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A happily married mother of two under twos and cat slave to two demanding kitties.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Last days of work....

My last couple of weeks of work have passed really quickly. It didn't feel like it at the time but looking back on it right now, it went fast. It was really quiet so I ended up being cut from alot of my last "normal" shifts. On my last PM shift, I was given an ADO so I never stood watching Illuminations while thinking "this is my last Illuminations". I wasn't too bothered to miss it though.

On my last days off, Rene and Iselin and I went round MK collecting autographs. I filled up most of my autograph book. We managed to get Chip, Dale, Pinocchio, Donald Duck, Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Princess Aurora, Cinderella, Belle, Pooh, Tigger, Stitch, Buzz Lightyear, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Seventeen in one day is pretty good going!

Time card started on the 19th. Time card is the last week. They have already sorted out our paychecks at this point so we have to do the set hours. Even if we finish two hours before we're scheduled to leave.

Our throwout on Tuesday was alot of fun! It was a huge throwout. Andy, Rhys, Lauren N, Vikki and I all got our stuff together round at mine and Vikki's apartment. I had no idea I had so much crap to throwout! I had a ton of stuff and added to everyone elses, we had a huge mound of things! Throwouts are fantastic! Everyone gets together and you hold up each item and whoever yells "SHOTGUN!" first gets it! I can't believe we managed to fit so many people in our little apartment. As you can see by the pictures, we managed it! I was quite satisfied that I managed to get rid of everything I wanted to get rid of, including ALL the books.

On Wednesday was my last day of work. Vikki and I exchanged cameras and spent the whole shift taking photos of...well, pretty much everything. I have photos of me filling drinks, using the POS, serving a table, even scraping food at potwash! Everything had such a finality to it! I was pretty jazzed because I knew it was my very last time getting drinks or straws or salt or anything for tables! I broke every rule I could think of. I deliberately took out glasses WITHOUT a tray, I drank the chocolate milk, I didn't spiel anything to any table and I spent more time hanging out at podium than talking to my guests. It was great! I signed the back of the portraits that are hanging behind the bar so if you're ever there, look out for my signature!

That evening, Vikki and I walked back to our apartment and as we passed the lake, we grabbed our shoes off and tossed them in! I was so happy to get rid of them! Evil little buggers! We had to check all around us first to make sure security wasn't watching us as we could still get termed at that point.

In the evening, we had our last meal at Tu Tu Tangos. It was a nice meal and afterwards in the carpark, everyone posed for photos and hugged each other. I felt terrible because I was the only one who didn't seem to be able to cry. I felt sad but not crying sad. Everyone was saying the nicest things and I couldn't even produce one little tear! I'm not a cryer in public generally, I like to wait for privacy but it felt really bad that I couldn't get upset and everyone decided I must be dead inside.

The following day I spent getting prepared to leave. I picked up my last paycheck and packed my bags. I have two cases and they are ridiculously heavy! I can't believe how much stuff I've acquired over the last year and there isn't anything that I don't want to keep! I'm not the most girly girl in the world, in fact, I'm a bit of a tomboy. So can anyone explain to me how I have ended up with EIGHT pairs of shoes?! I don't even have lots of books (for a change). I'm taking home only two books! That's really good going for me! Yet all my stuff together fills two whole cases! Weird! The only time I felt anything approaching sad was when I got into the apartment after visiting the post office and noticed that Vikki had been and gone, taking all her stuff with her. I was alone in an empty apartment and that felt a bit sad.

In the evening, I met up with my Norweigan friends, Rene, Iselin and Siri and we went to MK to see my last Wishes. I stood there in the street holding hands with Izzy and Siri and finally, I cried! When the song at the end came on, my lower lip was trembling and I had to bite it to try and keep the tears back. After Wishes, we sat and watched Spectromagic. Rene and Izzy disappeared for a few minutes and came back with a light up rose for me! That was it, the floodgates opened and I was there sobbing while everyone hugged me! There was no way I could pretend I had "something in my eye" either as I was in complete floods! I intend to keep that rose forever. I will throw out clothes to fit it in my case!

We all came back to the apartment and had a group hug while listening to "Feels Like Home". I cried, Rene cried and so did Izzy! It was a big crying fest! I was just glad that I could cry, I was beginning to believe I really WAS dead inside. Someone once told me, if you can't cry over your year here, it's a wasted year.

Siri and Iselin went down to the car and I shared a special hug with Rene. He told me I was the only UK girl he's ever loved, something I'm never going to forget! I will miss him so much. He's been one of my best friends out here and he is the greatest guy I have ever had the priviledge to call a friend. I actually feel sorry for people who don't know him, you have no idea what you're missing!

