Sunday, 29 April 2012

6 months since I arrived in Florida!

Wow, I've just been on The Hub (our internal website for CMs) and I've actually had an ADO (Additional Day Off) approved for whilst my parents are here!! Seen as this hasn't happened since I was on podium, it's worth a blog mention :P Fighting for extra time off here is totally exhausting and demotivating... it's something I've never had to deal with when I was an ICP. Part of it is because we have to hit 30 hours a week to satisfy our visa requirements and part of it is because there's so many less of us than there would have been in another restaurant location. If you think about it - you've only got full timers working at the Rose & Crown... no seasonal people and very few part timers (there's a few because they live here but it's an exception.. I can only think of about 3 people) so if you give away a shift and it takes you below 30 hours: DENIED. If you take someone's shift and it takes you over 40 hours and into overtime: DENIED. If you ask for an ADO and there's not enough people in that day (even months ahead) then you guessed it...:DENIED. It's a nightmare. However, I've managed to switch shifts before to try and get 3 days off in a row and as I've said, on occasion you can get an ADO or use 'floating holiday' (kind of like time in lieu)... it's a pity though because as you're here for a year, you want to be able to get out of Orlando and see other parts of the USA. Of course, there is always the option of calling in... but I've been here 6 months now and I have NO POINTS! Not even for misclocking or sickness :D

So yes, it's exactly 6 months today since I arrived in the USA! Isn't that crazy?! It means, sadly, I'm officially half-way through my program. I've already created some amazing memories... ones that come to mind are: seeing Cirque Du Soleil, staying in the Wilderness Cabins and Bay Lake, seeing Wishes from the Seven Seas Lagoon, Skydiving, road trip to Clearwater Beach, visiting Kennedy Space Center with Nick, seeing 2012 in on New Year's Eve at EPCOT after a 14 hour chippy register shift, getting an Applause-O-Gram, staying at Magic Kingdom ALL NIGHT for Leap Year, drinking around the Monorail/World Showcase... I could go on and on! When I think about it, I've already done so many great things but I feel as if there's so much more I could do in the next 6 months, especially outside of Florida. I know that the next 6 months are going to go SO fast and I am going to definitely make the most of them... I already have a trip to Cedar Point booked (the biggest rollercoasters in the world are there!) which is in Ohio and that's in 2 weeks time! I'm not going home before I've visited Disneyland in Anaheim and the Grand Canyon. It would be awesome to go on a Cruise (and/or a Disney Cruise!), see Las Vegas, see Los Angeles, go to Canada... basically hit everything on my bucket list.  HERE'S TO THE NEXT 6 MONTHS!!!

In other news, work has been pretty same-same. The last few days have been dead in the park so the restaurant has been really quiet. I had a monetary target I was trying to hit but I'm not going to manage it - not because I've been spending but because I haven't earnt it in the first place. Wednesday I was a PM on 514 which meant I was KD... and I had my first Code V! Yes, a child 'protein-spilled' all over my table/the floor/the wall/the table below them on lower deck (which luckily was empty)... it was totally unexpected and stressed me out! I called custodial straight away and then all I could do was give a million brawnies (they're like napkins but for cleaning) and a bin-bag for dirty stuff... and get their check sorted so they could leave! So embarrassing! The rest of the shift was fine but it threw me out of sync, oh and Janet sat me again with a new table in my section before they'd left so that was something I didn't need! Like I said, I was KD but I got out at about 11.30pm so it wasn't too bad. After work, I went to McDonalds with Nick.

Thursday I was a PM again, this time on 709. This is a lower deck section and normally quite a busy one... but on this day, I just had table after table of guests who didn't want to eat proper meals. They just wanted appetizers to share or side dishes as entrees which was frustrating. I wouldn't be so money-driven at the moment if it wasn't for the fact I need to save up so I can go and do all these exciting things in the next 6 months! The weather has got hotter recently and I think it means people aren't as hungry/just want tap water... So I ran around like a crazy person and didn't really earn much more than a good AM shift. I also managed to drop a full glass of water on the floor in the kitchen which smashed and an (empty) plate of food in the outside doorway which also smashed... oops! I had POS's as my side work (the worst one aside from KD for getting out late) so that kind of sucked. Nick picked me up and we went to Walmart to grab a few bits of food. I was really tired so I just pretty much went to sleep when we got back.

