Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Very Merry Christmas

So the horrible cold I had lasted about a week and was awful. Probably felt the most ill I've been since I have been here and typically it happens with 2 weeks to go! Anyway, so I got an early night when I got the ROS and then the next day I dragged myself in for the PM shift where I was on 303. I hoped to be able to get cut early but it was too busy so I ended up there until like 11pm. I didn't want to ER because I needed to earn money and there wasn't enough servers anyway. So I felt pretty rough for the whole night and I kept having coughing fits.

I did have a funny guest though.... actually funny is the wrong word... probably one of the rudest guests I've ever had. I had a 2-top table eating and then got sat a 4-top which was two adults and two kids. I went over and greeted them with my normal hello and welcome but they were too busy fussing over the kids menu to really register me. So I jumped straight to that and this was the conversation that followed:

Me: "So, I see you're looking at our kids menu, it's kinda complicated but basically it's pick and choose from the top part and the part in the grey box are set menus because they're healthy balanced..."

Guest: "WHAT is this SHIT? Kids don't eat this shit! Where's the burgers and stuff?"

Me: "Ummm... our menu hasn't had burgers and pizza on the menu for quite a long time"

Guest: "Well why not? What is this... chicken? Rice? What's this here sirrr-llloooinn?" (sirloin)

Me: "That's a 3oz steak for children Sir, it's kinda like a burger"

Guest: "Well why doesn't the parents get to choose what the kids eat? Y'all don't have root beer either or soda do you?"

Me: "Actually we have coke, diet coke, sprite, fanta, lemonade or iced tea. You choose." (losing my temper at this point)

Guest: "They'll have orange soda. And I guess this kid will have chicken with fries. I suppose you can't substitute the green beans for fries under your rules?"

Me: "That's fine sir. Chicken with fries and extra fries. For the other child?"

Guest: "That piece of meat thing. With fries."

At this point, I just decided to give up and get the kids food whilst the parents discussed what Cottage Pie and Fish and Chips was. It's been a long time since I had a guest so rude and short with me... I think he realised how rude he'd been because he started being nicer then. He also kept yelling at his kids for being "brats" and because one of them was trying to push the cutlery and side plates onto the floor. They were just a nightmare but I thought it was pretty amusing. Especially when the woman started piling the aforementioned extra fries into a ziplock bag to take with them "as snacks for later". Ummmm... yeah cold chips. Yum.

Anyway, the rest of the shift was more boring and I just felt kind of rubbish. I went home and crashed out straight away. On Wednesday I had to be up at 6.15am for our SEGWAY TOUR! This was something on my bucket list since I started this program so despite my sickness I was excited. There was 6 of us so we got a taxi to EPCOT and finally got to guest relations at 7.30am just before the start of the tour. It was great! We watched a short presentation and introduction to the Segway before having about an hour of practice. We rode our Segways outside for the first time across Future World from Innoventions to The Land building with the park empty which was super cool and the weather was perfect. We got breakfast at Sunshine Seasons (included!) and then all refuelled, we headed out into the park and around the World Showcase. We got about an hour of riding around - the tour guide told us all sorts of interesting facts about each pavilion and about the design of the World Showcase. It was extra cool because we worked there too actually. We got a group photo in Japan and then we asked for some shots in the UK (obviously!)... by the time we got round to the UK and Canada, the park was well and truly open so we had to navigate guests which was fun. The tour ended at about 11am and so we had to speed walk back to costuming to get costume and then back to the UK for our shifts..

I was supposed to start at midday for an AM but Claire was a PM and had nothing to do until then so she said she'd take my AM and be a Mid instead, especially seen as I didn't feel too good still. So we cleared it with a manager and then I was free :-D This was my "extra" shift that I was scheduled anyway that week so I didn't go under hours which was good. I headed out into the park and went to do Figment and Captain EO as these were the two attractions I had left to do before I'd done everything in EPCOT on my CRP! Both attractions were just as meh as I'd remembered them being... rather outdated! Then my cold headache/congestion came back so I decided to make a move home and got back at about 2pm. I met up with Nick later in the afternoon and we went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner (always good) before getting Pitch Perfect on DVD and watching that which was good.

