Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Very Merry Christmas

So the horrible cold I had lasted about a week and was awful. Probably felt the most ill I've been since I have been here and typically it happens with 2 weeks to go! Anyway, so I got an early night when I got the ROS and then the next day I dragged myself in for the PM shift where I was on 303. I hoped to be able to get cut early but it was too busy so I ended up there until like 11pm. I didn't want to ER because I needed to earn money and there wasn't enough servers anyway. So I felt pretty rough for the whole night and I kept having coughing fits.

I did have a funny guest though.... actually funny is the wrong word... probably one of the rudest guests I've ever had. I had a 2-top table eating and then got sat a 4-top which was two adults and two kids. I went over and greeted them with my normal hello and welcome but they were too busy fussing over the kids menu to really register me. So I jumped straight to that and this was the conversation that followed:

Me: "So, I see you're looking at our kids menu, it's kinda complicated but basically it's pick and choose from the top part and the part in the grey box are set menus because they're healthy balanced..."

Guest: "WHAT is this SHIT? Kids don't eat this shit! Where's the burgers and stuff?"

Me: "Ummm... our menu hasn't had burgers and pizza on the menu for quite a long time"

Guest: "Well why not? What is this... chicken? Rice? What's this here sirrr-llloooinn?" (sirloin)

Me: "That's a 3oz steak for children Sir, it's kinda like a burger"

Guest: "Well why doesn't the parents get to choose what the kids eat? Y'all don't have root beer either or soda do you?"

Me: "Actually we have coke, diet coke, sprite, fanta, lemonade or iced tea. You choose." (losing my temper at this point)

Guest: "They'll have orange soda. And I guess this kid will have chicken with fries. I suppose you can't substitute the green beans for fries under your rules?"

Me: "That's fine sir. Chicken with fries and extra fries. For the other child?"

Guest: "That piece of meat thing. With fries."

At this point, I just decided to give up and get the kids food whilst the parents discussed what Cottage Pie and Fish and Chips was. It's been a long time since I had a guest so rude and short with me... I think he realised how rude he'd been because he started being nicer then. He also kept yelling at his kids for being "brats" and because one of them was trying to push the cutlery and side plates onto the floor. They were just a nightmare but I thought it was pretty amusing. Especially when the woman started piling the aforementioned extra fries into a ziplock bag to take with them "as snacks for later". Ummmm... yeah cold chips. Yum.

Anyway, the rest of the shift was more boring and I just felt kind of rubbish. I went home and crashed out straight away. On Wednesday I had to be up at 6.15am for our SEGWAY TOUR! This was something on my bucket list since I started this program so despite my sickness I was excited. There was 6 of us so we got a taxi to EPCOT and finally got to guest relations at 7.30am just before the start of the tour. It was great! We watched a short presentation and introduction to the Segway before having about an hour of practice. We rode our Segways outside for the first time across Future World from Innoventions to The Land building with the park empty which was super cool and the weather was perfect. We got breakfast at Sunshine Seasons (included!) and then all refuelled, we headed out into the park and around the World Showcase. We got about an hour of riding around - the tour guide told us all sorts of interesting facts about each pavilion and about the design of the World Showcase. It was extra cool because we worked there too actually. We got a group photo in Japan and then we asked for some shots in the UK (obviously!)... by the time we got round to the UK and Canada, the park was well and truly open so we had to navigate guests which was fun. The tour ended at about 11am and so we had to speed walk back to costuming to get costume and then back to the UK for our shifts..

I was supposed to start at midday for an AM but Claire was a PM and had nothing to do until then so she said she'd take my AM and be a Mid instead, especially seen as I didn't feel too good still. So we cleared it with a manager and then I was free :-D This was my "extra" shift that I was scheduled anyway that week so I didn't go under hours which was good. I headed out into the park and went to do Figment and Captain EO as these were the two attractions I had left to do before I'd done everything in EPCOT on my CRP! Both attractions were just as meh as I'd remembered them being... rather outdated! Then my cold headache/congestion came back so I decided to make a move home and got back at about 2pm. I met up with Nick later in the afternoon and we went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner (always good) before getting Pitch Perfect on DVD and watching that which was good.

On Thursday it was my last day off of my program!!! :O (Well, last day off spent in Orlando...) So I had a much needed lie in and then in the afternoon I'd finally managed to make reservations at Mama Melrose in DHS. We headed over there and I shared the antipasti for two (which was really yummy but because the server or food runner didn't explain it, I still don't know what we ate) and then I had a chicken flatbread pizza which was really yummy. I wanted dessert so bad but I was too full! We couldn't use cast discounts because it was blocked out so it was costing me a fortune as it was. Afterwards, Nick and I went to the Fantasia Mini Golf by the Swan & Dolphin to play a cheeky round! It was a lot of fun even though I lost my ball :( Then we swung by DTD so I could get a gift card for AMC for my secret santa and then Nick dropped me off at home. It was a good day!

On Friday it was back to work with a bang - two mids in a row! It was a crazy shift, kinda busy and my sections were reasonable - I was in 307 for the AM and then 510 for the PM. At the end of the night it was really cold outside! I didn't get home until 12.40AM!! Crazyness. So, went to sleep for like 7 hours and then back up and back for the second Mid. It wasn't as busy as I thought it would be for the Saturday before Christmas but it was busy enough for it to be pretty exhausting! I was in 707 for the AM and then 303 for the PM. Most of the evening was taken up dealing with a 13-top on Candlelight with two allergies... it took 40 minutes between them sitting down and their appetizers being put into the computer! After work, a few of us were too late to go to Cowboys so we went to TGIs instead and I had two yummy cocktails plus Breaded Mozzerella and Parmesan Chicken. Yum. Then I finally got home at 2am and went to bed!

Only to get up 6 hours later (a lack of sleep is a theme in this post) in order to be able to pack my stuff together for Christmas and get ready for my 11.30AM. But I had a plan.... and the plan worked! Got to work super early, camped out by the computer, put in the first ER and boom! I was out by 11.45am. YEAH. Got home at 12.30pm, washed dried and straightened my hair, painted my nails and tidied my apartment. Nick picked me up at 4pm and we set off for Atlanta in the car via food at O'Charleys... the journey was long, dark and kinda boring! 8 hours later we arrived and surprised his Mom who wasn't expecting me until the evening of Christmas Eve :-D

We were both exhausted so headed to bed by about 2am... again to get up at 8am in order to make a doctors appointment that Nick had (and he deemed I needed to accompany him in the car to). I sat in the car whilst he was there and FaceTimed my family and then afterwards we went to Target and Publix to get a few things and last minute Christmas presents. Atlanta is freaking cold and very grey - just like the UK in fact. It made me feel at home! Haha! When we got back, I went back to Publix with Alex and Mom to do the grocery shopping for Christmas which was joyful and then when we got back, we just chilled out in front of the TV before finally going to bed at 10pm for more than 6 hours sleep!!

....And then it was Christmas! It's been a build up since November 5th when Disney put up their decorations and it's finally here. So MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!! We got up this morning and I skyped with my family who were about to eat lunch. Then I watched everyone open their presents - and even got a couple myself which was lovely of Nick's family :-D I got a new charm for my Pandora bracelet, a small royal coach. I love it because it's like Cinderellas and it has a little pearl on the top. Since then, Nick and I made cookies which were a great success and now we're just waiting for the Christmas dinner to finish cooking and I've just been introduced to crackers with cream cheese and red pepper jelly... uh oh...! NOM.

Monday, 17 December 2012

'Twas the week before Christmas...

Well the 6 day weeks have continued and thus left me with even less time to update my blog than usual... but I know that before I know it I will be finished and have endless free time so I shouldn't moan! I can barely remember what I did yesterday, let alone last week but I've worked lots of hours and earnt lots of money... it's been a blur of work, sleep, work, sleep really. On the 7th I worked another AM shift of Candlelight... it is very strange only being sat until about 2.30pm! It means that unless you're covering a Mid for a break then you clock out at about 4pm and really only work for 4 hours. Brilliant! Obviously you earn less money but then you hardly work soooo... fair deal really. I don't even remember what I did after my shift to be honest that day. Then I worked a Mid on Saturday (standard), PMs on Sunday and Monday and then a vile 1045 Mid on Tuesday which was also my Friday woooo!

My days off are the interesting ones so on Wednesday I was off and was initially going to go to the post office. However, this would have taken up like 3 precious hours so I decided against it, and instead got the bus to EPCOT in order to get some Christmas presents from the shops in the world showcase. When  I was almost at Cast Services, I saw on FB that Andrew had got an ER from his shift and was going to ride the new and improved (?) Test Track which I really wanted to do so I met him there and we only lined up for about 30 minutes... you go in, in groups of about 20 to design a car on a screen which is quite cool. It holds the data on a card which you then swipe when you get in the car so its as if you're test driving your new designed car... but the theming on the ride isn't really very good. Very tron-like and "cool" but not as interesting as the last version. It's still a fun ride though. Afterwards, I said I wanted to try and watch Candlelight so we headed to the R&C to see if they had any spare tickets (perk of working there haha) and as it turned out, it was a quiet day so we got some tickets for the 5pm show! We were actually hungry so we ate lunch there as well - I had a frisee & apple salad (NOM) and a side of chips along with a Welsh Dragon to wash it down and a Queens Cake with ice cream. Realllllly good lunch actually. And we got to use my 50% off coupon... yay, holiday coupons.

