Friday, 30 December 2011

And so that was Christmas...

It was a little bit weird if I'm honest. Christmas Eve was just like any other day, the park wasn't even that busy... I was greeting and seating as per usual. I finished work at 10 and Nick picked me up, we went via the Commons so I could pick up ingredients for curry, my Christmas presents and my clothes. We went to his apartment and I made us curry! It was the first time in over 2 months I'd had it and seen as it's traditional at home to have curry on Christmas Eve I thought I'd contribute! Okay, so it was from a jar but it was Patak's and so reasonably decent... I couldn't find any poppadoms or naan though (I've since found naan in Walmart) which was a bit sad. So... I made that and then we sat down and watched a movie which was nice. We went to sleep around 2am and then I had to be up at 7.30am on Christmas morning as my family wanted to Skype with me.

It was really awesome actually even though I'd only had 4 hours sleep! My whole family including my grandparents were there and I opened my presents. It was the best thing to being there really. Nick was asleep the whole time - to be fair he'd worked 80 hours in the week leading up to Christmas so he needed the rest! But I loved it - we skyped for about 45 minutes and then they had to go off to eat Christmas Dinner. I bummed around watching TV and reading Twilight on my new Kindle (LOVE IT... my new toy!) until Nick finally got up. I wanted to go and get breakfast but it was too late so we ended up driving to Downtown Disney (which was packed) and going to Earl of Sandwich - epic! He had the holiday sandwich so at least that was kind of relevant! After that, we dropped some stuff back off at the Commons and he drove me to Epcot so that I could get changed and go to work. Because Downtown was so busy I only ended up with like 30 minutes to get ready and cross stage... I forgot tights so I had to buy knee-highs from the machine at costuming so that was lovely (not) and then it was pretty busy in the park. But I clocked in with 8 minutes to go so it was fine. I was just glad that neither myself or Nick had to spend Christmas Eve/Christmas Morning alone because I think that would have been much more depressing. Quite impressively, I didn't cry for pretty much the whole day! I thought it was going to be really emotional but it wasn't...

What definitely helped was the fact I didn't have to be stocker in the end! WOO! I actually ended up greeting and then a cheeky bit of chippy fill in the evening. That was actually quite stressful because we kept running out of things - cups, beer cups, crisps... you name it. Eventually the day came to an end and we cleaned Chippy like a whirlwind so that we got out at 10pm like we were supposed to. We just made it onto the bus at 10.30pm and got back by about 10.50pm. Then it was action stations for Christmas Dinner... I had a small fire before people arrived because one of my roomates had split something underneath the electric hob so when I placed a big pan of water there to heat up and left it for a few minutes... I returned to lots of smoke and a small flame which was a bit worrying, haha! I turned it off and we ended up having to use the two smallest hobs for cooking which was a bit of a nightmare. Most people were working late so everyone ended up at mine around midnight... we did our secret santa (mine was Steffie and she got me a Griffindor Scarf - AWESOME!) and eventually ate at about 1.30am! LOL! It was too late for Tyler to go back to Patterson so he ended up sleeping on my sofa and everyone else left at about 2.45am... on four hours sleep I eventually got to bed at 3am, exhausted! But, it was great to have my Disney family around on Christmas Day and I think everyone enjoyed themselves after quite a stressful day at work.

On Boxing Day (Monday), I overslept. My alarm went off but I didn't wake up until 12.30pm. Whoops! Luckily, it wasn't too late because I didn't work until 2.30pm again... I got dressed and went to the bus stop at 1.15pm for the 1.20pm bus. It didn't turn up. Until 1.35pm. I was stressing quite a lot and as soon as we turned onto the 535, I realised why - the traffic was awful! It was clear that lots of people were trying to head for the I-4 to get home after Christmas... it took us about 30 minutes to get to Vista Way. After that, luckily, we were heading in the other direction so it didn't take too long to get to work - I got there at about 2.10pm and made it to clock in with 5 minutes to spare. Work was a bit better than on the 25th, I was chippy fill for most of the day if I remember rightly. After work, Tyler came over and he ate leftovers whilst I uploaded pictures onto Facebook, much excitement. We were still tired!

Tuesday was my Saturday! Day off, woohoo! I had a list of things to do, including three loads of laundry, cleaning my kitchen and bathroom (especially since after the party there was a bit of mess) and going to Walmart (that ever enjoyable trip....!). I did all this stuff as well as going to Housing to report the broken oven and wobbly table (which hasn't been fixed yet). At about 5pm I headed out to Epcot to meet Steffie and Tyler as they got off work at 6pm... we went to the UK and had chips (because I can't get enough of that place, obviously) and pear cider from the beer cart. Then we walked through Epcot and tried to get the monorail to MK but it was 101. So we got a replacement bus to the Magic Kingdom and it was soooo busy! We walked up Main Street and it was snowing :D And, actually reasonably cold, so it felt more Christmassy that I'd felt all week! We went to Tomorrowland (Space Mountain was at 95 minutes!) and did the Carosel of Progress (WOOO) before going round to grab some food, I had a chicken nuggets kids meal... :P We wanted to see the Magic, Memories and You (MMAY) show and then Holiday Wishes so we tried to get to the Hub (the area in front of the castle) but the bottleneck coming out of tomorrowland was at a standstill. So we walked round the castle to the other side of the park and came through from Liberty Square. We got a spot to stand right before it started and it really is quite an awesome show - I love the song they use. Then we saw Holiday Wishes (which is still nothing on normal Wishes in my opinion). As everyone started piling out of the park, we went back to the AdLib area (Adventureland/Liberty Square) and went to the Haunted Mansion which was a walk-on. Then we did It's a Small World and Philharmagic. After that I decided to call it a night because I was super tired... I went via the Emporium to buy a little torch to use with my Kindle at night-time (yes, I'm *that* much of a nerd).

I got back to the TTC and saw the A4 bus sitting there. Now, this was a bit strange because I didn't think the A4 ran this late but it was a bus so I went with it... I got on and I was the only one on the bus. The driver turns round to me and goes "So, where we going?" Now I thought this was a joke but he was serious - he didn't know the way to West Clock. So I did my best to direct him (this also involved the question "so, where were we just now?" meaning the TTC... I was in shock.) and we got to West Clock where thankfully some more people got on the bus. As we now had to direct him back to Housing - I have no idea where this man came from or what possessed American Coach to put him on the A route when he clearly had never driven it before. Apparently he usually does the C and F routes... I never pay attention when I'm on the bus so I didn't have a clue where to go, luckily another girl knew the exact route back to Housing otherwise we would have been lost for hours (like, as I heard, the unfortunate people that got the A4 later in the evening did!). I eventually got home, and went straight to bed.

Wednesday was my second day off and I decided it was going to be a lazy one. I wanted to go to Cast Connection to see if they had any 2011 stuff there yet... so I went to the bus stop with the intention of getting a C bus to Vista and then the A bus as The Commons is on request only. You can imagine my delight when the A2 bus comes into the Commons to drop someone off - I tried to get on the bus only to be denied access and told he couldn't pick anyone up here! Pile of crap! So I get the next C bus to Vista and then super-ironically ended up getting the A2 bus at Vista Way because I beat it there!! HAAA! Went to Cast Connection which wasn't that exciting - I didn't see what I wanted - and then had to get the A bus back... the driver refuses to accept that the Commons is on-request even though it says it on the timetable! GRRRRRR!!! I had had enough of American Coach by this point! I basically forced the driver to stop at Commons with the help of a couple of other people who were convincing him as well. Idiot.

I literally spent the rest of the day watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 AND 2.. and then most of the first Twilight film. At about 10pm I went round to Sam's where we had Peach Bellinis and the desserts we were supposed to have on Christmas Day. I got to bed late again (which is probably where my tiredness is coming from!).

Yesterday was pretty boring. I worked 11am until 9pm so it was a long day and it was very busy. I was greeter for half the day and then seater for the rest of it. I felt guilty leaving at 9pm because it was still so busy and it was EMH but I'd already worked 10 hours, started early AND I never ever get off before 10 usually so I wasn't gonna give up this rare occasion. Besides, no managers or co-ordinators had tried to ask me to extend so I just bumped out at 9pm, went to Cast Services to get changed and then jumped on the monorail to the Polynesian to meet Steffie, Tyler and his friend Daniel. We went to the Grand Floridian for a cocktail (ooh) and then got a bus to Downtown Disney to get Daniel's car to go to TGI Fridays. TGIs was FULL of most of the Canadian pavilion which was slightly overwhelming to me! I was just starving having not eaten for about 9 hours by this point... eventually got some potato skins and a diet coke. We got a taxi home and I crashed out, yet again at about 2.30am.

I had to get up early this morning to put a maintenance request into front desk so now I'm just updating this blog and then going to upload my pictures before going to work. I'm front of house again (probably greeter/seater... maybe chippy fill) until 10pm. After that I'm planning on getting changed and going to the Magic Kingdom to see 'Fantasy in the Sky' which are the New Year fireworks at 11.50pm (they do them on 2 days at MK!) and then tomorrow is New Years Eve!!! Let the madness begin!!!!

Saturday, 24 December 2011


Okay so I know it's only the 24th but I have a busy 24 hours ahead of me and so I doubt I'll have time to blog! So... Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone who reads my blog! I hope you all have a wonderful time, eat lots of food and be merry!

So it's all been a bit crazy recently which is why I haven't blogged... been working a lot (of course), seeing people outside of work and trying to get some decent sleep (somehow, even when I sleep for hours, I am STILL tired!). I last blogged on Sunday when we got our schedules - of course, as soon as we all went into work everyone was moaning about what they'd got or not got. Most people are working Christmas Day, only a few have it off (including the newbies as they're still Earning their Ears). I tried to swap it but came to the conclusion that if I have to be stocker then so be it... I'm supposed to be stocking today as well but we'll see if that happens. Somehow, every time I get given stocker on the Hub, I'm not given it in CDS which is good... so we shall see! Apparently there is 4 stockers on Christmas Day anyway, one for Chippy, one for Beer Cart, one for the Bar and a Floating Stocker. So it should all be okay.

