See ya real soon!
Just as I expected, I wasn't able to keep up working full-time, posting every week on two YouTube channels AND write a blog. I have now finished my time with Disney; albeit slightly earlier than forecast.
Don't worry, I didn't get termed (fired)! I requested an early release from my program in early January as the program had run it's course for me personally and career prospects back here in the UK meant it was beneficial for me to come back a couple months early. As I requested my early release far into my program and at a time when the pavilion was quiet, I was granted an approved early release, which means I'm not blacklisted from working for Disney again (which I most likely will).
So why am I back?! Well my main YouTube channel grew exponentially this past year. I went from under 10,000 subscribers through to over 20,000! Not only that but the audience I gained has been the biggest support, which has made my future endeavours now possible! Whilst a number of these projects are still confidential for the time being, one project that is now seeing the light of day is my online shop!
One item in particular that may be of interest to you aspiring, current and former cast members is the Casting Agency Door bauble! If you've ever taken a picture in-front of this door on Main Street in Magic Kingdom, chances are you'll recognise it. It's tradition for aspiring, newly hired and passing Cast Members to snap a picture with this door. Well now, you can take the door home with you! Designed by your's truly and handmade by a local merchandiser I've partnered with, you can order yours now (whilst stocks last). Click here to shop.
Whilst my other projects are currently under wraps, I'll be updating everyone via Twitter, Instagram and YouTube when the time comes, so stay in the loop if you like.
So how was my second program after all? Well it was filled with tremendous highs and some pretty low points too... As most people's programs are. My first six months quickly became more enjoyable than my entire first program in it's entirety. I wasted no time in getting out and experiencing all I wanted to and didn't shy away from new opportunities.
It was around the time of Halloween that having been in service for a few months and in a routine, I went through a rough patch. My enjoyment of the role started to slip and I became less and less motivated each day.
At the same time, some family matters encouraged me to go home and it was by popping home for a week that I got a new burst of energy. I realised how much I enjoyed being at home but then knew I had to pull my socks up and get what I could done to safeguard my return to the UK. So at that time, whilst I knew that missing home was genuine, I wasn't going to throw the towel in on a whim.
I decided that I would definitely commit until after Christmas. Work through the busy time, get some great vlogs of the seasonal events and prepare for what I wanted to get started upon my return to the UK. From then on, I felt more in control and more motivated. I told myself that once Christmas was over, if I was still more invested in being home, I would take the plunge. Hence why I followed through in my early release.
All-in-all, the program was a success for me personally and professionally. Those first six months were some of the best times of my life and I wouldn't change it for the world. What I also learnt is that it's not for everyone. Within my current time and career, a year out of the country wasn't going to be beneficial to me. So if like me, you go through the program and have some doubts down the line, do what you can. Invest time in the program and if it turns out that now isn't the time to be away in Florida, you're not without options.
Whilst I have no current plans to re-join Disney, I'm sure my relationship with the company and the brand will mean we cross paths again. Adam Does Disney will be around for some time yet! Whilst I won't have the most up-to-date insider tips to keep updating the website, my hope is that most of the information will still be a great reference. If you yourself have anything to add to the website, feel free to use the contact page as I'll do what I can to keep it alive and useful.
For now, it's on to my new adventures! To you, I say thank you. I appreciate you visiting, reading and learning here. If you have a program or application coming up, I wish you all the best!
See ya real soon!
I'm on vacation! I'm currently enjoying an eleven day break from making magic in an effort to enjoy the magic! Booking time off here isn't all that hard. All you have to do is put a request in on the company intranet known as the hub. As long as there's no one else with the same requested days, you can put your request in and have it approved instantly! If someone else has it booked you have to join a waitlist and then if the scheduler sees it's possible when creating the schedule, you get it off! I guess it depends on how busy they expect the park to be and staffing abilities.
The first day of my vacation was Friday. Illona (she arrived in the most recent arrival group) also had the day off. Neither of us had really been to Animal Kingdom so we decided to spend the afternoon there.
The food we had was delicious! It's not table service exactly, more like appetisers you can get to accompany your drinks. I had the Leaping Lizard cocktail (again), we spilt the bread service and I had beef sliders whilst Illona went for Muscles and a watermelon based cocktail. The bread service for me was probably most significant since it had salted popadoms in it! I come from a family that would happily have a curry take away every week. Even something as simple as a popadom was enough to make me very Very happy!
Saturday was DAPPER DAY! For those of you unfamiliar with Dapper Days in the Disney Parks... they're a fan arranged event in which guests dress up in dapper wear. Some people give subtle nods to Disney characters in their outfits whilst some dress to the likes of the 1920's.
Dapper Day was honestly one of the best days of my life! It was such a wonderful atmosphere in a place where I already hold so many memories. I did vlog the day so you can look forward to that appearing on my main channel in the not too distant future.
Above you can see one of the amazing photo opportunities Disney put on for the special day. I found it so interesting that this fan created event has been adopted so well by the parks management. I'm finding it difficult to really describe the atmosphere of the day. It was like going to the parks but everyone in the park is a friend of yours or someone you could be friends with. Everyone was in such high spirits despite the heat and cast members were even perkier than usual. I will certainly be returning for Dapper Day in Autumn.
Ella, Hope and I topped off our Dapper Day with dinner at the Skipper Canteen. A personal favourite of mine since my trip in June 2016 with my friend Gary, it was a great restaurant to summarise our day in the park. I had the "Taste's like chicken... because it it" which is what Gary had when we visited. I remembered the plate envy I had but was torn between what I had last time which was the mac & cheese-esque beef dish. In the end I had to tell the server to choose for me and surprise me. The chicken dish reigned supreme and by-golly was it delicious! Also, can we take a moment to appreciate how incredible the sink in the restrooms is!
Later in the evening, I had a pretty special moment. Whilst walking across the bridge from Liberty Square to the hub, I heard "Adam!" from behind me. Tina and her husband Dale watched my vlogs and were so surprised to see me walking around in the flesh! Tina shared her story with me and how much she appreciated my friend Gary and I's videos from June 2016. Seeing the emotion in Tina was so unbelievably flattering and made me really appreciate that it's real people not numbers watching my videos. Tina, if you're reading this, it was a true pleasure to meet you and Dale. Thank you for making my evening and for stopping me to say hi.
Sunday was to be Dapper Day at Epcot and whilst I was tempted, after having such a magical day on Saturday and being a little exhausted from it all, I thought it best to not taint the weekend. I didn't want to get all dressed up, be there for all of three hours and wish I'd just left it with my Magic Kingdom Dapper Day experience.
So instead I met my friend Josh in Disney Springs for lunch at Blaze pizza. Everyone's been going on about it since I arrived so thought I'd better give it a go. I was not disappointed! For $9.65 I got to customise my own pizza and it was pretty amazing! I'd compare the standard to Pizza Express. Especially as the second I walked in, that's all I could smell. Additionally they served a range of lemonades including Blood Orange Lemonade, a rarity (with enough sugar in it to kill a Rhino) but a true delight to have!
After our fill, we Ubered over to Universal Studios for the afternoon. I'm a real roller coaster junkie and really fancied a ride on the Incredible Hulk coaster! Josh shares my roller coaster enthusiasm. However, outside of the roller coasters, my experience at Universal Studios was somewhat flat. I think the initial "oh my gosh! I'm in Universal Studios" nostalgia has warn off and I'm starting to notice the things that really separate Disney and Universal. I did vlog the day but I'm unsure as to whether I'll be posting it.
