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.

Spring Formal! May 2, 2011

Today was my last training day as a server. Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, I won’t have another training shift as a server. I’ll either pass, and all will be fine, or I’ll fail and I’ll have to go back to podium. I only had an AM shift today, but it was the best training shift I’ve had so far.

Terri, of all people, was training me, and we were in Love. Love is a nice section to work, it just flows well. Terri was amazing. She made sure I was busy, she pushed me, she was constantly asking me what’s next? I think she’s even just about sorted out my issue with re-fills (I hate them, and never notice when I need to do them) If I serve like I did today in my test tomorrow, then I’ll be fine!

After work, there was a spring formal tonight. Much like the winter formal, we all dressed up looking lovely, and went to Coronado Springs for a good time, free food, and music to dance to! The UK went en masse, and even those that joined later on (due to finishing work a little later) found us. Terri and I also met up with Teddy again, and he was looking rather a lot smarter than usual! (Not saying he usually looks scruffy, but everyone really dresses up for the formals!)

The whole evening was a lot of fun, and afterwards Terri headed off to Lasses. I came home, and tomorrow I’ll be working an AM shift, opening the restaurant, ready to take my second (and last) service test. Wish me luck!!!



The world keeps spinning May 1, 2011

So today was my mid. Becky was training me in Dart Room, and she pretty much left me to it. I got cut to an am while she stayed on as a mid though, I could tell she was bored and just wanted to make some money. Terri was off today, so once both Anna and I were home from our respective training AM shifts, Anna came round to hang out. We watched Wild Child, ate lots of ice cream, generally had fun, and now it’s time for bed.

Another opening AM tomorrow!



Now for the hard part… April 30, 2011

This post will go through the service training week. They say it’s a series of the three different types of shifts you could work – an AM, a Mid and a PM. However, due to classroom sessions around your AM and PM, it feels like you work three Mids in a row. And it’s hard work.

Sunday 24th – AM Shift

So today was a very very early start to a busy, tiring week. I was on my way to work at around 7:30am, to have a class before we actually started on the floor serving. It’s really quite strange to be at work before even the managers are! Anyway, Kim was our trainer for the class, and she gave us lots of information about how the week would go, service standards, allergies and all sorts. Chef Tony even came out to talk to us, and both Phil and I had to spiel the menu to him. They went pretty well, but my spiels still need a bit of work.

Once I actually got on the floor, things went well there too. It was quiet (I know, having assigned, what the restaurant looks like when it’s quiet) and I was in Dart room being trained by Kim (Phil had Ray), so it was a nice easy way to get me going. There’s stuff that I still need to work on, but I can be overly critical of myself at times, and it was all stuff that will improve with time.

I finished work at around 4:30, and came home and did a load of washing, then Terri and I decided to re-arrange our room. The rest of the evening was spent with Anna, Jane and Shirley coming over for chinese, films and much girly chatter! πŸ˜€ It was exactly what I needed to take my mind off the stress of training.

Monday 25th – Mid Shift

We didn’t have a class, as such, today. We just started off our day tasting all the wines, trying to learn all the flavours of them. And then we started on the floor. I was trained by Becky today, doing the am in section 307, and the pm in Love. During our break we tasted and spieled all the appetisers. I had to deal with an 11 and an 8 top in the pm. I still haven’t had a table with an allergy, or been double sat… I don’t feel like I’ve been pushed as far as I could be. I did get a shoutout table, but didn’t actually manage to give them a shoutout, as their desserts went out during the fireworks. All in all, another good day, but I still feel like I could be pushed further.

Tuesday 26th – PM Shift

So, much as I was working a PM Shift on the floor today, I was still at work at about the same time as the AMs. This was for another classroom session with Kim, over in the training trailer. We basically went through bar stuff and generally made sure everything was going well and addressing any concerns Phil and I had. Then we headed back to the Rose & Crown to taste and spiel the desserts and practice opening bottles of wine. Then onto the floor!

I spent my shift in section 508 with Lady Sarah. Everyone says 508 is a nasty section, but I was doing alright for the most part. I got double sat, which was fine, and one of them was an allergy (finally!). Everything was going really well until the assigner (who was also in training) accidentally sat me again, making it a triple seat! (I didn’t have drinks out on either of the first two tables yet, although I had taken the drinks orders). This threw me totally off and it took me a while to get back on track, Lady Sarah even had to step in. I eventually did get back on top, and everything went perfectly!

It was also extra magic hours tonight, so I got sat one more table after fireworks (being KD – Kitchen Duty, meant that Phil and I had to stay on). This table decided that they were happy and wanted to spend quite some time over dinner. So they were the very last table to leave the restaurant, at 11:20pm. We’d already had the kitchen checked by management and were all ready to go home apart from bussing and sweeping that last table! So, after banking out, I finally left at 11:40pm. Yuk.

