Had a great night with my 501st and Rebel Legion brothers and sister at the LLS Canada fundraiser! Thanks for the pictures, Darren!
Category Archives: 501st
The big day arrived and we race to the top deck to see what is in store for us.
In terms of decorating the ship – it was zero. Not like Xmas or Halloween, but what could they do? Spread sand everywhere? Evacuate the air? I don’t know what I was expecting but I was a little let down in that regard. I think that if Star Wars morphs into a religion or some sort of national holiday* some time in the far future, we’ll have Sith Trees and Bantha holly and Jakku carols. But for now, all we got was a stage in front of the kids pool made up to look like a Tantive IV doorway.
Costumes. So many kids costumes. Purchased at the parks before boarding the ship, untested and ill fitting (sorry, 501st coming out in me). So many Kylo Rens. So many Reys. A couple Fynns. One on fleek Death Star (see pics below, it’s awesome). One older gentleman in a good rendition of a rebel pilot in boxers (see below. Fleek). And the guys from the Ottawa Garrison. Damn them for brining their full armour. Damn them! So jealous. Wherever they went they were stopping crowds.
When you boarded you were given a card of three photo op (sorry – Character Experiences) choices: Dark Side, Bespin or Tatooine. You were left to guess who you might see at each, but you were only going to get 2 out of the 3 AND they were totally random – Dark Side could be Darth Vader, or Darth Maul. Tatooine could be C3P0 and R2D2… Bespin could be Willrod Hood… I had submitted my choice within minutes of getting the form and wound up with tickets to “Dark Side” and “Tatooine”. Our first experience was at 9:30am. I was dressed in my Imperial Deck Officer and ready. God bless SharkBoy for walking around with a 50 year old nerd dressed up as a symbolic neo-Nazi made up in Space Gear all day long…
We get to the meet and greet and while we were waiting, the tiny pocket bear of an Assistant Cruise Director (I swear to god I wanted to hug the New Zealand stuffing out of him) asked if we wanted to know who we were meeting, I couldn’t wait and said yes.
“The greatest captain the First Order has ever known…”
I nearly fell to the ground in tears. I knew she was an option and knew that the chances were 1 in 3 and boom – lottery! I have a slight obsession with Captain Phasma – Yes I was let down that she only had maybe 6 minutes screen time but the hype around her before the movie had me in it’s charms. Plus she’s damn shiny.
We get our turn with her and all I can do is stammer and nod – I don’t remember at all what I said to her other than “Ahuyuck!” laughter. “She” had several digitized sound file conversation clips the actor could choose from and I got “I have heard of you rising through the ranks. Here’s hoping you’re not a disappointment” Or something. I was too busy Ahuyuck-ing and gawking at “her”** to remember entirely what was said.
We wander the decks looking at people’s creative costumes and seeing roaming characters. After a while I was hot so we grabbed our shorts and hit the main pool to watch a couple episodes of Star Wars Rebels on the Funnel Vision TV, floating while the cartoon played. Shortly a small child of maybe 12 years old started to swim in front of us – back and forth. He had no Stranger Danger filter and thought it was ok to talk to two older, bald headed bearded guys in the kiddie pool. Back and forth, all the while asking us questions.
Who is your favourite Star Wars character?
What is your favourite Star Wars movie?
What’s your favourite line?
What ship would you have if you could have one?
Is Yoda really dead?
Rebels is really Star Wars – that guy there is really Luke Skywalker.
The last was not a question, obviously. When he exhausted his list of questions he moved into firm statements about Star Wars.
He. Did. Not. Stop. I looked around for his parents. I was going to steal this child because his spirit was Star Wars through and through.
But at the same time, I was conscious that two adults chatting with a kid in the pool for more than a few minutes could be regarded as pedo. This kid went on for a solid 44 minutes (two Rebels episodes) and though I welcomed the rapid fire questions, it did get tiresome. He was an awesome kid though. I’d call him a friend in another life.
Out of the pool, back into uniform and we had our second Character Experience with Darth Maul. He didn’t say a word. I didn’t say a word except Hello, and The Empire thanks you for your service! All I got was a stern stare.
Other things happened: roaming characters like Jawas (I missed), Sandpeople and bounty hunters (Zam Wesell!) were all over the place. I only saw a few, sadly!
There were periodic Empire Announcements on the Funnel Vision TV.
After dinner there was a brief show of all the characters on stage (in case you missed them during the day) and a fireworks show.
At the dance party after the fireworks we saw the Pool Kid mentioned previously. Dancing alone to the remixed Star Wars themes, set to a disco beat. He had some serious moves, which made me want to steal him even more. However, I did not see any parent or guardian around him at all and I surmised that this child was actually my spirit, manifest in human form, going free.
There was a midnight buffet not 2 hours after we just finished our big dinner. I have never…EVER… felt so full. I had a taco and somewhere in my body I could hear a gland weep with exhaustion. Some of us were drunk and tired. Some of us were food smacked and tired. We were all tired.
I went to sleep happy.
I do have to call out Dave who I think had the best fan costume I saw all day: he was wearing a very accurate Han Solo outfit with the hilt of Kylo Ren’s sabre stuck into his chest. It was suggested that Thom should walk in front of him with a Spoiler Alert sign. Good job!
