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30th Apr 2013

The End

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The last 2 weeks of my Disney CRP… I decided to fill the last 2 weeks with as much as I possibly could!

On the Thursday of my last full week I booked a cabin at Fort Wilderness with Emma, Bryony, Chantelle, Kelsey and Alex. Bryony, Alex and I were all of that day and got there early to check in. We had to wait a while for a room to become available and then of course after we got in and dropped our stuff it immediately started raining. We hung around the little quick service by the pool chatting for ages before I got a message from Emma saying she got cut early because of the rain and was on her way. Once she got there we decided to rent one of the golf  buggies to get around – best decision ever! The most hilarious moments of that day were driving around – I spent about 10 minutes driving in circles over enormous potholes and alex managed to U-turn directly in front of a bus! As the weather started clearing up we went over to MK where we caught some of MiSiCi with an incredible performer who took a liking to us and was joking around for the whole parade. I took a photo but I can’t seem to find it now!

When Kelsey called to say she was on her way we went back and after some more golf cart shenanigans we got back to the cabin before going out for a buffet dinner at Trail’s End. We were originally going to go to the campfire but it was kind of cold and we had drinks back at the cabin instead. It was a lovely chilled out evening and a lovely way to see people before I left. The next morning however it was up early to train Abbie in assigning.

I can honestly say that Assigning that day was horrific and it was in no way anything to do with my trainee (She was awesome)! We had way too many reservations and they were all massive parties – in the end we ended up seating until 9.15 – needless to say nobody was very happy. The next day, my last assigning shift, I took things nice and easy bit wanting a repeat of the day before.

Monday was my actual Last Lads. I got to do my last fines, which breaking tradition I actually wrote down so I wouldn’t forget. Turns out that was a pretty good decision as I got top lad that week meaning I had quite a bit to drink before I did my fines and I would definitely have messed them up with nothing written down.

On Tuesday I had used my last floating holiday to get an extra day off and after I picked up a rental car in the morning it was mostly spent packing and then a bit of last minute outlet shopping. Packing was not as bad as I had expected and I did managed to get everything in one, very heavy, bag in the end. In the evening Emma and I went to Jiko, the signature restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge which was really nice. It is my favourite restaurant in all of WDW and it totally lived up to expectations.

Wednesday was my last day of work. I ended up helping open Chippy and then be Greeter which was nice as it gave me one last chance to do a bit of everything. There were lots of mids so not many people could get away for drinks in the pub but there was a nice group for a few drinks and we even got some food from Chef Mark. Chef Glenn and Joe both came to wish me goodbye and good luck and told me to keep in touch – I definitely plan to.

I had made a reservation at Mama Melrose, the Italian restaurant at DHS and 12 of us ended up going there for dinner. We were the table of doom with 2 allergies, 12 split checks with Cast Member discount but I kind of didn’t care anymore! After Dinner we slightly tipsily made our way back to housing to get ready for my last iBar. iBar had a really good turnout and despite promising I would not cry when I was in the middle of a circle of all my friends with them singing the Friends theme tune at me I have to admit I may have shed a few tears – it was an amazing last night out and a lovely end to my program.

On Thursday I had originally planned to just hang around most of the day but Emma text me and suggested we went to the Florida Mall instead – she might have called in to be able to do it, the little devil! We had a nice morning of just wandering around the stores – we bought a few things but it was just nice to escape the Disney bubble for a few hours. In the evening we went for my last TGIs before an early night since the next morning I had to move out of housing to Pop Century. Thursday late night was spent throwing stuff out of my apartment and packing the last bits – thankfully I had help or it would never have got done.

Friday morning I was up early – I managed to offload the TV and router to Adam at the last minute as I was worried I would have to dump them before loading up the car, dropping off my key and ID and heading out. Pop century had a room ready straight away so we dumped our stuff and were out to Animal Kingdom nice and early. We did Everest, Dinosaur and the shows before heading back for a mid-afternoon nap as we planned Fantasmic in the evening. I managed to get a last-minute reservation for 50s prime time for Dinner and we got in line early for the late Fantasmic show which meant we got almost front row in the Mickey (centre) section which gave an incredible view – another great last experience.

Saturday was always going to be Magic Kingdom from opening. Kelsey and Chantelle were joining us so we swung by the Commons to pick them up and were outside MK for the welcome show. Friends in high places in the Magic Kingdom hooked us up with free Ice Cream bars on the way in and free Fastpasses later in the day and a particularly magical Photopass CM took some amazing photos of us in front of the castle which are now printed nice and large on my wall at home. We did all of the major rides and watched MiSiCi and the parade on a hot, summery day before heading back for a mid-afternoon nap before returning for nighttime fun. We had dinner at the Plaza before watching the Main Street Electrical Parade and getting my favourite spot for Wishes (just between Casey’s and the Ice Cream Shop FYI). I again promised no tears but towards the end of Wishes I lost it. After Wishes I really just wanted to leave, I had made my peace with MK and we headed back to the resort for some more tears and a relatively early night as I had to leave at 7am.

Sunday was it, the end. I left about 7.30 to drive to the airport. It was a strange feeling to actually be leaving and not coming back. I had to pay overweight baggage of $60 which was not bad really and that was it – through security on to a plane and the journey home began.

Now 2 weeks later I am sitting in my living room reliving it all. Still looking for a new job at the moment but hopefully things will start moving on that front in the next few days. To my loyal readers who have been there for almost 2 years now – Thank you.

The number of people who asked me if I was ‘Dan@Disney’ always surprised me and I am glad to have helped in any way. If you are on the program or getting ready to go out – have the time of your life – it is only a year and it goes so fast. Don’t have anything to regret when it is over. You only live the CRP once, live it to the max.

