Monday, October 25, 2010

Salmonella Meet the Mouse

On Friday afternoon, my younger sister Samantha and her best friend Ellie arrived in Orlando, Florida to visit me at Disney World.  Because they were flying alone, I had to meet them at the gate.  At first I thought I was going to get there late because of security, but Orlando's security isn't too bad.  I saw them coming off the plane and noticed they had made matching Disney World shirts.  It was adorable.  From the airport, we headed straight to the hotel, All-Star Movies.  When we checked in, the girls both got 1st Visit buttons and Samantha got a Happy Birthday button.

After getting to our room, we walked around All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and All-Star Music.  We all had a lot of fun taking pictures around the resort and talking to some of the life guards I know.  For dinner, we went to Downtown Disney with my friend Jenna.  I wanted to take them to T-Rex, but because of the line, we ended up going to Rainforest Cafe instead.  It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious.  Jenna and I both got steak and shrimp platters.  Yum!

Saturday we were up pretty early to get to Disney's Hollywood Studios at 8:00AM for Extra Magic Hours.  Needless to say, it was the earliest I've ever been to a Disney park, but we got a lot done.  We met a handful of characters and the girls got to do a lot of the rides.  They especially loved Tower of Terror and Rockin' Rollercoaster.  Jenna met us at the park when the regular hours started.  That made it a lot more fun because then I had a buddy for the rides!  We did most of the rides and saw both The Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Ellie's favorite) and The Beauty and the Beast (my favorite).

After six hours at the park, we dropped Jenna off so she could watch the Nebraska game (time well wasted) and we went back to the hotel to swim.  Since Magic Kingdom was open until 12:00AM, we planned on getting there at 6:00.  After some showers and a quick bite to eat, it was off to the next park.

Getting to Magic Kingdom is always such a long process.  We drove to the parking lot, took the tram to the transportation center, then took the monorail to the park.  I guess it would have been nice to go to this park first since it's what people think of when they hear Disney World, but with Extra Magic Hours, it just worked better this way.  We went straight to Mickey's Toontown Fair to meet the princesses.  Since we were there so late, they were the only characters that were out--that we hadn't met already.  We did Pirates of the Caribbean (and I actually almost had to use my life guard skills while in line, but luckily the cast members working had it covered).  We saw Disney's Electrical Parade--with characters like Tinkerbell, Alice, Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan & Captain Hook, of course Cinderella & Prince Charming.  Even Puff the Magic Dragon was there!  After the parade, we watched Wishes--Magic Kingdom's fireworks show.  It was actually the first time I had seen either, so that was a lot of fun for me too.  When the fireworks finished, we rode Space Mountain--which the girls loved--and did Haunted Mansion before heading back to the hotel.

At the end of Saturday, our character count was 14 between the two parks.  Unfortunately, we didn't actually get to meet Tinkerbell, but she is in a picture with it counts, right?

Sunday it was back to the grind, bright and early.  We had two parks to tackle still and no time to waste.  We ate breakfast at the hotel before heading out to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  While we were there, we met a handful of new characters and did the best of the rides--Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, and Kilimanjaro Safari.  We were going to see either Finding Nemo: The Musical or The Festival of the Lion King, but I decided to surprise Ellie instead.  The character she wanted to meet the most was Ariel, from the Little Mermaid.  Unfortunately, at 4:30, she loses her legs and goes back to the ocean, so we didn't get to meet her when we were at Magic Kingdom on Saturday.  So we skipped the Animal Kingdom shows and went back to Magic Kingdom just to meet her.  We also did the Swiss Family Robinson tree house.

After Magic Kingdom round 2, we went to Epcot--my personal favorite.  We did a few of the rides, but we went all the way around the World Showcase to meet the rest of the characters we could.  The girls didn't like Epcot that much, but we didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked.  Ellie chose to eat dinner in the Japanese pavilion, so Sam tried sushi for the first time.  Jenna met us for dinner and before leaving the park, we rode Spaceship Earth one more time.  We would have stayed for the fireworks show--IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth--but Jenna and I had a few more tricks up our sleeve.

As we got into the car, Jenna asked if we could still stop by her work--Yacht & Beach Club.  I said yes, then asked the girls if it was okay if we went by there.  Of course they said yes.  We drove over there and as I parked, I told them it would probably take a while, so they should come in.  We walked through the lobby and over by the pool...  To stand in line to get a table at Beaches and Cream.  Neither Sam nor Ellie asked any questions, which both Jenna and I found a little odd.  They seated us at the counter and Sam mentioned the big bucket of ice cream we had passed.  I said, "Oh, that's crazy." as I took her menu, telling her she wouldn't need it.  The waiter came by and I said, "We'll have four waters and the Sink."  Ten minutes later an actual kitchen sink full of ice cream and an entire can of whipped cream was sitting in front of us.  The girls just about died.  The wait staff said we made it farther than most families of six.  And I would like to personally thank Ellie for that!

They were thrilled for the rest of the night, but we had to call it a day.  We had to get up early again for their flight.  The total count for the character meet and greet for day two was 21!  Plus we saw Belle again.

On Monday, we were already off to a rocky start when I let the girls sleep in too long.  We had to wait until the gift shop opened up at 8:00 anyway, so they could stock up on souvenirs.  Next thing I know, I miss the turn for the airport and had to drive about five miles out of the way to add up to a couple more minutes behind schedule.  When we got to the airport and saw the line to check in for Southwest, I started to get nervous.  The people in front of us were obnoxiously impatient and rude to everyone, so it was easy to keep my mouth shut.  Once we finally checked in, the woman said, "Good luck.  It's about 47 minutes to go through security right now."  I looked at the clock...50 minutes to go.  Panic mode!!!  Well, thanks a lot lady because it was only 15 minutes.  And we made to the gate with about 20 minutes to spare.

It was sad to say goodbye to them, but the weekend was a lot of fun.  On my way home, I got a call from a friend asking if I wanted to go to Monday Night Football in Jacksonville because someone got stuck in Miami.  Um, yes!  More on that to come.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Day of Firsts

Yesterday at work, I had my first assist.  It was on my second stand of the day--Computer 2.  I was talking to a guest about Disney and her visit while watching a little boy along the side of the pool, maybe a foot to my left.  He was bouncing up and down and completely within arms reach of the side, so I thought he was playing.  But then he went under and had the classic look of surprise--stage one of drowning.  I reached my tube out of him to grab and pulled him over to the side of the pool.  I lifted him up to sit him down on the ledge.  His older sister swam over and his dad walked over.  I sat there with him for a few minutes to calm him down.  After he was calm, his family moved over to a different side of the pool where it was shallower.  A number of guests came up to me afterward saying, "I saw what you did with that little boy.  You did a great job.  You completely controlled the situation by staying calm."  And other things to that effect.  It was so nice to hear because inside I was completely freaking out!  I was shaking for a couple minutes after the whole thing happened.

At Bowling 2, I talked to guests who were from Colorado.  That's also a first.  I've met a handful of people from Colorado while I've been down here, but never a guest in the pool while I was working.

Later when I was at Hippy 1, I saw another first.  A guy was in the pool with tattoos of Megatron and Optimus Prime on each peck, a sail boat on his hip, a couple others on his legs, and...(drum roll, please)...Beevus and Butthead sitting on a couch as a tramp stamp.  And it was huge!  So attractive...

Finally, on my last stand of the day, Hippy 3, I came the closest to jumping in that I ever have.  Many times have I gotten down off my stand, walked over to stand as close to the child as possible, put my whistle in my mouth, and gotten ready to radio the call in.  But this time was different.  During the bump, there was a lot of chaos going on, it seemed.  There was a South American family that kept breaking the rules, a guard needed to use the bathroom, so it wasn't as smooth as it usually is.  The guard who speaks Spanish went over to talk to the family, right next to the guard on Hippy 1.  I was standing where I'm supposed to for the bump to come through, which puts me right next to half of Hippy 1.  I noticed a girl start to struggle in the middle of the petal, where it's considerably deep.  She was with her two sisters and appeared to be the youngest.  Their parents were no where in sight, and the guard on that pool didn't notice her.  After a few seconds, she went under, just like the little boy did in the morning, so I put my whistle in my mouth and started running.  Literally when my foot was planted on the side of the pool ready to jump, the big sister grabbed her.  I stopped my self as I teetered over the water and watched for a few more seconds.  The dad finally walked up, but he truly hadn't noticed anything.  At least he was in the water with the girls after that.  Thirty seconds later, I was bumped off for the night.  Such a close call.

I know I've been super bad at blogging lately, so I'll get on my game ASAP.  I have to much to write about when it comes to Sam and Ellie's visit and Monday Night Football in Jacksonville.  Lots of exciting things to come!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Swamp

This is the longest I've ever gone without posting, I think.  One week without hearing from me.  How have you people survived?

