Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The End (...for now!)

This is it - my final post of this blog!

I've been back in the UK for 4 days now... as I mentioned, it's been snowing a lot so I haven't ventured out in the car yet. I've managed to unpack two out of three suitcases and have filled in my US taxes, told the Student Loans Company where I'm at and already got addicted to a couple of UK tv shows.

So basically, I just wanted to make a final post to sum up this epically long blog.

The Cultural Representative Program is an amazing experience no matter whether you're in Merchandise or Food & Beverage. The program is a year long but I was lucky enough to extend an extra 10 weeks to actually be there around 14 months in total... I can only talk for F&B because that was my role but it was such a varied year and I gained experience in so many different things - starting out seating & greeting guests, pulling pints on the beer cart, working quick-service in the chippy, stocking (i.e. learning how to change kegs!), then moving into food running, dabbling in bar tending and obviously becoming a server. The unexpected things I learnt from this program was things like all the different types of alcohol I'd never tried, how steaks are cooked, how to get through a 12 hour shift with a 5 minute break, the geography of the US and the type of people from the different places (!) and how to explain what bubble and squeak was.

Obviously a great advantage to F&B is that you can potentially earn a lot of money - dependent of course on what time of year you start (if you're in service for Christmas you'll earn more... so you'd have to start around July-September time), how soon you go into service (normally 3-4 months into the program) and once you're in service - how hard you work and how much you ER! I personally think the best time to start the program (money wise) is in the summer because you get lots of hours on podium in the busy summer months (even though you have to put up with being outside in 35 degrees for three months) but then you'd go into service in the autumn and be able to benefit from Food & Wine, Christmas and then still be in service for Spring Break and Easter before finishing your program.

But the most important thing is to make the most of being there!! Some people see this as spending as much time as possible out getting drunk, some people work every hour under the sun and take home $20,000 and some people try to get as much time off as possible to travel.... well if you've read this blog you'll know which I fall into!

Over the last 14.5 months I've been to California (twice!), Nevada, Arizona, Ohio, Georgia (multiple times!),  South Carolina, the Bahamas, Canada, Washington DC, I've skydived at 18,000ft and bought an iPhone 4S handset outright... so I definitely didn't bring home $20,000! However, I have brought home some amazing memories, in the region of 8000 photos and I've seen some things I've always wanted to see. I pretty much achieved most things on my Bucket List plus much more... I managed to go backstage at Expedition Everest and Spaceship Earth, I saw TWO new years in at the Rose & Crown, I saw IllumiNations probably 350 times (not even kidding), I made a lot of magic and was even half-decent at my job ;-)

On a serious note, there are some people that I want to thank (even if they'll never see this)... my arrival group of AWESOME firstly, which was Sam, Paul, Sophie, Dan, Steffie, Anastasia, Tyler and Clare (01.11.11 forever!) who I had some great experiences with - staying in the cabins and in Bay Lake Tower come to mind, being drunk at Magic Kingdom at 4am on leap year, group dinners all over WDW, Jellyrolls, Secret Santa, celebrating Thanksgiving & Christmas 2011 all together, helping each other into service and most of all - none of us getting termed or self-terming!!

Nick - thoroughly mentioned throughout this blog, I'm sure he's a figment of imagination for many people by now... he's just my best friend who I will miss awfully now I am home. I'm hoping to see him again soon but I know at some point this year we will hang out again. We will be friends for life that is without doubt. We've had our ups and downs throughout the year but the ups just rule over everything - seeing Las Vegas appear over the crest of a hill in the middle of the desert was a highlight of my LIFE, seeing my first shooting star at 4000ft up a mountain in the pitch dark (on the same night funnily enough), freezing to death on a boat in San Francisco, endless hours of driving together, spending Christmas as a part of his family in 2012, living it up and spending $400 on alcohol on a 4-day cruise (!!), getting time off just to spend lazy days napping whilst it rains outside or going to the cinema, seeing the WORST movies from Red Box, endless tickling competitions... the list goes on and on. <3

My Managers - Whitney, Cari, Kevin, Joe and Anny - I had a couple of other managers but these were the ones who were there to chat to whether it was about work or socialising, playing games in the kitchen, screaming "WHO'S ON RACKS?!" or "I NEED FOOD RUNNERS!!!!", Whitney got me the ability to stay for an extra 10 weeks in my extension and without her I would have been writing this 3 months ago. All in all, my managers were the best I've had at Disney World - overall they were supportive and it was a pleasure to work with them.

