Sue Holland -- November 2004 - Walt Disney World (Offsite, ASSR, OKWR)
Note: As Sue spent time at Pleasure Island and in other adult venues on this trip, this report has some information that may not be appropriate for young readers.
Dates: November 5-6, 10-14, and 24-28, 2004
Iím not sure where to start to explain how I ended up with 3 WDW trips during November, especially when the last trip ended on October 29. I wonít bore everyone with the details, but the bottom line is a combination of wanting to spend time at the Food & Wine Festival (since I was relatively immobile last monthís trip) and having nothing better to do with my time over the holidays from work. In addition, Greg was returning to the Comedy Warehouse the first week of November and since Iíd missed his previous visits & had initially told him Iíd miss this one as well - I couldnít really skip it since his last night is on a Friday and I donít have to work on Saturday. In addition, Mary from Comedy Warehouse is in a play that opened this week, so I ordered tickets to see that Saturday night. I knew for sure Iíd be there this weekend, but thought there was the possibility I might cancel the Nov 10-14 dates and didnít want to miss the chance to see her. At the last minute Greg discovered he wasnít on the schedule for Friday night after all, so I was able to call the theater and get my tickets to Maryís play moved from Saturday to Friday so I could only be gone over one night instead of two.
Thanks to Food & Wine, there were no DVC rooms available anywhere for Friday & Saturday night (5th & 6th). Luckily Leesa came to my rescue & invited me to stay at her place. Sheís seeing Maryís play the following week, but was willing to see it twice so I ordered us each a ticket for Saturday. During the day Saturday Iíd planned to stroll around the Food & Wine Festival, and happened to hear from some internet friends Iíd lost touch with - they were going to be there also, so hopefully weíll spend part of the day together. Theyíre a fun bunch, and Food & Wine is more fun with a group (or a sweetheart, but heís not here this month).
Iíll return home Saturday, then turn around & come back Wednesday for 4 nights before heading to Ft Lauderdale/Miami for 5 nights on business. Once again, thanks to Food & Wine and also Super Soap weekend, there were no DVC rooms available. I managed to get All Star Sports for Wednesday and Thursday nights, even though Iíd stated I was finished with the value resorts. Theyíre not my first choice, but it beats offsite! I kept trying for the Friday & Saturday nights, but nothing was opening up - so I booked the Hampton Inn Lake Buena Vista since itís fairly new, close, and very nice. This trip will be a combination of Comedy Warehouse and Food & Wine.
Finally, Iíll return home from the business trip on Friday 11/19, work for a few days in Ft Myers, then return for the long Thanksgiving weekend. These nights have been booked for a long time, which is why Iím back in a DVC resort (thank goodness)! The parks will be busy - busier than I like, but it beats sitting at home. If the weather is nice Iíll lounge by the pool in preparation for my Disney cruise on December 4th. It sounds like a lot of trips, but except for the cruise, itís all weekends and holidays - not vacation time.
The current plans (subject to change) so far...
Fri 11/5: Drive to WDW after work, see Maryís Play
DAY 1 FRIDAY NOV 5, 2004:
Plan: Drive to WDW after work, see Maryís Play
Once I got to her place I changed my shoes & sweater while waiting for her to get into the car - nothing like a quick change in the front seat! We flew over to Sanford, and I was feeling good that weíd made it by shortly after 7:30 for an 8pm show. However, the theater is on a college campus, which is very dark and has signs that arenít meant to be noticed after dark! We drove around and around, ending up down a path next to a dumpster at one point. I had visions of us missing the show because we couldnít find the right building! Finally I called the box office from my cell phone and asked for help - Iíd tell them what I could see as I was driving, until finally they figured it out. Turns out at that point we were right around the corner of the building. We parked the car, and got inside with 10 minutes before the show started. I was thankful for the chance to visit the restroom and Leesa was glad to have time to get a package of crackers for her dinner. Are we pathetic, or what??
We saw Greg before the show, and talked to him a bit. Iím sorry I didnít get to see him at Comedy Warehouse this time, but it was nice to have this trip be just a single night instead of 2 nights, since now I have all day Sunday to do stuff around home and get ready for the next trip 3 days later.
Leesa and I went to our seats, which were in the 1st row. However, we were the only 2 people seated in that row, and it was SO close to the stage we felt like we were almost in the show! When the show started, we moved to empty seats in the row behind us, which were better. The show is called The Violet Hour, and it is set in New York during 1919. There are 5 actors, most of whom are very young (in their 20ís). Maryís character is in her mid-40ís and involved romantically with a young white guy. I wonít get into the story line, so I donít ruin it for anyone who will be attending a performance in the next couple of weeks, but it was a terrific show. The story was serious, but there was plenty of humor included. Each actor did a fine job with his/her character, but Mary was outstanding. She had the most interesting/colorful character, and did a beautiful job bringing her to life.
We talked to Mary a bit after the show, and said our goodbyes to Greg. Perhaps Iíll see him when heís back for Super Soap, if they put him on the schedule at Comedy Warehouse at all. Usually when Iím at Super Soap I donít attend the soap shows. Iím not a big enough fan to wait in the lines!
We drove back to Leesaís condo, after successfully finding our way back to the highway. I met her roommate Dave and we stood around chatting for a while, I checked my email and headed to bed around midnight. It was a long day, and although I was really stressed out during the seemingly endless drive up there, it was worth it to be there for Maryís play, and Iíd do it again - but I think Iíll come in a day prior next time!
DAY 2 SATURDAY NOV 6, 2004:
Plan: Food & Wine Festival, Drive home
I went to Test Track and saw the single rider line had a 25-minute wait. Thatís about 15-20 minutes too long for me, so I picked up a FastPass with a return time of 1:55pm - 2:55pm. I figured if I didnít get back then it was no big deal, but Iíd have it in case I wanted to ride then. I went over to The Land, but the boat ride there had a long line, so I skipped that. I canít see waiting in lines, especially when Iím just as content to wander around or sit on a bench and people-watch! I went back to Spaceship Earth and got in the long line there since it keeps moving continuously. Gail called to suggest meeting at the fountain at 11am, which would work out perfectly for me. I enjoyed the ride, and got over to the fountain just a few minutes before 11.
As I was walking around the fountain I heard Gail call my name - she teased that sheís actually able to catch up with me since the knee injury, lol! It was wonderful seeing her - Iíve known her for years, and always enjoyed my time spent with her (& her family) at WDW. As we were standing there talking, Bay & Krisi arrived. After more hugs, we stood around talking & laughing. Bay & Krisi have been closing down Pleasure Island every night, as usual - drinking, dancing, and generally having a lot of fun! They were still wearing last nightís PI wrist bands, and mentioned their new names were SINderella (Krisi) and Ho White (Bay) - too funny! Thereís never a dull moment with this bunch. Bay & Krisi went to get Krisi a burger to eat - sheís a notoriously picky eater (worse than me), and SB called to harass me about drinking already (he knew Iíd have met up with my friends by this point and was goofing around).
We decided to head back to Food & Wine, and made our first stop at Greece. Bay & Gail each got the spinach pie, while I got the lamb gyros and a white wine. The wine was pretty good (nothing special), but the gyros were just ok. Gail told me Linda had said they were just ok - I should have listened, but thought they looked better than ok. While we were in line the Segway tour group rolled on by - which included Linda, Diana & Nina. I donít know if they all knew I was going to be there, but we yelled greetings as they passed. Diana had taken a tumble, and had a scraped up knee (her left one - between us we had a set of good and a set of bad knees).
We continued on to Morocco, where Bay got the lemon chicken and loved it! SB loved it last trip, too - they have it every year, so it must be a crowd favorite. We continued on, stopping in America, where Bay & Gail got crab cakes. They declared these the absolute best thing at Food & Wine - and later when the others got some they said the same thing. Iím not a crab cake fan, so I didnít try them. Weíd heard from the others, they had started in Mexico so we knew weíd run into them eventually.
In Italy we stopped at the chocolate booth - Bay tried the bonet & the torte (both are very small), Gail & I each got the flourless hazelnut chocolate cake, and we all 3 got a glass of the Banfi Rosa Regale. On my way to our table I got to meet Sue & Paul from England, who recognized me (imagine finding me with chocolate in my hand) and came over to say hi. I enjoyed chatting with them for a while - theyíre both really nice. Diana, Linda & Nina arrived at this point, so we headed back to the table Krisi had saved for us. The flourless chocolate thing was yummy, and everyone loved the Rosa Regale, too. The 2 really go well together - mmmmm! People wandered off to get crab cakes, lobster bisque or whatever, and came back to the table to eat & talk. Eventually we continued walking.
At some point I got the chicken tikka from the India stand. Iíd heard it was good, and it did not disappoint! It reminded me of the Durban chicken and it was a pretty big portion. Iíll definitely get it again at some point next week. I forget what else other people got - by this point the lines were getting really long, and it was very crowded simply walking around World Showcase. We kept losing Nina, but everyone always found the group again if they got ahead or behind at all. Overall it was a nice pleasant morning/afternoon strolling around - eating, drinking & chatting.
Since it was so crowded, Bay & Krisi decided to head to Nahtazoo, while the others decided on MGM. I decided to stay in Epcot and make another loop around World Showcase, then head home. I figured with the crowds I wouldnít stand in the lines to buy anything, but wasnít hungry anyway! Part of me wanted to walk - sort of a test of the knee to see how it did, since it only stopped swelling & hurting 2 days ago.