On Thursday it was my last day off of my program!!! :O (Well, last day off spent in Orlando...) So I had a much needed lie in and then in the afternoon I'd finally managed to make reservations at Mama Melrose in DHS. We headed over there and I shared the antipasti for two (which was really yummy but because the server or food runner didn't explain it, I still don't know what we ate) and then I had a chicken flatbread pizza which was really yummy. I wanted dessert so bad but I was too full! We couldn't use cast discounts because it was blocked out so it was costing me a fortune as it was. Afterwards, Nick and I went to the Fantasia Mini Golf by the Swan & Dolphin to play a cheeky round! It was a lot of fun even though I lost my ball :( Then we swung by DTD so I could get a gift card for AMC for my secret santa and then Nick dropped me off at home. It was a good day!

On Friday it was back to work with a bang - two mids in a row! It was a crazy shift, kinda busy and my sections were reasonable - I was in 307 for the AM and then 510 for the PM. At the end of the night it was really cold outside! I didn't get home until 12.40AM!! Crazyness. So, went to sleep for like 7 hours and then back up and back for the second Mid. It wasn't as busy as I thought it would be for the Saturday before Christmas but it was busy enough for it to be pretty exhausting! I was in 707 for the AM and then 303 for the PM. Most of the evening was taken up dealing with a 13-top on Candlelight with two allergies... it took 40 minutes between them sitting down and their appetizers being put into the computer! After work, a few of us were too late to go to Cowboys so we went to TGIs instead and I had two yummy cocktails plus Breaded Mozzerella and Parmesan Chicken. Yum. Then I finally got home at 2am and went to bed!

Only to get up 6 hours later (a lack of sleep is a theme in this post) in order to be able to pack my stuff together for Christmas and get ready for my 11.30AM. But I had a plan.... and the plan worked! Got to work super early, camped out by the computer, put in the first ER and boom! I was out by 11.45am. YEAH. Got home at 12.30pm, washed dried and straightened my hair, painted my nails and tidied my apartment. Nick picked me up at 4pm and we set off for Atlanta in the car via food at O'Charleys... the journey was long, dark and kinda boring! 8 hours later we arrived and surprised his Mom who wasn't expecting me until the evening of Christmas Eve :-D

We were both exhausted so headed to bed by about 2am... again to get up at 8am in order to make a doctors appointment that Nick had (and he deemed I needed to accompany him in the car to). I sat in the car whilst he was there and FaceTimed my family and then afterwards we went to Target and Publix to get a few things and last minute Christmas presents. Atlanta is freaking cold and very grey - just like the UK in fact. It made me feel at home! Haha! When we got back, I went back to Publix with Alex and Mom to do the grocery shopping for Christmas which was joyful and then when we got back, we just chilled out in front of the TV before finally going to bed at 10pm for more than 6 hours sleep!!

....And then it was Christmas! It's been a build up since November 5th when Disney put up their decorations and it's finally here. So MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!! We got up this morning and I skyped with my family who were about to eat lunch. Then I watched everyone open their presents - and even got a couple myself which was lovely of Nick's family :-D I got a new charm for my Pandora bracelet, a small royal coach. I love it because it's like Cinderellas and it has a little pearl on the top. Since then, Nick and I made cookies which were a great success and now we're just waiting for the Christmas dinner to finish cooking and I've just been introduced to crackers with cream cheese and red pepper jelly... uh oh...! NOM.

Monday, 17 December 2012

'Twas the week before Christmas...

Well the 6 day weeks have continued and thus left me with even less time to update my blog than usual... but I know that before I know it I will be finished and have endless free time so I shouldn't moan! I can barely remember what I did yesterday, let alone last week but I've worked lots of hours and earnt lots of money... it's been a blur of work, sleep, work, sleep really. On the 7th I worked another AM shift of Candlelight... it is very strange only being sat until about 2.30pm! It means that unless you're covering a Mid for a break then you clock out at about 4pm and really only work for 4 hours. Brilliant! Obviously you earn less money but then you hardly work soooo... fair deal really. I don't even remember what I did after my shift to be honest that day. Then I worked a Mid on Saturday (standard), PMs on Sunday and Monday and then a vile 1045 Mid on Tuesday which was also my Friday woooo!

My days off are the interesting ones so on Wednesday I was off and was initially going to go to the post office. However, this would have taken up like 3 precious hours so I decided against it, and instead got the bus to EPCOT in order to get some Christmas presents from the shops in the world showcase. When  I was almost at Cast Services, I saw on FB that Andrew had got an ER from his shift and was going to ride the new and improved (?) Test Track which I really wanted to do so I met him there and we only lined up for about 30 minutes... you go in, in groups of about 20 to design a car on a screen which is quite cool. It holds the data on a card which you then swipe when you get in the car so its as if you're test driving your new designed car... but the theming on the ride isn't really very good. Very tron-like and "cool" but not as interesting as the last version. It's still a fun ride though. Afterwards, I said I wanted to try and watch Candlelight so we headed to the R&C to see if they had any spare tickets (perk of working there haha) and as it turned out, it was a quiet day so we got some tickets for the 5pm show! We were actually hungry so we ate lunch there as well - I had a frisee & apple salad (NOM) and a side of chips along with a Welsh Dragon to wash it down and a Queens Cake with ice cream. Realllllly good lunch actually. And we got to use my 50% off coupon... yay, holiday coupons.

