Adventure is now…

This post is updated after each step and then uploaded once I reach any Wi-Fi signal.

 

Packing

 

My journey to the other side of the world began very early on Saturday morning. My very first flight departed at 6:20am. This meant I had to be at the airport by 4am, which in turn meant leaving the house just before 3am.

At around 1am I received a call from Qantas staff advising that my connecting flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles has been delayed an hour. The trip hadn’t even started yet and already plans were changing. This delay shouldn’t have too much of an impact as I have a 3-hour window in LAX before my connecting flight to Chicago.

Flight One – Auckland to Brisbane

Made great time to the airport. Had the traditional al maccas breakfast and tank juice before wading through security and dosing my gate. My flight was delayed three time before we actually took off. Supposed to depart at 6:20, it was pushed to 6:40 and then to 7am before we finally departed.


I think I got about an hour of sleep before breakfast was served. Fairly average scrambled eggs and baked beans with sausage and hash brown. I did quite enjoy the lemon muffin though. I then decided to watch how to be single which had me alternating between laughing out loud and crying quietly – definitely do not recommend to watch in front of other people.

 

Eggs and Baked Beans

 

Flight Two – Brisbane to Los Angeles

Arrives into Brisbane at around 9am. First purport was get somethings. To munch on. I decided to get a boost Caribbean green juice smoothie and some BBQ pork buns for lunch. I then visit the transfer desk and got my seat changed from a middle seat to an aisle seat. I had originally hoped to get a row to myself but there were no free seats on the flight.

After sorting food, I headed down to the departure gate. After we were advised of 2 more delays I asked about my connecting flight but they didn’t have any information. But they did need to put my visa information in the system. The flight itself was pretty uneventful I watched several movies: sisters, joy, and wild. They were all quit good. I cried in almost of them. I got a couple of hours sleep before breakfast.

Flight Three – Lax to Ord

Landing in Los Angeles was minor lily stressful because I was waiting for information on my connecting flight and we landed at just before 8am with my next flight departing at 9:05am. I was advised at the gate that I had been rebooked and I would find out more at baggage claim.
Side note: passport control at Lax is really smooth. If you’d been into the USA in the same visa and passport before they let you check min at these machines which prints you out a receipt which you take to CBP officer and they wave you through.

After I picked up my luggage I got my new flight details. I had been rebooked on to an American airlines flight departing LAX at 2:15pm and arriving in Chicago at 9pm. So this wasn’t going to work because my Train was departing at 8pm an hour away from the airport.

So I lugged my luggage up to the recheck desk where a lovely lady got me rebooked onto a virgin America flight departing at 10:30am and arriving at 4:0 pm. New ticket in hand I checked in my luggage and went in search of terminal 3 to check in for my next flight.


The lines in the terminal were ridiculous. I wanted to change into fresh clothes and get some Starbucks for my flight but there was a line 20 people long for each activity. So I choose bathroom and instead of getting completely changed I changed my shirt and reorganised my bag in the waiting area.

Last flight of the journey went quickly and smoothly, I managed about 2 hours sleep and watched some TV. Nothing else to report, they don’t feed you on domestic American flights.

Chicago

I arrived into Chicago airport, I was on the lookout for a cell phone store to pick up a sim card but I couldn’t find one unfortunately. But I was feeling pretty time conscious because I still had quite a way to go to get to Union station and catch the train to New Orleans.  At this point I’m running on around 5 hours of sleep over the last 2.5 days.


Get all my luggage and I start following the sign to the CTA trains to the city signs. I bought a ticket to the train and it was $5, I only had $10 notes and the machines don’t give change, so I tried to use my Qantas cash card but it wanted a zip code for the transaction and I had no idea what that was and it wouldn’t accept so in the end I used my MasterCard visa to pay for the ticket. All the trains from the station are the blue line heading to forest park. The stop I wanted was Clinton and was I think 15 stops away from the airport (approximately). Once I arrived at the station I heaved my luggage up the stairs and wandered along the street till I found Union Station. It was after 6pm by this time and I still hadn’t found a cell phone store.


