Thursday= DAY OFF! Except of course it was the day that it decided to rain all day. Proper British rain too- cold and constant, rather than the hour of warm thunderstorms you usually get out here. So we (ie me, Heather, Charlotte T) thought better of our original plans to go to Mickey's retreat (a cast area with a beach/pool etc) and then Typhoon Lagoon (a water park, if you didn't guess from the name) and went to Epcot to meet characters instead. Also went on Mission: Space, which was not nearly as bad as I was expecting, but I'm still not a fan. I had to make myself breathe slowly at first because it was making me feel so claustrophobic and makes you feel really weird in the face and arms. Don't think I'll be doing it again. Also saw Turtle Talk with Crush, which was just ace (Crush- the turtle from Nemo for those fools who don't know) interacting with the audience- he's like an animation on screen, but all his movements matches what he says, and he can talk to everyone, etc. V. clever. Were going to do Test Track and Soarin', but Soarin'- unsuprisingly- had a massive wait time, and Charlotte wasn't a fan of the idea of doing Test Track in the rain so we decided we'd do them both another morning. Went back to Vista, got changed, then went to Downtown Disney in the evening to see Ratatouille which was suprisingly good. Some dodgy lines in there too- much more explcit than most Disney films! (You can get too acquainted with vegetables you know/ I only swallow what I love being too of the most shocking :P). Went for Ghiradellis afterwards (well, Heather and I were rubbish and just went for the milkshakes but oh well) before heading off home and to bed.
Friday: 10-4 shift. Not quite sure how I managed that one, but I do still prefer night shifts as that's when all the CPs/ICPs work, and a lot of the full timers are MEAN. Still, went quickly enough, even the two hours on the horrible credit-card only tablet registers in EDR, which are really hard to use because you need to press the buttons with a fiddly pen and they're really small. But meh. Still, got home by five, which is usually when I leave for work, so that was nice. And then of course was the arrival of the parentals. After they figured out how to use the Sat-Nav/ follow my directions that was. Went to Downtown Disney- where else- where we went to the Rainforest Café for dinner, and I introduced them to the delights of Goofy's Candy Co. and, my favourite, World of Disney. Apparently it's not that big. Whatever parentals. I then went back to their villa to stay the night with my OWN ROOM and a comfortable bed. And a tv! Aceness! And that was Friday.
Saturday was their first taste of Disney: Animal Kingdom. Got fastpasses for Everest, then went on Dinosaur and saw The Lion King before going on Everest. Which they loved so much we went straight back on again. Everest rocks so much. Especially at the back! Got some food then went on It's Tough to Be a Bug, before I had to leave for work at about 3. By this point they were all hot and tired anyway so we all left, Dad dropping me off at Downtown Disney (can't believe it's such a palava to get there if I need to use buses, when it's no more than a 10 minute drive from any of the parks. Grr. I want a car here!) before they went home and had Chinese Takeaway without me. Gits. Can't remember much of that shift. Was 4-11 so went by pretty quickly, and got picked up afterwards, which was even better. Not much to say about that day.
Sunday was my 1-11 shift, but before I departed for work I got them into MGM and had a bagel while listening to the High School Musical pep rally. Dad was nice and gave me another lift. And picked me up again after my 10 hour stint in the princess room. Seriously, they put me on 1-5 doing stock in zone 2, then I ended up doing registers in there for the rest of the evening. Was lovely and hot as well, as the sun comes through the windows and shines right on the registers I was on. Still, they all came to DTD in the evening to look around/ go to the stores on the West Side, etc, so at 11 I was treated with half a Ghiradelli's sundae (Hannah hadn't been able to resist the rest of it) and heard how they'd been on rock 'n' rollercoaster/ seen Beauty and the Beast without me before getting at lift back to theirs.
