Wednesday, 13 October 2010

My Spiel

It suddenly occurred to me that I've never written down my spiel from my time at Star Tours and it would be a good memory to have it as part of this blog. Although the blog is finished; you never stop being a cast member!

Good morning (or afternoon/evening) Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Star Tours. In just a few moments you will be boarding your flight for the beautiful forest moon of Endor. When the doors in front of you open, please enter the cabin and move all the way across, filling in each and every available seat. Please fasten your safety restraint from the right side to the left and place any carry-on baggage you may have, underneath your seat. During the flight we do ask that there is no eating, drinking, smoking, photography or videotaping and we'd also like to remind you that there is no lightsabre fighting, Jedi mind tricks or... turning to the dark side! Once again, we'd like to thank you for choosing Star Tours; your leader in intergalactic travel.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Attention Star Tours, we are clear of day guests and work lights will be coming on immediately...

I've been back just over a week now and it's been crazy, trying to catch up doing everything I've missed for three months. I've seen my friends, been to Bournemouth beach, attended a surprise birthday party and gone back to Clarks. I've just about started attempting to tidy my bedroom which is a complete state since I unpacked my suitcases but didn't really put anything away... once it's tidy I think I'll feel a bit calmer!

As promised, this is going to be my final post on this blog regarding the 2010 ICP and I am going to attempt to compare the two International College Programs I have participated in... not to establish which was "better" but rather just to show the differences.


2008: I lived at Vista Way in apt 3302. This was a wellness apartment as I was under 21 and I lived with four girls from Barbados and one girl from South America. Although I kept the same roomates for the whole program I didn't really get on with them too well as we had many differences about the air conditioning plus our shifts were completely opposite so I didn't tend to see them or hang out with them much. There was also a slight language problem as I found them very difficult to communicate with.

2010: I lived at Vista Way again in apt 1608. A non-wellness apartment this time meant there was no worry about having alcohol in the rooms. I shared with many different girls over the 10 weeks with only two of them being with me for the whole time - 2 Americans. They were great and I had a good laugh with them. Other than that, we had two English girls, a Ukrainian, a South American and two more Americans come and go. The air conditioning was always nice and cold and apart from a few gross things in the fridge, the apartment was generally in alright condition!


2008: Emporium, Main St USA, Magic Kingdom (Merchandise). An amazing location to be placed for Merchandise, it was constantly busy and there were always guests to talk to. Up sides included being able to see the parade/Spectromagic/Wishes every night, changing around different parts of the store, merchantaining and air conditioning constantly. Down sides included having different managers every day, not many friendly CPs, having to get the A bus and finishing at between 1-3am most nights.

2010: Star Tours, ICON Area, Hollywood Studios (Attractions). A Star Wars themed simulator ride, been there for 21 years with no refurbishment but was closing on 7/9/10 for a massive 8 month overhaul... so therefore it was the winding down stage of the attraction. But this meant that the Star Wars geeks were coming in their hourdes to ride it before it closed, we got a very special celebration night just for us called Last Tour to Endor which was the most legendary night EVER and I got to do some magical moments for people who wouldn't be riding it again (as it stood then anyway). Up sides included the amazing team of cast members who made up my Star Tours family, having a lightsabre as part of my costume and the lightsabre fights that ensued both with guests and fellow cast members, seeing and dancing to the Block Party Bash at least twice a week and being the only English cast member at the attraction. Down sides included the bright orange and blue elasticated ankle costume (hot and unattractive!), working outside in the heat, arguing with guests about the height restriction (although this was quite entertaining at times), the repetitive nature of the job and the Yoda rotation.


2008: I had a close friend, Victoria, who I spent most of my free time with. We hit up the parks all the time and as we both worked in merchandise we had a lot in common. It was her second program which was also good because she could tell me loads about it! I had a few friends at work but didn't really tend to see them outside the Emporium and quite a few people I knew from the flight over who I saw from time to time throughout the program.

2010: Although I knew lots of people from the flight over, I didn't see them much for the bulk of the program. I spent lots of time with Hannah and Katie but they were the only British people I spent a decent amount of time with. I made a close friend, Nick, from work whom I have already planned to go and visit in November (in America!) and I also had a lot of fun with my friends from work who I did a lot of eating food with after the shifts had finished... Ihop, Wendy's, Chick-fil-A, Buffalo Wild Wings and Orlando Ale House come to mind!


2008: With no friends who had cars, I didn't really leave Disney. A couple of trips to the Florida Mall and the Premium Outlets but that was about it.