One of my biggest gripes about Universal is the sometimes unnecessary need to put your bags in a locker before every ride. Not only that, you can't film on any attraction bar Cat in the Hat and E.T. (big whoop right?). So I got a little frustrated that my Universal vlog ended up being "ok we're going on this now, but can't film it so see you after." "well that was fun!" One thing that really wound me up, was that when we waited 5-10 minutes at a quick service drinks location and asked for a cup of water, they gave us the smallest little cup filled to the brim with ice. I said "sorry can I get a larger cup please" she looked at me as if I was mad and said "these are the only ones we have." This is whilst I'm staring at the pint cups behind her.
At Disney, they'll happily give you a full sized cup of water no different from a paid soda size. In fact, during dapper day, I went into the Pecos Bill and asked for three cups of water for Ella, Hope and I... We were given bottled water for free as a little magic moment! Universal are obviously doing their best to encourage you to pay for a $4.00+ bottle of water. NOT TODAY SATAN! I'm not sure why that little experience made me so very angry. Then we get onto the screens... It's no secret that people are getting a little fed up with the ratio of attractions Universal has that are screen attractions. When I say screen attraction, I mean a ride that relies on the use of screens to make the attraction enjoyable.
I personally hate 3D. When it first came out, I was it's biggest fan. Now I think it's been run into the ground and I would much rather watch a film in 2D over 3D. Now imagine having to put 3D glasses on for a number of attractions in a day (Escape from Gringotts, Transformers and Kong to name a few). I got so frustrated that I had to just ride them without glasses in an effort to save my head. I actually enjoyed the rides more when I wasn't wearing the glasses although it made me see just how much these attractions rely on screens.
It's much cheaper to build 10 screen setups than it is to build a full fledged set with animatronics similar to that of Pirates of the Caribbean for example. In my own opinion, I think the use of screens in attractions too often is a cop out. I can go watch a 3D film anywhere. When I come to a theme park and more importantly pay more for the experience, I want to be immersed in real world experiences more than virtual ones. Of course Disney has screen based attractions but they're the minority not the majority.
I enjoy Universal Studios but yesterday I saw just how big the gap between them and Disney is. They were closing the gap with the Wizarding World but when they're investing money in screen attractions like Jimmy Fallon... I just see the gap widening when Disney's planning Toy Story Land, Star Wars Land and the soon to be opening Pandora: World of Avatar.
In other news, today begins my staycation! My friends from the UK are here for a few days so I've escaped my housing bed for a few nights and I'll be meeting up with my friend Pete later this week for Playlist Live! Playlist Live is a YouTube convention held in Orlando each spring. I went a couple years ago and I'm looking forward to seeing what it's like this year.
Until next time... Have a magical day!
Seven days ago today (Tuesday), a group of us from the UK Pavilion were lucky enough to experience a backstage tour of Fantasmic! Fantasmic for those of you that haven't seen it, is an evening stage show in Hollywood Studios that uses fountains, fire, fireworks and Disney characters to delight guests each evening.
Whilst I cannot divulge any secrets of the show that we were lucky enough to hear about; I can tell you that we got to on the island and get up close and personal with some of the effects used in the show! We got to meet Maleficent in her dragon form, see the characters, Steamboat Willie and see the control room, projectors and Pocahontas porch! For someone who's a massive tech geek, I loved seeing how it all worked and I have a new found appreciation for how clever the show is.
The tour was arranged by the lovely UK Pavilion management team and we were those lucky enough to be drawn from the hat. It was such a great experience and certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity! Fantasmic will never compare to the magic of Wishes or Illuminations for me personally but I appreciate it so much more now!
Thursday at work, I got my very own magical moment! A young princess named Lillian came up to the podium in her father's arms. He said to her "go on then, do it." She put her hand to her chin like a princess and said "hello you lovely lot." Safe to say I DIED! She was the cutest thing and she made my day! Her dad tweeted me the photo but as Lillian is just a princess in training, I don't wish to post the photo here which I'm sure you'll understand.
Friday the new Steps album came out and I AM LIVING! Growing up, Steps was my all time favourite band! They were the first concert I ever went to and I even got to see their reunion tour a couple of years ago! Anyone working will tell you that I jumped for joy when I realised it was out. I was jamming to it for my entire lunch hour! I love 'Story of a Heart' (original and remix) and 'Neon Blue' right now!
Saturday was my day off. What a waste of a day off though! I was so excited to get out and have fun after five days at work but the atmoshperic pressure here was so high that it deflated me almost instantly. I slept until noonish to catch-up on sleep but as soon as I set out, it was like having someone squeezing your head constantly. I became very indecisive in my day and ended up flippantly going from Disney Springs to the Polynesian, to Magic Kingdom and then to Wilderness Lodge before realising I should just go home. I was so frustrated that nothing had really excited me that day.
Here's an example of what I did all day: Get's to Wilderness Lodge. Stands for five minutes and considers going to the lagoon bar. Decides not to. Goes into Lobby. Stands for five minutes and considers going to the quick service. Decides not to. Checks into Whispering Canyon for a party of one. Goes into merchandise store. Considers staying the night at Wilderness Lodge. Can't because it's fully booked. Decides that it was stupid of me to consider it. Sits down whilst waiting for table. Decides not to wait anymore and cancels Whispering Canyon. Gets annoyed that I cancelled it due to the thought of being surrounded by happy people.
At this point I really just wanted to have a good cry for literally no reason apart from that I was uncomfortable and frustrated with the day. You know when a baby thinks 'I fancy a good cry right now.' Anyone who knows me well though will tell you that it takes a lot to make me cry. The Good Dinosaur for example.
In conclusion, my day off was a waste of time and I wish I had been working or just stayed asleep the whole day!
Sunday this week was Extra Magic Hours at a very busy Epcot. It was the Star Wars marathon weekend which brings a lot of guests and locals to the Disney parks. I was working from 2pm until 11pm and spent the whole day on the Chippie registers. Luckily it's a position that makes the day go a whole lot quicker. Closing later did mean that I wasn't going to make it to my favourite and only current night out destination, Parliament House. However, after doing a lightning fast close of the position, power walking to cast services and managing to catch a bus just as I got back to cast services, I was going to make it in time for the taxi!
I believe it was fate that got me to go out that night. After my Saturday of disappointment, I really wanted a night on the dance floor and a couple of drinks to let my hair down. It was exactly what I needed and the people I was with helped make it such a fun night.
Last night (Monday), my friends Jess, Ella and I decided that we needed a good olde buffet after work to help us recover from the previous night at Parliament House. Ella and I both agree that Trail's End is one our faves and Jess had never been before. Plus with our 40% special discount right now, it was everything we needed and more!
Today was my first 'luxury shift' in which I had the joy of coming in at about 11/12 and leaving at about 5/6pm! It's a slightly shorter shift than I've been used to since I've been working mostly 11am-9pm but I am not complaining! It's nice to feel like you have time to do something in the evening if you choose to.
I booked off Dapper Days, a few days for when my friends are here and then also a couple of days incase I wanted to go to Playlist Live. Turns out my days off have fallen in-between my booked vacation time so I'm off for a proper staycation! I won't be staying in a resort except for a few days but I'm looking forward to going to Dapper Days, Starlit Splash (which you'll hear more about next time) my friends being here and then possibly Playlist Live! I just may need to pick up some shifts at work if my budget looks set to be a little tight!
