Sue Holland -- December 2002 -- Walt Disney World (OKWR)
As much as I hate crowds, after last New Year's Eve at WDW I thought I'd never spend another one here! However, it made sense to spend Wednesday through Saturday since Chris was out of school and the points are low in January, so I added the night of 12/31 just so we wouldn't be "homeless" waiting for a room to be available on the day of our arrival. We won't leave work until about noon that day, so we'll get to OKW close to the check-in time.
We're looking forward to seeing lots of our friends, and meeting Nancy & her hubby Gregg for the first time. Our friends Tom & Leanne booked the same dates, but booked at All Stars. They'll be back on my next trip, and that time I'll be at All Stars & they'll be at OKW - guess we're changing places <g>. Chris hasn't seen their grandson Chris in quite a while, so they'll undoubtedly enjoy each other's company and go off to do kid stuff if we adults get too boring.
On New Year's Eve we're meeting my friends Maria & Cheryl, along with their families, for a drink at the Yacht Club before they go to dinner. Chris knows Kevin & Cheryl, having worked for him one day last month. On New Year's day we'll have our 2nd annual New Year's lunch at Le Cellier, with Tom, Leanne, Kim & Chris. New Year's 2002 we also had Larry from Scotland & his family with us, so it will be a bit sad to not have them there this year.
We'll likely join the Tom & Leanne gang for some time in the parks, mostly just to socialize with them. I'm hoping the crowds aren't too bad and the weather isn't too cold! Comedy Warehouse is on the agenda for every night except for 12/31. For me, it's not worth paying to get in on a night when it is sure to be mobbed. I'll wait and see the shows when it doesn't cost me anything extra. Hopefully the first show won't get canceled again - we had fun dressing the statue (Dude) at the Adventurer's Club but that's hardly a good enough reason to make the trip <g>. Wednesday night I'm meeting Fortress friend Nancy and her husband Gregg for a show, and then will join the newly relocated from Hawaii Patty <g> for more shows. Thursday night I'm happy to be meeting up with Josh Fippen and Dann Hazel again - they're fellow DVC members and great company. They wrote a terrific WDW guide geared towards gays & lesbians, titled WDW Resort Outing and even though I'm not gay I really enjoyed the book. I'm looking forward to their newest book - Making Memories on your WDW Vacation. Some of us are having a mini-Fortress meet at Mara prior to the Comedy Warehouse on Friday, which should also be fun! I have a feeling those 3 nights are going to fly by, unfortunately.
Friday we check out of OKW and will spend that night at Leesa's. When I booked the DVC member cruise I needed to free up some points to pay for it, and since Leesa's coming on the cruise she was happy to let us stay at her place. Actually, we would have been welcome even without the cruise - but everyone probably knows that <g>.
The plans (subject to change) so far...
DAY 1 TUESDAY DECEMBER 31, 2002:
Actual: Chris came to work with me today, and worked as a volunteer in our Café until it was time to hit the road. It's been quiet (boring) at work over the holidays, and yesterday I finished up the last projects I needed to do before the trip. However, the parks are most likely mobbed today so there's no reason to get up there earlier just to sit around so we stayed at work until just after noon. He did all the driving, with me once again enjoying being chauffeured around!
We stopped at Animal Kingdom Lodge to get a yogurt/granola thing, and got there when there were only 2 left! Chris didn't want one, so I just bought one for me. To avoid having to go out & find dinner later, we also got a couple of cold sandwiches from the market area in Mara. Chris grabbed the chicken caesar wrap, and I took the rotisserie chicken on pretzel bread. I've always wanted to try these, but there's no point unless he's with me to eat the leftovers.
We drove to OKW and were greeted with a Welcome Home by the security cm. Check in went quickly, which surprised me. I was expecting a line, but I guess everyone else is already here! The studio was ready, and it was in building 13 right across the street. I've never stayed in this area and never wanted to, but thankfully our studio was at the far end of the building and you couldn't see or hear any of the main building traffic at all. One strange thing - we were put on the ground floor, despite having requested top floor. Oh well, I figured we could live with it for only 3 nights.
Once I walked inside, I noticed it was freezing cold and he fan was spinning furiously. As I went to adjust the thermostat I saw into the bathroom and realized this was a handicapped-accessible room. This means there is no tub - just a roll-in shower with a fold-down seat (I had visions of Chris flooding the whole damn bathroom in this setup). Also, there is no cabinet under the bathroom sink, and no drawers to put away your toiletries. It's like staying in a Motel 6, spreading your crap all over the top of the sink rather than being out of sight like at "home". The closet bar is low, and the kitchen counter is lower also - but I'm short enough that it's not too low for me to use comfortably. I called the front desk to see if a regular studio was available, and while I was on hold I turned off the fan and noticed a disgusting familiar smell - someone had smoked in this room! It may sound stupid, but I was so disappointed to experience this in MY resort - even though I've had this happen to me too many times this past year in other Disney resorts. Somehow I guess I thought OKW was better than that, but evidently not.
As it turned out, there were no empty rooms at all tonight, and only 1 tomorrow. They'd move me tomorrow, but there would be a $25 charge. I pretty much said No Freakin' Way to the charge, explaining that I do not feel I got what I reserved and shouldn't be penalized. She wouldn't budge on the charge, so I told her to send housekeeping over (she'd offered that earlier) and I'd just have them spray whatever they could as often as needed - but I was not moving if I had to pay. Needless to say, I was NOT happy, but was not about to take it out on the poor front desk person who was just doing her job.
I unpacked, and just as I finished the phone rang. It was the cm from the front desk calling to say she'd talked to her manager and they felt it was best to move us tomorrow rather than spraying chemicals in the room - concerned the chemicals could be worse for Chris than the smoke. They were not going to charge me, either, which was very nice. Unfortunately, it means I have to be "homeless" for the day, and will have to pack up everything again and then unpack tomorrow - a pain in the butt! I repacked most of our stuff, figuring I'd get the rest done in the morning, and Chris went to wander around after eating the turkey wrap (pretty tasty). I ate some of the chicken on pretzel bread - it was just ok. Chris will get most of it <g>.
When Chris returned I asked him if he could still smell the smoke. I'd left the porch door wide open, hoping to air out the room some. It had a very faint smoke smell - not nearly as bad as the other rooms I'd refused to stay in. Most likely it was just 1 slob who recently had a cigarette or 2 in here. I was tempted to just buy an air freshener or scented candle and not have to move, but Chris said he still smelled it and wanted to move. He wanted to take the clothes we weren't wearing & put them in the car now, so they wouldn't smell (I kept the suitcase closed so I don't think they'll smell).
