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...


Thursday, 14 August 2008

Four Parks, One World..... One Day!

What a day!

As we only have limited time left here in Orlando, I have made a list of things I want to do so that I am not on the plane home thinking "Oh, I wish I had done this and that". One of the big ones was doing all four major Disney parks in one day :D And today, me and Victoria managed it, quite easily actually!!

We started bright and early by getting the 8.04am bus to the Animal Kingdom. We got there and sneakily got let in 10 minutes early because we went a way where no-one else was waiting to get in! (No 1 fortunate incident) So that gave us enough time to get to Everest ahead of the crowds, it said 25 minutes queue but even on stand-by we were in and out of it in about 15! Then we went straight over to Dinosaur and did that. By now we were a bit hungry so we went and had breakfast! Then at about 10am we headed out of the first park! Wooo!

We got on the guest bus to Hollywood Studios and got in there at about 10.30am. It was reasonably busy so we got fastpasses for Tower of Terror and then headed over to the Great Movie Ride. When we came out of that the High School Musical 2 Pep Rally (mini parade/show - 2nd fortunate incident) was in full flow so we did a bit of watching that, then went and got churros (which happened to have literally just been cooked and were nice and hot! 3rd fortunate incident!) (Coz you can't go to 'MGM' without churros!) By then it was time to head over to Tower so we went and did that :D We managed to jump the last few people at the front of the queue because there was the fantastic call for "Party of 2??" WOO (4th fortunate incident....). AND we were in the front row! Woop! After Tower we decided to give the Rock n Roller Coaster a go on single riders... we queued for about 35 minutes which wasn't too bad when it was getting so busy there! So after that we headed to the boats to Epcot!

We arrived in Epcot at about 1.30pm and we walked over to China to get the classic Orange Chicken and Rice... yummy! We lounged around a bit there because we were both getting a little tired! Then we went over and did Spaceship Earth and then Journey into Imagination (via the little coca-cola place where you can try different global types of soda.... thanks again Vic for the Italian one which was truely viiiile.). We didn't do the BIG rides at Epcot because a) they were in a different bit of the park to where we were and b)the queues were far too long!

So then we went and got the monorail over to my favourite park, the Magic Kingdom. And we got to sit in the front with the driver!!! Was very fun! Once we arrived, we mooched around a little bit in Main St, got an ice cream and then headed over to Tomorrowland to go on Blue Train! (Actual title is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority!) Then we decided to get fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear's SpaceRanger Spin (and in the process got 'surprise fastpasses' for....get this.... CAROSEL OF PROGRESS! Personally think this is a con to make people go on the ride. LOL.) so we went to the aforementioned Carosel of Progress although didnt use the fastpasses because a) there was simply no need and b) it was hilarious to keep them because it's truely rediculous to give fastpasses for this ride! Hahaa!! Once we were in the right time, we went on Buzz Lightyear and then we went over to Liberty Square and did Hall of Presidents (never have I ever been on such a boring, American ride.... interesting if you like american history and that's it. Don't think it was aimed at British people. LOL.) Then we went on the Haunted Mansion (whoop!) and decided it was time to head over to the Polynesian. Yes... the Polynesian resort.

Why? For Wishes!! We skipped the parade and got the boat over to the resort which I liked (Victoria wasn't such a fan... spiders, lightening and the fact she doesn't like boats. haha).. we had a walk around the hotel (it's Looooovely! I think I actually prefer it to the Grand Floridian!) and I bought some flip-flops Mum will be jealous of. Haha. Then we went out onto the Disney/Man-Made beach they have and even managed to get sun loungers to sit on. (5th fortunate incident!!)The weather was perfect (it had been all day) because it was cloudy and windy! Yes, windy... in Florida! It was fantastic... you will only understand how amazing wind in Florida is if you have stood in queues in 30C+ and 100% humidity! But then we watched Wishes from there because you can see the castle! It was an experience... really nice!!

