Sue Holland -- March 2002 -- Walt Disney World (Offsite, HHR, BWR)
This trip started out as just a trip to Hilton Head, postponed from last Christmas when our friend Larry from Scotland & his family decided to visit WDW during that time. Since my 3-year history of Christmas at Hilton Head always involves record breaking cold weather, postponing the trip until Chris' spring break made it more likely we would not be freezing again! We invited our good friends Sheila & Colin to join us, and booked a 2-bedroom villa. We met them many years ago when Chris & Colin were on the same little league team, and hit it off right away. Like us, they love the resort at Hilton Head, and we travel well together.
Over the many years I have been coming to WDW the reason for those visits has changed greatly. I used to be a "park commando" - there strictly for the theme parks, where I would be from before opening until closing, day after day. During the early 1990's I was less nuts about the parks, but had discovered the Comedy Warehouse and ended up wanting to spend more and more time there. By the late 1990's the actual theme parks had fallen way down on my reasons to visit - replaced by spending time with friends who either live in the area or would be visiting at the same time as me, and of course still spending all nights at the Comedy Warehouse. For me WDW is simply the place where I can enjoy both friends and Comedy Warehouse, and thanks to DVC I can go there often and pretend that it does not cost anything <g> to stay in a beautiful Disney resort. It's no different from returning to your home town every few weeks or so to visit friends & family. Anyway, I only included that because people sometimes ask "why the heck do you go to WDW so often?"
My last trip was a weekend, ending March 4th. It was a wonderful trip, where I got to spend lots of time with friends who are not usually there (or on a day off from work) during my trips. My next WDW trip was not scheduled until late April, but since I have to pass WDW to get to Hilton Head, I ended up adding the 2 Friday nights on the way up and on the way back. This way I get 2 more nights at the Comedy Warehouse, and some of the actors I like best work on Fridays. Mary's sister Patty wrote to tell me she was coming to town, and her dates include my entire trip, so hopefully I'll get to see her. Sheila likes the Warehouse, so she decided to come for that first Friday, and a friend from Maryland (Pat) will be staying at the Swan on the 2nd Friday & was interested in attending some shows with me that night. I ended up booking the Hampton Inn Maingate East for the first Friday, at a cheap rate that was less than $50. Since I will work that day and not arrive until it is basically time for the Warehouse, and then leave early in the morning, it made no sense to pay any more than that. Sheila was not able to get in there, so she booked a room at another Hampton Inn - we will meet somewhere in the morning for the drive to Hilton Head. Coming back I decided to book the Boardwalk, because that was pretty much all that was available about 6 weeks ago. Amazingly, it was standard view, too - usually the first to go! We always stop for lunch at WDW on the way back from Hilton Head, so this time we will just make it a looooong lunch, spend the night, and then see what we want to do on Saturday. Sheila & Colin will head home on Friday. I was able to twist Leesa's arm to join us at the Warehouse as well.
Our plans/priorities are simple. For me, I look forward to 2 nights at the Comedy Warehouse, spent with friends, and Chris is looking forward to DisneyQuest. At Hilton Head we will enjoy all of our usual stuff - walking on the beach, riding bikes, roller blading (most likely only Sheila & me), eating at favorite places, checking the Disney Catalog Outlet store before it closes next month, and enjoying the resort. Basically, relaxing, even if we are pretty active. Hopefully it will be warm enough to lay by the pool at the Beach House, and I'm looking forward to meeting a fellow DVC member who risked my reputation for cold weather and booked his family there at the same time (it looks good so far, Wilbur <g>)! I do have a couple of conference calls for work during the week - one is directly related to me and the other one I really could skip, but it should be pretty easy to call in on the cell phone on those days without disrupting the trip. As I explained to someone recently, I really do not take trips to escape anything - I take trips because I enjoy going to see those places and the friends there. If work and trips blur together at times, that is ok.
The plans (subject to change) so far...
DAY 1 - FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2002:
Plan: Work, pick up Leesa, check in Hampton Inn, Comedy Warehouse
Actual: Originally I requested to be off work at 2, then decided to leave at 1, then yesterday decided noon was better. Good thing I didn't start thinking about the trip a week ago, or I would have left on Thursday <g>. The earlier start time worked better since I had to pick up Chris at school, then pick up Leesa at her place, and check in at the lovely Hampton Inn, and take care of something at WDW before having dinner in time for the first Comedy Warehouse show! Since I was leaving earlier, and I had meetings planned and things to do, I decided to go in early...setting the alarm for 4:30am! Ugh - that is early, but it will be worth it, and since Sheila is driving to Hilton Head I do not care if I'm tired.
Reality does not always match up with the plan, though. I woke up at 3:30 and went back to sleep, only to wake up at almost 6:30! I had set the alarm for pm rather than am! Oh well, no biggie - but then after I was up a few minutes I suddenly got very dizzy and felt like I would pass out. The next hour or so was spent feeling too sick to move, and finally by 8 I was able to get ready but it was definitely slow-motion! Eventually I made it to work around 9, and took care of the most critical stuff & delegated the rest - I can always follow up on some things next week. For once, my boss was totally supportive of my being gone, encouraging me to go enjoy myself rather than fussing about the fact I will not be there! It has been a stressful time lately, and it was nice of her to acknowledge that. I think the fact that I was too sick to come to work scared the crap out of her, because I never get sick!
I left at noon to pick up Chris from school, and we hit the road. I still was not feeling 100%, so I stopped for gas after about an hour and had him get me something to eat from the Burger King next door. We shared a burger and I let him drive the rest of the way. I think if I had been fully capable of driving I would have been white knuckled the entire way, lol, but at this point it seemed safer to have the teen driving! At one point a cop came up behind him with the lights flashing, and Chris asked me what to do (I had my eyes closed), but when he pulled over to the next lane the cop just passed on by. Chris was relieved, and said I could put in the report that he almost peed his pants <g>. As a new driver, I'm sure that was scary! He did great driving though, and we arrived at Leesa's around 3:30.
We managed to find the Hampton Inn Maingate East - nothing fancy, but clean, safe & cheap. I went in to check in, then we dropped the overnight stuff off in the room and got ready to head to WDW. We parked at Downtown Disney over by Planet Hollywood and walked around the West Side for a while. In the shade, it was very cool (to me)! We did some shopping, and spent time looking in the Cirque du Soleil shop. Chris wants to see La Nouba again, and it may be time to think about doing that on some future trip. Leesa & I returned to the car for our jackets, stopped in Candy Cauldron for her cotton candy purchase, then picked up Chris at the Virgin Mega-Store and went to Wolfgang Puck Express for dinner.
We ended up getting a pizza and the chicken strips with mac & cheese, and just sort of shared it. It was plenty for us though, since I was still a little cautious about myself, and Chris had eaten 1.5 burgers after lunch! The food was good, but the line to pay moved so slowly the mac & cheese was basically cold by the time we got to our table. This was the first time that happened, and I did not want to be bothered with trying to get a new portion...a teen will eat anything, hot or cold!
After dinner Chris headed to DisneyQuest and Leesa & I went to PI - after I stopped at the car one more time to change to my heavy jacket. Some girls were wearing sundresses, but I was freezing from the cool wind! We got in line at the Comedy Warehouse at the right time, and found we were right next to Tracy & Tyger. I knew they would be there, and it was nice bumping into them right off the bat! We chatted until we went inside (they were seated down front, we were in tech row), and Sheila & Colin arrived before the doors opened. Sheila & Colin were able to join us in tech row and I checked the board to see who would be working in this show. Jim Roberts was working on the keys tonight - which was great!
The 7:10 cast was Philip, Mary, Chris, Matt & Robin (a guy - new sub). It was funny - Philip opened, and told the audience when calling out suggestions to try to be original - they've already heard gynecologist and sex, so think of something different. They rang the phone, and who does he get - a gynecologist (for real)! It was a female, her boyfriend is a nurse, and on their first date they went looking at porn books.....one of the rhymes one of the actors came up with in the song basically said if her boyfriend's interested in porn, she should just take him to work with her (think it was Mary) <g>. They did Should Have Said about tuning xylophones, with Philip as Lawrence Welk and Chris as his wife. Philip was the hit in this scene - his Lawrence Welk was really funny. Next Chris, Matt & Philip did a poem called "Frown When You're Happy", which was brief but pretty good. They also did Styles, with Matt & Mary in a scene about painting dogs, creating 101 Dalmatians for the Cruella character played by Philip. It was also pretty funny :-)
After the show Leesa went to talk to Jim, Colin went to DisneyQuest, and I talked to Mary for a while. Chris stopped by later and when I said the show had been good - for a first show, she said she thought they were a bit wobbly at times. She was right, but it was still better than some first shows, and with a new sub in the cast that usually makes it tough. We headed outside just in time to be let back in, this time sitting in long row. There were 2 seats left, so I went upstairs to wait for Tracy & Tyger, and brought them down to join us.
