Tags: downtown disney

'Everything The Light Touches...'

It's been a while

Time for another Proper Update, seeing as my body refuses to let me sleep more than six or seven hours at the moment- never good when you're working every hour God (or scheduling...) sends you, especially when falling asleep on the job is a terminable offence.

Anyway, when I last left you it was a Tuesday... My last day off, on which I went to Wal*Mart with the flatmates. Then, as Emily was planning to leave at the weekend and it was the last evening we all had off, we headed to the Rainforest Café for some munch, this time making sure we got there early and still had to wait for a while. This involved being dragged into World of Disney, as is always the case when we go to Downtown Disney- I can never escape! People just don't seem to get that, while it's a good shop and all, and I don't mind my job, I really would rather not spend every waking moment there. But meh. Admittedly, it was amusing seeing Amy (D, not J, the one I work with) and Emily try on the princess dresses, and actually fit into some of them!

Annyway, Rainforest Café was nice, had nachos to start (biggest nacho portion I've ever seen, but soooo good- had chilli with them as well), and Tuscan chicken for my main which was gorgeous. Anyway, after dinner, Emily decided she had souvenirs to buy from, of course, World of Disney, which was too much for me, so Karen, Amy and I headed back home as the other two were knackered and I was experiencing WoD overload! We had planned to go and see the fireworks at Epcot, but by this point it was absolutely pelting down, thundering and lightening, so it was unlikely that the fireworks would go ahead, and even if they did it wouldn't be all that fun if we were worried about being struck. Not such an irrational fear, by the way, one of Karen's friend's workfriends (a lifeguard) was struck that night- only on the arm, so he was alright, but still...

So, that pretty much sums up Tuesday. Wednesday it was back to work, 12:30- 8, on stock in Carnival (the "plush" room) which was alright, as that room gets really, really messy from people picking up plushes, taking photos, then putting them back down anywhere. And apparently soft toys are a good place to hide things you don't want from other shops. So yeah, that went reasonably quickly. Don't remember doing much in the evening apart from chatting with the girls.

Which brings me to Thursday. More work, 11-6, which is an alright shift really. Also got lucky as the bus must've been late getting to DTD, so it was waiting there right as I got out of my shift, and so I managed to get home at around 6:15 instead of 7, which was nice. Anyway, got home and someone told me it was Laura's last night. I hadn't even found out until the day before that she was probably going home, so that was a bit of a shock. Apparently they'd said to her that if she was leaving, and didn't want to go back to work, then she had to leave within 24 hours, which sucked majorly. (Basically she was feeling really homesick, and was expected to work 50-60 hour weeks in a job she really hated, so she'd had enough and left). That was really sad, actually, as there was no time for people to swap shifts to see her off that evening, or to go out with her to say goodbye or anything, so we just had to make do with a load of us going down to the pool instead. Was so sad saying goodbye to her, can't believe she's at home now :( And also, so many people are leaving, you'd think Disney or Yummy Jobs would sort out the problems with hours, or at least sort out the presentation which stated that you will get two days off a week, like a weekend, and that you'll be working 35 hours a week with the option to pick up more hours if you so wish, yadda yadda. Surely that counts as false advertising- I know nobody who's lucky enough to only have 30 hours a week, although on the other hand it's only us WoD folks who got unlucky enough to be on 6 day-weeks. Or 15 in my case. More about that later...

But yes, Laura is the latest one to have gone back to England :( And much as I hate my hours, I'm so glad I like my job and the general life here enough not to want to go home. Well, you get random moments, but for the most part I love it.

But yes, on that note we come to Friday. This was the day of the glorious 12 hour shift. But in actual fact, as aforementioned, it was the best shift I've had since being here. I started off in East Reg, in Adventure, which is the pirate room basically, so the boys' version of princess room. Ended up working there with Jordan, Charlotte and Jay (my trainer), so that was fun and banterous for the most part. Got moved to GHN, which I hate at one point (there's one register per side, with no room to do anything really, and nothing's in the place you would normally find it at other registers. Not fun. Luckily, though, they broke me (ie sent me on break, not actually broke me in half...) about 10 minutes later, which was much appreciated!). After break CDS was being a pain, and kept spitting out stupid tasks such as tidy and fill the 'make a wand' section (already tidy), redistribute baskets, etc, etc. Although I did get to do my first 'Magical Moment', which was exciting. Basically, Magical Moments are either little traditions almost every shop, hotel or park will have to make a kid or family feel special. Also, in our shop every hour someone has to perform a 'magical moment' in the form of playing some sort of game with a couple of children or families. They're all pretty simple things, like noughts & crosses (sorry tic-tac-toe) using Disney characters to make the line, or help to find the magnetic Nemo, but kids love to do them, seeing as they're getting special attention from someone, and they get a certificate with stickers at the end, bless 'em. Anyway, the one I had to do (the room you're told to perform the Magical Moment in determines which game you have to do) was technically race Car plushes to a finish line, people being allowed to move their car forward one space if they won rock-paper-scissors (trust me to get the complicated one, as opposed to word scramble or something like that!), but seeing as we only had one type of Car Plush, which could get quite complicated when determining the winner, I changed it into 'I've got some lost people who need some help finding Mickey and Minnie, and whoever gets there first gets a special prize from Mickey', using Mickey and Minnie as the finish line (the animals were a bit stupid, seeing as their brains are full of fluff, so they needed some help to find them) and plushes such as Stitch, Eeyore, etc as the 'animals in need'. So yeah, that was a fun way to waste twenty minutes or so.

