Wednesday, 28 March 2012

This one time when I worked at Disney World...

I find a lot of my sentences starting like this especially when I'm at home.... but yesterday was a crazy day which requires a blog post all of its own!

I went in as a AM, presuming I'd be extended to a Mid because it was a Tuesday and we tend to get a lot of call-ins on Tuesdays as everyone goes out to Lads and Lasses on a Monday night. Anyway, I get to work and there hasn't been any call-ins! So I was happy because it looked like I was going to be an AM. I got given section 709 which is a tricky section as it's so far away from the kitchen but all was okay. I had some nice tables and apart from a blip where I picked up a 5th table on 311 (on the way to/from the kitchen) and  got a bit weeded it was all fine. At 3.30pm, David (the assignor) started asking around as to who would extend...! At 3.30pm!! That's right at the end of lunch service! I considered the fact that I was lowest seniority and would probably be forced anyway, plus if I volunteered then it put an end to everyone else bickering, bitching and moaning that they didn't want to extend blah blah blah. So I volunteered.

I finished with my tables at about 4.15pm and went on my pathetic break. I was entitled to 1 hr 15 minutes but I didn't want to spend that much time away from the floor because it's like throwing away money.... so I took about 30 minutes and did a mini bank-out of my AM receipts so that they were organised for the evening. Went back downstairs to discover that I was on lower deck AGAIN! This time I was in section 704! It's very unusual if you're a Mid that you do both halves of your shift inside or both outside. So... I only had 3 tables but they were big-tops (i.e. 5/6 people almost every time). Chris still was waiting on one of my tables as he thought I'd be longer on break so he had to stay with those guests until they were done... I was happy with my 2 tables for the time being. But then they finished eating and I actually ended up with an empty section for a while! So then I got sat a family of 4 who were from Southampton so that was nice but then I was double-sat with a 5 top and a 6 top! So then it all got crazy because I was trying to run around getting their orders and drinks in.

The evening then progressed okay for the next hour or so, when my 5-top finished eating and left. I turned the table and got a 4-top in who were celebrating a 30th birthday. They'd already been drinking around the world so I knew they'd be a laugh :P On the seating ticket it said they had a birthday cake on order which was personalised so this meant I was going to have to do a shout-out for it... uh-oh!! Anyway, apart from having quite a few drinks it was all going fine up until the fireworks. The wind was blowing completely in our direction so during IllumiNations there was ash and bits of firework going everywhere! When I cleared the empty plates from 706, there was ash on their plates!! So 704 (the Brits) paid and left, then 706 paid and left too so I was just left with 705 which is when it got funny... I had to go get the cake. One woman in the party was really quite drunk and every time I went to the table during the meal she kept talking about how he should get a free dessert because it was his birthday but I knew they were getting the cake so I had to keep quiet! From the look on the man's wife's face, she also knew about the cake but the other guy with them didn't either. All very complicated. So, I get the cake together and grab all the servers that were around to go out to do the shoutout... and he wasn't at the table!! So we backed-up and went back into the kitchen, waited a few minutes and then tried again!

I did the shout-out and we sang happy birthday to him but it was a bit weird because it said "Happy 30th Birthday Greg" on the cake. Well, his birthday button didn't say Greg on it... it had a different name on it. So Amelia points this out after the shout-out when we're back in the kitchen and it clicked that I thought that there was something weird about it! hahahaa! So lucky for me, the guests had had so many drinks that they quite frankly didn't really care it had the wrong name on it... cue drunk lady offering cake to all the other guests in the Rose and Crown and me having to bring take-out boxes over so that they could put it away and not keep offering it around! Then said lady started smoking at the table so I had to go and put an end to that as well! Then they had split checks so I organised that and when I went back to the table it transpired that this drunk woman was just a randomer that they'd met that day in the park!! How odd!! So they didn't really know her!! The other guy with them was the birthday man's cousin so that wasn't so weird... but it literally couldn't have got any more random with these guests! They also didn't leave after paying, they sat around for AGES! So I was waiting to clean and sweep my section and it all took a lonnnng time. Eventually I did it, did my sidework and did a complicated bank out before finally clocking out at 11pm, over 12 hours since I started my shift!

Overall I feel I'm enjoying service which I'm really glad about. It's very hard work, it's full-on and also hard on the mind as well because of all the multi-tasking and brain power it requires. But it's fun, you get to talk to the guests a lot and obviously you make more money so that's nice too. I've had a couple of freak-out moments but it really is like learning to drive - you only really start learning once you've passed your test!!

