Thunder from Downunder III

June 18, 2010

Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
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CHAPTER 7
~May The Force Be With You ~

Star Wars Weekends is an annual special event held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that celebrates the legendary Star Wars Saga and the animated television series, The Clone Wars. Little did we know that this year marked the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back which meant Hollywood Studios would be infested with Star Wars nerds lurking at each and every corner.

I am, by no means a Star Wars nerd, but, having grown up with a brother who’s childhood dream was for mum and dad to buy him the Millennium Falcon and a father who absolutely loved the original Star Wars Trilogy, it was hard not being a teeny tiny bit excited. I don’t think the Aussies had the slightest bit interest in Star Wars though, and I can’t really say that I blame them.

I was amazed with the detail and depth that went into all the Star Wars costumes. While admiring a few, it was a delightful surprise to see that one of our College Program Alumni friends, Jason, had scored the face-role of Mace Windu. We ditched the Aussies on a street corner somewhere and jumped in line to grab a photo with him. While waiting, I was astounded with how excited grown men were to be having their photo taken with ‘Mace Windu’. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. We were up next.

Me: Hi Mace!
Mace Windu: Greetings. And which strange planet are you from milady?
Me: Australia.
Mace Windu: Ah, I was wondering where that beautiful accent was from.
Me: *giggles*
Mace Windu:
(To Bryan as we were walking away) Keep an eye on her. The force is especially strong within this one.
Mace Windu: (To me) May the force be with you.

Here’s a few more photos I was able to snap displaying the spectacular costuming and make-up efforts that went into Star Wars Weekends.

It saddens me to say that there wasn’t anything terribly embarrassing to report back on from today’s events. I’d love to tell you that Nicole slipped and fell down in front of hundreds of people, or that Gavin lost his shit again when we watched the Beauty and the Beast musical, but unfortunately I can’t. Despite the lack of incidents, though, a fun time was had by all. It was starting to get dark. The Aussies headed towards the amphitheater to get seats for Fantasmic and Bryan and I headed back home in time to catch the Lost finale. There are simply some things in life that just get put ahead of friendship.
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CHAPTER 8
~Hats What I’m Talking About ~

Epcot; the last of the four Disney parks left on our agenda. This saddens me because I know the time I have left with my Aussies is coming to an end. I try not to think about it despite the lingering thought at the back of my mind.

The World Showcase does not open up until 11am so we decide to tackle Test Track and Soarin’ first. We have a fast pass for Test Track so we get through the line with ease and are assigned to our vehicle. We are set for Concourse A. Our vehicle clears the heat and ice condition testing and  leads us out into a dark room; we are driving blindly at a rough yet steady pace. We are still in pitch darkness. Out of no where, the overbearing horn of a semi-trailer can be heard as its headlights turn on and shine directly onto our vehicle. The semi-trailer is heading straight toward us. Nicole is startled by the sudden appearance of the semi and starts screaming at the top of her lungs. Our vehicle abruptly swerves, merely missing the semi. I’m pretty sure Nicole shits her pants as she panics and continues to frantically scream. I begin to uncontrollably laugh. I’ve been on test track a few dozen times and I have never seen anyone scream so much at the semi part. I continue to laugh all the way through but stop just in time to pose before we smash into the wall.

We make our way toward Space Ship Earth. Nicole is eager to ride the big ball. Too bad Minnie isn’t here to ride with her, they would have made a great, frisky team. Carlos offers himself and Nicole willingly accepts. We board the ride in pairs. Gavin and Bryan; Nicole and Carlos; Brendon and myself. We take our seats and face forward as the ride begins. We must be maybe three or so minutes into the ride when I notice that Carlos is no longer facing forward, but instead, facing Brendon’s and my direction. I ponder this awkward positioning for a moment until I realize that Carlos is mounting Nicole. Their love continues to blossom.

Our World Showcase adventure is ready to begin. Today, our reason for living is to try on as many different hats in as many different countries as possible. Nicole, however, had an alternative motive; to get drunk. I feel as though this ‘alternative motive’ was a cover to shag Carlos around the world and then to just blame the alcohol. I guess we will never know the real truth. Hey, he’s not complaining, he got to ride Nicole’s magic carpet in Morocco and show her a dazzling place she never knew. It really was a whole new world but unfortunately for Nicole, she closed her eyes. Perhaps to say she was only dreaming? Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Hola! Our first hat country on the list is Mexico. Nothing screams Mexico more than giant sombreros and maracas. Muy bien senor o senorita!


