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Showing posts from July, 2013

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 57 - The Philhar crew is back - 29th July 2013

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After the fun we all had together at EPCOT last week today it was time for the Philharmagic crew to spend more time together. Cheryl and Marie-Pier from Pan/Small World were there too before I make it sound too exclusive. We all went for lunch at Golden Corral which cost me a total of about $10 for a buffet of food and unlimited soft drinks. There was everything from pasta and tuna to chips, chicken and roast beef. It was incredible and the dessert selection was even better. I ended up having 4 or 5 plates of food - I definitely need to go back! Just some of the Golden Corral dessert buffet With two cars we all drove over to Magic Kingdom but before going in we had a quick visit to Company D - the Cast Member exclusive shop. There I bought a Cast Member decal, a Cast Member pin and a Seaworld ticket - I ended up spending about $95 total but that did include a $87 Seaworld one-day pass. In the park it was time to take advantage of one of the unofficial perks of working on a

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 56 - The final stretch... - 28th July 2013

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Today was my day of realisation that this whole is experience will very soon be coming to an end as I got my work schedule for my final work week today. To give you an idea of how action packed my next few weeks are I'm going to give you a run down. Bear in mind that today is day 5 of 9 of work in a row as well. This will also give you a sneak preview at some of the post topics that will be coming over the next few days and weeks. Mon 29th July - Buffet lunch with fantasyland crew, then Magic Kingdom then work from 17:15-23:45 Tues 30th July - SeaWorld in the morning hopefully! Then work 17:30-23:45 Wed 31st July - Disney Graduation ceremony! Then Work 16:30-23:30 Thurs 1st Aug - 11:00 to 23:45 shift. Trying to give this away as my family arrive in the evening Fri 2nd Aug - Day Off - Spent with family in Magic Kingdom Sat 3rd Aug - Day Off - Spent with family in EPCOT Sun 4th Aug - Morning at Hollywood Studios with family. Work 16:00 - 02:45 Mon 5th Aug - Work 11:00 to 2

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 55 - We're 101! - 27th July 2013

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Today I got up early to visit Silvia who has been working here since last year and whom I met at work in London. We went to Starbucks as we did last time and had breakfast, it was nice to actually have breakfast for once as my schedule doesn't usually fit it in. Then we went to Publix and finally I went to the gym. After the gym I thought I'd take the golden opportunity to soak up some sun as I very rarely have the time. It was beaming outside when I was in the gym, I got changed went back out and clouds had come over. Undeterred I lay down ready to soak up some rays. 5 minutes later I was stuck in the middle of a thunderstorm. Not fun. I wasn't yet hungry so I decided to visit another resort to check that off my list and today it was time to visit the Wilderness Lodge. This was a bit of a surprise to me as I didn't expect it to be anything like it was - the lobby was stunning and the pool and outdoor areas were incredible! Wilderness Lodge was stunning! Ignore

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 52 to 54 - 3 days of work - 24th-26th July 2013

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Just finished three days of work so this is more a series of anecdotes than anything else.

 24th July 2013 I went to Premium Outlets this morning to buy some new shorts. I left with nothing as most of the ones I saw looked horrible. The food at the Mouseketeeria wasn't too bad and I had some pasta and meatballs today, which was a welcome change from the usual burger or subway selection. The other day I even had a prawn salad. It's annoying that these options are only available for lunch though and by dinner we are only left with unhealthy choices.
 I got asked by the head of Fantasyland if I wanted to stay seasonal which no-one else I know has been asked to do. He said my record was excellent which was nice to hear. I had to politely refuse the offer as I wouldn't be able to do 150 hours a year as I'd have to pay for a visa, for flights, accommodation, etc. but it was really nice to be offered something that no-one else had been. Yes, I basically turned down a job

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 51 - My last day off...(kind of) - 23rd July 2013

