Sue Holland -- November 2002 -- Walt Disney World (VWL, ASMuR)
Experience: Extremely experienced
This trip started as just a Thanksgiving getaway (Tues-Fri), but then my friends Nancy & Clinta announced they were getting married that Sunday! I extended the trip so I'd be going home on Monday, and then 2 business trips came up immediately following. So, although my Disney trip is only 7 days, I go directly to Gainesville for 2 more nights and then from there to Tallahassee for another 2 nights. This report will end with the last Disney day (you can thank me later <g>).
Last Thanksgiving Chris & I spent a couple of nights at VWL, and the resort was so pretty decorated for the holidays I decided we'd be back this year. Ordinarily I am not a fan of this resort - the villas are beautiful, but the location is terrible for me. I don't spend most of my time at the Magic Kingdom, which is all this resort is convenient to! If the Comedy Warehouse was located near here, then I'd be a big fan of the resort <g>! So, I would not want to spend any significant length of time staying way out here at VWL, but a short 2 or 3 night trip during the Christmas decoration season is very nice. The original plan was for me to move to Leesa's house for Friday night, so when Nancy & Clinta's wedding came up I added Saturday & Sunday night at All Star Music thanks to the $49 Florida resident rate. This past week I was able to add Friday night there as well (thanks to Tracy watching the reservations for me) at the same rate, which eliminated a move! I'll be staying at 4 hotels during the entire trip, and did not need to make it 5 different places!
Chris' dad (Tim) enjoys WDW - we used to go quite often when we were married, although not as often as I do since buying into DVC <g>. After the snoring episode when we did Animal Kingdom Lodge Concierge together last January (he did NOT snore when we were married, so how was I to know??) I called to book him his own damn studio! He & Chris will arrive on Wednesday and spend 2 nights at VWL before returning home on Friday. One of the highlights will be Cirque du Soleil on Thanksgiving night. I knew to call 6 months in advance to try to get the same seats I had the last 2 times, but that date fell during my cruise to Alaska. We were in port that day, but I FORGOT to call! I was a little ticked off at myself for not remembering the call, and the next day we were not in a port - argh! The day after that I raced off the silly ship and ran to a pay phone, and ended up in the right section but 3rd row instead of 1st row. However, they're still great seats, and we're looking forward to the show. Chris saw it with me the first time a few years ago. We gave Tim a ticket for Father's day, and Leesa a ticket for her birthday this year, and it will be the first time either of them has seen a Cirque show. It'll be fun to see their reactions, as the show is impossible to adequately describe to someone who has not seen it.
I'm not sure which parks we'll visit, or when. Tim & Chris will most likely spend more park time than I usually do, so I'll tag along with them most of the time. Of course I'll be at the Comedy Warehouse every night, although it'll be after Cirque and after the wedding on 2 of the nights. I'm looking forward to seeing my friend Patty again - during her last trip I was unable to make a trip up here due to things going on at work. She arrives on Tuesday for a very busy trip, but we set aside Tuesday night to have dinner and possibly see some Comedy Warehouse shows together (depending on her jetlag, coming from Hawaii overnight). They all know her there, since her sister has worked at the place for years (Mary). Wednesday morning Roxanne is using her Ft Wilderness golf cart to come pick me up and we'll tour around Ft Wilderness for a while and enjoy our visit. It's been several years since we've seen each other! Tim & Chris will arrive that afternoon, and w e'll all go to Comedy Warehouse that night. Thursday I'll pick up Leesa at some point, and she'll spend the night in my studio after Cirque & CW. Friday Nancy's coming out to meet us for my birthday lunch, and then will whisk Leesa away for final wedding prep work! Saturday Roxanne & I are visiting Amy at her OKW 2br villa for drinks, and Sunday is the wedding. Monday I'll relax or hit anything I've missed, then drive to Gainesville in time to meet friends Tom & Leanne for dinner there.
It sounds like a fairly busy trip, but I'm looking forward to every minute! I'm looking forward to having my AKL yogurt/granola thing, and trying Wolfgang Puck's regular restaurant (not the Express). I'll miss the Food & Wine Festival, and although the weather was originally forecast to be cold (by my standards), luckily it got better as the trip got closer. I may need to do laundry, so I'll hope for a couple of hours where it's nice enough to lay by the pool in order to get that done!
The plans (subject to change) so far...
DAY 1 TUESDAY NOVEMBER 26, 2002:
Who: Sue, DVC Member
Patty, friend from Hawaii, CW regular
Plan: Work, Check in VWL, WG Puck dinner w/Patty, Comedy Warehouse
Actual: The morning at work passed quickly, thank goodness! A possible budget crisis had arisen last night with some of the other institutions, but since I have a meeting scheduled with the key budget people from each one next week, we were able to add this to the agenda and not have to deal with it today. My friend Tom used to work at one of the institutions - he was excellent at his job, but his boss didn't realize what she had until she lost him. Now when she calls me whenever a budget issue comes up I'm tempted to suggest she hire Tom back as a high-priced consultant but fear the irony would be lost on her <g>.
Oh well, I was on the road about noon as planned, and except for a stop to put gas in the car and seeing quite a few more police cars than usual, it was an easy drive. My first stop was at Animal Kingdom Lodge, where I went to Mara and bought the very last yogurt/granola thingy for the next breakfast or two. AKL looked pretty all decorated for Christmas (same as last year). I left there and drove straight to Wilderness Lodge.
It's been a year since I stayed here, and time had erased the memories of what I don't like about this resort! First, the parking is miles from your room. I don't have the patience for valet parking, plus it would be almost as long of a walk to valet as it would be to the car from the Villas, so I self-parked and dragged my stuff with me up to the lobby. There was no wait to check in, and the cm was very nice - even saying Welcome Home after realizing I was a DVC member. It was kind of funny/awkward though - it's as if she suddenly realized she was "supposed to" say it, and pretty much admitted that <g>. The studio was ready, so I made the hike over to the Villas and found my room.
I'd requested top floor, and got 4th (out of 5). Last year I was across the hall, in the same general vicinity. My view is woods, and beyond the woods is the bus stop. Last year I really liked the décor in the studio, but this year I am not as enthused - maybe Beach Club Villas spoiled me last month! Everything's in good shape, but I remember liking it more last year. Outside it's gray and cloudy - reminds me of one of the many cold days spent at Hilton Head, except it's not cold outside (yet).
I unpacked a few days worth of stuff, and watched the rest of General Hospital while updating the report. At 4 I decided to make a quick trip to the Magic Kingdom, figuring even if it was crowded I could just walk around for a little while. There was a stairwell near my room, so I took that - exiting outdoors but on the wrong side of the resort! The door didn't open from the outside, so it took a while to find my way back inside the resort. Next time I'll take the elevator like a normal person, lol! As I approached the quiet pool I was very glad to not have a pool view room. In fact, I hope to never have a pool
view room anywhere - I like peace & quiet too much to have to listen to all the noise that goes along with a pool. As I walked towards the dock I could see the MK boat there, and sure enough it left before I could get there. I didn't really have 20 minutes to wait for the next one, so I hung around outside for a while, thinking if a boat headed to the Contemporary came soon I'd ride it over and walk to the MK. The only other boat was going to Ft Wilderness first though, and I really didn't have the time to spend in transit.
I wandered around outside and then went into the original Lodge to check out the Christmas tree (pretty) and gift shop. They had some DVC member merchandise, most of which I liked (only the jacket seemed ugly, in my opinion) but I didn't buy any. Maybe if they made DVC member girlie shirts <g>, although I may have to design my own and have it made by this great company in Ft Lauderdale I know of. I worked out a little bit too, and eventually ended up back in the studio to just hang out until I could catch the local weather so I'd know what to expect tomorrow. There was a message from Roxanne confirming our plans for tomorrow - it's so cool to "hear" internet friends, lol!
Around 5:15 or so I began the walk out to the car - it only took 10 minutes walking briskly <g>. Bear in mind that although I'm fussing over these inconveniences, I really am happy to be here. The drive to Downtown Disney is much longer than it is from OKW, but probably not as long as it will be once I'm slumming at the lovely All Stars, so I'd better not whine about that tonight. I parked in my usual spot, and walked to the West Side to meet Patty. I was about 10 minutes early so I wandered through the Virgin store, but didn't find any virgins for sale - just a bunch of cd's.