Check out my next post for the next step in my trip

Trip Disaster

Hey Wanderers

So my trip back to Florida has been eventful and stressful couple of days. 

On May 20th I was up at 3am to have breakfast and coffee, finish packing and say goodbye to my grandfather. My dad and I drove out to the airport where I checked in for my 3 flights which would take me to Orlando, FL.

Everything was pretty smooth that morning, dad and I had coffee at the airport and then I headed on through security to pick up bottle of water and find my gate. My dad headed off to work. My first flight of the day was Auckland to Sydney 7:35am NZ time landing at 9:30am AUS time. 

We landed in Sydney and I got through transit customs in record time. I checked the flight boards and saw that my Sydney to Dallas was scheduled for a 1:00pm. I ended up at McDonalds as it was really the only thing worth eating at 10am and there was strong free Wi-Fi. I stayed there until 12:15 when I picked up a bottle of water and some jols and headed to my gate. I had been there no more than 15 minutes when an announcement came across that there was a problem with the plane and there was currently a 2 hour delay to our service. The staff were very nice and issued everyone a $20 food voucher for the delay. 

2 hours later however they announced that the challenge was still being fixed and we were now “hoping” that the flight would be ready by 4pm. no compensation was offered at this time.  

Around 3:30pm the captain announced that the flight would “hopefully” be on time for a 6pm departure and boarding should commence at 5:30pm. By this time I was getting super ancy and annoyed. This was only flight 2 of my trip and I had now missed my connection due to the delay. I talked to the attendant at the counter who advised that at this point we may have to overnight in Sydney if they can’t fix it by 6pm. 

So I email DCL and let them know what’s happening just in case. But fortunately we boarded the plane in record time at 5:30pm and were in the air by 7pm. the flight was smooth and the crew were amazing. I enjoy flying Qantas long haul as they feed you a lot you get 2 meals as well as alcohol and ice creams. 

We landed in Dallas at 6:30pm USA time, as I exited I was handed a new connection ticket for an 8:15pm flight. I headed straight to the passport control desk and was in line for 1.5 hours as they had only 4 people on and 2 huge international flights had landed at the same time. Eventually they started to move us to different lines to try and get us through faster. 

After passport control I ran to customs picked up my bags cleared them and re checked them (read as: threw them to the luggage guys shouted Orlando and took off running to security). After security I had to catch a tram from terminal D to terminal A. I made it to the gate as they were calling for boarding. I had no time to grab any food or any water and internal American flights you have to buy everything if you want it. In frantically updating Facebook and texting my parents to say I made it to Dallas and heading straight to Orlando. We land in Orlando right on midnight. So three flights and a 6 hour delay and its only just changing days. Yay time zones!!!

Once in Orlando I head to pick up my luggage which surprise surprise isn’t there. So I head over to the counter and log a lost luggage form. They say it’s on the first flight from Dallas in the morning and I’ll get the next afternoon at the hotel. 

I then call for a pick up from the hotel but get lost trying to find the pickup point and end up asking my friend to pick me up some food and then me and take me to the hotel. 

The Next Day

The next day I wake up super sick. I am violently ill for the entire day. I drag my ass out of bed and my friend takes me out to Walgreens and me down some Pepto-Bismol on the way to Walmart. That’s where I hit rock bottom. I throw up in Walmart. After which we checked out and headed back to the hotel where I contacted DCL medical and was given an extra 3 days at the hotel to recover before joining the dream on Monday. 

All in all one of the worst travel stories I’ve had yet. 

 

Bye for now

Xx

Flying to America 2014

So I began my trip at 2am on Mondays the 27th of October. We had to ER up early so I could finish packing and coffee before leaving the house at 3:45am to get to the airport by 5am.

Said my goodbyes to my grandfather and my cat and then we were on our way. We got to the airport super early cos surprise! There is no traffic at 4 am. So we decided to have a McDonald’s breakfast a wee waited for check in to open.

Once it opened I went to check my bag and get my boarding passed for my 3 flights of the day. It took a while because she was really interested in what I do and why I was going. I also had a question about luggage that wasn’t easily answered. My question was on my itinerary it said baggage limit: 4 pieces. And that was it no actual information on weight or size also there no helpful information on the help pages. Tash had to ring 2 different places to find out and the answer that came back was it is 4 pieces of 23kgs each!!!! Holy crap that’s a lot of luggage. I checked one bag that weighed a grand total of 16kgs.

