Monday, September 26, 2005

Well well well! Here we are again but on a much more positive note than the previous post. I did wind up going out on Saturday night to another Canuck’s place and played cards and indoor monkey in the middle and other such mature games.

Today, well, yesterday by the time I actually post this, I went to Universal Studios. I bought an annual pass for about $130 USD which is pretty decent consider a one-day pass costs about $60. So I figure I’ll have my moneys worth out of that by my year end. Again, today I was, “sadly” ;) , confronted with more super short lines.

Comments on Universal: The park def isn’t Disney, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I’ve been to the Disney parks so much that I pretty much know every ride. It was pretty cool being on rides that I have never been on before! In fact, I got in the queue for one attraction expecting a show and it turned out to be a rollercoaster! Universal’s layout is a bit of a mess compared with the careful design of the Magic Kingdom. A huge difference is the playing of recent, top-forty style music. That would never be piped through the Disney parks with the possible exception of a store and, obviously, Pleasure Island (Disney’s club/bar complex). I must say though, Universal has the BEST simulation ride of any park, unless you consider Soarin’ at Epcot a simulation ride. Universal Studios has the Back to the Future Ride. So yes, I’m biased as I LOVE the Back to the Future movies, but it actually is VERY well done even though the video is obviously dated. What’s happening in the video isn’t dated, but you can tell them film is getting well-played and wasn’t recorded digitally or with a new state-of-the-art camera. But yeah, overall, good times at Universal. One thing that messed me up though is the fact that their walkways look exactly like roads with pavement/ashfalt in the middle and sidewalks on the side so I found myself looking both ways before crossing the road! Disney-MGM Studios is like that as well though, but the past two times I have been at the Studios I was walking during a busier time so I didn’t really pay as much attention to the sidewalk-road thing.

Universal and Island of Adventures also have a promotion right now in which you pay about $20.00 and can eat your face off all day at six of their restaurants. Each time you go to the counter you get a main, drink and dessert I believe. Consider you could easily pay $12.00 to get those at just once point it’s a pretty good deal. Also, it’s an EXCEPTIONAL deal if you use it at a take-away counter and then eat it at outdoor seating where the staff can’t see you sharing! However, there were no indulgence on my part as I had no one to share with and could NEVER justify spending that as I was in the park for only five or so hours. I actually ate well yesterday! … Until I got home and one of my Italian housemates offered me some of her dinner. I said, “Sure!” and suddenly I was eating spaghetti in extra-virgin olive oil and butter. It was quite good, but I doubt it’s included as a fixture on the “Road to Healthy Eating” or something.

I slept in this morning (both a good [necessary] and bad [waste of day!] thing) until 10.30. Whoa. I was planning on going to a “Career Insights” by the general manager of the Caribbean Beach Resort and Pop Century Resort but find myself heading to the pool instead. As I spent most of yesterday on my own, I don’t feel like devoting four hours of my day to being by myself – especially since it’s so lovely outside! (Weather in Orlando.) And although the talk is four hours, from the time I leave my flat until I would get back it would be at least four hours. I figure I’ll do this stuff once the weather gets cooler (apparently in a few weeks).

Anyway, off to the pool!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Well, I found a downside about living at the Commons.

I'm bored. I liked it when I worked, for the most part, the same schedule as my friends. Now it's Saturday night and I can hardly find anyone not working. As well, I feel slightly trapped as this is NOT like Edinburgh where I can walk to the main drag in ten minutes. My options are basically walk to the mall across the road/field/parking lot, take a Disney bus to a park (and they will all close about an hour after I get there), or go to Downtown Disney. Yay. In truth, there is nothing wrong with any of these options, but some variety would be nice. And I don't like how it's only 7.20 and the sun is almost set and will be completely down within twenty minutes. I could hop on the I-Ride Trolley but it basically goes down one street and I feel it would be a pretty sketchy street by oneself after dark despite the fact loads of other tourists would be around. And it's Saturday night. Christ. And it's too late to get a volleyball or tennis racket to play anything because the office with them closes at five.

Anyway, I'm just in a bad mood so I'm off to the gym to burn off some sizzling steam. Ssssss.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I'm trying to catch on life, I really am!

I started blogging yesterday... This is what I wrote:

Weeee – blog. My internet connection has been crap the past few days so I have given up on wireless and am now plugged into the wall.

I started work on Thursday and it turns out that it is super easy. I’m on cart duty which basically means I scoop popcorn and pour beer. You know, the important stuff that leads up to being vp of the theme parks division. So far the weirdest question I got is, “Is Canada a state or its own country?” from a British guy. I told him we are part of the commonwealth and actually have Queen Elizabeth on our coins.

