Our Florida/Disney World Experience

Our main purpose for renting our condo In Puerto Vallarta, coming to Florida, and getting a job at Walt Disney World was to see if our four children and fourteen grandchildren would start visiting us again. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico was too far and too expensive they said, after only a few visits in 15 years. Well, the plan worked in spades. Our oldest son, Jeff, with his family have been down twice. Jeff also came down on my 70th birthday to go to the country’s largest RV show with me in Tampa. This has been on my bucket list for many years. He came again to go on the Animal Kingdom Wild Africa Trek with me. This is a three hour private tour of the wild animals in the Park. Jerry, with his family came down and visited for ten days. Lorinda, with her family also came down twice. Rodney and Nichole, our Marines, were not able to get off work at the same time so we went to San Diego and took their family to Disneyland and California Adventure. Lorinda also met us down there and we were able to get everyone into the parks.
Working at the quick service Restaurantosaurus in Animal Kingdom has been quite an experience. At the age of 70, I have added many new talents to my reassume. Dish washer, greeter, busser, French-fry cooker, garbage runner, crowd control, meal server, meal prepper, and many more not quite as impressive jobs. The experience has been really good for Marian and I as we work the same days at the same location and most of the time the same hours. Many couples we know work at different parks and have different schedules. We work part time on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We were truly blessed to be given this opportunity. Working at Restaurantosaurus is not easy. We are constantly busy as this is the only restaurant in Animal Kingdom that can handle large groups at this time. During busy times we serve over 400 meals an hour. Our fellow cast members are generally much younger than us. There are; however, a few seasoned folks just like us. Many of the cast members are on the Disney College Program. They come from all parts of the World and work anywhere from two to six months. The pay is not great but the perks are fantastic!
For the most part the managers are good. We have one coordinator, Solangee, who is one of the hardest working and sweetest persons I have ever met. I call her Sarge because like most Sergeants, she does most of the work and others get most of the glory. She is the Energizer Bunny of Restaurantosaurus. It does not matter what happens, she is always busy putting out fires and always has a good attitude. I have never heard a negative word from her. At one point in our life, we had five photography Studios and many good employees. If she had worked for me, she would have been managing one of, or all those studios and Marian and I would have taken a lot more time off.
Except for Marian’s accident, we have enjoyed our stay in Florida this year. We have; however, missed our beautiful home and friends in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Florida VS Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Puerto Vallarta wins hands down.wd002wdw201411868902099 IMG_9631 florida15-10820150227_122106 20150501172818

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Disney Wild Africa Trek

Wild Africa Trek 027A large section of Disney Worlds Animal Kingdom is devoted to Wild Animal’s. The major ride attraction in the park is the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride which takes you through a well done African preserve by Jeep. It is about a 20 minute ride that dose give one a look at many wild Animals as they would be in Africa. They also have what is called the ‘Wild Africa Trek’ which is a three hour private tour taking you at a slower pace and by foot much of the time. Lots of really good experiences such as crossing an old rickety bridge. They even fed us a typical African meal while we were in the middle of the preserve surrounded my animals. There is an additional cost for this, however, being a Disney cast member we did get a 50% discount. Our son Jeff came down a few weeks ago and did the trek with me. We had a really good time and would definitely recommend it. Marian had always wanted to do the trek but because of her accident she was not able to do so. The following pictures are just a few that I took on the trek.Wild Africa Treck
Wild Africa Treck
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Wild Africa Treck

