Monday, 29 August 2011

Back to Blighty

Is it just me or am I a very lapse blogger? It seems kind of strange that I haven't updated since early May! It means I haven't said anything about my birthday, my extension, 4th of July... well, a lot really!

I'm not really sure if re-living the whole of the last well, four months is particularly clever (we could be here for a while) but I will give you a brief run-down.

May was fun. The highlight was obviously my birthday for which Janey, bless her, took me to Tutto Italia as I love it sooo much, and Anna and Arran came and joined us too. We had a lovely meal as the four of us and I really really enjoyed the evening. They told the waiter that it was my birthday too, and so they sung to me in the Italian-themed way which left us giggling for a good wee while. Whilst we were waiting for Janey and Anna to arrive as they'd had the day off, Arran treated us to a Funnel Cake to bide the time and I remember munching that in the American Pavilion trying to make sure that the powdered sugar didn't completely cover us from head to toe before our lovely meal... I think we did fairly ok.

Next Janey took me to the Polynesian for the night. That place is seriously plush! We took advantage of our hotel stay and met up with Andrea and Mark and then headed to Chef Mickey's for laughs and a buffet dinner. It was seriously good fun! They take a photo of you before you get seated, and I have the one from when me and Vikki visited it on a whim, which started the tradition, and I haven't missed a photo opportunity yet! So I have a copy of the four of us from that night as well, and it's a lovely photo! Even though it was a few days past my birthday at this point, they tipped the waitress off and I got to wave my napkin round my head with Pluto and got myself a birthday cupcake and candle to celebrate! Beautiful!

On my actual birthday, Vikki, Tori and I went to SeaWorld! It was the first time I'd been since I got out to Florida on the program and I literally had the most fun! We saw the Dolphin show, the Shamu show and Shamu rocks as well as getting the All Day Dining deal, so we ate soooo much that day! After that we all headed to Cowboys to celebrate, and I love that place!

A few days later, and it's the beginning of June. Jon is over to see Vikki for three weeks and I have the apartment to myself. Only, I get myself a little letter from housing to tell me that me and Vikki have our one-bedroom apartment and we can move from the next day! This is brilliant, but at this stage Vikki's staying at Port Orleans, and I have to move a fair amount by myself. Wonderful, but pants timing, let's be honest! Anyway, we moved. We had a one-bed. I got to play around with it a bit before Vikki came back and we put the place together just how we wanted it. There was a $150 Target shop that helped with that a lot. Still, it was beautiful and we love it.

Anyway, before Vikki came back, her and Jon went to Cinderella's Royal Table for a bit of a lovely meal on their anniversary. Vikki came back from that one with a little bit more than a photo. Jon proposed and I went to meet them in Magic Kingdom and watched Wishes with them to celebrate. Lovely.

It was kind of weird not having Vikki around for three weeks. Still, I managed to do a fair amount of exciting stuff anyway. Me and Mark went to Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios one weekend, and we spent far too much money on merchandise which was all shipped to the front of the park so we didn't have to carry it about all day. We rode Star Wars a fair few times as well, which I have to say is probably my favourite ride in Walt Disney World!

At the end of that day I journeyed to Fort Wilderness to meet up with a load of friends for the Hoop Dee Doo Revue. So much fun! Then the next day I was due to meet Vikki and Jon for a trip to St. Augustine. I was horrendously hungover that morning and slept for a while in the car, but it wasn't long before we decided St. Augustine wasn't really for us and we headed to Daytona Beach for the rest of the afternoon instead.

At the end of June, Vikki and I had planned to visit California and Disneyland, but it failed to come about for a variety of reasons. Since we had the time off though, it would have been a shame to waste it, so we booked ourselves into Caribbean Beach for 4 days. It was sooo much fun there. We headed to Magic Kingdom one day and bought ourselves a flashing Tinkerbell balloon for far more money than was really required, but it was a weekend of indulgence, and I loved it!

July saw the 4th of July celebrations and the fireworks were awesome! I saw the Magic Kingdom ones from the Polynesian beach on the 3rd July and the Epcot ones with friends on the 4th. Seriously incredible! I spent the day with Teddy and it was also the day that Vikki's friend Tess arrived. Me and Tess are incredibly alike. :) The evening was spent in good company, including Vikki, Tess, Teddy, Ashley and more friends! We even had a few wee glasses of Rosa Regale for good measure!