The 8:15 show featured Mary, Matt, Greg, Robin & Chris. They started with a poem rather than the phone, called "The Pink Flamingo Went to Get a Pink Milkshake" - pretty cute. They did Should Have Said again - this was the first time I had seen the same game played twice in one night, but since the suggestions were different it did not seem tiresome at all. In this one Chris was a 16 year old girl who needed to kill her first turkey. Mary was the mother, Greg & Robin were the younger brothers, and in the end Chris electrocuted Mary rather than kill the turkey. Greg came out on stage to set up the next game, and commented on that good wholesome animal-loving entertainment we had just seen, lol! They did Forgotten Songs, which usually I really like. Mary & Matt did "Catnip" as a couple of drugged out people, but it was not nearly as good as I expected considering it was Mary & Matt! They are both excellent, but maybe it was just me. Greg did a really cute song called "The Green Toyota" as boy named Tercel who was conceived in the back seat of the car, along with his brothers Corolla & Camry. Robin & Chris did a Latin song called "Eating Lots of Asparagus" Next they did Emotions, where 2 actors begin a scene and 2 other actors each call out emotions for 1 of the 2 performing. They must change to that emotion while continuing the scene, and stay in that emotion until their caller gives them a new one. Tonight Greg & Chris were a couple vacationing on the Serengeti (sp?) - it was excellent! Greg in particular is so good at this - he can move from emotion to emotion without hesitation, making each one funnier than the one before. Chris also did a great job with this. Overall it was a great show!
When the show ended Greg was out, and we moved away from the crowd and talked for quite a while. We had exchanged emails earlier in the week, so he knew I would be here tonight, and he had some good information (unrelated to Comedy Warehouse...no juicy gossip <g>). Nancy came out from work at some point and was talking to the others, but since my back was turned I did not see her at first - and ended up not seeing her much at all (hopefully next Friday). Tracy & Tyger stayed with us, so we very briefly stepped outside so we could be let back in. We sat in long row again, and it was great because each show we switched around our seats so I got to spend time with Sheila, time with Leesa, and time with Tracy & Tyger, talking one on one. They all got to mingle around, also, which was fun.
The 9:20 show had Krista, Mary (her last show for the night), Greg, Philip & Robin. Now if only the last actor had been Matt......wow, what a cast! As it was though, they did an excellent job. This show was Story time, conducted by Philip - who's enthusiastic behavior makes for a great conductor. The title was "Hair Loss Tips", and started out as a guy who took hair plugs from his butt to put on his head, then had to smear butter on his butt to stimulate more hair growth because the initial hair wasn't nice enough. Robin died pretty quickly, and did a death by pork chop. Greg's death was next, and was very funny. He was a gay decorator who designed an entirely pink nursery (walls, ceiling, furniture, etc) for Krista's baby boy. Greg claimed he did not want to put pressure on the boy with gender stereotypical colors, remembering how oppressed he himself felt growing up. Krista was beside herself with anger, because she could not see where the furniture or anything was because everything was the same shade of pink! Greg eventually died by the pink baby bureau, after leaving us all laughing at the *attitude* he was giving Krista. That left Mary & Krista, and they would not die - Philip tried to make them mess up, but they were too good. Finally he gave them styles to stay in, and Krista soon committed suicide to get out of having to continue the story in the style of Black Entertainment Television (Mary was in the style of self-help books). She died in a Laundromat, from a pair of crotch less panties worn my Mary's ex-husband. The panties kept shrinking, until they finally squeezed her to death, lol! Mary then wrapped up the story in a song, and did a great job. It was an excellent show!
Greg stopped by long row, and said he'd be in the next show. Sheila left at this point to meet Colin and go check in to their hotel. Leesa, Tracy, Tyger & I went outside to wait for the 4th show, then came back to long row. This time (10:40) we had Greg, Krista, Chris, Philip & Matt. They did Fill In The Blanks with audience volunteers. Krista & Matt were 2 people at a bus stop (Matt was pretty dysfunctional) and Philip was the bus driver. They did Scene Change next, that got pretty raunchy but was funny. Whoever was conducting it though, must have decided the raunchiness was pushing the line of acceptable stuff, and kept it very brief. Next was Up Your Alley, with Chris as host Dodi Dodo, and only 2 contestants. The subject was flying, so we had Philip as Rocky the flying squirrel (from Bullwinkle) and Greg as Scott Alarm - a monotonous guy who's a consultant for airport security. It was funny, but the previous show was the best one of the night.
When the show ended we were all leaving. Greg stopped by again to see if I was coming tomorrow night, of course we'll be in Hilton Head. He's working in New York all next week, staying through Easter, so I was glad to have gotten to see him tonight. Onstage I really enjoy his talent (he is one of the best, in my opinion), and offstage he is a genuinely nice person. Mary's the same way.
Outside we said goodbye to Tracy & Tyger, who will probably be back for the later shows next Friday. Nancy came to get Leesa, and asked if I was bringing her out next Friday. I said I would if Nancy could take her home, so that was settled - Leesa extended her arm for some *twisting*, but it didn't take much effort! I realized that from the moment I arrived at the Comedy Warehouse tonight any residual effects from feeling so sick this morning were completely gone. Perhaps I should find a doctor who will prescribe frequent doses as a preventative measure <g>.
I picked up Chris over by Planet Hollywood, and we returned to the Hampton Inn. On our floor there was a security guard sitting on a chair - not sure what that was all about, but I was not going to worry about it. Chris took a shower & went to bed, while I wrote the report and got online to get it posted.
The day went according to the plan, and despite the very scary beginning, everything worked out great. It was a wonderful evening spent with friends at my favorite place :-)
DAY 2 - SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 2002:
Plan: Drive to Hilton Head, get bikes, get groceries, dinner out
Actual: Knowing Sheila was driving today, I was not concerned about staying up late to get the report done & posted. Earlier in the day I thought I would probably have to wait until after arriving at Hilton Head, but fortunately the Warehouse time killed any lingering ill effects <g>. As it turned out, I took a nap (3 hours) before getting up to get ready to meet Sheila. We were leaving my car at an undisclosed location <g> rather than driving both cars 10 hours round trip to HH.
We slept well - no noise or anything to disturb us. We went down to the free continental breakfast at 6:30 - muffins, bagels, English muffins, toast, cereal, cinnamon rolls, oatmeal, grits, apples, juices & beverages. I had a toasted bagel with cream cheese, while Chris got a plate of assorted pastries & donuts. We ate in the room as we finished getting ready, and we left shortly after 7 to meet Sheila & Colin. As we walked across the parking lot someone called my name - it was Sheila! As it turned out, her hotel was our hotel, and she did not realize that until she saw my car in the parking lot across from hers this morning. We were in room 237 and they were in 242!
Sheila & Colin went back in to get some breakfast after we moved our stuff from my trunk to her car. We were on the road to drop my car off around 7:30, and then began the drive to Hilton Head.
Since it was Saturday, traffic was not a major issue, except for the many people who would use their brakes for no obvious reason and start a chain reaction of slowing down....grrrr. We stopped for gas in Georgia, but the station was so crowded (people waiting for a gas pump) and so many people there seemed to not have a clue how to pump gas, we got fed up and left - stopping at the next exit. Here we got gas quickly, and without any headaches. Back on the road again, traffic came to a standstill and did not move again. Figuring it must be an accident farther up the road, we decided to get off at the exit that was just a few car lengths down the road. Luckily we had a map, and saw a road that ran parallel to I-95 so we decided to take that for the next 16 miles to be sure we got beyond the accident. That strategy worked out great, and we were on our way in no time! It was a little congested getting onto Hilton Head, and we pulled into the resort just before 1:30.
Our room was not ready, but we got the check in process out of the way. The cast members here are so friendly, and try hard to be helpful. One of the ladies at the front desk recognized me from last time, too. The boys went to play pool while we did the check in stuff, then we all headed over to the recreation area to rent our bikes for the week. Sheila & I first made a detour to the restroom, and while in there a tooth broke off the zipper on my pants, making it impossible to close the zipper! I had noticed it getting caught in the past, but have no clue about sewing type things and did not know this might happen (duh). I was unable to get it threaded back through the metal piece, and Sheila had already gone back outside so I pulled my shirt down outside my pants, held my backpack in front of me, and went out to ask her to come back inside with me (she sews, but I figured any human being would know more about zippers than I do, lol) Argh! She was unable to get it to work while I had the pants on, so I took them off and handed them to her - waiting in a stall so I did not look like an idiot standing by the sinks in my underwear! She was eventually able to get it fixed, and thankfully I was able to get the pants up without lowering the zipper below that damaged spot!
After that mishap we went downstairs and rented 4 bikes for the length of our stay. As members, the first 2 cost $25 each, and the rest are $10 each, so the total was $70 plus tax. We got baskets and locks, then rode back to Live Oak Lodge (main building). One of the locks did not open, and Chris was complaining something was wrong with his bike, so I sent him back to recreation for a new bike & lock. When he returned we drove over to Fuddrucker's for lunch/dinner (boys choice). There was some festival going on behind the mall at Shelter Cove, so parking was a nightmare. We did find a spot, though, and Fuddrucker's was not busy at all. Chris got a 2/3 pound bacon cheeseburger, fries & coke - I got an order of onion rings and ate a piece of his burger (about $11 total). Sheila got the kids meal burger/fries/drink/cookie and Colin got a 1/3 pound burger with chili cheese fries. This is not a fancy place at all, but the food is good and it appeals to kids/teens.