Oh, and after that they decided they didn't really have any till stuff for me to do, so from 9-11:30 they put me as the outside greeter. Which is ace as you get to go and put on as much glowing/flashing stuff as you want, pick up anything that lights up (in my case a wand and some rotating Mickey head thing), go outside and talk to people, or welcome them to the store. I basically got paid to talk and play with light-up toys. Ace. So yeah, that was definitely my favourite day at work so far, even if it was 11 1/2 hours! (I asked for ER so I could get the 23:50 bus instead of waiting forty minutes, which would get me home at one, and I'd have to get up at 7 the next day which would not have been appreciated!). Good times all round.

Even better, however, was Saturday. Was in for 9:30, which means I got to experience the store's morning 'Magical Moment' for the first time- I didn't even know it existed! Basically, they open up Princess room to the masses, but rope off all the others, with a ribbon tied across the entrance to Plush. From the crowd, they pick one kid to officially open the store and to cut the ribbon- how sweet is that! I had no idea what was going on at first- the morning meeting finished, and everyone seemed to be heading over to princess room, clapping and cheering, so I was just like... oooooook, how is anyone this cheerful at 9:30am... but then I finally cottoned on to what was going on, so was just like 'awwwww!'. And then went off to tidy the make-a-wand section, yet again. Or in reality, stood around and do nothing for half an hour. All good.

Even better however, was that they'd managed to completely overstaff themselves for the day. So at 2:30 there was a massive crowd of us who'd been told to 'go see manager' (ie CDS co-ordinator), and we were all asked if we wanted to go home. Um, yes please. I like my job, but not enough to refuse that! So off Charlotte and I trotted, three hours early. Brilliant! The rest of the afternoon wasn't quite so ace as we (Charlotte T, her room-mate Maebh and I) took a trip to Disney Uni, just to find that Vista Bank was closed, and that Cast Connection (cheap CM merchandise) was closing in ten minutes, so all in all that was a fun bus trip around Magic Kingdom. But better than being in work. We then went home, got ourselves tidied up, and then joined Heather and Rachel on a trip to what was initially going to be TGI Fridays, but turned into one to Rainforest Café. Oo, and this time they were nice and bumped us an hour up the queue for flashing or CM cards. Ace! Wandered around DTD for a bit, bought a huge Eeyore plush and a cartoon-style bag, both of which I've had my eye on for aaaaaages. I am totally in love with both of them! We then returned to the Rainforest and ended up getting sat pretty much right next to the gorillas, which was both annoying and exciting in equal measure, as they come to life every ten minutes or so!

Absolutely stuffed myself silly that night! We shared mozzarella sticks to start, then I had coconut shrimp with VEGETABLES (:O :O :O, even if they were still salady ones- still haven't had proper veggies in ages!) which was absolutely amazing. And of course we had to finish off with the VOLCANO! Which is lots of slabs of brownie, with ice cream and cream in the middle, with various sauces, such as fudge and chocolate, drizzled all over the side. Sooo good. We ordered two, not quite realising how big they were, so didn't quite manage to polish it all off, but I feel we did a damn good job all the same seeing as there were only five of us. It was a really, really nice evening as well- completely different group of people (well, not completely, but you know), really good chat, was just generally lovely :)