On Monday I went to Lasses for the first time. I am still not too sure what to make of it. It was fun, I'm not going to deny that, although I'm not sure it's for me. The reason I didn't go up until now is because I felt intimidated by it... and having been for a week, I still feel like that! Walking into a room of literally 30 people is a little scary and then I'm not even going to go into detail about the amount of alcohol that was involved. So yeah, I'm not sure if I'll go again - we'll see. But I'm not going on Monday because I've got such a tiring weekend ahead of me. The other thing is that I kinda resent having to give up EVERY Monday night to do something... I prefer to decide what I wanna do each day and not feel forced into socialising if I don't want to if that makes sense. Hmmmm. Watch this space.

So Tuesday I was off (which was the only reason I did go to Lasses, there's no way I could have worked the next day!) and we went to Hollywood Studios. This was less than enjoyable for the fact I felt like crap for most of the morning/early afternoon but we went to see Lights, Motors, Action (the highlight was the new bit with Lightning McQueen... other than that, I do find it kinda boring and very loud/smelly), then we walked around Streets of America for a bit. The park was really busy so we avoided the big rides on the whole. About 2pm we went to get some Chicken Nuggets and Fries which saved my life and made me feel human again... the others went to watch the parade but I didn't feel like it (and I preferred Block Party Bash, I'm a studios snob...) so I just chilled out. Then two of them went on Rock n RollerCoaster before we headed to the Animation Class... but there was a massive queue so we decided to go back later. We did the Backlot Tour and then went to get seats for Fantasmic... we got the front row!! It was awesome even though we did get a bit wet! I got some half-decent pictures which is a challenge at Fantasmic. After that we went back to the Animation Class and drew Jack Skellington and then Piglet which was fun. By then, the park was closing so we headed home - there was talk of JellyRolls but I was just too tired. Went home, went to bed.

Wednesday was my second day off. It was awesome because... we went to UNIVERSAL!!! We left kinda late but we were getting the i-trolley which was an experience for me... we walked to the Premium Outlets and the bus came almost straight away. It cost 25 cents for cast members (woooo) and only took about 35 minutes to get there. However, there was a downside - after getting off the bus it was a 20 minute walk along massive highways (on pavements though) to get to the entrance of Universal. This kinda sucked and there's no way I'd do that walk in the summer because you'd just die of heat. I didn't realise the bus stop was so far away from the entrance and I'd planned to leave early in order to meet Sam to go to Walmart in the evening... but after seeing how far it was and realising I'd have to do that walk back in the dark and on my own, I decided I'd just stay with the others and get a taxi back. I went with some Canadians - Jen, Arin, Phil and Steffie... I was an honorary Canadian for the day :D

So obviously, once we'd got our annual passes sorted (I went for Preferred, it gives you merch/food discounts in the parks, free parking and no blackout dates, it was $145 down payment then $12/month for a year) we went straight to Harry Potter!!! It's so awesome. But so busy! Having said that, we went straight on Duelling Dragons (ahem, sorry, Dragon Challenge as it's now called) which was only a 15 minute wait. Then we got butterbeer (NOM) before leaving Harry Potter and going to Jurassic Park. After getting a little bit soaked on that, we went over to Marvel and rode Hulk which was about a 30 minute wait. Then the others got hotdogs for lunch and we leave IoA (Islands of Adventure) and went to Universal Studios to catch the Macy's Christmas Parade. This was possibly the weirdest 20 minutes of my life.... giant inflatable characters, floats, millions of cast members with a variety of different dress code violations going on (but this is Universal, so there really isn't a dress code)... it makes Disney look SO GOOD. Haha! Having said that, it was still entertaining. I got a slice of pizza for lunch and then we went to ride Jaws because it closing in a couple of weeks, forever! It was great. Then we were going to do Rip, Ride, RockIt but the queue was like 60 minutes so we gave it a miss. We did the Mummy ride (always a winner) and then headed back to IoA and back to HP land... we queued for the Forbidden Journey (the ride inside the castle) which went 101 whilst we were waiting so we ended up waiting for over an hour, but it's SO worth it. That ride is so epic. Then we did Dragon Challenge again (on the Fire side this time) and finally got food at the Three Broomsticks. After this, it was time to go home... so we walked back through City Walk and got a taxi home which was only $25 surprisingly. Between 5 of us, this was a bargain at $5 each. Once I'd got back at like 10.30pm, I met Nick and we went to his apartment and watched Home Alone - classic Christmas movie!!

The next day, he had to work at 8am so we went for a very early morning Ihop (awesome) and then he dropped me off at the Commons. I bummed around during the morning and then went to work which was pretty non eventful. I think I was seating most of the day. After work, Sam, Sophie, Clare and David (newbie!) came over to mine and we had the speciala Pizza Hut deal which was 2 big pizzas, chicken pieces and breadsticks for $20. Oooooh yeahhh. I didn't end up going to bed til 2am but it was fun times.

Yesterday I was Chippie Registers and it was a fun day. In the morning I went to Publix with Sam to get some drinks for Christmas Day (I hate that walk to Publix) and then I got ready for work. I had a laugh with the guests as I always do on Registers and I was only 1 dollar out at the end of the day which considering how much cash I took, was pretty impressive! After work, I ended up at McDonalds with Steffie and Tyler until 1.30am which was fun...

And that finally brings us to today! SO, have a Merry Christmas people and I'll update again soon!!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Snow is falling, all around us, children playing, having fun...

Well, not quite. It's still about 25 degrees here every day. But there are lots of kids having fun...

So, Wednesday night I met up with Steffie, Clare, Sam and then Tyler. We just drank wine and watched random stuff on my computer as far as I remember. Thursday and Friday were pretty standard - just chippie filling, seating and a tiny bit of greeting. The weather was hot and my winter coat has been in my locker untouched for days. Extra Magic Hours sucked on Friday - it was sooooo busy. I was chippie filler ALL DAY - as in, 8 hours of filling. It was okayyy, I worked with nice people but one of the culinary staff who isn't usually in chippie completely slowed us down and kept refusing to let us do the fish & chips so it kinda stalled the whole thing resulting in a massive queue. Chippie works best when everyone works as a team in a flowing way... almost like a pattern. Anyways, we had full screens (8 orders per screen so I probably had about 10 really) for 4 solid hours, we ran out of cups (I had to dash upstairs and get them because the stocker was busy), we had to get managers in to do the condiment carts but eventually it was over at 11.30. We got out by midnight and then got a taxi home because we were too tired to wait for the bus and we'd just missed one.

Yesterday (Saturday) was a good day though! Whilst my actual activites were pretty boring (guess what - chippie fill and seating) I had a couple of magical moments. One involved some guest recovery and just a really lovely guest (and a $10 note... long story) but the other involved a family who I met last year whilst I was at Star Tours. It's a very personal story which revolves around their daughter who had a brain condition called Leukodystrophy and was a huge Star Tours fan... we went above and beyond to make her Last Tour to Endor (as the ride was closing shortly after for the massive refurb) really special, took her on a tower tour and just generally tried to make it magical for her and her parents. I stayed in contact with her parents and sadly, they informed me that she passed away in May of this year... she had wanted to return to Disney once Star Tours had reopened and they'd planned a big family trip which they were going to continue with in honour of their daughter... now, I knew that this trip was happening over these few days but it's so hard to try and find a cast member when they're in food & beverage because they might be on break, tasking or seating/bussing tables out of sight so when I was in chippy yesterday and I looked up to see these guests, I just dropped everything and ran out. There was big hugs and a few tears (due to the unspoken emotional reason for them being there I think) and it was wonderful to say hello to them. It really cheered me up from a rather boring day up to that point.

In other news, today is Sunday. And that means - new schedules!! Of course, for the Christmas week!! Soooo as it stands right now, Christmas Day is the pain in the arse for me - I've been given a stocker shift from 2.30pm-10pm that day... I really don't want to be stocker that day. Whilst CDS isn't always right anyway and I may well not even end up stocking, I don't want to be doing the one position in the UK which doesn't require hardly any guest contact on CHRISTMAS DAY!! I am already apparently stocker on Christmas Eve (as well as today and Tuesday apparently)... so I'm going to try everything to swap with someone on Christmas Day. The rest of the week is fine (I even have 2 days off!) and New Years Eve I'm working from 11am - 00.30am WOOOHOOO! I'm also apparently in chippie which will be fun!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Last Sunday Night... *hum to tune of Katy Perry*

Okay so Sunday I was off work because I swapped with Samantha (as she wanted Tuesday off instead) so I started the day with a walk to Publix. That was fun. LOL. It's just a bit of a chore to walk over there... it's about 15 minutes but you have to cross two roads and two car parks - however, I needed some basics so I had to go. I called my mum on the way back and then once I got home, I put away all my stuff and then headed out to Magic Kingdom on the A bus. I just really wanted to see the afternoon parade because I felt I hadn't had any 'disney magic' for a while as a guest! When I got there I was really hungry so I got a Casey's hotdog which was gooooood! Then I watched the Dream Along with Mickey show on the castle stage at 2.15pm which was really cute!! I stayed in my spot for the parade at 3pm although I got the slight feeling it was a bit of a rushed one because the grey clouds were rolling in... sure enough, by the time it had finished and I'd walked half way down Main Street it began pouring down!

I waited for the rain to stop a bit then walked to the monorail and got back on the A bus at the TTC. The rain clouds were still hovering around when I was almost back to The Commons and by the time I'd got off the bus I got the '5 second warning'. This is a phrase I have coined for when you feel a few drops of rain in Florida because it generally means you've got about 5-10 seconds to find an umbrella/poncho/cover/run for your life before it torrential pours down! So I got pretty soaked. I spent the rest of the afternoon watching Glee on my computer with my roomate who wasn't feeling very well and just bumming around.

