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.

A stitch in time saves 9! February 1, 2011

Ok, so firstly I apologise for not having posted in about a week. Secondly, I apologise for the mammoth size this post is going to end up being. I’ll break it up as if I was posting each day though, just to make things a little easier (both from a you reading it point, and a me remembering each day and writing it point!).

Monday Jan 24th
Today I had my service class over at Disney Uni. This meant getting up at some silly early hour to be over there for 8am ready to start! It was a pretty cool day actually. In the morning, we went over the Service basics and why Disney service is so much better than the average competitor. The afternoon was focused on wines, what wine Disney sells, different types, and so on. I learnt a fair bit, and it was all very interesting, especially about how wine is made, and how the flavour can change so easily.

We finished class at 5pm, after which I walked over to Cast connection, just to have a browse and see if any of the Christmas stock had found it’s way over there yet. The one thing I really wanted wasn’t there, so I came away empty handed. That night, I was feeling a bit all over the place. Really excited about Jon coming to visit, but also really not in the mood to pack a suitcase to stay in a hotel. I ended up doing very little, just hanging out with Terri in the end.

Tuesday Jan 25th
Today I was working an opening shift. But I was really wanting to extend my shift, and felt quite uneasy in the morning that they wouldn’t let me. You see, I was currently sat on 33 hours for this week, and I needed to extend to 36 hours so that I could give away my 6 hour Saturday shift (when Jon was here) without dropping under 30 hours (a visa regulation). As it turned out, I was in luck…

There was a massive thunderstorm on the way, we even had tornado warnings. Leah (who was assigning on Tuesday) has a massive phobia of storms, so as soon as Jack (the manager) said that a storm WILL happen, she turned round and said “I’m going home” Which was great, as I got to extend and get my extra hours!!!

Working during a thunderstorm is really rather fun. As an assigner you have two challenges… firstly, very few people are around and wanting tables, so you have issues filling servers up; secondly, when you do have people on your waiting list, guests aren’t willing to leave and head into the rain, so you have no tables becoming available. I somehow found a happy medium, and we had sheltered areas where people could wait until tables were available. Jack had sent loads of servers home as well, so I managed to keep the servers pretty busy most of the night. I did, however, seat the last table at 8:10pm. We usually seat the last table just before 9pm. It was crazy!!! Illuminations still went off though, the storm had almost passed over by then. 😀

Then I had a bit of bad news. Even though I’d extended to gain enough hours to give away my Saturday shift, I couldn’t sort it out there and then, I still had to submit it through the hub before I could take it to the managers. Argh. So I went home, packed my suitcase, and went to bed feeling rather annoyed.

Wednesday Jan 26th
My original plan for today involved me getting to the airport to meet Jon there. As it turned out, I still had to go into work (to sort out the Saturday give away nonsense), so I wasn’t going to make it out in time to get to the airport. Instead, I headed to work, suitcase in tow, spent the day on Chippie tills, and left as quickly as I could. I think it might’ve been one of my quickest bank-outs yet! Of course, as it turned out, I still couldn’t sort out giving my Saturday away, as it would’ve put anyone else onto a 6th day of work, and therefore overtime, and as such, the managers couldn’t approve it. Instead, Yelitza promised me that she’d ER me as soon as I came back from my class on Saturday.

Once work was over, I changed, grabbed my case, and ran to the guest buses at the front of the park. From there, I got a bus to All Star Sports, and sat and waited for Jon. I think that must’ve been the longest 30min I’ve waited in quite some time. But eventually, his bus arrived, and I was in his arms again!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaay! I won’t go into the little details, but once we had checked in and were settled and had freshened up, we decided to go to Downtown Disney for some dinner.