2010: When my family came over I got to spend quite a bit of time staying at their villa rather than my abode at Vista Way. We also went on an airboat ride in Boggy Creek, went to the Kennedy Space Center and ate in Celebration. With my dear American friends who could drive, we went to lots of different restaurants plus, of course, Universal and HARRY POTTER! :D At the end of the program I also flew to Atlanta, Georgia to visit Nick and we did lots of sightseeing. So I even went to another state during the 2010 ICP!


2008: Booked the flights in March (£650) and the insurance, visa, program assessment fee and extra stuff all in May/June. In total I think I spent about £1000 before I went. The exchange rate was $2:£1 which was amazing so I was able to take more spending money over with me (about £300 so..$600). I was earning about $6.50 an hour (only £3.25!) and I earnt a total of about $2500 I think. I went straight home after the program so took home $500 (£250).

2010: Booked everything a lot earlier in the year. Flights were only £450 so total spent before leaving was only about £750. I took £300 of spending money again (but this time that only equated to about $450) but earnt more whilst at Disney, probably a total of about $3000 as I was earning $7.25/hour this time. However, due to having an extra week on the end (including my mini break to Atlanta!) I only came home with $140 (£100).

So, in conclusion... both programs were amazing, life-changing experiences and I wouldn't have done anything differently. During the 2010 ICP I had some hilarious experiences (eg: 5 people in a 3 person truck, the man who got hit on the ass by an exit door, the tv screen falling off the wall and "Does the omelette come with eggs?", "It doesn't matter!", "Rediculous!", "Don't eat the fruit!"), drove on the wrong side of the road, stayed in a Disney resort, visited another state, drank alcohol legally in the USA, went to Six Flags... and made some friends for life. I experienced memories that I will never forget.

I thoroughly recommend anybody goes and works for Disney on the International College Program but don't expect to earn any money, be happy to work stupidly long hours, deal with really dumb people and answer the same questions over and over again. In exchange you will have the most amazing summer and I think that's a pretty good deal.

Wishes can come true, if you believe in them with all your heart,
And the best part is, you'll never run out of wishes, they're shining deep down inside of you, 
Because that, my friends, is where the magic lives.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

All good things must come to an end...

Okay, so be prepared for a very long blog post as just like 2 years ago, I am sitting at Gate 85 at Orlando International Airport using the free WiFi before boarding my flight to London Gatwick.

Ok, so back to my last full day on the program:

2nd September: Me and Hannah got the A bus bright and early to Disney University where we visited Partners so she could withdraw all her money and then visit Cast Connection and Company D for the last time. I got a couple of bits and bobs including (another) Cast Member hoodie which was reduced and I've got to wear on the plane right now! :D Then we headed back to housing to dump the stuff we'd bought and I did a bit more packing/attempting to shut my case before meeting her on the E bus to Hollywood Studios as, of course, I had to do my last tour to Endor! We got to the Studios (accompanied by her roommate Gemma) and we went to the Sci-fi Diner for lunch which was great :D Then I headed to Star Tours whilst they went character hunting - I did my last tour to Endor (the flight attendant was Mikey!) and had to sort out a couple of admin issues with Linda, one of the icon managers including such exciting stuff as getting my last shift authorised for payment seen as I 'apparently' clocked out twice?! Anyways, once that was sorted and more photos had been taken, I went with Hannah and Gemma to watch the Bloc Party Bash - I saw the show by the hat and then went round to Star Tours to see the end and I filmed it so I can watch it forever more :D As we were boiling hot by this point we decided to go on the Great Movie Ride before heading back to housing.

Once I got back, it was time to meet Kevin as he kindly drove me to the All Star Music Resort which was where I was staying from Thursday until today. I handed in my housing ID and key and was not sorry to say goodbye to Vista Way! We went to the All Star where I got changed and then we met Hannah and Gemma before driving to the Contemporary for dinner. It was really nice (and rather posh!) and I even ate scallops! :O Then we walked to the Magic Kingdom (which only takes about 10 minutes) just in time for Wishes.

It was slightly strange because 2 years ago when I watched Wishes on the last night it made me feel very emotional and sad to be leaving. Well, this year, I just didn't get that and I routed it down to the fact I had so much exciting stuff to look forward to over the weekend and during this week that it wasn't a time to be sad! After Wishes, I said goodbye to people and popped into the Emporium (of course) to get a pair of earrings I wanted and a ring that I'd had my eye on before walking out of MK to the bus stops. As I walked alone out of the park, it dawned on me that this was quite a poignant moment (deep thinking for an airport right now, I know) but the fact I was walking out alone for the last time filled me with a feeling of determination for when I return home. It felt like I was closing the Disney book for now and I'd completed my time as a Cast Member so I felt very contented rather than sad. :)

I got the bus back to the All Star and collapsed into sleep as I was so tired!

