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!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

42 hour weekend, now time for 2 days off!

Well, the weekend was truly exhausting, I worked Friday through to Monday, doing 42 hours overall. I ended up at Walmart on Friday night, Chatham til 1am on Saturday and Wendy's on Sunday AND Monday night! As Nick's leaving tomorrow (he finished his program yesterday) we've been hanging out after work but it usually revolves around fast food which isn't great LOL. So, we said we'd hit up the parks on Wednesday as we both got it off... but I'm jumping ahead.

On Tuesday, I finally got a lie-in which was REALLY nice. However, when I got up I realised I needed to get to the post office which is a bloody trek so I then realised I wouldn't have time to go to Magic Kingdom to film the afternoon parade which I wanted to do. But in the mean time, it decided to pour with torrential rain so I decided not to go to MK in the afternoon but instead just meet Hannah there when she finished work at 5pm. So, whilst I was sorting out this letter to take to the post office I noticed something crawling across my apartment floor... a COCKROACH! :O It was soooooo gross! So I grabbed Nick's Wendy's cup he'd left lying around from the other night and caught it under the cup (which was pretty hard - they move bloody fast). Then I freaked out for a while until I found a piece of card to slide under the cup (FYI: It's not as easy as with a spider!) before opening the front door and throwing the whole thing with as much force as possible over the balcony and into the rain. Apparently my roomate called housing and they send pest control around in the evening whilst I was at MK so hopefully we won't be seeing our crawley friends again. UGH.

So, I went to the post office, dodging the thunderstorms and stopped at Walgreens on the way back to invest in some roach spray which I then liberally sprayed around the apartment. Then I went off to MK; Hannah told me to meet her in the tunnels. Well, that was an experience. Having not really been in the tunnels for 2 years it was bizarre to be back down there... it smells and looks pretty much exactly the same. It really made me want to go back to the Emporium! I managed to meet her and we went onstage for some fun in the park. We did pretty well, as we headed to Tomorrowland to get fastpasses for Space Mountain (standard) and did Buzz Lightyear ride before catching the MiSiCi Show (Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It) which I managed to video, yay! We grabbed some food at Pinocchios as despite working there, Hannah has never eaten there! Then we did Thunder Mountain three times, the Haunted Mansion and then Hall of Presidents. I bought two tops at the Empo which I wanted to get before and didn't have chance and then we watched (I filmed) the fireworks at 10pm. We did Space Mountain with the FPs and then headed back into the tunnels to go to West Clock to get the bus back to Housing. A very successful evening at MK!

Wednesday was my second day off and as I mentioned, I was going to spend it with Nick doing whatever he wanted in the parks as it was his last day :) So we got up horribly early to go to Animal Kingdom and did Everest, Dinosaur and the Safari. Then we watched both Finding Nemo and Lion King which was fabulous before heading to get the bus to the Studios. I had *acquired* a few fastpasses so we headed straight for Coaster which had a 50 minute queue and did that before going to Tower of Terror which was literally a walk-on so I kept the fastpasses and we just went in stand by. We ended up doing Tower twice and Coaster twice plus watching an American Idol show and of course, Nick did his last Tour to Endor :) Hilarity occurred when Que was going to fly us in her sim and it decided to E-stop right before we got on it so we ended up in another sim with a load of guests but it was fine :) After we'd taken lots of photos and messed about at the Studios, we got a Friendship Boat to EPCOT for our reservation at the Mexico restaurant. We met up with Kate and Hannah at the park and did Mission Space (which included the highlight of seeing Katie in costume!) before going to Mexico for some AMAZING food... was sooo good. AND we got discount which was nice. It was still damn expensive but it IS Disney...

Eventually we left property to go back to housing but then Nick decided he wanted my Disney music from my computer so we went and got his USB stick from Chatham before going over to Vista. Despite saying he'd leave at 11.30pm... inevitably after finding some HILARIOUS clips on YouTube, he ended up leaving at 1am. Again. So... that brings us to today - I am sitting waiting for my laundry to finish in the tumble dryer before getting ready for work at 1.15pm - joy.

I am really looking forward to Saturday for the Last Tour to Endor party but I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to all the domestic college program people over today and tomorrow, it will be sad. However, I guess all good things must come to an end and I can always visit them when I'm back in America... :(

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Funny Stories

So, one of the managers who I don't know so well came in the other day and whilst he was there we got onto the well-discussed topic of height restrictions. Star Tours has a 40 inch (102 cm) height restriction because of the seat belt you have to wear during the ride and on a daily basis I have to explain to guests why I can't let their child in because they are too small.

So, this manager, told us the story of the child whose parents bought a Mickey Ice Cream (which is shaped like Mickey Mouse, of course), broke off the two Mickey ears and placed one in each shoe so that the child reached the height requirement! Luckily they got caught and weren't allowed on the ride. Then someone else came in and recounted the story of the child who tried to get into Star Tours with crocs stuffed with serviettes from the Backlot Express Restaurant...

Anyway, this conversation then led onto the subject of babies in the parks. It is unbelievable to think that people have actually asked in the past if they could place their baby in the under seat compartment!? And, the aforementioned manager, met a lady who had put her few-month-old baby in a bag and was trying to hold it on her lap to ride Space Mountain. Yes, really!!! Unbelievable stuff happens at Disney.

So, the last couple of days haven't really been out of the ordinary. I had a 8 hour shift on Friday which was pretty quiet and I ended up flying sims for most of the shift which got a bit repetitive after a while. And then yesterday I did a 10 hour shift which was pretty dead for the most part - we had a big rush after one of the Indiana Jones shows and I was on photocell so that was quite fun because of the challenge. I also was on Entrance when we had a big 'Epic Dump' and I had to work out the ropes to put up 2 loops in the queuing area which was a slight challenge for my poor brain.

I also got my schedule for the next couple of weeks. Because of 'Last Tour to Endor' on Sat 14th, I am working about 52 hours this week. But next week takes the biscuit - I only have one day off (Monday) and am working 54 hours the rest of the time! Crazyness! On the up side, it means I might actually have enough money to fund the last week in America... I need to sort out that Plan actually.