Until next time... Have a magical day!
So far this has been my longest stretch without having touched base with you lovely lot. As the title of this post suggests, I've only recently completed a ten day stretch of days at work. It happened to be that way because of the way my days off fell whilst my schedule begins to settle in.
So the day after my last post, I had my last day off before the 10 day stretch. I chose to head to Animal Kingdom this day after having picked up my Main Entrance Passes from the offices in Celebration.
Main Entrance Passes are the tickets that we and our guests may use to enter the parks. It just so happens that they weren't able to send out our Main Entrance Passes on account of us not changing our address to a 'mailing address' soon enough. So just a hop, skip and a jump over to the tallest building in Celebration and to the eighth floor, then bish, bash, bosh! We were in business!
I did try to vlog the part of the day at Animal Kingdom but both of my camera batteries were almost dead. I did get a bit of footage which I may try and spin into a vlog on my main channel.
After that adventure in Animal Kingdom, I had a date would you believe?! I haven't been on a date in about... three years. So whilst I'm not going to go into all the details of the evening, I'll just say that I had a lovely meal at Sanaa with great company.
Then began the working days. What with my current seniority status in the front of house, my shifts tend to be open to close at the moment. It's not all the time, but mostly. The longer you're here on the program, the nicer your shifts become as you move up the list of seniority.
Also on the 7th I booked the last few details of my trip to California this July! I've had my time off at work confirmed and so booked my flight and airport transfers to Anaheim for the D23 convention! I am so excited for this trip you have no idea!
Booking time off is so much easier this time round. You go on the Hub (Disney's intranet) and simply request the dates on a calendar. Immediately it will tell you if you've had the time approved or whether you're on a waitlist... and if you are on a waitlist, how many people are in front of you.
It used to be that you had to send a request for time off and then have a nerve wracking couple of days until you heard back from the scheduling team as to whether your time off had been approved, denied or waitlisted. If time off is waitlisted, it's approval depends on if someone cancels their time off or if there's availability for you to also have the time off at the time of the schedule posting. You basically don't find out until the schedule comes out whether it was successful if it's waitlisted.
On the 9th of April I didn't start until about 2pm. I took this opportunity to try the Hot Pockets I bought in my first trip to Publix. To say the expectation and the reality of this dining experience was somewhat different is the understatement of the century!
On the evening of April 10th, I had the luxury of finishing early at about 3:30pm. On this day I had the pleasure of conducting the welcome day alongside the UK Food & Beverage proprietor (sort of like an area manager). The welcome day is the day in which the new arrivals get to experience a tour of the area, an overview of our procedures, some e-learning and they get to try on their costume for the first time.
It was a really enjoyable day for me welcoming the new arrivals but in the evening, it was especially enjoyable when Ashley, Hope and I got dressed up for an evening meal at Citricos in the Grand Floridian! One of my all time favourite Disney restaurants.
Our server was so incredible! So much so that I asked one of her colleagues to pass my compliments onto the management. After concluding our meal, we decided to take a stroll from the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian Village resort. Along the way we got the pleasure of enjoying Wishes from the beach and then settled into the terrace bar at the Poly for a Spikey Pineapple cocktail. Basically it's alcoholic Dole Whip and it's very dangerous since it just takes like Dole Whip!
Then just more work, work & work! Work is enjoyable and I like being in a guest facing role again instead of just stuck behind a desk. It's tricky working with so many people which each have such different personalities though. However, for the most part everyone's friendly and good at their job. I think the hardest thing for me at the moment is my meals.
As shifts chop and change and then most nights I won't be home before 10pm, it's tricky to get onto a good meal routine. That includes finding the time to shop and cook a decent meal. Only a couple of days ago did I manage to do my second big publix shop since arriving! It was so big in fact, that I had to take an Uber back to housing. My mother however will be pleased to know that I have stocked shelves and protein in the freezer.
Wednesday April 12th was our throw-in! Now after writing about regretting not going to my throw-in on my last program, there was no way I was backing out of this one. A few of us opted for an Uber over the group taxi van that is normally custom on a group night out. Just as those of us in the Uber are not too comfortable with tight spaces/lots of people in one van. It worked out nicely actually as we were running earlier than everyone else, so decided to get McDonalds before meeting the others at Murphy's Irish Bar.
It was a very chilled out evening actually. No scary trials or anything, just a quiz night like atmosphere where-by we got to introduce ourselves and everyone joined-in in playing some games to get to know one another and those in the UK Pavilion.
Thursday April 13th was my arrival group's one month anniversary! As most of us were scheduled to work, we opted for a breakfast celebration. We met at the Yacht Club's Captain's Grille for what I would call, the best buffet breakfast on property! The variety was spectacular and the food was top notched (plus it's a 40% discount location at the moment!). I had smoked salmon alongside egg white, spinach and tomato cakes. I felt oh so very fancy... until the Mickey Waffles plate of course.
After breakfast, those of us that didn't start for a bit or had the day off, had a little wonder around the World Showcase. We managed to ride Frozen Ever After and have a little look around the Seas before Ashley and I had to leave the group for work.
The last two days of my ten day stretch were the most difficult. Since we didn't get back until late after the throw-in on Wednesday, then had to be up early for our breakfast, my body clock was out of it come day 10! Both days I was lagging so much that I had to request an early release (ER). An early release in UK Food and Beverage is where you may request to leave early should the location have too many people in that day or the coordinators have the ability to send someone home after the breaks have complete. Lucky for me, on both days I got an ER! Granted, they weren't used for anything special. The first enabled me to do my washing and the second enabled me to do the aforementioned Publix shop.
Friday the 14th was my day of freedom. And how did I choose to spend it? Filming a vlog of course! In all fairness, I slept until nearly midday, then stumbled over to Disney Springs before going to the cinema and meeting my friend Josh for dinner in Magic Kingdom. You can watch the vlog of Friday below!
After that one day off it was back to work on Saturday for one day before another day off on Sunday. Saturday was probably my hardest day at work. I was stocking in the afternoon and I was run off my feet! From about 5pm when I picked up the role until close at 9pm, I was busier than ever. After that day, I was dead to the world.
On Sunday, Hope and I planned an afternoon in Magic Kingdom, mainly to ride Space Mountain since neither of us had been able to ride it since arriving. I also vlogged this day so I won't give too much away before the vlog goes live, but I got my hair cut at the Grand Floridian which was divine, met Hope for our afternoon in Magic Kingdom then called it a day about 6pm as a result of being so exhausted from the day before.
Now we come to today! This morning was an early start for the Train the Trainer class in which I became a Disney Trainer! This means that I can train and sign-off new cast members in training shifts. The class itself doesn't have all that much to it in my opinion but our facilitator Nancee was cracking us right up! Just what you need on a Monday morning to make you somewhat conscious. That class was followed by a short shift at work and then it was out the door at 4pm.
I met my friend Claire at Disney Springs for a meal at Art Smith's Homecomin' where I got to try the infamous Fried Chicken with Donuts. Don't worry... it lives up to the hype!
After that, I just retreated back to my apartment in an effort to write this post for y'all and get an early night in ready for another early start tomorrow when I get to go on a backstage tour of Fantasmic! AHH! So exciting!
Until next time... Have a magical day!
