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Sue Holland -- July 2001 -- Disney's Vero Beach Resort, Walt Disney World (OKWR)


Who:

  • Sue (me - 42), DVC member
  • Chris (son, 14) -- just for the first part of the trip

DAY 1 - THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2001:

Plan: Drive to Vero, enjoy beach & pool, dinner out

Actual: I got up at 5, and soon saw the space shuttle had launched this morning after all. If it had been delayed it would have been fun to see it from Vero, but now I can sleep in tomorrow <g>. We see them from Ft Myers, but the shuttle would look larger from Vero!

We had a crisis this morning. When Chris put on his swimsuit he found that the elastic in the waist had deteriorated and it would not stay up if he went in the pool! I have no idea why this suddenly happened, as he wore the swimsuit not long ago. His other suits were too small, so after we left we made a stop at the dreaded (Darla, brace yourself for a shock here....) Wal-Mart. It is no secret I absolutely loathe Wal-Mart, but it is tolerable before 7am! We found him a swimsuit and continued driving to Vero. I had suggested to Chris that he grab some pop tarts or something for in the car, but Noooooooooo, he said he would not be hungry. Sure enough, about 2 hours into the drive he announces "I'm hungry". Duh...how do we survive having teens <g>? The drive itself was long and boring - I really hate crossing the state when there is no major highway. It takes as long to get here as it does to WDW, yet it is 30 miles closer.

Once we got off the Vero exit from I-95 I got gas at a place that had a McDonalds. The hungry teen got an Egg McMuffin AND a hot cakes and sausage breakfast, and polished it off quickly. I paid $1.49/gallon for gas and soon saw that just down the road all the gas stations were running between $1.29 and $1.34 - serves me right for getting gas just off the highway! Oh well, who cares - I'm on vacation <g>!

We arrived at Vero by 10, and of course the room was not ready. The cm commented that I would be back in September (which is true). We got checked in and then entered the lottery for the 9pm turtle watch patrol. It's limited to only 19 guests and we did not make it. Perhaps another time we will try again. We went out to the pool to stake out a couple of chairs - most around the pool were already taken but the pool itself was not busy. We put our stuff down and went out to the beach for a walk.

The beach looked about the same - very narrow and not impressive at all. It looks like there had been quite a bit of erosion way back near the sea oats (or whatever that green stuff is). The resort rents lounge chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards, kayaks, jet skis, & sail boats. I have the price list if anyone wants the price of any particular item, and DVC members get a discount from the guest price. There were not a lot of people on the beach, but since it is so narrow they filled up the space pretty completely.

We walked for a while then returned to the pool area. Chris was interested in the kayak trip this afternoon - last time he was signed up but it got canceled because not enough people signed up. This time is was already all booked up. The next one is Monday, but we will be in WDW by then. He wandered around looking for stuff to do, but all the kids here seem to be much younger. He used the pool, the slide, played an arcade game, and just hung out. I laid on my chair and did some reading. I got him a refillable mug, that will also be good on the September trip. It says Summer 2001 on the outside and cost $9 plus tax. I think he filled it up over 6 times before the afternoon was over!

By noon I was hungry, so we shared the chicken tenders with French fries and I also got the frozen Surfer John (about $15 with tip). Surfer John is basically a raspberry colada, and was very good! About 2pm it started to rain, and our room was still not ready. I had taken some sunscreen out of the garage, but evidently did not put it in the bag I brought with me. With plans to spend a lot of time by pools this trip, I wanted to use sunscreen for sure - especially in the beginning. So, we headed back to the mainland in search of the Kmart that was on the little map we got at check-in (sites to see in the area....pretty sad that it includes Kmart, lol). We drove and drove and drove - finally passing an abandoned store that looked like it used to be a Kmart. We drove a little further and then turned around and just stopped at the (Darla.....can you handle 2 shocks in a single day???) Wal-Mart! LOL, this one actually was not as scummy as most of the ones I see - a definite step above many of them! I got my sunscreen, a 2.5 gallon jug of water with the spigot (thanks to Sheila for the idea), and for Chris got some batteries for his CD walkman, a package of sqoosh balls for the pool & some food. We were back to the resort before 3, and finally the room was ready (check in is 4pm).

We got the stuff we needed for this short stay and headed up to the room. This time I booked a garden view room in the Inn, with a request of no-smoking and top floor. My requests were met, and I loved the room! I'll describe it (floor plans and pictures are available on www.disneyvacationclub.com) & give the number in the Saturday report - I do not like to get too specific while I am still at the resort since this report is out on the internet almost "live". I watched General Hospital while unpacking and then got online. I was able to catch up on the email and chatted a while with Greg (mad4wdw), who had just returned from Vero earlier this summer and was eager to learn if I had gotten any of the dreaded rooms he had warned me about (I did not) <g>. I did tell him my room number, and he knew exactly where it was - he described it for me, citing where in the building, what type of balcony railing I had, etc. He works as Maria's back-up stalker, and Maria - you had better stay on your toes! This guy is good, lol!

At 4 Chris went down to do the kickball activity. As the biggest kid there, he did well <g>. He said there were a couple of other teens, but mostly young kids. Before he came back up he picked up a movie (Blue Streak), I think since he had not found kids his own age to hang out with. We showered & although we had plans to return to a barbecue place we enjoyed last time, when Chris said he would rather just get pizza that was fine with me. I was feeling lazy, and it was easier to not have to go driving around!

First though, I wandered around the resort taking pictures while Chris started his movie. There were many rabbits out eating the grass. Besides the Inn, there are 3 smaller buildings which house studios, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom villas. There are also 6 beach cottages - each one being a separate house with 3 bedrooms downstairs and the living area upstairs. There are many rocking chairs and hammocks scattered around, and each beach cottage has a bench swing on the front porch. It all creates a very relaxing atmosphere and is very pretty.

I went back to get Chris about 6:30 and we walked to the pizza place next door (Beachside Pizza). We got pizza from there a couple of years ago on the recommendation of a cast member, and it was very good. It is nothing fancy and has just one table - but we would never eat there because it smells like people have smoked in there. We ordered a large one-topping pizza and walked out to the beach for the 15 minute wait. There were some questionable looking people nearby - probably nothing to worry about, but I was a bit uncomfortable & glad I was not alone! After getting the pizza we walked back to the safety & comfort of the resort <g> and ate in our room. It was good, and at about $12 was a pretty cheap dinner. I ate a piece, and Chris finished the rest of it - I was surprised he ate all that!

We watched the rest of the movie while I downloaded the pictures - most were taken with future MousePlanet articles in mind, but I will put a few out on Photopoint. Once dinner & the pictures were done we decided to go to the fitness center and use the equipment. Chris has declared this one the best of the DVC fitness centers, but he has not seen the one at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge yet. The fitness room (Anchor's Aweigh) was pretty busy, so we used a few pieces of the equipment and then I left to go look at the beach before returning to the room. Chris stayed to ride the stationary bike and then walked around a little bit. There really is not a lot to do at night here - this is definitely a place to relax!

It was a good day, despite the swimsuit crisis and visiting 2 Wal-Marts, lol! We did everything on the plan and are looking forward to tomorrow here.

In case anyone is interested in what the activities were today (since we did not do any), I'll list them here.

9:00 Archery - ages 9 & up

10:00 Swim Clinic - ages 3 & up

10:00 Turtle Walk Lottery - ages 7 & up

10:00 Skin Care Consultation

10:00 Scuba Experience - ages 12 & up, fee charged

10:30 Bubbles (blowing bubbles games) - all ages (mostly little kids)

11:00 Bug Hunt Adventures - ages 3-5

11:30 SnorkelEars (learning to snorkel) - ages 7-15, fee charged

1:00 Craft Time - ages 6 & up, fee charged

1:30 Scavenger Hunt - all ages

2-6 Kayak Adventure, ages 8 & up, fee charged

2:00 Lifeguard Limbo - ages 6 & up

3:00 Water Balloon Toss - all ages

3:00 Unca Banjo - sing along on back porch

4:00 Kickball - all ages

6:15-10:30 Teen Night Out (food court dinner, shopping, movie at mall), fee charged

7:30 Story Time - all ages

7:30-9:00 Ice Cream - $1.50 per scoop

8:00 River Rats (entertainment in Green Cabin Room)

9:00 Turtle Watch Patrol - for lottery winners

DAY 2 - FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2001:

Plan: Vero - Enjoy beach & pool, dinner out

Actual: We both slept well. I forgot to mention the beds are lower than normal because of the dormer wall in the room. The headboard cannot go higher than where the wall angles in, so the rest of the bed is definitely closer to the ground than normal! For a short person it actually works well - I can get into bed without climbing up <g> and Chris thinks it is pretty cool to lay on his stomach and touch the floor (he amuses easily). I spent most of my online time last night chatting with friends and making some potential plans for later in the trip - including seeing the Hoop Dee Doo Revue. I have heard that Layden (ex-Comedy Warehouse actor) was doing a great job at Hoop and had also been hearing lately that the late show was not selling out. Perhaps because the show has been running for so many decades it is easier to get in, but whatever the reason I was interested in giving it a try. An Entertainment Mgr at Downtown Disney got with his counterpart in Resorts Entertainment and emailed me the dates Layden would be performing in the show during my trip, and Leesa & Sheila both said they wanted to go also - so this morning I called and booked it! With my Disney Dining Experience card I saved us all 20% (on the 9:30 show only). Neither Sheila nor I like to eat that late, so we are basically going for a glass of sangria and the show, lol! Even without the food, the price is not out of line for seeing a show somewhere.

I got up about Knowing how important it is to stake out your chairs here, I took clean pool towels with me yesterday so I would have them in case I got down to the pool before Ebb & Flo's opened (towels are issued from the rental window). By 8:45 most of what I consider to be the best locations were already taken, including most of the tables with umbrellas. People were actually at most of the tables- reading the newspaper, feeding the baby, etc. I brought 2 lounge chairs into the area we were at yesterday (near the DVC booth) and spread our towels out. I left our stuff there (beach bag, book, water bottle, etc) there also - I doubt anyone will bother it. Back in the room Chris was still asleep, so I had my hot chocolate and notified Sheila & Leesa about Hoop, then returned to the pool area with my yogurt around 9:30. I left Chris to get up whenever he woke up, knowing he has cereal & milk in the room for his breakfast.

At 10:30 I called the room - waking Chris up! At 11 I called again - insisting he get his lazy butt out of bed and out to the pool! LOL, I do not bring him on vacation so he can sleep all day. Finally he showed up, and we laid around a while until it was time for lunch (he skipped breakfast since it was so late). We shared a double cheeseburger with fries, and a chocolate chip cookie - about $10 with tip. The cookie was not great, but with the sun melting the chocolate chips we could pretend they were fresh-baked! Today clouds were rolling in to the north (yesterday they were to the south) but so far we were rain-free! I had spent the time reading, Chris listened to his CD's and then went into the pool. I went up to the room to catch the last half of Port Charles (soap opera) and as I was getting ready to leave the pool area, Mark from DVCtalk list stopped and introduced himself. I was not aware anyone else was going to be here (although there are MANY DVC tote bags around the pool, lol)!

I returned to the pool after about 20 minutes, and went in to find Chris. I did not realize the pool is deeper once you move away from the walls - that's a good idea. I was only in a few minutes when it began to rain, then started to pour. Everyone scattered, including us! We grabbed our stuff and stood at the entrance to the restrooms. At the first big boom of thunder they announced the pool was closed. Eventually we got tired of standing there and went up to the room, figuring if it stopped raining soon enough we would head back down. Chris ate his breakfast - a bowl of Count Chocula cereal (after eating most of that double burger - which was not that great - I was surprised to see him eating again so soon). We lit a Yankee Candle I had brought - the hazelnut coffee scent, so soon the room smelled great! We sat around - him eating, me updating the report, and watched the DVC TV channel to see the other resorts. Although I like Vero, I am tiring of coming here during the summer, because of the damn rain starting so early in the day. 3pm would be perfect - 1pm is too dang early!

We went back down to the pool around 2, since the rain had stopped. It was still closed though, due to lightning approaching. ::::sigh:::: We returned to the room, where Chris watched Cartoon Network and I showered and got dressed. At 3 we switched functions - I watched General Hospital while he showered and got dressed - is this an exciting trip report, or what? LOL!

At 4 we left the resort and drove over to the mall in Vero Beach. It is a pretty nice mall - small, but attractive. It has a fairly large Disney Store, but we did not go in. I did see a few adult clothing items way in the back, but it is mostly a little kid clothing & toy store! Chris bought a CD he had been wanting, and I bought us a couple of cookies for later. Other than that, we just browsed through a few shops and then left for dinner.

We got to Mr. Manatee's about 5:30 and were seated immediately. This place is just over the bridge and around the corner, and we had a great table by the window (overlooking boat docks and some condos across the water). The menu has a lot of seafood, some pasta, chicken, beef, and many sandwiches. Chris had the grouper chowder, followed by the fried grouper sandwich with seasoned French fries. I got the chicken salad, which was a tortilla shell with shredded lettuce and a big scoop of chicken salad on top, sprinkled with sliced almonds and with most of a tomato cut on top and 2 small scoops of mandarin oranges. It was really pretty good, and I brought the leftover chicken salad home for lunch tomorrow. The total check with tip was about $23, and we will most likely return here on future trips. During dinner the entertainer started - a guy playing guitar and singing tropical songs. He sounded good, although we could not see him from our section. As we left, I could see he was VERY attractive! Very young, but awfully cute <g>.

We returned to the resort, and walked around for a while before going up to the room. Chris listened to his CD and ate his cookie and more Count Chocula, while I packed up our stuff, finished the report, and got online. He checked the movies earlier, but did not see anything he wanted to watch. No big deal - he found some show on TV & was just as happy. Matt from RADP IM'd to suggest I get offline so he could call <g> - I did, and we had a nice chat.

We enjoyed today, although I wish it had not started raining so early. The new restaurant was a good choice, and the day was very relaxing. I never bothered with the beach, and doubt I will on any future trips here unless there is a major beach renourishment project in the area.

Here are the activities listed for today, if anyone is curious.

8-10 Turtle Adventure - 6 & up, fee charged

9:00 Beach Walk

10:00 Swim Clinic, 3 & up

10:00 Chalk Art - all ages

10:30 Teen Volleyball

1:00 Tot Time Fun - ages 3-5

1:30 Turtle Game - all ages

2:00 Un-Birthday Party - ages 4-10

3:00 Unca Banjo - sing along

3:30 Pool Volleyball - all ages

6-9 Disney Discovery Club - ages 4-12, fee charged

8:00 River Rats - entertainers in Green Cabin Room

8:30 Campfire

DAY 3 - SATURDAY, JULY 14, 2001:

Plan: Morning at Vero, drive to OKW, Spoodles dinner w/Sentinel reporter, Comedy Warehouse, start bugging Darla for her cruise trip report

Actual: Although it was quiet and comfortable, for some reason I kept waking up during the night and finally just got up about 7. Maybe my body is not used to sleeping 7-8 hours on a DVC vacation and does not know what to do, lol! Chris, on the other hand, would have no problem sleeping for 12 hours on vacation! I got cleaned up, had my hot chocolate, and called housekeeping to inquire about a late check-out. The cm said the latest they could give without charge is 12 noon, which was fine with me and I took it! This way I can leave my chicken salad in the fridge until it's time for lunch, and if the rain comes in really early we might be able to clean up in the room before driving to WDW.

Ok - the room....we stayed in 2428. It's in the Inn (the main building), 4th floor, the end room down near building 12. Facing the resort when standing on the road, it is the 1st room on the left, with the slatted balcony railing. Because it is on the end, it did have the dormer style wall where the beds were (about 1/2 way up the wall slants inward along the roof line), but because it was the end room it had a lot of extra space. It was not quite the size of 2 rooms, but perhaps one and a half. The kitchen counter was full size, because the kitchen was way down the hall by the door to the room. There was a double window in the wall that was at the end of the resort, and from that window we had a view of the ocean. From our balcony though, it was garden view (which is what we paid for). I would gladly take this room again.

It was completely cloudy this morning, but thankfully by 9am the clouds had burned off and it was sunny! Not all the chairs were reserved by 9am, but that would quickly change. Perhaps many guests were doing the character breakfast this morning (Goofy & his son Max) since there are so many families with young kids. We both noticed the water in the pool feels pretty cold this year - I guess from the rain each day. It is a bit of a shock for those of us who live in Florida, lol! It definitely does cool you off, though <g>. I laid on my chair and finished my book, and Chris went into the pool where he soon met the lovely Heather (15yrs old, DVC teen from NY headed to BW today). They pretty much hung out together, in the pool and going down the slide. At one point he came back and was sitting on his lounge chair listening to his CD when Heather and a friend came over to say "don't you want to sit with us?????" LOL - off he went, until I guess it was time for Heather & her parents to leave for BW. Chris then told me he did not want to go to Comedy Warehouse because it was "boring"...and wanted to go to DisneyQuest instead. Guess who was going to be at DisneyQuest??? Heather, lol!

