Longing to go back to Disney

August 19, 2010

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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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It has been five weeks since my Internship came to an end and I stopped working for Walt Disney World.

It has been ten days since I left Orlando, FL for Las Vegas.

It has been five days since I left Las Vegas to fly back home to Melbourne, Australia.

Not a second goes by where I don’t think about my Disney family. I miss them so much. I miss everything; the friends, the freedom, the lifestyle. I wish I could go back to day one and do it all over again.

Before embarking on this journey, I used to think I knew everything about myself, but now I’m not so sure.

There are things I never thought I wanted in life, that now I want; things I thought I wanted, but now I don’t.

My time abroad has been a life-changing and eye-opening experience that I will never take for granted.

I have met so many amazing and wonderful people and am blessed to have them in my life, even if it was only for a short while.

This is the parting gift that Bryan left me with.
I haven’t been able to watch it yet without crying.

Disney College Program
July 2009 – July 2010
Best time of my life.

Part I

Part II

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A Final Hurrah in Sin City

August 14, 2010

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Location:
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
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Vegas in summary:

Airport Hotel Booze Vegas Strip Booze Booze Girls Girls Girls Vegas Strip Pool Booze Hotel Cirque du Soleil Booze Buffet Girls Girls Girls Buffet Vegas Strip Booze Vegas Strip Pool Booze Buffet Thunder from Downunder Vegas Strip Booze Cirque du Soleil Booze Clubbing Vegas Strip Booze Pool Booze Cirque du Soleil Booze Clubbing Booze Airport Tears.

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Phew. What a mouthful. After an amazing 14 month run, my last five days in the USA were to be spent in no place other than Las Vegas. I am by no means a Sin City virgin but on this particular trip, we were going to be popping Ali’s Vegas virginity.

It was tough saying farewell to Bryan at the airport on Tuesday morning; probably the toughest of them all. This was the one good bye I was least looking forward to. We had pretty much spent every single day of the entire last year together; grocery shopping, working, drinking, cooking, cleaning, hanging out, going to the Disney parks, vacationing together; literally everything. He pulled up curb side at the Southwest Terminal and helped remove our luggage from the car. After it was all out there was a hesitant pause. Ali and Kellen would be seeing Bryan again so it was all up to me. I took a step towards him and leaned in for a hug. I failed at trying not to cry. I didn’t wear any make up for this particular reason; it was inevitable. We said our good byes while I cried all over his shoulder. I didn’t want to let go of him. Bryan handed me a letter and told me to read it a little later on. He hopped back into the car and like that, he was gone. I’m going to miss him so much.

I check all 130lbs of my luggage in. It’s hard to believe how much crap I’ve accumulated over the last 14 months. Thank God for Southwest Airlines two free checked pieces of luggage policy. While sitting at our gate waiting to board, I decide to read the letter Bryan left me with. I’m not even two lines in before I start to cry again. I’m an emotional mess. His words are so sweet and it pains me to imagine my days without him. My sleeve becomes my tissue; good thing I didn’t wear any eye liner. I get a grip of myself right before it is time to board the plane.

We touch down in Vegas at 10am with hopes The Mirage will let us check in this early and sure enough, it does. Score. Our room is gorgeous and we’ve conveniently been given a room with a strip view at no extra cost! Double score.

Twenty minutes is by far too much time to spend in a hotel room in Vegas so off we go to introduce Ali to the strip. We are only walking for

maybe five minutes before Ali realises you can legally roam the streets with booze in hand. This is way to exciting for Ali to handle so we make our way into the nearest hotel to purchase ourselves our first drink. Never mind that it is only 11am, it is 5pm somewhere, right? I’m glad you agree. Our first drink is down the hatch within minutes. There’s nothing like an ice cold Bud Light in 108°F heat while walking down the Las Vegas strip. As we make out way towards the Paris Hotel our taste buds are tingling for another alcoholic beverage. Ali suggest a beverage of the frothy kind and Kellen and I agree. We come across a little place called Evening Call and purchase a cup each that has refills available for only $5; insane. The cup is white, but when a freezing cold substance is poured into it, it turns red! Pretty cool. I order a coffee slushy with baileys in it. As I bring the straw up to my mouth for my first sip, I start to wonder if I should have ordered this; My stomach doesn’t usually have a great reaction to milk-based products. This is quickly forgotten upon having my first sip. The drink is heavenly; absolutely bloody delicious.

More drinks are consumed as we walk the Vegas strip. Kellen and Ali decide it is fun to collect the cards of nakey girls that the GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS guys are handing out on the side of the road (if you’ve ever been to Vegas you know exactly what I’m talking about). It is not even 2pm and we are already best friend with intoxication. We head back to the hotel to sober up and get ready for tonight.

