Tag Archives: Walt Disney World

Friend Makin’ Monday – Vacations!

20 Jul

The lovely Jolanthe (how awesome is her name?) over at No Ordinary Moments is hosting this weeks Friend Makin’ Monday for Kasey.  The topic this week?  Vacations!

There are two topics and (being the overachiever that I am) I just had to do both parts!

1. Tell us about the best {or worst} vacation that you’ve ever taken.

The best vacation I ever took was during my second year at college.  A generous donation was given to the school to enhance the education of the second-year students and we were funded a trip to a European city for the first week of our two week Spring Break.  The second week we could either pay to switch the leaving point for our return ticket or fly home and spend the week at home.  My parents very graciously paid for the ticket change and we spent some time in a tiny village in Germany.  The first week was filled to bursting with activities.  My camera broke in the Louvre so I have next to no pictures.  This was back when digital cameras were very expensive.  I have a bunch of pictures I need to scan in and I know that I have at least one of the karate students that were posing in front of the Eiffel Tower.  Someday….someday.  We visited Versailles and I stared at the big state bed positioned in the public viewing room were Marie Antoinette (and all the previous Queens) gave birth.  I couldn’t imagine at the time being forced to give birth at all, let alone in front of an audience.

I remember walking around downtown, a baguette in my bag along with some Babybel cheeses and a package of meat.  We would stop and get some fresh fruits before exploring.  Some say that the French are rude and inconsiderate to travelers, especially Americans.  I didn’t experience any of that.  Although I didn’t speak French, I very quickly picked up “pardon“, “excusez-moi” and the ever important “parlez-vous anglais?”  I discovered that if I asked in French if they spoke English, shopkeepers and natives were much more willing to assist.

From one of the cheapo shops, I purchased a gold bracelet to wear to the Opera when we went.  There was one other thing I purchased.  A week before leaving, I discovered my best friend growing up was pregnant.  She had moved next door to me around my first birthday and we were immediately friends.  Why, we were both born on the 26th (March for me and July for her) and our middle names rhymed!  We were of course twins!  I bought a onesie for her that said Paris and couldn’t wait to give it to her.  Before I could see her, she had a miscarriage.  8 years later and she is finally pregnant again.  She is due in 6 days from today, on her birthday.  I still have that onesie in my Hope Chest and cannot wait to give it to her!

2. Tell us FIVE places/vacations that you would like to take at some point your life. It doesn’t have to be next year…maybe it’s the vacation of a lifetime or somewhere you just dream of going years from now.

Ahhh, the travel plans we have!

Our first vacation will be to the British Isles.  I was named for a book that my mother read when she was a teenager.  A historical romance, it’s written about real life people who lived in England during the Middle Ages.  We’ve been planning a trip there for years.  We were going to go this summer, but decided to have a baby instead.  I do not regret a thing.  But we will make it there soon.  And also travel to Scotland to visit my husband’s “land” as he is Scottish.

The second place I want to go to is….Disney World!  After working there, I cannot wait to show it off to my daughter and husband.  It will be a blast!

I also want to go back to Washington D.C. now that I’m older.  There are so many places to see and visit and learn.  I love learning.  Any time I can learn something new is a successful trip.

Wouldn’t mind going to Australia either…except for the spiders.  Anyone know any place Down Under that does NOT include gigantic spiders?  I’m so arachnophobic that I cannot even watch ads for Charlotte’s Web…

Lastly, I want to go to Japan.  4 years of Japanese, a brother who took 5 and served in Okinawa as well as a husband born in Japan?  Totally need to visit…maybe take my Mother-in-Law so we can visit where Mr. Soup spent the first couple years of his life!

My College Career – Part Four

26 Jun

For Part OneFor Part TwoFor Part Three.

I had just moved into a new apartment with new roommates at Walt Disney World.  Now that I wouldn’t be tortured by indescribable people, things would be easier.

When I moved in, no body was in the apartment.  I chose the first room because it looked to be the most empty and was clean.  I unpacked and made myself at home before meeting my other roommates.  The girl sharing my room was a quiet Japanese girl, also from the University of Oregon.  The other roommate was from UofO too.  I figured it was a good sign and felt comfortable and safe for the first time in several months.