Raglan Road is YUMMY!!! It’s also amazing fun, with the live music and the Irish dancers, and just general yay! I will happily go there again. 😀

We were both rather tired after that though, so we headed back to the hotel and went to bed. Thursday was going to be an early morning, after all…

Thursday Jan 27th
Today was Magic Kingdom day! We had breakfast reservations at Crystal Palace, and I got to finally meet Piglet!!! Crystal Palace is a buffet style character breakfast with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. Tigger surprised me as I wasn’t paying attention when he came round, and he just tapped me on the shoulder from behind! It was so funny! The whole experience put us into a great mood for the day though, getting us well and truly into the Disney Spirit!

We did so much, even met up with Terri and Dan for a bit to do some things. Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, (Splash Mountain was closed, otherwise we would’ve done it), Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel, It’s a Small World, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Mad Tea Party Teacups, Stitches Great Escape, Mike’s Laugh Floor, The Carousel of Progress, Buzz’s Space Ranger Spin (which Jon beat me at!), Space Mountain, and even the Hall of Presidents. We did a bit of shopping in the afternoon (I even managed to get the thing I was looking for in Cast Connection!), saw all the parades, the new “Magic, Memories and You” Light show, and Wishes. It really was a fully packed day.

By the time we headed back after Wishes, we were rather worn out, so grabbed dinner at the All Star Sports QSR, then went back to our room.

Friday Jan 28th
Friday was a bit of an odd day. Jon and I wanted to see Cirque de Soleil at DownTown Disney. The only way to get decent tickets at cast prices is to be at the box office at 11am on the day you want to go. So Today, we headed to DTD for 11am just to get tickets! After that, Terri, Dan, Jon and I all headed into Epcot as we had a lunch reservation with Riyad at Via Napoli.

Via Napoli is a very yummy Pizza restaurant within the Italian Pavilion. The pizza’s there range in size from not-quite-big-enough to just-too-big-for-two to far-too-big-for-it’s-own-good!!! *giggle* It was very very yummy though, and highly enjoyed by all present. After that, Terri Dan and Riyad went off to do the UK Kim Possible mission (which I will do at some point!) and Jon and I walked round to Boardwalk and got a bus back to DTD. We had some time to kill, so we decided to make Potato Heads!!! This is way more fun than it should be. The Toy Store in DTD (called Once Upon A Toy) has a big pick-and-mix of Mr Potato Head parts. They sell these at a set price for as many as you can fit inside a box. Put it this way, Jon and I came away with more than our monies worth!!! I will be going back to fill a box with just parts though, without a potato body! (Yes, this is allowed – we asked.)

Anyway, two amazing potatoes later (mine is now sat on the dining table), we slowly made our way down to West-Side and Cirque de Soleil. The show was something else. I LOVED it so so so much. There’s very little plot to the show, but it’s more about showing off the talents of some very amazing people than anything else. I’d happily go and watch it again!

After the show, Jon and I popped into DisneyQuest (as I had free entry as part of my Holiday Celebration thingie) and had some fun in there before heading back to the hotel and dinner at All Star Music – just a short walk from AS Sports.

Saturday Jan 29th
Today was the day I had to work :S Thankfully, I didn’t have to work for long. Jon and I made our way to Epcot, then I left him to have some fun alone while I went to my Safety Class at 11. I was all done by 12:30, back at the Rose & Crown, and granted my ER. 😀 So it didn’t intrude too much into our day. As Jon had done Epcot in previous years, and wasn’t that interested in Future World, we spent most of the afternoon in World Showcase.

We had lunch in Morocco at Restaurant Marrakesh. The food was rather nice, although I preferred what Jon had to what I had! The music was really cool, and there was even a belly dancer to keep you entertained while you were waiting for your dinner. It really is quite a large restaurant though, so I’m glad I keep sending people there when we don’t have space at the R&C.

