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Young And Talented In Disneyland

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The studio audience applauded at the end of “Young Talent Time”, showing their appreciation and love – appreciation from the adults, love from the girls for the boys, and from the boys for the girls – for the Young Talent Team.

The team – Tina Arena, Johnny Bowles, Nicole Cooper, Bobby Dreissen, Karen Knowles, and Steven Zammit – from the popular Australian television show acknowledged the crowd, waving at them. As usual, Steven and Bobby quickly scanned the audience for pretty girls, while Karen and Nicole wondered how many boys from the audience would try to ask them out. Then there would be the little kids and their parents asking for Tina and Johnny to sign a copy of their “Tiny Tina and Little John” album.

The kids waved to the audience and quickly headed back to the dressing rooms. Half an hour later, the kids emerged and saw some audience members had stuck around for hopes of an autograph. The team did their duty, signing as many autographs as they could for their fans. A couple of teenaged girls had managed to slip Steven their phone number, while a couple of boys had asked Nicole and Karen out on dates, though they knew the answer would be – and was – ‘no.’

As the last of the fans dispersed, the host and producer of Young Talent Time, Johnny Young, had come up to the kids. He referred to them as “his kids”, and treated them as if they were part of his own family.

“Tina, Johnny,” he called out to the two youngest members of the team. Tina and Johnny went over to him.

“What’s up?” Johnny Bowles asked him.

“I got good news and bad news,” Johnny Young replied.

“Good news first,” said Tina.

“You’re going to Disneyland!” Johnny Young replied happily.

The news set Tina and Johnny jumping up and down for joy. “We’re going to Disneyland!” they exclaimed. Their excitement brought the other team members over.

“What’s this about Disneyland?” Nicole asked.

“We’re going to Disneyland!” Tina and Johnny repeated, as they bounced up and down.

“That’s great!” Steven exclaimed.

“Excuse me,” Johnny Young said, “but there’s some bad news.”

“What’s that?” Tina asked.

“You’re going to Disneyland,” Johnny Young said. “Just you.”

Tina and Johnny stopped jumping for joy. Whatever joy was to be found was lost in that last statement.

“What do you mean ‘just us’?” Johnny Bowles asked.

“Exactly that,” Johnny Young replied. “A couple of executives from Disneyland saw the show tonight, and know about the ‘Tiny Tina and Little John’ album. They wanted to you two to perform at Disneyland for a week of shows later this year. I told them only if the Young Talent Team could perform with them. That’s where it all got all kinds of sticky.

“The guys from Disney said they were only interested in you,” Johnny Young continued. “I tried to plead the case to bringing the entire team but they said no. They think the people who go to Disneyland wouldn’t be interested in seeing Young Talent Team perform in the park. The album just made its debut in the States. But they only want you two. They already have their new Mickey Mouse Club performing in the park on occasion.”

The year before, Tina and Johnny recorded together an album called “Tiny Tina and Little John”, filled with contemporary pop songs. Album sales went through the roof in Australia, mostly because of the two being on the popular variety show, and had begun to sell internationally as well.

“Tell them no,” Tina said. “We won’t do it unless the rest of the team comes along and performs with us.”

“I agree with Tina,” Johnny said. “We won’t go unless they go.”

“I knew you’d say that,” Johnny Young said. “I’ll tell them.” He turned around to deliver the bad news to the Disneyland executives.

“You’re turning down Disneyland for us?” Nicole said. “That’s real brave of you.”

“I know,” Tina said. “We’re a family and we should all go together.”

“I agree,” Johnny added.

Then Tina exclaimed, “I can’t believe we turned down Disneyland!”

“Now you’re having second thoughts?!” said Karen.

“Don’t worry Tina,” Johnny said. “We still have Luna Park.” That was the main theme park in Australia.

“It’s not the same!” Tina cried. “As much as I love Maxi Mouse, he’s not Mickey Mouse!”

“Don’t let them hear you say that.”

Johnny Young returned to the stage. “I let them know of your decision,” he said to the kids. “So they want to compromise.”

“What’s that?” asked Bobby.

“Tina and Johnny will only perform at Disneyland,” Johnny Young explained, “but the people from Disneyland said they will let the rest of the team come along for moral support.”

