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!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Not such a magical moment.

I am really pissed off. To put it bluntly. I got my first pay check today in which they do not deduct rent as you don't get much money in your first pay check seen as you only work 20-25 hours in your first week. Well, that's nice of them. UNTIL, they deduct $50 off me... for no good reason. So, first I went to one of my managers and asked them; they told me to go Vista Way housing. So, went to Vista Way housing; they told me to go to The Commons. So; went to The Commons (the main housing office) and asked them...

And they decided to tell me that the reason they'd take $50 off me was because I hadn't handed in my ID 2 fricking years ago. I definitely handed in my Housing ID last time because they drilled it into you that you had to hand it in on your last day in housing... but they never said anything about our white Disney ID which is the one we use to get into the parks. Apparently, your work location is supposed to take it off you - well, none of my managers EVER mentioned this and did NOT ask for it. If they had asked for it, I would have given it to them. The woman at The Commons was rather rude and said that apparently as the little white piece of plastic was "Disney Property" then taking it and not handing it in was actually "theft" and that's why I was charged $50. It wasn't even valid for God's sake... it's validity to get into the parks etc expired on the last day of my program so this is a pile of crap.

So therefore, they've taken $50 off me in a week where I earnt less than $200 as it is... and then next week they're going to take double rent off me (totalling $158) which means I will probably end up with hardly anything to live on. Brilliant. Nice one Disney.