All my other friends - everyone I worked with at the Rose & Crown were like my Disney Family. When your real family are 4000 miles away these people are there to see you laugh, cry, give you support when you're sick/hungover, mess around with you, help you out and most of all - swap shifts with you!

I'm going to sign off now because I think I've pretty much covered everything. It's onwards and upwards for me... I'm hoping to stay with the Disney company and I have a few plans in the pipeline so we shall see. Thank you everyone for reading - please contact me if you have any questions! Feel free to leave comments, email me ( or stalk me out on Facebook!

Have a magical day everybody!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Well... it's snowing...

Picture this... sitting in front of a TV, watching a documentary on Robbie Williams, slightly cold hands and feet, looking outside to see giant snowflakes falling and covering everything in sight... slightly different to being in front of the castle surrounded by Brazilian tour groups at Magic Kingdom in jeans and a tshirt...which I was doing exactly 68 hours ago...

So, back to Pop Century on Saturday morning. Nick was supposed to come and help me move my stuff but he got delayed so I ended up heaving all the stuff to the car and driving to the Caribe Royal which is where I had to drop off the car. I met him there and moved my stuff into his car before I gave my car back. Then we headed to the post office and Partners where I withdrew the rest of the money out of my account. Well, I left about $10 in there... at least my account should stay active in case I get back there anyway.

Then we headed to MK and on the way, Nick suggested we get food at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian partly because it's yummy and partly because we wanted to park at the Poly and not deal with the TTC. Well that plan was promptly scrapped when we got to the Poly and there was a sign saying "guests with reservations only"... so we asked the security cast member and she said that it was very busy because of the public holiday - it turned out that it was Martin Luther King day on the Monday. So... it also transpired that 'very busy' was an understatement.

We got into MK using Nick's holiday celebration ticket (which would have gone to waste anyway) and as soon as we were in there we realised it was mayhem. 60 minute queues for It's a Small World, 55 for Pirates and Haunted Mansion, 25 for Philharmagic, 130 for Space Mountain!! So, we kind of gave up on doing rides and instead did people watching... but I was a bit sad because I really wanted a fun day at MK on my last day! We did see the Dream Along With Mickey Show which is one of my favourite things and so in the end it was a good way to round off the day I suppose... we walked down Main Street and I took one last glance at the castle... until next time.

Nick then drove me to the airport, I checked in and paid another $50 excess (total being over $200!), he got some chinese food from the food court (I'd lost my appetite) and then neither of us wanted to move.

But time was ticking and unfortunately I needed to go through security... well, saying goodbye was horrible. Really, really sucky. Needless to say we both cried and walking away was one of the hardest things ever. I cried all the way through security (although it was subtle because I had to pull myself together) and then when I was at the gate I got chatting to this old couple who'd been to Disney millions of times so it kinda stopped me being upset.

The flight was the quickest overnight flight ever - partly due to the winds making it only just over 7 hours and also because Virgin Atlantic have done up their planes and flights so I had yummy curry, salad and tiramisu as food, a free glass of wine and watched American Pie: The Reunion (actually quite good!) before popping a Sominex pill and falling asleep for 4 hours. I missed breakfast and then by the time I properly woke up out of groggy-ness, it was light and we were about to land. It was the first time I'd not felt excited about coming home... in fact, I just felt numb. I really didn't feel any emotion. I got through baggage claim pretty easily (although in future, I should remember a £1 coin for the trolley...) and met my mum and dad which was nice. Then we drove back to Bristol which seemingly took forever... and then I've spent the last two days feeling really tired and blah... seen a couple of friends briefly, been to the mall (twice) to sort out my phone, indulged in my favourite British foods... and that brings us to now.

I'll update again shortly with one final post....

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The final countdown...

