Wednesday, 17 September 2008

On this magic night, a million stars will play beside us... glittering, shimmering, carouselling...pure enchantment lights the way...

Hello everybody, an update from cold, cloudy England!

Well, it's been 2 1/2 weeks since I got home from Florida. The flight back was ok but pretty boring and I was getting edgy at the end of the flight because I just wanted to get home. Enjoyed my first drink on the plane with dinner because Virgin Atlantic give you free wine!

Getting home was a little emotional but enjoyable! I am enjoying home comforts again now before going back to Uni in a couple of weeks....such as having a bathroom not covered in dark hair (ew!) and NICE FOOD! I got 350 photos printed in Boots and stuck them all in 2 albums plus I have a box full of memories from Disney and I still think it was the most amazing experience I have ever had. I still LOVE Disney but I don't know if I would do the ICP again... definately not this year but never say never! I just don't know if it would live up to the last 3 months! The only bad side about being home is having to go back to Clarks... it is SO boring working there now compared to Disney... I had to get out of the habit of referring to guests and dollars which took a while! I only have a few shifts left until Christmas now thank god!

I forgot to include my very last going above and beyond story in the airport post...

Going back to my last day in Florida... when I was at Downtown Disney. After rearranging my suitcases I realised the fat off Florida guidebook that was in there was quite heavy and bulky so reluctantly I took it out. I wondered around Downtown with it for a bit, contemplating putting it in a bin but feeling bad about doing that when I got a brainwave!! So I saw guest relations in the distance and a woman who looked like she was with her grandson who was wearing mickey ears... I went up to them and said "I'm really sorry for being rude, but how far into your vacation are you?" She seemed a bit taken aback (don't blame her!) and said "Oh, just a couple of days". Brilliant! So I said "Well, I've been a cast member this whole summer and I bought this before I came here but it's too heavy to take home so would you like to have it?" Well, she said yes and was so happy she gave me a hug! It was also her birthday because she had a birthday badge on so I thought it was just perfect and it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside!!

So, signing off on a high note now....

See y'all real soon!


Friday, 29 August 2008

All it takes is faith, trust and pixie dust...

And so it must all come to an end. This week has been absolutely mad... almost like the first week but backwards! I am sitting in the gate/departure lounge at Orlando International and it's a miracle but they have wireless, free internet which is quicker than Vista Way...

Lets go back to Saturday... me and Matt had training which was a bit rediculous as we only had like 4 shifts left but it was still fun. It was at 11am though so we went into magic kingdom at 9am so that we could go do a couple of rides. I also wanted to film the mini show/parade thing on main street where they sing the song 'Walking down Main Street USA' so we did that and then went on Space Mountain twice and Pirates of the Carribean. Then we went to our trainig for 2 hours before working a lovely 10.5 shift til 11.30pm... so basically spent the entire day in the vincinity of the castle.

Sunday, me and Victoria had already decided to take a trip to Planet Hollywood again so we met up and went for lunch. We both had chicken fajitas which were yummmmy and then we had pudding. I had an immense chocolate brownie thing which was actually meant for 2 people although I didn't realise this until I was struggling through it when half was still left! Victoria on the other hand, had a 'bread pudding'. What they didn't mention was the fact it was drowned in a whisky sauce!!! We obviously didn't read the menu properly because it was properly alcoholic. So after managing to avoid alcohol for 9 weeks it was ruined! Hahaha... Anyway, we left to go back to Vista because we both had work. I thought I started at 17.45 so I strolled in at 17.30 to clock in and they're all like "where have you been?!?!" Turns out I was supposed to start at 16.45 and so I was late... in my last week! How annoying. Anyway, because you can't be late, get ER or ROS or extension in the last week (as your pay check is already decided as you recieve it in the same week you are doing the hours) so that meant that I had to come in an hour early the next day which meant I had a really long shift on the Monday from 15.45 til 1.15am... eugh.

So Monday was pretty much just work. WOOOO.

Tuesday I had to do my packing and that wasn't fun. Especially when I realised how freaking heavy my suitcases were and also how I had blatently bought too much stuff over here. Hahaa. So after I struggled with my packing for a few hours I decided to go early to MK and film the afternoon parade! Woo. It was really fun although I got sunburnt just standing in the sun for 30 minutes! Then I went into work again...