About 11:30 we went up to the room and brought the rest of our stuff to the car, and got my leftover chicken salad for my lunch. I got Chris the chicken tenders and fries from Bleachers for his lunch. At noon it started to sprinkle, so I decided it was time for us to leave - a little earlier than planned, but no point sitting in the rain. It took 2 hours to get to OKW, and most of the drive was easy. Near Vero we had to go through some pretty intense storms - the kind where you cannot see the road! I hate that, and was glad it was not like that the whole way. At OKW it was cloudy, but the sun was still shining.

We checked in and found our studio was ready....unfortunately it was #2020. I looked at the map and confirmed what I was thinking - building 20 is where the buses go zooming through the parking lot. No way did I want 10 nights of that!! I asked the cm if he had any other ready studios in a location not used as a bus turning zone, and he found one in building 18. I knew exactly where that studio would be, and gladly took it. We drove over, and brought all of our stuff up to the room, and Chris watched TV while I unpacked everything for my long stay :-)

It took a while to get settled, then I showered & got dressed for the evening. It started raining really hard - with thunder & lightning also :( Thank goodness it did not last too long, having pretty much stopped by the time Chris was finished with his shower. I also called housekeeping to reschedule the full cleaning they were planning to do on the 17th (4th day of our stay since I am staying more than a week) - I had them move it to the 18th. Chris leaves for Boston that day and Sheila comes in for the 19th and 21st, so this way she will have clean sheets on her bed.

We left the studio by 5 (with an umbrella due to the dark, ominous clouds filling the sky) and drove to the BW. Since we were not meeting the reporter until 6, we walked to the International Gateway to see if I was going to be able to upgrade our passes to PAPs at terms that were agreeable to me (keeping in mind the Disney tradition of a different answer from each cm asked).

Sure enough, it started raining lightly as we walked to the International Gateway, and rained heavily while we were there. I did not have a good feeling about the cm - she was nice enough, but did not seem confident that she had any idea what she was doing. It took over 45 minutes and we only got out of there when the other more knowledgeable cm stepped in. I was pleased with the outcome, though. For both of our current FL resident AP's that are due to expire 7/21/01 we were able to upgrade to the FL resident PAP for $1.73 each! I thought that was great - for $1.73 Chris will get admission to PI and the water parks for the next 4 days (until he leaves for Boston)! Unfortunately, when the cm processed mine she accidentally reset the expiration date to today...and then when she tried to do the renewal it was expiring 7/14/02 instead of 7/21/02. She got confused and tried to tell me my renewal was going to cost $37.20, which I knew was far less than it really does, and made her go back and undo that! I do not mind a bargain, but I would rather pay the correct price and know I have the right pass for the right length of time! Finally we got it sorted out, and my renewal was $354.06 - exactly what I had expected.

We dashed back to the Boardwalk and went into the Bakery to pick up a chocolate/vanilla pretzel for me and a bagel with cream cheese for Chris (breakfasts) for about $4. Next stop was Spoodles, where we saw the reporter (Mary) waiting for us outside. We got seated almost right away, and had great food and good service. Mary had never been to the Boardwalk area - it always amazes me that local people know less about WDW than so many people from far away! Chris got one of the flatbreads (pizza), and Mary & I both ordered the sesame Caesar salad with grilled chicken. Before DDE the check was about $28; afterwards it was $22 something. We had a good dinner, and answered her questions about why we like coming to WDW so much. She had checked me out on MousePlanet, so she already knew a lot of stuff, which was somewhat surprising <g>. She & Tim Barker are working on a big tourism article that will not be out for months yet. It will focus on their main tourist family, including all the stuff it took for them to make the trip - but they are also talking to a lot of other people; I assume for background information or filler.

While we were in Spoodles there was a guy doing tricks with big knives and drinking glasses. He never made it over to our table, unfortunately. We left about 7:20 and went our separate ways. Chris wanted to meet Heather in DisneyQuest and since it was still raining & miserable outside I decided to go to PI solo. I dropped him off at DQ and then parked down by PI. My new PAP worked like a charm, and I was in shortly after 7:30. I had missed the early show at Comedy Warehouse, but did not mind since I needed to go find Nancy. The Island was deserted - like a ghost town. CM Joe/Jose waved from the doorway - he was staying dry, so I waved back but did not stop.

At the Jazz Club they had the front door locked to keep people from coming in (they open at 8) so I went around to the kitchen door to find Nancy. The kitchen was empty, and I did not want to stay in there alone since I am not a cast member, so I went outside and kept an eye on the window until I saw someone. Nancy came out & we made our plans for Monday and chatted a bit before she returned to work and I returned to the Comedy Warehouse.

The line had formed, but it looked to be just the right length so I got in line without counting. To my delight I had a perfect seat in my favorite row. Even better, I met a terrific couple from Chicago in line and the time passed really quickly. As we were talking before the show the woman on the other side of me joined in, and turned out to be a local Warehouse fan (but not someone I had met before). Josh opened the show, and then was joined by Todd, Joy, Christine and Jen K. It was not my top choice for a cast (except for Jen), but they did a good job. Tonight they did the conducted story, where each actor dies as he makes a mistake. For Josh's death they did something I had never seen before - they took 2 people from the audience and it was their job to move the actors. The actors could not move at all without the 2 guests positioning them, or pulling on their pant legs to "walk" them. It was really funny - a lot of work for the 2 guests, but the audience loved it! I hope they do this more often :-)

I left immediately after the show ended, figuring I would get in line for the next show, so I did not talk to any of the actors. Unfortunately, the line was very long - completely filled in and slightly extended outside of the chains! The first 2 shows were not even half full, but now the rain had stopped and people were out for the evening, I guess. I decided to just skip it and return to the resort. I had only gotten a bottle of water in the show, so I was able to carry that out of the Island with me (you are not allowed to take alcohol off the Island). I had skipped my usual Bye Bye Blues since I had just eaten and figured I might only be there for one show. A Bye Bye Blues usually IS dinner, lol, and takes at least a couple shows to finish.

First though, I stopped at the Candy Cauldron on the West Side and stood in a long line to buy a Mickey truffle. I had the exact change ready - $.43 but was surprised when the cm said it was $.84. I figured she had scanned the wrong bar code, but she checked and said they were $.79 plus tax! Yikes!!! $.43 was definitely a bargain, but I do not think they are worth $.84. Time for me to find another snack, lol! Doubling in price is a bit much, even though we're only talking a small amount.

I drove back to OKW and saw there was a message for Chris from Heather - wanting him to call her. I wonder if this is what our future trips are going to be like, lol! He has an 11pm curfew from DQ tonight, so I finished up the report and got online while waiting for him to get home (he arrived at 10:50). I almost forgot to mention - the cm doing our new passes gave us each a 2001 lanyard with a 2001 annual pass holder pin on it. There is a card in the plastic holder that has little coupons for special seating at some of the AK shows. I had read about this, but thought you had to get it at AK - guess they might be issuing them from any place that sells an AP or PAP.

We did everything on the plan today, and had an enjoyable day except for all the rain. I am really sick of rain, lol! At least it is not 30 degrees and raining like last December, though!

Miles walked: I forgot to pack the pedometer, so no readings this trip.

DAY 4 - SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2001:

Plan: MK, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: We decided last night that we would head to a water park this morning - gotta try the new PAP, after all <g>. I had set the alarm for 7:30, but woke up before then. It was a totally quiet night - no noise from the connecting 1br unit at all. Chris did not want to wake up (almost 8am), despite being warned the night before what time we would be getting up....I am getting very tired of having to badger him to get his butt out of bed! If this is the kind of phase he is going to be in, I certainly will not be rushing to book him on more trips until he gets over this (I would understand if we had been getting up at dawn and running around until midnight each day, but that has not been the case - so far this trip has been much more leisurely than normal)! Arrggghhhh - teen!

I let Chris choose the park - we are going to Blizzard Beach. Never having been there, I have no idea if we will want to leave after a couple of hours, or want to stay longer. He went to our pool and picked up 3 pool towels (did not want to have to rent them at BB, and will return these to the OKW pool when we get back). I made some vanilla cappuccino and had some yogurt with granola, along with a small piece of the choc/vanilla pretzel for my breakfast. Chris insisted he was not hungry, and did not want any of his bagel.....where have we heard that before? I told him he was not getting any food until I was ready for lunch, so he really should eat at least 1/2 the bagel, but he said he really was not hungry (at home he never eats breakfast anymore). I said ok, and let him go to the game room to use a few tokens he had left from Vero.....and this time if I hear an announcement of "I'm hungry" mid-morning then he will have to *stay* hungry (mean mom, but at almost 15 years of age he is too old to be playing that game <g>).

I took my breakfast out on the porch and enjoyed my water view (one of the lakes on the golf course). We had decided to take the bus rather than the car, and left for the bus stop just after 8:30. I decided not to bring anything of value - I can come back later to take pictures. At the bus stop the first bus to arrive was ours, and after a stop at the Hospitality House we went directly to Blizzard Beach. There was a large crowd waiting to get in, but soon it started moving. We had looked at a map, so I knew to go left rather than towards the kiddie area, and soon we came to an area crammed full of lounge chairs. We got 2 chairs right by the wave pool, in the 2nd row from the water, and set our stuff on them before setting off to explore. I was disappointed to see the chairs only lay down - the backs do not come up for sitting! I took a small beach chair also, thinking I might sit in the water's edge (but ended up not doing that since I did not see anyone bring their chairs down there.

Chris wanted to ride the toboggan slide, so we walked around looking for it - making a complete circle of the park since we missed it the first time around. Neither of us like drops or hills, so he had to think about this, but eventually he did it and liked it. He went back and rode a few more times, while there was no line. Most of the other slides looked too wild for either of us - we really are wimps <g>.

We did the lazy river thing next, for a couple of laps. It was nice, but there are so many tubes we kept getting stuck. People would take and toss the tubes out onto the side to get them out of the way - I am sure I do not want to be here when all of those tubes would be filled with people! I skipped the ice cave - opting to get out and walk with my tube to the other side, but Chris rode through and said he water dripping in there was very cold! I could hear the screams and decided I would pass. After getting out of the lazy river we headed back to the toboggan slide and found the wait was now 10 minutes. I watched Chris come down the first time, then went back to the wave pool.

The waves are not very big, but it was fun - sort of like the ocean but no danger of sharks, crabs, seaweed, etc! I hung out in the water awhile, then sat on the beach chair and read a magazine. The sun had finally come out, after being very cloudy earlier. Eventually Chris finished on the toboggan slide and came over, then went into the wave pool and rode the waves with some other kids. When I got hot I went in also, and then went to the lazy river again. He returned to the toboggan slide but when he saw the wait was now 50 minutes he said "no way"! He came & found me in the lazy river and we drifted around until about noon.

We decided to leave, but we stopped at Lottawatta Lodge for lunch on the way out. We shared a chicken wrap, fries & a chocolate cookie (about $10) - nothing special, but not bad. We had drinks in our bag so we did not have to buy any. From here we left the park and waited for the OKW bus to take us back to the resort. After dropping the used pool towels off at the pool, we returned to the studio to get cleaned up and head out to the Studios so he could see the Who Wants to be a Millionaire attraction.

We decided to not bother with the bus, and drove the car instead so we would be free to go anywhere without having to make a connection. We ended up being parked about as far away from the park as you can get, and at the very end of the row, so we rode the tram up. We headed directly for Millionaire, as Chris asked what that ugly hat was doing there, lol! Actually now that they have the stars and stuff on the hat it is more attractive than it was in late May, but it is still very ugly!

At Millionaire it was not quite 3pm and the Fastpass time was 5:10-5:30. The standby time was 30 minutes, so we did standby since we did not plan to be in the park for hours! Chris is familiar with the show, but neither of us watches it (I hate it, he just prefers other stuff). The first contestant for the hot seat was a 10 yr old boy, but before the game started the cm realized that the winning seat was actually his mom's, and she had sent him down so he could play. That is not allowed, so he was booted out of the hot seat & sent back up, and Mom came down to play. Thankfully both she and the next contestant answered the questions quickly, and we got through 2 games during the 1/2 hour. I got up to spot #5 at the end of the 2nd game. Chris alternated between declaring the attraction lame and "tight"....and in the end liked it but wished it was longer.

After the show I got him a strawberry bar (not quite sure some frozen juice is worth $2.50 - the same price as a chocolate covered ice cream bar) and we talked about what to do next. Neither of us wanted to see anything else here, so we headed back to the tram. The cm on the back was hysterical - just acting really silly, but from his voice and choice of words it made me think of Buddy's trip report and wonder if one of the six queens had stayed behind to work at Disney, lol! This guy was really funny. We were sitting there quietly and he said "watch this" and then started screaming into the microphone "HURRY, HURRY - THE TRAM IS LEAVING", which caused people to start hurrying over & everyone laughed (ok, that sounds mean when it is typed out, but it was funny in real life). As we would go around a curve he would scream again "AAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY - Hold on", lol!

We drove over to Typhoon Lagoon next and just walked around the park to see what was there and take a few pictures. Their wave pool is much bigger than Blizzard Beach, but it seemed like there were fewer slides. Chris thought the shark snorkeling area was pretty cool, and I imagine he will do that when we come back here.

After exploring the park I dropped Chris off at DisneyQuest and drove back to the studio to cool off and update the report before heading out to meet Linda Friar at the Comedy Warehouse tonight. I left the studio at 6:30 and parked at PI. Chris was due to meet me outside DisneyQuest (rather than me looking for him inside) at 7pm so I could give him one of the Cheesecake Factory gift certificates to use for his dinner. I thought about going in with him and eating with him, but when he came out he was frantic to get back inside because he & Tom were in the middle of an air hockey game, lol! So, I let him go and I went to Bongo's for a chicken empanada.

Last time I got one I was disappointed with it, and was hoping that was just a fluke. The empanada used to be all white meat, shredded but not really mixed with a lot of other stuff. Last time it less chicken but mixed with a sauce & other stuff as filler - and it was not nearly as good. Tonight the empanada was like the last one, so I am assuming they have changed the recipe. This will most likely be my last chicken empanada - it is not bad, but it is nowhere near as good as it used to be, so I will seek out some new food/snack items for the future.

Around 7:15 I entered PI and walked around for a while. I spotted several of the cast arriving for work, so I had a good idea who would be working tonight. Linda was due to meet me outside Comedy Warehouse at 7:30 but there was no sign of her. I waited until about 7:50 and then got in line for the 8pm show. As I got in line, so did Sharon - another Warehouse regular. We met not too long ago and sat together for a show on my last trip, chatting about Warehouse stuff. She emailed me after that, and we have kept in touch, but I did not expect to see her here until Friday. It worked out great though - we saw the first 3 shows together (8:00, 9:05 & 10:30) and got good seats every time since it was not nearly as busy as the weekend.

Just as the first show started, Linda beeped me, so I went up to the pay phone to call her. Something had come up, and since she and her husband leave on a cruise later this week, we made plans to meet at the Warehouse next week after they return. One really great thing about taking longer trips is that even if friends have a trip or something planned during my stay, chances are I can still see them before or after because I will be here long enough!

The first show starred Josh, Philip, Jen B, Todd & Jake. I was glad to see Philip back - during my last trip I think he was out of state doing a Shakespeare thing, and I always enjoy his work. The show was pretty good - it had it's moments. The embarrassing story was told by this woman with a really raspy voice and when Jen came out with a wig similar to the woman's hair and started talking in that same voice it was hysterical! It was a weird story - enough did not make sense to make me question whether it was even true.....oh well. For Jake fans - it was nice to see him with hair again! He had shaved his head late last year for a pirate thing he was doing in the Keys, and then kept that style. It looked fine, but I think having some hair (it is very short) suits him better. His wedding may be coming up fairly soon - perhaps that had something to do with it, lol! After the show we immediately headed outside and got in line for the 2nd show.

This time it was Jen B, Jake, Todd, Philip and Joy. They did the name rhyming song to open the show, and Jen won. Next Josh directed Philip and Joy in a skit where they had to create 3 songs - each in a different strange style of music (one was throat music - an old Chinese thing was one I had never heard of, but Philip knew what it was) and the first 2 songs were very funny. The last song was in the style of renaissance, and was about how Philip wouldn't take Joy as a lover because she was "communicable"....she had herpes. It had potential, but was not as funny as the first two. Overall though, this show was very good! When it was over once again we rushed back outside and got in line for the 3rd show.

Todd, Philip, Jen B, Josh & Joy worked this time, and they did the Cliché game - where they torture an actor. They chose Josh to be tortured, which is always funny because he can be so dense at times! Plus, he is young, so some of the clues he just does not "get" because he is too young to know them. The saying was an old pick-up line from Puerto Rico...."Do you believe in love at first sight or do I got to walk by you again?" They gave great clues, and eventually Josh figured it out. Some actors have an easier time, and it is almost funnier to watch one who struggles (like Josh). If they guess it too easily it is not as funny. Jen B is another one - she sometimes gets stuck when she is being tortured, but when that happens she is absolutely hysterical!