3rd September: My official last day as a Cast Member... so I got up in time for Kevin to take me to the airport (yay, car!) so I could get my domestic flight to Atlanta, Georgia! :D I was flying AirTran which is the US equivalent of Easyjet but it was perfectly acceptable. The flight only took an hour and I had to wait about 30 minutes for Nick at Atlanta Airport as he was driving from his University in Auburn, Alabama! I managed to meet him okay and we headed for a shopping mall about 30 minutes from the airport in the search for a pair of shoes I'd seen in Charlotte Russe which I LOVE but cannot find in a Size 9 (US) anywhere :O Bless him, he ended up driving me to about 5 different shopping centres in and around Atlanta looking for these shoes and we couldn't find them anywhere :( I fully appreciate his patience though, thanks Nick! Then we headed to Cheesecake Factory which was AMAZING... the portions were massive and we took our actual cheesecake home to eat later! After dinner, we drove to his parents house which is the middle of nowhere but is a beautiful area. It was an amazing house and it was so dark at night we could see millions of stars which you just wouldn't see anywhere near a city! We were both really tired so we headed to bed around midnight.

4th September: Six Flags! I was very excited about going on some big rides so we got up early and drove to Six Flags Over Georgia which took about 45 minutes. When we got there, we realised it wasn't going to be as crazily busy as we'd thought it would be - in fact, the longest we queued all day was about 20 minutes! We went on all 8 of the main rollercoasters - I thought I was going to die about 3 times. Seriously, after going on those coasters, it makes Disney look so SUPER safe and secure! There were 2 rides (both wooden coasters) which I felt like my spine was about to be crushed and 1 ride called Ninja which I am pretty sure gave me concussion because it hit my head against the sides so much... but the other rides, particularly Batman and Goliath were really cool :D We went via a couple of shopping malls on the way back to his house and got back in time for my first American Football game. Nick's team (Auburn) were playing and it was the first match of the season so he was glad that he caught the game even though I literally didn't understand any of it. We had some yummy kebabs with baked potatoes and this amazing sweetcorn stuff which was a good meal for dinner :D then Auburn won the game so smiles all round. After staying up for a while watching You Tube and films we were both falling asleep so went to bed around 1am.

5th September: After an amazing lie-in which was well overdue, we got up around midday and had some pizza for lunch before heading to Stone Mountain with his Mom which is a local national park-type place, it's the biggest piece of exposed granite in the world apparently. As it was Labor Day weekend, they were having a special laser show and fireworks which was amazing! We also went up the Sky Ride to the top of the mountain which was great views and really cool :D We headed back and got home about 11.30pm before staying up chatting to his brother, Alex, before sleep at about 2am... we didn't really think it through seen as we needed to be up early the next day at 7.30am!

6th September: The day to hit downtown Atlanta. Firstly, we went to the CNN building and had a tour of the building which was interesting - especially to see how a TV station works differently in America to the way it works in the UK. Then we went to the Aquarium which is also the biggest (I think) in the world before grabbing a snack lunch and then heading to the World of Coca-Cola which I loved! You could see how a bottle of Coke was made and the history of the company, it was very interesting. After that it was time to get some dinner and then head to the airport :(

As this was the third goodbye I'd said to Nick, it wasn't too bad and I'm sure I'll see him again soon but I was very sad for the weekend to be over because we'd had so much fun and it was great being out of Orlando. When you visit somewhere like Georgia, you realise that not all states are as concrete and impersonal as Florida is...

I got back to the aforementioned theme park state and it was time for one of the scariest things I've ever done in my life...

Renting a car.

And more to the point - driving a car, in america, on the wrong side of the road! Plus the fact it was dark! It was only about $200 to rent the car for three days and so split between the three of us (Hannah, Katie and Moi) it was only about $80 each and the convienience made it worthwhile! I drove back to the hotel without any major incidents and parked up before meeting the others in the room. We decided we wanted a little joyride so drove to Walgreens so I could buy some credit and then back to the All Star before collapsing into sleep again.