After lunch we wondered around the World Showcase where I finally tried a drink from Morocco (it was an almond flavoured cocktail.. pretty gross) and then we went in the Japan shop. Whilst we were in there it decided to POUR down. We've hardly had rain for like 2 months but the last few days were rather wet and we got a bit soaked... we lined up for Candelight at 4.15pm and managed to get 5 rows from the front under the shelter so we could dry off a bit!

The show started at 5pm and was narrated that day by Jodi Benson AKA the voice of Ariel, the little mermaid. It was AMAZING. It was very classic Christmas... readings from the Bible and carols to the max. I really, really enjoyed it. The choir is made up of cast members and a local high school (they alternate the school every day) and it was just so beautiful. I mainly loved the singing and the carols. Afterwards, we walked through the rest of the pavilions and got the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. From there, we got a boat to Fort Wilderness resort to go to the Hoop-de-doo Revue.

Now, I went in September with Hayley and co. and it was enjoyable but not a blow-away thing... and it was the same this time. There was 20 of us from the UK which I thought would make it a great night but the service was so-so... the food was so-so (I managed to get kids mac&cheese this time which was an improvement as I don't do ribs and chicken on the bone) and the wine is just so cheap it tastes nasty even if it is unlimited. It was just okay. Afterwards I was pretty knackered so we got the taxi back to the Commons and I went to bed.

Thursday, I got up and had to do the awful trek to Partners at Disney University. This was because I didn't realise that there was a government rule in this country that you can only pull money from your savings into your checking account 3 times per month and I'd gone over the limit so all my money was stuck in my savings account! So I got the A bus up to DU and went to sort it out. The lady was very helpful and put all my money into my checkings account... well, then I walked over to Cast Connection for a final time and got a couple of things. I was very restrained though! Then I had a couple of hours to spare so I got the bus to MK... it was very nostalgic walking through the tunnels for the last time as well. The smell of it and seeing the  characters wondering around reminded me of 2008 and how far I've come since then. I walked to the Casey's Corner exit and came out just as the Trolley Show was starting!!

Talk about timing! This is literally one of my favourite things at MK. So I watched that and then headed to Casey's for a hot dog lunch. Nom. Then I watched the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It Parade which I love as well before the Dream Along With Mickey show which I also adore. The only thing that would have made this morning better would have been to have my Canadian bestie Tyler with me... :( Still, only 2 weeks until I see him!! So, after this and a quick trip to see the new Fantasyland in daylight (which I hadn't done) I decided it was time to go to work... I got the bus to the Beach Club and made it with 10 minutes to spare ;) Bit close for comfort! Then I was in 514 so I was KD so all in all it was a long day but a good one!

Friday I was just an AM so I did the shift which was pretty boring. Then I met Nick and we went to the post office so I could post some stuff home and Christmas cards etc. Then we got ice cream and went to Publix before going to his house. He wasn't feeling too good and ended up crashing out at 8pm so I went downstairs to watch TLC when all his roomates and their friends came home and I ended up staying up with them drinking homemade cocktails and watching Lampoon Christmas Vacation which was actually an awesome night in the end. Then I went to bed. The next day, Nick dropped me at work and I did a Mid (it was Saturday remember!) which was very profitable and a really good shift actually. I had lots of nice guests.

Sunday I was totally exhausted after the Mid because I didn't leave work til midnight. And on Sunday I was a 1045... ugh!! I wanted an ER but sadly there were none to have... the tiredness stuck with me all shift getting worse and worse. I got home at 5pm and ended up with nothing to do except feel meh so I ordered a Pizza Hut for the first time in months and watched TLC whilst doing my laundry. I also made some cakes and cookies. I got an early night but took some Nyquil as I'd started to feel like I had a cold :(

Today, I woke up feeling like crap... partly due to the cold and partly due to the non-alcohol hangover that NyQuil gives you. I washed my hair and finished my cookies for pre-meal - I started feeling a bit better so I headed to work. However, once I actually started my shift the cold took over and I started feeling awful again... I think the going in and out of AC as well as all the talking made my nose run and that's not a pleasant thing to see when you're eating. So I asked for an ROS (Release of Shift) and got people to pick up my section. It wasn't something I wanted to do particularly but I realised that not working and instead getting some more rest would mean I'd probably feel better tomorrow. I came home and have spent the evening tidying, watching TV and actually started the P word.... PACKING.


Worryingly, I've packed a whole 55lb suitcase full of stuff already and my room barely looks any different! I've packed most of my 'memory' stuff, presents and 'summer clothes'. So... I have Thursday off this week, a Segway tour on Wednesday and then it's Christmas next week! CRAZY!!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Well, the Christmas party was a bit meh to be honest. There were millions of school kids around in big groups and half the decorations on Main Street had been taken down because they were filming the ABC Christmas Parade the next day (which I didn't realise). Plus there was no Christmas tree for the same reason. I met Nick and we headed over to Pei Wei before going to MK... we didn't get into the park until about 8pm because we were running late. So, we did Space Mountain and then Philharmagic before getting a spot to watch Celebrate The Magic, then Holiday Wishes, the Holiday Castle Show and then finally the Parade. After that we wondered back down Main Street and went home. It just wasn't as good as last year... I guess that's the down side to being here for two Christmases... constant comparison.

Friday, I was back to work and I'd switched it to a PM. It was good and very busy. Saturday I was a Mid and again, it was a busy day. Whoopi Goldberg was the Candlelight narrator so the shows were very busy, hence so were we. I made loads of money on Saturday which was nice and made my day feel worthwhile! I got out later than normal though... well, it was normal for Candlelight - about 11pm. The latest I clocked out was actually Friday when I clocked out at 00.05am! Ugh! That was thanks to the 10-top I got sat at 9.20pm though...

The rest of the work days were a blur of Candlelight, eating out with Nick (went to the Italian place on I-Drive which I've wanted to try by Pointe Orlando... nom nom), I saw Lincoln the movie which was good although I understood pretty much none of it (thanks to my epic politics and history skills), working closing shifts and warmer weather. Tuesday PM was slower than normal even though I was in 508... and Wednesday AM was positively dead even though the weather was lush and I was in 707. But there you go. Wednesday I actually clocked OUT at 3.50pm! I only worked for 4 hours! Crazy.

So partially thanks to the million call-ins we've been getting recently and partly thanks to people giving away shifts, I've ended up on 6 day weeks for last, this and next week. So Thursday (today) was my only day off this week. After my AM yesterday, I got changed and the bus to Chatham where I promptly changed to the H bus (I love knowing the buses so well, saves me time) and got to Walmart to get a few things. I came out of Walmart and it was actually raining for the first time in weeks... I saw a Salvation Army man wishing people a happy holidays so I gave him my last $2 and it was at this point I saw the H bus waiting to leave... but karma is a great thing so he waited for me and in the rain, I struggled with my million carrier bags (as in this country they believe in only placing 3 items per bag... undoing all the good Tesco's Bags for Life is doing...) and managed to get on the bus and back home at about 7pm. A while later, Nick picked me up and we got curry (probably for my last time in America!) and then I sat around playing on his iPad whilst he revised for his end of term exams... thrilling stuff.

Today I was off and had nothing to do. So I ended up going to Magic Kingdom with Dan (see http://danatdisney.com) because today was the New Fantasyland official opening. He went early to see Tom Staggs and Mickey do the official stuff but I rocked up at about 11.30am as I didn't want to get up that early on my one day off! The rest of the park was quiet so we saw most of the Castle Show, then did Haunted Mansion, I finally rode the riverboat (only took me 9 years) and then ate at Pecos, did Thunder Mountain, Pirates and then got the bus to Hollywood Studios. Once there, we went to see the new Pirates attraction which is a walk through experience using the same projection technology they use for MM&Y and Celebrate The Magic at MK... amazing. Then we did Star Tours, Tower of Terror, watched Indiana Jones and ate at Pizza Planet before going to take photos at the Osborne lights! Then we went home on the E bus which has a new bus stop I discovered... right outside Cast Services. Well, this was the first time I'd walked there since my last shift at DHS in 2010 so I had some weird flashbacks... mainly to the time Nick surprised me and to my last shift. Made me feel happy and sad at the same time.

Anyways, we got the bus home and then I have bummed around this evening and used some of my cupboard supplies up to make some naughty Chambord chocolate brownies for pre-meal tomorrow. They're a great end to a great day. Gonna miss this place... officially less than a month left working for the mouse.

I miss Space Oprah... and my ICP 2010... simpler times.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Exploding Potatoes

Well, the rest of my week after my last post was pretty standard as I worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as normal. After the AM on Wednesday, Nick picked me up and we went to the Commons to pick up my stuff before going to the hair salon so I could have my second hair cut in over a year. It was a super expensive one too - ouch!

Afterwards, we went to Cheesecake Factory and I had a chicken sandwich which was yummy and then we headed back to Celebration as we had an early morning flight to catch. So, on Thursday we headed to the airport. We'd wanted to leave at 5am but didn't end up leaving til 5.35am... so we parked and arrived at the check in desk a mere 30 minutes before the flight took off! So, luckily there wasn't too much of a line at security and as we walked up to the gate they actually paged our names hahaha. I've never had that before. We were one of the last to get on the plane, 10 minutes before it took off... crazy.

