Sunday, 9 October 2011
What some might call a blogging fail, I prefer to refer to as being super busy and barely taking any time to stop. I was barely back 48 hours when my next adventure began and quite frankly I haven’t stopped since. To my amazement, even after I had left the magic of Disney World I was apparently still being spotted there so let assure you of 3 facts right now…
1) I have been in the UK since 3rd September
2) I do not own a pair of pink mouse ears with my name on.
3) Agent P is only ever visible in my backpack when he’s travelling internationally (it makes life easier at passport control :P )
Before I launch into a bit of a catch up I shall say this. If you have been reading my blog, watching my videos, or following my adventures via the Facebook page and have been thinking about having your own Disney adventure applications appear to be currently open on the Yummy Jobs website http://www.yummyjobs.com/opportunities/programmes/14/disneys-summer-work-experience/ and I can’t recommend the experience enough. In all likelihood I shall never have the opportunity to work directly for the mouse again but the 6 months I had were 6 of the most incredible months of my life and I would encourage everyone to apply.
Right…well that’s enough of that!
Around the time of my last post the mountain was going through a bit of a CP exchange, the old Cps were leaving and the new ones were arriving and I can safely say that I wish I’d been able to spend more time with both groups of people. There was mini golf, parks, steak and shake, sweet tomatoes, TGI fridays, fireworks and more and I loved every moment of it except for the leaving part. There were rumours that during my last few shifts some tears were sighted and I can safely say that was true.
Since my departure it has been announced that Animal Kingdom will be getting some new residents. Something similar happened over at Epcot after I left and I can only assume that each time I leave a gaping hole is left and that the only way Disney can fill it is through millions of dollars worth of investment. Epcot got Duffy and now Animal Kingdom will be getting the Navi, a race of giant blue humanoids from Pandora that featured in James Cameron’s documentary: Avatar. If you’ve seen Ferngully or Pocahontas you can basically just replace the fairies/native Americans with blue people and save yourself a couple of hours. That film is also the reason everyone insists on bringing films out in 3D, giving me a migraine in the process.
I shall be continuing this blog because there is much about the summer that I haven’t talked about and because Disney World is an ever changing place that occupies a high space in my heart. Until next time I shall leave you with two photos from the summer.
Thursday, 11 August 2011
...to talk about films!
What can I say? I'm a film student and as soon as I stop studying them I enjoy going to the cinema even more!!!!
But first there is an important thing to mention here...that I am in no way affiliated with AMC or indeed any of the people that make the films I'm about to mention. Well...except for Disney but they aren't paying me to promote their films.
This week I have been to the cinema 3 times. Well actually, it's been 3 times in the last 24 hours and I would have gone a 4th time but figured I should leave something for me to watch in the next 3 weeks! One thing I LOVE about the AMC is how cheap it is to go and see a movie. With a flash of the old Cast ID a ticket is $8 which is A LOT cheaper than I'm used to paying in London where you can easily pay $20-25 a ticket. That means that those 3 films cost roughly the same as me seeing just one film at home. CRAAAAAAZY! One thing I don't love about the cinema, and let's face it, it's pretty much a universal thing, is the price of food and drink. Today I bought a large soda for $5.25 which entitled me to a free refill. Usually I don't bother with the large soda because that thing is way too huge for one movie but as I was seeing 2 back-to-back I figured why not? Well...I never even got close to finishing it by the end of the second movie. Even by the time I walked back to the bus stop I hadn't actually finished the thing so that means you'd need at least 3 people to be sharing it to finish it within 1 film and don't forget you then get a free refill on top of that so really you need 6 people. Mad isn't it!
Despite the soda I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 films I saw so if you want some entertaining then go and check out Cowboys and Aliens, The Change-Up, and The Smurfs! They are all as ridiculous as each other but in a good way.
The other source of movie fun that I love having here is the Disney Learning Centers. There's one at Vista Way and then ones at the various theme park cast service centers. There's a whole range of stuff to choose from (not just Disney!) and it's a free service. Vista Way lets you check out 2 films at a time for up to 4 days each (but not in the last 2 weeks of your program) which means you can leave those DVDs at home (Don't forget that you'll need to set your laptop/DVD player up to play Region 1 discs though!).
Well, I think that's pretty much it from me for today. Sayonara!
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
Today's post is dedicated to Sarah who says she's slaving away over her MA Dissertation and would appreciate hearing about how much fun I'm having in Florida. She genuinely asked me to blog more so it's not just me rubbing it in.
So far I haven't posted many pictures on here and there is a reason for that that I won't go into right this second but shall become clear once I've returned to the UK. One thing I can say about doing my second program at Disney is that I have continued to experience new things and go one new adventures. I didn't know how it would compare to my first program but it has been a completely different experience and I have made entirely new discoveries about myself and what I am capable of doing.
So with that said let's talk about some of this "fun" that Sarah thinks I'm having :P
Last week I got to go on the Wild Africa Trek at DAK (Disney's Animal Kingdom) that usually costs about $189.95 + tax but I was lucky enough to do for free as part of some DAK cast appreciation thing. There were 6 of us (all cast members) plus two tour guides: Bethany and Chapin, and many, many photos were taken.
One of the best things about the day was that I got to share it with 3 other cast members from Everest. Also....if anyone ever offers you jungle juice at Disney World then I highly recommend trying it.
My sister came down for the day a couple of weeks ago which was fun but also ridiculously busy. We visited Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney all in the space of 24 hours and got to meet some of the great people she works with at Hilton Head Island. Here are a couple of photos (I didn't take nearly enough though!)
This summer I've been trying to do things I haven't done before and it turns out there was quite a bit of DAK that I hadn't seen before including Rafiki's Planet Watch which is right in the back of the park and is only accessible via the Wildlife Express Train over in Africa. One thing that surprised me a little was that they have character meet and greets there so I got the chance to hang out with.....
THere were also lots of animals that you could see up close: frogs, turtles, lizards, 10ft pythons, etc. Actually the snake seemed to be enjoying staring at everyone through the glass and had a surprisingly small head considering how big he was.
Once I returned to Africa I met, hands down, my favourite animal of the trip so far
This hippo was hilarious and clearly enjoyed showing of and having his picture taken. I haven't yet worked out whether it was Hans or Henry (who I met at the Wild Africa Trek) but H was awesome nonetheless.
Oh and then i did this....
