Cast of Characters:
Sue (me - 41), DVC member
Dates: November 5 - 10, 1999
Travel Method: Personal car
Resorts: Comfort Inn Maingate (2 nts), Hampton Inn Lake Buena Vista (3 nts)
Experience: Extremely experienced, more than 75 trips to WDW
Those of you who faithfully read all my trip reports might remember my whining about not having any vacations planned in October, and not being able to go back to WDW until mid December (this was during my September 1999 trip report). Well, I did somehow make it through the entire month of October without going away anywhere, but wont have to wait until December for WDW after all!
A few weeks ago I was at work when an e-mail came in. A statewide meeting of financial officers was being planned, and the guy in charge of setting it up figured hed check with me first to make sure I wasnt going to be on vacation somewhere on the dates they were thinking of (hes such a smart alec, but a good friend). I immediately phoned him, telling him that November 8th was a great date, and of course Orlando was an acceptable location! Since the 8th is a Monday, I knew Id be unable to resist spending the weekend before then at WDW! Actually Im heading up before noon on Friday and telling staff at work that its only because I dont want to be late for the Monday morning meeting - need to get a good seat & all. They sort of give me a blank look, and then grin when they realize what Im up to!
I knew the dvc resorts were already full, but decided to check with CRO to see what might be available for that Friday, Saturday & Sunday night. Unfortunately, they said nothing at all was available except for a campsite! Im not a camper, or the type of person to sleep in my car, and cant live without a phone line & electricity for the laptop...so that was definitely out of the question. I called the Comfort Inn Maingate, and they had a room available at the $27.50 Florida residents coupon rate, so I booked it. Ill only stay there 2 nights though, the Fri/Sat that Im paying for. When the agenda for the meeting came out I saw that it was starting early enough in the morning to justify the State paying for my hotel for Sunday night. The meeting is at the Adams Mark Hotel inside the Florida Mall, and we got a group rate of $81 (rack rate is $169). While its a very nice hotel, I really prefer being closer to Pleasure Island or the parks since Il likely spend my evenings there. I found a brand new Hampton Inn Lake Buena Vista for $71.10 (AAA rate) which will also get me free breakfast and free local phone calls (good for internet access), so I booked it for Sunday, Monday & Tuesday nights - not knowing exactly how long Id be staying. Its located right outside the Marketplace, very convenient to WDW and about a 20-30 minute commute to the Adams Mark.
This will be a solo trip, which is fine. Ive got several friends (Kathy, Nancy, Linda, Bob, Donna) I hope to catch up with on this trip, and thats always easier to do when Im traveling alone. Ill most likely work part of the day Friday, and hit the road by lunch time. I called the Comedy Warehouse a couple of nights before the trip to check on which nights Layden is working (hes one of the very talented improv actors there, and is my personal favorite) so I can be sure to go there on the right nights. It will be very strange to not be staying at a WDW resort. Im used to not spending all day in the parks...but returning to the Comfort Inn Maingate does not have the same appeal as returning to a WDW resort! Also, Im not comfortable leaving the laptop in the room at Comfort Inn. I called them to see if they had a place to keep it for me during the day, and they told me to put it in my car because they would not be responsible for it. So much for customer/guest service!
Maybe Ill see Tapestry of Nations & the new Illuminations - but honestly, it will only be if theres a night that Layden is not working, lol! Watching his shows at the Comedy Warehouse is the best part of going to WDW - the parks & rides are secondary. Ill be back next month for a week, and will be back several times next year, so I dont have to be in any rush to see the millennium stuff. Thats part of the beauty of dvc - no pressure to see or do it all, since youll be back soon!
My birthday was November 4th, and last year I turned 40 in a grand villa at Old Key West with a bunch of friends. While the Comfort Inn and Hampton Inn arent in that league, its still good to be spending time around my birthday back at my favorite vacation spot. Hopefully Ill arrive in the WDW area by mid afternoon Friday. The weather forecast looks great - close to 80 by day, low 60s (chilly to me) at night. If I ever get my packing done Ill be all set! For some reason Im not as organized this trip. Im trying something different. Rather than packing all my clothes in a suitcase, Ive got them all hung on a hook & hang, which is a special hanger that holds up to 12 outfits. It folds up to take up slightly less space in your closet. Im putting that in a garment bag, and then when I get to the hotel rooms I can just hang it up on the closet bar & not have anything to unpack. I also bought a knock-off of the Freedom Bag you see on QVC - so Ill toss the small stuff and the toiletries in it, and that will be my only luggage. Well see how happy (or not) I am with this test as the trip progresses :-)
DAY 1 - FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 1999
Today my day started with an 8:15 board meeting for a non-profit board that Im on (as Treasurer). Its a volunteer thing - the nonprofit puts on a 2 week festival of activities for senior citizens each year, including the Senior Games (the national senior games were held at WDW last month). Ive been associated with them for about 7 years or more I guess. After the meeting I headed to work, but my heart just wasnt in it since I knew I was heading to WDW! Plus, it seemed like everybody & their brother needed me for something, and all I wanted was to be left alone - lol! Nancy (cm from Pleasure Island) beeped me, and we played beeper/phone tag for awhile until I was able to reach her; shes been working 6 days a week due to PI being so busy, but were going to meet for breakfast on Sunday. Then one of the staff in one of my departments decided he needed to talk to me to gripe about his supervisor - is there a full moon or something??? Luckily Id actually gotten more done than expected the previous few days, so I just finished up a few details and was on the road by 11:30, missing my target of 11am!