On a side note... you remember how easy it is to lose your job here when people that you like get termed. Sadly one of the reasonably new people in HRC got termed yesterday for a housing violation... he was a great person, very enthusiastic and I'm sure a great cast member (I never saw him at work) and it's really a pity that he'll be going home so early. When you're working here you have to be so careful of everything you do but as long as you stick to the rules then you're all good :)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Dollar Dollar

Firstly, I apologise for the fact that it's taken me over a week to update. Yet again, I'm sure this will be an excessively long post just like the others... it's just that I've been so busy that finding the time to sit down and do more regular updates just doesn't happen. So you'll have to do with weekly updates!

On St Patrick's Day (the date of my last post) I actually ended up seeing Nick in the evening. I felt kind of down and so it was nice to see a friendly face.  The next day I was off and Tyler suggested going to Blizzard Beach. I'm not the biggest fan of waterparks but it's still free for us to get in and it was a lovely day outside so we went on the bus there. It was sooo dead! Afterwards we realised that this was because Typhoon Lagoon (the other Disney waterpark) had reopened that day after months of being closed for refurbishment so that's why it was so quiet. We did a slide (with a million steps up to it!) and went round the lazy river before going in the wave pool. It's really cool but I don't like the rough floor it has... supposedly this is because it stops people slipping over but in reality it just really hurts your feet! Then we lay out in the sun for a bit and got some quick service food and a funnel cake for lunch before we headed back. I went back to the Commons whilst Tyler went to work.

I got back and got changed before getting a random text from Nick if I wanted to go to his pool and lie around in the sun. So I walked over to his and he realised that he didn't know the access code for the pool (talk about gated community) so we abandoned that idea and both ended up napping in the afternoon which is totally out of character for me but did me a world of good! I was so tired from my first week of serving that I needed the extra sleep. Once we'd both woken up we went to Chevy's and got some food before he dropped me off at Downtown Disney. I walked around and bought a couple of things with my new-found wealth (ahhhh tipped positions....!) before meeting Sophie at the cinema. We went to watch The Vow which was really good and quite sad! We didn't get out til quite late so we just got the F bus and went home.

The next day I wanted to meet Tyler at Magic Kingdom after he finished work. I didn't hear anything from him so I headed over that way on the A bus anyway. I popped into Cast Connection but didn't find anything good so then got the cast bus to the Tunnels... I always feel a bit edgy going through the Tunnels into the park especially now I don't work in MK anymore. So once I got out into the park, I went out of the turnstiles and back in just to cover myself!! I put my stuff in a locker and watched the parade from the train station which was unusual! Then I got the train round to the new Fantasyland station which has reopened as phase one of the Fantasyland Expansion. I walked through past the new Goofy's Barnstormer (which I need to ride at some point) and the new Dumbo. Got myself a pretzel from Tomorrowland and then wondered into Liberty Square. Decided to watch Hall of Presidents so I could tick it off my list and then the same for the Country Bears Jamboree which is one of the WIERDEST things at Disney World. Never again. But at least I could cross it off my list of doing every single attraction in the 4 main parks. Then I finally heard from Tyler who, it turned out, had got food poisoning and had ended up calling into work and spent most of his day in his bathroom, poor thing. So I left MK and headed home. Nick had got off work so I went to his and we bought stuff in Publix, went home and made a yummy spinach quiche before watching Airplane! on Netflix which was hilarious.

Tuesday it was back to work time. This was supposed to be an AM shift but I knew with it being Tuesday it would more than likely end up as a Mid (same goes for tomorrow...) and sure enough in pre-meal they asked for volunteers to stay. I was in 106 for the morning which was okay and then 510 for the evening where I had some really nice tables who bought lots of alcohol... fun times! I was pretty tired in the evening but had racks as my sidework which wasn't too bad. We went to McDonalds after work (9 of us in Tarik's Taxi trying to go through the drive thru... hilarious) and then home.

Wednesday I was a PM so I slept in for the morning and then headed to work for my shift which I was in 510 again!! I had a really good shift where I almost earnt as much as my Mid the day before. I really felt like I was getting the hang of this server lark now! As long as you keep calm and keep your head screwed on then you're fine. Oh, and it helps if the kitchen is working well because the only issues come when the guests have to wait a long time for their food really unless YOU make a mistake which you can only blame yourself for... (more on that later)

Thursday I was a PM again, this time in 514. This is an okay section - it's the one I did my test in but it does mean you're KD (kitchen duty). This means you have stay until the last server is done and check all the sidework and sections then be present for the co-ordinator or manager to walk the restaurant so basically you end up being last out. I had a pretty good shift though so it was just a bit tiring staying until the end that's all. I ended up having a 7 top and a 9 top as well so Janet (the assignor) kept me busy!

Friday I was a Mid and it was EMH (ugh). In the morning I was given section 301... also known as Dart Room. It's horrible. I really don't like it because 1) it's inside and 2) it's right next to the bar. In the heat of summer I'm sure it will be a better section but at this time of year people like to sit outside. I also had quite a few annoying guests... the worst was the old lady cast member retiree who, every single time I was near her table, wanted something else. She also didn't speak much english so had to go through her daughter to translate the spanish for me which was a bit tricky. Just when I was trying to take their order, Janet sat me again with a 4-top on 302 and I felt super bad because they were sitting there for like 10 minutes before I could get round to spieling and taking their order. Lucky for me, they were a really nice table and they were on the dining plan so it all worked out well. They even told David on their way out how nice I was and how much they enjoyed having me as their server which was super nice of them :) I ended up telling Janet to cut me as early as she could for my break so that I could hopefully be back in the restaurant for most of dinner service. This is because I would have a better section and earn more money as well plus it would be more convienient for her too. So I eventually went on my break at like 3.30pm and only took about 35 minutes. We theoretically get either 45 minutes or 1 hour depending on the length of our shift but it's up to you if you don't take that amount of time because it means you'll be back on the floor earning more money. If you take your full hour at say, 4pm on a Mid shift then you're basically throwing away $100 potentially so it's up to you really. As long as I get enough time to eat, drink and have a bit of a rest then I'm happy. Because it was EMH it meant it was an extra long day so that was *fun*... I was out in section 510 AGAIN!! The PM part of my shift started well and was all fine until I screwed up and it threw me off... basically, when you put in the order for appetizers you have to keep an eye out for when they're ready because if the food runners are busy with entrees then they won't run your appetizers. Well, I forgot to look out for them so they were sitting there for 10-15 minutes before I remembered and took them out. Well I hadn't put in the entrees order to the computer to that point because if I put it in at the same time as the appetizers then they'd potentially all be ready at the same time which isn't good for the guest obviously! So, I gave them the salad and soup, then put in the entrees. Well, by this point it was like 7.15pm which is one of the busiest times of day for the kitchen and it meant they had to then wait 20-25 minutes for the entrees to be ready so they'd been sitting for an hour by the time they got the entrees... and it was all my fault. I felt really bad because they were complaining about how slow it was (I blamed the kitchen but really it was all my fault). This all piled up on top of me plus I had 3 other tables of course and I had a bit of a mini-breakdown in a corner of the kitchen. Whitney (my manager) found me and was asking if everything was okay but I just needed a minute to de-stress. When you get "in the weeds" (meaning you have too much to do and not enough time to do it in), it takes some time to calm down from it once you're back on track and I just couldn't deal with it. It was the first time I'd been in the weeds so that's why I got upset. Anyway, I was back on track and the table were still nice to me and still tipped me (I wouldn't have blamed them if they'd scuzzed me because it took so long...). The rest of the evening was okay. I essentially had a 3-table section because the family sitting on 510 decided to sit there for over 2 1/4 hours so that they could see the fireworks. It was very annoying because they had 2 kids meals and one adult meal between them and so basically sat from 8-9.15pm without ordering anything and just taking up a table. But there was nothing I could do so there we go... Eventually I got out and after sidework I went home.

On Saturday it was 'my Friday' and I had an AM shift. Whilst there were people who really wanted to ER and give away their PM part of their Mids I was determined to stick to having an AM shift. I was down on lower deck (707) for the first time. I was supposed to have Dart Room again but I swapped with Dougie who didn't want to be outside. It was a great shift!! It gave me faith in AMs because up to that point, I was strongly disliking lunchtimes! My guests (bar one) were all lovely, friendly and alcohol-drinkers! YEAH! So it was very enjoyable. I banked out at around 4.45pm (because I got sat my last table at 3.20pm which sucked!) and then me, Amelia and Emily went to Outback for some early dinner. During the 2 for 1 cocktails, we decided that Cowboys would be an awesome idea so I went home, got ready and then went to Amelia's for pre-drinks. We got Tarik's Taxi to Cowboys and it was really fun!! Got home at about 3am after 25 of us squished back into the taxi home and went to bed.

Yesterday (Sunday) I was off and got up feeling a bit rubbish. Not hungover, just tired... I went to Downtown Disney to get a couple of things (and an Earl of Sandwich!) then Walgreens to buy some ingredients for a cocktail I wanted to make for a birthday party that's coming up and then Walmart for some food. When I was on the way to Walmart, Nick called and said he was bored so he picked me up from Walmart and I went to his where we ate pizza and watched game shows on TV. We both were feeling ill with colds so he dropped me back home at about 10pm and I dosed up on Nyquil and went to bed.

Luckily today I'm feeling a lot better so I went to Panera Bread with Tyler and have spent the afternoon cleaning my apartment for the inspection tomorrow, doing my laundry and updating this blog! Now I'm going to upload some photos to my Facebook and straighten my hair - joy!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Server Training...