The good times are still rolling in Orlando! The past week has probably been the most exhausting week so far from the training I've been doing and the fun I've had on my days off!
After writing my last post, it was back to work for me. That Sunday was my training in closing the Fish and Chip shop. During the day I was in the filling position in which I form guest orders as they come through on the screen. It's a little monotonous but I kind of like it now. It certainly makes the day go faster!
During the day, two young girls and their family came round the corner and waved into Chippy. They wanted to say hi to me as they watch my videos and I was more than happy to say hi. I appreciated however that they respected I was working and made an effort to just say a very quick hello. Later that day, one of the servers Milly, popped into Chippy (the Fish and Chip shop) and asked if she could borrow me. Turns out that family were dining in the Rose & Crown restaurant that evening and they had mentioned to Milly how excited the two young girls were to meet me. This hasn't really ever happened to me before and I was so flattered to see that just me saying hi was enough to make them happy.
I came to the table with Milly. They didn't see me coming up to the table so I just asked 'how is everyone enjoying their meal?' They thought it was another server before they clocked it was me. The whole family were so charming and made me feel very special. If John and the family are reading, thank you for coming to say hi and respecting I was at work. It was a true pleasure.
I've had a few people come say hi whilst I've been in work which truly befuddles me. I've probably been recognised all of three times in the six years I've been on YouTube prior to starting here. Most of the time, everyone's been very respectful that I'm at work and just done a fleeting hi and goodbye. I do appreciate that. However, I'd just like to mention that if I am at work and you wish to come say hi, please use your better judgement to see whether it may be appropriate. If I'm not serving a guest or busy, I'm happy to say hi. However if I am serving another guest, in the middle of something or otherwise engaged, please know that it is not a good time for me as my job comes first.
Yesterday a lovely lady (Monica) and her family came to me whilst I was at Beer Cart. I appreciated her saying how much she enjoyed the videos I was making. She was kind enough to give me a card with a lovely message and gift inside. The gift was far beyond what I could have imagined someone being kind enough to gift another human being. With that, please do not ever feel the need to send or give me a gift. I do what I do because I enjoy it and a simple hello or thank you is all I ever need. So thank you Monica, it was lovely to meet you and your gift was far too kind.
Monday was just another day training and likewise so was Tuesday. However, Tuesday was my 'Friday' in which I had Wednesday and Thursday off! No one else had those days off or if they did there was already plans floating about so I thought it best to get a vlog filmed and have some me time.
If you're not already aware, as cast members we're able to save some money on resort stays and have little staycations here and there. So I managed to get an amazing deal on two nights in Pop Century. I checked in on Tuesday and spent the evening just popping to Disney Springs to buy myself some new Under Armour shorts and a Sprinkles Cupcake for when I needed a sweet tooth fix.
Waking up on Wednesday in a resort bed was the nicest feeling. I hadn't slept that well in a long time! Whilst there's nothing all that wrong with my bed in housing, when there's someone else in the room making little noises, it's hard to sleep all the way through the night. Especially if we're waking up and going to sleep at different times.
However, I got to experience what I believe to be my very first magic moment. I was watching Wishes from New Fantasyland in an effort to avoid the crowds of Main Street. It was a great spot to enjoy the big fireworks from the back of the park. A photo-pass cast member was stationed there and everyone was all too occupied with the fireworks to bother with photos.
Thursday morning was checkout day for me. I had chocolate chip pancakes from the quick service in Pop Century and then chose to go to Disney Springs to see Beauty and the Beast. Whilst I didn't hate it. I did not like it. I enjoyed the experience of watching it but I also enjoy the experience of watching many other films that are not necessarily Disney classics.
For me personally, the casting was all wrong bar Gaston and Le Fou. My opinion is that if you're going to have a movie with characters that have French accents, hire French actors/actresses. And whatever you do, do not get Emma Thompson who is in fact British, to put on a fake British accent. Be Our Guest for me is the best part in the original Beauty and the Beast. It just wasn't right for me in the live action. As Belle is live action and everything around her is CGI, it just looked like you were watching Emma Watson react to imaginary things and Ewan McGregor's French accent was getting on my last nerve by that point.
This is just my opinion again but Emma Watson for me was the wrong choice. The sinning throughout the film was edited beyond it's life. So much so that the sync with the picture was often a little off. If you want to release a musical, hire a singer, not a name. Cinderella for me was perfect since they picked the best fit for the character, not the best fit for the box office. I think they should've done the same for Belle.
The past two days have been my beer cart and stocker training shifts. Definitely the most difficult days of the training schedule for me. Stocking requires a lot of hard work and physical activity. I had a great trainer so I feel ready to handle any time I have to be stocking. Right now though I feel a little dishevelled from all the work! At least I have a day off today to recover.
Until next time... Have a magical day!
...It's off to work we go!
This week has been my very first few days of on-the-job training. Today is Saturday and I've got a few days of which to catch you up on. Let's start where I left off on Monday when I was writing to you just after finishing my On-Boarding day. Like I mentioned, that day was the weirdest for me. Stepping backstage into those areas you only get to see working on the program and being there for the second time was very surreal. Almost like climbing back into your own bed after a holiday away... It felt strangely comfortable and as if nothing had really changed bar the people.
That evening after I posted my blog post, I met up with Jen and we took the cast bus over to Disney Springs in the hope of seeing Beauty and the Beast which came out over the weekend. Unfortunately the only seats left were the very front row and lord knows I wasn't going to pay money for those seats! We thought it best to just walk around the springs instead. However, in a rush of spontaneity, we thought 'why don't we go and watch Wishes instead?!' So just a short stop into Sprinkles cupcakes to pick-up a little snack for the show and we were on the bus over to the Polynesian Village resort.
We took the monorail from the Poly (Polynesian Village) over to Magic Kingdom and made it in front of the castle just 10 minutes before show time! Well timed some might say. After rolling my eyes at just how many people were watching the fireworks through their phone screens instead of enjoying the moment, we then went on Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. There was a very hilarious moment when the monster on the screen addressed 'the lady who came dressed as the furniture' (she was wearing a rain mack that was the exact same colour as the benches). Jen and I were very amused by this.
Upon exiting Laugh Floor, we made in front of the castle for the 9:45pm showing of the Once Upon A Time projection show. Now I was a big lover of Celebrate the Magic and this was my first time seeing the show, so I was a little sceptical. I'm pleased to say that it was so very magical and I really enjoyed it! Celebrate the Magic however will still hold a special place in my heart for the floating lanterns bit from Tangled.
All-in-all it was a such a fun and spontaneous evening which made me realise just how lucky we are to treat that as a spontaneous evening. A spontaneous evening at home is popping to McDonalds for a McFlurry! We even managed to beat the system on the way home. After walking to the Contemporary to catch the cast bus home, we realised it was going to take a full hour to get back. So instead we hatched a plan to take the guest bus to Disney Springs and then take the cast bus back to the complex from there. We saved ourselves a solid 10 minutes! Take that Transtar buses!
Tuesday was our Discovery Day. This is a morning session in which all those cast members that will be based in Epcot are shown around the park and introduced to some of the history and heritage of the park specifically. Most locations offer a similar experience. If you're working at the Poly for example, they have what's called Aloha Day.
My thoughts on Discovery Day are somewhat mixed. Epcot is my favourite park at the moment, so it doesn't take a lot to show me just how awesome it is. We had two trainers, one of which was incredible! His name was Matt. He had high energy, was interested in what people had to say and kept the training positive. The other trainer however (who I won't name) really lacked the X factor that I think any trainer needs to have.
