Sue Holland -- February 2005 - Walt Disney World (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: February 26 & 27, 2005
Anyone reading my recent trip reports has seen “SB” mentioned (the sexy boyfriend). We’re ending the long-distance part of our relationship with him moving here in early March, so this quick little weekend trip is intended to help keep me occupied as we’re counting down the final days until he arrives. We won’t be able to get back to WDW together until October, due to his work schedule.
My premium annual pass expired February 3rd, and I chose to not renew it. I can’t remember when I was last without a valid WDW pass, but this time it did not make sense to renew when I only have 2 weekend trips booked during the next 8 months. It made more sense to skip the parks - even though I enjoy spending time in them, I enjoy the resorts enough to still have fun without visiting a park. My 2nd weekend trip will be over 4th of July, when the parks will be too hot and crowded to be much fun anyway. I intended for both weekend trips to be spent by the pool during the day and at Comedy Warehouse each night. However, this trip the weather looks downright lousy so I’ve begun to make alternate plans. Saturday I may have lunch at Concourse Steakhouse, since it’s been years since my last visit. I have a computer that needs to be brought to Leesa, so late afternoon I’ll drive it over to her place, and then bring her back with me to WDW in time for Comedy Warehouse. On Sunday a couple of my DVC friends are arriving, and we’re planning to enjoy some wine, conversation and generally acting silly that afternoon. Sunday night is Comedy Warehouse again, then Monday morning I head to work back in Ft. Myers. It’s a very short trip, but a short trip is better than no trip!
The current plans (subject to change) so far...
DAY 1: SATURDAY, FEB 26, 2005
Actual: Since traffic is so awful on I-75 and I-4 these days, I decided the best approach (and easiest on my sanity) was to drive very early before others were on the road. I set the alarm for 4:20 a.m. and was on the road by 5:30. I knew the risk was being homeless until 4pm without park access, but I’d rather risk that than get all aggravated sitting in traffic. As it turned out the drive was very easy, with no traffic or construction delays at all. I was pulling in to Saratoga Springs just as SB called, right around 8:30. He’s learned how to text message on our cell phone plan, but with the radio on in the car I hadn’t heard the phone make the little noise to signal a text message had come in. We talked briefly, then I went inside to check in.
There was no wait (not surprising considering what time it was), but there also were not any studios ready yet. I at least got the paperwork out of the way, then drove over and parked outside my building. Once I got over there I realized I was very hungry, which made sense since I’d skipped breakfast this morning. A bus was pulling up and the driver said he’d drop me off at the Carriage House area, so I rode back over to get a yogurt parfait at Artist’s Palette. This place was awfully busy this morning, and doesn’t seem to handle very many people well. I really think it’s going to be terrible once all the buildings are open (12 planned I think, compared to only 4 open now). I took my yogurt outside and ate it while rocking in one of the rocking chairs out there. Darla would have loved it!
After breakfast I walked over to Downtown Disney to get some photos and information I needed for a future MousePlanet article. It was pretty deserted, and the shops did not open until after I had been there a while. Once I got my “work” done, I walked back to Saratoga Springs and drove over to the Premium Outlets since it was now just after 10.
At the outlets I only bothered with the Character Premiere store, and ended up buying a shirt that looks like the wallpaper inside the Haunted Mansion. It wasn’t that cute at full price ($28), but for $8.99 it was damn cute. After browsing one other store for running clothes I decided I was done there. It was almost 11, so I drove to the Contemporary Resort. The security cast member had a long line of cars backed up, but when I got up there he waved me through - no 3-hour parking pass today. I parked over by one of the garden wings, got the laptop out of the trunk, and headed inside.
The Concourse Steakhouse opens at noon, so I browsed in the shops then sat in the Outer Rim to update the report and work on an article. If I have to be homeless I might as well get some work done! Shortly after 12:30 I put the laptop away and went over to be seated at the Concourse Steakhouse….hungry again.