After this show we talked briefly with some of the cast. Josh said he will be moving to California - but no timeframe was mentioned. Besides working at the Warehouse he is also involved in another group (forget the name) of 5 guys and they are all planning to end up in CA looking for more opportunities.

Neither of us were staying for the last show, and Sharon asked about the Hoop Dee Doo. She is also a Layden fan and although Hoop is not really of big interest to her & she does not want to eat that late at night, she thinks it would be worth it to have the chance to see Layden. LOL, my thoughts exactly - maybe we Comedy Warehouse regulars are cut from the same cloth or something! She will come out and catch me at the Warehouse some night before Thursday and if she decides she wants to come I am assuming since we are a party of 3 we will be at a table that holds 4...so we should be able to get another ticket hopefully. I wonder if any of us will see or hear any of the other actors, lol! We will be focused on the guy in the ugly plaid pants, I think :-)

By now it was after 11:30, so they had closed the PI exit on the West Side end. I walked down the hill and around the long way, and drove back to OKW. Chris was told to be home by 11 again tonight, and when I got home he was sound asleep. Hmmmm - I was planning to talk to him to see what he wanted to do in the morning before Nancy & Leesa come over, but figured I would be home before him. Oh well, as often as he has been here I do not think there is anything he absolutely must see or do tomorrow morning, so unless we both wake up early I think the morning will be spent at home just relaxing (sorry to be so boring; use your imagination and just make stuff up if this sounds too dull, lol).

The plan for today pretty much got thrown out the window! Blizzard Beach was a much better choice than MK, since it was our first visit there. It was fun before it got too crowded - Stormalong Bay is more my speed, I think. However, since I will be a PAP holder from now on it makes sense to take advantage of going there once in a while. The evening at the Comedy Warehouse was fun - running into Sharon was an unexpected treat.

Miles walked: No pedometer

DAY 5 - MONDAY, JULY 16, 2001:

Plan: Water Park, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: It was 1:30 before I went to bed last night, so I did not set the alarm for this morning. Regardless, I was awake around 7 but did not get up until almost 8. You know how sometimes thoughts just run through your head??? Well, as I was laying there it dawned on me I did not *know* where the Hoop Dee Doo tickets were....and I got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I got up and began looking - first in the obvious places, and then going out to the car, checking Chris' suitcase, etc. I could not find them anywhere! I threw on some clothes and went to the Hospitality House with my receipt, hoping they could just reprint them for me. The cm was about to do that, but evidently there was a code in the computer and he had to call for authorization, and was told to just have me report to the ticket office at Pioneer Hall 30 minutes before the show and they could reprint them there - they did not allow reprints elsewhere because of the fear that someone else would have my tickets and use them to get in. Ugh...I was sick worrying about this - not only my ticket but Leesa & Sheila's seats were all tied into mine. I would gladly buy 3 more tickets, if they were available, but hoped it did not come to that.

Back in the studio I decided to check one last place - the big trash can under the sink. I removed the yogurt containers, cereal bowls, paper towels, etc....and there on the very bottom, in absolutely pristine condition were the Hoop tickets!! I must have grabbed them with some real trash and unknowingly threw them away! I am soooooooo glad we do not have housekeepers in here picking up the trash daily at DVC resorts! I took the tickets and put them in the top drawer with my clothes - so if I forget where they are again I may have to email one of you to ask "what did I do with the Hoop tix, lol" and hopefully you will remember <g>. Good thing Larry is holding the tickets for our 12/31 show!

That crisis took an hour to resolve, but at least I can relax now. Chris was still sleeping - what else is new. I showered and got dressed, then was about to get online to post yesterday's report when work beeped me. Unfortunately, this time it was not something easy.....I am needed in a conference call at 11 to discuss strategy for a possible 5% budget cut for next year (my share would be about $1.5 million) without any reduction in services, of course :::insert sarcasm here:::. Thank goodness we did not run off to a water park or something this morning!

It was almost 10am before I got around to making my cappuccino and eating my yogurt, and finally got online to post the report and check email until it was time for the conference call. The call lasted from 11 until after 12, and then I was on the phone with my assistant until almost 1:30. Nancy & Leesa arrived during the phone call, and were very patient. They brought me a warm loaf of banana bread they had baked this morning - very delicious! They said they had not read about any banana nut bread this trip yet, lol! We all ate some, while it was still warm :-)

About 1:45 we left for Stormalong Bay, parking at the Beach Club and walking in from there. The pool was surprisingly uncrowded for a July afternoon, and we were able to find 3 lounge chairs and a sitting chair that we pulled together. After setting up our stuff, the 4 of us headed to the lazy river and floated around several times. Chris decided to hang with us - I think because he wanted to hear what we were talking about <g>. Eventually we returned to our chairs and sat in the sun to dry off and talk some more. Chris was hungry, Nancy was hungry, I needed to call work, Leesa wasn't hungry but needed to eat - so we decided to move over to Hurricane Hanna's. I got Chris the nachos and the Cape Cod wrap - and managed to get a few bites while I was on the phone to work. Chris polished off the rest. My assistant had made good progress on the project at work, so I did not have to be on the phone too long. I wanted one of those great frozen drinks - the Stormalong, but not knowing if I would be called for work again this afternoon I figured it was better to skip the alcohol :( I will be sure to get one on Friday with Sheila!

After eating Chris returned to the pool and the adults went and sat on the chairs. We talked a while longer and then noticed dark clouds building up so we left the resort around 5pm. We went back to OKW and hung out in the studio for a while. The plan for tonight is Comedy Warehouse! Chris may come with us for the first show, then will go to DisneyQuest. He had a message from Heather, but got her voice mail when he called her.

Around 6:45 we left the studio and drove over to Downtown Disney. Chris had decided to skip Comedy Warehouse in favor of DisneyQuest, so I dropped him off there before parking down by PI. We had time, so we headed to Wolfgang Puck Express for dinner. Leesa got a peanut butter and fluff sandwich, lol! I got the Caprese Salad ($5.95) which is 3 large tomato slices, 3 pieces of natural mozzarella cheese and some field greens with a vinaigrette dressing - it might sound a little healthy for me, but it was very good. Nancy got the Caprese Salad and some cooked sushi things. It was very pleasant eating outside, and the cm working there was really attentive in terms of removing our tray, removing the empty containers, etc. For dessert we shared berries and whipped cream (strawberries, blackberries and raspberries).

At 7:45 we entered PI and went directly to the Comedy Warehouse. The line was really long already, which was a disappointment :-( However, there is a regular who has a special assistance pass and he spotted us and invited us to join him on his pass to be back-doored into the club. This means we wait at the exit and get let in before the other guests - so of course we got our favorite seats. I knew him by sight but had never spoken to him, but Leesa knows him and of course Nancy does from her days working at the Warehouse.

Christine opened the first show, and was joined by Mary, Todd, Philip and Joy. They did the Up Your Alley talk show, with the subject being light bulbs, and Mary was really funny as Halle O'Gen, the Miss Light bulb for 2001. She was babbling on at times, as only Mary can do - and we could tell by watching her she was getting lost...but it was very funny and it worked, lol! The show was good - Mary & Philip are 2 of my favorites, and Joy is also doing a great job. After the show we stopped to chat - Nancy has known Joy for a long while but had never seen her perform at the Warehouse before. Mary came over to say hi, and talked to me about her Millionaire thing. At the attraction in the Studios, she & the real Regis Philbin taped the pre-show film that explains how the game is played. She is getting ready to go re-shoot a new film - evidently Disney wants it to be a little shorter, and make it less obvious that Regis is reading from a cue card. When I saw the film I was just watching her - she did a great job, as always - and really did not pay much attention to Regis (I am not much of a Regis fan). Hopefully they will not shorten it too much.

Nancy & I ran back outside to get in line for the next show - Philip had said he was not working the next one, and Christine explained they were working a person short so there was only 1 extra actor working. Next show Philip would be out, and Josh would be in. We left Leesa talking to Mary and went outside. The line was very long, and we knew we would be seated behind people. When Leesa came out we decided to just skip this show and get good seats for the 3rd show. We went over to the Adventurer's Club and talked to Jimmy at the door, who used to work with Nancy at the Warehouse. Inside we must have hit it just as a show started in the library, since the main salon was pretty dead. We sat downstairs and talked to each other, and Nancy got to talk to some of the actors she knows from when she used to work in this club (before Comedy Warehouse). We did the new member induction ceremony, and then went into the library for the next show. It was the show with Samantha Sterling, ending with Amol Bleehall and his song about his cow - always fun. When it was finished we ran back over to Comedy Warehouse and counted the guests until it was time to join the line.

We got our seats in our favorite row again, and this show was hysterical. Josh opened, and was joined by Christine, Joy, Philip and Todd. They did the conducted story, and sometimes even though the actors doing a scene are very funny, it is almost funnier to watch the reactions of the ones who are not in the scene. Christine died by plastic lettuce knife, with Todd as her waiter and Josh as the chef in a restaurant, and although Josh was very funny in the very bizarre character he created, it was a riot watching Philip sitting in the background reacting to what he was watching! The scene got really weird, but it was funny. The last death was Josh - he died by ballerina and they did the thing where 2 guests have to move the actors. Joy joined him, and we were laughing so hard our faces hurt - it has been a very long time since I was able to say that about a show here! Also before that Josh and Philip were the only 2 actors left and they had to tell the story alternating between Philip's Shakespeare style and Josh's *adult* style. LOL, it got pretty kinky - to the point Josh begged to be killed before he got fired! It was a fun show :-)

The cast wasn't out after this show, since they have a brief meeting to discuss how the night is going at this time, so we left the club and decided to call it a night. I was back at OKW by midnight, and this time Chris was still awake (but in bed watching TV). He had hung out with a kid from Canada who he said talks funny....like he's from Scotland or something (sorry, Larry - that is really what he said, lol). They had fun, though.

I finished up the report and was not going to get online, but figured I had better check and see if there was anything from work that needed reviewing. We are going to the Magic Kingdom in the morning (since Chris is leaving the next day, it's about time we went to a park, lol) and if I need to spend any time responding to work I would rather do it now instead of when the crowds are light at the MK! It turns out there was a document to review, so I did that and emailed my comments back so the person I left in charge would have them for a meeting with my boss & her boss at 9am (I hope to be on or just off Space Mountain by then, lol). It was lights out by 1:30, with the alarm set for 6:15 (no more sleeping the day away, lol).

Overall today was wonderful - except for the work stuff. Nancy and Leesa were both so patient and good about not acting bored out of their mind as I was on the phone discussing budget cuts. We had a great time at Stormalong Bay, and lots of laughs at Comedy Warehouse, and it was fun just hanging out together. I never made it to a water park as originally planned, but considering the work stuff, that is just as well! Besides, Stormalong Bay is a perfectly good water park substitute for me!

Miles walked: No pedometer

DAY 6 - TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2001:

Plan: MGM or Epcot, Lunch at Le Cellier, Laundry?, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: 6:15 came awfully early, but I got up since I had a lot of message board reading to catch up on. Breakfast was cappuccino and banana bread, and I got Chris up at 8. This morning was the member update/breakfast here but I decided to skip it - especially since we had food here in the studio. Most new information you hear first on the internet, anyway! Mr. Teenage "I'm not hungry - I don't need breakfast" was laying around after showering/dressing. I said Ok - let's go and he looked at me and said "I need breakfast" as if I had gone insane for suggesting he leave the room without breakfast! Go figure...it was the banana bread that did him in, so I cut a big piece of it for him to eat, and then *another* piece at his request!

We left the studio about 8:30 and waited about 1/2 hour for the bus to MK. We were starting to see second buses for the other parks while still waiting for a MK bus, which was pretty annoying. Rather than being in the MK by 9, we were just getting on the bus to go there by 9 :( While at the bus stop a woman kept running over across the grass and through the bushes to talk to a guy in the studio at the end of building 19. He was drinking a bottle of beer (at 9am???) and would climb up on the railing and squat there while drinking his beer and smoking a cigarette....pretty strange (repulsive). She ran over there about 3 times, through the bushes where people are not meant to be. Ugh.

We arrived at the MK around 9:20 or so, with long lines at the turnstiles. This day was not starting out too well, lol! I was starting to wish I had just stayed home (at OKW). We worked our way down Main Street and into Tomorrowland to pick up a couple of Fastpasses for Space Mountain. While I did that, Chris went to the Grand Prix Raceway, which already had a 10 minute or longer wait. When he got off, we went over and rode the new Aladdin ride with no wait. He was not impressed, but I figured it would not kill him to ride a kiddie ride since it was new. We then returned to Tomorrowland. He did not want to wait in the line for Buzz, so instead waited in the arcade while I used the 2 Space Mountain Fastpasses. A group of people with 10:00 return times were blocking the entrance :::sigh::: - it was 9:57. Since my time was 10 also, I went and sat on a nearby bench out of the way, and waited until after the mob had been let in before I got in line. I really wish the cm would tell the people to move out of the way, since they seem to lack the common courtesy to do so without being told! I've seen many people complain about this on the boards yet it seems like an easy problem to solve.

After Space Mountain we did the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and then decided to head to Epcot. On the way out we stopped in the candy store. All of the candy is now labeled with no prices - I guess if I was charging $.79 for a teeny little truffle posting the price might discourage sales <g>. They had some marshmallow thingies, but not the one with M&M pieces - no big deal since I was not going to buy one. By the way, we were constantly seeing large tour groups in this park. They did not impact on our visit, since we were sure to not go near any attraction they were going on. The groups are easy to spot - usually wearing hideously noticeable matching shorts and tee shirts (bright yellow, lime green, & other loud colors), but were not disruptive at all when we saw them.

They still have the express monorail leaving the MK closed, so we had to take the resort monorail to the TTC (which took a long time) and then walk down, around and back up to get on the Epcot monorail. Disney transportation can be a major pain!

We got into Epcot about 11:30 and after stopping for Chris to get some soda at Ice Station Cool we went directly to Le Cellier. Our PS was for noon, but we were seated immediately even though we were early. The entire time we were there less than 1/3 of the tables were occupied, which was surprising to me. We had a wonderful lunch - my favorite wine and the cheese soup for me; ice tea, chicken Caesar salad, and berry cobbler for Chris. Total check after the 20% DDE and with tip was about $26. At noon I toasted my friend Larry (from Scotland) who was at the same time toasting me from somewhere in Disneyland Paris. We'd arranged it in advance - 2 friends in a Disney park yet on different continents having a drink together, lol! Chris thought it was strange...he actually said "you've got some major issues" and I retorted back "yeah, about 6 feet of them", lol! Before we left I asked the waitress for a pretzel breadstick to take with me, and she brought out 2 of them wrapped up in foil.

There was not anything we wanted to do in the park, so we took the bus back to OKW. We changed into our swimsuits and went to the pool to do laundry. Chris played ball with some other kids in the pool, and I did some reading. Luckily a big storm was building up but it held off until the clothes were out of the dryer and I got back to the studio. The storm was strong, but only lasted about an hour. Heather called for Chris, and he went over to meet her at the BW pool for a while. I finished watching my soap, showered, and got online to check mail. There was more work stuff - different stuff, including needing to call in tomorrow to talk them through some financial stuff for a long range plan we need to have completed for the meeting next week. Hopefully it won't take too long - with having to get Chris to the airport for a 5:15 flight, the day was already kind of chopped up in terms of having time to do things.

At 6 I left the studio to get gas and go to Character Premiere at the Premium Outlets. I figured the gas on property would be significantly more expensive than off property, so I figured I would get gas on the road to the outlets. There was an Amoco with gas at $1.61 and a Citgo at $1.59, so I went to the Citgo. Unfortunately they had only 4 pumps - and 3 were taken. I drove through and turned around to use the vacant pump and saw it was out of order, so I had to turn around again (in their small parking lot). Nobody was outside pumping, so I assumed they were inside paying. I sat there waiting impatiently, and soon people came out of the little store - but they were not the people with cars at the gas pumps....they were people parking in the parking lot that I was now blocking! So, I moved to let them both out, then returned to my position waiting for the damn gas pumps. Finally, 2 customers came out and went to 2 of the 3 vehicles, and STARTED pumping gas!!! I was so pissed off at that point, I just left!

I went to Character Premiere - lots of stuff, but nothing for me. The store was pretty busy, and very noisy with children running around and screeching, so I did not linger very long. Back out on the main road I went to the Amoco station and got my gas ($1.61) without further incident. I drove back to Downtown Disney (leaving property is always traumatic, lol) and as I pulled into the PI parking lot I saw that the gas on Disney property was $1.49! Damn!

I walked over to the Marketplace and looked for a Safari Club application at the Rainforest Cafe for someone. They had the brochures but not the application - from reading the brochure it sounds like your server would have the applications. With Chris leaving tomorrow I do not expect to fit a meal at Rainforest Cafe into our plans, so I will not be able to pick up the application.

I walked around a bit, browsing through the Christmas store and World of Disney. I noticed the DVC kiosk was closed (at 7:15 on a busy night) - perhaps due to the rain earlier?? It seemed strange that they would not have someone there. At 7:30 I entered PI and went over to D-Zerts and got a chocolate covered pretzel (now $1.33 rather than $1.00 - it seems most things have increased in price recently) and sat outside the Jazz Club to eat it. I saw Nancy's boyfriend arrive for work, but he was too far away and did not see me. At 7:45 I headed up the hill to the Comedy Warehouse, chatted briefly with Dave from last night and then counted people until it was time to get in line.

My seat ended up being on the floor near the keyboard (the barstools, not the chairs) and my 2 favorite servers were working (Lisa & Jaime). I ended up being in Lisa's section this show, and Jaime's second show. I skipped the Bye Bye Blues and just got a bottle of water tonight. Jim Roberts was the keyboard player, but he did not see me until the 2nd show.

The cast was Mary, Joy, Josh, Todd & Christine. Someone down front had a very noisy toddler who was bored to death and occupied herself by shouting out things to her parents....and then her parents would go "SHHHHH" loudly. It was very annoying - and it distracted the actors. During a scene the little darling (nothing against the kid, she was only acting like any kid her age who was brought into an inappropriate setting that does not hold her interest) would start talking and the actor's head would turn in that direction and break their train of thought. As for the show itself - I hate to say it, but it was not good. If this was my first visit I might not come back, it was that bad (and not because of the noisy toddler). They did Up Your Alley and it just died - it was excruciating watching the actors *try* to make it work, especially since I really like most of the ones in the game. It just was not working. Thank goodness the next game - an embarrassing moment was much better, so the show did not end on an awful note!

I left immediately and got in line for show 2, and was seated a couple of rows back (I was far back in line, but was put in a solo empty seat several rows ahead - that is the beauty of going solo! Josh opened this show, and was joined by Joy, Todd, Christine - and somebody else taking Mary's slot. I about fell off my stool and was thrilled to see Mark back unexpectedly tonight!! He is one of the 3 great ones who left last Feb/March (Layden, Mark & Matt) and I had not seen him here since he left. He did really well - not rusty at all. The whole show was much better than the first one, and I was glad to see them do Conducted Story again - with the final death being the frozen actors thing. The audience was laughing non-stop! Mark had not come out from backstage by the time I left, so I did not get to talk to him. He knows me by sight but we really do not know each other at all, so it's no big deal. Joy & Josh were greeting guests, so I said goodnight to them and headed out.

The line for show 3 was not too long, but I figured since I was going to have to *work* tomorrow afternoon when I would have been packing Chris' stuff, I had better get home and do it tonight. We will be busy all morning and early afternoon, then I need to call the office at 2pm and get off the phone in time to take Chris to the airport at 3:30 - could be a busy day! As I left PI I saw some Orange County Sheriff deputies questioning some young guy - maybe a fake id concern, but it drew a crowd. I drove back to OKW, arriving around 10:30. It was nice to be able to see the news! Chris had come back from BW and changed into regular clothes and was now at DisneyQuest with an 11:30 curfew tonight.

The day followed the plan pretty closely, except for the addition of MK before going to Epcot. Chris enjoys the MK and since we missed it earlier in the week we decided to head there today. Having more work stuff was not in the plan, but it can't be helped - they are not calling me over trivial or routine stuff, at least. Overall it was a pretty good day :-)

Miles walked: No pedometer

DAY 7 - WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2001:

Plan: Water Park, Chris to airport, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: Chris got home before his curfew last night - saying DisneyQuest was very crowded last night. He swam at BW with Heather for a while, then came back when she went to Chef Mickey's with her family. We both were in bed by midnight, knowing we had an early morning today. I left the alarm set for 6:30 since I needed to get online to post the report, but let Chris sleep until 8. Breakfast was cappuccino and banana bread - with Chris eating the banana breat it's almost gone already!

Photopoint was working finally, so I uploaded the pictures taken so far - mostly from Vero. They're in the Vero & WDW 7/2001 album. This morning's crisis had to do with missing car keys. I searched and searched, and even sent Chris outside to see if I had dropped them out there. Eventually I found them - I had laid them on the bed and when I pulled the bedspread down the got covered up. It was a relief to find them!

At 8:40 we drove over to Typhoon Lagoon for the morning, arriving about 8:45 (sure beats the Disney buses, lol). They let people in before the 9am opening time, and the park was uncrowded for the first hour. We set up right by the wave pool and went into the water. When we were here a couple of days ago the big waves were not operating, so this was our first time seeing them. WOW - are they BIG!!! LOL - Chris was in heaven <g>! He went all the way out and would ride to the top of each wave. I stayed back in water up to my knees, which was up about chest high when the waves came through. It was so nice to have waves like the ocean without fish & seaweed!

After a while we went and rode around the lazy river before it got crowded. We shared a 2-person raft for most of the way, and the lifeguard laughed at me when I went under a waterfall holding a kiddie raft over my head like an umbrella. I prefer the lazy river at Blizzard Beach over this one, because I can float around and avoid most of the water they insist on dumping on your head. Overall though, we both prefer Typhoon Lagoon based on what we like to do.

We finished our lap and returned to the wave pool. Chris stayed out there for about 1.5 hours, while I alternated between the wave pool and our chairs. It got pretty crowded, reminding me of the family beach on Castaway Cay (the cruise line). We never went to any of the slides, the shark snorkeling area, any shops or any food places. We were happy spending 3 hours or so at the wave pool, and on future trips would most likely just do that again, leaving the other stuff to other guests.

Shortly after noon we packed up our stuff and I went to the changing rooms to change into regular clothes. We were headed to AK Lodge for lunch, but first I stopped at OKW real quick to pick up the camera. The message light was flashing - a fax I was expecting from work had arrived, so we stopped to pick it up on our way out. It was almost 1pm by the time we got to AKL, and Chris was very impressed with the resort. Not many animals were out, since it was so hot, but we did not have time to loiter looking at animals anyway! He really liked the look of Boma, and is looking forward to eating here with Larry next July. He thought the pool was kind of lame - just ordinary. I like that it is so big - lots of room for guests to spread out (I hate crowds).

We went into Mara and ordered our lunch - sugar cane chicken for me and a bacon double cheeseburger with fries for him, plus a chocolate chip cookie to share - $16.72 with tax. The food came very quickly, and here you pay for your food and go sit down. When you pay they give you a tent with a number, and someone brings your food to you when it is ready - a nice touch. He tried my chicken and realized he should have ordered it also - it was delicious! I did not eat the vegetables and ate about 1/2 of the white stuff (but have no idea what it is) and all of the chicken - yum! His burger was very good, too. I could hear nearby guests talking about Mara, everyone I heard was raving about how good everything was and how reasonable the prices are - one family was saying they could not have eaten at McDonald's for that price!

As soon as we finished eating it was time to rush back to OKW to I would have time to shower before my 2pm call from work! We got back about 1:45 and I was able to shower & dress before the phone rang. I was very happy to hear that all they ended needing (thanks to some help my staff got from my friend Tom) was some real simple direction. Whew! The whole call, including catching up on some other issues lasted only 15 minutes :-)

I finished packing up Chris' stuff and finished getting myself ready. We called my Dad since he would be picking Chris up in Boston tonight and talked about some of their plans, then I updated the report and watched General Hospital until it was time to leave for the airport.

The trip to the airport was easy, but finding a parking spot was very difficult! We finally found one, and went inside to Chris' gate. His flight left on time, and I stopped at the Hyatt to look around since I'll be staying there next week. It looks pretty nice! Leaving, I got lost finding the car - not realizing that I needed to go down to the 1st floor then down again and through a tunnel to get over to the parking garage. An airline employee saw me wandering around like a lost soul and asked if he could help me, lol! As I got to the car it started to rain, and the ride back was hell. For a lot of it I could barely see anything ahead of me, but pulling off the road is not a safe option. There was a huge traffic jam at the first toll booth, and there was so much rain that eventually the left and right lanes were flooded - only the middle lane was relatively good to drive on. I was very happy to get back on Disney property safely! The trip cost $4 in tolls and $3 to park.

Back in the studio I watched the news and got online to check mail before heading to PI - and to hope the storm passes by then. Unfortunately tonight will probably be a repeat of last night, with extreme humidity - definitely a very bad hair night! I was not particularly hungry, but figured I would be later so I had some yogurt & granola figuring that was better than a chocolate covered pretzel.

At 7:15 I left to drive to Downtown Disney, parking at PI. It was still raining heavily, but I was hoping they would not cancel the first Comedy Warehouse show. Unfortunately, the cm at the door (Kelly) was telling guests they were having technical difficulties and did not know if the 8:00 show would happen, and suggested they go wait at the Adventurer's Club where it was dry and they could get drinks. Normally I would not include this in the report, but I have had enough of the Warehouse canceling the early show! The reality is, if there is not a specific number of guests (around 70-75) they will not perform, and they use "technical difficulties" as the reason they give guests. I guess that sounds nicer than saying "I know you bought a ticket and came here to see the show, but tough luck - there are not enough people and so we are not going to bother". Actually, if there are not enough people they really cannot do the show - but I have a problem with them sending people elsewhere and leading them to think there probably will not be a show. Tonight enough people came by and were sent away - but because they were not back when the decision was made, the show was canceled. Many of them came over afterwards while I was still watching, but it was too late.

I was talking to Kelly for awhile and pointed out that if they had an awning or some cover for the line then the guests would have waited and there would have been a show! The servers would have not lost 1/4 of their pay, and guests who came out specifically for the Warehouse would not have been disappointed. I found out later that there was money in the budget for a cover, but then it got cut in order to build the cover over at Cirque du Soleil (a NON-Disney show....not sure why Cirque did not pay for it).

I thought about leaving PI, but ended up staying. I went into the Adventurer's Club but nothing was going on there. Since the Jazz Club was open I walked down there and talked to Nancy for a while (they had just opened and only had a few guests in there). I had forwarded Buddy's gayday trip report to her, and she is LOVING it! She said she can only read one installment each time she logs on, because she is laughing so hard she ends up crying, lol! Buddy does write the best/funniest trip reports - no question!

After talking to Nancy I headed back to the Adventurer's Club and ended up talking to another Comedy Warehouse fan. She had gone to all 3 water parks today, unable to get in to either Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon (both closed because they were filled to capacity) but did get into River Country. I guess if you go to a water park around 1-1:30 you cannot expect to get in to BB or TL during the summer.

Finally I returned to the Warehouse at 8:30 or so and stood off to the side counting people until it was time to join the line. Two young girls (18-20) behind me were saying to each other they should have brought an umbrella (it was still raining steadily), so I shared mine since I had room for one of them. Due to the rain, they let the guests in about 10 minutes early once they determined they would have enough to avoid the "technical difficulties". I was seated in Lisa's section again, and she asked if I wanted a Bye Bye Blues, lol. I went ahead and got one, and after she finished delivering the drinks to this section she came over to chat for a while. Since we had been let in early, there was extra time before the show started.

The show was good - starring Josh, Joy, Jeanette, Jen K, and Christine. I think if your first name begins with a "J" you have a good chance of being hired here <g>. They did Forgotten Songs, which I always enjoy, and they also did Cliché - where they torture an actor who has to guess a cliché. Tonight it was Christine having to guess That's how the cow eats cabbage after fluffing the sheets, and she did a good job. I am starting to really like Josh now. When he started he did not impress me at all, and last trip he had some *very* funny moments but a lot of non-funny moments still. Now he is pretty consistently funny, and seems more comfortable cutting loose and being silly - which is working well for him! Too bad now that he has gotten good he will not be sticking around.

After the show I went back out immediately - glad to see the rain had finally stopped. The line for the 10:30 show had just formed, but I decided I did not want to stand in line 20-30 minutes for another show. Cheesecake sounded good, so I walked through the West Side and went into DisneyQuest. Unfortunately, none of the cheesecakes they had left really grabbed me...they were out of the chocolate mousse cheesecake and did not have any other chocolate kinds. I was not in the mood for their Linda's Fudge Cake, although it IS excellent! I left without buying anything, and drove back to OKW.

I finished up the report, finished drinking my Bye Bye Blues (smuggled out of PI in my backpack - don't tell security), and watched the news and on SoapNet watched today's episode of Port Charles. Since the camcorder had not been used in a while, I started charging up those batteries - in preparation for the Hoop Dee Doo Revue tomorrow night!

The day followed the plan, but the heavy rain and the cancellation of the first Warehouse show were both disappointments. On the plus side though, we really liked Typhoon Lagoon even though we did not do much there. Oh yes - I had my sugar cane chicken....reminiscent of last November's trip to the Food & Wine Festival, lol! I hope they have that there this year also, since then I can get the chicken without the veggies and white stuff (which Nancy said sounds like polenta).

Miles walked: No pedometer

DAY 8 - THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2001:

Plan: Some park, Comedy Warehouse, Sheila arrives late pm

Actual: Woohoo - at last it is Hoop Dee Doo Revue day, and a temporary cure for the Layden withdrawal I had been afflicted with since he left the Comedy Warehouse last February, lol! I was up until 1:30 again, catching up on the message boards, and slept until the alarm went off at 7:30. Today is another Typhoon Lagoon morning - probably repeating yesterday at the wave pool. The theme parks did not have any appeal today, since I expect to spend more time in them with Sheila tomorrow and Kathy Saturday. After getting ready I made some cappuccino and ate the last small piece of banana bread while downloading pictures taken yesterday. Most of the pictures I took were not for this report, but will be used with possible future MousePlanet articles or to send to other people. Once that was done I took my cappuccino and went to sit out on the porch (like Darla).

At 8:45 I drove over to Typhoon Lagoon. Today my PAP did not work, despite trying it a couple of times. The cm directed me over to guest relations to see what was wrong with it. After waiting in line, the cm there scanned it into the computer but could not see any problem. She asked if I had a photo id, but of course I did not - I do not bring my wallet with me to a water park! Finally she said she wanted to try the pass at the turnstile to see what the message was on the cm side, and it worked perfectly. Oh well, it was time wasted but at least the pass is ok. Maybe the reader I was at was the problem, rather than my pass.

I walked back to the wave pool and this time set up a lounge chair and a beach chair where I could watch the waves. It was a great spot, and since I was tucked into a corner I had a little space buffering me from the crowds! I alternated between the wave pool and the lazy river, except for time spent in a beach chair at the edge of the wave pool. Off to the side I could sit there reading a magazine, as long as I raised it up over my head when the waves reached me. It was a great way to keep cool.

About noon I decided I had had enough sun for one day, so I packed up my stuff and left the park. I thought about getting the digital camera and going to take pictures at Blizzard Beach, but could see on the sign that it was already closed. Instead, I drove to the Boardwalk to visit the bakery. On my way up the hill I spotted Linda Friar and her husband walking back down. They were on their way to their Royal Caribbean cruise, but had stopped by to pick up a surprise pin that had been released this morning (and would be sold out before the afternoon was over). We chatted briefly and I agreed to buy her 2 more of the pins (it is limited to 2 per guest) - I can give them to her when we meet at Comedy Warehouse next week.

I went to the shop first, and stood in line to get the 2 pins, then walked over to the Boardwalk Bakery. I wanted another chocolate/vanilla pretzel, so I bought one to bring back to OKW ($2.12) and then went back to the car & returned to OKW. Port Charles had just started, so I cooled off watching that and then threw some clothes on to take the Trumbo Ferry to Downtown Disney. I figured I might as well do things before the storms started again!

I walked over to the Hospitality House and chatted with Angelo at bell services for a little while, then went to the dock just as the boat arrived. It looks like a new boat - nicer than the old ones, but it still only holds 12 guests. We had about 12 going to the Marketplace, and it was a very hot ride. I knew then I would be taking the bus back! I walked through the Marketplace, Pleasure Island, and then to the West Side. There was nothing I needed to shop for, so I did not bother with any of the stores.

At Wolfgang Puck Express I went inside and got one of the Caprese Salads and a cup of water, then added a sample of blueberry muffin cake. The salad was great - so refreshing in this hot weather! It was quite comfortable sitting outside, thanks to the shade and ceiling fans. The blueberry muffin cake was just ok - I would never buy it. When I was finished I went over to DisneyQuest and went upstairs to check on the cheesecake. They only had the same kinds as last night, so I left without buying anything and walked to the West Side bus stops.

The OKW bus arrived shortly, and I met a couple who spend the winter in my town, not too far from me. I got off the bus at the Hospitality House and walked back to the studio. Just after getting inside, the beeper went off - a co-worker wanted me to call him. :::sigh::: I did, and he commented that this was the worst possible week for me to be away, to which I pointed out that historically there is no reason for this week to have been so crazy, and he agreed there was no way anyone could have known. When you book 11 months in advance, it is usually impossible to predict what might be going on at work during that particular week. Oh well, he just needed me to talk something through with him so we did that and then I got online and emailed my assistant to provide some information. By now I had used my shower time on the phone, so I watched General Hospital first and then showered when the show was finished. The rest of the afternoon I spent online, waiting for the rain to start - but it never did.