After checking we headed up stairs to get coffee and spend my last 2 hours in the gateway lounge. It was really tough leaving my dad but I found it a whole lot easier than last time when my best friends and family were there. Besides I knew I’d be back in April so it’s not like in going forever.

I bought a magazine, a bottle of water and for some money changed in to Australian dollars and some into American, I used the notes in my wallet making the most of my immediate resources. I boarded the plane to Sydney and it was tiny I felt like I had no space in my seat, I was also seated next to a giant man who took up all the room without trying. The flight took 3 hours or so. I think we landed a little late. I then had to go through transfer security where they made me throw out my water. I then spent the next 4 hours wandering through the airport, I found an Asian noodle place for lunch which was delicious and I felt much better after that. But the free Wi-Fi refused to work on my phone which sucked

The plane was late leaving Sydney. It was a 14 hour flight to Dallas, Texas. It was actually a really nice flight I enjoyed the food and the staff were friendly, it was just way to long. Speaking haha of food there was a tonne of it haha with dinner which was a honey chicken salad and fruit bowl I had a Bloody Mary and then a vodka ginger beer. In the middle of the night we got ice cream and sliders. And then scrambled eggs and beans for breakfast. They also had a serve yourself snack station as well.

We arrived late into Dallas, where I had to go through customs, passport control and bag pick up and re check. Then back through security and then find out I was in the wrong terminal all while my flight was boarding. After running through the airport for half an hour I finally get to the desk to discover my flight has already left and I had been rebooked on to a 7pm flight. So I spent 4 hours in Dallas, sitting in TGI Fridays drinking cocktails till I felt better about life.

This last flight was killer. I was so over flying g and being cramped in tiny planes. Luckily this flight was only three hours but it seemed to drag on forever. Once I got to Orlando I picked up my bag and wound my way to the Disney ground transportation and caught a Disney magical express to pop century.

Once I arrived at Pop I discovered once again the frustration of knowing how to do that persons job better than them but not being able to. So I went up to my room and met my roommate. Larissa 50 years Old Russian from Australia. She will be in merchandise on board the Dream.

And so ended my long Monday I left New Zealand at 8 am on the 27th and arrived 35 hours later I arrived in Orlando Florida 10pm on the 27th of October.

 

Visa Funtimes

So as you know last month I applied for and received the C1/D visa which is a transient visa / seaman visa for working on board cruise ships. Once I received this I though bam! I’m so in! time to start planning my vacation at the end of my first six month contract with the Disney Dream. However when u sent an email to the casting assistants asking for my travel dates and asking about how I would organise my return flights as I would love to spend a week at Disney World and a week traveling the states, they said I would need a different visa.

A DIFFERENT VISA!!!!! Are you kidding me?????

So I did some research and it turns out I needed to get the B1/2 visa at the same time. If I had applied for it at the same time it wouldn’t have cost me any extra either. But because I didn’t I had to cough up another $192 NZD to pay for the visa. Unfortunately it’s not really an option to not get it as I want to visit my friends in the states before coming home. So on Thursday morning I quickly filled in the required ds-160 and made an appointment for Wednesday the 15th of October. Now I have been through this process 3 times already. In 2009 I applied for and received a j1 visa for camp America. In 2013 I applied for the j1 visa for Walt Disney world and then again in 2014 I applied for a c1/d visa.

So I’m pretty smooth at filling in all the required information and making the appointment. This morning the only paperwork I needed was my confirmation of employment, confirmation of appointment and my ds160. When I went in there was no one in line but most of the seats in the interview waiting area was full. Now they only have 2 people conducting the interviews. So it took around an hour to get from paperwork to interview stage. They said that the employment paper made it really easy to approve the visa, as it proves income. The only questions I was asked this time around were “Are you ready for your holiday?” And “What did you do on your last visa?” And then he approved my visa for ten years!!!!!!