This morning I moved over to the hotel Clarion on International Drive. I was very lucky as they let me check in at 10am, instead of 4pm. The first thing I did was take EVERYTHING out of my cases and spread it over the bed. Then I picked out anything I could possibly get rid of. Annoyingly, it's mainly clothes which don't weigh much. I don't get what exactly is making the cases so heavy. It couldn't possibly be the 300 odd pens I pinched from work! I'll repack them again tonight and if they are still too heavy, I'll....erm...freak? Nah, I'll pay excess baggage. No biggie. The trouble with that is you have to pay it on a card and I don't have one I can use. I've closed my American account, my English account hasn't got enough in it to cover the costs and my credit card is having issues. I have cash but apparantly, cash isn't good enough! Well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

So, here I am in the hotel for the next few days. I have passes for Aquatica, Universal, Islands of Adventure and Seaworld, not to mention all the delights I-Drive has to offer. I also have a pass for the Disney parks so I'm spoilt for choice. I'm not sure I'll do Disney again. I want my last night to be the special one I shared with Rene, Izzy and Siri. All three of us are meeting up on Sunday to do Seaworld together so I've only got two days in which to play as I fly on Tuesday. Right now I'm going to pack my cases again and then grab some Doritos, dip and have a night in watching a movie. I'm thinking Aquatica tomorrow but it depends on the weather. We'll see....

Until next time, this is a very tired Tori signing off!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Cruises, Peter Pan and painful shoes

Ouch! I'm in pain right now! I've just been "breaking in" my new "Disney Look" work shoes. I bought them nearly a month ago but the stupid Shoes For Crews show place sent me the wrong ones. My friend, Emma, exchanged them for me while I was on the cruise (thank you, Em!) so today I had the fun job of trying to make them feel comfortable. I wore them to Downtown Disney and they were on my feet for about two hours. By the end I was walking with a limp. It's not so bad at the front of the shoe, it's the back. I've rubbed my heels raw, especially as I refused to "let the shoes win" by changing out of them. I have to wear them for work so I've got to get used to the little buggers. Besides, you can't return shoes once they are filled with your blood! That's frowned upon. At least I can still retain my sense of humour about them. I bet after tomorrow's twelve hour shift I won't be so cheerful! New shoes for the sake of ten more days....Sometimes I really hate Disney and it's stupid inane rules! My Nan always used to say putting soap on the heel of the shoe softens the leather. I'm not sure if this is true but I've done it anyway. My friend, Kev also suggested sticking them in the tumbledryer so I've tried that too. I even went online and there's an actual serious suggestion of running them over with a truck. I'm not going to try that but the little buggers deserve it!

I didn't mean to start this entry with such a grumble but as my feet are screaming right now, it was the first thing that came out.

Right, so the last time I blogged was graduation. Graduation was so much fun! Straight after graduation was our arrival groups "eleven month anniversary". Unfortunately, I was foodrunning that day so I was the last one to join the group. Nicola had done a little tea for everyone. There were only leftovers remaining when I arrived but they'd put aside a plate for me. It was more important that all of us were there to celebrate our last anniversary (we're all done by our year anniversary). Lauren P and Rhys finish before the rest of us because they are on someone else's visa. Lauren P and I got chatting and she said how she'd like to do a cruise. I had some holiday time to take so we booked another cruise! Then I had nine days off in a row.

I spent my days off well. On the 3rd July, I met up with Louisa and we went round MK. They were doing the Independance Day fireworks on both the 3rd and 4th of July so we went to see those. We spent the whole day in the parks. Louisa is alot of fun to hang out with! In celebration of the day, we both bought headgear. I had a Peter Pan hat while Louisa had some 4th July Mickey ears. The park was actually quite quiet during the day. I guess people assumed it would be busy and stayed away (until around 7pm when they came in for the fireworks...) We took advantage of the short lines and rode all the attractions we wanted to. We even went on the Peter Pan ride as we got fastpasses for it. We met Peter Pan (yay!) and I got a photo which will be my Facebook profile picture for a while!

I've never really explained my Peter Pan fixation. People normally just take it as one of those weird quirks. Peter Pan, to me, is the spirit of youth. He's arrogant and innocent and cocky. He has no responsibilities and his world is restricted only by what he imagines. Plus he can fly. That would be really cool. The idea of never having to grow up appeals to me. Staying young at heart is important. Living without fun is what makes you old! That's why he appeals to me so much! Plus, he wears my favourite colour which is not a bad thing. The original story is amazing and I can't wait to tell that story to Izzy when she's a little older. Disney made Peter a little brash and harsh but the live action one was done brilliantly. He's just a great character.