At 6:30 Sheila beeped to say she was here, just as I was headed out the door to meet Leesa. I waited for her to arrive at the studio and she decided to come to see the first Comedy Warehouse show with us. We drove over and parked at PI, and raced inside. It was just before 7, so Sheila was able to get in without a pass. Darby was working the door at Comedy Warehouse so I asked him if he had seen Leesa. He said she had just come by asking if he had seen me, lol! Sheila spotted her down the street, so we caught up with her and she took Sheila out to re-enter as her guest (she has the PI AP that is good for the pass holder plus 1 guest). Once that was taken care of, we got in line.

When they let people in, a fairly new cm named Sue was doing the seating - and was an absolute witch (feel free to substitute that first letter). We decided she was the Seating Nazi - she really was nasty and not pleasant at all. We were seated on the barstools across from the keyboard player - not *bad* seats but not great. We had counted, but due to a large party that got seated out of order, we ended up in the wrong place.

When the cast came out we were excited - sure it was going to be a great show! Jeanette started things off & was joined by Mary, Jen Br, Philip & Jake. Jen Br used to work here years ago - slender, long brown hair, sort of squeaky voice, very talented. She left to work in the Doug Live show as Patti Mayonnaise, and now works on an extremely limited basis for Disney while also being a mom to her 6 month old daughter. I will put a pic of her on photopoint - people who have been long time Warehouse fans will probably recognize her. Anyway, despite the great cast, the show was a disappointment.

After the show we stopped and talked to the actors. For Krista fans - she had a baby boy a week ago, named Nathan, and is doing fine. I talked to Jake about his upcoming wedding and Jen Br showed off pictures of her daughter. Mary came out and came over to say hi, and said she'd talk to me later. I told her we were headed to Hoop to see Layden, and she asked me to say hi to him for her. We left, and drove over to Ft Wilderness and then took the bus to Pioneer Hall.

We got there early - about 8:45, so we sat on a bench and waited. Around 9 a cm started asking for the 9:30 Hoop guests, so we got checked in. I asked him where my table was (the table # is on the ticket), but he had only been working there 1.5 weeks and did not know. He did say he was sure we would be up close because they only had about 75 guests.....sold out would be 350 guests. Woohoo- I was excited to not be sitting way in the back!

While we were on the bench we got bitten by little bugs, and Leesa was bit by an ant on her toe - which caused her foot to swell. She took 1/2 a benedryl since she is sensitive to ant bites, and that eventually helped (but it made her drowsy). We posed for the pre-show picture but opted not to buy a $20 picture of the 3 of us. It did not look like many people bought them. Finally at 9:30 the doors opened and we went inside. We were taken to our table...walking closer, closer, closer - until we were at a table right up front next to the piano player! WOW - I could not believe how great our seats were considering I just ordered my tickets 6 days ago! I wonder if the entertainment mgr who gave me Layden's schedule might have pulled some strings since I told him I was coming to this show. Whatever, we were all very pleased.

We started with salad - I ate 2 bites, since it was so late. Actually we had far more food leftover than food that we ate! I was there for the show anyway - at this hour. Towards the end of the salad they announced the cast was arriving, and soon they burst through the doors. Someone had sent me pictures of Layden in the show, so I was somewhat prepared for his costume (really ugly plaid pants, lol) but it still seemed strange to see him dressed like that! Sheila & I recognized one of the girls as being the same one from Hoop in December 1999.

The show was fun and funny, and the entire cast did a wonderful job. Layden plays the Sixbits Slocum character, which is the comic relief guy. He got a LOT of laughs. I wish his character had the chance to sing a serious song, but that would have *fit* Sixbits. The main courses were brought out - pork ribs, fried chicken, corn, & baked beans. Layden was the one who delivered our metal pot of chicken, slamming it onto Sheila's plate, but he did not see me. Everything looked great, but Sheila & I barely ate anything. Leesa is used to being up all night, so the late hour did not bother her. The last course was the strawberry shortcake, and we barely made a dent in that either. Between filming, taking pictures, and watching the show - there was no time to eat and I barely drank 1/2 the glass of sangria I had been looking forward to!

Towards the end of the show Layden spotted me from on stage and made eye contact briefly. Soon it was time to bring out the washboards & as everyone was making noise he came over to my chair and talked briefly since the noise would mask his talking. Soon the show was over, and the cast left - to much applause from the audience who clearly had a great time. I had not noticed earlier, but our waitress packaged up all our leftover food for us! We had a huge container full of ribs, another full of chicken, and a loaf of bread! Ugh - that was very nice of her, but that's enough food for several days and I do not plan to live on chicken and ribs forever, lol!

After he changed into his regular clothes Layden came over to see us, and I talked to him for a while. He really is enjoying his role at Hoop (I had been told that by some trustworthy people, but still wanted to hear it with my own ears...he has always been very candid with me, surprising me at times with some of the stuff he's said, so I believe if he was not happy there he would have said so). Although the Warehouse was his home he does not agree with the move towards more dirty stuff in those shows, and that was probably the biggest issue leading to the non-renewal of his contract there. I think he will end up back at the Warehouse, but not until some staffing changes happen. At Hoop they entertain the guests without being dirty, and everyone from kids to young adults to grandparents have a wonderful time. The 9:30 Hoop is a bargain for anyone with an annual pass or the Disney Dining Experience card - 20% off brings the price down from $47 to $38 per adult. In my opinion, the show is easily worth $38, so not eating much food was no big deal. Also, the 9:30 shows are the last to fill up so it's much easier to get tickets on short notice. Anyone who has not seen the show in a while should come see it again - it was Leesa's first time and Sheila's second, and we all loved it (I've seen it 5-6 times over the past 25 years and have it booked twice more in the next 16 months). I will put a picture of Layden in Hoop in the trip album on Photopoint....in the next day or two.

We all left then, and the 3 of us got on a standing room only bus back to the parking lot. The driver was Mark - who is the funniest bus driver on property. He's a big heavyset guy, and tells non-stop jokes the entire time. Tonight was Leesa's first experience on Disney buses - I forgot to ask her what she thought, lol - but she was laughing. It was a nice continuation of the *fun* of Hoop Dee Doo to have a funny bus driver!

We rushed over to PI and had to stand in line to re-enter. When we got to the Warehouse the line was longer than I had ever seen it! The entire chained area was filled in, plus 1.5 rows outside of the chain. After the silly NYEve show ended and the doors opened we ended up in "standby". Once they saw how many seats were left they let a certain # of people in, and we were the last 3! Our seats were pretty crappy - way far back, and behind people, but at least we were in. Unfortunately, tonight is cast night, so the club was full of cast members. Thursdays can be a pain, since sometimes all the suggestions are cm-related and paying guests are left feeling like they had crashed a private party - and tonight was kind of like that.

The cast was Mary, Jake, and the 3 Jennifers (Br, B & K). It was another great cast, and the show was good...not great, but good. During parts it was hard to hear over the cm's talking to each other, and the first suggestion when asked for a pet peeve was "stupid tourist" which caused lots of really loud cheering from all the cm's in the audience. Jen K came out from back stage and gestured to shut up....but the crowd kept cheering. Jen Br was soliciting the suggestion, and refused to take it - instead got another cm who suggested "stupid roommate". Early in the show I heard a distinctive laugh....and I told Leesa "Layden's here". LOL, when the lights were up a bit I leaned over to see where I knew he would be sitting, and sure enough he was there with some friends. His laugh is so easy to detect <g>.

After the show we stopped so Leesa could talk to Jen K, and Mary stopped by to ask how Hoop was & to point out Layden. I told her I had heard his laugh at the back of the room, and she laughed. It was late, so we left then. Leesa went to the Jazz Club to wait for Nancy to give her a ride home, and Sheila & I drove back to OKW. Our fridge is loaded up with chicken & ribs - I tried giving them to Layden but the waitress acted all indignant that we were offering it to *him* (she was teasing him; she told us she just loves him) so I put it back on the table, lol.

Sheila did some reading while I finished writing the report. Tomorrow she will only be here a half day, so we decided rather than bother with a park we would sleep in a bit and head to Stormalong Bay.

It was a fabulous day. Typhoon Lagoon was wonderful, my lunch was great, Hoop was fun, and I am glad I got to talk to Layden more in-depth - and that he is truly happy here.

Miles walked: No pedometer

DAY 9 - FRIDAY, JULY 20, 2001:

Plan: Sheila here for the day, MGM, Stormalong Bay, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: This morning I did not get to bed until 3am and Sheila was up reading until almost that time. We set the alarm for 8:30, but ended up both being up around 8. I chatted with Kathy for a while, then posted the report and took care of email. We made cappuccino and for breakfast Sheila had yogurt and I made some toast from the loaf of Hoop Dee Doo bread (fortunately I had some butter). We left the studio about 9:30 and drove to the Beach Club to go to Stormalong Bay.

We got our lounge chairs set up by the lazy river and then took the 2 noodles and floated around several trips. The water felt quite cold at first, but soon it just felt great! The pool was not busy at any time, so we had a very enjoyable morning moving between the lounge chairs and lazy river. About noon we went to Hurricane Hanna's for lunch and each got a Stormalong. Those things are hands down the BEST drink in WDW - it's like a cross between a bushwhacker and a pina colada, and I am already looking forward to my next one (whenever that might be). With my drink I got the fruit boat - $11 total before tip. Sheila got the Cap Cod Wrap sandwich. We sat at a table and enjoyed our lunch & drink, before returning to the chairs and lazy river. Sometime after 1 we felt a couple of rain drops, and saw very dark clouds so we decided to pack up and leave then.

We drove back to OKW and after getting changed Sheila left to begin the 3 hour drive to some camp that her son is at this week. Tomorrow is parents' day, and it begins at 8am so she is staying at some motel up there, and will return here tomorrow night after the day at camp is done. She took a bunch of the chicken (thank you, Sheila) and I ate some of the ribs. I went through all of the Hoop pictures I had taken last night, saving the ones that turned out well (and sending a couple to Photopoint). The TV weather kept talking about flood warnings and severe violent storms, but here at OKW we still had no rain by 5pm - lots of clouds and very humid air, though. It looks like the worst weather is further east, along the coast. Although, the news is showing 18 inches of water in the roads somewhere in Orlando, and downtown is getting rain.

About 5:30 I decided to leave, figuring I would go to a park or resort briefly before going to PI, but as I stepped outside it started to rain. So, I went back inside and decided to just watch the Hoop tape from last night...to see how good or bad it turned out. At 6:20 I headed out for good, driving to Pleasure Island. It was too early to get in line, so I went to the Jazz Club to see Nancy. The front door was unlocked, but I could hear a lot of voices and saw a buffet set up. I assumed it was a private party, which means I do not belong there, so I just left before I was seen. I wandered around the Marketplace until it was time to return to PI.

I got in line for the first show and was seated in my favorite row. The cast was Jen K, Jeanette, Todd, Philip and Jake. Jake did a funny song as a western singer named Conway Pity, lol! The whole show was great, and even Todd was very funny (as a new guy, sometimes he is not as funny as the more experienced actors). Jen K was hysterical as a lady named Betty who has 57 cats.

When the show was over I immediately got in line again, and struck up a conversation with a group of 4 ladies ahead of me. Two of them were wearing a t-shirt with a company name, and "Conference 2001" on the front. I asked them what the company was, and they explained it was a skincare product. They asked where I was from, and then started talking about how their company is an international company (they were from Canada attending the international conference at Coronado Springs) and I could start selling it in Ft Myers.....um, I don't think so! Yikes - I told them I was too busy, not interested, and let the subject drop!

Once inside I was 2 rows back, which is still good. At first I was directed to a chair in the 2nd row on the floor, but when I told the seater (Susan - not to be confused with Sue the nazi) I can not see from that row (because I am short), she sent me up to the next available row - I was very happy! Lisa (cm) said hi and asked just how much longer I was going to be here, lol! We chatted briefly until her section was seated. The show was full, and the people seated in the seats behind me were a party of 8 who were already drunk. Three of them went back outside so they could smoke, and stunk to high heaven when they returned - yuck! Another of them had one of those laser pointer light things and was planning to flash it around onstage during the show - fortunately a cm saw him and told him it would be taken away if he turned it on. Yikes - where do these morons come from???? Thank goodness they decided to leave just before the show started - to "boogie" outside. They had been talking about how this show was going to "rock" - that they were going to make it a party.....I was so glad to see them leave!

The cast for this show was Todd, Jen K, Jen B, Mary & Philip, and it was another great show! It was a bit risqué for such an early show. Todd was soliciting the audience suggestions and he took everything that was given - sex education, teacher spanking a male student who has a crush on her, finding out the guy (high school) has no genitals & stuff like that. I do not think we would have seen that show years ago...it was funny, but they could have been funny without so much sex-related stuff.

Back outside, the line for the 3rd show completely filled the chained area, but I decided to get in line anyway. My Bye Bye Blues was not finished yet, so I decided to take my chances on getting a seat. As it turned out, being a single person I got a pretty good seat, not behind anyone. I went to the restroom and tried taking a picture of one of the cast pictures hanging in that hallway. CM Joe saw me, and came over to stick his hand in front of the camera to bug me....but it was too dark to take a picture anyway (with the flash it just washed everything out).

The cast this time was Jen Br, Jeanette, Todd, Mary & Philip. Once again, the show was hysterical. They did a really good job with Schmeopardy, which sometimes falls flat (but not tonight). Everyone was funny this show. Jen Br in particular stands out. I am amazed that after being gone for so long she is sooooo good! Beyond that though, she seems different somehow from the newer actors - it's like she is from a time when the actors relied more on being clever rather than going for the easy laugh. She is consistently funny - with what she says, how she says it, and with her body language. Too bad she does not want to work much - the club would benefit greatly if she was there full time.

I left after this show, figuring I would be home to watch the news and then watch today's Port Charles episode on SoapNet. It had rained off an on all night, but never very heavily. They are saying lots more rain is expected Saturday, Sunday & Monday.

I finished up the report, but will wait to post it online until the morning (to avoid being up until the wee hours of the morning). Today was a pretty lazy day, and possibly kind of dull compared to other people's WDW days. We decided to skip MGM, in favor of sleeping in a little longer, but otherwise the day followed the plan. It was a pleasure to see 3 wonderful shows at the Comedy Warehouse for a change!

Miles walked: No pedometer

DAY 10 - SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2001:

Plan: Spend day with Kathy - AK, Epcot, Sheila arrives late pm

Actual: The alarm went off at 5:30 - so early in the morning compared to the other days of this trip! But, I wanted to have time to post the report without being late meeting Kathy. Breakfast was cappuccino & yogurt.

I caught the bus to AK and waited for Kathy outside Rainforest Cafe as planned. She arrived before 8 and we were able to enter the park immediately. The posted opening time was 8am but they let people in at 7:30. We headed back to Harambe and went directly to the Pangani Forest Trail to see the gorillas. She knows all the cm's in this area so we were able to enter through the exit (which is at the gorilla area). Nobody else was on the trail for quite a while. We talked to a couple of the cm's and waited for the gorillas to be let out. We could hear someone banging on the door - at least one of them wanted to come out for breakfast, lol! The younger males are let out first, and they get to eat while Gus is still inside. This way they are done go off to play so Gus can eat without being distracted by them. He spotted Kathy and made his rumbling noise several times. We stayed there until about 9:15, when Gus turned his back to signal it was ok for her to leave now (he likes to be the boss).

We did the Kilamanjaro Safari next, which had no wait at all in either line. The guide said there were a lot of animals out, and he was right - we saw just about everything except the warthogs and zebra. It was a rough ride and during the poacher chase part I held onto Kathy's wheelchair to try to reduce the swaying/jerking it was doing. Good thing she had put on her seatbelt before the ride started. When we returned the guide asked how we liked the safari, and we told him it was great. The cm's we encountered all day were wonderful (except for 1 bus driver).

We made a brief stop at first aid (no injury - just routine care) and then went looking for the Annual Pass holders Lounge we had heard about. I thought it was in Harambe but a cm there told us it was in Dinoland. At Dinoland the cm had never heard of it but called on the radio and found it was behind the Flame Tree BBQ, going towards Asia. We went searching, and found it. It is so strange - it is an outdoor yet covered area with patio furniture (cushioned chairs). They had a few puzzles & things for kids to play with, a couple of books to read, a water cooler, brochures, and a cm who can answer questions or make priority seatings. Frankly, I cannot imagine spending any significant time here, lol but others are free to disagree.

By now it was 10:30 so we went to Camp Minnie Mickey for the 10:45 Festival of the Lion King show. I had not seen this in years, and we both enjoyed it. I love the colors, the music, and especially the tumble monkeys. After the show we decided to leave AK so we went to take the bus to Epcot.

