Sue Holland -- December 2002 -- Walt Disney World (Offsite)
This trip wasn't planned until fairly recently. After extending the Thanksgiving trip for Nancy's wedding, and knowing we were coming back for New Year's, I purposely did not book an extra trip in December, figuring it would be too hectic being away that many times in such a short period. However, one day I got an email from the Hilton Honors people, offering a buy one/get one free lunch at both Bennigans and Steak & Ale if I booked a weekend night at a Hampton Inn before 12/31/02. That sounded too good to pass up, so I booked Friday night at the Hampton Inn Maingate East, planning to have Leesa spend the night there and then we'd spend Saturday night at her place. The week before Thanksgiving Greg at Comedy Warehouse shared his holiday plans, which have him leaving Orlando on the day I was due to arrive. I added Thursday night at Hampton, because I have some secret plans this trip that involve the presence of 6 different people - and he's one of the 6. It's nothing too exciting, or illegal, lol - but my lips are sealed at least until after those 6 people are taken care of <g>.
I asked Chris if he wanted to come along, letting him know we'd be offsite this time, and it's mainly a Comedy Warehouse trip. He said yes, then he said no, then later changed back to yes, then decided to skip the trip, then last weekend decided he was going. Sheesh! They say women change their minds too much - this teen has me beat in that department <g>. Fortunately, his last final exam ends by 1:30 on Thursday, so I'll pick him up then and we'll be on the road. Since we'll be back to WDW 9 days after this trip ends, and will be with friends who enjoy time in the parks on that trip, I don't feel any pressure to try to see anything specific in the parks this weekend. Leesa doesn't get to the parks much, so we'll hit some of the holiday stuff, but do it later in the day to minimize the amount of time we'd be dragging her around <g>. We're planning to head to MGM after we pick her up Friday afternoon, and will stay to see the Osborne Lights before rushing over to our main attraction - the Comedy Warehouse. Saturday we'll have a nice lunch at Le Cellier, will hang out until the Lights of Winter and tree lighting is done, then rush over to Comedy Warehouse. The weather looks pretty comfortable, which is a huge plus!
Chris may join us at Comedy Warehouse, or may opt for DisneyQuest - most likely he'll do some of both. He's old enough to go off on his own if he wants, but staying offsite is somewhat limiting in that he cannot rely on Disney transportation to get "home". Sunday he's got a brunch & golf thing so we'll need to be up at the crack of dawn to drive home early - a bit of a pain, but at least I'll have most of the day free before returning to work on Monday! Lately life has been pretty stressful - a co-worker's husband was killed in an accident last weekend, which has impacted all of us to some degree, and another friend just lost her mother - there's been too much sadness during what's supposed to be a happy time of year. Escaping for a few days to a place that brings me fun & laughter will hopefully get me back to my usual self! Overall, I expect a relaxing weekend and hope for some great Comedy Warehouse shows, my favorite lunch, and time spent with Chris & friends I enjoy seeing.
The plans (subject to change) so far...
DAY 1 THURSDAY DECEMBER 19, 2002:
Actual: After working 5 hours I picked Chris up from school at 1:30 and we were on our way. Traffic on I-75 seemed heavier than normal, which was kind of a pain, but I guess that's to be expected since it's the beginning of our "season" down here. Chris drove the 2nd half of the way, while I dozed in the car - I was pretty tired. We checked in quickly at the Hampton Inn and got a room just above the lobby. Breakfast is a quick flight of stairs away, but once Leesa joins us we'll use the elevator at the other end of the hall. The room's your basic Hampton Inn room - clean & functional but nothing special. For $50 it's a decent value, until I think of the All Star Resort's $49 rate!
Chris went down to play basketball while I unpacked, and then I tried to get online. The damn laptop kept telling me the access number was busy, but the message was coming up too fast to be trustworthy. I tried both Kissimmee access numbers, and even my Orlando numbers (knowing it would be long distance) but it was constantly "busy". Needless to say, I was majorly pissed off and ready to fling the damn laptop! I tried everything I could think of to figure out & fix the problem, but nothing worked. Finally I was too disgusted to continue messing with it, so we left for Downtown Disney.