There was no response yet from the rest of the Young Talent Team.

He added, “They’re paying for your tickets and your hotel.”

“We’re going to Disneyland!” they all exclaimed with joy, as they began to jump up and down like it was Christmas Day.

“Can you believe it?” Johnny said to Tina in midst of the celebrating. “We’re all going to Disneyland!”

“I know!” Tina said, jumping up and down. Then she stopped and said, “You know, ‘We’re going to Disneyland’, sounds like a pretty good line for an advertisement….”

________________________________________________________

Two months later, after all the logistics had been sorted out, the Young Talent Team boarded a Qantas jet in Melbourne for Los Angeles, California. Sixteen hours later, the plane landed at Los Angeles International Airport. It was eight in the morning Sunday when they left Australia; it was six o’clock in the late spring, early summer, evening when they landed in southern California. The sun was still hanging over the Pacific Ocean, as the Young Talent Team saw what made southern California so memorable – namely, the smog hanging over the city, not to mention the traffic on its perpetually clogged freeway system as they were bussed from LAX to Anaheim for what seemed like another sixteen hours.

On the drive down, the team shared a Los Angeles Times newspaper that Nicole had found lying around after they had cleared customs. Steven read the sports section, where he read about the latest baseball news – some Australians called it “American cricket” – about the Dodgers and a column about a potential World Series matchup with the New York Yankees. Karen and Nicole read the entertainment section, where it was mostly rumors about the next big blockbuster movie and which movie star was shagging who. Bobby read the news section, which was mostly about the shootings all over the city and the need for gun control. Tina and Johnny shared the comics page, where Charlie Brown couldn’t catch a break with the wind for his kite, and a new comic strip named Garfield was making the rounds. Johnny Young went over the itinerary for the groups but that would probably go by the wayside.

They finally arrived at the Disneyland Hotel two hours later, the sun now setting in the west. Tina and Johnny happily bounced off the bus, while the others slowly trudged their way from the bus to the hotel lobby. Either the jet lag was setting in, or their enthusiasm for being in the United States was dampened by the news they had read and the smog they had to breathe.

The following morning, Monday, the Young Talent Team members woke up refreshed and ready to start the day, their first ever in America. Though they wouldn’t be performing together, the fact that they were together showed how close they were as friends and how much they would support each other. They didn’t go in the park that day, opting to get accustomed to the time change from Melbourne to Los Angeles, as well as the air that passed for breathable oxygen in southern California. Tina and Johnny did meet with the people putting on the shows to sort out the set list and their outfits, while the others were poolside.

Tuesday came, and it would be their first day inside Disneyland. At ten o’clock that morning, the Young Talent Team entered the park. Tina and Johnny needed to meet the people putting on the show, which would be at Plaza Gardens, just southwest of Cinderella’s Castle. There would be one show a day for four days starting Tuesday, and two on Saturday.

As for the rest of the team, Bobby, Steven, Karen, and Nicole, would go around the park and enjoy the rides and other amenities before the concert. Johnny Young had a meeting with some park administrators and representatives from a couple of television studios. They all agreed to meet at Plaza Gardens for Tina and Johnny’s show before four o’clock.

So, Steven and Bobby went their way, and Karen and Nicole went their way, in the park.

_____________________________________________

The first ride Steven and Bobby went on was the year old Space Mountain. They had to wait forty minutes in line, but it was worth the wait.

Back outside, Steven put on a pair of sunglasses. “So, how do I look?” he asked Bobby.

“Like a syndicate hit man,” Bobby replied. Though he had a short sleeve shirt and jeans on, Steven did look like a hit man with those sunglasses on. Not of the Godfather variety, more of the modern day business man. “You should look more like a tourist,” Bobby said, who himself was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. “After all, isn’t that what we are?”

They walked out of Tomorrowland, as thousands of people milled around the park, looking for the next ride, the photo opportunity, or the nearest bathroom.

“Seen any….girls?” Steven asked as they walked towards Fantasyland.

“Lots of them.”

“Any pretty ones?”

“Why? You need me to be your translator?”

“Hope not.”

