My Disney Journey

This blog was a journey of my application to Walt Disney World's Cultural Representative Program, from sorting out my CV through all the interviews to a year of having a mouse for a boss! Now, watch as I try to get back to my second home.

4 parks completed November 18, 2010

I have finally been to all 4 parks! Woot!!! πŸ˜€

This is going to be a short post, as I was up at 5:30 this morning to go to the Social Security Office. I had my little interview to get my SS number (which should arrive in 2-3 weeks) and then we came home. So by 9am I was free for the rest of the day. I relaxed for a while, then headed over to Epcot with some new Norwegian friends! πŸ˜€ I think I mentioned them before, Jen’s house mates – Sandra and Ina – and a couple of friends of theirs.

We went to Epcot for one reason… we had reservations at Chefs de Paris. (By the way – thank you SO much to Sandra for inviting me along!). Chefs de Paris was amazing, it was so so yummy, and the rest of the menu looked gorgeous too. If I didn’t have so many other places to eat, I’d go back there in a flash… I will certainly recommend that anyone coming to Florida tries it in there. It’s not too pricey (by Disney standards), and is worth what you get.

After that, we split off into smaller groups, and a few of us headed over to Hollywood studios! I hadn’t been before today, and I had a great time. I think I’ve now spent more time, in one go, at Hollywood than I have in any of the other parks! We did most of the big rides – Tower of Terror (eek!), Rock N Roller-coaster (hate to say it, but kinda disappointing), Great Movie Ride (awesome!) and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (just wow!). We didn’t get to do Toy Story Midway Mania as the queues were horrendous, and they’d run out of fast passes. There’s always next time though! There’ll be plenty of next times πŸ˜€

We got a nice surprise with one attraction – if you head to “Streets of America” within Hollywood after Dusk throughout the Christmas period (ie, now) they have The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. They basically cover an entire area with Christmas lights. All the buildings, and across the streets and everything. It really is something to behold. And there’s apparently 36 hidden mickeys within the lights! I think we spotted about a dozen, although we stopped counting.

However, the main reason I wanted to do Hollywood tonight though was because of Fantasmic. It’s basically the evening show (a bit like Wishes and Illuminations), but they only do it twice a week, and it’s only viewable from inside a huge amphitheatre on the edge of the park. It’s more of a show than just the fireworks, and we had some amazing seats, right in the middle at the front. They use water sprays to display selections of Disney animations, as well as having characters on the stage, and lights, and fireworks, and so many other things. It’s a stunning spectacle, and I hope it stays for a very long time, because everyone should see it. I can’t really compare it to Wishes or Illuminations, as it’s such a different kind of show, but it truly is a sight to see!

So, I guess this wasn’t as short a post as I was hoping for after all! For now, I’m just waiting for the tumble dryer to finish drying, and then I will be heading straight to bed. I’m going to sleep well tonight, that’s for sure! And then tomorrow, I will have my final training shift on the Chippy. Not sure if I’ll be on tills or filling… probably filling unless tills get really busy.

So I bid you good night, and have some Fantasmic dreams! πŸ˜€

Vikki

 

Double Whammy!!! November 17, 2010

So today I opened the chippy. I managed to do everything, and I even worked out the coffee machine properly! Work was stupidly quiet. It got busy for about 30min, when we opened the second register, and then it died off again. I had fun filling though, got to know the chefs a bit better – Dexter is awesome! πŸ˜€

After work I went over to Magic Kingdom. I pretty much just walked round the whole park, grabbed some dinner at Casey’s Corner (apparently I’m still not a huge fan of hot dogs!) then found a spot to watch Wishes. Wishes, as always, was amazing. I even teared up! I made my wishes though, and I will dream that they come true. πŸ˜€

After Wishes was over, I rushed to get the monorail back to the Transport and Ticket Centre (TTC), then another monorail over to Epcot. You might ask why on earth I’d want to go back to Epcot having been there for work earlier today – well I’ll answer you! With Wishes on at the earlier time of 8pm, I had time to get to Epcot to watch Illuminations at 9pm! I even got lucky with positioning!