I was hoping to find Mickey antenna toppers that were sports-related, but didnít find any. I could have sworn Iíd seen them before - ones that looked like a soccer ball, or baseball, or basketball - but maybe I dreamed it. I started my 2nd loop, and searched in Canada for a maple leaf cookie press or cutter. My food service director found a recipe for maple leaf cookies that she says are out of this world, and she knows SB loves cookies. She told me I need help in the kitchen so she plans to make these cookies and wanted me to give them to him and let him think I made them, lol! Of course I told him - he knows I can buy better cookies than I can make, and doesnít have any problem with that. Mrs. Fields has nothing to worry about from me!
In Italy I got another glass of the Rosa Regale champagne, since the line was very short. I love this stuff - too bad I set it on a bench to make a phone call & spilled most of it when the glass got knocked over. I was pretty far away at that point, and didnít feel like spending another $6 to replace it. It was just after 2pm, so I walked over to Test Track and used my FastPass. It was nice sitting on the left side instead of the right (single riders get put in the 2 right seats). Test Track is a fun ride, but not worth a wait in my opinion. When I got out of there I walked quickly back to France for the 3pm wine seminar, but the line was already full. I stood in line anyway, hoping there might be a single seat - but did not get in. I was interested specifically in this winery (Sparr Alsace - France), and this was my only chance, so I was a little disappointed. I started to head out, but stopped at the Festival Welcome Center to buy a bottle of the Pommeroy champagne SB liked, and a bottle of the Rosa Regale. I figured Sheila would like the Rosa Regale, so Iíll take it on the cruise weíre doing in December. The Pommeroy Iíll save for when SB is down here. He thought I bought it to drink now, without him - whatís the fun in that??
It took a while to buy the champagne because the cashier had trouble finding the sku number for the Rosa Regale. Finally I was out of there, and got in line for the 3:30pm wine seminar in that building. Once again, I missed the cut-off and did not get in. At this point it was time to go home - I canít see standing in line 30-45 minutes in advance to get into a seminar. They also used to have 4 samples at these seminars, and this year each one Iíve seen has only had 3. Iíll wait 10-15 minutes, but thatís long enough. Maybe Iíll get into some on Thursday or Friday when Iím back.
I was on the road around 3:45, and had a very easy drive. There was no traffic, and it was daylight for most of the way. It was a great trip, but I was ready to be home & have the other half of the weekend to be here & get ready to leave again. I love this time of year, with the weather finally getting nice, and having Food & Wine Festival going on - so Iím looking forward to the next 4-night trip even though I dread the drive up after work on Wednesday!
DAY 3 WEDNESDAY NOV 10, 2004:
Plan: Drive to WDW after work, C/I All Star Sports, Comedy Warehouse
Since I had to leave early for the medical appointment, there was no reason to return to work afterwards. Instead I drove to WDW and surprisingly found almost no traffic at all - the drive took the normal 3 hours and was quite pleasant. I had almost no wait at all at All Star Sports, and the girl checking me in was absolutely terrific. Iíd been unable to find availability for my Hampton Inn nights whenever Iíd call Disney CRO, so on a lark I told the girl if sheís got the room Iíd extend my stay until Sunday. She made a call, and was on hold for a while, but they not only found me a room, they fixed it so it was all 1 reservation (no coming back to check in again) and at my $49 rate! My room is in the Surfís Up section, too - which is probably a good thing since I donít believe the doc wants me walking any more miles than necessary. I brought my stuff to the room, using the elevator since Iím supposed to avoid stairs when possible. The room is your basic All Star room - what can I say, lol! I swore Iíd never be staying at a value resort again, but here I am. Itíll be fine for the next 4 nights, and out of fondness for my friend Larry Wilmot Iíll refrain from making any derogatory comments about the resort.
I decided living out of a suitcase was easier than unpacking & repacking 4 days later, so it took no time at all to get settled. After chatting with SB a bit I headed for Downtown Disney, planning to eat at Earl of Sandwich if the lines were not too prohibitive (Ooh - big fancy word). I parked in my usual lot, and then walked over to the Marketplace. It was pretty busy, and once I got inside Earl of Sandwich I knew the line was too long for me. Between walking a little slower than usual, and being here a little later than expected, I didnít want to risk being rushed. I went to the Christmas store and not only found the ornaments I wanted for an internet friend, I also found the Mickey baseball antenna topper I wanted last weekend. After making my purchases I headed out, stopping at Ghiradelli for a dinner of a chocolate sample. I dropped my merchandise off at the car, and then went into Pleasure Island. The street was pretty busy for a Wednesday night in the off season.
Joe was outside the Comedy Warehouse so I went over to talk with him before I joined Leesa at the Adventurerís Club. Soon it was time for Comedy Warehouse, so we headed over to wait for the door to open. Jim Roberts was on the keys tonight, and every show seemed to have a bigger audience than usual.
The 8:20pm cast was Luerne, Robby, Mary, Mark L & Joy. Joy rang the bell in Should Have Said, where Mary was a mom calling her bratty son Mark on her cell phone to get her AAA number for Robby the tow truck operator. Mark ended up telling her that dad had taken her AAA card when he left with his girlfriend, and suggested if the tow truck guy was cute then perhaps she should go for it. They did a poem next - ďBridge to HappinessĒ, which was cute. Scene Freeze was next, and it was pretty weird - not bad, but not one of my favorites either. Robby had kidney stone, Mark had cruise, Joy had hair bows & Luerne had softball.
Mary came over to chat after the show, and asked about my knee. Sheís done enough training for her many AIDS rides to understand my disappointment in not being able to run the marathon. She was optimistic for me in 2006, but I always went into this saying 2005 was going to be my ďonce in a lifetimeĒ marathon entry. Iím not interested in starting another 30 weeks of training next year!
The 9:15pm cast was Mary, Robby, Luerne, Matt & Joy. They opened with the name rhyme game, which Mary won. As the winner, she chose to have the others create a play taking suggestions from the audience each time she would pause the action. Matt & Joy were a married couple with a hot dog cart in NYC. She forgot the onions, which in his world was grounds for divorce. She put preparation H on the barstools, and Robby came in as a customer who happened to be the president of preparation H - Mr. H. He sat on the stool, farted & slipped into a coma. While in the coma he saw a ghost that told him to eat a hot dog, so he decided to buy the hot dog stand. He was revived by mouth to mouth from Matt, who first put preparation H on his mouth to shrink it, then used a straw to breathe into him. It was kind of strange, but fun.
Madrigal was next, conducted by Mary. The tabloid headlines were ďAliens come to earthĒ, ďBarbara Bush has 3 sistersĒ, ďPresident Bush is pregnantĒ, and ďBritney Spears marries BigfootĒ. They ended up with ďBigfoot spears Barbara BushĒ as the closing verse. They did an Up Your Alley about prescription medicine, hosted by Matt as Christopher Walken. Mary was Sarah Script, a prescription interpreter - she interprets the doctorís handwriting and if she canít read it just picks a drug for the person based on how they look. Luerne was Betty Sanders, from Parents Helping Parents - a group that takes turn bringing their kids to the doctor to get drugs and then sharing the meds with everyone else. Robby was the ghost of Elvis. Overall it was another good show. We talked with Mary after the show, then headed outside to wait for the next one.
The 10:30pm cast was Mary, Mark L, Mark, Robby and Matt. Most of the show was Conducted Story, led by Robby. The title was ďShaggy has Skid marks.Ē It was a weird story, but it was quite funny. Mark died first, by cranberries in a Williams Sonoma shop. He was a customer, Matt was the hoity toity worker, and Mark L came in as a homeless person who was immediately shunned. Mary died next, basically committing suicide when the story got too weird. She died by hairless cat, and had an audience volunteer come up and position each actor on the stage - then they created a scene that would end in Maryís death and each of them in the position set by the volunteer. Mark L was the next to die, doing a Jazz death & being killed by a q-tip. It took place at the track - Mary was the waitress, Mark L was a gambler. At one point Jim Roberts changed the music (mid-song) from jazz to hip hop, lol. That left Matt to wrap up the story, which he did with Robbyís help, each of them saying 1 word at a time.
After saying goodnight to Mary, I headed out. Leesa walked me part way out, but was staying for one more show. I drove back to All Star Sports and was surprised to find a decent parking spot! I wrote up some of the report, but decided to finish it in the morning. After setting the alarm for 7am, I headed to bed around 1:30am.
Today was a really good day - traffic was good, Comedy Warehouse was good - the trip is off to a great start so far!
DAY 4 THURSDAY NOV 11, 2004:
Plan: Food & Wine, Comedy Warehouse (?)
The food court was an absolute zoo - I was glad I had my biscotti and cappuccino, as no breakfast food is worth subjecting myself to those conditions. Speaking of the food court, last night I stopped here to buy an oatmeal raisin cookie, and presented my Disney Dining Experience card. The cast member barked at me that it was expired - as if I was intentionally trying to defraud the Disney Company out of $.38, lol! Iíll have to call later to find out whether or not I renewed the card, since I certainly didnít intend to let it lapse.
This room location is very convenient - itís close to the main building, and the pool is just on the other side of the building. I really lucked out with this one! Every other bus came before the one for Animal Kingdom, but we still arrived just before 9am. The lines to get in moved quickly and I headed directly to DinoLand figuring Iíd ride a couple of things there before heading to Harambe for the Kilimanjaro Safari and the gorillaís trail.