After Lunch I took Jon to Japan. There is one thing in Japan that I’ve been wanting to show him since I saw it in my first week here! You can pick your own pearl!!! 😀 So we went and did that, picked an oyster shell together, and got a lovely 7 1/4″ pearl! Not quite sure what we’re going to do with it yet, we need to have a think about that. It was such a lovely experience though, and made all the more special because of how long I’ve been wanting to take Jon there. We had a browse round the rest of the Japanese pavilion then moved onto the rest of the world. We looked at most pavilions, went on Maelstrom in Norway, bought me some hand-exercise ball thingies from China, went on the Three Caballeros Boat Tour ride in Mexico, and generally hung out around the world until dinner time.

For dinner, Terri and I had planned Reservations at the Garden Grill, without Jon and Dan knowing where we were going. Garden Grill is another character restaurant, with Chip & Dale, Mickey & Pluto. It’s a family dining type of dinner, with a set menu. They bring large plates of a bit of everything, and you help yourselves… like a Sunday Roast back home 😀 If you want any more of anything in particular, you just ask your server! It’s a set price too, so you can eat as much or as little as you like. It was really rather yummy!

There was, however, one more thing we needed to do whilst in Epcot. And that was to see Illuminations. So all four of us made sure not to fill ourselves totally at the Garden Grill, and we headed back to the Rose and Crown to have desserts and get a table with Firework Viewing. 😀 I’d already stopped by and spoken to Jane (the assigner for that day) to let her know we would be there later on. She found us a perfect table, and Jon and Dan saw Illuminations for the first time from one of the best viewing points on the lake. 😀 It made me so happy to see my Jon so happy 😀

After Illuminations, it was time to head back to the hotel again. Jon and I weren’t that tired, so we thought we’d try out the Arcade there. (Jon is a massive fan of ticket redemption arcades! Helps that we live near to Weston) As it turns out, it’s quite a nice little arcade, and every resort has one, and once you’ve bought a card in one, it works in all the others! On the way heading over to it though (we’d stopped off at our room) we met some amazing guests! It was two lads, probably in their late-teens. They were semi-dressed like pirates, eye patch and bandana type thing, and one was holding an amazing pirate map. It really was quite a piece of artwork! As it turned out, the treasure they were hunting – the big red X on the map – was actually the ice machine! But they made us laugh, and we thought it was really cool.

Sunday Jan 30th
For some reason, I wasn’t feeling very well that night and as such, I didn’t sleep well. I was still feeling rather rough, and oh so very tired on Sunday. We still went over to Hollywood studios though, as we’d originally planned. First thing we did was pick up fast passes for Toy Story’s Midway Mania. It was only 9:30am when we got there (park opened at 9am)… there was already a 45min wait for the ride, and the fast passes we got were for 12:35! By the time we’d picked up our fast passes, the wait time had gone up to 60min. It’s a very popular ride, is Midway Mania!

Anyway, we were rather hungry as we’d come out without any breakfast, so we went over to Fairfax Fair and each grabbed a Breakfast Muffin. It was a rather good muffin! The rest of the day was a little subdued though, due to my funny tummy, but we still did a fair amount of stuff. Including the Great Movie Ride, Sounds Dangerous, Indiana Jones Stunt show, and Muppet Vision 3D. For lunch, we had a reservation at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. I like the concept of this place, but it somehow just doesn’t work for a dining location. You spend more time watching the cheesy Sci-Fi Film trailers than you do on your food, and you really can’t have a decent conversation. I must say though, it was one of the most hushed restaurants I’ve ever been in!

After lunch we made use of our Fast Passes to Midway Mania! Now I realise why everyone loves this ride. It’s like a 3D virtual arcade game, and it’s SO much fun! I suddenly know why people are willing to wait 120min (and yes – this was the wait time when we came out) to get on it! It’s one I will definitely be trying to get onto again, and often! By this point, I was feeling even more tired due to my lack of sleep, so we were thinking about maybe heading back to the hotel, but instead decided to do the Backlot Tour. Somehow, Jon and I got picked to be volunteers. For anyone who’s seen the Backlot tour, I will only say that I was the Engineer… I was rather more awake afterwards! For anyone that hasn’t, I won’t spoil it for you! But I highly suggest you volunteer!!!