I rarely saw my true roommate.  She had an opposite shift than I did and so was always working when I was home.  My other roommate had fewer shifts than I did (I don’t remember what her job was) and always seemed to be home.  She also always seemed to be sitting on the couch watching TV.  I don’t even know if she ever went to work, in fact.  She introduced herself to me by asking me to buy her alcohol since I was over 21 and she was not.  Of course, I refused.  I suspect she had some alcohol issues because one night I was woken up by her sitting.  On my bed.  Mumbling about something and smelling very strongly of rum.  We always locked our bedroom door after that.

We finally got internet in the apartments.  This meant I didn’t have to go down to the computer room to submit my homework and was also able to chat with my then fiance on MSN.  Unfortunately, they placed the jack to the internet in a corner of the room that also happened to be where the couch was in our apartment.

I had been doing an art project earlier in the day, shading with a q-tip so I didn’t get my fingers gross.  I put the pages away and left the q-tip on the counter, because my phone had rung.  It was Mr. Soup.  We talked for a bit and after hanging up, got distracted and forgot to throw the q-tip away.  My roommate yelled at me, calling me a slob and all sorts of lovely things.  I let it brush off of me and went into my room to watch a movie.

The next day, Mr. Soup called to tell me to get online because he had something to show me.  I had my cellphone pressed against my head and my laptop under my arm to go out to the living area to ask my roommate to move off the couch so I could move it to get to the jack.  She ignored me.  When I asked her again, she just turned the TV up louder, ignoring me again.  I put down the phone and laptop and shoved against the couch to move it out of the way physically, then sat down on the floor and picked up the phone again.  As I was setting up the internet on my computer, I was talking to Mr. Soup still.  The roommate proceeded to turn the volume up.  All the way.  I couldn’t hear myself think, let alone anything he was saying.  So I said I would chat him when I got connected and hung up.  I then proceeded to shout at the top of my lungs that I was off the phone so she could turn it down.

Her reply?

“What?  I can’t hear you, the TV is up too loud.”

So I stood up and went to turn down the TV manually.  She leaps off the couch and pushes me into the wall.  Hard.  I proceeded to stand there shocked.  I had just been physically assaulted by this child of a roommate.  I finally blinked out of it to go get the phone to call the police.  I knew that if I retaliated I would do something worse than push her into the wall.  I would leave marks.  She threw the phone against the wall, breaking it.  So I grabbed my keys and left to go physically present my assault.

I was told that since there were no marks and no witnesses they couldn’t do anything.  Even with the history of violence and troubles that this girl had.

When they offered to get us counceling, I knew I was done.  I only had a couple weeks left, but it was too much.  I wanted to be home.  I wanted to be planning my wedding.  I did not want to be in the hot and sweaty state, with roommates that thought it was okay to touch me without my permission.  I would be leaving a great job and great friends, but would be safe.

I don’t like not feeling safe.  A couple weeks later, I was on a plane home.  Mr. Soup was planning his trip to move from Indiana to Oregon.

I had also made a decision.  I didn’t want to be an animator anymore.  I didn’t have the drive or the desire.  My entire college plan would be changed in the coming months.

To be continued next Friday….

My College Career – Part Three

19 Jun

For Part OneFor Part Two.

I got the postcard in the mail.  The front was yellow with happy people and Mickey Mouse on it.  I knew what it was and was nervous to turn it over.  But I did.

And there, on the bottom was the part I was hoping to see.  I was going to be in the Operations section.  I could be doing the Jungle Cruise!  Or The Great Movie Ride!  I was so excited!  I was done with living with that many girls in such a small place and done with the classes.  Ready for a new adventure, even if it would only be a few months relief.

Eventually, Spring Break arrived.  I packed up what I would need in two suitcases and flew out East.  I had a layover in Oklahoma to see a good friend.  Had a blast in the 36 hours I was there and then continued on.  On the flight into Orlando, I sat with a lady and a guy, both flying into Florida for different reasons.  We talked the entire way there.  I knew then that this was meant to be.  God was opening too many doors and I was too at peace for it to be otherwise.