There was a crowd of people waiting for the restaurant to open at noon, but they filled less than half the available tables. I was seated without any wait, and the hostess asked me if I was a reporter. Perhaps she’d seen me on the laptop earlier, but it seemed like a strange question. My server did an excellent job, although the food came out faster than he intended. He offered to take it back and bring it out later, but I decided not to bother. I ordered a glass of the Sparr Alsace wine, which was a tough choice because I liked everything on their list of alternative white wines. For my meal I ordered the pork tenderloin, rather than my usual soup or salad. The pork was excellent - three medallions of pork tenderloin and a couple of apple slices all in an au jus that had apple in it. On the side was a small portion of polenta with Tillamook cheddar cheese and a pile of something that looked like cooked spinach (this remained untouched). The polenta was excellent - I could have eaten just a plate of that! The pork was also excellent - moist and tender enough to be cut with a butter knife. I was surprised the portion was small enough that I could have probably eaten it all - normally Disney portions are huge. The pork was $13.99, the wine was $7.25; I got 20% off for DDE and added that back in as the tip - but forget what the total was. It was well worth it, in terms of food quality and having the chance for a nice relaxing meal.
I called Saratoga Springs and found my studio was ready, so once I settled the bill I headed out to the car and drove back to the resort. Along the way I was speeding and came upon a sheriff’s cruiser who pulled out onto the road after I passed. I thought for sure I was going to get stopped, but Disney traffic separated us a bit and he decided not to pursue me for whatever reason! Needless to say, I paid attention to the speed limits the rest of the way back to the resort.
SB called as I pulled in to Saratoga Springs again and we talked until after I got into the studio. I was doing fine until he mentioned how much he was missing me - I got somewhat choked up and teary, but we don’t have too much longer now until we’re together. These next 10 days need to fly by! The studio looks great, and I was given one at the very end of the building. This means from my balcony I have an extra view from the side. I can see all of Downtown Disney and the pool area is off to my right. The pool house blocks the view of the pool itself, but I don’t care about that.
For anyone who hasn’t seen Saratoga Springs, the studio has a queen bed and a double sleeper sofa. The wood is dark, and I find the décor very attractive. It’s not at all like Florida, which is a nice change for me. There’s a large armoire with the TV and several drawers, a table with 2 chairs, the mini kitchen and the bathroom. The door to the connecting 1bedroom villa is out near the hallway, by the entry door - so I won’t hear noise from any neighbors unless they’re really excessively loud. My balcony is nice and long, and has the Mickey heads cut out on the slats. I’ll be quite comfortable here for the weekend - in fact, I’d like to spend the next 10 days passing my time here, but work prevents that!
I unpacked, then got online and talked to Leesa for a while. I’d taken some photos of the studio so I downloaded them and sent them off to SB so he could see where I was. I caught up on my unanswered email, instant messaged with SB a while, and generally just laid around the studio relaxing. The sun came out once in a while, but it was definitely not pool weather for someone who lives in Florida! Around 4 I went out for a walk and picked up another yogurt parfait and an oatmeal cookie from Artist’s Palette. If I don’t eat the yogurt tomorrow, I’ll have it for Monday morning.
On my way back I saw Angelo pull up in one of the DVC vans so I waited outside and surprised him. He’s such a nice man, and it was great running into him and having time to spend. I was back in the studio by 4:40 and out the door by 4:45 to head over to Leesa’s. We were only there briefly, as we needed to make another stop at a place that closed at 6, then headed for Disney property. I stopped at the Hess station near Pleasure Island to get gas and was surprised it’s cheaper there than out by Leesa’s in Kissimmee. It’s a lot cheaper ($.12/gallon) than the Hess station at the end of my street back home, too. While I was pumping gas I saw this young guy looking at me when he came out of the store. He looked somewhat familiar, but I couldn’t figure out why. When Leesa returned she asked if a young guy came over to me - turns out he is one of the door guys at Comedy Warehouse and she’d told him to go over to me and give me a hug. Evidently he thought better of that idea - I might have whacked him with the gas pump if I still didn’t recognize him! We laughed about it later when I saw him at work.
After filling the gas tank I parked at Pleasure Island and we walked over to the Marketplace. It was around 6:30 so we decided on dinner at Earl of Sandwich. We shared a caprese sandwich and each tried the tomato soup. My friend Kathy had recommended it, and as always her recommendation was perfect. The soup was great, and I hope they keep it on the menu for a long while. At $.95 it’s a real bargain, too. We took our time eating dinner and chatting, then made a quick stop at Ghiradelli before heading into Pleasure Island.
