These past two days were seriously some of the best ever since being down here. I am proud of myself for being able to have such an amazing time on my own and allowing myself the satisfaction. Right now, I am seated where I started – in Mary Poppins’ break room. It’s hard to believe I only have a few days left, but I am beyond happy to say so. I have learned so much just from being away. Going home will be a relief though. No more lost days. I am going to take advantage of all that I have there as well. There is a lot to be done, but I am ready for it. My only hope now is to stay on my feet and dream big to succeed. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.
My first day off began with a long repeated loop of Michael Jackson which was very inspiring and got my blood pumping. I took a bus down to Cast Connections, which is the Disney employee discount store. Overall, I was not impressed, but at least the bus ride was nice. Their main content consisted of all the same items you can find at the outlet store with some variation. There is a back room with “damaged” & “unsellable” merchandise. It’s all just a bunch of junk that needs to be thrown away, honestly. Leave it to Disney to try and make a buck off of their employees with absolute garbage.
Once I got home from CC, I picked up my residency letter from the apt. office for Universal Studios, then I walked to Walgreen’s and bought lunch and junk food just because I could. It was fabulous! After some lunch, I changed into my swimsuit and caught the bus to Typhoon Lagoon since cast members were not allowed in the water parks beforehand due to spring break and Easter. It was an experience and I definitely had fun, but a faux beach made me miss and want Myrtle Beach so badly. Anyway, there were lots of tube slides & a tube water-coaster which was awesome. Because I don’t weigh very much, I always fly all over the place in the tubes. It kind of adds to the fun and the thrill of it all to be honest. After tubing it up down the slides, I found the “shooter” slide. Now, I should have known better before I climbed all those steps and shot down with an unplugged nose. Let’s just say I learned to look at the slide before you go down. I ended up totally disoriented with a nose full of water and my bathing suit up my butt. I’ll know better for next time. I treated myself to the lazy river after all of the slides. I got plowed by water every time there was a sprinkler or waterfall – neither of which was relaxing. It was comical at least. I thought about jumping in the big wave pool at the end of the day, but something about riding waves, knowing there is a rough cement bottom beneath you rather than soft sand is not appealing. That and there was a bandaid floating in the water when I considered getting in. Gross! Needless to say, I caught the bus home after that. The water park was fun, but I would have liked for it to have a hot tub and a lounge pool in addition to the wave and kiddie pools. I took a dip in my apt. pool when I got home. It was private and wonderful. It felt so incredibly good to swim in the sun peacefully with me, myself, and I.
I fixed myself up after a wonderful call with Eric by the pool. I then took a bus to Hollywood Studios and took a minute to browse the shops, ride Rockin’ Rollercoaster, and take photos. It felt very fancy. Afterwards, I made a pit stop in the Old Key West resort, which is absolutely beautiful, and headed to Downtown Disney to soak up some of its festive vibe and enjoy the atmosphere. Once finished at Downtown Disney, I took a bus home and settled in for the night. It was absolutely fabulous. I definitely made the most of my day and was endlessly on Cloud 9 from start to finish. It truly was my day.
The next day was amazing too and filled with nostalgia. I was also Lisa’s birthday. I took my first trip to Universal Studios Orlando with my roommate, Aurelie, her boyfriend, and a friend of theirs. It was very French. I was the only American in the group which made things pretty quirky. It was super fun though! I had to explain what some things were and why they are popular in America. I discovered that I love anything that resembles Hollywood. It’s still weird to me how actual Hollywood looks like the Pavilion around Pier 14 in Myrtle Beach. I could wander around in Hollywood-like settings for hours. That is a place I believe I could move to and be happy. Hollywood, no LA.
Back to Universal, I immediately was able to meet some characters which made me happy. I met Woody Woodpecker & Curious George. They were so cute! I saw Marge & Homer Simpson too, as well as Krusty. Characters are so much fun. We rode all the big stuff, but my favorite ride had to be the one in Hogwarts castle. Talk about magical… That ride is AMAZING! But that brings me to my next point. Going to Universal was like stepping back into my childhood. I felt so happy, excited, and at home. I remembered how it feels to do something fun when it’s not part of work or being stuck somewhere. It’s by choice and it feels completely different. I had a blast, even when I was by myself after the French went home. I felt great and happy. I am proud of myself for being able to recognize that.
I fought back tears entering Harry Potter World. Seeing it real and in person brought back all the memories. It was amazing. I saw myself walking into the theatre as an 11-year-old little girl dressed as Hermione. I saw the last time Layla and I walked into a Harry Potter premiere for the final movie. I saw the Borders parties and the cosplays for school. The wonderful memories are endless. Seeing it all in person kind of showed me that any fantasy is best just like that – when it stays a fantasy. Imagine really working or going to school in a fantasy environment. It becomes “work” and “school.” That is exactly how the Disney program has been for me. I was so thankful to be visiting Harry Potter World rather than working it.
Universal was so amazing. I admit, it’s not as refined as Disney, but at the same time, it’s much more relaxed. I genuinely enjoyed the environment. I would love to go back to HP World with my family someday, as well as Eric and several of my best friends. I filmed a goofy video for Lisa’s birthday in Krustyland. I love Krustyland! Growing up with the Simpsons, that show is very dear to my heart. It reminds me of all the good days with my dad too. I sang “Lisa, it’s your birthday! Happy Birthday, Lisa!” It was very appropriate. I even won a Krusty plush playing a carnival game. It was all so much fun. I’m glad I went. I almost missed the bus home, but my instincts lead me back correctly. I finished the great day with night swimming, candy, & “Legally Blonde.” Those two days off couldn’t have been better or more jam-packed. <3