Thursday, January 8, 2009
My Florida Life!
So I thought that I would give a little run down of the living situation, the job, the perks and all that sort of goodness because I keep getting asked and that way people can just read it. I'm going to do a mix of what the Disney papers/sites say plus my take on it from talking to people who have done it before. Also I may steal from wiki.
I am going to be working in the Canada Pavilion which is part of the World Showcase in Epcot at Walt Disney World. My program runs from March 24th, 2009 until March 19th, 2010 and then I have one month to get out of the country. I will live in Disney World in cast member apartments. I'm going down on a Q-1 cultural visa which means they are basically getting me into the country by saying I'm going to be educating guests on my Canadian culture. Because of the type of visa I can't work in any other parts of the parks except for the American theatre which is also in Epcot. A little terminology: I'm a cast member not an employee, it's a role not a job, it's a costume not a uniform, it's onstage and backstage, because we are all a part of a big show because Disney is in the 'entertainment business'.
I'm doing Food and Beverage for the year. There were 3 options in Canada: merchandise, F&B, or Attractions (running the 'Oh Canada' 360 movie). You can't switch between areas. I chose F&B because the resturant is a full service steakhouse which I think will give me good experience for when I come back/travel. The resturant is called Le Cellier and provides sit down restaurant service. The interior is designed to give the impression of a wine cellar as its name suggests. Food offerings include seafood and steaks, along with popular Canadian wines and beer. It's located in the main building of the pavilion, Hotel du Canada modeled after the Château Laurier hotel in Ottawa. The resturant has been designed to appear as a wine cellar, with simulated stone arches and dark ambient lighting. (that was definately wiki speaking). I'm not completely sure, but I think I start as a greeter/seater, popcorn/beer cart girl, then become a food runner then a server. Something along those lines. Once a server you apparently can make some pretty good money which will be helpful as I tend to be a big of a shopper... Here's a link to the resturant menu http://allears.net/menu/menu_lcd.htm
I just recently relearned that the pavilions are sponsored by each countries governments and they are in fac thte awesome people who picked the Canadian costumes. They are based back in the olden days, traditional Canadian clothing dontcha know. I am kind of pumped to sport the plaid, the high necked burgundy is another thing. The Canada pavilion is designed to remind the guest of the Canadian outdoors. The pavilion is decorated with a canyon, a waterfall, gardens, a pool with fountains, and totem poles. The main attraction at the Canada Pavilion is "O Canada!", a Circle-Vision 360° movie of Canada's cities and scenery. This pavilion also includes Le Cellier Steakhouse and the semi-permanent home of the Celtic rock band Off Kilter. The Victoria Gardens which are adjacent to the Hotel du Canada are inspired by the Butchart Gardens near Victoria, British Columbia. The gardens are the largest (and most labour intensive) of all the national pavilions. At one time during the planning stage, the pavilion was to have been divided by a main street of shops and restaurants, with one side representing French Canada and the other English Canada. At Christmas time each pavilion has their countries version of Santa Claus. Even though the North Pole is clearly in Canada, making Santa clearly Canadian, the US gets the Red-coated Coca-Cola Santa, while Canadian's get story time with Papa Noel, who wears green plaid and carries an axe. Because lumberjack Santa has a lot of trees to chop down at the north pole.... moving on.
There are 4 Disney apartment complexes - Vista Way, Chatham, The Commons and the new Patterson Court. Vista Way and Chatham are mainly college program, the Commons is mainly internationals and Patterson seems to be sporting all types of people right now. I'm really hoping to move into the Commons - we shall see how lucky I get. The apartments are 1-4 bedrooms, with each room having two people. Yes, it's like having a double room in Res. I loved my roommate at uni so why should it be any different in florida? Plus this one is a lot easier to change. The housing is between 80 and 100$ a week depending on your apartment and is taken right off my pay cheque. i will not spell cheque the american way. or any words for that matter. what do they have against the letter 'u'? (favoUrite, coloUr, etc). anyways, here is what disney says our rent covers: fully funished apartment, kitchen utensils/appliances, local phone and a central phone, maintenance including pest control (ew), all utilities, computer lab access, high speed internet in our apartment, fitness centres, basketball volleyball and racquetball courts, laundry, pools and hot tubs, 23-hour security, cable, and transportation to a bunch of places. They also hold a bunch of events like pool parties, bbqs, beach trips, formals and such for us. There are 2 types of aparments, wellness and normal. Wellness apartments are where us lucky under 21 year olds get to live. If we have alcohol in our apartments we are terminated. It's kind of like going to rehab. Except no one really wants to kick the habit and apparently you come back a lot worse then when you left.
Odds 'N Ends
With the job come some pretty sweet perks. We get free admission into all 4 disney parks all year. Whenever our little hearts desire we can pop in for some fireworks, a churro, parade, whatever whenever because it's always free:) We get access to Mickey's Retreat which is a Disney Cast Member recreation complex on Little Lake Bryan. It features a lake, beach, two pools, beach volleyball, basketball, tennis, barbecues, an activities pavilion, a soccer pitch and a baseball diamond and i heard paddle boats. 50% off water parks, 20% off merchandise and food, although as a xmas gift word on the street is that disney gave cast members 50% off merch in december. Oh and crazy good discounts of disney hotels. Around 40-60% off hotels depending on some factors (like if I'm staying with the people or not). All they offer their employees (cast members) is pretty great and kind of makes up for the $7.78 I will be working at until I become a server...when it goes down to something like $3.65. Yes I am leaving Canada and moving across the continent to work for $3.65 - and I am soo excited for it! (You get tips on top of the $3, and the food isn't exactly cheap if you catch my drift....) In that map our apartments are around lake Bryan, which I am pretty sure is right near where the arrow is pointing with the writing that says 'to Orlando and international drive.' 74 days!