We parked at PI and walked over to the West Side to get Chris a large strawberry smoothie inside DisneyQuest. I've never seen DQ so uncrowded - there was not a single person waiting at Cyber Space Mountain! From there we stopped at Bongo's to get Chris a beef empanada, which was pretty tasty. I used to love the chicken empanadas there, but stopped buying them when they changed the recipe. The beef version (at least for now) is a good possibility for future dinners, particularly since Wolfgang Puck's Express has gotten so pitiful lately. We walked over to the Marketplace to pick up a sample in Ghiradelli and browse through the Once Upon a Toy store before returning to PI.
It was almost 7pm and the Comedy Warehouse was deserted! We waited, and met up with Tracy & Tyger, but the line only got to 19 people including us - so they canceled the first show. I hate when that happens, but it was nice to see the manager Dave out there giving the people in line backdoor passes for the next show! I told him I thought that was really nice, so hopefully they'll continue doing it. However, I got to thinking - it would still be easy to get a good seat through the regular line for the 8:15 show since we're free until then, but it'd be much harder to get out of that show at 9 & get a decent seat for the 9:15. So, I asked if Dave would change our pass to the 9:15 show and he did - this pretty much guaranteed we'd have great seats for both of the next 2 shows!
We hung around by the waterfront until about 8, then got in line again. Tracy & Tyger are 2 of the 5 people I'd hoped to see tonight (Leesa's the mysterious 6th person, but won't be here tonight), so I gave them what I'd brought them. At this point since the damn laptop won't let me get online I guess I can spill the beans about the "secret" instead of waiting until after I see Leesa. I'd gone through my Comedy Warehouse pictures and selected a dozen or so for a collage. I'd had Leesa teach me how to use this complicated (to me - Corel Draw) software, and after many hours of struggling on my own I finally had the collage put together by a professional! The collage was then printed onto really nice t-shirts (there are 9 in existence since I also got 1 for me and let t-shirt printers Adie & Lisa print 2 for themselves), which turned out really nice. The image is big, and very clear, and Adie/Lisa did a wonderful job on them. I'd also ordered 5x7 prints of the collage from Ofoto and framed them for each person. It was actually an idea for a gift for Tracy & Tyger - so the collage included the 10 full-time cast members from this year plus the 2 subs they like the best (Layden & Todd), but nobody else. I couldn't do such a Comedy Warehouse-themed gift and not include Leesa, so she became person #3. With Jen B leaving for Los Angeles in February, I thought the shirt/picture would preserve some of the memories of her last year here - so she became person #4. Both Greg & Mary have been especially great to me this year, and I knew they'd like this, so they became #5 & #6. I actually had the shirt and framed picture all ready for Greg before he told me he was leaving, so it's an even more meaningful gift since he's down to his final 10 weeks to be at CW. I was wearing my shirt tonight, but had to keep it covered so nobody would see it too early. It figures - the warmest night in weeks, and I have a jacket zipped up to my neck to hide the Comedy Warehouse sign in the top center portion of the collage! One of the servers commented she thought I looked a little warm, lol!
When we went in for the show the person seating didn't follow the usual pattern, so we ended up on the barstools down on the floor over by Carol Stein on the keyboard. It wasn't ideal, but it wasn't the end of the world. The 8:15 cast was Greg, Mary, Krista, Chris & Matt. Surprisingly, for such a great cast the show was pretty pitiful. After the opening phone bit they did the Story Telling structure. Greg & Krista work so well together, but this just never went anywhere and I was glad to see it finally end. They were a married couple trying to return a car he'd bought her, telling the story "The Ugly Car." There were a couple of funny lines, but mostly it was just painful to watch. Next Mary & Matt came out & created a Christmas Carol called "Buy it for me". Again, 2 outstanding actors, but the song just didn't really impress. Things got a bit strange - the song was about going to Wal-Mart to buy a baby, either for under the tree or perhaps to put in a stocking hanging over the fireplace. Next they did Cliché, torturing Christine. We were all thrilled that the show would finally take off at this point, but boy were we wrong <g>. A couple of people gave common clichés, which were rejected, and then a lady said "Ok, We'll talk more later" and Krista said she'd take it! We were surprised, because it's so short, the words are all common, and Chris does really well guessing stuff like that. Krista said they'd give her clues that would make her work for it, but then everyone gave really easy clues and Chris guessed it in no time at all! We felt cheated, lol - what a waste of cliché, and what a terrible start for the evening (thankfully things got much better).
