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01-07-2007, 07:12 PM
Sue Holland -- March 2000 -- Offsite

Who/When/Where:

Who: Sue (me - 41), DVC member
Dates: March 25-29, 2000
Travel Method: Personal car
Resort: Radisson Resort at the Parkway (Kissimmee)
Experience: Extremely experienced, approximately 80-100 wdw vacations since 1972, over 50 nights in Disney resorts this year. This is the 2nd trip this month, 3rd trip so far in 2000.

INTRODUCTION:

ďMy next WDW trip isnít scheduled until late May,Ē - Anyone remember reading that just a few weeks ago? Well, just forget it, lol! Iím leaving for wdw again in less than 9 hours... And yes, I definitely DO realize how lucky I am to get to go again so soon :-)

This trip is impromptu - the result of a business meeting. Once again the person setting up a statewide meeting consulted with me on dates/location, and while we were on the phone I gave him a few names/phone numbers of hotels in Orlando that had meeting facilities for our group of around 80 people. Of course, I focused my search in the area closest to wdw - and the Radisson Resort at the Parkway looked promising. Their website (www.radisson.com) made the place look great, and when Mike called (about 2 weeks ago) they had space for us and gave a $79 room rate. Itís located right outside the MK entrance to WDW, directly across the street from the entrance to Celebration, and itíll be my first time staying there (when on vacation I stay in WDW resorts, but when on business look for a decent place as close to WDW as possible - except in January when I was able to get All Star Movies for $59).

The meeting starts Monday at 1pm, and runs thru approximately 3pm on Wednesday. Iíve got to leave right when it ends, as Iíve got an important presentation to do at a location outside of work at 8am on Thursday! However, I didnít have plans for the weekend prior, and when nothing was available in DVC or other onsite resorts I decided to just book the 2 additional nights (Saturday & Sunday) at the Radisson. $79 is more than I like to pay if Iím not inside wdw, but at least I donít have to move mid-trip! Besides, it looks like the place is well worth $79...hope I still feel that way after I get there! And, for under $200 Iíll get 2 extra nights (more time at Comedy Warehouse), will get to spend time with a friend I didnít get to see last trip, and will have 2 days to wander around the parks, roller blade, and possibly visit Belz Outlet Mall (skipped that last time, too).

This trip report might be shorter than my usual - I might try to just hit the highlights...but weíll see if I can keep from being wordy. Besides spending time with Nancy & Kathy, other things I want to make time to do include finding a specific item at World of Disney for my friend Tomís wife (weíll be at the meeting together - he described it to me, asked me to buy it to save him from running over there), buy chocolate at Ghiradelli since I forgot last trip & Iím all out, and look for a watch to replace the one I scraped up in a roller blading accident last month. Kind of an unusual list of priorities for a wdw trip, but when youíre there as often as I am itís the little ordinary things that become important I guess.

Hereís the plan:

Saturday 3/25 - Start driving early (6am?), register at Radisson, visit some park (MGM or Epcot?), late lunch w/Nancy at Spoodles, get room, Comedy Warehouse at night
Sunday 3/26 - MK (must buy banana nut bread for breakfasts), Belz, Pool (?), rollerblade WL to Ft Wilderness, Downtown Disney or park at night
Monday 3/27 - AK in morning, meeting all afternoon, Comedy Warehouse & Adventurerís Club with Kathy at night
Tuesday 3/28 - Meeting all day, lunch out somewhere local with friend Tom & other meeting people, Comedy Warehouse at night
Wednesday 3/29 - Meeting, drive home
DAY 1 - SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 2000:

Plan: Start driving early (6am?), register at Radisson, visit some park (MGM or Epcot?), late lunch w/Nancy at Spoodles, get room, Comedy Warehouse at night

Actual: I was up at 4:15 to clear up the email and read the boards, and was on the road at 6:02 am! Along I-75 there was a car on fire - the entire front end including the front seat inside was flaming, with lots of black smoke going up. I wondered if it was at risk of exploding, since the engine was on fire, but they hadnít made any effort to close down the road and a sheriffís deputy was calmly walking towards the car. Obviously, I made it past safely! The rest of the drive was uneventful and I pulled in to the Radisson Resort at the Parkway just before 9am. Getting in was a little confusing, at least to me. Eventually I found my way to the lobby to check in. First thing I noticed was the smell of smoke - great, they let people smoke indoors here...a bad sign in my book. The lobby was kind of pretty, and large, but very noisy - the sounds just bounced off the walls & it was noisier than it needed to be. I waited in line to check in, and found out that they were completely sold out the night before so rooms werenít ready yet. That was no big deal, though. The check in process was very quick, I was given a pass to put in my car, and I was told to check back after 2pm. They already had me assigned to my room, and called housekeeping to let them know I was here. Since it was going to be 80 degrees or so I brought in the laptop and camcorder and left them with bell services for safekeeping.

Before I left I walked around the resort a little bit. The main pool was attractive, but a little smaller than Iíd imagined it from the website. There was a water fall at one end, and another pool on the other side (along with a jacuzzi & a kiddie pool). I was shocked to see so many people laying on their pool chairs at 9am! Geesh - donít these people have anywhere to go??? Like to a park? Oh well, it just seemed odd to me. Also, it seemed like most people were smoking or had packs of cigarettes nearby...ugh! The fitness center is pretty small - Iíd pictured something more substantial in my mind, so Iím not sure Iíll bother with it. I hope the rooms arenít a disappointment, too - the location is good for me, and it would be nice to have it work out for future meetings (weíll be discussing having our next one in June).

By now it was only 9:15, and rather than head to a park just yet I decided to visit Belz Outlets. I skipped it last trip, and remembered in prior years that I think this was the weekend of their big tent sales. Traffic was light, and sure enough, the tent sale was there! Unfortunately, I made such good time I had a Ĺ hour to wait for stuff to open, so I wandered around. Very quickly I shopped Character Warehouse, Planet Hollywood, some tents, and then Character Premiere. At Character Warehouse I saw a tee shirt (white, v-neck, embroidered with Walt Disney World est 1971) that Iíd seriously considered buying at full price in Mouse Gears last trip. They had a size XS, and it was half price, so it was mine! At Planet Hollywood they had a special on the skinny ribbed tee shirts - buy one get one free. I got 2 of the lime green with the embroidered logo from Las Vegas. Since Iíll be in Las Vegas next month Iíll take it with me and wear it out there. The 2nd one Iíll send back to my sister-in-law. I didnít spend much time in the tents. Frankly, they reminded me of being in Disneyís Property Control - standing under a tend rummaging thru tons of merchandise that kind of seemed like crap, in my opinion. Lots of people were there, but thatís just not how I like to shop (love a bargain, but not willing to work that hard for it). I did stop at the Disney area and got 2 of the cushions they sold at Fantasmic for $10 each - today they were $.99 each! We can use them at baseball games - the season starts 4/6 and runs for 6 months. At Character Premiere I came out empty handed, but I was very happy with the stuff Iíd already bought.