Louisa and I stayed in the park for the Independance Day fireworks. They were brilliant! At one point they were all around us and they were red, white and blue. When they exploded they were stars! The finale was truly breath taking! I felt a little weird to be British and celebrating a time when we got our arses kicked in a war but at that time I wasn't even alive. I believe a country SHOULD have the chance to decide it's own governments and ideals. If they wish to be independant, they should be. The park was really crowded after the fireworks and it took us ages to get home.

I didn't work Independance Day. I'd booked it off because it was earmarked as the day "I was most likely to be termed". I tend to be sarcastic and sometimes I can come out with things BEFORE I've had the chance to think "should I really have said that?" My mum has the same affliction and more than once I've said things that I really shouldn't have done. We were warned that the Americans like to visit the UK pavillion on Independance Day and gloat about how they beat the English (because apparantly they all fought in a war 200 odd years ago!) I didn't trust the things I might have said. I've had one guest once say how "you'd be speaking German if it wasn't for us winning the second world war" and I was extremely frosty to him. My grandad fought in that war and just because the Americans joined in doesn't mean they swayed it. Besides, they only joined because the attack on Pearl Harbour, they were quite happy to ignore it 'til then. Herbert Hoover did absolutely nothing until......I'm not getting into this. Suffice it to say, I'm glad I was off!

The day after Independance Day was the day of the cruise. I can't believe I've done the cruise twice in less that a month! Still, it was worth it! I had a great time. I went with Lauren Parkin which was fun because she's up for anything. On Nassau day, we did the segway tour. It was brilliant. It was a two hour journey through the forests of Nassau. The ground was uneven and rocky and full of tree roots and hills but it was better like that. I was really nervous and tentative at first but by the end I was happily driving without hands!



If I ever win the lottery, I'm buying a Segway!

Castaway Cay day was also alot of fun. We spent the day just relaxing on the island. Lauren sunbathed while I "shadebathed". I don't trust the sun and I avoid sitting in it as much as possible. On the island we met Jack Sparrow. He was brilliant! He had the voice and the mannerisms and everything! I was wearing a Tinkerbell T-shirt and he made me cover it. I explained that I didn't really like Tinkerbell, I prefer Peter Pan and he got all offended! There's a picture of me, Lauren and Jack and he's shoving me out of the photo! He was great.

That night was Pirate Night and everyone dressed up. Lauren was a pirate, complete with hook and hat. I was Peter Pan! I know he's not technically a pirate but someone has to fight them, right? It was so much fun running around the ship as Peter Pan. I had people coming over and asking for autographs and two people took photos of me (no doubt those photos will end up online titled "saddo on the Disney Wonder") We also met Jack Sparrow again and he remembered us. He told me to "fly off, Peter Pan and don't come back!" I was laughing so hard I could barely stand!

We saw alot of characters round the ship and while waiting in line for Mickey, I spied the real Peter on the deck above. I practically flew up the stairs. Peter Pan loved my costume and I got a special Peter hug! We saw Peter on the last night too and he signed my new Peter Pan bag that Lauren bought for me.

I would have thought the first cruise would have spoiled the experience a little but it was just as fun the second time. We did different stuff, including a "pamper night" in the Vista Spa. That was weird. It included a facial, back massage, head massage, foot and ankle rub, champagne and strawberries. I don't do the girl thing well and while we lay there being massaged, all I could think of was how much trust we were placing in the therapists. If they had chosen, they could have stabbed us and we wouldn't even have seen it coming! I'm pretty sure that's NOT what you're meant to think during a massage. I actually found myself grower tenser and preparing to fight. I don't think I'm destined for the lady of leisure life....

Now I'm back from the cruise and I only have twelve days left until I finish at work. I'm actually a little nervous. I worry about getting termed (fired). I've come close to it before for the silliest things. Disney refunds your flight at the end of your contract so if they can term me first, they'll save themselves alot of money. I've had dreams where I wake up convinced I've been termed for some small dumb thing or another. I don't know where this fear has come from as I know I'm good with my tables. The positive guest comments attest to that. I can't be "got" on Disney Look with my new shoes (read evil devil shoes!) and I'm always over an hour early for work everyday so lateness shouldn't be a problem. I never call in sick unless I'm actually sick so I'm okay there.... Yet it's something I worry about. I'll be glad when this fortnight is over.

People are leaving in droves now. Kevin left today and I was surprised at how much I cared. Kevin is arrogant and obnoxious and no one can push my buttons the way he can and yet I find I'm actually going to miss the git! He's been a very good friend out here and I always kind of took it for granted that I could pop across to his for a night of Wii or a movie. I missed all of his timecard week as I was on the cruise so his leaving crept up on me really suddenly. I wish he'd been in my arrival group but he was the one before. He's a great guy and has more energy than Tigger on prozac, things will seem weird without him.