There was no wait at Primeval Whirl (aka Primeval Hurl by some), so I went on that first and took a few photos to send to SB. I figured I would chronicle my day, doing a report for him like Darla does - pictures and few words! I can focus on just the stuff heíd care about. They let me stay on the ride for 3 times in a row, which was fun! I swear it takes more time to exit the ride than it does to ride it. I had always thought the more weight in the car, the more it would spin, and would be glad when I got put in with heavy people. However, today I was by myself in the car and that thing was spinning faster than Iíd ever experienced! Evidently it goes faster the lighter the load is. After 3 consecutive rides I knew the 4th one would leave me queasy, so I got off at that point. The cast member asked if I was dizzy yet, lol!
I called Disney Dining and renewed my card - evidently I either didnít receive or lost the renewal notice. They emailed me a letter to present until my new card arrives, but since I donít have a printer with me I wonít get to use the DDE until next trip. Next I walked over to Dinosaur, and rode that. Crowds were still very light, and the ride was fun as usual. By now it was 9:40am, and since there was an Iron Horse wine seminar at 11am I was interested in attending, I decided to begin the trip over to Epcot. Iíd planned to do the Safari and to see the gorillas on the trail, but decided not to do all that extra walking. I left the park and pretty soon the Epcot bus arrived.
I was the only passenger, and the driver dropped me off right at the entrance rather than in the normal bus stop. The lines to get in here were huge, but they moved fairly well. I rode Spaceship Earth, because the timing worked out well. Afterwards I went to the Festival Center and found a long line already formed for the wine seminar. I also discovered it was all red wines, and I donít like red wine. So I left and decided to return for the 12:30pm seminar if possible.
I did the ride in Imagination to kill the last bit of time before World Showcase opened, then headed back there. I started in Mexico and got the chicken & chorizo quesadilla and the Sauvignon Blanc. I used to love the quesadilla, but this year I wasnít crazy about it at all - too much dark meat for my taste. I like my chicken to be white. The wine was ok, though - nothing special but not bad. I sat on a bench at times, and wandered around at times. I checked out the wine seminars in France, but none were of interest today. Back in Italy again I tried the chocolate bonet, which was good but no competition for the flourless chocolate hazelnut cake. In Germany I tried to get a glass of the Spatlese wine, but just like last year they were all out of that - instead I tried what they were substituting (sweet), and it was good.
I returned to the Festival Center and joined the line for the 12:30pm wine seminar, 30 minutes early. I met a nice couple from Florida and we spent the 30 minutes talking, which helped pass the time. The seminar was all Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, and the speaker was outstanding! He had a great sense of humor, and the time flew by. The wines were good, too - they had 2 from his winery, 1 from France, and 1 from California (the last 2 for comparison) and he had 4 different juices - each wine had hints of 1 of the juices. It was a great time, and Iím really glad I attended.
Going back outside it was cloudy, breezy & rather cool. I decided to return to the resort for a rest, and come back when I had room for more food and wine. I dozed on the bus ride back, then wandered around taking a few more photos of the resort. SB called to see what I was up to, so I updated him - he would have enjoyed the wine seminar, and definitely would have loved the quesadilla. Around 2:30pm or so I was back in the room to update the report, download the photos, instant message w/SB and watch General Hospital - a relaxing afternoon. My friend Patti/Pebbie sent an adorable photo of her new grandchild - itís nice keeping in touch with people while Iím here, but itís too bad she couldnít have been here again!
I was getting hungry, so I changed into warmer clothes and walked back to the bus stop around 5pm. I thought about driving, but didnít want to bother. The bus came quickly this time, then stopped at Music & Movies before heading to Epcot. Lines were still fairly long at the entrance, but it helped that I walked over towards the middle where the lines were quite a bit shorter than the lines at the end. Tonight my plan was to simply have a pleasant evening enjoying food, wine and the sights & sounds of Epcot after dark. Thatís pretty much exactly what I got, until things took a very ugly turn later in the evening and wiped out all thoughts of the good stuff.
I headed back to World Showcase, and started in Canada to buy a glass of the Riesling and a piece of the maple walnut fudge to eat later. I was able to fold the plate in half and store it in my bag without making a mess. I ended up doing a lot of walking back & forth, but the leg was feeling good and I was enjoying all the wandering. In South Africa I got the Durban spiced chicken, which was very good. I sat at a table nearby and ate it with the rest of the Riesling, then started walking again. In Italy I got the Asti Santini, which wasnít bad. Later in SE Asia I got the spicy pulled chicken with macadamia nuts and a glass of the Sparr Alsace one. I didnít realize the chicken was chilled - it tasted pretty good, but I donít think Iíll order it again. The wine was ok - nothing special.
Between eating & drinking I paused to listen to Chubby Checkerís concert for a while, and caught an entire Off Kilter show in Canada. Later I made another loop and stopped in Italy for a piece of the flourless hazelnut chocolate cake and a glass of the Rosa Regale. I sat at our DVC table, which was a lot less fun without Dottie, Chris, Rich & Deb there! By the time I finished the cake it was after 8pm, and I decided to see if I could ride Test Track before leaving to have an early bedtime back at the resort.
I wandered slowly so I could finish the Rosa Regale before entering the queue, and took the single rider line since the wait was only posted at 10 minutes. I was the first one in line, and waited until the cast member got a couple of FastPass groups loaded and then he opened the single rider doors and told me to go in. By now more people had gotten in line behind me. I went in and stood over by the exit doors, and others filed in after me. Everyone was standing around waiting for the movie to start, having a typically pleasant Disney evening - unaware that I was about to be assaulted in the Test Track pre-show!
I saw a man and his adult daughter enter the pre-show and recognized them from being at the back door at the Comedy Warehouse a number of times. I donít know their names - hopefully someone else will and will help me out by telling me. Heís never been the slightest bit friendly, even though itís pretty normal for people at the back door to at least smile at each other or say hi when you see each other repeatedly - yet I remember thinking to myself maybe heíll recognize me & weíll say hi tonight. His daughter has down syndrome, and rides in a regular wheelchair. He came over to where I was standing and turned the wheelchair around to back up towards me. He told me Iíd have to move. I thought to myself - EXCUSE me?? LOL - I thought heís out of his mind. The room was not even half full of people, and there was plenty of space. However, he came to where I was and backed up INTO me, bumping me back. I spoke then, saying ďexcuse me - why are you backing into me?Ē He said they go first & I had to move. I asked why - and darling daughter spun around and yelled at me ďbecause Iím disabledĒ. I had stepped away at that point, since he was bigger than me and the alternative was for him to be standing on top of me. I remained very polite - I work with developmentally disabled people and would never say or do anything against one of them. I did politely tell the dad that I donít think wheelchairs go first at this attraction (I later confirmed this with Disney - I was right). The daughter (who is also bigger than me) got out of her wheelchair and turned to face me. She was still a ways away, since he was behind the wheelchair and I was further behind him. She CHARGED towards me, put her hands out and hit my chest & SHOVED me backwards as hard as she could. Nobody was behind me to stop me, so I went flying backwards, ending up on the floor - stunned. I was furious, but again - I canít hold the daughter responsible. Dad stood there and let it happen - never apologized, never told her she shouldnít have done that - it was unreal! As soon as it happened a teen boy left the pre-show and alerted the cast member. I told the dad he needed to do a better job with his daughter, and that I was getting security. He mouthed off but I donít recall what he said - I was out the door at that point. Luckily she pushed me backwards, so I fell backwards. Had I had my back turned and she shoved me forward, I most likely would have landed on the bad knee, possibly causing further damage. Itís too dangerous to jog, but the doctor didnít warn me it might be dangerous standing in a pre-show movie room!
Instead of security, they sent over the attraction manager. He was very nice - I told him what happened (he had a room full of witnesses) and he asked if Iíd be willing to stay there & wait for the next pre-show while he goes to talk to the people. I said yes, and waited for the next group to load. I was still in shock over what happened, and unfortunately didnít think to get names & numbers of the witnesses. I figured if I called law enforcement, the people would be long gone before they got there - Disney wasnít going to detain them. When I was getting into my vehicle on the ride, I saw the dad & daughter getting off their car! Whatever ďtalkingĒ the manager did could not have taken more than a few seconds - then they were free to continue enjoying their evening in the park. I felt they should have been escorted out of the park, and I was furious. The daughter bounded over to her wheelchair, saw me and crossed her arms across her chest and glared at me as if to say ďI wonĒ, while jerk dad didnít make eye contact with me at all. I wasnít about to make a scene by yelling anything at them, nor was I going to act like them in any way.
I didnít enjoy the ride at all - the whole experience left me pretty miserable. I left a message for SB and then went to Guest Services to complain about how it was handled. When they learned it was a guest whoíd attacked me, they said their hands were pretty much tied. I still think they should have tossed these creeps out or given me the opportunity to file a police report against them. Instead, Disney got us separated and let them go on as if nothing had happened. I was so upset I was crying while telling my story, which was also embarrassing. How many people go to Disney World and end up in tears at Guest Services??? They told me I could write a letter to Disney - which I will at some point soon, just so they have something in writing. I took the address card and left the park - hating that the day ended on such a crappy note. Iíve never in my life had anything like that happen, and never would have believed if it was going to happen itíd happen at WDW!
Chris called while I was on the bus back to the resort, and I told him what happened. SB called just as I got off the bus, and it helped talking to him for the next couple of hours (not just about what happened tonight) - he was able to be assured I was really ok, and I was able to replace the memory of this ugly incident with pleasant things we talked about. I never did get to bed early, like Iíd planned though! Chris had told one of his buddies what happened, and they were talking about coming up here after work tomorrow night to look for this guy! I told him no way - thatís all I need is for him to do something stupid now that heís 18! The jerkís not worth it.