And then came Sunday, which was another ace day! Earlier in the week, Charlotte T had found out that Magic Kingdom were running their 'Keys to the Kingdom' tour- a backstage look at the Magic Kingdom, information about Walt's family, a look inside the utilidors, etc- for free, instead of the usual $30 for CMs (or $100 for mere mortals), so she booked it off and seeing as I wasn't working until 6:30 I went along with her. SOOOO glad I did- I was getting so bogged down with work that I had sort of forgotten about the Disney Magic. Going into a park again made me so excited, and the tour was really interesting as well. Absolutely loved it! Afterwards we had a few hours to spare before I needed to go to work, so we wondered around for a while, saw Mickey's Philharmagic, which is AMAZING, I love it, then queued up to meet Winnie the Pooh and Tigger (:D), before going to watch the parade, which is ace! Especially the talking bin they used for PACtivities (Parade Audience Control) before hand! It also finished literally JUST as the heavens decided to open- you could tell the floats had sped up super-fast to get out of the impending lightening/ rain! Managed to get on a monorail back to the TTC though, and the A bus back to Vista turned up pretty soon afterwards, luckily. Got back at half four, so I went back to the flat, did a quick change and got back on the bus at 5:15, ready for some fun-fun 18:30-2am shiftness. Woop. And I was so tired by this point, and so not up for working after having had a great day out. So when I saw my schedule for the next week I was not impressed- they expect me to work 15 days straight, with my only day off being the day I have to spend hours in social security. Um no. So Ron- one of the managers- saw me looking less than impressed (ie tearing up as a mixture of frustration and tiredness) and would not let me get away with saying that nothing was wrong. So I showed him my schedule, he balked at it, and immediately phoned Lenny- our area manager- to get him to sort it out. Which they have done... kinda... ie they gave me this Thursday off, which supposedly means I'd come in at 4:15 am on the Friday to continue the overnight shift. To me, that's pretty pointless as I reckon I'd just feel worse for sleeping a little before it, so I'm going to try and sort out all of that later today and try and get a proper day off for this week, or at least two next week (which I'm entitled to anyway), but at least I know they're willing to at least try to sort it out. So hopefully I can get this ridiculous 15-day-thing sorted! Especially as I was so tired when I started work yesterday that I was mucking up easy transactions, pressing the wrong buttons here there and everywhere, and obviously that's not good for the company as it's bad Guest Service. So there's my reasoning :P Other than that though, yesterday was a really good shift- 4-11, was working with Amy most of the day, was pretty busy for most of the night so it went by quickly, so in general a good evening.

Working 15:30- 2am today. Do NOT want to do it, but I'm sure it'll be fine once I'm there. 1-7 tomorrow, then going to MGM in the evening for a few rides and to see Fantasmic (can't believe I still haven't gotten around to that yet! So excited!). Then... on Thursday... WE'RE GOING TO THE BEACH! Basically, the idea came from two of our Scottish workmates, Jordan and Stewart (the latter's at St. Andrews, parentals!) had managed to hire a car for $30 for the day, with $12 for insurance, and so it was suggested that we follow behind them as Amy's 22 so can drive over here. So we're off to Cocoa Beach, and out of the Disney Bubble for the first time in three weeks! Cannot wait! Then I think the plan is to get home, get washed and then go and see Harry Potter! Woop! Readying myself for the book release the next day! Think I'm going to go to the cast event at Once Upon a Toy for the midnight release, bag myself a copy, sleep for a few hours then read it until work at 4:30. Then on Sunday I'm not in until 6:30 so I can finish it then while lying by the pool i feel. Can't believe it's the last one! I am such a geek...

Anyway, that's my next few days planned out. Now I feel I'd best tidy my half of the room and a bit of the kitchen as we have a flat inspection tomorrow and my clothes are pretty much everywhere! Then some sunbathing action before work I feel. I need a tan, dammit! (I am getting tan lines, to be fair, but you wouldn't know there was any change in colour unless you saw them, seeing as I'm so pale naturally! Bah)

Guess I should post next week's schedule for posterity:

Sunday: 18:30-00:30
Monday: 19:00- 02:00
Tuesday: 19:00- 02:00
Wednesday: 17:00- 02:00
Thursday: OFF (social security)
Friday: 18:00- 01:00
Saturday: 18:30- 02:00

Could be worse, I suppose, as I get the whole day free to go and do stuff/ sunbathe, and everyone I know well at WoD has a similar schedule, so we can all be social retards together in the evening. Will hopefully be able to get some park (or shopping) action in on some of the really late shifts also.

Right, so after that epic entry you are all up-to-date in the life of Amy and I shall now leave you in peace! Tarah!
Alice in Wonderland

The last few days...


I know you're all absolutely gagging for a proper update, Amy-essay-style, so I'm going to start from the very beginning (a very good place to start, I'll have you know) so you get a proper update about it all. Or as much as I can do in the time I have before I go to The Magic Kingdom. For free. How surreal is that sentence- oh, I'm just popping off to a theme park. Brilliant, but weird. I am so excited as well, it's been MUCH too long since I had some Disney fix. ANYWAY, update time...