I have Tuesday and Wednesday off this week - Tuesday I am planning (weather permitting) to go to the Magic Kingdom and film the parade and fireworks. Wednesday is the last day I will spend with Nick (sad times) so we're going to the parks and then to Mexico (in Epcot) for dinner. :)

Friday, 6 August 2010


Picking up from where I last left off... we went to Italy on Monday to eat which was very yummy (if very expensive, and they don't even do Cast Member discount anymore in the evenings!) before we got a really good place to watch Illuminations from. I took lots of pictures (as usual) and they came out really well... now that the parents have given me the old video camera I'm going to go to Nightastic, Wishes (!!!) and Illuminations to film them. Even go to Fantasmic if I can get in at some point! Just so I have them on video because I don't think I'll be back at Walt Disney World for quite a few years once I've left in September...

So, Wednesday, the family were off to Universal so they dropped me off home in the morning. Initially I was going to go in early and see if I could extend as I didn't start til 5.30pm but in the end I couldn't be bothered so I just chilled out at the apartment instead. Went to work at about 4pm and whilst I was sitting at the bus stop waiting for the E bus, it decided to absolutely POUR with rain! I was really lucky though because it wasn't even raining when I actually got to the studios. The shift was only 6 hours long and even though I ended up with the Wookie about 4 times (so I was basically greeter for the whole night, I only flew about 5 flights of guests in the whole shift!) it was a good laugh. Nick was back from his training at Idol (traitor!) and Jason was the closing co-ordinator so we had fun :) After work, Ally gave me, Kate and Nick a lift to Wendy's which... on the way there... turned into a trip to Steak & Shake instead. Now, I'm not a huge fan of either of these concepts but I had chicken strips (it was 1am, I didn't feel like loads of food anyway!) and an amazing cookies & cream milkshake which was so sickly I had to finish it the next morning! Anyway, another good evening out after work, and another trip to a public place where everyone stares at the bright orange: "Wow, they actually have lives outside Disney?!"

Thursday, my parents picked me up in the morning and we went to Walmart. Fun times. Then we went to Downtown Disney where Mum and I went up in a balloon to 370 ft above Disney! It was amazing, such good views. Bit like the Bournemouth Eye. Victoria and Dad went to DisneyQuest instead and then we met up with them after a spot of shopping at the West Side end of DTD. Then we went to Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at the Beach Club Resort which was quite amusing finding our way there in the car as I'd only ever been there via a boat from Epcot. Nevertheless, we made it there and had to wait about 35 minutes for a table but then we had yummy hot dogs and a KITCHEN SINK! It has 4 different flavours of ice cream, a handful of cherries, chocolate brownies, bananas, mars bar and a WHOLE CAN of whipped cream on top plus every sauce they do squirted all over/in the pudding. Amazing.

Once we'd stuffed ourselves there, we went back to the villa. I just chilled out and they packed. Then I got changed into my amazing new skinny jeans and hugely high shoes and we went to Bahama Breeze for a final meal out. It was very delicious :D I got dropped back at about 10.15pm and managed to get a reasonably early night (about midnight, LOL.)

I then worked out I am doing 42 hours at Star Tours between today and Monday so that's fun... then two days off... and then another 33 hours between Thursday and Saturday. So, much space-themed fun! :D

Monday, 2 August 2010

Wanna DFN?

Well, back at the villa again after a weekend of work, mainly. Friday's shift was good if a bit quiet towards the end. Then on Saturday, I spent the day doing boring things like sitting on Facebook, watching an episode of Casualty that the parents had recorded for me and doing my laundry before another six hour shift between 16.15-22.15. After work, we decided on a random trip to Wendy's so Nick and I met Andy, Hayley and Tiffany at about 11pm and I had spicy chicken nuggets which weren't as bad as I expected them to be. We left at about midnight, going via Walgreens so I could pick up some phone credit.

Sunday started off badly with some (irrelevant to Disney) annoyances via the internet so I wasn't in the greatest mood to start with. Then I had a 12 hour shift to deal with. So, I went in for 10.45am and basically spent six hours alternating between Sim 4 and Jedi 3 which was fine even though I never actually made it to photocell because I kept getting bumped for my break. I felt so tired for some reason, even though I didn't have *that* late a night the night before... this meant I spent most of my breaks lying on the sofa in the break room, prompting Jose to decide I looked like Kate Winslet in Titanic when she is sketched by Leonardo DiCaprio... with one major difference - I was dressed. LOL. I even got a makeshift name tag of 'Titanic Girl' until it had to be removed when I went back onstage... amusing.

Unfortunately the inevitable hit me at about 5.30pm when I got the Yoda rotation... and couldn't escape. By a horrible twist of fate it meant I ended up on Unload THREE times in FOUR hours... horrendus. The main reason (apart from the music, ugh!) I hate Unload is because it makes you think. It's so boring and there is so little to engage with apart from when the guests come out of the sims that you end up in a wierd state of meditation during which I tend to end up thinking about home, missing people etc etc. And especially after starting the day in a bad mood, it meant I kept thinking about why I was feeling pissed off. So that was NOT great.

Eventually, the shift ended. And I had to close Unload. Then do lost and found which was typically rubbish. We have to go to Muppets 3D to pick up their lost and found as well which is irritating because they never take ours, ever. I know the reason we do it is because their last show might not finish until 10.15pm whereas we always finish at 10pm but it's still stupid and annoying. So, did the lost and found and eventually got the bus. Randomly ended the evening eating a crapload of Dominos Pizza with Nick until we were stuffed and watching Little Britain clips on YouTube which significantly cheered me up. :D

Then onto today and all I've done since being picked up by my parents is go to the Florida Mall where I did some proper retail therapy (and it felt GOOOOD!) spending around $110 on a pair of headphones, 2 tops, 2 pairs of heels, 2 pairs of jeans and a hairband. Not bad! Now just chilling out at the villa before we head to Epcot later to eat in Italy and see Illuminations providing there is no massive thunderstorm like we (finally!) had yesterday!