After eating we stopped at the TJ Maxx there so Sheila could buy a swimsuit (she remembered 1/2 way to Orlando she had forgotten hers), then went to Piggly Wiggly. Our parking space was central to all of this, thank goodness! We picked up some soda & snacks for the boys, along with some breakfast stuff, and while Sheila & I were checking out, Chris called the resort and got our villa number. We are in building 13 - at first I said YUCK, but then realized 13 was the little building all by itself behind Live Oak Lodge....that sounded pretty darn good!
We stopped at Hilton Head Diner first, so I could buy those cinnamon twist pastry things I like. The place was deserted, and smelled like cigarette smoke - disgusting! Their food is great, but I think I will stick to just buying my pastry here *to go* - if I have to walk through a smoking section to get to my table or to pay my bill, then that restaurant does not need my business, and Hilton Head has hundreds of places to eat!
We returned to the resort and moved into the villa. Building 13 is a small building - only 4 units. We are in the top unit at the end away from Live Oak Lodge, with a great view of the marsh from the back and the side. Everything in the villa looked clean & fresh. Chris will be sleeping in the living room, while Sheila & Colin take the 2nd bedroom/bath. After carrying all the stuff up to the villa the boys took off to play pool while Sheila & I got unpacked & put stuff away. I took some pictures of the interior, since the ones I had taken in the past disappeared when Photo point went out of business suddenly. At some point I will put them up on Ofoto - most likely not until the end of the trip.
I started updating the report, when Chris came back to tell us there was warm apple cider and cookies in the lobby. Sheila & I headed over, arriving just as everything was taken away, lol! I went to the front desk and asked the cm (Melissa) who checked us in if there would be more coming out, but she replied that it was over with. She did offer to see if there was any left, and if so would bring me 2 cups. In a few minutes, she was there with 2 cups of cider and 4 cookies wrapped in a napkin :-) The cookies were my favorite HH kind - cranberry & walnut - they are delicious! I was smart enough to ask her what the schedule was - drinks come out at 1, cookies at 3, and during warm weather they put out lemonade rather than hot cider. I thanked her and joined the others by the pool table.
We played several games of pool - the Hollands vs. the McCabes, with Sheila & Colin winning most games because Chris would either hit the 8 ball in the wrong pocket or scratch when breaking <g>. One game Chris hit every single one of ours in during his turn - but then missed on the 8 ball. On my turn, I hit the 8 ball and it went into the wrong pocket, so we lost that game as well!
Eventually we got tired of playing pool. I went back to the villa to finish updating the report, and Chris went to get a movie, while Sheila & Colin played another game of pool. The store closed at 6 though, so Chris was unable to get a movie. We hung out in the villa for a little while, and then Sheila & I went to Community Hall to check out the 7pm Evening of Magic (B'Lou Crabbe will mystify you with an evening of magic). I invited Chris, but his response was "no way" - guess he is too cool for that, lol. He & Colin will spend their evening playing pool most likely.
I will admit I did not have very high expectations for this show, and only wanted to attend because it was new since my last trip and I wanted to see for myself how hokey it would be. I ended up being wrong - the show was wonderful! Yes, it was hokey and full of some pretty bad puns, but that *is* Disney after all, and this guy pulled it off really well. He did several magic tricks, all with an element of comedy, and involved several people (kids as well as a couple of men) from the audience. He even showed us how to do a couple of the tricks! He had some music in his show as well, and the hour passed quickly despite my being exhausted and cold. I definitely recommend seeing this show if it is offered during your stay. There is an abbreviated 30 minute version he performs one afternoon (possibly Thursday??) as well.
After the show Sheila & I returned to the villa. I immediately got into a pair of flannel pajamas I had bought specifically with Hilton Head in mind (not much of a flannel season in Florida) and got into bed with a cup of cappuccino (decaf) to finish the report and get online briefly. I think she did some reading, and I figured the boys would be in whenever they got tired of being out - neither of us was worried about them here.
It was a good day - and we are all glad to be here. Honestly, I miss Comedy Warehouse of course, but I really am too tired to enjoy myself there tonight....I would be a zombie <g>. The trip up was not bad, and I was really glad to have Sheila drive, as I could barely keep my eyes open at times. I love our villa location, and look forward to some warmer weather for a few days, and getting outside to have some fun (hopefully with more energy than I have had the past 2 days).
DAY 3 - SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 2002:
Plan: Beach, Bike, Rollerblade, Pool, Eat out
Actual: Last night the boys got home around 9:30, and spent the rest of their evening watching TV & eating. It is so quiet here at night - I love it! I stayed up talking to my friend Kathy, but still got to bed around 11 and purposely did not set the alarm. However, the last guest did, and at 6am the theme song to the Jefferson's (TV show) was blaring in my bedroom - Moooovin' on up, LOL! I quickly figured out how to shut that off - and found out later nobody else had heard it. I went back to sleep and did not get up until 8am - almost 9 hours of sleep is a real luxury for me!
I showered and got dressed, and then found Sheila sitting out on the porch (a la Darla, lol). It was a gorgeous morning - bright sunshine, blue sky, not cold, birds singing, etc. Once everyone was up we enjoyed breakfast in the villa and then got ready to head out. Unfortunately the snack bar (Signals) at the beach house was not due to open until tomorrow, but the weather was so nice we just had to spend the day there today. We packed up our swimsuits, reading material & other junk, and got ready to ride our bikes over to the beach house. Colin decided he did not want to go, so we left him behind. Chris found some other problem with his bike, and returned to the recreation window to get a new one. Hopefully this will be the last one!
It was a nice ride, and we arrived shortly after 10. After setting up our chairs at the pool, we changed into our swimsuits. Chris decided to stay at the pool, but Sheila & I headed down to walk on the beach. There were many dolphins playing in the water not far from shore, and that was really cool to see. We have them all over the place at home, too, but it seems I rarely bother with the beach at home so I seldom see them. We walked for about 2 hours, enjoying perfect weather and looking at the big beautiful homes. I think I will have to be happy with my villa in building 13 though, as I could never afford the land for one of those houses, never mind building a big gorgeous house!
There were lots of people on the beach, mostly sunbathing but a few in regular clothes. When we returned to the pool it was much busier there as well, but it never got *full*. Unfortunately the snack bar does not open until tomorrow, so Disney lost quite of potential food revenue today. Chris was in the pool and found a bunch of people to play water basketball with (about 9-10 pre-teens, teens & one dad). Sheila & I did some reading and looked over the book of menus to figure out where to eat today. She suggested Giuseppes, and that was fine with me.
She left to ride back to the villa a little after 1:30, and Chris & I stayed for another 1/2 hour. When I came out of the restroom after changing back into regular clothes, Wilbur was walking towards me! It was great to meet him in person finally (fellow DVC member, friend from the internet) and he seems just as nice in person. Soon his wife Amy & daughter Cary came along....and we talked for a little while before they headed down to the beach. They had just arrived and decided to spend time on the beach until their room would be ready.
Chris & I rode back, and he checked to see if Colin was playing pool while I went up to the villa. Chris came back briefly - Sheila & Colin were off somewhere, but pretty soon we all caught up with each other and decided what to do next. Sheila had broken her sunglasses this morning, Chris needed batteries for his CD player, Colin wanted beef jerky, and we did not have an 8-inch baking pan in the villa (for use with a banana nut cake and chocolate chunk cake mixes I had brought), so we needed to shop. Chris decided to stay at the resort to play pool, but Colin wanted to come with us to Sam's Club.
We were amazed at the Sam's Club here - it was tiny, and there were no long lines to check out! We got the batteries & beef jerky, and Colin also bought the Lord of the Rings book (huge). There was a grocery store in the same shopping center (Bi-Lo) where we found the sunglasses and baking pan. With that done, we returned to the resort but could not find Chris. I eventually left him a note saying we had gone to dinner without him, and met the others in front of Live Oak Lodge - and Chris was with them. We rode our bikes to Giuseppe's for what was now an early dinner (around 4:30 or so).
It smelled great in there, but I did not think the food was as great as it was last year. Chris said it seemed the same to him, so maybe it was just me. Sheila got a chicken parmesan sub, Colin got a Caesar salad (very big), and Chris & I shared a large pizza. We all shared the cheese garlic bread to start, and with non-alcoholic drinks the check was about $30 after the 10% Disney/DVC discount. We ended up bringing most of the pizza home, but I have no doubt the boys will eat it! Chris was able to balance the pizza box on his bike, and we all rode back to the resort. The boys headed to the pool table, while Sheila & I put the food away and then walked over to Shelter Cove Harbour to wander around.
Around 6:45 we all headed to the recreation area. The campfire was very crowded, as usual - no surprise considering the large number of young children here this week. Chris & I headed to the fitness room to use the equipment and Colin soon joined us. Eventually Sheila could not take the campfire fun any longer <g> and joined us - by then we were mostly just sitting around watching a movie on the TV, lol! Nobody else came in though, so we were not preventing anyone from working out. Around 7:30 or so the campfire ended and the s'mores began. Both boys decided they either did not want one or they were not worth the wait, but Sheila & I hung around until the crowd had gotten theirs and then toasted our marshmallows in the fire to get our s'more. It was cold by the time we got through the graham cracker & chocolate line, so it really was not very good - we plan to remind ourselves of this next time <g> and maybe save ourselves the calories!
The boys took off to do whatever it is they do - most likely they will spend the evening playing pool, although Chris may ride around on his bike. Sheila & I went back to the villa where she spent the evening reading and I finished the report and did my email. Hopefully it will be another early night (lots of sleep) and tomorrow we will head back to the beach house to enjoy the last couple of warm days before the cool weather returns.