He unfortunately was rather bland in his presentations and Hope, Chris (from my arrival group) and I unfortunately had him guiding us around the park during the tour. He somehow managed to make my favourite park so very boring and he didn't practice the priority of safety which I'd expect from a trainer. He often power walked away from the group of 12 new cast members (some of which didn't speak fluent English and had never been in a Disney park before) and didn't look back to ensure we had everyone. He stood us in the sun when talking instead of in the shade and when Hope and I asked to use the Restroom, he said we'd have to wait until we got back an hour and half later! Safe to say I did not look impressed with his response and he did let us go.
Whilst the morning session as a whole wasn't awful, this was not the standard I'd come to expect and it was in my opinion down to this one trainer who shouldn't be conducting such an interactive and entertainment based session (in my sole opinion).
Discovery Day was done and dusted by 1pm so after that we all went back to chill-out and recoup before going to the Polynesian themed welcome event on the Chatham Square field (one of the benefits of living here in Chatham, free food at the events!)
I left the event early to make my way over to Animal Kingdom. I somehow managed to score a last minute FastPass for Rivers of Light and also for a nighttime ride on Expedition Everest.
I really enjoyed the show! It was very beautiful and I liked how well it reflected animal life. Would I run back to Animal Kingdom just to see it? Probably not. I think it's going to be like Fantasmic for me... If I'm in the park and it's easy enough to get in to see it, then sure, I'll see it and enjoy it. I just won't make it a sole destination point like I do for Wishes or Illuminations.
The following day (Wednesday) was my culinary day. This a day in which Food and Beverage cast members new to the United Kingdom pavilion, get shown around the kitchen and get to watch it in action for a day of lunch and dinner service. That way when we get out to the podium and guests ask us what we like, we can give them suggestions and offer some basic information about how certain items are cooked.
I did enjoy the day, it was just very hot near the ovens, a lot of standing and watching. Not much in the way of helping out or cooking. For lunch I was given this huge platter which had a sampling of the most popular menu items. I'm mostly a fan of the stuffed Yorkshire pudding, the chicken curry and the corned beef.
The only down side was that after my lunch, I began to suffer from really bad indigestion. Most of the food is pretty heavy and so whilst it was great trying everything, I was incredibly uncomfortable standing for the whole afternoon. At one point I had to ask the chef to sit down for ten minutes as I didn't think I could stand for much longer with the way I was feeling and the high heat of the kitchen. Whilst it was a long day, it was insightful and I got to see how everything from pot wash through to the Fish and Chip Shop worked.
Thursday was my first guest facing day. This was my seater training day and I absolutely loved it! Seating was always my favourite role as I got to chat to guests all day and get paid for it! I even made one guests' day when I gifted her a British penny I had on me. She chased me down on my way home to say thank you and get a picture with me. She really loved all things British and I'm glad that I helped make her visit to the UK Pavilion a little special. On the way home I bumped into some UK Pavilion CRPs and they were kind enough to invite me over for pizza before I crawled into bed. I walked six miles that day!
Friday was greeter training. This is the position in which you check guests into the system whether they be a reservation or walk-in before the seaters page the guests and escort them to their table. Whilst I did enjoy greeter, it wasn't as much fun as seating. It is slightly more stressful when you run out of pagers and offers very little in the way of moving but other than that, it was good fun and I got to smile at a lot of different guests.
Now we come to Today. Today was my day off and luckily Hope was off too. We originally planned to get up early and take the housing trip to Winter Garden but in consideration of how hard we'd been working, we opted for a lie-in instead.
Apart from some people chatting to guests and a pretty basic parade of which I had beads flung into my face... it wasn't as much of the 'party' I was expecting for a Mardi Gras event. We did plan to go to Panda Express for dinner but after checking out the price for the portions, I suggested we head to Citrus Garden located next to Publix near housing.
It's been a real roller coaster of a week and pretty non-stop. I have been taking a few hours each day to just sit and relax but I'm looking to increase those hours where possible. I don't want to burn out too soon into my program.
Until next time... Have a magical day!
Today is Monday March 20th! I last spoke to you from the Chatham Square poolside on Friday. A day in which I spent time resting and doing homely things like laundry and a trip to Walmart.
On Saturday it was back to training! This was our Welcome to Operations and Food & Beverage overview training day and the first day in our second phase of training. You see CRP arrival training works in three main stages.
Training works as a filter system almost. You first have Traditions which teaches you about the Walt Disney Company. Welcome to Operations talks about all the departments that help in the guest experience (e.g. Merchandise, Food & Beverage, Attractions, Custodial etc.). Welcome to Food & Beverage is pretty self explanatory and then after that you start learning about your location and specific roles.
Saturday's training was good. It did involve e-learning which is my least favourite training method. I'd much rather listen to someone talk for two hours than do even half an hour of e-learning. We deserved a treat after Saturday's classes, so my arrival group and I (minus Amy who wasn't feeling 100%) took the cast bus over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge (my favourite resort) to have cocktails at the pool bar. I had a Pina Colova which is basically a Pina Colada with raspberry syrup. It was very yummy!
On Sunday, the Food and Beverage folks had the day off to do with as we wished. Jen from my arrival group is experiencing Walt Disney World for the very first time. I thought it only right that she get to experience Magic Kingdom for the first time ASAP! Whilst we do not have our Main Gate Passes (they're the tickets cast members use to enter the parks) we were able to enter with our blue Disney I.Ds as we only recently finished Traditions and we're waiting on our Main Gate Passes. We just had to go to the turnstiles and have a Guest Services cast member process our entry.
My friend Francis Dominic (follow him on Instagram, he's fab!) was over from California so I got to say a quick hello before we headed out of the park.
Today we were up nice and early for our On-Boarding day in which we had a guided tour of backstage areas in Epcot, were shown how to get to work and had a full detailed tour of the Rose & Crown/Fish & Chip Shop (chippy) by our proprietor (area manager) Greta.
It was very strange for me today. It was as if I hadn't even left! Everything smelt the same, a lot of the systems were similar and there were even familiar faces in the pavilion (returners like myself and permanent cast). Slightly surreal really but I'm very much looking forward to being back on-stage and working with the new cast in the pavilion.
Tomorrow we have our Discovery Day in which we learn about Epcot and get a short tour of the park. Very much looking forward to tomorrow as that will conclude the second phase training. After that begins on the job training or OJT!
Until next time... Have a magical day!
Yesterday I officially re-became a cast member! We had our Traditions class in which we learnt about the heritage of the Walt Disney Company and more specifically Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. It was an early start as we had a bus to catch from Chatham at 6:45 that would take us to Disney University behind the Magic Kingdom.
Now I'm not going to go into the class itself all that much as I like that the day's events are designed to be exclusively for new cast members and I'm not one to ruin a surprise or two! However, the class is conducted by two cast members that have been trained to conduct Traditions classes and the day is filled with lessons almost, regular short breaks and a group activity or two.
The cast members we had conducting the class were in training and subsequently, they weren't all that confident in their presentation and it did make the learning sections drag a little. Be prepared for a lot of need for concentration as they throw a lot of information at you. It is a fun day though!