I have done 155 rides.
My 5 most popular rides are:
- Expedition Everest (36)
- Disney's Bus Transportation (9)
- Rock 'n' RollerCoaster (6)
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (6)
- Space Mountain (4)
The monorail would be on that list but it counts the different colours separately!
So yeah....that's all you're getting for now. I'm heading off to Animal Kingdom soon to say goodbye to some of the CPs that are leaving :'( and then heading off for dinner in a super secret location which I have been instructed not to talk about. I'd tell you, but my roommate kinda knows where I live!
Monday, 25 July 2011
I've literally had the first 2 sentences of a blog post on my computer screen for the last 2 weeks and have failed to write anymore than that.
I'm now approximately halfway through my ICP program and have been having an amazing time. I've been hanging out with people from Everest, met up with my sister for an action-packed 24 hours and have spent a fair bit of time climbing the same mountain over and over again.
Now, I could go into loads of detail about every day so far but quite frankly I think I'd bore myself. So instead I'm going to talk about some of the differences between this year and last year, starting with............
Obviously I have no idea what's going to happen in the next 5/6 weeks but as life stands I have loved working in both Attractions and Merchandise but they are very different.
Last year I spent a lot of time talking to guests whereas this year I spend a lot of time using a raised voice and repeating the same things over and over again while learning very little about the people I'm coming into contact with. Phrases such as "How many in your group?" and "Please pull up on your lap bar" are now a permanent part of my daily routine.
Side note: If a cast member ever asks you to "pull up on your lap bar" please do just that. Thrusting your pelvis in their face achieves nothing and will only mean them continuing to tell you to pull up on your lap bar or forcing them to push further down on it themselves.
Other differences that I've noticed is that guests get far more upset when something is wrong with something that is included in the price of admission than if they have to pay extra for it, which surprises me a little. So attractions requires a lot more skill in the damage control department because we can't issue refunds in the same way that you can in a store but on the upside we don't have to handle money on a daily basis so you don't have to concentrate on whether you're giving someone the right change or not while trying to converse with them at the same time.
One potential bonus of attractions (depending on what attraction you get) is that you'll get to ride your attraction - a lot! So far I've ridden Expedition Everest over 28 times and get to do so most days that I work (all for health and safety reasons, of course!). If you don't like riding the attraction you're working on then I can imagine this getting a bit boring after a couple of ride-throughs but so far I've not got bored of my mountain.
Before I sign off again I would like to state a few facts about my ride that I'm questioned about on a daily basis.
1) Everest is 3.5 minutes long.
2) You do NOT go upside down.
3) It is both indoor and outdoors.
4) The yeti is real, she does exist and her name is Betty.
5) The yeti is still in the same place as she was when the ride first opened.
6) The yeti is DEFINITELY there.
7) You do NOT go upside down.
8) It's a bit like Big Thunder Mountain except better, smoother and with a backwards section.
9) You only go around the mountain once.
10) There's only one drop and that's the one you can see from next to the bazaar
11) Yes I have been on the ride.
BTW if you want to feel like you're going upside down then the best place to sit is the front of the train. If you want to go faster through the double spiral then sit in the back of the train.
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
The last week I've been waking up at some ridiculous time in the morning to head over to Animal Kingdom for training at Expedition Everest.
The first day was a bit "Aaaaaaaargh" because for the first time I got to do a ride at Disney with the lights on, got to see Betty the Yeti up close, walked all over the mountain and was trying to absorb a lot of information very quickly.
Occasionally I had to clear up some differences in wording of things. For example, Patrick (my trainer) kept saying stuff about trains being backed up and it took me a while to realise he wasn't talking about trains reversing but being stuck in a sort of traffic jam.
Over the first week I was taught how each position worked and where everything is in the mountain. On Monday, after 5 days of training, I had my assessment day which is apparently always done with a trainer that hasn't trained you. There was a written test, some oral questioning and then I had to show that I could perform each position correctly.
Attractions is completely different from Merchandise. Obviously, you're operating a ride so safety is more of an active concern but also the way you interact with guests is completely different. Very rarely am I able to wish people a happy birthday because most of the positions simply don't have time to do it or you have to be focussed on something else so can't do it.
One thing that I love about Everest is that you're only on each position for about 45 minutes with a break roughly every 2 hours and almost every position has you moving constantly so while I have suffered with blistered feet this week they're never suffering because I'm basically standing still for 3 hours which would happen in Merch. Some of the positions are pretty straightforward in a kind of "watch the train and hit a button" way while others can be a little more overwhelming at first because it feels like there's a lot you're trying to juggle at once. I've found that the key is sounding like you know what you're doing even if you're not 100% sure.
As for everything not work related....
Today lots of people had their social security appointments. Thankfully, I got to just sleep in instead because I'd already done that stuff before. I've been going to the parks a lot during downtime - either on days off or after work and then in the evenings we've mostly just been chilling in the apartment.
This week I've been to Earl of Sandwich twice which was obviously awesome! Those sandwiches taste soooooooo good!
Oh....and yesterday I found out my degree classification - 2:1 which caused me to burst into tears so I celebrated with a trip to the Magic Kingdom with Kirsty where I FINALLY went to Tom Sawyer Island. The place astounded me because there's so much detail there and some of the stuff was quite fun too, especially the barrel bridge and waving to people on Big Thunder Mountain and the paddleboat.
For those that are interested I have, in the last week, ridden Everest 10 times. It'll be interesting to see how many times it'll have been by the end of the summer.
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Last year I had maybe 1 day off between my park orientation and starting at Towers. This year I've been given 4 days off. Now, if I'd only finished uni 2 days before I arrived in Orlando that would be fine but honestly, I just want to get working now!
Today has been spent "coaching" Joanne for her run in September, chilling by the pool, sorting out housing stuff, packing and skyping. Fear not loyal followers I have no intention of leaving Orlando yet. I'm actually just moving apartments which was always on the cards since I found out that 3 of my roommates are finishing their program next week. I'm not moving far though and have 3 days to move my stuff. Hopefully it should only actually take about 30 minutes or so to move it all but it's nice that they've given me more than enough time to move. Good thing I haven't really bought anything yet!
I STILL haven't eaten at Earl of Sandwich yet but hopefully that should be resolved within the next week. If I have to I'll send the yeti out to get one for me!
