Posts Tagged ‘Downtown Disney’

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A Post About All Last Week, But Mostly the Food

November 17, 2009

I have to say, it is a strange sensation to vacation at the place where you work.  But of course, when you work at Disney World, it’s also pretty nifty.  My family has all gone home now, but we had a great time.  We went to all four parks multiple times, ate tons of great food on the Dining Plan, and even went to Disney Quest, which was fun, but would have been WAY overpriced if four of us hadn’t gotten in free.

Unfortunately,  I did have to work two days while they were here.  I had my first two days of training for Tomorrowland.  They were okay, but basically a repeat of the training for the other two parks.  First we had the tour day of Magic Kingdom, and the next day was area training.  I had the second day with Kevin and Drew, a couple of guys I worked with at Food and Wine.  It was kind of annoying because our trainer kept showing us things and saying, “But you guys probably knew that.”  And nine times out of ten we did.  The only thing that was really new to me (besides the area, of course) was photo imaging.  We will be in charge of selling the photos they take on the rides at Buzz Lightyear and the newly revamped Space Mountain.  I’m going to get a full day of imaging training this afternoon, and then I’ll be ready to start working for real.

Speaking of Space Mountain, the ride has been having soft openings for the last few days.  A soft opening is when a new or newly revamped ride is open before it’s scheduled to open, but it is in test mode and can be shut down whenever they need to.  This keeps them from opening a ride with great fanfare, only to have problems the first day.  My family was lucky enough to catch Space Mountain during a soft opening.  It’s been several years since I’ve ridden, but from what I can tell, the ride itself is basically the same.  The queue has been updated, with a new ceiling over the queue area, and an Asteroids-style shooter game on screens that  line the queue walls to keep people entertained while they wait.  The ceiling means that you can no longer watch the trains zooming around on the track while you wait, but it does make the ride itself darker.  Not many substantial changes, but since I’ve always loved the ride, that works for me!

I took my family to the airport early yesterday morning, so it was a tough day for me.  I was really feeling down, but last night my roommates and I got all spiffed up and had dinner at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian with the characters from Cinderella.  It was a really great buffet, and we had a fantastic time together, as always. It was a great way to get back into the swing of regular life, and improved my mood drastically.

I spent part of yesterday afternoon using up all of the meals and snacks that we had left over from our dining plan.  I went “grocery shopping” at Wolfgang Puck Express, and ended up with three pizzas, one barbecue quesadilla, an order of rosemary chicken with mashed potatoes, two chocolate chip cookies, two brownies, a creme brulee, four bottled waters, and one coke.  That’s $95 dollars worth of food.  It is now all in the refrigerator, and boy, will I be eating good this week!  I also got canned Cokes, cereal, Nilla wafers, and fruit from the Pop Century food court with our remaining snacks.

Well, it’s time for me to get ready for work, but first I’m going to eat some of the delicious food I just wrote about!  I made myself hungry!  Maybe some rosemary chicken…hmmm…

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A Ferris Bueller Day

October 29, 2009

Today was a Wednesday: the day my Exploring Marketing class meets.  I, however, did not go to Exploring Marketing.  When it came time to get ready to go, I thought of Ferris Bueller: “How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?”  For the Exploration Series classes, you’re automatically dropped after on your second absence.  So I haven’t actually dropped the class yet, and I may not for a couple of weeks.  But I decided today that there is just no point in making myself go to a class that I don’t want to take.  I’m not getting any credit for the class, and even though my instructor is entertaining and energetic, I just didn’t feel like I was going to learn anything that would really help me in life.

So it’s looking like I may never get my Mouseters degree. 😦   But that’s okay!  Plenty of great stuff happened today to distract me from my crushing sense of failure: I went shopping at Downtown Disney, where I experienced the awesome life-changing taste that is the Holiday Dinner Sandwich at Earl of Sandwich.  This unbelievable creation is turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mayonnaise, and gravy, all squeezed between two toasted pieces of bread.  I washed this down with a glass of the Earl’s Grey Lemonade, which is lemonade mixed with Earl Grey tea.  I think this meal may be a new addiction, but luckily the price is reasonable enough that I can satisfy the cravings without busting the bank: the sandwich and drink cost less than $8.

Later, I got the chance to see the newest show at Magic Kingdom, Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee.

Tiana, Naveen, and Louis the Alligator from “The Princess and the Frog” have taken over the Liberty Belle riverboat, and now perform songs from the movie as they and their friends sail down the river.  In between shows, the new royal couple do meet-and-greets behind the Christmas Shop in Liberty Square.  The whole thing premiered on Monday, and Tiana rode in a special procession down Main Street to the castle, where she was greeted by all of the other princesses.  I wasn’t able to go to any of the opening day festivities, but the show was so awesome that I wish I could have seen it all.  They’re really starting to get me excited about this movie.  When I had seen the previews, I was a little unsure of how I felt about Naveen.  He seemed a little too cartoonish, with his outrageous accent, almost more like the funny sidekick than the leading man.  But after seeing the character on the showboat today, I got a little bit better idea of his personality, and he just seems fun.  All I can say is that this movie better live up to my ever-growing expectations or I will be a sad, sad, girl.

After Magic Kingdom, I met up with some friends from work for another trip to Epcot.  We got to see Boyz II Men perform at the Eat to the Beat concert series.  Boyz II Men was a little before my time, so I wasn’t really all that excited about going to see them.  But when they actually started singing, I was surprised at how many of the songs I knew.  And, I have to admit, I really liked it.  We had a blast, and the crowd was just great.  We stayed for Illuminations, and it was fun to actually get to see the fireworks.  Lately, I’ve gotten to hear them so much, but I’m always inside the World Showcase Tent counting the drawers and closing up shop during them.  Seriously, it’s really, really hard to count when giant explosives are going off every few seconds.  It was nice to be on the other side of those tent flaps tonight.