Friday, I was an AM. My section was 401. I usually like this section because it's outside but gets a breeze/shade and there's a POS right by the section. It was a very slow lunchtime... I only had 5 tables! I had two tables of Cast Members (automatic gratuity), one table with Tables in Wonderland (a discount card that gets them 20% off food and alcohol but adds auto-grat), one table of 8 Brazilians (again, auto-grat) and a table with Disney Dining Plan. On the up-side, I did get out at like 4pm. I went home, Skyped with Hayley and then got changed, got back on the C bus and met up with loads of people from work in the world showcase. We got some Banfi Rosa Regale (best wine ever) in Italy and then a few drinks at the Rose & Crown (a Magners Pear Cider and Magical Star for me!) before getting dinner there. I had the cheese plate (NOM) and then the Scotch Egg (NOM) and chips. I was stuffed! Daniel was our server and he was great... I felt bad as we almost all had bar drinks and appetizers and then 8 split checks :P

Yesterday was another AM. This time I was in 106 which was the first time I've had an inside section in ages... and it was super busy!! Such a relief to be busy for the whole shift - the time went really fast. I had some lovely tables as well with chatty guests and almost no auto-grat! :) It's just nice sometimes to not have auto-grat because it means you get your money at the end of the day rather than the following Thursday in your paycheck! I had a nice table of Brits from Reading and a great table of Americans who ordered two 'Irish Car Bombs'. This is actually a drink - it's a half pint of Guinness and a shot of Baileys... you drop the shot into the Guinness and then neck it because the Baileys actually curdles on impact and separates - it's gross! After work, I met Nick outside Cast Services because he finished at the same time as me which was nice and we went via the Commons so I could get changed and pick up my food from the fridge. We went to his and I made CURRY! It was goooooood. Complete with naan bread and poppadoms!

And that brings us up to date! Today is going to be my first Mid for ages so let's hope it's a good one! It's still the weekend so hopefully still as busy as yesterday. There's lots of cheerleaders around for tournaments and lots of locals too... so fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Just a quick link...


Firstly I want to say thank you to everybody that has been reading my blog over the last few months! I receive between 50-100 hits per days which is amazing and I hope it's helping those people thinking about applying for the program as well as keeping my friends and family up to date with what I've been doing!

I'm almost at the half way point through my program now which is mad but as promised, I have kept this blog up to date! Over the last six months I have met some great people... some are still here in Florida whilst sadly some have gone back to the UK for various reasons. I just wanted to put a quick post to one of these people's website... her name is Gemma and she had to leave the program for various health reasons, after about 4 months here in Florida. Her blog is totally inspiring and I have complete respect for her - I want people to go and read her blog posts and watch her videos: I met Gemma the first time at the London interviews and I don't remember many people from that day - but I do remember her! I had some good chats with her whilst she was here and now she's back in the UK with her boyfriend Max who is a Canadian and a mutual friend with lots of people I know too. Anyway, I know it's a bit random but when I realised how many people were reading my blog everyday, I just felt as if I had to put her blog out there to raise awareness as it really moved me.

Hope everybody is having a wonderfully magical day - I haven't been up to much since my last post, I just worked an AM yesterday (got out of being a food runner, WOOOO!) and was in section 401 which is one of my favourite sections. It was an okay day but the park was quiet so it was kinda slow. After work, I went home and got changed then went to downtown Disney with Sophie and had an epic Earl of Sandwich before going to see 'The Cabin in the Woods' which was a weird film! It was funny but it was ultimately a zombie film which doesn't do much for me! We got the F bus home (and the driver got lost) so it took 45 minutes but eventually got back and went to bed for a good sleep!

Monday, 23 April 2012

I want to live at Bay Lake Tower!

Wednesday turned out to be a crazy shift! I was originally given section 311 which is usually a 'pick-up' section... meaning we don't sit people there unless a server wants an extra table and they 'pick-up' one. However, we had enough servers to have it open as a proper section... but I really don't like it - it's only three tables for a start which means you're not going to make as much money as a 4-table section plus it's kinda stuck in the corner of the dining room and I just don't like it. So I swapped with someone else and ended up with 701 which is the end of the lower deck... basically as far away from the kitchen as physically possible!! I'd never done this section before which is why I fancied giving it a go... it's actually okay but it's exhausting (a work out as well as a job!) plus it's the best section for getting you weeded as you spend so much time running back and forth that you end up short on time! I had some fun tables though including a table of 14-18 year olds on a band trip who were a laugh and a half... plus a table of 6 Brits on 701 whose bill ended up at over $400... cocktails a-plenty! They were really fun to talk to though!