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Our Disney Experience

OK, it’s been a while since we wrote.  Time to bring everyone up to date.  We started to work for Disney on November 18th.  What a rush!!  Our first week was at Disney University and the last two weeks were on the job training at Restaurantosaurus in Animal kingdom.  The training at Disney University was amazing.  We actually stayed awake the entire time.  We learned so many things about Disney Operations and how to become a perfect Disney representatives.  Our two weeks of training at Restaurantosaurus was intense to say the least.  The restaurant is a large, sit down, fast food restaurant with six cash registers.  During the busy periods, each register rings up over 80 orders per hour.   In our two weeks (6 full days) of training we have done everything at the restaurant; from cooking and preparing hamburgers – hot dogs topped with mac and cheese – chicken breasts – deep frying fries, chicken nuggets, and corn dog nuggets to making lots of salads.  We were put on the assembly line that puts all the orders together.  Then to the delivery line to hand out the orders; not to mention being a cashier and ringing up the orders.  Last but not least, we were assigned to clean tables, interact with the guests, and keep everything stocked.  Then after all that, we were part of the closing staff for those six days; which meant we dismantled and cleaned all broilers, fryers, clam cookers, coolers, refrigerator, and a zillion other items.  We also had to scrub down everything with soap and then disinfectant everything.  We took out tons of garbage, and did dishes.  You name it we did it.  There was a blessing.  We did not have to scrub all the floors because a special crew came in each night to scrub and disinfecte all the floors.  I do not think I have ever learned more new tasks in such a short period of time and none of these were even on my bucket list!  We were told by others, that after these training marathons, work until you drop, things get easier.  Come next week we shall see.  Being a Disney employee has been lots of fun.  Many places we go, we just show our Disney I.D. and we get a discount.  Disney also offers cast members (employees) a discount off many items.  As employees, we personally get free parking at all Disney properties, and admission to all Disney Parks everywhere.  It is fun to just go to one of the parks and walk around watching people.  When we come across a ride that is not busy, we just hop on.  Being a Disney Cast Member has been very rewarding and educational.

On November 19th (one day after we started working) Lorinda visited with her two children, Brayden and Ashlynn.   They stayed for a little over two weeks and most of that time was with us in the 5th wheel.  What a great time we had with her and the Children! The day before she left, Jeff, Mary Ellen, Jazmine, Kaleb and Landon also came for a visit.  We were able to get both families into Disney a few times.  Jeff and his family only stayed for three days.  Disney, as an employer, cannot be beat.

Today is actually our first real day off without children or church for the last three weeks, and we are really enjoying getting caught up on stuff!  We are pretty sure that our family members visited us because they missed us and not for the Disney perks.  Doesn’t matter though because the important thing is they did visit us, which is why we came to Florida.  The plan is working.  Two families down and two to go.  Still a higher average than we were getting in Mexico.   A few days ago we received our Christmas present from Disney.  It was a coupon books with lots of additional perks.  Disney as a company reminds us of the true Christmas spirit.  They just keep on giving?

Do we miss Mexico?  Heck yes!!  We have lots of friends there and the weather is a little warmer and the scenery spectacular.   Florida, however, has been a nice change.  Once again, we got out of our comfort zone!

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Back in the work force after 15 years of retirement

We are often asked why we moved from Puerto Valarta to Florida?  We loved PV and quite frankly we could have spent the rest of our lives there.  There were; however, three very important reasons influencing our decision to try out Florida this year.  FAMILY, FAMILY & FAMILY.  When we first moved to Mexico our families visited often.  The past couple of years though, only 2 members, out of 22,  came for a visit and even then only for a few days.   This year we decided to rent out our beautiful and home and even put out some feelers on selling it. http://images.apvallarta.com/Memorie/Our-Homes/Condo/.   Our hopes were that we would be more accessible for our children to visit us or we to visit our children.

We decided to put some icing on the cake by getting a part time job with  Disney World. Turned out to be a much more complicated process than we thought, but after a lot of perseverance and many prayers we were offered a part time job.  The pay isn’t great; however, the perks are fantastic.  Did it work, you might ask?  We start our new job, and perks, on November 18th.  On November 19th our Daughter and two children are coming to visit for a little more than two weeks.  Shortly before they leave, our oldest son’s family of six are thinking of coming down.  Our second son’s family of seven are making plans on coming down in January or February.  Even our youngest son’s family of five, who never visited us in PV, are talking about visiting us in Florida.  We are quite sure they are all coming to visit us and not because they get into Disney attractions for free.  What do you think?

We are excited about our new upcoming adventure.  We are both working the same three days and hours at Animal Kingdom.  Many couples are assigned different parks with different days and different hours.  We feel very blessed!

We are enjoying  Florida very much.  Lots of things to see and do and the weather has been fantastic.  We do miss Puerto Vallarta and our many friends there.