I finally got to bed not too long after midnight, and left the alarm set so I could get to the Magic Kingdom bright & early tomorrow. Except for being thrown to the floor at Test Track, today really was a terrific day. Boy, how strange that sentence sounds, lol! I really enjoyed all of my Food & Wine time, including the seminar early this afternoon. Itís been a nice relaxing trip, and just what I needed - for the most part!
DAY 5 FRIDAY NOV 12, 2004:
Plan: C/I Hampton Inn, Pool, Food & Wine Festival
The bus arrived just after I did, and it headed directly to the Magic Kingdom. Once again it was standing room only, and the food court was a zoo when I passed by. We got to the Magic Kingdom just before the opening ceremony, after which I headed directly to Space Mountain. I decided to skip the FastPass today, since I wasnít sure how long Iíd be staying. There was a La Crema wine seminar at 11am which I thought I might do, and knew I couldnít ride Space Mountain after 10:05am (earliest FastPass return time) and still get to Epcot in time.
Space Mountain was a walk-on, and I was given the front seat for this ride! Afterwards I walked to Fantasyland and found the Pooh ride was closed because they were having some problems today. Peter Pan had a very short wait so I rode that, and then went to the Haunted Mansion. I managed to get through the pre-show without being attacked by anyone, but SB called while I was on the ride. He asked where I was - I told him. After we talked a while he asked if my being on the phone might be disturbing anyone else (there was no way anyone in the next ride vehicle could have heard me talking) - he didnít want anyone else coming after me, lol. We didnít talk too long - he mostly just wanted to know I was ok (no soreness the next morning from the fall) and to say ďI love youĒ - thereís never a bad time for that message from someone you care about.
After my ride with the 999 happy haunts I headed back to Tomorrowland and decided to ride Space Mountain again. It had a standby time posted at 20 minutes, but it really took about half that time. This time I was given the last seat, so today I had my 2 favorite seats without having to ask! After Space I was ready to leave the Magic Kingdom, but not before my traditional ďlast rideĒ on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. By now it was 10:30am and the lines were getting awful everywhere. I love the Magic Kingdom, but only for the first hour or so of the day. After that, I hate the place! I thought about stopping at the Main Street Bakery for an apple turnover for tomorrowís breakfast, since Bill on radp had mentioned they are great. However, the line completely filled in the store and spilled out onto the sidewalk. No freakiní way! I wouldnít stand in that line waiting for chocolate, so an apple turnover is definitely not worth it. There were mobs of people coming into the park - it always amazes me that so many people arrive after it gets so crowded.
I left the park and decided to catch a bus to The Beach Club and walk into Epcot from there rather than hassle with the Monorails. Walking to and through The Beach Club, I was struck by how beautiful, peaceful and just plain nice it is. When I think of the All Stars resorts, those words donít come to mind - but if I hadnít ever been to the nicer places I might not even notice (except the food court zoo-ness is hard to miss). The walk into Epcot via International Gateway was beautiful - there was a nice breeze, and it was such a pretty day. I miss staying here, but Iím lucky to have any room on such short notice.
I started in France, getting a glass of the Sparr Riesling. I tried this last year and liked it, so it didnít disappoint today either. In Spain I got the gazpacho and sat on a shady bench to enjoy that with my wine and do a little people watching. The gazpacho is excellent, just as it was last year. At the India stand I ordered the chicken tikka, which was excellent again - I think I like this better than the spiced Durban chicken from S Africa, although they are somewhat similar. It was getting late, so I turned around and headed back towards Future World, stopping in Canada for a glass of their Riesling to enjoy before the 12:30pm wine seminar at the Festival Center.
I got to there at noon, and got into the line that had already formed. I immediately met a wonderful lady in line - her husband doesnít drink and was patiently waiting for her near the exit. She was from Maryland, and was an absolute delight - the time flew by, and we sat together for the seminar as well. The seminar was all white wines, all from Australia. To our surprise, they were giving us samples of SIX wines to try! The speaker was very good, too - which made the seminar excellent overall. Yesterdayís New Zealand wine seminar was so good I was afraid the next one would be disappointing in comparison but they were both great. All 6 of the wines were good - 4 in particular were excellent or very good. Iíd gladly buy a glass or bottle of any of them, and theyíre relatively inexpensive, unless you buy them at Disney.
After 8 different wines in a couple of hours I decided I didnít need any more just yet. I walked around World Showcase, craving something sweet. At Mexico I went in and rode the boat ride, remembering how SB really liked this when we were here last time. Sometimes itís nice to see things through fresh eyes, and since he lacked the Disney experience to see this as a relatively minor attraction he only saw what was good about it. In Germany I got the apple strudel, which always sounds & looks better to me than it really is. That was a waste of calories, but thatís life. I was saving the flourless chocolate cake and Rosa Regale for tonight, but maybe I should have just gotten it twice, lol! I finished walking around the countries and exited the park - glad to have replaced my previous negative Epcot experience with one that was just about perfect.
The All Stars bus came quickly, and I was back at the resort by 2:45pm. I hung out in the room updating the report, watching General Hospital & Oprah, and instant messaging with SB. He asked where I was going for dinner, and I laughed - I was so stuffed from what I already ate, plus all the wine. Dinner for me will be just the chocolate and Rosa Regale. I left the room about 5pm, just as SB called. Thanks to cell phones, I was able to talk all the way to the car, though. I drove to The Beach Club Villas and entered Epcot through the International Gateway again, since I was only doing Food and Wine and would need my car to get to Downtown Disney later.
World Showcase was very busy, but the lines at some of the booths were not too long. Some were awful, some were almost non-existent - it was not very consistent at all. I walked directly to Italy and found a very short line at the chocolate booth. I got the flourless chocolate cake and a glass of the Rosa Regale - Lisa C insists Rosa Regale cures everything and has been encouraging me via email to drink more of it (tonight she corrected herself saying chocolate and sex are also good, but figures Iím more likely to just find chocolate & Rosa Regale this trip). I sat at one of the tables behind the chocolate booth and could hear the Chubby Checker concert beginning. It was a very nice evening - the food & drink, the music, the weather, etc. Eventually I tired of sitting there, and continued walking around the rest of World Showcase. I really wasnít ready for any more food or wine, so when I got back to the International Gateway I exited the park and returned to my car.
I drove to Downtown Disney and saw that the Festival of the Masters had actually started today (I thought it was just Sat/Sun) on the West Side. Luckily it had ended for today, or parking would have been impossible. I walked over to the Marketplace and went first to World of Disney. Tim had asked for another large coffee mug, and since he said heíd pay me back for it I didnít mind that the one I chose cost $37 plus tax (just kidding, Tim - you donít need any more gray hair). At Ghiradelli I got a chocolate sample, and then I browsed through a few more stores before returning to the car to drop off the mug. I wandered around the West Side, and then went into Pleasure Island shortly before 8pm. The Adventurerís Club is our usual waiting place for Comedy Warehouse, but tonight they were closed for a private party until 9pm. I went and sat down by the Jazz club, then joined Leesa & Rande at the Warehouse back door. Soon Bob & Virginia joined us, then David showed up - hadnít seen him in a while. Carol Steinís parents were there too - it was nice seeing everyone. We all passed the time chatting before the doors opened.
Carol was on the keys, obviously. She opened by playing the Mickey Mouse Club song as if 2 different composers had written it. Itís always amazing to see her do that! The 8:20 cast was Krista, Matt, Brian, Lisa and Jim. Jim used to be a full-time cast member in the early days but has been gone for many years. Heís come back to work a number of times but not performing, so it was a treat to see him back on the stage. He was as good as if heíd never left.
Krista opened with the phone interview, and got a high school kid who happened to be the son of Dee the server. She asked him for any little tidbit about his mom, and he said she was not a natural blonde, lol! They had fun with the song, and Dee seemed to enjoy it too. They did Should Have Said, with Jim ringing the bell. Lisa was a kid in a candy store, and she had to go to the bathroom really bad. Matt was the store owner or worker, and he sold her a candy toilet then had her use it. The sound techs had a field day with different noises while she was going to the bathroom - Jim kept ringing the bell to get different sounds. It was somewhat sick, with lots of bathroom humor, but it was pretty funny. The toilet came about due to the audience suggestion of toilet plunger.
Next just Matt, Brian & Krista created a poem called ďWolves taste like chickenĒ. After that they did Actorís Nightmare, with it being Jimís nightmare. He was a boy scout spending the night in the woods to earn a merit badge. Matt & Krista were a couple reading from their different plays, and Lisa ran through as a deer that Jim killed. The scene seemed a little short, but they all did a very good job. Overall it was a good show - I was glad I was there.
I wasnít staying for more than 1 show tonight, so I said goodnight and headed out to drive back to All Star Sports. The pool area was really busy (& really noisy - I would not want a room there). I guess thereís nothing else to do at a value resort, though (sorry Larry, canít help myself). I went to my room and finished up the report, spent some time instant messaging with SB, and hoped to get to bed early since Iím meeting friends early for Super Soap tomorrow.
Today was a really nice day. Thank you to everyone who commented about what happened at Epcot last night. I do plan to write Disney a letter, and will ask whether they have security cameras in that area. I doubt anything will come of it at this point, but itís the right thing to do. If thereís a next time, Iíll know not to trust them to ďtake careĒ of anything and call law enforcement myself.