Well, server training is exhausting. That's mainly what I have to say about it! On Monday I was at work for my first Mid. My trainer was Lindsay which was nice because I did my bar day with her and she's a core trainer so I'd done quite a bit of training with her already. It was a bit of a crazy day because you do the whole lunch and whole dinner service on a Mid shift. It seemed to go reasonably well although I kept forgetting to pick up the seating ticket (big no-no) and kept forgetting to bring out bread. Eventually, I finished the shift and we banked out... it was okay. I was super tired so just got the bus home and slept. I was back up early again the next day for my last day of training (it goes so fast!) and I had to be at work for about 11.30am. We did about 3 hours of "classroom" training which consisted of going through the written test I was doing on the Thursday, running over the menu, spieling and that kind of thing. Then we joined the pre-meal at 3.30pm and did the PM shift. My trainer was Nicole this time and she was great because she stepped back and let me do my thing. She just stepped in if I needed her... this was what I needed because I needed to know that I could cope on my own for my test on Thursday. We were also KD that night (Kitchen Duty) which means you have to check everyone else's sidework before they can get signed off to go home and therefore you're usually the last server to leave. Even though I was really tired, we ended up all going to TGI Friday's to get food. We ended up running into some of the new newbies who hadn't actually got to the pavilion yet so that was quite nice. We had a couple of drinks and some food then Nick said he was bored and not tired because he'd slept in late that day so he ended up picking me up at 1am. We watched half a DVD at his apartment before I was too exhausted to stay awake.

The next day was Wednesday and I was off. This was the day before my Service Test so obviously I had to do revision.... I met some of the newbies as well as Danny, Amelia and Rob and we went to Animal Kingdom! It was fun! I did revision whilst standing in the (long) lines and we went on Everest and Bug's Life. We tried to go on Dinosaur but we'd queued for about 15 minutes when it went 101 and everyone had to leave the queue which was annoying! So we went over to the Restorantosaurus and it was PACKED. I have never seen it like that ever! Literally, they had a queue out of the door and cast members asking "how many?" just like for an attraction but instead it was to go into a line to buy food. Then they had another line to get a table. We got lucky in the end and managed to get somewhere to sit down and eat but still! CRAZY! After this, we went to the Festival of the Lion King and then sadly I had to drag myself away from Animal Kingdom... because I had to sit down and do some proper revision at home. And that's how I spent the rest of my evening... exciting.

Thursday was Test Day! Ahhh! We got a taxi at 8.15am and started the written test just after 9am. It took me almost 2 hours to complete but I did get 196/201. Boom. After that I sat around for a bit, had lunch and then went to pre-meal for the AM shift. My test table was going to be 514 which is a nice table but it's outside and therefore through a door... not good! Anyway, the shift was going okay until I got sat a weird set of guests on 516 and they threw me off a bit because they were just... odd. Then I got a little bit weeded because I knew I was going to be sat my test table at 2pm and I hadn't kept up with bussing and stuff so I was a little stressed. Eventually I got sat my test table (they'd put the name on the ticket as Luke Skywalker which amused me... in reality it was Whitney and Lindsey). I spieled absolutely fine all the drinks, 2 apps, 2 entrees and side dishes even though I was nervous as hell. They ordered an iced tea, water and a hot tea... I knew they would but it was a bit of a pain in the bum to have to carry all that stuff out. When I got back to the kitchen I had a bit of a meltdown because I felt like I was overloaded and basically the pressure got the better of me... I ended up having a little cry with Daniel E in the kitchen (bless him, he took my drinks off me and gave me a pep talk) before getting a grip and taking the drinks out. From then on it was just a blur really... I kept forgetting little things (like taking milk out with the hot tea) and they quizzed me on the new menu which was a bit nervewracking. I forgot to spiel the wines properly until I got to dessert so luckily I got that in there... then I opened the wine bottle (the bit I was dreading) with only a little struggle... but it didn't pop!! We don't pop at Disney!! :-D Finally, the test was over and all my other tables had left as well. I bussed everything and then went upstairs to find out my fate.

I really did think they were going to turn around and say I needed more training/observation but they didn't... I PASSED!!! :D

Whitney said it was a great assessment and there was only a few little things I had to do differently. They were so confident in me that Anny (our area manager) asked me to work a Mid on the Friday... i.e. the next day. I couldn't really say no to her but it was supposed to be my day off so I couldn't go to Universal with Nick like I was intending to sadly. After I was done and banked out, I went home and got changed then met up with Tyler and went to Downtown Disney to get food. It was really busy down there because they were having a St Patrick's Day celebration so we ended up getting the boat to the Port Orleans Riverside Resort (another one ticked off my list!) and we went to Boatwright's - the full service restaurant there. It was sooooo good! I had shrimp pasta and it was super yummy then we shared a slice of Pecan Pie. Nom. We got a taxi home and I crashed out!