Day 1: Up at 7ish, which could have been a lot worse (some people on the flight had been up at ridiculous times in the morning...), and after some last minute packing (which of course meant I forgot such vital essentials as my toothbrush and razor. And birth certificate, it later transpired. Not. Clever. Anyway...) we were off to Gatwick. The queue for check in was absolutely full of people with ICP luggage labels- like almost every other person! But of course, nobody was speaking to each other and everyone looked pretty nervous. This was the first time it really hit me that I was leaving home and started to feel a bit shaky at this point! But it was soon fine- just before I went through security, two of the people I'd spoken to a bit on Facebook- Charlotte I and Luke (musicians, Huddersfield, boyfriend and girlfriend) turned up, so I tagged along with them, did the usual scanner business, and we went up to the designated Sports Bar meeting point. I was tempted by having my last taste of alcohol at 11am, but the prices soon put me off. We're not in Studentland any more Toto. Anyway, everyone soon turned up- about 25-30 of us clogging up the area. Oh, and our flight was delayed 1 1/2 hours which was more than a little frustrating. But our boarding time rolled around soon enough and I took my seat beside Abbie (SUCH a girly girl, was brilliant... She even wore heels on the flight- so impressed), Charlotte T and Laura, and we were on our way to Orlaaaaaaando. I've never been quite so hyper waiting for a flight. Although the hyperness soon died- nothing like an eight hour flight to take it out of you. An eight hour flight with some brilliant turbulence. I should be more worried by being shaken about so much in a little box I'm sure, but I really do have a strange fondness for turbulence...

Annnyway, spent the flight watching the Pursuit of Happyness (I got past my dislike of the wrong spelling, it's actually quite a good film), reading Glamour, stealing Abbie's magazines and having random hyper periods. Oh and it turned out that the woman in front of us was the Mum of the guy (or one of the guys?) who rides a motorbike in the MGM stunt show, so she was telling us all about the wonderful Florida thunderstorms. You can't escape the rain. Ever... Bah.

So then we landed, went through the most rigorous procedure of landing I've ever experienced in my life. Also, nobody told us you have to go to a little separate room with J1 visas. We all got taken off one by one, thinking these security guards were going to do something Not Fun, then breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when we found everyone else waiting in there as well! Quite amusing to see everyone have exactly the same reaction.

And then they take your bags off you AGAIN after the first baggage carousel, which means two times waiting for your luggage. Seriously, it took us at least two hours to get out of the airport. And more if you factor in the time it took for us to find the Disney welcome desk- nobody in the airport seemed to know where it was. Not helpful when you have to pay for one of the trolleys and neither of your bags have pulley things. Mum, Dad, will you lend me money for new ones, my arms are STILL aching from dragging them around- I am NOT going through that again on the way back!

Anyway, at the welcome desk we got our welcome packs with our apartment numbers on them- luckily I was in Chatham (3408), with one other girl from the flight- another Amy (too many Amys!)- and everyone else is in the 30s nearby, which is pretty good. Right opposite the pavillion as well, which has been incredibly useful for spotting when buses come the last few days. Not so useful when we have to start using the proper buses but never mind.

So got the apartment at about 10 or 11, to find only one other girl in (my room-mate, Katie. She has a boyfriend doing the programme so we don't see an awful lot of her). I then pretty much went out straight away to Wal*Mart, which was NOT a good plan- we were so tired that nobody could be bothered to think straight, and after grabbing essentials (cereal, pillows) we collapsed into a cab back to Vista and into bed... Had a bit of a strange sleep (going to bed at 6am British time will do that to you) that night... and then it was time for Day 2

Day 2: Lots of form signing, met someone I'd been speaking to off the WDWIP forums- Rachel- and was queuing with Katie and Charlotte T's flatmate (who came to Wal*Mart the night before), Maibh (Maive. She's Irish if you didn't guess from the spelling of the name :P). After that Maibh, Rachel, Charlotte and I went to Bennigans for lunch- which has MASSIVE portions for ridiculously small prices. I could only eat about half, but considering I paid $5 for what I got, I wasn't too fussed! After that it was time to go over to the Commons for some talk by Price Management, and our new best friend, Gretchen, where they hammered the No Drinking rule into us a LOT. Oh and apparently we always smile. Always. Some of the staff at Vista Way clearly hide this fact well... And then at 3 that was us done for the day. Returned home, bummed around on Facebook, then went out with Karen and ANOTHER Charlotte (C)- my flatmates- and some other people to Bennigans. Again. Don't worry Mum, I didn't eat another full meal! But I can see all my money being spent on food! Ah well... Returned home after that, we all chatted for a while, Emily- the final flatmate of us six returned home (her parents and boyfriend are on holiday here for the first few weeks so she's been with them mostly), talked some more and then it was bedtime.