So even though it did cost (my dad) an extra $200 it is well worth it. However learn from my mistakes and apply all together 🙂 So now I’m looking at Contiki tours as I would love to travel a bit of the great US of A before heading back to glorious New Zealand.

Here’s a few tips about the B1/B2 visa I found useful;

  • B1 is the business part.
  • B2 is the tourism part.
  • The length of time you can stay in the USA for is 6 months at a time on the B2, but is subject to a case by case basis decided by your immigration/customs officer.
  • My visa is good for 10 years (!!!) but they can be issued for as little as 6 months. Though word on the web is that on second application you would then be issued with a 10 year one.
  • There is to be no working while on this visa. This is why I have combined mine with the c1/d
  • You do not need a certain amount of money in the bank to apply, but I was told that my employment papers made it easier to get as it made me financially stable.

Have any suggestions on what tours I should do? Leave me a comment below!!!

Disney Cruise Line Process

So since I’ve finished at Disney I have had quite an exciting time with the Disney cruise line.

It all started on august the 6th when I received an email from a recruiter saying that she had received my resume and was I still interested. To which I replied that I was. Jan then sent me personalized link to fill in an application and what not. I filled it in. it was an application for a guest service hostess, ad t was just standard application from dcljobs.com. After filling this out later that day I received several emails once of which asking me to upload some information to a documents website and another arranging a skype interview time.

The skype date was set for Saturday the 17th of August which I readily accepted 7:30am! Well as it so happens I had just booked bus tickets to go and see my mum that weekend so I messaged her to tell her to fill up her Wi-Fi plan as I needed it for skype for a job interview.

Once I arrived at mums on Friday evening we fussed over the kitchen table clearing it off and setting up a sheet behind it so that it would give me a neutral back ground. My biggest problem was my purple hair! How in the hell was I supposed to hide that??? And it is most definitely not Disney look in any way shape or form.

So the next morning I was up at the crack of dawn quietly getting ready putting on my professional shirts over my pyjama bottoms and slippers (hehe). Did my make up and put my hair up in a professional bun. Success the lighting was bad enough my hair looked brown and not purple at all. I made a cup of tea, trying o not wake up the rest of the household. Logged into skype and waited for Jan to call.

At 7:35am I got an email saying hr skype was broken and she tried calling my mobile and it didn’t work, so I gave her the home phone, there is very little cell phone reception at my mum’s she lives in the middle of the native forest at the top of New Zealand.  So the phone rang and Jan and I talked for over an hour, going over the job and my resume and answering my questions.

We covered things like have you looked into life on board? I mentioned I had done a cruise and she asked if the purpose was to find out what it was like and I answered that yes it was. She laughed and told me it would be a lot different as a crew member haha.

Right at the end I asked what I could do to move my process along to make sure I was offered a positon ad she said “ after this conversation I feel comfortable in offering you the position right now if you want to accept it”, I nearly fell over !!! I was expecting at least a 2 week waiting period. So I of course accepted and she wished me well.

Now during this conversation I had to admit I had messed up with my up loading documents, because I’m useless, and she laughed it off and fixed it right up for me J  so don’t worry about messing up or making mistakes they generally understand that you’re human.

I then had to schedule a medical and it cost me $225 hopefully this will be refunded when I get to the port. I finally got everything faxed over yesterday only to find out that Disney was supposed to send me a medical package which listed everything they needed but they hadn’t done so. So I’m heading back to the doctors tomorrow to get all the forms signed and faxed over to Disney.

I’ve also today just had my visa appointment and been approved for my C1/D visa!!!!! Everything is lining up!!!

So here is a fun little story for you. Last Monday I had just had my medical appointment, had my blood tests done and as I returned home considerably more poor, a FedEx van turned up at my door. It was my employment papers!!!! Yay!!!! so I logged into the American embassy website and started filling out my DS-160 form (which takes hours and is so bloody confusing) last time Disney provided me with a whole bunch of information about how to fill it out and what information to put in, however this time they didn’t which was all sorts of fun and stress. But I eventually filled it out and paid for my visa (dad had to top me up with some money to afford it) and made an appointment. Now here is the funny part. I didn’t really look at dates, I just noticed a greyed out Blue Square which I figured was today and an open appointment for the next day. This was perfect!!! Dad had to go in early so he could drop me off on his way past. Quick mad dash for passport photos and printing out of documents. I get up at the ass crack of dawn stumble around and we zoom off into town. We finally get there and the security guard tells me “see right here it says Wednesday 10th of September” so that was next week haha! So shame faced I catch a bus back to orewa and while away the day till today!!!!