Though Steven sang magnificently on Young Talent Time, talking was another matter. He had a mild stutter, which he managed to keep under control and hide from the public. Whenever he needed to speak on camera, Steven did so as little as he could, giving the viewers the impression that he was soft spoken. Girls didn’t seem to mind, much less know or care. All they saw was a dark haired, handsome boy who could sing.

The same could be said for Bobby. The most recent addition to the Young Talent Time team, Bobby also had a strong singing voice that impressed the fans, especially the young female ones. Of course, talking to girls was still kind of new to him.

The two walked around Tomorrowland, stopping to buy a soda, then found a table to sit at. “So, what’s next?” Steven asked.

“Autopia,” Bobby suggested.

“Another long line?”

“The lines should be rides themselves.”

The two waited a few more minutes before they decided to stand up. As they did, a pair of girls came over to their table. Both girls sported brunette hair, both cut short in different styles.

“Are you two leaving?” one of them asked with a Texas twang in her voice. She was dressed in a pink blouse and blue walking shorts.

“Maybe,” Steven said, keeping his words to a minimum.

“Want to join us?” Bobby quickly asked them.

“Sure,” the other girl said. She was dressed in an orange tank top and white walking shorts. They all sat down together. “I noticed your accent,” she said to Bobby. “Australia?”

“Yes,” he replied. “We’re from Melbourne. I’m Bobby, this is Steven.”

“I’m Lisa,” the girl with the Texas accent said. The other girl replied, “I’m Allison. Welcome to America.”

“Are you enjoying Disneyland?” Lisa asked.

“We are,” Steven said. “We just…got here.”

“We’re here to see some friends of ours,” Bobby said. “They’re preforming later today at Plaza Gardens.”

“Who?” Lisa asked. “Up With People?”

“Heavens no…not them,” Steven said.

Bobby said, “Tina and John.”

“Tiny Tina and Little John?” Allison said. “I heard they’re great. How do you know them?”

Steven replied, “We’re….friends.”

Allison gave Steven an odd look. Not that she was put off, but maybe she beginning to suspect something about him.

“Is anyone else here with you?” she asked.

“We’re here some other friends of ours,” Bobby quickly said. “They’re around the park. We’re meeting them later.”

“Our mentor’s here too,” Steven said. “Johnny Young.”

“I noticed your accent,” Bobby said to Lisa. “Texas, right?”

“That’s right,” she replied. “Fort Worth. But I live here in California now.”

“Cowboy hat and all?”

“Yep,” Lisa said. “I also ride horses at a ranch near Newhall.”

“What about you Allison?”

“California born and bred,” Allison replied. “Buena Park, other side of the freeway.”

“Your freeways are a mess,” Steven said.

“But their our freeways,” Allison said. “They’re a necessary evil.”

“I hope Melbourne never gets that way,” Bobby said.

“I’m afraid….one day….” Steven said. But his mouth suddenly malfunctioned, and no words were coming out.

Allison then said, “You stutter, don’t you?”

Steven looked at Allison. He regained control his mouth and asked, “How can you tell?”

“I have a friend who stutters,” Allison said. She looked at Bobby. “I take it you help him out.”

“Not really,” Bobby said, “but I just started.”

“I don’t need him all the time,” Steven said. “I can do….fine….by myself.”

“That’s true. Back home, girls throw themselves at him.”

“And you?” Lisa asked.

“They’re starting to,” Bobby replied.

“So, want to meet later?” Steven asked. “Plaza Gardens…For the show?”

Allison smiled. “We were planning to be there anyway.”

Lisa said, “See you there.” Allison and Lisa got up from the table, said their goodbyes, and departed.

Steven and Bobby watched them walk away. Bobby asked, “Okay, did we get dates with them?”

“No,” Steven asked. “Trust me.”

“Just friends with them?”

Steven nodded. “Beats nothing.”

______________________________________

As for Karen and Nicole, the two of them went over to Frontierland and rode upon the Mark Twain Riverboat. After that, they walked along the water, taking in the sights of the man made river going towards Bear Country. Long blonde haired Nicole was wearing a blouse over a T-shirt and jeans, while dark blonde haired Karen was wearing a yellow shirt with matching walking shorts.