The drive was ok - more traffic than usual due to the snowbirds starting to arrive in Florida - but no maniac drivers like the last trip! When I was a little more than way to WDW, my beeper went off & gave me an emergency message to call Chris dads house. They beeped 3 more times while I headed to the next exit & used the pay phone at a gas station. Chris had been injured in an accident at school - there were no details other than his 2 front teeth were broken & he was pretty banged up. Chris dads friend Jerry said they could take care of the situation without me coming back, but they needed to act fast if they would have any chance at saving the teeth. I gave him our dentist information, so he could get that taken care of. If Chris needed any sutures or other medical care Jerry would take him to the emergency room - but if it was minor stuff hed just take care of it at home (hes a registered nurse, among many other things). I was pretty upset, but figured Id continue on...if things were more serious they could reach me & Id return then.
After paying significantly inflated gas prices on 192 in Kissimmee last September, I decided to stop to get gas off exit 23 on I-4. Gas here was $1.21 - closer to WDW it was $1.34! I arrived at the Comfort Inn Maingate shortly after 2pm, and the room was not ready. This is the first time Ive not been able to get in my room, but they were sold out last night & havent finished the non-smoking rooms yet. The motel is still under renovation...frankly I dont think its going to look that great when theyre done. I drove over to MGM, and had to park in Romance 34 - which is waaaaaaaaaaaay at the back of the parking lot, and I was most of the way down the row. As reported on the internet, parking is now $6 if youre an offsite guest without an annual pass. After a nice long tram ride I entered the park & picked up a guide map, then headed to the Doug Live show. I talked to a couple of nice cms outside, who said they hadnt seen Layden for a while - but theyd hired a couple of new Dougs recently. Since Layden is just a sub for that role, it sounds like he wont be there tomorrow (& definitely not today). I basically just walked around the park for a while, but didnt do any rides or attractions. The waits were all about 10-15 minutes, which wasnt too bad. I really noticed smoke in quite a few places...even when I didnt see a smoker I could smell it, and will be REALLY happy when January 30th comes and smoking is banned in the parks! It will be so nice then. After making a loop of the park I stopped at Starring Rolls to see if they sold banana nut bread like the MK bakery does. I figured I could buy a piece and eat it over the next 6 or 7 weeks (kidding). Anyway, they dont carry it, so I left. At the last minute I decided to backtrack & hit the villain candy store, and bought one of my marshmallow things. For new readers, its 4 marshmallows on a stick, dipped in milk chocolate, then rolled in mini m&ms. Its delicious, and at $1.25 is a cheap snack (or in my case, a cheap couple of meals). Theyve named them finally - the sign said Dipped Marshmallow. Marshmallow in hand I headed out of the park, leaving about 3:10. People were lined up all along the Mulan parade route as I left.
I decided to brave the horrific traffic on I-4 and get Belz out of the way. To my surprise, there was no traffic at all between WDW & Belz - which was great for a change! I was looking for an AK shirt that Chris has, and found it in the Character Premiere. Chris dad had said he liked it, so I picked it up as a Christmas present from Chris. I also bought a large purple Christmas ball ornament with glitter mouse ears for Chris to give to Jerry (Jerry decorates in a really big way for Christmas). That was all I needed, but then I came to this rack that had little adult clothes - including a shirt Id looked at last September but didnt buy. There was a coordinating little black sweatshirt-style top that went with it - zippered front, front pockets, hood, but not made out of fleece so it wont leave fuzz on the pants Id wear with it. The best part is both pieces were little - short in length & small in size - so I felt safe that theyd fit and not make me look like some orphan wearing clothes that look they belong to someone else! The 2 tops were $44 & $30 originally, but were marked down to $18.99 & $14.99 - so I bought them both. Leaving Belz I did run into stop & go traffic on Sand Lake Rd, as usual.
Returning to the Comfort Inn, my room was ready. I was given a key to a room in the building way in the back, but I figured it would be quieter back there so that was good. I managed (with difficulty) to get all my stuff out of the car, up the stairs, and down the hall into the room in a single trip. However, the room was missing the refigerator & coffee maker. I didnt care about the fridge, but I needed the coffee maker to make hot water for my cappuccino in the morning. I called the front desk to explain theyd given me the wrong type of room and they told me to return to the desk & theyd give me a new key. So, I schlepped all my crap back out of the room, down the hall, down the stairs, across the parking lot, and into the car! Getting the new key only took a minute, and then I drove to my new room. This time I was in the right kind of room, and was overlooking the pool (nothing fancy, believe me). Once again I unloaded my stuff, climbed the stairs, went to the room, and dropped it all inside. The painters were painting the railings, and globs of paint were splashed on the stairs. I had to be careful not to step in paint, or touch the railings. Theres not a single wet paint sign anywhere!
I got settled in the room, and since it was 5pm decided to stick around to catch the weather report on the 5pm news before heading to Epcot. I really, really need to get back on WDW property. All this offsite stuff is just plain depressing! Parking was a breeze - I ended up in the 3rd row of cars from the park entrance, so I just walked in. It wasnt too crowded in Future World. The Leave a Legacy things are not very attractive in my opinion, and the picture image is tiny. Many of the structures are so tall theres no way youd be able to identify yourself if you ended up near the top. I dont plan to do the legacy thing. Epcots got the purple strollers like MGM now.