My extension got approved and instead of leaving that week, I was granted another 6 weeks of Floridian life. Beautiful.

Janey left and that was pretty horrific, but I knew it was me all too soon, so I got through that.

And eventually after lots of fun and frolics, Lasses and others leaving, and a few more Cowboys nights, it was my turn. Me and Jen left together and my family flew out for a holiday. I finally got to do Harry Potter and Universal just before I left, but it was completely worth the wait, and I feel like I've done what I wanted to do now.

So here I am, back in the UK. Can't say that I don't want to be back in Florida, but I'm not really settled yet - it's only been a week. Mum and Dad are back later today and Ryan too, so I'm sure things will only get better from here!

Love and hugs xxx

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Stuff that Dreams are Made of...

The last month or so has been very eventful for me out here. Lots of things have been happening which has resulted in quite a few very busy weeks.

Firstly I made it into service. It was a little rocky for me during test day, but in comparison to what some people have had to go through since, I think I did rather well considering. My food running week went swimmingly; I really enjoyed my actual food running shifts. My bar day was useful but simply confirmed that I have no desires to go onto the bar, which from what I can tell but the amount of people talking about getting onto the bar is rare at the moment, so a good time, for sure! My culinary day in the kitchen was also very helpful, but I did do my culinary day the day before the menu changed over, so whilst a lot of the dishes were the same, there were a few that changed the next day. It was quite amusing thinking as I was making some of the dishes that I needn't remember the recipes past 3 hours' time!

Next I hit my service week and I found it a lot less worrying that I had thought it would be! I found the nature of serving coming back to me very quickly, so the basics were easier to get back into the habit of than I'd thought. I really enjoyed the desserts tasting that you get to do as part of the training though, and had myself most of a chocolate scotch cake and bakewell tart all to myself. No need for lunch that day then! The service test itself is the bit that everyone dreads and mine was going fine until I couldn't find the chef for one part and then I just lost my train of thought completely. They passed me, but asked me to stay on for the evening just to fine-tune my service standards, which I did and I have now been serving my own fully-fledged tables for about 3 to 4 weeks or so now! :)

I've also been re-selected as a trainer and now train servers, which is quite an acheivement having been in service such a short time! I really enjoy it and I feel like I might be able to help people, so that's a really rewarding thought. We shall see in time! My first trainee was ironically, Vikki, (who is now also a server, so we're in the money) and although it was strange moaning at her and trying to encourage her to prioritise she says my training helped, so I feel like it was definitely worth it! :)

We've visited a couple of different restaurants in the time that's passed since then, including Ohana, which is a fantastic meal! I would seriously recommend a trip there. We also visited Tutto Italia in Italy at Epcot. I had the lasagne, and although it's definitely a little pricey, I would love to go there again.

Katie and her family came over to visit right after I passed my service test, so I got to see my best friend and we went for dinner at T-Rex as well. So I've been eating out a fair bit recently! I got to see my best friend again, which was wonderful and they brought me a load of chocolate over as well so British chocolate has spoilt me quite a lot. The chocolate here just isn't great! I've also taken to buying Heinz beans from the import aisle at the supermarkets as beans just don't exist out here!

I could have used some beans on the Royal Wedding day, though. Me and Vikki got up very early (5.30am) to watch William marry Kate, and it was much more understated than I'd thought it would be. Lots of guests have been asking about it at the restaurant, and I thought it would be a good idea to watch it! We got to work for a UK pavilion photo at 8.30am the same day! I had so much fun with my friends and we get to keep a copy of the official photograph as well; I can't think of a much better memory! After the photo we all headed round Epcot for a bit as a group, and 21 of us went on Soarin' then Test Track at 9am! Me and Arran had to head back to work for 10.45am starts and then served the lunch period before heading for food and cinema in the evening!

I'll try to keep this more up to date now, but you know what I'm like. I know I've missed loads from this anyway, but if I don't go and get ready for work now, then I never will!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

New Dawn, New Day, New Post!

Ok, so I've been off away with the fairies for a while and haven't updated. I apologise. I will try and cram the last month or so into a fairly brief account of how things are going.