7th September: Universal day! Been looking forward to this day since we last went to Harry Potter World :D Unfortunately, this time I had to pay the $112 entrance fee ($119 with tax!)... we went to the Studios first and did most of the rides in the park including Jaws which I didn't do last time and the Simpsons Ride which was AMAZING. I really loved it. Including all the jibes towards Disney which was just amusing. We also did Rip, Ride, Rock It twice and The Mummy twice plus Disaster (which had changed since 2007), Men In Black and Shrek 4D. Then we headed over to Islands of Adventure and literally spent the rest of the day in Harry Potter world... did the castle ride twice and I did the Chinese Fireball side of the dragon ride. I got a griffindor t-shirt and a Hogwarts branded glass before the park closed at 7pm. Then we drove to Downtown Disney for a bit before going back to the hotel... exhausted again!

8th September: My last full day in Florida! Had a lie-in and then we went to Ihop for brunch which was immense as usual. Then headed back to the hotel and I went and lazed by the pool for a few hours which was amazing before we got our stuff together and I drove Hannah to the airport. That then left Katie and I, so we went to the Florida Mall where we got Chinese Food (YUM) and I looked for the elusive shoes which was a let-down again! Then we drove back to the hotel where we picked up our laptops and went to McDonalds to use their free Wifi :D Spent a couple of hours there before heading back to do the inevitable re-packing. Just about got everything in the cases!

9th September: TODAY! Had breakfast and then finished the re-packing. Drove to Downtown Disney where on the spur of the moment, I checked in at the Virgin Atlantic DTD check-in.. only costs $10 and it was worth getting rid of my heavy bags! Then we went to the cinema and caught a film called the Switch which was cute and a good old rom-com with Jennifer Aniston in it - you really can't go wrong. LOL. 90 minutes later we emerged, ready to drive to the airport. Got slightly lost on the way despite having sat-nav but got here in plenty of time and have sat at the gate since about 3.30pm. I am going to be boarding in about 45 minutes.

I don't really feel sad about leaving, I am really excited to be seeing my friends from home again and am looking forward to the cold weather! But, it's slightly bittersweet to be shutting my Disney ICP book again even though I feel ready to. I will post again soon with a comparison of my two ICPs and what happened during the flight home! :)

Thursday, 2 September 2010

May the force be with I, for the last time, will not be.

Well, I'm sitting in my apartment at 8am with my Last Tour to Endor t-shirt on, waiting to go and meet Hannah so we can start a jam-packed last day. Yup, LAST DAY. Already. I can't believe this summer has gone so fast - there were moments when it went slowly and I really wanted it to hurry up and end so that I could go home but on the whole, it's flown by. Especially the last 8 days!

As you know, I was doing 8 days running courtesy of Deployment who think it's fun to make the ICPs have no days off in their last week (y'know, for packing?!) and I updated a couple of days in on my last post. Well, the rest of the 8 days went by pretty smoothly there was just a couple of incidents I will comment on...

1) He came back. He bloody came back. The man who decided threatening to punch us and report us for having his child too small... I knew he would come back but he'd changed the shoes on the child, must have stuffed them with tissue or something, because the child had grown the required 1/2 inch within 2 days... well, you can't win 'em all.

2) Hilarious moment... and of COURSE it was on Sim 4. I am there just happily loading my sim...we all walk in and whilst I'm doing the seatbelts and stuff, I think nothing is out of the ordinary. When I walk back out of the sim, everyone in sight is doubled over with laughter because one of the screens above the doors had completely fallen off (apparently accompanied with a large CRACK noise!) and was just swinging there, right where someone's head could have been! It was quite funny, the way it was just hanging there. Something is breaking on a daily basis now at Star Tours - partly because the maintenance guys just can't face fixing an attraction which is closing in a week. Obviously, the safety stuff is fixed but superficial stuff.... nahhhhhh. So, it got velcro-ed back on... and then promptly fell off again about 5 minutes later. It required Raymond to go and get a proper drill and drill it back into the wall before it stopped swinging off.

3) Saying goodbye... really sucks. When I left the emporium there was just one or two people who I felt sad about saying goodbye to. But, at Star Tours, we're just one big (slightly bitchy at times) family and everyone knows everyone else. I am so grateful for the way I was taken in as a CP and involved instantly in the socialising and fun times. Although the job itself is slightly repetitive and can be very tedious when there's a lack of guests; the cast members made up for that.

