It’s 5 p.m. You have been on your feet since 7 a.m., when you came in early to help open your attraction, restaurant, or shop. You’re tired, hungry, and looking forward to going home, when suddenly a team leader approaches you with a sheepish grin. “Would you mind staying tonight? There’s a special event until midnight, and we’re supposed to be open.” What do you do?
If you’re a Universal Orlando team member, that answer should always be an excited, “YES!” I worked for Universal off and on for more than a decade, and I never turned down the chance to work a special event. These after-hours parties, when an organization rented out part or all of a park for a few hours, were my absolute favorite times on the job. Here’s why.
1. Approved overtime
Except during extraordinarily busy seasons, overtime (OT) is notoriously hard to come by at the theme parks. When a special event comes around, however, OT is almost always approved. If you’re looking for a way to boost your weekly paycheck, special events are one of the easiest ways to do so. Double-check with your lead before signing up if you know the shift will push you into overtime.
2. Lots of downtime
Special events are well-known for their exclusive feel, primarily due to an extremely low number of invited guests. You might see 100 guests all at once and then no one for the next hour, or they might trickle in 3 or 4 at a time. Either way, expect plenty of downtime with absolutely nothing to do but relax and chat with your coworkers. Or better yet, take time out to play. If you juggle, play hacky sack, or are great with a rubber bouncy ball, have at it! Anything that can raise engagement with the guests you do see is usually highly encouraged.
3. Fun party guests
Special event guests are there to have fun and relax. In the cooler evening hours, with no lines or crowds to deal with, they are generally in a much better mood than the average daytime guest. They’re in no hurry to get to anything in particular, and they love chatting up employees. Alcohol is usually a part of these events, but few guests get truly drunk. Instead, they just wander around in a slightly tipsy, somewhat giddy mood that can be quite infectious.