Exhausted at the end of the night, I banked out and went home to sleep. On Thursday I was a PM again, this time on 707... as I went into work on the bus I saw the dark grey clouds come rolling in so figured it might rain. I actually ended up being super early for work because me and Tyler had been to Vista Way to go to the education center and then I got the bus from there to EPCOT. So, I ended up at the Rose & Crown at about 2.30pm - an hour early. Lucky I did really, considering it decided to pour it down at about 3.15pm onwards! I got section 707 which is outside so obviously there was nobody sitting down there... for 2 hours. This was annoying because I didn't want to pick up other people's tables in case we reopened lower deck so I busied myself helping on podium, food running and then eventually drying the tables on lower deck. We opened my section at about 6pm and it didn't rain again... the evening was okay but not great. Obviously I lost a turn of tables because I was closed and it sort of threw me out of sync for the whole evening really so it wasn't amazing. I did my sidework and headed home... to randomly end up at McDonalds at midnight with Nick which was fun!

Friday was an epically long shift. I had been scheduled a Mid... on EMH... starting at 10.45am... UGH!! It's not even supposed to be a Mid shift that starts at 10.45am but whatever... I was totally focused and felt like I was "in the zone" for the whole day. Even with a proper 45 minute break for lunch (I don't usually have that long), being in section 401 for my PM which was also being used as indoor podium/lobby area for waiting guests and it pouring with rain for most of my shift... I made the most money I've ever made as a server. I was just turning my tables really quickly and efficiently so that was good! It made up for the previous day! I was totally exhausted by the time I finished work though so I just got the bus home and went to bed!

Saturday was my Friday! I was an AM which I like having the day before your days off because it makes it feel a little bit longer! :) I was in section 505 which I hadn't had before... I didn't really like it. Firstly, the sidework attached to that section is Restock which is just a pain in the bum because it involves running up and down stairs to get cups, lids etc throughout the shift. Plus you have to keep an eye on all the stuff in the fridge (milk, juice etc). I also wasn't sat very quickly - the park wasn't very busy though. Basically it was a pretty boring AM shift but I got out at about 4.45pm.

I was meeting Nick and he finished work at 8.30pm so I got the lazy bus to Cast Services (as it looked like it was going to storm at any moment!) and got changed. As I changed, I heard the rain start on the roof and the thunder/lightening so I'm glad I didn't walk! I waited for the rain to stop a bit before walking across the park and getting the monorail to Magic Kingdom. I was hoping to watch the Dream Along With Mickey show but it got cancelled because of the "inclement weather". Sad face. So I got food from Casey's and bought some new shoes in the Emporium (...can you believe it, I bought Crocs! I hate Crocs mostly but these are like shoes and have Mickey on them... they were also dry which was something I couldn't say for my work shoes which more than 48 hours later are still drying...). I rode the Carosel and Haunted Mansion before getting the monorail back to Epcot. I wondered around the shops and rode Living With The Land before meeting Nick and heading back to his apartment via Chick-fil-A (for him, not me!). We watched the Day After Tomorrow on Netflix which was a film we started watching 18 months ago and never finished so that was fun!! Just as we were going to go to sleep, it started thundering again which was pretty cool because I can't remember the last thunderstorm I'd heard/seen at night time! It only lasted about 15 minutes though, then I went to sleep.

He dropped me off at Commons on Sunday morning and I went back to sleep (as you do on a day off!). I got up about 11am and got ready for our mini-staycation to Bay Lake Tower! It's a deluxe Disney Vacation Club Resort right next to Magic Kingdom - it's actually an extension to the Contemporary which I watched being built when I was here in 2008, and it opened in 2009. Steffie had booked a 2-bedroom 'villa' for us and so we headed over there at about 2pm... the room was INCREDIBLE. It had two bedrooms (obviously) with 3 bathrooms, the ability to sleep 9 people very comfortably, a kitchen, living area, jacuzzi bath and 'rainforest' shower in the master bathroom.. oh... and a VIEW OF THE CASTLE!!! I was soooooo excited!!!

