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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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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