When the show ended Greg came over, and we talked for a while. I gave him his gift bag and he seemed to really like it. He said he'll wear the shirt - I wasn't sure if either he or Mary would want to wear it, but figured they'd still like to have it regardless. I thought it might be weird wearing a shirt that includes your picture on it. Greg showed the shirt to a couple of the others - Chris & Krista maybe. He went to get ready for the next show & we went out to the back door for a brief wait until we were let back in. There's a new college kid working who let us in and told us to stand in a certain spot & he'd tell us where to sit. I told him we knew where we wanted to sit, and he said he'd show us. When he came in (after seating a party with a wheelchair) he directed us to the seats by Carol Stein! I told him we really wanted to sit in long row, and Michelle the server spoke up to tell him it was ok - that we can sit wherever we want <g>. We weren't rude or difficult at all - the kid just didn't know we're some of the people who sit in long row rather than on the floor.
The 9:15 cast was Greg, Todd, Mary, Jake & Brian. They did Conducted Story, with Mary as the conductor. I like this structure, and it didn't disappoint tonight <g>. The story was called "The lawn mower ran over the duck." Jake was first to die, on his first time speaking! He died by a cell phone in a very funny scene. He was in NY City (presumably for Greg's benefit since that's where Greg's moving to) and Mary was his wife calling him on the cell phone first to bring some milk home for the baby, but then just wanting vodka & cigarettes. Todd came in as a fellow commuter (on the subway maybe?), who was called by his significant other Brian. Poor Todd was clueless and thought Brian was pretending to be his wife, so Brian had to call him back and scream at him for calling him his wife since he's his life partner. Todd didn't realize the gay thing, even though Brian played it to the hilt. Eventually Jake was impaled by a titanium cell phone antenna and the scene ended - after many laughs. Brian died next, and pulled a guy out of the audience to make sound effects with his mouth during the scene. The guy did a great job, too. Brian ended up being killed by a sonic care toothbrush, and this one was funny too. Greg came in as Daryll Stein the dental hygienist, which is a spoof of Carol Stein (keyboard player - she is also a dental hygienist). That left Greg & Todd, and Todd held on for a little while but then died by a football jersey in a musical death. Greg then wrapped up the story, doing a good job with it.
After the show Carol stopped to chat, then when she left Greg came back to say goodbye, since it was his last show. Mary was also finished for the night, and came over after Greg had left. She loved her shirt/photo, and although she'd seen the image of the collage early last month (via e-mail) she was overwhelmed a bit to actually receive the finished product. I was thrilled she liked them, and glad to be able to give back something after all the enjoyment I've gotten from the CW shows.
We went outside, and had a fairly short wait for the 10:30 show since we'd stuck around with Greg & then Mary after the last one. The line wasn't too long, so we got in and ended up being seated in the 2nd row but over next to the phone. Some of Tyger's co-workers from the Tapestry of Dreams parade were seated on the bench row down below us, and stood up to chat before the show.
The 10:30 cast was Jake, Krista, Chris, Brian & Matt. They opened with a poem - "Breakfast at Tiffany's", which was good. Tracy asked if I liked the poem structure, and although most of the time I do, it can be a little risky. If it bombs, it really hurts the show & can be hard to recover from, but most of the time it's at least good. Next Krista & Jake created a scene on a beach in Hawaii, which Matt interrupted 3 times to have them create songs in different styles. Krista was Mrs. Johnson, vacationing while her husband worked, and Jake was the beach waiter she was flirting with. Eventually Brian came in as Mr. Johnson, and upon finding his wife & the waiter together came out with some fairly risky comments (for a Disney stage). It was a funny scene though, and all 3 of them did a great job. They did "It pains me, Mrs. Johnson, it pains me" as a punk song, "Oops" as a Latin song, and "Walk softly and carry a lot of cash" as a LaMamba song.
They played Schmeopardy, with Krista as the rapid-talking host. Brian was Jacques de Beouf, a French guy who sells shish-kebabs. Matt was a barefoot yokel named Ronnie Foul who raises guppies, and Chris was a dry cleaner named Martine Izing. It was a pretty good Schmeopardy, and good show overall - although the 9:15 was the best of the night in my opinion.