When the bus pulled up, Kathy insists the bus driver saw her & made eye contact with her (and I believe her). We went down to the rear door, yet the driver let guests board the bus through the front door (by law they are required to load a person in a wheelchair first - before any other passengers). After everyone got on, Kathy said I had better go check with him - she had a bus driver drive off and leave her once! I went up to him and said "Are you going to load the wheelchair?" to which he acted surprised and say "You got a wheelchair???". Duh....no buddy, I just asked the question to make small talk.....idiot! He came back and of course had to ask guests to get up and move to other seats. To avoid the hassle of him telling Kathy she had to back onto the ramp and her explaining that she has to drive forward onto the ramp, as he was putting the seats up I told him that she must drive forward and that her chair *will* fit safely on the ramp. He was leery...hesitant to allow it, but finally relented and saw that we were right. Standard manual and electric wheelchairs fit fine going on backwards, but since Kathy's chair is longer due to the ventilator setting on a shelf behind it - the chair must go on in the forward condition for her safety.

He got the wheelchair secured and we headed to Epcot. It was noon, so we stopped at the FountainView pastry place, where I got a marshmallow treat and a glass of water. Kathy no longer eats or drinks, but receives all nutrition through a PEG tube into her stomach. She is not bothered by anyone else eating, though. We sat there for quite a while - it was cool, quiet, and she enjoyed looking at all of the pictures taken at Hoop the other night. We had fun joking around and catching up on the latest gossip!

We headed back to World Showcase and after a stop at First Aid and backstage to pick up an Eyes and Ears (the cm newsletter) we walked around the countries. We just walked and talked - neither of us had any desire to ride anything or look in the shops (been there, done that - too many times to count). It started to rain, so we got under shelter and got her and her equipment covered up since it should not get wet. We exited the International Gateway and walked over to the Boardwalk. We stopped at the BW Bakery and bought some of those chocolate/vanilla pretzels for her kids and some for me. It had stopped raining by then.

We continued around to Stormalong Bay and went to Hurricane Hanna's. Kathy had heard me talk about that fabulous drink the Stormalong, and had said before the trip that she could just pour it into her gut, lol! I thought she was kidding, but she was serious. The drink is amaretto, bailey's, Kahlua & pina colada mix - all things that we both love! We ordered 2 of them and took them to a table outside but away from the crowd. While I sipped mine through the straw, she unhooked the *food* from her feeding tube and fed the drink through the line. Evidently people eating this way do get some of the flavor in the back of their throat, so she did get to enjoy the taste. She also dipped the back of the spoon into the glass and was able to taste that without having to swallow. The drinks were delicious! While we were there an online friend of mine saw me and came over to introduce herself and her family (Cheryl - CherylH407)! I had no idea she was going to be there, but they made a last minute trip & were staying at the Yacht Club. It was great to meet her for the first time.

We walked back into Epcot, planning to see the 4:30 performance of Blast. The standby line extended back into Italy, and a cm came to pull people in wheelchairs out of the line to seat them - but never came this far back. A guest saw us and told us he had seen wheelchairs going in, so we went up there and sure enough we were let in. However, it was starting to rain again, then thunder & lightning started. We got to the seats and decided we could not stay there with all this expensive electrical equipment on the wheelchair in a lightning storm! So, we left and went across the way to see the American Adventure.

We found an electrical outlet along the back wall so we plugged the ventilator and feeding pump into the 2 sockets for the duration of the show - to save on the battery life. It was a great show - one that makes you feel good to be an American. When we came out it had stopped raining, and the line had formed for the 5:45 Blast. We ran into one of Kathy's DCL co-workers and her husband so the 4 of us went over to Blast. They initially said we had to go get in the standby line and a cm would come get us before they did the regular seating, but when we mentioned we had been in for the 4:30 show but left he let us right in. We think maybe the 4:30 show was canceled, since we saw a bunch of dinner package guests with 4:30 show badges already seated for the 5:45 show.

A cm got a towel to wipe off the bench for us, and we had great seats - right behind the dinner package guests, center stage. We all enjoyed the show - I had heard it was better than Lord of the Dance, and it really was. They got a standing ovation when it was done, and the musicians went out to greet guests as they left the theater. I spotted one actor with a visible tattoo on his back, so I am not sure if these are Disney cm's or just entertainers working for some other company.

We finished walking around World Showcase, made one last stop at First Aid, and then left the park. We thought about going to MK to see Spectromagic, but the skies were threatening and thundering again and we decided not to risk it. We can do it in September or October since we will both be staying here then (twice in September).

Kathy took a bus back to AK to retrieve her van and drive home, and I caught the bus back to OKW. It was wonderful spending the day together again, and I look forward to the next time :-)Back at OKW it was just beginning to rain again, and as I got to my building Sheila pulled into the parking lot. She had returned from her son's camp earlier and had gone to Downtown Disney. We had agreed in advance that neither of us would wait on the other - we would each do whatever we wanted to do and would see each other in the morning basically <g>. I decided I was not going to bother with Comedy Warehouse (I can hear the gasps around the world, lol) since Saturday night is too crowded for my taste and I am sick of being out in the rain. Sheila had hoped to go see Spectromagic but decided against it due to the weather. So, we caught up on each other's day and spent the evening in the studio. She read & watched TV, while I wrote the report and downloaded pictures. I will be adding some pictures at AK and one of Kathy to Photopoint - hopefully tonight, as long as the lightning does not scare me off.

The day went exactly according to the plan. The rain was a pain at times, but it was much better than the weather forecast had predicted, so there is always a bright side! The crowds were not bad, and it was not too hot, either! Most importantly, we had fun just hanging out & doing the same stuff we have always done - Kathy does not let any of her high-tech equipment get in the way of her enjoying life!

Miles walked: No pedometer

DAY 11 - SUNDAY, JULY 22, 2001:

Plan: Sheila here for the morning, MK, Whispering Canyon Cafe lunch, Meet Maria & John for Comedy Warehouse

Actual: We had set the alarm for 6:30 in order to be at MK in time for park opening. I was up first, and Sheila got up after I showered. Breakfast was cappuccino & yogurt for us both. I called the Radisson over at Port Canaveral to check on possibly staying there the night before our cruise in November. For $109 or $129 we can get a room or a 1br suite that will include free parking at the hotel for the length of the cruise, and the agent said it would be ok to leave both cars there. If we stayed here at OKW and drove both cars to the pier it would cost us about $100 - or we could drive 1 car and find a friend willing to let us leave the other car at her house but it would be simpler to not impose on anyone that way. We have not made a definite decision, but most likely we will go with the Radisson room (that will save me the DVC points for that Friday night also).

Since Sheila is leaving after lunch and lunch is at Whispering Canyon, we decided to drive over to Wilderness Lodge and take the boat to the MK. We left the studio about 8:15. We had a short wait for the boat and arrived at the MK a little before 9. We headed directly to Frontierland after rope drop and Sheila got a Fastpass for Splash Mountain while I got one for Big Thunder. Both Fastpasses were for 9:45, so that worked out well. We got into the standby line for Big Thunder and got the very back seat. As we pulled back into the station the cm announced that since nobody was in line to get on, we were all free to ride again! Just about everyone stayed on board for another ride. As came back a 2nd time the cm said since there is *still* nobody in line we can all ride again! Sheila said no way - 2 is her limit, so she got out and I rode again. This time when the train returned there were a lot of people waiting to board (the first wave of guests who had finished Splash Mountain).

Sheila had not seen the Aladdin ride before, so we walked to Adventureland and were able to walk right on the ride. It was cute, but very short - not worth more than a 5-10 minute wait. By now it was time to return to the mountains, with Sheila going to ride Splash and me using my Fastpass for Big Thunder. When I got off I went to the bridge and Sheila's log was just coming down the hill - she got pretty soaked in the back seat! I waited for her at the exit and then we started walking around the park.

We did the Haunted Mansion with a short wait, and then walked through Fantasyland. Small World had no wait but just about everything else had 40 - 45 minute waits. We rode nothing here, and just continued to Tomorrowland. This land was also very busy! I got a Fastpass for Space Mountain since the return time was only 11:15 and then we went to ride TTA twice. By then it was almost 11:15 so I waited for the Fastpass clock to say 11:15 and then got into line. I got the front seat, which is fun! Usually as a single rider I end up in the back, but it just worked out today.

Sheila was at the exit, so we walked back down Main Street and left the park. The boat was just arriving, and after a stop at Ft Wilderness we docked at Wilderness Lodge. It was a long ride - we got to the Lodge just about noon. Our priority seating was for noon, but it was not busy and we had no trouble being seated right away - next to a window. The cm's were playing lots of games - one boy had to wear an alien hat with antenna that was all made from aluminum foil, another couple had hats made out of napkins, and a lady who said she was cold got wrapped up in a big blanket! The young guys at the next table were coloring Disney pictures as they drank their beer (doubt their friend expected they would be coloring on vacation, lol) and we got scolded for putting our elbows on the table.

I know many people claim to not like this restaurant, but I must have eaten here more than a dozen times and it has always been terrific...and everyone I have brought here has felt the same way - never a bad experience. Last time I was here I had gotten the chili, which I liked because it did not have any beans in it. We were both undecided between the chili and a salad, so we decided to order one of each and split them both.

The Canyon Chili ($3.99) was nice & spicy, but today it had beans in it. They were big & easy to spot, so neither of us ate any of them. I barely touched my chili anyway, since the salad was so big. The Little Nutty Chicken and Cheese Salad ($8.29) was absolutely wonderful - for sure, it is my new favorite meal at WDW! It has walnuts, grilled chicken breast, and delicious Tillamook cheddar cheese, all tossed in a really great dressing and with a fresh hot breadstick (waaaaaay better than Olive Garden, but along that idea). The server had split it in the kitchen and we probably got more than a 1/2 portion of salad because it looked huge to both of us. Midway through, Sheila found a hair in hers - not a good thing. She told our server and he took it away and brought her another salad...very quickly. He said he was sorry, and he had taken care of it (which we assumed meant he had replaced the salad). I ate every single bite of my salad, despite being totally stuffed by the time I finished - it was too good to leave there! Sheila commented that she has never seen me finish anything, and could not believe her eyes, lol!

When the check came, all that was on there was Sheila's iced tea and the chili....after the 20% DDE discount it was $5.07! Evidently "I took care of it" meant he took the salad off our bill, which was not necessary - but very nice. We left him a big tip to adjust for the fact that we had shared a meal and also had not been charged for the main item.

By now it was between 1 & 1:30 and Sheila was heading home. She dropped me off at Blizzard Beach so I could take pictures there - fortunately the park had not closed today. It was pretty warm walking around there in clothes, lol! I climbed all the stairs to get to the observation deck on the mountain, and could see Spaceship Earth, TOT, Earful Tower, and lots more. When I finished with the pictures I left the park and waited for the bus to OKW. When it came I was the only passenger. The driver asked what stop I needed, and then decided to take me to my stop first since there were so few people out this afternoon - that was very nice of him!

I thought about doing laundry, but decided it was not worth the trouble for what little bit of stuff I have. Since I was not sure when the rain would start I was not that interested in going to the pool. When I got into the studio I had a message from Maria (mepep84). She & her husband John are staying at Portofino Bay in a room overlooking the pool. She claims she was on the balcony looking down and 2 women down there were waving up at her. She got John, and then realized that the women must *want* her, so they were heading down for some illicit adult fun around the pool....but will be on time to meet me for Comedy Warehouse tonight. She is such a wild thing <g>, just ask Wilbur! Tonight should be fun - unless she is behaving because her husband is going to be there ;-)

I spent the afternoon relaxing in the studio, writing the report, catching up online and waiting for it to rain (hoping it would get it out of the way before it was time for Comedy Warehouse). Maria called again - it is kind of fun to be stalked by telephone rather than by computer for a change, lol! It poured here for a while, and she said the sky looks very ominous from where they are. I hope the first show is not canceled again! I also called and booked the Radisson at the Port for the night before the cruise, and decided to go for the 624 sq foot suite rather than an ordinary room since it was only $20 more. If Sheila objects, I can change it later. The bedroom will have 2 king beds (not sure if there will be any floor space to walk around, lol) and then there is a separate living room with a sleep sofa and a kitchenette. We can park both cars there at no charge while we cruise for a week, so the room really is not costing that much at all.

Dinner was a piece of Hoop Dee Doo Revue toast - I was not hungry for any more than that! The rest of the chicken got thrown out this morning, but the ribs got finished up last night. I left the studio about 7pm, to the sounds of thunder again. It was raining by the time I got to Downtown Disney, so I parked at PI and went to wait for Maria & John under the cover outside Planet Hollywood. I made a comment earlier in the report about the tour groups wearing matching ugly lime green or bright yellow outfits and Maria had written to tell me she would wear one of her shirts that fit that description! I realized I had packed a lime green shirt also, and since it was Planet Hollywood tee, I decided to wear it to keep with the theme. Soon John & Maria arrived - she in her skin tight lime green tee and a pair of short shorts - typical Maria, lol! John was a total doll - tall, dark, handsome, and a really great guy - they make a cute couple. Maria kept accusing me of trying to perform lewd acts on John, but we really behaved ourselves except for when Maria was off chasing girls (just ignore that if you are not familiar with the joking around on the AOL travel board).

We went to the ticket booth and used my DDE card to get them 2 1/2 price admissions, so they saved $21. I can get 2 per night, and use my PAP for myself. Since it was raining and it was too early to get in line we went to the Adventurer's Club and stood at the railing inside the door (where John could be in air conditioning). While we were there Linda Friar came in looking for me - I had no idea she was coming out tonight but was glad to see her (at last - a witness to vouch that my behavior was NOT as Maria will probably report <g>). The 4 of us, 2 in red shirts, 2 in lime green, and another person who was wearing a bright orange shirt were all against the railing. The club President Pamelia Perkins came into the downstairs room and saw us up there and called us the Skittles Youth Choir (because we were the colors of the candy Skittles), lol! We cracked up. Then the butler yelled at us for talking, so Pamelia explained that we were not a singing choir - we just talked. It was funny ;-) It turned out Maria & Linda know a couple of the same people, and we all had a good time together.

At almost 8 we went across and got in line at the Warehouse for the first show. We got the long row (my favorite) and Maria got a Bye Bye Blues (me too). Working this show were Jen K, Todd, Josh, Philip & Jen B. Maria went up on stage for the Fill in the Blank game, and did a good job. For the final song they asked for an embarrassing moment and Maria told about the time when she was working as a nurse in a maternity ward and asked a woman when her baby was due and it turned out the woman was not pregnant - just fat. Jen K came out from back stage and just glared at Maria, lol! She was only kidding around, but it was pretty funny.

After the show I stopped to talk to Jen K and showed her a picture of her as the lady with 57 cats the other night (the one posted on Photopoint) and one taken tonight with her hillbilly teeth in. She liked them both and gave me her email address to send them to her. One of the other "regular" couples had recently given her a videotape of some of her scenes going back a couple of years (like I used to do for Layden - he never showed them to her) and she loved it. Maria also apologized for the fat joke, lol, and Jen might have given her a little bit of a hard time, but it was in the spirit of fun.

We went out and got in line for the next show, and ended up with our same row - just down a seat or two. This time the cast was Jen K, Jen B, Jake, Christine, and Todd. To open the show they were making up a poem. Someone suggested the word straw and they asked for someone to put that word into a short sentence. I said "She has the figure of a straw" and Jen K gestured & mouthed "Thank You", lol, as Maria slunk down on her stool <g>. They then made up a poem about a girl who becomes a supermodel thanks to pigging out and then purging....kind of sick, but it was funny. The whole show was good - 2 in a row so far!

Linda left after this show, and Maria left me alone with John while she went to the restroom. I did my duty as her friend to keep him from being lonely while she was gone <g>. It was such a sacrifice.

There was about 30 minutes before the next show so we went back to the Adventurer's Club for about 20 minutes. It was pretty crowded when the show in the Mask room ended, before the library opened up for the Balderdash Cup competition. We saw our friend Diana's favorite thing - Amol Bleehall's cow (Bessie). He had her out in the main salon for a while before putting her away.

We went out and got in line for the 10:30 Warehouse show, and as the line was going in and people pass each other I saw a man waving to me. It was Mark from Boston - a Layden fan who I had met last year. When we were introduced, it was funny because we would talk about the Warehouse and specifically Layden and be finishing each other's sentences. He comes down from Boston several times a year primarily to watch Layden work and was as upset as I was by Layden's departure.

We went inside & were seated near the top, but at least we were the front row of stools. Mark was not too far away, and I told him I would come down there and went down to talk to him. We hugged & talked until the show started. He has already seen Layden in Hoop, and shared the same opinions I have on that. It was great running into him - I have found that Warehouse regulars are like instant friends/family somehow - it's really nice. We will probably run into each other the next few nights here.

I returned to my seat and the show started. This time it was Christine, Philip, Jen K, Jake and Josh. They did the Conducted Story game, titled Midwives Do Dallas. It was pretty good - but I think the first 2 shows were funnier. None of the shows tonight were bad, though - it was a good night. After the show I showed Jake the picture of him as Conway Pity, and he wanted it. His computer does not handle pictures though, so he asked me to send it to one of the others to give print for him.

I had noticed a familiar looking guy in the audience earlier and it dawned on me - it was Jim Ditmar (not sure of spelling). He used to be an actor here and subs once in a while when he is in town. His hair was all bleached so I did not recognize him at first. We do not know each other, so I have no idea what he is up to.

