Saturday, December 17, 2011


"As we go on we remember all the times we've had together and as our lives change, come whatever, we will still be friends forever."

OMG we actually Graduated yesterday. I mean I wasn't really that sad because there wasn't a whole ceremony or anything, but it was very surreal knowing we have been here all year and it will soon be over. I am definitely ready to go though - I will just miss Disney World in my back yard though and all the friends I have made over here. i kinda wish we could all live in the same place again cause it would be so much fun.

The graduation was very low key - we arrived and got our ids scanned and then we lined up for our certificates. It was weird for me as the lines were alphabetical by first name so instead of being the last line at the back I was the second in the C-E section. Our certificates say J1-E Spring Advantage on them as our programme name which is kinda weird and I am not sure what the E stands for??? After that we lined up and got our ears - because we are Internation College Programs we get a special picture on the front from the rest of the CPs which is cool. They also gave us a poster and a photo box and a wind chime? which is kind of strange coz they are leftover cast holiday presents from 2008.

Then we got in line for a photo with Mickey and Minnie - that line was like 50 minutes and the rest of the stuff only took us 20 minutes, but we finally got our 1 photo per camera and then we got food and then it was over. We did get a photo with the Disney poster which is very pretty.  After that we went back to Vista and dropped off all of our stuff and then headed to All Star resort to pick up Jill's friend, Luke who was visiting from Australia. We all went to Magic Kingdom where we randomly went on The Carousel of Progress for probably the last time as well which is kind of sad. I love that ride "There's a great big beautiful tomorrow, just a dream away". After that we walked over to Splash Mountain anad Luke and Mikaylah went on it, but Sarah, Jill and I didnt want to get wet so we waited for them coz the ride was only 5 minutes. Then we watched Magic, Memories and You and I was still disappointed that my favourite part has been cut out for all of Christmas and I am not sure if I will get to see it again before I leave because it might not be back to normal by January 5th - so I am a bit guttered by that, however Wishes is just as good as always - I actually haven't seen it since October I think so it was nice to watch it again. Then we all went to Tony's Town Square which is the restaurant based on Lady and the Tramp. I had Chicken Parmigiana which was very good. And because we were using Jills Dining Plan meals we got dessert as well. I had the chocolate cake which was very rich!!

We also got our ears from Graduation embroided and we saw Mickey and Minnie again and got a group photo. It is the last three members of the Calderwood Family! So sad! Then we headed home coz Magic Kingdom was closing.

Lol Today I just lazed around watching random movies all day - I was going to go to the Post Office, but I just didn't end up going so everybody's christmas cards are gonna be super late, but I will still post them, maybe before work on Monday?? Tomorrow I have a 12 hour shift half of it at Jedi and half at Epic and then we have our Epic Graduation dinner at 50's Prime Time Cafe - so we are all excited about that!! Only I am starting to get a sore throat and I really cannot afford to be run down over the next two weeks so I have been sucking strepsils all day and tomorrow I will go and buy some Nyquil and Dayquil if I dont feel any better - that stuff is amazing by the way I am gonna bring heaps back to NZ just in case we dont have any over there. Does anyone know?

Anyway our last day in New York City was fun, but a bit hectic as public transport is such an uncertainty. We hadn't really been to Central Park yet so we packed up all of our stuff and checked out of the hotel, luckily they let us keep our bags there as we were getting their free shuttle back to the airport. Then we subwayed into Manhattan and walked up to Central Park - that place is just so breathtakingly beautiful. We walked through the most beautiful walkway with all the autumn leaves just like in the movies and we saw the bethesda fountain and the boathouse - it was all amazing. We actually stood right next to people getting married on a bridge in the middle of Central Park - it was amazing, but sad that they didn;t have family and friends around coz it was basically just them, two witnesses, the photographer and the celebrant. Then we walked back to the subway stopping for our last new york hotdog on the way. We got back to the hotel perfectly on time even though we were nervous we would be late and we got dropped off at the airport kindof early - we couldnt even check in for another 30 minutes. After we did check in we got food and looked around terminal 5 of JFK airport. It isnt all that much different from Auckland Airport. Going through security I had to get one of those body scanner things which is very creepy and then I had this metal buckle attatched to my skirt so I had to get the wand waved over me - so I was kinda freaked out, but everything was okay. I really like flying Jetblue - it is a budget airline but you still get comfortable roomy seats, a free drink and snack and free direcctTV so we were kept very well entertained on the flight back.