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So today was my last day off before my parents arrive. When they are here I'll pretty much be spending all my time with them and I've even scheduled what I'm doing on each day, so it was the last real free day out. It was also a chance to have a day off with my uni mate, Joe and my roommate Dan. Where's the perfect place to go? Universal of course. We all got the i-ride trolley instead of a cab because it's so cheap. Just 25 cents for cast members ($1.50 for the public) versus $8 each for a cab. It does take about an hour total instead of 20 minutes, but we left early. I thought we were getting there for park opening at 9am but it turned out the park was open for 8am which was a bit disappointing. On the i-ride Trolley We rode Hulk to begin the day at Islands of Adventure - it was a 35 minute wait and the single rider line was closed which was annoying. Then it was Spider-Man which I still love - it was a walk-on as we single-ridered it instead of waiting a

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 50 - Team Philhar! - 22nd July 2013

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Today was the day that team Philhar took EPCOT by storm. Most of the CPs and ICPs met up nice and early for the 8:30am C bus after only 2 hours sleep. I was first at the bus stop and was surprised to see no-one there, soon Oriol joined, followed by Argentina and Ana Victoria. We all wore sunglasses to mask how tired we are which made us laugh. The bus ended up getting to Chatham late, but we got to EPCOT early at just after 9am. We had others joining us later so we went to Soarin' first and got Soarin' FASTPASSes for later. The plan was that those that didn't have any later on would say that they had lost theirs. Soarin' was better this second time round than the first time I rode it as we got the middle seats on the first (top) row which made the experience more exciting. 
 The girls didn't want to go on Mission: SPACE so I and Oriol went on it. The queue for the green version was only 10 minutes as apposed to 50 minutes for the more intense orange version.

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 49 - Work hard, play hard - 21st July 2013

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The morning started off with a visit to the Patterson gym where I encountered a big black snake both ways to and from Patterson which was unnerving. After a shower, I visited Mickey's Retreat which is a private area reserved only for Cast Members and their guests - it has barbecue areas, volleyball courts, a swimming pool and boat rentals. Along with me was Argentina and Marly, both from Philharmagic. We rented a paddle boat and moved around the lake in the scorching sun for about an hour to relax before work, we also played a few games of swing-ball which is different to in the UK. Back home you have a tennis-ball attached to string, here you have a huge football. Admittedly I wasn't great at this. Marly however was a pro. Mickey's Retreat as seen from across the lake on our paddle boat. Work was uneventful apart from one of the stories from Peter Pan-side. I will warn you now, if you have a weak disposition please skip to the next paragraph. A guest - a grown wom

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 48 - More resort hopping - 20th July 2013

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Today was a bit of a wasted day to be honest, but it was nice to get a bit of rest in my busy Disney life. After a lie-in I and Dan went to Publix to buy food which is cheaper than always eating out. I did however buy one of their subway-style sandwiches which are great and I thoroughly recommend. They taste much fresher than Subway's. I then skyped my parents which was mostly fine though the Internet connection is shocking at Chatham so the picture quality wasn't the best. In an effort to do something and with no one I knew off, I went to tick a couple more resorts off my list. Remember, one of my goals is to visit every resort hotel whilst I'm here. In many ways its just as fun as going to the parks and you really do get transported to another world at each resort. I missed the Carribbean beach bus by only a couple of minutes so sat waiting for the next one for half an hour. Half an hour after that I was at the Caribbean beach. It was raining fairly heavily when I

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 47 - I'm a Guest Service Fanatic! - 19th July 2013

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I had a few hours free before work today so what better to do than a quick visit to Epcot? As predicted, Soarin' was almost a 2 hour wait with fastpasses having run out, so it was Mission:Space orange first. It's so intense but so much fun! Then it was lunch at the sunshine seasons cafe where I had my favourite quick service meal at Walt Disney World - chicken, rice and black beans. It's so good! I then called my parents for a bit as I hadn't talked to them in over a week and then rode Test Track with my friend Argentina. She called it track talk which made me laugh. This time we got to design our own car in the single rider queue which was awesome. The 30 minute queue wait time seemed about right. Then it was time to fit in one quick ride on Spaceship Earth. We met Ana Victoria for the monorail, got it to the TTC and then got the express monorail to the magic kingdom. We entered the park, went into the tunnels, got changed and worked from 17:15 until close at

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 46 - Making magic! - 18th July 2013