Wednesday was my last shift. In the morning we decided to go to Epcot so we went and did a few rides like mission space and soarin'. I was feeling really tired having decided to continue my packing after work the night before and not going to bed til gone 3am. haha. Pretty much have lived on 4 hours sleep a night this week!! Anyway, came home at about 1pm and had a couple of hours of yet more packing and tidying. Went to work for 17.45 for my LAST shift!! It was pretty good actually because I was on stock (which is crap...) but in Womens which had 2 of us stocking. So I basically merchantained for the most part as we had hardly any stock to put out... then at 9.50pm we got told to meet at the front desk... to go and watch Wishes!! FROM THE ROOF!!!!!!!!!! It was bloody brilliant, knowing how much I love the fireworks and being actually paid to sit there and watch them, feeling like you were the only one watching them from the roof of the Emporium...soooo good. Then Edouard finished his shift so we all said goodbye to him which was a bit sad because the rest of us finished at closing, 1.15am. We had our final emporium doughnut binge and then got changed to go to late night iHop as is tradition with the leaving CPs...we didn't manage to get there til about 2.15am and so ended up going to bed at 4am. Again.

Then to our final full day in Florida... Thursday. Well it started off a bit crazy because I overslept (wonder why..) and had 5 minutes to get dressed and get on the bus to the bank to go and fetch/cash our last paychecks. Managed it though and then was on the bus and Jon from Clarks called me!! Wants me back at work this week. So I think I am possibly going back on times. Anyway, spent THREE hours at the bank which was NOT fun. Included having an argument with some really rude French ICPs who tried to push in the line after we'd been there for over 1 1/2 hours! I don't think so! So eventually managed to get my money (woooo, 2 weeks of work plus the money from my bank account which I had to close... so had about $700 in total. Whoop whoop!) and then we jumped back on the bus, quickly got changed and then me and Victoria went to Hollywood Studios. We had lunch and then we had Cast fastpasses (courtesy of Vic's manager.. heheee) for Toy Story Mania which was wicked, then we got backdoored onto Rock n Rollercoaster and then we used our regular fastpasses which we obtained earlier to go on Tower of Terror. A few tears here and there from wierdly both me and Vic even though we were saying goodbye to HER managers haha!!

Then we went back to Vista and met up with the other girls. We all went to this eatery up the road from Vista called Bahama Breeze which was reeeeally nice. I had a tomato and basil pizza type thing and a Key Lime Pie which was goood! Then we got the bus straight to MK to see Wishes... After doing a ride or two using the Re-Entry passes (thanks Lara!! haha) which were 'obtained' we went over to the Walt statue and met up with the other ICPs to watch Wishes......there were tears from everyone as soon as the music started! For me it was mainly the emotion of the day but also because I know it will be the last time I watch Wishes which really is special to me... no idea why but hearing it every night for 10 weeks might have something to do with it. Wishes finished and everyone was crying... lots of photos were taken.. lots of strange looks from guests who didn't realise as well! We had a group photo of about 100 of us... an unfortunate manager who happened to be passing got about 40 camera thrown at him to take this photo with! We were a bit tour group-ish with chanting and various bits of singing but it was really amazing. A quick visit to the Emporium for the last bits of jewellry I wanted and we left the Magic Kingdom for the last time :(

Eventually got home at about 12.30am and preceeded to try and finsih my packing. Yet another late night at gone 3am for bed!

And so.. to today, Friday. Got up, returned my costumes, tidyed, tried to squish more stuff into suitcase and then called for a taxi for 10.30am. Said goodbye to my housemates (actually meant my goodbyes to Selena, Sarah and Kelly.... but definately NOT to Stephanie who, I forgot to mention, actually refused to answer the door yesterday when I locked myself out...stupid cow.) and then struggled to the Clubhouse with 2 huge, heavy suitcases, a heavy backpack, a handbag and a hoodie. LOL. The taxi was there for me and took me to Downtown Disney where I again, struggled with my suitcases. One was alright, only 20kgs... the other one was 32.5kg!!! Unfortunately if it is over 32kg then it's too heavy for the plane. LOL. So I had to open up my suitcases again and rearrange! Took out my beloved WDW guidebook which was really big and heavy and a hoodie as well which I carried instead. So reweighed it and it was just over 30kg which is good although had to pay the $70 excess baggage fee. Meh.