Today was a great day - I love Hilton Head anyway, but when the weather is warm like this it is fabulous! I cannot see myself here in the summer (too hot), and this time of year it can be either warm or cold, so I am happy to be getting a few warm days this time. I was glad to meet Wilbur & his family, too! The one thing we did not do was rollerblade, but that will be a great activity for when it gets too cool to lay by the pool :-)
DAY 4 - MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2002:
Plan: Beach, Bike, Rollerblade, Pool, Eat out
Actual: Last night Colin came home early and watched a movie, while Chris stayed at the pool table until around 10. Once again, I was in bed shortly after 11 and this time made sure the alarm was not set! It was absolutely silent again - just the way I like it! I was up around 7:30 and had breakfast with Sheila while Chris was getting up and Colin was sleeping. Chris decided he got enough sun on his shoulders yesterday and would skip the beach house, but would show up in time for me to buy him lunch, lol! After breakfast Sheila went to the resort's store to buy some high-spf sunscreen, while I researched last April's report for the name of the yummy frozen drink I got here.
We left around 9:30 to ride our bikes over to the beach house - Chris changed his mind and came with us, and Colin decided he would come to. Chris & I rode our bikes over, while Sheila waited for Colin to shower since he claimed he was not sure he remembered how to get there. Wilbur and his family were at the pool, so we made dinner plans with them for this evening. Being early, the pool was pretty deserted at first, but it filled up fast.
When Sheila & Colin arrived, Colin headed indoors to read his book, Chris was in the pool, and Sheila & I took another 2 hour walk on the beach. We found a starfish washed up, which Sheila picked up and put back into the surf so it would not die. We saw many crabs, including some who would wave their arms as we passed by if we were too close - pretty funny! The tide was almost all the way out, so the beach was very wide (a million times nicer than the beach at Vero) and the crabs had covered themselves with sand in protection from the sun, waiting for the tide to come back in.
When we got back to the pool it was around noon. Chris was playing volleyball in the pool with a few guys, and Colin came over to tell Sheila he was hungry. She took him to Signals (snack bar) and they had lunch. Chris was showing no signs of getting out of the water, so I sat with Sheila & Colin indoors briefly then went out to find out when Chris wanted to eat. I went and got a frozen Bahama Mama from the bar - but like everything else lately, it was nowhere near as good as the one last year. LOL - I guess I should give it up and just try new stuff <g> rather than trying to repeat old favorites. In any event, I think my frozen drink days are over here. I can save both the money and calories on something I enjoy more.
Eventually Chris was ready to eat, and called me over to the pool to let me know what he wanted. LOL - the kid is dreaming if he thinks I am here to serve <g> - I never worked as a waitress and do not intend to pretend to be one on my vacation. I told him when he was ready to go order and wait for his lunch, come see me for the money he would need. He ended up getting the chicken finger & fries meal - with 4 large chicken fingers. Those were every bit as delicious as last year, lol, and I managed to eat most of one before he devoured the rest. As soon as he ate, he was back in the pool - more basketball and volleyball to be played. Colin spent some time in the arcade, then went back indoors to read his book. Sheila & I sat on our chairs and read magazines. Today was very warm - with less of a breeze than yesterday. If it was very much warmer, it would have been borderline uncomfortable, in my opinion. Still, it is such a treat for me to have sunbathing weather at Hilton Head after all of my December trips! I have next New Year's week booked here, but will probably change it to March again so I have at least the chance of nice weather like this. In December/January there really is no chance it would be this warm.
At 2pm I had a conference call to join, so I went away from the pool area to call in. When I discovered how to mute my cell phone, I was able to return to my lounge chair for the rest of the 1-hour call. Sheila & Colin played ping pong and then returned to the resort. When my call was over Chris got out of the pool and we rode our bikes back to the resort. He immediately went to play pool, and brought back a few of the cranberry nut cookies both Sheila & I love, then returned to play pool. Sheila did some laundry, and I guess Colin was in their room reading (it's a big book - most likely the whole trilogy). I watched the rest of my soap while updating the report, and summarized part of the conference call for people at work, then took a quick shower to get cleaned up for dinner tonight.
After I was out of the shower, I heard a phone ring, and it turned out to be my cell phone rather than the phone in the villa. I spent the next half hour dealing with some things at work - they were apologetic for bothering me on vacation, but it did not interfere with our leaving for dinner on time, and I *will* record it as time worked when I get back <g>.
The 4 of us drove over to the Big Bamboo Cafe in Coligny Plaza. This has long been our favorite restaurant on Hilton Head, and it did not disappoint us tonight! Wilbur, Amy & Cary had gotten there sooner than expected and were waiting for us outside. We were seated immediately, and for a while were the only party in that particular room. Unfortunately for Sheila, Colin decided this was his night to act like a jackass - he is really a great kid, but tonight she just wanted to kill him <g>. We all have moments like that, though, and he will either snap out of it or we will have to bury him in the marsh during the dead of night.
Cary was an absolute delight and was quite at ease chattering away with a bunch of strangers (she is 5 years old). She was well-behaved, polite, and just an overall terrific kid. Roxanne - she confided that Robbie is her boyfriend, lol! Amy is also very nice, and of course I already knew Wilbur would be great company. They have eaten here before as well, and we had a great dinner tonight. We were there during the early bird specials, and everyone except Cary & I ordered from that menu. The early bird dinners are $12.95 and come with soup or salad, dinner, wine or beer, and dessert - an excellent value!
Chris & Colin each ordered the NY strip steak and salmon, served with mashed potatoes and green beans. The steak and salmon are both large portions, and the steak was very tender & delicious! Sheila got the salmon, with fries and green beans. Amy got the seafood or shrimp fettuccine, served in a bread bowl and Wilbur got the mussels marinara served over spaghetti. I got the charbroiled chicken salad served in a bread bowl, and Cary got the kid's pizza. The soup today was seafood chowder. My salad was excellent, and the bread bowl was soft & fresh - delicious! I brought home at least half of it, and Sheila brought home half of her salmon, so our fridge is pretty full. The total check was just over $103 with tax & tip, which is not bad for 6 adults & a child, for all that food.
We said goodnight to the Hundley's and drove back to the resort. Colin went to call his girlfriend, and the rest of us went to Goofy Bingo. They run this at 7 & 8, since it always fills up and we were among the last to get seats before they started turning people away. Goofy Bingo is like regular bingo except rather than numbers you have pictures of Disney characters. Also, rather than calling out "bingo" when you win, you have to scream "Goofy Goofy Bingo" like an idiot <g> or no prize for you. They keep playing a game until there are several winners, so pretty much anyone that wants a prize will get one. Chris won once and Sheila won twice, but I never did. The prizes this year were gummy fruit snacks - yuck - so for once I was satisfied being a loser, lol! I was surprised Chris wanted to come with us, figuring he was too cool for Goofy Bingo, but he had fun with it. We stopped in the Mercantile after the game, but did not find anything I had to buy, so we walked back to the villa. This resort is so gorgeous and peaceful, particularly at night. I absolutely love it here! However, I am not willing to skip my Comedy Warehouse nights enough to come to Hilton Head more than once per year, and when I come here I like to stay at least 5 nights to make it worth the long drive.
Back at the villa, Chris went to check who was at the pool table, but came back to report it was just a bunch of little kids. He ended up heading back out to ride around on his bike and see if he ran into any of the people from the pool today. Colin was off somewhere, not in the villa. Sheila went out and walked around a little while. I finished the report and then got online to check mail. It amazes me how fast the days are passing - even at WDW I have more time to be online, but here on this trip it is difficult to fit that in.
We have one more warm day coming up tomorrow, before it cools off by at least 10 degrees. I underestimated the sun *up north* here, and have ended up with some sunburn, along with Sheila & Chris. It's just a mild case, but enough that 3 more days on a sunny beach would not be a good idea! Today was another great day....have I mentioned I love being here???? :-)
DAY 5 - TUESDAY, MARCH 26, 2002:
Plan: Beach, Bike, Rollerblade, Pool, Eat out
Actual: Last night the boys came home early to watch a movie. It was a relaxing evening *at home*. I had more mail from work, so I gave some instructions to people there and then read the 100+ emails I did not delete without even opening (spam). I was happy to see Vicki's Hilton Head trip report started - it seems funny to be reading a report about a resort while I'm actually staying here :-)
After another good night's sleep, this morning I got up around 6:30 to do some reading before the day started. It's another gorgeous day - sunny & warm. From the porch I could hear the clink of someone playing horseshoes in the pit around the corner. Sheila came out around 8:30 for her breakfast. Chris fried up some eggs for his breakfast, and the 3 of us ate together. Colin was still asleep, but Sheila went to wake him up after 9. Chris decided to skip the beach house today and hang around the resort - most likely his day will be spent playing pool and riding around on his bike.
Sheila & I rode our bikes to the beach house, arriving frustrated at the families on bikes who would just stop dead in our way in the middle of the bike path. When cars are zooming by on the road, it is not possible to just swing around to pass these people (who appear to stop only to chitchat with each other.....grrr). Sheila had to drive onto the grass at one point, to avoid hitting one idiot (yes, there's that word again, but it truly describes his behavior on a bicycle this morning). The fact that these tend to be infrequent bikers, often on tandem bikes or pulling a little kid car behind them only adds to the challenge of traveling by bike. Anyway, we arrived in one piece and locked our bikes up in the garage.