Right before 6 I went back to Wolfgang Puck's and saw Patty coming towards me. She'd been up since yesterday sometime, yet still looked great, and it was wonderful seeing her again. We went inside and had a brief wait to be seated. This was my first time here, and I liked the looks of the place - it was casual but nice, people seemed to be enjoying themselves and their food, and the place was attractive & fun-looking. Our table was towards the back, near the door to the outside, but luckily it wasn't so cold outside that it was a problem when the servers went in & out. Our server was a delightful young lady who was the perfect mix of friendliness & efficiency, and didn't rush us or interrupt the meal repeatedly.
I ordered the appetizer chicken satay, since I'd heard it mentioned favorably so many times on the internet and it was something I can't get just anywhere. With a glass of wine that was my meal. Patty got the pumpkin ravioli and a glass of wine, and everything was excellent! I even liked the ravioli, although I liked the chicken satay better. They put 5 strips of chicken breast (I hate the chicken satay at the Food & Wine Festival because it's made with the cheapo thigh meat) on long skinny wooden skewers, and they were propped up to form a teepee shape. Underneath was some cucumber salad stuff that was also very good. I'll definitely be back to order this again!
We had plenty of time at dinner, and kept busy chatting. Patty had told me when she arrived that Steve was in town and would be working tonight, which was a really nice surprise. He's one of the originals but has been in CA for several years now - the last time I saw him was last New Year's Eve, so I was thrilled to learn he'd be working tonight. After dinner we wandered around until it was time to meet the others for Comedy Warehouse.
We ended up a party of 7 - joined by Mary & Patty's brother and his daughter, his neighbors, Mary's friend Randy and Patty's friend Carey. Between Mary & I we got 1/2 price tickets for the people who didn't have admission already covered, then Mary went to work while the rest of us meandered in. Everyone was really nice - and in another "small world" moment I discovered that Randy worked at the same hotel in NYC that I'd helped interview for their management team - right about the same time. At the back door Bob & Virginia arrived with some of their family, and with the other people there it made for a very crowded backdoor! Bob & Virginia agreed to move up to tech row since they'd fit up there but we wouldn't, so we got long row. This was going to be our only show together, too. I saw Jake before the show - his first night back since his wife had their baby boy recently, and he promised to bring pictures tomorrow night.
The 8:15 cast was Philip, Mary, Steve, Joy & Brian. Philip opened the show, introducing himself as Yul Brenner - he's shaved his head! It was so funny to see him bald - he normally has such nice hair, but I think he said he shaved it for an acting job. The opening phone bit went well, despite the lady on the phone thinking she needed to be funny. Philip is good enough that he handled her well, and it didn't detract from the show at all. Mary & Joy created a Fill In The Blank scene about skipping school while Steve would interrupt to get the audience to fill in the blank. It was a cute scene. Next they did my favorite - Cliché! It seems whenever someone is back for a visit they get tortured, and tonight they tortured Steve. He had to guess he was in an airplane lavatory and then guess the saying "The odds are good but the goods are odd". Since the words were so easy they made the clues very creative, leaving Steve with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo that he was quickly able to sort through. He had trouble with the last word, though. Brian was leading the torture and accidentally blurted it out without realizing it! I was shocked, Steve didn't know he'd just been told the word, Brian was still clueless, but Mary picked up on it right away and pointed it out to Brian - who was kicking himself for that mistake! It still took a few seconds for Steve to realize what had happened, but then he had the cliché. Overall it was a good show, with a great cast.
After the show I talked to Jim Roberts & some of the others (hey Leesa - Philip came over and spoke while I was standing there <g>). I took some pictures of Mary, Patty & their party, then we headed outside. Patty was leaving to get some sleep, her brother & his friends were going to some other clubs, and Randy & Carey were searching for food. I decided to get back in line for the next show, since it wasn't too long (the first show was more crowded than the second show - very strange).
The 9:15 cast was Philip, Jake, Steve, Mary & Brian. They opened with the Name Rhyme, which Philip won. Steve rang the bell for a Should Have Said with Mary & Philip parachuting. It became a rather strange scene, with just about everyone being shot to death, and Bruce going nuts on the sound board with various sound effects. It was pretty funny, even if it didn't make much sense, and there's nothing like a good Disney story where everyone gets killed <g>! Next was Forgotten Songs. Jake sang "Turkeys love cows" but I missed it while I was checking a message (in the restroom so I wouldn't disrupt the show) from Chris. Philip & Mary came out as a couple of compulsive gamblers singing a lounge song "I'm on fire", which was funny. Steve & Brian were a couple of jewish men singing "Applesauce", and did it in a Fiddler on the Roof style - very entertaining.
They did Up Your Alley, with Philip as the host Dr. Phil (from Oprah). With his shaved head and black tape mustache he looked like Dr Phil, and he acted just like him - a great job! The subject was aviation, and Jake was a salesman who sells peanuts to airlines. Brian was a sexy flight attendant named Crystal - who used her sensual lips and super model walk to calm the male passengers into a catatonic state, lol! He played it very well - over the top, but that was perfect. Steve was James Tiberius, a trekkie geek with black rimmed glasses that were taped together over his nose, and his belly sticking out from his Star Trek shirt. I only knew it was him (before he spoke) through the process of elimination - the only 2 missing were him & Mary, and I knew that wasn't Mary! Overall it was another good show.
I knew Krista was coming in for the next show, but although I enjoy her a lot I decided not to stick around. It felt almost strange to be there alone and I didn't want to wait almost 25 minutes for the next show. I stopped to talk to Mary, and she asked me to take some pictures for her - we did that and then chatted for a while before I left the club. Outside I talked to Virginia & Bob for a little bit, then left PI. I drove back to VWL, parked as close as I could get (almost to Georgia <g>) and walked to my studio. I felt like I was on Pirates of the Caribbean - you know those dead skeletons on the beach?? Well, I passed several of them - DVC members who perished before reaching their villas, most likely <g>.
Since it was earlier than I normally get home, I checked all the pictures on the camera and downloaded the ones I kept, then sent most of them up to Ofoto. I'll include the link at the end of the report - after everything's in there.
The day went according to plan, and it was a really nice day. I enjoyed seeing Patty again, meeting the others, and now have another great restaurant to visit on future trips! The Comedy Warehouse was good - I love it when any of the great ones who've moved on come back, and Steve was just as good as if he'd never left.
DAY 2 WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2002:
Who: Sue, DVC Member
Roxanne, DVC & Fortress friend
Chris, 16-yr old son
Tim, Chris' dad
Plan: Ft Wilderness w/Roxanne, meet Tim & Chris, Comedy Warehouse
Actual: I could hear the people in the connecting 1br villa but thankfully they weren't terribly noisy or up for too long. I think they're on to a great thing at Beach Club Villas having the connecting doors out by the hallway rather than in the middle of the studio sleeping area! That little design change really cuts down on the annoying noise from neighbors! I slept well, but woke up about an hour before the alarm was due to go off. After dozing off & on a little while longer, I finally got up shortly after 7.
I'd decided to skip getting online this morning, and just enjoyed breakfast of cappuccino and some of the yogurt/granola thing while reading messages downloaded last night. I was ready to go around 8:30, so I called Roxanne & found she was ready as well. We agreed to meet on the path between WL & FW - she was coming on the golf cart. As I was walking I heard rustling in the bushes and figured it was a raccoon or squirrels until I saw an adult and child deer on the side of the path.. They moved back into the brush by the time I got the camera ready, but it was nice just to see them like that.
Soon I came across Roxanne, Rob & Robbie in the golf cart. Last time I'd seen her was 1997 and Robbie was in a stroller - now he's in first grade (no more stroller, lol). Rob was really nice, and Robbie seems like a terrific kid. We didn't even need the roll of duct tape Lisa had stashed near Pioneer Hall for me, just in case <g>! We toured the entire campground on the golf cart, and it was a beautiful morning. This was the first time I'd seen the place where they do the campfire singalong and Disney movie thing, and it was much bigger and nicer than I expected! We dropped Rob & Robbie off at the Bike Barn to rent bikes, and continued the tour.
The Wilderness Cabin was really cute - a bit rustic, but cute. I might consider one if the rate was really good, but the distance from Comedy Warehouse (and the fact that it's not as posh as the DVC digs) make me hesitant. It's perfect for a small family (4-5 people) or even 2-4 adults traveling together. It would be a shame to stay here and spend all of your time in the parks though - but it would be a perfect recreational vacation spot. Roxanne had seen teepees on an earlier outing, so we went in search of those. We thought they were Disney teepes, and she asked one of the people about them. It turns out these teepees are owned by 2 families who rent this patch of grass every year at this time (since 1980 - but they started doing it elsewhere in 1972). I felt bad walking into their "camp", but they were really nice - we were even invited inside one of the teepees but sadly they didn't ravish us or make us their love slaves <g>. Seriously, the teepees wer e really cool-looking and it was interesting learning about them. I took a couple of pictures that I'll put in the Ofoto album.
Roxanne dropped me off at the marina around 11, after agreeing on our plans for Saturday afternoon. I rode the boat to Magic Kingdom, arriving after a stop at Wilderness Lodge. The MK was packed! It didn't take long to get through security and enter the park, but once inside Main Street was a sea of heads all the way down the street. I headed to Space Mountain hoping to get a fast pass, but the return time was about 2.5 hours away and I knew I did not want to be in the park that long.
I spent my time just wandering around, enjoying the last warm day of this trip. The attractions had waits of 60 minutes, and even Small World had the entire inside queue area snaked around under cover plus it extended out to the outside! I dropped a note off at Cosmic Rays for a friend of a friend, and after I'd finished looping the park I returned to Tomorrowland to ride the TTA. That way I can at least say I did something, lol!
I left the park and saw the boat just pulling away, and since I'd rather than walk than wait I walked to the Contemporary. Once there I had to wait for the little boat, but I didn't mind taking the chance that maybe I would have made the connection more quickly. It was a pleasant boat ride, and worth the wait. I stopped at Roaring Forks and picked up a chicken wrap for lunch, figuring Chris or Tim would eat the other half when they arrived - otherwise I wouldn't have bought it because I hate wasting food. I was surprised they take the Disney Dining Experience card here, but with the 20% off the wrap was only $5.00. I took the wrap back to the studio and caught the very end of Port Charles, uploaded a few pictures, and ate my lunch. The wrap was delicious - I'd gladly get it again!
I spent time online, until Tim called to say they were almost on Disney property. I figured I'd go absorb some of the atmosphere here, so I made a cup of cappuccino and took it with a magazine to go sit in the lobby and wait for them to arrive. I met the guys in the lobby, Chris carrying his toothbrush in his pocket because he forgot to pack it, lol! He was starving, so as soon as they checked in we stopped at my studio for the other half of the chicken wrap. They ended up just down the hall from me, with enough rooms in between to muffle any snoring <g>. I told Tim if I heard a bunch of people out in the hall banging on someone's door I'd know why, lol! Their studio was a handicapped accessible unit, which the cm at the front desk hadn't said anything about. Tim didn't care, but thought it was odd. For 2 nights I could put up with it as well, but for a longer stay I would have asked to be moved.
They unpacked a bit and then we drove to MGM Studios. They'd decided to skip Comedy Warehouse tonight in favor of seeing the holiday stuff in the parks, and Tim was wanting to eat somewhere nice for dinner (I knew I'd still be too full for that). Once we were inside the park I was a little surprised to see how crowded it was here, too. Oh well, we mostly just hung around and killed time waiting for the Osborne Lights to begin. Nobody wanted to do any of the attractions, which was fine. We bought some of the cinnamon roasted nuts along NY Street - those were pretty good, especially warm.
I got to hear all about Chris' new girlfriend - a lovely girl who's name I can't pronounce, who's 15 years old and the mother of 4, with boobs and butt so big she looks like she's got a shelf on the front & back. She has a last name too, but she's too dumb to read it so we don't really know what it is. We may not have been very politically correct, but we were having fun at this imaginary girl's expense <g>. We were all fair game though - I think we were all teased or made fun of by the others at some point, but it was all in fun. While we were hanging around I called Disney Dining and was able to get us a noon priority seating in Chefs de France for tomorrow - after confirming they weren't doing any kind of special turkey meal since it will be Thanksgiving (but not in France, lol).
Around 5:45 we went back to NY Street and waited for the Osborne Lights to come on. Thank goodness they got rid of that sappy preshow they had last year and just did a brief taped announcement and turned the lights on! Everyone's there for the lights anyway - not some silly presentation. The lights were great, as usual! It was Tim's first time seeing them, and he really enjoyed them. We were near the front of the crowd so it didn't seem as bad as it has in previous years. Once we finished, we headed out of the park.
It was just a little after 6:30 and too early for me to head to CW, so we all went back to the resort. Tim & Chris decided to eat at Roaring Forks and said they'd be asleep soon after. I guess they tire easily <g>. We agreed to meet at 10 tomorrow to head to Epcot - it's nice not having to be up at the crack of dawn! In my studio I updated the trip report and relaxed in the warmth until I left for CW around 7:30. On my way out I stopped by Roaring Forks and bought a cookie for later. I left it with the guys to bring it to my studio on their way back, and told Chris to take the gatorade I'd left out for him. They had a brownie, so I took a bite before leaving - it was ok but not something I'd go out of my way to get.
At the Comedy Warehouse I ran into regular David outside, and joined him for the first 2 shows. We were the only ones at the back door for the first show, but it got really busy for the 2nd one. The 8:15 cast was Chris, Jake, Jen, Mary & Karl. Mary & Jake did Fill In The Blank with 2 audience volunteers - one of them a kid who actually did a really good job. They were a couple barely getting by and he bought her a corvette for her birthday even though she doesn't drive. Next they did Up Your Alley, hosted by Jake as Simon. The topic was hockey, and Jen was Dr Maria Puck (dentist in Canada who advocates just removing teeth as a preventive measure). Chris was Barbara Barkley from Worcester, MA, a woman who hates hockey because her husband is addicted. Karl was Ghee Guy, a forward with the Ontario Beavers hockey team - not too bright after being knocked around so much. Overall the show was just ok.
I chatted with Mary after the show - this is her last night working during this trip, and since I wasn't planning to stay for the 10:30 show I won't see her again until December 19th. Jake told me his baby was due to arrive in about 15 minutes, and sure enough when I went outside soon Krista walked up carrying Jake's son Jack (his wife & in-laws were there as well). The baby is gorgeous - absolutely perfect! I'm not one who thinks every baby is cute just because they are tiny or are babies - but this one really is cute. They came to the 9:15 show and of course Jack slept through it <g>. The Ft Pierce family arrived, along with Dan's mother, so I talked to them for a while during the wait. Once the door opened I went back inside with David, and found Sue (former CW cm) seated next to me so I got to talk to her before the show started. She didn't work there that long, but she was really sweet.
The 9:15 cast was Jake, Krista, Jen, Karl & Chris. This show was much better than the first one, thank goodness - Jake had a number of really funny lines, but everyone did well too. They opened with a poem called "I Went on the Boat". Next was Musical Styles, where Jen & Krista created a scene about preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Karl interrupted them 3 times to have them create a song using the last line of dialogue said. They did a bluegrass song called "It's Done", a world beat song called "You Regret That He Saved Me", and wrapped it up with a Broadway-style song called "I'll Eat the Chicken, You Eat the Turkey". Next Jake & Chris did Story Telling, with a story called "Disgusting Cat". It had some good laughs, but I thought it went too long.
They also played Schmeopardy, hosted by Krista talking very rapidly. Jake was a hairdresser named Dennis Gow, who specializes in the "bowl cut". Chris was a worker from Universal Studios - smoking, drinking, nose ring, pink hair, etc. Karl was Mr. Pepperoni, a superhero in the pizza world. He pulled one of those leotard things over his clothes and put on a rubber wig, then struck several superhero poses - it was pretty funny, but Jake did the best in terms of coming up with very clever questions to the answers.
After the show I said goodnight to David and headed out to drive back to VWL. I found my cookie on the kitchen counter - minus a piece that they must have sampled. The clowns even left me a chocolatey fork - perhaps to illustrate that they had chocolate and I don't have any?? LOL
I finished up the report, read my mail, but tried not to stay online too long since I wanted to get to sleep at a decent hour. It was a pretty busy day in terms of doing a lot of different things (Ft Wilderness w/friends, 2 parks, & then CW) and covered everything on the plan. Tomorrow will be pretty busy as well, but at least we're not starting until 10am!
DAY 3 THURSDAY NOVEMBER 28, 2002:
Who: Sue, DVC Member
Chris, 16-yr old son
Tim, Chris' dad
Leesa, Comedy Warehouse regular
Plan: Some park, WG Puck Express, Cirque du Soleil, Comedy Warehouse
Actual: I woke up around 7 but didn't get up until a little later. The shower here is better than BCV, but the pressure still isn't as high as I'd like it - I guess that's a water conservation measure or something. For breakfast I made cappuccino and finished the yogurt/granola thing, and sent a few emails while eating. At 9 the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade started, and I was really happy to see the segment Greg (from CW) worked on was the lead-off act! They're called America Sings, and there were 850 teens from around the country who sang & danced to get the parade started. They looked & sounded great - a definite improvement over some of the parade entertainment (which tends to get boring to me). I sent him a quick email congratulating him on a job well done, and finished getting ready. Tim & Chris called me out to my balcony, just so I could see them on theirs, lol - a couple of clowns! Chris had forgotten to pack a belt, so they were headed to the shop in the lobby to see if they could find one. Mine won't fit him anymore, and we don't need him dropping his pants in Epcot!