I headed straight for World Showcase, and went into Millennium Village. It was very crowded, and in some ways guests are just herded on through. Some people were playing mini golf, but it didnt look very special at all - not sure if theres an extra fee for that. I walked through the 4 Seasons of Sweden, which has 4 separate rooms to each simulate 1 of the seasons. Winter is cold, and has some ice for example. I wasnt impressed with it - but did enjoy the view since its one level up from the rest of the Village & afforded me an overview of the area below. Next I came to Israel, and decided to do the simulator ride there. The line wasnt long, but the wait seemed long due to standing still, then moving to another area to stand, then a 6 minute preshow, and then you finally board the simulators. I absolutely, positively did NOT like this attraction - really HATED the movie they show. I realized in the preshow that Jerusalem/Israel is not a place Id ever want to visit, and I found some of the scenes in the movie really disgusting. It was about faith, and it covered some of the history of faith to jews, catholics, and (I think) muslims. One scene told of some man who was ready to sacrifice his young child....another showed people who were crucified - nailed to a cross & left to die. I didnt see any redeeming qualities in this movie, and will not be back. Ive got no desire to think about people killing others like animals (or worse) while Im at WDW! The simulator part was no big deal, either - not rough at all. As soon as it was over I headed out of Millennium Village to try to catch the 6:25 Tapestry of Nations.
I watched from United Kingdom, close to where it ends. I was very impressed with this! The torches, the music, the costumes, the wonderful puppets - it all created a really cool experience. Ill look forward to seeing this again! Once it was over, the street was a solid mass of people, and I decided to just leave World Showcase. I stopped at the Greece booth for dinner, and ordered the Souvlaki $3.50 and a glass of some white wine $1.00. The wine was pretty good, and the souvlaki was excellent. However, the portion of Souvlaki was tiny - 2 bite sized pieces of lamb, 1 small mushroom cap, 2 pieces each of onion and green bell pepper - and some tzatziki sauce. I ate the entire thing (except the mushroom - ugh), and probably could have eaten another but didnt bother. I stopped in the 2 stores at the entrance to World Showcase while I drank my wine, and saw a new hardcover WDW picture book. Ive got 3 of the past versions, so I took a look at this one. Flipping to the MGM section, I saw a picture of some of the cast from Doug Live - and to my surprise it was my favorite Doug, lol! At least I think it is - Ill have to check again. I think Ill wait until December & buy the book as a Christmas gift to myself.
I also wandered through part of Mouse Gear (replaced the old Centorium) & looked at the new WDW cd. It looks good - but Ill buy it at World of Disney to get my 10% off. That might wait until December too, depending on what Chris injury is going to cost me! When the wine was finished I headed to Test Track and walked right into the singles line - which was extended outside of the building. The regular wait was posted as 45 minutes, and I was in my car in 15 minutes. They were only loading 2 cars at a time, which slowed things down. Test Track was fun, and I was put in the front seat (I like the front better - easier to see everything). Next I walked over to Imagination & walked right onto the Journey Into Your Imagination ride without slowing down at all. Id rate this ride as ok. I liked the old one much better, and this one pales in comparision. However, Id do it again if there wasnt a line.
I called Chris dad, to see what was going on. I thought they were going to beep me when they got home, but they just figured Id call sometime & never beeped me. It turns out Chris injury was while playing hockey in P.E. class. He ended up jumping over a low net to get the ball, and somehow tripped. Besides the 2 broken teeth he cut up his upper & lower lips, and has lots of scrapes & bruises. No broken bones or any sutures, thankfully. One tooth is broken more than way off, and the other is not quite as bad. The fix will cost about $1000 after the dental insurance kicks in their part...but I wonder if the school should cover it since the accident happened there. Chris dad will call them Monday to find out. Its unlikely the teeth will be fixed before we leave on our cruise 11/20 - which is a shame (itll probably take about 3 weeks to complete the work). Chris will have to wear a mouthguard from now on whenever playing any kind of sport, because he could cause further damage even after the repair. Hes pretty sore, and says hes playing soccer tomorrow - but he might feel more sore in the morning. Now that hes missing most of his 2 front teeth, and since he lives in the south, Ive decided to rename him Bubba until the teeth are fixed. It seems appropriate.
My last stop was Spaceship Earth, and then I left Epcot about 8:45. I was in my room at the Comfort Inn by 9pm. I tried on my new shirts - theyre perfect - lit a candle (Yankee Candle hazelnut coffee scent) and worked on the trip report until about 10:15. I think Ill eat part of my marshmallow thing, take care of e-mail and downloading the message boards, and turn in at a fairly reasonable hour for a change.
Miles walked: 5.19
DAY 2 - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 1999
Well, I ended up completely catching up on all boards & newsgroups (& e-mail) and it was lights out at midnight last night. Thats not bad at all. The wake up call came at 6:30, which is also not bad. Im not planning to go online until later, so I didnt need to get up extra early to take care of that stuff. However, I woke up on my own around 5:30, couldnt get back to sleep & so ended up getting up at 6. Weather forecast today is sunny & 79 degrees - no chance of rain, and its 60 degrees now. Its kind of nice to know it wont get warm enough to make it too hot to enjoy the parks - quite a nice change from the summer months.
I made my instant cappuccino (white chocolate raspberry) and had a piece of biscotti (hazelnut dipped in dark chocolate). I did go online for a bit, and chatted with a couple of friends who were also online. Around 8:15 I left the Comfort Inn and headed to Boardwalk. I noticed the red sections of the front of the BW Villas are really faded & are starting to look bad! Hopefully Disney will do something about that, and I wonder if red was a good choice for a color. Rather than leave the laptop in the Comfort Inn room, or leave it in my trunk, I brought it indoors and gave it to bell services to store for the day. I felt like I was in a much better mood today - yesterday I was pretty stressed out I think. Today I just felt happier, more calm & peaceful - like I should when Im at WDW! I talked to a nice family from Pennsylvania on our walk over to the International Gateway entrance to Epcot - it was their first visit, and they were staying in the BW Inn.
