but I would walk that way sometimes to be cool and be like, "Okay-"
Beth Demme (07:03):
Did it take you to employee parking?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:05):
Beth Demme (07:05):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:06):
Employee parking basically at the time was in the front of Star Tours area, off to the side. If you were standing in front of Hollywood Studios, the employee parking was all the way to the right. Which is funny, it's weird because that parking now, employee parking is whole nother area now and that parking area now is just guest parking. And I parked over there the last time I was at Hollywood Studios, I was like, "This is so weird, this was where I parked as a cast member, and now I just park as a guest." So it's weird to be doing that, because there's so much changes all the time at the parks because-
Beth Demme (07:40):
All the time, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:41):
... they can and it's awesome.
Beth Demme (07:43):
So do they bus the employees around now?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:46):
I don't know. I don't know if that's even still that, because there was a building right over there, I don't even know if that's still costuming, that's where costuming was, so there may be a whole nother entry. Because what was annoying is, when I would come in to work, I would go into that building but I couldn't check in at that building, I had to walk all the way to my attraction. Which, mine wasn't too far away when I worked at Indiana Jones, but when I worked at Toy Story, that was at the end of the park, so I had to go all the way through the park to get to my attraction to sign in. So I don't know if that's changed now, I'm assuming. I mean, they make improvements all the time, so maybe it makes more sense and easier to get around.
Beth Demme (08:24):
So, because you worked at Hollywood Studios, I mean, or MGM, as it was called at the time, so you had an employee badge, and you had a name tag and you had a costume, so couldn't you just go anywhere?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:37):
So the big rule about being cast member is, whenever you're behind the scenes, you had to wear your badge, ID badge, which, it looks like a driver's license. And you could wear your name tag, I don't think you had to wear your name tag, but you had to have that badge backstage, so it was both or at least the badge, and it pretty much needed to be visible. That was the thing, it needs to be visible, but it can't be visible when you're on stage, so you always have to have all this with you, but you got to figure, "Okay, I'm on stage," so I take it off and I put it away. So yeah, I worked for Disney five or seven years, and so I was very familiar with the process, I'd never been stopped or asked like, "What are you doing?" Because you just walk with purpose and you know where you're going, and no one really stops you because there's so many people that work for Disney. And I had actually been at other parks, because one of the cool things at the time was you could take classes, they offered a ton of different classes. And the classes, some of them were things that certain positions had to take, and then there was some that, I think, they were just offering and anyone could take if they wanted. And so I took a sign language class once-
Beth Demme (09:48):
That's so cool.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:48):
... and it was offered at Epcot, and so I was able to go behind the scenes at Epcot because I was supposed to be there, and that was neat, to experience that. And then I took a Disney radio class and that was in Celebration, and so I really wanted to take more advantage, but it was tough. I was working at Disney and Apple and going to school, so I only had so much time.
Beth Demme (10:08):
Oh, wait, so the class that you took at Epcot, did you come in the way that a guest would come in?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:14):
No, I parked in the employee parking, which was a little confusing because I'd never done it before and I didn't really know where it was. But the employee parking, you know where Test Track is at-
Beth Demme (10:23):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:24):
That's where it is, it's behind Test Track.
Beth Demme (10:26):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:26):
That's the employee parking. When you're on Test Track, you can actually see this, when you're on the outside part of Test Rack, you can actually see the employee parking in that area, it's right on the side. But yeah, there's buildings back there, and there's usually an employee store back there and there's food places, and I got to walk through it all because I was just waiting for my class.
Beth Demme (10:48):
And there must be a security guard back there.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:50):
Yeah, you always go through security, they check your bag and that stuff.
