Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Near the bow of the Disney Cruiseline ship, Dream, sits this little bar, called Currents.  

There are several such bars on the ship.  

The family asleep, tuckered out from a long day of riding in the car, packing/unpacking and general ship excitement.  I laid in (the very comfortable) bed, tossed and turned with the excitement of being underway (and not having to steer the boat, this time!)

I finally gave in, grabbed the camera and set out about the ship in a very late hour to explore.    The time/date stamp on thie image is incorrect, I know it was about 2-3 am because the ice cream and pizza counters had closed and these bars were void of life. 

I walked to the bow of the ship and grabbed some shots of the bow cutting through the darkness, the radar domes and other sundry things.  Ran into a couple making out under the radar domes.  I wondered to myself "those intense radio waves can't be good for you" but decided it wasn't prudent to interrupt their session for an after-school special on radio waves and magnetic fields.   It was windy and some sections of the boat were intended to be "off limits" because of the wind.    

That didn't really stop me.

As I walked back mid-ship, a bartender was now at this little bar.   I asked if she was still serving, she said yes, so I bellied up to the bar and started chatting.

The bartender was from Crotia.  She had maybe 20 years on me and seemed friendly enough.  I liked that she wasn't flirty.  Flirty bartenders / waitresses annoy me.  I see it as a form of deception.  yeah, I'm wierd.

I learned that she had worked on Cruise ships for 8 years / Disney for 3.   She had come to Disney as a photographer, her degree in Visual Arts.   She found the Disney, Photopass photography-by-quantity business model to be unappealing, so now she made drinks.      

I found all of this out before she poured my first Kona Longboard.  In fact, she was way more interested in telling me her life story (and griping a bit) than pouring beer.     Still, there was something refreshing about the experience.   Here I was at 2 am, on a massive cruise ship at sea and in my discoveries I had found the rarest of things:

A Completely Honest Disney Employee

If you line 100 people up in a row and they are all smiling, someone is being dishonest.   Sometimes its comforting to find an unmedicated smirk on a human's face.  It shows they are human.    It isn't pessimism, just math.   Of 100 people, they can't all be super-happy-cheeryfied.  Someone has to have a late car payment, a sick relative, a fit of gas, a hangover, -- something.

Disney's customer experience training is world-class and world-renowned, so here she was, like finding a vial of unicorn tears in field of four-leaf clovers, an honest Disney Worker.  No fake smile, just being real and pouring beer a little too slowly for my preference.

Her story wasn't the story you usually hear from a Cruise line worker.  Her years at sea had served her family well.   She has paid for her home in Croatia, a home in Florida and her Mother's home in Croatia.  She covered her mom's substantial medical bills and still had enough left over to live comfortably and save for retirement, which was around the corner.   Disney had treated her well and the Disney guests had tipped well.

She was tired and annoyed at another coworker but saw my D800 and immediately spoke up on the topic of photography, which we covered thoroughly before the second Kona Longboard was poured into my fresh glass. Disney has a photographic machine, all targeted to the up-sale.   They shoot pictures with the characters, they harrass you at dinner and on the beach, they focus on the children and sap the parents for some pretty stout prices.   She had hated it.   There was no creativity to it.  

Just point, shoot, print, rinse/ repeat.  

(Not knocking you if this is your gig.  It is the life for some and not for others.)

Apparently serving drinks was her way of rescuing her personal love for photography.   By associating money with the work, it had reduced her passion in photography to something cheap, commercial.  

Nothing can mess a pure ideal up more than money.

So, she poured my last beer for the evening and I continued my roam about the ship.  She seemed satisfied with my 100% tip and remembered me on another night of the cruise as I fetched Margaritas for my wife & I.