I entered Epcot about 8:30, and walked over to Test Track. There wasnt much of a line yet, but the singles line was open so I went there. I ended up being the only person in the singles line, and the regular line only filled about of the indoor area. It wasnt long before I was on the ride, in my very own car. Since Im always the single rider this is the first time Id gotten to sit in the seat on the left side, not that it makes a difference . The ride was fun, and then I walked over to the Land to ride Living With the Land. It was only me and 1 other guest on the boat, so the cm didnt even bother with the microphone. It was a little hard hearing the cm sometimes, because the other lady (sitting behind me) kept calling out the names of the various plants (to herself)...very strange. Next stop was Innoventions, since Id not been to either since they were redone. I hit West first, and send some e-mail postcards and then saw a movie about radiology & medicine. That was pretty interesting. I played a brain game on a computer & was declared a genius, but I think everyone who doesnt give up will be called a genius eventually. If you answer a question wrong (I missed 1 of them) it lets you pick another...probably until you get it right. In Innoventions East I saw the show put on my Motorola - about wireless communication. Chris would like this show, as it features some wild rollerblading stunts. There wasnt much else I was interested in, so I headed back outdoors.
I shopped through the rest of Mouse Gear and was happy to see that theyve not only started carrying more of the fitted tee shirts (as opposed to the big baggy ones) but theyve also started carrying them in size xs - plus theyre cute, too! I also saw a new millennium screensaver/wallpaper that works with the original one that Ive already got, and a bunch of other stuff I liked - but I didnt buy anything. Since I had time to kill before 11am, I gave Journey Into Your Imagination another try, and didnt like it any more the 2nd time - lol. About the nicest thing I can say about this is the shiny red ride vehicles look nice. The indoor queue area is MUCH larger/longer than on the previous ride, so if you see the line extended outdoors Id definitely skip it! Luckily I walked right on, as it wasnt crowded. Considering it was around 10:30 and this is a new attraction, thats pretty pitiful.
I sat on a bench & listed to Future Corps play, and watched all the people walk by. At 11 I went out to World Showcase & headed to Millennium Village to see what Id missed last night. It turned out I didnt miss much - or rather theres not much worth seeing in there in my opinion. The Scotland area has the mini golf course, and there was a computer I used to see a video of the part of Scotland my friend Larry (the one who wrote the funny & clever spoof of my trip reports) lives in. It looks beautiful - much more my style than Israel! In about 15 minutes Id seen all I wanted to see of Millenium Village, so I headed around the world in search of lunch. First stop was in Mexico to ride the River of Time...which didnt appear to be any different from before its recent rehab. Next I rode the Maelstrom. When the cm saw that I wasnt with Kathy she seated me in the front row . As usual, I skipped the movie and continued walking.
At the Southeast Asia stand I got the Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce for $3.00. It was 2 skewers of chicken meat, topped with peanut sauce - and it was excellent! Each skewer had more meat than the souvlaki did, so 1 would have been plenty. I ate every bite though, as it was too good to throw away. I continued walking, this time searching for wine. There were probably 100 or more to pick from, and I really had no idea what would be good. I finally chose a Ksar white wine at the Morocco stand, for $2.00. It wasnt quite chilled as much as I would have liked, but it was pretty good. I checked out the new Tangierine Cafe there, and saw several of the food items. It looks wonderful!! Ill definitely eat here when Im not alone - and if you buy a sandwich or combo platter you can get a pastry for only $2.00. Everything looked great, the prices were reasonable, and the portions were huge. It smelled great in there, too.
I headed back out through the International Gateway, stopping in the shop there. Normally I can visit all the shops & never see anything I really want to have, but this trip I just kept seeing things I wanted! With Bubbas teeth needing work, the timing couldnt be worse! Hopefully Ill get some of the stuff in December, and maybe more of it in March. The odds of me finding a sugar daddy before this weekend ends arent too great! I was able to take my wine out of the park, and walked over to Boardwalk. Spoodles was giving away samples of pita bread with a couple of their sauces, so I took a piece with some of the feta cheese sauce I like, and sat on a bench to finish my wine.
I went to the BW bus stop, and waited for the AK bus - which as usual was the last bus to arrive. On the way to AK the bus driver explained fast pass to the guests, encouraging them to use it. After entering the park I went straight to Kilamanjaro safari & got my fast pass. The regular line had a 35 minute wait, and my fastpass time started in 30 minutes! Why anyone was in the regular line was beyond me. They could get fast pass, go sit down, and still be on the ride 5 minutes faster than they will by standing in line. I decided to walk the Pangani Forest Trail to look for Kathys gorillas. None of the family was out, and only 2 of the younger bachelors were visible. There was still time before my fast pass, so I rode the Conservation Express Train round trip without getting off. By then I was in my fast pass window, so I walked right to the loading area of the safari. It was a good safari, but I was surprised that quite a few of the kids were really scared that poachers would get us - I guess the guide was pretty convincing.
It was about 2:40, and I decided to leave AK for the day. The BW bus was waiting, and I got off at the Swan (first stop) and walked along the sidewalk over to BW rather than staying on the bus for 5 stops. After picking up my laptop & tipping the bellman I returned to my car & drove back to the Comfort Inn. My bottled water had started to freeze in the refrigerator, so I adjusted the setting. The room had been cleaned, and the painters were back. Today they painted the doors to the rooms, so I was careful not to touch the door at all - didnt want green paint on me or my clothes. I wrote up the trip report so far, and spent some time relaxing & reading the posts Id downloaded this morning. For dinner I ate 2 more of the marshmallows off my dipped marshmallow thingy (ate 1 yesterday) - will have to eat the last one later tonight since Im checking out in the morning.