I met them in the lobby at 10, and we drove over to Epcot in Tim's car after transferring some of the stuff I wouldn't be needing (swimsuit/pool stuff, rollerblades) from my trunk to his so I wouldn't have to take it to my next 2 cities.
Future World was busier than normal, but when we got to World Showcases shortly after 11 it was deserted. We went to Test Track, where Tim & I did the single rider line while Chris waited at the end to look at the new cars. We ended up riding together, and when we got off Chris was all excited about a new Saturn Ion on display. I was confused, since they'd already told me the Ion was cheap-looking and that I didn't want to consider that for my next car, lol! They had a cheap-looking one with the other model cars, but on one of the revolving display cases where they used to have a car of the future they had one that was done up to be really sporty - like a quad coupe. The color was really nice, it had all leather interior, sunroof, spoiler, fancy rims, etc, and they salivated over that for a while. It did look like a sharp car, but I'll need to decide whether I want the "nice" L-series or the sporty Ion when I get a new car next year. Chris took some pictures of it, planning to order a large print from Ofoto to hang in his room(s).
It was just after 11 so we headed to World Showcase, where Chris & rode the Maelstrom while Tim got a cappuccino and waited for us. We finished walking around, continuing the Holland family tradition of making fun of each other. I got used to being referred to as either "shorty" or "munchkin" and learned to ignore their plans to get a child leash to keep track of me - one that will send a jolt of electricity if I get more than 5 feet away! I heard them talking about requesting a booster seat for me as well, but didn't follow thru <g>.
We got to Chefs de France a little early and watched the acrobat chair-climbing act. It ended at noon, and we checked in at the podium before being seated. Lunch was Tim's treat, as a "thank you" for his studio. He & I each had a glass of the Moscat (sweet) white wine, and although we both liked it neither of us would order it again. At $10.50/glass it would have had to have been perfect, and it wasn't. For appetizers we shared a new onion tart thing, and Tim also got the escargot. The onion tart was not like the one at the Food & Wine Festival - rather than being made on puff pastry, it was on a piece of crisp flatbread. The onion taste was stronger, also - I like the F&W version much better, but this was worth trying. Chris normally hates onions, but he ate quite a bit! Tim's escargot were excellent (well, as good as snails can be <g>). For our meals I had the onion soup, which was every bit as good as I remembered, but I could only eat about half of it. Chris had a toasted ham & cheese sandwich that he said was excellent, and Tim had some eggplant & zucchini thing that he raved about, along with some of my soup. For dessert Chris had the crème brulee, which was good except for the top tasting too burnt. Tim got one of the cakes of the day - a chocolate sponge cake with ganache. It sounded better than it tasted. Overall lunch was excellent except for the dessert, and our server did a great job. The only negative thing was the jackass several tables over who conducted a long conversation shouting into his cell phone so the person on the other end could hear him. Everyone in the restaurant heard every word as well, since his voice was louder than the conversations at people's tables. It was quite distracting, and the guy was oblivious to dirty looks. I'd say something to Tim and Tim would say "WHAT?? I can't hear you over the guy on the cell phone", lol!
After lunch we headed towards the exit, stopping for the guys to visit Ice Station Cool. I opted to wait outside for them, and Leesa called while I was waiting so that helped pass the time. Of course, right about then the speakers came to life blaring music, so we had to move so I could hear on the phone, lol! We left the park and drove back to VWL. The guys changed into shorts and we headed down to the marina so Chris could rent a water mouse for an hour.
The cm at the recreation window told us about the Family Plan, where for $210.90 you get unlimited boat & bike rentals (excluding surrey bikes) for the length of your stay (I think this is limited to 4 people in the party). You can be staying at any WDW resort, but can only use the rentals from this marina. At $30/hour for water mouse rentals, it doesn't take too long for this plan to pay for itself. I remember reading that if you want the boat for more than an hour you have to return at an hour and if nobody is waiting for the boat you get to keep it - otherwise you have to return it and wait for the next available boat. We may consider doing this in the future - although Chris won't have a park pass next year he would be happy doing just the recreation stuff - perhaps with a DisneyQuest annual pass for the evenings.
Chris took off in his boat, and I went with Tim over to the pool bar. He offered to buy me a drink, but nothing sounded appealing and I was so full from lunch I'm not sure how I would have handled anything else! He got the Lumberjack, which is dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, & Malibu floating on top. I tried it, but it was too strong for me! I went back to my studio and uploaded a few pictures and updated the report. He hung out at a table by the beach to wait for Chris.
At 3 I turned on General Hospital, but it was some strange dreaming show, and not anything to do with the current stories - a complete waste of my time! I left before 4, and drove to Leesa's. When I got there she showed me some things she'd made for me on the computer - different slide shows (screensavers) set to music, which play on a cd! One was full of pictures of different friends, mostly with me but also pictures taken when I wasn't around, and another full of just Comedy Warehouse! I couldn't believe it - it was the most awesome thing! She showed me one Tracy & Tyger had created, and I loved that one, too - it was set to the song "It's Raining Men" and was mostly pictures of the men of the Comedy Warehouse. I know I've got pictures at home that would be perfect in the screensavers, so I'll send them to Leesa and she'll add them for me. Thanks, Leesa - I LOVED it!
We left her house at 5 and arrived at Downtown Disney about 5:30. Tim & Chris called while we were on the road - "Where are you?", lol! They were waiting outside of Cirque, but we needed to get in line for the elevator - a painfully slow process, so if you're coming to see Cirque and will be needing the elevator you'd want to allow plenty of time! Our seats were section 203, row CC, which is the 3rd row of the upper tier, and an excellent location. The show was amazing - words cannot possibly describe it if you've not seen it. All I can say is quit whining about the price and buy a damn ticket - it's worth every penny and more. Tim and Leesa both loved it - they were seeing it for the first time, and even though it was my third time I enjoyed it as much as the first time.
After the show Tim & Chris went to Wolfgang Puck's Express for macaroni & cheese, while Leesa & I headed to PI for Comedy Warehouse. After getting our pass for the door we ran out to the car to get Leesa some more layers of clothing to wear, since there was a pretty cold wind blowing.
The 8:15 cast was Karl, Brian, Krista, Matt & Jen - a pleasant surprise to find only 1 sub since it was Thanksgiving! Last year I was disappointed that hardly any of the regulars worked that night - it almost wasn't worth being here, so this was looking really good! They opened with the poem "You broke my catapult." They did Emotions, where Karl & Krista were on their 2nd honeymoon in the Caribbean with his mother - which Krista was not thrilled about. It was a fast-moving and funny scene! Brian & Matt did Story Telling, called "The Beautiful Basketball". Brian was a dad who made fun of his son Matt, saying he runs like a girl, throws like a girl, etc. It actually was kind of cruel, although both guys did a very good job. Krista then rang the bell in Should Have Said, with Jen in a tattoo parlor getting a new tattoo from Matt.
After the show Carol Stein came over to talk about a bunch of things, and then we talked to Jen until the doors opened to let the next audience in. It was nice not having to wait in the cold <g>.
The 9:15 cast was Todd, Jen, Brian, Matt & Chris. They did Fill In The Blank with 2 audience volunteers. Chris & Todd were in Kash N Karry (scummy grocery store here in FL), where Todd was a Personal Shopper and Chris was the customer. The audience volunteers did a great job with their suggestions, and both Todd & Chris were very funny. Who would have thought I'd enjoy something to do with yucky Kash N Karry? Jen & Matt then created the song "Running to the Bathroom" as a couple on their prom date - he was thinking he would get lucky later, but she drank until she was throwing up and thought he was a loser - it was funny! They played Schmeopardy, hosted by Todd as Alex Kotter Brady (the dark curly wig looked like Mr. Kotter and also Mike Brady on the Brady Bunch). Jen was a postal worker named Sangria, and Brian was a nameless bum. Matt was Kazarian Spencer, a Hollywood talent agent handling Patton (the suggestion was patent agent). The entire show was very good! Afterwards we talked to Brian for a while, and then Chris. We ended up with just a short wait outside instead of the whole 30 minutes.