I’ve done nothing but mess up since I started this process haha

EDIT: while applying for your C1/D also apply for the B1/2 it has no extra cost and allows that wonderful chance to explore the USA after your contract finishes.

TTFN

Nutmeggle

Applying and the Interview

Hello!

This blog is going to be about applying for the IDCP. Woot..

So I first heard about this opportunity at my university in my first year of study.

 Back ground information:

I am 22 years old and I live in New Zealand. I studied at Otago University at the bottom of the South Island. I started out studying a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies with a minor in Hospitality. I then changed in my second year to a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours in Tourism. Then in my third year I dropped the honours course as I just wanted to go and travel and not spend 4 years at university.

 All these changes sure were fun, changing from arts to commerce meant I now got to do all the “fun” math papers I had been avoiding. *sigh*

 But I graduated in 2012 with my Bachelor of Commerce and couldn’t be happier. (Well sort of)

Back to the topic at hand:

So I discovered the IDCP in 2010 through my tourism department at university. It sounded fairly easy to get into and sounded like it encompassed all sorts of awesomeness.

Here is the link if you want to check it out for yourself. -> https://www.disneyinternationalprograms.com/icp.html

The requirements are pretty easy:

To qualify candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age

  • Be a citizen of Australia, New Zealand and/or the United States of America.

  • Be a current student at an accredited post-secondary university or at a tertiary-level accredited educational (TAFE)/Polytechnic institution and have completed at the first full year of study prior to application.Recent graduates of a university or TAFE/Polytechnic may also apply but must start work at Walt Disney World Resort within 12 months of their graduation date.

    •  Please note you may not defer the semester prior to your arrival
  • Per Visa regulations, you may not study via correspondence

The requirements vary depending on your home country and whether they recruit there.

So I decided to wait until I had graduated or almost graduated to apply as I love to travel and probably wouldn’t have come home again to finish my degree.

So during my three years of uni I became pretty obsessed with the program. I discovered that Jeni (our Australia/New Zealand recruiter) visited my university twice a year and also occasionally guest lectured while she was around. She also did 2 presentations per visit.

Suffice it to say I got to know Jeni really well as I went to every presentation and crashed every lecture she gave.

By the time I applied, she was as excited as I was that I was finally applying. 😛

So during my third and final year of uni, around September my turn finally arrived. I filled in the online application (except for the work history section as it has a well known glitch) printed it off and signed it. I also filled in a sheet with my choices for roles, signified whether I wanted a 6 month or a 12 month role, got a copy of my passport, and filled in my Resume and a cover letter.

I dyed my hair brown ( which didn’t work properly, I have so many colour running through my hair that it was more purple than brown L)  took out all my ear piercings except for the 2 designated by the Disney look and organised an appointment time.

xiHAv1j

You must be interviewed for this program either in person or via Skype.

I was nervous about this for the whole year before I applied.

Jeni was lovely she was just as excited as I was to be applying.

She asked me basic things like what my favourite Disney movie was what hometown I would like on my name badge. However since I had gotten to known Jeni over the years she didn’t ask me as many things as she did to a few others.

She also asked what my preferred choice would be and the length of the program I would like as well.

At the end of my interview she told me not to stress and that I would hear back within 2 weeks.

And so the waiting began…..

Tips…..
  • Be friendly, Open and Honest
  • Research the Disney look and dress as if it’s for a job interview (which it is)
  • Be as flexible as possible when choosing roles, the more you pick the more they can offer you, (they cannot offer you a role which you haven’t selected)
  • Make sure you have all your paper work, and be 15mins early to your appointment.

All in all I highly recommend that you apply for this opportunity, so far it has been the best experience and I haven’t even gotten there yet J

All the best