DAY 6 SATURDAY NOV 13, 2004:
Plan: Super Soap w/Tom & Leanne, Food & Wine, Comedy Warehouse
For whatever reason, I was awake at 4am. Then I was awake at 5am. I guess my body knows Iím at WDW and shouldnít be sleeping more than a few hours, lol! I finally got up just after 6am. Breakfast was more cappuccino and biscotti, and I spent a good deal of time chatting online with my friend Maria. I may have been up early, but I was still rushing around to get out the door on time, lol.
I left the room a little after 8am, and the MGM Studios bus was waiting for me. I had to stand, but didnít care. Traffic getting into the park was backed up really badly, so it took about twice as long to get there. Entering was easy, and I later found out they started letting people in at 8am, which is why the lines werenít too long when I got there at 8:30.
This year for the soap autographs they were using a FastPass system. They had a location set up for each soap, and you could stand in a line miles long and get a certain number of FastPasses that would get you in to see your specific stars at designated times with little waiting. It sounds good in theory, but those lines to get to the FastPass area were soooooo long! At 8:30am the line for General Hospital was out to Hollywood Boulevard, and the FastPass distribution was inside the Indiana Jones Theater! I sat on a bench and read the ABC soap magazine they were handing out at the entrance. By the time I finished it was 9am and I saw Tom, Leanne, Kim, Chris & Sidney coming towards me. Iíd never met Sid before - sheís a cute little girl, preschool age.
The park was mobbed - Super Soap is just unreal. I can only stand it because I enjoy the company of these friends and we donít even try to do anything! I let the others decide where weíd head, and I just followed along. The only soap I watch is General Hospital, and the stars who were here didnít excite me - it was mostly the really young ones. I was hoping for the hunks, like Jax! Heís only here when Iím not - I figure heís afraid if he comes on the years that I am here he wonít be able to resist me. Iíd still pick SB though - no matter how cute Jax is! We went to the Millionaire attraction and the others got FastPasses for a couple of later shows. I knew Iíd be gone by then, so I didnít bother. Each soap has a Millionaire show, where the stars ďhelpĒ the contestants. Last year Tom did it, and the soap star gave him the wrong answer & he trusted the guy. Oh well, they ARE attractive, but that doesnít mean they have the right answers, lol.
Tom took Chris & Sidney to ride some rides, and I hung out with the women to go see soap stars. They watch most of the soaps, so we hit a bunch of people I didnít know at all. SB watches All My Children sometimes, so I took a picture of Bianca for him. From General Hospital I saw the actors who play Alexis, Emily and Nickolas. Alexis is gorgeous in person - so much prettier than on the show! She was stunning. The female soap stars are all so tiny, too - on TV they look normal but in real life youíd think a gust of wind would blow them away. I felt like a cow near them, and Iím not very big!
By 10:45am it was getting quite hot, the crowds were unbearable, and we had about 30 minutes to wait before the next group of soap stars were available to be seen. I decided it was time for me to leave, so I said my goodbyes and started to head out of the park. I ran into Donna (ILUVWDW) and Joe, and stopped to talk with them a bit. I knew they were going to be here, and was glad to run into them. I left the park, and rode one of the Friend-Ships to The Yacht & Beach Club and walked to Epcot from there.
Food and Wine wasnít as crowded as last Saturday, which might have been due to Super Soap drawing so many people to that park. I picked up a glass of the Riesling in Canada, and then walked over to the Festival Center to see what wine seminars were offered today. None were of interest, so I headed out to World Showcase and started in Mexico. SB called to see if Iíd started drinking yet and I talked to him briefly while sitting on a bench outside China. At South Africa I tried a glass of the Goats do Roam white wine, simply because I liked the name. It was actually pretty good - if I see it in the store maybe Iíll buy it. While I was walking I saw a couple with a black service dog wearing a pair of Mickey Mouse ears - it was so cute! Iím surprised the dog let himself be forced to wear the ears, but then again dogs donít have the pride cats do, lol.
In India I got the chicken tikka, which once again was excellent. I could come for a week and eat this every day - I hope itís back next year. I had a nice shady bench, and it was very pleasant enjoying my food & wine. I decided to do the 1pm wine seminar at the terrace, and met a terrific couple from Maryland in line and chatted with them to pass the time. The seminar was by Buena Vista Winery in California, and unfortunately for me it consisted of 1 white and 3 red wines. The speaker was very good, and it was an interesting seminar, but I would have preferred more white wine. While we were in there my phone rang, and I struggled to get it out of the holder since I was embarrassed to have it disrupt the seminar. I didnít think to put it on vibrate, which was my fault. Anyway, I answer the phone and SB comments that I must be doing a quick-draw thing since I answered it so quickly - and here I thought it was taking me forever to get it to stop ringing. He just called to say he missed me - he does that a lot, and it always makes me smile. The Maryland couple & I were surprised at the number of people who got up and left after theyíd finished drinking their wine - that seemed so rude since the guy was still talking and we hadnít gone over the allotted time.
After the seminar I thought about getting some gazpacho, but the line at Spain was incredibly long. Instead I went to Italy to the chocolate booth and got the flourless chocolate cake and a glass of the Rosa Regale. I found an empty table in the shade, and enjoyed my last flourless chocolate cake of this yearís festival. Six months ago I would have said itís better than sex. Now Iíll say itís a damn close second, lol! Iím looking forward to having this next year - it is so good! Patron of the Arts Patty called to see where I was, and we talked about our plans. She mentioned she thought Mark L from Comedy Warehouse was working as the chocolate guy in Italy today, so when I heard that start I walked over to watch. It wasnít Mark though - I called Patty to let her know, so I guess Mark will be the guy tomorrow. I hope to already be in Ft Lauderdale by 2pm tomorrow, though. I continued walking, and stopped in Canada to pick up a piece of the maple walnut fudge to bring back to the resort. Patty called to say she was going to stay at the Festival of the Masters, and I let her know I was getting ready to leave Food & Wine for the day.
I left the park and caught the bus back to All Star Sports, talked to Tim for a while and then updated the report and spent some time online. Tim asked about his $37 coffee mug, lol! SB called and we talked for a while - planning a visit for next month. My friend Michael at work is a huge Raiders fan and I sent him a photo of 4 different pins they had at the Team Mickey store at the Marketplace. I donít think 5 minutes passed before he called, lol. We talked for a while (Tom - said hi to him for you), and I agreed to pick up the pin he liked & bring it to him Monday morning down in Miami. Like me, he works in both cities & we coordinate our schedules to mostly be in the same city at the same time (makes the most sense for our positions to be working together). I also replied to some emails that I hadnít had appropriate time for earlier in the trip. Around 6:45pm I left the room and drove over to Pleasure Island.
I was really pleased and somewhat surprised that parking wasnít a nightmare since Festival of the Masters was going on. I helps that itís mostly down at the West Side, though. I remember it being really tough to park one year, but I think back then the Comedy Warehouse first show was at 7:20pm so I was arriving earlier than I did this trip. I walked over to the Marketplace and bought Michaelís pin at Team Mickey. On my way to the register I noticed the back was missing - so I checked the next one more carefully. I took the pin out to the car and went into Pleasure Island to find Leesa. I found her with Joe outside Comedy Warehouse, and went over to join them. Adventurerís Club was closed for a private party again, so we sat in Mouse House (store) and chatted until it was time to head back to the Warehouse.
Carol Stein was on the keys tonight. The 8:20pm cast was John, Mark L, Matt, Christine & Brian. They did Letters to the Editor, writing about a magic deck of cards. Mark wrote to the National Enquirer and said that Jessica Simpson was having an affair with David Copperfield. John was writing to Rolling Stone and was so stoned he fell backwards off his stool - Iím amazed that man doesnít hurt himself, lol! Matt was David Copperfield (admitted to the affair with Jessica), writing to Elevator Construction. He kept making dramatic gestures with his hands & arms, as if he was a magician doing tricks. It was a pretty bizarre Letters to the Editor game tonight.
Next they did a very good Song Cue. Christine & Brian were a married couple whoíd been separated for 6 months but were meeting at the Dollhouse (a strip bar) for a date. She didnít realize thatís what it was, and he thought it would spice things up between them. Matt was a drunk who tried to pick her up, and ended up being the father of one of the boys in her class (Christine was a teacher). John came in with a long wig and fake breasts as the girl Brian has been having an affair with - it was really funny. They paused the action 3 times to turn the last spoken phrase into a song. They did ďIím ready honeyĒ as a blues song, and ďIts absolutely workingĒ as an easy listening tune. The funniest was ďYouíre Miss Whatís Her NameĒ in the style of karaoke, in which they both sang very badly. Overall it was a good first show. We talked to Brian for a while after the show, then went back in for the next one.
The 9:15pm cast was Mark L, Mark, John, Matt & Christine. This show was pretty much all Conducted Story, except for the opening and closing structures. Christine conducted the story, which was called ďMy, you look geriatric.Ē It was pretty wild - featured a guy named Fernando who was in a coma for 20 years and woke up as a human pez dispenser in love with Jerry Van Dyke. John died by a tube of lipstick, and Mark did a Should Have Said death by pumpkin. He was in a pumpkin patch, with Christine, John & Matt as 3 pumpkins. Time was running short, so Matt did an Agatha Christie style death - the lights go out, a shot is heard, the lights come back on & Matt is dead on the floor. That left Mark L to wrap up the story, which he did as a poem. It was another good show - I always enjoy Conducted Story and Cliché when they do either of those. We talked to Carol a bit, then headed outside to wait for the next show.