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Once again I ventured to the Magic Kingdom before work to continue ticking a few more rides off that I hadn't done. Lunch was a prawn salad at the mouseketeeria which was surprisingly nice and a change from all the junk they usually have on offer. I walked over to Liberty Square and ended up walking into the lobby of the Hall of Presidents through backstage. It was good timing because I asked the Cast Member and it was just 3 minutes until the next show. The Hall of Presidents The show was interesting, emotional and it was really cool to see the technology used in the life-like animatronics. I recommend a visit. I had 45 minutes left until I had to leave for work so I decided it was time to go on Pirates of the Caribbean as I hadn't done it since training. It is such a good ride in Disneyland Paris but here it just falls flat with one tiny drop and an incoherent storyline. It really isn't great but I was happy to queue for 25 minutes as the line never stopped movi

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 45 - A mixed day at work - 17th July 2013

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My original shift today was set to be from 16:15 to 23:45. Park hours were extended to midnight, so my shift was changed to finish at 00:45. I was just under the threshold for overtime which was annoying. I was put on the carrousel straight away and had an extremely rude guest that said I was unable to communicate and explain things properly as I needed his child to be out of the carrier he was in and facing forward on a horse. The whole ordeal lasted a good 5 minutes and he said I was being rude to him, but it was eventually resolved. On the other hand I also got called a "very kind Sir" by a lady who's personal stroller was stolen. I searched for her stroller with her, called for security and found her a Disney stroller as a replacement for the day. She was genuinely thankful for me getting it. It was a huge task to get because there were no strollers left at the location they usually are at, so I had to use the tunnels/utilidoors and walk all the way over to under

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 44 - A bit more training... - 16th July 2013

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Today I had been scheduled for something that to me seemed a bit random: a class. This is a class about the 4 keys basics which we were taught about in Traditions and it was scheduled to be for 3.5 hours. Along I went to the class beginning at 12:45pm expecting to be bored to death but I was actually pleasantly surprised. Our facilitator Sharon was full of enthusiasm and genuinely made us feel proud for working for Disney at the Magic Kingdom.
 Image: Witi.com A quick Google search will reveal that for all Disney Cast Members we focus on 4 things: Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency. In that specific order with Safety being the most important. We would never compromise safety for any of the other keys. Over the next few hours we acted, role played, completed activities and talked about the 4 keys in more detail with a huge focus of course on safety. It was actually really enjoyable and I was paid to sit for 3 and a half hours. We only got a 15 minute break though and by 16:0

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 43 - Return to Animal Kingdom...(and work) - 15th July 2013

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In an effort to make the most of the next three and a half weeks I have left here, I have started to make the most of the time I have free before work, as well as my days off. I and Courtney arrived at Animal Kingdom at 11:15am and noticed that it was very, very busy. The busiest I had ever seen it - a little check of my WDW Lines app told me that it was morning Extra Magic Hours today, so that explained the extra guests. It was already quite warm so we opted to go onto Kali River Rapids. The Fastpass was for 3 hours time and we couldn't guarantee it wouldn't be raining then so we queued for 60 minutes. This is tied with the longest I have queued for anything - the other being Space Mountain. The incredibly well-themed Kali River Rapids queue. The 60 minutes was exactly accurate and the queue was extremely tedious. This is one that could definitely do with some interactivity, as well as a re-design of a fastpass lane. The queue itself extremely slow moving but is very

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 42 - Hollywood Studios and Hotels - 14th July 2013

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I had the day off today so it was time to tick a few more things off the bucket list by visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I arrived just after 1PM and the line for Toy Story Midway Mania was 70 minutes. This is by far the park’s most popular ride in terms of queue times - with waits regularly exceeding 100 minutes. As such, 70 minutes is great. The ride is an interactive experience where you go from screen to screen shooting at things, popping balloons and trying to beat the 7 other people in your set of vehicles. I was pleasantly surprised by the queue as it was well themed, but unfortunately the interactive Mr Potato Head was having a few issues and kept missing the punchlines of the jokes he was making. Inside Toy Story Midway Mania I got on in under 40 minutes so I was chuffed - it was definitely worth the wait and was a lot of fun. I got the best score in the car which for my first time I was pretty proud of! Next, it was time for the Studio Backlot Tour which I prefe