Sunday, 26 June 2011
It started in Epcot with Melissa and Joanne and then later on we were joined by Matt and various others as we did a whistle stop tour of the countries, occasionally taking shelter from the rain. In Mexico I got to see Lee and Patricia (2 of my co-ordinators in Towers) for the first time in 9 months and then a little later saw Kathy over in Kiosks. It's ALWAYS great to see my Towers family again!
I think I'm finally going to make it to Earl of Sandwich tonight and then we're going to spend a little more time in the studios but before any of that can happen I need to get to Walmart to buy some hiking boots.
Saturday, 25 June 2011
As mentioned before, today was park orientation at Disney's Animal Kingdom which meant getting up at 5am. There were lots of interesting things that came up during the day. For one thing I discovered that despite knowing very little about animals (at least the ones in DAK anyway) I seem to know an awful lot about the park itself and my trainer seemed quite impressed that I'd actually met Joe Rohde (the imagineer behind DAK). Until today, DAK was the only one of the four parks that I had never seen from backstage so it was interesting to see it all. No spoilers I'm afraid! But one of the transportation methods available to cast members are free bicycles which would be cool if I was actually able to ride a bike! One major difference (excluding the animals!) is that in Epcot and MK we weren't allowed to move from land to land unless we were wearing certain costumes. For example, if you're in custodial you can pretty much go anywhere you like but if you work in Norway or Fantasyland on an attraction you can only stay in your specific country or "land". In Animal Kingdom, though, we can actually walk wherever we like as long as it's safe to do so which is kinda cool.
I also FINALLY found out my work location. It's been a reveal that's literally taken all week but I now know that for the next 2 1/2 months I will be working in.....................................
Now this seems to have caused a little, erm, shall I say controversy, because I never requested a location and apart from one or 2 really didn't mind which location I got (I think if i'd been sent to It's Tough to Be a Bug I might have been freaking out a little) but other people (specifically mr Steven Usher) requested Everest and didn't get it. No clue how that one works because I don't think I've ever spoken to Disney about that ride. I think I'd have preferred Kali River Rapids slightly over Everest because they get to wear a T-shirt which is far more me but my first impression of the Everest Costume is that I've lucked out again. I don't think it'll match my awesome flag shirt from last year though!
I also got my schedule for the next 10 days which seems fairly good. I'm off until Wednesday then have 5 days training, 2 days off and then an assessment day which takes me up to the 7th July. That means that I'm off for July 4th which is a surprise! And to think last year they wouldn't let me work any more hours on that day because I hit the limit! I also finish on the 3rd at 3pm so it looks like there could be a lot of time for watching fireworks that week!
After looking at my training schedule it seems that the earliest I'll start is around 7am and the latest is 9:15pm. I do actually have one 6:15am start but seeing as that's the assessment day and that the park doesn't open until 8am I think that might just be a one-off.
Tomorrow I have to say goodbye to an ICP which is always a sad occasion because you become close very quickly but I think I might finally be heading into Epcot so I can finally try to have a catch up with my family over at Towers. I am determined at some point to hijack the drumsticks off a glow cart during Illuminations and relive my summer as a walking, red flagged, Christmas Tree but I'm not sure that will happen tomorrow.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
For me today was a free day which is obviously fun when you've got the whole of Walt Disney World at your fingertips.
The day kicked off with a few of us heading to Disney's Hollywood Studios. We immediately hit Sunset Boulevard, grabbing fast passes for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and then queuing for Tower of Terror where we had a nice chat with a family from Dallas that were sporting Minnie Mouse Ears. The five of us sat in the front row and the ride photo was priceless to say the least. Last time I rode ToT it was the Summer Nightastic Version so it was nice to see the original back again.
Next stop: Beauty and the Beast (via food!). I think there are more than enough photos of the show floating around to demonstrate how good it is and all I can say about the food is that I had a salad with Chilli in it. Weird!
Back we went to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster to use our fast passes and another priceless ride photo was generated. Then came some meandering around shops followed by fluid replenishment and a chat with one of the DVC guys.
The first highlight of the day had to be going on Star Tours: The Adventures Continue for the first time. Wow!!!!! I loved the new queue and its references to Star Wars and the old attraction. As for the ride itself we visited Hoth and Naboo and the whole thing looked fabulous.
At around 5:30ish we were back at Vista and I felt done for the day. I had those aching feet that I remember having the first 2 weeks last summer. I thought I'd quickly pop over to the learning centre so that I could log in to the computer systems and check my schedule for the next week or so. As I left I bumped into some familiar faces who were about to head off to Applebees for dinner. Knowing how close by Applebees is (it's about a 5 minute walk away from Vista) I decided to join them and we had a lovely, and most importantly, CHEAP meal. It cost about half of what the other 2 sit down meals cost which makes a huge difference to my bank balance. It's always good to get to chat with a small group over dinner because you get to know a lot more about each other. It's easy to forget that 5 days in we're really all still strangers from completely different areas of the UK.
Once we got back to Vista we continued the chat outside the learning centre and somehow ended up all having our backs "cracked" by Rebecca on a bench in the middle of Vista Way. Possibly one of the more bizarre things of the trip so far.
Tomorrow I have a very early start and will probably have to get up at around 5:15am but hopefully the day will be a lot of fun. I'm thinking of stopping by Cast Connections later on in the day too.
I'm sure I've talked about Traditions before but just in case i didn't or if you haven't read it here's a quick summary...
Traditions is a class that every new cast member of the Walt Disney Company takes and becomes their first day of work. Most of it is learning about Traditions, heritage and the like, and it is where you get your Disney ID and that all important name tag.
My class wasn't until 2pm and I think I much preferred having the class at 8am because the weather was cooler and my body clock is still waking me up at 7am. Honestly, the class wasn't nearly as interesting as the first time around although there had been some slight changes to the class but for the most part it was exactly the same.
After the class a group of us all headed back to Vista, changed, then headed straight for the Magic Kingdom by which time we were starving so headed straight to Casey's with a quick detour to pick up some 1st Visit pins. This was the first time I got to try one of Casey's specialty hot dogs and went for the Barbecue one with pulled pork and slaw. Considering I don't really like Coleslaw and don't really like hot dogs it tasted pretty good. Then there was a mini rush to the Tomorrowland Dance Party where I danced for nearly an hour while I was waiting for Stitch (who was hosting) to arrive. Let me tell you, Stitch has some killer dance moves and I managed to record some video footage to prove it so expect to see that sometime in the future.