Monday: DAY OFF! Also the parentals 25th anniversary- awwness. They chose Magic Kingdom for the special day, which may have been a bad choice as it was PACKED. But it was still ace and we managed to do a fair amount also: Splash, Peter Pan, Buzz, Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor (like Turtle Talk, but funnier, and with Monster's Inc. characters. Funnily enough) and Pirate's- all the nostalgic and fun ones. Mum and Dad then left us to go and get ready for the meal we'd booked them at the California Grill in the Contemporary Resort (which looks HORRIFIC from the outside, but is so nice on the inside, and also very Star Wars-esque, in a pyramid style, with the monorails running through it...). Hannah and I stayed in the park and watched Dream Along With Mickey (so cute) before going to eat at a restaurant at the end of Main Street which was pretty alright for theme park food. We then did Thunder Mountain (which had been broken down when we tried to go on with parentals :() and It's A Small World (obligatory) before doing some shopping (well browsing in my case, but culminating in the purchasing of a Dumbo plsuh in Hannah's), then getting some Main Street ice cream and watching Spectromagic (the floats kept getting stuck because it was raining- not hard, but enough to make the ground slippery) and then Wishes. Which Hannah didn't believe could live up to how good I'd made it sound, and was proven wrong. Mwahaha. The parentals then text us telling us to join them for dessert, so we trapised up to the California Grill, looking oh-so-hot covered in sweat and dressed in theme-park clothing, in this posh restaurant. Still, it was worth it- the dessert was like the M&S advert. Better even. The chocolate properly oozed out of the cake when you just put your spoon into it. And the taste was pretty damn good either. Plus the view was amazing- you could see the whole Magic Kingdom and all it's lights from up there, I can imagine watching the fireworks was pretty spectacular, especially as they pump the music in as well. So I think we made a pretty good choice of reservation. And I think the parentals agreed, too!
Tuesday: Day of shopping at the Florida Mall/ Dad playing golf. Bought too much, as per, and my winter wardrobe still isn't complete. I don't even want to think about how I'm going to have to wear jeans and jumpers all the time when I go back home. I've been shivering when I've been indoors, in a/c, all week, and keep being reminded that I'm going to die when I get back home. I think I may shrivel up and die without my regular dose of sun. I am certainly not looking forward to turning my natural colour all over. Especially considering how shamefully white I am even with tan lines. Fake tanner here I come. Anyway. Work was 7-2 that night. Doing stock in the joyous Map Room. By joyous I mean hate. With a fiery passion. Magnets and keyrings are so not my thing and our go-backs would just not go down. Left the place in a bit of a tip but meh, if you are going to only have 3 people in there, none of whom are the room 'regulars' then you're going to have to live with a messy room. Was in a bad mood all night because I'd have rather been asleep in the villa. Got a taxi there so we could get up and out the next day, both of us not entirely sure where we were going (thank you mapquest directions), but got back safe and sound after hearing about how the taxi-man prefers living in Orlando to Sydney, Australia. I think he may have been mad. I could not live in Orlando, in fact as a city I really, really dislike it. You can't really walk anywhere, and all there is is restaurants, mini golf, outlet malls and theme parks. Which is perfect for a holiday but how people spend their lives here I don't understand. The summer is long enough for me. It's just... not nice. But different strokes for different folks and all that. And it does have it's up sides. Such as
UNIVERSAL. And Disney. But for the purpose of talking about Wednesday I'm using Universal. As this is where I went after taking a personal day at work. Sensitive time for the family, want to be with them as much as possible you see. Dad decided to splash out, and not only did he buy the two-park, one-day hopper, but he also paid the extra $30 for the express line pass and, damn, it was the best $30 (well, $120) he's ever spent I feel. That express line basically walks you onto all of the rides, so we did everything in Islands of Adventure by lunchtime (except Popeye, because we didn't feel like getting drenched quite yet, and Doomfall, because we're all chicken). I still love the Hulk and Spiderman and Duelling Dragons muchly. Disney really needs a park like IOA. Like proper rollercoasters. Rock 'n' Rollercoaster and Everest are ace, but that's two rides out of four theme parks that are really thrill rides (and Tower of Terror I suppose)... not quite the same as a whole park full of them!