As they walked through Disneyland, the two girls noticed something very odd happening. Actually, they were relieved it was happening.

Though there were literally thousands of people around them at any given moment, not one of them had asked for an autograph or a date from Karen or Nicole. It was both odd and refreshing at the same time.

“You know, if this was Luna Park, we would be mobbed,” Nicole noted.

“No kidding,” Karen said. “It’s kind of nice to walk around and not have everyone gawk at you or try to get an autograph or a photo with you.”

“Or every boy trying to ask you out on a date,” added Nicole. “Of course, this is America. They probably never heard of Young Talent Time.” They walked a little further, then Nicole asked, “Do you miss it? You know, being mobbed?”

“Kind of,” Karen replied. “But it’s also nice to be just be like everyone else. Not worry about the show and all that.”

“You think the guys are enjoying their anonymity for the day?” Nicole asked.

“Most likely,” Karen replied.

They walked over to Bear Country, took in some of the souvenir shops. The two girls each bought black Mickey Mouse Club mouse ears for themselves, and walked back towards New Orleans Square, adorned with mouse ears atop their heads, looking very much like the teenage tourists they wanted to be.

The two of them found a bench and table and sat down, giving their feet a rest. As the two girls talked, two boys, about their age, walked by. One of them glanced over in their direction and spotted them. He quickly tapped his friend on shoulder and motioned over to where the girls were sitting. They stopped, trying not to be obvious they were about to swoop in. They turned around and walked over to them.

“Hi there,” one of them said. Karen and Nicole looked up at the two. The one who had said hi had black wavy hair, blue eyes, and wore a light blue polo shirt with jeans. His friend dark brown hair, brown eyes, and wore a green shirt and jeans.

“Hello,” Karen said back. Both of the boys’ eyebrows raised when they heard her accent.

“Mind if we sit with you?” the other boy asked. Nicole nodded. The two American boys sat down next to the two Australian girls.

“I take it you’re from out of town,” the brown haired boy asked.

“Australia,” Karen replied.

“Here to visit Olivia Newton John?” the other boy asked. “If so, can you take us with you?”

The girls politely laughed at the boys’ joke. Karen and Nicole quickly exchanged glances as they did and they seemed to know what was going on. They’re trying to pick up on us. Nicole noticed that both boys were taking not so subtle glances at Karen’s long legs.

The dark haired boy said, “By the way, I’m Todd.” The other boy said, “I’m Scott.” The girls introduced themselves.

“Are you liking Disneyland?” Scott asked.

“Very much so,” Nicole said. “This is our first time in America.”

“What do you two do back in Australia?” Todd asked.

“Not much,” Karen replied. “We go to school, we sing, we dance. You know, the simple life.” She smiled, making it sound like a joke, even though it was all true. They went to school, then they rehearsed for Young Talent Time each day in preparation for the show on Saturday.

“That’s basically the same for us,” Scott said, chuckling along to Karen’s joke. “So, what are you doing the rest of the day here in the park?”

“We’re actually here to see a couple of our friends perform later today at Plaza Gardens,” Karen said.

“Really?” Todd said. “Who?”

Karen replied. “Tina and Johnny.”

“Tiny Tina and Little John?” Scott said. “We were planning on being there ourselves. We heard a lot about them.”

“Want to meet there later and we can watch the show together?” suggested Todd.

Nicole and Karen nodded in agreement. “I suppose it’s okay. We’ll be joining some friends of ours as well. They came with us from Australia.”

“All right,” Todd said, as he and Scott got up. “See ya there.”

Karen and Nicole watched as the two American boys walked away. “You know they were trying to pick us up,” Karen remarked.

“I know,” Nicole said back. “But did they? After all, we’re meeting them later at Plaza Gardens. They might think we’re on a date with them.”

“We’re not,” Karen said. Then she asked, “Are we?”

“I guess we’ll know later.”

As for the two boys, they were having the same conversation in a different vein.

“Are we on a date with those two girls?” Scott asked.

“I’d like to think so,” Todd said, “but it seems like just as friends.”

“Sounds like it to me,” Scott said. “What did you think of Nicole?”

“She’s fine,” Todd replied. “What about Karen? You see those legs?”

“I know. She should be playing volleyball for UCLA.”