Then I got ready for HOB (House of Blues) which has a 'service industry night' on a Sunday - basically, anyone with a Disney ID gets in for free. If we'd got there before midnight then girls get free drinks too (not sexist at all...!) but sadly we didn't. I had a glass of wine whilst I was getting ready, then my French roomates had a friend over and they were drinking champagne (so French!) so gave me some too... then Ani gave me a Bud Light (ughhh)... and when I got to HOB I had a vodka and coke. Basically... wine + champagne + beer + vodka = bad idea. However, it was a fun night and I needed to have a crazy night like that but it's not happening again for a long time!! We got back about 2am and I went to sleep on the sofa at about 3am because I didn't want to wake up my roomate... it was actually very comfy.

The next day was rough. I was tired and not feeling very good for the entire day!! Luckily I was put on greeter for most of it which requires the least moving around and no handling food. LOL. I just had to repeat myself hundreds of times but I could cope with that. Much amusement as lots of people had been to HOB so I wasn't the only one! I actually finished work at 7.45pm which was nice so I got changed and went and had chicken nuggets in the America pavilion and spied a bit of the Candlelight Processional show which was going on. Then I walked to Norway and got a cake. I took it to Canada and ate it there whilst chatting to Steffie and Max who were on popcorn cart. At 9.30pm Tyler got out of work so I stood in Canada and watched IllumiNations with him there which was epic. Then we got the C bus back home and sat in my apartment, had pizza and wine (well he did, I couldn't take anything other than water LOL) and watched random clips of Little Britain and Gavin & Stacey on YouTube.

Tuesday was pretty boring, I got up... went to Panera Bread with Tyler (where we saw a man that really looked like he was "friends" with the Father Christmas in the UK Pavilion. What a beard.) and then went to work. I was seating and then chippie fill. We closed chippy, I went home and went to bed. Exciting day.

Today I was off again which the second of my original days off. Tyler and Steffie were also off work so we decided to go up to West Clock and visit the Partners Bank so we could get some half-decent bank accounts as opposed to the crappy pay cards they give us when we start (they charge you to even look at your balance at an ATM!). I discovered they've taken away the Learning Centre which was at Disney University - a pity because I needed to check my SSN number so I had to walk to Costuming to check it and then walk back. The bank took ages because they were understaffed but eventually I got my checking card and a savings account all rolled into one which is nice. It also has internet banking which is good. We got the cast bus to MK and got some lunch at Caseys (two hotdogs in 4 days... not very healthy!) and then I left them to play in the park whilst I headed back here. I received two more packages today which is exciting but they're for Christmas so they're under my tree now! I also got my family Christmas card in the mail yesterday... it had a speaker in it and they spoke to me when I opened it! It really surprised me and shocked me to tears! Christmas is going to be a day of crying, laughing, exhaustion and eating crap I can see it coming! Only 11 days to go!!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Magical shifts...

Wow, another update already I hear you cry!! Well, seen as I actually have some downtime I thought I'd make the most of it and I'm not ready to go to bed yet! I also thought I'd post about the last two shifts I've had because they've been really good! (Some positivity at last LOL)

Yesterday I went into work feeling pretty rubbish because my neck was really hurting. I have no idea why... I was hoping it wasn't some illness I was getting (because it's like Fresher's Flu here right now - everyone is getting sick!!) but to be honest, I think I must have just slept at a weird angle or something. Ultimately though, it just really hurt whenever I looked to the very left or very right - basically, if I needed to cross a road, it really hurt!! So I dosed up on iboprofen and paracetamol (or atcetamophen as they have here instead, and yes, I've spelt that wrong) and got sent to the Greeter position which I was quite happy about. I ended upn literally staying there for the entire shift from 2.45pm until we closed it at 10.45pm. I was actually working til 11.30pm (extra tragic hours!) so I got an hour break but I spent the last 45 minutes helping to close chippy. Sooo... I was on Greeter which is probably one of my favourite jobs so that was good. It was very busy with a lot of reservations so on the whole we weren't taking walk-ins... Daniel E was assigning (the person that decides who sits where and how many spare tables we have) and he was only training but he was really good!! I've noticed that an important thing about the assignor is that they have to have some nerve in order to try and get as many guests in as possible because it means the servers earn more money and therefore Disney get more money from the restaurant. If you're too nervous about overbooking the restaurant then you can end up with loads of empty tables which isn't too good! Anyways, he was doing a great job and he's a lovely person so it was nice to work with him (the greeter is probably the person that most works with the assignor) and we managed to get most people sat on time (when they booked their reservation for) and even got a few walk-ins in as well.

We were very busy when this family of 5 walked up... instantly I saw the 'Give Kids the World' badge on the little boy who was in a wheelchair. Give Kids the World is a place near Disney where children who are terminally sick can stay and go to DisneyWorld - it's connected to the Make-A-Wish Foundation I believe. You can also VoluntEAR there (I plan to do this again at some point - I did it once on my first program in 2008) where you look after the kids and play games with them whilst the parents go to the parks on their own for some restbite. Anyways, I noticed the badge and there was no question about getting these people into the restaurant despite the crazyness and the lack of space. I spoke to Daniel and he said it would be about a 20 minute wait so I explained to the Dad about how we weren't taking anyone without a reservation but because I had some Disney Magic that was spare, I found them a table in about 20 minutes time! I gave them a pager and they waited... they got given 509 which was a really nice table overlooking the World Showcase and it was wheelchair accessible of course. They were such a lovely family and meeting people like that really makes you remember how your problems are so insignifant (like my painful neck) because their child is really sick and yet they can be the happiest, friendliest family I will have met all day. So when it came for them to be sat, I took the ticket off the seater and got them to cover greeter whilst I sat them :) They were lovely. I hoped they'd stay for the fireworks so I that I could do the magical moment with them but unfortunately the kids were too tired and we were crazy busy anyway so we didn't end up doing the magical moment at all. It's moments like that when I love being a Disney Cast Member.

The rest of the night was fun and then I closed greeter and went to help close chippy. Whilst I was cleaning the condiment cart, there was a group of drunk guys (I love EMH just for the amusing drunks!!) and they were trying to do Scottish and Irish accents to each other. They were so good that I was actually questioning to myself what nationality they were! They started heckling me just because I was there so I joined in with the banter and found out that they were actually from Texas! This one guy did a really good accent, he apparently learnt it from Love Actually LOL!!! It was fun having a laugh with them - they even took my picture hahaaa! Eventually I finished closing chippy, went home and crashed out, I was exhausted!!

Today I was FINALLY chippy registers again!! I say that because in the roughly 4 weeks since I've been trained, I've only done it once! So... registers were outside for about an hour of my shift then it started to rain so we moved inside chippy. This is a bit of a pain because it means it's a bit squished in chippy and it gets crazy with too many people in there. It was fine though and it didn't actually rain that much so the guests didn't get too annoyed! (You really don't want to combine tired, hungry guests and add cold and rain to that!) I went on my break and when I came back we had me and Dan on tills with Sam and Tom filling and Gonzalo and Eric as the culinary staff - it was fantastic!! We had a right laugh! Lots of singing and dancing was going on and I really enjoyed it. The time went really fast. The only downside was that because of all the fun we were having, I managed to have my till 50 cents up at the end of the night which annoys me because I like to be bang-on with my money and I even was on my first shift. So I was a little irritated by that but life goes on! haha! So yeah, I banked out and clocked out... we got to Cast Services at 10.20pm and the queue for the bus was rediculous! So we got a taxi ($2 each yeahhh) and I got home at 10.35pm. I probably would have been home at something crazy like 11.30pm if I hadn't got the taxi so I don't care about the cost! I put my laundry in the dryer and now I'm here eating the rest of my Ben & Jerrys and drinking some wine I found in the fridge. I'm off tomorrow so I don't know what I'm doing yet but I don't have to go to work! :D

Friday, 9 December 2011

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

My Christmas tree is up and decorated! I am going to wrap the jiffy bags and box I have received from Mum in some wrapping paper and put it under the tree.... I am going to purchase the Glee Christmas Album (Vol 2 and let's face it.. probably Vol. 1 as well...) and arrange our Christmas Day celebrations which are apparently happening at my apartment. Seen as we used Clare's and Dan's for Thanksgiving, it was decided mine was for Christmas especially because I have lots of space and it's only a 2-bed so less housemates to bother even though they're all invited of course. It's difficult because we don't know what shifts we're working yet and the likelyhood is that everyone is going to have to do some hours that day to make it fair (they don't give anyone the day off apparently). But I'm sure it'll be fun!

So, my shift on Tuesday turned out not to be a stocker shift thank God! They assigned that to somebody else and I was greeting/seating all day. I finished work at 10.30pm and so headed back home and decided to spend the evening revising my R&C menus because we're going to have our pre-service test and all that jazz in January and I think I'm going to be so busy working over Christmas and New Year that I won't have too much time so I'm getting ahead of the game! I ended up doing that until about 1am and then I went to bed.

On Wednesday it was boiling! The sun was out and the temperature got back up to about 27 degrees celsuis! Crazy! I drew a weather-related hopscotch when I was tasking and then spent the rest of the time mostly on greeter. I think it's my favourite job so far even though I enjoy chippie tills I've only had it once! After my break, the grey clouds started to roll in and the wind got up... in Florida this can only mean one thing - RAIN! And sure enough, it poured down! We moved podium inside but the tablets kept crashing so I stayed on the normal podium in order to use the computer there and check people in for their reservations. The rain didn't continue pouring for the whole time, it went to a drizzly sort of weather - like England really, but warmer! Having said that, the temperature dropped down from 27C to about 7C so it felt bloody freezing. I was very glad I had my coat but even more glad that I finished at 7.30pm!! YEAH! My one and only early finish on this schedule.