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 41 - Being Spontaneous Again... - 13th July 2013

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The plan for today was to visit  Hollywood Studios and keep ticking items off the bucket list, but before that I had to keep fit by going to the gym. Due to the weights section at the Chatham gym being an absolute joke I went over to Patterson. After my workout and hungry for food I was walking back to my apartment when a red car stopped in the road next to me and a girl wolf whistled - it was my friend Marly. I asked what she was doing "Just going to the dollar store. Wanna come?" and there the day started as I hopped in and rode with her to the store. It's amazing what you can get for $1 here. I fancied lunch and Marly fancied lunch, so a 3.30PM lunch it was...at TGI Friday's. Long story short I ate a lot - chicken wings, salmon, lobster and shared a dessert. I left $46 poorer - ouch. We left at 6PM so this was a decently long lunch/dinner. Words cannot describe the meal at TGI's. Salmon and lobster bits. Wow. Back at my apartment, I threw out the idea o

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 40 - Checking things off the bucket list - 12th July 2013

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It was my first day off in ages so I had a few household things to sort out including a food shop at Publix. I Skyped for parents for about an hour as I walked around the Magic Kingdom before meeting up with Jack Chandler (who I’ll be traveling with to LA and NYC). I also got 2 Thunder Fastpasses with just my Cast ID after sweet-talking the Fastpass lady into giving me a second Fastpass as Jack was doing a quick four-hour shift at Peco’s. It took a bit of persuasion but she gave me one. 

I then waited for Jack whilst having lunch at Peco’s and waited for the parade came along - except it didn’t because it was raining, so I got to see the rainy day cavalcade which happens very rarely so it was cool to see that. I would have ticked that off the bucket list had it been on there. The Rainy Day Cavalcade is shown when weather cancels the main 3 o'clock parade. We then rode Big Thunder which has started to grow on me after my initial disappointment of comparing it to Paris - it

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 39 - The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room - 11th July 2013

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I had to get the bus which arrived at work an hour early today as the next one would only arrive 20 minutes before my shift started which wouldn’t be enough time to get from the bus stop to my work location. 

It takes up to 15 minutes to get from where the housing bus arrives to work locations in the Magic Kingdom, so we get paid for 15 minutes of "walk time" at the end of the night. Basically, on the way to work when you arrive by bus or car you have to get on a bus from West Clock to the Magic Kingdom, IDs are checked, bags are checked and you board a bus which goes through another high-security checkpoint into the grounds of the Magic Kingdom and then you are at the entrance of the utilidoors - a series of tunnels under the Magic Kingdom which we as cast use to get around and to transport things. From there we walk to our location - luckily for me it’s only about a three minute walk, to Main Street it can take almost 10 minutes. Anyway, all that to explain that 20 min

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 36 to 38 - “it’s a small world after all!” - 8th-10th July 2013

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Walt Disney World ICP - Day 36 - “30 minutes for Philharmagic?!” - 8th July 2013 Today was the longest shift I have ever worked. Not just at Disney, but ever. It was 12h15m from 11:00 to 23:15. Surprisingly the shift actually flew by and felt faster than some of my 6 hour shifts - I think when you have such a long shift you’re afraid to check your watch and just power through. I felt delirious for the last couple of hours though. Photo: GrumpyMickey.com / Copyright (C) Disney The park was surprisingly busy today and I was surprised that they didn’t extend park hours - Philharmagic had a 30 minute wait! We had lots of tour groups today and shows were full for most of the day. My favourite position, Fastpass distribution was mental as all the machines kept eating people’s cards at the same time and then I’d have five people all vying for my attention at once. My bus thankfully came on time for the journey home - I didn’t get a seat so just made my own by sitting on a step. Sim

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 33 to 34 - The forgotten name-tag and a magical day at work - 5th-6th July 2013

