Thursday, 29 November 2012

Exploding Potatoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 19 November 2012

The return of Food Runner Catherine!!

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

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

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

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

Absolutely not.

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

Friday, 16 November 2012

Two very different marathons!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Expedition Everest... Meeting the Yeti!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

New Costume!

It's been a busy week so far!

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

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

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

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

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

Above: New Costume, Below: Old Costume

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

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

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

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

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

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