Well I got back to Orlando and Nick picked me up. We went to get the rental car which was the same car as I had when Lauren was here - a Chevrolet Cruz... I love it! This one is the spiffy sports edition too so it has heated seats, a camera for reversing and satellite radio :D I've very much enjoyed driving it around this week. So, we went to Nick's house to grab some stuff then we had lunch in Celebration before doing the 5.5 hour drive up to Hilton Head in South Carolina. It's literally two roads all the way there, very boring! I did all the driving myself though so I'm quite proud. We stayed at the Disney resort at Hilton Head... due to knowing someone that just worked there for the summer (connections!) we got upgraded from a studio room to a two bedroom suite! It was amazing! It had a jet bath, balcony with rocking chairs and a huge bed plus another bedroom and bathroom.

On our full day there, Saturday, we actually drove out of Hilton Head and went up to Charleston which was about a 2.5 hour drive. It was a cool place, very colonial feeling. We had lunch at a seafood restaurant and then we walked around the peninsula before driving back. It was nice to see but there wasn't masses of things to do really.

On Sunday, we drove 5 minutes to the beach and walked around that before sitting on the beach and planning the week ahead. It was warmer than it was supposed to be at this time of year but still a little cool first thing in the morning and it was quite foggy which looked cool! After this, we went to get lunch and then we drove to Savannah, which is just over the border in Georgia... about 35 minutes away. I really liked Savannah. We went to the Paula Deen gift shop y'all! We also did lots of walking around - it was very leafy and it had a really nice Southern atmosphere about the place. We saw an old church (when I say old, I mean in American terms... so it was 200 years old LOL) and the waterfront area where we had an ice cream. Then we left at about 5pm to do the rest of the journey to Orlando. We stopped at Pei Wei but eventually got back to Orlando and we checked into my room at Pop Century at about 10pm.

After grabbing my stuff from Nick's house, it took three journeys to get it all from the car to the room and then I just crashed out!

On Monday, I got up and headed to Walmart. Got some snacks for the week (no dining plan this time!) and a new suitcase for a bargain $38. Then spent the rest of the day repacking all my stuff... I had to put the 'do not disturb' sign on the door because there was so much crap everywhere that they wouldn't have been able to service the room anyway! By the end of the day I did have it all sorted though. It was a heatwave for the first part of this week so I spent a couple of hours by the pool in the 28 degree heat too!

Tuesday, I went to visit Natalie, one of my friends from the CRP who got married and is now living in Orlando waiting for her work visa to come through. We just chilled at her house and watched TV which was really nice. It was nice to catch up with her. Afterwards, I met Nick when he'd finished school and we got Thai food for dinner before going back to his house and hanging out with his roomate Eric.

Wednesday, I met Dan from work and we went to Universal bright and early! We headed into Studios first and did The Mummy, The Simpsons, MIB, Rip Ride Rockit, Despicable Me (finally!) before walking over to IOA. We had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe on the way. Once in IOA, we headed to Harry Potter (obvs!) and did Forbidden Journey before going over to Marvel and doing Spiderman and the Hulk. By now it was about 4pm so we left as the tour groups were getting annoying and we both had stuff to do in the evening. It was awesome to hang out with Dan though and talk Disney nerdiness for the whole day lol. Once I got home, I wrote Nick's goodbye card and packed some more before going to bed.

Thursday, in the morning I headed up to the Winter Park area of Orlando to take all my spare clothing and bedding to a charity called The Mustard Seed Project. I didn't just want to throw away the stuff I didn't want so that was my good deed of the week. Then I headed back and utilised the laundry room at the pool to wash a load of clothes because I figured it was better to take clean clothes home than dirty ones. I also sunbathed for a bit although the sun went in, the wind got up and it dropped from like 76 degrees to 64 degrees in the space of an hour. After my laundry was done, I went to Panera Bread (my last one!) and then to Partners to withdraw all my monies which was exciting stuff. Then I met Nick and Eric and we went to the Celebration Tavern for drinks and food which was really fun... I ended up staying at their house seen as I had been drinking I couldn't drive!

Friday, I got back to Pop at like 7.30am as Nick had to work early so I went to the food court and had choc-chip pancakes which are my favourite before driving to DHS for opening. Used my comp ticket to get in and promptly did Toy Story, Tower of Terror, Star Tours and Rock 'n' RollerCoaster twice by 11.30am and then I left! I then drove to IKEA as I wanted to get Nick and his roomates a present for their house... Eric wanted a picture of Paris which he'd seen online which was all black and white stylish... Wellllll, it was slightly (read: a lot) bigger than I thought it was - on it's end it was almost the same height as me! So I carried it back to the car before realising that no matter how I turned it around or opened all the doors on the car, it wasn't going to fit! I admitted defeat and took it back, getting a gift card for the amount instead so that they can take a bigger car and get this picture or whatever they want. So it was a bit of an Epic Fail really.