*May the 4th is a strong contender. Though people will put up their lightsaber tree on May 25th – they will be know as Old Republic Traditionalist.
**I say “her” because I didn’t see any woman over 6’5″ on the cruise. Trust me, I was looking.
Oh Grand Cayman, home of many Canadian banks that hold twice as much money than any of us could imagine. You can practically smell the data transfers.
GC is an island surrounded by coral so the large cruise ships are forced to tender their passengers. I think it’s just a way to filter out the lazy cruisers from visiting the island. We should have been one of those cruisers…
The process of getting 4000+ people off a ship with 3, two hundred seater boats running constantly between mainland and ship is a bit long. It took us close to an hour from deciding to get off the boat to hitting the port. Disney had the line going constantly and to be fair it was a disciplined process, even when 1/3rd of the passengers had strollers.
We hit the port and wander around for a bit with no goals in mind. We took a few pictures and then decided it would be fun to “go to Hell”. Hell is a tiny village on the north tip of the island that has a gift shop that is run by an insane person who wears a dollar store red cape and may or may not have pointy devil horns on his head. Depending on the day, I guess. It also is the home of volcanic rock formations that make the place look like… Hell! Yes you win a prize!
SharkBoy sees a bus stop with locals standing all around and we head over to ask which bus will take us there. The steward directs us to a dilapidated mini van and ushers us into the empty vehicle. The driver waved at us from across the parking lot as we sat. And waited. And waited. And waited. “Island time”, right? And waited. And then we got out when I suggested we go find a private cab at the port to take us. Of course we were yelled at we walked away. Thankfully they didn’t take our fare and we got away scott free.
At the port the same thing happened. We asked for a cab, got shown a similar van and were ushered in. This time there were other people in it. I slowly discovered that the couple near the front were going to Seven Mile Beach, the other couple were going to a fish farm and we were probably last on the list. And we waited. And waited.
In both instances the cab driver wanted to fill the van before leaving. I get it, efficient and saves gas. But damn our luck.
We got out and I swear to god the couple at the front glared at me and I might have imagined it but I thought I heard a whispered “Please take us with you!” from couple #2.
Back onboard the boys went back into the Spa for a round of specialty showers and a lay down on a heated ceramic bench. They claim the bench makes them doze off. The thought of me dozing off in public fills my head with images of drool, saggy body parts and air leaving my body. Nobody needs to see that.
In preparation for the next day, the day we all signed on for, the guys from Capital City Garrison brought their buckets to dinner. I was utterly jealous.
Before the cruise we had spent two days at Epcot & Magic Kingdom with Sis-in-law Sylvie, Pogo, Shawn and his new girlfriend, Dana (who is utterly cool), which was a blast. Though it did rain while at The Kingdom, we had a great time largely due to Beta Mike and unlimited knowledge of the park – he was the tour guide extrodinaire and would part with nuggets of trivia when we walked by things: “That trash can right there is where they found a human lung.” He pretty much made the entire week interesting and fun by always “being on”.
The morning of the cruise we met at Mike and Johnny’s beautiful home and had a moment with Ms Olive before the dog sitter took over. The other couple we shared the seas with, Thom and Dave, arrived soon after and we set out in two cars to the port. Each mid-sized SUV was packed to the brim with luggage as you can imagine three gay couples would. We stopped in a gas station on the far side of the airport that sold deep fried Gator bits. That people were actually buying. With money.
I. Love. Florida.
We parked and entered the terminal and checked in, no issues. As we waited for our boarding number I wandered in and out of the 4000+ crowd, looking for other 501st comrades and found a few. We chatted and shared our excitement. Nothing compares to Star Wars Nerd Excitement – it’s almost visible in the air and makes cats horny in a 2 mile radius. They should bottle it.
We board. And as you might have read previously, we were announced as the “Healey-Maquette” family. Yeah me and the wooden model. Nobody noticed, we were too excited.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the ship and the first (of many) drinks in La Piazza. When they released our rooms and our luggage was delivered we dressed for dinner and experienced that evening’s sunset (of many). But before the food trough was lowered, we saw that night’s show and then head into the restaurant. Little did we know that we were already singled out by one of the crew…
Dinner was a curiosity. Dave (a staunch Republican) and Thom (a staunch I never got what he was) told us about their plan to adopt a child in the very near future, told to us while Dave carved up raw garlic across his steak. The wait staff were a bit alarmed by the request yet brought him two hearty sized cloves. He folded them into his steak as we discussed diapers and future travel plans. As one does. I snuck a glance to Thom to see if this was normal and got no indication that this was going to be a problem with him. Later. In a small cabin. To each his own, I thought and fattily dug into my 3rd dessert.
Sharkboy and I retired early while some tried out the nightclubs.
There is NOTHING like sleeping on a ship in somewhat calm waters (the weather was super windy, but not, you know… Royal Caribbean windy)
From @RealMattyMcBoy on Twitter, comes Cedric Delsaux, a photographer obsessed with inserting Star Wars icons into industrial pictures. Brilliant.
One more from FanExpo 2014
The non-trooper guy in this pic is Albin Johnson, creator of the 501st and all-round awesome guy. I feel honoured to be in this picture – they’re all incredible people.
I love this on so many levels…