So we wondered around the resort for a while... had a cocktail by the pool, played in the games room and by then it was me, Steffie, Sophie, Anastasia and Paul. We went back to the room for some drinks and then got joined by the two Sams and Tyler who had all been at work and we all chilled out in the room. At about 8pm we got some food in the Wave bar - I had a mozzarella flatbread and some potato gratin with goat cheese which was yummy... and of course, a Magical Star cocktail! Then we headed back to the room to watch Wishes from the balcony!! It was amazing! You could tune the TV into the soundtrack which was fabulous! As soon as it was finished, we had to hop it over to Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours which conveniently were that night! We walked there (takes about 10 mins!) and watched half of the Magic, the Memories and You (love that show) before hitting up the rides! We were devastated that Carosel of Progress was CLOSED after 11pm!! *shock* We had wanted to take our... special... coca-cola and sing along!! ;) Also, peoplemover was closed too! So, we went on Space Mountain, Goofy's Barnstormer, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, It's a Small World (basically all the rides that have stupid queues during normal hours!), got food at Cosmic Ray's then did Haunted Mansion and Pirates before having a few photos on Main Street at about 1.30am. Then we headed back to the room to all crash out!! It was awesome!!

Today we got up and made bacon & eggs in our kitchen before vacating the room. Some people had to go to work so in the end, Sam Sainsbury, Steffie, Anastasia, Sophie and I all went to the pool. We went in the hot tub for a bit and chilled out. But there were loads of love bugs around (they're invading at the moment, ughhhh) and I got fed up with swatting them. So I got the A bus back to housing and have since spent my time uploading millions of pictures to Facebook, updating this blog and doing three loads of laundry.

My days off have now officially changed to Weds/Thurs which means I have to now do 8 days straight!! I'm going to make a monetary target to keep me focused and let's hope I can hit it! :D

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Living life to the extreme!

Okay so the rest of the day from my last post just consisted of Steffie and I going to see a movie (21 Jump Street - VERY funny) at Downtown Disney at the dine-in theatre and then I headed back home and went to bed as far as I remember.

Tuesday I was an AM on 707... it was an okay shift. The weather is getting to be rather warm now so less guests are keen to sit outside on AM shifts. Also had a slight issue with love bugs which are big black flies basically, they like humid weather and they started annoying one table of my guests so I had to move them to 701 which is at the other end of the lower deck so that was a bit stressful and kinda weeded me a bit. After my shift, I went home and ended up randomly meeting Nick for some food. We were going to go to Panera Bread but they shut at 9.30pm so we were a tiny bit too late, instead we went to Downtown Disney and got Earl of Sandwich. Then we went back to his apartment to chill out because we hadn't hung out for a few days... in the end (for a variety of reasons I can't be bothered to explain... nothing of my fault though!) he dropped me off back at Commons at around midnight and I went to bed.

Wednesday I was a Mid and it was an awesome shift... I had a lot of drive that day for some reason. I was on 303 in the morning and 508 in the evening. Section 508 is known for being the 'weeded' section - as in you end up with too much to do and not enough time to do it in! I was actually coping fine until I got sat a table with a surprise allergy and my other table which had only just been sat ordered two bottles of wine... this meant I had too many places to be at once and it all got rather manic. I did earn the most money I've earnt as a server though on this shift which was good... I got out pretty late but I could afford all the festivities the next day so I was happy... because...

The Thursday was Nick's birthday!! So I'd planned for ages to take him to Kennedy Space Center because he'd never been (despite being exactly the kind of person that would enjoy it). So I walked over to his apartment in the morning complete with the cakes I made him and his gifts... he predictably was still asleep. He eventually got up and opened his presents which were more random bits and bobs I'd bought him really.... then we went to Cracker Barrel for some breakfast before driving to Cape Canaveral. We did the bus tour, watched two IMAX 3D movies (one about the space station and one about the Hubble telescope), went on the ride that they have (a cross between Star Tours and Mission Space!) and wondered around the museum-y area. We stayed there until about 6pm and then drove back to Orlando... it was great :) We met up with Kathleen and had some dinner at Carrabas (an Italian place near the Commons) which was good... I had a raspberry martini which was the strongest drink of my life. I ended up having to water it down and then mix orange juice with it just to make it drinkable!

On Friday I was on an PM in section 401. This is one of the nicer sections of the restaurant in my opinion especially because you can end up with lots of big tops which means auto-grat which means more money! But also, its airy and outside... plus there's a POS right next to it which is very convenient. I was rather tired this day so I wasn't working as hard as I should have... until I got an 18-top. Yes, 18 people at one table! And they were sat at 8.45pm! So basically I was the last to leave with the KDs and it was exhausting. I went home and straight to bed!