The 10:30 show featured Chris, Karl, Todd, Matt & Krista. They opened with the poem "John is a Masochist", which was funny. Krista rang the bell again in Should Have Said. This time Matt was working in a chia pet factory making chia dogs - Karl was the owner and Chris was a fellow worker. Next they created a Broadway musical called Old Town. Todd & Chris were an elderly couple, but Todd suddenly became young again - it was just ok. 2 people left as this scene ended. Next was the structure where each actor comes in to create a new scene with a different suggestion, and then they flip from scene to scene. Chris had apple, Krista had masticate, Matt had electrician, and Karl had encyclopedia. Overall it was a good show, except for the Broadway piece being a bit slow.
Nancy came in after the show, so we talked to her for a while and then walked out with her. We confirmed the time & place to meet her tomorrow, and then Leesa & I drove back to VWL. In the studio we were unable to open the sleep sofa - it was really stuck! I called the front desk and they had a man from housekeeping there in less than 5 minutes - great service! He got it open, and agreed they're hard to open.
Leesa read for a while and I finished up the report and got online briefly. It was another great day, and except for substituting Chefs de France for WG Puck Express we did everything on the plan. I enjoyed it much more than any traditional Thanksgiving, too!
DAY 4 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 29, 2002:
Who: Sue, DVC Member
Chris, 16-yr old son
Tim, Chris' dad
Leesa, Comedy Warehouse regular
Nancy, works at PI, getting married on Sunday!
Tracy & Tyger, Comedy Warehouse regulars
Plan: Check in AS Music, Lunch w/Nancy & Leesa, Comedy Warehouse
Actual: I stayed up a little later than planned, and didn't wake up until shortly after 8. I knew Leesa would sleep until I woke her up, so I tried to be as quiet as possible taking my shower & getting ready. Tim stopped by to say their dinner at WG Puck Express sucked last night - they were so disappointed in the food quality and the service. I've noticed a real decline there as well, which is why I haven't gone in several trips. There are too many good places to eat to waste my time & money on a place that's either lousy or inconsistent. Tim mentioned they met the Ft Pierce family last night - they were seeing the late Cirque show, and had stopped at WG Puck Express for dinner before the show. When Tim tried to reach me on the radio they heard him, and said something, and they got to meet.
Around 9:30 I figured I'd better get Leesa up or we'd be here forever - sometimes (due to her periodic paralysis) she needs a loooooooooooong time to wake up & get moving, and today seemed to be one of those days. If she pushes too hard she may crash (become paralyzed), but if she doesn't she may never make it out of bed before dinner, lol, so she tries to stay somewhere in between those 2 options! I was all ready, so I got online & tried to stay out of her way. I'd hoped to leave at 10:30 to go register at All Star Music, figuring it was going to be mobbed and I'd be standing in their awful line along with the rest of the cattle <g>. We had to be out of here at 11, and I wasn't sure that would give us time to get to AS Music & back before meeting Nancy at noon at the Grand Floridian (our palates were craving a "different" dining experience <g>). I also didn't want to leave her here, since she'd have to be out of the room, sitting in the lobby or somewhere alone with her luggage by 11!
We left not too long after 10:30 and stopped to take pictures along the way, leaving the parking lot about 11. At All Star Music there was a line waiting to check in (ugh) so Leesa sat to read her book while I stood in line with the rest of the herd. The cm I got was really nice and found me a room that was ready. I ended up in Jazz, which is the closest building that doesn't have the $10 per night premium on the rate. I actually didn't care where I was - it's not like I can't walk or will need to make trips back & forth to the main building, but I may enjoy the convenience. Since tonight's reservation is for one night and then a 2-night reservation starts tomorrow I'll have to return to the front desk tomorrow to get a new key and parking pass - I dread having to deal with another All Star line, but at least I don't have to change rooms.
I drove back to the room and left Leesa in the car while I quickly ran up and threw my stuff in the room. She was having trouble moving still, and didn't need to walk any more than necessary. By 11:45 we were on our way to the Grand Floridian, where Nancy & her cousin were waiting for us. Nancy was wondering where we were, since usually I'm early or on time. The handicapped parking lot was full, so I took one of the 30-minute spaces and hung Leesa's plackard from the mirror.
Nancy's cousin Kelly was really nice - she's from North Carolina and has an accent similar to Cis & Shan - very pretty. We checked in at the Grand Floridian Café and had about a 5-minute wait, so we waited outside. As we were seated they walked us past the desserts and described each one - a great way to ensure you leave enough room for dessert! I'd seen chocolate hazelnut mousse on the menu online, and when I saw it in person it looked even better than I'd imagined! Our server was just ok - definitely not a superstar, but she provided passable service most of the time. The food was all excellent, and the atmosphere here is very nice (not formal, just comfortable - unless you're a slob <g>). Nancy got the Philly cheesesteak, which was very large, and she said it was excellent. Unfortunately, after eating it she had no room for a dessert <g>. Leesa got the rueben, which was also huge, and more than half of it went home with her in a "to go" box. Kelly got the Asian chicken salad, which was also huge. She liked it, but when Nancy tried it she immediately mentioned a couple of things she'd do differently if she was making it - and her ideas did sound better. I got an appetizer caesar and had them put chicken on top - it was your basic chicken caesar, good but not remarkable in any way. Before the meal comes out we had some great bread with olive oil & spices for dipping. Kelly & I were the only ones doing dessert - we both did the chocolate hazelnut mousse, and it was EXCELLENT! The presentation was very nice, and the raspberry & other sauce on the plate went very well with the mousse. I'd definitely order this again!
After lunch we took some pictures in the lobby, and headed out. Leesa kept seeing things she wanted to take a picture of - Nancy would grab her purse strap and drag her away, lol, otherwise they'd still be there <g>. Nancy & Clinta are spending Monday night at this resort, and she promised to take the pictures for Leesa and email them. They were needing to get back to Nancy's house, and Leesa needed to get there to rest. We left Leesa on a sunny bench and Nancy came to my car to get Leesa's stuff, then I drove to Animal Kingdom Lodge looking for tomorrow's breakfast.
There were no yogurt/granola things out, so I asked someone on the off chance there were more out back. The cast were very helpful, but they were all out and the only guy working in the kitchen was busy with food for some group so they couldn't have him make one specially for me. They did offer to make me one in the morning and hold it for me, which was really nice. I had no idea when I'd be coming by, but told the guy I'd probably be there about 9. I may decide to get up early tomorrow - since the parks are only un-mobbed early in the morning this weekend, and I want to avoid a long line to get my new key anyway. The idea of going to the parks on a Saturday during a holiday weekend is kind of scary, though!
I returned to All Star Music and downloaded the pictures taken today, talked to Roxanne on the phone for a while, talked to Tim, and updated the report. I also watched the screensavers on the cd Leesa made me - plus the short video clips from Fairy Tales. The clips are short, but they brought me right back to that show, which was so wonderful! Finally I decided I couldn't spend the rest of my day grinning like a fool at my laptop screen <g> so I went for a walk around the resort before returning to the room to gather what I'd need for PI tonight.
One of the holiday things I really like is the Lights of Winter at Epcot, and I figured tonight I could see them lit before going to Comedy Warehouse, since I'd be busy the next 2 nights. I drove to Beach Club Villas and parked there (it would have been quicker to park at Epcot but I wanted to walk), then walked into Epcot via International Gateway. IG was actually crowded, with a wait to get through the turnstiles! I went to Future World and rode Spaceship Earth with a short wait, and then went into Wonders of Life since I never seem to go over there. It had been years since I'd ridden Body Wars and since there wasn't a wait I decided to ride. The ride's the same as always - no big thrill. I like the simulator technology, but wish they had a different story that would give a better visual experience.
I browsed through Mouse Gears, mainly because it was warmer inside than it was outside <g>. It killed the time until the tree lighting ceremony was due to begin. Cast in Bronze was playing, and I enjoy listening to them. I wasn't able to get close enough to actually see them because the people who could had been waiting longer than me - so I went back and sat on a bench to wait for the lights. I love the Lights of Winter, and for me that and the sound of Cast in Bronze signals the start of the holiday season. After the lights were on I fought my way through the crowd to leave Epcot, and drove over to Downtown Disney.
My usual parking lot was full, so after circling in vain I went to the next lot, where the same thing happened. On the 3rd or 4th lot I found a space way far back near the main road! I have no idea why it was so crowded, since Pleasure Island wasn't any busier than normal - it must have been shoppers at the Marketplace since I didn't see any sign of any big convention groups. I got in line at the Comedy Warehouse when it was time, and was joined by Tracy.