I find time flies by when we are outside on the cart. Next week, or this week, I guess, I start training for the food and wine festival. So I get four special days of training, along with four other girls, and get to… actually, I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing. The festival is from September 30 – November 13. I think it’ll be nice, I mean, I do have the entire year to hang out on the cart or in the restaurant! Speaking of restaurant, I haven’t started to memorize the menu at all yet, although I did look at it. A couple of the other newbies ate in the restaurant yesterday and raved about it. I’m not sure if I’m brave enough top drop a substantial amount of cash on one meal, but I could always go at lunch as apparently the prices are quite a bit lower.

Today I, along with one other person, went to Epcot on my day off. Many attractions are closed and I found myself reminiscing about my first trip when I got to ride World of Motion and Horizons, two attractions to longer at Epcot. I really like them and wish they were still here. Spaceship Earth (the ride in the big silver ball that you see on commercials) was a similar type of ride but, in my opinion, the worst of them. And really, Spaceship Earth is pretty darn cool so that’s saying something about the greatness of the other two!

And this is where I stopped blogging because I ran off to visit someone. So continuing, I spent the morning and a chunk of the afternoon at Epcot and then walked to The Beach Resort via the International Gateway. There I took a bus to Downtown Disney and poked about in the shops since I hadn't done that yet. I saw lots of stuff I want. However, I held off as today I am going to Property Control where I can get merchanside at up to 70% off. It's like a seconds store that has damaged or mismatched merchandise. Please, give me a moment to kiss my paycheque good-bye. *Smooch*

Unfortunately, my real plans for today didn't work out. Disney University is offering a seminar about Pirates of the Caribbean "From the Ride to the Movie" or something like that. I thought they wouldn't be open for registration yesterday but forgot that DU is open EVERY day. Thus, when I called this morning, the class was full. I'm disapointed, but maybe I'll go the thing next week. There is stuff almost everyday (barring Sunday) and next Monday is the manager (I think) of two of the resorts giving a career chat. Anyway, I guess I'll actually have time to clean today. Bah. I actually should be outside working on the ol' tan right now...

I fell asleep during the show in the American Pavilion yesterday. Pathetic, as it's actually a really good show.

Last night I went to Pleasure Island with Vanessa and Jordana. We went to the Comedy Warehouse and bopped about in the clubs for a little while. It was good fun, although it wasn't quite busy enough! However, given it was a Sunday night, there were quite a few people around. We're going again tonight as pretty much the entire Commons goes there on Mondays!

So overall, things here are great! I'm not homesick yet, but sometimes I feel a little bored and/or lonely because I still don't know people here that well but it's coming along! I'm also pretty confused a lot about buses (public transit, not our Disney buses) and will be ringing home quite soon for a briefing. Speaking of home, sorry I haven't been in touch with, well, almost anyone. I love it here - I swear it almost NEVER stops!!! It's great! I've turned the TV on about three times since moving here and didn't actually watch it for more than fifteen minutes. TV is a filler between plans.

Ah yes, and I unwisely forgot to post a link to my pics. Apparently people DO look at them as I got a couple of emails about it! Ahh, to be famous. It's such a responsibility. ;)

Pictures: I've been careful not to post throw-in pics or people drinking underage.

Time to clean or go to the gym! Or something. Hmm...


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

In an effort to be a good roommate today I bought cleaner to, duh, clean with. Turns out I bought disenffectant (sp?) instead. My bad. That's what I get for rushing around Wal-Mart so we could catch the bus. We ended up missing it regardless by, no joke, five seconds. By being five seconds late we were forced to lose another hour of our day to the Wal-Mart demon. Sigh!

I'm in the process of uploading pics to my photo album if anyone is interested! I have pics from the new group's throw-in last night but can't post them as throw-in's are top secret except for all parties involved =D

And suddenly yahoo photos is down so there are only twenty new pics. Ah well.