At some point in the last few weeks I was chatting to Vikki and realised, barring an extension, I am half way through my programme. This was quite possibly the most depressing thing I have thought of in such a long long time! Still, this kind of stirred me into action a bit. I applied for Disney Trainer (as the interviews conveniently happened to be at this time and I've wanted to do it since I arrived) and spent three solid days learning the (now old) menu. I did my trainer interview and took my pre-service test. Both of which I passed fairly well. As a result, I am now a Trainer (yay!) and I am going into service on Sunday!

I've done a couple of training shifts already now, and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy training people! I always enjoyed it back in the UK, hence the reason for the training manager position that was given to me in the Hut, but this is so much more. It's incredibly difficult to become a trainer here; you have to go through and interview, take a class or two and all sorts. It's nice to be able to make a difference for cast as well as guests and I am enjoying every second of it! My last trainign shift, providing I pass my service test, is on saturday and I actually think I get to rip off a few 'earning my ears' ribbons! Exciting!

I start my food-running week on sunday, which is very exciting. I can't actually wait to go in now. I wasn't ready to leave podium for a long time, but I think it's about time for me to get into something different on my programme, and I certainly won't miss not having any money! I just really hope that I pass now!

It was really weird on Monday as I hung up my assigning board. So now, unless I get pulled from service one day or I fail my service tests, then I won't be assigning again. That's a very weird feeling, if I'm honest. I really enjoy assigning, and I know I'm fairly good at it. I guess I'm kinda worried that I might go into service and be utterly rubbish at it, but hey, you gotta try these things.

I've been going to Lasses regularly for a few weeks now and I'm really enjoying it! It seems kinda strange that I wasn't really into it in the beginning, but things have changed a little now, and it works a lot better for me. I'm really liking meeting up with all the girls and getting the chance to see all the merchies as well as the f&b lot that I work with all the time. On monday I'll be getting my t-shirt and I'm a little worried about what my name with be, but I'm hoping it won't be too mean! Anna will be getting hers with me, as well as a lot of the other girls, but I think we're both a bit intrigued as to what they have in store for us!

Well, I'm off to work now. Hopefully I'll stay off of Beer Cart today and get to break the assignor. Fingers crossed, right!?

Saturday, 19 February 2011

A Tale of Two Sides,,,

It's been nice being back in Patterson.

Assignor training was funand surprisingly a lot easier than I had originally thought. It has it's challenges around 7pm, but I managed to take walk-ins for most of that period on my last day of training, which was much better than I'd originally anticipated. I did manage to take a few too many walk ins on a short wait, but I got them in, which was the right thing to do.

It's been nice having a few days off in a row now though, as it was beginning to get me just a bit too tired. A few of us went to Typhoon Lagoon yesterday, which was really good fun. The weather's much much nicer than it has been, so it was perfect.

Still, it was supposed to be a movie night tonight but everyone's bailed. I hate commons.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Welcome Aboard The Walt Disney World Transportation System

Thanks for riding with us, and welcome home! The last two weeks have been a little bit of a rollercoaster, it's needless to say, and quite frankly, I think I'd have gone stir crazy to hear any transportation system sentence again today! I can't quite believe how much I missed the cast buses, but it's fair to say they're a lot better than they are credited with. Apart from the stops at Vista, of course.

Dan came to visit for the last two weeks, and even as I write this, he is winging his way back across the Atlantic to home. It's been wonderful to have him here and be part of his first Disney visit, but I won't lie - there's a part of me that's glad to go back to my life here. We've seen a lot, and he's certainly acheived a lot, but I'll always be glad of this opportunity and I like that it's mine. I like that I chose to share bits of it, but not all of it, and for that it really feels like something special. Saying that, it doesn't get much better than having your friend come and share the most magical experience you'll ever have with you, even just for a little while.

It's easy to get back into the swing of things, though. Even though at first it feels a little odd, and you feel as though you may very well have misplaced something important, the feeling fades quickly and the steady flow of pavilion life sets back in. I've missed the Rose and Crown and I'm glad to be back. Certainly, it won't last forever, but I'll secretly always enjoy it.