I booked my flight to San Francisco for my last week and I booked with Jetblue just because of the direct tv thing. I have a 2 hour flight to Boston and then an 8 hour flight to San Francisco so I want to be entertained.

Well that is all from me for the moment

Friday, December 16, 2011

The day of queues

So last night I actually ended up having to go the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party as the tickets were sold out for Friday which was the day I was planning on going. Yesterday was my last chance to go so I had to take it. I am so glad I went though, Cinderella's Caste looked absolutely breathtaking. It was so beautiful as they had the Castle covered in lights that looked like icicles. They also gave out delicious cookies and Hot Chocolate for free. I ended up watching the parade twice as for the first time I watched it I had a bad spot so I could only really see the floats. But then I got a hot chocolate and a cookie and I had a good spot to watch Magic Memories and You, but they added a christmas (holiday) part into it and it replaced my favourite part of the show which was kindof sad, but we are going to Magic Kingdom tonight after Graduation so hopefully we can watch the real show. yay.

After that we saw Holiday Wishes which I liked but it is definnitely not as good as normal Wishes which is just beautiful and gives you warm fuzzies when you watch it. Then they had a holday version of the castle show which was very cute and the music was really cool I have this "Must be Santa" song stuck in my head now. After taht I found a  really good spot to watch Mickey's Once upon a christmastime parade -over in adventure land. There was noone standing in front of me so I got a good spot for taking a video of the parade. The best part though was that half way through I turned around and two of the country bears were standing right behind me watching the parade - it was so crazy!!! I ove Disney sometimes!!! After the parade I headed home before all the rush of people and since I was by myself I kindof didnt want to do anything with just me. I did line up toget a photo with minnie and mickey though!!

Day Three of our New York Journey was a long one we had decided that we wanted to go to the 9/11 Memorial so we had to go the preview site to get free tickets at 10am - we managed to get a 1.30pm time slot so we then took a yellow cab to the Empire State Building and waited in about a million lines to get to the top. You entered into the lobby and there was like noone there so you went up the escalator and turned the corner and suddenly there is a line. So we lined up for security, then we lined up for tickets, then we lined up for a picture, then we lined up for the first elevator, then we lined up for the second elevator - but we just decided to walk the 6 stories to the top - it took forever it wasnt really six staircases it was more like 10. Then we had to wait for someone to move so we could see the view which was amazing you could see the whole of manhattan and new jersey, queens and brooklyn and even the statue of liberty. It was a pretty okay day so we got beautiful pictures of the city. And I finally got to see central park. Then we had to line up for the elevators back down , but we ended up walking and then the line for the next elevators went straight through the gift shop so we stopped and browsed and i bought another pin with the empire state building on it. We finally made it back down to level ground and took another yellow cab back to the 9/11 preview site, but then we had to walk to the actual memorial which was about 5 minutes away. We were very close to the financial district so we saw a whole park full of people protesting Wall Street, but it looked very peacefull to me they were just chanting and holding up signs. (The crazy thing about all this is that American police are so brutal towards protestors even if it is peaceful they still use brute force - which I think is absolutely crazy and why I would never trust anyone in the American police force) A lot of things I have seen on American tv would never be gottonn away with in new zealand there would be an uproar!

Anyway we had to queue up again to go though security and to get into the memorial, but it went pretty fast considering the line was so long. The Memorial was very beautiful even in its early state of completion, they had massive fountains where each tower was and all the names were carved on the sides. Some were very sad as it would say 'La La and her unborn child'. I even remembered some of the names from when we watched the memorial on tv on the 10th anniversary.

After the site it was freezing so we went and had kebabs at this little place that we found up a random street - it seemed to be where all the people who worked there came for lunch. they were really good. Then we caught the subway back to Times Square as I wanted to go to another show so I waited in the line to for tickets and Hannah and Brittany explored Times Square a bit. I eventually bought tickets to Billy Elliot. Then we went to The Museum of Natural History. We only had an hour there but we saw the dinosaurs and the african cats, it was fun but not as cool as I was expecting they didnt have a lot of human exhibits and I realised that is what I was more interested in ( since I studied Anthropology - it really should be too). We took pictures outside though which was awesome coz it is exactly like in the movies so that was fun and then since the museum is right across from central park we walked through a bit. Even though it was incredibly cold it was still beautiful!! I am in love with central park I could live in New York just so that I could walk through that park everyday it is gorgeous. The movies don't even do it justice.