Wednesday 27th

Today was a lovely day off work. I slept in, which I really really needed. Terri and I went to Panera bread for some brunch, and then I met up with Teddy to go out to some random shops he knew of. He wanted to buy some new shorts, and I just fancied getting out and about. I did end up buying some shampoo though! Then we came home, Teddy went off to meet some other friends, and I came home so I could look at my wine and scotch flavours. Terri was a pm, so she didn’t get home until quite late.

Thursday 28th – Test Day
So yet again I was working an AM shift, but had to be at work a lot earlier for classroom business. So off to the training hut with Becky, where she ran through a few last bits and pieces before Phil and I sat down for our written test. This was basically a test of our knowledge to make sure we were confident with everything before hitting the floor. Both of us passed, I even got 199/200! (Go me! Grrr at that one scotch flavour) Then it was time for our shift, including our practical tests.

My shift seemed to be going alright. Not too great, but not too bad either. Then my test table got sat… I started off alright, my greeting and my spiel were fine, and then I got told the chefs weren’t around (the test table always has an “allergy”) and my nerves just went to pot. Everything fell apart, and the rest of the shift just went horribly, really. Needless to say, I failed, as did Phil. However, we do both have a 2nd chance (but no more than that).

I pretty much fell apart, and Terri had to come upstairs to find me and calm me down. Eventually, I was feeling a little more normal, and Terri took me home to change and get some dinner. We decided upon O’hanas, at the Polynesian, invited a few people along, and went there with Shirley. O’hanas was very very yummy, and I had a really good night, which was exactly the detox I needed after the mental blow of the morning.

Terri and I each had a cocktail with a glow-cube in, which was awesome. But what was even more awesome was the magic we made for a small child! This little boy came over to our table, leading Grandma by the hand. He came up and pointed at our drinks saying “Blue! Blue!”. She apologised to us, saying that he just wanted to show her the glowing drinks. We thought this was so cute, that we asked our waiter if we could buy a glow-cube for the small boy (we saw which table they went back to). The whole family came over to us afterwards and thanked us on three separate occasions! It was truly magical.

After eating, the three of us went down to the beach, having bought another round of very yummy drinks, to watch wishes. Wishes was amazing, as usual, and I made the obvious wish… that I would pass my service test. Once wishes was over, we were just hanging out on the beach, and Shirley decided to make a sand angel! It was so funny! This then prompted various things being written and drawn in the sand including “I <3 Jon" (with a heart, not those symbols), Our names, and then I wrote "I will pass". Motivation is the key after all! We eventually ran out of steam (and were taking up a lot of space with our writing), so decided it was about time we headed home. Especially as we were planning on getting up uber early to watch the royal wedding on tv!

Friday 29th – Wedding Day

I was actually off today, but still ended up going into work. So Terri and I set our alarms early so that we could wake up and watch Kate and William get married on tv. We’d moved our tv into the bedroom so that we didn’t really have to move. Once the ceremony was over, we were out the door and on our way to epcot (at 7:30am) for a big UK photo in commemoration of the wedding. This was fine for some people, who were working AM shifts (like Terri), but thankfully I wasn’t the only crazy person who’d come into work stupidly early on my day off.

We did have some time to kill between taking the photo and the AMs starting work, so a massive group of us (about 21 people) went off to future world to go on Soarin and Test Track! Then it was all back to the UK pavilion for a back stage street party with free shepherds pie and slices of cake. By then, our group had shrunk a little bit, but there were still a few of us, people who were off or had PM shifts later on, so we carried on round world showcase.

We went into France, had a browse, and went and saw their little show, “Illuminations of France”. Then we carried on round, some people stopped off for photos with characters, until we eventually got to Italy, where we decided lunch was in order. Managed to get a walk-in table for 9 people at Via Napoli, which was good fun, and also good luck. Lunch was very yummy, and afterwards we kept on round to Mexico. We had a couple of people with us who’d never been inside Mexico before!

After Mexico, the people with PM shifts went off to work, a couple of people went home, and some others off to Mission Space. None of these options really inspired me, so I went off on my own for a bit. I had a lovely chat with the lady selling Hawaiian Lei Flowers for Flower and Garden, then walked up to Mousegear and the Innoventions areas. I was basically just killing time until I thought Terri would be done from her PM shift so we could go home together. So I walked back to the UK to see if she had. Turned out she hadn’t, so I watched Riyad do some of a Tea-Tour (very funny – he skips!), and also watched British Invasion while I was waiting. She eventually got out, so we came home, spent some time relaxing and hanging out, then she went out. I had a bath, updated my blog with my food running week stuff, and then got an early night after my uber early morning.