If I had to talk about a negative, it would be the mini presentation that the Union put on to explain what they do and encourage you to sign-up. In my opinion, the way in which this is done is quiet misleading. They never made it clear that there was a cost to signing up via the form and they didn't make it clear that it was also a choice. So if you ever come to have a Traditions class, know that you do not have to sign-up to the union and they will still represent you should it be necessary. I chose to not sign-up this time as I felt like there was little they offered on my last program that directly impacted me. Sure they do a lot over time for permanent cast members but ultimately, I'm only here for a year and I do not feel as though I need representation for possible matters as of yet. I can sign-up down the line should I choose to do so.
During the Lunch break, as I'm a returner and kept my I.D. from my last program, I knew that I wouldn't get my blue I.D. (Disney I.D.) like the others would. So I popped down to access control that processes all I.D. cards and got my old I.D. reactivated in no time. Don't worry, if you're a CP or CEP Alumni, you're not technically classed as a permanent employee as you are on the CRP so you'll get a new I.D. during your Traditions.
During the afternoon break of the class, we discussed that we should probably go for dinner as the parks are just too busy right now thanks to Spring Break. I hopped on the My Disney Experience app and managed to snag a dinner reservation for our group of 8 at Trail's End; located at Disney's Fort Wilderness resort and campground. My third favourite resort at the moment, Fort Wilderness is probably the most American place I've even been and I've never had the pleasure of eating at Trail's End.
Dinner was AMAZING! I've never been to a buffet that I've enjoyed so much as Trail's End. Every item on the buffet screamed MERICA! The corn bread was to die for, the Mac & Cheese was incredible and the cowboy beans were top notch! Our server Serena made us all feel so welcome! She's been at the restaurant for nearly 15 years and I can see why people keep coming back with service as good as hers. This was the first time we all used our Disney I.D.s to get our cast member discount. Lucky for us, Trail's End was included in the special 40% off offer! So after gratuity and tax, it only cost us about $25 each. A absolute steal for the quality of the meal and service.
After our meal and after we had settled up our cheques, chef TJ who had come to the table earlier to show Hope around the buffet due to her gluten intolerance, dropped off a huge tailor made gluten free desert just for Hope and surprised the rest of us with an incredible strawberry and hand whipped cream cake! Safe to say that all of us were at bursting point even before these treats and after them we might as well have been rolled out of there!
Upon exiting Trail's End, we took the time to fill in an appraisal card for Serena and TJ. We wanted to thank them for making our first dining experience as cast members so truly magical and a meal we'll never forget.
We walked down to the beach, just in time to catch the water pageant on Bay Lake. I know it's dated and it isn't all that spectacular but just hearing that music is enough to flood me with nostalgia! After that we had a few minutes in the store before making our way back to the front of the resort via the internal bus to drive home in my beast of a car! It's actually worked out so well having the large car as we wouldn't have been able to do half of things we have done all together. I like to call it fate delivering me the only choice of my beast of a car and a pick-up truck.
Today is our first day off and I've spent it having a lie-in, popping to Walmart with Hope, Jen and Ashley, doing my first load of laundry and now chilling by the pool with Ashley and Hope whilst I write this entry. I'm taking my 'don't try and do it all too soon' learning from last time very seriously and I'm so glad I'm chilling out today. Having seen just a sampling of how busy the Disney and Universal parks are a few days ago, I'm in no rush to be parking it up.
Until next time... Have a magical day!
You'll be pleased to know that my closet is no longer flooded! I couldn't believe how great the Security and Maintenance team were at sorting the problem so early in the morning. I called them just before 4am and they had been and gone by 5am and left a blower thingy to leave on today to dry out the floor.
Today is Wednesday and my third day on the program. So far check-in was on Monday, we had two talks on Tuesday (yesterday) which only took us up until 1pm and today we had some basic form filling to do. We had to be at the Vista Way Pavilion at 1pm to complete our W4 (taxation), receive our Citi Bank cards (a U.S bank card that Disney pays you on, should you not get a U.S bank account) and sign our I-94s (entry status card). My Norwegian roommate, his friend, Hope, Ashley and I headed over early in an effort to get done and dusted as soon as possible. We took the C bus over to Vista and after getting slightly lost in Vista, found our way to the pavilion.
We were there at 12:30 so were the first ones in line. If you're partaking in the program, I highly recommend turning up early for these sorts of appointments/meetings as we were in and out within the space of 15 minutes. Those behind us looked like they had to wait longer for each step. After that we had to go to another building to sign the agreement between Disney and ourselves for the $800 (I think) that we get from Disney should we complete our program. This amount is in an effort to pay for your flight home. As we were all sorted by about 1pm and we had our Citi Bank cards' paperwork as proof of Florida Residency, a group of us thought 'Why don't we go to Universal?!'
So, after a quick stop off at the apartment to change out of my new Vans that were slowly killing my feet, I drove myself, Hope, Ashley, Charlotte, Amy and Jen over to Universal Studios! Now we weren't exactly sure the Citi Bank card paperwork would work as proof of Florida residency (you can get a discount on annual passes if you're a Florida resident) but we thought it was worth a shot. Five of us had no problem at all but the gent serving Hope did question that it was a P.O. box address on her paperwork. For some reason mine wasn't the same address, so he just asked to use that address instead. We could have waited until after Traditions; after which we'd have our Disney I.Ds and be able to get a proof of residency letter from housing (which is definitely valid) but we were too excited to not give it a go. I'd just say, it's not guaranteed your Citi Bank card paperwork will suffice in the eyes of Universal but feel free to try your luck... it worked for us!
I decided to treat myself to the Premier pass that was a little more pricey than the preferred at a total of $520 after tax. However, considering how often I visited Universal on my last program and the extra benefits it includes such as free Express Pass in the afternoon, extra discount on food and merch plus an included ticket to Horror Nights, I justified it to myself. Additionally, we bought our passes during a promotion that gave us 15 months for the same price as 12! We just had to mention 'the Coca-Cola promotion' when purchasing our passes.
Both parks were full to the brim! Spring break is now in full swing and most rides had a wait time exceeding 60 minutes. The King Kong: Skull Island attraction was at 120 minutes and it was shoulder to shoulder walking through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! As we knew we had the whole year to enjoy the attractions, we mostly just wondered around taking in the atmosphere. We did manage to get a Butterbeer from the Hog's Head in Hogsmede and avoid the long queues out on the carts.
Once we made it from Islands of Adventure (the second park) over to Universal Studios (the main park), it was slightly quieter but not by much. It was after 4pm by that time and we got to use the Express Pass on E.T. and Men in Black: Alien Attack. I was more than happy with my decision as we passed the rest of the queue! After a walk around Diagon Alley, we were all pretty hungry. As such, we then moseyed on out of the park and drove over to Olive Garden for some good old American Italian cuisine. It was today in which I felt like I was already settled and at home. It might be because I'm a returner but even Hope (who's new to the program) felt a similar way. 'This is our life now,' as we uttered today.
Today was one of those days where none of us were expecting a lot to happen and here we are now all short of a few hundred dollars having paid out for our Universal Annual Passes, pleasantly stuffed and worn out! Lord knows I'll be sleeping like a baby tonight. A good thing too as I have my Disney Traditions class tomorrow!
Until next time... Have a magical day!
Hello and good morning... It's currently 4.15am and I'm writing this at a time when I'm waiting for an emergency maintenance guy/or gal to save us from the closet that is currently filling with water, dripping through from the ceiling! Day two in housing and our upstairs neighbours have welcomed us with a flooded closet. Thanks guys!