We have tickets to the 7:30pm session of Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere at Treasure Island. After having seen La Nouba 1047982 times while working there on the Disney College Program, I decided it was time to venture out into the world of Cirque du Soleil and see as many resident shows as possible while in Vegas. I lost my Cirque virginity to La Nouba, so in a sense, I felt like I was cheating on it tonight with Mystere. I tried to convince myself this was probably for the best; after all, I was on a mission to find bigger and better… than La Nouba, of course. Get your mind out of the gutter! Mystere had many similarities to La Nouba in that it was the imaginable being brought to life on stage to provide the ultimate discovery that life itself is a mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed the show probably a little bit more than La Nouba, although the first time I ever saw La Nouba, I was blown away by it all too. After Mystere we eat dinner at the Paris buffet which is absolutely delicious.

Day two is just another day of drinking down the strip only today we are rather excited because we find a place by the name of Bill’s that serves 99c margaritas and beer. Needless to say we make out way on it and indulge in a few. I must take advantage of as much cheap booze as possible now because God knows, once I get back to Australia, I’ll be paying insane prices for it. We lay out by the pool while drinking more beer and frothy beverages before it is time to go in and gussy up for tonight’s adventure.

We head to Planet Hollywood for dinner which is insanely crowded due to The Expendables movie premier going on there. It was a nice surprise to see Sylvester Stallone standing around just before we went into eat. The buffets was amazing and had food from many different countries. One of the better buffets I’ve been to in Vegas for sure. We only have a small time frame which to consume as much food as possible because tonight we are heading to… drum roll please…

Thunder from Downunder

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at The Excalibur hotel. We have been waiting patiently for this day for a few weeks now and are beyond excited to see my home boys represent. The show was absolutely insanely amazing! The boys were hotter than I can even explain. At one point, the MC asked if anyone had ever touched anything Australian before. Of course, Ali and Kellen start screaming at the top of their lungs and pointing to me. I  may have slightly blushed. The show they put on really is phenomenal and I highly recommend it to any one who’s in Vegas for a bachelorette party or just to have a good time like we were.

Best. Photo. Ever.

Ali and I wake up early on day three to head to the Cirque du Soleil ‘LOVE box office which is located inside The Mirage. This particular Cirque show was coming off a seven day dark week which meant it was more than likely going to be sold out but thought we’d try our luck. The lady selling tickets at the box office tells us the same thing we tell all the guests “We are coming back from a short break, we are sold out, only single seats left, we’re not releasing any more, yada yada yada”. I knew she was lying because this is what we use to tell everyone too even when we had seats on hold. Conveniently, as we are standing there, two seats magically appear. The only catch, they are $172.40 each. Ouch. I wasn’t planning on spending this much on a ticket but tonight is the only night we can see this show. I tell Ali I’m fine with paying it as long as she is too. We both hand over our credit cards and slightly cringe as they get swiped. This better be a good show!

So after watching LOVE I don’t feel bad about dropping the $172.40 on my ticket. It was, hands down, the best show I’ve ever seen. LOVE celebrates the musical legacy of The Beatles. Drawn from the poetry of  their lyrics, LOVE explores the content of the songs in a series of scenes inhabited by real and imaginary people. There was always so much happening I didn’t know where to look which is why I think I’ll have to see this show for a second time on my next visit back to Vegas. Incredible! While still high on energy from LOVE, we head to Jet Nightclub at The Mirage. Being Mirage guests, we get free entry; excellent, more to spend on alcohol. We drink and dance the night away.

Day four is our last full day in Vegas and also my last night in the USA before heading home. Sadness bestows me which means it is time for a drink. We make our way back to the Evening Call in Paris and refill our cups. Kellen doesn’t feel the best so I decide to take advantage of this situation and double fist. I get the Bacardi flavoured rum mixed with tropical flavoured slushy. Delicious. The best part is, I can’t even taste any alcohol so I’m just slurping these babies down as if they’re a regular 7/11 slushy. We head back to the pool for our last day of sunshine and tanning. For me, this will probably be the last time I see sun for the next few months. I have a horrible, cold winter to look forward to after tomorrow.

Tonight we have tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity at New York New York. Zumanity has claimed to be the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil. It is a seductive twist on reality, making the provocative playful and the forbidden electrifying. You are asked to leave all inhibitions at the door and let loose as this Cirque production takes you on a sexy thrill ride full of sensational acrobatics and naughty fun. The show is part burlesque and part cabaret and only viewable to those 18 years and over. Again, another amazing show.