So then we got back on the monorail to the TTC. And as we walked to the bus stop, it started to spit with rain... uh-oh.... but only once we had finished our day! (6th fortunate incident!) so I decided to put my poncho on just in case... well... 5 minutes later the HEAVENS OPENED. And I mean it POURED with rain... in proper monsoon style! Vic got absolutely soaked and I was pretty wet too!! Even with my poncho on! But it definately finished the day in style, especially when a nice bus driver (yes, they exist) took pity on us all soaked there and took us back to Vista in a minibus he needed to return there anyway (7th very fortunate incident!) meaning we didn't have to wait for the A bus which would have taken about 45 minutes to get there... which meant I got back at about 11.25pm.... so a full 15 hours and 15 minutes of Disney magic today!!!

Really good day and if you look at all the fortunate coincidences we had.. it seems we were a bit blessed! haha!

Absolutely shattered now, hense the lack of grammar and probably full of speeeeling mistakes but never mind!!


Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Come and share the excitement and magic, of Disney's Dreams Come True...

Woooo I get to see the full length day parade today for the last time... it's my last day shift whilst the parade is doing it's full trip from Frontierland to Main St. After Thursday it will only be going up and down Main St as I wrote in my last post!

The other day I was supposed to have a day shift where I could see it but they sent me on break at 3.14pm! How unfair! I could actually hear the parade starting to come down main street but they forced me on my break, they wouldn't even let me delay by 15 minutes. Thats the kind of situation when I wish there were more nice co-ordinators like Connie... unfortunately she wasn't in that day and so I lost my battle and had to go on my break. Meh. THEN, they sent me on my last break (which is only 15 mins) at 9.59pm... so right before wishes... this actually had advantages tho becausse 15 mins is not long enough to go all the way to the break room and back so I just sat in the parking lot at the back of the Emporium and watched Wishes from backstage! Only bad thing is that you can't really hear the music from there :(

I have realised how few days off I have left before leaving Florida and I have so many things I want to do!! I think I will have about 5 more days off before I leave and I have just realised I think they might take our disney IDs off us the day before we leave which means we wont be able to go into the parks on our last night :S I will go find out what we can and can't do... I wanted to see wishes that night!!

Had a day off yesterday and not being one to waste a day off (even if I didn't get to bed til 5.15am the night before) I went to downtown disney with Charlotte, Matt and Emma (from work) to see Mamma Mia again but we got the times wrong and ended up seeing Wall-e again (which is a great film anyway!). Then we missed the bus (through NO fault of our own) back to Vista and because they had to get to work we decided to go straight to the magic kingdom. So we got the resort guest bus to the Grand Floridian (got to have a poke around there, took some photos.... very posh) and then the monorail over to MK. They got off at the park and I stayed on, hopped off at the Contemporary (took some more pics) and then got back on to the TTC where I got the A bus back to Vista! Stayed at home for about an hour, then got the C bus to Epcot where I went to see Illuminations (got an amazing spot to stand and met a really nice English family who I chatted to all about being a cast member and they let me stand with them so I got some great photos) then I legged it to the monorail and went over to the Magic Kingdom to see Wishes! LOL. Was great... missed the A bus back at 10.30 by like 1 minute so had to wait for the next one therefore not getting home til about 11.40pm which was a bit lame but brilliant day even if I had to do some of it alone as to lack of people having the same nights off as me!

I have to rush off to work now (1.30pm til 11.30pm... wooooo)!!


Tuesday, 5 August 2008

It's a small world...

I can't believe that I have been working in the busiest store in the Magic Kingdom for 6 weeks and I haven't run into anyone I know or anyone from my area of Bristol! The nearest I managed was a 15 yr old boy who went to QEH and then a couple of days ago I met an American who knew people who lived in Bradley Stoke of all places! LOL!

Americans always seem to presume because you're from England you will know their mate who lives in Newcastle or Liverpool! I have got used to telling people that Bristol is near London now because in American terms it is! 2.5 hours is practically next door if you compare it to America!

Had another amusing guest yesterday who came up to me and said in a really serious voice "I don't know if you can help me... I'm looking for something with Mickey Mouse on it?" I took him as a serious question for a good minute before I realised he was winding me up! LOL. Then he said he had a serious question, he was looking for a hat he had seen in the video Disney sent him when he was planning his vacation "1001 ways to spend money at Disney". Having seen this video I found that very amusing! LOL!!