So once I finished work, Nick was supposed to pick me up but he had to go and get his hair cut and do a couple of things so I ended up getting the bus home... seen as I didn't know how long he was going to be, I got the H bus to Walmart (my original plans were to stay at EPCOT and see IllumiNations as a guest but it was too cold!) as I really needed to get some cleaning stuff for my apartment.. for some reason, my room smells a bit like damp/mildew - I think it's the carpets - and it's making my clothes smell a bit so I went and invested in a load of Febreze and stuff to put on the carpet. I eventually got hold of Nick and we arranged for him to get me from the Commons later so after I got back and put my shopping away, I met him by the sketchy car park (opposite the Commons) and we went to his apartment. It was a pity we couldn't have met earlier, we originally wanted to make some food (rather than buy it!) but then he ended up eating anyways so I just had a snack instead. We watched a movie and had some good chats which were well needed. The problem when we hang out is that we end up chatting for so long that I never go to bed before the early hours! Eventually I passed out at about 2.30am.

The next day was my one day off! YAY! So I'd arranged to go to the Florida Mall (because I was actually off when the bus goes there for once!) with Clare and Jessie. So after we got up, Nick drove us through the McDonalds drive thru and I had a McBreakfast which was epic after over 6 weeks since I had one!! I bought him an apple pie. So all in all, we both had VERY healthy breakfasts....! He dropped me off at the Commons which is so nice of him because I really could have walked and he could have slept for longer... I really appreciate it. I got changed and met Clare and Jessie at the bus stop at 11am (and also met some of the newbies who have just moved in! Exciting!) and we went to the Mall. We hit up the Disney Store, got some lunch (I had Starbucks?!), went to Forever 21 (another money eater!), H&M, American Eagle, Bath & Body Works, Macy's and Charlotte Russe before getting the bus back to housing. Once I'd got home I skyped with my mum and then met up with Canadian Alison who also has a car (I love these people with vehicles!) and we went to Downtown Disney. We ate in Raglan Road which was good although very noisy as they have people playing live Irish music complete with people dancing... after that, we got to AMC so that we could finally see Twilight Breaking Dawn!!!! :D It's taken me ages to get to see it, it came out about 3 weeks ago! I actually thought it was better than I expected and I'm looking forward to the DVD so I can watch it again and pick up on the bits I missed - I thought the CGI was really good in this one actually. It also made me super excited to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows again on DVD which I might possibly be getting for Christmas ;)

So, I saw Steffie and Tyler for a bit when I got back and then crashed out because I was super-tired. I got up stupidly early this morning so that I could get to the post office and back as today is the deadline for parcels/letters to get to the UK in time for Christmas. I also did some more spiel revising on the bus so that was useful. I've just uploaded more pictures to Facebook (well overdue!) and updated this blog. It's EMH tonight at EPCOT so I'm working until 11.30pm - YAY.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Living paycheck to paycheck!

I'm poor. Again. I think that something I never realised was that on the CRP, you do less hours than on the summer program where after you're trained, you're straight into 50 hour weeks or whatever... with the CRP it's more like 35 hours and once you've paid rent (that's $102/week for my Commons 2 bed apt) and taxes (approx $40/wk) it means you're only left with about $150 to live on for the week. Okay, so yesterday I did go to Walmart and buy a Christmas tree with lights and baubles (and a star) which cost me like $60... but still. If you're reading this and preparing to come out next year, just be aware you might need extra money or be really good with not spending it! I keep having to resort to my English money which is really annoying!

Soooo... I left off with going back to work on Thursday last week. Well, Thursday was a slightly better day - I spent half of it in chippie filler and then the last half (after my break) in the restaurant greeting and seating. I think I closed greeter that night, it wasn't a particularly thrilling day... after work, we rushed back to cast services to get changed and then walked back through the UK pavilion to the International Gateway entrance to EPCOT in order to walk to the Boardwalk. We were the last people let through the gate before it was locked so that was lucky. We went over to Jellyrolls via the Cat Cora pizza window because we were all starving (it was gooood pizza too) and then got our standard $10 32-oz cocktails in Jellyrolls. We went because it was our first month anniversary! Crazy how fast it's gone! Sophie couldn't make it unfortunately because she didn't have her ID (it is 21 and over only) but it was nice to see them all again even though I wasn't really feeling the music to be honest and we only stayed until about 12.45am before getting a taxi back to the Commons.

Friday was a much better day work-wise. Yet again, I was chippie filler and then seating/greeting but for some reason I was in a much better mood. I kept myself busy by bussing tables when I wasn't seating which I think scored me points with the servers and then I closed Greeter I think which is the easiest position to close and in addition means you can sneakily watch IllumiNations as well because it's right there... at the moment it's got the special holiday bit at the end which is AWESOME. I neeeeed to go and see it as a guest so I can take pictures but my lack of days off and numerous 10.30pm finishes kind of put a stop to that. I can't remember what I did after work on this day... maybe I just came home and went to bed? The days all blur into one here!

Saturday was again, another day revolving around chippie filler and seating/greeting. It's getting a little bit repetitive seen as I never seem to get chippie tills (I've had it ONCE!) or beer cart... but anyways, I ended up in chippie for most of the day and it was actually quite a laugh with Samantha and the culinary guys (Michael and Eric whom I thought was called Jonas for most of the day because he had the wrong name tag and it claimed he was from Haiti which I KNEW was wrong...), we ended up getting a bit hyper and doing a lot of singing and dancing for which the guests must have thought we'd gone mad. But it was fun and it passed the time. We closed chippie as well and ended up getting out at about 10.30pm which wasn't bad. As we were waiting for the bus, all the servers came out so we shared a taxi with them back to the Commons ($2 each, win.). I was planning on just having a quiet night and going to bed but for reasons I can't be bothered to explain, Nick ended up picking me up at like 11.30pm and we hung out for the rest of the evening. I helped him do his mountain of washing up and general tidying of his apartment because it was a state and so we didn't go to sleep til about 3am which was a bit rediculous. Especially considering he had work at 8am so I basically got 3 hours sleep before being dragged back to the Commons... I got home and went straight back to bed for a couple of hours.

On Sunday morning once I'd got up again, I had to wrap all my Christmas presents because they needed to be posted. I spent about 2 hours doing that... they're all rather random and are more token gestures than anything else because it's actually quite difficult to buy presents that aren't too expensive or bulky to post back. Soooo apologies to my family for the fact that my presents are a little bit crap! Once I'd done that it was time to get ready for work... I was chippie filler for the day again and closed chippie again (sorry for the repetitiveness, such is my life right now). After work, Nick picked me up and we went and got Wendy's which I think has improved in quality since 2008 and I first had it. It's not that great! It was quite amusing though because we were both in costume and Nick's Soarin' costume really is the most conspicuous of them all because that blue is so freaking bright. After that, we went back to his apartment and watched some random documentaries on the Discovery Channel about the world's dirtiest jobs which was quite amusing.

So yesterday was Monday, and I had this weird shift scheduled which was 5.30pm - 2am. Now, considering the park closes at 9.30pm and nobody else was scheduled that late it meant I would have been the only one left in the UK pavilion so obviously it was an error by CDS. Still, it meant I had a whole day to do stuff! So... Nick was my taxi driver (I paid him in food) and we drove to the Commons to pick up my Christmas presents and Kristine my roomate... then we went to Walmart and got a Christmas tree. Kristine stayed at Walmart to get some other stuff, whilst me and Nick went to Olive Garden for lunch. Then we went to the Post Office which was just around the corner... that was a palava. WHY is the post office here so stressful! The lady was very very helpful though, I think she's used to dealing with ICPs attempting to mail stuff back to their own country. Basically, she said that it's not worth sending anything that weighs under 4 pounds by Priority Mail/Flat Rate boxes because it doubles the price. So I had to repack the stuff I was sending to Hayley in this random box she found and we (joint effort between 3 of us) attacked the box with sellotape - so have fun opening that Hayley!! That therefore cost me half the amount... then I was sending an envelope which I'd packed myself so that was fine plus the box for my family which did weigh over 4 pounds and cost me in the region of $40 to post. But I didn't mind because they are all my Christmas presents and tis the season to be giving. More to the point I was just relieved that it was all mailed. I just need to get Lauren's present sorted (which I'm afraid may not arrive in time for Christmas...) and some Christmas cards. I might try and get over there again on Thursday which is my day off - the cut off date for post is Friday to arrive by the 25th! After the post office, we went via Walgreens to pick up Nick's medication refills and then back to the Commons to drop off the Christmas tree. Then finally he drove me to EPCOT for work. So basically, a very productive day! Work was pretty standard - they called CDS and changed my shift so I started early at 5pm and worked until 10.30pm (although I ended up getting an ER at 10.10pm) so I really only worked about 5 hours... I was seating for the first half then I took over Greeter and closed that so it was an easy and reasonably enjoyable shift... only down side was that the wind was blowing in our direction (I believe towards the South West direction) and it meant we got showered in bits of firework. Glad I covered up the podium before we got covered in ash.

Today I've woken up early because I needed to check my shift on the Hub. I swapped with Clare so she could have today off instead of Thursday as her family are here and I'm having Thursday off instead. It's finally registered on the Hub so I'm working 3-10pm today and to my horror it says it's a stocker shift which scares the crap out of me because I really don't think I'll be a good stocker. So I'm praying that once I get into work, they'll change it and make me chippie filler or something instead. Fingers crossed. I've also done boring things this morning like my laundry, update this blog and will probably wash my hair in a minute - thrills of my life!!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Another epically long blog post...