We all left after this show - I stopped to chat very briefly with Krista & Jake on the way out, but didn't linger. We said goodnight to Tracy & Tyger, then drove back to the Hampton Inn. I tried getting online again, but had no luck - hopefully Leesa can figure out what's wrong & fix it easily. I asked Chris if he wanted to try to get to the MK for a short time before we go to Leesa's, and he said not really. So, we'll sleep in and call Leesa after 10, and head over there to get this damn computer stuff straightened out hopefully before we were due to be in MGM Studios.
Except for the computer troubles today was a good day. We followed the plan, and except for Jen B taking the night off at the last minute I was able to deliver the gifts to almost everyone. She's due in Saturday, so I'll bring hers back with me then.
I'm assuming this portion of the report will get posted sometime Friday (from Leesa's), but if we don't get the laptop able to get online then the rest won't appear until Sunday after I get home.
DAY 2 FRIDAY DECEMBER 20, 2002:
Actual: After a good night's sleep I woke up at 8:30 to the sound of rain and thunder. MK is definitely scratched off the plan - when you come as often as we do there is no reason to go in the rain! Chris got up around 9 or so, and we picked up some continental breakfast downstairs (French toast for me, cereal, donuts & a bagel for him). We ate in the room, and when it got to be 10 o'clock I called Leesa to let her know the laptop was still not working properly. We made arrangements to go over there, but I called the front desk before leaving just to rule out the possibility of phone line problems at the hotel. At that point the light bulb started to flicker on over my head <g>. When I checked in yesterday, I paid for the room with traveler's checks. Since I didn't use a credit card, they don't have one for me on file (although I used it when reserving the room online) so they had me set up as "cash" guest - which means my phone is set for within the hotel only! The girl changed the setting and told me to try again - and of course it worked perfectly at that point!
I let Leesa know the problem was resolved, and we went back to meeting later. Chris went to wander around while I made a futile attempt at the almost 250 new email messages since yesterday afternoon and got the report posted (to everyone but Leesa since I didn't want to spoil the gift surprise). Chris & I left around 11 and drove over to Celebration since it was right across the street. He'd never been there before, and I was curious about how pretty the holiday decorations would be. I think they make it snow at night (snowflake snow like at MK & MGM), but I certainly wouldn't give up my Comedy Warehouse for some soapsuds <g>.
We drove around looking at the houses, many of which were decorated for the holidays. Some were a bit over the top, with too much "clutter" for my taste, but many were just really pretty. Chris liked Celebration and wouldn't mind living there. He figures when his dad wins the lottery Tim can buy 2 estate homes there for the 3 of us to live in <g>. We parked the car and wandered around Market Street for a while, checking out some of the shops and menus from the restaurants. We finished up early, so we went back to the hotel briefly, then drove out to Leesa's. She was almost ready to go, so we had her open her gift bag and then helped her along to get out the door without getting distracted by anything else <g>. After a brief stop at Publix we headed to MGM Studios. The parade was just ending, so the initial street area was mobbed. We waited, then found a bench on the street and sat there until the Streetmosphere actors came out to do a game involving some of the guests. Jen Br was there, and waved to us when she saw us. When they were done we sat a while longer, thinking another group might come out at 4pm, but at 4 there didn't seem to be anything going on. Chris was hungry so we decided to go find some food.
We checked the menu at the Commissary but nothing looked good there, so we decided to try Backlot Express. Along the way we came to the DVC kiosk and saw Marti working! She saw me at the same time and stepped aside to yell my name across the street, lol. It was great seeing her again, and we stood around talking for quite a while - she may try to get on the DVC cruise (to work - but she is also a member). At one point a couple of Streetmosphere actors drove by in the little cart, and the passenger was Layden. We exchanged greetings as he rode by. We were still with Marti later when the cart returned with different people riding, then later Layden walked by & Marti called him over. He was playing Rusty Peterson and talked to us as Rusty initially but then dropped the character to talk with me about some unfinished business from a previous trip. Soon the other actor was there with the cart, waiting for Layden to get in, so we ended the conversation. We talked to Marti a little bit longer, then left for Backlot Express. Leesa got some French fries, and Chris got the double cheeseburger with fries. I just ate off his plate.