So... all in all, I think it would be appropriate to comment on my final day at Star Tours. It started off very early - I was up at 6.30am in order to *begin* (!) my packing which was fun and then at 9.30am I got picked up by Kevin (who has rented a car!) to go to the Florida Mall for a couple of things. I got some lovely jewellry from Charlotte Russe (of course, as it is my favourite shop in the USA) and a couple of gifts for people before we went to McDonalds. Then, I got back to Vista, got changed, picked up my freshly iced Orange and Blue cookies (iced at midnight the night before!) and went off merrily for my last day. I managed to get into the bottom of a rotation on Sim 5 which meant I was back at the computer by about 2.05pm and the lovely Jason assigned me PAC 1 :D VERY HAPPY about this especially because it's not supposed to be assigned until 2.30pm. So, I took it upon myself to do some tasking until about 2.40pm when we set up the rope for the parade. More standing around, chatting, dancing and photo-taking was undertaken until the parade came through at about 3.30pm - it was loads of fun as usual :D We took down the poles and went back inside to cool off... and I got my break at 4pm. Woooo!

So, after my break, I got assigned Jedi 2 before I got dropped then back to the computer to get the Yoda rotation (of course, it had to be the Yoda!). Went to greeter for about 45 minutes before being rotated to Sim 2. Then I got my second break at 5.30pm... after my break, I bumped out Hayley at Sim 3 which was my last Starspeeder! I was only there for about 25 minutes before the last Wookie rotation came out and I had to do my final spiel, final seatbelt check and my final Jedi Jest (see title of post!). It was kinda sad, I did feel like crying a bit especially when Melissa got the whole sim to give me a round of applause! However, then I rotated into Tower and got to close Tower which was pretty uneventful but fun of course.

And then, in a funny twist of fate.. I ended up closing Star Tours with the man I began it all with - Jonathan, my trainer. We did lost & found together before I got changed, wall clocked out of costuming, handed in my costumes and then he gave me a ride to his apartment. We were soon joined by takeaway pizza and 7 more lovely Star Tours peoples :D We watched Star Wars, Episode 5 and they had to explain the whole thing to me of course but it was very fun :D

And that pretty much ended my day at Star Tours on the 1st September 2010. I will do another post during the next few days comparing my two programs because I feel that they need to be compared and contrasted!

In other news, I am no longer cruisin' the Bahamas this weekend :'( but instead, I am going to visit Nick in Georgia which is going to be super exciting - we're going to Six Flags, the Aquarium, the Coca Cola Factory and Stone Mountain among other things... roll on Friday!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Judge me by my size do you?

So, Sunday wasn't particularly thrilling, nor was it particularly boring... just spent the day being a really bad Disney ambassador as I kept going on about Harry Potter for the whole day. LOL.

Had a really good 12 hours sleep (for once!) on Sunday night as Monday was my first day off this week. Chilled out for most of it really, FINALLY did my laundry which means I actually have clean clothes now, went to Walmart and then watched a couple of episodes of Casualty courtesy of Jon who sent them over on memory stick :D Kevin randomly came round in the evening and then it transpired that it was my roomate's birthday and she was going to a bar called Jelly Rolls... so we went too. It was like a piano bar, they have 2 pianos that "duel" and they do requests; so it's all pop and country songs mostly. It seemed very 'american' to me but it was good fun. Got back at about 2am and went to bed.

Then Tuesday was my second day off... and my very last day off of the program! Crazy! So, I had a few fastpasses to use up and Kevin rented a car for the last 2 weeks of the program so we drove over to the Studios in the pouring rain and went on Tower, Coaster and of course, Star Tours. Then we went back to housing as he had work in the afternoon and I met up with Hannah. We headed over to the premium outlets as it was her friend's birthday and they were heading to House of Blues. Seen as I'd never been before I thought I'd go too so we were buying outfits... I spent far too much money as usual but got a lovely black dress and Nine West shoes out of it! After we got back, I went back to Vista and got ready before meeting Hannah back at Chatham. We had a couple of hours before her friend picked us up so we researched the cruise stuff and booked the All Star Music resort for the final 7 days (2nd - 9th Sept) which worked out only to $138 each (there's three of us sharing - Hannah, Katie and I) which is crazy because that's only about £100 for 7 nights in a Disney resort!

We headed out to HoB at about 11.30pm... I got in for free because I'm over 21 and a CM :D Then I got a free drink just for being a girl :D So it was a very cheap night - I only bought one drink after that because I was working the next day... it was latino night which isn't really my cup of tea... some of the songs were ok but when everyone started thinking they were the next Ricky Martin and kept standing on my feet it really annoyed me! We left at about 1.30am and got back shortly afterwards.

