Monday, 10 April 2017

Next in life!

Hello whoever comes by this page!

Enjoy reading my year at Disney World... but if you finish that and wonder - but what did she do next? - then you can read my blog about my time on Disney Cruise Line at:

Most recently, I have started a new blog - it's to follow my travels as I spent my vacations trying to see as many new places as possible! If you want to see that one it's at:

Thank you & have a magical day!


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!