Good to get rid of my suitcases but still have an uber heavy backpack and handbag LOL. I met up with the other girls who were on my flight and we had a bit of lunch at Planet Hollywood but nothing like what I had with Victoria (who, by the way, was getting a plane to San Francisco at 7am this morning so I said goodbye to last night... it wasn't sad tho because we're going to go and see Graham Norton in London at some point :P). We hung about for a bit then got a taxi to the aiport and now we're here at the end of our amazing adventures in the world of the Mouse.

I know this is a beast of a post but I wanted to reminise on some of the funny and stupid guest questions I've had... (bear in mind I worked in the biggest store in MK on Main Street...)

"Where are the rides?"

Guest: "Where is Main Street?"
Me: "Main St reaches all the way down to the train station..."
Guest: "So where is it?"
Me: "you're standing on it."

"Do you work here?" (bear in mind my 1906 costume, pins and NAMEBADGE)

"Are there any Disney stores round here?"

"Where's the Emporium?"

"Is this seperate stores all the way down?"

"Where is the park exit?"

"Do you sell anything that is not Disney?"

"Which way is the castle?"

Comment from a guest: "I would like to know where to make a suggestion to Disney."
Me: "Sir the best place for that is guest relations at city hall... is it anything I can help you with?"
Guest: "I have seen something dirty."
Me: *really worried it is some dodgy disney reference* "Erm.... yes?"
Guest: "The ceilings on the Winnie the Pooh ride were filthy." LOL.

Guest: "Do you sell christmas ornaments?"
Me: "Only a couple I'm afraid..."
Guest: "Well, why not??"
Me: "Because it's August.... oh, and there is a Christmas shop in Liberty Square."

Ahh... the list goes on and on... I hope everyone has enjoyed reading this blog and well done for getting to the end of this massive post! Please email me or comment if you have any questions or you are looking into doing the ICP and want advice!!

Lots of Love and Disney Magic!!

Catherine xx

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Bibbiti, bobbidi, boo!

This week has been crazy and will continue to be more crazy as it goes on. I am literally writing to say I promise to do a full blog post very soon and am in the middle of my attempt at packing which is failing quite well because I have faaar too much crap to fit in 2 suitcases and have bought too much stuff in Florida. I really hope I don't end up buying another bag and having to pay £75 for excess baggage but I do fear I will be giving Virgin Atlantic the £35 charge for a bag over 23kg!! Ahhhhhhhhh!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Cruella De Vil... if she doesn't scare you, nothing will...

Tropical Storm my arse!! Now I know Orlando didn't get the full impact of it because it kinda veered off course towards the east coast where it is now lingering but still! The rain and wind we got was seriously English... imagine a wet and windy winter's day in England and thats what we had except about 20 degrees warmer. Which is actually worse because if you put a coat on to be dry then you boil from the heat and if you take it off you get wet. And then go into air conditioning and freeze!! In this place you are either too hot or too cold!!

I got my schedule for my last week :( I am doing all stock shifts which is a bit crappy but at least it means I can work at my own pace :P Depending on which area I'm in of course. I still have 2 or 3 sales shifts til those stock ones though and now I have finally got my voice back after that cold I can actually talk to guests!!

Yesterday was my last day off... and as usual I didn't waste it! After realising that the park only had about 15,000 guests on Tuesday (normally its between 30 and 50!) and the queues had all been 10 minutes all day, I wanted to get in on some of this walk on ride business! So I went with Matt to MK bright and early on Wednesday so we could do the rides in Fantasyland because they get stupidly long queues... mainly coz its the only place with rides designed for lil kids. So we did Winnie The Pooh, Peter Pan, Dumbo and the Tea Cups plus the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway all in one hour!! Then the queue for Space Mountain was 20 minutes (turned out to be walk on... damn!) and I had to run so couldn't join him on that one. Went to the TTC and waiting bloody ages for the american coach to take me back to The Commons where I was meeting Victoria. It eventually arrived at 10.50am and I was somewhat damp by this time... luckily the air con was so brisk on the bus it dried out my trousers even though I was freezing!!