So the flight to Atlanta was only 1.5 hours and when we got there it was bloody cold! We met Nick's dad and drove to his house (via McDonalds for breakfast). Then basically we spent the rest of Thanksgiving Day getting all the food ready and then eating it!

A funny incident did happen regarding the potatoes though... they were very carefully peeled by myself and then we put them in the pan to boil before mashing them. The lid on the pan fell fully onto it and got stuck because it wasn't the right lid! We coudn't get it off... I thought Nick's mom had turned off the heat but apparently not, as 20 minutes later there was a giant BANG and the lid flew off and went down the hallway, boiling water and potato flew everywhere including the ceiling, floor and all over the stove and cupboards and we all screamed!! It was hilarious and awful at the same time. Luckily, team work makes the dream work, and we had the kitchen all clean within 30 minutes whilst Nick and I went to Walmart and bought new potatoes to make sure we had some ready for 3pm. The food was awesome, we all ate loads and then vegged out for the rest of the day not doing very much.

The next couple of days in Atlanta were pretty low key. I went with Nick and his brother to the mall on Black Friday which wasn't actually that bad and they bought some clothes. On Saturday we visited his grandmother and got lunch before heading back to the airport to go home. We got back and Nick dropped me back at the Commons. Thanksgiving 2012 was done.

Sunday, I was back at work and in the meantime whilst I'd been away, Candlelight had started. This is a show which is on three times a day in the America pavilion... it's basically the story of the nativity narrated by a famous person with a giant choir made up of cast members. People can purchase a "Candlelight Package" where they get tickets for guarenteed seating as well as a three course meal in a restaurant in the World Showcase for a set price... so this is why it was insane. Actually, Sunday wasn't that bad but I'd never done it before so it took a bit of getting used to what was included and what wasn't as well as how to use the POS for it. Monday, on the other hand was INSANE. So the narrator for Monday-today is Neil Patrick Harris who does it every year and is in some famous US TV shows... therefore it's really busy at Candlelight. It was a bit of a shock to the system to have a full section from 4pm-7pm with all four tables having three courses and having to time it all to get them out in time for them to go and line up for the show. Pantry has been a small nightmare and on Tuesday night it was taking them 20 minutes to get desserts ready so I'd been having to put in desserts before the guests had even finished their entrees. Then after the last guests on the package have finished their food.... it's around 7pm and the NORMAL crazyness for the fireworks starts! I should also mention that dinner now starts at 3.30pm not 4pm and finishes at 9.30pm not 9pm so therefore it's an extra hour every day - like doing Extra Tragic every day!! Exhausting. Obviously the money is good but you have to work damn hard for it!

The only other notable thing to happen was on Tuesday I had to go and give a 5 minute presentation about the Union Jack for Anny at the EPCOT F&B Leaders meeting that they have regularly. This is every area manager in EPCOT plus Mandy who is the head of F&B (her boss is Erin Youngs who is VP of EPCOT) and all the head chefs too! It was sprung on me kinda at the last minute so I think I did a good job and I didn't get too nervous. They seemed to enjoy it and they laughed a couple of times. Then I worked my PM candlelight shift in 510 which was okay... at 8.20pm, Lauren who was in 514 next to me said she didn't want the 16-top who were coming in so I agreed to swap with her and she took over my section instead. So I ended the night with a slightly crazy 16-top and eventually got out of there at 11.30pm. Ugh.

Oh, as a side note, I have been sporadically attending the Monday night social UK Lasses... and on Monday it was a last for Kirsty, Vicki and Georgie so I went. We got taken over by 5 of the UK Lads and all hell broke loose... including the noise level. So at 12.45am, Security knocked on the door and I got my ID confiscated for the first time! AHHH! I thought I was going to get termed even though I'd done nothing wrong. Eventually they gave them back and told us all to keep it down. At this point most people left to go out anyway so I headed home as I didn't feel like it. What an experience.

Yesterday and today I've been off work as always on a Wednesday-Thursday. Yesterday, I cleaned the apartment and put up our Christmas tree before going to EPCOT and having a couple of drinks in the R&C before we were joined by all the people leaving. This is the last group to leave before it's my turn (again). We went over to the Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks and it was really nice but BLOODY FREEZING. I was only wearing a cardigan... mistake! Afterwards, we took lots of pictures and then were going to head to EPCOT for the fireworks there but we for some stupid reason decided to get a bus to the beach club because we thought it would be quicker than the monorail... errrr. No. So we didn't make it and ended up having to walk from the beach club to EPCOT cast services (and blag our way into the closed park as well of course) to finally get the C bus home. I got home 3 hours after Wishes had finished! Ah well.

Today I'm back to Magic Kingdom for the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party which I'm quite excited about as it was one of my favourite nights last year!!

Monday, 19 November 2012

The return of Food Runner Catherine!!

What a crazy weekend. Well, Friday evening was very enjoyable - just to sit down with a glass of (cheap) wine, endless episodes of Say Yes To The Dress and Toddlers & Tiaras on TLC and nothing else was pretty awesome.

Saturday, I was a PM as I'd swapped my shift from the AM I am normally. So I got to bum around for quite a while in the morning. I got to speak to my mum for the first time in 2 weeks as they'd been on holiday and just got back so that was good. I also tidied up and threw out a load of random stuff... my roomate of 13 months leaves this week which I'm sad about so it's a good opportunity to clean up. I have no idea if I'm going to get another roomate although apparently my French roomate is also leaving in December which means there'd only be 2 out of 4 beds used in our apartment - this means the dreaded 50% forced relocation problem! I really hope it doesn't come to that 4 weeks before the end of my program!! To have to move to a new apartment somewhere other than in Building 6 (i.e. Beverley Hills, right by the bus stop at the Commons) would seriously suck. Fingers crossed it doesn't happen.

Anyway, I worked the PM and I was on lower deck in 704 which was not amusing because that's one of my least favourite sections of the restaurant... I ended up with 3 tables of 5 and then 2 tables of 2 by the end of the evening because they were all braving the cold to sit out for the prime firework viewing from those tables. It really is getting a bit chilly in the evenings here now (it's still like 15 degrees but feels super cold to us :P) but people will still sit out. I got some nice tips and met some really nice guests though so it was mostly good times. I got out in reasonable time but got the bus home so didn't get back until about 11.20pm.

Today was a wierd day. So, I was scheduled a 10.45 AM shift which means (on a Sunday) that it's a training Day 1 shift for me. But then I picked up someone's PM shift to make me a MID... but I thought I was still training the AM part. Well, when I got to work it turned out I was just a 1045 MID instead... cool beans. Until I was almost done setting up the cutlery and my manager informed me that as a food runner had called in and I was the only one doing a MID, I had to be a food runner all day.

Absolutely not.

I am a bad food runner... I do not enjoy it. If you look back to my posts in March you'll see I wasn't a fan then either. And that was the last time I was a food runner... 8 months ago!! So, in the end I struck a deal... I would food run the AM then be a server for the PM whilst another AM server extended to do a PM food running shift. And that was what happened... I pretty much kept up, didn't drop anything (came close!) and obviously managed to burn my arm on the bread (standard). I did have a funny incident when my shoe fell off as I was kicking open the kitchen door which then caused a ketchup ramekin to fall off the plate I was holding and narrowly missed falling completely into my shoe (for a ketchup hater this is horrific) but got rather splattered. All in front of my manager... I think I lost my mind for a while! Anyway, that was enough food running for the rest of my program thank you very much... generally if they need a food runner due to call-ins then they make the least senior server in that day change over to it... well, I was the most senior in the kitchen today so therefore that's that! No more! :-D

Friday, 16 November 2012

Two very different marathons!

I'm struggling these days to remember what I did a few days ago! My life is just a crazy blur and I'm sure it will continue to be until I leave and go home!

Okay, so Friday I worked an AM... I got out in pretty good time but I'm struggling to remember what I did after work! Saturday was the crazy day so we'll move onto that... so normally I'm an AM on Saturday but they changed me to a PM because it was the day of the WDW Wine & Dine Half-Marathon which started at 10pm and finished after 13.1 miles in the EPCOT parking lot. The participants got a $10 gift card each and access to EPCOT after hours so they could experience Food & Wine and the rides. This, therefore meant that we were open until 4am! I volunteered to work until the early hours so I was scheduled to work a PM and then through until 2am on podium - i.e. Chippy, Beer Cart and general guest interaction!

So, the PM was also the last Saturday of Food and Wine so it was a bit crazy. I was in 307 and got sat until literally 8.55pm so I was finally done with my guests at about 10.15pm. I had to go and bank out, grab my chippy hat and then headed back downstairs. They had music pumping around the world showcase (like PROPER music, not Disney stuff!) so we were all totally hyper. I played at being Beer Cart 2 for a while before we just generally danced around and chatted for the next two hours. Then my manager Cari, myself and Aimee went for a "basics walk" around the world showcase (aka a chance to see what else was going on in EPCOT) and by the time we got back at about 2am it had gone super busy. There was a big queue at Chippy so I jumped in there for about 1.5 hours with Chef John as my other chippy filler. It was a good laugh! It was VERY STRANGE being back in Chippy after 9 months!! As I said, I was supposed to finish at 2am...well I finally clocked out at 4.40 AM! So I got home at 5.15AM and went to bed in the very wee hours!! It was an awesome 13 hour shift though and even with only a 15 minute break I enjoyed myself.