Then we went back to Times Square and I went to watch Billy Elliot. Which I loved it was beautiful. The only sad thing is we could never do it in Timaru cause we could never find a kid that brilliant to play billy. The boy was amazing. My favourite bit is when young billy and oder billy dance  a pas de deux to swan lake. It was incredible absolutely breathtaking.

Well that is it from me for the moment, I have to go and get ready for graduation this afternoon - i cannot believe it is almost over allready it feels as if we have been here forever and then it feels as if we just arrived.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New York I love you!

So today I worked 12 hours at Jedi - which is a pretty normal Jedi shift me and it also helped me get my hours up this week to over 45 - which is super good. Tomorrow I am back to Epic, but now thanks to my manager and my friends Romulo and Ashlea I only have to work at Epic once next week yay!!! And my hours have been upped yay!!!

Okay so after work tomorrow I am going to a workmate Jenny's house for an "Icon" (that is the area at Hollywood Studios where I work in attractions) christmas party to watch christmas movies etc. So that should be fun.

On the second day of our New York trip we got up pretty early but we had actually slept for about 11 hours the night before so we were pretty well rested. We had breakfast in our little hotel and I made my first waffle for breakfast although the waffle iron did bring back dreadfull memories of my deployment to Epcot when I spent hours and hours making waffle bowls for ice creams - I never ever want to see a waffle bowl again as long as I live!!!!
Then we caught the Subway into Times Square again cause we were going to buy tickets to a broadway show, but on that particular day the ticket box office didnt open until 3pm so we ended up subwaying down to the bottom of Manhattan and buying tickets to Lliberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. Seeing the Statue of Liberty in the distance was very exciting - it made me feel like I really was in New York City! We bought tickets and ended up having to wait for nearly an hour and a half just to get into security so we could board a ferry to Liberty Island. Security was almost as bad as the airport but at least we didn't have to take our shoes off.
This was where I had my very first New York vending hotdog and also a pizza pretzel. Both were very delicious.
Once we got on to the boat we got a spot on the top deck so that we could see the Statue of Liberty - it was like in Titanic when they sail past only it wasn't raining. When we got to Liberty Island we decided to look in the gift shop and I bought a new york pin for my pin collection and a statue of liberty charm for my charm bracelet. Then we had lunch at the restaurant on the island. It was very crowded inside but outside there didnt seem to be too many people about, but it was very cold and windy the day we went which most liekly drove a lot of people inside. We didnt end up buying a ticket to go inside the statue but we took pictures of it - it is massive!!! and we also took pictures of manhattan from the island which were also very cool pics. When we were trying to head back to Manhattan the line was cut literally right in front of us, which was ironic as we had prophesised that happening on the way over (and it hadn't). The boat ride back was extremely windy and so we sat inside. It was very choppy and almost scary when we were trying to get off and the shihp kept rocking up and down - I always have bad luck when it comes to rough weather and boats.

Once back in Manhattan we subwayed back to Times Square to get in yet another line for tickets to see a broadway show. It was kind of difficult to decide on a show as we all wanted to see different ones. In the end the only show we all could agree on was Mary Poppins so we bought tickets to that show at the New Amsterdam theatre, which was absolutely gorgeous although not very big compared to theatres in New Zealand. It is similar to theatre in Chrsitchurch in that the reception area is very small and it is more impressive vertically than horizontally. Mary Poppins itself was a mixture of the books and the movie. It was very good and the woman playing Mrs Banks was fantastic. The kids in the show were kind of annoying thouugh and far less likeaable and pitiable as in the movies - but the overall show was excellent and the songs were amazing.

Continuing on our day of eating New York food we decided to have New York Cheesecake for dessert. It is vanilla flavoured and was actually delicious and I do not even like cheesecake - but I liked that cheesecake.

Anyway I will leave of here as after that we just made our way back to Queens lol even though it was extremely late (or early) and we were a tiny bit worried - we were fine.