I arrived the day before check in and was picked up by another friend in the area.  He dropped me off at a hotel near the area and I fell asleep after calling a cab for the morning.

I am someone who likes to be early to anything.  If I am on time, my mind thinks its late.  So I arrived for the 8am check-in at 7:30.  I hung out and chatted with a couple other people that were early like me and waited in line.  We then went down the row and got our apartment assignments and our job assignments.

I opened my white envelope and almost dropped it with surprise.  I wasn’t going to be doing the Jungle Cruise or the Great Movie Ride.  I was going to be driving a truck for Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I had gone to Walt Disney World in 98 when the park first opened and it was always my favorite ride.

I walked into a little tent area to sign paperwork and get more information for the next plan before orientation.  There, I saw the guy who interviewed me.  I went to him and almost started crying.  I thanked him profusely for this opportunity.  He just smiled and said “I recommended you for this position.  I knew you would be wonderful at it.”

I then found my apartment and my excitement went down just a bit.  I was rooming with 5 girls who had been together for 4 months already.  To add to that feeling of being an intrusion, I also was the only white girl.  Now, this didn’t throw me off at first.  But gradually, as I got to know the girls, the prejudice against me was strong enough to touch.  Of the five girls, one was from Mexico, one from Haiti, one from Puerto Rico, one from Nigeria and one from another Caribbean island.  When they discovered that I also had a job in Operations, I had never felt more unwelcome.  They were all in either housekeeping or food service and held it against me.

Things started out okay as long as I kept to myself.  Over the next two months though, when they saw that the basic exclusionary tactics of ignoring and moving my stuff didn’t do anything, things became rougher.

My first day on the job was wonderful.  I discovered that I was one of 6 interns that were slotted into the Safari staff.  6 out of close to 75 staff total.  I was lucky!  The first few days were spent learning our script and the positions.  There were 6 pages of script as well as the animal facts.

If you have never been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and rode the Kilimanjaro Safaris, let me summarize.  You load onto a custom GMC truck and get prepared for a 2 week safari through the Harambe Reserve.  It leaves the dock and you start with the forest, which have Okapi, Bongo, Black Rhino and the bloody Guineafowl.  These Guineafowl were about the size of a chicken.  And when you are sitting 10 feet up in a 40 foot long truck, they are very difficult to see.  In the forest, the Guineafowl and the Bongo were the only ones free ranging.  The Okapi, being very shy, were hiding in a back area behind a hidden fence.  The Black Rhino chills across a river area.  Then come the Hippo and Nile Crocodiles.  After a bit of a hill and a waterfall, you are overlooking the Savannah.  It is such a great view.  In there are the Thompson Gazelle’s, Giraffe, Impala and Greater Kudu.  Then a section with the Mandrill’s before the Elephants.  After the elephants are Flamingos, a pair of White Rhinos (which are called White not because of their color, but in fact because their mouths are wide and the White comes from the Africaans word for wide, which was mis-interpreted as white), Cheetah, Lions and Ostrich.  Then, we get word from a “tour guide” in the air that a baby elephant has been stolen!  We have to go “save” Little Red.  Upon crossing the last little cattle gate, we race along a switchback trail at a whole 5 mph to successfully capture the poachers!  *whew*

After passing my recitation and driving test (let me tell you how fun it is to park those puppies!), I was a full driver and proceeded to drive for 4-6 10 hour days a week.  As the days wore on, I made friends easily with the drivers.  We were buddies.  We would go to movies, the other parks, all sorts of things.

But I was having a hard time with the “home” part of life at Disney.  Things had started to get dirty.  My days started between 4:30 and 5am.  Theirs all ended after 10pm.  When they got home from their work days, they would all sit in the living area and talk to each other, using their loudest voices.  If I went out to ask them to be quieter, they would tell me I was dreaming or hearing things.  I received letters saying that no one wanted me there.  I would get my food eaten and my items rummaged around in.

I took to staying with some friends that were in the apartment downstairs.  I slept more often on their couch than in my bed.  I had processed reports, but nothing good came of them until finally I requested to move.  Finally, I received permission to change apartments, but would have to pay the fee.  I said fine, anything to get me out of that situation.