After lunch we wondered around the World Showcase where I finally tried a drink from Morocco (it was an almond flavoured cocktail.. pretty gross) and then we went in the Japan shop. Whilst we were in there it decided to POUR down. We've hardly had rain for like 2 months but the last few days were rather wet and we got a bit soaked... we lined up for Candelight at 4.15pm and managed to get 5 rows from the front under the shelter so we could dry off a bit!

The show started at 5pm and was narrated that day by Jodi Benson AKA the voice of Ariel, the little mermaid. It was AMAZING. It was very classic Christmas... readings from the Bible and carols to the max. I really, really enjoyed it. The choir is made up of cast members and a local high school (they alternate the school every day) and it was just so beautiful. I mainly loved the singing and the carols. Afterwards, we walked through the rest of the pavilions and got the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. From there, we got a boat to Fort Wilderness resort to go to the Hoop-de-doo Revue.

Now, I went in September with Hayley and co. and it was enjoyable but not a blow-away thing... and it was the same this time. There was 20 of us from the UK which I thought would make it a great night but the service was so-so... the food was so-so (I managed to get kids mac&cheese this time which was an improvement as I don't do ribs and chicken on the bone) and the wine is just so cheap it tastes nasty even if it is unlimited. It was just okay. Afterwards I was pretty knackered so we got the taxi back to the Commons and I went to bed.

Thursday, I got up and had to do the awful trek to Partners at Disney University. This was because I didn't realise that there was a government rule in this country that you can only pull money from your savings into your checking account 3 times per month and I'd gone over the limit so all my money was stuck in my savings account! So I got the A bus up to DU and went to sort it out. The lady was very helpful and put all my money into my checkings account... well, then I walked over to Cast Connection for a final time and got a couple of things. I was very restrained though! Then I had a couple of hours to spare so I got the bus to MK... it was very nostalgic walking through the tunnels for the last time as well. The smell of it and seeing the  characters wondering around reminded me of 2008 and how far I've come since then. I walked to the Casey's Corner exit and came out just as the Trolley Show was starting!!

Talk about timing! This is literally one of my favourite things at MK. So I watched that and then headed to Casey's for a hot dog lunch. Nom. Then I watched the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It Parade which I love as well before the Dream Along With Mickey show which I also adore. The only thing that would have made this morning better would have been to have my Canadian bestie Tyler with me... :( Still, only 2 weeks until I see him!! So, after this and a quick trip to see the new Fantasyland in daylight (which I hadn't done) I decided it was time to go to work... I got the bus to the Beach Club and made it with 10 minutes to spare ;) Bit close for comfort! Then I was in 514 so I was KD so all in all it was a long day but a good one!

Friday I was just an AM so I did the shift which was pretty boring. Then I met Nick and we went to the post office so I could post some stuff home and Christmas cards etc. Then we got ice cream and went to Publix before going to his house. He wasn't feeling too good and ended up crashing out at 8pm so I went downstairs to watch TLC when all his roomates and their friends came home and I ended up staying up with them drinking homemade cocktails and watching Lampoon Christmas Vacation which was actually an awesome night in the end. Then I went to bed. The next day, Nick dropped me at work and I did a Mid (it was Saturday remember!) which was very profitable and a really good shift actually. I had lots of nice guests.

Sunday I was totally exhausted after the Mid because I didn't leave work til midnight. And on Sunday I was a 1045... ugh!! I wanted an ER but sadly there were none to have... the tiredness stuck with me all shift getting worse and worse. I got home at 5pm and ended up with nothing to do except feel meh so I ordered a Pizza Hut for the first time in months and watched TLC whilst doing my laundry. I also made some cakes and cookies. I got an early night but took some Nyquil as I'd started to feel like I had a cold :(

Today, I woke up feeling like crap... partly due to the cold and partly due to the non-alcohol hangover that NyQuil gives you. I washed my hair and finished my cookies for pre-meal - I started feeling a bit better so I headed to work. However, once I actually started my shift the cold took over and I started feeling awful again... I think the going in and out of AC as well as all the talking made my nose run and that's not a pleasant thing to see when you're eating. So I asked for an ROS (Release of Shift) and got people to pick up my section. It wasn't something I wanted to do particularly but I realised that not working and instead getting some more rest would mean I'd probably feel better tomorrow. I came home and have spent the evening tidying, watching TV and actually started the P word.... PACKING.