By now it was about 10:30 (so much for an abbreviated trip report, lol) so I headed to WDW. Again traffic was light, but on the other side of I-4 it was backing up. Also, Belz was getting very busy - Iím sure itíll be an absolute zoo there later today! I parked at BW - flashing my dvc card to get waved on through. I could see the MGM boat just leaving the Yacht Club, so I walked over to the Swan and picked it up there - arriving just in time. I was in MGM by 11, and it was quite busy. On the last trip I never made it to MGM at all, which is why I decided to head here today - that and the fact that I knew I could buy one of my chocolate covered marshmallow things here ! The Great Movie Ride line was extended outside of the building, and remained that way the whole time I was here. Didnít check the waits on ToT or RnR, since I donít ride them anyways. I went to the Backlot Tour and rode that with a less than 10 minute wait. It got pretty damp in Catastrophe Canyon because of the wind direction - also along Residential Street one of the houses had the sprinklers on and it sprayed right into the trams!

Afterwards I just wandered around. There wasnít anything I wanted to ride or see badly enough to wait in a 10-20 minute line, so I browsed in the shops and just walked. They were doing an Indiana Jones stunt show up on the roof of some of the buildings along NY Street, and lots of people were crowded in that area watching (not me, I kept walking). There were lots of cheerleader groups in the park - teens all the way down to early elementary school grades. Luckily they werenít cheering or anything, but they were noticeable because there were so many of them and they were wearing cheerleader outfits. In the candy store I got my marshmallow thing and also a chocolate Mickey truffle since it had been a while since breakfast. I only ate one of the ears though, since Iíd be having lunch soon. I mostly got it for a snack later. I think the marshmallow thing (Dipped Marshmallow was the name today) wasnít quite set yet, because Iíve got a ton of loose M&Ms in the bottom of the bag - either that or they came off in the heat while I was walking around.

When I left MGM the boat was just pulling up, so I got on board. Theyíve changed the route here. Rather than going to BW first, the boat goes to Swan, then YC, then BW, then Epcot. I had over an hour until I was meeting Nancy, so I thought Iíd run into Epcot briefly. However, by the time the boat stopped at Swan and then got to YC I realized the boats are so slow Iíd use up all my time in transit! I got off at YC and made a change in plans. Rather than walking to Epcot I sat in a swing on the beach in front of the Beach Club. Iíll have to remember to come here some afternoon when itís not broiling hot outside and use one of the lounge chairs to lay out as an alternative to Stormalong Bay. There were lots of people sunning, and from November through March/April itís generally cool enough for it to be comfortable (my opinion).

Eventually I started walking again, heading to Boardwalk. After browsing in the shops there I sat under the covered brick area downstairs and relaxed - almost falling asleep in the process. Shortly after 1:30 I saw Nancy walk by - she was early - so I called to her. We didnít have time to get together last trip, so it worked out great that I was back so soon. We checked in at Spoodles and were seated immediately. It was her first time here, and my first time back for lunch in a couple of years. We had a wonderful lunch! She got a raspberry smoothie and the Italian baguette sandwich, and said it was excellent. I got a glass of delicious sangria and the Greek salad thing. However, when it came there was no lettuce in it. Iíd ASSUMED it was a Greek salad, but really it was just tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, & feta cheese (I had them skip the olives). I laughed when I realized I was sitting here with a plate of vegetables in front of me - nobody reading this is likely to believe it, but you can write to Nancy because she was my witness - and I ate every bite except for some of the peppers and part of the feta cheese. It was delicious - and very light! Afterwards we were still sitting there talking so the waitress brought over a dessert menu. Nancy laughed and said ďSue, this oneís got your name all over itĒ - it was a Double Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Ganache Cake with Chocolate Ice Cream and Double Chocolate Bark! YIKES - That really did sound like me! We decided Iíd never be able to eat a whole dessert but the 2 of us could share it, so we ordered one with 2 spoons. Now, if Iíd been struck dead while sitting at that table I would have died happy. It was sooooooooo good! There was nothing left when we were done, either, lol! The cake was like a flourless chocolate torte, covered in a fudgy chocolate thing (the ganache), and there were chocolate covered toffee pieces too! Boy, was that great! Iíd consider going back just for dessert and ordering that again (as my entire meal). I bought lunch today (we take turns doing this, that way one of us always gets a treat), and after the cast member discount and with the tip (didnít look to see if it was already added in, so I bet I tipped her twice, oh well) it was almost $40.

We left Spoodles since we were the only guests in there at that point (they were closed between lunch & dinner) and sat under the covered area and talked for an hour or so until Nancy needed to head to work (Jazz Club on Pleasure Island). We walked together to the parking lot, and I returned to the Radisson to check on my room. This time I didnít get lost, and my room was ready. At this place the rooms are a very long way from the parking lot. I had to park in the lot, walk a very long walkway into building 2, then walk through building 2 to get into building 3, and of course my room is at the end of a hallway here in building 3. Iím on the 5th floor, and actually I like having an end room because I only have a neighbor on 1 side. The inside hallways were not impressive at all, and neither was the elevator. Thankfully the room was better. I thought I was supposed to have a king bed but ended up with 2 doubles. The most important thing is itís non smoking, so Iím fine. Thereís no way Iíd hike the mile back to change rooms with all my stuff!

The room is pretty good size, double closet with 2 mirrored doors plus another full length mirror next to the bathroom. The bathroom is ordinary - small, nothing special. The coffee maker is in the bathroom. The bedroom has the 2 beds with a nightstand, large dresser with 6 big drawers, 19Ē tv on top of the mini bar, and a table with 2 chairs. Thereís no balcony - just a window. There is a big safe - I can probably fit the camcorder & laptop in there, along with my jewelry and purse. The carpet is standard hotel carpet - Iíve seen this pattern so many places itís very familiar! The bedspreads are tropical, with birds or fish or something. Overall itíll do just fine. Itís not as deluxe as a wdw resort, but itís not $250/night either!

In the room I unpacked, updated the report, and then got ready to return to WDW. Before I left I decided to put the laptop, wallet & jewelry into the safe. It all fit fine (with room to spare), but I couldnít get the safe to lock. After following the instructions several times with no success I called the operator & asked if there was some trick to operating the safe! She said sheíd send security right up. I said I was getting ready to leave the room, and she said that was ok - security could get in. LOL, yes, but leaving my stuff out sort of defeats the purpose, and she quickly realized that. She assured me heíd be right there, so I said ok. In just a matter of minutes (about the time it would take to walk over from the main building) there was a knock on the door and a uniformed security officer (badge & all) was standing there with a box of tools or something. He was a very nice young guy, and of course when he followed the instructions the safe worked perfectly every time. He said sometimes if the safe has been unused a while it goes into a dormant or sleep mode - so maybe that was my problem. He didnít seem intimidated by me at all, so evidently he hasnít spoken to any of the PI security officers (joke). He left, I got the safe working, put my stuff in, checked to make sure I could get it out, and then locked it up again and left. Just before I left the phone rang - it was the front desk checking to see if the security guy had taken care of the problem. I thought that was nice follow-up on the hotelís part.

I drove over to Downtown Disney (lots of traffic on 192 coming from the parks - pity the people who stay offsite!) and parked at Pleasure Island. It was about 6:30, and huge busloads of people were arriving (Mears and other charters). What the heck is that all about? Saturday night is busy enough with the locals - we donít need busloads of groups too! Ick! I walked over to the Marketplace and looked in World of Disney for the thing for Tom - but didnít see it. Theyíve rearranged some of the rooms, too, so maybe I missed it. Iíll take more time to look tomorrow. Returning to PI I renewed my annual pass there ($42.89 with MKC). I think the initial AP is $52 or so. Nightly admission is $20 plus tax now, so it only takes 3 visits to make an AP pay for itself. I think Iíll be at PI at least 40-45 nights during 2000, so for me that averages to only about $1 per visit!