Much has happened in the last week, although little is noteworthy.  Really, it's two-fold.  On Friday night, some girls and I had a sushi night.  Instead of going out for sushi, we made it!  I wish I could say I got a lot of fantastic pictures, but my camera's battery was low and I was too into eating.  For an appetizer, I made guacamole.  Zuly--a girl from Mexico--and I were supposed to have a competition, but things didn't work out that way.  She told me mine was better than hers would have been.  A real-life Mexican told me that!  We also had supreme pizza and those sugar cookies with pumpkins on them.  Then the sushi making began!  Everything turned out delicious and it was so much fun.  Thank you Kaori and Marie for teaching everyone!  (Then it turned into a dance party.  Of course.)  Here's a picture of my roll.  It's not perfect, but it was darn good!  It has tuna, avacado, and cucumber.

On Saturday, it was the long awaited UF-LSU football game in Gainesville.  Dexter, Jenna, and I packed up and headed north early in the morning to get a taste of the college football we all missed.  I couldn't have been more excited!  I've been to plenty of college football games in my life, but all of them have involved CU.  I've never seen another school play unless they were playing CU, let alone a pure SEC game!  And talk about a game to see!

We got to Gainseville around 1:30, 6 hours before kick off.  We walked around on University Street across from campus, a little bit around campus, got some lunch, then went over to The Swamp--an apparent famous bar.  We stayed there and watched the South Carolina-Alabama game and conversed with many people--UF, LSU fans alike.  Jenna and Dexter both chose to wear Florida shirts, but I chose to represent LSU on behalf of my family that graduated from LSU.  I have to represent!  Everyone was so nice, even if they were supporting the Gators.  That, I like.  If I wore a CU shirt in Lincoln on game day, you better believe no one would be talking nice to me!  I guess it's that Southern hospitality thing.

Just before the game started, we walked up to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and, boy, it was a sight for sore eyes.  The entire stadium was speckled orange and blue.  (Something I like about CU is 90% of the students wear gold unless it's a black out, in which 100% of the fans, players, and coaches wear black.)  It was huge.  It was beautiful.  And of course the game was amazing.  LSU ended up winning it with six seconds left, giving the Gators their second straight loss.  YAY!  Geaux Tigers!

Here are some photos from that day.  Some of them are Jenna's.

The next exciting thing is the arrival of Sam & Ellie.  It's so close I can feel it!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Disney Characters, Part I

I'm just a week shy of being in Orlando for 2 months and since I'm working--and practically living--at Disney, of course I have made a dent in my character photographs.  Here are just a few that are my favorites.  Get ready for a photo overload.  And you may have seen some of these before.  (Some of them are also photo pass photos, not mine.)  Also, a lot of these are from the same you can see.

Buzz Lightyear & Woody from Toy Story 1, 2, & 3  (with Julie at Hollywood Studios)

Baloo & King Louie from The Jungle Book (with Lexi at Vista Way)

Alice from Alice in Wonderland (with Jenna at Epcot--United Kingdom)

Mary Poppins from Mary Poppins (at Epcot--United Kingdom)

Jasmine & Aladdin from Aladdin (with Jenna at Epcot--Morocco)

Mickey Mouse (with Omar & Jaime at Epcot)

Pluto (with Jaime & Omar at Epcot)

Minnie Mouse (with Jaime & Omar at Epcot)

Goofy (with Omar & Jaime at Epcot)

Chip & Dale (with Omar & Jaime at Epcot)

Belle from Beauty & the Beast (with Omar & Jaime at Epcot--France)

Snow White from Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs (with Lu, Adriana, Omar, & Jaime at Epcot--Germany)

Donald Duck (with Lu, Adriana, & Jaime at Epcot--Mexico)

***UPDATED 10/02/2010***

Pocahontas & Meeko from Pocahontas (with Zuly, Jaime, & Glenda at Animal Kingdom)

Lilo & Stitch from Lilo & Stitch (with Glenda, Jaime, & Zuly at Animal Kingdom)

Winnie the Pooh (with Jaime, Glenda, & Zuly at Animal Kingdom)

Eeyore (with Jaime, Zuly, & Glenda at Animal Kingdom)

Tigger (with Zuly, Jaime & Glenda at Animal Kingdom)

Total count: 24