We head to Studio 54 at the MGM. There is a huge line up at the door. Tonight Lady Gaga performed at the MGM and Studio 54 is home to her official after party so the crowds are insane. It doesn’t help that she is due to walk out any minute to do a press conference and pose for the paparazzi right by the front of the club and admissions line. The security guard calls Kellen and I in right before she comes out. Bummer.

Kellen has never been to Studio 54 before but I had told him several times how it is my favourite club in Vegas because the music they play is amazing. After a few drinks, he was quick to agree. We buy each other round after round after round and after a while, I lose count as to how much we’ve consumed. We’re having such an amazing time just dancing the night away. It reaches 3am and we agree that if the next song is crappy, we will leave. Lucky for us, it isn’t, so we continue dancing like it’s nobodies business. Everywhere we look, there are girls dressed up as Lady Gaga. Once Kellen reaches his height of intoxication, he starts asking them all for photos and they kindly pose with him. Too funny. We stumble out of Studio 54 sometime after 4am and make it back to the room exactly at 5am. What a night.

The next morning is like a depressive blur. Ali and Kellen help me carry my bags out to catch a cab. I have an earlier flight out than they do so of course, I have to say my good byes to them. The cab driver finishes loading my bags into his trunk. I turn to Ali, before I even reach out to hug her I’m already crying. She starts crying too. I look over to Kellen to give him a hug and I start crying even more. I know I will be seeing them again so this makes it a little easier. I say good bye one last time then hop into the cab and cry all the way to the airport.

Good bye Las Vegas, until next time…


Exiting the Circus

July 15, 2010


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Location:
Orlando, Florida, USA
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For the last twelve months of my life I have watched people from right around the world who have grown so close and dear to me depart as their Disney College Program experience had come to an end. As I sit here typing this from my apartment here at Chatham Square for the last time, I have tears rolling down my cheeks. The Cirque du Soleil; La Nouba soundtrack is playing in the background; certain parts triggering my mind as I run through my queues in my head. Although I really should be packing, I can’t bring myself to realize that this amazing whirlwind of a life-changing experience is about to conclude.

Last night, sadly, after one entire year of working for Walt Disney at Cirque du Soleil, my Disney College Program came to an end. It was a series of many lasts:

  • My last ride to work with Bryan; someone I have come to love so dearly
  • My last time putting on my hideous blue pants and blazer
  • My last time proudly wearing my Disney name tag
  • My last time clocking into CDS for my final shift
  • My last time laughing and joking around in the dungeon
  • My last pre-shift meeting on the stairs before first show load
  • My last time ushering a Cirque du Soleil show
  • My last time assisting Disney World guests
  • My last time calling cameras on the radio
  • My last time screaming out ‘Mop Help’ to Lalita
  • My last time working with a team of extremely amazing people from all over the world where I really feel like I belong
  • My last time clocking out of CDS to mark the end of my final shift
  • My last ride from work to Ale House to enjoy loaded fries and a few beers with my Cirque crew
  • My last ride from Ale House back to Chatham Square with friends that have become family for me while I’ve been here

My time here on the Disney College Program has been something that words can’t even describe. Twelve months ago I would never have thought I’d have grown so attached to so many people. Everyone is so different and unique and it’s quite hard to sum them up. I love each of them all dearly and each for different reasons.

If any of you happen to read this, thank you all for being you! I love you all so much and and I am going to miss you all terribly. I will definitely be back to visit, sooner rather than later.

Again, thank you, it’s been a blast.

-xoxo-










“Can I See You In My Office Please?…”

October 9, 2009

Really? I’ve only been here for a whole twelve minutes!!! What the heck sort of trouble could I cause in such a short time span that is deemed “can I see you in my office” worthy?!?! *craps pants*

Those seven little words are never usually a good thing, so you can just imagine the frantic mode of panic my heart flipped into when my manager announced it to me in front of everyone in the box office today at Cirque. I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat and within a matter of seconds, I had played out every possible scenario from the last few days that may have served as  “can I see you in my office” worthy. The only thing I could think of was maybe laughing too loud… that, or corrupting the poor, innocent Chinese girl. Haha.

To panic, or not to panic? That is the question.

To panic, or not to panic? That is the question.