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Finally! Our arrival in Florida

We got up early the next morning and headed for the final leg of our trip into Kissimmee, Florida. Fortunately, the six hour drive was uneventful and we arrived in plenty of time to set things up, have lunch and spend the evening with Jeff and Mary Ellen in Disney Town.  The next two days were also spent with Jeff and Mary Ellen touring Universal Studios and their new Harry Potter adventure.  Jeff and Mary Ellen flew back to Missouri on Wednesday and we now find ourselves alone and childless in Florida.  The weather has been spectacular and we are excited about our site at Tropical Palms Resort.  We choose out this site several months ago and paid a deposit for them to hold it. It is very private, shady and borders on the Disney Natural Reserve which is right out our back.  The resort is well maintained and has many really nice amenities including a beautiful swimming pool.  Below is a picture of our site.  I will send additional pictures of the resort in a future post.  The red truck is our sons that we borrowed to tow our unit down here.  The white car is our new 2014-5 Toyota Camry.  We had no intention of purchasing a new car, however, Toyota totally redesigned their 2015 model and we got a fantastic deal from a dealer that was over stocked on 2014-5.

Our site at Tropical Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Fl

We are extremely excited to start our new adventure.  If you want to see additional photographs of our Condo on Wheels, just go to this link.

http://images.apvallarta.com/Memorie/Our-Homes/Mobile-Suites/

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On our way to Florida day 2

Got up early Thursday morning as we had a long way to go to get to Macon, Georgia at a decent hour.  It was important that we got there early in the day because our friends, the Peacocks, had promised us a ride on their air-boat.  We debated whether to get the brakes fixed before we left Nashville or wait until we arrived in Macon.  We called our friend in Georgia and he said he had a mechanic who could look at them if we could make it there.  That is what we decided to  do.  Not a bad decision until we hit a long 6% grade going down the canyon.  By the time we got down the grade the front brakes of the truck were HOT.  We arrived in Macon about 2:30pm and within 5 minutes of our arrival the mechanic came.  He found and fixed the problem with the trailer brakes in about 30 minutes.  My son checked the truck brakes and discovered a cracked rotor.  The mechanic said he had never seen a cracked rotor on a passenger car or truck.  Only on race cars.  In order to get them fixed we needed to extend our stay with the Peacocks one additional day.  Now it was time to go play on the air boat.

We spent the rest of the day touring some of the natural preserve areas around Macon in the air boat.

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Santa Has a New Ride

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Our good friend Eddy Peacock. Better know to the rest of the World as Santa Clause

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On our way to Florida

On October 1st we loaded up our 5th wheel, in the rain, and headed from our home in Smithville, Missouri to Kissimmee, Florida, about 1,250 miles away.  Our oldest son, Jeff, and his wife, Mary Ellen, helped us tow our Mobile Suites to Florida.  I would like to say that the move was uneventful, but then this would be a short story and I would be lying.  I was always taught that lying was not a good thing.  I have little experience in towing and thus we were blessed to have Jeff and Mary Ellen with us.  Jeff and I started out driving the truck with the Mobile Suites and Marian and Mary Ellen followed in the new Camry that we purchased a few months back.  I was the one who started out driving as I needed the experience of white knuckle driving.  Our Mobile Suites is 38 feet long and weighs 20,000 pounds.  It is beautiful to live in but scary to tow!  We were not on the road long when I became suspicious that all lights were not functioning properly on the trailer and upon further inspection we discovered that they were not.  We tried several things to try and find the problem but to no avail.  Finally, a few hundred miles from home,  we stopped at a Dodge dealership to check on the wring in the truck.  Turns out that several fuses were blown.  Apparently we shorted things out when we hooked up the trailer to the truck in the rain.  By this time we were several hours behind schedule.  We drove until 10:00 pm and only stopped for dinner to celebrate the birthday of our son Jeff.  We had all you can eat crab legs and boy were they ever good.  Our goal for the first day was to get to the other side of Nashville so we would have a shorter day travel to our second destination of Macon, Georgia which is where we served our mission.  We had arranged to spend the night with our good friends Eddy and Tony Peacock.  Unfortunately, even driving until late at night, we had to stop short of Nashville. At about the same time we discovered the light problems we also suspected that our trailer brakes were not functioning properly.  We decided to wait until we arrived in Macon to get them fixed so we would be in familiar territory with friends in case we had to spend time there.  As it turned out, that probably was not the wisest decision.  No one, however, has ever accused me of being overly smart! That is enough for today.  Tomorrow we will tell about the final stretch of our trip to Florida.

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