We make our way to the Tequila Bar. Nicole and Bryan order margaritas. Lucky for Bryan he can hold his liquor a lot better than Nicole can. She is already drunk after only one drink; oh, the joys!

Next up is Norway. I do admit I lack extensive Norwegian knowledge, but judging by the hats and props they had in their gift store, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume they thrive on violence and seek joy from stabbing one another with swords while giant trolls watch on. They are also rather horny; that’s just my visual take. We make use of the props on display and give our best Norwegian pose. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any real trolls lurking around. I was rather disappointed and saddened that we had to use a fake one. Using what limited resources we had, I think we depict a rather accurate photo of Norwegian life today.

Ni hao. Wo ai Zhongguo! It’s China time. Now, having studied and learned Chinese back in high school for four years, I had the whole conical straw hat thing down pat and was quite confident with where my Chinese knowledge level was at. I was, however, unaware that Chinese people spray-pained themselves gold on a daily basis and ran around with their shirts unbuttoned. It’s amazing how much a statue can teach you. Immediately upon realizing this, I tried to find gold body paint, but to no avail. I was also quite mad at myself for not wearing a button-up shirt today. I think I speak on behalf of all the Aussies when I say we failed at being Chinese.

Zaijian China and hello U.S.A. Having lived in the U.S.A. for a year now I encourage my Aussies to pretend to be American by doing what Yank’s do best; patriotism. Americans LOVE being American so we try to adopt this same adoration for our pretend country. We deck ourselves out in ginormous star spangled banner hats and hold our hand to our heart just long enough for the camera to snap. Woah, that’s enough chauvinism for one day, kids. In between frolicking from this hat journey to our next, Nicole fits in another beer; oh my.

We’re cruising in style to our next destination. I snap my fingers. Within second a magic carpet arrives; ‘Carpet, take us to a fez-filled country.‘ We disembark the carpet to find ourselves in a whole new world where every turns a surprise. Nicole walks ahead, eager to explore this foreign land. I hear her bellow from a far; ‘Hold your breath it gets better!‘ I group with my remaining Aussies as we link arms and tip toe around the corner of what seems to be a strange market place. Brendon leans closer and whispers; ‘Hey guys I think we’re in…’ ‘Morocco! We’re in Morocco,’ screams an excited Nicole. Way to ruin Brendon’s blog appearance, Nic!

We browse through the backstreet markets of Morocco until we stumble upon the Fez House. We each put one on. I suddenly feel the much needed urge to move my hips in ways they have never been moved before. I want to jump on top of a table and do some serious belly dancing. I immediately take my fez off. I glance over at Nicole. She is serenading Carlos by belly dancing laps around him. I run over to her and take a giant leap into the air (this is all happening in slow motion by the way) knocking her fez off her head before hitting the ground. We place our fez’ back on our heads, but only long enough for a single snap of the camera.

Bonjour! Upon stepping foot in France I feel the constant urge to make love to any man in my path. Well, not any, but some. After all, Paris is the city of love and who can deny one wearing nothing more than a seductive beret? Since we are at Disney though, we must keep it clean, so, unfortunately for you guys reading this, we are wearing more than just a beret. I have a sneaking suspicion that if you friend request Nicole on Facebook, she’d be more than willing to send you the private photos her and Carlos took in just their berets.

We journey off to the United Kingdom to sip some tea and meet the Queen. Just like Norway, judging by the props available to us in the gift store, I get the feeling that people in the UK enjoy promoting violence via daily heroic sword battles (minus the giant troll watching on). I try to fathom how much had changed since my last visit to London in 2008; the Brits seemed civil and harmless back then. I guess it goes to show that anything can happen.

I was somewhat sad that our hat journey was about to come to an end, and of all countries, Canada had to be the last. Canada, eh? Canadians are completely in denial about their extensive use of the word ‘eh‘. The problem is, they say it so often, they don’t even realize that they’re doing it. It’s similar to the usage of the word ‘like’ by a tween girl; she will say it at least five times within a sentence without even realizing; it’s kind of a second nature. Oh well, at least us non-Canadians know the truth and the truth is all that matters.

We each grab one of Davy Crockett’s hats for our Canadian pose. Nicole grabs a beaver and, without even thinking, gets down on her knees in front of Carlos. Typical of her. We transform into our Canadian selves in preparation for our final photo. Instead of yelling out cheese, we yell out eh? I don’t think the Canadian store attendant taking our photo is too impressed but the jokes on him because I heard him say eh prior to taking our photo.