I guess my manager saw me freak out a little and enter managers’-office-panic-mode because her next line was the wonderfully relieving, “Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble.” *un-craps pants* Phew. My heart beat and blood pressure returned to normal and I felt a wave of relief pass over me, although now, I was just plain confused. If she had just left it at “can I see you in my office?” I would have just assumed I was getting into trouble for something; what? I don’t know. But at least I knew it was something. However, as soon as she followed “can I see you in my office?” up with “don’t worry, you’re not in trouble” I had absolutely no idea why she’d want me in there, so at this point in time, I was extremely confused. Again, I started playing out non-trouble related scenarios in my head from the last few days. Ahhhh I couldn’t pin point any! PANIC!? YES? NO? PANIC? MAYBE!?!  PANIC! YES, AHHHHH!

I jumped off my seat and slowly made my way over to her office…

“Lynda! I just wanted to say thank you for *Saturday night. You were amazing and handled everything extremely well!”

So, this is what relief feels like! Haha. I was so happy to know I was being rewarded for my good efforts. After working 8.5 years in the same job before coming to Orlando and busting my ass and never getting anything in return, I finally felt like what I was doing had meaning and was being recognised. She held out three DVD’s, all Disney, of course, and told me to pick one. EEEE how exciting… Enchanted, Wall-E or The Incredibles… How could I reject the cuteness that is Wall-E???

Ummm, guys, that was a rhetorical question… YOU CAN’T! Wall-E it is 🙂 Along with the DVD was a personalised thank you card which said…

“Lynda, great job Saturday night. Thanks for all your hard work.”

This just made my day. Too sweet. I wasn’t expecting anything in return so to receive the DVD and the card was just amazing. Made me feel all happy inside… so happy I wanted to do my happy dance… but I restrained myself, it was tough, but I managed! Haha.

Today was a good day 🙂

Wall-E and Thank You card from my manager :-)

Wall-E and Thank You card from my manager 🙂

*Saturday night: Last Saturday during the 9pm performance of our Cirque do Soleil, La Nouba show, there were some major technical difficulties and malfunctions which resulted in the show being cut short and the Power Track act being skipped. Many guests were pissed off by this and gathered at the box office after the show to complain. Long story short, we had to offer a whole bunch of free ‘welcome back‘ tickets. It was utter chaos!!!


Walt Disney World – Best Decision Ever

August 29, 2009

Wow, I’ve neglected my poor blog, I feel absolutely horrible! Not only have I neglected my blog, but my fans; my hundreds of loyal, supportive fans. I’m so sorry, please find it in the depths of your heart to forgive me. I wont let this happen again. You have my word*.

In all fairness though, I have been extremely busy! It’s been five weeks now since I arrived in Orlando, Florida to take part in the Disney International College Program and I absolutely LOVE it! Some people hate it, some people feel like they’ve been robbed, some people are extremely home sick and want to return to Australia already (crazy, right! I know!) but not me, I am loving life right about now. It’s everything I imagined and more 🙂

Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba - Downtown Disney

Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba - Downtown Disney

I work the box office and usher at Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba at Downtown Disney. I really couldn’t have ended up with a better job.  Let’s admit it, my costume isn’t all that bad, it could have been way worse (I mean, you just have to wonder around the World Showcase at EPCOT to see what I mean), so I think I’m rather lucky in that aspect. Those of you that know me (and you don’t even have to know me well) know that I am not exactly a fan of kids of any sort in any shape or form. I cringe at the thought of a whinning child. Luckily, I don’t really deal with too many kids where I work, so this place is live heaven for me. It’s almost like they knew I disliked kids and was like, ‘Hey, let’s put her in the least child-infested area!” Bless. Some of my mates are stuck at Magic Kingdom until 2am every morning with screaming kids all around them. My head throbs from the thought alone.

The building that I work in - Cirque du Soleil - Downtown Disney, FL

I get to be indoors all day with my new best friend, AC. AC and I have formed a rather close bond since I got here. He really knows how to cool me down after a long hot day in the sun. Really, he is amazing, is there nothing he can’t do!?!  So while AC works his magic on me I get to watch the damn Cirque du Soleil show while I work and let me tell you, it is bloody AMAZING! I’ve seen it at least twenty times now and I still watch every little part. Actually, I’ve seen it so many times I know when an error has been made… but the guests wouldn’t know any better.

Chatham Square Apartment Complex

I’m living at the Chatham Square apartment complex in a one bedroom apartment. It has its advantages: there aren’t always  a heap of random people over when I get home from work; my roomie doesn’t sleep in her bed so I have the entire bedroom to myself; when she’s at work I have the whole house to myself and lastly, she and I both keep the apartment very, very clean! The one disadvantage, we don’t really talk that much so sometimes it can get lonely, but then again, I have my own privacy which is nice compared to those that are in a three bedroom apartment living with six cast members!

My bedroom!