On Sunday, thankfully I was a PM shift so I had a lie-in until about midday but I was still rather tired for the whole day. I was back in 307 again and partly because of being inside and some clever dodging being sat I managed to clock out at 9.45pm! That's very good going for a PM shift... in fact, about as early as it gets. So I was back home by 10.30pm and ready for sleep!

Monday, I was a Mid although for once I wasn't training. This was actually a very random day. I got in and was told I was training Clare who failed her service test the week before which was fine by me because she already knew what she was doing... then the tables turned and I was told that they didn't have anyone to sit her test because she was actually no longer training but taking her test that day! So I threw a hoodie on and sat the test with Cari! I had the scallops for appetiser, ploughmans lunch for entree and then queens cake for dessert NOM NOM NOM. After that, I had to get changed and then work the PM! Claire did indeed, pass her test so that was good. I was in 510 for the PM and pretty tired so it was a long evening!!

Tuesday I was an AM as I'd switched my shift. I was in at 10.45am which sucked because I haven't done 10.45am shifts for AGES so it was kind of blahhh. Once we were set up, I got my section which was 401. The shift was okay.. it was nice to do an AM for a change. Since I chose to have 3 PMs and 2 AMs per week in my new schedule bid it seems like I never do them! Once I was finished, it was time to get changed for a few hours in EPCOT before our behind the scenes Spaceship Earth tour! In the end, I went to the new Mexico sit-down restaurant with Andrew, Holly, Andy and Kirsty. It was really yummy but pretty expensive! I had a yummy margarita as well. Then we wondered around the whole world showcase before meeting Whitnie and James at the UK and going over to Spaceship Earth. We got to go up in the service lift and see the maintenance bay area before riding the ride as the last guests of the night. Then they turned on the work lights and we walked the whole ride... got up close and personal with the animatronics and found out all the secrets! It was very cool. I still can't believe the whole ride is in the golf ball! Walking around the backstage area of the attraction made me miss working at Star Tours though!

Afterwards, I left EPCOT and got the guest bus to All Star Movies to meet Ryan who was back in town to visit. We had a very long chat which went on until about 3am and I finally crashed out, totally exhausted!!

Wednesday was my first day off of three this week! Aren't I lucky! We slept in until about 11am and then got a taxi to the Commons from Downtown Disney so Ryan could pick up some stuff he'd left there. In the meantime, I went back to my apartment and bummed around for a while until Nick picked me up at about 4.30pm. We went to Earl of Sandwich with one of his Soarin' friends and then headed to Magic Kingdom to see the new show which replaced the Magic, Memories and You. When we got there we were a little early so we did Space Mountain which was a walk-on and then caught the end of the night paarade before seeing this new show called Celebrate The Magic. I liked parts of it... the bits when they actually USED the castle for effect were very good (just like MM&Y) but the bits when Disney just projected random bits of film onto the castle was less impressive and sometimes just downright promotional. Ugh. Afterwards, we stayed to watch Wishes which was awesome as always, and super awesome because the castle Christmas lights were on at the end... seeing the castle in holiday mode is one of my favourite things in the whole world!! I'm very excited for the Christmas Party in a couple of weeks!!

Thursday was Twilight Day!! The second marathon in a week haha! I got back to Commons about 15 minutes before the taxi so bit of a mad rush to get ready but it was fun to wear tracksuit bottoms, a hoody and a blanket all day... I love being a slob sometimes! So we got into the cinema and got seats at about 10.45am and it was already pretty crazy busy! The first movie started at 11.30am and from then until 10pm it was a pattern of: watch movie, go bathroom, refill drink, eat snacks and repeat! It was so much fun. The final movie (and premiere) was Breaking Dawn Part 2 and it was incredibly good!!! I loved it. We finally left at about 12.30am to go home and to bed!

Today was my third day off. I slept in which was much needed and then got up and went to Panera with Nick. We then went to see Pitch Perfect (as if I haven't sat in the cinema enough recently haha) for the third time because I love that movie!! It's probably my favourite movie in the whole year! Afterwards, he dropped me off at EPCOT and I went to sort out one of my shift swaps for next week because it got denied. Then I got the bus back to Commons and picked up a couple of things I needed posting and got the H bus to the post office. Then I waited in the dark and cold for the last H bus pick up at the post office, thank God I wasn't forgotten!! I got off again at Publix and went shopping for some food because I have none. Then I was lazy and got the H bus back to Commons (despite Publix being a 10 minute walk away) but the bus driver actually dropped me off first so I was back in like 2 minutes... awesome! And now I have a date with TLC for the evening :D

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Expedition Everest... Meeting the Yeti!

I've had an awesome couple of days off this week! So awesome, I've actually managed a second update within a day of the first one haha!

Yesterday, I met Nick and we ended up going to Mall at Millenia to eat... originally it was going to be Cheesecake Factory but we actually ate at this Italian restaurant opposite which we've always eyed up but never been. It was so yummy! Rather expensive but this is Millenia so did I expect anything else? I had a bruschetta topped with roasted peppers and goats cheese as well as a caesar salad. Nom nom nom. Afterwards, we wondered around the Mall for a bit stopping at Bath & Body Works and Pandora... yeah... I bought a new charm for my bracelet which is basically all sparkles so I love it. And a safety chain so there's no chance of losing my new favourite piece of jewellery! After the Mall, we went back to Nick's to watch the rest of a Christmas movie we started watching days ago and then after that he took me home as I had an early start today...

For Everest! I got up at the ungodly hour of 5.15am in order to get a 6am taxi. It was FREEZING. Nevertheless, all 15 of us were finally outside Animal Kingdom at 6.45am to go into the park. We went backstage (which means I've now been backstage of all four parks! Nerd alert!) and came out in Dinoland before walking to Everest where we were met by our tour guides. We went into the 'mountain' itself which is a mass of metal poles and concrete... it's massive! Then we walked along the tracks to meet 'Betty' the Yeti! She cost about $10 million and originally she had hydraulics and moved in a scary fashion but apparently the force of it moving constantly had started making the structure get damaged and so she no longer moves. It would cost a LOT of money and downtime for the ride in order to get her fixed so she's a very expensive statue for the time being haha! It was very cool walking alongside the tracks as well. Then we took the 14 stories of stairs (that's exhausting by the way...) up to the top of Everest! Officially the highest point in Disney World and the highest Mountain in the state of Florida ;-)

The views from the top were awesome. Obviously it was only about 7.45am by this point so it was very calm with not a cloud in the sky. You could see EPCOT, the hat at DHS and even the castle at MK! Then we descended to the bottom again so they could start 'waking-up' the ride for the day. We got taken around the Asia section of DAK to see the theming and various cool things. Then we went back to the ride and got taken through the queue line which was super interesting - the vast majority of the props and decorations are actually genuine. There were several hidden mickeys and secrets we found out about (mostly in-jokes!). Then we got to ride Everest.... WITH THE LIGHTS ON. AWESOMES. We could see the track move when we went to go backwards and saw the Yeti in her full glory as well! Then, we rode it again as the guest sees it which was just plain fun!

After that, the tour was over. So much fun. Another moment where I thank my lucky stars that I'm still here and wonder what I did in a past life to have the luck to have got my extension :-D

Once we left Everest, a few of us went to get breakfast at Pizzafari because we were starving. It was just after 9am at this point. Then we went and saw the Lion King, did Dinosaur and then saw Nemo before deciding we were all a bit tired. So we were server wankers and got a taxi back from DAK to Commons. Such a good 24 hours!!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

New Costume!

It's been a busy week so far!

Picking up from last week, I did indeed go and see Pitch Perfect again and it was hilarious again :D I am definitely getting it on DVD when it comes out. Also, I actually wanted to see every movie they put in the trailers... I won't be cancelling my Stubs card just yet! (It's a loyalty card for AMC Cinemas...) Afterwards, Nick dropped me off and I went to bed.

Thursday was my second day off although I spent most of it at EPCOT. I actually went in and sat one of the practical tests! This was why I knew that Pippa would be fine on her test, because I was part of the test table. Reason being, normally it's only core trainers who get to sit the test table but I was saying to Kevin that I felt I could be a better trainer if I could remember the test. I did mine 9 months ago almost and I barely remember it except the stress! So, he invited me in to sit on the table. It was a great experience. I also got free food and wine courtesy of Disney, yay. I had the cheese plate (obviously) and then the Ploughman's Lunch. Nom. Afterwards, I got a Magners and walked to The Land where I met Nick and we rode Soarin' before we got some food at Ruby Tuesdays and then I went home and he went to bed because he was still feeling the effects of the awful stomach bug he had earlier in the week.

Friday I was back at work for an AM. I had my new shoes on which were okay... a few blisters. The shift was pretty uneventful. Once I'd finished work, I went home and then got pizza before seeing a movie called Flight which was actually really good. Bit worried about how uncomfortable it is to sit in a cinema for one movie when next Thursday I'm going (with a load of people from work) to see the Twilight Marathon and will be sitting in there for 12 hours! :O I'm going to have to take a pillow I think haha.