Friday, 30 July 2010

A very space-themed week

Well, I haven't posted since Sunday because my family have been in Orlando so I have spent most of this week so far hanging out with them. On Sunday they picked me up and after pottering around for a bit, we went to Animal Kingdom for the afternoon which was good fun. We did Everest, Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl and the Lion King Show which was fabulous as always before going back to the villa for a bit of a chill out and a swim in their pool. Then we went to Celebration for dinner which was good (as always) - David stole the limelight by having a 2.5lb lobster for his dinner which was both amazing and disgusting at the same time. I personally had a very tasty chicken sandwich thing. And we even got Cast Member discount which was nice!

On Monday, the family went to the Studios because I had work from 1.15pm - 7.15pm. I think the park was quite busy but they managed to do several rides and I actually had a really good shift as I avoided Yoda all day, not even on purpose! I would have been happy to have been flying sims all day because I wanted my family to ride on my sim (but they didn't unfortunately!). I actually ended up doing Jedi Academy, Photocell (twice!) and even Tower! After we finished at the Studios, we headed back and had a takeaway - chinese! :D

On Tuesday, we went to the Magic Kingdom which was hot and busy. I'd hoped it wouldn't be too busy as there was no EMH that day but unfortunately it was. We arrived reasonably early and got fastpasses for Space Mountain. The boys went off and queued as well (so they rode it twice that day) but we went on the Blue Train and then on Monsters Inc Laugh Floor before going to have an ice cream and coincidentally seeing the Welcome Parade (which I LOVE!). Then we went back to Space Mountain and used the fastpasses before heading over to Liberty Square so we could ride the Haunted Mansion (which we ended up queueing for 40 minutes for; not good.) By this time we were all rather hot and tired so we ended up going home via the Emporium. However, as we were shopping, before we knew it - it was 3pm! And what happens at 3pm?? PARADE TIME!!! :D This greatly pleased me. Then we actually went home, swam in the pool and then went to buy some food so we could have a fabulous BBQ on the beasty BBQ provided at the villa. It was good BBQ times.

Wednesday - we decided to have a day off Disney and went to Kennedy Space Centre for the day. Dave and Matt were typically unco-operative and didn't want to come so it was just the four of us (me, mum, dad and victoria). The whole visitors centre has greatly improved in the six years since we last visited and the first thing we did was go on a tour of the site. They took us to the viewing gantry first where we could see both launching pads. Then we went to the Saturn V centre - where there is a real life size shuttle and lots of interesting things to look at. We also had lunch there (not amazing - Disney standard quick service food!) before finishing the tour at the International Space Station Centre. There, you could see the workers actually building pieces to take up to the ISS in space and it was really quite cool! By this time we were very hot and tired but we went on the new ride they have put there which is a combination of Mission Space and Star Tours! LOL! After that, we drove home and cooked up some oven pizzas for dindins!

Thursday and it was Mum's birthday. She chose to go to Epcot as we hadn't been there yet and she wanted to do Test Track. We went quite early and whilst the rest of the family went on Test Track; I got fastpasses for Soarin'. After I met them, we went to Mission Space (we all rode green, it was a 5 minute line!) and then went over to The Land where the others ate some food whilst Dad and I went on 'Living with the Land'... cute ride :) I think twice in 2 weeks is enough though. LOL. So we went on Soarin' and got the best seats in the house which was great! After that, we left the park before chilling out at the house. In the evening, we went to House of Blues at Downtown Disney to eat which was a bit slow but good food once it arrived. And we got a cheap bottle of bubbly as well :D

And then we're up to today - Friday. This morning, we went on a Boggy Creek airboat ride and saw crocodiles! And then I actually held a baby croc! Bit scary! It was good fun and not too far away. We came back, had a snack lunch and then Dad drove me back to Vista Way via Publix which is where I am now :) And off to work very shortly... only 6 hours today though!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Extra Tragic Hours

So yesterday was the shift from hell. Firstly, I got stuck in Yoda, repeating myself like a cracked record doing Sim 2, Unload, Sim 1 and repeat. Horrible. Luckily I picked up Jedi 1 inbetween Unload and Sim 1 at 3.20pm so I got to see the parade but I made the fatal mistake of getting too overexcited about this and ended up horribly sweaty and feeling rank. So, cowered under the umbrella for a while before ending up back inside on a sim and managed to de-sweat. Nice.

Apart from a brief interaction with a guest who worked at Aztec West (about 5 minutes from my house in Bristol) and a lovely family who did a baby swap and I backdoored them onto the ride, the guests were mostly moody, hot and annoyed. There was brief resbite from Yoda when I ended up doing 'EMH ID Check' which basically involves checking everyone's hotel room keys on their way into the ride to make sure they actually are a resort guest. EMH actually stands for Extra Magic Hours which means only the hotel resort guests can use the rides and eat in the restaurant - each park has a designated night for EMH and that's why we ended up closing at 1am last night. Normally, extra magic hours aren't that late for the Studios but last night was a one off. So, I had fun doing EMH ID Check for a while before getting my last break at 11.15pm.

Then I got unload. For 1.5 hours. In the middle of night. So you can imagine my mood by the end of the shift, it was not good.

