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!!

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