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


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…


Twelve Hours Left in Orlando…

August 9, 2010


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Location:
Orlando, Florida, USA
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Sadly, after spending the last 13 months of my life in Orlando, Florida, it is time to depart.

Leaving for the airport at 5:30am and getting a flight out to Las Vegas at 7:55am where I will spend the next five days before flying back home to Australia.

The worst part; saying good bye to a friend I have become so close with at the airport in the morning.

Good bye, Orlando, I’ll forever cherish all the memories I’ve made here. You hold a special place in my heart ♥.

See you soon.

xo


Bienvenidos a Miami

July 20, 2010


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Location:
Miami, Florida, USA
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There was quite the last minute hustle and bustle early Friday morning.

I woke bright and early to the chiming of my cell phone alarm. My eyes were puffy from crying the night before and my eyeliner had smudged a good 1cm radius around my eyes. I looked like a sleep-deprived Panda. I took a quick shower, packed the remainder of my things, stripped my bed down and took out the last of my trash.

Bryan would be pulling up by my apartment any minute now. I grab my things and walk towards my front door. Before flicking off the light switch on my way out I turn around and take one last look at what is now a completely empty apartment; just like the day I moved into it. The walls are stripped bare; apartment 4102 now lacks any character I had added to it to make me feel at home. So many great memories, so many smiles, so much fun; gone. I feel my eyes begin to water. I take a deep breath, turn around, and shut the door behind me. There’s no turning back now.

I place my gear in Bryan’s trunk and hop into the front seat. We make a quick stop by Housing. I reluctantly hand in my Chatham Square Housing ID and my apartment key to the front desk. Just like that, after a full twelve months of working for Disney, I am no longer a Disney Cast Member, no longer on the Disney College Program and I no longer live at Chatham Square. Good bye, Disney, it’s been a blast.

Sadness is quickly over turned. Today a bunch of my Disney friend and I are road-tripping to South Beach, Miami for a few days to have one last big group outing together. Before departure though, we have one thing left to do. What could possibly be better than Maccas for a pre-roadtrip breakfast!?! Mmmm, hash browns and a bacon, egg and cheese bagel! I’m lovin’ it.

We get into Miami Beach at around 4pm. We are staying at the Viscay Hotel on Collins Ave. Everything seemed to be completely booked out for the dates we required, and it didn’t make it any easier since we were a party of ten. This hotel is by far no where as elegant and luxurious as where we stayed a few weeks ago at The Bentley Hotel on Ocean Drive, but they had vacancy, the price was decent and it was ranked highly on trip advisor. Despite this, we are still only a three minute walk from the beach and we are right in the heart of the exuberant nightlife that South Beach offers.  We have two suites booked. The plan is to fit five in each. Upon arrival and first inspection, the rooms seem sufficient; big, spacious area, bathroom is do-able and we have a nice small kitchen space. I think we are more excited about the fact that our kitchen table is big enough to play beer pong on. The king bed is huge and able to accommodate three people, the fold out couch can accommodate another two; perfect… Or was it?

We get our luggage into the hotel. By now it is pushing 6pm and we are bloody hungry but we have to wait for Mike and Jessica to get back before we can head out for dinner. While waiting around, I get a text from Mike saying that he thinks he is standing next to LeBron James at The Bentley Hotel. Bryan tells me to text back and tell Mike to take either a photo or video. Bryan is from LeBron’s hometown so if he sees a photo, he’d definitely know if it was him or not. Mike texts back saying he is too scared because he has four big body guard-looking guys standing around him. Booo, Mike, boooo!

Mike and Jessica finally get back to our hotel and we  all decide to walk down Ocean Drive and go to  TGIFriday’s for dinner. Worst decision ever. Ocean Drive was absolutely packed with a swarm of people; not the most friendliest looking crowd you’d want to come across either. We held hands and made a human chain to get through it all together; it was tough, but we survived and in the end, we were rewarded with the deliciousness that is TGIFriday’s. I ask the waitress if she knows why Ocean Drive is insanely busy and she tells us that LeBron James is in town and everyone is trying to find him. Turns out it was him that Mike had seen after all!