I start work tomorrow! I'm a little nervous as the pavilion seems rather competitive and the managers expect a lot of you. That's fair, but a little intimidating. I have a copy of the restaurant's menu and it's pretty big. Apparently Le Cellier is the second-best rated restaurant in all of Walt Disney World. (For those interested, the top restaurant is Victoria and Alberts in the Grand Floridian Resort and is super, super expensive and smaller than Le Cellier.) I actually probably won't be working in the restaurant for a little while though as the Food and Wine Festival is starting up and myself and four others will be working at that four the sixish weeks it's here. I'm actually looking quite forward to it! And there is no danger of me wanting to try the wine. Working the popcorn stand will probably be more challenging as I know I'm going to want to eat popcorn. Of course, I will not as I am a good employee :)

On Sunday evening I went to the Magic Kingdom with a bunch of folk. It's definitely slow season here as lines are virtually non-existant and I love it! Our first challenge was getting to the park as the buses were being uncooperative. Next, we managed to get seperated at the monorail as half of our group made it on at the TTC and half did not. No worries, we just waited for them :) It didn't matter too much though as we intentionally parted ways once we got in the park as it's hard to get a group of 15+ to agree on what to do. My group was made of all Canucks: Erynn, Vanessa, Dave and Kyle. We hopped off to Tomorrowland. First stop was Buzz Lightyear's Ranger Spin something or other. Secondly was Stitch's Escape, formerly Alien Encounter. It's not really scary anymore as AE used to freak me out. Next up we went on Space Mountain. It was Erynn's first time on and she survived and was a wee bit shaken. I could hear Kyle screaming the whole ride and when I turned around after the ride I realised he was wearing his sunglasses. So what is already a rollercoaster in the dark became a rollercoaster in very-dark dark! So we had to go on it again so the rest of us could try it. Yup, pretty scary. We then did a couple of rides in Fantasyland and Mickey's Toontown Fair then hopped over to Libery Square for the Haunted Mansion. It's quite different then the Paris one, which has been my local Disney park for the past sixteen months. We then bopped along to Frontierland to take in Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. After that we rode the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. Man, the skipper on the Jungle Cruise was soooo funny! (Or should I say punny?) After that we watched Wishes, the new fireworks show. I'm not really big into fireworks, but they matched the music so well and the music was sooo good I swear I almost teared up. Kyle and Vanessa then left us (don't worry, not forever ;) ) and Erynn, Dave and I went to Downtown Disney. It was nice and we ate really good sandwiches mmmmmm.

We were off on Monday. Early afternoon Dave, Erynn and I headed to the Animal Kingdom to be greeted with characters and more short lines! Ahh, I heart it. Around supper time we went to the Studios (I usually call that park "MGM" but if we shorten the name at work we are supposed to call it "The Studios") for the evening. We went on Tower of Terror, another first for Erynn, the Rockin Roller Coaster and saw the new stunt show. However, the highlight is that I FINALLY got to be an extra in a show!!! Ahh, eleven years in the making. I was a star :)

Tuesday was Discovery Day at Epcot. Us and the new UKers got a brief tour of the park and learned about the history of Epcot during the morning. We got our costumes in the afternoon and mine is SEVEN-EIGHT sizes biggers than I would usually take. The pants are soooo high on the waste, it's quite disgusting. And since the waste is big, the width around the thighs is freaking insane. That's for my restaurant costume so luckily I can hide some of it with my apron. My lumberjack (popcorn) costume also has an excessive amount of material around the legs but isn't quite so bad since they are shorts. However, no apron so they may look worse. The shirts are fine. I mean, who WOULDN'T love a plaid shirt?! ;) And we get a hat with the lumberjack costume. And I love it. Seriously, I would wear the hat to the beach if I was allowed!

Anyway, I need to sign off. I have homework. Seriously - I need to prepare for tomorrow and read job duties and stuff. Weee...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Well, I now learned that I should buy an answering machine. After bumming about with the parents for a bit as they leave tomorrow I returned to the Commons unable to find anyone. Well, anyone I know. My phone list really isn't long enough... Anyway, I should be able to find people in about two and a half hours for another throw-out party. Until then... ??? Ugh. I really, really hate sitting around doing nothing. I could go to the gym as it's only a two-minute walk away, but who wants to actually go to a gym on Saturday night?! And I don't want ppl to see me having nothing to do thus working out, I need people to think I'm WORTH hanging out with ;)

Last night I went to hang out with some Canucks and then played a late-night game of volleyball with a bunch of Italian people. Words to add to my vocabulary list: la punta (point), la balla (ball), and mia/mio (mine). Any day now I'll be fluent ;)

Anyway, my phone just rang so I am gooooone!

Tomorrow I shall blog about missing the only bus to work today.

~ Ciao!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Oooh, the humidity. This morning we went on a coach bus to get our social security numbers and there wasn't an air conditioner on the bus. Or perhaps there was but it wasn't on very high, or was broke. Regardless, eeeewwwww. And I can't figure out how the a/c works in this apartment! I know my roomies don't like to have it on very high, which is fine with me, but it's actually cooler outside than it is inside! In a related note, I've been trying to get my sandals to dry for a couple of days and they just won't. Instead of drying they just keep getting smellier and smellier which quite defeats the purpose of washing them in an effort to get rid of the smell. And to think they didn't even smell that badly to begin with... I've given up on them since they are doing nothing but stink up our closest and I have shoved them in a plastic bag. I can just see Mum wincing.

Today I went rollerblading and saw lots of lizards. Not big lizards, but those wee ones that are super fast and climb on walls. I actually see them all the time, not just when out rollerblading. I've also learned where not to rollerblade and what socks not to wear. I bet I'm the only person here with a blister two inches above her ankle!

Last night I got a free discman. There was a throw-out for two people. A throw-out is basically a couple of people who have reached the end of their contract getting rid of stuff and telling stories about the stuff. They usually have stuff for specific people and some stuff has been passed down for YEARS but there is some stuff up for grabs for the newbies. I haven't tried the discman yet... It looks kind of old and actually requires FOUR AA batteries. I don't want to shove any batteries into it yet as I think I left my battery charger at home and don't feel the need to run off and buy a new one quite yet. In a related battery note, Papa MacPhail mentioned to me that sometimes it seems that batteries lose a lot of their strength on planes which I'm going to agree with. Batteries that should have a full life are giving me minimal life in my digital camera.

I've hardly slept in the past few days! It's been great though. Other people have been napping in the afternoons but I prefer to do other stuff. I actually only felt super tired during one presentation too! All those sleepless weekends in Scotland have paid off as I'm now prepared for sleepless nights in Orlando.

So far I've meet people (or a person) from Mexico, the US (shocker), Norway, England, Northern Ireland, Germany, Italy, France, South Africa and, another shocker, CANADA. I have to hunt down some folk from Japan, China, Morroco and Botswana.

In a terrible tragedy I was going to play 'beer pong' last night but the party ran out of beer. I think the Newfie panicked the most. He runs to the phone, "What's Walmart's phone number?!?!" Anyway, it was too bad as I probably could have won since I hadn't been drinking so I like to think that would make my aim superior to those who had been drinking.

I can't decide whether to stick around home tonight or not. My roomies are all working and I'm slightly bored. Sure, I COULD put my pics in the photo album I bought, put stuff on the walls or organise some of my stuff but I don't really feel like. With so many people close by I would rather be hanging out with SOMEONE. Anyone. Hello out there?!?! However, I would like to stick around and actually talk to the roomies. I've hardly been in my apartment since arriving and I'd love to actually get to know them! I realise there is lots of time left to bond but I start work next week and I'm sure our schedules will be even more different!

Gasp, maybe I'll go to bed before 3.00 am tonight... I'm actually getting a little tired and I didn't really have supper yet.

Blah blah blaaaaaaah.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

This is gonna be a short one as I'm on my way out the door, but I made it safe and sound!

I live in a two-bedroom apartment and have three roommates. The two girls in the other bedroom are Italian and are from the ONLY area of Italy where I've been! One is from Milan and another from Lake Como which is the only place I've actually stepped foot in Italy! My roommate is from Paris. The places are pretty nice although quite undecorated so I *may* have to change that.

Last night was our throw-in party which I'm not writing about. It's a big secret what happens so I can't let the cat out of the bag in case someone is reading this who will be a new arrival soon ;)

This morning I went to a presentation, part of which was very boring and involved filling out forms. They were going through them VERY slowly, but that was probably necessary as some people don't have very good English. It would be pretty challenging here having to speak English all day, being trained in English, and having English as, likely, the only common language between all your roommates.

Apparently Orlando is having "bad" weather right now. Pfft - whatever! It's really warm and VERY humid. I figure I'm going to go through, like, nine sticks of deodorant a week ;) As for t-shirts, I now realise I did not take too many despite thinking so as I was my many kilos of luggage around.

There is a gym onsite here which I plan on visiting regularly. I foresee American food being tempting and, shocker, quite unhealthy seeing as this isn't a country known for its overall fitness!

Yesterday I learned that a CASE of beer can be bought for $5.00 USD.


I know the stuff isn't that good (I think it's Millwakee and Miller) but come on!! At home, $6.00 CAD (the equivalent of 5 USD) doesn't get you very much. Maybe four beer? (Which you can't even buy like that.) Here, it's like a 12-beer case or something.

So much for cutting back on the beer. ;) I kid though, I don't think I'll start drinking my face off just because it's cheap. Using that reasoning I would have ate only bread and ten-pence chocolate bars in Britain.

Anyway, I am off! I found someone who is home so I'm dropping in. Not sure where everyone scattered to this afternoon, I'm thinking to get groceries.


Saturday, September 03, 2005


In two mere hours my alarm is going to ring and I'll be off to the mighty Charlottetown airport. It boggles the mind.

First off, I'm giving a background to what's going on here. Way back in fabulous 1993, Papa and Mum MacPhail bestowed a trip to Walt Disney World upon their children as a Christmas present. After a couple of months of trip planning we were south bound on February 26th and got to Florida on the 27th. I actually remember these dates only due to it being my bro's birthday. To make a long story short, I developed an, ahem, slight obession with Disney. At some point in, perhaps, high school I learned that Canadians have the opportunity to be "Cultural Representitives" for a year and work in Epcot, one of Disney's park in Orlando, Florida. It crossed my mind to apply to go down as early as possible, (in this case once I hit 18,) but I put it off in favour of university and turning 21. At that time I had a job at which I was the only employee under the legal drinking as and I felt, as a result, I missed out on many social activites, (umm, like the staff parties that were held AT A BAR,) and got stuck with more than my fair share of weekend nights. I kind of put the whole thing out of my head again until I was 20 and working in Ottawa (2003) and started thinking about a few post-university opportunities. When I was back in Florida in 2004 right after finishing my last university project I was holidaying with my mum and I started to chat with some of the Canadian staff. I had already decided to go to Scotland by that point but I got kind of excited again about applying for the program. Eventually, I printed off an application at the Edinburgh library in August during one of my miserable unemployed days that was accompanied by miserable weather. However, I didn't apply right away as I eventually got a job and it kind of fell to the back of my mind. Sometime in September I sent in my application, resume and cover letter. I never heard anything back, so when I was home for Christmas I rant up the hiring agency that Disney uses for Canadian applicants to see if they ever had received my stuff in the post. They had, and they would be in touch in January for a phone interview!!!

January came and it turned out the interviews would be held in mid March in Halifax, Montreal and Toronto. Air Canada was having a seat sale that was set to end and I still hadn't had my phone interview. Eventually I booked a ticket without having my phone interview on the assumption that I would pass the phone interview and get through to the "face to face" interviews. To make a long story short, I ended up getting to bypass the phone interview stage completely! I made the long truck to Halifax from Edinburgh in March. The interview went quite well and I felt I hit it off with the interviewer quite well! Turned out we had been on the same flight from the UK to Canada and she had lived in France for many years and had worked for Disneyland Paris!

During the presentation portion of our info session (a presentation give TO us, not by us,) we were told that if we did not hear from the recruiting agency by the end of March to give them a ring. I got a little eager and crazy and called the agency a day early because of the five-hour time difference between Edinburgh and Montreal (location of the office) and commitments the next night. I found out I got in to Food and Beveridge and would have to be in Florida for September 6th!! I was rather estatic :) I even left early for work the following day so I could email everyone from the internet cafe beforehand!

Between that fabulous day in March and now I went traveling for almost six weeks in Europe (including some poking about in Scotland) and spent the summer working in Edinburgh temping and bartending. On August 24th I arrived back on PEI. It's now the wee hours in the morning of September 3rd and I am leaving for the aiport in about two hours. Insane. I'm quite sad to be leaving PEI again after such a short time, especially since I have no idea when I'll be back... I almost randomly burst into tears a couple of times tonight when out with friends but it hasn't quite hit me yet.

My 6.10am flight will take me to Ottawa where I am visiting Jeff and some other folk I know there. Sunday evening I head down to Orlando. That, I predict, is when it will "hit" me. Wow.

So down in fabulous Orlando I will, as previously mentioned, be a Canadian Cultural Representitive. I work in the food section, so initially I'll be either serving Canadian beer or scooping pop corn. I'm hoping for beer cart duty as I actually have previous experience in BOTH of those positions and far preferred bartending over scooping popcorn. (Shout out to Grand, who trained me for bartending at the Cumberland!) Eventually I should get moved into a sit-down restaurant where I can rake in the dough via tips!

Epcot, the theme park in which I will be working, is actually divided into two parts: Future World and the World Showcase. The world showcase has pavillions that represent different countries: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Japan, Morroco, the US, Italy, France, the UK and Canada. Each is staffed with citizens of that country, e.g., all employees in the France pavillion are from France! For housing we are all put into flats with 2 - 8 people with two people per bedroom. Sharing a room terrifies me as I have never done it before on a long-term basis, but hopefully it'll work out!

Anyway, I have a plane to catch and am leaving for the airport in two hours. I still have a few things to do (such as shower and umm, GO TO BED,) so I am off!

See you in Disney World!!!!