And then I finished finally at 1.30am before getting 5 hours sleep and meeting my parents today!! Which has improved my mood greatly from this morning - we've just had lunch and now I'm off to Animal Kingdom for the afternoon. And with the prospect of only working 18 hours this week, things are looking up.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

A Mickey Mouse Degree

Well, Thursday was my second day off for this week and it was a fabulous one! It did start a bit early with Hannah and I getting on the 9am bus for EPCOT but we wanted to go and do the rides whilst avoiding the queues. And we managed it; the first thing we did was go and get fastpasses for Soarin' but then we walked back to TestTrack and rode that as single riders (even though we ended up in the same car!) so that line was only about 10 minutes. Then we did Mission Space: Orange which wasn't as bad on the motion sickness/dizziness feeling as I remember it being and the line was about 25 minutes long. Then we walked over to The Land and had a snack before going on the boat ride 'Living with the Land' which I've never done before. It was only a 10 minutes queue and it was a really cute ride where you can see lots of plants being grown by Disney horticulturists and also fish they are breeding too. Once we'd done that though it was time to go back to Soarin' and we ended up in the front row which was amazing! :D

By this time it was about 12pm so we decided to head back to Housing so we could get ready for graduation in the evening. I thought it would be a fun idea to get the monorail to the TTC and get the Magic Kingdom bus... this was a good idea until we missed the first bus by about 30 seconds and then the second bus because we didn't see it. So ended up there for about 40 minutes before we got on the bus!

Eventually got back to the apartment and I spent the afternoon having fun doing things like laundry, washing my hair and painting my nails. Got ready for graduation and headed over to Mickey's Retreat for 6pm. I've never been there before but it's a recreation area for cast members and their families - it has a fishing lake, tennis courts, a man-made beach, pedalos and a swimming pool amongst other things... it was a lovely location for the graduation especially because it was sunny as well. I got my ears and then met Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Daisy! :D At about 7.30pm, Hannah, Katie and myself decided we'd met everyone we thought we'd meet so we left going via their apartments at Chatham to drop stuff off.

Then we went over to Vista and walked to Bahama Breeze which is about a 10-15 minute walk away. I love this restaurant! The atmosphere and decor is sooo cool, it's like being in a rainforest! I had a chicken burger thing and 2 cocktails, plus half a pudding (I shared) and tip for the waitress and it was still less than $30 which I thought was pretty good :D They don't do Disney discount yet but they said something about teaming up with Disney in August which would be cool.

After ambling home at about 11pm, I ran into Nick and Kate from work who were still in bright orange having just got off the bus. They were on their way to Wendys so I found myself walking back the way I'd just come to join them. All I can say is, Wendy's really is quite rough. And it smells bad. I didn't eat anything (obviously!) but hung out with them for about an hour before finally getting back to Vista and going to bed!

Yesterday (Friday) I had a normal shift (which wasn't closing for once!) and finished at 9pm so headed to Walmart with Nick and Rachel (my roomate) to buy a duffel bag on wheels to take to my parent's villa on Sunday! My family are also now in the same time zone as me, I am so excited to see them tomorrow!! They are driving up from Miami to Orlando today :D I am working the horrible shift of 1.30pm to 1.30am today though so I won't see them until tomorrow but roll on the next 24 hours!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Gate Four... puke on the floor.

Just a quick post about yesterday's escapades. The day started off badly with the fact I was working 10-4... now this by all means is not a *bad* thing because it's only a 6 hour shift and it's during the day time! However, it meant I had to get my sorry ass out of bed before 9am which wasn't so great. Especially after staying up until 2am the night before watching 'Inception' which I completely didn't understand and was confused for the duration. So, after getting up and getting on the correct bus which is due to get me to the Studios 15 minutes before my shift we ended up sitting in a traffic jam right by the entrance to the Studios for absolutely no apparent reason for 10 minutes. And therefore I ended up with about 3 minutes to get from the bus, via security to Star Tours.

I clocked in at 10.01.

This meant that I was technically "late" and this pisses me off because a) it wasn't my fault and b) I really didn't want half a point on my record already. Disney have a process for which they give you half a point on your record card if you are late, a whole point if you don't turn up, a whole point if you phone in sick/personal and various other combinations. If you get 3 points (depending on what they're for) then you get a reprimand. 3 reprimands and you're terminated. Obviously, I know it won't get to that stage but I don't particularly want *any* points on there, particularly for being 1 minute late when I was actually on site. So, I asked one of my managers if he could take the point off my record and hopefully he did... I await to see my record card to make sure!

So, turning up hot, sweaty and stressed at the beginning of the day wasn't great. Then I got stuck on a rotation which I usually would have loved which was Jedi 2, then Entrance then Jedi 4. However, yesterday was definately the hottest day I have experienced here so far this year and doing 2.5 hours outside wearing polyester was horrible. Add in the fact that it was INSANELY busy yesterday - I mean, Star Tours had a wait time of about 40-60 minutes all day and usually it never rises above 20. The fastpass line was all the way back to stand-by and I have never seen so many tour groups in one place. I knew it was a Fantasmic day but STILL! So, after 2.5 hours outside I was feeling pretty bad, in fact I did feel like I was going to faint as I felt so light-headed and dizzy. It was lucky that I then got my break and could access cold water and sugar which made me feel a bit better.

The rest of the day went well... there was another Code V in Gate Four (luckily not my sim) which looked like a little mountain of vomit, it was very strange. But it was inside the sim this time so it didn't stink the place out. And I spent most of the afternoon inside, operating star speeders.

As we finished at 4/4.30 (for Nick) we decided to go to Animal Kingdom.. so after a brief trip to Chatham so he could get changed (Chatham Square really is quite nice and I can see after living there for a summer why you wouldn't want to downgrade to Vista Way!) we got the bus to AK. It was great because it shut at 8pm and we got there just before 6pm so we grabbed some pizza at Pizzafari and then spent the next 90 minutes doing Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl and Expedition Everest twice! :D It was really good fun. And we saw Char working her magic at the turnstiles in her very attractive costume! LOL! However, then we were both really tired and practically falling asleep on the bus home so we called it a night and I was in bed by 10.30pm!

Monday, 19 July 2010

3 firsts in one afternoon...

Yesterday was a rather entertaining shift. It started with being on Vader which is my favourite rotation so I did Fastpass Distribution, Merge and Sim 2 for a while before getting my first break. After that I was on Yoda for practically the whole day which did suck however, a few things brightened my day.