The 7:20 cast was Karl, Krista, Chris, Brian & Joy. Several things were just "off" this show. The sound wasn't right - the sound effects & music were too loud and the microphones to pick up the actors speech were too low. It was hard to hear what they were saying at times. During the opening song they changed the name of the woman when creating the song title, so they were singing about a lady in the audience but calling her Mary instead of Nancy until Karl pointed that out (he was the 5th and final actor). During another scene Joy was Wilma and Krista was Carla, but then suddenly they were calling Joy Carla - it's like nobody could get it right. Usually when someone goofs like that one of the other actors will immediately jump on that person's mistake, and it's funny - but tonight they didn't seem to catch it. However, the show wasn't bad.
Joy & Krista created a scene as 2 women on a submarine looking for men. When they spotted 2 other women on a nude beach with men, they shot torpedoes to get rid of their competition, lol! Brian would pause the scene often to get suggestions from the audience, and it was fun to watch. They also tortured Christine in Cliché, and after Krista declined the first 4 suggested cliches because they were either too common or something Christine may have heard, I gave her "As useful as a chocolate teapot." They took it - Chris got the first several words very quickly, then figured out that the clues for "chalk" and "collate" formed chocolate, and it wasn't much longer before she had the rest. Overall it was a pretty good show, except for the sound problem.
We got right back in line, but this time were seated in the last row of Alps - wow, I won't do that again! The 8:15 cast was Joy, Brian, Chris, Matt & Karl. Thankfully the sound problems were resolved and the actors could be heard clearly from this point forward. Brian & Matt did Fill In The Blank, pausing for the audience to give suggestions. They were great - they were 2 guys auditioning for a job as strippers. Matt pretended to be wearing a flesh-colored g-string (to the delight of the women in the audience <g>), and they both coated themselves in vaseline to create a 2-person stripper act. Matt used the style of Bruce Lee (kung fu) while Brian was like a llama - very strange! Eventually Brian added a bra made from squid, and shook so the tentacles hit Matt in the face, and they ended the scene before it got any stranger! We thought it was hilarious, but 2 vaselined up guys stripping together isn't your typical Disney entertainment <g>. I'd probably buy a ticket though, depending on who the guys are!
They did This is Your Life next, with Chris doing the interview. It was also very good, showing the guy as a 10-12 yr old boy getting caught trying to steal an Army tank in Germany, his first kiss at age 8, and also his future retirement from law enforcement (which included his daughter being arrested that day for stealing a tank). Strangely, the show ended very abruptly. By my watch they still had a few minutes - certainly long enough to at least thank the audience guy & give him his button, but as soon as the structure ended the sound guy started the closing music & announcement of "The stars of the Comedy Warehouse..." The poor audience guy took a bow with the rest of the cast and after the show they gave him the button. Maybe the sound guy hit the button too soon - it wasn't the regular guy.
We got back in line and were joined by Tyger, who froze doing Tapestry of Dreams tonight! The 9:15 cast was Greg, Philip, Krista, Joy & Karl. They opened with a poem called "The bride who tripped down the aisle." Next they did Emotions, with Krista as a bus driver and Karl as her passenger. It was short, but funny. Philip & Joy then created a song called "The hairy jacket", which was cute - and I like them creating a song so much better than doing the longer Story Telling!
Up Your Alley was next, about the study of movement. Krista was host as Mrs. Holden. Joy was Ellen Jones, a ballet instructor. Greg was funny as a painfully shy girl named Emma Dickenson, and Philip was Ricard Wagner - who studies movements of dead composers. The questions just weren't coming from the audience, so they kept it kind of brief. Everyone had at least 1 really funny line, but there were also some dead spots. We left after the show, since it was way too cold to stand outside for the 25 minutes before the next show! I talked to David (manager) about their pretzels on the way out - he confirmed they had discontinued the jalapeno cheese-filled pretzel that was so good. They ended up throwing away too many of them at the end of each night and the traditional ones sell better. Oh well - I hate jalapenos but liked those pretzels.
We walked out to the parking lot together (Tracy had gone through the same thing as me when she arrived, lol) and I drove back to the beautiful and luxurious All Star Music. Actually, my room is nice & quiet, in a good location, so although it's a "slum" compared to the DVC properties if I really didn't want to be here I would have sucked it up and spent the DVC points to stay elsewhere. If nothing else, I'm fairly close to my yogurt/granola things for breakfast <g>!
Today followed the plan, plus I got to see the Lights of Winter! Lunch was delicious and the company was great. Having a room ready at 11am at All Star Music on Thanksgiving weekend was extraordinarily lucky, and greatly appreciated!
DAY 5 SATURDAY NOVEMBER 30, 2002:
Who: Sue, DVC Member
Roxanne, DVC & Fortress friend
Amy, Fortress friend
Tracy & Tyger, Comedy Warehouse regulars
Plan: AK or Epcot, OKW w/Amy & Roxanne, Comedy Warehouse
Actual: I slept really well, and it was completely silent here - quieter than many of my DVC rooms (boy, I hate admitting that <g>). There were a few turbo toilet flushes this morning, but not loud enough to wake me up if I'd been asleep. I got up around 7 so I could get to the front desk early to check out and check back in. Even at 7:30 there was a damn line! Ugh! It wasn't as bad as yesterday, though, and I'm sure it'll be much worse later. The cm's I've dealt with so far have been very nice, and provided good service - it's just that having 2000 rooms in a single resort is a bit much! Pop Century will be even worse.
Once I had my new key & parking pass I drove to AKL and bought 2 of the yogurt/granola things for my remaining 3 breakfasts here. Back at All Star Music I ate breakfast and then filled a small cooler I'd brought with the rest of the yogurt/granola and ice. I'll have to add ice daily, but it'll work perfectly as a substitute refrigerator. I made some cappuccino and read the rest of the messages downloaded last night.
It was chilly outside (42) but expected to warm up quite a bit (71), so I hung out in the room a while to give it time to warm up enough that I wouldn't need clothes now that I'd end up having to carry 2 hours later! Around 9 or so I drove over to Animal Kingdom. It was crowded getting in, but the wait wasn't too bad. My first stop was in Harambe to pick up a fastpass (for 10:30) for the Kilamanjaro Safari, and from there I went to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail to check on Gus. There wasn't much activity initially. 2 of the boys were asleep down by the water, but Gus was sitting next to the waterfall with his back to the guests. On the other side Gino (the dad) came down and sat there eating, but the rest of the family must have been on the other side of the hill. Pretty soon Gus got up and started walking away - I knew where he was headed, so after checking to make sure he didn't reappear I left the trail and went to the other side of the waterfall. Over there the 4th boy was asleep on the ledge next to the waterfall, and Gus was sitting near some trees on the opposite end of the area.
He moved around a little bit, and had his back to us part of the time, but at other times let us see him. A couple of the others came over for a while, but didn't disturb Gus. At 10:30 I decided to leave, since it was now fast pass time. The Safari was good - the driver had a sense of humor, and there weren't any obnoxious guests in my jeep. We saw lots of animals, including one of the cheetahs sitting up. I got off around 11 and decided to wander the park, but as I approached Asia I could hear Budge's (former CW actor) voice coming from Flights of Wonder. I really don't like birds at all, but went in to see Budge's performance. He provides the comedy - some jokes were pretty bad, but they were bad on purpose <g>.
When the show was done I walked around the rest of the park, and left around noon. Back at All Star Music I decided to walk over to All Star Movies to see if there was anything worthwhile in their food court. I saw Nancy's friend Bob (former CW cm) working at the pool bar, and chatted with him briefly. The soup of the day was Sweet & Sour Pork - very strange, but they gave me a taste & it was delicious! It was really thick, with big chunks of pork, peppers & onion, and pineapple chunks as well. I ordered one to bring back with me, along with a chocolate chip cookie, and returned to my room at AS Music. I'd taken several pictures for Kathy, so I downloaded them and then uploaded them to her Ofoto album, then worked on the report to get caught up.
About 4:15 or so I left to pick up Roxanne at Ft Wilderness, and from there we went to OKW to visit with Amy for a while. I had met Amy at the Fortress meet earlier this month, but she & Roxanne were meeting for the first time. Amy had her MIL Fay and her friend Amanda with her, and the 5 of us had a great time chattering away about all kinds of things! Amanda whipped up some killer pina coladas, which we ate with spoons because they were so thick - yummm! I did my laundry while we were there - thanks again, Amy! All too soon it was time to go - the time really passed quickly, and meeting in the OKW villa was perfect. We said our goodbyes and headed to the car - Roxanne & I talking about how so far all the Fortress people seem so great, there aren't any clunkers in the group <g>! I dropped Roxanne off at the main building so she could join her husband & son for a night at the Osborne Lights, and I drove to Downtown Disney.
I had the same parking nightmare as last night, winding my way through 3-4 parking lots before finding a space in the same area as last night! Thank goodness tomorrow the big crowds should be gone and things will get back to normal. I ran over to Ghiradelli for a chocolate sample, then entered PI and went up to the Comedy Warehouse.
The 7:20 cast was Jake, Krista, Greg, Jen & Brian - an excellent group! They opened with a cute poem called "What does a mouse do while you're sleeping?" Next Greg called out styles of film, music, tv & theater for Krista & Brian, who were creating a scene as brother & sister. They had met in a gym and were talking about their controlling mother and some of the dysfunction in their lives - it was also very good, and flowed really well throughout. Krista & Brian carried the story clearly despite the different style changes, and Greg did a nice job picking the right moments to change styles so it wasn't disjointed. They also played Schmeopardy, with Krista hosting as the fast talker. Jen was Arlene, a chicken plucker. Jake a kid named Colby Kidley who sells bugs, and Greg was a twinkie cream filler. He played his Juan Huechonuevo character, but with the added last name of DingDong. It was a good game, and an excellent show for the first one of the night.
I left immediately to get in line and was lucky to get a solo seat left over at the end of long row! The 8:15 cast was Jen, Brian, Chris, Krista & Jake. Jen & Jake did Song Cue as a filipino lady and an American missionary over in the Phillipines. She thought he was trying to buy her, and was indignant, but really he was only trying to buy rice for the Starch Missionary. They sang "You can't buy me" as a Latin song, "Two women at once" as opera, and "It's as though we were made in rice heaven as a reggae song. They were all great, and the scene was pretty funny. They did Letters to the Editor, with the subject of fertilizer. Chris wrote to GQ as Rosie McDonnell, hating the magazine because it's only for men. Brian was George W. Bush writing to Coal Age, and Krista was Amy Carter writing to the National Enquirer. Overall this structure was just ok tonight, but the rest of the show was good.
Tracy, Tyger, and their friend Cecilia were waiting for me outside, so we went upstairs and got in line again. I'd met Cecilia a couple of years ago, and it was nice seeing her again. We were seated further back, and directed towards the last phone row. Either the seater or our server said "Oh, make Sue sit by the phone", which made sense because I knew Bruce was the sound tech tonight and he knows me. They try to get people who are there for the first time (that's why the leadoff actor almost always asks - who's been here before, and the sound tech watches the 3 phones to see who applauds), so I knew Bruce wouldn't ring our phone. Brian opened the show, dialed the phone, and it rang in my ear! I couldn't believe it - it had to have been a setup by someone asking Bruce to ring it, lol!
The usual routine is for the actor to say his name and ask the person on the phone what their name is, and they always act as if they have never met you, even if they have. Brian started to ask me my name, but then surprised me by acknowledging that I was a regular who came to a lot of shows, but he & I had never done the phone before so he was going to learn more about me. I was prepared to act like a stranger, but didn't have to. He asked questions about work, personal life, hobbies, etc, and I threw him when I mentioned I was from Ft Myers - he'd assumed I was a local. He commented on how often I'm here, especially coming from Ft Myers and made a joke about how expensive that was - I mentioned DVC was how I did it, and he made his little money sign again. They did a nice job with the song (western ballad) - it was all very nice, and not insulting at all. Kathy & Den had shared their theory last trip that the actors prefer to not have one of us regulars on the phone or as the subject in a structure because they like us and don't want to make fun of us - maybe they're right.
They did Conducted Story, conducted by Krista. The story was called "The Marshmallow Avenger." Brian died first, killed by a gerbil inside a burrito at a Taco Bell. It was hilarious - he pronounced all the menu items wrong, Matt was the clueless minimum wage worker, and Greg was an impatient customer in line behind Brian. Joy died by a lamp in the style of Should Have Said, and then Matt ambitiously died in a country music death as a Navy seal while invading France. Greg then wrapped up the story as a poem. It was another very good show. Afterwards Krista & I chatted - she was glad Brian acknowledged I was a regular on the phone, saying if there were people there who recognized me and he hadn't done that, they could go away thinking it was a fake or I was a plant. She thought the interview went well, which was nice to hear. Greg came over to see me and Krista headed out. Greg had something he wanted to tell me face-to-face; he'd dropped a hint in a recent email but I'd chosen to ignore the bait <g> for the time being. We talked for a while, and then I left with Tracy, Tyger & Cecilia (they were waiting) to get back in line for one more show.
The 10:30 cast was Jen, Matt, Jake, Chris & Joy. Jen & Matt did a Fill in the Blank (using whole audience) about laying carpet in England - it was good but a little long. They did the Name Rhyme thing next, which Matt won. It was down to him & Chris, so as the winner he got to torture Chris in Cliché! Tyger gave the cliché - "If you want to find a committed man, look in a mental hospital." First Chris had to guess that she was in an opera house in Nome, Alaska, and the entire structure was done singing - many different musical styles. She really struggled with the location, and ate up a bunch of time. It's always fun to watch someone being tortured in this way, lol, but I knew they were going to have to give her fairly easy clues for the cliché because of time contraints. She did a good job figuring out the clues, and the show ended immediately after she got the cliché.
None of us were sticking around for the 12:05 show, and were parked in different lots, so we split up outside. I ran into the Ft Pierce family in the parking lot and talked to them for a little while (it's their last night), then got my car and returned to All Star Music. I got the pictures downloaded and finished up the report, but decided to skip getting online until morning - particularly since I don't have to be anywhere in the morning.
It was a really nice day, and everything on the plan was done. At AK I got some pictures of Gus for Kathy, and saw a show I don't normally see - getting to see Budge for the first time in that role. The mini OKW meet was great fun - it was like we were all old friends, and I've never even heard of Fay or Amanda before I walked through that door! Comedy Warehouse was great tonight too, and being the subject of the phone song was fun. It's a shame I only have 1 more night there until next time.
Tomorrow is Nancy & Clinta's wedding day, and her birthday! Hopefully the weather won't be as cold as predicted, since the wedding is outdoors - brrrr!
DAY 6 SUNDAY DECEMBER 1, 2002:
Who: Sue, DVC Member
Leesa, Comedy Warehouse regular
Nancy, works at PI, getting married today!
Clinta, works at PI, getting married today!
Connan, very attractive black man
Plan: AK or Epcot, Nancy's Wedding, Comedy Warehouse
Actual: I was shocked to not wake up until almost 9am today! That never happens, but it felt good to get some extra sleep. I showered and then went for a walk before returning to the room to get online. Breakfast was cappuccino and more of the yogurt/granola. Around 11:30 or so I decided to get out of the room for a while and brave the Premium Outlets. I figured if it was really bad I'd just turn around and head back here.
The outlets ended up being not too bad - busier than normal but it was easier to park there than at Downtown Disney! I got a top at the Character Premiere, and then walked around but didn't go in to any other stores. Character Premiere had quite a few shirts marked at $5.99 but of course any of the ones I liked were size L or XL.
Back at All Star Music I got ready for the wedding and packed up most of my stuff. I was able to segregate a bunch of stuff I knew I wouldn't need in Gainesville & Tallahassee, so I'll be able to leave that in the car and thereby lighten my load a bit as I hotel-hop next week. I left the room shortly after 2 for the drive to Clermont.
The wedding & reception were held at Diamond Players' Club, which is located on the top of a hill (this part of Florida is very hilly) overlooking a golf course, lake, and community of large new homes. The ceremony took place outside, with the wedding party walking down the hill and most of the guests standing on the hillside to watch Nancy & Clinta take their vows. Fortunately it was a bright sunny day, so it was comfortable until the sun went down. Leesa was the official photographer, so I mostly hung out with an extremely attractive black man named Connan - definite movie star type (think James Bond). Ok, he told me to say that, but he really is an attractive man, and a nice guy. Actually, I knew quite a few people there, some of whom I hadn't seen in a fairly long while because they're no longer working at Comedy Warehouse. It was a little strange to see so many CW people not in their costumes and not working - they all looked great dressed up, though.
Nancy's dress was gorgeous, and underneath she wore a fancied-up pair of sneakers <g>! The ceremony was really nice, and the reception was fun - everyone seemed to be having a good time. I'll include a photo or 2 in the Ofoto album for this trip. Around 7 Leesa & I left for Comedy Warehouse, while Connan went home to get changed before meeting us later. It felt like it was freezing outside, but I guess it must have been in the 50's since when I got home the weather said it was 50 degrees at that time. I should do real well in Tallahassee with 32 degree weather - NOT!