We left the club, and everyone decided it was time to leave PI. We all hugged goodbye (Maria knew I just wanted to rub up against her husband....but honestly I cannot think of a woman who would not want to, lol) and went our separate ways. I was back at OKW before midnight and finished up the report before getting online briefly about 12:45 to get it posted.

The day went according to plan, and except for the evening weather it was another wonderful day!

Miles walked: No pedometer

DAY 12 - MONDAY, JULY 23, 2001:

Plan: Some park, Stormalong Bay or water park, laundry, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: Since I was up late I set the alarm for 7:30 (but it still felt way too early). I had sent the pics to Jen K last night, and had no reason to get online this morning, which saved me a lot of time. I had also decided that I was not spending my last full day before work begins in a theme park - instead I am heading back to the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon (weather permitting).

After the usual breakfast I put on my swimsuit and drove to Typhoon Lagoon about 9am. It was completely cloudy, so it was not crowded at all. I set up my chairs over by the wave pool and went in to enjoy the waves for a little while. Next I went in the lazy river and while there it started to rain. Since I had left my stuff (including a magazine) laying out on my chair, I got out of the water and went back to the chairs. It did not look like the sun would be coming out at all, so I decided to just leave Typhoon Lagoon.

I drove back to the studio and changed into clothes, then drove to the Boardwalk. By the way, the construction here looks awful - the entrance way is partly blocked off by construction barricades and the building between the Inn and Villas sides is covered in scaffolding. I will be glad when it is done, especially since I have my bi-annual BW stay coming up the week of Labor Day!

I walked to Epcot, which was not very crowded at all. I was going to attempt Spaceship Earth, but there was a very large tour group that had just joined the end of the line, and there was no way I wanted to be so close to any large group so I went to Test Track instead. The standby line was 45 minutes, but doing the single rider line took about 5 minutes to get onto a vehicle. It stopped raining while I rode, and started again as soon as I exited the building - pretty lucky <g>. I wandered through MouseGear to see if a DVC friend was working today, but did not see her. Spaceship Earth had a 20 minute wait now, but I decided it was not worth waiting that long.

Instead, I rode the pitiful Journey Into Your Imagination - since it was starting to rain heavily. The most fun part of this ride is the exit, where you hear the others guests talking about how awful that was. It was about 11:30 now so I headed to World Showcase, starting with Mexico. I rode El Rio del Tiempo and then in Norway rode the Maelstrom. Maelstrom is a Fastpass attraction now - but there was nobody using Fastpass this morning. It was a walk on in the standby line.

The rain stopped again, and I continued walking around the World. At France I decided to have lunch at Chefs de France and was seated immediately. I had a nice table at the window and a very yummy-looking young waiter (actually they all looked very good <g>). This restaurant is now included in the Disney Dining Experience (DDE) card for 20% off, as of recently. I ordered the onion soup ($4.25) and asked for a wine suggestion, mentioning I do not like wine that is too dry. Normally I hate the wine in France, but felt funny having a lunch that would only cost 80% of $4.25! The waiter suggested the house wine, saying it was fruity and good tasting, so I ordered a glass ($4.95). The soup was wonderful, as always - but the wine was just ok. When he brought the check he asked for my license to prove I was the person who's name is on the DDE card (either that or he wanted to find out my address because he is lusting after me, lol). After the 20% discount lunch was $7.81 plus tip....very reasonable.

I had planned to see the movie in France, since I have been thinking of making a trip to Disneyland Paris, but did not want to wait 15 minutes for it to start. It started raining again, so I left Epcot and walked around the long way to the Boardwalk (past Beach Club, Yacht Club, Dolphin, Swan). I took a picture of the new DVC BC Villas construction, which I will put in this trip's album in Photopoint. There are some units that will be looking at the front entrance, which leads me think they may have a preferred view and standard view here (like at BW).

Back at the BW I got my car and drove back to OKW. Although I did not have much laundry I figured it was just as easy to bring clean clothes home as it was to pack dirty stuff, so I brought the laundry to the pool & got it started. I showered while the stuff was in the washer, and then went back to transfer it to the dryer. Back in the room I updated the report and packed up the stuff I would be leaving in the car when I move off property tomorrow for the final 2 nights, then went back to retrieve the dry clothes before General Hospital started. I spent the afternoon online - reading messages, talking to friends, etc. I could easily have fallen asleep, but would have slept through the night and missed Comedy Warehouse so I did not let that happen!

At 6:30 I went to the OKW pool for a meet with some people from the DIS board. I started reading over there this past month, but seldom manage to get beyond just a few posts (no time). John (Town crier) organized the meet, and was nice enough to invite me when he learned I had extended my trip. John is such a *Disney* guy - very friendly, upbeat, and loves DVC/Disney - he made a great host for the meet. He had made buttons for everyone, which will make a nice souvenir. The DIS people I met were really nice, too - and I enjoyed talking about DVC (especially in light of the recent announcement of the next DVC resort). One person said that while the other WDW resorts are running 50-60% occupancy (hence the deep discounts everywhere), the DVC resorts are 95% full year round - so Disney *really* likes DVC! We speculated on what may happen in 2042 when the current DVC expires - certainly if Disney is having trouble filling their non-DVC resorts the last thing they will want is to suddenly have several thousand more rooms in the inventory to try to sell to cash paying guests. It will be interesting to see what happens.

I left the meet at 7 to run back to the studio and grab what I needed for Comedy Warehouse tonight. I drove over and parked at PI, entering the Island at 7:30. The wind had suddenly gotten very strong, and it was also raining again. There was a metal Pleasure Island sign hanging from a pole at the entrance. The wind was so strong it was blowing that sign around until one end broke off and it was hanging down. The wind continued until the other side broke as well - and the sign went flying off and landed in the water below the bridge! While this was going on one of the 2 cm's was taking care of guest admissions while the other was frantically holding onto the huge umbrella that had broken in the wind, while also trying to get help on the 2-way radio. As I walked away from the area another cm came to help her, but when another gust of wind came along one whole side of the umbrella (the umbrella is big enough to cover 3-4 turnstiles) broke and fell down. They were holding onto the umbrella pole, since it had become unsecured before I got there. Eventually they were able to close the umbrella to make it less dangerous, and then I assume they got it laid down on the ground. I was not going to stick around to see what happened - it was far too windy and I was headed towards shelter, lol!

I found Linda Friar waiting for me inside the Adventurer's Club. We stood there & talked to Jimmy (cm at door) for a while before getting in line at the Warehouse. The wind was blocked by the Warehouse, and by the time we got out of the first show the rain and wind had stopped. We were seated down on the floor across from the keyboard, but at least we were on the end by the aisle so it was not too bad. Josh opened the show and was joined by Jake, Todd, Christine and Jen K. It started off slow, thanks to the idiot guest who answered the phone - it was like pulling teeth for Josh to get anything out of him, and it seemed like it threw him at times. Overall the show was just ok. Our server was Romy and without asking what I wanted she took my CW cup and told me the bartender did not know how to make a Bye Bye Blues - evidently the barback was filling in tonight. Luckily I carry the recipe with me, so I gave her one of the copies for him to use - and the drink was perfect.

We went out & got back in line for the next show, and cm Kelly asked me how the show was - so we talked for a few minutes while he was not busy. I was not too sure I liked him at first, but he is a nice guy. The line was long, and we were pretty far back in line, so we ended up being seated in row 2 of the Alps (those are the balcony type seats over to your left as you enter). I do not like those seats because I am short enough that some of the stage becomes not visible to me. The show started and I was surprised & thrilled to see Steve working! He opened the very first Warehouse show I ever saw, and is brilliantly talented (and now living in Los Angeles). He was joined by Todd, Jen K, Jake & Philip, which was a good sign that the show would be great (to only have 1 new guy in the cast) - and it was a terrific show! There is such a difference when it's mostly the old-timers and especially when a great one like Steve (or Jen Br, or Layden) is back.

Linda left after this show, since she would be up early the next day. I got back in line for the 3rd show and got the end seat on long row so I was very happy. I noticed Jim Ditmer (sp?) seated at the other end, and when he left & then returned I asked him if he was going to be working while he was in town. Jim used to be an actor at the Warehouse, and was very good, but now lives in Los Angeles (like so many of the others) and does lots of other things. He asked my name & stayed to talk until the show started, so it was great catching the latest news from him. He pointed out his business partner - they are here conducting acting workshops for the cast at Adventurer's Club and Comedy Warehouse, but he is going to perform this Friday night. He mentioned Steve is going back to CA tomorrow, and told me Peter (Peter & Paul were the heavy twins who worked here - both of them are absolutely hysterical) is working on the new park in Tokyo. I asked him about Greg, since I knew Jim was with him when Greg was hit by the landscaping truck (while riding their bikes) and he said Greg had been in the club but just left - and was expected back at work in another week and a half. Ok - that pretty well summarizes the news, for the benefit of Warehouse regulars.

This show featured Philip, Steve, Christine, Josh & Jen K and it was excellent. I was keeping an eye on Jim & his partner's reactions to some of the stuff and I noticed that they did not laugh or smile when the actor was getting dirty - yet they both reacted favorably when the actor did or said something clever that was not dirty. I hope this is a sign that they will move back in that direction, as some of the stuff in the 2nd & 3rd shows tonight was a bit much - and it was the actors, not the guests. During one game Jen K came out in the cow outfit, and eventually a couple of the guys were sucking on her udders - calling them nipples at one point. The guys were human adults - not babies or calves. One particularly funny moment was Josh acting like a frantic penguin - he was jerking & hopping around & it was really funny. After the show he came out from backstage so I complimented him on the penguin thing before leaving. Mark from Boston was there tonight & said hi - on his way to get in line for the last show.

I left the Island at this point, since I was too tired to not get home until 1am! There were people doing guest surveys on the main bridge, so I stopped and answered the questions. I wish I could have given them a few more questions to ask, though - it was a long questionnaire but it seemed pretty superficial.

I drove back to OKW and finished the report by 12:45 or so, (but will post it after sleeping) then downloaded the pictures taken tonight.

Today I did everything that was on the plan, even though last night I did not expect to follow the plan that closely. The weather has been a big disappointment, but I spend so much time here I realize that sooner or later I have to experience crappy weather! Lunch in France was nice, and I had a very enjoyable evening.

Miles walked: No pedometer

DAY 13 - TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2001:

Plan: Check out of OKW, Meeting at Hyatt, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: This morning I went to the DVC member update breakfast, in case they said anything more about the new DVC resort announced recently. I sat with a guy I had talked to last night at the DISmeet (Phil). The update was just the usual stuff - showing the different places we can use our points currently. After the door prizes were done & we were free to leave, Phil asked for any information on the new resort. The cm pretty much just restated what was in the press release, and said it looks like it will be a very upscale place. So far there are no plans for any grand villas there, but she said everything is subject to change.

I stopped at the front desk to check my bill. It was not hanging on my doorknob this morning, and I saw that they had rebated off the very small balance ($.66) rather than charging it to my credit card. Back in the studio I finished packing up, posted yesterday's report, and caught up on the email. How I wish I could have just stayed here playing longer - this morning would be a great Typhoon Lagoon day! But, I have that meeting to go to...hopefully it will not be totally awful, and at least I have Comedy Warehouse to look forward to tonight!

I left OKW at 11 for the drive to the airport. Once again, it was impossible to find a damn parking spot! The self-park area is mostly up on the 4th floor - not covered from the sun at all. Since I could not find any covered space within the same county, I ended up outside and then could not leave the electronic stuff in the trunk - so I had to make 2 very long trips to bring it all in (including walking down this long bridge with a "no pedestrians" sign. I REALLY hate this airport!

Check in was a breeze, and my free fridge was already in my room. The room is nice - king bed, chair & ottoman, desk, 2 phones, balcony (overlooking the airport, just down from the pool), decent bathroom, and a closet with a light that comes on when you open the door. The bed had 3 big decorative pillows in addition to the 3 for sleeping, and the bed was tripled sheeted (lol, Roz). If only the parking was not such a nightmare, I would like this hotel much better. Parking is $10/day if you self park and $13 if you valet. For the extra $3 I will be switching to valet when I return tonight! No way do I want to be walking a mile or more in an airport parking garage alone late at night.

I noticed on the desk near the coffee maker they have a 1-liter bottle of water, with a sign that they will charge you only $4.50 if you want it. LOL - Talk about a deal! Good thing I have my own bottled water <g>.

We had our meeting - drudgery & boredom mixed with a fair amount of frustration and a feeling of wasting time. Tomorrow will be the main work day, and hopefully not as hellish as I fear it might be! Oh - local phone calls here are $1.00 each, plus "zone charges". I will have to check & see what exactly that means, and depending on the answer this may be the last day posted before I get the heck out of here!

Shortly after 5 I hiked to the car and drove back to WDW. It costs $4 round trip in tolls, which is a pain. I think I should have just stayed at OKW the extra 2 nights...but it is too late now. I arrived at AK Lodge around 6pm - and threw the OKW parking permit up on the dash so I was waved right in. Entering the lobby, I could smell Boma - it smelled wonderful! I walked downstairs and headed out to Mara to get dinner.

Mara was not busy at all. I asked if I could get the sugar cane chicken without the veggies, and the cm assured me that was no problem. I then asked if it was the same charge or a reduced price - and he said it was the same price, so I told him to give me the pap but not the other veggies. It was $7.41 including tax, and after it was brought to me I took it to an outside table (when I paid for it I said I was eating indoors). The chicken was kind of dry (which I have heard before), but the spicy sauce helped. I tried the relish stuff that comes on the pap, but I prefer the pap plain. I do not think I will be ordering this very often - the food & wine festival portion is more suited to me, since I ended up with a stomach ache after eating the Mara portion. Besides, I do not want to pay for stuff I will not eat, do not really need the pap, and do not want to risk getting dried out chicken half the time. I would rather just spend the money in Boma and know the quality will be there.

After eating I walked past the pool and saw some giraffes and other animals on the savannah. There was also a young woman with 2 little boys and the both climbed up on the rocks that you are not supposed to climb on. The younger one (I would estimate around 3-4 years old) climbed way out beyond where the fence ended! She told him to come back & get off the rocks - he said no. There were 2 cm's working, but they were in the next section talking to each other and not paying any attention to what was going on down here (in plain sight). If the kid had slipped, he would have fallen into the savannah. The older boy (around 6 or so) was going to go out on the rock to bring the younger one back, but the woman told him not to & continued asking the younger one to get off the rocks. Finally he did, and on my way out I went over to the 2 cm's who were still engaged in a personal conversation and let them know they just had a child crawl out on the rock beyond the fence. They thanked me for making them aware of that, and went over to that area for a while (hopefully they can pay attention while they talk - or maybe save the talking for when the guests are not around)!

I walked over to another savannah, and took pictures of more animals. The zebra were running around, and I also saw buffalo and several different antelope type animals. It was a lot like being on the safari, but without hippos, elephants & lions!

Shortly after 7 I left AKL and drove over to PI. Before entering I walked to Wolfgang Puck Express in the West Side to see what time they closed (11pm) and then entered the Island. The sign that blew down last night is still missing, and there is no sign of the umbrella either! There was not a line at the Warehouse yet, so I said hi to cm Kelly and then wandered around. I spotted some of the actors coming to work, so I had a pretty good idea who would be in the shows.

Around 7:45 I returned to the Warehouse, where Kelly was laughing at me for standing back & counting people. I went over to talk to him, and he *did* agree that what I was doing made sense - he just likes to tease me for coming there so often. He pointed out a guy who also comes a lot - and I turned to see who it was and said "Oh yeah - that's Mark from Boston". Mark came over and talked with us for a few minutes until the line started going in. He wondered who was working tonight, so I told him I had seen Jake, Brian, Josh, Christine & Jen B. We figured there would be 1-2 others as well. He got in line with his friend, and I stayed back to let more people go ahead of me.

Jim Ditmer was there again, and waved hello before the show started. Philip opened the show - I am always glad to see him working. He was joined by Christine, Josh, Brian & Jen B. They did Fill in the Blank with 2 guests up on stage, and one of them was a woman who was so wrapped up in trying to impress us all with how funny she was (NOT) that it kind of killed the game. People need to just do what they're told and not try to upstage the actors! The rest of the show was better, but overall it was just ok.

I went right outside and got in line for the next show, and ended up with a pretty decent seat - about 1/2 way up. Once again I had a big group on the stools behind me, and they left just as the keyboard player (Jim Roberts tonight) started playing. All I could figure is they wanted draft beer and the waitress told them the draft system was not working tonight. I guess rather than buy bottled beer or just wait until later to get a beer elsewhere, they decided to leave (after standing in line outside and then sitting inside a while). Very strange....I come for the shows, not just to drink!

This show featured Jake, Brian, Philip, Josh & Christine - and was good...definitely better than the first show. This was the last show for me, since I had a long drive back to the Hyatt, so I said goodnight to Jim Roberts & the actors on the way out & then left the Island. I walked back to Wolfgang Puck Express and bought a Carpese Salad ($5.95) for lunch tomorrow and a cookie ($1.50) for tonight. I do like that salad, lol - and since I have a refrigerator it will make a great lunch. I do not want a big lunch in the middle of a meeting, and there are not a lot of options for eating in the airport, lol!