The 10:30pm cast was Matt, Mark L, Joy, Robby and Brian. Under Brianís lead we wrote a play. Joy & Mark were in his attic, and Joy opened a trunk that contained 2 male penguins. Markís parents were mad and sent them to the South Pole to get 2 more penguins. They brought back 2 lesbian penguins, and Mark mated with one of them to create a manguin. Very strange, but it was a funny scene. During the show Matt had been teasing about some guy in the front row who went to the bathroom and hadnít come back yet. He came out after the play and created a poem about the guy being up in the bathroom, lol.
Next they did Cliché - torturing Brian until he figured out he was in Grand Central Station and guessed the saying ďNot all the horses arses are on horses.Ē The clues were funny, and Brian had some difficulty with arses because he didnít think he could say it. Everyone did a great job with it, except for the twit in our row who yelled out some of the words (Brian didnít hear her, and everyone else immediately shushed her). It was a great show, but I was fading fast after having been awake pretty much for 20 hours. I told Leesa I was going to leave, and she walked me out part way.
I drove back to All Star Sports, getting there about midnight I guess. SB was waiting up for me - we instant messaged for an hour or so, then I headed to bed figuring the report can wait until tomorrow.
DAY 7 SUNDAY NOV 14, 2004:
Plan: Park? Drive to business trip
I was out the door by 9:30am, filled the car up with gas at the Hess station across from Pleasure Island (cheaper than at home), then parked in the Marketplace Lot. I was customer #36 so far today at Earl of Sandwich, and took my sandwich outside to eat at one of the tables out there. It was a gorgeous day, and I love it when itís so early itís not crowded yet. The festival had begun, and people were arriving, but it wasnít too busy yet. The sandwich was excellent, as usual. After I ate I went back to the car and began the drive to south Florida for a 6-day business trip.
This 4-night trip was really great - with the exception of the Epcot incident. I really enjoyed all my Food & Wine time, particularly the seminars and the nice people I met there. I didnít spend as much time as usual at Comedy Warehouse, but enjoyed it when I was there. Even All Star Sports wasnít too bad, lol. I wouldnít pick a value resort as my first choice, but the bed was comfortable and the shower was great - it met my needs for this last-minute trip.
Iím looking forward to coming back in 10 days for another 4 nights, this time staying at Old Key West! It will be much more crowded than it was this trip, but I can always hang out at the resort if thatís the case - Iím easy to please!
DAY 8 WEDNESDAY NOV 24, 2004: (dvctalk list - I skipped the first 7 days because they were not at a dvc resort)
Plan: Drive to WDW after work, C/I Old Key West Resort, Comedy Warehouse
It was great to be coming back to Old Key West again! The security cast member was very friendly and welcomed me home. At the front desk I had no wait at all, and was checked in quickly by someone who also welcomed me home. I went to my studio - #4210 and there the magic ended. I soon realized it was one of the handicapped-accessible units, which I absolutely hate. I also donít want to be in one if there is someone else who really needs one. I called the front desk to let them know this was not acceptable, and was told theyíd look for another studio and call me back. After what I felt was too long I called again - and they told me to come back to get a new key.
I dragged my stuff back to the car and drove back to the front desk, stopping to say hi to Randy at bell services. The new studio is in building 56 and is a regular unit - just perfect! I got moved in and was hungry at that point so I had a yogurt and half of a toasted bagel with cream cheese for dinner. I watched the news to see when the rain was expected (looks like tonight while Iím out at Comedy Warehouse), and relaxed for a while.
Around 6:45pm or so I went to the bus stop and took the bus to Downtown Disney. I have no idea why I thought I should do that instead of driving - I was not planning to drink alcohol, and knew I might be waiting for a bus in the rain later. But, I did it - when the bus finally arrived it almost filled up from the people at my stop, then nobody got on at the other 2 stops. I got off at the Marketplace, and wandered around a little. The under-$10 store was new to me, so I looked in there but it was pretty much just junky stuff. Itís a good place for kids who are looking for an inexpensive souvenir, but I think some of the stuff is available in the other stores at the same price. There was a store that seemed to feature stuff for pets, which was cute - it was right next door. I picked up my chocolate sample at Ghiradelli, then browsed in World of Disney for a while. I was hoping to see something appropriate for a Christmas party gift at work, but didnít see anything.
I headed to Pleasure Island and got my wrist band over at Adventurerís Club. One of the cast members told the other that I donít get the hand stamp - it was nice he remembers and I didnít have to refuse it tonight. I went over to Comedy Warehouse to let Joe know I was here, then joined David & his new lady friend downstairs. Soon Kathy & Den arrived, with their adult daughter Jessie. I hadnít seen Kathy & Den since last December, yet with them it always feels as if no time has passed at all. Theyíre both such warm, friendly people - a pleasure to spend time with. We caught up on the latest stuff going on in our lives before and between shows.
Jim Roberts was on the keys tonight, and we sat over by him. The 8:20pm cast was Mary, Krista, Mark, Joy & Brian. The opening phone interview was with a 15-year old boy who gave one-word answers to all of Markís questions. Typical teen, he didnít know what his parents did for a living. When it was Markís turn, he made a verse from 1-word answers, acting like the kid. Mary & Brian did Story Telling, talking about a baton. They were a married couple with 2 kids, and the younger one doesnít want to leave the house. The older one started twirling things, so now the whole family is known as the Twirling Johnsons. There were lots of jokes about ďJohnsonsĒ and plenty of innuendo - it was really funny a few times when Mary would say something and then realize it sounded worse than she might have intended. It ended up being a funny story.
Scene Freeze was next, with Brian calling the shots. Joy had pickled herring, Krista had french fry, Mark had obsequious and Mary had zepper phobia (this is not a real word - she made it mean something about zephyr hills water and Poland springs water). They also did Styles, where the scene changes style (of movie, music, theater, etc). Joy & Mark were under a bridge, as homeless people. Unfortunately I have no notes - I must have been enjoying it too much to write, as I recall thinking it was funny (or weird). Overall it was a good first show. Mary came over after the show and I thought I would stick around for her next one at 10:30pm unless I got too tired (after being up since 2:40am).
The 9:15pm cast was Brian, Mark, Krista, Matt & Joy. They created a scene where Matt & Krista were a brother/sister in a confessional. Matt was also a priest and Krista confessed sheíd slept with her husbandís brother. Brian came in as a cardinal, with the news that Matt had just become a dad - when Matt was in the seminary someone got him drunk and he got her pregnant. Joy came in as the pope of Florida, Ellen Eisner - and decided Mattís punishment would be gelding (castration). It was a great scene - both Matt & Krista were excellent.
Mark came out as a French poet named Marcey, telling a poem about porta-potties in French (potty du port) while Matt translated into English. With this subject, of course there was a lot of bathroom humor, but it was still cute. Next they did Up Your Alley, with the subject of hair transplants. Joy was host Dixie B Cup. There were only 2 contestants - Mark was a pathetic accountant named Myron Hellman who had just had 1 hair transplanted. Brian wore a wild wig and was an angry Richard Bellington, who started Men-Against-Transplanted-Hair. (MATH) and was an example of a hair transplant gone bad. Overall it was another good show. Kathy, Den & Jessie needed to leave for the airport, and since it was raining I decided to also leave. Waiting 20 minutes in the rain for the next show was more than I wanted to do - and I figured (wrongly) this way Iíd get to bed early. We walked out together, then I headed to the bus stop and waited for the OKW bus.
It came pretty quickly, and eventually I was back home. Driving the car would have been a lot faster - I think I have the Downtown Disney bus thing out of my system for another few years now! When I got into the studio I checked the laptop and saw SB was waiting. Iíd told him Iíd be back at either midnight or around now, depending on whether I stayed for the 3rd show. Somewhere along the way I caught my second wind - no surprise there! We spent an hour or so online together before I fixed some cappuccino & biscotti and updated the report. Once that was done we spent a while longer chatting online - since Iím not headed to a park in the morning it didnít matter how late it got, and Iíd choose SB over a park every time anyway!
After the initial news from Chris this morning, today was a really nice day. Itís great being back here, and Iím looking forward to the next few days of just relaxing and also seeing some of my favorite holiday stuff in the parks.
DAY 9 THURSDAY NOV 25, 2004:
Plan: Park, Pool, Comedy Warehouse
I waited for the Macyís Thanksgiving Day Parade to start, knowing the portion Greg works on each year usually goes first - but this year they had some dance group. I was getting hungry so I headed out to drive over to Saratoga Springs. Once outside I realized it was so beautiful it made more sense to walk rather than drive, so I walked the trail over there. It turned out to be an excellent choice, as I ran into dvc Marti over there and would not have seen her if Iíd been coming in from the parking lot. I heard her call my name as she drove up on a golf cart so I went over to talk to her and the guest she was transporting. We confirmed our March plans, then went our separate ways.
I headed to Artistís Palate, where I bought 2 of the yogurt parfaits. I ate one while sitting in a rocking chair out on the porch, and brought the other one back to OKW for another day. Once I finished eating I walked back to OKW, enjoying the gorgeous day and some fresh air. I dropped off the yogurt and then wandered over to the Old Turtle Pond pool, then returned to the studio and changed into my swimsuit. After instant messaging with Maria for a while I grabbed a couple magazines and some water, and walked next door to the South Point pool. It was fairly busy, so evidently quite a few people are skipping the parks today! I spent a very pleasant couple of hours lounging in the sun before deciding Iíd had enough for one day. I had a couple of trip reports waiting to be read and knew it was time to start thinking about food.