I suspect their bath, sink or (worst case scenario) toilet has overflown and is dripping through rather rapidly via the lighting fixture in our ceiling. This comes literally the day after our housing presentation where we were informed on how to get an emergency call-out when necessary. Good thing we did!
I called security about twenty minutes ago (as we were told to do) and I'm interested to see how quickly maintenance respond. I feel like they're seeing to the apartment upstairs as the dripping is starting to slow. It's a good thing I heard the sound of it dripping! I initially thought my roommate had left the shower running or something.
After waking up my roommate in an effort to save everything from the floor, I told him to go back to bed as he needs to be up at 6am for his induction whilst I don't have a class until 1pm. Plus, I'm still jet-lagged anyway so 4am here is 9am back home. Lucky for me there wasn't all that much on the floor. A couple pairs of shoes have gotten wet and the left-handed sleeves of my shirts are wet. Apart from that though, it hasn't caused any damage. My first fear was that it had managed to wet the electronics in my locker but luckily they too were all good. However, I may very well get renters insurance sooner rather than later after this experience. I don't know what I'd do had my electronics been damaged. Certainly no vlogs for a while that's for sure!
Yesterday was such a fun day! My arrival group and I all met in the morning for our 9am immigration meeting. The meeting itself was more of a talk and a cautionary tale of how not to get kicked out of the United States whilst on the program. It wasn't all that long and we had an hour or two before our housing talk at 11am. As we were at The Commons, we decided to walk over the road to the premium outlets to kill time. Not a lot was open but some of us managed to pick-up a Starbucks and then browse the discounted Disney Parks store Character Warehouse! They have some amazing deals in there and I will certainly be going back once I have my I.D. for that extra 10% discount.
The housing meeting was actually great! Similar to the immigration talk, it was more about making everyone aware of what you can and can't do whilst living in housing. Brittney and Randev who were running the class were super energetic and whilst what they were talking about wasn't always super fun, they held the room well and got us through it in an hour. I recall the meeting being a lot longer and a lot less interesting last time.
One thing that's changed since my last program; all the staff at the front-desks are now Disney cast members. There were often times when the people working at the front desks weren't all that concerned with your concerns. It's great to know that Disney took this step to improve our housing service experience as those that I have spoken to so far embody the brand and look to help in any way they can.
After the housing meeting concluded, the entirety of the UK arrival group and a representative or two from Mexico and Norway, walked to Panera for some lunch. I had the cream of chicken and wild rice bread bowl soup and I may go as far to say it was almost better than my grandparents' home made soup.
The group then split into two. Some people wanted to try out the free food at the Vista Way pool party... but turns out they didn't have much luck as they'd been told the wrong time. By the time they got there, they'd unfortunately already missed the event. I drove the rest of us to Disney Springs where we pottered about, popped into the Coca-Cola store and also treated ourselves to a Sprinkles cupcake (my second one in three days... oops).
After a few hours in the afternoon to chill out, eat dinner and such, we all reconvened at the Chatham bus stop. Two people in our arrival group have never been to Walt Disney World before or even America! The rest of us thought it only right we take them to watch Wishes from the Grand Floridian dock! We took the B bus to the Polynesian where we took a quick stroll up to the monorail and over to the Grand Flo. Once there, I took everyone on a guided tour of the lobby whilst we listened to the live band jazzing out the Disney classics. This was shortly followed by cocktails at Mizner's (sp?). Hope and I had 'The Grand' cocktail (it was lovely) and we enjoyed the moment of feeling super classy.
We made it out just in time to watch the fireworks from the dock. It was such a lovely moment for us all to be there as an arrival group and enjoying our first sprinkle of Disney magic. We've learnt that our arrival group doesn't mind a cocktail or two... so we walked back to the Polynesian for cocktails at the Ohana bar. I had the Magical Star cocktail (classic Adam), a few people had a cocktail that came in a hollowed out pineapple called the Lapu Lapu and some ordered pulled pork nachos. Yes, they are as amazing as they sound.
We left the Poly at 11pm in a bid to not take seats away from those cast members closing Magic Kingdom at midnight. All-in-all, it was yesterday evening that I settled right down and finally felt at home. Another Disney Program Alumni (Hollie) and I both agreed that it's trips to Disney Springs and the Resorts that really make you feel at home on the program.
Here's hoping that maintenance get here soon. I'm pretty tired and have somewhat of a sore head from my two rather strong cocktails last night. I haven't really eaten since lunch yesterday either as I took my time making dinner last night and had to leave it in the fridge to make it to the bus on time. Say no more! They've arrived as I'm typing this in-fact. Pretty good when you consider that I called them at 4am! At least I'll get to sleep soon... YAY!
Until next time... Have a magical day!
I'M IN FLORIDA! Woo! All the waiting and I'm finally here! I'm currently sat in my Chatham Square, 3 bedroom, 6 person apartment enjoying a banana, cup of tea and brown cinnamon pop tart (when in Rome!) after my first night in housing. I have 5 flat-mates from various parts of the world. Our apartment of United Nations represents the UK (me), Italy, Norway, Morocco and France. So far everyone seems friendly, the apartment's clean, newly refurbished, with new beds. As far as housing goes, I'm more than happy!
The past couple of days have been non-stop! So whilst I'm tired I've also had a blast! Today's Tuesday and is the first day in which I have training and inductions. Yesterday I arrived at Chatham at 8:45am (45 minutes earlier than I was supposed to... oops). The security guard had obviously seen a few new arrivals that morning as his spiel was down to a tee.
On Sunday (the day before yesterday) I used a left-over complimentary ticket to go to Epcot for the morning. I had an absolute blast riding all my favourite nostalgia type rides! The morning was then followed by an afternoon at Disney Springs. A vlog of that day will be up on my main YouTube channel on Sunday this week. And speaking of my main channel, you can check out the vlog of me moving to Florida below!
Over the past few days I've been pretty calm but I have experienced waves of anxiety. Whilst in Epcot on Sunday, I stopped by the Rose and Crown to say 'hi' to the manager (Greta) and coordinator (Karen) I know. Seeing both of them settled a lot of my nerves as both of them gave be the most wonderful 'welcome home!' I was probably most nervous about yesterday. I was utterly terrified about getting placed in the worst case scenario of a 2 bedroom 6 person apartment. Whilst some people I've spoken to in that set-up say it's not all that bad... I was really hoping for just double occupancy over triple occupancy.
Check-in was an absolute breeze! Jarrett (I think) was checking me in and was so welcoming and helpful. We had a good laugh over the course of my check-in process which really wasn't all that complicated. He just needed to see my passport, my on-boarding confirmation (the barcode sheet) and that was it. He gave me my program guide which had my room key and apartment details attached and away I went! The day was filled by a trip to the bank to re-open my Partners bank Account, a Walmart trip that featured two shopping carts worth, dinner with Ashley, Hope and their roommate Brenda (girls from my arrival group) at Red Lobster (YUM) and an evening shop at Publix for some food essentials.
A vlog of yesterday will be up at some point, I just need to find the time to edit and upload it. After that, I'm planning to have a video up every week on my main channel of fun in the parks on my days off and a bi-weekly video on my Adam Does Disney channel that hopes to be informative for those of you looking at doing the program.
