Saturday, 2 March 2013

GRADUATED

I know it has been a long, long time. But by now I am pretty sure that you are used to me updating this blog here and there. This month has yet again been another crazy one. Accomplished some AMAZING things off my bucket list! Went home for a visit and GRADUATED, had one of my best friends, Aimee from Scotland move in, became a tipped trainer, said goodbye to some of the most amazing people I've ever met (one of them being Steve, another best friend I have down here) and had a Canadian title passed down to me... which I will explain later.

For now I have to write these past few crazy weeks in separate blog posts. So I should probably start at the beginning of where I left off last. The next big thing that happened after the holiday season was me going home to Canada for another visit!

The first week of February I got to go home for my graduation! So exciting. It was quite the visit. I got to celebrate my 21st birthday with all my amazing friends, visit with my godchild, aunt, uncle and cousins, spend a ton of time with my family, catch up with a few close friends and visit Red River's new college campus for Hospitality in downtown Winnipeg.

It is actually so surreal having finally graduated from Red River College. That place has taught me more than I would have expected. They taught me the ins and outs of the hospitality industry, the business aspects of the field, professionalism, and most importantly; about life. College is so different than University. I wouldn't be where I am right now without my college. I was able to do my co-op work term placement here at Disney World, and I will forever be grateful that I went to Red River College for Hospitality and completed my co-op work term at Disney. Those two accomplishments have been the most two important decisions I have made in my entire life. They changed me and helped me to grow up. Both experiences have had a major impact on my life.

I have learnt a great deal from Disney World and I am so thankful for being in the field that I am in. My passion for travelling, food, people, business, etc. has turned into a career where I keep learning more and more about the world. I am so proud to say I graduated from Red River. I FINALLY did it!




Friday, 25 January 2013

It's the most busiest time of the year!

The Holidays......... what joy!

I haven't been able to make a post in a while because of the holiday season. I have not had such a busy work week in my life... and at that; it was also my first week of service! HELP!

Before Christmas time came, I was really prepared for the awful homesickness feelings. Christmas is my absolute favorite day of the year, and just like a ton of families, my family celebrates it with all our cousins, aunts, and uncles for numerous days. It was sooo hard being away... yet almost at the same time, I did not have too much time to get that upset about it. Why? ... Because I was WORKING!

During your first week of service they are supposed to go a little easier on you and you are apparently supposed to get AM shifts for two weeks. However, circumstances come into play and when you are the newest server... you may get stuck with the extensions of shifts. That is exactly what happened to me. I worked about 15 days with one day off and 5 or 6 of them were all day shifts meaning opening till closing. It was very tough, but on a positive outlook it really helped me get my practice in.

New Years was a whole different story. It by far was the fullest I have EVER seen the park. We did not have a typical service date for New Years Eve. I worked as a food runner and we served the guests similar to banquet style. The menu was different as well and we made all the dishes especially for New Years. They were absolutely beautiful! At the end of the night we took all the guests outside to view the New Years fireworks which we were also allowed to see. They were AMAZING.

All in all:

The magical moments for me over the tough holiday season were:

1.      Skype date Christmas morning with my family opening up presents J It made it feel a little more like Christmas for me.
2.      On Christmas my very last table was a table from Scotland. They were the sweetest family ever. When they had left they told me to do myself a favor and make sure I take next Christmas off. They also left me an enormous over grated tip. They really, really made my night
3.      With everything going on with work and the one day I had off, I spent it with three of my very close friends here. Steve (Canadian), Mat (Canadian), and Aimee (UK, Scotland). We went to Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney for dinner, watched Rise of the Guardians (love, love, love this movie!) and went to Magic Kingdom!
4.      Watching the New Years fireworks with my Canadian Pavilion family!  
5.      One week before Christmas we got the Canadian Pavilion all together and had a potlock and Secret Santa exchange!

Enjoy and have a magical day!
Eileen McDonald









Saturday, 29 December 2012

ATTENTION: Le Cellier now has a new server!

GUESS WHAT!

I am now Le Cellier's newest server! That's right! After six months, I FINALLY did it. And does it ever feel amazing!

So after studying for months, a written menu test, a lunch spiel, almost two months of food running, a dinner spiel, a weeks worth of intense training, and then a practical assessment serving a manager, a trainer, and one of the Chef's I did it!!!

To be honest, the studying was a pain, speiling was nerve racking, food running was amazing... and I really loved it... but it was long, hard and tiring hours... it was all worth it. The training went shockingly super good. I owe credit to Red River and my Evening Dining instructors Ms. Hogue and Ms. McDonald... you guys shaped us well.

Le Cellier has crazy standards. One it's a Disney restaurant... guest's expect the BEST... and by the best... I mean perfection (which isn't possible... but to them... it is). Second, Le Cellier is a signature restaurant and the second most popular restaurant on all of Disney property. Can you feel the pressure NOW?!