1) My first: lost child.... Well, I was on Fastpass Return and this boy who was about 12 years old came up to me and started babbling about something. Couldn't really understand him but he seemed quite deterred by the fact he'd lost his parents. I think he may have had some sort of hyperactivity disorder by the way he was speaking but after getting Ally to keep an eye on Fastpass Return, I went for a walk with him into the Backlot Express Restaurant which is next door to Star Tours and eventually we found his parents. I think it was more the fact he didn't want to get MORE lost which is why he asked me to come with him to find his parents but there was no issue and everyone was happy.

2) My first: child who wet himself... a little boy aged about four couldn't hold it any longer and managed to pee all over the loading area for my Sim. So there was a puddle of pee on the floor which we had to get custodial to come and clear up and I directed the guest and his mother to the restrooms... little did I know that she then went to the photocell person and asked them if he could still ride. With pee all over himself. Ewwwww.

3) My first: massively fat person... I went to the wheelchair ramp and there was a lady who was VERY large in an ECV and her 5 other family members waiting there. So after getting over the initial shock of how fat she was, I asked the normal questions of "how many in your party?" and then asking the person in the ECV if they were going to ride (sometimes they don't want to)... to this she said "well, will I fit?" This completely threw me because I had two options. 1) No. and 2) We can try. So... being Disney I went with the second option mainly because it felt too harsh to say "no you're just too fat". So... the woman went round to Unload where Caitlin was and I waited to load the sim. When I went inside, Caitlin informed me that the woman would like to try and sit in the seat so we'd give it a go... the worst part was that the sim was quite full and there were then about 35 other people just sitting there, feeling reeeeally awkward and watching this fat woman trying to get into the seat. I couldn't think of anything to say to the rest of the guests apart from checking their seatbelts which takes all of 10 seconds so it was probably one of the most awkward moments of my life! Fair play to Caitlin though - she dug around in this woman's fat to put the seatbelt on (which did fit!) and the woman got to ride Star Tours.

Later on, Caitlin told me that when the woman got back to Unload after the ride, she was crying because she appreciated our efforts so much. Now, I don't have much sympathy (I don't think most people who work at Disney do) for the massive fatties because they got themselves into that mess. But regardless, this woman paid for her overpriced ticket into the park and as a Disney cast member I think it's important to go 'Above & Beyond' to at least attempt to get her to ride a couple of rides. Obviously, things like Rock n Roller Coaster are out of the question, but Star Tours is very accessible for disabled people (and fat people, clearly.). She said that she was so happy to have been able to ride and that Disney make the effort to accommodate her whereas at "other" theme parks (the Dark Side - aka Universal - for example) they don't even bother to try, they just say no. So, for me, it was a little magical moment that this woman got to have 5 minutes of fun at Disney and the fact she actually appreciated it was really nice. :)

The day ended with another random trip to ihop, this time with Sjonnie and Andy and a nighttime tour of south Orlando to take Sjonnie home!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Hopping to the i!

Another random excursion yesterday. I worked from 2.30pm to 10pm and the day started off well because I was on Jedi 4 so I got to see the whole parade again. And in addition, we got the schedule for next week (the first week the parents are here) and it seems I got my days off granted that I wanted so I'm off the 25th, 27th, 28th and 29th July! :D With just a 6 hour shift in between on the 26th!

So, work was good and then Nick wanted to go and see the Sorcerer's Apprentice at the cinema but due to us all finishing at different times we had to see a late night one. So, me and Nick finished by 10pm and got the buses back to Chatham/Vista to get changed whilst Andy and Jacqueline went straight from work but they finished at 10.30pm. So Andy picked us up at about 11pm from our housing (4 people in a pick up designed for 3... fun times!) and we went to ihop! :D Yay! By the time we'd eaten there, we went to Downtown Disney.. missed the turning and ended up only buying the tickets right when it was due to start at 12.45am!

So the film was actually quite entertaining; not so much of a Harry Potter rip-off that I thought it was going to be. It was quite funny not to mention that the main character's voice sounded exactly like Jonathan my trainer at Star Tours which put us into fits of giggles throughout the film. Eventually we left the cinema at about 3am, before I got home at 3.15am and fell into bed!

Forgot to mention; on Tuesday, Megan moved to Patterson Court which left my room half empty and as Rachel had left the week before to return home it meant we had 2 empty beds in the apartment. So, on Friday night the first new roomie turned up which was another Rachel - from England! And then on Saturday, my new roomate arrived - and her name is Katherine! She's from New Zealand which is quite amazing, I mean, you can't get much further away can you. She'd just got off a 25 hour flight where there's a time difference of 16 hours :O So, I haven't seen much of her yet as she's just been sleeping!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

A magical moment!

Well, after quite frankly an awful day on Thursday (involving angry guests shouting at me, awful weather, bitchy cast members and various other things) I had a much better day yesterday, on Friday. I knew it was going to go well when I got given PAC as my first assignment so I got to see the parade and do the audience control which was good even though I didn't have a clue what I was doing with the ropes. I have it all figured out now though so if I have to do it again I'll know what to do.

It was very very hot outside though, and after forgetting to put sun cream on, I spent all of my time outside trying to have my back to the sun so that my face didn't get burnt! After the parade was over, I went back inside and got my assignment and spent the afternoon mainly doing normal rotations - flying starspeeders (aka sims), photocell, greeter, etc. Then just as I was coming from Sim 2 to go to Unload (my favourite position of course!) I walked around the corner by tower to see a load of CODE V!!! Yes, for all you non-Disney folk; this is vomit. It also used to be known by the name 'protein spill'. Some small child had eaten half a ton of candy and that mixed with the hot weather and probably some dehydration had caused him to vom all over the waiting area for Sim 4. Now, not only was this the most DISGUSTING smelling sick I think I have ever had the misfortune to smell, but it was right in one of the most obvious places for all the other guests. The co-ordinator on duty told me we nearly went '101' (i.e. closed the attraction) as not only was it disgusting for us, but it's the last thing the guests want to see before they get on a motion-simulator!