I drove back to the Hyatt, and this time gave the car to valet. I had trouble getting the elevator to work - it requires using your room key to activate it before you can press the floor button. Finally someone in the lobby called the elevator and it went up on it's own. I tried to get from there to my floor, and could not do it, so I went to the front desk to tell them my key was not working. The employee came to the elevator and it worked perfectly for him on the first try (grrrrrr), so I guess I am just elevator challenged, lol. I just have to make it through the next 36 hours, and hopefully there will be other guests going wherever I need to go, just in case!

Back in the room I put away the salad, and finished up the report while watching the news. The sonic boom when the space shuttle was about to land was quite loud - and they had live film of the landing on TV. My trip started with the shuttle launch, and now it is winding down as the shuttle returns.

I got online to post the report, check mail & download messages. I can check at the desk in the morning to see if the charge was only $1.00 or if it was some astronomical figure. Assuming it is only $1.00 I will continue posting. Otherwise, the rest will wait until Thursday night.

The day followed the plan. I really hated leaving OKW, and this meeting is not one of our particularly good or pleasant ones, and the Comedy Warehouse was not top-notch tonight, but I would still say it was a good day. The time spent at AKL was a nice break and even when the Warehouse actors do not quite reach their potential I still enjoy being in the club seeing them perform. It beats sitting in front of the TV or reading documents from work <g>!

Miles walked: No Pedometer

DAY 14 - WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2001:

Plan: Meeting, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: I had set the alarm for 6:30, since we planned to being the meeting at 8:30. Except for the sonic boom it was very quiet last night. There was a copy of the Orlando Sentinel outside my door this morning, which is standard for a hotel of this class but a nice touch regardless. The Sentinel may not be the most objective newspaper, but then neither is the rag in Ft Myers <g>. Breakfast was cappuccino and yogurt - the only food & beverage we get as part of the meeting is a pitcher of water and a bowl of sour hard candy. By law we cannot spend tax dollars on coffee breaks for staff, so we can only look at the stuff people in the meeting rooms around us get.

I went down to the meeting about 8:15, we started working and broke for lunch about 11:45. The others were going to walk around the airport in search of food, but I opted to use the time to get online while eating the Caprese Salad from Wolfgang Puck Express. We did not plan to start meeting again until 1:15, so I was able to watch Port Charles also. We resumed our work, and my group finished the project around 3. Since we did not have to meet with the other groups until 4, I went up to the room to watch General Hospital (the timing just worked out, lol). We finished our meeting about 45 minutes later, so I went back to the room to figure out where to go (besides the Comedy Warehouse).

I picked the car up from valet and started the drive to WDW. There was intermittent rain, with one storm being the kind of rain where you can barely see where you are going. Thankfully it did not last too long. At WDW the skies were pretty clear, but dark skies were not too far away. I parked at PI and then walked through the West Side to that bus stop to wait for a bus to AKL. I should have just driven, but since my OKW parking pass had expired I did not feel like explaining what I was doing there - I have gotten used to just being waved in everywhere without any question! I must have just missed the bus, as it was a long time before one arrived.

I saw the AKL bus come in finally, along with a couple of others. 2 buses stopped in bus stops and the 3rd pulled out and left. At first I thought it was the AKL bus and he just did not stop for me - but then realized that the AKL bus had stopped at the OKW stop to let people off rather than just pulling in where he is supposed to be! He had to get moving, because the OKW bus had just arrived, so he pulled up to the AKL stop and I got on the bus.

Soon I realized this was going to be a ride from hell. I swear this guy kept the bus a good 5 mph or so below the speed limit. People were passing us on both sides of the bus - including people slowing to exit down a ramp to another road! I wanted to bus-jack the freakin' thing and press on that accelerator, since I had limited time and had already spent too much time waiting for the stupid bus to come. When I stay at AKL I will NEVER take a bus to PI!!

Finally we arrived at the resort - 3 passengers celebrated birthdays during the trip and a woman who started out 6 months pregnant was going into labor <g>. Ok, it was not that bad, but it *was* pretty awful! It was 6:20 already, so I headed down to Mara and bought a small fruit cup for dinner ($2.33). I took it outside to the pool bar and after finally asking the 2 cm's working but ignoring me when I could get a drink, I ordered a Nyami Nyami ($6.75 plus tip). I had seen it on the menu as I walked by last night, and decided to try it - Bailey's, crème de banana & vanilla - a frozen drink. Unfortunately, I forgot about the no straw policy at AKL, so I am not sure I would order a drink here again unless I snuck a straw in from somewhere (and would dispose of it somewhere else). Drinking a frozen drink without a straw is just not right, lol! It tasted good, although the Stormalong is better.

With my fruit & drink I wandered to the savannah viewing area, but not many animals were there. After getting lost several times I finally found my way over to the other area I was in last night, near the campfire thing. This viewing area had lots of animals up really close, and lots of people out on their balconies. I sat on a bench to eat my fruit while watching a giraffe munching on a tree. Soon it started to rain big raindrops so I threw away my trash and took the rest of my drink into the lobby. It poured for a while, and the animals moved back under some of the trees rather than staying out in an open field.

By now it was 7pm, and I needed to get to PI! I returned to the bus stop, and was hopeful that the wait would not be long since the biggest group of people was waiting at the DD bus stop. It ended up being the last bus to arrive though, with at least one park having 2 buses come by! When the bus finally pulled up I was not happy to see that same driver!! Ugh - at this point I could *walk* it faster than this guy drives, lol! It was 7:45 when we pulled into PI and I literally ran over to the entrance and got my wristband. Up the stairs I saw a long line already - bummer! Kelly and Sue (seating nazi) were there and I could tell he was talking to her about me. She's been a lot nicer since that one encounter last week or whenever it was, so I will no longer refer to her as "seating nazi". Anyway, Kelly was telling her that the first show cannot start until I get there, and I told him it was too bad the line did not start until after I arrived! I was #108, which is much farther back than I like, but I was willing to sit anywhere rather than skip the show. As it turned out, when we went inside Kelly was seating and he happened to have the end seat in the 2nd row empty so I got an almost perfect seat after all!

The first show featured Christine, Josh, Jake, Mary & Joy. Poor Christine started it off with the phone and got another jerk who answered. He decided to try to answer the questions with jokes - attempting to be funny. Good for her though - she did not put up with it for very long, and set him straight by explaining that she needed him to give her honest answers so that the cast can make up a song about him & his life....so would he please cut it out and just answer the questions. He got better, and when he slipped into his old ways again she cut him off and said "you're doing it to me again". It may sound rude or harsh, but it really was not....the show was starting to die and she needed to get it back on track. Interestingly, I think 4 of the 5 actors came up with a verse that just blasted the idiot, lol! That is rare - but when the guest goes out of his way to appear stupid, they will work with that.

The rest of the show was not very good. It was full of way too much bathroom humor, and very few moments of genuine clever comedy. I was glad to see it end, lol - which is something I do not say too often! I left to get in line for the 2nd show and the line was even longer this time. Just before the door opened it started to rain and within 30 seconds it was pouring. Most people had no umbrellas and they were soaked to the skin by the time they got inside (the line was full, and although they opened the door right away it takes time to get 250 people inside and seated). This time Sue was seating, and had a single seat at the end of the 3rd row so once again I lucked out.

This show had Joy, Christine, Josh, Jen B & Jeanette. Surprisingly, although I would consider this particular group of 5 to not be as funny as the previous group in general, tonight this show was absolutely hysterical! They quit the bathroom jokes, and just were very funny & creative. They did Up Your Alley (Jen B was the host) and although sometimes that can be a show killer, tonight people were laughing so hard their sides probably hurt. I was really glad to end my Warehouse nights with a great show!

I left PI after this show. I had planned to be there early enough to see Nancy down at Jazz, but the AKL bus fiasco killed too much time and I figured at 10pm she would be too busy working to visit. (Sorry, Nancy - I'll see you in Vero soon). The drive back to the Hyatt was free of bad weather, but I hate driving at night when my eyes are getting tired of having the contacts in for so long! I left the car with valet and rode the elevator up to my room to finish up the report and get online. I posted the last pictures to Photopoint tonight - a few of the Hyatt and a bunch of the animals seen at AKL. Tomorrow I will wrap up the trip report and list the highs and lows of the trip, but will not be spending any significant time at WDW doing anything.

Today went according to the plan and except for the slow bus service and the crappy 1st Warehouse show, it was a good day.

Miles walked: No pedometer

DAY 15 - THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2001:

Plan: Meeting, Drive home

Actual: I had left the alarm set for 6:30, which gave me time to finish packing up before the meeting started at 8:30. The express checkout had been slid under my door, and everything was in order. When I got to the meeting I learned that one of the guys' laptops had been stolen from the meeting room yesterday. It was his personal laptop, with all his credit card information, tax returns, etc on it. Our meeting rooms were real close to the entrance to the parking garage, so it was probably easy for some thief to grab the laptop and exit without being detected. Normally we do not ever worry about leaving the computers & stuff in a hotel meeting room, but will be more careful in the future!

My friend Tom was wearing a new shirt he had talked about yesterday and bought last night. It is a polo shirt from Warner Brothers, with the Road Runner swinging a golf club. During the break I went over there and bought that one and a similar one - for Christmas gifts for a couple of people. (people who do not read these reports <g>). The meeting ended about 11:30 so I said my goodbyes and left then. I was going to stop into the office, since I had been gone for so long, but Nora (my boss) was not going in. While it makes sense to make myself look dedicated, it makes no sense to risk making myself look *more* dedicated than my boss - so I decided the hell with it - I would go play and just go to work tomorrow.

I drove to WDW and parked at the West Side. I went to Wolfgang Puck Express for one final Caprese Salad - boy, are those great! Thanks, Nancy for getting me to try it! I think I ate 4 of them this trip, lol! I also got a cookie to eat in the car. Total check was $7.90 and it was very pleasant sitting outside in the shade eating my salad and watching the people walk by.

When I was done I drove to the Boardwalk to buy some of the chocolate/vanilla pretzels to take home. I bought 3 of them ($6.36) since they freeze well - this will keep me eating like at WDW for the next week! This morning I had finished the ones I got with Kathy last weekend, and would not go home without a new supply. On my way back to the car I did something really stupid. I was walking (quickly, of course) and going through the detour area out front. I did not see the curb and so the toe of my Teva hit the curb as I was walking. With the forward momentum, I knew I was going down and there was no way to stop it - it felt like one of those slow-motion things. I was most concerned with protecting my pretzels, lol, figuring my body would always heal. I landed quietly on the ground (not wanting to make a scene) and cringed when the bag of pretzels hit the ground. I jumped right back up once the forward momentum stopped, and the bell valet guy was all panicked, asking if I was all right. I was, and told him I was fine. He kept questioning me - was I sure??? I assured him I was perfectly fine - not hurt at all, it was my fault for not watching where I was going - and I continued walking to the car. Once there I saw that I had scraped my knee up and it was bleeding, but not bad enough to bother doing anything about it. So, now I will have a big ugly scar on the left knee to match the ones from a past roller blading tumble on my right knee! Amazingly, the pretzels fared very well - 2 were not broken at all, and 1 was broken into only 3 pieces :-) On me, the only injury was the scrape on the knee, which is no big deal. Thank goodness at my age I can still fall & not be significantly impacted!

The drive home was boring but easy. Overall the day was better than planned, due to the addition of time at WDW.

Miles walked: No pedometer

SUMMARY:

This was a great trip, and extending it by 6 nights (4 at OKW, 2 at Hyatt) at the last minute made it even better! I love longer trips, so I do not have to rush around trying to fit everything in. The 4 theme parks were not a priority, and I probably only spent the equivalent of 2-3 days in any park out of the 13 days at WDW. It was fun to finally try the water parks and I enjoyed the 11 nights spent at the Comedy Warehouse. Seeing Layden at the Hoop Dee Doo and talking with him afterwards, plus spending time with different friends (including those from out of town like Maria & the hunky John) was lots of fun also.

The Hyatt is a beautiful hotel, and would be a nice place to stay if you needed to spend the night at the airport for some reason. I would never stay here for a WDW trip and prefer to not have any future meetings here simply because it is too long of a drive to & from Comedy Warehouse each night. I prefer staying closer (or IN) WDW!

My next trip is in 35 days, and is one I've been looking forward to for quite a while! In fact, each of the 5 trips the rest of this year are being eagerly anticipated due to the friends who will be part of those trips! This next trip will start out with a night at Coronado Springs in order to spend the evening with Kathy (who will be at AKL), followed by 2 nights in Vero, then I'll move into BW Villas for another 4 nights solo. At Vero besides the room for Chris & me, I booked one for Sheila & Colin for 1 night, and one for Nancy & her boyfriend Clinta for my last night and the next one (their nights off). It will be great to spend time at Vero with all of them and to see Kathy before & after the time at Vero. We will be back at WDW again for a short weekend trip in late September, also. The next long trip will not be until late October. I love WDW in the Fall, and tend to book trips much more frequently during this time of year.

DISAPPOINTMENTS:

  • Rain in Vero, Rain on PI nights, Rain driving to WDW, Rain coming back from airport - I know the rain could not have been predicted or prevented, but it got to be a pain after a while!
  • Cancellation of CW show - I understand canceling a show if there are not enough guests in the audience, but when they direct guests to go elsewhere and then look out the door to see if enough guests are there, it just seems like they are shooting themselves in the foot! The waiting area for Comedy Warehouse should be covered. It is the only club that routinely has a line of people waiting to get in, 4 or 5 times a night for up to 30 minutes at a time. Had there been a cover, guests would have waited in the rain and there would have been enough guests on this particular night to have done the show! * This opinion likely will not be popular with Disney cast members, but the Thursday 7/19 night at Comedy Warehouse was awful due to the behavior of the cast members in the audience. Disney lets them in free, and in my opinion they should either stop letting them in to PI free or let them in to PI but NOT to the Comedy Warehouse. When the audience is so heavily made up of cast members it becomes almost like a private party and the paying guests are left feeling like they are in the middle of somewhere they do not belong (during the later shows especially - the first couple of shows are usually ok). When every suggestion has to do with being a cast member, it gets a bit old - and I know from talking to the Entertainment Mgr that the cast tries to not just get suggestions from cm's but if they do not know the person is a cast member when the pick that person, it is tough to decline the suggestion. On 7/19 it was impossible to hear the actors at times because of all the cm's cheering & laughing at *inside* jokes that meant nothing to guests, and then when asked for a pet peeve having a cm shout "stupid guests" is totally unacceptable. It is a shame for some cast members to ruin it for all cast members, but Disney cannot allow cm's to openly insult guests like this. In a private setting where guests were not allowed - I could care less, but not in a show where there were probably 100 guests present! OK...end of rant - I will take this issue up with Disney directly.

MAGICAL MOMENTS:

  • Our room at Vero was great. I loved the larger size (even though we do not need the space) and having the side view of the ocean despite the room being classified as garden view.
  • Typhoon Lagoon was so much fun - especially the wave pool. I think Chris could spend the entire day in the waves!
  • Seeing Layden in Hoop Dee Doo Revue was kind of strange, but fun. I guess I see him as Layden, not SixBits, but he did an excellent job. We were so lucky to get such great seats, too! Our server (Lisa) was super, the food was very good (and lasted for days, lol), and we all had a great time. I was glad he came out and talked for a while after the show, too. Hopefully some day he will return to the Warehouse.
  • The Monday spent with Nancy & Leesa was so relaxing & fun, as always. I love doing ordinary stuff like hanging out with friends at WDW. It was nice having Sheila pop in and out, and it worked out well for her to have a place to stay before and after her day visiting her son. We absolutely LOVED that chicken salad thing at Whispering Canyon, and I am sure we will be back!
  • Kathy & I had a great day, and avoided any unpleasant cast member encounters this time. Granted, we did not return to any of the specific places we had trouble in May, but at least the new places we tried went well. Gus her gorilla may start to recognize me this year, since Kathy & I have some trips planned together this Fall - which I am sure will be a great time :-) * PI with Maria & the studly John was lots of fun, and running into Linda was great also (the Skittles Youth Choir, lol). We saw some really funny shows that night, and I was glad the shows were good for Maria & John. I just hope she does not make up stuff about me when she writes her report....lol, I was well behaved regardless of what she might say <g>!
  • Finally, except for a couple of really awful shows, I saw improvement at the Comedy Warehouse. Most shows were good - with some being exceptionally funny. Josh has really improved, and did a great job. Jen Br was excellent, and as I stated in the report, when someone like her (or Steve) is in the show it seems to make everyone else just that much better. I enjoy everything about the club - that it is smoke free, the actors are very talented and also very nice offstage, the servers treat me well and are very friendly, and everyone else is great too. I spent 9 out of 10 nights here and did not get tired of it at all! In fact, I wish I was there tonight!

Thanks for reading, and until next time -

Sue Holland

wdw1972@aol.com


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