We put our stuff on a couple of chairs and took another 2 hour walk on the beach, which included a half hour of work time thanks to the cell phone. The beach was not as busy on the north end as it was on the south yesterday, since here it is mostly very large & expensive private homes rather than condos or timeshares. We did not see any dolphins, and not many crabs either.
Back at the beach house we laid on our chairs and read for an hour, and by then I decided I'd had enough sun for today. While walking and while on the chair I kept my shoulders covered, but I still did not want to overdo the rest of me! Sheila decided to come back as well, so we rode our bikes back to the resort. Chris was on the couch in the living room watching a movie, and Colin was in his room. They had played pool for a while, got lunch from Tide Me Over (the ingrate had the nerve to tell me the cookies they sell are excellent, but did not save me a piece....this was as he was asking me to reimburse him for his lunch cost, lol) and then watched TV.
I ate some of the leftover salad from last night while Sheila snacked on some Teddy Grahams. We threw in the rest of the laundry, and Sheila & I each showered & got ready for the rest of the day. Chris headed out to the pool table again, and housekeeping arrived to do the trash & towel service. I could hear someone out on the marsh in a small speedboat, but otherwise the only sounds were of birds chirping. It is amazingly peaceful and beautiful here, and building 13 is the perfect spot for us when we get a 2br unit.
We stopped at Live Oak Lodge, where Sheila cashed a check at the front desk while I played a game of pool with Chris. It was almost 3pm, so we waited for the cookies to be brought out - and I was thrilled to see those delicious cranberry nut cookies again! Those are my favorite, even though the don't have any chocolate and I am not normally a cranberry lover. After the cookie we said goodbye to the boys and drove to the Disney Catalog Outlet. Chris was going to ride his bike, and Colin was still watching TV in Big Murgie's Den.
At the outlet mall I was shocked at how bleak the Disney outlet was. I had read in Wilbur's report that there was not much left, but it was still a shock to see the larger half of the store empty and closed off. The clothing that was left was mostly size 3x and 4x - not exactly my size, and way too big for Sheila as well. They had a very limited amount of baby stuff, but since neither of us plans another baby (oh gosh, shoot me now, lol) or knows anyone expecting one, we ended up leaving without buying anything. Besides the lack of merchandise, it was aggravating being in the store because these 2 cute little toddlers were running around the empty side of the store unsupervised, screeching at the top of their lungs repeatedly (I think they liked the echo effect they got) and banging on the empty display cases with some toy. It was nerve-wracking to say the least, and when Sheila finally told them "Shhhhhhh", their mother came over and made some snide comment without directly talking to Sheila. Geesh - if she had been doing her job watching the kids and keeping them from being sooooo damn disruptive, Sheila would not have told them shhhhh. We were done shopping at that point, so we gladly left.
We stopped at Kilwin's candy store, mainly for me to buy some cashew brittle. I am not a big brittle fan, but I like theirs. One of the guys working there saw me look at the pecan brittle and came over to say he had just made all of that today, and gave us samples of both the pecan and the cashew. It was so good I bought a bag of each, and Sheila bought a bag of pecan. He also explained how they made fudge, and gave us a praline to share. The praline was awfully sweet - Sheila did not like it at all, so I ate most of it. On the way out I noticed there is a Kilwin's in Ft Myers Beach now - just down the road from where I live, so I will be able to buy the brittle without making the trip to Hilton Head!
We drove back to the resort and Sheila watched the rest of Oprah while I updated the report and got online. The coupon for the mini golf place was ripped out of the book we had left on the island in the kitchen, and the boys bikes were gone, so they must have gone to play golf. When they returned, they showed us their score card - despite a couple of really awful holes, they both came close to making par. They were only home for a few minutes, and then were off again to play pool. Sheila & I signed up for the Longview Cooking Club - Wine & Cheese Pairing activity (age 21 & older - yay!) at 5:30, so the boys will go find their own dinner - most likely at Fuddrucker's.
We left for the wine & cheese event (cost - $15/members, $18/guests), meeting in the lobby of Live Oak Lodge. After checking in and paying the fee, we waited for the others. We went outside, and ran into Kim, the general manager. She recognized me from the past, and we spent about 15 minutes talking. HH is almost 90% sold out, and the sales office closed March 1st and they're trying to get out of their lease (doesn't end for another 8 months) on that building. It was nice catching up with her.
Eventually it was time to leave - they put the 13 of us into a big van and drove us to the beach house. The group was quiet on the trip over, but boisterous on the trip back. Think it might have been the wine???? Hell, yes! LOL - the evening was a lot of fun - I heartily recommend it to anyone, and I would gladly do it again. We were met by Chef Gordon, who is really nice. He has a good sense of humor, and although he's educated in culinary/wine he is very down to earth & doesn't take himself too seriously. We had 4 tastings, listed below:
Clos du Bois Sauvignon Blanc with camembert - the wine was ok...better after a few sips <g>, but the cheese was pretty bland. Next was Fonseca bin No. 27 reserved port with Stilton. I had never tried port before, and did not expect the sweetness. Sheila really liked this one, but I merely tolerated it. The cheese was more than either of us cared for - very strong. I was weirded out by the blue in the cheese - call me a wimp, but I do not care for blue food. Next was a Robert Mondavi chardonnay with gruyere cheese. The cheese was great, but Sheila hated the wine. I liked it, so following in the tradition of the Sue/Kathy lushfest at Epcot last November, she poured her wine into my glass <g>. The final combination was the R.H. Phillips cabernet sauvignon with asiago cheese. Again, the cheese was great, but I poured my wine into Sheila's glass because I found it to be revolting while she loved the stuff <g>.
After we had tried all four, Gordon said we needed to finish all of the wine, so we all got extra glasses of our favorites, and he put the cheese out for people to eat. The couple on my left were really nice & I enjoyed talking to them. They've done the Plaza on points a few times, and will be booking a HAL cruise on points next year. I had more chardonnay (not that I needed any, lol) and Sheila was busy sucking port like it was going out of style <g>. So much for her being the pristine little princess who never gets into trouble - you all know the truth now, lol! We talked to some other people about wine - having a hell of a good time, and then cm Baby Bob made us put down our glasses and ride back to the freakin' resort....what was billed as a 1 hour event actually lasted 2 hours, so I guess we can't complain <g>. The ride back was much livelier, to say the least. It turned the last people we were talking to happen to be staying in the unit directly below us. We saw them and shouted - hey, we don't want to be staying above a bunch of lushes, lol, and they laughed and joked with us. Actually, they were concerned we might have heard their baby, and Sheila was concerned they had heard Colin dropping his combat boots, but really we have not heard each other at all!
The boys were home watching TV or a movie, but after their drunken moms arrived they quickly hightailed it out of there - heading over to play pool. Actually, they had simply abandoned that area while the Sweet Goodnight (cookies, milk & bedtime stories) activity was going on. I updated the report and Sheila watched me - laughing at the number of times I had to hit the backspace key and correct my mistakes.....the witch! Those of you on aol know what I really meant instead of witch <g>.
In any event, we enjoyed the wine & cheese pairings, particularly the 5 glasses of wine we each drank. Keep that in mind as you read this, in case it makes little sense, lol! The boys came home early again (when I was a teen, coming home early was something that never would have happened <g>). Chris had finished the pizza from the other night, and Colin wanted some macaroni & cheese, so Sheila staggered over to the mercantile with him. Chris went along to watch and laugh at Sheila. They came back & Colin made his dinner. Sheila was lusting over someone on Jag on TV, and Chris was just chilling out while I was finishing this report and catching up online.
It was another great day - how could it be anything else here at Hilton Head??? We've got 2 full days left, and although I look forward to returning to the Comedy Warehouse, I am going to hate leaving here!
DAY 6 - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 2002:
Plan: Beach, Bike, Rollerblade, Pool, Eat out
Actual: Oh my - last night was a trip! Sheila & the boys went to get macaroni & cheese at the mercantile, in the rain, and came back soaked! Duh - I had 2 umbrellas here in the room, lol! They were jumping in puddles and laughing hysterically when they returned <g> - it was like being in college again, lol! Earlier Chris reported that at the Sweet Goodnights some kid spilled mile all over a corner of the pool table. Now, the idea that any responsible parent would let their kid have a glass of milk on an expensive pool table is beyond me, but now the milk has been spilled and the pool table stinks from the smell of rotting milk :( I am not sure they will get this resolved during our stay, but I'll hope for the best.
We had a quiet evening at home - the boys eating mac & cheese and watching Good Morning Vietnam. I had another good night's sleep and got up around 7:15 to check mail before showering and getting dressed. Based on the weather forecast I dressed comfortably in shorts/tee shirt - but after stepping out onto the porch after breakfast I gasped and ran back indoors to change into long pants and a jacket! Yowsa - the high temperature evidently will not be here until afternoon <g>. It was pretty windy, too, which is bad news for rollerblading & bike riding.