I changed, read one of the reports and then updated my own. SB had popped in (online) while I was out, with a nice holiday greeting, but Iím sure weíll catch each other later. My plan was to get a caprese sandwich but eat it here in the studio, so I drove over to the Marketplace in order to make the trip as quickly as possible. They had a sign out saying the parking lot was full, but I took a chance and found several empty spaces at the end closest to Earl of Sandwich. I got inside at 2pm and the line extended outside of the roped area. I had time to kill, so I got in the queue since I really wanted the sandwich and had no alternate plan. To my surprise, I placed my order, got my sandwich and was back in the parking lot by 2:10! The Marketplace was pretty busy for early afternoon - once again, theme park avoiders I guess.
I drove back to OKW and ate the sandwich while reading the other trip report and replying to a few emails. At 3pm I watched General Hospital - havenít seen that since last week due to being away on business this week. SB called just as it started, so I sat out on the porch talking with him for a while. When I came back inside General Hospital was very confusing - they were having another big fire, but eventually I realized this was so familiar they must be re-running an old episode. There was no doubt when I saw Edward Quartermaine being played by the previous actor, who has been gone for months! I have no idea why they chose to run an old episode, but it was a total waste of time.
Around 4pm I put some warmer clothes on and decided to head for MGM Studios since I wanted to see the Osborne Lights tonight. Once again the last bus to arrive was mine, but I still got there in plenty of time. Getting into the park was easy, but it was very crowded inside. I mostly just wandered around, but did go in to see Muppet Vision 3D to kill some time. That let out around 5:40pm or so, and I went to stand by the stage set up on NY Street. Within 5-10 minutes the pre-show began, so my timing was excellent. They had Four for a Dollar perform, and they were excellent! A few of the Streetmosphere guys were goofing around as electricians, and some lady named Mary sang a song with Four for a Dollar. She had a beautiful singing voice, and with them as backup it was really nice. If only SB could have been there - it would have been perfect. The lights of course would not work until they brought a kid up on the stage. It began to snow, and then the lights came on.
I thought they were very pretty, but I have to agree with others whoíve said it was better when they had Residential Street. Thereís still the same # of lights but theyíre crammed into a smaller area. Itís definitely worth seeing, though - and Iíll be back to see them again next year (with SB - heíll see them for the first time). After walking through the lights I went to get some flourless chocolate cake at Starring Roles, but they were already closed. It made no sense to me for them to be closed 2 hours before park closing on a busy holiday!
I had nothing else I wanted to do except spend time online with SB so I left the park and took the bus back to OKW. It was quickly getting quite chilly, and I was looking forward to my nice warm studio! When I got in, I found him waiting for me online even though he had no idea when to expect me. Later I made some cappuccino and toasted the other half of the bagel for dinner. Iíd bought a chocolate chip cookie at Earl of Sandwich earlier today, and that was very good. Iíd nibbled on it this afternoon, and finished it up tonight. The rest of the evening was spent quietly - relaxing online with SB, finishing up the report, and sent some Osborne Lights photos to an album on Ofoto. The URL is <http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?c=34p4jkm.baohrv5n&x=1&y=-h2y7y7>
Overall it was a really nice day. The weather was a pleasant surprise, and I enjoyed just taking it easy rather than being in the midst of the crowded theme parks. It was worth putting up with the crowds for my brief foray to see the Osborne Lights, though. Tomorrow should also be mobbed, but Iím going to attempt the Magic Kingdom in the morning, followed by a little Epcot.
DAY 10 FRIDAY NOV 26, 2004:
Plan: Magic Kingdom, Le Cellier lunch, Lights of Winter
I took a nice hot shower, then had breakfast of cappuccino and biscotti while reading mail and the message boards. I decided to save Lights of Winter for tomorrow night and go back to Comedy Warehouse tonight, but otherwise expected to follow the plan for today. I was at the bus stop at 8:30am and once again every other damn bus in the world came except the one I was waiting for. We even saw second buses for some of the parks, before the Magic Kingdom bus finally came. We finally left the resort at 9:15am, arriving at the Magic Kingdom at 9:30 - a full one hour to get there!
At 9:30am on a holiday weekend the Magic Kingdom is a pretty crowded place! Losing that half-hour caused me to skip some things, but I still had a good morning. My first stop was Space Mountain, where I picked up a FastPass for 10:50am. The standby line was 20 or 25 minutes, which is longer than Iím willing to wait. Buzz Lightyear sounded good, but when I saw the line was looped around outside the building I abandoned that idea. I tried the Pooh ride, but it also had a 25 minute wait, so I skipped that. Snow White had a posted 5-minute wait, so I rode that! I went into Mickeyís PhilharMagic but just missed getting into the show. I didnít want to wait for the next one, so I went back outside. The line at Peter Panís Flight was huge, so I didnít even check the standby time. I walked right in to the Haunted Mansion, which wasnít overly crowded at all. From there I went to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and was surprised to see the standby time was only 5 minutes! I got in line and enjoyed the ride (they had both tracks open, which sped things up).
After my runaway train ride I walked to the Frontierland train station but thanks to some slow people ahead of me I missed the train that was in the station. The next one was due in 6 minutes, so I decided to wait for it. I think Bruce from radp might have been one of the drivers - he looked familiar from Mouse Fest last year. I got off at Toontown and took the back walkway over to Tomorrowland. At this point it was 10:45am, so with 5 minutes to wait I hung around near Space Mountain until I could use my FastPass. They had a single rider line set up here, but I wasnít clear on how it worked. They were also looping people in the queue area inside, but would let FastPass guests in at just the final row (no looping for them). I was in my rocket in no time at all, and would have really enjoyed the ride if it wasnít for the 3 obnoxious screamers behind me. These werenít the having-fun kind of screamers - these were the Iím-a-total-jerk kind of screamers - screaming to outdo each other with their volume. Nails on a blackboard would have been easier to take, lol!
At this point I decided to skip my traditional ďlast rideĒ on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and just leave the park. I went to the bus stop, planning to walk into Epcot from the Boardwalk. Once again I saw at least one of every other bus in the world before mine arrived. I think today will be the end of my Disney transportation experiences for this trip - I just am not doing well in this department at all! Either the bus or the driver was incredibly slow, as we crawled along like a tortoise on our way to the Boardwalk. I wandered around there for a bit and then walked into Epcot. I decided to go straight to Canada and was seated right away at Le Cellier even though I was 15 minutes early.
Lunch was excellent - the cheese soup and a glass of Riesling. The restaurant was busier than normal, and I heard them telling people that dinner was completely booked through Sunday since the Candlelight Processional had started. After lunch I wandered around World Showcase a bit, and rode El Rio del Tiempo in Mexico. There was actually a short wait to get on the ride, which doesnít happen very often! Iíd seen a woman eating a rice krispie treat at the MK bus stop earlier, and wanted to get one for later so I stopped at Fountainview to see if they sold them there. They do not - but as I was heading out of the park I decided it was such a beautiful day I might as well walk around World Showcase. So, I turned around and headed back into the park. It was very busy, but a party of 1 can weave through the crowds fairly easily.
I stopped in Germany and bought a glass of wine, then sat on a bench in Japan for quite a while. SB called just after I started walking again, and commented that I sounded very happy. LOL - the wine might have had something to do with it, but itís mostly him! We talked a while, then I decided to head back to the resort. This time the wait for the bus wasnít too bad!
Back in the studio I updated the report and downloaded some photos. One thing I do when Iím away is send SB pictures of my hotel/resort and anything of significant interest. That way he can picture where I am, and since heís only been to Epcot & Pleasure Island he can see some of my favorite things in WDW when I talk about them.
Around 7:15pm I drove over to Downtown Disney and found parking was a nightmare! I ended up parking by the Virgin Mega-Store. Iíd thought about just going back to the resort, but then a parking space opened up right in front of me so I decided to stay. I walked to Pleasure Island and let Joe know I was staying for 2 shows and then went to Adventurerís Club for my wrist band. I had a little time, so I wandered around and bought a rice krispie square for tomorrow at D-Zerts. I still had some time so I went to Ghiradelli for a chocolate sample, but didnít bother doing anything else because it was just too crowded in the Marketplace. Instead, I walked back to the Comedy Warehouse and waited for the first show.
Carol Stein was on the keys tonight, and they opened with the holiday version (with jingle bells) of a song created from the phone interview. The 8:20pm cast was Lisa, Jake, Mark, John & Krista. Jake & Krista did Story Telling, as a married couple telling ďAngry FoodĒ. He has a kidney murmur and she closely supervised what food he eats because some things aggravate his condition. He cheated by drinking gravy through a straw, which caused the murmur to get really loud. She kept telling him she does it (supervising his food) for his health - it was funnier in person than it sounds here. Next Lisa, John & Mark came out as hippies named Shontell, Peter & Peter to sing a folk song about no fighting on a holiday. The key to no fighting was to stuff the turkey with xanax!
John & Mark created a Fill in the Blank scene using the entire audience. They were involved in transfababulation - which means nothing. It was the word the drunken audience member suggested but itís not a real word. They took it, and started a scene where John had just thought up that word and Mark realized heíd dreamed that word back when he was in the seminary. It meant the process of turning wine into beer, and he & John had a psychic connection for John to think up that word after Mark dreamed it. It was a strange scene, but they were very funny. Overall it was a good first show.