We killed a little time at the Adventurer’s Club, joining Bob and Virginia in the main salon. Some of the characters have new costumes, and we both liked Pamelia Perkins’ new outfit. We checked out who was working in each role, but didn’t stay long before going over to Comedy Warehouse. Bob and Virginia somehow left after us but got to the back door before we arrived! Tonight Jamie was on the keys.
The first show is now seated at 8:15 instead of 8:20, and the cast was Christine, Brian, Matt, Lisa and John. They opened with a poem called “I might walk a mile for a jack and coke” - one of the longer titles I’ve heard! They did a very short Scene Freeze, I think due to the nature of the suggestions. Each actor started a scene using his/her word, then they rotated but only a few times before Matt called for it to end. Brian had chocolate, Lisa had auto cad, Christine had circumcision, and John had sex. The structure ended with them switching from circumcising Brian to sex with Christine between Brian’s spread legs (they used sex as an adjective - gender - rather than as a verb for this one). Madrigal was next, directed by John. The four tabloid headlines were “Ben Affleck wins an Oscar”, “Lisa, Disney CEO”, “Leona Helmsley goes to jail again”, and “Pope has new nipple ring”. It ended with “I’ve got a nipple ring the size of Disney”.
John and Matt did a very funny Fill in the Blank (using the entire audience) scene involving insurance scams. Brian came into the scene as well, and the three of them were excellent. Matt had tried to eat a dog, which in turn bit him on the leg. John was trying to get him to pretend to have a neck injury, and Brian was the dog’s attorney who pretended to have a neck injury. It was strange, but very funny. Overall it was a good first show, but dirtier than a first show usually is. Bob and Virginia headed over to Adventurer’s Club for the Balderdash Cup competition to see Jay working as Emil Bleehall. Leesa and I went back in for the next show, and John stopped by to chat a bit.
The 9:15 cast was Philip, Matt, Christine, Brian and Lisa. They had fun with the opening interview when it came out the couple was married 14 years but have an 18 year old daughter. The wife claims it was Immaculate Conception, and one of the actors came out as the angel who caused that, claiming angels don’t have to pay child support or alimony. Most of the rest of the show was a very funny Conducted Story, conducted by Philip. It was called “A sick and twisted mind” and featured Martha Stewart in prison and Michael Jackson coming in as her next cell mate since she wanted a white woman. Christine died first, in a supermarket as a Macy’s employee who forgot her lunch money and was eating from the samples and produce dept. Brian was the store manager and ended up killing her with a plastic fork. Philip started out as a prepubescent boy employee, and was told by Brian to jump up and down. He did, and announced his testicles just fell - using a deep voice instead of the high voice he started out with. Leesa and I just cracked up - you never know what Philip is going to say.
Lisa died by lingerie (a bra) in a soap opera death, where they had an invisible character on stage they all talked to. Matt did an excellent death in the Cheesecake Factory, done in the style of a lounge singer. It was a fairly long death, but it was very clever and probably the highlight of the show. Brian then wrapped up the story using an audience volunteer to fill in the blanks. We talked to Brian after the show for a while, then headed outside to find Bob and Virginia back for the next show. Rande arrived as well - it’s always good to see her.
The 10:30 cast was Philip, Lisa, Mark, Brian and John. They did Song Cue, with Philip and Mark creating a mini musical. The song styles were weird - but the actors made it work. Philip and Mark were elderly men who 30 years after WDW closed had found a day hopper pass. They sang “Those times are over” in the style of pity, “What are you going to do for me” in the style of love, and “The Disney decade” in the style of angst. It may sound weird, but it was very good.
Next they did Cliché - I was thrilled to get both Conducted Story and Cliché on the same night! They tortured Brian in the Empire State Building until he guessed “Nuke them til they glow then shoot them in the dark”. I didn’t take notes on the various clues, most likely because I was having too much fun watching what was happening on the stage! As usual, everyone did an excellent job with this structure.
After the show we wandered down to what Rande and Leesa call the “drunk bathroom”. It’s the one down near Motion, and this time of night it’s almost entertaining (in a very sad way) to stand there and watch the drunks coming out of there. I waited outside - you’d think we were on a rocky cruise ship the way some people were walking - and what is up with wearing skimpy skin-tight clothing when you’re 30-50 pounds overweight?? Holy Moly! Gotta love the micro mini skirt, stiletto heels and skinny tank tops - when it’s barely 60 degrees, too.