So, I went into Unload trying not to vomit myself... and the SMELL had already seeped all the way down the bypass corridor into Unload and about 3/4 of the Unload corridor stank as well. So, I stuck to standing at the furthest end of the corridor, directing guests towards the exit until showkeeping (aka custodial) turned up and cleaned it. Then the custodian went around with pine smelling air freshener which did the job, but nevertheless it was pretty vile.

Apart from that the rest of the shift went smoothly with it getting quieter and quieter as there was no Fantasmic last night. At about 8.30pm I was given 'tasking' as my assignment (this is when there is nothing else for us to do!) and my co-ordinator Matt gave me (and another friend Nick) a task to go and find a family, give them a VIP trip on Star Tours and generally just "make some magic". This really excited me because this is the kind of fun stuff we don't get to do in attractions half as much as in merchandise. So, Nick and I went outside the ride and found a family of two boys (Adam and Austin) and their Dad... they had seen Star Wars but never ridden Star Tours so that was great! We went through the queuing area making up the stories for all the things you can see, then we showed them what the operating panel looked like with all the buttons before getting them into their own star speeder. Best part was: I got to ride with them!! So, in costume, got to actually go on the ride! :D So much fun. Then, Nick took them into Tower for a Tower Tour and me and Matt went into the store next door and got them complimentary lightsabres which they totally loved! We gave them a certificate and some mickey stickers and we all had warm fuzzy feelings! THAT is what working for Disney is all about.

Then to top off my evening, I got tasked to tidy up the Yoda Room (aka, Manager's Office). And on the desk was a Guest Service Fanatic card (of which I have none so far!) which had been filled out but clearly not given to the cast member in question. On further looking, turns out it was for ME! And it hadn't been signed by a manager but had just sat on the desk for a week! It was in relation to the guest we'd had after Jedi Training (the 'rediculous' one... see previous post) and the GSF had been given to me by Travis, the co-ordinator I was working with at the time. It slightly irritated me that I wouldn't have got the GSF any time soon unless I had personally found it and then asked for it to be signed really... GSF cards aren't given out very often in Attractions so I felt really happy to get one. They go down on your record card like a gold star but other than that they just make you feel like you've actually been appreciated. :)

Friday, 16 July 2010

The best 2 days off so far!

I know I already wrote about my first day off this week in the last post but I had to talk about my second day off because it was such good fun. So, it was on Wednesday, I got up and posted the last blog post whilst doing my laundry - very fun. Haa. Then, at about 1pm, I met up with Hannah and we went to the Studios as I had... acquired a couple of fastpasses that needed using. So, after a brief trip to First Aid (I had some bug bites which were itching like mad so we went to get some anti-itch stuff and then inadvertantly ran into Stitch and Piglet so that was a nice surprise!) we went to get a Churro. Yummy... I hadn't had a churro yet! Then we headed over to Toy Story Mania. Now, this is a really good ride during which you sit in a 2 person car thing with a laser gun each. You wear 3D glasses and shoot things that pop out at you, gaining points for hitting the targets on the screens as you move around the ride. It's good fun but it's not queue-for-2-hours-fun. In fact, the queue can get up to about 3 hours long which is quite rediculous. Anyways, we had fastpasses so we didn't need to wait more than 5 minutes! After that, we went to Art of Animation and skipped the actual show to go to the Animation class which is a good 30 minute activity - you get to learn how to draw a character just like the animators do. I drew mickey!

When we got out of Art of Animation, it had been pouring with rain. Originally we planned to watch the parade at 3pm but I didn't think it would go on and we managed to get undercover just as it poured down again with thunder! So, we were waiting on Nick to arrive at the Studios... so we went to get some food. Then, once he arrived, the weather got a bit better and we ended up riding Rock n Roller Coaster 3 times, Tower of Terror twice and then, of course, Star Tours. Which I went round and took pictures of - quite hilarious. Originally, we only aimed to be at the Studios for a couple of hours but me and Hannah were there for about 6 1/2 in the end!

So we rushed back to our apartments and got changed before heading out at 8.50pm for TGI Fridays! We met up with Claire as well and headed to Cross Roads. I had a very yummy honey mustard chicken sandwich with fries and my first legal alcoholic drink in the USA! It was a lovely cocktail called Electric Umbrella which was bright blue :P We stayed there until about midnight before getting the bus back and collapsing into bed at the end of this long but fun day!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Celebrate You!

Wow, time has passed very quickly since my last blog post! Well, Friday's shift was kinda rubbish because the park was really quiet and I was really tired (partly from using up all my energy having a great day on Thursday and partly because I didn't sleep well) so I was glad to get home. I closed again on Saturday and it was an average shift... Sunday was an 11 hour shift which was rather exhausting but good fun. I was back on form (in terms of energy) and managed to somehow avoid being on unload for several days in a row - not through working the system but just by having my breaks at the most convenient moments and being in different rotations! There are three rotation - Yoda (yuk!), Obi-Wan (alright) and Vader (my favourite) and then there is the 'Wookie' which is when everyone moves a position forward not just one rotation of people. If that makes sense.

Monday was supposed to only be a six hour shift until deployment called me at 8.45am and asked if I could come in as soon as possible. As I hadn't actually been scheduled even 40 hours this week I said yes and ended up starting work at 10am through until 7pm. It was a good day though, apart from the humidity which has been particularly bad this week... wearing that costume is like being in a walking sauna. You can literally feel your body sweating out all its liquid, gross I know. But because the trousers have elasticated ankles, they hold all the hot air inside them, they're not very breathable!! And then the top goes quite far up to your neck as well so yes, not the coolest of costumes, but I am glad to be on Star Tours and not another, more rubbish attraction, so I can't really complain. Had a couple of amusing guests over the last few days as well; always related to the Jedi Academy.