Still, I think it's time for bed, and aside from the parks and the time spent with Dan this past fortnight, most things have been normal. I've still worked and played. Perhaps now though, I can sleep a little longer. :)

Night xxx

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Happy Birthday Alberto!

Today was gloriously sunny right up until half 7ish, when the wind started and it got a little chilly. I've spent my day on Beer Cart today, and I'm sure that you know that me and Beer Cart are hardly best friends. Still, it was a nice change from Chippy/Podium and at least I didn't have to seat anyone at all today!

The last ocuple of days have been rather interesting. I was supposed to go to the Magic Kingdom with Anna on Monday, but we were hit by some pretty nasty thunderstorms that meant that the parks were practically empty and we were hardly up for heading out if we didn't really need to. Alas, we have not completed Magic Kingdom, but we are very much looking forward to doing so. I am thinking that there definitely needs to be some Carousel of Progress initiations done. I wasn't feeling too great and combined with the rain felt it best to get domestic goddess things done. Vikki came home from work with an ER though, so we headed out in the (fairly) dry evening to visit Coronado Springs for dinner. We visited a lovely little Quick Service dining area called the Pepper Market, which works similarly to a market. You can collect whatever you want from various different counters and then pay for what you've had at the end of your meal. I found it thoroughly enjoyable and think it might be a location that I will take Dan when he comes out to visit...

...which is in a week today! I'm quite excited by the prospect, and am currently trying to sort out shifts for me and Vikki to make lives easier when Dan and Jon arrive. We have lots of things planned but I'm not sharing them on here until they happen because I simply want them to be a surprise!

Yesterday I drew my second hopscotch. This time around, it was Pixar themed, so there was different layers involving drawings such as the house from UP!; Princess Atta from A Bug's Life; Lightning McQueen and Boo from Monsters Inc. It was pretty good - I even saw one person photographing the house from UP! pretty intently as I was leaving after the close. Winner! So, that's a Cars hopscotch and a Pixar hopscotch... I really need to think of a different theme now!

Now it's 1am and it's the 20th January, which means two things are happening today...
1) It's Alberto's birthday.
2) James arrives in Orlando.

And now folks, I think on that note, and the fact that I do indeed have a day of Chippy tills tomorrow, that I will bid you adieu for a night with my not-quite-a-duvet. :) xxx

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Countdown to... oh wait... no need for the countdown!

So, today was fun! Was supposed to be a few of us heading for breakfast at Captain's Grille at the Yacht Club, but some lie-ins lead to it being just me and Vikki for breakfast. It was super scrummy though, and we'll be heading back there for breakfast again soon. It was a buffet involving just about everything: pastries; full English; cereals; bagels; fruit; drinks - the whole works! I ate Mickey waffles, and although Vikki was highly disturbed by the idea of eating a replica of The Boss, had to admit she wanted to try them (I recommend them - they're very good!). I am however, disappointed that there seems to be a distinct lack of baked beans in the US.

After that me and Vikki went for a wander around Boardwalk and discovered a little shop which is full of all sorts of wonderful curios we haven't found in any other location! I spotted a little dining locations guide to WDW, which I fear will become a permanent addition to Vikki's handbag. I have also now had a walk through the gorgeous white sand that forms the beach part of Beach Club. It's beautiful. We then took the stroll to Hollywood Studios past the lagoon stream that runs through the Epcot resort area. It's genuinely a lovely walk that I would suggest that you take if and when you visit Disney.

Once we reached Hollywood, we went for a bit of a look round the shops before watching American Idol and Disney Channel Rocks, at which point we were enjoying Mickey shaped ice-cream foodstuffs. Yummy. Unfortunately, Vikki had to head back to Epcot at this point for her shift a little later. However, I met up with Arran, Dan, Anna & co just at the same time, so that was pretty well timed!

We watched the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade which is the new Studios parade. I quite liked it, but I shan't spoil it for you as it's much more fun that way! After the parade, everyone left to spend the evening in Fort Wilderness, apart from Anna and me. We had a lovely afternoon completing various bits of Hollywood that we haven't done since we arrived in Florida, including the Backlot Tour and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. I'm really quite excited because tomorrow we're planning on getting a lot of Magic Kingdom done! Snow White's Not-So-Scary Adventures, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Peter Pan's Flight being part of the list...

I'll let you know how it goes! :) xxx