Beth Demme (10:53):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:53):
I don't even know if they ask what you're there for, because I didn't have to check in, I just had to go to the class. So yeah, I don't remember ever being stopped in any like, "What are you doing here way?" kind of way, because I always had a reason. I never did anything at Animal Kingdom, Animal Kingdom's like its own little, weird little thing, it is Disney, but it's also like whatever happens there happens, I don't know. So I never did anything behind the scenes at Animal Kingdom, and I had no desire to, but I was satisfied with seeing the behind the scenes, seeing the tunnel at Studios, but I always was like, "Oh, I really want to see Magic Kingdom." And I tried getting classes, that's how much I was like-
Beth Demme (11:36):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:37):
But I didn't have enough time to try to do those and figure out which ones would be in the tunnels, and so I never actually could find a reason to go there. Because I could have picked up shifts during events, and I looked and thought about doing that, but it's late and there was a lot, and I had to work at my actual park, so I just never was able to make that happen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:03):
I worked at Apple also, and there was a lot of people that worked at Disney and Universal that worked at Apple, because it's fun, we like to do those fun things. And one of my co-workers used to work at Disney, and I was telling him about like, "Oh, I work for Disney, I want to go into the tunnel, dah, dah, dah," and he's like, "Oh, I can get you in." I'm like, "But you don't work there anymore," he's like, "It's fine, I can show you, I can go take you down there," I was like-
Beth Demme (12:29):
No, wait, you actually were working for Disney and you didn't feel like you could get in there, but he didn't even work there anymore and he was like, "I got this"?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:35):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Because I'm a very big rule follower, if there's a role, I mean, I was just walking, oh-
Beth Demme (12:43):
It's true, this just happened.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:44):
I was just walking here at Fort Wilderness, I was going to go kayaking, and I was halfway there and I was like, "I forgot my mask," and so I walked all the way back. Because I was pretty sure I had to go inside to rent the kayak and the rule is, and also that's how COVID works, is you need to wear it inside. And I knew that was their rule at Disney, and I wasn't going to break that rule, and also, I always wear a mask inside. So, I walked back to get my mask, so I'm a very big... I'm not even talking like the law, of course I follow the law, but if I'm going into an established place, if they have a rule, if they have like, "Wear a shirt," I'll put a shirt on. I will.
Beth Demme (13:23):
I mean, otherwise you might just go topless, but if they have a rule about wearing a shirt, then-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:28):
If it said, "Shirt and shoes required," then I'll put my shoes on, those things, I will follow your rules to a T.
Beth Demme (13:33):
Right, or like this morning we got to have this really nice brunch, and it was like, "Well, there's a lot of bread leftover, but this an all-you-can-eat thing. So Beth, will you ask if we can take the bread with us?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:46):
Yeah. That's so true.
Beth Demme (13:47):
I said "Sure, I'll ask," but you were like, "I don't know what the rules are, I don't want them to..."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:50):
Beth Demme (13:51):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:52):
Yeah, but I had justified in my head, "Well, this was the original bread they brought out, we didn't ask for more."
Beth Demme (13:57):
We didn't ask for more, no.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:58):
"So then it's just going to go to waste, so this will probably be okay," and then-
Beth Demme (14:03):
And then it was okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:04):
And then I asked, "Would it be possible to get a tea to go?" And he was like, "That's extremely possible."
Beth Demme (14:10):
Right. He actually said, "I'd bet the house on it."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:12):
Yeah, I know. And then I thought, "Maybe I over-asked that," with his response.
Beth Demme (14:18):
Your question was appropriate, his response was overdone.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:21):
Okay. I was like, "Did I say that? Maybe I was a little..." Because, well, all-you-care-to-eat places, you just never know, and I don't want to say the wrong thing or also make them have to roll their eyes when they're... have to answer that all the time. So anyways, yeah, I'm a big rule follower, I feel like it's respectful, and if I'm going to partake in your establishment, I'm going to follow your rules.
Beth Demme (14:47):
But it sounds like your coworker might've had a little bit looser approach to that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:51):
Correct. Yeah. So he had worked for Disney, wasn't currently, and he was like, "Oh, I'll get you in," and I was like, "Really?" And I think it wasn't right away that I was like, "Okay, let's do it," I think I really pondered on it, really thought about it and really had to get the courage up, because I was going to have to walk with purpose if I was going down there. And I think I finally was like, "Let's do it," and so we went, we got into the park and he's like, "I know where a good entrance is, it's over in Frontierland," and so we went over to Frontierland and he's like, "Here it is." And I'm sweating, I'm like, "Oh my gosh, they're going to know, they're just going to know I'm in the wrong place."
Beth Demme (15:24):
"They can tell what I'm thinking."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:25):
"They'll know." And also, our ID badges have nothing to do with our park because you can work at different parks, and so there's nothing on my badge that said, "Don't let them in at Magic Kingdom, they only work at Studios," nothing like that. So I have my ID on and I have my badge hanging, I'm ready to go-
Beth Demme (15:43):
Wait, did your badge get you into the park or did you have to have a-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:46):
Beth Demme (15:46):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:46):
So they also knew I was in the park, which is not a problem because you're allowed to go into the parks as it's your ticket to get in the park. So it wasn't like they're going to be like, "What were you doing here?" I was allowed to go, we were just going to go on rides.