Around this time I went through a bit of separation from the rest of the group and after waiting about 30 minutes for a text message discovered that everyone was leaving the park so off I headed to the exit. As I was exiting I thought I'd give my friend Becky a call to see if she'd finished work and what do you know? She's in the Magic Kingdom on Main Street. So having exited about 30 seconds earlier I then turned around and went back in and after 4 days of waiting (excluding the previous 9 months!) finally caught up with her. What followed was some Small World, Magic Carpets and Pirates along with a crazy queue so that I could grab a drink. We rode the last pirate ship of the night which was pretty cool and visited one of Becky's roommates on Main Street. The fab trio then gave me a lift to Chatham and I caught a bus back to Vista Way and only got home at about 2:30. Looooooooooong Day but a Looooooooooooot of fun!
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Today turned out to be a pretty empty one in terms of things we had to do. It was literally just the 30-60 mins spent doing job-related processing (getting our location, pay check card, etc). Note to Alumni: If you still have a valid Disney pay card bring it with you because they can just reuse the old one rather than giving you a new one which means you don't have to reactivate it again.
Depending on when your time slot was most people seemed to head to the pool so by the evening people were looking a lot redder. Seeing as I avoid any kind of sunbathing like the plague I chose to do a bit of Skyping, blogging and napping instead with the odd trip to Walgreens thrown in.
For the evening it was decided to head to the Boardwalk for some dinner and then go to the Polynesian to catch the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. We all managed to get on the same bus (always an achievement when you're talking about 20 or so people trying to co-ordinate) and then had our first fail: Not getting off at the right stop! So we ended up at the Yacht and Beach Club, meandered through the hotel and then caught one of the Friendship boats over to the Boardwalk. 14 of us then ate at the Big River Grille & Brewing Works. There's a couple of photos on the facebook page of Perry enjoying himself at the Boardwalk for those that are interested.
At 9pm we could see Illuminations from our tables and it all came flooding back. So much so that I was able to predict each bit without hearing the music or seeing the globe. CRAZY!
At around 9:30pm it became obvious that we weren't going to make it to the Polynesian so we just enjoyed the rest of our meal before heading back to the bus
Tomorrow it's Traditions day and we seem to have been split into the morning and afternoon sessions based on the alphabet which is nice because the Vista Way and Chatham people get to officially mix. It looks like I know loads of people in my group as well - obviously I've befriended loads of people with last names starting with R to U!!! It also looks like the first 2 days of training I'll be spending with my fellow Animal Kingdom-er Steven. We have exactly the same schedule until Friday which is nice.
Advanced warning! I'm not sure exactly when i'll be posting tomorrow. I doubt anything too eventful will happen before Traditions and afterwards we'll probably be quickly heading into the parks. Keep an eye on the facebook page though because I'll probably try to upload the odd photo on there!
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Did you guess which park I got?
I think Disney may have heard I hadn't done my tour of Animal Kingdom on here because that's what I got!
Now there's one attraction that I ABSOLUTELY HATE in Animal Kingdom and that's It's Tough to Be a Bug. It just makes my skin crawl because I really don't like bugs....even fake ones!
This morning I found out a more specific location within Animal Kingdom and I waited with baited breath before they told me................
Ok....so I don't know which attraction I've got yet but at least it's now down to a choice of 3: Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and Flights of Wonder.
I'd be happy with any of them so it should work out to be a pretty good location and I'm 99% sure that it's hiking boots for all three roles which, of course, is the one type of shoe I didn't bring!
Looks like I'm heading to the Poly tonight for some pre-Traditions fireworks on the beach. More updates soon!
Once again I've woken up spontaneously early. Thankfully not quite 5am this time but the somewhat more reasonable time of 7:20am. I'm constantly adding photos to Facebook so for the most recent ones check there. People photos will mostly be on my personal page so if you've met me then that's the place to check. If I haven't met you in person yet don't worry there are still plenty of photos for you to see which will appear on the SDA Facebook page . I will try to post plenty of photos on here as well but obviously that's more dependent on how well I maintain the blog once I start working.
Today I find out the exact location that i'll be working in. So far I know my role and the park. While the park isn't the one I'd have ranked as number 1 on my list of ones I'd like to work in it is at number 2 so I'm pleased with that. I'll leave you guessing which park though until I've heard the full set of details but I will share with you one little thing....
I've never worked in the park before.
That means I won't be returning to Epcot which I'm pleased about. Don't get me wrong, I loved my time in Epcot but I had this fear that if I got it and didn't love the location as much as I loved Towers then I be forced to see Towers every day and I think a little magic might have disappeared. But.......now i don't have to worry about that at all so YAY!
Watch out for the big reveal of my location sometime within the next 24 hours!
Monday, 20 June 2011
First of all I want to send a huge shout out to everyone I met today!
This morning was spent doing housing check-in stuff which basically means signing paperwork, having your passport checked and then being issued with a housing ID card. The whole thing only takes about 30 minutes because they stagger everyone's times.
Shiny new housing ID in hand, the afternoon was spent in meetings, signing more paperwork and the like. Tip for alumni or people that have previously worked in the USA: Make sure you bring your social security card with you because then you'll get to skip some paperwork and avoid a trip to get a new one.
It looks like tonight is going to be spent in Downtown Disney so that should be fun. I won't be surprised if I end up in Earl of Sandwich!!!!!!!
Yesterday was super long although technically it wasn't nearly as long as last year's equivalent which must mean that I'm getting old! I was actually wide awake until about 7ish and then just as I decided to head to Walmart it really kicked in. Last year I bought a load of stuff from Walmart on the first night and struggled with it on the bus. This time I decided to just grab the "essentials" that I needed before tomorrow. So I ended up buying:
- 2 pillows
- Hot pockets
- A turkey and provolone sandwich
- Some Raspberry lemonade Crystal Light
- A Hairdryer
- Shampoo and conditioner.
- Cinnamon Pop Tarts
- A small rucksack
I forget to get towels but luckily I packed my travel towel with me so I can cope until I next go to the store. My main thing was to make sure that I had some food for breakfast and lunch for the next few days. I did forget to buy a cheap poncho which was a bit stupid, for reasons that shall quickly become apparent.