During this time, I was also taking two online classes.  We only had dial-up on the campus, so it took longer to do my work than I thought.  One of my classes was a family psychology and sociology class, the other was Astronomy.  Because of the dial-up issues, and the lack of understanding of the program that they used for the class (a program that a friend who had a doctorate in Physics and taught Astronomy didn’t understand), I didn’t get what was taught.  I couldn’t drop the class though, because I would lose my financial aid.  So I stayed with the class and just didn’t do any of the work.  I knew I would get an F in the class, but would keep my financial aid.  My GPA was a 3.6, so I wasn’t too worried.

Moving into the new apartment was a relief.  I had some friends come over in the evening before everyone got home from work and we transported all my stuff into the new apartment across the way.  I would be safe from the taunting and the torture.

Or so I thought.

My College Career – Part Two

12 Jun

When I last left you, I had just graduated with my Associates Degree from Cottey College.

I’d decided to transfer to the University of Oregon because

  • I missed the Northwest.
  • I missed my family.
  • It had what I wanted.
  • In-state tuition baby!
  • I missed the Northwest.

That spring, I packed everything up to move down south and into an apartment with a friend.  There were going to be three additional roommates.  Making 5 college girls in a three bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms.

By the middle of summer, I had gotten a job at the local movie theater (another post on that in the future, I’m sure) and was settled in, ready to start my new college career.

I had met with my adviser and planned out the coming years.  I was ready.  My goal of becoming an animator or at least working for an animation company was on its way.

I had gotten most of my prereqs done at Cottey and so just had to do any general classes that didn’t transfer and work on my art major.  I was ready to expand.

I took printing, painting, drawing, animation and all sorts of art history.  I met tons of crazy and sane, interesting and boring, smart and dumb people.  The diversity was large and so were the classes.

But after a year and a half, I was tired.  So tired of the drama, the crap, the exhaustion.  At one point during that past year and a half, I had locked myself in the bathroom at the apartment with my roommate/friend T while another roommate’s (K) boyfriend (who was living with us and not paying rent) had stolen some drug dealer’s CDs and they came to collect.  By pounding on the windows and door.  I had also become a mediator for two of the roommate’s friendship, M and J.  M ended up moving out, but not before she called me a thief and said I stole her cheese.  I’m lactose intolerant and it was so bad back then I couldn’t eat cheese at all.

After that first year, I moved into a new house with J and her friends C and L.  We also sent out an ad for a 5th roommate to share an older five bedroom house.  This house was entertaining, because it didn’t have a single right angle anywhere in it.  In fact, we use to roll marbles from C’s room to L’s on the other end of the house for amusement.

But this situation didn’t get much better, even with the addition of

The cutest puppy in the world.

the cutest puppy in the world.

She helped me through a really difficult time and made life worth living again.  She was also a great New Years date:

New Years Kiss

New Years Kiss

But I wasn’t happy.

One day, I walked by the student center in between classes.  I don’t know why I walked by there, because I usually took a different way home, but I did.  And I saw a poster, like hundreds of other posters.  This one saying Walt Disney World was looking for interns to work the parks.  The meeting happened to be starting a couple hours later that night.  I didn’t have work.  I figured “Why not?” so went home to change into interview appropriate clothing and came back.

Throughout the meeting thing, other students stood up and said how much they loved it, blah de blah, even picking up trash (“yeah right” I remember thinking).  Those who were still interested, at the end of the speech part, could stay and be interviewed in groups of four.  I, once again, said “Why not?” and stuck around, chatting with one of the students who had done it before.

Then my turn came.  The group that I was with was like planning on going to a party with a group of friends that are less attractive than you by a significant amount.  It was like these people had never been interviewed before, which I realize now is entirely possible.  I sounded all the more intelligent because of that.  The guy asking the questions began asking them all to me first and replying with “Great answer!” or “What a brilliant comment”.  Really boosted my self-esteem, let me tell you!

Upon leaving, they told us to expect a note saying whether we were accepted and what area of the park we would be accepted into (Concessions, Clean-up, Operations (running the rides), etc.).  We wouldn’t find out what specific job we would get until arrival if we accepted.

Several weeks passed.  And then, I got a postcard in the mail.

To Be Continued…..