I headed up to the Comedy Warehouse and joined the line, ending up with perfect seats (Peggy - you know where they are now) slightly off center. Chatted briefly with a couple of women next to me, and then the show began. Iíd already decided I was going to leave after the first show, so I didnít want to order a Bye Bye Blues (wouldnít have time to drink it all). I asked the waiter to just bring me a glass of ice water, which he did. I still tipped him $1 - itís not his fault my drink was free, lol! After the show I let some of the crowd go ahead, since I wasnít getting back in line. Mary came out from backstage and remembered me from last visit (Iíd met her sister online), so we talked briefly before I left. Iíd expected Layden to be working tonight, but Mary told me his days off had recently changed. However, he should be there the next 3 nights, so Iíll probably head over there tomorrow night after all. Sundayís a great night because the crowds are the smallest. Philip and Mark worked in the show I saw tonight - I like them both a lot, too. Philip is kind of ďover the topĒ - almost like an old Jerry Lewis movie character, and Mark is just consistently very funny.

I drove back to the Radisson, found a parking space and began the 17 mile trek to the room . After replacing the ice in the cooler and getting some juice to drink I tried setting the clock radio to come on in the morning but ended up hitting some button that made the music come on - and I canít shut it off, lol! Iím assuming itíll go off in an hour, but if not Iíll shut the volume way down and put in for a wake up call! Local phone calls here are $.87 each - the highest Iíve seen anywhere, and I miss my dvc ($.35 calls)! Iíll probably try to limit myself to one online session per day as a result.

Today the plan was followed. It was a great day - long, but great. The highlight was definitely lunch - wonderful food and company. I LOVED that chocolate dessert thing, and the sangria, and even the plate full of vegetables, lol! Guess Iíll be back to Spoodles on future trips!

Miles walked today: 7.2

DAY 2 - SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 2000:

Plan: MK (must buy banana nut bread for breakfasts), Belz, Pool (?), rollerblade WL to Ft Wilderness, Downtown Disney or park at night

Actual: Last night I ate the first of the 4 marshmallows on my marshmallow thingy, and spent a relaxing evening catching up on the email and message boards. It was lights out before 11:30, which has got to be some kind of a record for me lately, but it felt good to be getting some rest (especially since the day had started at 4:15am).

This morning I woke up at 5, even though the alarm was set for 7. I guess my body just isnít used to getting so much sleep up here. The room was great - the a/c unit provided enough ďwhite noiseĒ that I didnít hear a single other sound the entire night (no flushing turbo toilets, no people in the hall, no noisy neighbors, no elephants upstairs - it was wonderful, lol). The bed was very comfortable, too. Finally at 5:30 I decided just to get up. Since I was all caught up reading the boards last night and didnít want to get online again so soon I figured Iíd just watch the news (the real tv news, Krisi) and play one of the games loaded on the laptop for a little while. After showering I had some juice and around 7 decided to go wander around the resort a bit. To my delight I found that although my room is miles from the main building by car, on foot itís extremely close/convenient! This will work out well during the meeting, because the convention facilities are in the main building. I simply walk thru the couryard and Iím right there! I found another jacuzzi while wandering - both are kidney-shaped and one has a waterfall splashing into one side of it. There are lots of waterfalls, rocks, landscaping, and it really does look nice. Assuming the meeting rooms are ok, Iíd happily return here for future meetings.

Back in the room I made a cup of cappuccino and basically killed time until it was time to head for wdw. I brought a couple of Kelloggís FruitFull squares, so I ate one of them for a quick breakfast since I hadnít been to MK to buy banana nut bread yet. On the news this morning there was a story that soon WDW theme park cmís will be allowed to grow mustaches - due to the difficult labor market here. They said the last change to the dress code was 1994, when females were permitted to wear eye make up and balding men were permitted to wear toupes. So, it looks like the ďrumorĒ on the boards is true. They did not say exactly when this was taking effect, and it was only a mustache - no mention of beards. I kind of like the clean-shaven look, and would be happier if they just left things as they are - the no facial hair just looks to ~Disney~ to me and I hate to lose that!

About 8 I left the Radisson to drive to WDW, parking at Wilderness Lodge. I did not do this to try to escape paying the parking fee - as an AP holder I get free parking. Rather, Iím thinking Iíll probably rollerblade later, and this is a good place to start from. I parked far away (out of consideration for the real WL guests, and picked a spot that I hoped would be in the shade later so I could leave the digital camera in the trunk. The DVC construction site looked about the same as it did 3 weeks ago. At 8:25 I arrived at the dock but decided rather than getting on the waiting MK boat Iíd take the more scenic route and got on the waiting smaller boat. It went first to Fort Wilderness, and then the Contemporary, and it was a nice relaxing ride. We saw a bald eagle hunting for fish in the lake - what a big bird! From the Contemporary I walked over to the MK and saw huge long lines at the turnstiles - they must have been 30 people or more long. However, as usual people were being incredibly STUPID because there was at least 1 turnstile that was right there, open, with nobody in line. So, I walked past everyone (felt like fastpass, lol) and put my pass in the reader & entered the park. Duh, people - pay attention! Sorry, but people being so oblivious to their surroundings makes me crazy - maybe it comes from living in Florida where every so often some oblivious elderly person drives into a doctorís waiting room rather than stopping in the parking lot!

MK was fairly busy, and I waited for rope drop over by Plaza Pavilion restaurant. They timed it so the people from there went when the people coming from the hub reached that spot - so nobody had the advantage. Space Mountain was my first stop, and I was rather irritated to see them stack people up outside and not let us in. If the park opens at 9, then the ride should be opne also - delaying another 5 minutes is very poor show, in my opinion. To further aggravate me, they didnít have the fast pass machines set up either, which I also find fault with! After about 5 minutes or a cm did take down the fast pass chains and it was amazing how quickly long lines were formed at the machines! I was still in the line outside the entrance to the building, so I ducked between the rails & got in line at the fast pass machines to get my 2 fastpasses (1 each on my AP and the PI AP). Fastpass time was 9:55-10:55, so I headed to Frontierland figuring Iíd ride Big Thunder Mountain.

When I got there I noticed the Splash Mountain logs were coming down the hill empty...uh oh...and sure enough it was closed so all those people were in line at Big Thunder. They had a posted 20 minute wait at the entrance, but the line was snaked way down past that, towards the Tom Sawyer rafts. I love Big Thunder, but not enough to stand in line like that, so I headed back to Fantasyland and pretty much walked on to Peter Pan. By now it was after 9:30, so I returned to Tomorrowland and rode the TTA, which let me off just in time to for my fast pass at Space Mountain. The cm there was holding back all of the 9:55 fastpass people because I guess it was only 9:54. No big deal - when he felt it was 9:55 we all went in. I got the right side this time, then went back around a 2nd time and rode on the left side (front seat this time). It took about 30 minutes to do the 2 rides, with most of that time walking into and out of the ride area, lol! It was worth the walking though - itís a fun ride.