“I know I’d be watching.”

_________________________________

Over at Plaza Gardens, Tina and Johnny were rehearsing for their show in a couple of hours. They had their set list of eight songs ready, plus a couple of more just in case, for the band behind them to play, and had their clothes already picked out for the show.

Right now, they were doing a sound check. The concert manager, Joe, was checking the sound levels, while another man was running the sound board.

“Okay, kids, pick a song,” Joe called out from the sound board with Tommy, “and we’ll check the levels.”

Johnny looked over to Tina. “How about ‘Rock-n-Roll Love Letter’?” Tina nodded.

The band started to play the song, and Tina and Johnny joined in. Behind the sound board, both Joe and the sound man nodded as the sound levels were to their liking.

The song ended, and both Tina and Johnny saw that the men behind the sound board was satisfied. There was also a blonde teenaged girl in a pink sun dress also with them. After a saying a few words to them, she walked up to the stage.

“Hi there,” she said to Tina and Johnny. Her blonde hair seemed to shine in the southern California sun, and her smile seemed to brighten up an already sunny day.

“Hi,” Tina returned.

“Hi,” Johnny said in a manner that suggested his brain had suddenly turned to mush. Tina looked over at her partner. Johnny had the look of a boy who had just seen his first Farrah Fawcett poster. His eyes were locked on to the beautiful blonde, who could have easily been a junior version of Farrah.

“I’m Kelly,” the blonde said. “I’ll be introducing you for your show today.”

“That’s nice,” Johnny said, with a look on his face that showed his hormones may have gone from zero to hundred upon seeing Kelly. He looked at her eyes, which were as blue and shiny as the water in the Great Barrier Reef.

Kelly stepped onto the stage, and Johnny handed her the microphone he was using. His face seemed to be frozen in an awkward, gawking stare as he gazed upon Kelly. Just who is this girl anyway, Tina wondered.

“Have you been around the park yet?” Kelly asked them.

“No, not yet,” Tina replied. “Maybe tomorrow.” Johnny was still staring at her, like a lovesick schoolboy.

“I’ll be going over my intro for you, okay?” Kelly said to them. Tina nodded, as she stepped aside. She had to pull Johnny to go with her.

Joe gave Kelly the okay to start.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” she announced, “please give a big Disneyland welcome, all the way from Australia for….Little Tina and Tiny John!”

From behind the sound board, Joe the concert manager, put his head in one of his hands. Tina looked at Kelly with a look on her face that said, where did they find her? Realizing her mistake, Kelly just said “Oops.”

Tina said to Kelly, “It’s the other way around. Tiny Tina and Little John.”

The blonde nodded, then made the announcement correctly. “Please give a big Disneyland welcome, all the way from Australia for Tiny Tina and Little John!”

Tina nodded her approval, as Johnny kept gawking at Kelly. Joe nodded from behind the sound board, though he was annoyed about Kelly’s brain lock.

“Sorry about that,” Kelly said to Tina and Johnny, handing the microphone back to Johnny.

“That’s okay,” Johnny said, still gawking.

“Just write it down if you have to,” Tina suggested.

“I’ll do it right for your show,” Kelly promised. She left the stage and headed for the main exit. But as she approached, two other girls showed up and headed towards her.

“Hi Kelly!” they said.

“Hi Allison, hi Lisa,” Kelly said back. From the stage, Tina and Johnny watched the three girls meet, as Johnny was still gawking at Kelly, though not as much. Tina snapped her fingers in front of Johnny to bring him out of his walking daydream.

“So that’s Tina and Johnny?” Lisa asked.

“They look so cute!” Allison added.

“I know,” Kelly added. “But I kinda botched their intro. Thank God it was only sound check. So, what’s new?” Both Allison and Lisa recounted their earlier encounter with Steven and Bobby.

“So, one stutters, but both cute guys, and from Australia,” Kelly said. “And they said they’ll be here for the show? I’d like to meet them.”

“I wonder if they know Tina and Johnny,” Lisa wondered.

“I could ask them,” Kelly responded. She walked back to the stage, as Tina and Johnny were talking. In the meantime, Joe motioned Allison and Lisa to come over.