Right, you're up to date again now. I've got a normal week of shifts and then I start something called "timecard". This is your last week and you're not allowed to get guests on the Dining Plan or that you have to add a gratuity to because you've already got your final paycheck and grat comes up in that. It also means you must do the hours set. Normally we're scheduled until a set time but if you finish earlier or later it doesn't matter. On an AM shift you're normally scheduled until 5.30pm but the latest you're done is around 4.30pm. On timecard, you have to stay until your time. That means sitting by the clock in machine with a book. Sounds okay to me!

In my last week I have our throwout to look forward to (that should be the 21st) and then last meal. Then I'm done with Disney and I have a few days on International Drive to relax before I'm "leaving on a jet plane". I just hope I make it through the next fortnight....

Friday, 26 June 2009

I've truly earned my ears!!!!

I am now a Disney International Program graduate!!!! We all graduated yesterday and it was brilliant! I cannot believe our entire arrival group has lasted out the year, no terminations, no self terming....

Vikki, Lauren N, Nicola and I spent the night at The Swan which is a really nice resort. We were upgraded to a room offering a view of the Tower of Terror. We all had a fairly early night (after a meal at Garden Grove) as I made everyone get up at 5am the following morning. With four girls and only one bathroom, I knew we'd need all the time we could get. Turns out I was the only one up and about though, the rest pulled themselves out of bed about an hour later.

Once we were all dressed, we went down to the lobby and took photos by the fountain. Then we caught a taxi over to the Coranado Springs where our graduation was being held. We arrived twenty minutes early but most people were there so we all mingled and took photos. I must be in at least 20 different peoples pictures. At 8am, they let us into the ballroom. It looked amazing. There were lots of round tables all set up with balloons and graduation hats and there was a full buffet breakfast. Everyone was going round taking photos with everyone else and to be honest, I barely ate a thing as there was so much else going on. Over in one corner were about 15 caricature artists and everyone got a caricature for free. Mine was okay; the artist drew me as Peter Pan so I was pretty happy but some of the pictures were awful. It was like the artists decided to choose the thing you were most self conscious about and accentuate it.

Over on the other side of the room was Mickey and Minnie. For the first time, you had to have a photo with them seperately which was a bit of a bummer. I queued for Mickey but I'm not a big Minnie fan so I didn't bother with her. Mickey was wearing green too so it was a pretty "green" picture!

We were all given our graduation ears which I wore for the rest of the day. Our arrival group managed to get a photo together which was important as I'm really proud that we've all finished our year. So many times I expected one of us to leave. Poor Rhys was very homesick at the beginning, twice I've come close to being termed, Pippa's grandfather died and Nic's had a major operation...It's quite an achievement that we're all still here. All the other arrival groups are missing at least two people. Some are down 50% and I know of one that had only one remaining person at the end!

We were given a speech by someone but to be honest, I really wasn't listening. I was too busy having pictures and giving hugs. Alot of people were graduating at the same time so there were alot of friends to congratulate. There were about 25 UK's and I also had to congratulate my Norweigan mates (particularly Rene, Iselin, Siri and Vader!) and a few Mexicans, Germans and Canadians that we have come to know. Our leaders were there, including Rachid who was reassigned a while ago. I was very happy he came!

As the graduation was winding down, I went back to my table and did a quick change. I put my blue dress over my head and shimmied out of the green right there in the hall. It's bizarre that there were 500 people and no one saw me do it. When people came back to the table, there were some confused looks about how I was wearing an entirely different dress! I wasn't being a diva though, there was just no way I was wearing two and a half inch heels round the park! Plus, I didn't want my green dress ruined. I love that dress!

We all stole the balloons from our table and then headed off into the parks. I went to MK with Vijay, Vikki, Nic, both Laurens, Rhys and Andy. We stole the balloons from our table and had one each. I got the blue green one which was very apt with the dress change! It's tradition after graduation to go round the parks all dressed up and wearing our graduation ears. We had the obligatory photo taken at the castle and then Vijay and Vikki went home. Vijay had work and Vikki was hot. The rest of us took alot of photos and then watched the parade. We also headed over to Toontown where we all got our graduation ears embroided with our name (something Disney lets us do for free!) Andy had had the foresight to make reservations so we had lunch at Tony's, the Italian restaurant on Main Street. I actually really like that restaurant, I'd never been before.

As it was fairly hot, we decided to switch parks and enjoy the air conditioned bus ride over to Hollywood Studios. Once there we did Tower of Terror and the Rock 'n' Rollercoaster. I had a slight dress situation in that I nearly ended up flashing on the ride photo but it was okay. We also watched the Beauty and The Beast show.