After eating we rushed over to the Backlot Tour and just made it in time for the final tour of the day at 5pm. Leesa had never done this, and she enjoyed it. This was the first time Chris had seen the new water special effects show, and he liked it better than the old one. The rest of the tour was the same old thing, except that all of the Osborne lights can be a bit distracting. The tour ended about 5:45 so we walked over to the end of NY Street to wait for the lights to come on. Leesa took a bunch of great pictures, but we managed to get through without taking too long. We left the park then, grabbed some warmer shoes/socks to put on while enrooted, and drove to the Comedy Warehouse. Chris has been doing all of the driving, and it's kind of nice being chauffeured around!
We had a little time to spare, and Chris was hungry again, so after we got our PI bracelets we walked to the West Side to Bongo's outdoor window and got 3 beef empanadas (Leesa & I shared one), which we ate as we walked back to Comedy Warehouse. We met Tracy & Tyger, but learned the 7:20 show was canceled again! This time it was too cold to wait outside for an hour, so we went into the Adventurer's Club and sat in the corner upstairs just to your right. There's a big sofa and several chairs, and a statue that we ended up naming Dude. I took off my jacket and put it on Dude, which looked pretty funny. We sat around talking and being silly - we got pretty hysterical talking about some Comedy Warehouse stuff <g> and then finished Dude's "look". He had Leesa's camera hanging from his neck, and I positioned his arms (my empty jacket sleeves - the real Dude doesn't have arms) so it looked like his hands were in his pockets. Tyger put her purse on him, and Chris added his Planet Hollywood ski cap and silver chain around his neck. The final touch was my Comedy Warehouse refillable cup! The cm working outside came in and laughed when he saw Dude, but didn't say anything. We took some pictures of him, and I'll probably put one in the Comedy Warehouse album after the trip. We'd been keeping an eye on the line over at the Warehouse, and there had been no crowd gathering. However, as usually happens, 2 minutes later Tracy checked and the line was huge already! We ran over to Dude and stripped him down (he looked so pathetic without our stuff on him) and dashed over to join the line. We ended up being seated in the row behind tech row, but since that was Dee's section at least I had more time to visit with her.
The 8:15 cast was Todd, Brian, Krista, Karl & Chris. Like last night, this show struggled. Krista rang the bell for Should Have Said, where Chris was working in Grand Central Station scraping gum off the floor and Brian came in as the son she had abandoned years before. It had some funny moments, but ended rather abruptly when Karl came in as her lover. Next Todd & Brian sang a Christmas lounge tune called "I'll never forget the Christmas I broke my nose". Brian did well, but creating songs isn't Todd's strong suit, and overall it wasn't nearly as good as it probably would have been if Brian had been paired with someone else for this structure - like Krista. Next they asked for a guest who collected something or had a strong interest in something. Some guy raised his hand and said he hated/feared clowns. We looked at each other, puzzled as to what the hell that had to do with collecting something or being interested in something - and were even more surprised when Chris took the suggestion! They did Up Your Alley, with the subject "hating clowns". The audience guy was one of the contestants, and Karl was host Johnny de Fabulous. He asked the guy why he disliked clowns, and the guy (seriously) explained that as a child he'd been traumatized when a clown "touched him"! Karl quickly moved on, saying we were NOT going there, thank goodness. The other 2 contestants were Krista as Dr Sandra Silverstein (whistling her "s" sounds) who works dealing with clowns anti-social behaviors, and Brian as a smoking, drinking, sarcastic clown called Zobo. Brian really picked on the audience volunteer, even going so far as to poke him with his finger and walk his fingers up the guy's arm & shoulder while saying "I touched you"! A lady in the audience said she worked as a clown named Ketchup, and at one point Brian said he'd dip his French fry in Ketchup any time! He really pushes the limits at times, but he's become one of the strong performers that you can count on to be good just about every time. Overall the show wasn't as awful as the first one last night, but it was just ok.
On the way out Krista said she wouldn't see us again because she was off for a week, and gave Leesa & I a hug and happy holiday wishes. It's sounding like there will be a lot of subs over Christmas - I'm kind of glad I'll be going home and then returning after everyone comes back to work! We went outside and talked with regulars Bob & Virginia. Bob makes peanut brittle every year at this time and brings it in to the cast at the Comedy Warehouse and Adventurer's Club. He gave us some, and it was delicious! Soon we were back inside, this time in long row <g>.