Once I got back, I got the bus over to Magic Kingdom and this was when it started to go wrong.... it started raining!! :( The reason I was going there was to see the Dream Along With Mickey show and the parade... well the rain put an end to the Dream show. Then Nick got off work early so I ended up just leaving the damp MK and he picked me up from the Contempo. We got Ruby Tuesdays for lunch which was okay then headed back to his house for a couple hours. Then we left for MK again, by now it had mostly stopped raining but still was spitting a bit. We watched Celebrate the Magic and Wishes... I surprisingly didn't get upset. Well, I got a little bit upset afterwards I'll admit but on the whole it was ok. We stopped by Tony's to say hi to James who just recently left the R&C to work there (he's permenant) and then got the monorail round to the Grand Floridian for our reservations at Citricos. It was very yummy. I had a cheese plate, a chicken breast entree and then a mango creme brulee which I couldn't even finish because I was so full! Afterwards, Nick dropped me off at Pop Century and I had to finish the packing.

Which brings me to now... I have 40 minutes before I need to be out of this room. Three VERY full suitcases in front of me weighing a combination of 160lbs so I'm sure there'll be excess baggage to pay later. Oh, and it's snowing in the UK so fingers crossed my flight won't get delayed tonight. I'm going to try and post again later once I'm at the airport because they have free wifi but if not, see you in the UK... :(

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Washington, D.C.

I love this city! It was definitely one of my favourite places I've visited so far. Again, I'm blogging from my phone... My Facebook picture is still from Christmas because I've not been on a computer since in order to change it! Actually more specifically, I'm blogging from the plane back to Orlando at the moment but I'm bored out of my mind and don't feel like reading. So once I return to the world of phone signal I will post this.

So I left Canada super early on Wednesday morning, successfully got to the airport in good timing and got on my plane to Washington. Tiny plane! Only sat about 40 passengers anyway and then add into the mix that I was one of only 12 people flying!! I was worried it wouldn't be heavy enough to take off haha. The up side of this was that I got two seats to myself (there was only two seats on each side anyway) and loads of luggage space (in fact it transpired there was only 2 bags in hold including mine anyway) plus I got a whole can of drink rather than half in a cup. The flight was only about 1 hour 20 minutes. Following on from my worries on the previous post, I went through US customs at the Canada border... Was slightly nervous! But after explaining that I was on the Q visa (officer: "oh the Disney visa" LOL) and that I went to visit friends etc he stamped my passport and I was on my way... Phew!

So I retrieved my bag and then got onto the metro which literally only took 15 minutes to get to the centre of the city, then it was only a 5 minute walk to my hotel - the St. Regis.

I chose this hotel because I got a good deal on it on but also because I felt like treating myself! And it was lush! Highlights included the bed which was super comfy (especially after sleeping on Tyler's sofa for the previous 5 nights haha) and the TV inside the bathroom mirror! So you could get ready and watch TV at the same time. Amazing.

So I managed to check in 3 hours early and this meant I could get changed and then head out for a couple hours of sightseeing. I walked down to the White House (literally one block away) but was instantly faced by a building site as they were constructing media stands and bleachers everywhere for Obama's 2nd inauguration next week! So I navigated that and went to the back of the White House where I could get a picture of it. Then I walked a bit further to the natural history museum and went to see the gems and crystals collection. I wanted to see this so that I could see the hope diamond - the most rare and expensive in the world! And it was indeed beautiful. I had seen a lot of stuff that they had here from the natural history museum in London so it wasnt all that different. Therefore I only spent about 45 minutes there before going back out. It had turned colder and spitting with rain a little which sucked. So I was going to walk to the Lincoln monument but ended up going the wrong way and was half way to the US Capitol building before I realised... So I walked down to that (which also had a building site outside it...) and then finally got to a subway station. I wasnt intending to take any more subways that day but I was tired and it was raining.