I updated the report and we watched the weather channel. It's going to be much warmer than projected when I packed, so I have mostly the wrong clothes....sigh. Gee, wonder if Tom & Leanne will notice if I wear the same t-shirt for 3 days in a row, lol! Actually my t-shirt is the Comedy Warehouse shirt, which I need to wear Friday night - the absolute coldest day/night of the trip - it figures!
We left close to 5pm and drove to the Beach Club Villas. At Boardwalk they had security out in the road and signs up saying parking was for registered guests at BW only. They were allowing visitors to park in the parking lot across the street though. At BCV we were waved on through, and parked over near the walkway to walk into Epcot. Surprisingly, there wasn't a wait to enter the park! However, once inside we saw Epcot was mobbed - busier than we had ever seen it! The wide walkways were literally shoulder to shoulder with people slowly making their way around. Chris wanted to ride Test Track, and it took us 30 minutes to walk over there from International Gateway! Once there I had to ask a cm to make sure I was really seeing what I saw - the single rider line had a 90 minute wait! The cm confirmed it, so I said "no thanks" and we walked back to see what the standby line said - it was 180 minutes, or 3 FREAKIN' HOURS, and the line was extended back way beyond that point! What is wrong with these people???
There were many people camped out on any grassy spot as well, since all benches were occupied - the smart parents brought Gameboys or similar for the kids to play with. There was no way we were waiting 90 minutes for Test Track, lol, so we headed out to World Showcase. There were huge lines of people waiting to get free cheap hats/noise makers -even though they were not opening until 45 minutes later! It was amazing the number of people wasting their time in those lines, when later they could pretty much walk right through to get the hats & stuff. I decided to get a glass of wine, and figured Germany was a good location. At the temporary Spain location just before Germany they were selling the sangria I enjoyed at the Food & Wine Festival - except now it was $3 instead of $1.75 (the whole bottle bought from Disney was $6 last month). There was only 1 guy in front of me, and I had my wine - the other food & beverage locations had huge lines!
As we walked around World Showcase they made the announcement that there would be early fireworks at 7:30 - and we immediately recognized the voice of Mary from Comedy Warehouse. She does voice overs like that, so you never know where you'll hear her! When we got to France they had opened up the hat line, so we got in and picked up hats for everyone. We purposely did not take any noise makers, as the people with them already were driving us up the damn wall! Omigod - they were so annoying, but we refrained from shoving them down anyone's throat <g>.
We'd had enough of the incredibly crowded Epcot, so we left the park and walked to the Boardwalk to see what was going on there (not much at this early hour). We sat on a bench for a while, then continued walking past the Swan and over to the Yacht Club. We found the lounge where we were supposed to meet the others, then went outside to some rocking chairs since we had 45 minutes to wait. About 6:30 I had a message on my phone - from Maria saying they wanted to meet at Bellevue Lounge since the storm was supposed to be arriving and they didn't want to get stuck at Yacht Club with reservations at BW. Nextel was evidently overwhelmed, because I couldn't call back! We went inside & found a house phone and had them connect me with the Swan - where I was on hold forever waiting for a freakin' operator! I didn't mind meeting at Bellevue at BW, but my car was way over at Beach Club Villas. I knew I couldn't park at BW since I'm not registered there, and at this point it didn't seem worth the trouble to go back to BCV to get the car, and risk being able to park at the Swan - which would still be a walk from the Bellevue afterwards. Finally I got through to Maria, and told her Bellevue was fine.
Chris & I walked back to the damn Boardwalk <g> and went up to Bellevue. There were some other guests there & so far nobody was smoking! There are 2 large seating areas, and one was free so we grabbed it. The bartender came over and I got a glass of wine & Chris got a soda. Eventually more people came, and then I smelled the cigarette - and no way was I going to stay indoors with that going on! Chris & I moved outside as the others arrived, but it was just starting to rain. We pulled a couple of tables under the cover and the adults & Chris sat there while the other kids stayed indoors playing a board game. We had Cheryl & John with their kids Crystina & Kevin Jr. They live barely a mile from us but I mostly see them here at WDW <g>. We also had Maria and her hunky husband John, along with their kids Christina & Alex. John's been known to turn a lesbian straight, and Maria promised me certain "favors" with John - she's such a generous friend <g>.
John & Maria had brought 3 bottles of Moet White Star champagne in a backpack, along with glasses from the Swan and styrofoam cups, lol! I love White Star - it's my favorite, and is so much better than Dom Perignon in my opinion. We finished off the first bottle outside on the balcony, and had a great time out there. Maria had a new diamond ring John had gotten her for her birthday, and it kept blinding us all night long! The lightning in the sky was nothing compared to her ring! Eventually the wind was blowing the rain on us, and we had moved as far as we could move, so we went indoors. Someone had found a quiet nook near the exit to the Garden Cottages, so we took over that area and eventually John declared we needed more champagne. I know he just wanted to get me drunk to take advantage of me, but I played along as if I didn't know what he was up to <g>.
We took some pictures, including several shots of me on John's lap - for some reason they just had to be retaken again and again and again - thank goodness for digital cameras, lol! I declared I looked pregnant in one (due to my sweatshirt), and Maria thought the last time I'd see them both was about 9 months ago - at Comedy Warehouse where Maria went up on stage and John & I slipped down under the counter <g>. It was so much fun seeing them, and goofing around like that. Their priority seating was for 8:30 but it was after 9 before they got called on the beeper. We walked downstairs together and said our goodbyes outside - under cover from the pouring rain.
Chris ran over to BCV and got the car. I had an umbrella, so I just walked - he preferred to run rather than share a small umbrella with someone almost a foot shorter than him! We were both pretty wet by the time we reached the car, so our clothes (especially Chris') are hanging around the studio. We had a message from Crystina wondering if Chris was going to DisneyQuest tomorrow, but weren't able to reach her on the cell phone. Chris left a message at the Swan, so maybe she can meet him & the other Chris tomorrow afternoon.
I finished my half of the chicken sandwich, and Chris wolfed down the other half. He'd also gotten a bag of Cheetos from the vending machine at the Boardwalk, when he was starving. The studio doesn't smell bad to me, so I asked Chris again if he still wanted to move. He said he wanted to wait & see how the shower went - he can still smell a little smoke, but it's not bothering him. I'm thinking it's not worth having them move us if the room is tolerable, but we'll make the final decision in the morning. The rain is supposed to stop by morning, so it looks like we'll head to Magic Kingdom early.
Today was a great day, but not without some problems. However, the good far outweighs the bad, and we had a really nice time with our friends tonight. Chris had thought it would be boring, but he ended up not being bored at all.