When you get to World showcase, and the lagoon, you’re on the opposite side of the lake to the American Pavilion. On the edge of the lake is a large, raised podium like area. This area is very close to where the fireworks for Illuminations go off from, and as such is usually closed during it. Tonight, however, there was barely any wind, so they opened it up for seating room only (being raised). I have no qualms about sitting on the floor, so I leapt at the chance! I wasn’t quite at the railing, but there was only one person in front of me, and most of the show was above my head! I could feel the heat coming off the flame barge! It was just amazing! πŸ˜€

So, that was my double whammy! Wishes and Illuminations all in one night! Having seen them back-to-back, I can happily say that I prefer Wishes. However, tonight’s viewing of Illuminations will forever hold a soft-spot in my heart, and I doubt it’ll ever be as good for me again!

And with that, I’m going to bed. I have to be up uber early tomorrow, to go and get my social security number, so that America can start taking tax from me. :( Ah well, not much I can do about it!

Sleep well everyone! And enjoy fireworks whenever you get to see them πŸ˜€

Vikki.

 

All on my Own! November 16, 2010

Well, not really, but… today was my first shift on my own! Although I’m technically still in training, I was actually left to fend for myself on my register. It was in my name and everything! Thankfully, there was the right amount of money in it at the end of the day. πŸ˜€ I did make one little mistake, but it was easily fixed, and no harm was done from it. I’m still getting used to everything at work, and I’ll get quicker with time, especially at multitasking and stuff, but I’m getting there. Slowly but surely! Only two more shifts on chippy before I have to learn a whole other role though. Fun times ahead. πŸ˜€

Last night was also good fun. Lasses is a laugh, although it’s the kind of thing where it helps to know the others and have a history with them. But again, that comes with time. And if I keep going to Lasses, and hanging out with people, and the longer I’m at work and stuff… eventually, I’ll be giggling about the latest in-joke with the rest of them! I will certainly be going along next week though. Helps that I have Tuesday off too! Hehe.

Anyways, that’s all for now! I’m opening chippy tomorrow, so that should be fun. No idea if I’ll be on register or filling, we shall see!

Vikki

 

New Oven!!!! November 15, 2010

So yesterday, myself and one of my flat mates pulled out a load of the kitchen cupboards, worked out that we were missing a whole host of utensils and crockery and such, and went to housing to get said missing items. Later in the evening, it turned out that the oven didn’t work either, and at least one of the hob rings was broken too. So this morning, before getting on the bus to work, I popped into housing and told them, and having gotten home from work I discover… a new oven!!!!

This is pretty damn cool, and has also unearthed a whole load of baking utensils. πŸ˜€ I am looking forward to going through them, and seeing what’s still in a decent enough condition to use.

In other news, I was a Chippie filler today. It’s a very simple job, but it takes a little while to get used to. Fish is very unevenly weighted, and has a habit for dropping off the top of the pile of chips if you’re not careful. Thankfully, it wasn’t too busy today, so I could take my time. I only dropped one piece of fish on the floor, and that’s because I knocked it against the pile of trays. Oppsy.

What this does mean, however, is that the next chippy shift I have (tomorrow afternoon/evening), I’ll be on my own! Not sure If I’ll be on tills or filling, but it’ll be a little daunting either way.

Later this evening, I’ll be heading off to Lasses. It’s a chance to meet a load of the other girls from the UK, relax and have a little fun. Lasses is held every Monday night, the guys go to Lads. Sometimes the two meet up afterwards, sometimes they meet with other countries. I’m quite looking forward to it, it’s a pajama party. I’m taking my dressing gown along to snuggle up in. Should be good fun!

For now though, I bid my readers good night. Have a good one!

Vikki.

 

Lego-go-go! November 13, 2010

I helped build a dragon today!!!! πŸ˜€ An 8ft tall one at that! πŸ˜€ *giggle*

DownTown Disney is currently playing host to the Festival of Masters! And there’s a master lego builder there building an 8ft dragon. I helped build a brick, which he then used to put together his dragon. It’s really clever, they have a scale model using 2×4 bricks (among others) and they do the full sized one using the 8×16 “bricks” that each member of the public gets to build. I might try and pop back tomorrow around 5pm to see the finished dragon! We’ll see. There’s photos over in my gallery for anyone who wants to take a look though.

GFLUG were there showing off their stuff. They’re the “Greater Florida Lego User Group”. I told them how I’d had to leave all my lego back in the UK, and that I was in the middle of building a roman villa. They were rather impressed, and gave me contact details if I fancied joining the group for the year that I’m here. Having seen their stuff, and spoken to them, I’m certainly going to consider it. They only meet once a month, and my rota will probably get in the way more often than not, but it’s cool to meet people with fellow interests other than Disney! I took a load of photos of the builds they’d brought with them… again, over in my gallery!