Anyways, at Red River college we had an Evening Dining course. It was to show us what fine dining was like, prepare us for restuarant management, and top notch industry standards. Our instructors were amazing. They were very, very particular with how we did things, and by all means I am not complaining. It helped. A LOT. They used to joke with us about how all the "nagging" would come into use one day... and boy did it ever. Throughout my training week all I could hear were their voices in my head saying "did you pre-bus your table", "are you talking to your guests professionally", and so on and so on.

Well to bring you no shock... that is exactly what my trainers were doing to me all week. "Nagging" in a nice way! By telling me what are you going to do next, what does your table need, did you do this, did you do that... you get the point.

So although training went amazingly well for me... my assessment on the other hand DID NOT! Yes I said it did not go well. AT ALL. I could not handle the pressure of being assessed by my manager, trainer and the Chef. I forgot about my other two tables and got so flustered. But guess what... I still passed! THANK YOU!

So here is to an exciting next half of my program as a server! I've reached my last advancement point in the Canadian pavilion!

Stay tuned for my next few posts about Christmas and the crazy holiday work hours.... I already tired thinking about it... Nevermind working them!

Enjoy and have a magical day!
Eileen McDonald

Thursday, 13 December 2012

I WAS in MIAMI!

Hellllllllllooooo lovely followers!

So as I mentioned in my last post, I was in MIAMI! And let me tell you... It was beautiful! Probably the best weekend of my whole program so far!

Myself and three of my close Canadian girlfriends, Laura, Aliah, and Courtney had planned this trip since September! FINALLY we did it.

We started off the weekend by meeting each other outside of our housing complex at 11 am. Aliah has a car (thank goodness!) and drove us on our crazy road trip to Miami. The drive from Florida to Miami is about 3-4 hours. We were definitely occupied with Taylor Swift's new CD RED the whole way there. .... All of us will be going to her concert in April which is coincidentally in MIAMI... so we pretty much learned every word to every single song. It was great!


Laura and Courtney


On our way there we stopped off at an all-you-can-eat Japanese buffet. It was delicious! We had plenty of sushi, stir fry, desserts, etc. etc. After gaining back all our energy we continued to Miami.


The four of us!

We arrived at our destination!! We stayed at a Holiday Inn hotel right on the beach. We had an ocean view and all. It was quite the scene. Our first night there we..... took a nap...... haha.. and then went to Ocean Drive which is the main strip along the beach. This strip was exactly how they show Miami in the movies. Restaurants, bars, and music EVERYWHERE. We went to a restaurant called Mango's that one of our friends, JC, recommended. They had live music and dancers performing all whole night long, we had great seats right up front! I ordered shrimp tacos... the seafood was SO fresh. It was so delicious.

Welcome to Miami!

The view from our hotel room!




The lobby.
 


Ready for our first night! In the lobby.

Me and Aliah


On Ocean Drive, Mango's!

Best Shrimp Taco's, ever!



Our lovely entertainment for the night!



To end the perfect night, we all went down to the beach in front of our hotel and talked until we were ready for bed.


Day 2 we decided on the spur of the moment we would SWIM WITH THE DOLPHINS! If you know me on a personal level, I have wanted to do this pretty much since I was able to talk. I finally accomplished the top thing on my bucket list. It was the best day I have had my whole contract and one of the best days of my life. We were fortunate to go to the place we did: Dolphins Plus (in Key Largo). The place is right on the ocean. So the Dolphins aren't trapped in a pool. They have a natural swim and structured swim, which we did both. The natural swim was amazing. We swam along side the dolphins and they are free to swim as they like. In other words, they get no instructions from the trainers at this time. We were not allowed to touch the dolphins at all. Instead we would swim under water and observe them.

For the structured swim, we got the most one on one time with the dolphins I have ever heard of! We each had our own dolphin. We gave them kisses, they pushed us along the water, we danced with them, they took us for a swim, they did tricks for us etc. etc. If you see me in the pictures below... I was clearly in AWE and pure joy every second I was with them.










After that we went for a nice dinner along the beach in Key Largo. It was so surreal. We then made our way back to Miami and met with our other friends who finished their contracts with Disney. That night we all met at one of the clubs that let under 21's in, and danced the night away!

Restaurant along the beach in Key Largo!

View frrom our restaurant!


Night out! All of us girls minus 1!


Day 3 was our shopping and beach day! We woke up, and had a nice lunch on the main strip again. We went to the beach for some swimming time and then shopped the day away. It was also our last night there so we decided to have a nice dinner all together. We went to a restaurant near the hotel. And boy, did we luck out! Our server was fabulous! He gave us free desserts and entertained us the whole night. We were the last ones to leave the restaurant! It was an amazing last dinner to end the trip.


Delicous lunch!

Yummy!





Last dinner!

Time to go home! We ended our last day by going to the beach one last time.








Our matching T-shirts! We were in Miami... We had to!

Last lunch before hitting Orlando! In Fort Lauderdale - 17th Street Grill Restaurant! Apparently the best burgers in Florida... I Agree!

This trip was my first road trip ever with friends and will be in my memories for a lifetime. I couldn't have asked for a better weekend!

Enjoy and have a magical day!
Eileen McDonald