I can't remember if I explained what the Jedi Academy was but in a nutshell, we sign up 15 kids for each show (the sign ups are 20 minutes before the show, apart from the final two shows of the day which we sign up at 2.30pm usually) and then they get to participate on the stage, learn to use a lightsabre and then fight Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers. We have 8 shows a day and if it rains then they are called off and usually get a meet and greet with the characters instead. So... on Monday, one of the shows got called off at the very very last minute because there was a sudden rain storm which was very heavy and wet... so I led the kids inside and they got their meet and greet with the characters, everyone was happy. Except one mother... who then continued to tell me how 'rediculous' it was that it was cancelled because of rain (unfortunately the rain had only lasted 5 minutes and by the time we came back outside it was sunny again!). She was very demanding and quite irate so it was lucky a co-ordinator turned up at that precise moment and we sorted her out with some guest recovery - i.e. we got her VIP seating at Indiana Jones and let her kids be in the next Jedi show. The thing is though; it's not uncommon for parents to act like this when the Jedi show is called off - mainly because they have stood in a line for 1-2 hours waiting to sign up for the show and then if it gets rained off, it feels like time wasted. But on the other hand, we can't do a show in the rain because of the SafeD factor - if the stage is wet then it's dangerous for the performers and the kids. And, despite popular opinion within guests; we're not weather forecasters! We don't know how long the rain is going to last or whether it will stop one minute later! In that incidence, the rain could have continued for 20 minutes and then that would have had a knock-on effect for the rest of the days shows which is why it was cancelled.

In a way, I enjoy dealing with the annoyed guests. It's kind of like a challenge to me and makes the day a bit more interesting! I have met several guests or groups of guests who have lightened my day for various reasons - I had a family who were on their first day of their first Disney vacation which was quite exciting. So I told them where to go and what to get Fastpasses for and I felt like I really helped them in their day! I had another family, quite late in the evening when it was quiet, who were actually English but the father clearly had an illness like Parkinsons or something. He was in a motorised wheelchair which was a challenge but not impossible to get into the simulator and transfer him to a seat. It was really nice to feel like we'd made it easy for the family to enjoy the ride plus I organised it so that no other guests went in their simulator - one, because it was less pressure for them to feel like they had to hurry up with the transfer etc. and two - because I felt like they deserved to have their own private flight! I really admire the people who bring genuinely disabled or ill people to Disney to enjoy the parks because it must be a challenge for them even with the flexibility and accommodations of Disney for disabled guests.

The people who rent wheelchairs and ECVs just because they are fat/lazy/want to queue jump on the other hand... well... I'll save my opinion of them for another post!

Besides work, I am on my second of my two days off this week. Yesterday the most important thing I did was I got my Uni results! This involved waking up at 7am to go online and see I had got a 2.1!!! Very happy about this!! Ended up going to the Premium Outlets where I bought some Sketchers and a jacket (not for here, keeping it to take home) and then bumming around the apartment for the daytime before going to Epcot in the evening, seeing Illuminations and eating Orange Chicken (standard) then dashing over to Magic Kingdom, getting soaked by a random thunderstorm and then watching the Nightastic fireworks before staying in the park til midnight. We did a couple of rides but the park was really quiet as lots of people had left when it rained and after the fireworks.

Today the plan is to do my laundry (fun!) and then go to the Studios this afternoon to do Coaster, Tower and Toy Story!! :D Then going to go to TGI Fridays this evening and I'm intending to have my first alcoholic drink for nearly a month to celebrate my results! Yay!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Well.. I have quite a bit to catch up on! This week has been so busy I have hardly had time to think and definitely no time to do laundry! July 4th.. was busy but not insane. I thought it would be busier to be honest; but the weather was rubbish (drizzly, grey... rather like England but about 20 degrees farenheight hotter) and I think most people were at the Magic Kingdom. Nevertheless, it was a good day and I got my 'bump out' at 9.45pm so I rushed down to the outside of Star Tours and stood there just in time to see the fireworks. They don't normally have fireworks at the Studios so it was just a one-off and they were really good even though I couldn't hear the music. So, when they finished at 10pm, I left, clocked out and got the bus and was home by 10.45pm which is very good going for July 4th.

Monday (5th) was alright... nothing special to be honest. It was my last day of eight days in a row of work so I was feeling pretty tired and in need of a day off! It seemed that over the whole weekend including Monday, I ended up on the same rotation schedule - i.e. I was doing the same postitions over and over again including Unload... which is fine but makes the day a little bit repetitive. A good thing, though, was that the park shut at 7pm on Monday and so I finished at 7.30pm... after Nick and I took the Lost & Found to Guest Relations, we went to Chick-fil-A which was yummy. But then it decided to absolutely pour with rain - proper Floridian rain - so we got drenched walking back to Vista Way! Luckily, I could just go inside my apartment and get warmed up but he had to sit on a bus back to Chatham poor boy. LOL.

So, onto my days off which were Tuesday (6th) and Wednesday (7th) this week. Tuesday, the first thing on the agenda was to go to Downtown Disney with Katie and see Twilight: Eclipse! :D Now, the film itself was actually quite good although very cringy in some parts and hilarious in others... somewhat risque and violent for a PG-13 though (aka 12A)! But what I got more excited about was the trailer we saw beforehand for HARRY POTTER!!! Omg, so exciting! They look AMAZING! And from what I saw in the trailer, it looks like they're going to try and keep to the books quite well. I really hope the final films are as good as I want them to be! Then we left the cinema - Katie went to meet her parents who were at Animal Kingdom, and I went back to Vista for an hour or so before going back out to meet Char and we went to the Studios. Yes, I even go there on my day off. LOL.

It was really packed and busy so we managed to get into Indiana Jones Stunt Show with the help of an ICP I knew called Sian who was doing crowd control and put us on the VIP list :D Then after that we went and watched the American Idol experience which was good fun but VERY american in every way :P Then we grabbed some food before wondering what to do as it was so busy... so we wondered around the shops a bit before heading to Fantasmic at about 7.20pm. We got into the amphitheatre at about 7.30pm and sat there for an hour and a half before Fantasmic, although it was worth the wait! It's a good show! After we got out, we had 30 minutes before the park shut so we ran into Tower of Terror as it had no line (REALLY creepy walking around the queuing area at night when they pipe pretend fog into the area!) and that was great. When we got out, we had about 5 minutes so we legged it to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and managed to be one of the last guests let on! :D So it was actually a good end to the night as we managed to get the bus pretty shortly after getting to the bus stop and it didn't even rain!