To all the special people I left in Orlando – see you real soon and keep the magic and the banter alive.

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14th Apr 2013

Fantastic February & March Madness on the Disney CRP

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It has been 3 months since my last confession… Sorry readers, CRP life has a habit of catching up with you and not letting you go!

Today I leave Orlando at the end of my program – it has been an incredible year and I can honestly say I have made friends and memories that will hopefully last a long time. I can’t possibly hope to include everything that has happened in the last few months in a single post but I am going to include the major highlights. I will be writing another post about the whole year in the next few days when I have time to get settled back home and look back on my whole year.

I will admit that up until February I made a note in my Calendar of what I did each day to make writing this a little easier – I seem to have forgotten to do that so I am piecing this together a little!

IMG_4495I left off at the end of January… That week one of my days off was spent at WonderWorks on International Drive which I must admit would not have been my first choice but was actually a lot of fun – we were there for over 3 hours! It has loads of weird exhibits and a bubble room where you get to try and stand inside a bubble! Needless to say a lot of fun was had by all!

The next week we went to Hard Rock at Universal to see the magician’s Penn and Teller – I have always wanted to see them live and I must say I was not disappointed  Although I had seen a few of the acts before there was quite a bit of new stuff and going with a load of UKs of course made the whole thing more fun.

I worked 6 day weeks for the next couple of weeks as I picked up shifts from people so it was all a bit crazy but my friend Alice from my 2009 program came to visit and we spent most of the day reliving good times and exploring Magic Kingdom and Epcot before she had to leave and I spent the evening with the December arrival group having Dinner at the Rose & Crown – It was really nice to spend time with everyone just chilling out.

The week later my Parents were here so I spent 3 days staying in Coronado Springs which was absolutely lovely – I got to take them all over the parks as well as eating in 2 Signature restaurants. But before the arrived monday night Lads was a Lasses takeover – I don’t want to give too much away but if you ever get to go to a Lads/Lasses takeover do it! They have been some of the best nights of my program and being fed mysterious pink alcohol by Kim will be an enduring memory of my program – in a very good way! While they were here I also rented a car – It is a godsend having a car, the busses are generally OK but they take ages to get anywhere and if you decide to do something last minute you can wait 45 minutes for a bus before you can even start going anywhere. I am going to write an advice post on renting a car with some tips for this as well.

IMG_4663The end of that week was my Birthday. On the Saturday night I of course went to Cowboys which I must admit got a little messy but it was lovely to spend my birthday with all of my friends. It was also the March 6thers last so they did their last song as well which made for a really nice night. The next day, my actual birthday, I went to MK with Emma Spears where we did all the usual stuff and we discovered Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom which is a game that you play all around MK trying to defeat villains using spell cards that you can collect and buy. We did not entirely understand what we were doing a lot of the time but it was fun and kind of addictive - we have definitely been back since to collect more cards and play again. In the evening I had made reservations at 50s Prime Time which was awesome, I had originally planned to go out after but after a day in the parks and feeling a little delicate from the night before I decided to get an early night.

IMG_4961That Wednesday was G’s arrival group’s last day but it was also the day that I found out that there had been a mistake in my program extension and it had not been processed – as far as they were concerned I was leaving in 2 weeks. Cue a lot of arguing and phone calls and emails and 60 hours of waiting before it was all finally straightened out – it was a very stressful few days before it was all resolved. On Wednesday before I knew what was happening I decided to go to Fantasmic with Alex and Tom just in case it was going to be my last one. We ended up sitting in the very front row and I got some absolutely amazing photos – in the end it wasn’t my last but if it had been I would have been very happy.

IMG_2652The next couple of weeks I decided to make the most of the end of my program and go out and do as much as possible. I went out on a lot of nights out with some really good friends. March 7th was our graduation. Our group and the 2 after all graduated together which was nice as we often don’t see that much of each other. Graduation itself was the standard photos with the characters and free food. Afterwards we went to watch Wishes and then went to watch Hoop Dee Doo (again) at Fort Wilderness. The show was good and our server was a lot better than the last time – we definitely had a few drinks each this time! Afterwards I went out to Sun On The Beach (SOB) where there was plenty of drama to keep the whole pavilion entertained!

The following week it felt like everything started to come to an end – Monday was my arrival group’s last Lads and Lasses which was a really nice sendoff – I definitely shed a few tears. It was very weird for them to all be leaving and me to be staying. On Wednesday Emma and I went to Fort Wilderness where we rented one of the Speedracer boats – it was loads of fun and only came to about $20. We got to go all around Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon, something I had never done before… it was awesome. I also showed Emma where you can see River Country, the old Water Park at Fort Wilderness – Disney Keeno moment right there.

IMG_5423That Thursday I organised another big outing for breakfast at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian – it was definitely my most successful of the year, if I say so myself! There were 18 of us and we got photos and filled ourselves up before heading out for a day of fun in the parks where Bryony took me to see a load of shows including the Lion King at AK which is one of my favourites.

The next week I went to Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue with Alex and Bryony which is a barbecue buffet at Fort Wilderness. The food was awesome, the show not so much. But we did get a pretty awesome discount and we managed to make it over to Magic Kingdom for the parade and pixie dust for the girls.

That weekend was my ‘offical’ last – As I extended I was leaving by myself and there was an arrival group the week before. In order to not bore people with last everything two weeks in a row we agreed I would do everything a week early. Last Cowboys was awesome, with plenty of tears and last Lads, held at Mark’s house was really nice with more of a house party feel than a crazy party. It was a really nice sendoff.

And that was the end of March… that just left me with a couple of weeks left before I returned home to the UK :-(. All that in another post to come!

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