The next day (Saturday) I was on an AM in section 303. I had some nice guests, it was a pretty standard shift. I was still tired but it was okay. After work, I went to Downtown Disney and met up with Sophie and Craig... we ended up getting the F bus to Crossroads and getting TGI Fridays. Then we headed home and I went to bed around midnight.

Sunday was my day off... I left the house bright and early at 9.30am to pick up my car! Woooo! I love having a car here - it gives you so much more freedom!! I whizzed by Walmart and then picked up Sarah and Sophie to go to Universal for the day. It was totally dead there so we didn't queue for more than 15 minutes for anything, even the Forbidden Journey in Harry Potter World!! We did all the big rides - Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge (twice), Spiderman, ET, Men in Black, Hulk, The Simpsons Ride, Rip Ride Rockit etc. Such a good day. We drove back at about 7pm and I dropped the others off. I bummed around my apartment before giving Tyler a ride home from work at about 11pm (via McDonalds for ice cream).

On Monday.... I JUMPED OUT OF A PLANE!!!! As you do....!

There was 12 of us that went to the Skydive Center all together but only 9 of us actually dived. We drove up there early at like 8am, went via McDonalds for breakfast and then got there at about 10am. It was near the Space Center. We had to sign our lives away and then pay... it is quite expensive but not as expensive as the UK! I think it was about $400 in the end but that did include the ultimate video package as well which was about $150 in itself. We got harnessed up and split into three groups of three. I was with Stephen and Steffie originally. The first group got in the plane and went up to do their jump - the sky was cloudless, perfect weather. Everything went to plan and just as the second group were getting on the plane they announced that the radio had broken inside the plane and they needed a part to fix it. Cue about a 90 minute wait for them to get the part and put it into the plane... still, at least they have Safety as their priority. We bummed around in the sun until they were ready. Eventually the second group went up and did their dive... because of the delay, it meant Stephen actually ended up going in the second group too and then it was just me and Steffie for the third group (plus another guy who wasn't part of our group). We got in the plane and that was when the nerves started to kick in! It was weird getting into a plane but not being seatbelted in! We were sitting on these benches with one leg on each side, attached to our jumpmaster.

When we reached 18,000 feet (the highest tandem skydive in the WORLD!), the plastic door got slid open and there was a sudden rush of freezing air. The first guy went and then it was my turn! I was sooo scared, my tiptoes on the edge of a plane and the only thing keeping me from falling was the jumpmaster attached to me! Then suddenly it was time to go!! I think I let out a massive scream as we initially fell - I totally forgot to put my feet back to make the arch shape and start "flying" so I was flailing around all over the place! I also think I got slightly winded as I jumped which made me think I couldn't breathe which made me panic which made breathing even more difficult! The freezing air doesn't help either! In all my pictures, I look like a bit of a mong because I wasn't making any effort to smile!! I was too overwhelmed!! After about 45 seconds (which seem like forever) you could see the clouds approaching you (during the 90 minute wait for the radio part, it clouded over) and suddenly you were going THROUGH A CLOUD! How awesome is that! It was odd - like breathing in water!

Just after we came out of the clouds, after about 90 seconds of 120mph freefalling, my jumpmaster activated the parachute which was a relief as you felt yourself being pulled upwards and then it was much easier to breathe. Although I was huffing and puffing as if I'd just run a race, I was out of breath because I don't think I'd breathed for the last 90 seconds!! It was a little painful (I think my harness was too tight) on the way down but I did get to have a go steering the parachute and I also got to say a few words for my video as well. It was a great view - you could see the space center and everything. After about 7-8 minutes of parachuting, you land. I have to admit - it was a fantastic feeling getting my feet back on the ground! We walked back across the field to the center and waited for our videos to be processed. Finally, we were all done at about 3pm! 

We got back in the cars and drove to Citywalk where we got food (I had Panda Express chinese food) and then we went to play the new MiniGolf that they have there. By about 7pm we were done and EXHAUSTED. The adrenaline from the day and all the emotions left me sooo tired. I swung by Walmart quickly before going home and going to bed at 9.30pm!