There’s also loads of photos from all the chalk artists that were covering the ground of DownTown Disney. Some of the artwork was just amazing, you wouldn’t know it was chalk art! I kept rounding corners to see even more artists, there were so many! Another reason why it’s tempting to go back around 5pm tomorrow, to see the finished designs!

I also got to meet up with Chris and Lenore (friends of Jon’s, from his youth, who now live here) and they’re so so lovely! Lenore used to work for Disney, so they know what the rotas are like, and the discounts and everything, which is cool. They’ve also offered to help with anything I need, which is a relief, even if I never need them. Friends with cars can prove useful in an area with next to no public transport! πŸ˜›

We went to Rainforest Cafe for dinner. It’s part of the same company as T-Rex, and it shows on the inside! The themeing is impressive to say the least. If you don’t want your meal to be interrupted by an elephant being noisy, don’t eat there!!! The food was pretty good though! We shared a starter and a pizza, and a dessert. The portions are pretty big, so 3 courses between the 3 of us worked rather nicely! We still didn’t finish the dessert, there was a lot of chocolate and cream in it though.

So after dinner, we went through Art Of Disney (which I could buy pretty much all of!) and we all had fun picking out our favourite artworks and prints and things. Some of them are just *so* pretty, it’s amazing.

And then I came home. Quite a simple day, mostly looking at artwork of various different forms! I also picked up a little gift for my room mate, whose birthday it is today. She was really happy when I gave it to her, so that’s always a good thing :)

I don’t have any plans for tomorrow, so I’ll probably see what other people are up to. We do have dates for flat inspections in two weeks time, so I may end up starting to tidy this place up. I don’t think anyone has cleared the kitchen or fridge out in ages… we found some margarine that expired in 09 the other day!!! So that’ll be fun!

For now though, time to relax and hang out with my flat mates.

Vikki

 

Choo choo train!

So today I had more training! Yay! Chippie tills again, so pretty much the same as yesterday. I learnt about counting my float out before starting, and I actually cashed up at the end (even though it wasn’t in my name), and I was spot on! I didn’t really feel like I was even training today, Holly (my trainer – just as lovely as Malory) mostly just stood and watched me, and there were a few times where she ran off to do stuff and I didn’t have any problems at all! I even encountered my first travellers cheque today. I’ve never even seen one before today, so that was an experience.

All in all, an enjoyable shift. Oh, and closing chippie involves lots of cleaning… which I’m used to from closing bar back home. So it’s all good! πŸ˜€

Tomorrow and Sunday are off! πŸ˜€ So I’m going to head to DownTown Disney to help build some lego! *giggle* Yup, I’m sad!

Vikki

 

First proper day of work! November 11, 2010

So, I didn’t post yesterday, but it was a nice and quiet day off. I spent the morning relaxing and catching up with friends, then spent the afternoon and evening in Animal Kingdom (awesome! I can see myself spending a lot of time there) and Epcot. Also got to meet Jen’s Norwegian flat mates, who’re really nice. We had dinner at the ESPN Club on the Boardwalk. I’m hoping I get to hang out with them some more.

Anyway, today was rather different, in that I actually started work!!! I was on chippy, with Mallory training me, so I was on the till. The POS (Point of Sales) was so different to the one I’m used to back home, but it won’t take me long to get used to it, I’m sure. The only bigΒ differenceΒ is hitting the Cash button after entering the amount of cash, and not the enter button. Mallory was lovely, but working in a quick-service environment is very different too. It might take me a while to get used to chatting with customers while on QS. I tried a little bit today, but it felt a bit strange at times. I guess it’ll be different when I’m filling the orders, as I can chat a lot easier when doing that. We shall see!!!

Either way, I really enjoyed it, and I look forward to going back again tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll have Mallory training me again, which is a shame, as she’s lovely. All depends who’s on which role really. *shrug*

Anyway, there’s more flat mates actually here in my flat right now than I’ve seen at any point since I’ve been here! So it’s probably about time I actually got to know them a little better πŸ˜›

Vikki

 

Fail TV is fail. November 10, 2010

Well, it looks like I might not be able to watch either Desperate Housewives or Hells Kitchen!!! It seems we have neither ABC nor FOX. We have ABC News and FOX News, but not the actual channels. Grrr

In other news, I think I have finally done all of the e-Learning I need to do. I could be wrong, but if I have any more, it’ll be one or two at a time, not 5 or 8 or however many I had to do in one sitting this morning. We also met our managers today, and got given even more paperwork… some of which to read at our leisure, some to study and learn if we ever want to get into a tipped role. It’ll be quite nice to finally know what on earth we’ll be selling in this pub (apart from fish and chips, anyway!).