Saturday I was a Mid... and it was CRAZY. It was the penultimate Saturday of Food and Wine so it was about as busy as Christmas week. I was hyper on Monster for most of the evening so I just kept going and going... I was working for about 11 hours and I made the most money I've ever made in one day in my life, amazing. I wish every day could be as fun and enjoyable (and profitable) as Saturday was!! I was tired when I got home but buzzing from the stupid energy drink so didn't get to bed until about 2am!

Sunday I was a PM. I felt tired because of my poor sleep. BUT it was an exciting day because... NEW COSTUME!!!

Above: New Costume, Below: Old Costume

So as you can see, very exciting! Obviously those photos have been through the old Instagram filters but you see my point. It's very different. First impressions and days of wearing it seem that it's hotter than the old costume but more flattering. Less practical as well. But overall I do like it!! I also got my year pin this week as well which was super exciting so all in all, a good week for Disney Look related matters haha!

Besides getting the new costume, I also went in early to work on Sunday to make us a Guy Fawkes!! We thought it would be fun to use the old boy's costume to make one... so we did. Besides this, the PM on Sunday was pretty boring. Afterwards I just went home and to bed.

Monday was November 5th! Or as we know it in the UK as Bonfire Night! :D As I said, we made a guy... here he is in his full glory:

This was after he got adorned with beads, a name tag (James, from Scotland) and a stick figure to keep him company. Oh, and a UK pin obviously. He enjoyed the party that we had backstage... lots of hot dogs, burgers and general junk food was had by all. His official name is actually James Beth Fawkes... he had a substitute name tag before James which was Beth from Winter Gardens, FL. I was training on Monday so after going in early for the big group photo we had, I then took the wine class outside for my trainees so we could enjoy the party as well. Then I was training Catherine (ironic) for the rest of the day. It was very slow so I found the day a little boring... but she did a good job. Obviously I went outside to watch the fireworks at 9pm... as did James Fawkes. Sadly, we were not allowed to set fire to James because his costume, hat and name tag is Disney property. Sad face. After work, I got dragged to lasses which was quite amusing, we played a game which involved me downing a car of beer (GROSS) but it was very amusing. I got home at about 12.30 and went to bed.

Tuesday, I got up and was not in the mood to work at all! I have no idea why. Anyway, I went to work and got 508 as my section which proved to be busy as always and in the end it was a good shift and I enjoyed myself. My shoes hurt less than they have all week which was good and I'm getting used to the new costume. I literally just came straight home and went to bed exhausted afterwards.

Now it's my days off again YAY!! Today I'm not doing much except catching up on laundry and I might go get food with Nick later. Tomorrow though, I'm going for a 6.30am EVEREST ADVENTURE!!!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

It's finally Halloween

Well Halloween has been in full swing here at Disney World for a good two months now so I think it's time to end it, don't you? Haha. I went to the Halloween party at Magic Kingdom in September and never ended up doing the Halloween Horror Nights at Universal... it just never really appealed to me - spending $40 to have people jump out at you and stand in queues all night, no thanks! My favourite part about Mickey's Not So Scary was actually the parade and fireworks anyway which (thanks to see Universal's attempt at a parade at Christmas) is definitely Disney's strong point.

Anyways, back to my life at the Rose & Crown... Friday last week was my only day off. I went out for lunch with Nick at the French cafe we've been to before on Dr Phillips and then we went to the CityWalk AMC to see Sinister. Well, on the way there he mentioned a new movie that had come out called Silent Hill and as he'd already seen Sinister we decided we'd see that instead... so we got our tickets and sat down in the theatre. I got out my phone to check the reviews and see what it was all about (in hindsight this should have been done beforehand) and realised that it was based on a GAME. Yeah.... so we went back to the box office and luckily managed to swap our tickets to see Sinister instead. This was a good plan. The film was good, made me jump a few times but I actually enjoyed the story which is unusual for a horror movie. I went home afterwards and got some much needed sleep.

Saturday, I worked an AM which was quite busy and then went to the Beach Club to get the bus to Downtown Disney to meet Sophie. Obviously, she's finished her program now and is killing time at the All-Star resorts before her brother gets here so she can go travel a bit... so I relieved her from the boredom by going to see a movie with her. We got Earl of Sandwich and wondered around the shops before seeing Pitch Perfect which was AMAZING. I loved it. Afterwards, I got the F bus home and downloaded the soundtrack  :D

Sunday I worked a PM... I know I mentioned coming down with a cold last week but it hasn't shifted in that time. It's just an irritating dry cough which tends to end in coughing fits in front of guests because I have to strain my voice to speak over the noise of the bar. Well, on Sunday I was on lower deck and I managed only two coughing fits which was good... my guests pretty much all wanted to stay at their tables from 7.30pm until the fireworks so it was a very easy evening... until I picked up an 8-top who only really spoke Spanish and the kids were all over the place. Joy. I eventually got out of there and went to bed.

Monday I was a PM again and in 201... By 7.45pm I had had enough of coughing, losing my voice and generally feeling like crap so I asked to be cut. They actually did cut me... but obviously it was Monday so did anyone want to take KD off me?! Of course not. This meant I then had to stand around the R&C until 11pm feeling awful, tired, pissed off and generally fed up. I eventually got home and went to bed in a awful mood.

Tuesday - was finally my Friday after what seemed like the longest week ever (but ironically was actually only 4 days of work). I asked to train instead of serve because it required less talking... I was training Pippa who was a good trainee but a bit of a worrier so I spent more time running around than I would have liked to on a Day 3 of training. Her test is tomorrow... so fingers crossed ;-) I'll explain the smiley there on my next post....

Today was my first day off. I slept in and then spoke to Mum because my parents are setting off on a 2-week cruise this week to celebrate their anniversary. Then I did the trek to Magic Kingdom costuming (which took best part of an hour) to get new work shoes... with the new costume coming in on Sunday I want to look my best! Sadly this meant that I couldn't get a new pair of my old shoes because they don't have them anymore so I had to get different ones. We shall see how comfortable they are because if they don't live up to the job I will be buying a new pair of the old ones online and getting them shipped to my apartment LOL. Then I got the B bus back to Chatham where I thought I could wait for the Walmart bus... that was a fail because it wasn't due for another 40 minutes so instead I walked to Publix to get a few things. Then I went via Walgreens and then eventually back to my apartment where I've spent the remaining time watching Casualty (I'm two months out of date) and bumming around.

Nick got sick this week but I think he's feeling well enough to go to the movies tonight so hopefully we will and I get to see Pitch Perfect again :p

I will be buying this with our holiday 40% merchandise discount... :D

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Now I'm 24...

Well after my birthday and my three days off, it was back to reality with a bump because I'd picked up extra shifts and was starting a six day run and well as it being the last week for my arrival group.

Saturday - I'd swapped my shift so I was a PM. I went for cheeky cheesecake factory for lunch to finish off my birthday celebrations and then Nick dropped me at work. I was in 508 which made for an eventful and busy evening on a Saturday of F&W of course. I ended up being sat one of Nick's friends/roommates on my table so that was amusing and the whole evening went very fast, it was good. After work, Sophie and I had to rush back to Commons, getting home at 11.40pm in order to get the Cowboys taxi at 12! As it was their last I really wanted to go. We eventually made it to Cowboys at 12.50am and stayed until 2.15am when it closed. There was crying and dancing and free beer (ugh)... good times.

Sunday - I was a PM again and oh, again I was in 508. I don't remember much about this shift except it was busy and I was one of the last out. Standard. I went home and slept a deep sleep!

Monday - I was a Mid, training James. He's already had training so he knew what to do... I spent most of the AM just keeping an eye on him - we were in 514. He wasn't feeling too well and by 5pm, he felt awful so my manager and I decided it would be more beneficial for him to go home. Therefore I took over the PM section.... 508 AGAIN!! Janet then sat me a 15-top over my two big tables (including 6 kids and several tipsy adults), a 2-top, a 3-top and then I had to pick up a 6-top inside for Sam because she got hit on the head by the ice machine and got concussion! So nobody else would pick it up and I ended up with 26 guests at once! Crazy! I was running around like a crazy woman but it was all good in the end. Again, Sophie and I were rushing to get out, I got home at 11.10pm and Lasses (yes, you heard me correctly, Lasses) was at 11.15pm so I quickly changed and got over to Charlotte's apartment in time... now, I haven't attended the weekly piss-up that is Lasses for most of this year because of many reasons... one being I've had other things to do, one being I don't believe in some of their cult-ish ways and also because I didn't used to know a lot of the girls there and I found it intimidating. However, now I know pretty much everyone and it was Sam and Sophie's "last" one so I found myself there... and I'm really glad I went. We all sat around whilst they picked people out and told them their funniest, nicest or best moments in the year. I ended up crying (again!) and eventually at about 12.15am we left to go to Old Town which is near Celebration. We went to a bar to meet the "lads" (i.e. the UK boys) for some drinks... there was a lot of singing, dancing and chanting going on - it is just like being at uni all over again LOL. After we left there at 2am, we went back to Commons and stood in a big circle in the car park opposite to say our official goodbye to Sam and Sophie and Paul. It then involved a massive group hug in which I got squished and ended up at the bottom when it all collapsed onto the floor! hahaha! It was a lovely goodbye though, many tears were shed by pretty much everyone.