Now it was time for me to leave MK (10:30), so I headed back to Main Street. The Bake Shop line was extended OUTSIDE the door!!!! Yuck - but, I had no choice if I wanted banana nut bread, and thatís what Iíd planned for breakfast for the next 3 mornings, so I got in line. I guess it was about 20 minutes later that I had my 2 pieces of banana nut bread :-) Now I finally left the MK, headed towards Epcot. They had the express monorail station ďclosedĒ, so everyone had to use the resort monorail. Of course, the express monorail was running, and 3 of them came before the stupid resort one arrived! They just werenít paying any cmís to work that side - saving money, but greatly inconveniencing the guest, grrrr. When we finally pulled into the Contemporary hardly anyone got off, and there was a big crowd waiting to get on...most of whom had to stand and wait for another monorail because there wasnít even standing room! Very poor move on Disneyís part. It further validifies my opinion that staying in a monorail resort is the LEAST convenient place to stay in all of wdw. Those guests should have been raising heck with Disney for this crummy service. For me, using it the one time it was no big deal, but Iím sure glad I didnít come to spend a week at a monorail resort!

At the TTC I switched to the Epcot monorail (because it was the resort line we all had to go down around and back up rather than just walking across) and I was able to ride up front because nobody had asked (the monorail was already there, waiting). Before we left they put a coupleís 3 kids in with me, so we had a full house. The driver gave us all co-pilots licenses, lol, even me. He didnít know what the bleachers were for in the Epcot parking lot, but heíd heard it was for some group. He also said heíd heard the Horizons building was going to be torn down completely and something new put in itís place (had no idea what that would be or when).

My first stop was the Fountain View place. Iíd read about some incredible sounding dessert on RADP, and was hoping going in there theyíd have it and it would job my memory since I couldnít remember what it was - only that it sounded great. Nothing sounded terribly familiar, so I ordered the Chocolate Toffee Pyramid ($4.23) for my lunch and took it outside to a table. Itís a triangular shaped small portion of thick chocolate mousse with walnuts inside set on a very thin layer of somewhat dry chocolate cake and then topped with a thin layer of choclate fudge. There was also a chocolate filled rolled wafer cookie on the side. It was very good - but no match for yesterdayís dessert! I think I may have had 1-2 pieces of toffee...but it really should have been called chocolate walnut pyramid. After finishing every last bite I waddled over to Test Track and with the single riders line was in my car in 5 minutes. This attraction wasnít very busy, considering the rest of the park seemed busier than normal.

After Test Track I walked around World Showcase and then left Epcot. I was the only one on the bus to Wilderness Lodge, and got back there about 1pm. After putting on the rollerblades I headed for the path to Ft Wilderness. The car ended up being in the sun, so rather than try to find a shady spot I threaded the digital camera case through the top strap on one of the skate - it may have looked silly, but it was very functional and the camera was safe (itís very small). Skating was lots of fun, as usual, and I passed a couple of other skaters while I was out. I skated about 50 minutes, which would be about 6 miles for me. I would have & could have skated longer, but the streets inside the camping loops are kind of rough and Iíd already covered all of the smooth bike paths.

I drove back to the Radisson, and since it was partly sunny I put on my swimsuit and went to the pool. At first there werenít any lounge chairs at the main pool but I found one at the smaller pool. Unfortunately, it was downwind of the cigarette someone lit up, so I moved and this time found a chair at the main pool. I was the on the proper side of the smoker over there, because I never smelled any of that smoke. It alternated between sunny and cloudy - mostly cloudy. The water in the pool was very cold, so after sticking one foot in I went back to my chair! I noticed most people were on their chairs, and just a handful of kids were in the pool and using the slide. Iím not sure how long I stayed there, but it couldnít have been very long at all. The housekeeper still hadnít gotten to my room - being at the end of the hall it appeared I was at the end of her schedule. Her cart was at the room next door, so I went inside and worked on the report while I waited for her (it was somewhere after 3pm). Soon she knocked, wanting to know if she could clean the room. I suggested she simply swap my dirty towels for clean ones and leave it at that - but English wasnít her primary language so it took us a little effort to communicate, lol. She kept trying to give me 4 more sets of towels (a dvc dream) but I only needed one - and she remembered to replace my dirty glass & coffee cup. She wanted me to sign something, I guess because she didnít get to clean the room, so I did. I sure hope I didnít agree to pay for all the $2 sodas in the mini bar, or pay for her kidís braces or something, lol!

Well, after 2 space flights, a spin on Test Track and then rollerblading 6 miles it was time for another shower. Afterwards I ate another of the marshmallows from yesterday, and got ready to go out. I really wanted to find that item for Tomís wife, and figured Iíd spend time at the Marketplace before going to PI. The shorts/tank top that worked in the parks & roller blading today were definitely too brief (& sweaty) for PI after dark in March, so I pulled out a pair of jeans Iíd brought to wear at the meeting and one of my new shirts from yesterday. Wish Iíd brought my sneakers so my feet would stay warm, but I was stuck with my Tevas. Itís supposed to drop into the 50ís tonight, which is not really cold unless youíre a Florida resident!

I left the room about 5 or 5:30, drove to Downtown Disney and parked at PI. Along the way I drove through the ďParkwayĒ area of shops & restaurants where the Radisson is since I figure Tom will look to me for a place for us to have lunch during the meeting since Iíve been here all weekend. I criticize those MK people for being oblivious, but I guess Iím also oblivious in a sense - I donít care about what restaurants are nearby so I donít even look over that way! It ends up there arenít any known chains there, but there are a few restaurants.

From PI I walked over to the Marketplace to look for Tomís request. He described it as being made of china (he means stoneware) and itís something Leanne bought and put spoons in it (as in wooden spoons of varying sizes). Sheís got it on one side of her stove or something and wants another one for the other size. He said itís beige with blue and Mickey...then changed it to white instead of beige :::sigh::: It sounds like the Gourmet Mickey line of kitchen stuff, which has been hard to find this trip. I finally found some in Gourmet Pantry, but the only item you could put spoons in is a pitcher. Now, I wonder if Tom knows what a pitcher is...I donít think a pitcher is so unusual a man wouldnít know what itís called - but Iíll ask him tomorrow. If it is, then Iíll buy it tomorrow night, and if not then Iíll tell him my search is over! I browsed through several of the shops. Rainforest Cafe had a huge line - really busy tonight! I ended up at Ghiradelli and remembered to buy my chocolate - $22 worth! I got some of the mint chocolate drops and some nonpareils. With my dvc card I got a free candy bar for spending over $10 (works with an AP also). My hotel room is going to be full of junk food, lol!

Next I walked over to the West Side. I looked in the window at Candy Cauldron and was pleased to see theyíve FINALLY started doing the marshmallow thing with m&mís! Every time Iíve asked they told me they donít do that kind there, and finally last time I think I told them they should. These werenít exactly like mine - they also had some mini peanut butter chips (at least thatís what they looked like) and didnít appear to be as coated in candy as mine. Itís a step in the right direction, at least. At the Bongoís outdoor window I got a chicken empanada and ate it at one of the tables outside. I really wasnít hungry, but thought I might as well eat something that wasnít chocolate today. It was pretty good. After wandering around a little bit I put my Ghiradelli stuff in the car and entered PI close to 7pm.