After I arrived the very first thing I did was plug in my wireless box because I hate having wires everywhere. After chatting with some new roommates I hit facebook to see who'd arrived. The annoying thing about the first few days is that no-one's really sorted out their phones so it's difficult to get hold of people. This is going to be especially tough as most of the people I know are living in Chatham at the moment. Also I seem to be on a different schedule to most of the people that I know. Again annoying because last year we all seemed to be together. Anyway...back to facebook. So I'm on there waiting for the BA/Virgin groups to arrive and Fran (who arrived on Saturday) was asking if anyone wanted to get some dinner. Success!!!! More humans!!!! So we both headed to one of the finest restaurants in America: Wendy's. It was really good to see a familar face and we had a nice long chat. Now, when we walked to Wendy's it was bright sunshine with the odd cloud and as we sat there we could see dark clouds rolling in so decided to try to get back to Vista before it rained. We stepped out of the door and what d'ya know - it started raining! About halfway to Vista it started getting really heavy, and for those unfamiliar with Florida rain when I say heavy I'm talking about the 3 seconds and you're soaked kinda rain, so by the time I got back to my apartment I was a little....damp! Then facebook informed me that others had arrived and we all met at Chatham to go to Walmart. This year it seems that for whatever reason most of the June 19th-ers have been separated during the apartment allocation so whereas last year everyone in the flat had just arrived this year they're all already established. I'll be honest, this kinda sucks because you miss out on the bonding that happens when you're all new together. So for any future ICP-ers out there be aware that it could happen. I've not been aware of it happening on quite this scale before (because it seems to be the case for nearly everyone, especially the over 21s) but it does usually happen to the odd person so just be aware of it.
Right now though it's 6:40am and I've been up for approximately the last hour. Ah, the joys of jet lag! I'm not tired or anything though so I much prefer travelling west to travelling east when you just end up exhausted. Today's schedule is all housing meetings, welcome meetings and paperwork and apparently very little has changed from last year but I have to sit through it all again anyway.
Good news for people at home! I've got data and email and stuff on my phone so in theory you should be able to get hold of me wherever I am if you've got my details. Obviously I'm not going to post those details up here! But as usual readers/viewers can always get hold of me via youtube (www.youtube.com/suziewdwcp), twitter (www.twitter.com/helium7suz) and the facebook page (www.facebook.com/suziesdisneyadventure). Hopefully I'll be able to upload photos on the go so those will mostly appear on my facebook page.
That's all for the moment folks. Look out for lots of blog posts within the next few days. I'm not sure when videos will get uploaded but rest assured that I am filming them.
3:30am - Woke up
4:30am - Left home
5:30am - Arrived at Heathrow
5:50am - Bag dropped off and boarding pass in hand
5:52am - Breakfast in Costa with my parents
6:20am - Said farewell to my family and entered security
6:30am - Cleared security
6:35am - Bought some lunch from Pret
6:40am - Wandered around Dixons and played with an iPad 2 (possible mistake because now I really want one!)
6:50am - Gate announced
6:51am - Headed to Gate 49, vlogged on the move.
7:10am - Boarded Flight to Washington Dulles
7:55am - Took off!!!!!!!!!!!
7:56am - Switched my watch to EST
3:00am - Napped
6:00am - Woke up, watched a movie, had my lunch.
7:29am - Started writing this blog post.
Right now I've got 2 hours and 52 minutes until I land in Washington according to the onboard computer. Agent P is snoozing in the seat back pocket next to my iPhone and a bag of posh cheese and onion crisps. As I suspected I haven't seen anyone on the flight that is obviously a fellow ICP. It's mostly Americans on board. That's one of the best things about flying with an American Airline - there are usually less British accents around to remind you of home.
By the way....
For those that are interested my bag weighed in at 21.1kg which was well under the 23kg limit. I managed to pack everything I wanted to bring - no exceptions - so I'm pretty pleased with that. There was also room in my case for more stuff so I didn't need to sit on it or anything to get it closed. I think a key contributor to that fact was using vacuum bags to pack my spare suitcase and my comforter (duvet). The duvet was basically flat by the time I'd sucked all the air out of it. I know everyone has their favourite style of suitcase. I would always recommend having one with wheels because that makes getting around the airport A LOT easier. My suitcase is a big, soft material, holdall on wheels with a fixed handle and a pull out one. My spare case (for travelling home) is also a holdall but with no wheels. That means that I could get it in my case without taking up loads of room for things I'd need to bring with me. After I'd vacuum packed it it was tiny and barely noticeable in the case so if you have one lying around at home then that's a really good way of packing it and prevents you needing to buy one before you go back home. Expect to bring back at least one more case than you take with you because I can almost guarantee that you'll buy stuff while you're in Orlando that you'll want to bring home.
Update: 12:40pm, In the skies near Washington D.C.
Good news! Agent P and I made it onto our second flight. We cleared customs and immigration within 10 minutes of stepping off the plane. - Definite advantage of flying with an American Airline and not flying direct into Orlando. We even had time to buy a drink at the airport and phone home to let my parents know that we'd arrived safely - happy days.
Amusing note: the United rep at the gate referred to flying to Orlando as "Chasing Mickey". Eavesdropping on some conversations it's obvious that a lot of people on board are planning to visit the mouse.
Magical Moment: So....I got on the plane and was one of the last to board. I had an aisle seat, 27C. Seat A was empty and Seat B had a guy in his early 20s who kept looking around the plane. Then he started gesturing to the girl in seat 27F (The opposite window seat). It looked like they wanted to sit together so I offered them my seat and now they are happily playing away on their iPads/iPhones next to each other. :D
I'm scheduled to land in Orlando in about 1 1/2 hours so *fingers crossed* I should be checking in at Vista Way some time between 4 and 5 which is about 2-3 hours earlier than last year. I can't wait to see all the other ICPs once they arrive. I haven't been able to check whether their flights were running to time or not so fingers crossed that everyone is safely on their way as planned.
Update: 5:29pm, Vista Way
I'm all checked in and shall be living in Vista Way. Mixed feelings about it because the people that I've met in my apartment are all lovely but I kinda wanted to be in Chatham this year for a bit of a change. I need to go to Walmart at some point tonight but I'm kinda waiting for the mass of Brits to arrive from the BA and Virgin flights because at the moment there's no-one really here. Seriously, I had about 15 people checking me in because no-one else was arriving. Annoyingly the Mears people dropped me off in the wrong place at Vista but a nice Cast member with a car picked me up and drove me to where I needed to be.