Ultimately, I just can't believe that this should have been me. I feel so lucky and privileged to not be saying goodbye this week as I was supposed to, and to have been given an extra 10 weeks in the Happiest Place on Earth.

Tuesday - I was a PM again. Firstly, I had to go to my costume fitting for the brand new costume that comes in on the 4th November - VERY EXCITED. Then I went to work and ended up in section 709. I figured it wouldn't be too bad... but I hadn't realized the horrible guests that were about to come my way. Lots of really rude people basically. My night ended with a table who were waiting a very long time for their kids' ice creams... now this was the kitchen's fault but I had already apologised and said sorry. I said we'd take them off the bill etc. The long and short of it was that the woman ended up yelling at me and my manager, demanding we comp the whole meal (which we didn't) and saying it was 'disgusting' how they'd sat there for "2 whole hours".... ummm that's standard for a sit-down meal... especially when they had literally one of the best seats in the house for the fireworks on lower deck. So all in all, they never got their ice creams and both myself and my manager got unnecessarily screamed at. Not a good ending to my day.

Wednesday - I had picked up an extra AM on this day so that I could work with Sam, Paul and Sophie as it should have been my last day too. It was very uneventful shift actually and I ended up in the Dart Room. It was kinda boring and I could have done with the day off so regretted it a bit... anyway, I got cut early and ended up being the first in the bar. Got myself a cheese plate and a cider & black and the day improved LOL. Once everyone had banked out, we walked to Hollywood Studios for dinner at the Hollywood & Vine which was much better than I thought it would be even though it was buffet and then Luke & I got the boat back to EPCOT whilst everyone else walked (my blisters were still hurting from last week!). We sneaked into the UK viewing area to see the fireworks and then they did the shoe-throwing tradition. We wondered around the UK for a while afterwards before James and I decided to make the move home as I was totally exhausted as was he. I got home and went to bed feeling rubbish because I think I've got a bit of a cold... :(

Today is Thursday and I'm feeling a little better. I have a PM this afternoon and then finally a day off tomorrow!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Everyday at Walt Disney World is a special day... but today's extra special because...

...it was my birthday!!!

I have waited and waited and waited for it to be my birthday as it fell exactly a week before my program end date! I have always dreamed of being able to be at the Magic Kingdom on my birthday and so it's finally happened, yay!

So, I woke up early and promptly my mum called me. I also opened my birthday cards... Lauren has got us tickets to see the Spice Girls musical once I'm back in the UK - excitement! After that I got up and started getting ready for the day - I'd bought myself a new dress and decided to curl my hair. Half way through curling my hair, my phone rang and it was a delivery man who wasn't being allowed into Commons so I had to walk through the complex half dressed with my hair half done to get the flowers that my mum had had delivered for me - they're very pretty so it was worth it ;)

Once I was ready, I had to wait around for Nick because he was running late. He told me that he'd got something on his shirt and he'd overslept which sounded about right so I was a little bit annoyed... anyways, he eventually picked me up an hour late and we drove over to EPCOT. When we got to the car park, he told me he had a gift for me - he gave me a Pandora bracelet!! And that's the real reason he was late! So I forgave him :P He had bought three charms on it - a purple bead (obviously because that's my favourite colour), a little aeroplane and a little suitcase - all because of the travelling we have done together. I thought it was super cute!

So, we walked into EPCOT and I made it from the car to the golf ball in my new shoes before I  could barely walk any more because of the blisters that were forming :( So we stopped at Guest Relations so I could get a birthday button and to put plasters all over my feet. After this we carried on to go to the Italian pavilion where we got small dishes of pasta (for Nick) and paninis (for me) as well as I got a sparkling wine flight and he got a red wine... all in our favourite place - the wine cellar. After this we walked back through the world showcase and I stopped to get a glass of Champagne from the Food & Wine kiosk plus I also gave in and bought a pair of flip flops for my poor feet.

We drove over to the Grand Floridian and parked in Self-Parking. I wore my second pair of shoes I'd bought (wedges) which ironically turned out more comfortable than the flat shoes that had given me blisters. With the flip flops safely tucked away in my bag we walked over to the Tea Room. We checked in and got our table about 10 minutes later... we both chose to have the 'Grand Tea' which was 3 "courses". Firstly we chose our tea (I, not being a fan of traditional tea, chose a herbal berry tea which was really nice. Bit like hot ribena LOL.) and then our first "course" was sandwiches... they were all cut into triangles and you got one egg, one cucumber, one salmon, one curry chicken and one pear & gorgonzola. I left the last one and gave the curry one to Nick but the other three were yummy. It also came with a little square of pate but no bread to eat it on so that was a bit weird. There was also a little onion tart which was yummy. Then the second "course" was the scone with Devonshire cream, jam and lemon curd - NOM. This was my favourite course. You also got a little jam tart as well. The final "course" was a dessert tray where you chose a couple of little pastries - I had a little cream swan and a chocolate covered strawberry. She let me have an extra one because it was my birthday so I got a mini chocolate eclair! :) This was all washed down with a glass of Cuvee from 1997. Amazing. I LOVED IT.

So after this, we jumped onto the monorail and headed to one of me and Tyler's favourite haunts - The Wave bar at the Contemporary. We got a few drinks there (glass of wine, magical star, blue glowtini.... and some chips haha) before going over to the Magic Kingdom at about 7pm. We had time to wonder around the new Fantasyland and go on the Ariel ride (it was at this point I surrendered to flip flops again) before getting a spot for the fireworks. It was very magical :)

Sadly this was the end of my birthday... we walked back down Main Street and back to the Grand Flo to get the car.... but it was amazing and I loved it. Special thanks to Nick for putting up with my birthday choices and my lovely gift. Also thanks to his Mom for paying for our afternoon tea and my Mum and Dad for paying for Italy and my flowers! One of the best birthdays EVER! :D

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Back to "the real world"...

So Lauren left on Sunday and as I said, my PM shift was pretty boring. I'd really wanted to give it away and work another day in the week instead but nobody would swap with me... especially seen as I had a car and wanted to make the most of it but meh. So after work, I went straight to Walmart to get food as I had none and then eventually got to bed at 1.30am. I had to get up early the next day to return the car by 9am so that was fun.

After that, I came home and got ready for work as I was doing the training MID... joy. However, my trainee was Lauren and she was awesome! I even picked up a table of my own later in the evening. It was pretty tiring but actually a good day in the end. After work, I met Nick and we had TGI Fridays.

Tuesday was finally my Friday! I had to head into work early for a safety meeting (because I'm on the safety committee and a fully-fledged keeno) and then into work for the PM. I was supposed to be training again but I didn't in the end... I was in 704 though and I remembered how much I don't like that section. I think I've only been there like twice since becoming a server. I was pretty exhausted by the end but we were off to Jellyrolls. I got ready after work and walked to the Boardwalk. It was good fun. I liked that they did a Disney medley because they rarely play Disney music. It was sad when they played 'Time of your life' by GreenDay because we all started crying! Most of my arrival group were there except a gaping hole in the form of Tyler :(

Since Jellyrolls I've not been up to much as I am in the midst of my three (!) days off this week. Yesterday I went to Pei Wei with Nick for lunch and then he went to work. I tidied my whole apartment and did laundry before meeting up with him to make some pasta for dinner then he did homework and I read my kindle. Today I've just chilled out and finished everything off that I've been meaning to do for a while... also, changed my flights!! My definite date of home coming is the 20th January 2013. So I leave three months tomorrow...

Talking of tomorrow - I'll be 24! It's my birthday tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Lauren's Visit

Well, my trip to EPCOT was fun with Tyler... we ended up having a few drinks around the world and then eating at the Rose & Crown, standard. I had a cheese plate and a scotch egg. I also had a Welsh Dragon cocktail which I like a lot more now than when I first started at the R&C! It promptly started pouring down with rain and so we didn't stay for IllumiNations :( Actually it was quite a poignant moment walking out of EPCOT in the pouring rain through the guest exit with Tyler and his last visit to the park. It was a little bit sad. I got dropped off at the Commons by Ginger Dan (Ty's friend) and then about 10 minutes later Nick picked me up and as soon as he asked me if I was okay the waterworks started! We got a Starbucks and chatted.

Moving forward to the purpose of this post - Lauren came to visit! I worked the Friday and Saturday as usual then I did an AM on Sunday 7th which was the day she arrived. I had picked up the rental car first thing in the morning and it was AWESOME - a Chevrolet Cruze which was very similar to the Malibu I had when Mum was here in February. It was an upgrade and I was very sad to give it back 8 days later! Anyway, I persuaded Janet into cutting me early so I got out of there by 4.30pm and was on my way to Sanford to pick her up.

I got her and we headed to Panera Bread because we were both starving. Then we went to Pop Century to check in and we got a pretty good room near the main building (unlike when Hayley was here and we were in the arse end of the resort). We headed out to Walmart to get a few drinks and stuff before getting an early night because we were both tired!