Friday was yesterday... I went in for my Mid as arranged. I was in section 106 but with only 3 tables for the AM. It wasn't too great... especially because another assessment was going on right next to me so I felt like the managers were staring me down when they weren't assessing Dougie! I had my break and then got Section 514 for my PM shift which ironically was the same section I had for my test. It was really good!! I turned my tables once but most of my tables bought loads of alcohol and were just a great laugh. You can tell what the table is going to be like right from the first "hello!" and these guys were great. I enjoyed the PM even though again I only had 3 tables which was all I could cope with really. The food took forever to come out of the kitchen though (on the AM but particularly on the PM) and it was a bit of a nightmare! For one table it took 40 minutes for them to get their entrees! So frustrating!

Whitney 'cut' me at 8pm... i.e. said I wouldn't get sat again after these guests had left. However, they all stayed for AGES and I didn't end up getting out til 11pm anyway! So the cut was pointless but the thought was there. I also got told I'd be food-running today (Saturday) as it is St Patrick's Day and the R&C was going to be craaaazy. I didn't enjoy this idea especially as there would be 4 food runners... therefore we'd all earn rubbish money for 12 hours of hard work basically. Plus the fact I'd given up my day off to do the Mid for Anny AND that meant I'd been scheduled 57 hours this week. So, I went in this morning feeling really tired and generally just not very well to be honest - to find out that due to a scheduling mix up there were actually FIVE food runners in all day... this was getting ridiculous so I went to one of the managers and explained the situation. She agreed to ER me and so I 'worked' for all of 5 minutes... Walked back to Cast Services and got the C bus home. Went to Walmart and am now going to bum around for the rest of the evening and get an early night so that hopefully I'm feeling better tomorrow.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Start Me Up!

I've got slightly addicted to the Glee mash-up of Start Me Up and Livin' On A Prayer... mainly because the Rolling Stones part reminds me of the UK Pavilion and the British Revolution which is the band that plays there. Anyway, it's fuelling my good mood this evening so it's going to be the title of this post!

On Friday, I spent most of the day time walking around the World Showcase with Ani, Sophie and Sam - we went to all the countries Kidcot stations and did our colour-in Duffy bears! We also met Pooh Bear, Tigger and Duffy Bear too. It was good fun... then I went to work for Food Running EMH-stylee. It was actually okay... just tedious and the only notable thing that happened was I dropped my first food!! Oops!! I was carrying a shepherd's pie in my right hand and two kids fish & chips on Mickey-shaped plates on my left hand/wrist... in the process of putting down the Shepherd's Pie on the table, the top Mickey plate on my left started slipping off and trying to counteract that meant that it went all over the floor and the peas flew everywhere! Lucky for me, the mess was mostly on the floor and the peas that did land on the guest only went on her poncho so kind of rolled off. It would have been a LOT worse if it was a messy food like the kids pasta!! I got two more on the fly and apologised profusely... but at least it's happened now! After my shift, I went home and went to bed because I was tired from the crazy amount of walking I'd done during the day!

After a horrendous food running shift yesterday which went on for 11 hours, we got out after all the servers, even most of the culinary, at 11pm... we got a lift back to Cast Services with our manager that's how late it was! The main reason was that I had the sidework of emptying all the vinegar bottles, sending them through potwash and then refilling them - a disgusting, time-consuming and boring job! My mum can verify how much I hate vinegar at the best of times! We also had to do all the usual cleaning plus 3 trays of butterballs as for some reason we didn't have any for the following day. So... I was totally exhausted by the time I got to bed AND the clocks moved forward an hour last night as well! So I lost an hours sleep on top of all that. Oh, and I failed to Tigger everyone (TGR, aka Tigger, is a program which lets us report how many tips each person got so we can be taxed correctly) but I was at the point of a mental breakdown so I gave up and ended up having to get one of my managers to go into the system for me to do it today... fail!

Anyway, I got about 5 hours sleep and then was up again for my first day of server training. It didn't get off to a good start because Dougie said he'd meet me outside Commons at 7.30am... he wasn't there (Fail #1) By 7.45am, he still wasn't there and nor was my trainer Lindsay... it also had started POURING with rain (and pretty much didn't stop for the entire day, it was truly British today - VILE! Fail #2!) so I made the executive decision to get the C bus which arrived at 7.45am because I wasn't getting a half-point today! I've kept my record clean as far as I know for over 4 months! So, I got to Epcot and tried to grab food from Odyssey but it didn't open until 9am! (Fail #3) so I walked to the UK and got soaking wet feet from the rain... they were squelching! (Fail #4) At least I had an umbrella.... I got to the UK and finally met Dougie and Lindsay who got there about 10 minutes after me (far too close to clock-in time for my OCD liking!). They'd picked up Panera Bread pastries for everyone so I did end up getting some breakfast even if it was super unhealthy! I then realised I didn't have a server pouch (Fail #5) because I didn't get one from costuming.... it didn't matter in the end but it was annoying!