I had 11 hours sleep before getting up yesterday for my AM shift. I was in Dart Room (301) which is probably one of my least favourite sections. I had an awkward situation with a group of 7 who had 3 different Deluxe dining plans.. after the dining plan had come off, they all had outstanding charges. Two parties left me money to pay it so that was fine but the other one didn't... cue a confusing process of getting the co-ordinator to look up his room key and charging it to his room. I think he genuinely thought it had already been charged - it gets very confusing with the dining plan!! So that stressed me out a bit but I finished work at 4.30pm which was good. Me, Heather and Emily went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner which was expensive but delicious... the service was so-so. After I got back, I called Nick because I hadn't seen him pretty much since his birthday and I took him a piece of cheesecake too... I bummed around his apartment while he did his calculus revision (ugh) and then crashed seen as he stayed up ALL night doing revision for his exams today. I couldn't physically stay up that late even if I tried!! We were originally going to hang out tonight but considering that by then, he won't have slept for like 36 hours, it won't happen... I'm on a PM today so I probably won't get out until late anyway. 

So it's been a busy week! It's had AMAZING highs and some bad lows too... a very mixed few days. But in other news - I have cheesecake for lunch today! Woo!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Happy Easter!

Yet again almost a week since I updated! Time just goes so fast here!

Well my food running shift really did suck!! Since becoming a server, I've discovered how little I liked food running... it's exhausting, repetitive and you don't even get the monetary reward for how hard you work. Oh and there's almost no guest interaction which obviously I didn't like! Anyway, Tuesday was a very very long day... I worked for like 11 hours to earn less what I would have got for an AM server shift... still, I had to do it so there we go. I am grateful that I don't get scheduled more food running shifts considering my low seniority right now so I should just be quiet!

On Wednesday I don't remember what I did before my shift but I was on a PM. It was good to be a server again - I appreciated it so much more! Having said that it was a weird shift... I was on section 201 which is a 6-top and three 2-top tables. My 6-top only got sat once in the first 3 hours of the shift and overall it was a pretty slow shift. I ended up picking up an additional table in the last hour so that I had my 6-top, another 6-top and a 2-top to finish the evening. On the up-side, it was easier to clean inside but unfortunately it meant I was KD.... ugh. As it turned out, it was okay and I got out just before 11. Nick came to pick me up and we bummed around at his apartment as usual before going to bed.

The next day I was a PM again. I got a text from Tyler first thing in the morning saying he had rented a car and did I want to go to Target with him... seen as Nick was tired and couldn't be arsed to get up, I told him I'd be going to see Ty... and just as this happened there was a super loud knocking on the window which scared the crap out of both of us. Turned out it was Nick's friends Eric and Kathleen who had plans to go to Panera with Nick (had he been bothered to get up!) so he let them in and we sat around whilst Nick got ready... it worked out well actually because they all went to Panera whilst I met Tyler and so we all ended up doing something! We went to Target and then got lunch at Sweet Tomatoes which was awesome. I went home and got changed for work and then Ty dropped me off at Epcot. The shift was actually really good - I was in section 401 and it was a well paced shift with lots of good guests. I did get completely skuzzed by a deluxe dining plan family (it's a common occurance sadly) but even so I earnt the most I've ever earned on a PM which was really good and made up for the food running and slow days previously. Thanks to being sat two deluxe dining families at 9.30pm and 9.45pm (it was EMH) it meant I didn't get out until almost midnight! Crazy! So I just got the bus home and went straight to bed!

Friday was the day I'd managed to get off and been looking forward to all week!! I met up with Sam Scott, Heather and Ani for breakfast as Sam had a rental car which she needed to return at 11am. So we went to Denny's near Downtown Disney and then walked over to there after returning the car. The original plan was to go to Animal Kingdom but the clouds rolled in and it was super windy so they decided to meet Sam Sainsbury and do something else. I had to go to Epcot as I was meeting Nick after work so I got the guest bus to the Beach Club and then walked in through International Gateway. I wondered "around the world" looking at all the Flower and Garden Festival stuff before getting a margarita in Mexico and then calling my mum whilst waiting for 2.30pm which is when he finished. I went on Spaceship Earth and into Mousegear to kill some time and then met him at the Soarin stand-by. We walked to Cast Services and then went on a wild goose chase through downtown Orlando by the airport to find the real estate office for him to sign a lease on his new apartment he'll be moving into at the end of the summer. That took us ages because we got lost and went via McDonalds. We also almost ran out of gas and went through a million toll roads so it was quite the adventure haha! After we'd done that, we went back to his apt so he could change and my Mum's birthday present had arrived for him so that was nice!