Monday 8th - we were up bright and early to go to Magic Kingdom! YAY! It was a day when the park would be closing at 7pm for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party so I knew it would be busy first thing... but the monorail breaking down didn't help! So Lauren's first ever impression of MK was standing in a line for 30 minutes to get the ferry to the park. Woo. Anyways, once we finally got there I was very excited and we caught the beginning of the MiSiCi Parade before getting ear hats! I hadn't got one for the whole year so I chose a purple headband style with a little princess crown on the top :D We headed to Tomorrowland and Space Mountain was only a 15 minute wait so we walked onto that - very entertaining as it scared the living daylights out of Lauren. LOL. So then we went on the Carousel of Progress which ALSO promptly broke down whilst we were on it! Haha! After that we walked to Adventureland and had lunch at Peco's Bills with our quick service dining plan (QSR). We then got fastpasses for Splash Mountain and in the meantime we did Thunder Mountain. We did Splash and then Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. We got a spot by the castle and watched the 3pm parade before leaving the Magic Kingdom and heading straight over to Animal Kingdom! Once we got there, we went to see the Lion King show and did Dinosaur and Everest... so much fun. There wasn't much else that Lauren wanted to do so we drove over to Downtown Disney and had an Earl of Sandwich for dinner, my favourite! A very fun but exhausting first day!!

Tuesday 9th - We headed out in an attempt to get to Universal shortly after opening which was a bit of a fail due to my poor navigational skills and the giant queue to buy tickets at Islands of Adventure. Nevertheless, we finally got to Harry Potter world at about 11.30am and waited for about 30 minutes to go on Forbidden Journey. Lauren loved it. Then we got butterbeer and shared a fish & chips at the Three Broomsticks. We waited for the Hippogriff's Journey which is the kids rollercoaster that I'd never done - was actually quite entertaining! Then we looked around the shops before heading to Marvel where we wanted to do Hulk. We couldn't because it was closed down for the day. Meh. So we went to Spiderman. It was also broken. Seriously!!!! So we went to Jurassic Park instead which was great, especially because I barely got wet! We tried Spiderman again as it was back up but it broke again whilst we were in line so we gave up. Sadly, this was all we did at the park but nevertheless it was fun. We left Universal and went back to Pop Century to freshen up. Then we went over to EPCOT in order to use up most of our 'snacks' on the QSR by going around the Food & Wine Festival! We had champagne to start with (nom) and then met Nick before doing Soarin', Mission Space and Spaceship Earth. Then we headed to the World Showcase and had some yummy stuff - we got a cheeseplate and wine at the Italian pavilion wine cellar. At F&W, I remember having shrimp from Austrailia, baklava from Morocco, an amazing chocolate lava cake and mini-Guinness (ewww) from Ireland (obvs), cheese from the Cheese stand amongst other things! Nick left us early to go home to do homework and stuff whilst we sneaked into the viewing area at the R&C to watch IllumiNations! Then we headed home on the guest bus as I'd had too much to drink in order to drive haha.

Wednesday 10th - We went to Hollywood Studios to start the day. Even though we were in the line for Toy Story at 9.30am it still posted a 45 minute wait although really it was about 20. Then we headed over to get fastpasses for Aerosmith and did ToT in the meantime. We got lunch and then did Aerosmith. We saw the Beauty & The Beast show and did Star Tours before heading back to Pop Century as I had my Disney Graduation!

So I drove to Commons and got ready to promptly find out the location had changed to Vista Way from Chatham Square... I thought it was odd I hadn't had an email about this. Well... turns out that I wasn't supposed to be graduating that day and they almost refused to let me be there!! Because my end date has changed to January, they told me that I had to come back in December. Well, I refused because all my friends were there so they let me stay seen as they'd printed my certificate already and had me on the list. So, cue taking a MILLION pictures, meeting graduation Minnie, Mickey, Pluto and Goofy. I also met Donald and Daisy who were doing some hilarious dancing. It was the nicest Disney graduation in terms of the weather because it wasn't too hot!! But kinda weird it was at Vista Way... ironic in a way seen as that's where my Disney programs all started 4.5 years ago! After I got back to Pop Century, I just chilled out with Lauren.

Thursday 11th - my last full day off with Lauren so we headed to Clearwater Beach. The drive was fine, the weather was very hot and sunny, I got sunburnt, we had a McDonalds, we got a prime parking space and paid for a beach umbrella and we had a picnic. That's about it. Haha. After we got back to WDW, we headed back to DHS to see Fantasmic. We also ended up doing the animation class and Great Movie Ride which was fun. After Fantasmic we headed home to much needed sleep!

Friday 12th - back to work for me. I was an AM and it was actually quite good fun. Afterwards, I got back and changed before we headed to Mall of Millenia for retail therapy! I actually didn't spend too much money but Lauren did haha! Then we met Nick and had Cheesecake Factory before heading home.

Saturday 13th - another AM shift... which actually started with a full 20 minutes of me being on the service bar because it was instantly crazy in the bar! Then I somehow managed to balance three tables and helping the service bar, it was good fun. Made me want to go on the bar I have to admit. The shift was good and it passed quickly. Afterwards, I got back to Pop and we headed out for Magic Kingdom!! When we got there we did Monsters Inc and the TTA. Then we went to Fantasyland and did It's a Small World (ugh but it had to be done) and then Haunted Mansion and Philarmagic before getting a spot for Wishes. After the fireworks we stuck around and I saw the Main St Electrical Parade for the first time in entirety in over two years. Rumour has it that Spectromagic is coming back - I really hope so. Then we went to New Fantasyland to do Dumbo and the Barnstormer... where we stumbled across the "dress rehersal" for the expansion!! So we got to see inside the dining room of Be Our Guest (AMAZING) and we rode the Ariel ride! I'm going back next week for a Cast Preview but it looks great. So we did those rides and then did the tea cups as well and the speedway before calling it a night at about 11.30pm!

Sunday 14th - we checked out of Pop Century and went to DTD for another Earl of Sandwich :D Then I drove Lauren back to the airport after a very fun but tiring week of being a tourist! After that I drove to EPCOT for my PM shift which dragged and wasn't too much fun!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

(Second) California Adventure!

Wednesday 26th:

We got the flight from Orlando to Atlanta and literally had enough time to go to the bathroom and walk to the other end of the terminal to get our connecting flight so that was exciting. Got on the second plane and were pretty exhausted so I napped most of the flight. We were on the type of plane where there was only two seats each side and three in the middle so we had our own two seat "row" to ourselves which was nice. We landed in San Francisco at about 10.30am PST (Pacific Standard Time - 3 hours behind Florida and therefore 8 hours behind the UK) and got our bag before getting the slightly ghetto BART train into the city. Getting the ticket proved a little tricky because we had to use a machine and it was a bit complicated... felt like when we were in Paris doing the same thing but at least without the language problem! Once we emerged into the city I realised it was pretty cold so had to rummage around for my jacket which I pretty much didn't take off for the next 48 hours! Going from 95 degrees in Florida to 60 in SF was a bit of a shock haha!

We set off to find our hotel with a 49-pound suitcase and laptop bag in tow... and didn't quite realise how many hills we'd have to climb to get to the hotel. So it took us about 45 minutes of walking and a short stint in a streetcar to get there but we made it eventually! It was too early to check in so we left our bags there and then set off to explore!! We decided to go to the Coit Tower which is the highest point in SF so we could get a view of the city... a few hills later we got there and had to line up to go to the top of the tower which was good. Amazing views. It was sunny and quite warm when you were sheltered but the wind was cold! Afterwards, we headed down to Fisherman's Wharf to see what was there and ended up making a spur of the moment decision to go on a Bay Cruise under the Golden Gate bridge. Oh my... I've never been so COLD IN MY LIFE!!!! It was super windy! However, got some good albeit foggy views of the bridge and the bay, it was fun. Afterwards we got soup (much needed) before heading to the hotel to check in. We were so exhausted by only having 3 hours napping/sleep in about 36 hours that we both crashed out at about 8pm!

Thursday 27th:

We had a good solid 13 hours sleep before getting up for our full day in SF. We left the hotel and walked down to the Bay (about 15 minutes walk) for our trip to Alcatraz! This is what I was most excited about seeing in SF... and probably the whole trip actually. We got the boat over there and had a 5 minute introductory talk before watching a 15 minute film about the history of the place. Then we walked up the massive hill to the prison where we got given a headset... then you did a tour of the prison which was about 45 minutes and lead by the audio track. It was a really good way of doing it because it kept everyone moving around and gave you loads of useful information... you could always pause it to stop and see something in more detail or to have a break. We spent about 2 hours on Alcatraz Island in all. You could go inside the cells and stuff which was super CREEPY! I loved it. Definitely do it if you go to SF... but book in advance because it was sold out when we got there had we not bought our tickets online!

Upon returning to dry land we got lunch in 'Little Italy'... I had delicious pasta. Afterwards, we got the bus to the other side of SF, the Presido Park (sp?) to see the Walt Disney Family Museum. This took a little bit of persuading with Nick because he wasn't too keen but I think he enjoyed it in the end! I loved it - SO INTERESTING. It isn't owned by the company, it's owned by the family of the man himself so you get a different angle. The best part for me was seeing one of the very first original drawings of Mickey Mouse which was soooo cool as well as the Christian Louboutin 'Cinderella' shoes in real life...