SO... after all of this... me, Dougie and Lindsay started the day with a 2 hours talk through basics, standards and serving steps. We also had to spiel to Chef Carrie which was very nervewracking but it was good to get the first spiel out of the way! I remember when I spieled for the first time at Star Tours and the 40 guests in my Starspeeder actually applauded me... I felt just like that all over again! Chef just said I needed to breathe and not speak too fast but that was just nerves. Then we ran through opening the kitchen and getting it ready for the day before we had pre-meal at 11.45am. We tried the new Seasonal Soup which is coming onto the new menu in a few days... it was okay. Nothing can beat a bit of Heinz though, right!

Then it was showtime! I was in section 307, 308, 309 and 310 which was three 4-tops and one 2-top. My first table was an old couple and I decided to go in the deep-end by just getting stuck in and spieling rather than getting Gemma (my trainer for the day) to do it... I was glad I did because I crashed and burned a bit which was good really. Luckily they had actually pretty much decided what they wanted already so I could just take their order and go and put it into the POS (aka Till) without too much trouble. Then I was sat 307 about 5 minutes later which was a lovely family of three... the Dad was really friendly. I forget where they were from but they were American. I managed to do my full drinks and menu spiel! It really boosted my confidence when the Dad ordered not only an Imperial Sampler (4 beers and a cider in 5oz portions) but a pint of Stella as well! The Mom had a beer in a souvenir stein as well and even the little girl got a glowing character punch (it comes with a glowing Tinkerbell)... so I did really well on selling my drinks! They were great... then the morning/afternoon was just a total blur after that! I think I had 10 tables in the end, nothing really went wrong, nothing got dropped or spilt and Gemma went home with a decent tip for the day! (When you're training, you're on non-tipped wage again whilst your trainer gets the tips). After work, it was still raining so 9 of us went out for dinner at Outback Steakhouse which was really good, not badly priced and we had a GREAT server called Noah so it was a fun evening. I've just come back now and updated this, downloaded more Glee music (LOL), did some online shopping and revised my wines. Now - SLEEP!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Three Plates, Two Hands

Well Saturday turned out to be a really boring day. I bummed around my apartment, half revising my menu and mostly watching TV/Facebook Chatting. I didn't end up seeing Nick and his brother and after trying to find out what everyone else was doing that evening it turned out a lot of them were going to see the Goo Goo Dolls at the  Universal Studios Mardi Gras event - that wasn't really my thing. So to get out of the house, I got the bus to Vista Way and went to Walgreens before going home and ordering a Pizza Hut online. I ate it whilst watching Hairspray on TV (which I've never actually seen - only twice on stage!)... in the end I had a good chill out evening really. Just a pity it was on my own!

Sunday I was an all day food runner again of course... but it was the best food running shift so far. This was mainly because Sam and Tom were training plus me and Gemma therefore there was four of us so it made the job a LOT easier. It meant we could have one person making condiments or manning pot wash to take the dirty plates off servers without it affecting running the food to tables. Another bonus (of course) was the fact only two out of the four of us were being tipped that day because the trainees don't get tipped. So I earnt a nice amount of money that day and went home tired but okay.

On Monday, it was a harder day... I was on my own again for the first hour and then Ani came in at 1pm. It was a pretty busy AM so we were running around a lot. Then Claire was food running with us from 4pm which made it easier but at 7pm, Ani burnt her hand on the hot bread and had to go home because she couldn't carry plates any more :( So then it ended up with two of us again. I managed to cope a lot better though so I'm not dreading today or tomorrows food running shifts now. I worked the most hours on Monday so again I got good money. After work, me and Sophie wanted to go to TGI Fridays but there were no taxis so we ended up going to McDonalds and then later meeting Tyler there, we walked back about 1am and went to bed.

Tuesday was the start of my three days off!! In the morning, I went to Walmart and washed my hair. Then I met up with Nick and Alex (his brother) and we went to Hollywood Studios which was okay. We did Star Tours, Tower of Terror and Aerosmith before leaving and going to EPCOT to ride Soarin. Then we drove to Chillis where I treated them to dinner. We went back to Nick's apartment and watched a movie called Hugo which won 5 Oscars and had lots of famous people in it but I really didn't think much of it at all. Then we all crashed out.