Normally I don’t stick around for the midnight show, but since I did not have to get up for anything Sunday morning, hadn’t seen Leesa much lately, and wouldn’t be back for over 4 months…..and most importantly because SB would still be up waiting for me, I decided to stay tonight. The 12:00 cast was Robby, Philip, Matt, Mark and Christine. They did Styles, where the scene rotates into different styles from TV, film, song and theater. Christine and Robby were in Central Park, but for the life of me I cannot remember what they were doing. I recall seeing Matt and Philip walking through as joggers that fit into the various styles being called, but can’t remember the focus of the scene. I do remember laughing, so it must have been good!
Up Your Alley was next, with the subject being menopause. Christine was host Alice B Talkless. Philip was a British doctor who specializes in women’s studies. Matt was Logan - a young guy who dates only menopausal and post-menopausal women because he doesn’t like using birth control. Mark was Jen Estra - a woman who’s been going through menopause for the past 12 years. As expected, it was a funny scene. I headed out after this show, and drove back to Saratoga Springs.
I got back to the studio shortly after 1:00am and found SB waiting for me online. During the 6 months we’ve been long-distance we’ve never missed ending the day together online so we’re the last person each other talks to before going to sleep. If he needed to get to sleep earlier I would have skipped the last show, but he let me know he’d wait for me. We ended up instant messaging until 2:30, so I decided to hold off on the trip report until sometime during the day Sunday. After catching up on the email it was lights out for me around 3:30.
Today was a pretty productive day, and it was pretty busy even though there was no park time. I was very happy it was only cloudy instead of raining, as I was able to walk around and get the photos I needed. Lunch at Concourse Steakhouse was very good, and it was nice to eat somewhere different (since I had not been there in several years) for a change. I really enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces today, too - Angelo at the resort and everyone at Comedy Warehouse. The shows there were terrific, and it feels good to be back here even though it’s a short trip.
DAY 2: SUNDAY, FEB 27, 2005
Actual: There was no reason to set the alarm, and I woke up about 8:00am. It was still raining steadily, but after a good deal of procrastinating I put on some running clothes and headed out with an umbrella. I probably looked strange jogging with an open umbrella, but it was raining too hard to not use one. I did one mile and unfortunately hit a couple of puddles that pretty well soaked my sneakers and socks! Back in the studio I hung the jogging stuff up to dry and took a shower. I puttered around and then spent quite a bit of time instant messaging w/SB when he got up. It was noon before I got the trip report finished and then I drove over to the Marketplace for another caprese sandwich from Earl of Sandwich. SB called just before I left, and kept me company on the way over there. Then Dottie called to report that she and Chris were able to get into their villa at The BoardWalk and were running some errands right now. We’ll catch up with each other later.
I should have realized the full parking lot was a bad sign, but I had caprese sandwich on my mind. After circling awhile (unsuccessfully) I pulled into a space that had a 10-minute sign on it. It was a spot for package pick-up, with a 10-minute limit and I figured my caprese sandwich would have to qualify as a package. Once I got to Earl of Sandwich I was dismayed to see a HUGE line in there. The queue area was completely filled in, and another line extended outside the rope for a long ways. Disgusted, I left there and went to Puck’s Express for tortilla soup. Even if I wasn’t in the 10-minute parking spot I cannot justify standing in line for 30-40 minutes for a sandwich. The line at Puck’s was also huge, so I said something I cannot post on AOL and left. SB called as I was starting the car, and understood completely; he’s the same way about lines and not being willing to stand in them as if my time had no value.
Back at the studio I fixed up the pork leftovers from yesterday’s lunch and ate that when I finished talking to SB. It wasn’t much, but it tasted good. I also finished up the oatmeal cookie I bought yesterday, then spent some time reading message board stuff. One of my department heads was working today and called to update me on some work stuff and Leesa called about a computer of mine she’s working on. What did we do before cell phones??