Saturday 30th – Back to Training

So, to continue my service training, the managers had decided that I would basically stay on the schedule that Scheduling had given me, and I’d just be paired up with a Trainer on each day. So I got in this morning, as a 10:45 AM (instead of an 11:30 one), to find out that I wouldn’t have a trainer until 11:30. So I just helped out with setting up the restaurant, along with all the other 10:45 AM servers. Then we had pre-meal at 11:30, I found out that Becky would be training me, and I would be in 303 section. Personally, I don’t feel like today helped me in any way, I didn’t improve at all, and I was just going through the motions really. I guess my head just wasn’t in it though, which it hopefully will be tomorrow.

After work, I came home and Terri and I went out to the Outlet Mall for some dinner. Then we had a wander round some of the shops. Terri found a lovely top, then she bought my birthday present (also a lovely top) as she won’t actually be here when it’s my birthday. And then I found myself a cute new skirt, so I’m pretty happy with tonights findings. We also picked up some accessories for the Spring Formal on Monday night, and a jewelery holder for our bedroom. All in all, a good haul.

And now, for bed. I’m a Mid tomorrow. No idea who’ll be training me, but at least I don’t have to open the restaurant again.

And that’s basically my service week. It went down the drain a bit at the end, but I have another chance, and I have more training over the next few days. My re-test is on Tuesday, as is Phil’s (he failed too), so fingers crossed for then. For now though, Good Night.



Run, run, run… April 18, 2011

… just as fast as you can…

… or you’ll burn your hands on hot hot plates!!!

Yup, today I started food running. The idea behind food running is really very simple. You run food to tables. Mainly entrΓ©es. But if you have the time to help out with appetizers and desserts, then that’s all good too. As a food runner, you also have to keep the condiments (ketchup and tartar) topped up, and make sure there’s enough bread been baked, and butter in dishes to go with the bread.

There’s a whole load of stuff about learning seat numbers, and being able to take food to the right guest without “cattle calling”, but guests have a habit of moving, and some servers don’t use seat numbers properly. And then there’s things about which way round certain dishes have to be placed, but all in all it’s quite simple.

However, simple does not mean easy. Mentally, it’s easy. Physically… not so much. I’m used to carrying plates back home, and moving around in a fast paced environment. Unfortunately, I haven’t done that for 6 months now… I’ve lost the knack! Podium pace of life is so much slower, and even when it’s fast (in chippy, for eg), you don’t have to run around or carry heavy plates. But I’m sure it’ll all come back to me… in the mean time, I’m rather tired.

So, sleep is needed for little me. Tomorrow I will become chef Vikki, and don my chef’s whites, and spend a day in the kitchen! Fun times! πŸ˜€



Penultimate day on Podium, and I’m still assigning. April 13, 2011

So, as I predicted last night, Holly didn’t come to work today, and I had to train Lee again. I just feel that I can’t actually give him much more in the way of training, and he needs someone else’s style of Assigning. So I helped out in the morning, and “suggested” to Ashley (the pm manager) that Terri could be pulled from service for the pm. Thankfully, Ashley was ok with this idea, and come 3:30, I handed over to Terri, and got back to podium type stuff. I really wanted to be on podium and chippy today and tomorrow too, as they’re my last days before I start food running next week!

So, back to podium work, I tasked for a while, then I seated a few tables (think I was breaking people), and then I finished at 5:30. I had a change of clothes with me, and was intending on going to Hollywood Studios. By the time I’d headed down to International Gateway and gotten on a boat, the Crew-man said that by the time we’d get to HS, it would only be open for 10 minutes.

Now, I had a bite on my leg that was itching pretty badly, so I changed my plans a bit and got off at Boardwalk. I popped into their resort store and bought myself some bite cream. Then I hopped on a bus to DownTown Disney, where I browsed the stores a little bit before getting another bus over to Animal Kingdom Lodge.

I wanted to get dinner at AKL as I haven’t even been over there at all yet. I eventually decided upon Sanaa (whilst still on the bus over there!), and got a table within about 10 minutes. I had a chance to pop outside and spy some giraffes and zebra though, which was pretty cool. Sanaa was yummy. It was a mix of Indian and African, I had Tandoori Chicken and Potato & Pea Samosas. Very yummy indeed!

After dinner I was pretty sleepy, and I had no idea where to go to get the J bus home, so I hopped onto a DTD bus, and changed to an F bus from there. I eventually got home to find Terri wondering where I was (my phone had died – I had no idea what the time was!), having ordered chinese for me! Bless her, she looks after me. That’ll be my lunch tomorrow at least!