Life here is superb. I sleep in each day, go to the pool and work on my tan, depending what day it is I will do my grocery shopping and laundry, get my butt over to Cirque to work my shift and then on my days off it’s free entry into the Disney World parks and by night, it’s drinking with all the new mates I have made. I think that’s the best thing about this program – the drinking! Haha, just kidding, it’s not the drinking, it’s the people you will meet (while drinking 😉 haha)! I’ve met the most amazing people in the five weeks I have been here, from all over the world too: France, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, USA, Australia, England, China… It’s so much fun, and since I love engaging in culture, this couldn’t have been any better for me!

The Chatham Square Swimming Pool!

The Chatham Square Swimming Pool!

Will try to write more frequently, I’ve missed this place! Cheers.
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* My word is only valid at the time this blog was published.


It’s the final countdown – THREE DAYS REMAINING!

June 25, 2009

Dear Suitcases,

I hate you. Yes, this means the both of you.

Packing sucks. Please pack yourselves.

Thanking you kindly,

Lynda

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No suitcases were harmed in the production of this blog.


ELEVEN DAYS!

June 17, 2009

11 days remaining. That’s right. E-L-E-V-E-N! I know what you are thinking, and yes, I know, I can barely believe it either. My, how time flies.

I have two days left at my full time job at Allianz, one shift left at my casual job at Safeway and eleven days left in this country! Gahhh. I hate Safeway with a passion, but after eight and a half years there, it is going to be extremely sad to leave; so sad, I may even have to cry. Forced tears, of course. No, I lied. Not forced tears, real tears haha. Oh, the shame *covers eyes*.

The worst part about this whole situation, though; I haven’t even started packing yet! I have no clue where to begin. How do I fit 14 months of my life into two suitcases? 46 measly kilograms is my check-in allowance and I am sure I can squish another seven to ten kilograms into my carry-on. I managed eleven kilograms last year and that was pushing it. The gentleman behind the departure gate only allowed that one extra kilogram because I was crying (No, I wasn’t crying because my carry-on was over weight by one kilogram, I was crying because I had just said good bye to mum and dad).

I purchased my travel insurance last week! I was in a pickle as most travel insurance policies do not cover you for working abroad, so I had to confirm with the Disney team that, if I were to be injured while on the job, some sort of workers compensation would be offered. One of the lovely Disney staff confirmed that yes, it would be, which meant I could just take out a regular travel insurance policy with Allianz. Although I am gone for 14 months, travel insurance policies are only issued for a period of 12 months. Allianz were charging $947.00 for the 12 months policy along with $25 extra to remove the $100 excess. This was by far, the cheapest full comprehensive policy on offer. Most of the travel agents and the insurance policy that Disney recommended were all in excess of $1800.00! That is crazy, especially considering most of the travel agents insurance policies are underwritten by Allianz anway. Back on track, with my staff discount, I was able to purchase the 12 month policy for $660.00 AU! What a bargain. I was quite happy with my huge saving and just have to be sure to extend the policy next year as the expiry date nears. Lucky I did it when I did because Allianz put up their premiums the other day. The same 12 months I was issued now costs around $1,200.00. Thank God I was on the ball, hey? I’m such an organised travel nerd (minus the packing factor).

As I mentioned above, I finish up with Allianz on Friday. I have friends I made on Contiki through Europe last year flying in from Perth to come and visit so I am meeting with them for dinner after work on Friday. Saturday night I will more than likely do dinner with them again then it is off to my farewell drinks shindig. I am planning on Saturday to be one very messy, yet enjoyable night. I cannot wait; copious amounts of alcohol will be consumed, I’m sure! Sunday I plan to awake (hang over free) and work my last shift ever at Safeway <insert tears and sniffles here> and then finally, come Monday, I plan to start packing. Keyword, plan. My room is such a mess that I have to start cleaning it to actually find the clothes that I plan on taking with me. Oh, there’s that keyword again. I plan on doing a lot of things next week.

The entire week is dedicated to packing and finalising everything. I need to also fit in a doctors appointment; I want to make it to the movies to see Hang Over; I need to fit in a few shopping trips to purchase bits and pieces; I have a hair appointment booked for Thursday morning; the girls have planned to catch up with me one last time on the Thursday night for dinner; I am doing one final dinner with the Safeway work crew on the Friday night; Saturday is reserved for the family get-together; then finally, on the Sunday I fly out! Phew. Just looking at that schedule makes me exhausted; I cannot actually imagine working through it. Guess I have no choice though.

Anywho, just wanted to blog my thoughts. I guess the next time I blog the countdown will be in single digits! Exciting much?

I CANNOT WAIT FOR DISNEY!!!