Shortly before 6pm I drove over to Downtown Disney to find a parking spot. Linda (elfriar) and I were meeting at the Comedy Warehouse in time for the first show. When I got there I saw that PI was closed from 6-7 for a private party. Nancy had mentioned this might be the case, so Id e-mailed Linda to let her know which PI entrance Id be using, so we could find each other. There was about 30 minutes to kill, so I walked over to the Marketplace just to take a walk. I stopped in the Ghiradelli store for a free chocolate sample, and saw that their individual piece of English toffee was on sale for 30% off (regular price $2.99). Its excellent, so I think Ill buy one tomorrow night after Im in my new hotel. That way Ill have a few nights to eat it, and it wont melt in my backpack. I also wandered around World of Disney for a little bit, and then returned to wait for Linda outside PI near Planet Hollywood. Theres a pretzel cart nearby that had the hugest soft pretzels Id ever seen - they looked great. Theyre $3 and theyll dip them for free (nacho cheese, marinara sauce, or cinnamin/sugar). I wouldnt mind sharing one of those some day.
Linda arrived right on time, and we got in line at the turnstiles to wait for rope drop. For those of you who dont know her, shes a dvc member. She & her husband joined while living in Ohio and just over a year ago they moved to the WDW area. They use their dvc points when they have guests, and dont plan to sell it. Linda loves coming to PI, but hubby isnt as excited by it, so when Im in town it works well for both of us.
We were let in at 7pm, and got in line for the 7:10 Comedy Warehouse show. I was selected to go on stage & help with the Fill in the Blank skit, which was fun. Linda had admired my Comedy Warehouse pin on my backpack - Id gotten it the last time I was picked to do this, so when I got my new pin tonight I gave it to her. The rest of the show was not so great - the actors really struggled to make it funny, but nothing really clicked. We got in line for the 2nd show, and listened to the swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy perform their first show. This time we had terrible seats, but the show was much funnier.
We decided to skip show 3 - the line was already long, so we went to the Adventurers Club. Ive never seen this club so packed! You could hardly move, and we were unable to descend all the way down the stairs for a while. Eventually we just left, having never left the stairwell area. The street was mobbed, too. I think it was the combination of Saturday night plus having the name band there. I needed to find Nancy to finalize our plans for tomorrow, so we headed to the Jazz Club where she works now. Luckily the club wasnt very smoky at all - few people were smoking. I asked a waitress to let Nancy know I was there, but Nancy never showed up. I made the same request of a manager, who went to find her & came back to report shed been sent to help break down a banquet at the Beach Club & wouldnt be back for hour. We left, and on the way out Linda bought her husband the bands cd - their name is Groove Logic, and although I dont particularly care for jazz I do think theyre good (theyre Lindas husbands favorite band). So, if you like jazz, come here & look for Groove Logic.
We stopped in at the Beach Club - disgustingly smoky, crowded, loud, and nobody knew where Nancy might be. I couldnt stand being in there another minute, so we left & returned to the Comedy Warehouse. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy had just started their 10pm show, so we got in line for the 10:40 comedy show & enjoyed their music. The entire end of the island was jam packed shoulder to shoulder with more people than Id ever seen here! I cant imagine what New Years Eve must be like - but I know I dont ever want to be there.
This time we had pretty good seats, and the show was hysterical! My beeper went off (in my backpack, so it didnt disturb anyone), and there was a message to call Nancy, so up I went to the pay phone by the bathrooms in the middle of the show. It cost $1.20 to call her, and she was standing outside the club with her cell phone - good thing I had a bunch of change! She came in, and we ended up going into the ladies room to chat since it was so noisy. We set a time & location to meet tomorrow for breakfast, and went back to the show. Theyd just started their last routine - where one actor (Jake) was sent out of the building with a guest while someone from the audience gave an unusual saying. When Jake returned the other actors had to act out the saying, until Jake guessed it word for word. The saying was that old favorite, Just because you have ovaries it doesnt mean you can make eggs. Everyone, including the actors at times, was killing themselves laughing - it was great! After this show it was about 11:45 so we called it a night. I got back to the Comfort Inn shortly after midnight, ate the last piece of marshmallow thing, read the newspaper, and finished up todays report. Lights out around 1am.
When I read the newspaper I discovered the reason Layden was not working this weekend. On the front page of the Living section there was an article about a 3 actor play running in Sanford, with a picture of the cast. Imagine my surprise when one of them was Layden! Actually, I couldnt identify him from his pic, but his name was listed under the photo. He was dressed like a nerd-type buy, big glasses, slicked back hair, and you couldnt really see his face. The review was very positive about the plays writer, and all 3 actors, but Layden was singled out as the one doing the best job! They said he was at time wildly frenetic & demandingly funny yet he captures the serious side of his characters (each actor plays 2 completely opposit characters, at different times) & conveys that well. They mentioned Laydens an actor at Comedy Whse, so I know it wasnt some other actor with the same first & last name - lol! The play runs through November 21, and I wish I had known earlier because I would have loved to have gone see it...but now its too late since its only a weekend thing basically. It was nice to see he got a great review - hes certainly very talented.
Tomorrow I was planning to do the MK - since I never got to that park during my September trip (4 days). However, Im meeting Nancy at the Perkins down the road here at 10, so Im not sure Ill make it this trip either! I put in for a wake up call for 7:30, giving myself time to get online, pack up my stuff, and get checked out before meeting her for breakfast. I cant think of when Ive ever not gotten up until 7:30 on vacation at WDW - it almost seems decadent!
One final thought - my friend Larry from Scotland challenged me on this trip to each day do something I dont normally do. I guess he was able to spoof my trip reports so well because Im so predictable. My different thing for yesterday was NOT going to the Comedy Warehouse at night, and seeing several things for the first time over at Epcot. For today it would be seeing the rest of the new stuff, taking the Conservation Station train at AK, and setting foot in the Jazz Club & Beach Club....and cleaning my plate when I got food at the Food & Wine Festival.