On that note, the Washington subway is probably the nicest I've ever seen. It's so easy to navigate, all one fare zone. It looks super futuristic and there's a no eating/drinking policy which means inevitably they're cleaner. They're not too far under ground so not many stairs to climb and they seemed to be pretty frequent and reliable... Loved it.

Anyway, I got the subway to back near my hotel and made the short walk to... Nandos! It's well known within the UK pavilion that if you go to Washington, D.C. Then you have to do the pilgrimage to nandos as its one of the only places in the states to have one right now. So I got a chicken wrap and fries it was yummy. Then I headed back to the hotel via CVS to get some snacks for later.

I made full use of the amazing shower and washed my hair before crashing out at 9.30pm for a great 11 hour sleep!!

So onto day 2: I got up and had a Starbucks for breakfast (there was one right across the street!) and then got my day ticket for the subway ($14) and going to Capitol South station to see the library of congress. I thought this would be a quick in and out slightly boring thing but how wrong I was... I don't know why but I loved that place. It was beautiful and inspiring with quotes all in the murals on the walls. I ended up spending almost an hour there!

When I left I made the mile walk to the postal museum (after taking photos of the non building site side of the US Capitol building). The weather was amazing! Sunny blue sky and nice temperature for walking around (not too warm!)

So I visited the postal museum which was fun and interesting. After that I got a sandwich from union station and then got the metro back to the museum area. After eating my lunch I went to the American history museum where I saw the dresses of the First Ladies. I have to say Michelle Obama's was one of the most beautiful. I also saw the ruby slippers from the wizard of oz and a real Kermit puppet. I wondered through the "America at war" exhibit which was interesting and amusing as there was a fair bit of British bashing going on in there haha!

After this I left and walked (the correct way!) to the Lincoln memorial. It was very grand with a long water pond thing in front of it which meant I could take good pictures of the Washington monument reflecting in it.

After this I wanted to visit the pentagon memorial and realised the quickest way to get there was to walk another mile over the river to the Arlington cemetery metro. This also meant I officially stepped foot into Virginia! Haha! Another state hit :)

So I got the metro to the pentagon which was a cool place. I wanted to visit the 9/11 memorial so even though it was a little off the beaten track I made it there. Very peaceful and respectful place. The constant sound of airplanes taking off from the nearby airport (where I just took off from!) was like a constant reminder of what happened whilst you're there. Anyway it was by now about 4.15pm and starting to get cold... So I made my way back to the hotel from here after a very successful day in the city. I saw everything I wanted to see but you could easily spend 3 or 4 days here there's so much to do!

I packed my stuff, had another amazing shower and then went to bed at 9pm as I was so tired from all the walking around!

Well, it now almost time to land so that was a successful way of spending half this flight even though I have a slight iCramp in my hand now!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

CANADA! Part Two!

Well on Monday we went off to get breakfast but we actually went to a coffee chain called Tim Hortons which is super cheap and equally as good as Starbucks. After that we went for a walk to this "castle" which was built by a super-rich businessman about 100 years ago modelled after English buildings from hundreds of years ago... we didn't go inside (too expensive wahhh) but apparently it's very lush and luxurious inside too. It was nice to have a brisk 45 minute walk of a morning... especially in a "feels like" of -8 degrees celsius! It was actually genuinely enjoyable. When we got back, Tyler headed to the gym and I watched TV for a while. When he got back we got the Subway back to downtown and got dinner at a restaurant where we could overlook the city which was really nice - I actually ended up having a veggie burger because I'd been craving a burger all day but I don't do beef and they don't do chicken... but it was super yummy. Then we shared a dessert which was mini versions of their 5 most popular which was super good! After we were done, we went to the cinema which was round the corner and saw Monsters Inc in 3D! Somehow I realised that I'd never seen that movie before! Blasphemy for a cast member I know!!

Today (Tuesday), Tyler had to work so I took myself back down to the Eaton center where I bought myself some new trainer-type shoes because I realised that all I brought with me was my fugg boots, a pair of heels and a pair of ballet pumps. None of which will be useful for all the walking I'll be doing in Washington DC over the next couple of days! My vans need throwing away anyway as they're falling apart so now I have a new pair of black Keds instead... After wondering around the shopping center and having some Thai food for lunch, I went to the cinema again and saw a movie called This Is 40 which I enjoyed. Then I headed back on the subway via the supermarket to grab a bottle of wine for when Tyler gets back from work.