There were people lined up at the Comedy Warehouse already, but not very many. I saw a party of 3 that I recognized - Iíd seen them there last night too but didnít get to talk to them - it was a family Iíd met in line some trip last year. They live in Ft Pierce and come over frequently for long weekends and spend their nights at the Comedy Warehouse (mom, dad & adult daughter). I let the line get long enough that I wouldnít be seated at a table on the floor (too close - canít tape from there, and you have to look up to see the actors), and then got in line. The family said hi and I went to chat with them. They invited me to join them, and said theyíd seen me here earlier this month (dvc ladies trip) but I was with a bunch of people and didnít see them.

We ended up spending the evening together, and had fun catching up on our lives and of course Comedy Warehouse gossip. Theyíd seen several of the actors in commercials or tv shows lately - Iíve got to watch more tv I guess. Kelly was in a Checkers commercial, Steve did one for some long distance service (I think I did see that one and thought - gee, that guy looks like Steve but didnít carry that thought to itís logical conclusion), either Peter or Paul (theyíre twins) was on ER or Chicago Hope lately, and I forget the rest. For the first show we were way down in the front row, but I didnít really care since I knew weíd be back for more shows. It was funny - when the show ended, Dan (the dad) went rushing back outside to get our place in the line! Theyíre as bad as I am! This time we had my perfect seats! For the 3rd show (our last) we were way in the back, but I actually used the zoom on the camcorder to see better.

After the 3rd show I stopped to talk to Layden, and while we were chatting the other actors all spoke to me. Mary called me by name, but Iím not sure if the others know my name or not. Anyway, Layden did say his new nights off are Fri/Sat instead of Sun/Mon. Thatís actually better for me, since with dvc I tend to arrive on Sunday for at least a 5 night stay. Larry - I told Layden about you & Jill coming all the way from Scotland and wanting me to bring you to his shows, and told him Iíd booked my stay so we could do that on a Friday in July! Iíll have to see if I can change my dates to make it another night.

The Ft Pierce family was waiting for me outside, so I said good night to Layden and headed outside to talke with them for a while. Tonightís their last night this trip, so we wished each other well and know weíre sure to run into each other here again in the future. I left PI and drove back to the Radisson (tough finding a parking spot late at night) and got to the room about 11.

I had some juice, charged the camcorder batteries, finished the report, got online and watched a little of the Academy Awards. Iím not sure what Iím doing tomorrow morning. I might go to AK (thatís the original plan) or I could just lay by the pool if itís sunny. I guess weíll see what time I want to wake up!

The day followed the plan for the most part. I skipped Belz since I went yesterday, and spent an unplanned evening at the Comedy Warehouse. Rollerblading was great fun, and I enjoyed spending the evening with fellow Comedy Warehouse fans. The night just flew by, and being a Sunday the crowds werenít too bad.

Total miles walked: 10.2 Skated: about 6

DAY 3 - MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2000:

Plan: AK in morning, meeting all afternoon, Comedy Warehouse & Adventurerís Club with Kathy at night

Actual: It was lights out at 1:30 this morning. I didnít finish the boards & newsgroup messages, but those can wait until after I get home if need be - my only real priorities are the trip report and email. At 6 the radio came on, and I didnít feel like a zombie so I got right up & started the day. As usual, shower, juice, then I made cappuccino to have with some of my delicious banana bread! It was another good nightís sleep - not a single sound or noise from anywhere. This particular room location really is great. I noticed when I was outside coming back in late last night that this building is kind of tiered - each floor doesnít extend to the same end, and my floor ends with my room. Itís possible the floor upstairs doesnít extend all the way to my room, so maybe Iím not hearing any elephants because thereís no room above me.

Theyíre calling for off and on rain today, strong storms with gusty winds and lightning tonight. It looks to be just to the north of here (at least for the day stuff) and isnít moving south, so hopefully itíll be ok. I can see some blue sky out my window, so thatís a hopeful sign. Today all the other meeting attendees will be arriving, with the meeting starting at 1pm. Weíve got a full agenda, but I really hope we donít go up until 5pm today & tomorrow.

I was happy to finish up the internet stuff this morning (everything that had been downloaded as of 1:15 this morning) - yay, Iím all caught up! Animal Kingdom is opening at 8 today, so I was out the door by 7:30 and drove to that park. After riding the tram to the entrance I could see that the people at the turnstiles were in lines extending way out past the ticket buildings! I figured Iíd take a chance and walked up closer and sure enough - found at least one turnstile that was open yet nobody was using it - they were in line 50-100 people deep at the ones all around it. I cruised on past them all, inserted my AP and was in the park by 7:55. After I went thru some of the people from the next line at least noticed me going by so they moved over and started using that one as well. Everyone was held back over before the entrance to Camp Minnie Mickey, but in about a minute they did the opening announcement and let us all in to the rest of the park.

I headed straight back to Kilamanjaro Safari. Most people got in the standby line, but I went to the fastpass station. The cm congratulated me on being the first fast pass of the day - the time was for 8:30-9:30. I left Africa and the huge crowds of people, and walked over to Dinoland to ride Countdown to Extinction. I walked right on into the preshow, and then was the first one on the ride vehicle. People behind me were so slow - standing there blocking everyone else while they were trying to decide something, so only 1 other couple was put on my vehicle before it was sent through. The ride was fun, but the dinosaur where they say ďat least this oneís a vegetarianĒ was not working or visible. It kind of interrupted the ride, as the vehicle still slowed/stopped there, but there was no audio and nothing to see. After the ride I stopped in Asia and walked quickly through the Maharajeh Jungle Trek. I was really only interested in seeing the tigers, but did notice the komodo dragon sitting on a rock as I passed by. One tiger was up walking by some water, and then plopped down in the water & began to play - it was pretty cool to see that. On the way out I stopped to watch the Kali River Rapids rafts for a few minutes. Very few had any people on them, most likely because the weather had become very overcast with a cool breeze. It definitely felt like it would rain soon.

Leaving Asia I headed straight back to Africa for my safari. There were several people using the fastpass line, and we actually had to wait towards the end of the line. It was a great safari though, and not only did we see all the cheetahs relatively close up, both lions were up on their rocks. The male lion was strutting back and forth and even roared a few times - Iíd never seen them so active before. When the safari was done it was raining slightly. I walked the Pangani Trail to check on my friend Kathyís gorillas (didnít stop to see anything else). The trail was very crowded - more crowded than Iím really willing to put up with, and none of the bachelors were out. The dominant silverback from from the family group was up by the glass window, but there were so many people I wasnít about to spend time trying to see him.

The park overall now was getting way too crowded for me, and there was nothing else I wanted to see, so I started to head out. I hit a couple shops along the way, left the park, and then browsed through the Rainforest Cafe shop. When I was ready to leave I saw that it was pouring outside! I had my umbrella, so it was no big deal - I simply walked to my car and drove back to the Radisson, arriving about 10:15.

I was happy to see the housekeeper had already done my room! I called DVC Member Services to see about changing my July dates. I got the same cm (Joe) I got when I called last week to change my Fall dates - at that time when he saw all my reservations he simply said ďWowĒ when they came up on his screen, lol! To the surprise of both of us, they had availability for my new dates!!! YAY! Itís a very short trip, taken strictly to meet an internet friend Larry from Scotland and his family during their trip. I had booked Th/Fr nights to minimize the time off from work, and since Larry said he wanted to go to the Comedy Warehouse and specifically meet Layden, Iíd figured weíd do that on Friday night. Now with Laydenís new schedule Iíll go up Sat/Sun and take Larry & Jill to PI on Sunday night (Layden will be back from taking some time off by then, also). As an added bonus, the new nights mean I only have to take 1 day off from work rather than 2. Iím taking a trip to Vero around July 4th, and then will be at wdw & on the cruise for 16 days in August, so thatís the reason I was trying to minimize the time off from work.