My second day off on Wednesday I spent half of it going to the post office which is a rediculously long trip for somewhere that is probably less than 2 miles away from Vista. Anyway, posted some beef jerky for Ben Puddy :P and my letter for Jon plus a postcard for my grandparents... then made my way back to Vista. Didn't even bother going back to the apartment as I had to get another bus very shortly after arriving as I was off to the Magic Kingdom with Hannah (and later, Nick). Hannah met me there after I'd eaten at Casey's Corner and just generally wondered around Main Street soaking up the atmosphere and remembering good times working at MK! We went over to Tomorrowland and picked up FastPasses for Space Mountain and then we watched the afternoon parade which was great! After meeting Nick and Hannah indulging in a Turkey Leg (gross), we worked our way round the very busy Magic Kingdom and ended up doing Pirates of the Carribean, Jungle Cruise, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, Stitch's Great Escape, Space Mountain and finally, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. So, a very successful day! We watched the fireworks (from a bit of a rubbish angle but never mind) and then got out of the park sharpish. We would have been home in good time but Nick decided he was starving hungry and so we ended up getting off the monorail at The Contemporary and getting food at their quick-service restaurant which was cool... and even better, we got Cast Member discount! :D Eventually, we finished our food and went back to get the bus...

So, an exhausting two days off but well needed to be away from Star Wars music for a couple of days!! And I haven't even talked about yesterday's shift yet. This blog post is turning into a very long one - apologies! Well done for reading this far!

So, yesterday was Thursday. And it was a day which reminded me how great it is to work for Disney... it was a brilliant day. Despite the fact that the actual shift was just shy of 12 hours long, it was probably the best day I've ever had on Star Tours. After a slight rush getting in (which involved me thinking I started at 10.15 but it was actually 10.30... fail.) I got my first assignment which was on a different rotation to Yoda (YAY! Yoda, btw, was the rotation I kept being on over the weekend, they have nicknames) and I was JTA2... which is to do with the Jedi Training Academy. I had to talk to the kids and keep them occupied before the show and then just do the ropes to make sure they didn't run off etc. Then I was rotated around a couple of sims and the entrance position which was good fun because the park was REALLY busy yesterday so there was a constant stream of people to talk to. After my lunch break, I was lucky enough to be on the same rotation (it's called Vader) and I had to go and find Nick who was JTA3 - they sign up the kids for the Jedi Training Academy but the PARADE was in the way! SO YAY!!! I got to see the last couple of minutes of the parade and I got totally overexcited about this fact! Once I had passed on the rotation to Nick, I had to go to photocell.

Photocell is good but a slightly stressful position to be in! Especially when three of the sims develop various minor technical faults within 15 minutes of each other! Luckily it all sorted itself out quite quickly and I spent the rest of the afternoon rotating around several different positions even including a stint in Tower! Then, when I got rotated to greeter, I was lucky enough to be able to borrow Melissa's lightsabre... well.. I knew I had to get myself one after this! So I aquired an old one which was hanging around and now I can occupy myself with having lightsabre fights (it's staying in character!!) with both fellow Cast Members and even the guests (but I always let them win!).

So, exhausted but happy, I got home at about 10.45pm last night and fell into bed because I was so tired. Got work again this afternoon from 14.45 - 22.15... so maybe I will be able to see the parade again! :D

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Happy 4th July!

Happy Independence Day! Well, I think it's going to be a busy one quite frankly... depends on whether the crowds come rushing to the Studios or not. It will be interesting to compare it to Main St USA 2 years ago when you literally couldn't move. The people who go to Magic Kingdom on Independence Day must be clinically insane... the queues for the rides are astronomical and it's so busy you can't get anywhere, not my idea of fun!

So, the last three days I have worked the closing shift, mostly rotating between manning a sim, being at entrance or greeting. I did a brief and uneventful stint in Tower on Friday which was a bit scary (don't like the idea of it all being down to me when something goes wrong!) and then yesterday I got my first taste of being at unload. I got unload in rotation twice (rotation is when everyone moves position, often in a pattern throughout the shift. The first time wasn't too bad, there were a fair few guests but the second time was from 9pm to 10.15pm... boring. Mainly because there were just hardly any guests coming through the attraction at that time. Now that there is no Fantasmic every night, a lot of people just leave the park in the early evening and go to see the evening entertainment elsewhere. Which means it gets really quiet and when it's really quiet, it's a bit dull. However, hoping that today is going to be busy busy busy especially because there is Fantasmic as well at 9 and 10.30pm.

Having said that yesterday was uneventful, it certainly did not start out that way! I took over a sim which had about 20 guests in it from someone else who was getting his bump out and was quite happily organising the next load of guests into rows when I glanced back at the control console to see a load of red flashing lights... NOT GOOD! The ride had emergency-stopped itself right at the end of the ride and the guests were therefore stuck inside until we could let them out. They weren't 'stuck' as such, just as a safety precaution the doors don't open and the seatbelts don't unlock until maintenence enable it to.... which meant that the guests didn't get let out for about 15 minutes. This wasn't a long time and they weren't in any danger but obviously they weren't happy.... so then I got bumped to entrance so I didn't actually have anything to do at that sim except experience the emergency stop which was a good experience so I'd know what to do next time.

Anywhoo... in other news I am still waiting for some post from England... it takes forever! And they don't get post on Sundays in America either, especially 4th July, so more patience is needed it seems. Meh. It's finally rained here, in fact it's hardly stopped drizzling for the last 48 hours. Had a couple of thunderstorms but nothing amazing yet. I have been scheduled for about 40 hours this week but only about 37 next week... and have requested some extra days off for the 2 weeks that the family are here at the end of July/beginning of August but don't know if they will get granted... fingers crossed!