I don’t know if I’m going to go ahead and drop my class, or if I will wait and see if I feel like playing hooky again later.  I really didn’t dislike the class, but I also realized today that I’m probably not going to get any lasting memories or unforgettable experiences out of it, either.  So who knows if I’ll go next week or not.  But I’m definitely glad I decided to go with my gut and just let myself have a fun-filled day the Ferris Bueller way.

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My Mid-Week Weekend

October 2, 2009

For the first time since the program started, I had two days off in a row.  Yesterday and today.  Count ’em: two.  It was really great, and its amazing how much more relaxing you can get done in those extra 24 hours.  But I didn’t waste my time vegging out in front of the TV or watching stupid videos on the internet (Okay.  Maybe just one stupid video.) I actually did a lot of real stuff on my days off! 

Melissa and I both had yesterday off, so we had planned to go to Blizzard Beach, one of Disney’s water parks.  I had never been before, and even though I’m not usually a water park person, I was really looking forward to it.  Of course, we’re in warm, sunny Florida, so we wake up, put on our swimsuits, go outside…and run back in the apartment shivering!  It was actually cool here yesterday!  It only got up around 80, which, while not cold was still too chilly for either of us to want to go to the water park.  So instead we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the day.  We strolled around, shopped, rode a couple of the big rides, and then ran into a couple of Melissa’s friends.  So the four of us hung out for the rest of the day.  We watched the Block Party Bash parade for the first time (awesome!) and also saw the American Idol Experience (meh.)  But the highlight of the day was getting our pictures taken with the cast of “Up”.

Today was my “Get Stuff Done” day.  I woke up, worked on making resort reservations for when my family comes in November, talked to the scheduling people about getting October 20th off for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party, and picked up a shift on the Hub handing out candy at the aforementioned Halloween Party.  Then I spent the rest of the day running around Orlando.  Went to Downtown Disney, shopped for a little while, went to Joann’s and bought some new needles for the yarn that I bought last week.  I love my roommates, but sometimes I really, really miss the privacy I had at home.  So it was really nice to just go around on my own, be by myself, and not really have any agenda.  This is the biggest reason I recommend bringing a car for the program.  Without a car, you have no escape.  Even if you leave the apartment, you leave it on a bus filled with other CPs.

Yesterday, I mentioned to Melissa that I would like to see Cirque du Soleil.  Coincidentally, her and Josh, one of the guys we ran into yesterday at DHS, were planning to go tonight.  So Melissa told me I was more than welcome to come.  Josh, unfortunately, didn’t know that I was planning to come, and so he went ahead and bought tickets this morning, but only for Melissa and himself.  But Melissa convinced me to try to get a ticket anyway, and so I went to the box office about an hour and a half before show time.  Luckily, they had a ticket right behind her and Josh’s seats, so I went ahead and bought it.  When they showed up later, we went to talk to the box office one more time.  Because it was so close to the show start, they were starting to open up other seats.  I’m not sure if they were seats that people had cancelled on, or if they just hadn’t shown up to pick up their tickets.  But they had three new seats available, together, a few rows up from where our original seats were.

Cirque du Soleil was everything I had hoped it would be.  By the end, my hands hurt from clapping, and I know at least four times I let out an audible gasp of astonishment.  The little Chinese girls with their Diablos were my favorite, but there wasn’t a single part of it I didn’t love.  It was worth every penny to see it, and I wouldn’t be against going to see it again.  And if you ever get a chance to see a Cirque Show, DO IT! 

It’s back to work tomorrow, but I have next Wednesday and Thrusday off, too!  I’m thrilled that my schedule is starting to look similar from week-to-week.  Hopefully this Wednesdays/Thursdays off thing will stick, because it’s really been great so far!

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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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Facebook: All the Youngsters Say It’s the Bee’s Knees!

July 17, 2009

I’m not really a huge Facebook-er.  I post the occassional picture, join the occassional group, but I’m not real big on talking to people on-line who I barely talk to in the real world.  I do have to admit, though, that Facebook has come in handy the last couple of days, CP-wise.

A large group is getting together on Facebook for a meet-and-greet dinner at Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney the night before check-in.  I’ll probably go, but I haven’t RSVPd yet.  There are already more than 30 people who have signed up to attend since yesterday, so it will be a nice, big group!  Sounds fun!

A fellow CP asked me on Facebook yesterday if I knew about renter’s insurance.  I told her I hadn’t even thought about it, which was definitely true, and then I did some digging on the good ol’ official website.  It says that renter’s insurance is encouraged, but not required.  I need to do some checking, see how much it would be, but I have a feeling I will be skipping it.  I like to live dangerously!  Honestly, though, what are the chances of needing it?  Probably not very good.  If I do get it, though, what are the chances that I’ll waste a lot of money?  Very good!

If not for Facebook, I wouldn’t have known about the meet-and-greet, and I wouldn’t have even thought about renter’s insurance.  I know I’m going to sound like an 85-year old when I say this, but this technology thing is kind of nifty!  I might actually try to use my Facebook account more often.

I began packing last night.  Just a few things that I probably won’t need for the next month: sweaters, cookbooks, those kinds of things.  It’s really exciting, but it’s also really hard.  I have a lot of stuff!  I’m glad to be getting such a huge head start, though.  Yay for me!