Tomorrow it's going to be an early 6am start in order to get to the airport by 7.45am... plenty of time incase they extensively question me at customs. I'm really hoping they don't! I'll be scared the whole time. Obviously I have absolutely nothing to hide, I have all my proof of what I'm doing for the rest of my time in the states, I have my ESTA paid for and I even have my email inviting me to a job interview when I get home (I'll talk about that at *some* point haha) just to really prove I am actually going home. After all this worry and fuss they probably won't even care! Haha!

So, overall it's been a fun trip to Canada and great to see Tyler again. There's still things I want to do in this country, even in Toronto as well... for example I didn't go up the CN Tower (the weather meant that the views would be rubbish) and I didn't go to Niagara Falls (it's kinda far away without a car to hand!) but that's future things to tick off the list! It's been weird to experience such a change in temperature and it horribly reminded me of the UK! However, my Columbia coat that I bought at the outlets for $130 has been worth every single penny because it's the warmest (and least flattering!) coat I've ever had and I'm sure will prove useful in the UK too. I've enjoyed the British influences that Canada has (Malteasers and Smarties to say the least!) although everything seems more expensive here in comparison to the USA.

So, tomorrow I will bid a 'see ya later!' to the love child of Britain and the USA.... and enter back into the "Land of the Free" when I go to Washington, D.C. until Friday morning when I fly back to Orlando, pick up a rental car and then drive with Nick in tow to South Carolina for a couple of cheeky days at Hilton Head! Then back to Orlando for 6 days where I fully intend to do Busch Gardens, Seaworld, Universal, repack all my suitcases, eat as much Earl of Sandwich and Panera Bread as possible, finish off as much of my bucket list as I can.... and then hopefully spend my final full day in the USA at my favourite place in the world - Magic Kingdom. Fingers crossed!! I'll post as soon as I can!

Monday, 7 January 2013

CANADA! Part One!

On Friday it was time for a new adventure! We left at 8am and got Chick-fil-A breakfast before heading to the airport for my flight to Canada. I checked my bag and then ran into Fay in security which was funny because she was going to get her flight home to the UK. It was nice to be able to say goodbye to her one last time as she was my extension buddy. I got my first flight to Philadelphia which was fine and then only had 40 minutes to change to my second flight. Got there in perfect timing and got on the tiny plane for the flight to Toronto.

When I got off the plane it was SO COLD! I got my bag and then headed to get the bus which I'd already looked up. Got on the bus which was a bit of a squish to the subway station Kipling and then got on the tube to St George. Once I got there I found the exit and went out into the bitter cold (it was below zero!) to the coffee shop just down the street and found Tyler easily! Yay!! We got back on the subway and went to his apartment which wasn't far away. After dumping my stuff there we went to Panera Bread at this place called the Eaton Centre and then wondered through the mall there which was really nice. I'm hoping to go back there tomorrow when Tyler has to work. We stopped by the shop to get a bottle of wine then spent a nice evening watching Pitch Perfect!

On Saturday, Tyler didn't feel too good... we had a lazy day in the end. We did venture downtown and walked around near the CN tower as well as see the waterfront. I spent the evening watching Cheaper By The Dozen 2 and Tyler slept off his flu-ey thing!

Sunday, Tyler was feeling a lot better and he had to work. We got breakfast bagels and grabbed some stuff from the shop before getting changed and going to the mall he works at. He's a lead at the Disney Store so I spent a few hours "shadowing" him (mainly tidying plush and folding t-shirts haha). It reminded me instantly of working at TDS... even though I was in a different country and in a different type of DS I still felt exactly the same. After we finished, we got a pizza and spent the evening watching Honey Boo Boo on TLC and then the movie Signs.

And that brings me to today - Monday! I can't believe it's been a week since New Years Eve, it seems so much longer. We're off doing more exploring and I think Starbucks is calling now!

Hello 2013!

So to continue on from NYE! I left work at 1.15am and finally got home at 3am thanks to the wonderful buses. They even had metal fencing set up for the queue line which was an improvement on last year. I crashed out totally physically exhausted... and I still had a good 18 hours of work to go before I was done.