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Walt Disney World ICP - Day 33 - The forgotten name-tag... - 5th July 2013  Today I went for my haircut in the tunnels at the Magic Kingdom ($15 plus tip), used the cast showers and as I still had an hour to spare before my shift, I went to play in the parks. In my goal to do every attraction in the park, I rode the Walt Disney World Railroad. I caught the train from Frontierland and got on the second train even though there must have been about 80 or 100 people in front of me in line. They said there was a train every 4 minutes and the ride itself was actually really fun to see bits of the park I still hadn’t seen yet - the ride takes about 30 minutes to go around the park with most time spent at the stops. I forgot my name-tag at work and as it is Disney policy that you are required to have one, I got a loan one. For today my name was “Jason” and I was from Dearborn, Michigan which I was told was just outside of Detroit. It might just have been because I had someone else’s

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 32 - Independence Day- 4th July 2013

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It was definitely the calm before the storm yesterday. The park started to refuse guests entry and reached a phase 3 capacity closing today which meant that it was very, very busy. However, I was all for independence day because to me it meant one thing...free food day! I also got a free US flag pin which was nice. At the Chatham bus stop I got a free hot dog and at work I got a free Mickey ice-cream sandwich. Both were really nice. The crowd by the carousel in Fantasyland was huge for the fireworks and there was no way of getting through. This led to a lot of guests getting rude and asking to be let through the ropes into the firework zone. I understand it’s frustrating that they can’t move and get through but if as a guest you’re rude to me, I will not help you. One man and his wife thought they’d try and get through the ropes anyway - they didn’t. They started to become rude and therefore got no help. At the mouseketeeria I asked the woman if everything was free as it was i

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 30 to 31 - EPCOT and a 3.30am finish - 2nd to 3rd July 2013

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Walt Disney World ICP - Day 30 - Traveling around the World - 2nd July 2013 It’s incredible to think that I’ve already been here a month, time just flies by on the college program. I still haven’t even done all the attractions and I’ve been here that long. Both my roommate Dan and I had the day off so we agreed to explore the World Showcase at Epcot and then go and watch Monsters University in the cinema. If you’ve never been to the World Showcase at Epcot essentially there is a huge lake and around it different countries of the world are represented with traditional houses, shops and attractions. Before doing the World Showcase there was still a few attractions in Future World which needed to be ticked off, so we went to Journey into Imagination with Figment which looks like it’ll be shut down any minute now judging by how dated it is looking, it was fun to go on though to see the rides of yesteryear. Captain EO followed as Dan had never done it and I quite enjoyed it in Dis

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 28 to 29 - Work and Animal Kingdom - 30th June to 1st July 2013

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Walt Disney World ICP - Day 28 - Work again - 30th June 2013 I went to the gym in the morning, then it was a pretty standard day at work today. I worked from 18:45 to 01:15. The rotations were coming around really slowly so I was stuck in the same position for hours on end. I ended up being the Carousel Operator just before the fireworks so I got to see Wishes as we close the carousel for the fireworks. Today’s the last day of Wishes before the "Celebrate America/4th of July" week-long fireworks start.

 Walt Disney World ICP - Day 29 - Another day off - 1st July 2013 No one I knew had today off but I wasn’t about to sit at home all day. So, my plan was to head to Animal Kingdom to see the shows there and then head to Magic Kingdom for the 4th of July fireworks.

 I got to Animal Kingdom at around 13:30 and decided to go onto Expedition Everest before I had lunch. Using single rider I got on in 15 minutes which was great. Lunch was at the Flame Tree BBQ while it was ra

Walt Disney World ICP - Day 35 - It’s [a] Celebration! - 7th July 2013

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Today was a day to finally do something other than go to a theme park. Austin (on eof my American housemates) and Courtney’s friend Adrianne had been round the night before and had mentioned that she had a car and I’d said I really wanted to leave Disney property and go somewhere like Celebration. So, that’s exactly what happened today! Celebration was a town designed by Disney, as such it is designed to perfection - the main street in the town looks like Main Street in Disneyland in terms of perfection, but it is a real working town now which is no longer owned by Disney. Most of the houses were huge and the entire area was stunning. In the town of celebration The main street in celebration We then went to Old Town as that was apparently another cool place to go - it was really odd, it was like Texas and Mexico in the middle of Orlando. It also had some rides including one which was genuinely called ‘The Vomitron’. Classy, huh? We went to Burger King and saw Fun Spot wh