Tomorrow - maybe we'll move, maybe we won't - it's a big mystery at this point, but wherever we end up it should be another great day with friends at WDW <g>! As for New Years Eve - it's thundering and raining here, so I'm glad we're in our resort room. If I'm still awake online at midnight I may watch the ball drop, but it's not a priority. Every day is a reason to celebrate, so January 1st isn't anything special.
DAY 2 WEDNESAY JANUARY 1, 2003:
Actual: Chris was asleep by 11, and I followed around 11:30. The fireworks could be heard, and went on and on for a long time. I heard Tim on the radio at midnight, asking if we were awake, but I was too lazy/tired to get up and answer since the phone was across the room. We'll call him later today and wish him a happy birthday.
I slept really well, and got up when the alarm went off at 6:30 - after remembering where I was, lol! Sometimes it's hard to remember what day it is, or what city I'm in, and it was dark still so I couldn't see the OKW studio. I took my shower - a pain the butt in that roll-in shower thing, but not unbearable. The studio seemed to have aired out enough that I couldn't really detect the smoke smell anymore - I checked our clothes too, but they seemed ok. I wasn't about to room change just for the convenience of having a bathtub/shower, and Chris hadn't had any trouble breathing in the room, so I called & canceled the room change. The smoker must have been just the last guest, but if I smell it at all when we return later I'll just open the doors again to get air flowing through here.
We both had cappuccino and I ate some of the yogurt/granola thing. Wow, is that good! I really missed it last trip when I was staying offsite & eating the mediocre continental breakfast at the Hampton Inn. Chris had a couple of pop tarts, but I did not suggest he heat them in the microwave like Adie does - I didn't want to be cleaning blown up pop tarts off the ceiling and walls <g>.
We left the studio around 8:30 and had a very short wait at the main building for the bus to Magic Kingdom. I was surprised the bus was almost empty, despite getting on at the last stop! At MK there was a huge crowd of people waiting to get in. It took a little while to get through the senseless security, and then everyone was standing still waiting for the turnstiles to be opened. They started doing some pre-opening show up on the train station, but it was a little too sugary too early in the day for me to pay it any attention. I noticed some guests moving over towards the rope, so I did the same and discovered resort guests could get in now! I showed my resort id and walked into the park, past all the waiting people. Today was Extra Magic Hour at Epcot, but I'm assuming they opened all the parks an hour early for resort guests. The rides were running, and I walked right onto a Space Mountain rocket without any wait at all. They had both tracks running already, too!
After the ride I met Chris in the arcade, and decided not to bother with a fastpass for a 2nd ride. The park was open now and there was a long line waiting at Space Mountain, but the fastpass machines were not turned on yet. We went to Fantasyland and rode the Winnie the Pooh ride with a very short wait. Next we had a 5-10 minute wait at Peter Pan. Chris said he wanted to do the Jungle Cruise - not sure why, lol, so we went there next and they had a 10 minute wait posted. We got in line, and the wait wasn't any longer than posted. We had a good skipper, but the audio system keep breaking up. It was a bit distracting, but since we knew most of the lines anyway it wasn't such a problem for us! By now it was getting busy, so we decided to ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority before leaving the park. They finally have the "paging Mr. Tom Morrow" part working again, after several trips where it was silent!
As we headed down Main Street I saw the bakery was completely full and people were in line extending out onto the sidewalk! I can't even imagine why someone would not get to a park until 10pm during such a busy time, then stand in line 30-45 minutes to buy a freakin' muffin! By the time they get it & eat, the lines at the attractions will be at their worst - it makes no sense to me whatsoever. We stopped at the candy store and split a chocolate medallion, then left the park. The crowds coming in were huge - we were glad to be leaving. I'll be the crappy weather last night drove people back to their resorts early, which is why they're all out this morning!
We went to the OKW bus stop, figuring we'd get the car and drive to Beach Club Villas to enter Epcot. When the bus pulled up, Tom, Leanne, Kim & Chris got off! I asked where they came from, and they said All Stars - they had just checked in and decided to take the bus here and then take the monorail over to Epcot. As Larry can imagine, I was quite miffed that they would send All Star guests to a bus stop designated for the DVC elite <g>.
We decided to join the others, and went up to catch the excruciatingly slow resorts monorail (slow due to sitting in the stations after everyone had boarded). At the TTC we switched to the Epcot monorail. I'm not sure which one, but one of the monorails really stunk! Kim said it smelled like rotten cheese. Epcot was busier than normal, but not as bad as MK and not as bad as last night. We could see Test Track was closed, but walked over there anyway to see what was going on. Chris & Chris wanted to stay & wait to see if it would open up again, so we left them there with instructions to meet us at noon for our lunch at LeCellier. The rest of us went to World Showcase and rode the Maelstrom. Leanne & Tom took the back seat, so she could pretend to be falling into Epcot at the top of the waterfall <g>. We skipped the movie - sorry, Norwegians - it's a nice movie, but not something we want to see repeatedly.
We had about 10 minutes before lunch, so we walked straight over to Canada and found the boys waiting for us at Le Cellier. We were seated right away, and our waitress was the same girl we had when we were here with Leesa less than 2 weeks ago! She recognized me, and then I remembered her. For lunch people did a lot of sharing this time. Kim & Leanne shared the beef tenderloin tips over cream cheese mashed potatoes. Tom & their Chris shared a steakburger. I got my soup, and my Chris got a steakburger. Chris made contact with Cheryl's Crystina and made plans for the 2 Chris's to pick her up for DisneyQuest later.
Service was a little slow, but the food was good. My soup had more bacon in it than usual, but it was still very good. Chris ordered the chocolate mousse for dessert, but we took most of it with us. After lunch we went back to Test Track (the boys had ridden before lunch - they said it opened right after we left). The fast passes were gone for the day - at 10:45 they were issuing passes for 6:05-7:05 already! We checked the single rider line, but that had a 45 minute wait - no way! Curious, we checked the standby line - 160 minutes! I cannot imagine standing in line almost 3 HOURS for a 5 minute ride, but whatever!