And now, to sleep. Aye, but a dream… ok, I’m not going to go down that route.



Rain rain, go away! April 12, 2011

I was training again today. It’s pretty good that we’re finally training up a new Assigner, but it’s a little bit late for it. It was also a really hard day to train. Lunch time was utterly dead, so I couldn’t really talk about wait times in way. Lee pretty much did everything himself. Dinner was going pretty well (dual-assigning) until it started raining. We had all of lower deck open, and the heavens just opened, so I had to just take over and sort out the crazy moving of people. Then all of our reservations turned up at once. And I mean all of them. We had parties waiting for 40minutes for their table. All because of the rain!!! There are times when I hate mother nature. I wasn’t even sure how to deal with the situation properly, so I wasn’t really willing to give the board up to Lee. Hey, I just don’t want to give the board up at all… I’m going to be really critical of all future assigners, I can just tell. :S

Anyway, once the madness had subsided, I let him finish the evening, and things went pretty well. He needs to watch the floor more though, but he’ll get there.

Then it was home time. We had a meet & greet tonight. All I will say is that Mo and Chris were very amusing! I’m not going to give anything else away, as I know there are people who read this blog who aren’t out here yet… I’m just going to say that Meet & Greets are very funny, and you’ll enjoy it, just come along!

And that was pretty much it for my night. I’m now home, and about to go to sleep. I should be back on podium tomorrow, but I have a funny feeling I might be assigning again, depending on if Holly sorts hours and things out. (She wanted me to swap with her)

Night world!


Funny Day. April 11, 2011

I was assigning again today, but I had a little shadow this time!!! I’m training again, as we’re about to have no assigners left! Training went well, if a bit odd. I couldn’t really demonstrate wait times, as there was no wait all of lunch… it was that quiet, and dinner went from a very small wait, to no wait due to all the reservations turning up at once. All in all a very strange day. I highly doubt I’ve hit budget… but I did hit it yesterday!!! For both lunch and dinner! Go me! πŸ˜€

Anyway, I’m pretty tired now, so bed time!

Night world.


Till time. April 9, 2011

Not a huge amount to report today. I went to work and was training Stevie-Rhiannon and Mo on chippie tills. It was a pretty good day all in all, it was their first day on tills, so we closed chippie down, then I came home.

Now I’m going to watch Alice in Wonderland before heading to sleep.



Bored, bored, bored. April 4, 2011

So today was boring. I was training chippie tills with two trainees. Both my trainees had been on their own when they’d had their first day on tills, so I was barely needed today. I had a day where I mostly stood and watched!

And that’s about it really. I got home, had a shower, spoke to a friend from home (he has insomnia!) and now I’m off to sleep.

Assigning tomorrow… I have to make sure that Terri gets an Allergy table, as she hasn’t had one during her training yet, and all I’m hearing about right now is how much she wants an allergy!!!

Night world.


Rain, rain, go away… March 31, 2011

…come again on a non-training day!!!

It rained pretty much all day again today. I was training Chippie open and filling with Jessie. She picked things up really quick, which was great, as it was mostly a verbal training day, and very little actual doing of stuff. Which, of course, is very annoying, and is all due to the rain. Rain makes the park very very quiet. We did, at least, get to do some stuff, which is more than can be said for Holly’s trainees. They were am seaters, and were meant to train on opening and doing beer cart today. Of course, when it rains, beer cart doesn’t open. So that’s going to prove interesting when they pick up a beer cart shift from CDS!!!

So anyway, training went pretty well, I think we covered more random stuff than if it hadn’t been raining, but slightly less condiment related things, and filling things. She seems to be a multitasker anyway though, so she’ll hopefully be fine with it.

So yea, my trainees shift finished at 5:45, but I was still scheduled until 9. How crazy is that? I’d put in for an ER to finish at the same time, but Yelitza said no, claiming I was one of the closers. This was a little crazy, as there were enough people scheduled to include Beer cart, which wasn’t open. So I carried on filling in Chippie, watching James train Chris on tills, and did random stuff to waste time. Then I gave up and asked Yelitza if we could close one side, which I then did, with the help of Paul, who was tasking. Tasking!!! That shows how many spare people we had around if Paul was tasking. It was nonsense.

But it was all well in the end. Once one side of Chippie was closed, I walked Kista over to the money room to drop bags, and then I finally got my ER at ten to eight. Better late than never, eh?

Then I came home, ate dinner, and have spent a lovely evening curled up with Peter Pan! πŸ˜€ I haven’t seen that film in years, it’s an awesome film!

And now, for bed. Possibly a little reading before sleep… I have got tomorrow off, after all!