The 8:15 cast was Joy, Philip, Todd, Matt & Chris. There was a large group of 5-13 year old girls from Alaska who are involved in some educational pageant thing, and the lady who answered the phone was one of the chaperones. Next they did Story Telling, with Joy & Chris as mother/daughter telling "Red Candle". Chris was the elderly mom who tended to accidentally burn down houses. Unfortunately, it was somewhat painful to watch - there were a few laughs but mostly silence, and silence is not a good thing in a comedy club! Their characters were just ordinary people, and I think to carry telling a fairly long story like this they characters need to be a bit over the top in order to hold the interest of the audience - otherwise it gets boring really fast. Fortunately, the rest of the show was much better.
Todd & Matt came out as pageant contestants and sang "My Retarded Puppy", and that got things back on track. They played Up Your Alley with Chris as host Lois. The subject was diamonds, and Matt came out in a sequined gown, blonde wig, & dark rimmed glasses as Carol Channing. Philip was Al Dershowitz, a diamond cutter, and Todd was a baseball diamond expert named Rock Cooper. It was very good, with many funny lines.
When the show ended Leesa went to the gate to get Connan in on her pass while I went upstairs to get our backdoor pass for the next show. The 9:15 cast was Jen, Joy, Chris, Philip & Todd. They opened with the poem "They served macaroni at the wedding", which was cute. Todd & Philip did a Fill in the Blank using the entire audience for suggestions. Philip was a woodworker and Todd was his apprentice in this very funny scene. I was impressed with Todd tonight - he was doing very well in each structure. They also did This is Your Life, which was hysterical. Philip did the interview, and the others acted out the woman getting a doll she wanted as a child one Christmas, her first kiss, a day at work, and a look to the future. The lady was from NY, so Chris played her and Jen was the smoking NY mother with the obnoxious accent, and the doll she got was Joy as a blow-up doll <g>. Her first kiss was on Fire Island, which I realized later has a large gay population. Chris was back as the lady, Todd was her boyfriend, but Jen & Joy were there as well as a couple of lesbians. In the scene at work Chris was still wearing the swimsuit, and Jen pointed out what a freak she was for wearing a swimsuit to work for the past 22 years - it looked like Chris forgot she had it on, but that's awfully hard to believe <g>. When asked what her most proud accomplishment was, she said having her kids. Philip cracked us up by retorting that reproducing is something anyone can do, even him, and was there anything she's done on her own that she's proud of?? LOL He also went off on a diatribe about Disney's satanic influence on society today - very funny. He's the one most likely to blurt out something that is extremely funny but might offend a few people - if they don't have a good sense of humor. The show was very good, but we were done for the night at this point.
As we made our way out I complimented Todd on doing well tonight, and we talked to him & Jen briefly. Todd mentioned his new Ghostbusters' Christmas show over at Universal, and he'll be performing next Saturday. Oh gosh - it just dawned on me why he made a point of telling me that! A friend had gone to see him in his show, after I'd told her what days he would be there. She video taped it, so she could watch it again later. She evidently saw him after the show, and felt funny about having taped him so she blurted out that she was taping the show for ME! Of course, now that person can go see him on Saturday and tape the holiday show and he'll assume again she's just there doing it for me - for whatever reason <g>. Nancy in Fortress - I talked to Philip also, and asked him which character he played when he did Hunchback. He was Hugo (in his words - the short, fat, stupid one). Not knowing the story at all, I have no idea who or what Hugo is or does
I walked out to the parking lot with Connan & Leesa, then drove back to All Star Music. I made some cappuccino and finished the report, then got online to post it. I set the alarm so I could get up and head to Magic Kingdom in the morning since I really didn't get to do anything there this trip. Once I get to Gainesville I'll get the rest of the pictures sent and include the url to the album in tomorrow's (the final day) report.
Today was a nice relaxing day. I'm glad I extended the trip, as I would have hated to miss Nancy & Clinta's wedding!
DAY 7 MONDAY DECEMBER 2, 2002:
Who: Sue, DVC Member
Plan: MK, drive to Gainesville
Actual: I got up around 7:30 and found it was only 42 degrees outside - yikes! For breakfast I finished the yogurt/granola and made cappuccino to take with me. After putting my stuff in the car I drove up and parked at the main building, then took the bus to the Magic Kingdom. The bus must have stopped at Sports first, because the Music people almost all had to stand.
I got to MK just as it was opening, and headed to Space Mountain first to get a fastpass (9:45) for later. The cm there said there was no wait if I wanted to ride now, so after getting the fastpass I went inside and rode before everyone else arrived! I was off the attraction by 9:15. The Pooh ride had a short line, so I didn't bother waiting. Snow White was a walk-on so I rode that, then went to check the status of Peter Pan's Flight. It had a 10-minute wait, so I decided to skip that also. Instead, I continued on to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and rode that with about a 5-minute wait. The line was longer when the train returned to the station, so I didn't stick around for a second ride.
On the way back I walked onto Haunted Mansion, and then returned to Space Mountain to use my fastpass finally. It's not a day in the MK if I don't ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, so I rode that next and then headed out of the park. Buzz Lightyear had a 35 minute wait at that point, and things were getting quite busy. I was only at the bus stop a few minutes when a "special" bus picked me up and then stopped to take 2 families waiting to go to All Star Sports. At each resort he dropped us off at the Mears bus stop, and did not stop to pick up new MK guests. It was great having the special service (a concierge perk, maybe??) like that.
I got my car and made the easy drive to Gainesville, stopping to buy a cd at Kmart in Clermont and then to get a haircut across the street from my hotel. The rest of the day was spent uploading the final pictures, finishing the report, and getting some files from the office that I could work on in the morning before my meeting starts.
I had a great time, as usual <g>. As often as I go to WDW, each trip just gets better and better, which is hard even for me to believe or understand! This trip was pretty busy, with lots of time spent with new and old friends. I'd have to really search for any negative things, and they pale next to all of the great things. It would have been nice to not have the cold nights, but that's life in late November! I'd like to be able to check in to All Stars without a long cattle line, but that will likely never change. The magical moments for me this trip were as follows.
- Dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Café with Patty - I always enjoy her company, and now I have a new wonderful restaurant to enjoy on future trips. My chicken satay was excellent, and the service & atmosphere was also great. Following dinner with a Comedy Warehouse show with her brother and friends of her & Mary was fun, too.
- Villas at Wilderness Lodge - The studio was cute, and quite comfortable for the 3 nights. I'm not sure I'll make it a priority to stay here next holiday season, because I'm not sure the plusses outweigh the minuses for me. Having the extra studio for Tim & Chris was nice, not only to escape the snoring, but just because I like having my space!
- Fortress friends - I had a great time with Roxanne touring around Ft Wilderness early in the trip, and drinking pina coladas with her, Amy, Amanda & Fay at OKW later in the trip was a lot of fun! I'm really lucky to know such nice people.
- Cirque du Soleil was amazing, as always. I love that show and it was nice to see it with Leesa & Tim, who were seeing it for the first time!
- Thanksgiving lunch at Chefs de France was excellent (except for the blah desserts)! Also, the lunch at Grand Floridian Café was good but the dessert there was outstanding! Hmmm, sounds like I need to go to Chefs de France for lunch and GF Café for dessert <g>.
- All Star Music, except for the check in experience (the line) was actually great. My room was quiet, clean, and in a good location. For $49 it can't be beat, and I'd be willing to stay there again at the same rate. Once the rate gets too close to $100 though, then it's not worth it to me and I'll stick with my posh DVC digs <g>.
- Nancy & Clinta's wedding was beautiful, and I'm glad the date fell close enough to one of my trips that I was able to simply extend it like this. She & I met at the Comedy Warehouse - I was a guest & she worked there at the time (4-5 years ago), and she & Clinta will be joining me in the grand villa at Hilton Head next March - can't wait!
- Leesa's screensavers & Fairy Tales clips on cd will be treasured! The pictures bring back so many great memories, and they're just plain fun to watch - it's impossible to keep from grinning like an idiot whenever I play one of them <g>.
The url for the photo album for this trip is http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?m=6814414102.28945639603&n=1959099452
My next few trips will be relative short, but there are 3 of them during the next 2 months. On December 19th I start a 3-night offsite trip (oh, the horrors <g>) and then come back New Year's Eve for another 4 nights. These short trips will have to keep me going between the longer trips, and since they fall over weekends the time off from work I need to take is minimal. Until next time, enjoy the holiday season & thanks for reading.