Total miles walked: 12.18
DAY 3 - SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 1999
Woke up around 7:15, and did the online stuff. The email alone took 1-2 hours, so it was good that I had the time. The next few days Ill be headed to a meeting, so Ill have to catch up next Thursday (holiday off work - Veterans Day). Left the room shortly before 10 to meet Nancy at Perkins just down the road. It was such fun having time to spend with her - when she worked at the Comedy Warehouse she had to be available to other guests, and even though wed sometimes chat between shows, it would be for a pretty short block of time. We ordered breakfast - order of french toast for me, potato pancakes & bacon for her. She brought her pictures from a recent vacation to Germany & Paris, including Disneyland Paris - and we started to look at them until the food arrived. She also brought me a postcard of Sleeping Beautys Castle over there - which is really pretty. Id give it my vote as the prettiest of the 3 (Paris, WDW or CA)! She bought breakfast - thank you Nancy, and then we headed to the Hampton Inn Lake Buena Vista. This hotel opened last November, and is located on Palm Parkway in the Crossroads area right outside Downtown Disney. My room was ready, so she helped me carry my stuff up & we sat in the room to finish all the pictures (including some Id brought of the Disney resorts in Vero & Hilton Head) and sat around talking for hours. It was great fun - and spending time with good friends like her is something Im lucky to be able to do...especially considering her busy schedule at PI right now! This was her only day off this week, so I appreciate her spending half of it with me.
We each left about 2pm. A little bit about the hotel - the Hampton Inn LBV is very nice. Its a hotel with interior hallways, and its so new it still smelled like a new building. The lobby is attractive, the employees are courteous & helpful, and it feels very safe & comfortable. My room is very nice - not overly large but very comfortable and attractive. The furniture is a dark cherry type of wood, and while theres nothing truly out of the ordinary about it, everything is clean & attractive.
I drove to Downtown Disney and parked my car in front of Planet Hollywood, since Id be meeting Kathy (dznynut) there later in the day and would end my evening in PI. I caught the bus to Old Key West, figuring Id look for an OKW pin there - but didnt see any. It was nice to be at my home, even for just a few minutes. I would have wandered around some, but felt like I was running out of time, so I returned to the bus stop. The weather today was perfect - sunny, slight breeze, temp almost 80 degrees. The MK bus came, and I arrived at the park around 2:50. I was amazed to see empty curb space for the 3:00 parade! The tip board showed most attractions to have a wait of 20-25 minutes, so I just wandered around the park. My movement was somewhat limited by the parade route blocking off some pathways. I rode the Tomorowland Transit Authority, and waited for a car A (the front car). I always enjoy this ride - its just a no-brainer period of relaxation.
After the TTA I decided to leave the Magic Kingdom. I really only came so I wouldnt be able to say that I hadnt come here at all on 2 consecutive trips to WDW! Honestly, if I had to pick a least favorite park, it would have to be MK. I can just imagine the gasps of horror being heard in homes all around the world as people read this.....but its true! In my opinion (which may be a tiny minority) this park is too crowded/congested, not as attractive as the others, and there are far too many rides with 20-30 minute waits when the ride itself is less than 5 minutes long - plus theres always an inordinate number of whiny/fussy/overtired little kids (granted, this is probably the parents fault - but its annoying just the same). Anyway, please dont start making Sue voodoo dolls and sticking pins in me for saying this! Just keep in mind that Im 1 person whos NOT standing in that long line ahead of you waiting to get on a MK ride, lol!
On the way out of the park I stopped in the candy store for a Mickey chocolate truffle ($.69 with tax) and ate it on the way to the bus stops. I rode the bus to Dixie Landings, wandered through the shop there (well be staying here again for 2 nights before moving to Old Key West next month), and then walked along the river to Port Orleans. I looked in the shop there, and then went to the marina to wait for my turn on a boat to Downtown Disney. Just my luck - the kid directly in front of me kept leaning his head over the boat & spitting into the water. I thought it was disgusting, and if it was Chris I know I would have said/done something, but I just tried to ignore it. As the boat started moving, the kid kept doing it, over & over. Now just imagine...hang your head over the side of a boat thats not moving, and your body fluids will fall into the water. Do it while the boat is moving slowly and there will likely be a little back spray. Do it when the boat is moving at full speed, and heaven help the poor person seated directly behind you (ME)! The kids grandpa was seated next to me & asked if I wanted to switch seats (I think he saw me wipe the kids spit off my arm). I said Is he going to keep doing that? and grandpa said probably, hes not feeling good. I decided to move to an empty seat at the very back of the boat! This kid was part of a huge group - 3 generations of family that came out of several rooms in a PO building. Why his mother or one of the other adults couldnt just stay home tonight with him was beyond me - maybe their vacation was more important than how their son felt (he didnt look too good). I guess I shouldnt judge them, but it just didnt seem like they had the boys best interests in mind. I wondered if hed be walking all over Downtown Disney spitting up on the ground every few minutes - how gross!
We arrived at the Marketplace about 4:35 and I stopped in Ghiradelli to buy the english toffee piece. With the 30% off and tax it was $2.22, which is a good price. Who knows - it might be dinner Monday & Tuesday nights . The nutrition label says its 1 serving, but at 320 calories I know I wont be eating it in one sitting. I also got my free chocolate sample when entering the store. On the way to meet Kathy I talked to a PI cm who confirmed that the island would remain closed for a private party until about 8:30. I told her I was only interested in the Comedy Warehouse, and she said it would be open starting with the 3rd show (9:20). Dang - that stinks!
I met Kathy over at Bongos - shed just come from work at the airport (she works for Disney Cruise Line) and was able to spend a couple of hours with me before she had to be home to her family.
We decided to head to Epcot, so we drove over in her car. We pretty much just wandered around talking, and we stopped in Mouse Gear for a little bit. Eventually we decided to ride Test Track & had to wait in the regular line a bit before getting to the single rider line. I didnt notice how long we waited, as we were chatting the whole time...but I think it was a fairly long wait by single rider standards. As we went to enter the preshow the doors started to close, so I threw my body in the way to open them back up so we didnt have to wait. Kathy just laughed at me...but it worked & we got in . The ride was fun - we werent in the same car but thats ok. We wandered around some more, and ended up in World Showcase as Tapestry of Nations was starting. We both really like this parade, and we walked along with it until we got to the Southeast Asia stand so I could get some Chicken Satay again. It was after 6:30, and all Id had since breakfast at 10 (and I didnt eat the entire order of french toast) was my Mickey truffle around 3:30. I really wasnt hungry, but knew I would be later if I didnt eat something. The chicken satay was great, and as I was paying for it one of the puppets from the parade came over & leaned over my shoulder as if to grab my food. I felt something touch my shoulder & it was the puppet guy - pretty funny! Kathy & I found a seat next to the cart, which gave us a good view of the parade, and I ate the entire thing. Kathy said I cant believe you ate ALL that!. Gee, thanks, Kathy...lol.
By now it was close to 7pm and Kathy needed to get home, so she headed to the parking lot & I continued around World Showcase to the International Gateway exit. I walked to the Beach Club & went to their bus stop and waited almost 30 minutes for the next bus to Downtown Disney. It was pretty chilly in my opinion - Ill have to dress warmer than Id planned tomorrow night! I got off the bus at PI, got my wrist band & headed to Comedy Warehouse. To my surprise there was going to be an 8:15 show (it was 8pm now), so I got in line. I asked the cm to please check & let me know which shows Layden would be in, but since she was the only one working outside she didnt get a chance to before we went in. On the way in I dropped out of line & checked the schedule myself, but I always have trouble reading that thing. It looked like hed be working this show, and the next one, but I wasnt sure. That same cm was the one seating people, so I asked her again & she said shed check when she was done. Just after the show started she came down to show me the schedule - but since I still wasnt sure I was reading it correctly I just asked her to confirm he was in the next 2 shows (I didnt want to be out late), and she said yes. I had a great seat - the 2nd elevated row. The show was funny, and when it was over I immediately headed outside to get back in line, not waiting for any of the actors to come out from backstage.
For the next show I ended up in the exact same row, which was fine with me. This time they did the storytelling, where they kill an actor when they mess up - and once again Layden was the last one standing. As each actor dies he/she has to perform a specific death based on audience suggestions & its always one of my favorite routines they do. When the show was over I didnt rush, and Layden came out from backstage & stood near the exit. He saw me & said something - probably bye, or thanks for coming. I stopped to chat & asked him if he remembered me...and he said yes, youre Sue. I just about fell over! I just meant did he remember me talking to him in September, not did he know my name...Ive never told him my name when weve chatted briefly. One show last summer I volunteered an embarrassing moment, but I wouldnt think that would be memorable enough to remember my name. In any event, I was impressed, and it was pretty cool to be known! I reminded him that in Sept Id told him Id bring him a video tape of Comedy Warehouse scenes when I returned in December, but I actually brought it with me this trip. He was excited to hear that, until I told him that Id left it in the hotel - but he said hed be working tomorrow night so Ill bring it then. Other guests were coming by & wanting to shake his hand or say good job, so I said goodnight & headed out. I forgot to mention his play...hopefully Ill remember tomorrow. I also forgot to ask someone if the club would be open for all 5 shows tomorrow night, or would there be another damn private party...oh well.
I drove back to the Hampton Inn and went up to the room. I cant hear a single sound from the hall or surrounding rooms - its nice & quiet. I noticed the bed has a fitted sheet on the mattress - I dont think Ive ever been in a hotel that used fitted sheets! Its not a problem at all, I just found it unusual. I wrote up the trip report until just after midnight, ate a couple bites of toffee, and then went online to check e-mail and get the report posted. Kathy scolded me because she woke up 6:30 to go to work this morning, and couldnt find my day 2 report since I didnt get up early enough! Id better not make the same mistake twice .
My something different today would have to be not going to a park until almost 3 pm (and being perfectly happy about it). Also, its the first time staying in this hotel.
Total miles walked: 8.33 (low miles due to not starting walking until after 2pm)
DAY 4 - MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 1999
Last night the email took from midnight until 1:30 am, and then I downloaded the messages from the boards/RADP until about 2am. I still havent read 99% of the messages downloaded this morning, but can catch up after I return home I guess.
Today is the first day of meetings - its the Financial Officers from around the state, but I wont bore you with any of the details, at least no work-related details! The meeting starts at 9, at the Adams Mark Hotel in the FL Mall about hour from here, so I set the alarm for 6am so Id have time for the online stuff. I left the hotel around 8:10, and ran into traffic along I-4, but the rest of the trip was fairly easy. Entering the lobby I ran into someone else here for the meeting, and a bellman approached us to ask if we were here for the (FL Department of) Children & Families meeting. When we said yes, he told us the meeting had been canceled. The other person believed him, but Id noticed the dept name flash up on the screen where the meeting schedule was, so I called him on it & he laughed and admitted it was not canceled. It was nice to encounter an employee having fun with the guests off of Disney property.
After talking to several of the other meeting attendees, I saw the agenda had changed quite a bit since last week. The most interesting topic scheduled for today was canceled, and would be covered tomorrow morning. Originally tomorrow morning was not relevent to me so Id made plans with Bob (ex-boss) to visit him at 9:45. Luckily I was able to reach him & we rescheduled our time for this afternoon. Any of you who read the Orlando Sentinel may have heard of Bob Morin - hes the new DA (district administrator) for the dept of children & family services for this 4 county area. Its a major promotion, and I know hell do very well despite all the challenges this district is facing right now (way too many kids needing to go into foster care, for a variety of reasons). Bob & his wife were one of the couples on my OKW grand villa birthday trip last year, and although he doesnt share my level of enthusiasm for WDW & Disney in general, he enjoys teasing me about it.