Beth Demme (15:59):
How did he get in? He must've been a pass-holder or something.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:01):
No, he wasn't. He actually had friends still that worked there and they just got him through the gate.
Beth Demme (16:05):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:05):
They just opened the gate and let them in. Yeah, that also felt awkward too, I was like, "That's not how you're supposed to do it." And because I wanted to so bad I was just like, "Okay, this is fine, I'm part of a criminal act here, and this is fine. I don't even know, I don't know how you're getting in, I don't know, it's fine." So we go down in the tunnels, he only has his old name badge, he doesn't have an ID visible, but I had also worked long enough to know that if your ID badge wasn't visible because you forgot to put it out, no one's going to ask you and-
Beth Demme (16:36):
Because you are moving between stage and backstage.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:39):
Yeah, and so there's times when you would forget, and I would forget, and things like that, and no one ever asked you... You walk with purpose, you wear your little polyester pants, they know those aren't your pants, they know those are costuming pants.
Beth Demme (16:49):
They're like, "Nobody's wearing those by choice."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:51):
Yeah, exactly, so you can spot a cast member a mile away. And actually, I spotted a couple, now it's even easier to spot cast members because they have their cast member mask on.
Beth Demme (17:01):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:02):
I saw a couple yesterday at Magic Kingdom and then I saw one today, actually one getting on the bus today, today, when we were going-
Beth Demme (17:11):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:11):
She had a gray mask on, because they have a gray one and most of them are the blue magical ones, but she had a gray one on. I can spot it, so that's the new costuming spot.
Beth Demme (17:22):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:23):
But apparently, obviously they're allowed to wear those if they're just being a guest in the park, I'm assuming, based on having seen that. I don't know how the mask works with costuming, is it a costume or is it... I don't know what it's considered, exactly. But yeah, so we went down in the tunnels.
Beth Demme (17:40):
Yeah, so back in the day, you and this other person sneak in. Well, he sneaks in, you come in totally legit, and he's like, "Let's go to Frontierland," you go to Frontierland and he knows where the door is, and then what happens?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:54):
A cast-members-only door, actually it may not have even been labeled, now I'm feeling like they're that secretive that they're not even labeled, you don't even know... Maybe that's why I couldn't find it when we went yesterday, I feel like it might not even be labeled. Anyways, we went in the door, we walk in, and the first thing I noticed is the smell. The smell was very overwhelming, I can't even describe the smell, I have not smelled it before, but just remember Florida is a swamp, it is a swamp.
Beth Demme (18:23):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:25):
And this is technically not underground, because you can't really build underground in Florida because it's a swamp. So the thing about Magic Kingdom is it's basically built above the tunnel, so you have the tunnels and then you have Magic Kingdom above it, so you don't really notice it, but it is higher up.
Beth Demme (18:46):
Right. When we're walking in Magic Kingdom, we're really walking on what would be the second story, but we just don't perceive it that way because of how it's laid out and landscaped.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:55):
Yeah. Well, and when Walt Disney was building the park, he just wanted you to be in the magic, the guests, he didn't want you to see cast members coming and walking. And at Studios, we didn't have that so we would just walk through the park, for me to get to my attraction I had to walk through the park. But you're not allowed to wear your full costume, you can wear pieces of it, but you can't be fully in costume.
Beth Demme (19:20):
Was that one built after Walt passed away?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:23):
Yeah, I think it must've been in... Well, yeah, Magic Kingdom was the first park, it must've been extremely expensive to do that. I mean, think about that, a two-story park-
Beth Demme (19:33):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:33):
... not a two-story building, a two-story park. So I think that just wasn't realistic, and I think the execution, I think his dream was different from the reality. Because in the last few years I've seen cast members at Magic Kingdom walk around in their costumes, I know their cast members and they're going home or whatever, so I don't know that they super execute the... I think it's probably hard to maintain the underground, because it's just a closed-off... they don't have windows and stuff. So I don't know that the execution of that is what his vision was. But anyways, he was wanting cast members just to pop up in their environment, the Frontierland cast members just walk out the door and they're in full costume, and over here they walk out and they're this. So I think that was the idea, the execution, I think, is maybe different now, but anyways, got down-
Beth Demme (20:30):
But he got that idea. Am I right that he got that idea because when he built Disney Land, he realized he hadn't done that and didn't like it? Isn't there some story about that?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:39):
I don't know.
Beth Demme (20:39):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:39):
Maybe, yeah, I don't know the full details, I'm not a super Walt historian. Props to Walt Disney, but I don't worship him, I do appreciate him, so I don't know the whole story.