I was back in work the next day at 11.30am for a Mid - ugh! I really wanted to get an ER and go home but I had to stick with it. It was pretty busy for the whole day actually... luckily I got 311 as my section for the AM which was only a 3-table section so that was a nice calm morning. I had some nice guests including a table who had a cast member and her parents on it... turned out that this girl had done a program previously and knew someone that I knew on that program too.. the 7 steps of Disney returns! I had a brief 10 minute lunch break and then it was time for my last closing shift at the Rose & Crown! And of course, I was in 508!! One of the busiest sections in the restaurant and probably my favourite out of all of them... and it was just luck that I got there! Also, Fay (who leaves with me) was in 505 so we shared the sidework which was really nice especially because it was restock which was easy :-) One of my tables didn't leave FOREVER so I got out really late despite all my guests almost being done by 9pm (and FINALLY the fireworks were back to 9pm after a week of being at 10.30pm it was amazing!). Somehow I ended up leaving at 11.15pm which was crazy late and I didn't get home until just before midnight!

The next day I struggled to get up except for one thing - it was my final day at the Rose & Crown!! I got up, washed my hair and straightened it which meant even less sleep but I wanted to look nice for the inevitable photos that would be taken. I got to work and was a 10.45AM (only just made it in time! How ironic it would be to have got a late point on my last day when I'd successfully managed not to get one for the entire 14 months...) so I spent most of the set up kitchen time doing a photoshoot with Fay around the pavilion and then going to find us some "I'm celebrating" buttons to write 'Our Last Day' on them which ended up with me having to go all the way to guest relations for them! I chose to be in 307 for my final shift for several reasons: 1) It was a hot day and that was inside 2) it was my first ever section I trained in (me? nostalgic? never!!) 3) you don't get too much grat in that section (drinking money!) 4) it's right next to the kitchen.

So the shift ended up being really busy for an AM but pretty standard. I really didn't have any stand-out guests which was a little disappointing. I got totally scuzzed by my first table who were dining plan and moody for the entire meal. My last table was a 2-top on 308 who were Tables In Wonderland (joy) and they were pleasant enough but it really wasn't that exciting. After I was done, I tidied up and then TGR'd and banked out before getting changed and heading to the bar!

So... a cider and black, welsh dragon, mudslide, brain hemorrhage (it's a shot) and glass of banfi rosa regale later (accompanied by a cheese plate) we left the R&C. We had a lovely song sung for us by the hat lady and we threw our shoes in the lake as is traditional. Loads of people were heading out with Fay to a bar so myself with Andrew and Dan headed to Magic Kingdom. We walked past Soarin' and I ended up name-dropping Nick in order to get on the ride which was fun then we went to MK. It had been so busy earlier in the day that it had gone to Phase 3 which means resort guests and people with reservations only - ARGH! Luckily it was back to fully open when we got there. We walked up main street at 8.59pm and Wishes started whilst we were still pushing through the crowds to get a spot. I received a really nice message from Fay whilst I was watching Wishes which made me cry of course. After it was finished, the boys and I went to Thunder Mountain which is always awesome in the dark before getting a taxi home from MK for some VERY MUCH NEEDED SLEEP!!!

So that was that - my time was done at the Rose & Crown!

The next day (Thursday) was my last full day in Orlando as a cast member. I had all sorts of plans involving parks and such but the reality was that I was so tired and had so much to do that it all ended up changing. I got up eventually at 11am (I shouldn't have slept in so late but I couldn't help it!) and packed up the rest of my stuff which was joyful. I eventually got done at about 2pm and Nick came over we loaded up his car with all my stuff. I ended up with 2 full suitcases, a full duffel bag, another full bag on wheels, 3 reuseable bags of stuff for charity, my bedding, a small pink hand luggage case and two bags of alcohol! I gave the alcohol to Eric (Nick's roommate) and we took the rest to his house and stored it in his garage. We got lunch at Cheesecake Factory and then stopped by EPCOT to get Tyler something he wanted from the Norway pavilion. Then we got a couple of DVDs and vegged out for the rest of the evening.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Blogging from my iPhone

Okay bare with me here, and sorry in advance for any spelling mistakes... I'll fix them next time I get on my computer. I have hit a new level in busyness in that I haven't even had the chance to log onto blogger on my laptop since Christmas Day and in that time I worked 50 hours, finished Christmas, finished my program and flew to Canada!!