Over breakfast Sheila picked our restaurant for today - we'll have a late lunch/early dinner at Wild Wing Cafe. They had the most diverse menu, and many things look really good. They boys were up shortly after 9, without having to be woken up! Sheila & I decided to head outside & see if it felt any warmer on the ground rather than on our porch. We walked to the recreation window, where Chef Gordon was on the phone. When he looked up and saw me he smiled and asked if I had slept well, lol! I chatted with him for a while, and talked about the Private Affair thing he does - thinking that might be something to do on a future trip. We signed up for the 2-hour beach nature walk tomorrow, and then walked out to the end of the pier. It was still chilly, due to the wind!
We walked back through the resort, and as the sun came out it actually warmed up some. Sheila & decided to give rollerblading a try, Chris decided to come along on his bike, and I think Sheila told Colin that's what he was going to do as well <g>. Actually, Colin brought his rollerblades, but decided to ride his bike instead. The boys headed off on their bikes to meet us, and we drove the car over to the liquor store next to Palmetto Dunes (just across the street). This way we were on the side of the road with the bike path, without having to use the underpass (bumpy rocky pavement and a long stretch of boardwalk - not conducive to skating). Sheila joked about she would probably fall, and after she put her skates on she went to get up from the car and her feet rolled out from under her.....plop....onto the parking lot she went, sitting there laughing! At least she did not have far to fall, and was not hurt at all.
Sheila had not had her rollerblades on since her last HH trip 15 months ago, and I think I have skated once in the past year. The boys rode on ahead of us, and would come back from time to time. Sheila did not want to hold me back, so I would skate further up the path, then turn & come back to where she was, and repeat the process. She was unsteady on her skates, and I did not want to risk her getting hurt or something and laying on the side of the path for 20 minutes waiting for someone to help her! She did great, though - never fell, and took it at her own pace. It worked out well for me too, as I got twice the exercise by repeating the distance <g>. We agreed that the person who would be the best rollerblading partner for me would be my friend Kathy - I would have to work to keep up with her, but if I got tired she could toss me a tow rope and drag me along <g>. One of the pedals on Chris' bike fell off, so he returned to the resort to trade for yet another bike. Colin eventually had enough bike riding and he returned as well.
When Sheila had gone about 1.5 miles she decided she was not going any further and said she would wait for me here. There was a bench, so she sat and drank her water. I continued down to the circle and then came back to get her, and we started the process as before - me skating ahead, coming back, etc. When we were about a mile from the car she had enough of her skates (one was rubbing her leg) so she took them of and walked the rest of the way. She ended up skating about 2 miles though, which is great for someone who does not really skate at all! With my going back and forth, and continuing to the circle, I probably did 7-8 miles, and it felt GREAT!
The only less-than-wonderful moment happened thanks (in part) to my darling son. Chris had returned, and was riding along. As I was on a part of the path that was under a bunch of shady trees, he flew up behind me and startled me into slowing down, and as I was looking at him and moving slowly my right skate hit a twig or pinecone thingy that did not move - so my foot stopped dead in it's track while the rest of me kept flying forward. It was another slow-motion fall, which is good because it gave me time to fall properly and protect the right parts <g> and keep my head from crashing back onto the pavement. Of course, a family of bike riders was standing 50 yards away, so I felt like a total dork. I was not hurt though - got right back up and brushed the mulch & dirt & gravel off my skin and clothing - and continued skating. The knee pads saved my knee from getting all scraped up, and hopefully the laundry will take care of my clothes.
After I got going again, something blew into my contact...I hate when that happens, and of course that was the time for big winds to pick up. I'm standing there trying to not let my contact blow away, and finally got it cleaned off and back into my eye! So, except for those 2 little problems, it was a great skate, and I was glad to have done it.
We drove back to the resort and found a gift on the island in the kitchen. The resort had left a plate full of my favorite cranberry walnut cookies!!!! It was tied up with a red ribbon, and looked so nice! There was a card, basically saying welcome back home again, etc, from the cast here. This has never happened before, so I wonder if Kim (the General Mgr) sent them after we talked last night. I always assume people do not know my name, but then am surprised that they do - and we talked about how I love being in building 13 so it's a 1 out of 4 chance she would get it right <g>. In any event, the cookies are wonderful, and talk about a perfect gift!
The boys were off playing pool, so Sheila & I rode our bikes over to the mall to look around. It is a pretty mall, but it is so tiny it is pretty much useless. We got some stuff in Bath & Body Works, then rode the bikes over to Piggly Wiggly to pick up a few things we needed. Once that was done we rode back to the resort. The boys were in the villa watching TV - Chris had finished my chicken salad from the other night, and we all had a cookie. It was 1:45 by now so I got ready for my 2pm conference call - the agenda and a related excel file had arrived, so I looked that over and called in from the rocking chair on the porch at 2pm <g>. Boy, people get all kinds of jealous when you are at a nice resort on vacation rather than at the office, lol! Sheila used this time to take the boys bowling. She is in a charity bowling thing soon and has not bowled in a long time, so it is her chance to practice. I do not really like bowling, but mostly would not bowl unless the entire building was completely non-smoking, so that means no bowling for me. I was on my call until 3, and then updated the report while watching General Hospital.
The others returned just before 4, from a very expensive bowling session ($4.50 per person per string, plus shoe rental - yikes!) on lanes that were mediocre at best. Sheila also said the place just reeked - like an ashtray. At 4 we decided to head out for lunch/dinner, but I was surprised when I saw Sheila standing by the front door with her purse and car keys......since I had assumed we would ride our bikes for the 6 mile trip. I asked her where she was going - and she said to dinner. I said I thought we'd just ride the bikes and she said OH NO, lol! She said she had enough exercise for one day. Chris wanted us to ride our bikes and just meet them there, but I said no - we would stick together. Truthfully, my legs were slightly sore from all of the walking, biking & skating. We stopped at the front desk on the way out - I wanted to thank Kim for the cookies, but she had already left for the day.
We found Wild Wing Cafe easily, but when we went inside and asked for a table for 4 in non-smoking, the guy said they did not have a no-smoking section! Ugh - it is so bizarre that restaurants would not have at least a section dedicated to customers who do not like the disgusting stench of cigarette smoke! Normally I would have walked out then, but the place was deserted and one entire wall was a series of garage doors - and they were up. He seated us by the non-wall so we had fresh air in case anyone came near us & smoked. Sure enough, 2 girls sat outside and did smoke - it was gross but at least we did not stink, thanks to us being at the open garage door.
We ordered our food - I got a bowl of the baked potato soup, which I though was just ok but Chris loved. He ate almost half of it - the portion I left behind. Chris got the 25 wing sampler, 5 each of 5 different flavors. Colin got cheese fries and 20 hot wings, and Sheila got a chicken & ham sandwich. The hot wings were REALLY hot, lol! Other than my soup, all of the food was excellent, and I think the soup was fine - I just prefer baked potato soup I have had elsewhere. We had a fun dinner - lots of joking around about the hot wings <g>. The total check before tip was about $42, and everyone except me had food to bring home for tomorrow. We also stopped at the Hilton Head Diner so I could get a couple more of the cinnamon stick pastries to bring home.
On the way back to the resort we stopped at the Beach House to see how the beach looked at high tide (lots narrower, but still decent). It was pretty chilly at the beach - it is due to drop into the 40's tonight and with the sun lowering it was cooling off quickly! Once back at our villa, Colin went to read his book and Chris went to play pool. I updated the report and watched the local news to see what the weatherman would say, and chatted with a couple of friends who were online.
Around 6:45 we all left for the recreation area. Chris rode his bike, but the rest of us walked. Sheila & Colin decided to play ping pong, and Chris & I went to the fitness center. The campfire program had not quite started yet, and it was absolutely mobbed!! I used the treadmill for about 25 minutes while Chris used some of the other equipment. The sign says kids under age 16 have to be with a parent, and even though Chris is almost 16 and clearly looks older than 16, he does not question the rule - whenever he wants to work out he asks me to go with him. :-) It got pretty busy in there - 8 people arrived after us, so when I finished my treadmill time I left, and Chris followed. The campfire was still going on, so we went & watched Sheila & Colin play ping pong. Wilbur, Amy & Cary stopped to chat on their way home from the campfire, and since Cary had gotten a piece of chocolate from the cm I figured I would ask - and they gave me one. I was not interested in the whole s'mores thing, but enjoyed the piece of chocolate. Chris managed to be near the front of the line and he made a s'more - which he enjoyed. I guess after a 2 year abstinence following his breaking the s'mores record here in December 1999 he is ready to eat them again <g>.
Sheila got a snack in the store, then we all walked back to the villa. Sheila & the boys stopped in Big Murgie's Den, while I headed back to the villa and mixed up a chocolate chunk snackin' cake. Colin decided to stay in the den reading his book (waiting until 8:30 to call his girlfriend again from a pay phone since I was online again - I had gotten off for him to call earlier but she was not home) but Chris & Sheila came home with the game Sorry. I put the cake in the oven, poured some wine for the adults, and we played the game - over and over and over again <g>. Colin came home, moping because there IS no pay phone here, so he was unable to call his girlfriend. At 9 I got offline so he could call (we were still playing Sorry anyway), and when the chocolate cake had cooled we each had a piece of that. Sorry was fun - although I am not a big game person. We kept playing until Chris finally won a game, lol! When that happened it was 10:15 - holy cow, where did the evening go??? Sheila made Colin get off the phone, and he came out to play Sorry with her while I got online to finish & post the report. Chris decided to use the Jacuzzi tub, so that occupied him for a while.