The 9:15 cast was Brian, Matt, Jake, Philip & Krista. Krista & Jake were working in a women's clothing warehouse in Fill In The Blank, where they paused for the audience to provide suggestions. Brian came in as Jake's wife, and was quite upset to see that Krista was attractive. Jake was the bumbling husband who kept saying the wrong thing, and it was a pretty funny scene. Next Jake & Philip were kids in a new musical called "How the Grinch stole Frosty", which was also good. Matt played the Grinch, and Krista was a girl who'd been put under a spell and turned into a dog/reindeer until the spell was broken by Jake's kiss. They also did Letters to the Editor, with the subject being pony. Matt wrote to Playboy, Brian to Popular Science, and Philip to Modern Drummer. Overall it was a much better show than the first one - this time our faces hurt a bit from laughing so much <g>.
After the show we saw the Ft Pierce family, and talked to a few of the actors briefly. Outside Nancy joined us on a break, so the time passed quickly. We went back in for the 10:30 show, which would be our last of the night. The cast was Todd, Matt, Karl, Chris, & Philip. They opened with a poem called "He opened his mouth and followed the microphone", which went well. They did This is Your Life, with Todd doing the interview of a young lady here on the college program. They played out her first kiss at age 15 with an older boy while on a cruise, her job at Rock n Roller Coaster, and her future as a wife/mother of 2 living in a nice house & making lots of money. The funniest part was Philip played this girl - he put in some big breasts, a blonde wig & a Viking hat! Matt was the older boy who had to kiss Philip, and he used his hat to block the audience view so he didn't have to actually do it <g>. Next was Schmeopardy, hosted by Karl as W ink Narcoleptic. Todd was a pig shaver named Harry Shearer, Matt was a glassblower named Tom Wingfield who had been severely burned on both hands and his face. If he won, he wanted the prize to be skin grafts! Philip was a "waste buster" - a cop named Bob Lockdown who arrests garbage cans that might be left laying around. The game had some pretty funny moments, and overall it was a pretty good show.
We left after the show, and returned to the Hampton Inn. Around 12:15 we were all in bed, when the fire alarm went off. We waited, hoping it would shut off on it's own, but it kept on going. Eventually we got dressed again, grabbed the easy to carry valuables, and left the room. By this time the people who'd already evacuated were coming back up the stairs saying it was a false alarm. The extremely loud alarm noise could potentially cause Leesa to crash, and once she got down the stairs she would not be able to climb back up - which is why we stayed in the room longer rather than leaving immediately. Besides, there were NO sirens anywhere. Chris & I went down to check, leaving Leesa in the stairwell (the alarm was quieter there) with the door closed and confirmed it was a false alarm. We went back to the room but the alarm continued to sound for over 30 minutes.
We'd brought the inflatable bed for Chris, so we each had our own bed. He watched TV for a little while, Leesa read her book, and I finished the report and got it posted. Overall today was a good day, and although we didn't get to MK I don't think either of us minded. With the rainy weather in the morning, we were better off sleeping in. Adding the trip to Celebration was fun, and getting the laptop/phone problem fixed was a big plus! (TRACY - remember to bring my shirt tonight)
DAY 3 SATURDAY DECEMBER 21, 2002:
Actual: I slept in until around 8:30 or so again, then got up and showered/dressed while the others continued sleeping. Breakfast ends at 10 so around 9:30 I went downstairs and got myself a bagel and brought back other stuff I thought Chris & Leesa might eat. I hung out online reading & responding to mail. The others got up after 11 sometime, and we left the room at 1pm to drive to Epcot.
There was very little wait to enter the park, and we were able to walk right on Spaceship Earth. We headed to Test Track next, where we all used the single rider line to get on quickly. It was Leesa's first time - she liked it but once was enough for today <g>. Chris normally doesn't like this ride, but tried it again today and loved it, wanting to spend the rest of his time just riding over and over. We watched the Krystos perform their act and then made our way towards Canada and Le Cellier.