“How’s it going girls?” Joe asked.

“Great,” Lisa replied. “What’s up?”

“Can either one of you be on standby?”

“Why?” Allison asked.

“Just in case Kelly has a blonde moment,” Joe replied.

“Are you still upset about her mispronouncing Sacramento?”

“You don’t have relatives living up there.”

“Joe, she’ll be fine,” Lisa said. “She told us about the intro. Don’t worry about it.”

“What if she falls off the stage? Or says something that sounds like she’s swearing?”

“You worry too much,” Allison said.

“It’s my job to worry,” Joe said. “Kelly can’t pronounce half the towns in California!”

“There’s a difference between being unable to say Sacramento,” said Lisa, “as opposed to San Luis Obipo, I mean, San Luis Pepto, uh…”

Allison tried to finish Lisa’s sentence. “San Luis Obisbo, I mean, San Luis Oboe…”

“San Luis Obispo,” Joe finally said.

“See!” Lisa exclaimed. “No one can pronounce that!”

“Take it easy, Joe,” Allison said, “everything will be fine.” Allison and Lisa walked back to Kelly, as she was talking with Tina and Johnny on stage.

“Tina and Johnny know Bobby and Steven,” Kelly told them. “They’re on the same TV show with them. A couple of others are here, too. Two girls named Karen and Nicole.”

“TV show?” Lisa asked. “What’s it called?”

“Young Talent Time,” Tina replied from the stage.

“That’s so cool,” Allison said. “What kind of show is it?”

“It’s a talent show,” Tina said. “We audition kids from all over Australia who can sing and dance.”

“But we also perform on it as well,” Johnny added. “We have lots of fans all over the country.”

“Come on, Johnny,” Tina said. “We need to check our outfits for the show.”

Johnny nodded, and the two young Australians went back to the dressing rooms.

“Wow,” Kelly said, “they must be big stars back in Australia to be on a show like that.”

“Sort of like us?” Lisa asked.

Allison said, “Definitely.”

Tina and Johnny had their own dressing rooms in back of Plaza Gardens. In Tina’s dressing room, she saw the outfit she was going to wear for the show on the clothes rack. She picked up the dress and saw another outfit next to it. It was a blue jacket, with matching blue pants. On the left side of the jacket was a large green K. And on top of the rack, was a pair of matching blue felt mouse ears.

There was a tag attached to the jacket. The tag read: Kelly. There were also two more similar outfits hanging next to them as well.

Tina reached up and took down the mouse ears. She went over to a dressing room mirror and looked at herself as she placed the mouse ears on top of her head. It didn’t fit her.

At that moment, Kelly entered the dressing room.

She said to her, “Tina, those ears are mine.”

__________________________________

Three-thirty came around, and both Steven and Bobby, and Karen and Nicole, headed for Plaza Gardens. Their day at Disneyland would finally be complete with Tina and Johnny’s show at 4 p.m.

The four of them met in front of Plaza Gardens. Steven and Bobby quickly spotted Karen and Nicole, who still had their old style mouse ears on.

“See you’ve been busy,” Bobby said to the girls.

“And what about you?” Nicole asked.

“Met some girls.” Then Bobby added, “American girls.”

“How did that happen?”

Steven replied, “Good fortune.”

“Well, we met some American guys,” Karen said.

“I think we’re all becoming American,” Bobby said.

“Which rides did you get on?” Nicole asked.

The four of them compared. The boys went through Space Mountain, Autopia, and It’s A Small World, while the girls went on the Mississippi Riverboat, The Haunted House, and went on Space Mountain as well before coming over to Plaza Gardens.

“We definitely need to hit the Matterhorn tomorrow,” Karen said.

“Seen any of the characters?” Nicole asked. “We saw two of the seven dwarfs and Donald Duck.”

Bobby replied, “We saw Chip and Dale, and a couple of evil queens.”

“And Sleeping Beauty,” Steven added. “Two…of them.”

“Two?” asked Karen.

“Shift change.”

“No Mickey?”

The boys shook their heads. “No Minnie either,” Bobby said. “Probably on break.”

“Do you know what the best part of today was?” Nicole said. “Not being recognized.”

“I know,” Steven said. “No one knows….who we are here.”