Wednesday... day one of eight. It was an 11.5 hour shift which isn't great but the day didn't go toooo badly. Except for one group of guests. We had EMH between 7-10pm so it was at about 8pm this group came in. I was at photocell (it always happens whilst I'm at photo!) and I got a call from tower that stand-by greeter had measured a child who they thought was too small and I needed to measure them again. So, this child was coming up the wheelchair ramp with a group of about 8 adults, one of whom was in a chair. The little kid kicked and screamed because he didn't want to be measured and sure enough, when he stood under the height stick, he was too short. I could fit all my fingers between his head and the height stick so I wasn't going to let him ride... well, this didn't go down too well.

Long story short... they did a child swap but whilst two of the adults were waiting for the first group to ride, they claim they saw another CM measure a child who was too small but let them ride. 1) They "saw" this from Sim 3 and it was happening at Sim 1 which is far too far away to judge and 2) this is always the same story. Anyways, once they came off the ride, the next thing I knew was that the man in the wheelchair and another adult came charging back up the wheelchair ramp and demanding to know the name of the CM (it was Jessica). The guest was making very aggressive punching motions with his hands and shouting about how she was going to be 'reported'... I refused to tell him her name and instead said I was going to get a manager or a co-ordinator to come and talk to him. Funnily enough, stand-by greeter was also radioing tower at the same time to get a manager down there as the rest of the group were kicking up there as well.

The bottom line is that we were doing our jobs properly, and I would be more than happy if he reported me or whoever else because we know we are right. And so do the managers. As I pointed out to the guest when I first measured the child, if I was to let him on the ride; I'd lose my job. The whole bunch of guests at photocell at the time were all witnesses to how agressive and angry this guest was as well... so eventually, one of the managers went to stand-by and talked to this group of guests although I don't know what was said. Greeter reported back that he'd been making statements like "I'm gonna punch that bitch" which is horrible and un-necessary... quite frankly, people like that deserve to be thrown out of the park. I really hope it was their first day on vacation because if they continue acting like that at their resort or in the parks then sooner or later they will find themselves banned from Disney property.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster with the lights on...

What a few days. They definitely have been the craziest of both my ICPs and I'm only just calming down now!

So, picking up from Wednesday when I last wrote... it was a pretty uneventful day and so was Thursday...ish. It turned out that Brandon (whom I work with) had to go back to University earlier than planned so it was his last day thus there was a last-minute arranged evening out after work to Ale House which I'd never been to before. It's kind of like a sports bar but it does food which is pretty damn good... I had a massive portion of chicken nachos of which I could only eat about half! Their alcohol is really cheap as well so we all indulged in one too many cocktails! All good fun and I got to bed at about 3am...

Unfortunately I had to be starting work at 9.15am the next day. Ugh. So I dragged my sorry ass in at about 8.45am (having only had about 4 hours sleep) and we were all rather tired! The day went okay though, especially when me and Steve got assigned PAC 1&2 by the lovely Jason so we ended up just doing the parade from about 2.30pm til 4pm! :D It was good fun! Then I got a break. However, after my break (so from 4.20pm) the shift got a bit crappy... the tiredness hit me and the Red Bull wore off so by 7pm I was feeling rather pissed off and fed up especially as I had some really annoying guests in my last few flights.

Then a random thing happened... Hayley asked me if I wanted to stay around after work for an event exclusive to CPs at the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster where we could ride it with the lights on! It took a bit of persuading me even though it would be really cool because I was so tired and really needed to do laundry in a big way (I had run out of most of my clothes) but she said we'd meet Janelle at costuming at 8.30pm... so after I finished work, we hung around in the break room for about an hour. She was texting away but I thought nothing of it...

At 8.30pm we walked over to costuming. I thought it was a tiny bit odd we were meeting her in the parking lot when the Coaster is on the other side of the park but whatever... so, when Hayley turned around and said "So, the thing is, we're not going to be riding Coaster tonight..." all I had the time to say was "well, what's this all about then?" before none other than Mr Nick Caughman walks around the corner!!

So, after screaming and almost bursting into tears (mainly due to the shock value!) it turned out that almost everyone at Star Tours that afternoon had been in on the surprise and everyone had kept it quiet :D So amazing. Anyway, we went to Downtown Disney and had an Earl of Sandwich (via Vista Way so I could change) and then decided we were all staying over at Janelle's. So, I had to go back to Vista again to get my stuff... but I was locked out. This was annoying. Rachel had finished her program on Friday and so the locks got changed... and I had to wait 30 minutes before security would come and unlock the freaking door. So stupid.