We headed back to the hotel for en epic night of pre-gaming and beer pong. I can’t really tell you what happened because not even I’m too sure, but judging by the photos, lots of booze was consumed, beer pong was played, and there was some sort of weird, drunken photo shoot on our bed… I can recall bits and pieces of Bryan somersaulting across the bed a few times, one time almost crashing into a wall only to have Ali come to his rescue… the words ‘spread eagle‘ being yelled across the room… Dawin getting his drink spilled all over his jeans and then somehow everyone piling up on top of each other for a very close, lovingly group photo shoot.

After our glamor shots we ended up sitting out on Miami Beach in the pitch blackness of the night. It was so pleasant and relaxing until security came by and told us we had to get off the beach because it was closed. Boooo, way to ruin our night; party poopers! Once again, we headed back to our hotel. Everything was all well and good until we discovered a cockroach in our kitchen. I almost vomit a little in my mouth; gross. Not sure who, but someone killed it. Phew. We all regained our composure until not before too long, we discovered another cockroach by the closet. Mike freaked out, grabbed my shoe and squished it before I even realized it was my shoe in his hand. When I finally realizing my shoe had touched that thing, I may have vomit a little again in my mouth. A creepy shiver ran down my spine as I thought about a cockroach flying into my ear and laying babies in it while I tried to sleep at night. Ahhhhh! As soon as morning came, Mike and Bryan went to the front desk to complain but there was nothing they could do.

Cockroaches weren’t enough to bring us down. The next morning we get up and head to Fresh on Fifth to get  freshly made baguettes to order; delicious. From here we walk across the road and find ourselves a spot on the sand. While some wait for their lunch to settle in their belly, Ali, myself and Mike already have our clothes off and are running towards the welcoming, emerald greeny blue waters. Without even thinking, I jump right in. The water is beautiful. We form a triangle and throw the ball out to each other. Ali is terrible at aiming so I am forced to swim after the ball several times. This proves to be quite complicated as the water is extremely choppy today and the waves keep pushing the ball further towards the shore. When I eventually get out of the water, my legs feel like jelly and I can’t seem to walk in a straight line on the sand. I collapse on my towel and soak up the suns rays. Not a worry in the world; this is the definition of perfection.

I head back to the hotel a half an hour before the others do. I want to get a shower and wash my hair so it has enough time to dry before I straighten it. As I hop out of the shower, I hear it start to bucket down rain outside. I worry about the rest of the gang getting caught up in the rain storm but they make it back just in time. Everyone starts taking turns showering. While Ali is in the shower, Bryan, myself, Susan and Leila are laying out on the bed watching T.V. We hear a disturbing crunching sound coming from the air conditioning unit; similar to that of a blender blade trying to chop up thick ice cubes. Out of no where, the AC unit starts spitting out balls of ice; how wonderful! Just what we needed, a broken AC unit when it’s stinking hot outside. Bryan makes his way to front desk to complain, only this time, they relocate us to a new room.

Our new hotel room is much nicer, it’s on the corner so we have windows right around letting in plenty of light and the kitchen and bathroom are newer and nicer than the previous room. This room also proves to be cockroach free! Hooray! We settle in and head out to a Burger King Lounge for a quick dinner. Tonight’s plan is to pre-game at the hotel, then for those of us who are 21+, the night will be spent at Mansion nightclub. We’ve heard only good things about this place so we are rather excited to go there.

Entry to club Mansion is $25 which is a little steep, but at the same time, the clubs back home in Melbourne usually charge $20-$30 club entry so I can’t complain. The wait to get in isn’t all too bad. The club is separated into three parts; there is a small bar and dance floor upon entry which leads into a larger room with more bars, a roped off VIP section and the most awesome music to party to ever and then this room leads into an even bigger room that plays house and dance music. We wait here forever to get a drink then head back to the awesome music room to get our groove on until the early morning.

Sunday is check out morning. We gather our things and head towards Fort Lauderdale to grab a late breakfast at Arby’s. After Arby’s we decide to spend some time at Fort Lauderdale beach like we did last time. Fort Lauderdale beach is extremely beautiful and much more peaceful than Miami Beach. I decide to not swim this time; I don’t feel like having sand in unwanted places for the three hour drive back to Orlando.

On the drive home Bryan and I notice that Mike’s right back tire is looking a little flat. I text him to let him know he needs some air in it and he texts back saying he’s going to pull into the next rest stop to inflate it. Unfortunately, the next rest stop seems to be quite the distance away, and only two miles out from it, Bryan and I smell burned rubber, and, sure enough, Mike’s tire blows out so we all pull over. It takes a call to AAA, the State Troopers and Dawin to fix this hot mess. The jack that Mike had in his car wasn’t all that great, so once the wheel was off, the jack gave way and the car tilted and rolled backwards. Once the State Trooper arrived and lent Dawin a better jack, it went smoothly from here. Finally, after what seems like forever, we are ready to continue our journey back to Orlando.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we get in a lot later than expected. Despite this small obstacle, the trip was great fun and I’m glad we could all do this once last time before we all go our separate ways.

Next up, our cruise to the Bahamas in t-minus six days and counting!


I’m In Miami B!tch III

June 24, 2010

Location: Miami, Florida, USA
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My cell phone alarm chimes its morning bells. It is 10am. Today is our departure day, so unlike yesterday, we’re unable to sleep in. Oh, the anguish of having to wake up at such an absurd hour.

From the lobby we head downstairs to valet parking. The concierge calls our car in but it is still some time before it arrives. Car loads of Brazilians are driving down Ocean Drive hanging out of their windows, repetitively honking their horn and flying their flag with pride. I assume Brazil has just won their match against North Korea in the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Well, either that or Brazil has just claimed world dominance.

Our car arrives. We load our luggage into the trunk. I take one last look at our hotel and then complete a full 360° swivel to take in the entire view. For as second, I am engulfed in semi-sadness. I’m going to miss this, and I don’t just mean Miami Beach. Soon, the freedom to be just a short drive away from all of this will be taken from me. I mean, sure, we have beaches back home in Australia, hell, we’re surrounded by beach; but the beaches and atmosphere back home in Melbourne fall shy when comparing them to anything like this. Oh how I wish it wasn’t so complicated to move here to the U.S.A. My heart belongs here. I belong here.

After a quick detour to Taco Bell we arrive at Fort Lauderdale Beach. The beach is just as gorgeous as Miami Beach; emerald green and blue waters, soft white sand and tropical palm trees. Fort Lauderdale Beach isn’t swarming with thousands of people though making it all the more welcoming. Rather than lay out in my swim suit, I keep my clothes on. A three hour drive awaits us and I can’t imagine it would be too enjoyable when I’m wet and have sand in places I’d rather not. After all, today’s outfit will still allow me to continue working on my lovely tan. I place my towel down on the sand, roll up my t-shirt sleeves, lay back and relax. It must be at least 96° out. Ah, heavenly.

There are storm clouds brewing in the distance. We decide to pack up our things and head back to the car. I head to the bathroom and throw my head under the tap. The cool water trickling down my neck and face feels amazing. I quickly find a foot tap and rinse my feet and flip flops down. There is no point drying my face and hair; by the time I walk back to the car it will be done for me. Just as I hop into the back seat it begins to rain. My timing could not have been any more spot on. By now it is 4pm; we begin our three hour drive back to Orlando.

Despite being so short, this weekend was perfection; a much needed slice of paradise. Miami, you are amazing. Wait for me, I shall be back.


I’m In Miami B!tch I

June 23, 2010

Location: Miami, Florida, USA
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The morning started earlier than most. I hadn’t packed yet. My alarm was set to ease into a welcoming morning melody at some ungodly hour. I stayed up online late the night before when I could have been packing, but alas, Facebook and Twitter kept calling my name. You can see where my priorities lie.

We gather out front of our apartment complex at 9:30am to load the car. I was in such a great mood; the sun was shining despite the weather mans gloomy forecast and the birds were chirping. A McDonald’s breakfast run was decided which sounded absolutely heavenly to my stomach . Today was going to be a good day.

A four hour drive from Orlando to Miami Beach await us. Mike has made a road-trip play-list to help ease the discomfort of being cramped up in a car for that long a time. I bop around in the back seat to a few new tunes. A group favorite, the Backstreet Boys ‘I Want It That Way’ comes on. I clear my throat and prepare to sing my heart out. We all sing at the top of our lungs with harmonization like you’ve never heard it before. Despite the early hour, our voices combine sound refreshingly smooth; almost enough to give the Backstreet Boys a run for their money. It’s barely 11am and I’ve already had McDonalds and a strenuous vocal workout; and to think, I’m usually still in bed at this hour.

As we drive toward the Art District of Miami Beach I am pleasantly surprised with the giant murals and sculptures on and out front of the buildings surrounding us. The colors are so vivid and radiant; they almost make you want to admire their beauty. It is amazing how something so simple can brighten up such a bland looking building, making it appealing to the eye. Something distracts my attention away from the art work for a second. Our car approaches an endless strip of palm trees. We have officially arrived at Miami Beach!
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We are booked into The Bentley Hotel on Ocean Drive, South Beach. As we approach Ocean Drive, I try to keep an eye out for the hotel but, at the same time, I try to sneak a peak at the lively area in which we are situated. The people walking down the street are gorgeous, the atmosphere; phenomenal; the scenery; breathtaking and the cars rolling on by; to die for.

I have a mini heart attack as well pull up, curb-side, to our hotel. We have valet parking take care of the car from here on in. The bell boy takes our luggage up to our room as we check in. I found The Bentley Hotel on Trip Advisor where it ranked #34 of 198 hotels in Miami Beach. After carefully reading the reviews and being quite impressed, I was convinced this was the hotel for us. We had booked a one bedroom suite which would comfortably accommodate four of us (two in the master bedroom and two on the fold out couch). Check in goes quite smoothly and we are handed our room keys. The suite is absolutely beautiful. We have a huge living space, a more than adequate kitchen area, the master bedroom is great and the bathroom area is huge, complete with a personal butt-washer! Bless Trip Advisor for its honest reviews (Click on the images below to enlarge).

We didn’t waste any time unpacking. Within a few minutes of settling in, we had our bathing suits on and went to suss out the roof-top pool and tanning deck. Although only five levels up, the view from the roof-top deck was truly beautiful. The different-shades of ocean-blue water shimmered as it caught the suns rays; the sand, so white and pure and the palm trees, gently swaying in the afternoon breeze beckoned a picture perfect post-card moment. I took a deep breath and inhaled the ocean-fresh air; so crisp and invigorating. I had already fallen in love with Miami (Click on the images below to enlarge).

After a quick dip and tanning session on the roof top, it was time to frolic on South Beach. I held my flip flops in my hand and sunk my toes deep into the warm, white sand. The crashing of the waves upon the shore whilst the sun, in all its glory, was shining down on me was so relaxing. I wish I could live this moment for ever. My thoughts are interrupted by the suggestion of a group photo in front of the ‘Miami Beach’ life guard hut. We ask a beach random to take our photo; he seems more than happy to do so. I snap away at the gorgeous aqua waters long enough to make me want to jump into it. I pack away my camera and frolic toward the shore. I cautiously creep in to test the North Atlantic waters temperature; it has been warmed by the suns rays. The next wave comes crashing over my feet and as it washes back toward the ocean, I scrunch up my toes as my feet sink into the wet sand (Click on the images below to enlarge).

Dusk begins to fall. We settle for dinner at TGI Friday’s which is right underneath our hotel. Once dinner is done, we head back to our apartment to pre-game, play some cards and get ready for a night out clubbing.


Today was an extremely long day. I’m finally glad when it’s time to rest my head and close my eyes. Tomorrow is a whole new day.

~ TO BE CONTINUED ~


Thunder from Downunder I

June 15, 2010

Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
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They may look harmless and innocent, but please, do not let their angelic, semi-tanned (minus me who clearly matches the wood top) appearances fool you. They came from all over Australia; Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane with only one thing in mind. With their powers combine they were an indestructible partying, booze-consuming, and adventure-hungry force… a force that Carlos was not mentally prepared for.

CHAPTER 1
~ The Arrival ~

It was a sweltering summers evening here in Orlando; much like the one we are currently experiencing here tonight. All the Aussies had arrived safe and sound to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Check-in went as smooth as one could hope. The resort was nice enough; comfortable beds, an adequate bathroom for Gavin to beautify himself in and a nice pool with a water slide, that’s right, a water slide. Moving on up in the world, people!

It could not have been more than five or so hours after arriving that the bright-eyed, eager youth of Australia began begging and pleading with me to introduce them to the cheapness that is American alcohol. They didn’t have to ask me twice. After all, who was I to deny them of such a privilege?
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CHAPTER 2
~ Ale House ~

It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t nervous. I felt comfortable enough but I knew I was taking a risk by crossing cultural boundaries. I mean, it just didn’t seem fair introducing a country that is quite capable and at ease of drinking anyone and everyone under the table (this is just one of many Australian stereotypes, but one we stand by; one we are truly and wholeheartedly proud of) with a bunch of piss-weak Americans. I thought long and hard about this. I figured that at worst, we would just sacrifice Nicole; our one drink wonder, and that would make us even. This made  sense in my head. All seemed fair again. Enough delaying, bring on the buckets and pitchers.

Pitcher after pitcher after pitcher was consumed. It was a marvelous sight; the Australians and the Americans mingling together as if we were united as one (under the rulings of her majesty, the Queen, of course). Beer got the party started until shots just added a whole new definition to crossing boundaries. The saying ‘beer before liquor, never been sicker’, was completely blown out the window tonight. We were all just bouncing off the walls like one big happy drunken family that had just been reunited after twenty odd years of being lost at sea.  The alcohol slowly yet surely began to work its magic. Speech became difficult and the right words seemed somewhat troublesome to get out. Conversation quickly took a turn for the worse. Well, maybe not so much for the worse, but enough to send Gavin into a table-hitting ball of laughter and for me to fall to the floor while simultaneously hysterically laughing and crying at the one time. See, even when I’ve had too much to drink I can still multi-task. I should add that to my resume. This is where true love begins to blossom between Aussie Nicole and American Carlos. Will cupid pull through for the sake of us all?

When the night ends with the purchase of three shots and five beers as well as food for $25 and two car loads in a bar parking lot harmoniously screaming out a drunken rendition of Backstreet Boys ‘I Want It That Way‘ (while Carlos makes it his duty to mount me in the front seat, of Bryan’s car), you know you’ve had a good night (and perhaps too much to drink). This almost brought a tear to my eye. I felt at ease with my decision to introduce my Aussies to my Americans.
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CHAPTER 3
~ Magic Kingdom ~

A new, sober day. To be honest with you, I’m not quite sure how I got myself out of bed this morning. Today would be the first of four Disney park days.  Magic Kingdom is the only dry park on Disney property and just as well after our  ‘welcome to America‘ Ale House adventure last night.

Would it be Magic Kingdom without a cliched jump in front of Cinderella’s Castle photo? Yes, we do range from ages 19  – 25. Don’t you be judging now…

Magic Kingdom really is the place where dreams come true. No matter how old you are here, there is always that brief moment where you revert back to your childhood and let the kid inside of you come out and get excited. Now, whether you express this sense of excitement or not is totally up to you, but don’t go being in denial about it; it happens to the best of us. I dropped the tough girl persona within minutes of stepping foot into the Magic Kingdom almost one year ago to this day. And since we are being honest, yes, yes I did download ‘Celebrate You‘ by Corbin Bleu, the pre-tune to the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade and yes, maybe I do sing along and dance to it in front of my mirror when my room mate isn’t home!
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lo·sing ones shit (sht)
Vulgar slang
(verb)