Worryingly, I've packed a whole 55lb suitcase full of stuff already and my room barely looks any different! I've packed most of my 'memory' stuff, presents and 'summer clothes'. So... I have Thursday off this week, a Segway tour on Wednesday and then it's Christmas next week! CRAZY!!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Well, the Christmas party was a bit meh to be honest. There were millions of school kids around in big groups and half the decorations on Main Street had been taken down because they were filming the ABC Christmas Parade the next day (which I didn't realise). Plus there was no Christmas tree for the same reason. I met Nick and we headed over to Pei Wei before going to MK... we didn't get into the park until about 8pm because we were running late. So, we did Space Mountain and then Philharmagic before getting a spot to watch Celebrate The Magic, then Holiday Wishes, the Holiday Castle Show and then finally the Parade. After that we wondered back down Main Street and went home. It just wasn't as good as last year... I guess that's the down side to being here for two Christmases... constant comparison.

Friday, I was back to work and I'd switched it to a PM. It was good and very busy. Saturday I was a Mid and again, it was a busy day. Whoopi Goldberg was the Candlelight narrator so the shows were very busy, hence so were we. I made loads of money on Saturday which was nice and made my day feel worthwhile! I got out later than normal though... well, it was normal for Candlelight - about 11pm. The latest I clocked out was actually Friday when I clocked out at 00.05am! Ugh! That was thanks to the 10-top I got sat at 9.20pm though...

The rest of the work days were a blur of Candlelight, eating out with Nick (went to the Italian place on I-Drive which I've wanted to try by Pointe Orlando... nom nom), I saw Lincoln the movie which was good although I understood pretty much none of it (thanks to my epic politics and history skills), working closing shifts and warmer weather. Tuesday PM was slower than normal even though I was in 508... and Wednesday AM was positively dead even though the weather was lush and I was in 707. But there you go. Wednesday I actually clocked OUT at 3.50pm! I only worked for 4 hours! Crazy.

So partially thanks to the million call-ins we've been getting recently and partly thanks to people giving away shifts, I've ended up on 6 day weeks for last, this and next week. So Thursday (today) was my only day off this week. After my AM yesterday, I got changed and the bus to Chatham where I promptly changed to the H bus (I love knowing the buses so well, saves me time) and got to Walmart to get a few things. I came out of Walmart and it was actually raining for the first time in weeks... I saw a Salvation Army man wishing people a happy holidays so I gave him my last $2 and it was at this point I saw the H bus waiting to leave... but karma is a great thing so he waited for me and in the rain, I struggled with my million carrier bags (as in this country they believe in only placing 3 items per bag... undoing all the good Tesco's Bags for Life is doing...) and managed to get on the bus and back home at about 7pm. A while later, Nick picked me up and we got curry (probably for my last time in America!) and then I sat around playing on his iPad whilst he revised for his end of term exams... thrilling stuff.

Today I was off and had nothing to do. So I ended up going to Magic Kingdom with Dan (see http://danatdisney.com) because today was the New Fantasyland official opening. He went early to see Tom Staggs and Mickey do the official stuff but I rocked up at about 11.30am as I didn't want to get up that early on my one day off! The rest of the park was quiet so we saw most of the Castle Show, then did Haunted Mansion, I finally rode the riverboat (only took me 9 years) and then ate at Pecos, did Thunder Mountain, Pirates and then got the bus to Hollywood Studios. Once there, we went to see the new Pirates attraction which is a walk through experience using the same projection technology they use for MM&Y and Celebrate The Magic at MK... amazing. Then we did Star Tours, Tower of Terror, watched Indiana Jones and ate at Pizza Planet before going to take photos at the Osborne lights! Then we went home on the E bus which has a new bus stop I discovered... right outside Cast Services. Well, this was the first time I'd walked there since my last shift at DHS in 2010 so I had some weird flashbacks... mainly to the time Nick surprised me and to my last shift. Made me feel happy and sad at the same time.

Anyways, we got the bus home and then I have bummed around this evening and used some of my cupboard supplies up to make some naughty Chambord chocolate brownies for pre-meal tomorrow. They're a great end to a great day. Gonna miss this place... officially less than a month left working for the mouse.

I miss Space Oprah... and my ICP 2010... simpler times.