By this time we were all flagging a little so we took a break at The Dolphin resort for a drink. Then we went back to MK for Wishes. Standing there watching the fireworks just reminded me of standing there at the beginning of this year thinking "wow, I'm a cast member". Now it's nearing the end.

I can't believe it's nearly over. It's been an incredible year. I've laughed and cried, stressed and played. I've floated home on Pixie dust and cried my eyes out in my room while begging to go home. I've enjoyed my time but I miss my family terribly. Every second I'm here is a second I'm missing with my little niece, she's growing up so fast. I've gotten closer to my sister in the time I've been away which is one of the best things to come out of this year and for once I haven't freaked my mum out with news of lightening strikes, hurricanes or spider bites! I've made some really good friends in Rene, David, Stephie, Vikki and Kevin AND I've even managed to go back on the cruise! In a few more weeks it'll be my throw out and I'll be heading out of the Disney bubble for good. In a way, I'm glad as there's only so much cheese you can take but I'll miss the pixie dust. Still, I may be going home and growing up but I truly believe you can still be a kid at heart. I intend to be like Peter Pan and never truly grow up. As long as there is faith, trust and pixie dust, your dreams can come true.....

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Cruising!

It's been a pretty good few days since I last blogged. It would have been excellent except I've been ill for the last three days. Anyway, I left you last on June 8th just before my final AM shift of the week. That went fine and once we were done, Vikki, Nia and I went to the Florida Mall for the evening. I needed some shoes for my graduation dress, Vikki needed a dress and Nia just needed some retail therapy! We spent the whole evening there and I picked out a really nice blue and white dress that I thought would look good on Vikki. It didn't look good, it looked absolutely amazing! She is so pretty anyway but that dress really makes her look beautiful. I am so jealous! Still, I feel a sense of pride that I helped pick it out. Especially as it was the only one in the whole shop and it just happened to be her size!

We went on the cruise this week and it was brilliant. It felt really weird for me though. I never expected to even see the Wonder ever again but I got a huge thrill of excitement when I saw her in Port Canaveral. It was a strange mix of the familiar and unfamiliar. I knew the ship, I knew the procedures, I knew where everything was and the difference between forward and aft but I didn't know what the guests could do and I've never had whole areas of the ship that are off limits before. I can see why people would come on a cruise and decide "wow, I want to work here!" The guests are treated so well. Plus, there is just so much to do! We were busy from the second we came onboard.

Our first night we got onboard at around 1pm and had a buffet lunch at Beach Blanket Buffet (Deck 9, aft). Then we had a quick look round the ship and I said hello to the people who remembered me. We played shuffleboard out on deck 4 and then played the gameshow Mickey Mania. That was followed by the very impressive show, The Golden Mickeys and then dinner in Animators Palate. That is a great restaurant. It starts off in black and white and changes to colour throughout your meal. Even the server uniforms change! I ditched the boys for an hour while they went up to the hot tubs on deck 9 so I could go and say hi to a few friends. I spent an hour in Flounder's Reef Nursery (Deck 5) reminiscing with Neil and Yuri. Neil still tells a certain story about me to the new hires and it's my claim to fame on the Wonder (and the Magic as Neil told them too!) I can't repeat it here but I know for a fact, anyone on that ship knows what I'm talking about. Oh yeah, and Stephen? Say anything and I'll give your class full permission to attack you with Hannah Monatana CD's!

The second day was Kevin's 24th birthday. We docked in Nassau and Captain Henry gave the same lame "we've found Nassau" joke that I've heard a million times. I'd arranged for the cabin to be decorated for Kevin's birthday so we had to get Kevin out of the cabin as fast as we could. The poor guy must have wondered what the rush was!

AJ, Kevin and I had booked a shore excursion out to Blue Lagoon Island where we did the sealion interaction. It was great! We got to stroke, touch, kiss, hug and play with our sealion, Maggie. We even touched her tongue and teeth! I was a bit disappointed that you couldn't swim with them though.

Once we got back to the ship, we'd missed lunch so we ordered room service which is free on the ship!!!! We ordered so much food and relaxed for a while. Then Kevin went off to play Bingo and AJ went upstairs to sun himself on deck. I had a slight headache so I took some Resolve and slept for a while. When we all got together again, we went to see Toy Story The Musical - a new show for me too as it was Hercules when I was onboard. It was a decent enough show but not as impressive as the Golden Mickeys and not as Magical as Disney Dreams (my favourite). After the show, we had dinner at Parrot Cay (Deck 3). Our server brought over a cake for Kevin which was really cool. We finished the day by watching "Up" in 3D which is a really good movie but the beginning was so sad I was in tears!

