The Disney Adventure

The Disney Adventure
The Cinderella Castle!

Friday, May 28, 2010


One of the things that I love about banquets is that I get to do random work all over the place. Last night I worked in Divas for the employee of the month ceremony thing. Divas is one of the 4 F&B outlets here. It's the martini lounge and it's SO GORGEOUS!!! I absoutely adore the room. In fact, I'd like to decorate a room in my future house like it. It's got a 50's feeling to it, with wood and brass everywhere. It's one big room withhuge high ceilings and stained glass lamps/fixtures. The Divas logo and all the writing (menus, washroom signs, etc) are in script that's remnicent of a 50's movie poster, I'll have pictures soon to show you what I mean. The furniture varies from comfy blue chairs, (I don't know what style they are but they're comfy and high backed and beautiful) around tables to couch-like chairs in corners with low cocktail tables. There's 8 televisions, including one large one behind the bar, and appx 10 bar seats. The walls are covered in photos of, you guessed it, divas throughout history. AND......(dun dun duuuun) there's about 30 photos of my personal favorite diva, my hero, Marilyn Monroe (which you already knew if you know me at all). There's over a hundred photos all together and all black and white. There's everyone you can imgaine right through from Marilyn, to Uma Thurman, Madonna, and everyone in between. The women's washroom has beigeish wallpaper with photos of handsome men from cinema history and dim lighting, it's so beautiful. The mens washroom has a subdued leopard print wallpaper (which I absolutely LOVE) with photos of film's greatest female icons. I'm totally in love with the room. I'm going to try to get in there to take pictures at some point so I can show you exactly what I mean. It shouldn't be too hard because Divas is the one F&B outlet that staff are allowed to frequent without permission as long as we're dressed appropriately. If we want to go to the other 3 we need permission from out department heads. I'll write more about the others as I get photos and work in them.

Actually! I have worked a few shifts in the Primrose dining room, which were really fun. Quite a bit more relaxed than banquets. We spend a lot of time running around lifting heavy stuff. In Primrose (the breakfast/dinner outlet) everyone knows what their jobs are and they do them well, but there isn't really a need to do more or rush around. It's quite relxing actually. And the staff are hysterical. I hang out ith a lot of them when I'm not working but you really get to know people differently when you work with them. And the restuarant staff are just as awesome to work with as they are to hang out with. Great attitudes and senses of humor. Although my co-workers from my home department (banquets) are definitely the people I'm closest too hand have so much fun with, I'm really enjoying getting to know the staff from the other departments too.

Speaking of staff, I need to watch Scarface as soon as possible. One of my banquet captains and a night server speak in the wierd accent from that movie and quote it constantly and I have no idea what's going on. They call everyone 'Tony'. Actually last night they started calling me 'Antonia' which is a little nicer than Tony. It's very entertaining but I've been informed that I must watch the movie. So that's on my list of things to do this week.

Oh right, back to Divas and the employee of the month. So, Divas is so awesome. I was in there because banquets is in charge of the employee of the month ceremony thing. It was neat. A (the HR director) announces all the nominees and also all the service anniversaries for the month. Then she announces who actually won and the head of their department gives a little speech about how awesome they are. I didn't do much, poured pops and put chips on the tables, but it was really cool to see all the big bosses acknowledging the hard work of employees. There's also a 'leader of the quarter' award. I think that's given out every 4 months or so. Plus the more that I get to interact with the management the better. I like the idea of doing an employee of the month thing. Also acknowledging the people who have been working for the company for a long time is really cool. There's even service anniversary pins. Not sure how many exactly, but I think there's a 1 year, a 5 year then 10, 15, 20, etc. I got a chance to look at people's pins and certificates. Pretty cool. You also get a certificate if you are nomnated for employee of the month, as two of our banquet supervisors were. So that's that.