Eventually got all my stuff together and got to Janelle's. Fast forward to the next day and we all went to Universal :D The first ride we went on went 101 whilst we were queuing which was a bit annoying but we still only lined up for about an hour... and then none of the other rides really had any lines... at about 4pm we headed to Islands of Adventure and straight to HARRY POTTER WORLD. It was AMAZINNNNG!!!! I won't go into too much detail right now because it will ruin it for people who read this blog and haven't been. But I will post another time with details! :D It was incredible that's all! So, we ended up staying at Universal until about 10pm and didn't get back to Janelle's apartment until about midnight again (yet again, via Vista Way and getting security to let me in again!). So, another 4 hours of sleep and then I was up to go to the Studios because Hayley had work at 9.30am and me and Nick wanted to do Coaster and Tower before I had work at 11.15am...

So, we did those and then it was time to say goodbye again :( But this time, it wasn't so bad, after all, it was an unexpected visit anyway! All in all, an amazing 48 hours!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Last Tour to Endor

Well, it's a been a busy few days since I last updated and I have lots to write about if I can remember it all!!

Friday the 13th

Well, Friday sucked. Basically. The night before, I went to ihop which was immense (as always) with Tiffany, Hayley, Brandon and Kendal. Once we got there, Kate and Nick joined us as they'd been parking it up all day and were therefore exhausted... well, Kate was. So we had fun times at ihop before getting back to housing. On the way home, I asked Nick what time I should come round to say goodbye the next day... 8am he informs me. Yuk.

So, at 8am, I was dragging my tired ass into Chatham hoping to chill out with Nick before his mum turned up and they drove back to Georgia. However, he hadn't really started packing. Fail! Therefore, the next hour was spent watching Nick throw all this belongings into bags and suitcases before attempting to fit it all in the car which was quite hilarious (on my part anyway)... unfortunately, by 9.45am they had finally finished packing up and were ready to go. So, the inevitable moment had arrived, time to say goodbye. It really sucked so much. We walked to the front desk to hand in his keys and then said our goodbyes before he got in the car and they drove off, leaving me at the Chatham bus stop trying not to cry in my Star Tours costume.

By the time I got into work, I had put make up on but this didn't stop me from having tearful moments on the bus, in the break room, in tower (some God put me there first... thank you!) and then at Entrance. Basically, everytime someone mentioned ending my program and saying goodbye to people... the day was rubbish. I also worked like 12 hours which wasn't great either.

As it was Friday 13th, clearly other things had to happen too. We had a big thunderstorm which meant most of the Jedi Academies were called off in the afternoon and then an incident on Sim 4 (of course, it had to be Sim 4... cursed sim) involving a pregnant woman who quite frankly, should not have ridden the ride. We don't know what happened to her in the end but she got carted off to the hospital and it was rather shocking all round. Eventually, the day finished and it was weird going straight home after the shift... no Wendy's... no ihop... just sleep.

Last Tour to Endor

It had finally arrived. After a rather refreshing sleep and trying to put the sad Friday behind me, I went to work early in order to bag myself a Last Tour to Endor shirt from Tattouine Traders (just as well I did seen as they completely sold out later in the day) but then I ended up starting work 45 minutes early as well. So, started at 10.45am and worked all the way through until 02.30am... that's 15 hours and 45 minutes! Crazy!!

The first part of the day was pretty much normal apart from the excitement in the air and the inordinate amount of sugar to be consumed in the break room. We had a pot luck which means that people all bring in something for everyone to eat which means that everyone doesn't have to bring loads of food into work each! I brought in Honey Mustard pringles (because they are immense) and Star Wars fruit snacks which I found at Walgreens... and are amazing! LOL! So, spent the day flying simulators and doing Jedi academy as usual... at 4pm the freaks (for want of a better word) started arriving.

You could tell when the first bus loads of people started arriving for the special celebration as they were coming straight from the Star Wars convention in Orlando, in full costume and adnorned with Star Wars merchandise. And of course, heading straight for Star Tours. Between 4pm and 7pm it was pretty normal, it was just that we had less of "what is this?" and "is this a ride?" and more day guests looking slightly confused at the amount of weird looking people standing around them. My favourite assignment I got at this time was Jedi 2. As JTA was finished for day guests (the last show is at 4.45pm), I took on the role of unofficial photopass photographer instead, taking pictures for people infront of Star Tours which was a lot of fun.