We then headed over to Universal, where we did Shrek 4D (LOVED it), the new Mummy indoors rollercoaster (best. ride. ever. Oh my God, so good!), Earthquake, Jaws, and Men In Black. By this time it was only about 3:30, but we decided to have a late lunch. Unfortunately Margaritaville was closed for a massive party, so we went to the Hard Rock Café, which was num. Then walked around Citywalk for a bit before we felt our stomachs had gone down enough to go back on rides. It had clouded over at this point, though, so we thought Universal was our best bet and went to watch The Horror Make-Up Show (hilarious) and did the Mummy again (not quite so perfect when you know what's coming, but still brilliant) before heading over the Islands of Adventure (and literally JUST missing the rocket launch because Hannah had to buy Emily a birthday present. So unimpressed. We did see the trail though...) and re-doing the Hulk, as they had forgotten to cross it off our tickets the first time. And because Mum and Dad weren't big on the idea of going on again (backs hurt, apparently) Hannah and I got to do it twice in a row. Damn those express passes rock hard. We were all absolutely knackered by this point, especailly me having been functioning on 5 hours of sleep. Not recommended when you're walking lots in a day! Still, had an absolutely ace day. Definitely prefer Universal for a fun day out to Disney, even if it doesn't quite have the same old magic. I'd still go to Disney just to wonder around over Universal any day though.
Was going to go to Buffalo Wild Wings that night, but fell asleep on the couch after watching America's Next Top Model and some random Who-Wants-To-Be-A-Millionaire-style show, except it's karaoke and you have to sing the blanks in the lyrics to win cash. Americans can be so over-enthusiastic. Didn't stop me falling asleep to their programmes though! Anyway, that put a dampner on that plan and I was in bed by about 11.
Thursday: Actual day off, and the family's last day in Orlando. They wanted to go back to Animal Kingdom to do the safari which we hadn't had a chance to do the other day, so off we went, getting fastpasses for Everest along the way. Well, not really along the way as it's on the other side of the park but oh well. Safari was ace- got to see some baby elephants playing in the watering hole, which was super cute. After that I FINALLY got to meet Eeyore at the character landing, and then we got some PROPER frozen lemonade (none of the Minute Maid sorbet crap) before heading on over to Everest, which was brilliant as always. By this point we were dying of heat, and we needed to go home so packing could be done anyway. I relaxed in the pool with my book instead- mwahah. After this was all done we got re-dressed and headed out to Downtown Disney where we ate in House of Blues (SOOOOOO good. Had the best pasta EVER), then went to World of Disney to do the last bit of Disney shopping (a princess dress and some birthday bits for cousin Sarah (Mum wouldn't buy the Alice dress as apparently it's too boring for a 3-year-old, and she has Belle and Snow White, so we went for Ariel's wedding dress instead. Well, at least it matches her hair), a scrapbook for me so I don't have to fit it into my suitcase on the way home, Hannah bought some birthday presents, and Dad got a grumpy breaking his golf club cap and some Pirates of the Carribean playing cards to fit in). We then went to Cirque Du Soleil, which was mine and Hannah's anniversary present to Mum and Dad, which everyone seemed to like. It was soooo good too, I can't get over how these people can do those tricks and things. And how people can walk the tightrope without falling off because they're shaking too much from nerves! Crazy stuff! Was a pretty perfect end to seeing the parents too. Went back to theirs for one last night in the villa before they dropped me back here bright and early this morning. Only three weeks 'til I join them back in Sunny (haha) England now. I can't decide whether I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again, or whether I'll be sad to leave here more. But seeing as I've done most things I want to now (or at least have them planned for the next week- going to Seaworld with Charlotte T on Wednesday, and going to have breakfast with the princesses next Saturday in Norway. Yay!) I think I'll be ready to leave by then. Besides, now all the CPs we were working with have left, as have the Mexicans, I think, the French go next week and the Canadians the week after, so it'll just be us Brits left at work (and possibly the French who arrived later, but I'm not sure) so it's not going to feel the same anyway by then. Plus I'm starting to miss not feeling lazy if I don't make the most of my day, and being able to go to a bar for a quick drink (or two, or more...), and catching up with the friends, etc etc. I've started mentally planning my room next year at Cardiff which I think says that I'm just about ready to begin the last phase of the programme and then get on home. Just got to make sure I make the most of the next three weeks, really!
And now I should go and unpack all my clean clothes and maybe go to the pool to start work on the tan that WILL get browner in the next three weeks, dammit.