Today was another great day, despite the weather appearing a little questionable in the beginning. It was great rollerblading again - I would love to do this daily like I used to, but with baseball starting up 4/5 for 5 months I know I will not have the time. Tomorrow is our last full day here, and it will be difficult to leave this wonderful place!
DAY 7 - THURSDAY, MARCH 28, 2002:
Plan: Beach, Bike, Rollerblade, Pool, Eat out
Actual: Last night I was up a little bit later - but not as late as a WDW night. Between playing endless games of Sorry (it was fun, lol) and email I wanted to write, I was surprised at how quickly the evening flew by! Regardless, I was up at 7 to enjoy the quiet morning time.
Sheila & I shared a delicious bagel for breakfast today, and then she & Chris played another game of Sorry so he could finally beat her. I had some mail from work, and took care of that in about 30 minutes, then touched base with Leesa on plans for tomorrow. Later today we need to pack, and load the car - what a pain!
Sheila did another load of laundry, and I started packing our stuff. We had no specific plans this morning, and just kind of hung out at home until we could decide what to do. The weather was still cool - too cool for laying at the beach house, and I knew not to suggest another long rollerblade excursion <g>.
Sheila & I decided to wander around Shelter Cove Harbour and poke through the shops over there, and Chris came with us. Colin stayed home to watch TV or read. It was damn chilly out there!!! The wind was coming from the north, so it was a cold wind - when standing in a sheltered spot it was actually pretty nice out. Many people were out shopping, I guess due to the crummy weather. There are not many shops here, and a few had some interesting things to look at. They are not accessible at all, though - some were so crammed with stuff I could barely get through the aisles, so forget about a large person or anyone using a wheelchair :( Chris ended up buying some junky candy, but otherwise none of us bought anything. A group of kayakers came back in - bet it was chilly out there on the water, lol!
We returned to the resort and put the laundry away, then snacked on leftovers for lunch. Chris went off to play pool while I downloaded a new message board (not Disney-related) and watched Port Charles. The wind is supposed to shift to come from the south later, but that never happened today! The boys were off doing whatever, and Sheila & I spent some time reading a non-Disney message board. Around 1:45 we headed for the Mercantile to meet our tour.
The current resort naturalist (the 3rd that I remember, lol) - Bryan, conducted the tour. He was terrific - a really nice young guy. He got us all into the van and as we started to pull out of the parking lot said "to your right - that's a beach....that concludes your tour" and drove around the little circle as if we were pulling back into the parking spot <g>. He was just kidding, though - he took us down about 2-3 miles away to some other beach (same spot as last time I took this tour), where we parked and reluctantly left the warmth of the van. Once we cleared the dunes, we froze!
The wind was very strong - you could see the top layer of sand being blown by the wind, and the foam from the surf was also blowing across the beach. Of course, we were both wearing shorts and sandals...duh! Bryan was very informative and the time passed quickly despite the goose bumps. We looked at different shells and sea life, with Bryan explaining them and how nature affects the changing beach. It was an interesting tour, but would have been much more enjoyable in warmer weather! There were 9 of us (including a family with 2 elementary school aged boys) on the tour, and there is no charge for this tour.
Back at the resort, Bryan dropped some of us off at Live Oak Lodge, and we went into the villa to wait for both boys to be back for dinner. I watched the end of General Hospital and did some email, and the boys were both here just after 4. Tonight we were headed back to Big Bamboo Cafe, since it's our last night and that is our favorite restaurant. We were the first dinner guests to arrive, so it seemed a little funny for it to be so quiet <g>. Thursday night is seafood night, so you have a choice of the early bird menu (before 6), the seafood menu or the regular menu. Chris & Colin got the NY strip steak & salmon early bird meal again, while Sheila got the seafood fettuccine from the seafood menu and I just ordered the French onion soup off the regular menu. The boys got wine with their meals, so Sheila & I drank that and ordered them soda separately. My onion soup was outstanding........mmmmmm, was it good! I hate salt, and this was not salty at all. We had a great dinner, and our server was very attentive - he kept the boys' soda glasses full and removed plates at the appropriate time. The total check was about $46 plus tip.
We drove back to the resort and ran into Wilbur a couple of times. He & Amy were delighted to be "kid-free", having just dropped Cary off for the Kids Night Out. Only a parent can appreciate how nice it is to have a night away from your child - no matter how wonderful that child is! Sheila, Colin & I returned our bikes, and then ran into Chris at Live Oak Lodge. He had gotten Monopoly to play tonight, but we all said "no way". LOL - nobody wanted to make that commitment of time to a game.
We finished packing up as much as we could, and took stuff out to load into the trunk of the car. I have not taken any pictures of us doing anything this trip. We know what we look like, and so do most of you <g>. I did take pictures of the resort and our villa, and will post them after I return home and include the link in the final installment - in case anyone wants to see pictures of the resort.
We spent a quiet evening at home - each doing our own thing in our own space. That's the beauty of a DVC villa - plenty of space to spread out and do different things without imposing on anyone else :-) I was busy reading stuff online, while the others were watching other shows on the different TV's.
Overall the day was fine, but the weather sucked. I was looking forward (based on the forecast) to a nice last day, possibly spending time relaxing by the pool at the beach house, but it was far too cold for that! The beach nature walk was good, but it would have been much better in comfortable weather. The wind made bicycling anywhere out of the question, so we basically made the best of it by just hanging out and not doing much. Big Bamboo Cafe was good, as always.
We plan to leave by 6:30 am, so we can get to WDW in time for lunch before I head out to pick up Leesa and Sheila & Colin head to her parents' house. As much as I've loved my time here, I am really looking forward to another night at the Comedy Warehouse - the next visit will not be for another month after that :( Thank goodness I called early enough to get a DVC reservation before they were completely full!
DAY 8 - FRIDAY, MARCH 29, 2002:
Plan: Drive to WDW, check in BW, soup at Mara, Comedy Warehouse
Actual: We were up early and after a quick breakfast were on the road by 6:30, in dense fog. The fog lasted all the way through Georgia, but cleared once we were over the FL border. At 10:15 my phone rang - it was the office wondering if I had gotten the message about the conference call today. I had not - it starts in 15 minutes! LOL, since I am just sitting here, I might as well call in (Sheila is driving). I did the call, and then just before 11 the traffic came to a stop. It took us almost 2.5 hours to travel the next 10 miles or so - needless to say we were more than a little ticked off! All of our plans for today were shot to hell - the day destroyed by this unexpected traffic. Thank goodness for tonight at the Comedy Warehouse - that should not be in jeopardy so the night will not be ruined as well.
There must have been a big accident because they had closed I-95 further up ahead. The original plan was to have lunch at WDW somewhere (Mara at AKL was the first choice) and then I would pick up Leesa at 2pm. There was no way I would make it to her house if we went to WDW first now, so we took 417 from Sanford looping out around the airport and got to her house around 2:30. From there we came to WDW. Sheila dropped Leesa & me off at the BW to check in and then dropped Chris off where we had left our car so he could transfer our stuff from their car.
The greeter Kirk was very friendly, welcoming us home and just being really nice. The girl checking me in had about as much personality and cheerfulness as a turnip, though. What a sourpuss, and talk about slow-motion. Ugh! The studio was ready (thank goodness), so I walked Leesa down there - alllllllllllllllllll the way to the end of the hall overlooking the tennis courts, as far as you can go and not leave the building <g>. She hung out in the studio and read while I went to get Chris & our car and drove back to BW.
At BW the parking lot was full - completely. Grrrrrr - I ended up doing valet parking, which I hate to do because when I am ready to go I just want to go...not wait for my car to be brought up! In this case though it will work better for Leesa, so she does not have that long distance to walk. I brought Chris back to the studio and then gave him money and the digital camera so he could go to Epcot for an hour or so before meeting us at Wolfgang Puck Express for dinner. The studio is clean and looks to be in good shape, but they have new sofas now and in my opinion they do not go with the decor in the room at all! I used to think the studios here were kind of attractive, but now I think they are just plain ugly. Give me OKW any time - I really much prefer being over there (but this was the only thing available when I made the reservation). They do have a new armoire holding the TV, and it has 4 big drawers, so that is a big improvement. And, I still like their little kitchen area. However, the BW lovers can have this place - it is just not for me!
I updated the report, got changed, got cleaned up, put in my contacts, etc and got online to check email. It was so hot outside it made sense to just stay put in the a/c rather than try to rush out and do anything. We left the studio around 5 and went to the Boardwalk Bakery to look for breakfast for Chris. I got him a cinnamon yummy, after hearing on the internet that these were good, and also bought a chocolate/vanilla pretzel for later. I noticed they took the price up - from $2.00 to $2.59 and it was pretty dry/not that good. I think these are now off my list of things to buy, unless they return to the original recipe with powdered sugar and drizzled chocolate. Leesa looked in the candy store, but did not buy anything.