After we were done with work bits, we decided to go back to Epcot as guests and have a browse around the pavilions. The other guys went off to see Hansen (again), and I had a better browse around. Sometimes, I feel a little bit left out as the one who’s never been here before… they don’t want to go into every shop and see what they each sell, they’ve been there and done that and know that at the end of this street is just a restaurant, etc etc. I know it’s a bit funny, but I actually really enjoyed wandering around on my own for a tiny bit, taking my time having a browse. :)

After Hansen had finished their last set, we all met up again and heading out of the park and elsewhere for dinner. And now, I’m back home, rather full up, kinda sleepy, and *really* looking forward to my day off tomorrow.

Oooh, I feel that I also have to mention that Japanese people are really nice. Last night, after updating my blog, I ended up hanging out with my Japanese room mates and their friends. I think it’s just a cultural difference thing, and how different my mannerisms are compared to what they’re used to, but they think I’m really funny! It’s nice, because they’ve welcomed me so well, and they’re about the only room mates that I actually ever see around here!

Anyway, I’m hoping to relax a lot tomorrow. I think there’s vague plans to do Epcot again later on, while we still have a chance with the Food & Wine festival on. Hopefully, I’ll get to look around the other half of world showcase (I only saw about half of it today!)

So, night night from sunny Florida,
Vikki

 

Normalcy? November 8, 2010

I have my rota for the next couple of weeks, and for my training! Hopefully this means that I’m finally settling down into some sort of normalcy. I’ll be starting off in the chippy, then moving to seating and greeting later on. I’ll probably have to go back to the chippy at various points, but they like to train us all on one then all on the other before mixing and matching things.

We had a full tour round the pavilion, on and off stage, today. It was pretty cool, although they’ve managed to fit an awful lot into a very small space. I’m certainly going to miss the open-ness of zizzi.

Tomorrow is another day of e-learning, so more computerised tests and presentations. Boring, but necessary. Probably not so boring if you’ve never been a waitress before, but hey.

We also got our costumes today! I must say, it’s not actually as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Although the little floppy bonnets are kinda funny! I’m going to have to work out what to do with my hair though… possibly going to have to resort to plaiting it, or bun-ing it every day. We’ll see.

Otherwise, all in all a pretty standard day. Nothing out of the ordinary to report, apart from it being my room mates birthday on Saturday. I have Saturday off, so I’d like to try baking her a cake… but I’ve just found out that our oven doesn’t work. Kinda puts a hamper in the proceedings. A trip to the housing people will be required some time soon, methinks!

For now, Adieu!
Vikki

 

eLearning is boooooooooooring

Today has been a semi-boring day (if those even exist in Disney!). Had to go back to the Disney University for “Food and Beverage Basics” this morning. A nice guy called Don spoke to us about various odds and sods for about an hour, and then we spent the rest of the morning going through 5 different training things on a computer. They were thoroughly boring, although necessary. All about basic Hygiene and Safety stuff, and how to treat Guests with Disabilities and so on. Pretty much all common sense basic stuff. But hey, had to be done!

After that, I chilled at home for a while, then decided to head out to explore Down Town a little more this evening. I’ve discovered that I get 10% discount in both the Lego and the H-D stores (yay!!!) although not on bikes or rental, as that has to be done through another dealership, and my discount is only in that one H-D store (boo). Ah well, 10% is still pretty nice!

I mostly just wandered and browsed and made mental notes on stuff to buy at a later date. I’m trying not to buy things just yet, so I can wait until my double rent week passes, and see how much money I have left. That way, anything that I remember wanting, I know has stuck in my memory well enough to be worth it. Strangely sensible for me! πŸ˜›

I did stop off at the quick-serve section of Cookes of Dublin (the Irish pub in DT) and had an amazing Chicken burger. It’s one I’m going to remember for the future, because it was just plain yummy. :) Adding it to my list, although I will need to go back to Cookes for a sit-down meal at some point. Just the rules I make for myself!

Anyway, tomorrow is another early morning, so It’s off to bed for me, and tomorrow I get to Discover Epcot!!! Fun times πŸ˜€

Vikki
xxx