Around 2:30 Dottie called, so I got ready and drove over to the BoardWalk to spend some time with her and Chris. They had a 2 bedroom villa way down the hall, overlooking the BoardWalk. I still like the other resorts better, but it was fun sitting out on one of the balconies chatting and watching the people pass by below. I wasn’t even offended when Dottie and Chris began stripping on the balcony and shouting to strange men to toss them beads. They both scored big in that department - I was impressed. I was there until 6:30 - we had a wonderful afternoon, and I’m so glad our trips overlapped. I’ll see them again in November, although I’ll see Chris at a baseball game in New Hampshire in April!
I’d used valet parking so I had to wait for the car to be brought up, then I drove back to Saratoga Springs. Before long it was time to head for Comedy Warehouse, and I took advantage of my location and walked over since it was no longer raining. I made another attempt at Earl of Sandwich but the line was even longer than it was this afternoon. The same was true at Puck’s, so no dinner for me tonight. I wasn’t particularly hungry at the time, but was hungry later in the evening.
I met Leesa and we joined up with David and his girlfriend for Comedy Warehouse. Jamie was on the keys again tonight. The 8:15 cast was Philip, John, Mark, Christine and Jake. They did a Fill in the Blank scene (using two audience volunteers) where Jake and Philip were in a Laundromat washing a dog in a washing machine. Next was Cliché, with John in a Lowe’s Home Improvement store having to guess “If you go for that you’ll go for anything and that makes you a gopher.” He got quite a few words on his own, rather quickly, but it was still fun to watch the different clues (and his struggles). It seems like no matter how quickly the actor might get most of the cliché, there’s always something they have trouble with - which is very entertaining for those of us not on the stage!
The 9:15 cast was John, Matt, Mark, Christine and Jake. They opened with a poem called “I rode my bike to work.” Most of the rest of this show was "This is Your Life", about a lady from Albany. They did her first kiss, worst job, and looked to the future. She was part of a large group down front, who appeared to have been here for the first time. It was cute, especially Jake as the lady. Next was Schmeopardy, hosted by Christine as Alice Quebec. Matt was an Aerospace engineer named Martin Glave. Mark was a UPS driver named Joaquin Brown DoForYou. John was a restaurant owner named Gene Malfunction. The audience was pretty quiet this show, which made the show seem like it was struggling a bit.
The 10:30 cast was Mary, Philip, Matt, Mark and Jake. Philip led them in creating a play featuring Mark and Matt as brothers making big spaghetti. Mary came in as Sybil, Matt’s wife with multiple personalities. Mark and Matt had a duel with a wet noodle, and eventually Mary was cured of her multiple personalities. Madrigal was next, conducted by Jake. The tabloid headlines were “Derek Jeeter’s gay”, “Paris Hilton claims to be a virgin”, “Michael Jackson’s innocent”, and “Britney Spears is really a man”.
They also did Up Your Alley, with gummi bears as the topic. Matt hosted as the evil Dr. Ghan (he mentioned James Bond - perhaps this character is from a Bond movie). Philip was a German guy named Otto, who I think may have invented or makes gummi bears (or at least lives where they come from). Jake was Decklin, a dental hygienist. Mary was a breed of bear called gummy bear because poachers steal their teeth and all they have left are gums. It had a lot of potential but I thought the audience was not really into it tonight and the show seemed a little flat (unless I was just tired).
I visited with Mary after the show, then Leesa walked me out towards the Marketplace. She stayed for the final show, and I walked through the Marketplace and back to Saratoga Springs. I got in around 11:45, which was not too bad. SB was online so we instant messaged for an hour or so before I started the photos uploading and went to bed around 1:30. The photos are Comedy Warehouse only, and can be found at: http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?c=34p4jkm.5n919ifn&x=1&y=aqn9d3
Despite the crummy weather and always finding a long line at Earl of Sandwich, today was a nice day. I really don’t mind being at WDW and not visiting the parks or doing typical touristy stuff, although I can understand why other people might think that’s really strange! I’d rather hang out with SB (even if it’s online), and I had a great time with Dottie and Chris over at the Boardwalk and then later with Leesa at Comedy Warehouse.
My next Disney trip will be 6 nights at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort in April, followed by a weekend at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort in late May. The next WDW trip will be 4th of July weekend, and hopefully I really will get some pool time on that trip.