1. The act of meeting Mickey and Minnie for the first time.
.. .. … .I’m going to lose my shit when I see Mickey and Minnie.
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Today was Gavin’s day to, as he’d loosely refer to it as, ‘lose his shit‘. This is a very simple process for one Gavin Thomas. It involved presenting him with either Mickey or Minnie Mouse. The two of them simultaneously would clearly be sensory overload for the young Mr. Thomas so it was much to my delight when we stumbled upon Mickey’s House and were greeted by the two of them in a separate building out back, possibly Mickey’s garage? I think Mickey and Minnie’s secret rendezvous meeting point seemed to be the more appropriate answer; these two were out of control all over every one. It was something like out of a reality TV show titled Minnie Gone Wild. I’m not sure what side of the bed Miss. Minnie woke up on this morning (or if she mistakenly popped a few of Mickey’s Viagra pills), but she was rather touchy feely; throwing kisses out left right and center then dashing mischief glances over toward Mickey in hopes to see him jealous after she’d smooch it up with all the boys. She was all about the hand action; hugging, poking, tickling, hands around everyone’s waist. Mickey could do nothing more than silently suffer and accept the fact that his girl was feeling rather whore-ish on this pleasant summers day. Who would have thought Minnie had a frisky side to her; definitely not me. All this hot Minnie action was, no doubt, causing Gavin to experience heart palpitations like no other. He shoved his camera into my hands while mumbling a quick ‘Oh my God’ under his breath and leaped toward Mickey for a long, loving embrace. Gavin had officially lost his shit.

I had not had my photo taken with Mickey or Minnie for some time now so I figured since we’d waited in line, I may as well take advantage of this situation (and of Minnie). The anticipation and all that sexual tension that was floating around the room proved to be all too much for the Aussies, because after all of this, we got wet. Very wet.  That’s right, we rode Splash Mountain and got drenched from head to toe. Not what you were thinking, right? Dirty buggers.

Our night at Magic Kingdom ended with a big bang. I can’t say I’m surprised if you suspect that Minnie had something to do with this, but fortunately for Mickey’s sanity and the longevity of Disney World, you are wrong. Get your mind out of the gutter, people. I’m talking about the Wishes Fireworks Spectacular! Since arriving at Disney World last year, Wishes has quite possibly been my favorite thing ever apart from the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor so I was ecstatic to be sharing this treat with my Aussies. This would be the last time that I’d be seeing Wishes as it is going on hiatus over the Summer and being replaced with the Pirates and Princesses Fireworks Spectacular. Knowing this, I felt a teeny tiny bit sad, but also eager and excited to experience what was to come. The lights around the park dim and a sweet, innocent little voice begins reciting the lyrics to Star Light, Star Bright as the first round of fireworks shoot their way up into the dark night sky. Pretty sure the Aussies are at a loss for words and I’m quite confident that Gavin is  discretely having one of his little moments. Oh Wishes, how I will miss you and the lingering memory of the extended Wishes Holidays Spectacular that I will hold ever so dearly in my mind. Somewhere between Wishes ending and us trying to exit Magic Kingdom through a stampede of guests, we ended up at Steak ‘n’ Shake. Today was a good day.

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CHAPTER 3
~ Let it Rain ~

Tonight, as promised, we had made plans to venture out to club Rain. Now, I will begin by being honest with you straight up. I really do not remember much from this night. It may or may not have something to do with the self-consumption of two shots and six beers in a short period of time; I’m just saying, this may have something to do with it. I can quite confidently tell you that the night began by pre-gaming with my Aussie and American boys (and girls).

From here, I can also confidently report to you that we made it into Rain, despite being somewhat tipsy at the door. I remember lots of dancing and drinking; Bryan handing me drink after drink. At one point I remember our Aussie and American crew completely owning the stage but the rest of it is just a blur; a blur of fun, none the less. Somewhere along the line, it ended up looking like the hot mess below.

I don’t know how we made it out, or how I ended up in Ali’s car, but what I do know is that I was ecstatic to hear that we were making a 3am Maccas run. Late night (early morning) Maccas runs are possibly one of my favorite things to do when drunk. Nothing makes you feel better upon waking up that next morning knowing that you devoured a McNugget Meal  only hours earlier and passed out on a full stomach. A good night was had by all, except for maybe Nicole who’s empty heart beat only for Carlos and perhaps Brendon who had been approached by another male and asked how much his services would cost. We got home somewhere between the hours of 3 and 4am. We needed to be up at 8am for another day of debauchery. This was going to prove to be quite the task, especially since Gavin was no where to be found.
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~TO BE CONTINUED~

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