Day 3: The talk things I wrote about before in the morning. Came home, watched everyone else get their place of work and got very jealous when someone ended up doing Ops at Pirates of the Carribean! Best job ever! Anyway, 3 o'clock eventually rolled around and just as I was going in I saw Charlotte T come out. She's working the Bibbity Bobbity boutique in the Wide world of Disney shop in Downtown Disney- she gets to do Princess Makeovers on little kids! How IMMENSELY cool is that?!?! And her costume is ace- pink and frilly, brilliant! Anyway, she'd seen my name, and not being able to wait any longer I forced her to tell me my job role... and I am... working in THE BIGGEST DISNEY STORE IN THE WORLD in Downtown Disney- the same shop her boutique is based in, which is uber-cool! So it's not a park, but as someone pointed out, at least the whole magic isn't ruined by it being my place of work. And it's not a hotel, so super-WOO. But yes, apparently they employ 500 staff so it must be VERY busy and it's absolutely GINORMOUS. Seriously, you can buy ANYTHING in there so long as it's Disney themed. I know because we went to Downtown Disney last night to check it all out- my uniform is extremely sexy- high waisted beige trousers (I keep saying pants, the American-ness has got to me already. AGH!) and a red, blue and green striped shirt (I think that's the right colours). Sexy as. But still, pretty excited about that- Amy J (ANOTHER one, also on the London flight), Charlotte and I were all going round it just totally in awe (Amy's working with me, which is cool)- as was everyone really. I'm pretty excited about getting started now! First training shift there though... 3:30-midnight. Brilliant...

So after checking out WWOD we headed to Planet Hollywood for another person off the flight- Rosie's- birthday. By 'we' I mean, Charlotte T, me, Luke, Charlotte I, Laura (not who I sat next to, this could get confusing!), Amy, Kate and Rosie. All from the London flight and they're all absolutely lovely- it's a really nice group of people :) Which was aceness as they just place old school music the whole time. Although it did make us all want to go clubbing- not even drinking, just dancing! But yeah, that was cool and we bought Rosie the photopass (ie official) photo of us outside the restaurant for her birthday, which she seemed really chuffed about :) Anyway, after that we wondered round for a bit more before heading back at about 9:30 as most of us had to early morning Traditions...

Day 4: Yes, this did indeed include me. I have been up since 5:30. At the time Hannah was texting me having just opened her present I was awake, and there's a FIVE HOUR TIME DIFFERENCE. Ugh. Anyway, after stressing about whether we looked alright (you have to wear proper business attire to fit into the 'Disney Look', and they seem to be really strict- people were sent home because their hair was slightly too highlighted, even if with natural colours!) we got on the buses at 7 and off we went to Disney University.

Traditions is the class that (I think) every Cast Member has to take, and it basically goes over the past of the company, as well as not so interesting stuff like sexual harassment, safety, etc, etc. I was falling asleep in that middle section! But they show some uber-cute videos of people around the parks as well, which brightens it up. And Disney University is SO cool- it has stills from the movies EVERYWHERE, as well as stuff like a scene used to help animate Alice in Wonderland, models of Minnie and Mickey and everything like that. So that was exciting. What was more exciting was that we got our Disney IDs! Basically we can now get discount and play in the parks for free. So in fifty minutes I am off to Magic Kingdom with Charlotte I, Luke, Kate, Laura (Hollywood Laura), Rosie and Charlotte room-mate, and Charlotte T and Amy J are joining us later. And I have a day off tomorrow, along with a lot of other people, so I can explore one of the other parks that I've never been in before!! I WILL get over my vertigo/fear of lifts and get on Tower of Terror! Anyway, on that note I am going to get myself ready... Sorry for the poorly-written/abstract nature of this post (especially people wise!)- Internet not working in the apartment (even though it was yesterday afternoon, grr...), so I'm in the learning centre (free computers basically) and have limited time, so I've just been trying to get everything down for you! I've just realised there'd wireless down here though so I'll bring my laptop down next time and write a better update. Oh and these computers won't let you on Facebook either. I'm shaking from withdrawal symptoms!

They're playing Cinderella in here. How brilliant is that?

And on that note, I'm off to visit my good friend Mickey! SO EXCITING! Tarah!

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