Our final day we docked at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island. We had another very busy day! We hired bikes in the morning and cycled out to the observation tower on the island (I think that must be new, I don't remember seeing that before!) Then we hired floats and sat back on huge rubber rings in the ocean. The water was so warm it was like bath water. Salty bath water, anyway. Next we did snorkel lagoon which I wasn't too keen on. I love to snorkel but there needs to be something interesting to look at. All they had was sand. I ended up going right to the back to find something to see and then had to kill myself swimming back. Finally, we did the stingray encounter where we snorkelled with huge stingrays. It was okay but nothing spectacular. Still, we managed to get some relax time on the beach too so it was a nice relaxing day.

We missed lunch again so we ordered more roomservice (free?!?! I may have mentionned that before!) Then we went down to see my absolute favourite show, Disney Dreams. It's had a little bit of a makeover since I last saw it which was nice as it wasn't all exactly the same. Still, Peter Pan was still the main lead and the songs were all the same and I sat there watching it with a huge smile on my face.

After the show it was dinner at Tritons followed by a few meet and greets with the characters. Then we watched "Til We Meet Again" which is a short goodbye and then headed for bed.

The day we disembarked the ship, Captain Henry was at the gangplank. He not only remembered me but he knew my name! Even after all this time! I felt quite special!

We got a taxi back to The Commons where I slept for a few hours and went to work. Work was pretty good. I had one five top that were especially lovely. Their meal came to $95 and the tipped me $65 on top! That's the best tip I've ever had and I was really grateful for it.

The last three days I've been in pain. I won't say why as it's not very nice but it's been a nasty three days. I've had to call in sick at work, pretty much one of the first times I've done that! Still, I'm feeling alot better now. So glad it's sorted.

So, once again, you're up to date. I've got a few days of work (and I'm hoping to pick up some mids) and then it's graduation! Guess that will be my next report!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Pixie dust...

Well, here we are well into June. I can now say I go home next month and a huge part of me is so glad. I've missed my family and friends so much. I didn't expect it to be this hard. I've been travelling since I was nineteen so I thought it wouldn't affect me. However, a year is a very long time and little Isobel is a big reason to want to hurry back. I've been gone for a third of her life. She will have grown so much in the time I've been away and I missed it. I have actual nightmares where I wake up in a cold sweat because I've been dreaming that I saw her in the airport and I didn't know her. Or worse, she didn't know me.

Things have been up and down here. I'm in my final two months so things will move quickly from here on out but I've got alot to look forward to. Firstly, I'm going on a cruise! No, not to work, like I'm going to take THAT bullet again? Please! No, I'm going as a guest. It's Kevin's birthday in a few days and we've had the time booked off for a while so we decided, "why not take a cruise?" I've never done it as a guest before. Part of me is excited but another part of me thinks that I'll step back on that ship and think "yikes, I've got to go to work!" I wonder if they'll be anyone on there that remembers me? I've been in touch with a few people but most of them have finished and the one guy I could rely on to still be there is on vacay! Annoying!

Once I get back from the cruise, I only have about a week before graduation. Vikki and I got our invites this morning. I've never graduated anything before. Being British, we don't really go in for graduations except at University. Even at college I ended up crash finishing so I could go travelling. I'm looking forward to everyone getting together to say, "we did it!"

Once graduation's done, it'll be Independance Day, then my last couple of weeks. I plan to work quite a few shifts so I can make a bit of cash for home. Then it'll be all the nitty gritty bits, like returning my costume, giving in my ID, packing, our throwout....Once I leave the Commons, I've got a few days staying on International Drive. I plan to chill out and get my head together. Really enjoy my last few days here in Florida. Then I go home and I get to see my mum and my sister and my little niece and my brother. Beyond that, I haven't really thought about things.

When I said things are up and down here, the down side is David went home yesterday. He wasn't due to leave until two weeks after me but he'd had enough so he self termed. I really miss him. I saw him off yesterday; helped take his cases to the taxi and watched it take him away and I felt really bummed out. It made me question why I'm here. What am I staying for?

I was not my normal self at work. Everyone knew it and I got alot of hugs. During the preshift meeting, I tried to stay invisable. To my horror, our manager Alicia decided to do a morale boosting exercise. She made everyone say why they applied for Disney and why they stay working here. I was mortified because not two hours before I'd been sobbingly asking myself those questions! I tried to hide but she saw me and asked. I told her I wasn't feeling very "Disney" right then and could she maybe ask someone else? She said everyone had to do it and again I asked if she could just make something up and take that because she would not like the answer. Nope, she pushed so I came out with "I came here because I wanted to and I stay because I only have 45 days left to suffer through before you let me go home!" To anyone who knows me, that is a very unusual attitude for me to have but I was NOT in the mood. I felt like Disney was making me jump through hoops and it was the only answer I was capable of giving right then. Alicia told me she was disappointed in my answer but at the time I didn't care. I'd warned her not to push.

