It's been a while! So much to catch up on, this is going to be a long one I tell you now!
So... Friday 7th was EPCOT day. We headed over there just before lunch taking the guest bus. We got lunch at the Coral Reef restaurant which I'd never been to before... it's got aquariums all along one wall which is really cool. Bit weird to eat fish whilst watching fish though! Anyway, I actually had a caesar salad with shrimp and the others had a mixture of food from fish to pork. The food was yummy but the service was a bit shoddy to be honest. After we were all filled up we walked around the aquarium section of 'The Seas' which I never knew existed and then did the Nemo ride. After that we went on Mission:Space (Orange, obviously) and then went around Mousegear for a bit. Then we headed to the World Showcase - it was very odd being in the UK Pavilion with Hayley as that's what brought us together as friends!! We spent quite a while there - had a cider & black in the R&C and she went around the shops looking at everything that had changed. Then we walked around the rest of the countries... I tried Saki for the first time in Japan which was actually quite yummy and we looked in all the shops. We headed back to the R&C around 7.30pm and checked in for our reservation which didn't exist... Fern was assigning and she did a great job of getting us sat within about 20 minutes. We were on 514 which wasn't ideal but the whole of lower deck was closed because it had been raining so we just walked down to lower deck to see the fireworks. I had fish and chips (standard), Laura had the veggie pie which she said she liked and then the others had the surf & turf which went down well I'm glad to say! I had the jaffa tarts for dessert because I'd not had them as dessert before... but I think I preferred mandy's mess! We had Ani as our server and she was great. We wrote her a GSF. So, after this it was actually EMH! We left the R&C and went back to Future World to go to the Character Spot where I met Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Pluto :) We did Soarin', then we went back into Mouse Gear for a bit and then headed home after 12 hours in EPCOT.
Saturday: It was back to work day! I was in for a Mid... so we had breakfast at Pop Century and then the others all headed off for Busch Gardens whilst I got the guest bus to work. Got there just in time because the bus took forever to turn up but it was all fine. Work was good. Nothing else to really report there. After work I went home to the Commons and had all of about 6 hours sleep before getting up to be back at work for a 10.45AM on Sunday. The others went to Universal Studios that day. After work, I met Nick and we did Soarin', before heading to DHS and doing RnR and ToT. Then we drove to Mall of Millennia to meet the others who had finished at Universal by this point and we all went to Cheesecake Factory - NOM! After this, we headed home in separate cars and Hayley & I finished off our cheesecake in the room!
Monday: I'd managed to switch my shift to an AM and the others went off to Kennedy Space Center. So they dropped me at Commons at 9am and I got ready for work there and got the bus. The shift was pretty non-exciting as it's been so quiet recently that AMs seem a bit pointless. After work, I managed to get the guest bus back to Pop, get changed and get back to DHS to meet them at about 7pm for our reservation at the Brown Derby. This is a signature dining location (the only one of our trip) so it was 2 credits on the DDP (Disney Dining Plan). I paid extra to have potato & leek soup for starter which was really good... then my entree was a chicken dish with a celery root puree and some nice sauce on it. To be honest, it wasn't good enough for my liking considering it's signature and the cost of the food (had I been paying for it) because the entree just wasn't hot enough. It tasted nice, but not lukewarm. Nevertheless, the dessert made up for it because I had a chocolate trio thing which was goooood and then a champagne flight which was great! So, afterwards Dan went back to the hotel whilst Hayley, Laura and I made the most of EMH! It was so much fun!! We did the animation class twice (drew Grumpy and Piglet), saw the Little Mermaid show (random), did RnR (twice!) and ToT, danced with the characters at the Disney Junior Dance Party and saw Fantasmic again! It really was the most Fantasmic evening!! We went home exhausted but happy at 1am!
Tuesday: I was a PM which I couldn't change unfortunately. They were off to Typhoon Lagoon so we had breakfast together and then I spent the morning relaxing and reading my book before getting ready for work and getting the guest bus there. Work was fine... pretty standard. I thought I was training but it turned out I wasn't. I missed going to Boma for dinner because that's where the others went but that's okay. They picked me up at Cast Services and we went home... I ended up walking/running around Pop Century when I realised I was still in costume in the most un-fitting location ever! Haha! Ooops.