So Saturday was my last day of training and it was an 11 hour shift which encompassed my beer cart and stocker training. I was being joint trained with Sophie and we started off by opening beer cart which was fun... seen as I'd already helped out on beer cart there wasn't masses to learn really so it was a pretty chilled morning. During lunch I took the opportunity to go and visit the Canadians in their break trailer which they share with Soarin' so that was quite random... I said hi to Nick whilst I was in there and then we went back to the UK for the second part of the day which was stocker training. I was kinda dreading it but it wasn't too bad minus the changing of the nitrogen tanks which are extremily heavy and remembering how to move the kegs safely. Basically, if it was summer then being stocker would be the nightmare job because of the amount of sweating involved but seen as it's not too hot at the moment it means it's quite bearable. It was quite a busy day though and we were kept on our toes for the whole time. We closed the beer cart and then rushed across stage to try and get the 10.30pm bus. WELL, the queue was verrrrry long and we were at the back of it. Typically, when the bus turned up it took everyone up to us onto the bus and then the driver declared it was full. Sod's law. Soooo... we were going to wait for the 10.50pm bus when some of the servers came out of cast services and we all got a taxi - I think there was about 9 of us packed in there but hey, it was only $2 each and meant we got back to the Commons before 11. We rushed to get changed and then get the taxi to Cowboys at 11.30pm so it was all a bit manic really.

We eventually got to Cowboys (which is in a particularly sketchy part of downtown Orlando... basically, if you remember the part of the Top Gear special when they drove from Florida to Louisiana... it looked just like the part in Miami where they talk a lot about getting shot...) at about 12.15am, it was only $8 each round-trip taxi fare which wasn't bad and then $8 to get in... but free beer til 1am! Now, I pretty much hate beer but I did manage to drink two 'Bud Light Lime' drinks which are basically beer with lime added in to make it girly. It still tasted quite vile. However, the place itself was pretty cool - they played normal top 40/club music and then they'd randomly go into some country song and everyone just started line dancing on the dance floor! It was funny. Also, it was really chilled because loads of people just wore checked shirts and jeans so there were no pretentious girls (well, not many!) dancing around with barely anything on so I liked the atmosphere... it closed at 2am so we stayed until then and then piled back into the taxi to go home... until we decided to go to ihop instead :D I'd been looking forward to going since I arrived in Orlando so even though it was 3am by the time we got there it was YUMMY. Eventually I got home about 4am and crashed out.

Sunday was supposed to be a chippy registers shift. But somehow (for no good reason really) everyone got swapped around and I ended up doing seating and then greeter until my break and then chippy filler/closer after my break and I finished at 10. I only got out about 15 minutes late so that wasn't too bad and Nick picked me up. We went to get food at Steak 'n' Shake which really is rediculously cheap and awful for your body but weirdly tasty. We went back to his apartment and he revised for an exam whilst I watched BBC America - good times.

On Monday, Nick dropped me off at the Commons before he went to Uni. I bummed around for a bit before getting ready for work... now, when I left his apartment at 11am it was hot and sunny. When I went to the bus stop it was hot and sunny. When we drove to EPCOT on the C bus it was getting a little bit cloudy... the bus inexplicably stopped at Vista Way for a stupid amount of time and I was slightly panicking that I wasn't going to make it to work on time so when I got to Cast Servies, I walked as quickly as possible to the UK Pavilion and risked not getting my coat from my locker. MISTAKE. As I walked across stage it started to rain... and then pour. I got wet and cold. I was then assigned to tasking for the first 45 minutes of my shift so I kept Craig company on Beer Cart and directed guests to the podium which had moved inside because of the rain. Now, I'd never seen podium moved inside before so to begin with, I was quite intrigued... until I realised the stress it causes. It means there is the greeter (who has to work off the portable computer, like a giant iPad, not a proper computer), seaters, servers, guests checking in for their reservations AND the guests waiting to be seated all in an area which is only about 2 meters squared. It is very busy and stressful on everyone's part... so maybe that's why this day really didn't turn out too well at all. It was one of those days where everything went wrong... I was cold and wet from the rain and after tasking I was assigned the seater position even though there was already about 3 and we weren't taking walk-ins... so basically I tried my best but things weren't going well and I got shouted at a couple of times. It still very much feels like we're the 'newbies' and therefore are easy to blame for things which is quite frustrating at times. I admit that (for the first time EVER so it's not like I do it often!) I seated a group of guests at the wrong table and additionally I led a
group of guests to a table which still had people sat at it (not my fault!) so had to put them somewhere else and doing these two things obviously is frustrating and annoying to the assigner (the person that decides where all the guests sit and keeps an eye on which tables are free, clean, dirty or full as well as communicating the wait time for walk-ins) but at the same time - we all make mistakes every now and again plus it's not like I did these things on purpose!! So anyways, it was a tiring and stressful shift... I was closing greeter but I also ended up doing the magical moment. This was actually the only highlight of my day because we chose a child who was just like the little girl in the YouTube video with the backpack? If you haven't seen this then you HAVE to watch it (click HERE!!) So when I went over to her and told her that Mickey was stuck on the monorail and couldn't make it for the fireworks so she had to help me instead it was really cute as she jumped up and down going "REALLY!!! ME?!?!?! OH WOW, I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!"

To be honest, at the end of a bad day like the one I was having... it was that little girl that I really needed. She was the reason I decided to come back and be a cast member again because it's only at Disney World you can create magical moments like that one :) She honestly believed that she had started the fireworks with me and she kept hugging me and talking to me throughout the whole thing. Usually, we'd just back off after a couple of minutes and let the guests enjoy the show... but this little girl just kept talking to me and I couldn't walk away. Plus, by that point, I just wanted to be in the 'happy zone' not the stress zone and seen as the guest still wanted me there, I just stayed. It was great and the special holidays section at the end was incredible as fireworks go!

So, 10.30pm finally came around and greeter/Beer Cart were the last things to be checked (despite being the first ready...) so I finally clocked out and walked straight to cast services. It was one of those days when I was just glad to get out of there. Nick picked me up again (yay, no C bus) and we went to McDonalds drive through (I REALLY need to eat better) before slobbing out at his apartment again.

Luckily, the next two days were my 'weekend' as I was off. So Tuesday, Nick drove me to the Florida Mall so I could see about changing my phone to a contract. In the end, I kept the pre-pay thing as it was cheaper but the whole process took longer than I thought it would so Nick ended up having to leave in order to get to work on time. I took advantage of being at the Mall to get some more Christmas presents, go to the Disney Store and mainly window shop seen as I have NO MONEY. Then I had an adventure getting the Lynx bus back... actually it really wasn't too bad. It took just over an hour but it only cost $2 and it went direct to the Premium Outlets and then from there I just walked back to the Commons. It meant I didn't get home til about
6pm though... so I went to Steffies for a bit in the evening and started my menu learning (we have to learn the menu in preparation for the pre-service test even though I don't know when it is yet) before Nick dropped my stuff off at about 10.45pm. I then just came home and crashed out.

Today was my second day off and I was determined to do some park stuff! I got up and skyped with my brother David for a bit which was nice and then met Steffie.  We went to EPCOT as we hadn't done any of the rides in Future World yet... so we got a snack at The Land and then did the Nemo ride followed by Mission: Space (Orange, of course), Ellen's Energy Adventure and then single rider Test Track. We walked to Canada and watched the O'Canada film which made me do two things... 1) wish that every country in the world showcase had a film for guests to watch and 2) want to visit Canada. Then Steffie had to go back to Cast Services to get ready for work so I went to the UK and said hi to a couple of people plus bought a couple of things in the shops. Then I went to China to get some Orange Chicken for lunch (I have MISSED Orange Chicken! It was my food of choice in ICP 2008!) and walked through the world showcase to International Gateway. I got the boat to Hollywood Studios and watched Disney Channel Rocks on the stage (not as good as the HSM Pep Rally of course) and then went and drew Piglet at the Animation Studio place. I was waiting for it to get dark so that I could go and take pics of the Osborne Family Christmas Lights... so I went into One Man's Dream for a bit and then rode Star Tours (it's so weird that I didn't recognise any of the CMs in there) - I saw Vader, went to a planet with Chewbacca on it, saw Yoda and then flew through a bit battle scene with the death star involved I think - just for the record.

Finally it was dark so I went through the Christmas lights which was nice before calling it a day and getting the E bus back to the Commons. Now I'm writing this. Yet again, this blog post has ended up being ridiculously long, I apologise. But I can't promise it won't happen again! Back to work tomorrow for 5 days before my one day off next Tuesday... and I also get paid tomorrow! YAY! I have NO money right now!!

Friday, 25 November 2011

It's Friday, Friday, Friday, Black Friday....

Wow this week has gone so fast!! I can't believe it's Friday already. So I met Nick on Sunday night and we went and we ate at this ghetto Pizza Hut by Crossroads... the food was okay but the place itself was like the equivalent to a McDonalds - not like the Pizza Huts in the UK!! Still, it was pretty cheap and seen as I bought his food the other day, he paid so... free food for me :D Then we went back to his apartment and I watched the Food Channel and BBC America on his massive new TV whilst he did his Uni work. It was great to just chill out.

On Monday, I had work which was supposed to be my final day of Chippie training and it was supposed to be a closing register shift. But somehow everything got confused and so me and Dan ended up on Chippie Filler instead which is something we'd already been trained on. It was a bit annoying to have to pretend to be trained and they could have used the resources of having a trainer present better as well... but nevertheless, it was quite a fun day and the park was getting busier because of Thanksgiving this week so it was quite constant for the whole day. We had to close Chippie as well which thankfully didn't take as long this time as before so we got out at about 9.45pm which was only 15 minutes late rather than over an hour late even tho it was the same co-ordinator as before. I went home and got some sleep because it was much needed and I had to open Chippie the next day on my own...

I was really worried about it because I didn't want to forget to do something and then get shouted at later. So I clocked in at 10.45am which was the earliest that I could and took the radio and clipboard down to chippie. I put together both the soda machines and the beer draft taps and then the coffee machine had warmed up so I had to start that up too... it heats up and then you have to basically just run the taps through for 30 seconds each to make sure that its flushed through and there's no bacteria or cleaning products left on the taps. Soooo I kinda underestimated how quickly the boiling water would come pouring out of the taps and despite having two cups ready to have the water poured into, it wasn't enough... so hense I managed to pour boiling water all over my hands. I've never really scalded myself before but it bloody hurt!!! So I reverted into first aid mode and ran my hands under the cold tap for a few minutes before putting some ice into a cloth and holding that on them for about 20 minutes whilst trying to also do the rest of chippie opening... painful!! I had to do all the counts (counting the amount of beer cups we have amongst other things) and all the other little things. It was a relief any time I had to put my hands in the fridge because it was cold!