The boys left to go meet Crystina in front of the Swan, and the adults waited in line (about 10 minutes) for Spaceship Earth. Wow, was it windy down there today - forget bad hair day, this is a nightmare hair day! The ride stopped for quite a while as we were going up the first tunnel, and eventually a cm with a flashlight went climbing up the stairs. I was having a hard time staying awake - this ride is too relaxing to me I guess. After we got off, I decided to head back to OKW and rest for a while. I talked to Leesa on the phone on the way to the bus stop, and the bus pulled up just as I got there. At OKW I got off at the first stop and walked back to my studio. Once there I remembered I needed pictures at Caribbean Beach, so I dragged myself over there. That place is so damn huge! I walked around part of it, took a bunch of pictures, and checked out the new food areas. The resort just re-opened following renovation to the food court and restaurant, and I expected to be somewhat impressed but wasn't at all. The food court looks like the same old crap they had before, except now you pick up all your food and pay on your way to your table. If you want something from 2 different stations, you still need to go to both places (hope you don't want hot food from both). They do have the video screen menus now, which are nice, but the menu looked the same or similar as what they had before. The menu at Shutters looked ok, with entrees priced in the $15-20 range, extra for appetizers, etc. The dining area was very blah though - not "nice" at all - it looked a lot like the food court seating, where you'd eat your $6 meal. They have added a market stand, where you can pick up bakery items, pre-made sandwiches, salads, drinks, etc - and you can pay for those items here without having to go the main registers.
I was glad I came over to see it, but glad I didn't come over for a meal! When I went to return to OKW I couldn't remember where I left the car - and took a wrong turn and walked a long way before backtracking. I should have paid more attention, but instead I just parked the car and took off on foot without really noting where I was. I was sure it wasn't stolen, so I just kept wandering through the parking lots until I found it. While I was at CBR I talked to Leesa for a while, then Nancy from Fortress called to say Happy New Year! I'll get to meet her in person tonight.
Back at OKW the studio had that smoke smell a little bit, so I opened the porch door wide to let some air filter through. I updated the report and watched a little tv, eager to see what the local weatherman was predicting for tomorrow. I left the studio around 6:30 or so, and drove to Downtown Disney. Parking was a nightmare, but at least I found someone getting ready to leave from the lot I usually use. I walked over to the West Side, and it was very busy over there. I ran into Crystina, who had left the boys in DisneyQuest. It was so crowded outside, I didn't bother to go inside to look for them. Instead, I walked back to the Marketplace, but that area was almost impassable due to all the people there (why???)! Browsing in the shops was difficult with that many people in there.
Around 7:45 I figured I'd better check on Comedy Warehouse. Normally the line for the 8:15 on Wednesday doesn't start to form until at least 8, but with it being so busy I did not want to take any chances. As I came up the stairs I Nancy (from Fortress) & I saw each other, so we introduced ourselves and I met her husband Gregg. I was impressed - another husband who's really nice, and so normal <g>. It was too early for Patty to be here yet, so I had the 3 of us get into line just in case we weren't able to be added to the backdoor for this show. At 8 I went down to see if Patty was there, and found a big group of people, including Mary's husband Jason. Patty said we were included - Mary was able to get all 9 of us (some cousins, Jason, Patty, Patty's dh, and me +2) in! David was there as well, so we made a group of 10 and fit perfectly in long row. This was the first visit for Nancy & Gregg, and it was really nice of Mary to include us - they got the best seats, and loved the show. I'd found out this morning Jen B is out of town again - she's staying at Steve's place in CA and he's here staying at her place. Unfortunately I don't think he's due to work again before he leaves Friday, and I'm not sure Jen will be back by then either. Looks like I'll have to try to catch her over Martin Luther King weekend.
The 8:15 cast was Mary, Greg, Karl, Joy & Todd. The opening phone call guy was a lawyer who had about as much personality and enthusiasm as a turnip. Greg came out as the guy, talking in sort of a monotone like the guy did! The cast all did a good job on the opening number, sort of picking on the guy. Next Todd rang the bell in Should Have Said, where Joy was to be painting a model. Karl was the model, and she was supposed to paint his torso to cover his tattoos. Mary brought in some new fingerpaints, but they turned out to be acid and melted most of the tattoos off. They did Forgotten Songs, and got some inside jokes in during the first song. Greg & Mary came out as cm's Billy Flanagan and Jennifer Br (both real people), and sang "I love my job" while poking fun of the thrill of working a minimum wage job at Disney. Karl was funny singing a country song called "My wife's a pain in the butt". Joy & Todd teamed up to sing a folk song called "Toe cheese on my bagel" - she was Freedom Star and he was Harvest Moon.
They also did Letters to the Editor, with the subject of watches. Greg wrote to GQ, Karl to Easy Rider, and Todd to Playboy. Karl really did exceptionally well in this scene, and he & Greg carried it while Todd was kind of off in left field as a kind of nerdy guy. Greg was a guy who is so good looking he feels it's the least he can do to let those less attractive have their day brightened by being able to see him in all his perfection. He signed his letter "Prettier Than You". Karl was a guy named Scar, who's part of a biker gang called Hell's Triplets. He wrote about being in a biker bar when this "namby pamby" boy was in there looking at himself in the mirror (Greg) and they began trading barbs back & forth! Karl was calling Greg a sissy, and Greg said Karl's homophobic comments indicated he was probably in the closet (protesting too much). It was one of the funnier Letters to the Editor I've seen, thanks to these 2.
When the show ended Gregg & Nancy left, and the rest of us sat inside for a little bit until Mary came over. I was THRILLED to see an old familiar face come in - Paul Vogt! He's the heavyset guy with the twin named Peter, and was in the Rerun Show last summer. He's extremely funny, and I haven't seen him back in years. We talked to Mary a bit, and I talked to Todd briefly outside. The cousins left, Patty & Alan went searching (unsuccessfully) for dinner, I got back in line, and Jason wandered around (Mary was off this show). I was outside of the chained queue area, but ended up getting a fairly decent seat. I was in the row behind the people with the ledge, but at least I was on the end, and I could see clearly between the 2 guys in front of me.
The 9:15 cast was Todd, Greg, Joy, Paul & Karl. They did Song Cue, with Joy & Paul as a couple having dinner at the Brown Derby. He was due to die in 2 days, being killed by the mob for stealing money from them. Greg was the snooty maitre' d, and Karl was their waiter. Todd did the setup, and it was a bit strange. Generally they'll pick 3 people in the audience and ask them their names. They'll then take the first letter from each name and ask the audience for a musical style (that can be sung) that begins with each of those 3 letters. Instead, tonight Todd asked for an adjective that began with each letter (and as usual, when he asked for an adjective that began with the letter "a" the first person to raise their hand said "Egg" - not an adjective, and it doesn't start with "a")! He got ambidextrous, agitated, and bad as the 3 adjectives, so those became the 3 song styles. For ambidextrous they played a military march and Paul recited "left, right, left, right" before getting into the verse for "I've got something to tell you". The agitated song was them screeching horribly to sing "You never asked". For Bad, Jim Roberts cycled through several different song styles and Paul just sang very badly - that was pretty funny. There wasn't much else they could do with it, though.
They did Up Your Alley next, hosted by Karl as Siegrfreid, who'd just broken up with his partner Roy. The topic was cheerleading, and they had a 15-yr old volunteer from the audience. Greg & Todd were the other 2 contestants, as brothers Chad & Brad, who are cheerleaders. There were probably a couple of funny comments, but mostly I was glad to see it end. The audience girl was a bit much, and another audience girl went up to do a back flip, then the first girl's friends went up to show us a cheer (like anyone cared). No offense to cheerleaders, but it didn't help the show at all. It was kind of funny when Karl was talking to the girl as if she was an adult, and then his expression changed when he asked how old she was & she said 15, lol! That may have helped kill it too, since they're going to be really careful with a minor on the stage. After the show I told Paul it was nice to see him back, and he explained how it came to be. Tonight is the only night he's working, unfortunately, and I know Leesa is going to be ticked off she missed him! I talked to Greg and caught up with him. I was too tired to stick around for his next show (12:05), but will get to see him 1 more night this trip.
Back outside I ran into Patty & Alan upstairs, so we went back down to the backdoor. Jason joined us, and soon we were back inside. The 10:30 cast was Todd, Joy, Paul, Mary & Jake. They did Styles, where Joy called out different styles of movie, tv, song & authors while Mary & Todd created a scene about woodworking. They had to stay in the style called until she called a new one. Paul came in as Todd's identical twin brother, which was funny - Mary commented she could never tell them apart, lol! In the end Todd died, so Mary went off with Paul.
They did Cliché, and of course they tortured Paul! Pretty much whenever they do Cliché when an ex-cast member is back working then he's the one who gets tortured! Jake led the torture from a ping pong ball factory. The lovely lady who raised her hand to suggest a location said "tampon factory" and Jake said it could be a factory, but he really didn't want to take the rest of her suggestion - and asked her for another type of factory. The actors do try to keep the shows from being offensive, in spite of the audience at times <g>. The cliché was "Fine as frog's fur" and I was glad to see them giving clues for individual letters and sounds since there were so few words to guess. It was funny, but then cliché is almost always very funny!
After the show I talked to Mary again, then stopped to chat with Dee on the way out. I found my car without forgetting where I'd parked <g> and drove back to OKW. Chris was in bed watching tv, with the empty chocolate mousse cup on his bed. I was exhausted so I stayed up to write the report but didn't go online, which is probably how I'll operate the rest of this trip.
Overall today was a great day, and everything on the plan was done. I'm glad I got the CBR visit out of the way, too! Tomorrow we're meeting the others at MGM Studios at 10am - after they've had time to ride Tower of Terror and Rock N Roller Coaster.
DAY 3 THURSDAY JANUARY 2, 2003:
Actual: I was up around 7:30 to get the report posted, but didn't get Chris up until close to 9. We had the usual breakfast and were out the door by 9:30 to drive to MGM Studios. Entry didn't take too long, but the park was very busy already. We were inside before 10, and checked the tip board to see Rock N Roller Coaster already had a 60-minute wait. As it turned out, when the others arrived there at 9:20 it already had a 45-minute wait, so they got fastpasses with a 10:20 return time. We saw Tom & Leanne at a bench and shortly after we got there Kim & Chris arrived from riding Star Tours. They said they walked right on with no wait, so we all went over there and everyone but Tom & Leanne rode with no wait again. When we got out it was fast pass time, so Kim & Chris headed to RnR while the rest of us saw Muppetvision. It's been a while since I've seen this show, and it's as cute as ever. It's not something I want to see every trip, though <g>.
We went back to the bench from this morning and met Kim & Chris. They're all big Millionaire fans, and the next show was starting in about 40 minutes so we slowly wandered over in that direction and got in line. While waiting Leanne filled me in on their horrible All Star Sports experiences so far. Their rooms yesterday weren't ready until after 5pm! When they asked why, they were told management gave the housekeepers an hour off in the morning (basically they started an hour late) - which astonished me that Disney would do that knowing it'll negatively impact on the guests arriving, and also that any cm was stupid enough to admit it! If they could have given everyone an hour off and still gotten the rooms cleaned by 4pm it would have been fine, but All Stars had a LOT of arrivals yesterday and it made no sense to staff in a manner that doesn't allow them to have the rooms ready on time. Then, when they finally got to their rooms, the bathroom in Kim/Chris' room was filthy. They called to have someone come clean it, but tired of waiting for someone to show up. Kim cleaned it herself, using the towels, and they called back to have someone just bring them clean towels.
The Millionaire show was fine - we all ended up in the top ten at least once, but none of us made it to the hot seat. The first contestant was a high school senior from Orlando who had a speech impediment that made it difficult to understand him. He was smart though - he just answered with the letter, and then said "final". We were a little concerned when he did the phone a stranger thing - wondering if the stranger would be able to understand what he was saying, but the question was so easy the stranger knew the answer without listening to the choices. The kid wasted 2 of his lifelines on the really easy questions, then made wild guesses on the hard ones and kept getting them right! These were questions that none of us had any clue about the right answer, lol, and he kept getting lucky. Unfortunately, his luck ran out before he got to the million points, but he was closer than many people get!
After the show I left with Chris & Chris while the others stayed in the park. We stopped at All Star Sports to drop off a bunch of clothes my Chris outgrew, and it took forever because the other Chris forgot where his room was <g>. Ugh! Finally we were on our way to AKL, where I ran inside to Mara and got a yogurt/granola thing. Thank goodness they opened a 2nd register - they had only 1 open (at 1pm, no less) and the line extended back to the kitchen! We made a quick stop at OKW to put the yogurt in the refrigerator, and I finally realized what the disgusting smell was in the studio. It wasn't smoke - it was the vacuum cleaner bag! I immediately put the vacuum cleaner out on the porch, where it will stay until we leave. It's real stale & musty - not good!
We drove over to Downtown Disney and parked at the West Side, then headed to Wolfgang Puck's Café. Neither Chris had ever eaten here before, and it was only my 2nd visit. We opted for a table outside once the cm said smoking was not allowed out there at all. It was a beautiful day to eat outside! The younger Chris got a Puck's burger with fries, and didn't even eat half. He didn't want a kid's menu though - when you're 13 I guess it's important to order an adult meal even if can't make a dent in it <g>. My Chris got the Puck's Pasta, which was linguine with chicken bolognese in a creamy parmesan sauce, which was excellent. He also didn't finish - we took almost half of it back to the studio for him to eat later tonight after DisneyQuest. I tried the tortilla soup, and WOW was that great! The waiter highly recommended it, and he was right! It's a thick tomato based soup with goat cheese, tortilla strips, and it's pretty spicy! It's also extremely filling, and I was not able to finish it. I cannot imagine eating this AND a meal. The soup is $7, but since it really is a meal it's worth every penny. I'll definitely be back here again, and this time remembered to get my 20% off with the Disney Dining Experience card (for FL Residents only).
After we paid the bill the boys went to DisneyQuest and I returned to OKW and hung out online while watching General Hospital and checking the local weather. I walked over to the shop at OKW to see if there was any new merchandise, and was pleased to see they finally had something in the skinny tee rather than the big old baggy t-shirts & polo shirts. Unfortunately, it's just a screen print, but I may end up getting it at some point. It's a Disney Vacation Club shirt & says "members are magical". It's part of the 10-year DVC anniversary stuff.
I drove to Downtown Disney and parked at PI. After getting my wrist band I went to Ghiradelli for a sample then returned to PI. As I was walking up the hill Leesa called, so I returned to the entrance to meet her. We walked up to the Comedy Warehouse to get in line, and chatted with cm Andrew. While we were there the people in Frankie's band were testing or tuning their instruments & equipment. We were fine until they started with a really deep bass - that will cause Leesa to crash, so when it continued for a little bit she said we needed to go downstairs (to the back door). I sent her down, while I waited for Andrew to write out the pass.
The 7:20 cast was Mary, Greg, Jake, Brian & Chris. After the opening song Mary & Greg did Story Telling, which had some funny moments but overall was just ok. The story was called "Hot Powder" and Greg was Mary's sponsor for starting a cosmetic company because she's gorgeous and there are a lot of really unattractive women in Florida <g>. Next Jake came out as Conway Pity to sing a country western song that was kind of cute. They also did Up Your Alley hosted by Greg as Billy Flanagan, with the subject of buttons. Brian was the Reverand Reginald Right, who's invented buttons for the lips of mouthy children (honestly, duct tape works just as well & is so much cheaper <g>). Jake was Buttons the Clown, and Chris was an elderly woman named Freida Fryhoffer who started an organization against buttons because they're hard to manage with arthritis. It had some good lines, but the audience was not very participatory and the show was a bit rocky.
After the show Greg stopped by to chat, and we exchanged greetings with the others as they passed. When we went outside I ran upstairs to get another pass, then went back down in time for the door to open. The 8:15 cast was Greg, Jake, Brian, Chris & Krista. They again did the dreaded Story Telling, this time with Krista & Chris as a daughter & mother telling "Blue Dog". Unfortunately, it dragged worse than the one last show. They did Forgotten Songs next. Brian & Chris came out as hicks singing "I'm drowning my sorrow in a bowl of chili". Greg & Jake did a good job with a rap song called "All about me", and Krista sang "Love my kids". Her voice is so gorgeous - the fact that her song was funny was almost secondary to the beauty of her voice!
Next Krista rang the bell for Should Have Said. Jake was in a barn that was on fire, and Brian was helping him put the fire out. It moved really quickly and was a fun scene. After the show I went upstairs to get the next pass, and then we talked to Krista outside until the door opened again.
The 9:15 cast was Mary, Greg, Jake, Krista & Matt. This looked very promising, with 5 strong actors in the cast, and we were not disappointed! They opened with the name rhyme game, which is a great way to get the audience energized. They did well with some really tough rhymes, and Matt was the eventual winner. He then got to host This is Your Life. They got a 22 year old girl as the volunteer, and acted out her first kiss at age 15 in a go-kart arcade, and her awful Burger King job where she hated customers who couldn't decide what to order. Matt asked her boyfriend if she had any little quirks, and he said she was rude to people who don't speak English! Yikes! They acted out that pretty quickly, not daring to go into offensive territory. They also showed her future as a judge, with the same non-English speaking people in her courtroom.
They played Schmeopardy, hosted by the fast talking Krista. Greg was a karaoke emcee, Mary was a Disney server named Twila, and Matt & Jake were conjoined as a janitor in a nuclear power facility. I wasn't able to take notes at this point, but there were so many funny and risque comments flying around from all of the actors Leesa said her stomach was hurting from laughing so much! It was hysterical - probably one of the funniest Schmeopardies we'd ever seen, and overall the show was excellent. It was just like the old days. After the show Matt & I spoke briefly, then Greg came over to say goodbye. He's leaving to do some work in Los Angeles tomorrow, so he won't be here tomorrow night. He was really happy to be leaving on a high note - following a show that went really well. Mary sat and visited with us for a while next, so we did not have that long to wait for the next show once we got outside. She was telling me about some funny stuff they did during the last show last night, not sure if I was there or not (I wasn't). She & someone else played test tube babies, being born from the test tube. It sounds like it got pretty crazy, and they definitely had fun!
The 10:30 cast was supposed to be Mary, Chris, Brian, Matt & Jake. When they came out for the first song there were only 4 of them - Matt was missing. We both kind of knew what probably happened, and after the opening song Krista came out to join the others and explained that Matt's wife had called to say her water broke - so he took off for the birth of their baby. She told us after the show how excited he was, as he begged her to fill in for him! They did Conducted Story, which took up most of the show. Jake conducted, and the story was called "It's great to be here." Mary died first. All night she'd been doing little goofy things that are so funny when she does them, but in Conducted Story when they happen she has to die! It's stuff like changing the name of a character, rambling off track, making up a word, or taking a tangent and getting lost while struggling to get back & make some sense <g>. Anyway, she died by a bucket and had the entire audience do sound effects. It actually worked well, and involving the audience was a great idea. The death had a nursery rhyme theme, and all of the actors got involved.
Chris died next - she basically gave up (suicide?). She died in the style of a Turkish film with Brian, which Mary & Jake translated into English. It quickly took a turn - Brian had made gestures as if he was swinging some knives or swords and ended with his arms outstretched as he was facing Chris. Jake's translation was "I've opened my robe". Chris responded by looked at him and making a gesture to indicate whatever she was seeing was only about an inch long - and Mary said "that's not translatable". That led to more jokes about Brian's manhood and some double entendre stuff, but it was well done. The audience responded with a lot of enthusiasm, and it was really funny! That left Brian & Krista, and Brian was the next to go. He asked who had recently had a fight with the person they're with, and a girl who'd fought with her boyfriend over the outfits she wears went up on stage. He pretended to be her boyfriend and she killed him with a wet noodle. This type of death is almost always great too, and tonight's was funny. Krista then wrapped up the story in a song. Overall it was another excellent show - with aching stomachs & cheeks from all the laughing!
We talked to Nancy after the show and walked out with her. Leesa filled her in about Matt's wife - hopefully tomorrow night they won't still be in labor! I drove back to OKW, where Chris was watching David Letterman on tv. Between us we ate most of the rest of the pasta. I finished up the report and again waited until the next morning to get online. The rest of the report won't be sent until Saturday afternoon.
Today was another wonderful Disney day. I enjoyed the time with Tom, Leanne & Kim, had a fantastic lunch with Chris & Chris, and the 4 Comedy Warehouse shows were a lot of fun - especially the last 2!
DAY 4 FRIDAY JANUARY 3, 2003:
Actual: Since we had to check out today and there's no way I want to spend a long day in the parks, we didn't plan to leave the studio until checkout time at 11. That way we only had 6 hours to fill before meeting friends at Mara. I got up around 8 and got Chris up around 9:30. I made cappuccino and ate most of the yogurt/granola thing for breakfast. When Chris got up he had an iced mocha latte and the rest of the pasta. We packed up the rest of our stuff (correction - I packed it up while he watched tv <g>), I IM'd with a few people, and we were ready to head out the door around 10:30. I had the do not disturb sign out, and nobody bothered us. They dropped off the basket of clean linens, but did not knock on the door to rush us out.
We got some gas for the car & drove to the Premium Outlets. Since Chris was with me we went into quite a few more stores than I normally do - and consequently spent a lot more money, too. In the Timberland Store we both got a pair of boots, since we plan to spend next Christmas in Manhattan and our sneakers won't exactly be warm. The kids in his school all wear them now (in FL) - evidently Timberland is the hot brand at this school. I found out later they're not quite as popular for adult females, except for a certain segment of the population, and a couple of friends who happen to be lesbians got quite a few laughs over me wearing the boots! They did keep my feet warm, lol, so they're coming to New York - but I probably won't wear them much otherwise <g>.
We got some stuff at the gourmet kitchen store, and we got Chris some stuff in Nautica and the Nike store. We checked Character Premiere, but there wasn't really anything of interest. Finally, we left the shopping and headed back to WDW. We arrived at Animal Kingdom about 1pm, and it was very crowded. The tip board showed 30 minute waits everywhere, but when we walked to Primeval Whirl or Dinosaur it actually said 60 minutes. The fastpass return time for Dinosaur was exactly 60 minutes from now, so it was a no-brainer to get one rather than stand in line. During that hour we walked around the tacky Chester & Hester's area, then headed towards Asia and shared a pretzel with nacho cheese for lunch. We did the walking trail in Asia and saw a few tigers lounging around. In Harambe we sat and people watched until it was time to get fastpasses for the safari, then walked back to Dinosaur so I could ride (Chris didn't want to). By the time we walked there, did the ride, and walked back to Harambe, it was now time to use the Kilimanjaro Safari fastpasses.
We had a good guide, and once I asked the girl next to me to please sit back so I could see something other than her (she dwarfed me, and we were in the 2 center seats) it was a great safari. Just about all the animals were out, and the female lion was stretching while the male sat there watching. After the safari we went on the Pangani trail to check for gorilla sightings. At first Gus was hiding in his cave - I could see a little of his fur, but that's all. I continued to the end and then came back, and this time he was sitting up. The other guys were moving around a bit more, playing somewhat. On the family side the kids were running around and it looked like Gino (maybe) was climbing a tree on the top of the hill. He had his back to us and looked big, so I'm assuming it was him vs one of the smaller females.
We decided to leave the park, and ran into Nancy, Gregg & Kristen coming in to see the parade. It was about 4pm, so Chris & I drove over to Animal Kingdom Lodge to hang out until the others arrived at 5. When it got close to 5 we went down to Mara and set up a table big enough for the 7 of us. Adie & Lisa were the first to arrive, and they brought Chris his Comedy Warehouse shirt plus included a couple of chocolate pops with a CW ornament on each! I loved them - even if I cheat and only do the tiny tree next year, these will be on it. We'd brought Adie some of her favorite candy and some chocolate Barbie bimbo coins for Lisa. She cringed at the bimbo, but the promise of chocolate underneath let her touch them, lol!
Soon Nancy, Gregg & Kristen arrived, and we sat around talking for a while and then went up and ordered dinner. I got the tomato bisque, which was delicious. Chris was hungry and ordered 2 meals - the cheeseburger/fries and the kids' macaroni & cheese w/fries. He ate it all, although I grabbed a few bites of his burger. We had fun sitting around chatting, and all of a sudden it was 6:30 and we were going to be late to meet the others at 6:45 at PI! I completely lost track of time, and had my back to the window so I hadn't noticed it getting dark. We said our goodbyes, and Chris & I bolted to the car.
On the way to PI I called Leesa - she was at the entrance to PI waiting for us. I told her we were not going to make it on time, so she could let the others know when they arrived (she's met Tom & Leanne). She didn't see any familiar people, but said there was a woman and boy standing as if they were waiting for someone. I described Kim & Chris, and she said it sounded like them, so she went over to them and said "Kim?" When Kim turned around, Leesa handed her the cell phone, lol! I let Kim know what was going on, and she said Tom & Leanne weren't able to make it tonight. Leesa's able to get 2 people in with her pass, so I suggested they all just go in and we'd meet them at Comedy Warehouse.
When Chris & I came through the turnstiles at PI, Lisa was right behind us. Adie had stayed behind at AKL briefly and would be catching a bus over to join us for the 2nd show. So, we had 6 for the first show. We counted, but were off by 2 and did not fit in long row, so were put across the aisle. I found out Matt's wife had a baby girl, Grace Frances, 6 pounds and a few ounces, sometime around 6am or so this morning - everyone's doing well!
The 7:20 cast was Mary, Karl, Krista, Todd & Brian. After the opening song Todd & Krista did Story Telling, which was really pitiful. The title was Hot Car, and when it was over I said to Kim that it was really bad. She was relieved - she'd been sitting there trying to figure out what was funny, because she didn't see anything funny at all. I wish they'd yank this structure, but at the very least it should not be used to start off the evening like this - it's too risky. Next they did Schmeopardy, hosted by Todd as Alex Trebeck. Brian was a manure consultant named Peter Ploppinnow, Mary was an electrician named Voltage, and Karle was a scultor named Pierre du Frommage. There were some funny lines, but basically the show really died after Story Telling and the audience wasn't responding to anything. I was glad for the actors when it ended (& for us). Afterwards when the guests were gone Karl said he was going to get a drink and try to wash the taste of that last show out of his mouth, lol! Thankfully though, the other shows were much better - this one was the exception.