“God bless America,” Bobby added.

“Hey Karen!” someone called out. The four of them looked around to see where it came from. The two boys that Karen and Nicole had met earlier, Scott and Todd, came up to them.

“Hi guys,” Karen said back.

“Good to see you made it,” Todd said. He looked over at Bobby and Steven. “Friends of yours?” Karen introduced Scott and Todd to Bobby and Steven.

“Good to meet you,” Bobby said.

“Let’s get a seat,” Scott said. They started walking towards the seating area, when someone called out “Hey, Steven!”

They looked around to see who was calling him. It was Johnny, already dressed up for the show, motioning them to come over. Both sets of Australians and Americans went over to Johnny, and they all went to the offstage area for Plaza Gardens.

“We had some seats reserved up front for you,” Johnny said to them, as he and Tina was dressed and ready for their show.

“How was the park?” Tina asked.

“It was great,” Karen said, as she and Nicole took off their mouse ears. “There’s so much more to do and see.”

Johnny noticed Todd and Scott. “Who are your friends?” he asked. Karen and Nicole introduced them to Tina and Johnny.

At that moment, Allison and Lisa walked over. “Hi there,” they said to the group.

“Hi girls,” both Todd and Scott said to them.

“Oh, you know each other?” Karen asked.

“We do,” Allison asked.

Todd looked around. “Where’s Kelly?”

“She’s getting ready,” Lisa replied. “So, I see we’re not the only ones who met someone from Australia.” Karen and Nicole introduced themselves to Allison and Lisa.

“Seems like a day to be making friends from Australia,” Allison remarked. “What are the odds?”

“A lot,” Steven said.

“Are you liking it here in the States?” Todd asked Steven.

He replied, “I am.”

Todd leaned over to Allison. “He doesn’t say much, does he?”

“Doesn’t need to,” Allison replied.

Kelly came out of the dressing room. She was wearing the blue outfit that Tina had seen earlier. Almost as quickly, Johnny started gawking at Kelly again. So did Steven and Bobby. Everyone else noticed the effect that Kelly was having on them.

“That’s Kelly?” Karen asked.

Allison and Lisa nodded. “She has that effect on guys,” Allison said. Karen and Nicole looked over at Scott and Todd, who seemed unaffected by Kelly’s presence. “They’re used to it,” Allison said.

Tina introduced Kelly to her castmates. Both Steven and Bobby managed to say ‘Hi’ while still mesmerized by Kelly’s presence, as well as her incredibly beautiful blue eyes.

Kelly said, “Tina says you’re all friends back in Australia, and that you’re all on a TV show down there.”

“We are,” Karen said.

The other Americans looked over at their new Australian friends. “You are?” Todd asked.

“That’s right,” Steven said. Todd and Scott waited for more words to come out of Steven’s mouth but nothing did.

“It’s called ‘Young Talent Time,’” Karen finally said. “We all perform on the show, and we showcase talented kids from all over Australia.”

Bobby added. “It’s been on for seven years and it’s a big hit.”

“We’ve performed concerts in the Sydney Opera House, and the big stadiums all over the country,” Nicole said. “It’s been a big experience for us.”

Kelly, Todd, Allison, Scott, and Lisa all exchanged excited glances.

“Did Tina tell you she dances with a mouse sometimes?” Karen asked.

“She did,” Kelly replied. “Maxi Mouse. No relation, I assume?” Karen nodded.

Allison said to Steven, “You sing on that show?”

“That’s how he gets the girls,” Bobby added.

Steven nodded. “All the time,” he said.

“You and Mel Tillis,” Lisa said. The comparison was lost on Steven.

“I bet you two have a lot of boys chasing after you,” Scott said to Karen and Nicole.

“We do,” Nicole said. “But our fathers fend them off.”

“Sounds you have your own Mickey Mouse Club,” Lisa said.

“Except we don’t wear mouse ears,” Johnny said.

“You mean like this one?” Kelly said. She then placed the blue pair of mouse ears on top of her blonde hair with a smile. The sight of the mouse ears on top of Kelly made some jaws drop and eyes pop out from the Australians.

Somehow, Steven was the first to speak. “Are you a Mouseketeer?”