All too quickly it was 11.30am which is when we open.... and I was literally crazy busy until I went on my break at 2.30pm. There's a screen which shows the orders when the register person has taken them... this screen can show up to 8 orders at a time and I swear, there was no less than 6 orders at any one time in those three hours. And I was just doing one side of Chippie! There's two fillers as there are two registers... so basically at some points we had 16 orders on the screens. The problem is that because we fry the fish freshly, we tend to run out a lot and have to wait the four minutes for it to cook and be ready... and this causes a queue! Having said that, it's a good opportunity to chat to the guests and keeping so busy meant that the time went quickly. The stocker person doesn't come in until about 1pm so for the first 90 minutes we had to keep grabbing 24 packs of Dasani water and fill the fridges ourselves which takes us precious minutes when we have orders to fill, and then you'd also get guests 'informing' you that there were no napkins/forks/ketchup/etc left on the condiment carts which the fillers are also responsible for (as if there isn't enough to do!!)... so yes, it was crazy times until my break. The afternoon was a lot slower and Samantha & Sophie were register training so they kept me company as well as they had to take turns in training :)

So after that long day was done, I got changed and walked around the world showcase a little bit - took a wonder to Norway and had a 'school cake' from the bakery - it was NOM. Basically, it's a doughnut with custard in the middle and coconut topping. And it only cost like $2! Amazing! Then I got a couple of Christmas presents from Mousegear and made a move to get home before IllumiNations as this is when the bus starts to get really busy (most people finish work at 9pm). I invited everyone over to my apartment once they'd finished work and we had wine and pizza (standard). I also met my new roomates finally! They're both French, one is from Paris (she's called Adelie) and one is from a place called Annecy (where I've actually been on holiday! She's called Victoria...) and they're both in service in one of the restaurants in the French pavilion.

I started the day on Wednesday with a trip to Walmart with Clare and Dan. Then I got to work and had been put as Chippie Fill AGAIN. So I asked one of the coordinators if I could swap with Dan because he'd already had his solo chippy register shift and I hadn't (I feel the confusion is a continuation from the mess up with the training schedule) so we swapped and I did my solo register shift. It was good fun and I got to talk a lot with the guests. When we're on Chippie Registers, we are responsible for our own till from the moment it's given to us in the morning to when we cash out at the end of the shift and have to count all the receipts and money. I am proud to say I was bang on when I cashed out - not a cent up or down!! YEAHHH! I spent the evening with Steffie, Ty and Alison doing a bit of menu revision but it wasn't very productive because we were all exhausted.

Thursday - Thanksgiving!! I had the day off so I said I'd help Dan and Clare with preparation of our epic Thanksgiving dinner. We started off the day by going to Animal Kingdom though because we figured we wouldn't be eating until later in the evening anyway! So we got the bus just after 10am and after getting into the park we went straight to see Festival of the Lion King which was amazing as always and then walked over to Expedition Everest and did the single rider queue which only took about 15 minutes. Clare had never done it before so it was a lot of fun seeing her reaction! Then we got food at Restaurantosaurus and then rode Dinosaur which she'd also never done! After that we figured we needed to get back to start cooking... we got back about 3pm and Dan put the turkey into his oven in his ghetto apartment (because it's right at the end of the Commons in building 23). I went home to start making the apple crumble but ended up falling asleep on my bed for 30 minutes... oops! Eventually I got all the ingredients and made the crumble. I went over to Clare's which is where we were making the rest of the food at about 6pm complete with my apple crumble and Ambrosia custard which was super expensive at almost $5 a tin at Walmart!! It was in the ethnic aisle :P

Actually the cooking was quite successful and we had it all done by 9pm!! We had a lot of food! Here's the list: turkey, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, yorkshire pudding (we made it!!), sausages wrapped in bacon, grilled pineapple, ice cream, aforementioned apple crumble and custard! It was goooood! We asked for $10 from each person to cover the costs and it all worked out really well - we also chose our secret santa as well which will be fun!! After a bit of tidying up and lying around feeling very full we decided to get ready to go to the Premium Outlets!

Yes - at midnight! The day after Thanksgiving here is known as 'Black Friday' (I don't know why) and basically all the shops have super big sales! So we walked over and it was packed! There were queues outside some shops like Guess and Swarovski... I got a few things in the ghetto Disney Store that is there (actually called Disney's Character Warehouse. It's a cross between a Disney Store and Cast Connection.) including Vinylmations for $2!!! I also got a couple of things in American Eagle but it was late, we'd had quite a lot of wine and we were so tired so we went home about 1.15am and I crashed out.

Today was my second day off and this is turning into a mammoth post, apologies!! I slept in (and yet am still tired) and popped over to Steffie's for a bit before picking up the stuff I'd left at Clare's last night. Then I went back to the Outlets on my own because pretty much everyone was working today and because it's EMH until 12.30am most people won't get back from work until 1/2am! Glad I'm off! Haha! I've already done my fair share of late night Disney shifts! So... I went back to American Eagle again and spent more money - I feel this is going to turn into a favourite shop which isn't good because it's expensive!! Then I walked back after browsing in a few other shops and dumped my shopping before getting on the H bus to Walmart because I needed to buy wrapping paper and Christmas cards. I think the deadline to get things home for Christmas is in the first week of December so I want to try and get everything posted so it's not late! Since coming back from Walmart I've just been doing laundry, catching up on Casualty (I'm only a week out!) and generally chilling out which is nice because I don't get much time to chill anymore!! I've got an 11 hour shift tomorrow training on Beer Cart and Stocking... then apparently we're going to a line-dancing club called Cowboys!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Chips as in chips or crisps or potato chips?!

Today was my first shift on Chippy Tills. It was weird getting used to using MATRA again (the Disney till system) seen as I last used it over 3 years ago when I was in Merchandise. It's almost the same except with the added complication of things like Disney Dining Plan as payment methods... on the up side, there's really only about 4 things we actually sell: Fish & Chips, side of Chips, Potato Chips and Shortbread. And of course, there's the normal soft drinks plus Hot Tea (as opposed to Iced Tea), Coffee and pints of Harp or Bass (much amusement regards my surname). So yeah, pretty much every guest orders "Fish and Chips and a Coke" so it's quite easy... it takes some getting used to handling the currency again though!! I'm sure in a week I'll be a pro! Also, surprisingly difficult to break the habit of using the words 'pound' and 'pence'... So it also quite hot outside doing Chippy Tills because you're kinda in the sun - I am SO glad I got a winter start date as it means by the time it gets properly hot again I should be in service rather than the fish & chip shop. But it was a pretty good shift.. we also learnt how to open the chippy although I don't think that'll be happening again any time soon seen as ALL my shifts next week end between 10pm and 11.30pm... and that's before being inevitably delayed for cleaning chippy!

So as you can see from my list above of our menu... we don't just have to deal with the whole concept of fries being called chips... but we also serve CRISPS which Americans know as potato chips! Confusing!!! Especially considering that if a guest is on the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan then they get a portion of fish & chips, a soft drink and then additionally they get either shortbread or potato chips. Just too many forms of potato going on!

Anyway... so training is going good. I feel like I need to start making more use of my downtime now that I'm all moved into the Commons. This program so far has been more chilled than my other ones - I don't know if that's something to do with it being a year so feeling like there's 'more time' to do things... but when I've socialised with my arrival group we've generally just decended on someone's apartment and drunk wine, eaten pizza and (in the case of last night, until 3am) watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and random YouTube clips. LOL. I don't really feel like I've totally clicked at work yet though... maybe it's something to do with the fact that there are SO many people in Food & Beverage... and we haven't even had a throw-in. Even the people that arrived in late September and October haven't had throw-ins either. Traditionally throw-ins are rather loud events that involve a lot of alcohol but apparently it's not always like that, and can actually be seen as a social opportunity to meet the other cast members you're going to be working with... the Canadians had theirs even before Traditions!! But it doesn't even seem like the UK one is on the horizon so maybe it won't happen :S That will be a bit of a pity... Now that I'm at Commons I hopefully will be able to socialise a bit more - there's talk of going to Cowboys on Saturday and HOB next Sunday. I can't go tonight because I'm meeting Nick to get pizza before he heads home tomorrow for Thanksgiving which is at the end of this week.

I can't believe it was a year ago I flew to Atlanta to experience Thanksgiving for the first time and we did that epic drive to Orlando... I hadn't even applied for the CRP then! Crazy times!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Moving Day!

2 1/2 weeks after I thought I'd be moving in... I'm finally living at The Commons!! I'm in Apartment #611... which is great because it's near the bus stop and the clubhouse. It's ironic to the max as well because it's the same block that Hayley was in when she did the CRP four years ago... just two floors directly down and I even chose the same bed as she was in (but obviously in a different apartment!). So that's pretty funny! Also, Kristina my Norweigian roomate has also moved into this apartment with me so we're still sharing a room. The best part is that we've moved into an empty apartment and we're gonna be getting two roomates who are apparently from France but they haven't moved in yet! So... other great things about the Commons vs. Vista Way include the fact we have our own washing machine and dryer so you don't have to pay for it everytime (our rent is slightly more expensive though) and each bedroom gets its own bathroom which is at least twice the size of the ones at Vista!

Moving wasn't fun though... it's shocking how much stuff you can accumulate in two weeks! I had my two suitcases plus three re-usable bags full of stuff, a bag of food, a bag with my comforter in it and my laptop backpack! Luckily, Kristina's friend's roomate had a car and she very kindly took us over to the Commons (it took two trips!). This saved us a bit of stress. At last... I finally feel like I've "moved in" to housing now! I've unpacked all my stuff, went to Walmart and bought some essentials (because obviously it was empty so there was literally nothing here) such as cleaning products, toilet paper and washing powder. Then came back and am just drying two loads of laundry so I can make my bed and wash my hair (my towels and sheets are drying!).