The rain eventually let up, but I just stayed in the room updating the trip report and ate a few of the nonpareils from Ghiradelli. I turned on the tv - boy, is daytime tv trashy! Iím glad I work during the day, lol - where on earth do they find these people?? I sure hope itís all staged!

About 11:30 I went downstairs to the Diner here and got a chicken caesar salad ($4.95) to take back to the room. They made it fresh, including grilling the chicken - and it was quite large (way more than Iíll eat, and a healthy portion for anyone else). It was delicious, too.

Coming back to the room earlier there was a big crowd waiting for the elevator, so I decided to try the stairs to my 5th floor room. Maybe itís all the rollerblading, but I quickly climbed up the stairs and didnít feel like Iíd exerted myself at all - pretty cool. Hopefully Iíll be easily running up 5 flights of stairs for decades to come . After eating as much of the salad as possible, and more of the Mickey truffle from Saturday, I changed out of my shorts/tee shirt and went down for the 1pm meeting - tossing the rest of the salad in a trash can outside of my room so it wouldnít make my room smell.

Tom was there, saving a seat for me, and it was a good thing I didnít buy that pitcher I saw last night. What his wife wants is not anything that I saw in any of the stores, so itís either out or discontinued. I was surprised but happy to see another friend Ed there. Heís not normally part of the financial management meetings, but since he does handle budget for our program he decided to come. We need to meet on an issue separate from this meeting anyways, so this will work out well. The meeting itself went fine, and we broke up about 4:30. Due to a large group needing half of our meeting room for their breakfast tomorrow morning we wonít be starting our meeting until 10am - yay! Iíll meet with Ed, Tom & 2 others at 9:15 to get the other stuff out of the way.

I walked back to the main building with Tom & a couple of the other men (not sure why, but it seems like the co-workers I spend the most time with and are closest to are the men) so I could show Tom where he could pick up something for breakfast in the morning. The hallway was a wooden floor, and on my side it got very slippery. I was wearing a pair of low pumps and one of the heels slid right out from under me, and I went down - landing by sitting on my purse that had been hanging from my shoulder! One minute I was walking, and the next minute I was sitting on my purse, lol! They were all concerned, and Tom reached down to help me up, but I was fine. He kept asking was I sure I was ok??? I assured him that I really was, and I wasnít lying - I was not hurt at all - not in the slightest. He said if heíd gone down like that he probably would have broken something. I should have teased that I am younger than he is, but didnít think of it at the time, since he was genuinely concerned.

It was extremely windy outside - one of the hotel staff said the wind caught a golf cart and was pushing it across the parking lot! Hopefully itíll keep some of the people away from Pleasure Island tonight. Right now the tv people are saying the first severe storm of the year is moving into Orlando now. Rather than go to a park for an hour or so perhaps Iíll stay in the room and do some of the online stuff - that will save time later. Fortunately, the storms all passed mostly to the east of here, and later tonight it should start clearing - looks like a fairly nice night after all (bet the Vero folks had it much worse).

I sent a few pictures to the photopoint site (www.photopoint.com then enter wdw1972@aol.com in the view members album part). I only sent 3; 2 from the Radisson and 1 of the Contemporary. Theyíre at the end of the March 2000 WDW Trip album in case anyone wants to see them. Also there now is the picture of 8 of the dvc ladies with the cast of the Comedy Warehouse.

After changing clothes I headed out about 6:15 or so, parking at Pleasure Island. I was getting a little hungry, so I ran over to Bongos and got a chicken empanada and ate it while walking back to PI. I really wasnít in the mood for one, but everything else I saw was too big, and the empanada turned out to be very good tonight (last night it was just ok). Kathy (Dznynut) was at the PI entrance, so we went in together. People were lined up at Comedy Warehouse so we joined the line and passed the time catching up since the last time weíd talked online. Sheís up here staying at the Boardwalk with her family and left them at the resort to come spend the evening with me!

We were down front for the first show, and unfortunately they did the ďFill in the BlankĒ skit where they pick 2 audience members to sit on stage and fill in the blanks - but they picked a teenager and a child. Neither of them could think of a word when they were touched, so the actors had nothing to work with. The actors (Jennifer & Mark) made it a lot funnier than it might have been, but they should only pick adults for volunteers. It was really horrible. Luckily the rest of the show was better. Jennifer with the short hair asked for something that irritates you so I raised my hand and suggested women who wear little spaghetti strap tank tops with a big ole bra underneath so the bra strap & part of the bra is showing. The cast made up a blues song about it, and that was very funny.

We got right back in line for the 2nd show, and were seated pretty far back. Kathy thought the shows were both good, but I was less enthusiastic I guess because Iíve seen them really GREAT so many times. Tonight they were good, but not GREAT. They did the madrigal singers skit in the 2nd show, which I always like. Layden was in this show, along with Matt & Mary.

After show 2 we went to the Adventurerís Club for a while. The cast there was having a lot of fun with guests in the main salon. Pamelia Perkins was played by the actor who I think plays her the best, and the same with Samantha Sterling (donít know any of them by name). We did the new member induction ceremony, then saw Samanthaís show in the library (first time for Kathy) - which was excellent as always.

We left after the show in the library; Kathy catching her bus to BW and me driving back to the Radisson. The traffic getting off wdw property was unbelievable - bumper to bumper and moving not more than 5 mph for quite a ways. It was 10:30 at night so Iím not sure where all those cars were coming from, and it was pretty miserable. I got back to the room about 11 (30 minutes to drive 6 miles is pathetic!).

I ate the 3rd marshmallow on the marshmallow thing - one more to go, tomorrow night! The idea of being in a meeting all day tomorrow is depressing...but itís the price I have to pay to have been here the past few days. Itíll surely feel like a very loooooooong day, though. After finishing up the trip report and going online Iím hoping to turn the lights out not too long after midnight.

The day went exactly according to plan.

Total miles walked: 6.4

DAY 4 - TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 2000:

Who: Sue (me - 41), DVC member

Dates: March 25-29, 2000

Travel Method: Personal car

Resort: Radisson Resort at the Parkway (Kissimmee)

Plan: Meeting all day, lunch out somewhere local with friend Tom & other meeting people, Comedy Warehouse at night

Actual: Ok, I missed the midnight goal for going to bed last night (only by Ĺ hour though). However, the alarm was set for 7, which is relatively late, since I didnít have to be anywhere until 9:15. Breakfast was juice, cappuccino and banana nut bread - absolutely delicious! About 9am I headed for my meetings. The high school group had already left, so our group helped ourselves to their leftover food (pastries, fruit, coffee, soda) - the hotel never removed it. I had Ĺ a muffin and some fruit - so then at lunch time I wasnít hungry. Luckily the guy from one of the other institutions came and asked Tom & I where we were going for lunch, so I was able to skip lunch without leaving Tom to eat by himself. They headed to the diner here at the hotel and I went to my room to watch the soap opera Port Charles. I had some juice and finished the marshmallow thing, and left about 1pm to go talk to other meeting people before we got back to the agenda.

