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!

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Parental Unit Arrival

June 4, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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~ MORE OF MAY MAYHEM TO COME ~


Graduating Disney Style

June 4, 2010

Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
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Neglect:

  1. disregard: lack of attention and due care
  2. leave undone or leave out
  3. the state of something that has been unused and neglected
  4. fail: fail to do something; leave something undone
  5. fail to attend to
  6. what I did to my blog during the month of May

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I have said it before and I will say it again, sorry! No, really, I am; from the bottom of my butt (because, lets face it, my butt is way bigger than my heart, haha, get it? Anyone? I really crack myself up!) To my hundreds of loyal readers and adoring fans, I have left you blog-less for over a month now. I cannot begin to imagine how you went on with your daily lives while I ran around like a headless chook trying to cram more action into 31 days than any human should ever try and do!

Let’s see, first up, there was my graduation from the Disney International College Program. I found this relatively odd since they made me graduate two and a half months prior to my program end date. What happens if I get terminated in my remaining six weeks? I already have the certificate to prove that I have successfully completed my internship with Disney. I almost feel inclined to do a nudie run through Main Street, Magic Kingdom during the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade with my Disney I.D. lanyard around my neck while screaming, “Fools! You already gave me my certificate of completion…”  Now, that would be a magical moment right there if I have ever seen one! Now, let’s not forget to mention my Mickey graduation ears… Without those little bad boys I would never be taken seriously! So glad I was able to pick myself up a pair.

I waited in line for an hour in the scorching hot Florida sun to get a photo with these two.  One bloody hour! Who do they think they are anyway? Really!? Well, to answer my own question, yes, really, because, despite the fact that the person inside the Mickey and Minnie costume may very well be a friend or possibly even my neighbor, I still get pee-my-pants excited when I get to give Mickey a kiss and give a big bear-like hug to Minnie! Yes, I know, I am a loser. Shut it.

Graduation was a fun day… it would have been extra fun if it was actually relatively close to my departure date though. That nudie run is definitely something to keep in mind.

Nudie run aside, it was time to get serious; well, as serious as you can be when you have a wondering imagination like mine and have a mouse as your boss. Why such seriousness, you ask? Well, that very next day mum and dad were making the treacherous journey over from Australia to come and visit me. One would think they were coming over with hopes that maybe after having to fend for myself in a whole new country for ten months that one may have slightly grown up and matured? Ehh, high expectations…
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~ TO BE CONTINUED ~


Just because…

October 12, 2009

I’m in a Disney sort-of mood and these make me happy

Under The Sea – The Little Mermaid


I Just Can’t Wait To Be King – The Lion King


Tale As Old As Time – Beauty And The Beast


Can You Feel The Love Tonight – The Lion King


A Whole New World – Aladdin


Circle Of Life – The Lion King


Hakuna Matata – The Lion King




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.