Sooooo.... other fun things I've done this week include doing my first chippy shift (yesterday). We were 'chippy filler' which is basically the person who fills the orders... makes the drinks, puts stuff on trays etc. It is a fast-paced job when it's busy and you have to multi-task whilst being really careful around the deep fat fryers and culinary staff who are right behind you! It was fun though, I enjoyed it and the shift went really fast. The only downside was having to clean the chippy at the end of the night... the co-ordinator who was in yesterday made us do all these really finickity (sp?) jobs which resulted in me having to put my fingers underneath the outside cupboard and pull out all the sauce sachets which had fallen under there. This was GROSS. There was a mayo sachet that had split (probably several days/weeks ago) and the off vinegar mixture got all over my hands... I nearly vommed. Lucky it wasn't ketchup though with my phobia! I somewhat think the phobia will be overcome at some point this year...! So, we were supposed to finish at 10.30pm but I didn't clock out until 11.40pm so I got back well past midnight and was totally exhausted. I'm glad I was off today as well because moving was tiring too! I have an opening chippy shift tomorrow and then I'll be learning to open and close chippy tills on two separate shifts after that.

On Wednesday it was very quiet in the park and we had people training on seating so there was about 6 seaters (including me!) so I took it upon myself to help at the Beer Cart. I have never poured a beer from a draft before in my life.. but I was a natural apparently ;) I kinda self-taught myself with some help from one of my trainers Samantha, and Daniel who was actually manning the Beer Cart and it was a lot of fun! My real training is a week tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it!

So yeah... I've had a busy week since my three days off, mostly at work! I've seen my arrival group a few times - we went to TGI Fridays on Thursday night and then to Jellyrolls which was a fantastic night full of 32oz cocktails (that's nearly a litre, people!) and note-passing to the table behind us who were trying to hit on Tyler and Dan. Much hilarity.

Yesterday, Steffie had to go and show her ID at the Caribbean Beach Resort in order to get her neighbours' the cast discount for when they checked in that afternoon... so we did that and then had a nosy around the resort. It's my aim to set foot on every Disney resort in this year... so that's another one done! It is MASSIVE. It seemed okay to stay in as long as you weren't a mile away from the food court and the pool... and a lot of the rooms were as far as I could see. They had about 5 bus stops! After that, I met up with Nick and we hung out at his apartment with his new massive TV and watched most of Pirates of the Caribbean 4 before we both had work at 5pm which was nice.

I've also updated the OH @ WDW page...!!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I had one of best days EVER yesterday and so thought I'd share it on my blog... not really to make you all jealous (okay, maybe a little bit haha!!) but so I can remember it all too :D

Steffie had a friend from Canada who was visiting with her Mom so we went to Magic Kingdom bright and early at 10am with Tyler (and his friend from DCL called Nick who was going back to the ship in the afternoon) so that we could maingate them into the park. Magic Kingdom was amazingly quiet! We had some breakfast at the bakery on Main Street USA and I got a locker to put my 'cold' clothes in. Seen as it was boiling hot yesterday (well, it felt it... I think it was about 25 degrees) I made sure I brought a jumper and jeans for the evening. We met Ally and her Mom and headed to Adventureland. We did Jungle Cruise and then Pirates with about 5 minute waits for both. Then headed around to Fantasyland where we did Philarmagic and Dumbo. Dumbo was the longest queue we stood in all day and that was only about 20 minutes... and gave us a great view of the Fantasyland Expansion!! Then we went to Tomorrowland where Ally's mom kindly gave us snack credits from their Disney Dining Plan so we all had smoothies. Then we went on Space Mountain because it was only a 15 minute queue (madness) and then we did Monsters Inc Laugh Floor and the TTA (now known as the Peoplemover...).

At this point, Ally and her mom went back to their hotel for some food and to get changed whilst me, Steffie and Tyler (Nick had gone back to Cape Canaveral by now!) went to get dinner at the Plaza Restaurant which was at the top of Main St on the opposite side to the Crystal Palace. I'd never even noticed it before! I had a grilled chicken sandwich with ham & cheese, fries and salad which was gooooood. I also attempted a brownie sundae which was huge and I barely managed half but it was really tasty. We even got cast discount so it was only about $20 each! After eating, we went and got our wristbands for the Christmas Party and mooched around for a bit as we were waiting for Ally and her mom plus Tyler's friends who had his ticket.

After meeting up with them we walked up Main Street where it was snowing!! Headed to adventureland and met Aladdin... then queued up for about 30 minutes to meet Jack Sparrow (TOTALLY WORTH IT)... he was brilliant! You can only meet him at events like this, not on a daily basis so that was exciting. Then we walked around into Fantasyland after checking out the queue to meet the 7 dwarfs (about an hour!) and deciding it was too long. So we went and rode It's a Small World (it seemed appropriate)  before going back to the Castle Hub to get a spot for the projection show and Holiday Wishes.

The Magic, The Memories and You is the name of the projection show and it's really quite amazing. Somehow, using lasers and projections, they make the castle seem 'flat' and put loads of effects on it plus projecting photopass pictures from that day in the park which is really cute. The music is really nice as well. This was a Christmas version so at one point the whole castle turned into a candycane! Awesome! But I've discovered that the song 'I'll be home for Christmas' is an instant tear-jerker for me now... so less said about that the better...!

Holiday Wishes was a typically fantastic Disney fireworks show. It had perimeter fireworks which were great. I'll be honest though - straightforward, normal Wishes is still my favourite thing at Disney World hands down.

Then we walked nearer the castle and got a spot for the Christmas Castle Show which features the Fab 5 and about a million dancers... it's on the stage in front of the castle and it was really cute. Then we sat out for the longest and most elaborate parade I've ever seen at Disney! It had more characters than you could shake a stick at! Literally ... it was float after float after float for about 20-25 minutes! Incredible. Some of the floats even sent out smells!! So you suddenly smelt candy or gingerbread or pine trees! It also snowed some more whilst we were watching the entertainment by the castle!

Somehow, me and Steffie (we'd lost Tyler by this point) managed to follow the parade all the way down Main Street which was truly a magical moment. We were right behind the last float and it felt as if we were in the parade ourselves! It was snowing and the Christmas decorations were all around us and it was really honestly an amazing moment which made me so grateful to be here!

When we got to the bottom of Main St... we rushed into the Theatre which is where you can meet Mickey & Minnie or some of the princesses normally... I'm gonna just say this: I MET FLYNN RIDER. And yes, he smoldered at me. I was like a child with excitement! We actually met Sleeping Beauty (and her prince), Snow White (and her prince) and then Rapunzel and Flynn. Again, Flynn is a character you can only meet at events like this one so it was extra special. Once all this excitement was over, it was time to go home after over 13 hours in the Magic Kingdom....

Check out the pictures here!!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

"Have you ever been to England?"

Okay, so first off, I'm going to set up a new page/tab on this blog called OH @ WDW. Also known as Over Heard at Walt Disney World... and I'm going to list all the funny and random things I hear because I don't want to forget them and some are quite amusing. Such as the title of this post... okay, so it was an 8 year old child that asked me this question but it amused me...

So my second day of OJT went really well... I was 'greeter' which is the person on the front line for the restaurant basically. You're the person that greets the guests and checks them in for their meal reservations, gives them a pager and lists wait times. You're also the person that deals with checking in 'walk-ins' (i.e. people with no reservations) and has to communicate long wait times or even 'no walk-in' status to the guests so it can be a challenging role with a lot of guest interaction. I really enjoyed it. You have to think about 5 things at once but it's fun... I worked 11-7.30pm and it was really busy because it's just  coming to the end of Food & Wine here at EPCOT. Today is actually the last day so I'm avoiding the park like the plague! After I finished OJT on Thursday, I changed at Cast Services and met Ty and Steffie in the park... I got some nachos from Mexico (which I totally regretted... ughhh way too big as a portion and even though they tasted really good, the combination of starvation and walking half way across EPCOT whilst eating them gave me tummy ache) and we wondered around a bit but decided to leave before IllumiNations because the park was really busy. We headed back and I just chilled out at home.

On Friday, I got up and finally did laundry (it was well overdue!) whilst uploading the next lot of pictures onto Facebook which was a very time consuming task. After that, I went to EPCOT to return some tracksuit bottoms to Company D which I'd bought (and loved) because they were about a foot too long for me! Then I went into the park and met Nick once he'd finished work at Soarin' at 2pm and we went round the World Showcase with one of his friends called Jessica. We got lunch at Via Napoli which is the newer Italian restaurant in Italy and the pizza was SOOO GOOD. Only cost about $22 with a glass of wine and tip as well which wasn't bad for full service! Then we drove to Hollywood Studios and went to Star Tours, Tower of Terror and of course, Rock 'n' RollerCoaster. Mum is going to be super jealous that it's the third time I've ridden that ride in a week!! haha!! Sorry Mum! We left at park close (8pm) and Nick dropped me back at Vista Way.

Today I was planning on heading to Walmart at 11am but then Steffie text me and asked if I wanted to go to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tomorrow night at the Magic Kingdom which requires me to go to Company D (once again!) to buy the tickets today... so I'm meeting her soon and we're heading over there. Then I'll come back, get the H bus and go to Walmart (ughhhh). There's some talk of going to 'Cowboys' tonight (it's a bar) but I'm not sure what's happening yet because it seems a lot of people are training until park close...

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Yet more training...

I've just had my first day in costume! But more on that later...