We went up to get the car from valet and drove to Pleasure Island. Chris was supposed to meet us at 6 at Wolfgang Puck Express so we went there and sat on a bench to wait for him. He did not arrive until 6:20, after leaving Epcot at 5:00 and transferring at CBR! Yikes - that is a long commute! We shared a chicken finger dinner with macaroni & cheese ($7.69), and Leesa got a margherita pizza and strawberry smoothie. We were so late and the pizza too so long, she got it to go and carried it into PI. We sat on the steps of the Adventurer's Club since it was not time to join the line, and she ate her pizza while I kept an eye out for Pat. Soon I saw her, so we went downstairs and used my PAP to get her a complimentary admission to PI (Friday night only). When we came back up the stairs, Chris & Leesa were waiting for us at the Comedy Warehouse line, so we got in line together for the first show. We just missed long row, and were seated in sandwich row (under the Sandwiches sign on the wall).
The 7:10 show featured Mary, Philip, Joy, Todd & Christine. Joy and Todd seemed to be subbing for Greg & Brian, who normally work Friday but were not here tonight. Todd conducted Scene Freeze with Joy & Chris as graduates of the class of 1988 planning their high school reunion, and Philip was the very gay husband of the unsuspecting Joy. He played that to the hilt and was the highlight of this particular show! They also did Up Your Alley, hosted by Mary as Wish Bone. They brought a 2nd grade teacher up from the audience, and the show was about teaching 2nd grade. Todd was an annoying 2nd grade student, and Philip was a crotchety old man named Pops McKenzie who was the founder of Old Timers for Education. Overall the show was pretty good for a first show of the night - but the really great shows would come later <g>.
After the show I saw Todd's wife and friend, and spoke to them briefly, and said hi to Todd when he came out. Chris left to go to DisneyQuest, since 4 of us at the back door would be too many people - and he generally prefers to be there. There was a huge crowd at the back door, so Leesa, Pat & I went out and waited to be let back in. This time we sat in long row, and sat there for each of the subsequent shows. The 8:15 show featured Todd, Christine, Mary, Philip & Krista. They did a Should Have Said scene about gardening, with farting aphids. They did Forgotten songs, but sadly Krista seemed to have a cold and so she really did not do any of the singing tonight - she has the prettiest voice. Todd & Philip did a silent crazy song called Mimes on Drugs, and Christine was a redneck named Cheyenne Wyoming singing My Speedboat Don't Speed No More....the speedboat being a euphemism for her husband's problem, which was cured with a viagra pill. Mary & Krista were Oxygen & Granola - Mary sang while Krista did a dance interpretation of My Polluted City - kind of a hippie-type song about the earth. The funniest game was Emotions, with Krista & Philip decorating a nursery - they did a great job!
After the show we talked to Mary briefly, said hi to some of the others, and headed back outside. I hear Philip has a small part in the new Tim Allen movie coming out 4/5 - called Big Trouble. He plays the boss that fires Tim Allen's character. Looks like I will have to find time to go see it - I rarely see a movie in the theater or at home, but would gladly go to see someone I know in one (providing it is not a type of movie I could not stand to watch...like horror or sci fi).
The 9:20 show featured Joy, Todd, Matt, Mary & Philip. They did Conducted Story, led by Philip. It was called Perfect Bias, so they made it about a seamstress. Philip is a great conductor, because he is so full of energy! Joy was the first to die - by stuffed animal. It was a stuffed bear that her new husband Matt had an abnormal attachment to, and he ordered the bear to attack, and it did. Todd died next, in the backseat of a Volkswagen at Mount Rushmore. Matt died in Spain in the 1600's in the style of classical music. Mary then wrapped up the story as a Fill In The Blank using a girl from the audience. It was a great show!
After the show Nancy was waiting to see us, so we went outside with her. She gave me directions to her Mom's house, since we are meeting there in another week or so to go see Jim Roberts (keyboard) and his wife (Frankie & West End Boys sax player) perform in a concert. Leesa is coming, and so is Clinta (Nancy's boyfriend), so it should be a fun evening! Nancy had to head back to work, and then David (CW regular) and his girlfriend Nancy arrived - so we talked to them. David saw Layden in his new role yesterday, and filled me in on that. Layden is doing Streetmosphere over at the Studios but told David he would still like to return to the Warehouse at some point. We would love to see him back there!
The 10:40 show had Krista, Philip, Christine, Matt & Joy. They did Styles, with Matt & Philip hysterical as 2 guys fighting forest fires. They did Cliché this show as well - my favorite game. They tortured Krista, who had to guess "I got a pool and a pond, a pond'll be good for you." They did a great job with the clues, and the entire show was excellent! It was nice to end my Comedy Warehouse time on such a good note <g> since I will not be back for 4 very long weeks.
After the show Tracy & Tyger came down to say hi - they had arrived in time for this show, and were seated further back. We talked to them for a while, and said goodbye to David & Nancy, and headed outside. Leesa was waiting for our Nancy to finish at work, so Pat & I walked out to the parking lots together. Like I have been in the past, Pat was amazed at the large number of people in line to enter PI and the number in line to buy a ticket - at midnight!
The evening was a lot of fun - it was good seeing Pat again, and there were many Warehouse regulars there tonight. I am looking forward to the next time already, lol! I drove back to the Boardwalk, and this time had no trouble finding a parking spot. Chris was already in bed asleep, so I ate a few bites of the dry chocolate & vanilla pretzel and finished up the report before calling it a night.
The day did not exactly go as plan, due to that traffic jam on I-95, and we missed having lunch with Sheila & Colin like we normally do on the way back from Hilton Head - but the evening saved the day for me. This is our last night - tomorrow I will post the final installment, once I get the pictures posted and have the URL address for them on Ofoto.
DAY 9 - SATURDAY, MARCH 30, 2002:
Plan: Water park or theme park?, drive home
Actual: Everything was quiet here last night, and I slept well. I set the alarm for 6:45 so I would have some quiet time online before leaving for the day. At 8 I woke Chris up - we had breakfast and quickly got ready for Typhoon Lagoon. At 8:30 the housekeeper was knocking on the door, looking for a room to clean. This is the first time something like that had happened - and I was not very pleased to be explaining to the woman that I was not gone yet (check out is 11am....so technically I still had 2.5 hours). After sending Chris to bell services to drop off the laptop and digital camera (due to be 86 degrees today) I brought our other stuff out and got the car. We drove to Typhoon Lagoon and got in just before the 9am rope drop further into the park. It was very busy today - busier than I had ever seen it, but since I do not bother with the slides and today did not even do the wave pool or lazy river, the crowds did not really matter.
We set up our chairs by the wave pool, and Chris spent his time riding the waves while I read a magazine on my chair. By 10am all the chairs in my area were full, and they made an announcement to please only use 1 chair per person. I had an extra chair, so I took my stuff off of it and put it back out for someone else to claim - I think it lasted a minute or 2 <g>. Chris came by to say he was going in the lazy river, then came to let me know he was going to snorkel in the shark area. Each time this same teen girl was following him, lol. I got up and wandered around later, and ran into him and the girl walking back from the shark area, looking for volleyball. It turned out she is the sister of a friend of his from school. He also ran into one of his teachers from last year in the wave pool! I went back to my chair, and although I had not given Chris a return time, I figured when satisfying his hunger (for food) became more important than his admirer he would be back, and sure enough by 12:30 he was back and we were on our way out of the park. By now both water parks were closed - filled to capacity.
We stopped at BW to pick up the laptop and camera, then continued on to Animal Kingdom Lodge. We went to Mara for lunch and ate outside at a shady table. Chris got the bacon double cheeseburger and I got the tomato bisque - total about $10. It was delicious, as always. We left after we had finished eating, and arrived home before 5pm.
This was a wonderful trip from start to finish, with a couple of very minor exceptions. The weather at Hilton Head was perfect, except for the last day, and that is the first time I have been able to say that!! LOL - usually it is colder than normal, but this time it was fantastic! Our villa was in the perfect location for our group, and everyone had a good time whether we were doing something together or separately. All 4 of us love this resort and enjoy returning to Hilton Head each year. We had a couple of great meals at the Big Bamboo Cafe, the boys got their pizza and burgers at other times, and I enjoyed rollerblading and riding the bikes.
Comedy Warehouse was also excellent, and sandwiching the Hilton Head trip between 2 nights at the Warehouse worked out great! Both nights the shows were good, and the company I was with was excellent as well - plus we ran into other regulars to chat with both nights. Typhoon Lagoon was a good ending to the trip, particularly since the theme parks would have been so crowded!
My next couple of Disney trips are 3-day weekends in late April and then over Memorial Day, and then we have a big trip (cruise to Alaska June 1st) once Chris is out of school. I am missing having a longer stay for Comedy Warehouse, but the Hilton Head time and upcoming cruise force me to book weekends in order to get to the Warehouse at least monthly. They say everything happens for a reason, and it ended up being fortunate that these next trips are just weekends, because I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer (had surgery immediately following the last trip) and will be undergoing radiation treatments weekdays during the next couple of months. My prognosis is excellent, thanks to early detection (routine mammogram), and although I do not plan to use these reports to crusade against breast cancer, I do encourage any woman out there who may have skipped making that mammogram appointment to get on the phone and take care of that, just in case! In my case breast cancer should be a temporary situation - something that will disrupt my life in a minimal way but hopefully will not be a big deal beyond that.
I put pictures of the resort in an album on Ofoto - for anyone who wants to see what it looks like. The URL is http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?m=14481047303&n=479763910. You can also read my past articles on this resort, on www.mouseplanet.com (find the column called Everything But The Parks).
Until next time, thanks for reading :-)