There's only like 10 pairs in existence or something so that was cool and I wish I could have some!! The whole place was just really interesting for a Disney Keeno like me. Afterwards, we headed back to the city for some ice cream at the original Ghirardelli's - yum. Then we were pretty tired and cold so we headed back to the hotel to chill out and sleep again.

Friday 28th: We had to be up bright and early at 6am again. We had the hotel breakfast (meh) and then set off with the suitcase up another hill to the bus stop to get the bus to the BART stop again back to the airport. This time we did a direct route with little problem so a pity we hadn't figured that one out on Wednesday! Haha! Anyways, we got to the airport and headed to the car rental facility to pick up our car. After a small set back involving having to pay an additional $191 (ugh) we finally got the car which was a nice Toyota Corolla. We drove out of SF and got to a toll bridge which we didn't realise... asked them if we could pay it later (like you can in Florida via the post) because I didn't think I had enough cash and they didn't accept cards. Well, he handed us this piece of paper and we drove on... until I looked at it - it was a Toll Violation!!! Cheeky! So now I've landed myself with a $25-50 fine for crossing a bridge which should have been about $5. Annoying much. I also have to wait for it to come in the post via Hertz as it was a rental car so that's just irritating.

Anyway, we drove on and were headed to Lake Tahoe. We got a McDonald's breakfast on the way and eventually arrived. It was pretty there. Nick wanted to get a gondola ride up to a high point but we couldn't find it and it was expensive... so we gave up and took photos of the lake instead. Then we got back in the car and drove to Yosemite which was another 2.5 hours drive because Nick wanted to see this famous rock called the Half Dome. We managed to get there just in time for sunset so we got some awesome pictures and saw the prettiness of the national park. Would love to go back there one day.

Then it was time to drive on and back to just south of SF for our hotel that night. After an endless drive in which I fell asleep several times we got to our Hilton hotel (bargain at $110 by the way!) and checked in and went straight to bed!

Saturday 29th: This was the day of the drive down Pacific Highway 1... Nick was particularly excited by this. We stopped in Monteray Bay first... it was VERY foggy. So much so that we couldn't really see the coast which was sad. So we drove on to Carmel-By-The-Sea which was beautiful! Still a bit foggy but we got an amazing lunch at an Italian place... it was SO good. The pizza took a while to come out of the kitchen (about 25 minutes) but the waitress gave us a free glass of wine on top of the one we'd already had so that was pretty awesome :D I stopped at a sweet shop that advertised selling 'English candy' so I purchased a mint Aero and a Boost bar! Yay! After lunch we got back into the car and drove on as we had a lot of miles to cover and it was already about 3pm by this point! We stopped to see a lovely waterfall and cove... and lots of viewpoints. It varied between really foggy and really sunny it was weird.

Eventually we reached the Malibu area of LA and this was where we checked into our next hotel. Nick had some homework he had to finish and I washed my hair, thrilling stuff then I went to bed.

Sunday 30th: We had breakfast at the hotel (was good...) and then drove into downtown LA (bit scary!!). Found this great big multistorey car park at Hollywood & Highland which was only $2 to park at if you got your ticket validated by one of the restaurants or shops in the shopping center attached. Seen as we had lunch there that worked! We saw the Hollywood sign again, some of the walk of fame stars and the outside of the Chinese Theatre. It was cool but a complete tourist trap. We escaped after a couple of hours and went to Disneyland where we had reservations at California Adventure. We did Soarin' and saw the Aladdin show (REALLY GOOD!) before having our dinner. We had a World of Color package so we got a set 3-course menu for $40 and fastpasses for the show in the VIP viewing area... soooo good! The show itself was incredible, I've never seen anything like it! Then Disneyland Park was open til midnight so we headed over there and queued for the Halloween-ified Space Mountain which was genuinely scary!! We finally left and went to our last hotel of the trip which was just down the road from the park thank goodness.

Monday 1st: Happy 30th Birthday EPCOT!! I was sad to miss the celebrations at my current park but I can watch the fireworks on YouTube right? ;)

Instead, we had a lie-in (much needed) and didn't check out of the hotel until midday. We got lunch at the Downtown Disney area which was okay (hoping for an Earl of Sandwich but it wasn't open! Sad times!) and then hit the road for a little adventure into the Anza-Borrego desert. We had two entertaining events happen... firstly we were driving along through an endless sea of the colour brown when we saw a bright blue lake! It was massive! Upon looking at the map, it actually was the Salton Sea which was formed by earthquakes and lay directly on the San Andreas Fault Line (I got a Geography GCSE-related thrill from this!) so we thought we'd take a detour to explore this. We drove down a random road past some orange groves until we got to the edge of the lake... it looked pretty! We got out of the car to be hit by the most awful stink of sewage and flies!!! EWWWWW!!!! We jumped back in the car and drove off with all the windows down trying to swat the flies out of the car and spray body spray in an attempt to get rid of the smell! Not quite what I'd pictures but hilarious.

Secondly, we got to the viewpoint which Nick wanted to see - Font's Point. It was a sand road but it looked pretty packed in sand and to begin with it was fine to drive on... for about 10 minutes until it turned to soft sand and we very nearly got stuck in the middle of the 100 degree desert with no mobile phone signal! I'll remind you we were in a 2-wheel drive Toyota Corolla... the desert won that one. We managed to reverse and swerve (A LOT) but get out of there in one piece. Poor car. We drove on and out of the desert until we eventually hit back to the LA area and managed to get some fast food as we were pretty hungry. We then returned the rental car and went to the airport to check in for the awful red-eye overnight flight back to Orlando.

Tuesday 2nd: I actually managed to sleep most of the flight amazingly. Still felt rough as hell when I got back though! Nick dropped me back at the Commons at about 8am and I went to bed until 1pm when I had to get up for work. I was training the PM with Luke and we were KD which was joyful haha. He was actually an amazing trainee to the point where I had 2 of my own tables and didn't need to worry about him at all! His test is today but I'm sure he'll pass with flying colours.

Wednesday 3rd: We've finally caught up! Yesterday I had picked up an AM shift because I had too many days off recently and no money after this trip! It was okay. I was in dart room until I was cut at 2.15pm as I had to go to a F&B 'Safety Meeting' with my manager. I was the token gesture from the UK lol. It was okay but boring. Afterwards, I got changed and clocked out before meeting all the rest of my arrival group (minus Steffie who was on a cruise) and we went to Raglan Road for dinner! It was great! SO MUCH FUN to hang out with them all again... albeit for a sad occasion as it was Tyler's last day of work and he flies home tomorrow. We managed to make it to Magic Kingdom with 5 minutes to spare before the fireworks and legged it up Main Street to stand in front of the castle. Tears were shed and mass group hugs occurred. It was a bit sad... and I'm gonna be so upset to say goodbye to these guys in 3 weeks time. It will be weird to be here without them. We went and did Thunder Mountain (at the back - so awesome!) and then Jungle Cruise which was hilarious before we headed back to housing.

Today I'm about to get ready to go to the Outlets and EPCOT with Tyler as it's his last day in Orlando ;( I'll be so upset to say goodbye to him. Although I called immigration this morning and verified I can go to Canada at the end of my program and come back to Orlando on an ESTA before I go home... so I'll be seeing him in a couple of months I guess. He's been one of my best friends here for the last year and I'll miss him. It's also the first goodbye of my arrival group which is sad. Okay, gonna stop typing before I start crying now!!

It's been a while!

Ugh where to start! So much has gone on that I haven't had a chance to update and now I'm over two weeks out of date...

Well, work was pretty standard for the days after my last blog post. I really don't remember much unusual stuff happening to be honest. I had some really good shifts where I earnt lots of money and then some shifts which weren't so busy.

The day I met Tyler, we went to EPCOT and had a few drinks around the world. Met his friend from DCL and HIS friend so we went to the Italian pavilion and had some food in the wine cellar before going to China for QS food as well. Then Tyler and I left to go to Magic Kingdom and see Wishes which was nice as well. I switched my days off that week so I was working the next day and then was off on the Friday. I mostly spent that day going to the Post Office to post my sister some new UGG boots (substantially cheaper here than in the UK!) and then packing my stuff for my latest trip with Nick!

Saturday I worked a MID which was thrilling. Then Sunday I was an AM but ended up being at work until about 6pm which is a late finish for an AM shift. It paid off money-wise but was a bit annoying! I went to Nick's new apartment for the first time (it's only taken 2 months LOL) and that's really nice... in Celebration so a lot further away than he used to live which was a 10 minute walk from here!

Monday I was a PM. The Tuesday I switched my shift and was a 10.45AM... on the up side I persuaded Janet to cut me at 2.30pm and so I got out of there at 4pm! It was the start of another vacation and I had barely prepared for it!

So I got out of work, went back to Commons to change. Nick picked me up and we went and got a curry (at the only decent curry place in Orlando... almost tastes like home but not quite haha) and then back to Commons to pack my stuff. Took it to his apartment and he was as ill-prepared as me in that because our flight was at 6am the next day we had to leave at 3.45am for the airport... this meant we ended up washing his clothes, watching a Disney Channel movie and generally not doing anything sensible because we just stayed up and went to Waffle House at 3am. LOL. Therefore after no sleep, we went to the airport to get our flight to... San Francisco!!