Later that day, Alicia came down and asked me to come to her office. I had to do the "walk of shame" through the kitchen and all the way upstairs to her office. To be fair, Alicia was really nice and asked me what was wrong. I explained it was just a bad day and I was sorry if I ruined her little morale booster but I had warned her not to ask me. Everyone has off days, even me. It surprises alot of people because I'm normally relentlessly cheerful but I am human as well. No one can be happy all of the time. It was just a very poorly timed question. Besides, you can't ask a question and then complain if you don't like the answer. If you don't want to know, don't ask!

Today was alot better. I felt better in myself and the black cloud that hovered over my head yesterday seemed to have dispersed. I did magic for my tables and chatted and enjoyed my work. Alicia told me I'd "found my pixie dust again".

So, that's where I am now. I've rediscovered my pixie dust and I can fly again, albeit a little wobbly on the take off. I feel alot more positive and Cynical Tori has taken a vacation for a bit and hopefully won't come back for a while. It's not that this job is any worse than others I've done. In fact, most of the time I enjoy it but occasionally I get down about things. Being so far away from home doesn't help either. Still, I intend to enjoy my last couple of months because I'll be home soon and I bet I'll be wishing I was back here! Human nature, huh?

So, until next time....I'm off. You'll find me flying past the second star to the right and straight on 'til morning!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Guess what? It's raining.

It's been raining solidly for fourteen days now. Twenty six more and we've got ourselves a bible story! Luckily, it's beginning to look like it's coming to an end. I feel really sorry for the people out on holiday at the moment as all it's done is thunderstorm and try and drown them. Still, the bad weather has led to me being offered a few ADO's which I have no problem with taking. Not that I can do much, as the rain makes you want to stay indoors.

There's not really much going on to report except my manager, Nick, really upset me the other day. We were all in preshift going over the stuff we needed to know for the day and Nick asked "who's on lower deck?" As I was assigned 707, I put my hand up and he said "well, that's not good. You freak out doing discounts! How will you handle it if it rains?!?" I was devastated but I laughed along with everyone else. After the meeting, I went into the office to talk to Nick. He wasn't there but Dave Taylor was and asked me what was wrong. To my horror, I broke down in tears! I've always thought I was a good server. I try my hardest and to have Nick put me down and encourage others to laugh at me, really hurt. For the record, I don't "freak out" doing discounts! Discounts are done by management and sometimes they take their sweet time getting to the kitchen to sort it out on the tills. Sometimes they take ages and it keeps my guests waiting so maybe I'm a little terse when they finally get their butts in gear. I took Nick's little comment as "oh, Tori's a bad server" and it hurts to work your arse off at something only to find out people think you're rubbish at it. Dave must have filled Nick in on my feelings because he called out to me next time he saw me. I carried on past but he called me back. I told him to hurry up as I had guests I could be serving badly. He apologised and said he never meant it that way but the damage has been done. Nick thinks I'm a bad server.

The following day, Nick was on duty again and I needed a discount. Still hurting from his comment, I called him over. He asked how things were going and I answered, "well, I'm probably still being terrible but who cares? I'm out of here in eight weeks!" He then told me "you need to get over that! You're an amazing server. I didn't mean it that way." Well, tough. Damage has been done. Now I know his opinion, why should I bother? It's really disheartening to think you're doing well when others think the opposite.

Aside from that, there's really nothing new. Well, nothing I can put on a public blog as I don't think it's official yet. Maybe next time I can mention that.

Today I was off so David and I went over to Hollywood Studios for the Star Wars weekend. They had celebrities from the films and everyone dressed as characters. As I only like the first three (or rather, the last as they're number 4, 5 and 6), I didn't know any of the celebrities except Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca. Still, it was fun to see all the characters and things.

Right, that is really all I have for now. We're nearly into June so things will start getting faster as work will pick up, some of my friends are finishing their contracts, it's Kevin's birthday and then graduation....before we know it, we'll be in July....

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Rain, rain, go away....

Well, I've got ten weeks left to go now before I head on home. I'm looking forward to it but at the same time, I'm gonna miss quite alot of stuff from out here. One big thing is the weather. The sun rarely shines in the UK and when it does, the entire nation strips off and you see bald, aging fat guys with pale white bellies parading around the seafront wearing kiss me quick hats! Hardly a reason to wish good weather on the UK!