Tracy & Tyger arrived, along with Adie, so Lisa joined them up in line. The boys went to DisneyQuest and Kim stayed with Leesa & me at the back door. I ran up and got the pass, then returned and we talked to Bob & Virginia until it was time to go in. The others counted exactly right, and were seated in long row next to us! The 8:15 cast was Philip, Karl, Todd, Mary & Krista. They opened with the name rhyme, which Mary won. She then chose to call the action in a play performed by the other actors. It would progress, then she'd interrupt to ask for a plot twist or some suggestion from the audience, then the actors would continue. It was about bacon, and started with Karl as a guy on the Atkins diet trying to lose weight to get a movie role in a Woody Allen film. Krista was his wife, and Philip came in as Woody Allen. Todd was Karl & Krista's vietnamese pot-bellied pig. Eventually Karl ended up in a 3-way marriage with Woody & Soon-Yi, after many bizarre twists & turns - but it was a lot of fun!
Next was Cliché, where they tortured Todd. He first had to guess he was in the frozen food section of Piggly Wiggly, and then guess the cliché "Men should always get the last word, yes dear". They did a terrific job with the clues, giving a clue for the first or last letter of a word, then another clue for the rest of the word, so the actor being tortured would have to put it together. Todd did a really good job "getting" the clues, too, and guessed the cliché without too much difficulty at all. Overall it was a MUCH better show than the one before, and the audience was more lively than in the first show.
After the show Adie, Lisa, Tracy, Tyger & Tracy's friend Christina ran back up to get in line again. I stopped to see Krista, and showed her the t-shirt. I gave her a 5x7 photo of the image on the shirt, and did the same with Philip when he came out. They all had fun looking for themselves on the shirt! Todd came out last, so I gave him a photo as well, and chatted with him before we went outside. I had just enough time to run upstairs to get the next pass, and then we were back inside.
The 9:15 cast was Mary, Chris, Philip, Brian & Karl. They opened with a poem called "Fish toenails" that was pretty cute. Mary rang the bell for Should Have Said, where Brian was vacuuming his bachelor pad in preparation for Chris' arrival. He hypnotized her to make her lust after him, because she actually loathed him, and it was hysterical. They made several twists & turns in the story, getting pretty strange at times, but it was funny. Next they did an Andrew Lloyd Weber style musical called Nips. Philip was the lead character (Nips) and came out as a man with breasts whose dream is to rescue the banana from the grocery store so the potassium will help make his D-cup breasts shrink to a more manly A-cup. With Philip in the lead, things got really bizarre, but once again it was all very funny! Karl was the banana, and banana was always said with a British accent because it was suggested by a guy from England. They also did the structure where an actor starts a scene, then another joins to create a new scene, and after all 4 are in they rotate between the 4 different scenes. Mary had hot dog, Philip had cow, Chris had al qaida (sp?), & Brian had Mississippi. This was also pretty good, and overall it was a great show.
After the show Brian came walking over, it seemed like he was heading towards me but Bob & Virginia spoke to him & he stopped there - but still glancing in our direction. When we came downstairs he was eager to talk about the t-shirt, saying it was really cool. I gave him a photo, and also one to Christine. Brian was trying to remember what the heck he was doing to be in the flowery dress in one of the spots of the collage, lol! They left, and Mary came to talk - she was done for the night. We all stood around talking for a while, and then went outside. Nancy came out on a break and joined us until it was time to go back in. Leesa & I were the last ones left - everyone else left after the last show.
The 10:30 cast was Todd, Karl, Chris, Krista & Brian. They did Fill in the Blank with 2 audience volunteers who both did very well. Krista & Karl were in the Adirondacks - she was a zamboni driver and he was a ballet instructor in a funny scene. Next was Song Cue, where the action is interrupted 3 songs so something just said can be turned into a song. Todd & Brian were working at an ice cream factory with Chris as their mean supervisor - they ended up keeping their jobs by working nude. They did "Naked in front of ice cream" as a gregorian chant, "Stop getting me fired" as a progressive house song, and "Dust" in the style of salsa. They also did Should Have Said, with Karl ringing the bell. Chris was building a house for her Barbies, Todd was her brother, and Krista was the drunk mother checking into rehab. Karl came in as the dad, wanting the kids to get out of the room so he could entertain his secretary. It was pretty good - a good show, but as good as a couple of the earlier ones.
We walked out with Nancy, transferred Leesa's stuff to my car, met Chris at the car, and drove to Leesa's to spend the night. It was a nice day, primarily due to the time spent with our friends. I didn't get to see Tom & Leanne today, but they'll be back during my trip in 2 weeks and hopefully will be feeling better by then.
DAY 5 SATURDAY JANUARY 4, 2003:
We originally planned to head to Mara for breakfast, maybe spend some time in a park, and then go home. However, Chris had a job interview at 11 am, so we hit the road at 6:30 am and just drove straight home. He did get the job - he'll be working as a cashier in our local Publix after school and weekends.
SUMMARY: Except for the experience with the studio at OKW this would have been a perfect trip. I'll definitely be more inquisitive at check-in and hope to avoid those accessible units in the future. The stink pretty much disappeared after the vacuum cleaner had been out on the porch for 24 hours - not sure what the solution is there other than change the bags more often. I'll note it on the guest survey I'm sure will be arriving soon. In any event, the disappointments at OKW in no way ruined or marred the trip - but it was annoying at the time.
I loved that so many friends were here at the same time as us - Cheryl & Kevin, Maria & John, Adie & Lisa, Nancy & Gregg, Tom & Leanne, Kim & Chris, Patty, plus the regulars Leesa, Nancy, Tracy, Tyger - they really add to my enjoyment of these trips!
The parks were mobbed - this is definitely not the time for people to visit if doing the attractions in the parks is a priority (as it is for most people). Using fastpass we were able to do the few things that were important to us, and didn't worry about the rest of it. We enjoyed our lunch at Le Cellier and also the lunch at Wolfgang Puck's Café. The Comedy Warehouse was a lot of fun, despite some rough shows. Thankfully we had some at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum to offset the ones that struggled <g>.
I'll be back for sure in 2 weeks, and might possibly go back next weekend. I've got a business trip to Tallahassee the week of January 13th, and will go from there to WDW that Friday for a 5-day weekend (Martin Luther King holiday). Hopefully it will be a little bit warmer than it is right now, but I'm sure I'll have fun even if it's cold. The next trip is a solo trip, and I canceled my OKW reservations in order to stay at All Star Movies for only $49/night.
Until next time - thanks for reading.