Beth Demme (20:52):
Because Disney Land is older than Disney World.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:55):
Beth Demme (20:55):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:55):
Disneyland was first and then he started the Florida project, and that was what we have today, what we are-
Beth Demme (21:01):
What is now all the parks, and Disney Springs and all that. Okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:04):
Beth Demme (21:04):
So you get to this secret door that may or may not be labeled, "Cast members only," and you go in and you notice a smell, and then what happens?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:14):
And it was a little like, "Okay, it's a hallway." It's basically a hallway and a tunnel, and there's no windows and you're just walking, you're like, "Okay, all right." But there was costuming for fur care, well, I guess all the characters, so fur is someone with a hat on, a face on, like a Mickey, and then a face is like Belle or Cinderella where you see her face-
Beth Demme (21:39):
Right. Right, right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:39):
... the actual person's face. So fur and face characters, their costuming was down there, I remember seeing that. So I feel like I did see heads there, but not someone holding a head or something or half-clothed. And I did see characters walking, but you're just, you be cool, you don't react like, "Hey, Mickey." Which, even up in Magic Kingdom, I wouldn't do that.
Beth Demme (22:04):
That must be so funny.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:04):
Beth Demme (22:05):
And be in the tunnel and be like, "Hey, Donald," and have the person who's in the Donald Duck costume be like-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:09):
And they just flip you off.
Beth Demme (22:10):
"What are you doing? Dude, dude, you don't belong here."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:14):
Yeah. Yeah, I know. So there wasn't that many people so my confidence was building, confidence was building, and I think there was a food place down there and I was like, "Oh, this is-"
Beth Demme (22:26):
Like an employee-only food place?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:28):
Yeah. And I was like, "Oh," no guests went down there.
Beth Demme (22:31):
Well, I guess I meant was it connected to a food place up top or-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:36):
No, behind the stage of all the parks, at least Hollywood Studios, there is a... it's called Take Five, we had something called Take Five where there was a Subway in there, and there was cafeteria-style food.
Beth Demme (22:49):
You just blew my mind, there was a Subway?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:52):
Beth Demme (22:52):
Like Subway sandwiches?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:53):
Yeah. Subway was down there. Yeah, I would get that every now and then.
Beth Demme (22:55):
You can't buy Subway in Disney parks, I've never seen that for sale.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:58):
It's not, it's in the cast member area.
Beth Demme (23:01):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:01):
Yeah, it's a Subway. Aramark, I think, is the food vendor that runs all that.
Beth Demme (23:07):
Yeah, they used to do Florida State also.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:08):
Yeah, I think that was the vendor.
Beth Demme (23:09):
So you didn't have to pay Disney prices for your food?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:13):
No, I feel like they were actually pretty inexpensive, Disney cast members aren't paid that much, by the way, and so there are-
Beth Demme (23:23):
Well, they get access to the magic, so they're paid in perks.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:27):
I had zero issue with my paycheck because it was a fun thing for me, but I could not imagine having that as a full-time income and job. I haven't looked into it recently, so I don't know what has changed, but I will tell you Disney has a union, because Disney was not taking care of their employees well enough and so they had to unionize. And that was a big odd thing to have to experience too, it's the first time I'd ever really been part of a union and hear about it. And my trainer actually was a shop steward, and I didn't even know what that was, but he told me about the union and, "It doesn't matter whether you pay into it or not, you're part of the union," and it was just very interesting. And during my time, the union was able to get health benefits for part-time employees, which didn't matter to me because I had that through Apple, but they did do things. And it was very interesting to see that, that kind of dynamic, because at Apple there was no need for a union, we were taken care of very well, so I could definitely see the differences in those kind of companies. So I'm in the tunnels and I see food, I see the building, I see people walking, and we walk around for a little bit, I'm still pretty nervous, and no one ever stops us.
Beth Demme (24:47):
Not even the person who's with you, who doesn't even have a badge?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:49):
Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Beth Demme (24:51):
Wow. Because you guys just walked with purpose.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:53):
Yeah. But I was like, "Okay, we're done, we're good. We're good," I waited-
Beth Demme (24:58):
"That's enough. I came, I saw, I conquered, let's go."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:00):
Yeah. Yeah. And we obviously didn't take any the pictures, I don't even know if we had cellphones, I'm not sure what year it was, I don't even know if I had an iPhone at the time, because I didn't get an iPhone until like three years after they came out. So I don't know if I even could have taken a picture, but I have the memories and I know I was there, and that was the one time I broke the rules.