Then we drove over to Citywalk for TITANIC 3D!!!! We got a cheeky cocktail first and then bought snacks in the cinema before getting our seats. Oh my, it was SOOOO good in 3D and just seeing it in the cinema with an audience in general. There were some crazies in there which was hilarious and I just thoroughly enjoyed myself. Obviously it's a super long film so we didn't get out until almost midnight. We drove back home and went to bed. Such a good day!

Saturday was an AM shift which (for once in my life) stayed as an AM! It was pretty good, I was in section 106 and again, despite feeling like it was slow (I don't think I had a full section for the whole shift) I still made decent money. I also finished at 4.30pm which was AWESOME!! I got the bus home and then ended up meeting Nick and Jessica for dinner at Cracker Barrel before we went to Magic Kingdom to see The Magic, Memories and You show and Wishes. We actually ended up doing Philharmagic, Space Mountain, Peoplemover and Haunted Mansion as well which was good. We left quite late and all went back to Nick's apt before sleeping. For some reason I didn't sleep well that night so I was kinda tired.

I got up at 9am yesterday morning because it was my day off and we were going horseback riding!! Something random to do on Easter Sunday right! I walked back to the Commons and got showered and changed then met the birthday girl Sophie with Sarah and Steffie to get the E bus to Hollywood Studios where we got the guest bus to Fort Wilderness. The weather was beautiful - warm, sunny, little bit of a breeze - just perfect. Our horse ride was at 1pm... my horse was called Riley. We got kitted out with helmets and everything (we even got cast discount! It was only $23 each in the end!) before setting off on our trail ride. It was slow paced and relaxing although we had to keep stopping our horses eating snacks on the way in the form of tree branches! We got back and got the boat to MK to see the "Easter Parade" which was actually just the first part of the usual 3pm parade but it was pretty cool! The park was packed so after that we left in search of food and went to the Polynesian where we ate at their Quick Service and then sat around their pool/beach for a couple of hours. After we'd all got a bit sunburnt, we got a taxi from there to Walmart as some people had stuff to get.

We went back home and got changed before heading to Steffies for some food and drinks. We watched the majority of '17 Again' before heading out to Jellyrolls! It was fun... we stayed there til about 1.30am and people joined us after they'd finished work. We were the second to  last people to leave so had the guys doing ALL our requests even without money! haha! I was super tired tho as I hadn't had great sleep for the last few nights so I crashed as soon as I got home and woke up at 10.30am this morning. All I've done so far today is my laundry and this blog... need to upload some pictures later to Facebook and apart from that I'm going to bum around all day I think! Back to work tomorrow!

Awesome right!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Spring Break!

This week has been a bit crazy in the parks... most of the kids and students are off this week or next week for their version of an Easter break. We've been predicted the same level of crowds this week as during the Christmas period!

So, going back to last week (for somehow it's been a week since I updated...!) I worked a PM on the Wednesday and then Nick picked me up after work. His apartment was a bomb site (again) so we stayed up super late cleaning and tidying... to be fair I did spend a fair portion of it sitting around playing with his posh TV :P We also went to Publix and bought snacks - I had brie and french bread NOM. I miss the cheese we have in UK supermarkets... just sayin'. Anyways, eventually we went to sleep and then the next day we slept in quite a long time. I was on another PM and he was off so we went to get Chinese food for lunch which was really good - a bit spicy! I love that he's so close to my apartment (although this will change a little when he moves in the summer) because it just means we can hang out at really short notice. Somehow we just don't get bored of each other and it's only money that bars us from going further afield although now that I'm a server I hope we'll be able to escape Orlando some time and see some other places together. When we went to Paris, we were the perfect travelling companions (ahhh it was such a fun trip, wish we could do it again!!) so fingers crossed for later in the summer! It's going to kill me to go home in 7 months but we won't talk about that! Shhhh!!