“I am,” Kelly answered, her blue eyes seemingly a little shinier.

“We all are,” Todd said.

“What?” exclaimed Karen.

“They are,” Tina told them. “She told me so in the dressing room.”

“Don’t you know?” Lisa said. “We’re part of the New Mickey Mouse Club. We’ve been on TV for over a year.”

“Really?” Nicole said. “We didn’t know. We’re so busy going to school and rehearsing for Young Talent Time, we really don’t have time to watch TV. No offense.”

“None taken,” Lisa said.

“Is our performance going to be part of your show?” Tina asked.

“We thought it would be,” Allison said. “But the producers decided at the last minute not to make it part of our Showtime Day segments here at Plaza Gardens. Sorry about that.”

“That’s okay,” Johnny said. “We still get to perform.”

“So, are you two ready?” Kelly asked.

“We are!” Tina and Johnny replied excitedly. Then Tina said, “Just get our names right.”

With that, the rest of the Young Talent Time team went to their seats in front of the Plaza Gardens stage, while Allison, Lisa, Scott, and Todd stayed backstage to change.

A few minutes later, Johnny Young arrived at Plaza Gardens.

“Hope I’m not too late,” he said, as he took a seat next to ‘his kids.’

“It’s just about to start,” Karen told him.

Kelly, in her blue Mouseketeer Showtime Day outfit, ears and all, came up on stage. “Hello, everybody!” she announced. “How are all of you doing?” The audience at Plaza Gardens cheered.

She continued, “We have a great treat for all of you here at Plaza Gardens! Our next two guests have come all the way from Australia and already are internationally known. Now they are making a name for themselves in America! Will you please give a big Disneyland welcome to – ”

Back behind on the sound board, Joe the concert manager, was gnashing his teeth in fearful trepidation.

“ – Tiny Tina and Little John’!”

Joe breathed a sigh of relief.

Tina and Johnny came out on stage to a hearty round of applause, particularly from the Young Talent Team. Kelly turned around and headed off the stage. The band was about to start the first song when…there was a loud crash off stage. Tina and Johnny quickly looked over to where the crash was heard.

“I’m all right!” Kelly was heard calling out. Joe, meanwhile, could only slap his own forehead with his hand as he gnashed his teeth.

That said, Tiny Tina and Little Johnny started their show. Eight songs later, the crowd was on their feet cheering for the two amazing Australian kids.

“Thank you!” Tina said to crowd. “Thank you for having us here at Disneyland!”

“We’d also like to thank our new friends we made here,” Johnny added, pointing over to Kelly, Todd, Allison, Scott, and Lisa, were standing off stage, now all dressed in their blue Mouseketeer Showtime Day outfits. There were no bandages or bruises of any kind on Kelly.

Tina added, “And we’d like to thank our friends from ‘Young Talent Time’ who came all the way from Australia to support us!” She motioned to them to come up on stage. Nicole, Bobby, Karen, and Steven, all came up and joined Tina and Johnny on stage to applause from the crowd.

“These are our friends and we’re so happy they came with us to America!” Johnny said, as the Young Talent Team waved and acknowledged the crowd. With all of them on stage, the kids all finished the show with “Everything Is Beautiful.”

At song’s end, the crowd stood up and cheered, now new fans of Australia’s top teens. The New Mouseketeers were also new fans of theirs, and came up on the stage with another new fan.

“Hey, Tina,” Lisa said. “Look who showed up just in time!” It was the Mouse himself. Mickey Mouse, perpetual smile and all, came up on stage with the Mouseketeers and greeted the Australian teens with a wave.

“Mickey!” Tina exclaimed. Tiny Tina ran over to the mouse - actually, the person inside the Mickey Mouse costume - and gave him a big hug. “I love you Mickey!” It wouldn’t have been a complete trip to Disneyland without meeting the Mouse himself.

Johnny Bowles looked over to Bobby. “Should we tell Maxi Mouse?” he asked.

“I don’t see why not,” Bobby replied. “He’ll understand.”

In the audience, Johnny Young smiled and applauded, seeing how close ‘his kids’ were as friends and their new friends. Of course, it helped that Disney footed the travel bill for them.