Beth Demme (25:24):
So did you have this sense of, "Okay, this is why I wanted to work at Disney to begin with"?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:30):
Yeah. It was like a full-circle moment, like, "This is what I wanted, I wanted to see all of this and now it's complete." And then I quit the next day.
Beth Demme (25:41):
Not really, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:42):
No, no. No, I continued working, I worked there until 2012, I believe. They changed the rules, I became seasonal at some point, and they changed the rules for seasonal, because before I only had to work once every six months. I was part-time for a whole year, and then I went seasonal and then they changed the rules where you had to work, I think, like twice a month, which was just too much for me to commit to.
Beth Demme (26:06):
Oh, that's a lot. I mean, it's a lot more than once every six months.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:08):
Beth Demme (26:08):
Because working once every six months, but being able to get into any of the parks-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:11):
All the parks.
Beth Demme (26:11):
... you want anytime for free, yeah, that would totally be a great trade-off.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:14):
And it was so good that you can see... It was not beneficial at all, it was beneficial for them in some capacity for a while, for tax purposes or something it was beneficial for them, and that's why they did it. But it was very bad for execution, because if you worked once every six months, things changed so much in attractions. I remember we had a lady that was seasonal at Indiana Jones, never seen her before, she came in, she didn't know how to do anything because things change and you forget things when you don't keep up with it. So even though I only had to work once every six months, I worked more than that because I didn't want to lose my abilities and things like that. But ultimately twice a month was just too much, and it was too hard to get shifts and to figure it all out.
Beth Demme (27:00):
Because you were also working a full-time job and going to school.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:04):
No, at that point I was done with school, I was just working full-time at Apple, but I was just like, "Okay, this is not as fun anymore," with the more extreme rules. So basically, if you don't work after a certain point, you were just let go on good graces kind of thing, so I let that happen.
Beth Demme (27:22):
Yeah, like your credentials expire or something.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:24):
Beth Demme (27:24):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:25):
But I don't regret it, I don't regret it at all, I am so glad I did it. It's one of those things, it's interesting, because there's things... Okay, I might cut this out, this might be completely stupid, but I'm rewatching Schitt's Creek, and there's one episode where the mom, she's the best character, she's running for office and she's told that they found naked pictures of her online.
Beth Demme (27:53):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:53):
And she was like, "You must find these pictures," well, yeah, she says, "Find them and take them down," but no one can find them, and then she's just upset that she can't find them.
Beth Demme (28:03):
Right, but nobody wants to-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:03):
She's like, "That was when I was in my perfect shape and they're not out there," and so she's very sad. She's like, in telling Stevie, who's younger, saying, "Stevie, don't make the same mistake as me, make sure, even if you don't think you look great right now, take as many naked pictures as you can of yourself, you will not regret it. And one day, just make sure you submit them to the internet, because one day your kids may be looking online and not be able to find those pictures." I mean, it's ridiculous and hilarious, and completely, obviously opposite of everything.
Beth Demme (28:37):
Right. So how does that relate to your workplace?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:40):
It relates to it because she does not regret taking those pictures and she's telling Stevie like, "Do things now, even if it feels like, 'I'm not at my best shape,' or, 'I'm not the best I can be.' It doesn't matter, remember where you are today and experience what you can today, because you'll regret that in the future." And the mom did not regret taking naked pictures, she regretted that they weren't submitted to the internet.
Beth Demme (29:08):
No regrets, got it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:09):
And so what I'm saying is I don't regret it, and I'm really glad that I did that, even though it was out of my comfort zone to be somewhere I wasn't supposed to be, even though I knew I wasn't going to do anything wrong or inappropriate. It was outside of my comfort zone, but I don't regret it. I'm so glad I did that because, I mean, I would've never done that when I didn't work there. That would have been completely wrong, to go down without working there, so that's what I mean. I mean, it's a long way of saying I don't regret doing something like that when I had the opportunity, and I didn't let it pass me by.
Beth Demme (29:48):
We have so much fun making this podcast, and we've heard from some of you that you're wondering what is the best way to support us, so we've decided to expand the podcast experience using buymeacoffee.com. You can go there and buy us a cup of coffee, or for Steph, a cup of tea-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:03):
Beth Demme (30:03):
... or you can actually become a monthly supporter, and that will give you access to PDFs of the questions for reflection as well as pictures, outtakes, polls, and more.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:12):
The kinds of things that we would put on social media if we had a social media channel, but we actually don't for the podcast, because we decided from the beginning that we didn't want to add to more white noise in your life. So one of the great things about Buy Me a Coffee is that you'll be able to actually get an email when we post new content, you can go straight there and you don't have to deal with ads or being bombarded with other content. You see exactly the content you're looking for without a bunch of distractions. We plan to post probably once or twice a week, and we're excited to get your feedback as members on our Buy Me a Coffee page, which we are lovingly calling our BMAC page.