The 9:15pm cast was Jake, Krista, Mark, Lisa & Christine. This was Conducted Story show, with Krista as the conductor. The story was called ďOnce upon a mistletoe.Ē It was a bizarre story, but entertaining even without the deaths. Lisa was the first to die - her suggestion was ďtoo much to drinkĒ - shouted out by another drunk. The drunks were out early tonight! Lisa was a drunk who fell in her own vomit because her boyfriend broke up with her. Jake came in saying his boyfriend had just broken up with him, too - and Krista assessed that Lisa was really drunk and then stole her shoes. Lisa played the clarinet and earned $1, which she used to buy alcohol and it was enough to kill her.
Jake died next, by a guitar. It was a quick death, thanks to the sound technician who threw a sound effect into the scene unexpectedly. Chris committed suicide and had to die by paper plates. She was a grandmother, Jake was the grandfather, Krista was the extremely hyperactive grandchild and Mark was the stoned teenage grandchild. The whole scene was very funny - dysfunctional but entertaining! That left Mark to wrap up the story, which he did in the style of a poem.
I stopped to talk to Christine on the way out, then walked back to the West Side to get the car & drive back to OKW. It was nice getting in early, even though the shows were good and I didnít have to be up very early the next morning. Some guests arrived before the 2nd show that I didnít want to be around - Iíd met them once before and did not care to spend any more time with them, but it would have been unavoidable during the 25-minute break before the next show. Plus, I knew SB would be online.
I spent some time with SB, finished up the report, had some cappuccino and the rest of a cookie I bought in Epcot today, and was in bed around midnight. Despite the huge crowds in the parks I was happy with what I managed to do in the parks today. The weather turned out to be wonderful, and it was a nice relaxing day.
Tomorrow Iíd planned to go to Typhoon Lagoon, but I donít think itís going to be warm enough by 10am. SB was due to call at 9am, so I might head to Premium Outlets after that call, then just hit the resort pool (& maybe do laundry) later in the morning. Lunch at Wolfgang Puckís Café is a possibility, and being in Epcot to see the Lights of Winter is a definite.
DAY 11 SATURDAY NOV 27, 2004:
Plan: Typhoon Lagoon
The outlets were deserted, which was really nice! Evidently not many people knew of the early opening. I found gifts for both parties, browsed through the Disney outlet but didnít find anything to buy there, then decided to head back to WDW. SB called and we talked for a while as I finished my shopping and drove back to the resort. I met my next door neighbors and see now why it was so noisy over there - they have a toddler and a pre-schooler, plus 3 adults - yikes! I didnít hear the adults, but one or both of the kids is a screamer (shrieking, not crying).
I debated going to Typhoon Lagoon vs. staying at the resort pool. It was warm enough for Typhoon Lagoon, but I wasnít sure I wanted to deal with the crowds. On the other hand, I could take some photos of the place for SB, and always just come back here if I decided it was more crowded than I liked. I ended up going with that plan, so I changed into my swimsuit, grabbed a couple of pool towels, and drove over to Typhoon Lagoon.
To my surprise, hardly anyone was there! I found my old friend Linda Friar from the dvc boards working at the Typhoon Lagoon entry and stopped to talk to her for a little while. I got back to my usual spot just before 10:30am and it was still available - most of the chairs were empty as far as I could see. I dropped my stuff off and wandered around a bit with the camera, then returned to sit and read for a while. I mostly just read, did some crossword puzzles and talked to SB on the phone until about 1pm when I decided it was time to head out. I was getting hungry and hadnít thought to bring anything to eat - buying anything Disney sells here would be too much food considering I wanted to have lunch at Puckís. It turned out to be a near perfect day for Typhoon Lagoon, with the smallest crowds Iíve ever seen here, and temperatures in the 70ís. It was cloudy at times, but even then it wasnít too chilly - it was really great.
I returned my borrowed pool towels to the pool, then went up to the studio to get dressed for lunch. Itís sad knowing I have to leave tomorrow, but itís kind of a kick that a week from today Iíll be starting the 7-day cruise. Iíll be sleeping 3 different places before getting on the ship, too (Miami, home, then OKW again). Sometimes I do wake up and have to think about where I am, lol.
The parking lots were fuller than normal, but it wasnít that busy walking around. Where did the people who drove those cars go? I wanted to sit outside at Puckís so I agreed to wait for a table out there. They said it would be 10-20 minutes, but it was probably closer to 5. The table was next to a pole, so it was far from ideal, but at least I was able to enjoy the warm fresh air. My server did a good job, except for taking a long time to bring my check. I ordered the Covey Run Riesling and the field greens salad - my usual here. Both were excellent, and I enjoyed my lunch. I was out of there by 3pm and drove back to the studio to update the report and relax a while until it was time to go to Epcot.
I went out to the bus stop a little after 4pm, and once again saw every single other bus before mine arrived! Finally I got to Epcot - at least it wasnít a 1-hour trip like my Magic Kingdom journey the other day. It was fairly busy entering the park, and it seemed every person in my line had never worked a biometric reader or a turnstile before - it was unreal. Somehow I patiently remained in line and kept my mouth shut, although I may have rolled my eyes a few times.
Spaceship Earth had a fairly short ride so I decided to do that first rather than on my way out. It stopped completely a couple of times, but otherwise was uneventful. Once I got out of there I walked back to World Showcase and began on the Mexico side. In Germany I bought a glass of the wine Iíd tried the other day, and carried that in one hand and my umbrella in the other since it had started to rain. Unfortunately the benches were now all wet, so I did not get to sit anywhere with my wine.
I wandered over to America and saw the Candlelight Processional was in progress, with Rita Moreno as the narrator. The lines for the next show were huge already - I cannot imagine standing in line for hours like that. I was able to stand behind the riff raff like myself who did not purchase a dinner package and watch/listen to the show. I was pleasantly surprised this time to find mostly all Christmas carols I like, rather than songs Iíd never heard before. Iíve always avoided this show because of the religious aspect, but I can ignore the religion and enjoy the songs for the music and overall spirit of ďgoodnessĒ. Instead of telling a long religious story (which would have caused me to leave), the narrator tells a few sentences, then they do another song or 2 - so itís really broken up nicely. Unfortunately, it was still raining and soon it began to pour heavily! Many of the guests got up & left, since they were getting soaked. The cast members working were soaked, but were laughing about it. I invited a young mom holding an infant to share my umbrella, which she did until the downpour started - then she left! The rain started letting up as the show appeared to be ending, so I started walking again then to beat the mob that would soon be exiting the theater.
By the time I got back to the Christmas tree it was already lit, but at least the rain had ended. I took some photos of the Lights of Winter for SB, and walked around that area enjoying the lights and music. Eventually I headed out of the park and caught a bus back to OKW. I got the photos downloaded and sent to him, and finished up the report. Thereís not much packing up I need to do, since Iíve lived out of the suitcase since I left home this time. I finished up the yogurt parfait and most of the rest of the rice krispie thing, and spent the evening hanging out online with SB.
Today was a nice day - although it feels like it took an awful long time to do very little. Iím glad I got those Christmas gifts out of the way, and going to Typhoon Lagoon ended up being a really good choice today. Lunch at Puckís was also very good, and even with the rain I enjoyed being in Epcot to see the Lights of Winter (& part of Candlelight Processional).
DAY 12 SUNDAY NOV 28, 2004:
Plan: possible Park, resume business trip
I showered and packed up the rest of my stuff. Breakfast was cappuccino and biscotti, and I was out the door shortly after 8:30am. Today Iíd be driving - it wasnít worth the hassle of waiting for a bus to get there, then waiting again for a bus to get back here. It wasnít terribly crowded, and I parked in the 2nd row of the lot they were using. I didnít see the trams running, but we were so close everyone just walked to the park. Entry was pretty quick, and I got inside the park at 9am.
I headed to DinoLand first and rode Primeval Whirl one time. It didnít spin as much this time, even though I was the only rider in my car. I think last time I was in one of the middle seats, and today I was on the far end - if that makes a difference. I walked over to Harambe, not seeing a single soul as I walked past Asia. I picked up a FastPass for the safari for 10:00am and then went to the Pangani Trail. I spent the time watching the gorillas and talking to the cast member working on the trail. Gus was out but hiding from KJ, who kept following him around. Gus would move, KJ would follow, Gus would move further, KJ would follow - you get the picture. KJ was being a real pain to Gus. Spike came out to eat some of the treats left - heís gotten so fat as heís grown up. He hung out where he was visible to everyone, and drew quite a crowd. On the other side the kids eventually came out and then Gino (the dad) joined them. The females sort of hung back and werenít too visible while I was there.
At 10am I used my FastPass and had an enjoyable safari. There were a fair number of animals visible - you just never know from one visit to the next. I saw the baby elephant for the first time - I think they said she was 5 months old and about 300 pounds. Compared to her mother, thatís downright petite! After the safari I decided to hit the road, so I left the park and made the drive to Ft Lauderdale, where Iíd be staying while working in Miami the next 2 days. I took highway 192 out to the turnpike just to see how that was, and wonít do it again. Itís a very long trip, made even worse by all the traffic lights.
Iím going to skip the ďmagical momentsĒ this time, since many of them would be so old at this point, and they tend to repeat trip after trip. My next trip begins Friday - 5 days from now. Sheila & I will arrive late to spend Friday night at OKW, and then leave on the 7-day Magic to the western Caribbean the next morning. Maybe weíll make the 10:30pm Comedy Warehouse show, but Iím not sure about that. The cruise report wonít get posted until after I return, so Iíll hold the pre-trip report until then also. Thanks for reading!