Anyway, I think Florida knows I'm gonna miss the weather and it's preparing me for back home already. It has been raining solidly for the last three days. I don't mean the odd shower or a light rain either. Since about 11am this morning, it has been raining and it has not stopped once. Sure, it's got light and then heavy but it has never actually stopped. Five inches of rain have fallen in the last twelve hours. It feels like Hurricane Fay all over again! Apparantly, this weather is due to stick around for at least a week. If you look at the map on the left, you'll see the huge rain cover that's heading for us. The tornado on the right is just to freak out my mum! Hee hee! Still, I called by costuming today and got a full length raincoat so it won't cause too much of a problem.

On my last day off, Rene, Iselin and I went to Seaworld. The new rollercoaster, Manta, has just opened and Rene and Iselin (being mental for rollercoasters) were insistant that we ride it. One of the most unusual features of this rollercoaster is you ride it horizontally. The whole attraction is ridden with you on your belly facing forward, like a hangglider or...erm....Superman. Rene made us ride first at the back because the "G's are more extreme". I've no idea what that means but I can tell you it's horrible. On one of the loops, I could barely catch my breath and developed an instant headache. In the ride photo, my eyes are screwed shut and I'm wincing in pain while my mouth is being shaped by whatever the heck "g's" are! Once we got off, Rene and Iselin instantly rejoined the line, this time to ride at the very front. To be fair, the front is alot better. ALOT better. You feel like your flying and I had a few Peter Pan flying fantasties come to life. I still hated the loop though.

After a day in the park, we decided to do the "Dine with Shamu" experience. For those who don't know, Shamu is the killer whale from Seaworld. The Dine with Shamu experience means you eat at a buffet right on the edge of the whale tank. Shamu swims close enough that you could touch him (though the staff watch you like hawks to make sure you don't). The trainers do a short interaction and Rene was able to take some fantastic pictures with my little camera.

I've been sorting stuff out for home recently. I finish work on 22nd July and I have to leave The Commons by the 24th and my flight isn't until the 28th so I've booked a hotel on International Drive so I can spend my last few days relaxing and chilling out. Disney take thier ID back on the day you finish work so I won't have access to the parks but I still have a year long pass for Seaworld, Aquatica, Universal and Islands of Adventure, not to mention all the various attractions I-Drive has to offer. The biggest draw for me was free Internet access so I can still keep in touch with home and check my flight deets and things. I want to spend a day just going in all the giftshops on I-Ride because my family and I always spend a day doing that when we visit Florida. I don't care if it's scuzzy, I like it!

I still need some presents for home. I've got my sisters' (I got her something amazing! I'm so excited to give it to her! However, she reads this so I can't tell you what it is). I know what I'm getting my brother, I've got half of my mum's and a little something for my bratty little sister (though she's been such a little shit recently, I don't think she deserves it!) I still need mylittle niece's, my manager and my best friend's gifts. I've set aside a "present fund" and it'll be so good to blow the lot on my family and friends.

One other thing I've sorted out with home is a start date for my old job. My old manager has invited me back into my last job and I am really excited about it! I loved that job and I was sorry to leave it. I start back on the 3rd August. My mum is already freaking because that "only gives you three days". Hmmm, maths never has been my mum's best subject. I get home on 29th July, I start work FIVE days later on the 3rd (July has 31 days in it). Yeah, I need to move house but no biggie. It's not in my nature to stand still and relx for long, besides I'll have my mini holiday for that.

Work has been pretty busy recently and my job has not been made any easier because of Brian! I can practically hear you thinking, "who is Brian?"

Brian is normally my friend. We normally get on brilliantly but for some reason he was in a weird mood today. He was in my section alot, freaking out my guests, jumping on the tables and stealing food. Twice he ran in front of me almost causing me to drop a tray as I tried to avoid him. In case you haven't twigged on this yet, Brian is the UK squirrel. He's a little grey squirrel that has been hanging out in the UK for so long, we've named him. I personally love the little guy, he's friendly and cute and normally respects my authority when I tell him to take his french fries and leave. I'm not sure if it was the weather today or what but Brian was NOT giving me respect today. At one point, he was eating a chip on the floor. I went over to shoo him off and he held the chip (french fry) up and it looked like he was giving me the one figered salute! That squirrel is lucky he hasn't been stuffed and mounted the cheek he gave me today!

Well, better go. I'm an AM again tomorrow. Still, at least tomorrow is "my Friday" as we say here. Not that I'll be up to much on my days off. Not unless the rain stops. Oh, quick update. it's taken me 45 minutes to write this (I was watching TV too) and the rain still hasn't stopped.