Wednesday: Hayley took me to the Marriott hotel at 9.15am for me to pick up a rental car. The others then all went off to Clearwater whilst I drove to Port Orleans to pick up Rob (a friend from my first program) and check him into the hotel as a favour. Then I went back to Commons to change and pick up Paul, Sam, Sophie and Vicki as we were off to Natalie's wedding!! We had a nice little road trip over to Daytona Beach which I'd never been to before and we found the hotel... it was raining in Orlando but bright blue skies in Daytona which was awesome. Met a super excited Natalie and helped her get ready! It was a very simple ceremony on the beach with her parents, his family and then about 8 of us from her Disney Family as well as the officiant lady. We only spent about 45 minutes on the beach but it was so simple and perfect, it brought a tear to all of our eyes! We took a billion pictures, then drove over to the pier area to have the post-ceremony dinner which was at Joe's Crab Shack! It was like 5pm by the time we got there and we were all starving! I had yummy coconut shrimp but everyone in the party of 15 were enjoying themselves. Kindly, Natalie's Dad paid for the whole meal which was super nice of him. Afterwards, we wondered along the beach and took MORE pictures before heading our seperate ways. Natalie, Senal and families were off on a Disney Cruise - Vicki and Sam had also managed to book it too - then the rest of us back to Orlando. We left at about 8.15pm and so by 9.30pm I was at the Polynesian for the reservation at O'Hanas with Nick, his mom and brother! Crazy socialising day overall! I've never been to this restaurant before but heard a lot about it and if I hadn't been so full of shrimp then I would have appreciated the food a lot more! I used my table service DDP entitlement which I'd missed using when the others went to Boma so that all worked out well. Afterwards I drove home to Pop totally exhausted again!
Thursday: Up early to drop off the car as I only had it for 24 hours. The others came to pick me up and we drove to Animal Kingdom. I maingated Nick's mom and brother before we went off to do the Lion King show and wonder around a part of DAK I've never even seen before - the Rafiki's Nature Reserve! Saw lots of animals and fun stuff. We had lunch at Tusker House which is character dining so I met Mickey (again), Goofy, Daisy, Donald and Minnie! Also, saw Kista, one of our co-ordinators who transferred over there a couple of months ago which was nice. The food was awesome - a kind of Indian/African buffet type food... nom. Afterwards, we went back to EPCOT as we had dinner reservations. We walked around the rest of the world showcase that we didn't see before and I spent a ridiculous amount on a handbag (Dooney & Bourke.... need I say more....). Dinner was at Teppan Edo which I'd been very excited about eating at because I'd heard such good things - and it lived up to expectations. They cook everything in front of you which is really cool. We got sat on a table with another 4-top who were from Norfolk so we talked about all things British with them which was really nice.
Friday: The last full day of the Staycation and I had to work an AM. Ugh. But first, we went for a character breakfast at the Beach Club which was okay... the food is nice but I enjoyed our other character dining experiences more. Then I walked to work... the shift was rather boring and I couldn't wait to get out of there because after work I got changed and met Hayley to go over to MK for the Halloween Party!! Mickey's Not-So-Scary which was highly anticipated... basically, we got LOADS of candy (I'll be eating it through 2013 I think), met Merida, Snow White, Rapunzel & Flynn, Cinderella & Prince Charming, Gaston... rode Haunted Mansion, saw the parade complete with headless horseman on a real horse, saw the fireworks and had a pretty good time :-D It was nice to go to MK on their last night too. We left at about midnight and headed home.
Saturday: We just literally got up, packed, had breakfast and then I was dropped back at the Commons and I had to say goodbye :-( It was an amazing 2 weeks though and thoroughly fun being a proper tourist. I did lots of things I'd never done at Disney before and we hardly encountered any queues at all! I was completely and utterly exhausted though! I got ready for work and I was a Mid... I got lucky as I was 307 for the AM and 508 for the PM so money-wise I had one of the best shifts ever. Afterwards, I still had 2 QS DDP entitlements to use before midnight so I busted a gut to be out of there by 10.15... Nick picked me up and we got Earl of Sandwich! Then we decided to go see the midnight showing of Finding Nemo 3D which has just come out so basically didn't get to bed until 2am which is my own fault! It was really good though!
Sunday: I was a PM. Thankfully I got a mini-lie in before going to Panera to meet Nick so we could run over our itinerary for our upcoming trip next week! (Yes, going on holiday again!!) We decided our driving routes and got to work finding hotels. Then he dropped me off at work and I was in 307 again which was okay but pretty non-eventful.
Monday: I was a Mid and training as well. Woke up with a sore throat which was due to complete tiredness and lack of sleep. Aimee was my trainee and she was pretty good... we were in 510 for the AM and 303 for the PM which was okay. It got pretty busy towards the end and she coped okay so that was good... but I was just waiting for the day to be over. After work, Nick picked me up and we shared some food at Chevys because despite being super-tired I was also super-hungry!
Tuesday: I worked a PM which originally was training but ended up not being. I was in 303 again and it was pretty boring. I ended up picking up 3 tables on lower deck at 8pm... the last of those not sitting until 9pm so I got out pretty late at about 10.45. Basically I started as section 303 and ended up as section 704. Joy. Luckily I was feeling a bit better than the day before and it was my Friday which was good. The after-work treat of the day was McFlurries from McDonalds and a good conversation & catch-up with Nick after a pretty eventful week for both of us!
FINALLY it's my day off today! I've already spent the morning on the phone to my medical insurance company about the fact they've tried to bill me (again) for $477 worth of blood tests which should have been covered...exciting. Now off to the outlets to return something to American Eagle before coming back and having a good tidy up! Then I'm going to meet Tyler later as he just broke it to me last night that he's leaving the program early..... :'(