We were a little bit early, but they seated us right away. Our server was very friendly, but one drawback to that is she'd spend lengthy times with a table (chatting, playing with kids, etc) while her other tables would be waiting for a refill, the check, etc. I think the extra interaction is great, but not if you're leaving other customers who need something - I think all of her tables (including us) had her extra attention at times and then were ignored when we needed her at other times. The food was excellent, with mostly stuff we've had before. Leesa got the chocolate milkshake, beef barley soup (she said the soup was just ok - she wouldn't get it again), a side order of French fries, and the kids' chocolate mousse for dessert. Chris got the steak burger with cheese and bacon, a soda, and then he & I shared a kids' chocolate mousse. I got the cheese soup (surprise, surprise) and also tried a glass of the Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling - it was pretty good, but I'll probably just stick with water in the future. We were in there quite a while, partly just eating slowly & partly waiting for our "turn" with our server. The check was $35 after the 20% off for Disney Dining Experience, so we left $45 and were out of there around 4pm.
Chris went off on his own, and ended up riding Test Track 5 more times. Leesa & I wandered around World Showcase, where she took a ton of pictures. We rode the boat ride in Mexico, and then headed back to Future World. We were going to ride Living With the Land, but got side tracked and by the time we got there the wait was longer than we had before we were due to meet Chris. We hung out behind Ice Station Cool until he arrived, and then there was a short wait for the tree lighting and Lights of Winter. Leesa took some pictures of that, then we dragged her out of the park - otherwise she'd still be there taking pictures <g>. A mention of the Comedy Warehouse hastened her departure from Epcot, though - like me, she has her priorities!
We parked at PI and after getting our wrist bands went to Ghiradelli in the Marketplace for a sample. Chris was hoping they still sell the toffee there, but they don't seem to anymore. Back at PI we went to the Comedy Warehouse and talked to cm Susan for a while as the line formed. I talked to Andrew, the kid from the first night who tried to seat us down on the floor - he's a very nice kid, down from Syracuse University. While we were talking I felt a tugging on my backpack, but I could see it wasn't Chris (the usual suspect) - turning around I saw it was David, so he joined us until it was time for him to go down to the backdoor. He saved us seats, but we counted so that we'd be entering at the right time - it wouldn't look right to bypass the seating person and just take the seats in longrow - then other guests could want to choose their seats as well, making it hard for the cm. We counted right, and when we got to the seater it was time for long row - right next to Dave.
The 7:20 cast was Matt, Philip, Karl, Jake & Chris. Jake & Philip created a Fill in the Blank scene using 2 audience volunteers. Jake had killed someone and they were dealing with what to do with the dead body, when Matt came in as a cop. It was a pretty good scene. Matt & Karl then created a sad song about Mistletoe - how horrible it is to be under the mistletoe with your grandmother, or brother. It wavered between funny and slow - it would have been funny to see what Brian would have done with it <g>. Up to this point the show was going pretty well - much better than the first shows the past 2 nights. However, then they brought up an audience volunteer to do an Up Your Alley about computers. Jake was the host Earl, Karl was Jack Gideon, the voice of You've Got Mail, and Chris was a waitress who got fired from IHOP for not being able to use the computers. Karl's You've Got Mail was probably the funniest thing - otherwise it really dragged primarily because computers really are not funny and most of the questions from the audience were serious technical questions. The audience volunteer was a young man who had some sort of mental or physical challenges, and it was a struggle for him to communicate. He did a terrific job & was quite brave to be up there on stage - the audience and cast were very supportive of him, but I'm sure that had an effect on the skit being more serious than funny. Sometimes the actors will pick on the audience volunteer a bit, but obviously they weren't going to do any of that with this guy.
After the show Nancy came in to bring me a Christmas gift - thank you, Nancy! We went outside until the next show, and took our seats in long row with David again. The 8:15 cast was Philip, Brian, Karl, Jake & Chris. Brian opened, and got a real jerk on the phone. This idiot Larry was a retired train engineer (his wife finally gave the information) and would sit back there waving & cheering like a complete ass. Brian ragged on the guy throughout the entire show, coming out at one point in a train engineer hat/jacket, waving his hands around over his head and talking like a complete idiot - saying "I'm Larry"! They don't pick on normal guests - only the ones who really go out of their way to be jerks, despite being asked repeatedly to just answer the questions so they can have information to do the show. No normal person has anything to fear attending a show here. After the opening song Brian rang the bell in Should Have Said, where once again the audience showed their maturity. He asked for an activity for Philip and the suggestion was "going to the bathroom". I thought they wouldn't take it, but Philip decided he wanted it, so he started a scene where he was going to the bathroom but it ended up being the ladies' room. While it was going on, Chris kept entering part way in different wigs - different women coming to use the restroom but leaving when seeing a man in there. It ended up being a funny scene.