Write Soon

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And all that is in between

So I know it has been a super long time since I updated but I have been so busy since then I will attempt to update as much as I can tonight while I actually have time. First of all I only have 3 and a half weeks left of my programme and then I am finished. Aaaaaahhhhh. It is so crazy that almost a whole year has gone since I came to America and Walt Disney World. At the moment we are gearing up for the busiest time of the year. Our park estimates for christmas are at 47,000+ which is basically at capacity for Hollywood Studios. So far I have never worked when it has been higher than 40,000.

At Jedi Training Academy we are going to have two teired shows (which means we have two stages for each show and can accommodate twice the kids for each show)  usually the kids get to fight either Darth Vader or Darth Maul when we have two tiers up. We had this during the week of Thanksgiving which was also busy but no where near as busy as Christmas is expected to be. During Thanksgiving we had 5 shows of 1 tier and 8 shows of two tiers and that is what we will have next week leading up to Christmas. However, the week of Christmas Day to New Years we are going to have all thirteen shows at two tier so we will be signing up 400 kids a day for Jedi Training that week.

Indiana Jones (Epic) is the consistently busiest show in Walt Disney World so they are having up to 9 shows a day instead of our usual 5. So at Epic we will be having super long shifts too. I am working a mix of Epic and Jedi next week cause I swapped my epic shifts for jedi ones as I really like Jedi. I like Epic too, but I am at the point where I am ready to come home so sometimes dealing with annoying and angry guests is the last thing I want to do.

Allrighty - enough about my work rambles let's talk about NYC. OMG I loved going to New York. First of all it was super cold, even though the temperatures were only like mid teens,  that is super freezing when you have been used to 35+ degree heat and humidity. We were actually very lucky to have gone when we did as the next weekend it snowed and we would have died from frostbite I am sure - even in New Zealand it doesn't get that cold in the winter. I went with two Kiwi's Hannah and Brittany and we flew out super early on the wednesday, I didn't even get to sleep at all the night before. We arrived at JFK and were lucky enough to be able to check straight into our hotel. Lol we stayed in a nice enough hotel it was kind of like a backpakers as in we got free breakfast in the wee breakie nook which was very cute but the rooms were like a hotel. The hotel was actually in Queens so we weren't sure what to expect once we were there. We didn't know if we were in a safe neighbourhood or not, but nothing even remotely bad happened so it was all good. We had a pretty good location - close to the Subway and to fast food which we utilised when we came home from the city extremely late.

The first day we took the subway to Times Square and had fun even though it was cold and raining. It took us a little bit to get our bearings but we sorted ourselves. We had fun taking in all the sights and then dropped Brittany off with a few of her rellies from NZ who were visiting at the same time. Hannah and I then went to lunch at TGI Fridays in Times Square which was okay but not the best ever our local applebees in Orlando is 10x better. Then we managed to get ourselves to Rockeffeller centre using the best map ever that I left at TGI Fridays and we were never able to find a good enough map to replace it (It really was very sad). Anyway we found Rockefeller Centre and we saw the Ice Skating rink that is in all the movies and we walked around for a bit inside where it was warm. It was very crowded with New Yorkers. We eventually got a hot chocolate from starbucks and were lucky enough to find a seat by the ice skating rink. It was very beautiful. After that we tried to find Grand Central station but without a map we got a bit lost as we couldn't remember what street it was on. It is very difficult to get lost in NYC though as all the streets go north and all the avenues go west and they are mostly in number order) so we eventually found our way back to Times Square via 5th Avenue - and saw Sacs 5th avenue and Michael Kors - it was very exciting.  Once we got to Times Square we got a new crappy map from the visitors centre and after talking to Brittany decided to head to her in SoHo via Grand Central - this time though we took the Subway.  Grand Central Station is absolutely beautiful - the ceiling has star consellations painted on it and the architecture makes you feel as if you are in a palace. We found the whispering wall as well - I can't remember where I first heard about it but it really works I swear. If you and a friend stand in opposite corners of this particular intersection you can actually hear the other person whisper into the wall. It is amazing - it sounds as if the other person is directly behind you and they are really across the room. Once we met up with Brittany we checked out some of the shops in SoHo and then decided to head back to the Hotel as we were all very tired from lack of sleep and it was about an hour back to Queens. That was the night we stopped at Maccas and then we watched tv from bed until we fell asleep.

Well, it is getting late now so I promise I will finish this soon,

Merry Christmas