Actually, my ulterior motive in skipping having a regular lunch is hopefully Iíll be hungry enough tonight that Iíll get the kidís macaroni & cheese at Wolfgang Puck Express - rather than a chicken empanada 3 nights in a row! Itís still too much for one meal, but Iíll throw away the excess.

The meeting ended about 4pm - ahead of schedule! I love it when weíre in Orlando and we get out early, lol! I stuck around talking to a few people for a while, including Mike. Heíll be setting up our next meeting (in June) under the direction of his boss - the Comptroller of our agency, and the Comptrollerís boss (the CFO). Mike said that last night the CFO was asking him - ďMike, what is it with you and Orlando? Why do you always want to have the meeting here?Ē Turns out the CFO prefers Tampa - which I hate (boring), and he got lost coming from the airport to this hotel so now he hates this location! He did give Mike the ok to look into the Adams Mark again, now that theyíve settled their lawsuit with the Black College group. Mike suggested I spend time with the Comptroller talking specific June dates so it wasnít just Mike asking for the particular dates we want. Both Mike & I will be at the conference Iím attending in early June (Tues-Fri night), so it would make sense to have our June meeting here in Orlando starting that following Monday. The Comptroller had left, but Iíll catch him in the morning and plant the idea of June 5th in his ear. It may seem strange to have all this behind the scenes stuff going on, but if it gets me more time at Comedy Warehouse & WDW, then itís worth it. Besides, I really hate meeting in Tampa - thereís nothing for me to do at night, and Iím not really interested in going drinking and then going for a big dinner at night. By the way, I donít mean to give the impression that the CFO or the Comptroller are pains in the butt - theyíre both really great, and very funny (despite the stereotype). Theyíre just not into Disney at all - as hard as that is to imagine!

I toyed with the idea of wandering around Epcot for a while vs going to AK to ride the safari, and AK was the winner. I left the room about 4:20, and while driving realized I didnít know what time my meeting was starting in the morning (I was in the restroom when it was announced) - so I figured Iíd call Tom from a pay phone inside the park. Once I got to the parking booth though, I remembered that Iíd left my wallet back in the room (with money, AP, drivers license, PI AP, etc). Iím actually considered by other people to be smart, but that obviously doesnít prevent me from sometimes doing very stupid things - like now! I turned around inside and drove back to the Radisson. Since I was there, I called Tom and found out our meeting wonít start until 9 (yay) and is expected to end by noon (double YAY). Given this turn of events Iíll save Wolf Gang Puck Express for lunch tomorrow, and that way the leftovers will be taken home for dinner.

After grabbing my wallet I drove back to wdw. It was now too late to bother with AK, since the last safari is usually at least an hour before the park closes. It was a gorgeous day - sunny, beautiful breeze, no humidity at all! I parked at Boardwalk and walked into Epcot. Theyíd set up for a private dinner function outdoors at the International Gateway. It looked like hundreds of people would be there, and the entire area was surrounded by big potted plants to give them privacy and there were several cmís stationed to keep people out. When I came back later they had music being played & people were having cocktails - sure sounded like fun!

I walked around World Showcase, starting with France. The living statue was out and there was a huge crowd watching. The idea of a glass of wine while wandering around the world sounded good (reminiscent of the Food & Wine Festival last November), but I donít care for French wine at all. I considered Morrocco, but decided to wait for Germany. I bought a glass of the semi-sweet white wine ($4 with a souvenir glass that I didnít want but automatically comes with it) and it was very good. I needed to eat something, and wanted a small soft pretzel but the cart was out of them. I tried at Sommerfest, got to the register, and was told they were out of them also. So, I went back to the cart to ask the girl when sheíd have more, and it turned out to be only about 5 minutes so I sat on a bench and waited. The small pretzel ($2) was more than enough for 1 person - and tasted suspiciously like the pretzel breadstick at Le Cellier in Canada. Hmmmm - not sure why Canada and Germany would share the same pretzel recipe.... It would have been better if it was hot, but even cool it tasted pretty good. There was hardly any salt on it, which is great - less salt for me to rub off. I hate the taste of salt, and will even rub the salt off a little tiny pretzel before eating it.

It was so pleasant sitting on a bench by the water filling my belly with wine and the pretzel. Eventually I started walking again, since I was running out of time. I could have stayed there all night if I didnít have someplace else I wanted to go. On the way out of Mexico I decided I might as well ride Journey Into Your Imagination so I could say I at least did one attraction. Some trip report readers must get so perplexed when I go to a park and donít do any rides or attractions, lol! JIYI had only a 5 minute wait, and it was as awful as Iíd remembered. Boy did they ever mess up this pavilion! Even having finished the wine didnít alter my perspective enough to make me like this ride.

At this point it was time to head to PI, so I left Epcot, picked up the car at BW and drove over to PI - arriving at 6:50. Adventurerís Club is closed until 9:15 tonight (until 8:30 last night) due to a private function. I joined the line at the Comedy Warehouse and once inside stopped at the bar to check the schedule for Laydenís shows. Tonight heís in the first 3, plus show #5 (which is too late for me this trip). I ended up with a seat in my favorite row, and was happy that while in line outside and then while seated I had friendly talkative people to chat with and pass the waiting time. The show was very good, and when they did Schmeopardy Layden was the host and came out as SAMOVAR! Ronnie from RADP had written to me saying how hysterical this Samovar character was in December, and she saw from a picture Iíd posted that it was Layden. From her description it sounded hysterical, and I remember talking to Layden about the character on an earlier trip. Samovar is a character he made up - his opening line is something about being so handsome that all the women in the audience are in love with him....and some of the men too - kind of an over the top swarthy latin lover type. Ronnie - Iím not sure how I knew, but as soon as he walked on stage I knew it was Samovar, before he opened his mouth, lol!

I left right after the show, hoping to get in line for show #2, but the line was so long I decided to skip it. Had I gotten in line I would have had a crappy seat, and then that would have put me in an even worse position for show #3. Iíd ordered a glass of wine (can you believe it - no Bye Bye Blues for me tonight) and still had Ĺ of it so I couldnít leave PI. I sat on a bench for a little bit, but I was between the music from the stage down the hill and the band at the West End Stage - I was hearing both very different styles of music & it was really distracting! I moved to a table up by Missing Link (sausage place) and sat there with my wine watching & listening to Frankie & the West End Boys doing their set. Usually I only hear the same few songs every time, since Iím only out there while waiting for a Comedy Warehouse show. Theyíre a good band, and it was very enjoyable sitting there. I noticed some guy waving at me and recognized Jake (actor from Com Whse) walking by with a couple of people. Heíd been in show 1 and would later be in show 3 also. Heís always been very nice to me, and does a good job in the cast.

Eventually it was time to line up for show 3, and I ended up with good seats again even though I was far back in line. CM Joe had a single seat left in the row behind my favorite one - pretty lucky for me! This show was also great - especially Krista & Layden making up a song about eating Chewy Cheesedogs - as a couple of ~large~ ladies who love to eat fast food. After the show I let the other guests go ahead of me. Layden was talking to someone up on the stairs, and I talked briefly to Jake. A couple of people wanted pictures with the cast, so I was going to just head out but Layden started to come over and asked if I was leaving. I said yes, it was my last night, but Iíd wait a minute until after the pictures. We chatted for a while (the longest gap between shows is between #3 & #4), mostly about his last visit to Disneyland and my upcoming trip next month and then said goodbye.

