Posts Tagged ‘Soft Opening’

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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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So Close, And Yet…

September 21, 2009

Well, I never did finish writing about my first day of training at Epcot.  But it’s all for the best, because now I can write about day one and day two!  But first, you guys get to see pictures of our White Glove Award-worthy apartment! 

Chatham - Bedroom Chatham Front Entry Way - Dining Room, Kitchen

Chatham Living Room

We had our first apartment inspection this morning, so we spent all day yesterday cleaning furiously and even putting out a few tasteful Halloween decorations.  By the time we went to bed last night, our apartment looked so good that I had almost no doubts we’d be getting the White Glove Award – the highest honor apartment cleaning has to offer.  Not only is it prestigious, the title comes with a giant box of Ferrer0 Rocher chocolates!  Unfortunately, though, notice our apartment is only White Glove Award-worthy, not White Glove Award-winning.  😦  One of my roommates was in the shower this morning when the inspectors came by, so they couldn’t inspect their shower (which was sparkling clean!) and therefore couldn’t give us the award.  But we got perfect marks on everything else, and I know we’ll get it next time!  We did get a consolation prize of sorts, though: all six of us got a little snack-sized pack of Knotts Raspberry Shortbread cookies.

I had Park Discovery Day today at Epcot, and, of course, had lots of fun touring the park.  We rode Spaceship Earth, and walked around World Showcase before it opened, but the highlight of the day was…a secret.  Unfortunately, we were sworn to secrecy about this super cute, super fun initiation ritual for new Epcot Cast Members after we participated.  We raised our right hands, said, “I do solemnly swear that I will never speak of _________________, so help me Mickey,” and promised to preserve the surprise for future Epcot CMs.  So I will honor that promise.  But for all you future Epcot-ians, prepare yourself for a little fun when you get to the Showcase Plaza. Beyond that? My lips are sealed.

After today, I’m much more excited about the move over to Epcot and the Food and Wine Festival.  My first day of training had me down a little bit, because, number one, it involved a lot of tedious legal information and lots of listening to presentations.  Number two, we were informed of an interesting little tidbit involving days off and requesting leave.  Apparently, the people who signed up for F&W knew what they were gettting in to, but it came as a bit of a shock to the rest of us: they are not going to be honoring leave requests during the 6 weeks of the Festival, including those requests that have already been approved on the Hub.  We have to have full availability.  This means that it’s not only going to be very difficult to get off to use the ticket I bought for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but that I will probably have trouble gettting any time off while my friends are here the first week of November.  They’ve already bought their plane tickets and everything, so I’m just hoping that maybe I’ll be able to trade some shifts with people, or that they were over-exaggerating the difficulty of getting time off.  Maybe it will also help that the time I’m really needing off is at the end of the Festival.  All I can do right now is keep my fingers crossed!

As I said, today was much more interactive, though, and even my scheduling worries are begginning to take a back seat to the excitement.  I do love Epcot, and I hear that F&W is a blast.  I know that lots of the seasonal CMs come back year after year just to do the Festival.  So I really am lucky, I guess.  The Soft Opening and Cast Member Preview for the Festival is next Thursday, the 24th, and since I don’t have to work until late that afternoon, I plan to spend part of the morning checking out the booths.  The early part of the morning I will be at the SALSA sale–a giant Cast Members-only sale.  I don’t know much about it, except that people have been talking about it for a month already and people are planning to be there hours before they open on the first day, sort of like Day After Thanksgiving shopping.  The way I see it, that’s got to be a good sign for any bargain hunter, right?

For a parting shot, here’s a picture of me in my latest costume. Cute, right? 😉

My Costume for Epcot Food & Wine Festival.  These pants are disgustingly see-through!

My Costume for Epcot Food & Wine Festival. These pants are disgustingly see-through!