Friday, October 26, 2012

Disney week 2: On to the Good Stuff.

Well, I am all moved in and unpacked into my new four bedroom apartment, which I share with six other roommates assigned by the Disney Housing team. I know you're just dying to know what it all looks like. Well, you're in luck because I took a video. Here's a picture while I figure out how to upload it. LOL
And now, on to the good stuff: Working at Walt Disney World! *squee*

The first half of the week was finishing up my training before I could actually get into the kitchen. I did get to spend one of my off days visiting the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot, which was interesting. But I didn’t get as much out of it as my roommates did since I don’t drink. I did try the cheese trio plate which was delicious. But I did not understand why the cheddar was drowning in a puddle of honey for example.

I've been working hard at the Production Bakery inside The Brown Derby at Disney Hollywood Studios here in Orlando, FL. Today marks the last day of my first week of On the Job Training, so I then get to remove my "Earning My Ears" ribbon from my name badge. That also means I can't point at it and say "Sorry, I'm new here!"

I've been so very very lonely down here. I hardly ever see my roommates, and I'm the only one at work who doesn't speak Spanish, so they're always talking to each other in Spanish and even blast Latin music so I'm constantly out of my depth on what is going on. On the other hand, when they do switch to English I can be pretty sure to look up since they're probably talking to me.

Everyone is so very nice. We work well together, and I try to just do whatever I'm asked to do with a smile, learn their procedures, try to do it well, do it right, get done quickly, and work to get faster, and just watch everything around me and learn everything I can. I've already learned so many little tips and tricks for better ways to do things just from watching how the others prep their trays or whatever it is. Since this is the first time I've had dozens of trays at a time of product to do, there are ways to do high volume stuff that I'd never had to come up with before at either of the bakeries I’ve worked in.

I haven’t made any major mistakes and I work hard. I try to at least be working as fast as the seasoned person working next to me, and if I can keep up with them I figure I'm on the right track.

I absolutely love it here. I love this job. I love the work and the company. I don't really want to have to leave. I want to work for this company for the rest of my life. I haven’t seen much if anything of any of the actual parks or attractions yet since I've just been working. But I love the area, the warmth and humidity, the palm trees and the geckos everywhere. They remind me of trying to catch geckos as a child at Grandma’s house in Pearl City on Oahu.

The kids seem to be doing fine without me, which is sad but a huge blessing. I happened to get two days in a row off next week, so I might be able to fly home for smk's b'day for an all too short visit. I'm not sure I will have made enough money from my first week to cover a plane ticket, and I'd feel guilty for not spending it on the bills. But at least I've been blessed with the opportunity.

But, enough of that, what you really want to hear about is the bakery work. I am confident that my previous two bakery positions and my years at Aii have prepared me adequately for this job. The best part is that we don’t have to deal with the public or taking orders since this is all just production to replace what was consumed at the various restaurants and quick service places we supply here at the parks on the previous day. Each morning said foodservice places order whatever additional product they want and the morning crew pulls it from the freezers from previous production. They also make some product, but that’s primarily it.

Then when we get in for the afternoon crew they see how many trays of this or that got pulled and we make product to replace that. We have 4-6 people working each shift. We all work together to get all of the baking done which takes 5-6 hours, and then we get our one break to go to lunch. Which should be an hour, but sometimes they only give us 30 minutes because we’re so busy. But after lunch all that’s left to do is put lids or whatever on the hundreds of cakes or whatever we did that day, tray them up, put them away, clean up, and wait around until it’s time to clock out. Some of our freezers are outside the bakery in the back lot, one of which is several hundred yards down the way, so we have to push the product down there, rotate the older stuff up or in front, and basic FIFO stuff like that.

Anyway, not only did they give me expensive new non-slip restaurant shoes I get to keep, but each day I work I get a voucher for lunch ($3.75) and we get free drinks anytime we want inside the restaurant. (soda, or coffee) I usually just get ice water, though.

It took me so long to figure out that they were calling the speed-racks a “tram”. I just couldn’t understand what word they were saying over the noise and stuff. It was funny.

I’m going to ask if it’s okay for me to take any pictures inside of the bakery, maybe just of the equipment after we’re cleaned up or something.

The Hobart mixers here are huge! One of them is taller than me by a lot. And the mixing bowls are proportionally as huge. We use all four of these sizes of Hobart Mixers… The smallest one is the same size as the floor misers we use at Aii in the Baking Kitchen…. Just some perspective.

The ovens are the same as the other bakeries, but they hold two speed-racks at a time instead of just one. I’m still a bit nervous leaning into them to get product rotated since I got the side of my arm burnt off at my first bakery that way.

The best machine is The Unfiller Spot which is a pump that you wheel the entire mixing bowl or cambro over to, put a pump in, and measure out exact amounts of batter or whatever into your prepped containers. You can change how much product you want to come out, up to 100ml, and adjust the speed. The nozzle also swivels a bit to give the operator some control to aim with as they put the product into whatever it’s going in. Mostly individual cups or bowls for the quick-service places. It’s harder than it looks and it’s rather involved to clean each day. But you can tray up a dozen or so speed-racks of product a day, so it’s an obviously beneficial investment. I got trained on it during week three, but I’ll tell you about it next week.

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