I also worked out today that I have seen the Spectromagic parade approximately 42 times this summer! LOL. Its only on for another 2 weeks and then they are taking it off temporarily because they are doing maintenance on the bridge to Frontierland (in the middle of August, are they crazy?!) so instead the afternoon parade will be on at 3pm and 7pm but it's only going up Main St and then around the circle by the castle and then back down Main St. It will be different thats for sure!


Monday, 4 August 2008

I'm walking right down the middle of Main Street USA...

So my shift today started at 3.30pm (when it was still daylight, shock horror!) but I thought it started at 3.15! So there I was, ready to clock in at 3pm and then it wouldn't let me... so after hanging around for 15 minutes I clocked in, grabbed a Mickey glove and headed for the nearest door onto Main St.


3 O'Clock Parade!!! The one I never get to see because I'm not there in the daytime! So, even though I wasn't being paid to do it, I danced, sang and waved my way through the parade! It was blooming hot out there today as well! At 3.30pm when it finished, I headed back into the air conditioning and one of my managers said "Oh I saw you out there, you were doing a great job!" and I said "It was fun! But I better go get my assignment now and do some proper work! I mean, I already clocked in but I don't actually start til 3.30!" and she went "No way! Wow!"

....and then came and found me 15 minutes later to give me another Guest Service Fanatic card :D Well deserved I think as I stayed in the character and played the part plus gave off a very postitive image and energy in boiling heat for NO money!! :D Gotta love Disney!

With that plus a guest who decided to post-sale ship EVERYTHING she had bought throughout the day to the front of the park (took a total of 40 minutes and lots of forms) I got quite exhausted during my short and sweet 6 hour shift. Managed to leave 10 minutes before Wishes so got to see that as a guest as well :D


Saturday, 2 August 2008

We're all in this together...

It's weird because I didn't think I would miss everyone as much as I have during the program. I'm in my Sixth week now so I'm over half way through and I only have 28 days left before I'm flying back to the UK... I can't wait to get home and see everybody again, have my home comforts but I will really miss my job and working for Disney. I don't know if I will really miss Vista Way and the living situation that much (I want my own bedroom back!) but definately the people at work and the Emporium. Even when I'm at uni, I don't go more than about 4 or 5 weeks without seeing someone in my family or taking a trip home to Bristol... and with the added factor that I am 5000 miles away and it's impossible to pop back to Brizzle for a few days it makes the missing home thing worse! Having said that, I am still having a great time here on the whole!!

Mostly over the last week I have just been working a lot and sleeping...been to a few parks as well tho! On Tuesday 29th, we went to the Florida Mall which was great!! Apart from HSBC being lame and deciding to block my card after I tried and failed to use it in an ATM three times.... Luckily I have a credit card! Whoop! So I bought a few things for people in my family but also some new Sketchers which I really needed... were $55 but I got 20% cast member discount! Wooo! So they ended up being like $44... which is cheaper than at home! I also bought a skirt, a top and some jeans... all for $60! Once we got back to Vista, we decided to meet up again later and go to the Magic Kingdom for the evening... so we went at about 8pm and did a couple of rides, nothing particuarly amazing tho! We saw Wishes from Fantasyland which was a really strange experience! To explain: Usually I watch the fireworks from in front of the castle because you get the correct perspective and it looks very pretty. Fantasyland is behind the castle and watching it from there is like watching a tennis match with fireworks going off all around you!! I definately prefer it from the front of the castle!!

Wednesday was my second day off so me and Victoria made an early start and went to Animal Kingdom. Managed to get Everest, Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl, The dumbo-style dinosaur ride and the Nemo Musical done before leaving at about 1pm! Then we went to Hollywood Studios in the evening but it was a bit of a mistake because it was EMH that night for resort guests so it was reeeeeally busy. We ended up coming back at about 10pm!

Thursday I went back to work and had a good shift from 12 til 1845 which was great because I got to see the afternoon parade!! Had a bit of an incident 30 minutes before the end of my shift though....