Oh, in case I haven't mentioned it yet, we have a prom coming up in banquets. Yup, that's right, a prom. Canmore high school kids. And their parents. 500 of them. Tomorrow. Should be pretty entertaining. We're borrowing 24 staff from other departments to help pull it off. That's right, 24. It's kinda fun when we borrow staff. It's like a big staff party except we still have to work. And it gets really hectic when you have that many people that don't really know what they are doing and only 10 of us that know what's going on. But so much fun!!! This is what I came here for!! Fun, adventure, and prom!! Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Official Translator

I wanted to talk for a minute about the diversity here in Banff. One thinks that in Canada, a Canadian would be in the majority. Not so. By far, this town is populated by Australians! I'm definitely a minority here. I also work some frenchies which has been great for my french skills. I used to be fluent in french and over the years, having very few people to talk to has taken a toll on my skills and they dwindled. One of the girls in banquets is french and we have an agreement that she speaks english to me and I correct her and I speak french to her and she corrects me. It works out really well because we are both practicing and learning. Speaking it everyday has really helped bring it all back, and there's something about speaking a language that helps you remember words far more easily than if you were to take a class. Plus this is free!! And very entertaining. For both of us. Also none of the Aussies speak french so it's the best language to tell secrets in if it's necessary!!

Speaking of Aussies, they have their own language too. It's kind of english, but mostly gibberish. So I've found myself becoming something of an Aussie to English to French translator. Some of the frenchies are still learning to speak english, let alone learn to speak Aussie. Confused?? Here's a few Aussie terms that one needs to know in order to have a conversation with one:

Afternoon = Arvo
No worries = No wokkas
Whine = whinge
Friend = mate
Guy = bloke
Messed up = buggered
Garbage = rubbish
I wonder = I reckon

I learn new ones everyday.
It's a very lazy language. They speak with very relaxed palates apparently which is why they sound like that. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for accents, but really, there's no V in afternoon. How does it turn into arvo?? REALLY?!?! For serious? Yup. It happens. I've heard it. I've also gotten into several arguments about that specific word and even they admit that it doesn't make much sense. Oh also, my Aussie name is Ezza. Or Ez if they're feeling particularly lazy/hurried. I like it, it's got a nice ring to it. I may change it permenantly!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I forgot

I totally forgot to talk about the wedding!!! We did a wedding the other day that was so beautiful. Very intricate set up, purple table cloths, silver chair covers, japanese lanterns hanging from the ceiling. They had a candy station where guests could fill up with candys that had the bride and groom's names on them. The bride's family was half japanese so they folded 1000 paper cranes for good luck and hung them everywhere around the room. They had their picture on bottles of jones soda (green and purple, the theme colors) and places on the tables as souvenirs. Each guest also had an apple at their place settin with their name tag on it. The food was 5 beautiful courses but the most impressive course (in my opinion) was the third course. It was a green tea sorbet set inside a heart carved out of ice. The ice hearts had 'Sacha and Luke, 2010' engraved in them and lined with sugar so the writing looked white. The ball of sorbet was placed in a divet on the right side of the heart. Our pastry chef is a god. I was lucky enough to be stationed at the bar for the evening (which is like the coveted golden shift in banquets) but also entrusted (along with two co-workers) with the terrifying responsibility of serving the head table all five courses. This head table had 14 people. It was a little stressful. But, like a well oiled machine, Mat and I managed to place the bride and groom's food down in front of them totally in tandem for all five courses. I only stepped on the bride's train once but I'm sure she didn't notice. Still, stressful, but at the same time, I'm pleased to have been assigned to that table as it shows that my supervisors trust me. If they thought I was going to drop any bacon wrapped steak on the bride they definitely wouldn't allow me anywhere near that table. So, that's the story of the super awesome wedding, that was really difficult to dismantle at the end of the night, but was still awesome. This week we are doing a giant prom for over 600 high school graduates. We are borrowing 24 staff from other departments to make sure it all goes according to plan. This should be interesting.


Wow!! It's been a long time since I posted!! Everything's been crazy over here. Crazy in a good way. I'll have to post my goals on here so everyone knows what I'm talking about when I talk about working on my goals, but as an action step for one of the goals, every week I'm asking my supervisors for input and advice regarding my performance in my position here at the resort. This week I asked my night supervisor who said the only thing I should do is keep doing what I'm doing. He said I'm already one of the hardest working people in the department all I have to do is keep it up! I've been put through the paces here in banquets and feel like I've almost mastered all the set ups and procedures. Breaks can one of the hardest jobs in banquets and I've been assigned to do quite a few recently, which apparently means I'm doing them properly. Breaks means that you're in charge of refreshing all the supplies in all the rooms when they go on their coffee breaks. So if there's 3 meetings and they each have a 10:15 coffee break, you have to make sure that the coffee and tea and hot water and lemons are all ready when they break. Our manager likes to have everything out 15 mins before each room breaks. Sometimes the rooms have food as part of their breaks, depending on what they've pre-ordered. So, sometimes you'll have 4 or 5 functions with 2 or 3 coffee breaks and you have to be ready to refresh them all. It can get a little crazy, especially when there's large groups and they are all having breakfast smoothies or something. It's pretty hectic but I like it.