At 8pm, the official celebration started and so did the exclusive events. To be honest, I didn't get to see many of the special events as we were trapped to the confines of Star Tours for the whole night... I actually only had one session of flying starspeeders which kinda sucked. As the night flew by, I am going to sum up the best parts and the worst parts:

BEST: having a EPIC lightsabre fight with 5 kids at the same time and nearly losing both eyes... seeing George Lucas walk past me and shouting after his Guest Relations lady if he'd like to participate in Jedi Training... managing to see the whole fireworks display at midnight despite delaying the rotation by 15 minutes and having to hide in the Ewok Village so I wasn't seen by managers... watching the final Jedi show of the night and then getting stuck outside by the crowd, therefore managing to see lots of celebrities and Star Tours get "blown up" at 1am... avoiding Unload for the whole night... avoiding Tower for the whole night... and of course, sanitising all the rails at Star Tours (as we were done by 2am but none of us could get bumped out til 2.15am... so we attacked the railings with alcohol wipes inbetween taking pictures of ourselves throughout the attraction)

WORST: easily the worst moment was having to spent 1 hour 15 minutes standing at the Muppet Gate directing guests from the evacuation route out of Star Tours through backstage and back out into the park... very boring and repetitive. And I wasn't in CDS/Rotation so they forgot about me for the whole time. That sucked. Apart from that; there were no bad moments!!!

In regards to the aforementioned celebrities; I saw George Lucas, Seth Green, Anthony Daniels (C3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Warwick Davies! :D He also plays Professor Flitwick in Harry Potter which is immense! :D

So, all in all, it was an amazing day. And it's the only time we've all walked into the break room and just declared that we don't want to be on break, we want to be onstage!!

The Day After The Night Before

So, Sunday was RUBBISH. I got home at 3am and was back at the Studios by 10am. Everyone was exhausted from the day before, it was very hot weather and everything was back to normal. And boring. The guests were back to being grumpy and asking "is this a ride?".... and I worked 12 hours. Meh.

The Day Off

Yes, singular. Monday was my one and only day off this week and I decided to go to the Magic Kingdom as it's my favourite park. I went to Company D first at Disney University and bought a lovely Cast Member hoodie which I love <3 As I was on the VIP bus over to the tunnels, the heavens opened in a huge way... I mean POURED. Thunder, lightening and rain like never before. Luckily I had a waterproof jacket but I then had to wonder around the tunnels dripping wet and to make it worse... I got lost. I took the wrong staircase out of the tunnels and emerged somewhere near main street, ended up walking around backstage like a moron looking for the cast member exit. I'd aimed to come out by first aid but somehow came out near the Town Hall (totally the other end of Main St)... anyway, eventually got onstage and wondered around in the rain for about an hour. Decided to go and see how many people I could say hi to - managed to see Hannah at Pinnochio's and Matt in Liberty Square (even though he works at DTD usually!). Luckily it stopped raining and had sufficiently dried up for the afternoon parade.

I filmed it using the old video camera although had an annoying man next to me who kept saying the names of the characters as they came past in stupid voices for his child. So I may have to go back and film it again if I'm at MK in the afternoon soon... after I'd seen the parade I got the monorail over to Epcot as I'd had a craving for Orange Chicken in China. So, went and got that (then it started raining again) before heading to France for a cream cake and to buy some perfume which Mum's going to wrap up for my birthday (it's exclusive to Epcot!). Wondered around the countries for a bit before heading back to Magic Kingdom.

Went and did Philarmagic which I haven't seen for a while, then did Pirates of the Caribbean :D Hunted all over the park to buy a Churro (turns out they only sell them by Space Mountain, nowhere else!) before finding a fantastic spot for Wishes. Sat there for about an hour... I didn't have much else to do and was feeling pretty tired. Ended up chatting to the guests next to me which passed the time :) Finally, at 10pm... after 2 years of waiting... I saw Wishes again :D So happy :D I am definitely going to try and go back to see it at least one or two more times before I go home though because I love it.

Eventually got home.. and was up again for another shift yesterday which was pretty average although I was stuck in the same rotation all day so it literally went: Sim 3, Tower, Jedi 2, Entrance... three times over for the whole day. Got home at 8.45pm (!!!) and got a Dominos Pizza in seen as I haven't had one for ages and really fancied it. Pretty average evening, it was nice to just relax and not go straight to bed!

The next few days are going to be Star Tours, Star Tours, Star Tours as I am working about another 40 hours before my next two (yay) days off next week. In fact, I think they will be my last two days off during the program which is a bit scary!