We still decided to come back to the hotel afterwards though. I got a couple of hours nap, which did me a world of good, and Jon spent some more time in the arcade, winning a silly number of tickets!!! Jon has seen Fantasmic before, so he didn’t mind about missing out on it this time around. It just means we’ll be making even more of an effort to see it in June.

Once I’d had my nap, we had a think about dinner, and decided to try out a QSR in another resort. We’d used up all our Table Service entitlements on our dining plan, but still had 2 Quick Service each to use up – one was going to be breakfast the next morning. So we had a browse through my little dining book and decided upon Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian. It had quite a simple selection, but a nice one none-the-less.

So we hopped onto a Magic Kingdom bus, then got the boat over to the Polynesian. I love getting boats around Disney, they’re always so lovely, and feel a little bit different! Once at the Poly, we grabbed dinner, which was yum, ate, then went and sat on the beach. We’d somehow timed things almost perfectly to see Wishes from the beach! I never realised quite how far behind the castle the fireworks actually go off from, or how high they really go! I guess that’s the joy of perspective! It really is a romantic thing to do though, watching Wishes with your partner from the beach at the Polynesian. It’s a memory that will stay with me for a very long time. 🙂

We came back to Magic Kingdom by monorail, stopping off at the Grand Floridian on the way, so I could show Jon just how lovely it is (and he agreed that it really is!). Once at MK, we transferred back to a bus, then came home to snuggle up and watch a film together. I was still feeling a little off and tired, and a snuggle night was just what we both needed, especially as it would be our last night together.

Monday Jan 31st
We took our time getting up and packing away our things, checking out and depositing our luggage with the holding people at the front of the resort, before taking a leisurely wander down to All Star Movies for Brunch. The menu at each of the All Star QSRs is identical, but Movies is clearly much more modern, with TV screens displaying it’s menu instead of just boards, along with other things.

Once we’d eaten, we slowly walked back to AS Sports, and went back to the Arcade room! Jon was so close to getting enough tickets for the highest valued things there, so we decided to go for it, get enough tickets, and have some fun doing so! So I now have a very cool, coloured, glowing, ball light thing sat in my room. 😀 I Love it! By this time it was pretty much time for the bus to the Airport. So we picked up Jon’s luggage and waited. About 15min later, we got on our bus and headed off to Orlando International.

Needless to say, neither of us wanted him to leave, and it all got very emotional, and I took forever trying to find a way back home (lynx buses are NOT fast, nor is going to DTD, transferring to a guest bus to AS Sports, picking up luggage, and getting a cast bus back to housing!) But eventually, I got home, stayed there for the rest of the night… Jon got home in the early hours of the morning, and all is well.

Tuesday Feb 1st
And so we get to Today. Today has been a very strange day. Firstly, I woke up feeling as if Jon had never visited. :S I went to work, as normal, feeling rather off. I was on Chippie tills today, which was ok, apart from the fact that I was only on the till for an hour before I had to leave for a Basics Class. The class was ok, going over the service basics again, supposedly inspiring us to do a job we should already be doing. Then back to work to task for 15min before going on my break. Then I got to go back onto my till until close.

It felt just far too easy to slip back into doing everything, and it really is as if Jon was never here. I’m leading two separate lives right now, and he is not a part of one of them. It feels so strange to bounce back and forth between them, but I guess it’s back to my non-Jon life for another 4 months for now.

And that life will start back up with a 3 month anniversary breakfast tomorrow morning! My entire arrival group (plus Terri, as she doesn’t have an arrival group) will be heading off to Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness for 8:30am for breakfast! It’ll be fun, although the early morning is going to make tomorrow interesting for me, as I’m assigning when I get into work. I don’t start as early as some of the others though, so I should easily get there on time.

Either way, early morning means I should really be sleeping.
Thank you for getting to the end of this epic post, I apologise again, and I hope it won’t happen again!



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