Our hat-tastic journey around the world is over. How sad. No more parks and only one day left with my Aussies. I want to bathe in a pool filled with my own tears of misery. Attractive, I know.

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CHAPTER 9
~ End It With A Bang ~

Tonight marked the final night out with my Aussies. We had plans for another messy night at club Rain. Again, I’d love to report back on the nights events, but I have limited memory of our time there. Strangely enough, there were also no photos taken. Either Gavin was too drunk to operate his camera or he was being kept occupied. Hmmm; my monies on the later of the two.

Speaking of being kept occupied, tonight was the night Nicole and Carlos finally consummated their love for one another by swapping spit. It was a gruesome sight watched on by all. Cheering and applauds could be heard from miles on out. Finally, after nine days, Nicole and Carlos had accepted what we had realized from the beginning; true love.

We drunkenly stumbled our way out of the club to attend to the dire needs of Kellen who had passed out in the back of Ali’s car. Right there, in the parking lot of Rain, we exchanged our good byes and farewells. Much to my surprise, this was a tear-free event. This is an odd occurrence for Gavin and myself as we usually dribble and drool on each others shoulder while sharing a farewell embrace. I jump into one car, my Aussies in another and we drive our separate ways; Gavin driving an entirely separate way altogether (re. chapter title).

The last nine days with my Aussies was way too much fun; an epic hot mess, if you will. I am so happy that they took the time to come over to Disney for a visit. We made magical memories that will last a life time in my heart. See you guys back home in Australia!
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~ The End ~

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Parental Unit Arrival

June 4, 2010

Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
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Mum cried when she saw me at Orlando airport. That was to be expected. I am rather miss-able so I can’t say that I blame her. It would be impossible filling the void I left when I moved away way back in June of 2009. I can’t imagine what it would be like not having all that extra laundry to wash and iron, no special dinners to cook, one less bed to make and bedroom to clean… really, I can tell why she had those tears rolling down her cheeks when we hugged for the first time in ten months. Yep, she missed me! We were like one big happy family again, minus Darren and Chris…

I had only one objective while mum and dad were in town, and that was to show them the time of their lives; after all, they had done a pretty neat job putting up with me for the last 24 years, so I felt as though this was my one chance to give back and show my appreciation, and that, I think I successfully did (well, at least that is what they led me to believe).

Mum and dad stayed at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. This resort is mainly used for Disney Vacation Club members but non members are also able to make reservations there. Apart from the Grand Floridian, I had not yet had the chance to check out any of Disney’s other Deluxe Resorts; Saratoga Springs fell under this deluxe category and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. The grounds of the resort were absolutely gorgeous and perfect to a tee.

We had the basic studio room which was simply adorable. There was a double bed, a fold out couch bed, balcony, bathroom and a cute little kitchenette which kept mum extremely happy. Both mum and dad were very impressed with the room, as was I. If this was  just the basic studio room, then the one, two and three bedroom options must be ridiculously amazing!

The Turf Club Bar & Grill restaurant at the Saratoga Springs Resort also deserves a notable mention. We ate here on two separate occasions, both times for dinner and the service and food were exceptional! I should also mention that on neither occasion did we have reservations, but they managed to seat us extremely quickly, even on Mother’s Day! On our first night Claude was our host and on the second night, Linda was our hostess. Both were amazing and very accommodating to any of our requests. The food was amongst the best I’ve had at any on-property restaurant whether it be Disney owned or third party. I recommend the Onion Rings for appetizers and the New York Strip Steak for main. it was incredibly delicious.  The Angus Chuck Burger was also one of the best I have yet to find anywhere at Disney!

With my complimentary admissions, I was able to get mum and dad into all four parks for free which was pretty awesome. We did Epcot for mum and dads 30th Wedding Anniversary…

Magic Kingdom so mum could feel like a little girl again…

Animal Kingdom for Mother’s Day and because they mentioned something about wanting another baby…

And Hollywood Studios because no Disney trip would be complete without it…

Our mornings were early, our days, long, and our nights, late, but we had so much to fit into the ten shorts days that mum and dad would be  with me at Disney before embarking on the rest of their big U.S.A. adventure. The humidity had arrived just in time and although the temperature only hit the low 90’s, on our day at Epcot, with the humidity taken into account, the temperature sweltered to a lovely 103 Fahrenheit. Despite this ridiculous heat, Epcot was by far their favorite of all four parks. At the time the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival was still on so the garden beds were looking all pretty and more colorful than usual; of course this made dad love it all the more.