So yeah, that's pretty much it for now. There's nothing I HAVE to do until 10:20am tomorrow . Another post may appear later tonight when something more has happened. You have been warned! lol
Saturday, 18 June 2011
This morning I woke up at 7:30am so that I could check in for my flight online. I hauled my laptop downstairs to the printer only to discover that I couldn't check in! After 5 minutes of hopeful refreshing I discovered that United's entire computer system had crashed 24-48 hours earlier causing delays and long lines at the airport. I then ignored the computer for a few hours and watched Armageddon. By the time I returned I was able to check-in online. Hooray!!!!!
I'm now seated in Economy Plus for my flight to Washington (my chances of sleeping just increased :D ) and all is well
Tonight I got to have a Gammon Roast as my last dinner in the UK. Yay for Yorkshire puddings!
Obviously I haven't managed to do the tour of Animal Kingdom that I had planned but there have been some snippets of the park in my vlogs. I think it is probably the most beautiful of all the parks and the rides it has a pretty awesome. I think I have more photos from the Kilimanjaro Safaris than any other thing at WDW. Every trip I take at least 100 photos on that one ride.
I think the rest of tonight is going to involve me doing one last load of washing (so I come back to all my clothes being nice and clean) and then curling up in bed to watch Imagineering Disneyland. Next time I blog i could well be in Orlando!!!!!!
Safe travels to anyone else that is flying tomorrow. See ya real soon!
Thursday, 16 June 2011
I said I'd do it on Monday and today I finally got round to starting my packing. Go me...Go me...
I haven't finished packing yet but I'd say I'm 80% done. Considering I usually leave it all until the night before I think that's pretty impressive. No photos or video of the luggage yet but don't worry...the packing vlog WILL happen!
One thing that concerns me a little is that I seem to have more room in my case than last year yet I'm taking more stuff, a LOT more stuff! I'm really not sure how that one works but there you go.
This year I've changed packing tactics slightly in relation to the vacuum bags and so far have only vacuum packed 2 things: my comforter and my spare suitcase. Last year I tried to vacuum pack all my clothes and I'm not convinced that it made THAT much difference to the total volume.
I know that some people are struggling with packing everything into one case/ keeping the weight under 23kg so here's a really brief description of what I've packed in my suitcase:
3 month supply of contact lenses
Business Attire (1 pair of trousers, 2 blouses, 1 pair smart black shoes)
7-10 days worth of summer clothes
1 pair Flip Flops
1 pair black trainers
Minimal quantity of toiletries (sun cream, razor, deodorant, very small bottles of shampoo and conditioner)
1 pin lanyard
signing book (from last summer)
Wireless Router + ethernet cable
A bear named Bear
My hand luggage is going to contain:
All electricals (cameras, hard drives, laptop, phone etc)
Toothbrush + Toothpaste
2 pairs contact lenses
Then the plan is to wear Jeans, T-shirt, Zipped Hoody and White trainers for travelling to Orlando.
When planning the amount of clothes that I'm taking I keep 2 major things in mind:
1) I will buy clothes in Florida.
2) There are laundry machines.
Doing laundry last summer was so ridiculously convenient that I'm not too worried about taking loads of clothing with me. If I need anything extra desperately then I'll buy it cheaply in Walmart or a discount store.
My number one tip when deciding what to pack is to prioritise things that are difficult to buy in the USA because anything else can be acquired if you forget it or don't have room. Ultimately the important thing is that you turn up with all the necessary paperwork, a couple of days clothes, business attire, and any medication/contact lenses/etc that you'll need.
Tomorrow is, arguably, the busiest day of my week so far, yet the middle of it seems fairly empty. I've got my haircut in the morning and then I'm working in the evening. Yeah, that's right, only I could do pretty much nothing for a month and then work less than 2 days before I leave! It should be a fun night though because I'm working an event at a school near where I live, promoting King's College. It will be my last day wearing my flashy, super cool, red Student Ambassador T-shirt.
Before I sign off for the night, apologies for so many posts in the last 24 hours. It can't be helped I'm afraid....the excitement is building!
Apologies to my non-British readers who may not know what Quality Streets are for the title of this post but I assure you that it makes sense to the Brits.
Tonight I was asked if I created any magical moments for guests last summer. Here's a list of some of my favourites.
1) Knighting ceremonies. Every now and again Sir Mickey requires some extra help to keep his Kingdom magical at all times and protect it from Villains that may be lurking so my job was to recruit young knights and ladies to help him out, complete with a mini ceremony.
2) Bubbles!!!! Everyone loves playing with bubbles no matter how old they are. there's something amazing about seeing hundreds of bubbles flying over the UK pavillion.
3) Fun with Stitch and Pluto. When I was in the stores Stitch helped me greet guests and ring up transactions. My last shift was on Pluto's birthday and I got to hang out with him and do some extra special birthday pin trading.
4) Photos with Buzz. During my stint in Tomorrowland Buzz would help me identify people in photos and would appear with guests as they took photos of themselves outside Emperor Zurg's jail cell.
5) Photos with Suzie. Admittedly I may have been lit up by a Christmas tree but every now and again a guest would ask to have their photo taken with me which is probably one of the most amazing compliments that I received last summer.
This morning I was reminded of one of the most bizarre things about life post-mouse. In my Disney 30 Vlog I mentioned that I had written 6 essays about Disney while I was at uni, almost all of which were by choice with me managing to relate whatever topic we were studying to the House of Mouse.
This year though, I had to read articles about Disney World as part of the set reading for my course on Film and New Media, most of which was about Epcot. It was somewhat surreal to read an academic analysis of a place that you spent 3 months working in, especially when it starts referring to the International 18 year olds that are brought over to work in the park. (Obviously causing me to protest somewhat as I would say the majority of UK CRPs are probably NOT as young as 18)
Still, the point remains that once you become part of Mickey's family you become part of an environment that will always be analysed by people from all backgrounds. For any of us leaving the world of academia, we can largely forget about it, but for those of you that will still be studying once you return from the place where dreams come true, be prepared to read such articles with entirely new eyes.
As with all things studying something is very different to actually living it!
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Another day, another task completed. This time picking up the US currency that I had ordered yesterday. Yesterday I picked up my contact lenses and the odd toiletry. Actually I'm packing very little in the way of toiletries because to me it just adds weight to the luggage and most of the stuff is cheaper out there anyway. My two must take toiletries are deodorant (because I've yet to find a US one I like) and toothpaste. Obviously they sell toothpaste in America but I'm a bit fussy about which one I use. Basically I HATE the taste of mint so I use a particular variety of a popular brand that has quite a mild taste to it. Walgreens stocks most toiletries and it's open 24 hours so I know there won't be a problem getting anything as soon as I arrive.
So as things stand I have just 3 things left to do...
2) Get a haircut
3) Check-in online
Yeah so despite my intention of packing on Monday I still haven't packed anything. Most of my laundry and stuff is all done though so it's more a case of putting the stuff in my case rather than anything else.
Shockingly I haven't had a haircut in over a year so my hair is ridiculously long at the moment. An appointment is booked for Friday morning so that I won't die from excess heat next week.
Long, thick hair = Melted Suzie.
I had hoped that my hair would be long enough that if I cut it to the desired length the trimmings would be long enough to donate but I don't think it's quite there yet unless i cut my hair short and that's not going to happen. There needs to be at least 10"-12" and I think my Ponytail is about 15" long so you never know it may just be enough!
If anyone's interested in donating their hair here's the info about a charity in the UK that specialises in helping children suffering from hair loss due to cancer treatment. Little Princess Trust Fear not! Your hair won't be used as part of Wayne Rooney's hair transplant!
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
I'm assuming that regular readers will have picked up on the fact that I tend to keep up to date with news from 'the World' year round, irrelevant of whether I'm about to move there for 2 1/2 months or not. I suppose following the news about WDW is my equivalent of supporting a sports team and following every trade, management change and red card.
Today I decided to look up refurbs, or, as I think they should now be spelt reFerbs! hehehehe
(All info can be found on Disney's Park Hours Page )
So at the moment nothing is scheduled for reFerb in my beloved Epcot which doesn't surprise me too much. All the pavillions in Future World have had reFerbs within the last few years (with the exception of Test Track) and in the countries it's usually more of a maintenance thing than shutting down for long periods.
In Hollywood Studios it looks like Voyage of the Little Mermaid is set for a reFerb from August 13th-September 3rd which is basically the last 3 weeks of my trip so I'll have to make sure that I see it plenty of times prior to August 13th, particularly as it's one of my favourites.
At Animal Kingdom, Primeval Whirl is closed my entire trip. I usually go on it once but I find it's one of THE most uncomfortable rides in Florida. The seat is really low and you just get thrown about into the safety restraints and end up with bruises on your thighs. It's a fun ride but I won't be shedding any tears about not being able to go on it.
At MK there are 2 attractions down. First is the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade. As a kid I was taught how to shoot an air rifle (how cool was my primary/elementary school!) so now and again I like hitting the shootin' arcade if I'm on my own just chillin' in Magic Kingdom but there are plenty of other attractions in Florida where I can shoot at things, the best 2 being Toy Story Mania and Men in Black: Alien Attack (over in Universal Studios). The other attraction receiving some Disney love is The Enchanted Tiki Room. I've already discussed this attraction in previous posts and did a video of the Under New Management version. It's currently set to reopen around August 15th so you can bet that I'll be heading straight there as soon as I hear the doors open.
The reFerb announcements for Blizzard Beach amuse me. Every year the waterparks shut down for a month or so for a spring (or rather fall) cleaning as is the case for Blizzard Beach from October 30th to November 30th but instead of just saying "park's closed" it says that the park is closed AND that all the individual rides are closed. No idea why! Maybe some people think that the attractions are open even though the park is closed. Who knows! Whatever the reason it doesn't really affect me because I'll be gone by then and I doubt that I'll be back as soon as November.
One more thing....
I've just found out (well I could have looked it up months ago but still :P) that Magic Kingdom is open until Midnight on Wednesday (which I'm guessing will be our Traditions day) with no Extra Magic Hours that night so I should be able to have time to visit all my fav Towers CMs from last year and be able to hit Magic Kingdom too! Best laid plans and all that but it's nice to know that I CAN do it.
For those that don't know Extra Magic Hours (which has various nicknames amongst CMs, none of which are original) is when the parks are open for the exclusive use of resort guests (i.e. you have to be staying at a Disney hotel). That means they're a no go area for CMs unless they're working them or staying in a hotel for a few nights. There's morning and evening EMH. The morning sessions are an hour long meaning the park opens at 8 rather than 9 and the evening sessions are 3 hours long which at MK means the park is open until 2-3am in the morning. If you can't use EMH then I usually find that the park with EMH (usually one morning and one evening per day) are best avoided. For example....on Tuesdays Magic Kingdom has EMH in the morning and Epcot has it in the evening so if I was visiting the parks that day I would avoid MK in the morning and Epcot in the evening. Makes sense?
I think last year I only worked once during EMH and that was during my week in Tomorrowland. If memory serves I was't there until closing though or the stores closed slightly earlier than the EMH hours. Towers was never open during EMH so the extended hours at Epcot never really applied to me. That was one of the many reasons why Towers was such a great location to work.
Right...that's enough for today I think. Until tomorrow!
Monday, 13 June 2011
Those of you who've watched my Disney 30 vlog will know that my must-see at WDW is Fantasmic. One of the things I hated about last summer was that I only got to see the show 3 times because it was usually only on on nights when I was working. Cue sad face.
This year Disney, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to have Fantasmic on every night over the summer. Cue super happy face!
The only downside is that it looks like they'll only be having one showing each night so crowd levels could be interesting. Some of the queues last summer were crazy though so hopefully they won't be quite as bad as that with more performances on offer.
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Everywhere in the UK it seems to be wet. What is going on with this weather? I don't mind rain too much but I prefer Florida rain because it's spectacular and doesn't usually last all day unless there's a Tropical Storm in the area.
What REALLY annoys me about this weather is that the fabulous Tony (of Adventures in Disney With Tony) has tagged me in a 30 Disney Facts vlog and I can't film outside because it's RAINING!!!!! Grrrrr. So as soon as it decides to stop then I'll get that vlog sorted out.
I've made a decision that tomorrow I shall attempt to do some packing. I figure that if I say I'm going to do it tomorrow then it should be done by Friday. At least, that's the theory anyway.
In other news it appears that I'll have a travelling companion for the journey to Orlando! I'm going to try to persuade them to let me introduce them in a pre-departure vlog. Oh and when I do get around to packing I'm going to try to do a packing vlog because I spectacularly failed at that one last year.
So I guess that means I'll need to film and upload at least 3 new vlogs before I leave. That should fill the week up a little bit!
6 days, 12 hours, 38 mins, 22 seconds....
Saturday, 11 June 2011
I mentioned the Backlot Tour briefly in the last post and it used to be one of my favourite attractions at WDW. Less so now because it's become a little samey. I still love seeing the Earful Tower though and I recommend seeing it at Xmas when it gets to accessorise for the season.
This isn't the best picture in the world but it's one of the great backstage areas that everyone can see. Actually, if you went on the tour a couple of summers ago you may have even seen me in the costuming workshop while I was getting an up close view of their handiwork.
Ah...the Crossroads of the World. It's the first thing guests see as they enter the park and the last thing they see when they leave. I can safely say that the Disney version, complete with Mickey statue, is far more glamourous than the original in Hollywood. And for Disney trivia buffs it also serves as the lightning conductor for Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Another show that I seem to have lots and lots and lots of pictures of. I'm not sure it's even possible to not like the Beauty and the Beast show on Sunset Boulevard. Every now and again there's a little mishap that occurs midshow, the most famous of which was one of the male dancers falling as he pushed his cart.
I'm not sure why I don't have a picture of the giant AT-AT that stands outside Star Tours but at least I have one of Darth Vader. I actually cannot wait until I get to ride the new Star Tours. Usually I go hunting for details of new attractions but this is one where I have deliberately avoided as many spoilers as possible.
The final stop on my tour of the Studios (at least for the moment) is the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. I love show. It's only about 17 minutes long but I adore the underwater effects and the Under the Sea number. Ursula ALWAYS scares me a little though and I'm not afraid to admit it!
Next stop: Nahtazu!
Friday, 10 June 2011
I don't really have a favourite WDW park but if I did i think Disney's Hollywood Studios would be a pretty strong contender for the title. It's the only park where I find myself missing past attractions but also loving the new ones.
In total I have been personally involved in attractions at Hollywood Studios 4 times.
First, was the backstage magic tour which has been gone for years. Toy Story Mania now occupies the building that it was in, the entrance for which was near the current backlot tour. It existed back when the park was a working studio and you got to walk in a gallery that ran along the top of the soundstages, watch a short film starring Bette Midler, and have movie magic like blue screen and split screen divides demonstrated. I was selected to demonstrate blue screen and at the time they used 101 Dalmatians (the live action version) to do this. I got to sit on a bike that had no pedals and was told to pedal as fast as I could and was occasionally told to lean left/right/etc. They then made it look like Pongo was pulling me around the streets of London. Now, the amusing thing about this is that I can't actually ride a bike, so for me it was a bit of a special moment getting to ride one around London. Only in the movies - eh!
Time #2 was when I was 15. It was the 1st anniversary of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - Play It! and the second show of the day which made it exactly 1 year since I had first visited the attraction. For those that don't remember/never saw WWTBAMPI! it was also in the building that now houses Toy Story Mania but it was more on the right side. In fact the soundstage gallery was visible from within the attraction and when both Backstage Magic and Millionaire existed they used to phone the gallery as part of the Phone a Complete Stranger lifeline. Anyway....each show would have two people make it into the hotseat. The first was decided by a fastest finger first round and the second was decided by the entire audience playing along and the person with the most correct answers in the fastest time would get to play. So there I am with my sister while the parents were sunbathing by the pool and we had to place 4 Disney films in order of original release. According to Charly my fingers moved like lightning and before we knew where we were i made it into the seat where I made it all the way to 16,000 points which, according to a CM was the furthest any Brit had got at that time.
Time #3 was at the Backlot tour. Now unfortunately I don't have any pictures or video of me in the show but I DO have pictures of the segment in question. So just imagine me and my friend being part of the action.
Time #4 was back over at Millionaire. This time I was 18 or 19 and the attraction was due to close in August of that year. My sister was desperate to get in the hot seat before it closed so the last day of our trip was spent at the studios and boy was she on a mission. At the start of the day it was decided that we would go to every show until she got in that seat. I asked what I should do if, God forbid, I should make it into the hot seat and after the initial "I'd kill you" she said that I'd have to play but we'd keep going to the shows. So off we went to Millionaire for the first show of the day. Someone won the fastest finger first round and into the hot seat they went and with poised fingers we were ready to play along. The plan was for me to tell Charly the answer if I knew what it was and so I did right up to a question where I had no idea of the answer. Thankfully she got it right but I didn't so at that point I was a bit more relaxed playing along because if you got any wrong you basically had no chance of getting called down. A couple of questions go by and then one about meat comes up. Now I genuinely had no idea of the answer and told Charly that so we both just randomly hit one of them. Well, it turned out that only about 5 people in the entire audience got the answer right and the guy in the hot seat got it wrong and would you believe I was one of the 5. I literally sat there praying that I wasn't number 1 on the leaderboard but I was so down to the hot seat I went. I remember the host asking who was with me and I replied saying something like my sister but she'd kill me for making it down. the host made some quip about Charly not caring if I ended up winning a cruise and all I could think was "Yes she will!" This time round I made it to 32,000 - yay for improvement! But I then had to go to every show that day befriending some Millionaire regulars on the way. Sadly Charly never made it into the hot seat that day and despite some mild protestations we never saw the attraction again.
Thursday, 9 June 2011
One ride that I don't do very often actually provides some of the best photo opportunities in the Magic Kingdom and that's the Liberty Belle which 'paddles' it's way around the Rivers of America.
It starts in Liberty Square and circles Tom Sawyer Island in a clockwise direction.
Tom Sawyer Island is one place that I'm determined to go this summer and there's a special reason why. Every day several paintbrushes are hidden by cast members on the island. If you're on the first boat of the day you get to try to find one of the brushes and if you do then your party gets fastpasses for one of the frontierland attractions.
They used to have canoes that guests could paddle to get to the island but they're now long gone so the only way to reach the island is by raft.
There are, however, cast member canoe races around the island during the summer that take place in the early hours before the park is open to guests.
This cabin was once one of my favourite things on the island but it didn't quite look like this. Instead it was on fire and was featured in an old WDW video guide that referred to the owner having a house warming party!
Next stop: Lights, Cameras, ACTION!!