Beth Demme (30:45):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:45):
BMAC, so you'll be able to find a link in our description to find out more and to sign up. In our last episode, on our 100th episode, we talked a little bit about going to Magic Kingdom yesterday and all that came about with that. One of my favorite things, and now my mom's favorite things is, we enjoy watching Disney vloggers on YouTube. So there's a couple channels that we really like to watch, and I don't know exactly why, I can't really give you the ins and outs, but I can tell you we both enjoy Disney. And we enjoy it even more when we can sit on our butts and watch other people go around and experience the attractions, and we don't have to be hot and sweaty from walking around the parks.
Beth Demme (31:30):
It's almost like the ultimate in reality TV.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:32):
Beth Demme (31:33):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:33):
Yeah, and it's fun, and it's man-on-the-street style, it's not overly produced, it's decent quality, but they go... And I mean, most of the people we watch, props to them, but they make videos every day, like every day.
Beth Demme (31:47):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:47):
I can't even imagine, and it is hot and it is sweaty, and I can't even imagine they even go in the summer, just like, "Wow." But we-
Beth Demme (31:54):
I mean, part of me is like, "Why don't they just get a job at Disney? Why don't they just work for Disney?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:58):
It's more lucrative to be a YouTuber, it honestly is.
Beth Demme (32:01):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:03):
It's not lucrative to work at Disney. And some of them have, actually, one actually does still work for Disney currently and so this is just their side project.
Beth Demme (32:14):
Yeah, like a side hustle, that's-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:15):
They're not full-time or anything, and they enjoy sharing their adventures kind of thing, and that's where a lot of people start, that's how I started with making videos. And there are people that have been cast members or people that were let go during the pandemic and weren't able to get rehired, and this is where they went to. So there are a lot of ways people get there, and there's a lot of people that want to be able to make it as a living and there are people we watch that that is their full-time gig, and it's just something we enjoy watching. But I'm always shocked that there are so many people vlogging at Disney and sharing their experiences, and I never see anyone vlogging when I'm at the parks. It is just so surprising to me, I never see it. But the last time me and my mom were at Hollywood Studios we saw one of the people we watch, he's not our favorite, but we do like him and we-
Beth Demme (33:11):
But if you're listening, you're their favorite.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:12):
Yes. Should I say the name?
Beth Demme (33:16):
Probably not since you just said he's not your favorite, I don't know.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:20):
We like him. Okay, I won't say it. Anyways, we've never seen our favorite favorites, I will say that. So pretty much at mealtime we watch them, and then we just enjoy doing it. But anyway, we saw someone yesterday.
Beth Demme (33:38):
We sure did, we saw somebody who was vlogging, and then this morning it was like, "Oh, there we are on their vlog."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:45):
Okay. So it was really funny, because I didn't realize that they were actually doing a live feed yesterday, and it was really crazy. I don't even know if I want to say their name because they are not my favorite at all, we actually don't watch their stuff anymore.
Beth Demme (33:59):
We're definitely not linking to them, so-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:01):
Yeah, we don't watch their content anymore because we're not big fans, me and my mom are not big fans of them. But I recognized right away who it was, because they're two people and so I recognized them right away, it was like, "Oh, that's the..." I don't know what their actual names are, but I was like, "That's them." And so I text my mom, I was like, "Hey," and it was weird because they were retiring the flag at that moment, and so they're retiring the flag and then we're walking down the street, I-
Beth Demme (34:25):
Maybe explain what retiring the flag is.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:27):
Every day Disney has a big American flag up the flag pole and they have a member of the armed forces come and take it down, fold it, and then they retreat, they take it down and put it wherever it sleeps at night. But that's something that you're supposed to do, I believe, with our American flag, is to do that every night and not leave it up.
Beth Demme (34:49):
I think you can leave it up if you light it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:50):
Beth Demme (34:51):
Yeah. But I mean, in this moment there was someone there who was in a military... I could tell that he was in or had been in the military, and he was holding the flag and it was this very serious moment.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:05):
Beth Demme (35:05):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:06):
Yeah, they do it every day, but it is, and they create that kind of environment. Because it is, I mean, this is our country, this represents our country, and this is someone that served our country and all of that.