Monday, May 17, 2010


So ever since I can remember I've been super clinically, doctor certified and everything. And all my life I've fought it and people have laughed at me for my counting and obsessing and making everything even and symmetrical. And at last, I've found somewhere I can unleash it. In banquets, when I stop to make sure the candles are perfectly aligned or the fork lines up with the chair leg, no one points and laughs, I'm commended. It's a job well done. It's "attention to detail" not "crazy". It's like a giant weight has been lifted and I'm allowed to spread my crazy all over the banquet department!! Here's my list of official Rock Banquet Rules that satisfy my OCD and make me very happy:
1) The flower on the saucers must be aligned with the napkin
2) Place mats must be one thumbnail width away from the table edge
3) If paper pads are required they too must be one thumbnail width away from the table edge
4) Salt shakers must be on the left of the pepper shakers, left being decided by where the door is

That's all for now, there are plenty more, but as you can see, I'm right at home here and very happy to be counting and aligning and making everything even!! YES!! Love my life!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I love my job. So much fun and I'm learning new things everyday. There's some really amazing people that  have so many random tidbits of knowledge to share. The other really neat thing about banquets is that we get a lot of part time helpers from other departments, especially when we have big events, because obviously the regular staff can't do everything all the time, especially when we have back to back events or really big dinners. So, since there's random extra staff, even though I'm new, I know what's going on more than they do, so it gives me a chance to take more of a leadership role, even if it's just telling them which room to set or how to set cutlery, it's still going to help me to switch my mindset from employee to management. And the core banquet crew is so amazing. Everyone is wonderful and gets along with eachother so well. Here's a picture of Bex and I in our super hot uniforms!!

And in the background is out lovely banquet office and back hall. 

Room 900 Revisited

So, remember when I was talking about room 900 and how it has the best view of all time? WELL, I was working up there yesterday for a wedding and I took some pictures (not of the wedding, that would be creepy) but of the view from the room etc. So beautiful. So, here they are:

Gus at the bar in the room
the view from the table


view from the patio

REALLY flattering uniforms

this is the view of the south wing of the resort from the patio 

you can see the bow river down there if you look closely

the town of Banff is right in the middle of this photo and the Banff Springs hotel is middle right
you can't really see it.

So amazing you can see why people want to have their weddings up there!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

White Out!

So, mothers day was intense. We did a brunch for 640 people.  The banquet staff all started at 8, and then we had waves of stolen associates from other departments who came to help. It all went really well. The set up was pretty crazy. Two ballrooms full of tables, two other banquet rooms with seating as well and the whole pre-function area was set for the buffet. Unreal. So after that we did some set ups for tuesday so that we could all have monday off. Which was MUCH appreciated.

While we were setting up, the coolest thing happened. One minute it was sunny outside and I could see the mountains and the river out of the banquet room window and then a wierd fog started rolling in. Within 5 minutes, I couldn't see anything. The mountains, the river, everything, GONE. The only thing that was visible was hail and fog. It was a white out!! Then I went to fold some napkins and came back 15 mins later and I could see everything again. It rolled out just as quickly as it came it. So neat. This week isn't too crazy, we have a bit of a lull coming up so I've managed to secure three days off in a row and I'll be headed to Edmonton to celebrate a birthday! I may or may not go to the West Edmonton mall and never ever leave.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Welcome to the Batcave

Just another adventurous day in banquets!! When someone asks you if you've been to the batcave yet and you haven't what do you say? If you're me you jump up and down and ask to see the batcave!! The batcave is a mysterious place that some people don't believe exists. I'm here to tell you it does. On the second floor, far under all the guest rooms, is a giant cave/storage area where we banquet folk store things like extra tables and old staff files and dirt and dust bunnies. Today I got to go down there. Mother's day is on sunday and we're serving 600 people brunch. They need places to sit. Hence, we needed to retrieve many many tables from the batcave. So when I say it's a cave, I mean it. The floors are part cement, part gravel, the walls are cement and you can see the giant pillars and beams that hold the hotel up. There's also a lot of wiring and such. AND, strangely enough, a wooden platform attached to the ceiling, not unlike a loft, only accessible by ladder. Wierd?? Yup. Awesome? Yup. Every day there's a new adventure!1 I love it!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Room 900