Anyway I went off on a tangent there... Thursday's PM was pretty non-exciting. I was getting pretty tired by this point in the week so I just went home and to bed (as far as I remember, it all blurs into one). On Friday, I was an AM so of course this meant I was actually a Mid... loads of people had been to see Snow Patrol the night before and were hanging all day so nobody else was going to volunteer! On the condition of getting free Fish & Chips, I extended. And it was EMH. The day was going quite well, I was in a good mood... I had 401 as my AM section which was a bit meh and then 303 as my PM section. Everyone likes this section but I actually don't... the tables are too close together so you can't get inbetween them which means you're always talking to the back of someone's head and the sidework associated with it is awful... it's POSs. So you have to clear and clean the POS stations (the tills, of which there are 4) and change the bins... plus you also have to refill the empty vinegar pots (VOM! People that know me will know how much I hate vinegar!) and the salt & pepper shakers. Well the worst part about the POS stations is that you can't do it until right near the end of the night... and seen as I'd extended and was inside, I  got cut at 9pm. Long story short, there ended up being a disagreement over sidework even though I'd done the worst part by refilling the vinegars and salt & peppers (which can be a time-consuming job in itself actually) but the argument was coming from someone who actually wasn't even involved, they were just being nosy. So it really annoyed me that I was basically being accused of not doing sidework and so I went upstairs, banked out and left. I got the permission to leave from my co-ordinator though so I wasn't just running out on them. Needless to say I wasn't looking forward to the next day and the result of this argument but actually it was fine...

So on Saturday I went to Panera Bread with Tyler and then we went to work. We got an early bus at 1pm as we both had a few things to do at cast services... when we were almost there the sky had turned a nasty grey colour and by the time we'd gone into cast services and costuming you could hear the rain on the roof and the thunder!! So we went back to Costuming and got out rain gear before running to Odyssey to get food! Tyler's coat pocket filled with rainwater because it was such a monsoon and so his phone got soaked. RIP Tyler's phone. Even the battery was dripping. Then we walked across stage and got even more wet. It was crazy rain! I've literally never seen anything as sudden, intense and prolonged as that in terms of rain! My feet were damp until I took my shoes off that night!

The actual shift was okay... I was on 510 again (I'm there a lot) and it was pretty slow. The weather put off a lot of people I think. I got a lovely 8-top at around 7.15pm who ended up staying for the fireworks... they gave me a crazy tip! I got on well with their kids tho so I think that won them over! My sidework was Racks so that was okay and then I got out of there and went to bed!

Sunday was my day off. I wanted to make the most of my day but the parks are soooo busy at the moment, I actually ended up meeting up with some of the newbies and we went to International Drive to have an English Breakfast!! It was a little pricey but that was okay because I had proper English Bacon!! Amazing! First time in 5 months I've had a fry-up... and a great way to celebrate the aforementioned 5 month anniversary too. I actually didn't end up doing much for the rest of the day except laundry and I saw Steffie for a little bit. Nick was a bit busy but he was going to Wishes which was soooo tempting - but EMH at Magic Kingdom in Spring Break!? No way! Also, I came down with a really painful neck for some reason to the point where I couldn't move it to the side, very strange. So I ended up having a quiet night.

Back to work yesterday because I switched my days off this week... I was a PM and it was a bit of a sucky shift. I was on 707 which I actually quite like as a section but my guests were kinda grumpy (you can tell the hot weather has arrived - 32 degrees Celsius yesterday!) and so I just turned and burned them. I got completely skuzzed for the first time when a table left me no tip whatsoever (wasn't my fault) and then several tables of British families where it's within our culture to only tip around 10%. It was a bit rubbish but having said that - I'm not a money driven server. I think it's bad and doesn't help your guest service. Also, it makes you look very shallow and I'm not like that... I will always give my best guest service and if they tip me well then yay! If they don't... well, at least they went away happy. Having said that, I was in pain for most of my shift so I probably wasn't giving 100%.... maybe 95% :P On the good side, I had easy sidework and I was done and back at cast services by 10.20pm. I waited for Nick who was getting me at 10.30pm and we went to Chilis because for once in his life, he had some money! Haha! I just got a chicken burger, it wasn't that exciting. But it was 2 for 1 cocktails wooooo! We got into a bit of a funny mood, it was good to see him because he'd had visitors for the last few days and we hadn't hung out... we watched Britain's Got Talent clips on YouTube (I miss that show!) and then eventually went to bed. He dropped me off this morning and then went to work... I'm mentally and physically (i.e. Ibroprofen for my neck) preparing for my 10 hour EMH Food Running shift today. They've changed EMH for the next couple of weeks to Tuesdays AND Thursdays because the park is going to be so busy... joy.

But excitement much because the reason I swapped my days off is because on Friday, Nick and I are going to see Titanic in IMAX 3D!!! So excited!!!!