Firstly need to tell you that we have four Disney Basics... they are 1) Stay in Character and play the part..2) Respect and involve all guests including children... 3) Project a positive image and energy...4) Go above and beyond.

So... there were a group of kids who all belonged to a camp and they were wearing these yellow t-shirts with their logo on them. Anyway I was chatting with one of the young girls (she was about 11) at the register and she told me that they were only at disney for one day and they would be leaving in a couple of hours :( As I was serving the next guest I realised she had left her cell phone on the counter of my register! So I thought they can't have gone far because they were only there 2 minutes before.. I did a quick trip up and down the Emporium and then up and down the other side of main street... I even went all the way to the tip board (which is as far as I can go in my costume... its part of preserving the staying in character part!) but I couldn't find them. Admitting defeat I went to lost and found at City Hall... after recieving my receipt for handing it in I decided to have one last look in Main St before going back to my register...and lo and behold I see some more kids in the yellow shirts!! Woo! So I went over and explained that someone in their group left a phone in the emporium and the leaders of the group need to go and retrieve it because she probably hasn't realised that she left it anywhere. I went back to the store with a sense of accomplishment and told my co-ordinator who told me to go and tell a manager the story because it was 'going above and beyond' and I also needed to give them the reciept. So I basically told the wrong manager because all he did after I explained the whole thing was "So the girl found her cell phone...?"

I was so annoyed! They go on about these basics and then he didn't even say well done for me. So I moped about for the rest of my shift and when I was waiting to clock out another manager said to me "Are you ok?" so I said "No, I'm annoyed!" and explained the whole thing... well, the upshot is that he said Well Done and gave me a Guest Service Fanatic card for going above and beyond (rather like getting a gold star!). So all ends well.

Victoria met me after work and we went into the magic kingdom (because I finished at 7pm! wooo!) and it was really great... we did loads of rides including splash mountain in our very own log! For some reason nobody else was in the boat with us so we got the photo!! We saw wishes from the proper place and even a bit of Spectromagic (as if seeing it twice a night every night wasn't enough! :P)

Since then I haven't really done a lot except visit the bank and work! Although yesterday we had another interesting story...

I've had to deal with three lost children in the last week. It's a common occurance in the Emporium because it's such a big store and gets so busy.

Story 1: Little boy comes up to me when it was really busy as if he was in the queue for my register and goes "I've lost my parents." So... I took him by the hand and he starts to sniff and cry :( We walk up and down the Emporium and just as I told him we'd go to City Hall and see if his parents were there, a guest relations woman came up to me and practically grabbed him off me. She went "Your parents are on the other side of main street." She didn't even ask him name!!! So I got left there... just like.. what the hell happened?! She whisked him away without a word of thanks to me. Meh.

Story 2: A little girl comes up to me again when it was very busy and asks if she can use my phone. I explained that the till phones aren't connected to an outside line and whether she had lost someone to which she said "Yes, my mom..." So again we went on a walk of the Emporium and didn't find them. When we got back down to Souvenirs she suddenly went "oh this is my dad...." and he spoke to her in perfectly boring, calm Spanish... as if he hadn't even noticed she had gone!! :O

Story 3: (From last night) It's 3am and the store is about to shut for the stupidly late EMH. A woman comes up to me and goes "I'm sorry but I have lost my daughter. I've been looking for 20 minutes and I can't find her." Perfectly calm. Worryingly so actually! So I was like.... ok.... "Have you looked around the store?" to which she said she had been walking up and down. So, I said we'd go and check City Hall. Nothing there. Got told to go to Baby Care, so we walked up to Baby Care... it was locked. Obviously she wasn't there. I said we'd go back into the Emporium and locate a manager to see if they knew anything... well, they had locked all the doors to stop more guests coming in!! So eventually found a door with custodians who could let me in! I asked the nearest co-ordinator who said that yes, there was a lost girl in Zone 80......this little 4 year old was curled up with a minnie mouse plushie on the cushioned bench we use for people trying on the croc shoes... fast asleep!! She had been there the whole time! So all good - mother reunited with child and it was time for my bump out :D