I'd like to talk about the hotel for a minute. In case you weren't aware, the resort is built into the side of a mountain. For true. It's just a few minutes up the mountain from the Banff Springs. When you enter the hotel, the lobby is on the 7th floor. There's two more floors of guest rooms above the main (7th) floor  and then two more levels of guest rooms below the main floor. The banquet office and kitchen etc, are all on the 6th floor. As you get further down the building, there's 4 floors of staff accommodation, with gradually less and less rooms (it's like the hotel is an upside down pyramid and as it tapers, there's less room for rooms, which is where we live). Now, the hotel is halfway up sulphur mountain. At the very top floor (9), at the corner where the building peaks, is room 900.  The outermost, uppermost corner of the hotel. As you can imagine, the view is spectacular. Room 900 is a banquet room, which is why I got to go in there this afternoon. There's a giant patio where people often have their marriage ceremonies as well as inside facilities. It's so gorgeous up there. At some point I will definitely be taking some photos and putting them up. I just had to share a little about the hotel and the amazing view. That's all I have for today.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Branching Out

So the second week begins. Today I had an opening shift,  started at 6:30 am, and was finished in time to have some meetings with my managers. I sat down with my banquet supervisors and talked about my goals for co-op and how they can help me and what I'm hoping to accomplish while I'm here. Basically, my goals that I want their help with are:
    1. Learn as much as I can within my department and from them specifically.
    2. Learn as much as I can from other departments within the hotel.

I have other goals too, but those are my personal goals and they can't really help me, we can discuss those later. Both of my immediate supervisors were really enthusiastic and willing to help me. I asked if I can come in on my own time and learn more about the computer system and billing and whatnot and they said absolutely. I also asked for their assistance in procuring more shifts in different departments, which they were more than happy to do. I've already spoken to the manager of the dining room as well as the room service manager and concierge manager.  All of them have been very happy to keep me in mind for shifts. I need to take a photocopy of my drivers license to the controller and then I'll be able to go on the on-call list for bellman shifts, which is something I've never done before, so I'd love to do that.

We have a really amazing management team with tons of experience and I feel like I can learn a lot from all of them. I really feel like I just want to soak up knowledge while I'm here. Even in departments that aren't my forte. Our pastry chef was voted best in Canada last year and he's amazing. The things that come out of that kitchen are unreal. I'm hoping to get a chance to work in the pastry kitchen with him a few times. I think that spending time around someone who is internationally respected at what they do is a huge opportunity for me. Whether it be pastry chef or banquet manager, anyone who has reached such a high level in their field will be able to teach me so much in general, not just about their specific area. I think there's a lot for me to learn this summer and I'm really excited about it.

After I spoke with my managers, I went and had a little meeting with the HR director, I hadn't had a chance to talk to her since I started and wanted to touch base. I told her about my goals and how I want to pick up shifts in other departments and learn as much as possible and she was very supportive and enthusiastic. She encouraged me to absolutely approach everyone that I want to work with and reminded me that if I ever need anything she's always available. I feel like everyone has been really fabulous and they are all really helpful and wonderful. And my co-workers are so awesome. It's going to be a fabulous summer, I can just taste it!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Staff Comm

So, as promised, here are a few photos of the staff accommodation. It's been an insane few days. I worked a 17 hour shift the day before yesterday and then a 14 hour shift yesterday. So I have today off thank god and I'm parked in starbucks uploading photos. I'm tired and don't have much else to say, so here's some photos. 

This is our room. K's bed is on the right with the dark blue blanket, mine is on the left, you can't really see it. The door is straight ahead and the bathroom is to the right of the front door.

This is the view from the door. That third bed is because they actually stick three people in these rooms. So far it's just the two of us. Hoping it'll stay that way.

This is the resort right above our staff entrance...and a mountain....i like mountains
This is what I see when I'm waiting for the bus into town.