Wednesday, I walked back to the Commons bright and early at about 8am.... to get ready for the BEACH! I packed up my beach bag and then met Sam, Sophie and Clare at the bus stop where we got the bus to Hollywood Studios and then the boat to the Dolphin hotel. This was where we picked up the rental car - we got a good deal actually! Sam drove us to Clearwater Beach which I found a bit nervewracking because she's not driven for 3 years let alone in America (but I am a terrible passenger!! And to be fair, she did a really good job...)... it took us about 2.5 hours to get there and then ages to get a parking space. We ended up parking in a Holiday Inn car park for $20 for the day  because it was easier. We grabbed lunch at McDonalds and then went and soaked up the rays for a few hours. We even went in the sea!! At about 5pm, we left the beach and drove back. I did the driving on the way back which was fine except the traffic sucked so it took us almost 3 hours to get back. We all went back, showered and changed then drove to TGI Fridays for dinner. Then we did a very quick trip to Walmart before getting home and having a well deserved sleep!

On Thursday, I had to be up early again in order to go with Sam and return the rental car as it had to be back by 10am. We drove to the Dolphin and gave the car back, then I waited there for Nick and Alex to pick me up as we were off to the beach again!! They were running a bit late but I met them at about 10.15am in the end and we met up with Nick's friends Eric and Kathleen from Soarin'..... Kathleen went in Eric's car and Me, Nick and Alex went in Nick's car. We did the drive a lot more quickly this time - getting further south in less time. We went to Siesta Key which is by Sarasota... took us about 2 hours to get there and AGES to find a parking space. We finally managed it and got to the beach. It had the finest white sand I've ever seen. Sadly, the weather was a bit more mixed yesterday than on Wednesday so we did feel a few spots of rain and it was quite cloudy but the sun did make an appearance a few times. We stayed there for about 3 hours until 4pm then went back to the cars and drove to Siesta Key Village where there were some restaurants. We went to a cool little shack/restaurant/bar which was actually an Oyster Bar but I had chicken fajitas which were really good. Nick had crab cakes which looked nice too (if I liked crab!). Eric and Kathleen left earlier because they had commitments in the evening... we left at about 5.30pm. The traffic sucked again getting back and we eventually got back at about 8pm. I had a well-needed shower and then walked to Nick's apartment where me and Alex watched Never Been Kissed (one of my favourite movies... wasn't Alex's choice!) and Nick did his Calculus homework. I fell asleep at some point whilst Nick was still doing his homework and I think he was doing it til about 2am :S Then I got dropped off this morning at Commons after I said goodbye to Alex because he's driving back to Georgia today. I'm meeting with Sam and Sophie to go 'round the World' and do Duffy bears and my EPCOT passport!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Just One More Disney Day...

What a week it's been. It started on Sunday with my first Food Running shift. Food Running is basically the role where you take the food from the kitchen to the table. That's pretty much it on the surface. However, when you start actually doing the role you realise you've also got to keep on top of having enough little pots of ketchup (ew) and tartar sauce (double ew), hot bread and butterballs in the kitchen as well as doubling up as a server when you're onstage because guests don't know the difference between you and their server so you end up getting drinks, extra cutlery, dipping sauces etc. The shifts are also very long - generally you start between 12pm and 1pm and will go all the way through until the last server has banked out at the end of the night (about 10-11pm)... in exchange for this you do get to have three days off a week which is one up-side.

So... on Sunday, I was getting to grips with the role. Also, it hurts your fingers and wrists carrying heavy plates all day long and you have to avoid getting burns from the bread oven too! It was overall a pretty good day but by the end I was totally exhausted. After work, I dropped by Steffie's apartment because she was watching the Oscars at hers but by the time I got there, they'd left for House of Blues. I managed to leave my phone at her apartment because I sat and watched the end of the awards with Emily (her friend who wasn't going out). So on Monday, I had to get up super early to take the rental car back (sad times)... I went via the post office and McDonald's for breakfast before filling it with gas and then returning it. I then walked the 20 minutes home and went to get my phone from Steffies. I bummed around until it was time for work because Monday was BAR DAY!

This was fun, I got to learn how to make all the cocktails, pour the drinks and generally work behind the bar. Seen as before my program I'd never poured a pint in my life, I think it went pretty well. By half way through my shift I was taking orders from guests and putting them through the till and everything as well as doing the service bar which is drinks for the restaurant. The only downside to the bar is how noisy it is! After we'd closed and I'd done all the washing up (it's traditional for the trainee to do it on their bar day apparently!), it was time for me to go home.

On Tuesday, it was CULINARY DAY! I'd been looking forward to this one since before my program. So I went to costuming in the morning and got my chef whites on... hellll yeah! I got the spiffy EPCOT ones as well. I did take a couple of pictures but they're not on the computer yet. The point of culinary day is to realise how the food is cooked, the processes (therefore the amount of time it takes) and what each part of the kitchen does. But really, the day is yours - you can kind of control what you do during the day. So I started in pantry which is where they make the salads and desserts mostly... did about an hour there and then moved to the hot line. It was very hot indeed. I was by the ovens and where they do all the grilling... I was there for about an hour and felt like passing out - I don't know how those guys do 8 hours a day in there! I helped to make shepherd's pie mostly!