The rest of Sunday was spent park-hopping. I met Nick and we went over to Hollywood Studios mainly because I wanted to ride Star Tours with him as it's been massively revamped since I worked there last summer. Now it's all fancy 3D and stuff! Actually, it was totally awesome and I was flown by Tyler who was one of my managers last summer too and still works at the attraction so that was fun. We managed to do Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' RollerCoaster over the course of the hour after that... (it's not what you know, it's who you know!) and then we went to Magic Kingdom as Nick wanted to see the lighting ceremony for the Christmas lights on the castle. We grabbed pizza at Pinocchios and then watched the lighting ceremony, did Philarmagic and then watched Wishes. It wasn't very good because the wind was blowing towards us so therefore all the smoke blew towards the audience and the visibility was really bad. Then almost on cue, as soon as the last firework had gone off it decided to downpour! We navigated the crazy crowd out of MK and walked to the Contemporary to get the monorail round to the Grand Floridian as Nick wanted to pop in there. Whilst on the way I met a couple of kids on the monorail who wanted to show me their flashing buzz lightyear and tinkerbell drink toppers! So I showed them my glowing ice cube which happened to still be in my bag... I may have found some left over Disney Store stickers too ;)

After all that, we got the car and went to Celebration to meet one of his friends. We had a drink then he dropped me at Vista Way and I crashed out. On Monday was our "onboarding day" which was fun - another early start but we got taken around the UK pavilion and met one of our managers Whitney who was really nice. We got some fish and chips too which were realllllly good! So at least I can tell the guests how yummy they are! We got given our pre-service packs which is cool because it means we can start learning the menus straight away... we are due to do our pre-service test in 90 days I believe which is the beginning of February - scary stuff! So yes, lots of information thrown at us but all interesting stuff. After we finished, we met up with the Canadians and the 9 of us went over to Hollywood Studios. We did Tower of Terror as it was a walk-on and then 7 of us queued for Rock 'n' RollerCoaster for about 20 minutes which wasn't bad either. We went to see Fantasmic at 8pm and the weather conditions were perfect so that was brilliant as well and then we headed home  because the park was closing...

Now, Monday night is the traditional "going out" night for the UK Pavilion as they have something called Lads & Lasses. Basically all the boys meet up at one apartment and all the girls at another... then they meet people from the other pavilions. And get wasted, basically. So two of our boys from the arrival group went along to Lads.... fast forward to Tuesday and it's Discovery Day! So it's another 8am start - Tom was totally hungover and Paul was still drunk!! Much hilarity ensued for the rest of the day as Paul joked around... until he started to feel like death come lunchtime! Needless to say, both boys suffered for the whole day, much to the amusement of our trainer who was taking us around the park. As for Discovery Day itself - I won't say too much because again, it will spoil it for those who haven't done it, but there's loads of fun stuff and loads of walking around. No e-learning (yay) and my advice is wear flat shoes! We went into the Rose & Crown, Chippy and the merch shops learning all about the imagineering and things like that. Then we went to costuming to get our costumes - typical Disney sizing, I ended up with a shirt that's two sizes smaller than my skirt and the skirt itself is equivalent to a UK size 22!! Rediculous! So yeah, any girls out there reading this who will soon be at Disney Costuming - don't feel like you're fat because the sizing is TOTALLY OFF!

After Discovery Day was over, I went back to Vista and changed. Then I met up with Steffie, Ty, Clare and Paul (he's hardcore.. was still hungover!) and we went to Planet Hollywood for dinner. I had a yummy chicken caesar salad, fries and a blue coloured cocktail... also love the 20% cast member discount and priority seating... yeahhhhh! Then Steffie, Ty and myself got a guest bus over to the Boardwalk and went to Jellyrolls! It's a piano bar where there's two grand pianos that duel each other... the music is great - from Sweet Home Alabama to Lady Gaga to Queen to the Beatles to the Black Eyed Peas... just really fun. We left at 1.30am and got a ride home from one of Ty's friends which was nice of him.

And that brings me to today! Sorry for another epically long blog post it's just I want to explain everything and once I get into regular shifts and stuff there'll be less rambling!! Today was my first day in full costume... luckily I actually met my trainer on the bus (she was called Sam) and Sophie was training with me too. We were training as Rose & Crown (R&C) Seaters today. Basically this job means that you stand at podium (where the guests come to make reservations for the restaurant or see if we have any space as a walk-in) and wait for a little ticket to print out which lists the details for the next group of guests to be seated. You get the appropriate menus, ensure the table is equipped (i.e. it has high chairs or booster seats etc) and then activate the buzzer that the guest has got somewhere in the UK Pavilion... they come over and you take them to their seats before moving onto the next group. It's pretty easy. We also learnt how to bus tables and do some guest interaction by drawing a big hopscotch on the pavement! All in all, it was a fun day but a lot of information to take in! I felt I did a pretty good job - I didn't screw up any seating or offend anyone anyway! The hardest part about it was learning the table numbers off by heart straight away.

Tomorrow I have another OJT day (On The Job Training) and it's in Greeter which is the person who talks to the aforementioned guests about their reservations or sees if there are tables available. It's another 11-7.30pm shift so I think I need some sleep!! At some point I need to do laundry, a Walmart trip and find out about when I'm moving with housing... because obviously I'm still at Vista Way. But, tomorrow is "my Friday" and so I then have three days off! I also want to hit up the Food & Wine Festival before it finishes on Sunday, go to Animal Kingdom because I haven't been yet, go to Cast Connection, buy some stuff at Company D and go Christmas Shopping! So just a few things to do ;)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Traditions and Training

Well, I've been busy! In fact, I've hardly stopped since Tuesday... but I last posted on Thursday so that's where I'll pick up from! We went to Ty's apartment and had fajitas which were yumyumyum... then met up with Gemma (a September CRP) and a few other people from the Canada pavilion and we all ended up going to Downtown Disney to have some drinks at the outside bar of House of Blues. That was nice because we just listened to the live music and had some of the strongest drinks we've ever had in our lives. Then a few people went on to go to the Santa Fe Steak House which is near to Vista Way (former site of Bennigan's for all you retro people out there!!) as there was a Canadian meet up going on... however others (including myself) were way too tired so went home. I washed my hair and crashed out.

Friday, several of us had the day off. Initially me and Steffie were going to head to Universal to get our annual passes sorted and we even made a shuttle reservation but when we got up the weather looked dodgy (even though it turned out to be an amazing sunny day! damn!) and we were still quite tired. So instead we met up with Tyler, Paul and Sophie and walked from the Commons to Panera Bread. Had some lunch, then Steffie tried to get an iPhone from the Verizon store up there but had loads of problems because they were being a pain so didn't end up getting anything. Then we decided to have a walk over to the Premium Outlets - soooo many things I wanted to buy!! I resisted but mainly because I know I'm moving apartment soon and I don't want even more stuff to move! After that, Ty and Sophie headed to Walgreens to get phone cards/top up and Paul went back to his apartment. So Steffie and I went back to hers and watched half of the new episode of Glee before we had internet issues... so I still have yet to see the last 20 minutes! After a while, Ty came over again and we had pasta and chicken aka student food. We had a good conversation about working at Disney, magical moments and guests - it's great to be able to chat to these guys because they've both done 2 programs for Disney before. Steffie did summer programs in 2008 and 2010 just like me (although we never met each other!) and Ty did the CRP and then joined the Disney Cruise Line for a year.

After a while the others all had eaten too and wanted to do something, so still without IDs we decided to get the E bus to Hollywood Studios and then walk to the Boardwalk. We got ice cream at the Beaches and Cream cafe (famously known for the kitchen sink!) and then took our spots on one of the bridges by the Beach Club Resort to spy on Illuminations which happened on the other side of the trees at 10pm. As there was a cast preview of the Christmas decorations at Studios that night we decided to not get the bus back as it would be packed, and opted for taxis instead which only cost us $5 each. I got it back to the Commons (fail) as I then had to get a bus to Vista Way... I got on the wrong bus and ended up having to do the whole loop to Downtown Disney on the F bus before finalllly getting back to Vista at 11.30pm. Oops.

Saturday was traditions! Yay! Finally... after the 7.30am start we got to watch those cheesy videos, see some guest service in action by taking a little field trip and even met a VIP! I'm being particularly vague as I don't want those who have yet to do Traditions to have it ruined if they don't already know what happens!! Ultimately, apart from a Union talk and an Integrity talk (which were both rather dull) it was a fun day of learning. Then we finally had our IDs! Which also stands for... incredible discounts :P Including free park access so obviously we made use of that straight away ;) We got changed and Steffie, Ty and myself headed to the Magic Kingdom.

We got in there and Mickey was in his new home at the formally known City Hall but is now the Main St Theatre. It was only 5 minutes wait to meet the Boss so we went for it and we said hiiii! :)

Then we went to Peco Bill's and got food for Steffie before heading over to the Columbia Harbour House for food for me and Ty (I had shrimp... nom!). Then we took our places for the lighting ceremony and we got to see the Christmas Castle! It's so breathtaking. Even though I saw it a year ago, it's still amazing! Magic Kingdom was heaving though because it was EMH until 3am... so we quit MK and went on the monorail over to EPCOT. It was quite busy there too because of the Food & Wine Festival which is still on.. so we wondered around the world showcase and I tried some Baklava from the Morocco stand which was ah-may-zin whilst Steffie had some cheese soup from Canada and then cheese fondue from the... well, cheese stand (bit obsessed with cheese yesterday). We lost Ty when he went off to say hi to someone (a regular occurence!) and so it ended up as just the two of us. We stayed for Illuminations at 10pm even though it was bloody freezing cold (I need to invest in some warmer clothing!) and then got the monorail back to the TTC and the A bus back home. Exhausting but fun day.

So that brings us to today - Sunday. I had to be up early again as training at Disney University (DU) started at 8am. We had a food and beverage class which taught us all about the different types of food outlet at Disney World as well as the basics of hygiene and safety. Then we went and got some shoes (not any where near as horrendus as I thought they'd be, and they were free!) as Disney only let you have pre-approved ones for F&B now. Then I did some very quick e-learning (as I'd done most of it last year!) before I was free for the day. I am just hanging at my apartment now, uploading pics to Facebook and doing this blog before meeting Nick and heading to the Studios. Having said that, as I typed, it has started pouring with rain.....!

Well done for reaching the end of this looonnng post!! Check out my photos on FB. The link is on the links page.