Wednesday, 31 October 2012

It's finally Halloween

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Now I'm 24...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 19 October 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Back to "the real world"...

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Lauren's Visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 4 October 2012

(Second) California Adventure!

Wednesday 26th:

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

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

Thursday 27th:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's been a while!

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

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

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

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

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

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