Chris, Jake & Brian created a poem called Taco, which was also good. Next they did Cliché, where Karl was tortured. He guessed he was on a submarine, and then guessed "You can be happy in the same pants you were sad in". He got it rather quickly, and even correctly guessed a couple of the words without clues. It was fun, although I would have liked to see him struggle a bit more.
Tracy & Tyger were waiting for us outside, so we joined them & got a pass for the next show. We took our seats in long row again, and Leesa noticed a flickering light down by the floor. They have the row of lighting along the top of the bar/shelf and another down by your feet. We looked more closely and saw it wasn't a flicker light - it was electrical sparks. Little sparks were shooting out, but fortunately weren't still lit by the time they hit the carpet. We let our server know, who told Dave the manager. By this time everyone was seated, including people behind us, but Dave came over with a flashlight to see what we were talking about. He told Leesa to not sit there, so she shared my barstool with me while Dave went to get an electrician.
The show started - the 9:15 cast was Matt, Brian, Joy, Philip & Jake. They opened with a poem "My girlfriend is a trampoline". The electrician and Dave looked at the sparks - Dave said he saw a small flame as well, and evidently the electrician said they needed to end the show & evacuate the guests. The lighting booth communicates with the people on stage via a white board, and they held it up with a message to "end show early. Get Out!!!" As they came to the final verse of the poem, Jamie on the keys went immediately to the closing music. I thought how strange they're playing the closing song so early, and the actors looked confused but took their bows and left the stage as the closing announcement was made. The audience thought it was a joke & just sat there, so the cm's went to the end of the rows and started telling people they needed to leave. Some seemed a bit pissed, which is understandable. We thought Disney didn't handle it very well --they should have explained that there were some technical problems and they had to cancel this show. Instead, they just ended it after 1 bit, without explanation. Philip got on the sound system & told people to get out, lol - then later came back and said they weren't leaving fast enough. The actors stayed backstage until just about everyone was gone, and seemed pretty happy to have an extra long break (or to get off even earlier if that was to be their last show). The electrician was afraid the entire line of lights (all across long row, top & bottom) could burst into flame, which is why he made the call to get people out of there.
It was going to be so long until the 10:30 show I decided we needed to leave rather than wait. The past couple of days were catching up with Leesa, and she was having a great deal of trouble getting her legs to work. Tracy/Tyger suggested going up to hang out with Dude in Adv Club for a while, but I didn't think it was a good idea to attempt getting Leesa up the hill. It's too bad the show had to be canceled - like Jake said after the show, they finally had a good audience & it seemed to be going better than the first 2 shows - oh well.
We said goodbye to Tracy & Tyger, then made our way slowly to the car. On the way to Leesa's house I decided rather than spend the night we'd just drive home. It didn't make any sense to sit up for a couple of hours there, sleep a few hours, then drive home before dawn. So, we dropped her off and hit the road. After dropping Chris off at his Dad's, I was home around 1:30 or 2am. We wouldn't have been doing much of anything on Sunday anyway, and this way I had a day off before returning to work on Monday.
DAY 4 SUNDAY DECEMBER 22, 2002:
Actual: Canceled <g>
SUMMARY: It was a short but fun trip. Being offsite was a bit strange, but it served our needs for this trip. I don't see myself making a habit of this, as it definitely takes away from the experience for me. The Comedy Warehouse was a little disappointing this trip, due to so many people taking time off, the early show being canceled 2 out of 3 nights, and the audiences being pretty dead for several of the shows. Hopefully after the holidays it will get back to normal, but for right now I don't mind that I've returned home.
Our next trip begins 12/31, but I'm not sure we'll do anything that night. It's possible we may go to Epcot to see the early fireworks, but I have no desire to be out in the midnight crowds. Last year was enough! We'll start our Comedy Warehouse nights on January 1st, and will have 3 nights there before returning home. We'll be at OKW - no more offsite stays for a very long while!
Until next time - thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays.