Archive for the ‘Check-In’ Category

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The First Day: Check-In

August 12, 2009

Being the overly–anxious, over-achiever that I am, I thought it would be a good idea to get to check-in at Vista Way this morning at least an hour early.  So my mom and I pull in at 8:00, ready to chill for an hour before check-in actually started, and ready to get in line if anyone else was there yet.  When we pulled onto the street for the Vista Way complex, there was already a line of cars going inside.  There were already people everywhere, and there were already people filing through the check-in area.  Before I even got to the main registration area, complexes were already beginning to fill up, people were already heading out with their new address, and even though I was an hour early, it felt like I was an hour late.   If I have any advice for future College Program participants, it would be to get to check-in as early as possible!

Eventually I got through it all, though, and even ended up with the apartment I wanted (3 bedrooms in Chatham Square).   I met one of my roommates at the apartment, and then we went together to our two big meetings for the day: Casting and a Housing Welcome Session.  These took forever, but it was worth it because Casting was where I found out my work location, which is…drumroll…Animal Kingdom!  I’ll be working in the Discovery Island area, where there are four shops: Beastly Bazaar, Wonders of the Wild, Island Mercantile, and Creature Comforts.  Animal Kingdom’s hours are great for me.  I’d mostly be working mornings, since this park usually closes around dark.  My only concern is getting enough hours.  But I’ll cross that bridge when (if) I come to it. 

I did decide to take a class, Exploring Marketing, which will begin mid-October.  This surprised me.  I had gotten the impression that the classes would all take place at the beginning of the semester, but in reality they’re sort of scattered throughout, though it does seem that most of them finish up before Thanksgiving.

Another piece of advice for future CPs–you probably won’t have much time to really move on “move-in” day.  We had so many meetings that there was little time to get settled in.  After I’ve finished unpacking, I’ll be posting some pictures of the apartment (which is super awesome), but right now there’s just stuff everywhere.  But at least there’s plenty of space for the stuff: our apartment is HUGE!  And each bedroom has its own bathroom, which is a definite bonus.  I think Chatham is the only complex like this, but that’s just one more plus for Chatham.  We also have the coolest pool, and are just all-around awesome. 🙂

It’s been a super long day, and tomorrow’s supposed to be much more relaxed.  The only event tomorrow is a “Toy Story Poolooza” Welcome Party at the Chatham Pool.  Otherwise, I’m going to be spending the day with my Mom.  It’s so sad to think she’ll be leaving in just a couple of days, and I’ll be all on my own!  But I really think I’m going to have a great time.  I’ve already made some friends, and we have plans to go to the parks as sooh as we have or Cast IDs.  One Disney Day down, only about 9,000 more to go.

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Sanaa + Resort-Hopping + Shopping + Meet-and-Greet = a Busy Couple of Days

August 12, 2009

After getting settled into our hotel yesterday, my mom and I went to dinner at Sanaa, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village.  All I have to say is that it was an amazing start to what I’m sure will be an amazing few months. 

Sanaa Sign

This restaurant opened just a couple of months ago, and I’ve been hoping I’d get to eat there at some point ever since I heard about it.  Billed as African food with Indian flavors, I don’t see what made the menu “African”.  Not that I’m an expert or anyting, last time I had Tandoori Chicken and Curry, it was at an Indian restaurant.

Menu origin aside, we ate the aforementioned Tandoori Chicken and had a bread appetizer.  The appetizer came with your choice of three kinds of bread, and three types of sauces.  We chose to have Tamarind Chutney, Roasted Red Pepper Hummis, and Mint and Onion Raita.  All of these were very good, but especially the hummis.  In fact, our only real disappointmentt was the portion size of our entree.  My mom and I can share a meal at most restaurants, and have plenty left-over.  But last night, even with the bread, there wasn’t enough for two full meals.  Although the food was good, what really made this restaurant special was the setting.  Floor-to-ceiling windows in the dining area look out onto a savannah area, filled with giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and antelopes.  There’s also a large deck which extends out from the restaurant’s waiting area into the middle of the savannah, giving you a panoramic view of the animals. 

A picture taken from the window beside our table.

A picture taken from the window beside our table.

Unfortunately, we experienced first hand the only hitch in having live animals at a restaurant: halfway through our meal, a big antelope came right over by our window, raised his tail, and did his business right there as we ate.  It was disgusting, but we got such a laugh out of it that it  was one of the highlights of the night.  Hilarious, but really not the best way to convince people to try the chocolate mousse.

Today, my mom and I slept in, and then went to visit some of the resorts.  If you ever find yourself in the Orlando area with nothing to do, I highly recommend this inexpensive method of time-wasting.  There are some truly incredible things to see at the Disney resorts.  We rested in hammocks on the beach at the Polynesian resort, shopped for hand-made soap in the Grand Floridian, and re-lived Disney vacations past at the All-Star Resorts.  And then, this afternoon…IKEA!  I really, really love this store.  Two and a half hours after entering, I left with a list full of things to come back and buy after I’ve moved into the apartment and can some new purchases into my car.  Then we headed down to Downtown Disney to shop and attend the meet-and-greet dinner for tomorrow’s check-in.  The dinner was originally supposed to take place at Earl of Sandwich, but more than 60 people decided to attend, so it was moved to the bigger venue of Planet Hollywood.  The food here was surprisingly good, and we had a great time cheering when they welcomed us over the loudspeaker, and dancing to the YMCA.  In case you didn’t know, college students+food+YMCA=tons of fun.  That’s science!

Tomorrow’s the big day: check-in.  Tomorrrow I will find out who I’m rooming with, where I’m living, and where I will be working.  It will also be the first day I can use my cast member discount, so I see a little shopping in my future.  But for now, I’m just going to try to get some sleep–I’m going to need some serious energy tomorrow!

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I’m in Orlando!

August 10, 2009

The title of the post says it all–I’ve finally arrived in Orlando.  My mom and I left home early yesterday morning, stayed the night with relatives in Alabama, and left at 4:00 this morning.  We arrived about an hour ago, and have been driving around looking for a hotel.  We originally planned to arrive tomorrow, so we don’t have a reservation for tonight.  We’re trying to decide if we want to go ahead and stay at the hotel we’re supposed to stay at for the rest of the time, or if we’d like to stay somewhere cheaper tonight. 

It was a long drive, but we finally, finally made it!  More details to come later!

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Another Post About Packing

August 6, 2009

Are you a little tired yet of reading about packing?  Well, then, you know how I feel.  I’m sick of doing it!

I finally, FINALLY got my car back, 100% fixed, yesterday.  So I was finally able to migrate the mountain of boxes from my bedroom floor to my car trunk.  And I am a much, much happier person for it. 

Mary Poppins had a carpet bag that could hold a lamp. I have a car that, like that famous bag, seems to stretch to hold almost anything I could hope to fit in.  So although I’ve had my doubts over the last few days, I’ve already managed to get almost everything in my folded-down backseat and trunk, with plenty of room to spare. 

The most ridiculous thing I’ve packed so far is a bookcase.  It may not be the most ridiculous thing in the world, but, when you consider how small my car is, it’s mildly funny at least.  But it will be a great to have some additional shelf space, and it’s actually working pretty well to pack shoes and other small items in.  Some other highlights include a toaster oven (one of the few appliances not included in the furnished apartment), my new printer, bedding, a few books, a small TV, and my Wii. 

I haven’t put any clothes in yet, but I’m just planning to leave these on the hangers, rubber band the hangers into groups of 10 or so, and stack them on the top of the pile in my backseat.  I really hope I’ve packed the right clothes.  I normally have to dress up for work, so the “professional” clothes have slowly edged out the casual tees and shorts in the last couple of years.  Now my wardrobe is looking a little sparse since I’m leaving most of the dress clothes at home.  It’s also difficult trying to force myself not to pack winter clothes.  “But I’ll be down there in December!” my gut tells me. But my brain reassures my gut that Florida December is not the same as Missouri December.  My brain did cave a bit, and allowed my gut to take two thin-ish coats, and a few sweaters.  But I still feel like I’m not packing enough cool-weather clothes.

I have very kindly allowed my mom a tiny 2′ x 2′ square to sit in and store her bag.  Nah, I’m just kidding.  There’s actually plenty of space in the car for her to sit comfortably, and for her bag to be packed uncomfortably.  So I’m just really, really proud of myself right now.  I’ve still got two days before I leave, and I’m mostly done packing.  Which means I can relax and spend that time with friends and family, saying goodbye and preparing to miss them.

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Packing

July 31, 2009

I’ve been trying to pack for Disney a little bit at a time for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve still got the majority of my stuff left, and it’s time to really get serious about it.  Unfortunately, my car is back in the shop for a few more small repairs, which means that I can put things in boxes to my little heart’s content…but then I don’t have anywhere to put the boxes.   I’m not sure when I’ll get it back.  Definitely before I leave, but, other than that, who knows?  The resulting gigantic pile of crap has been nothing but a sore spot with me for a week now, and it’s getting worse instead of better.  Every day the pile of “packed” crap gets bigger, leaving me with less and less floor space, and less and less sanity. 

At least one part of the packing process is going smoothly: I haven’t had any trouble finding boxes to pack in. I bought a couple of Tupperware containers that I can use to pack in and then use for storage in the apartment, and I’ve also been hoarding boxes and packing materials left over from work.  I’m also going to pack in laundry baskets, backpacks, and anything else that I can put to use or store easily while I’m in Florida.

It’s been very strange trying to decide what to take: 5 months isn’t long enough to take everything that I own, but it’s long enough that I need to take almost everything.  Unlike packing for a week or two, it’s not about choosing which items are necessities and which ones are luxuries; it’s about deciding which items are the necessary luxuries.  It’s also been difficult, because I don’t know what my roommates are bringing.  It’s nice to have a toaster oven, but we don’t need 6 toaster ovens in one apartment. 

Adding to the chaos are the boxes of stuff still being moved out of our old house.  These need to be unpacked, and it’s getting hard to find the space for everything.  Boxes for packing on one side of the room, boxes for unpacking on the other.  Ugh!  I’m really excited about leaving for Disney…but right now I think I’m just more excited about being done with packing.

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“Think of a Wonderful Thought…”

July 28, 2009
I’ve only got 12 days to go until I leave for this grand adventure, but to tell you the truth, I’m more stressed than excited all of a sudden.  There’s just so much going on right now, and so much left to do!  And at this point, I don’t see how it will all get done. 

So, in an attempt to get myself as excited again as I was a few days ago–as excited as I should be–I’ve been looking up all the cool new stuff at WDW.  I haven’t been there in three years, so there have been quite a few additions.  “Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor” is new, as is “Toy Story Mania”.  I think the latter looks especially fun.  (BTW, what is it with Toy Story and shooting gallery-type rides?)

Toy Story Mania

Toy Story Mania

Some of my favorite attractions have also been updated since the last time I was at WDW.  “Hall of Presidents” has a new film, and they’ve also added Robo-Bama.  I may disagree with him, but the guy sure knows how to give a speech, and I’m sure it will just be a-political “We should all come together” type stuff.  I can get behind that. I know most people think this attraction is boring, but I really do love it!  “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Haunted Mansion” have also had major updates that I haven’t gotten to see yet.

I hope there’s going to be a lot more that I love about the program than just going to the parks.  But that’s the part that is the most familiar to me, and the familiarity is comforting right now.  I’m trying not to think too much about paying rent, hoping I get along with my roommates, trying to learn to cook for myself, possibly dealing with a tyrranical manager, and a million other things that just make me anxious.  I’m trying to focus on the part that I know will still be exciting, now matter how the rest turns out.  Because chances are, those other things will turn out fine, too.  And there’s no sense in worrying about them right now.

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Easy Come, Easy Go

July 24, 2009

I’m a little less excited today than I was yesterday.  Just as quickly as I found out I was getting lots of scholarship money, I found out that I wouldn’t be getting any scholarship money. 

I should probably stop construction on my money-filled swimming pool now.

Looks like my dream of swimming Scrooge McDuck-style in a pit of money will have to be put on hold for a while.

I got a call this morning from Financial Aid – they took another look, and decided that I didn’t qualify for the scholarship, after all.  Those “second looks” always seem to bite me in the butt!  Turns out that the lady didn’t understand that I wouldn’t be getting any credit for next semester, and since I had full-time status, she just assumed that I was getting 12 credits.

Ya know, two days ago I wasn’t upset about not getting that scholarship at all.  I let myself get too excited yesterday, though, and so today I’m disappointed.  Oh, well.  I just need to move on and get over it.  It’s certainly not the end of the world…I mean, I’m going to freakin’ Disney World!

And even better than just going to Disney World, it’s looking like my friend Emily, who applied for the CP with me but decided not to do it, has decided to go to a college in Eastern Florida…just an hour from Orlando!  She’ll be moving just a couple of weeks after me.  Now I just need to convince her to buy an Annual Pass for WDW…