Leaving PI I ran into the same traffic getting out of wdw as the night before. Iím so glad Iím normally a wdw resort guest! Back at the Radisson I packed, ate some of the Ghiradelli chocolate, finished the report and did the online stuff.

The day went pretty much according to plan, except for skipping lunch and adding time at Epcot. It was a great day, even though a good chunk of it was spent in meetings! I decided not to bother with the pedometer tonight, so thereís no ďmiles walkedĒ figure.

DAY 5 - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, 2000:

Who: Sue (me - 41), DVC member

Dates: March 25-29, 2000

Travel Method: Personal car

Resort: Radisson Resort at the Parkway (Kissimmee)

Plan: Meeting, drive home

Actual: I threw caution to the wind and stayed up late last night, more like my typical wdw trips. It was after 1 by the time I finished reading my email, and then downloaded the message boards & newsgroup stuff. By 2am I was tired enough that I gave up reading & turned off the light.

Dang, I hate that this trip is pretty much over! Even worse, I hate knowing that thereís almost no chance of another impromptu trip up here before the next scheduled trip - I know, Iím getting spoiled . The alarm was set for 7, but I got up at 6:30. Did the usual routine, including the last of the juice, cappuccino and banan nut bread. Itís supposed to be beautiful again today, but humid and 87 degrees tomorrow - and they say Tuesday theyíre expecting the first 90 degree day of the year...UGH! Thatís too early to be in the 90ís already!

I put my stuff (except for the laptop & the Ghiradelli) in the car, and headed to the meeting about 8:30 to look for the Comptroller (Elwood) to ~suggest~ we meet here in Orlando the week of June 5th. Found him easily, talking to Mike - so I went over there. Elwood is well over 6 feet tall, so he had to lean over to talk to me, lol, and I told him I had a meeting in Orlando in June but that having our next meeting early in the week of June 5th (also in Orlando) would work best for me. Mike was standing behind him, watching, listening & winking his thanks at me, lol. When Elwood brought up the question to the entire group of whether or not we need to meet in June, the response was definitely yes - and some person asked if we could go back to our normal hotel (Adamís Mark at the FL Mall). Those rooms are nicer than the Radisson, and having the food court in the mall for lunch is convenient, but I still donít like being Ĺ hour away from Pleasure Island. If we end up there Iíll stay someplace close to PI (like the Hampton Inn Lake Buena Vista) and commute to the meeting. The meeting ended at 10:30 - well ahead of schedule!

After saying good bye to some of the people I drove over to Downtown Disney and parked behind Cirque du Soleil. It was very uncrowded at DD since it was so early, and it was kind of eerie walking through Pleasure Island in the daylight...piles of confetti from last nightís New Yearís Eve celebration still in the gutters. I headed over to World of Disney to take another look at the watches. This was the only store that was busy - Iím not sure itís ever not busy! Of course there was a lady with a big stroller blocking the watch case that I needed. She didnít bother to move the stupid stroller to the other side or even move it slightly to let me see the watch I was interested in - despite my leaning over her kid in the stroller to get a look (the kid wasnít even facing the watches). Geesh! She was there to look at some water globes & watches, and looked like sheíd be there a while, so I only took a quick peek. The watch I like has Mickey in the face, has a bracelet band with silver ďMĒs connected with gold color little mickey heads - and itís small enough for me to wear. Iíll buy it next trip - in May. I did see a cute pair of earrings - a fillagree mickey head on a French wire - so I bought those on my way out.

I headed back to the West Side and got my kidís macaroni & cheese at Wolfgang Puckís Express ($3.95) and threw in an m&m cookie ($1). It was very nice eating outside on the patio, and about half the tables had people eating. The macaroni & cheese was great - I ate just more than Ĺ and took the rest home for dinner (along with most of the cookie - had to try it, though, and it was good but not great enough to buy again). About noon I returned to my car and started the drive back to Ft Myers. I stopped at the office for a couple hours to catch up on my mail and handle some other paper work, figuring itíll make my Friday easier (will be out of the office giving a presentation Thursday). Normally I wouldnít go straight from wdw to work, and doubt Iíd do it again except in extreme circumstances - it really has a way of ending the ~magic~.

Overall the day went better than planned, because of the addition of time at Downtown Disney.

SUMMARY:

The trip was way too short, but wonderful! Even though it had only been just under 3 weeks since my last trip, it felt like forever! I would have preferred to be staying onsite, but my hotel was about as close as you could get, and it was nice not having to move mid-trip. The weather was gorgeous, except for some brief heavy rain and one windy afternoon. Crowds were heavier than this same week last year, but since I donít have to spend time in the parks to enjoy myself here it wasnít a problem for me. It might have been a disappointment if the parks were the reason I was here, though. Iíve toyed with the idea of maybe coming up during Chrisí Easter break some year, but this trip pretty much brought me back to my senses - the crowds are enough to keep me away, even though the parks arenít the main event for us. Iím pretty sure last year they suspended pool hopping to Stormalong Bay for dvc members during that week, and Iím sure PI will be even busier than it was on this trip.

My next wdw trip is not until late May (Saturday of Memorial Day weekend). At that point Iíll be spending a few nights at Old Key West, then will move to Coronado Springs for 4 nights to attend the Sterling Conference (total quality mgt) there. It looks like I should also have another statewide financial mgt meeting (the same group Iím here with now) starting after that weekend, so Iíll stay in town a few more days.

In April Iíll be spending 3 nights at Disneyland, meeting up with a dvc/aol online friend for the first part of that trip, and will definitely do a trip report & pictures. Following that Iíll fly to Las Vegas and meet my Dad for another week of Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and Grand Canyon. Iíll be writing a trip report for that also, but since it wouldnít be appropriate to post it on a Disney board or newsgroup, a friend has offered to put it on her website. Once I confirm that with her, Iíll put the url in the Disneyland report so anyone whoís interested can bookmark it and continue the report that way. Of course, pictures will be on the photopoint site.

MAGICAL MOMENTS:

Lunch at Spoodles 3/25 was the best one there ever, and was just about perfect! My entire meal was wonderful, Iíve always liked the dining room, the company was great, and that dessert was just incredible! Iíll be back...
Running into the family from Ft Pierce and spending another evening with them. Theyíre very nice people and itís great (almost a relief, lol) to find other people who are as crazy about the Comedy Warehouse as I am!
My usual favorite things were wonderful, as always - Comedy Warehouse shows and cast, roller blading in wdw, Space Mountain, chocolate covered marshmallow thing, banana nut bread, meeting up with friends.
Finding availability at OKW to change my dates for July less than 4 months in advance was a shock - bordering on miraculous, lol!
Wandering around Epcot in late afternoon with a glass of good-tasting wine, eating a pretzel, and just absorbing all the sights, sounds, and smells of that park was beautiful. Just about every country had entertainment going on, so it was a constant transisition from one type of music to another. It was truly ~magical~ that my meeting ended early that day, despite having started 1.5 hours late that morning! If that hadnít have happened, I would not have had that experience in Epcot.
DISAPPOINTMENTS:

Not opening the attractions (Space Mountain) when the MK opens, causing the line to back up outside unnecessarily.
Not using the express monorail station from the MK in the morning, forcing all the non resort guests to use the monorail intended for resort guests - causing those people paying big bucks to stay at a monorail resort to stand there and watch it leave because it was too full for them to even squeeze on standing up!
Thanks for reading, and until next time

Sue Holland