Beth Demme (35:16):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:17):
So that was happening and we were catching the tail end of it, we were actually walking out, I just got my Starbucks and we're walking this way, and then they're walking there, and the flag retirement parade of people were starting to go down towards the castle. And so we just passed these two people and I saw the camera, we passed them, and then I was just curious, I looked up their channel this morning, I was curious, and that's when I realized they were actually live-feeding at the time, or live-streaming. I don't actually watch live streams, I don't enjoy them, I like produced videos, so I thought they were producing a video, but they were live-streaming. And so I actually was watching it and I saw us on there, the moment that I remember seeing them, I was like, "Oh, there we are, there I am drinking my Starbucks." And so I just thought it was funny and cute, and I was like, "Oh, look Beth, we're on the YouTube, now no one can say we didn't really come." Because I was concerned people will think we were not telling the truth, I'm a rule follower.
Beth Demme (36:18):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:19):
So what are your thoughts on it?
Beth Demme (36:20):
Well, it annoys me, because if they want to vlog and they want to use their own likeness and they want to capture themselves doing something, and they want to monetize that, okay. But to just go into a public place and take a video and then use that for monetization purposes, I think, is annoying.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:42):
Beth Demme (36:43):
I'm like, "I think they could do better."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:45):
Well, as I said, there are people that have annoyed me to the point that we don't watch their videos, so I think we're both on the same page with not enjoying that concept. Well, it's interesting you say that, because one of the channels we watch and like, it's called Super Enthused, I will shout her out. She actually talks about making a point not to show people in her videos, which you would think, "How is that even possible?"
Beth Demme (37:10):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:10):
But if you watch her videos, she really doesn't show faces, she doesn't do crowd overview shots, she will tell us, she'll say, "Hey, I want you to know it's really busy today, I don't like to show big crowds of people, I don't have the permission," kind of thing. She does the very best at really respecting people's privacy and showing her journey, and she shows her face a lot, but she'll show rides and stuff but she's very good at respecting that. So it's interesting that you say, "I don't like that you monetized me," she is one that really calls that out and tries to be really respectful. And most of the other people we watch, they really show themselves most of the time, and really rarely do you ever actually see full faces of people. And people will come up to them in the parks and be like, "Oh, I've seen your videos," and they'll ask, "Hey, do you want to be in the video?"
Beth Demme (38:06):
Right. Well, that's different. I mean-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:07):
Yeah, exactly, of course.
Beth Demme (38:09):
... if you have a conversation about it and there's permission, I totally get that. I just thought, first of all, I thought it was lazy to just walk through, and just with your phone on a gimbal and walk around, okay, I'm not impressed by that. And I'm not naive enough to think that in a public space I have any right to privacy, I've been to law school, I've studied the right to privacy, I understand from a constitutional standpoint what my rights are and what they aren't. It's not that, it was just that they were only vlogging other people's likenesses, not their own, and that then they monetized it, I just think that's weird.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:42):
I don't like live streams of anything, really, myself. If I watch a live stream, it's actually a live stream of two individuals talking in their home about their theme park experience or something. If anything, those are the live streams I watch, I feel uncomfortable about live streams in the park myself, because you're right, it's like, "Who are you going to see? What's going to be said?" And when you edit a video, which, I mean, I don't like live streams in general because it's cringey for me because I'm an editor, and so I take out the boring walking and these things, like, "Oh my gosh, this is not a video, this is just like..." But that is a big part of YouTube, and they reward people with doing those kind of things, and so I get why people do it, but I also don't enjoy it myself and I also agree with... I'm very conflicted with doing it in public spaces, doing a live feed, I'm okay with people filming in public spaces and making videos about it, respectfully, and all the people we watch do it respectfully. But doing a live stream of it, yeah, I feel very conflicted about that, and I personally wouldn't do that. Especially just broadcasting it, maybe if you were like FaceTiming with a friend or something, that's a whole different thing and that's-
Beth Demme (40:04):
Yeah, or if they were vlogging and they were recording themselves, and I happen to walk by in the background, "Okay, I'm in a public space, that happens."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:12):
Yeah. And typically, the people that we watch, that's what they're doing. They're filming themselves, talking about their experiences, and it's engaging, and that's why we enjoy watching it.