Okay so back to Christmas... Dinner was good and then we did the typical lying around/napping for the rest of the evening. We ventured out in torrential rain to go and see Les Miserables at the cinema for the late night showing (it came out on Christmas Day) and it was a really good movie but very long! Afterwards we went home and all crashed out.

Boxing Day we all slept in and then went to downtown Atlanta to see the Nutcracker! I've never seen live ballet before and so I really enjoyed it. The story is a bit loopy and I didn't really follow it but it was very impressive on the dancing front. When we left the theatre it was super cold, really windy and there were snowflakes in the air!! We ran backto the car and then went for some food at a restaurant called Houston's which was yum yum. Afterwards, we went home and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

On the 27th, everything returned to normal and so Nick and I went for a trip to the mall where I bought another charm for my bracelet. We were going to go to the Atlanta botanical gardens to see the lights but it turned out that they were sold out for the evening. So instead we went to the cinema to see a movie called Guilt Trip which was funny. Eventually we got home and we waited for Alex to get back from work so I could say goodbye to him as I was leaving early the next morning.

We had to leave at like 6.30am the next day. A brief trip via chick fil a and I was at the airport to go back to Orlando. The flight was pretty uneventful and I landed at 1030am in the nice warm 70 degrees! I had several options to get back home but I opted for the Mears shuttle which cost $21 but took me right back to the Marriott hotel which was only a 15 minute walk from the commons. It meant I didn't had to battle with public transport or take out a loan for a taxi from the airport. So by the time I got there, dragged my luggage back via Panera and got to my apartment it was 12.30. I had 45 minutes to get changed and then to get the bus to work due to the crazy traffic around Disney world. I was approaching pretty tired by this point seen as I was up at 5am and then I got given 701 as my section!! Ahhh! Worst section ever. So I did a round of guests (4 tables) and then it started spitting with rain! Even Mother Nature felt sorry for me haha! So the rain got worse and I then got an ER and left at like 8pm! Woooo. I spent a few hours packing and doing laundry before going to bed at about midnight totally tired!

Saturday was the start of 5 very long days. The Saturday between Christmas and new year, also the last Saturday of candlelight meant for a busy day. Out opening hours were extended again so we were seating until 10.30pm ewww! Oh, and I was a 1045 mid! I worked for like 13 hours in the end. Went home, slept for like 6 hours and then back up and in for another mid on Sunday! After another 12 hours of work, nick picked me up so he could give me back some stuff he'd brought back from Atlanta in the car and we got a quick McDonald's. then to bed for another 6 hours sleep before I had to drag myself up at 8.30am in order to pack as this was the only time I had to do it! I took my TV round to Jessie's and did about 3 hours of packing making good progress.

I gave up at about 12 because I headed out to bahama breeze with a load of people from work... The food was soooooo good!! We obviously had to be fully prepared because that was New Year's Eve!! We got to work and the park was heaving... I got given section 307 which I was a bit disappointed about really because I wanted to be outside. Well there were 19 servers present and only 17 sections which meant two people were chosen at random to be "non tipped" and that was old man Shaun and James. Well this didn't go down well with Shaun so he started grumbling and complaining and for some reason I decided that I would swap with him. I think it was the two 12 hour mids I'd just done which exhausted me and the kitchen/park seemed so stressful that I didn't want to deal with it. So I chose to e on $8/hour and instead spent my (very long) evening bussing, tidying, doing side work, pot wash, service bar and stocking and moving kegs! It was actually an enjoyable evening! I dropped a knife on my foot handle down which bloody hurt and I cut my finger open but all good fun. I also clocked out at 1.15am instead of like 2.30 like most of the servers. I still didn't get home until 2.45am thought because of the bus queue!

We managed to all go out and watch the fireworks which weren't as emotional as I thought they'd be. At 7pm we also did our shout out for the UK new year which I got to do which was exciting! We gave a free glass of cava to every adult guest to celebrate... Cue me tipping 6 glasses over a guest because the plastic glasses were so lightweight and flimsy... Oops!!

All in all, it was a good night but I think last year was more epic for me....

To be continued.