I've gotta go get ready for my Immigration Overview at 9am which will be closely followed by the Housing Induction at 11am. Both of which are over at the Commons Clubhouse so Hope, Ashley and I are meeting outside security shortly to walk over.
Until next time... Have a magical day!
AHH! I'm currently at Gatwick Airport preparing for my flight! Now as today is a special occasion, I've treated myself to the No.1 Lounge at Gatwick's South Terminal. For £28.00 I've been treated like a rock star with free unlimited food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages! When walking through the terminal to the lounge, I was counting my lucky stars that I had treated myself as the airport is HEAVING today! There seems to be a lot of families traveling... I suspect taking Easter breaks ahead of the actual school holidays.
So, was it worth the price? As far as I can see definitely! I feel like I'm in a lovely calm and comfortable environment where everything I could need is at my disposal. The staff are super friendly and the greeter Prisca was kind enough to find me a window seat. When I first walked in, I could tell that the lounge was fully booked. There was very little in the way of spare seats. I was initially seated opposite the bar which was busier than I would've preferred. I asked Prisca if there was any window seats available and whilst there wasn't at the time, she kept an eye out and was straight over to take me over once there was. Check out this view!
As suspected, my luggage was WAY overweight! Norwegian are a little stingy with there luggage allowance of 20kg compared to other airlines' 23kg. However, it's not normally I'd be 11 kilograms overweight! Whoops....
The gentleman checking me in was kind enough to knock a kilogram or two off the overweight fee. He was a little confused by my visa though. It's fair to say that they don't get many Q-1 visas so I can't say I'm surprised. Unlike other visas where there's a start date, Q-1's just have 'valid 10 days prior to employment start date.' As the expiration says April 2018, when I was saying "I start on the 13th, on Monday" I feel like he heard 13th of April. After him looking confused and checking with a colleague whether I could travel (which I assured him I could as I'm only traveling two days prior) we had a little laugh about it. My laugh was somewhat nervous with all that's going on with Trump's travel ban and people being prevented for flying for any reason under the sun.
In any case, it's all sorted now. I'm going to leave the lounge in about ten minutes and buy some bits for the flight. Bottle of water, some nibbles perhaps? Not long at all until I'm living it up in DISNEY WORLD!!!! AHHH!!!
Have a magical day!
0 Days to Go!
Tomorrow begins the adventure! Six months of counting down, countless hours of re-evaluating my life and watching Disney vlogs, all boil down to tomorrow. The true test of my blogging and vlogging abilities will be tested over the next 12 months.
So as I'm not sure when exactly I'll be next checking-in with you, thank you to you for reading my blog thus far! This blog has kept me somewhat sane through the wait and know I will of course do my best to keep it alive for those of you interested in following my adventure.
I haven't been this excited in a long time and I'm utterly thrilled that I'm able to get this amazing opportunity again. My one wish over the next year is to not take any moment for granted. I know all to well that the year will ultimately come to an end. So, to future Adam if you're reading... Live every moment to the fullest and bring back some killer merch!
Just 19 hours now until I take off! Both of my suitcases are overweight so I'm ready to pay a little extra when checking-in but other than that I'm pretty happy that I'm all set to go!
Have a magical day!
1 Day to Go!
So this is happening. In just three days I get to move back home to the house of mouse and I'm utterly buzzing!
Last night was very exciting as I received my final email from Disney in preparation for my arrival on the program. The email contained my arrival itinerary and confirmed the housing complex I'll be living in! Not the apartment type however... that's a surprise for check-in I guess.
I'm going to be living in CHATHAM SQUARE! Whilst Patterson Court and The Commons were my first choices, I am pleased to be in Chatham. My one true wish was to be near Publix and in one of those three complexes. I would have been very disappointed to have been placed in Vista Way which was what I was fearing in the lead-up to getting my confirmation. Whilst it may be very different these days, my opinion on Vista is based on what I experienced on my last program and is all I'm going off. I know many people that love living there so don't take my word for it.
It's also comforting that I have a couple of people I know living in Chatham too! From what I can tell, everyone on the program is pretty evenly dispersed amongst the complexes. Doing some digging into the types of apartments and if my memory serves me correctly; there tends to be more apartments built for larger groups of people (e.g. 3 bedroom 6 people or 4 bedroom 8 people). My bet is that I'm going to end up in a 3 bedroom 6 person apartment. I'm perfectly fine with this as I enjoyed it last time and had no problems living with 5 other people in Patterson.
If I could have my ultimate wish? I'd love a one bedroom two person apartment. It's not that I hate people but rather that with a two person apartment, there's more opportunity to make the apartment your home. The more people you're sharing with, the more effort everyone has to make to ensure everyone feels at home. I don't want to necessarily buy loads of homely touches if it's not going to fit other people's tastes/preferences. We shall see what happens on check-in day!
Have a magical day!
3 Days to Go!
LESS THAN A WEEK! Sweet baby Jesus... just six days stand between me and the gorgeous Florida sun!
Today is Sunday and on Friday I had my last day at work. I'm really going to miss working there. Everyone gelled really well, we had many-a-laugh and the job itself was enjoyable! It's up there as one of my favourite jobs and I sure hope I get to work with them again in the future. They were kind enough to MAKE me an engraved wooden card and include some dollars for my Disney adventure. Friday night we all went for dinner at Pizza Express (ooh la la) and then for drinks at a pub in town. The evening hung in the balance of becoming a night out on the town but I think we all realised how old we are and were all home by midnight. If the folks from work are reading, thank you for an amazing time and all the best for the next year without me. I sure hope you find someone to make terrible puns at every opportunity.
Over the next week I have a Cinderella Castle Lego set to finish, friends to say goodbye to, a website to update, a video or two to film and just the finishing touches to my packing. I'm actually pretty calm considering how soon it is until I'm back in the place I consider home.
I'm pleased to say that I have kicked my Disney vlog addiction (mostly due the fact I've ran out of new ones to watch) and have instead focussed my attention on planning some ideas for my YouTube channels over the next year. My current plan is to keep my main channel for daily vlogs and videos of my experiences and keep my Adam Does Disney channel for more informative videos about the CRP. So if you're not already subscribed to both channels, be sure that you are to keep up with all my happenings.
Yesterday I spent the day reworking my main channel's branding. I'm super excited to launch the new look with my first vlog in Florida! It's very 50s and nothing like I've done before so I really hope those of you watching like it. Speaking of my main channel, I used to do this thing where I invited people watching my videos to be at the start of them! I'm thinking of bringing it back, so if you'd like to appear at the start of one my main channel videos, film yourself or you and friends saying 'hello you lovely lot.' Be sure to film it landscape and think about audio and lighting when doing so. Once you've filmed your clip, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, if the file's too big, use http://wetransfer.com.
I still can't believe how quickly the time has gone! Waiting for my first program was like pulling teeth. Though mind you, It took me 13 months from application to arriving on my program first time round. As a returner, I expressed my interest in September, knew that I was going back by November and will be there next week! Just 6 months (ish) in comparison. Oh how I would've loved a 6 month turn around in 2013.
My tips for the waiting period include:
Most of the anxiety I had a week ago has since dissipated thanks to some chats when my bestie Pat, who only recently completed her second program. It was nice to hear from someone who's been in my position what lies ahead, what my difficulties may be and what my favourite parts will be. I'm ready for my departure now and I can't wait to get into training, meet my new colleagues and spend time with old friends.
Have a magical day!
6 Days to Go!