Got to The Commons and met Vic and we walked over to the premium outlets (5 minute walk) then had to find the LYNX bus... which we eventually did. Again, still pouring with rain but I was equipped with a poncho now so wasn't too bad. Took an hour to get to the Florida mall on the bus but it was worth it!! Did some proper clothes shopping :D Stayed there til about 6pm and got the bus back, arriving (eventually) at about 7.30pm to Vista. Got changed and went back out to get the F bus to CrossRoads where we went for a CURRY!!! Yeeaaahhhhhh!!!

I have missed curry! Americans just don't DO indian food. It was good to eat something that cost more than $10 and didn't come with a side portion of fries.

The weather has cleared a bit today and I have work at 5.30... only a 6 hour shift which is good and I don't have to close!! WOO.


Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Little April Showers...

Well, this is my fourth time in Florida during hurricane season and everytime we have escaped any sort of tropical weather.

Except this time! As Tropical Storm Fay is on the way! I am very excited although slightly disappointed it never developed into a hurricane and it's losing it's eye as it travels up Florida (for all those who aren't geography geeks...these kinds of storms feed off water and as its over land its losing power). However! It is gradually getting more windy here which is wierd because it's never windy in Florida... it is only drizzling at the moment, a bit Englishy in the weather actually. I start work at 4.15 and I think the worst of weather is due for late afternoon/evening so bring it on! LOL!

This is an image from this morning, when the storm was more formed complete with a clear eye... I am just near the top of the map where you can just about see it saying Kissimmee... (click the picture to make it bigger!)

Monday, 18 August 2008

Too annoyed to think of a lyrical blog title...

Well, I now have the tail end of this horrible cold. I ended up going to work til 2.15am (it was a good shift because I was in kids stockroom so didn't have to talk to many people therefore didn't lose my voice too much) but ended up calling in sick for last night because I was supposed to be working til 5.15am which is crazy. Bit disappointed that I can't say I worked til 5.15am which would have been fun but needed sleep more and thankfully I feel a little better today.

However. I have a MAJOR problem with my apartment buddies now.... the air conditioning. They keep either turning it off or turning it up to 90 degrees which means it doesn't come on til its 90 in the apartment (which it never is... thats like 33C) so therefore no cold air is going on. I went to turn it down to 70 last night which is what its supposed to be on (about 21C... still hotter than england) and got a mouthful of abuse from the flatmate who moved in 2 weeks ago and never even introduced herself to me. She is also from barbados and already knew the rest of my flatmates.... she said "You need to put it on a temperature that suits everybody" so why the hell has she been putting it on bloody 90 then?!?!! Anyway, I sit here in my polyester costume shirt and leggings actually sweating as if I am outside because I can't feel any cold air. We're in Florida for christs sake, and not everyone is from some carribean island and used to hot weather!!!

I am very much looking forward to not having to share a room anymore and getting some decent housemates.... and before that, being able to sleep in a cold room in England where it rains. Although I LOVE working for Disney and I really like my job and the friends I have made here... I am ready to come home now, to some cool weather, good food and all the people I love. It's weird to say I am coming home next week but it's true, it's going to be 1 week and 5 days til I am flying.....


Saturday, 16 August 2008

Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down...

I think working solidly and being equally busy on my days off is starting to take its toll because I am ill...again. I have a really tickly throat and a croaky voice although having eaten this morning it's a little better.. I worked til 4am last night and I have a 2.15am shift tonight. I don't want to phone in sick because I will get another point and if you get three points you have a reprimand (I already have one from phoning in sick a few weeks ago) so I might just apply for an ER for midnight so that I dont have to work til 2.15am.... doubt I will get it though, never do.

Also had a couple of idiot people that have been working on my shifts which pissed me off the last couple of days for different reasons plus being ill hasn't helped. Disney did something to annoy me this week too which was to not tell the guests that Spectromagic is not on for the next 2 weeks, therefore they keep expecting to see 2 parades in the evening but all there is is the short daytime parade (which I love anyway, but that's besides the point) at 7pm!! Oh well...