Ten days went by way too fast, and before I knew it, mum and dad were off to New York City. Although their time here with me was short, I am so happy that they enjoyed themselves. I know they’ve never really had the opportunity to travel and  see all the amazing things that I’ve been blessed enough to see so I felt a sense of happiness knowing that after all these years of raising my brothers and I, that they could finally go on an adventure of their own, on their own without us being burden on them. I loved seeing dad get caught up and lost in how amazingly beautiful Epcot is and I loved the genuine look of excitement on mums face when she got to meet Mickey and Minnie and how she’d wave and high-five the characters as they went down Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom during the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade.

I’m glad that after all these years, mum and dad finally understand why I love it here in the U.S.A. and at Disney so much and I hope, that even for a short moment while here, they could revert back to their childhood and get lost in the most happiest place on earth; Disney World.

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~ MORE OF MAY MAYHEM TO COME ~


Spectacle Of Dancing Lights 2009

November 20, 2009

Oh, how convenient that Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” just started playing on my Pandora Radio Christmas list. Boooo. No, I wont be home for Christmas, and yes, this is my first time ever being away from my family and home for Christmas. I can deal with this no problems, but every time this song plays I get a little bit sad, just a teeny weeny bit because…

  • I have no Christmas tree to set up and no stocking to hang.
  • There will be no Cookie glaring up at the shiny Christmas ornaments with his little brain ticking away and wanting nothing more than to jump into the tree and attack the ornaments.
  • There will be none of Mum’s amazing roast pork and Nana’s delicious turkey.
  • There will be no big family gathering over Christmas Day lunch while Bing Crosby’s Christmas CD is playing in the background.
  • And the biggest disappointment of them all, (not that I’m materialistic or anything) is that I will have no Christmas presents waiting under the tree for me when I wake up on Christmas morning <insert sad face here>.

A typical Christmas at my home back in Australia

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights @ Hollywood Studios

So, feeling a bit down about this, a few Cirque mates (who are also spending their first Christmas away from their families) and I were feeling rather Christmasy on Monday night. We decided to head down to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and check out the ‘Spectacle of Dancing Lights’. I’d heard about this from other Disney Cast Members and the hype surrounding it, so I was extremely excited to get down there and check it out,  especially since Australia doesn’t really go all out with the Christmas lights… and besides, I’m a sucker for Christmas!

OH. MY. GOD. is all that comes to mind. I could not believe my eyes! The set up was INSANE! Sooooo pretty. I don’t think I’d ever seen anything so amazing before in my life! Not one single wall went to waste, there were lights absolutely every where. I stood there kind of dumbfounded for the first few minutes. I’m pretty sure Mike has a video of me running around with my mouth wide open and all you can hear me saying is “Woahhhh!” I was like a five year old let loose in a candy store. I felt so happy at that exact moment in time… until “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” started playing over the sound system haha.

You’re probably wondering where the ‘dancing’ part comes into all of this, right? Right. Well, every 10 to 15 minutes, a Christmas carol comes blasting over the sound system and the lights start dancing to the beat of the song. As if the non-dancing lights weren’t already good enough, the dancing lights come along and kick the non-dancing lights right in the butt! Ouch. This is just all too much for me. I must look like the biggest tool ever to grace this planet as I walk around in awe with my mouth hanging open. Again, I feel like a six year old allowed to stay up all night and watch TV instead of going to bed at 8pm. So, so pretty. Nothing tops this. I start to feel a little bit OK about missing Christmas in Australia; just a little bit.

I could post a plethora of photos and videos from this event, but not a single one will do this spectacle justice. Do yourself a favour and get your butt down to Hollywood Studios from now until July 4, 2010 to check this out. You will not be disappointed!

Hollywood Studios closed at 8pm so we had to get moving. We were all still in a very Christmasy mood so we headed over to the AMC at Downtown Disney and went to see Disney’s ‘A Christmas Carol‘ in 3D. Two thumbs up. Amazinggggg. I’m so glad we picked the 3D session and not the regular viewing because this movie just looked so phenomenal in 3D. I found it rather amusing how much they made Colin Firth’s character look like him and Jim Carrey did a sensational job voicing many of the characters. Although this may seem like a children’s movie, I think it was rather creepy at parts, enough to scare little kids!

What a great start to the holiday season 🙂