Beth Demme (40:22):
Yeah. I mean, I'm sure... Well, first of all, I have literally photobombed people on purpose because it was funny, so I'm not opposed to being in other people's pictures. It's not that, I don't know, just something about it just didn't sit well with me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:38):
Well, you can always comment on the video and say, "I'd like you to take this down, I am in it for a least one second, and I am offended."
Beth Demme (40:46):
Right. Or maybe I should just contact YouTube.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:49):
It seems like you maybe put a lot more weight to the video than maybe... I assume I'm always being filmed, I assume everyone's profiting on everything, that's just my assumption just everywhere I go, so it doesn't... Unless we're being filmed in our room and then I found out like that, that's whole another thing, right?
Beth Demme (41:13):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:13):
Beth Demme (41:14):
Yeah. I don't think there's an expectation of privacy when you're in a space that you rented, and yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:19):
Beth Demme (41:20):
I'll also say that I'm with you on the live stream thing. I remember when, what was it? Periscope started.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:26):
Yeah. Oh yeah.
Beth Demme (41:27):
Charlene who has called in, but also who has been a guest on the show, she and I went to Iceland and she was like, "Hey, I'm going to do this on Periscope, I'm going to talk to people," but it was her talking, and then, I guess, maybe some scenery. But even then I was like, "That's so weird," and then we were watching it, I was like, "What do you mean people can see this right now?" The whole concept was brand new, it was all very exciting. And then I did a couple of Periscopes and then I've done a couple of lives, but on Sunday morning, right? We live-stream church, but that's so much easier and such a better experience than recorded church where you then sit and watch it, because it's meant to be like a shared experience. So I guess I'm just thinking about my feelings toward lives versus prerecorded and produced and polished.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:12):
Yeah. Well, and it almost seems like you know the work behind doing a good-quality live stream, and you see these people just grabbing their phone and filming and making money off of it, and that might be part of its-
Beth Demme (42:23):
I do think that it's-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:23):
Ticked off that it's lazy, like, "Go produce this, put work into it."
Beth Demme (42:28):
Yes, and then-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:28):
They're not even doing any pre-planning, really, because the live streams, like I said, of when vloggers will talk about their experiences, they do have to put some planning into that, and set up their lighting and decide what they're going to talk about in their agenda. So, yeah. So I mean, I could see where it ticked you off, and yeah, I do think there is a time and place for live streams in certain content and things like that, but yeah, I was surprised that they were doing that. And I also don't really know what that was for, yesterday, because there was nothing going on specifically.
Beth Demme (43:01):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:02):
I think they were maybe showing off the Halloween decorations, was the concept.
Beth Demme (43:05):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:05):
But again, I didn't watch it, that just was the thumbnail, was a Halloween Mickey. So again, we would just want to remind you that we are now going to be releasing our episodes every other week. We have not gone anywhere, we are still going strong, we're just making this change, not for any other reason beyond we want to continue to deliver good-quality content, and this will be the best way to do it. So keep looking out for us, it will still be on Fridays, usually Friday mornings whenever I wake up and remember, that is when it is posted, so that's the official time. Make sure you write that down, "Official time, Friday, when Stephanie wakes up-
Beth Demme (43:42):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:42):
... and remembers."
Beth Demme (43:43):
And also, this is episode 101, have you really listened to all 100 episodes? Maybe you need a chance to get caught up, and so us releasing every other week is going to be your golden opportunity to get caught up.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:55):
That's a great thing about podcasts, is you can listen anytime, any place, anywhere. And I know people that will just binge listen to them when they're traveling and things like that.
Beth Demme (44:03):
On a car trips, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:04):
And I do that myself, and I think that's the whole idea with our podcast, it's not something you have to listen to right away, there's no expectation that we think you're going to listen to it-
Beth Demme (44:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:15):
... the moment it comes out on Friday, whenever Stephanie remembers, we don't expect you to.
Beth Demme (44:21):
It's true, we have zero expectations of you, we just have a lot of appreciation for you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:26):
Beth Demme (44:26):
We're thankful that you take the time to listen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:27):
Exactly. At the end of each episode, we end with questions for reflection, these are questions based on today's show that Beth will read and leave a little pause in between for you to answer to yourself, or you can find a PDF on our Buy Me a Coffee page.
Beth Demme (44:42):
Number one, have you experienced a full-circle moment? What was that like for you? Number two, have you ever wanted to be a part of something because you wanted to see behind the scenes? Number three, where has walking with purpose led you? And number four, do you go out of your way to follow the rules or do you tend to do what you want to do? Why is that?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:08):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars Podcast, thank you for joining us.