Then I was helping make fish and chips with Alberto in the fryer section which was just a bit dangerous for me really. I'm surprised I didn't get burned LOL. Then it was time for my break so I got given a load of food from the kitchen (which I partically ate and so did all the other hawks that were around the GT desk!) and I sat upstairs cooling off for that hour. After my break, I took myself off to the chippy for about 45 minutes which was good. It was very quiet in there though so I got a bit bored after a while and went back to the kitchen. It was at this point that it turned out the fryer in the kitchen was broken because it had been turned up too high and the oil had burned... so cue a manic hour of getting fish fried in the chippy and then transferring it to the kitchen. Actually, it was lucky I was there because in the end, I took over doing pantry on my own whilst Gonzalo emptied the fryer, cleaned it and refilled it with oil. They wouldn't have been able to get it up and running again if they hadn't had someone to cover pantry so yay. Pantry turned out to be my favourite thing and I did it until the end of my shift at 8.30pm.

I went back to cast services, threw my whites into laundry and got changed. Nick picked me up and we went to Publix to grab a few things to eat and some wine and then went to his apartment. I revised my menu and he revised Ancient Egypt for school... exciting stuff. By about midnight I was falling asleep so I crashed out.

Wednesday was my first day off! I got up and walked to Patterson Court where I discovered that Tyler had an alterior motive for asking me over and that was to help him move his crap to his new apartment (his 5th apartment in 4 months!!). Having said that, this is a really nice one-bedroom apartment so I think he'll be there for a while now! He was borrowing Alison's car so we took a trip to American Eagle at The Loop and then went to Cracker Barrell for lunch before going to Target where I bought a lamp, alarm clock and small fan amongst other things. Exciting! We dropped this stuff back at my apartment and then went back to Patterson to unpack some of his stuff.

Then it was time to go to MAGIC KINGDOM! For the 'One More Disney Day' thing which they were doing for Leap Year - basically they were opening MK from 6am Weds to 6am Thurs. We picked up Steffie at the Commons and then went to Walmart where we made up some 'special' coca-cola to keep the celebrations going all evening ;) We got to Magic Kingdom and ended up parking literally about 5 rows from the back of the parking lot! We got the tram to the TTC and then the monorail. The park was a bit crazy! We probably stood in the worst place to watch the fireworks which was by Casey's Corner because there were so many people trying to leave and come in at the same time after Wishes that it caused a complete blockage and standstill. It was crazy. We literally couldn't move anywhere. The highlight was a cast member who was standing on one of the grass verges and shouting at the guests: "If you are entering the park stay on the LEFT, if you are exiting the park stay on the RIGHT and if you are stood still and people are moving around you then please move and find your own space out of the way of everyone else!!!" We made a hand-written GSF for him because it amused us so much. Eventually they FINALLY opened the backstage exit and took people down the back of Main Street to ease some of the traffic... took them like an hour to realise this was the best option.

So we left MK and walked to the Contemporary... went to the Wave bar for a couple of hours where we met Ginger Dan and had a few drinks and some food. Then we went back to MK at about 11pm and ended up meeting some of Ty and Daniel's friends too. We went to Tomorrowland and did the Carousel of Progress and Peoplemover... then went and did Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean (where our boat was so heavy it kept getting stuck... if the water had been deep enough I think we would have sank LOL). We also did Philharmagic and then went and danced at the Dance Party for a while! At about 3am we went and did Haunted Mansion where we were getting very tired. After stopping at The Lunching Pad to try and get cream cheese pretzels (we failed) we decided it was time to go home... we got a ride home in Nick's convertable (thus known as Ginger Nick... friend of Ginger Dan. We're taking over the world!). I got home at like 5am, pretty exhausted but it was fun!!

Thursday I spent most of it slobbing around feeling tired and revising my menu. In the evening, I went out and met Tyler, Sam and Steffie. We went to Publix and then had wraps at his apartment before I came back and slept.

Yesterday was my first tipped Food Running shift... it wasn't great really. I was so hot for the whole day and exhausted. I felt like I was rubbish and not keeping up. It was hard because I had no trainer this time and it was a lot busier. Plus as it was Friday, it was EXTRA TRAGIC HOURS. UGH. So, I tried my best and I hope I was better than I thought I was... but the good part was that it was my first tipped shift so I made about $100 in one day... considering I worked 11 hours its not really that different! I suppose if you add on my hourly rate as well then I did make more but yeah, it was ok. Then me, Sophie and Rob went to McDonalds and ran into David so we sat with him til about 1am. We walked back and I went home and fell straight to sleep.

I'm off again today... not doing much, hopefully going out to see Nick and his brother who comes into town today a bit later. Then I work Food Running tomorrow and Monday before my next 3 days off! Woo!