The meeting went pretty quickly, and broke at 11:30. I knew I wouldnt be returning today, so I wandered around the FL Mall until it was time to leave. The mall has been expanded quite a bit & looks great. Some of the clothing is more sophisticated than what I see in Ft Myers. The Disney Store seems to have an awful big kids & toy section, but not as much adult clothing. Theres also a big Warner Brothers Store.
To get to Bobs office I drove down S Orange Blossom Trail, which I have previously always badmouthed as being a really nasty road. Theyve repaved much of it, so the road itself is much nicer than before. However, you still have to pass by pawn shops, tattoo parlors, and strip clubs - so its not my idea of a place to stay on vacation (or for any other reason).
Bob & I visited awhile, and then he took me out for lunch. We walked over to Church Street Station & ate at a restaurant there (Lili Marlenes, or something like that). It was pretty inside & the service was great. I ordered the fresh fruit plate, and he got the grilled swordfish with lemon butter & capers. The desserts looked incredible, but we skipped it. The food was excellent, and we had a nice time. Hed like me to move to Orlando, but Im not ready to do so at this time. Im really enjoying all the vacation time I take in my current job, and he realizes that. I did promise that if I change my mind at some point Id let him know. He pointed out how much more convenient it would be for me (going to WDW) if I just moved up permanently, and said I pretty much live here now anyway. Its nice to have this option, but for now Ill continue living in Ft Myers and vacationing in WDW often. I left his office about 3pm, and returned to the Hampton Inn to update the report so far. The room hadnt been made up yet, which surprised me.
By 4pm I was out the door, on the way to Animal Kingdom. This time I remembered to stick Laydens tape in my backpack! I stopped at guest services at AK to pick up a new sleeve for my annual pass. Its got all the AP discounts listed, which is a good idea. I was going to head to Countdown to Extinction first, but noticed on the tip board that the wait was 25 minutes so I headed to the safari instead. When I got there the rope was up, but a cm asked if I wanted to to on the safari & I said yes. I didnt realize that it closed at 4:45, and it was now just past that time. She told the cms at the rope to let me in, and they told me to walk quickly to catch up with the last party so Id make it on the last truck. It ended up being a great safari - probably the best one Ive had. The truck was maybe full, and the driver stopped for photos since there were no other trucks out. We saw the hippos climbing out of the water (very rare) and saw the 2 baby hippos playing in the water - pushing & shoving each other. Several animals were in the road or right alongside the truck, including two bunches of giraffes. Both cheetahs were sitting up, and both lions were on their rocks. It was really great!
Next I walked to Dinoland for CtX, but the wait was still 20 minutes and I just didnt feel like waiting. At a Pin Station I bought the dvc pin & put it on my shirt. Its just got the dvc logo, says Disney Vacation Club and has 2000 underneath. I left the park and drove to Coronado Springs, thinking Id eat dinner in the Pepper Market. After I walked inside though, I changed my mind. This is an excellent reason to travel solo - if I was with someone I would expect them to be cursing at me for doing something like this. Instead, I returned to my car & drove to Downtown Disney, parking across from Planet Hollywood again. I walked through Pleasure Island, looking for any signs that the Comedy Warehouse might be closed for private parties, but the only sign I saw was for the Adventurers Club (not opening until 9:15).
I walked to the Marketplace to buy another English Toffee at Ghiradellis to take home. The sample today was a piece of dried apricot in dark chocolate, covered in some colored candy. It was disgusting in my opinion, and I immediately found a trash can to dispose of it (I only took a tiny little bite, thank goodness). The toffee was now marked down to 50% off (it was 30% off the past few days), so I decided to buy 3 of them. The cm rang up 4, so I added another one to the pile rather than have him void one off. Its great toffee, and at half price how could I refuse?
I returned to PI, checking again for any signs of closure due to private parties, and continued over to the West Side for a chicken empanada from the outdoor window at Bongos ($1.33 with tax). They must have been just made, because it was hotter than usual, and very good. I sat at a table to eat the empanada, and then dropped the toffee off at the car before entering PI at 6:45. I asked cm Tammy at Comedy Warehouse to please check the schedule, and since it hadnt come up yet she went downstairs inside to get it (very nice). She didnt have a clue how to read it, but I think I figured it out. It looked like Layden would be standby (not working unless someone needed to drop out) for #1 & 4, would be working & leading something in #2 & 5, and be working but not leading in #3. At least thats how I interpreted the paper! Well see if Im right or way off base. I decided to skip show #1, to ensure I had a great seat for show #2, and then would immediately get in line for show # 3 and then call it a night at that point.
I sat on a bench & people watched for a while, thinking if only I had my laptop in the car I could have updated the trip report! Its too bad the Adventurers Club wasnt open, but then again its not a whole lot of fun early in the evening when there arent a lot of people yet. Eventually I browsed through the shops, and then decided to order my Bye Bye Blues from the bar outside Comedy Warehouse (each club has an outdoor bar as well). I asked the bartender if he knew how to make one, and he asked me if I was the one who always ordered that inside the club! I told him that would be me! He ended up forgetting how to make it, and realized hed grabbed 1 wrong bottle (there are 3 different alcohols in it) so he dumped it out & started over. There was some young guy who came up behind me and was practically standing on top of me talking to me about what my drink was, just chatting up a storm. Maybe if I was 25 I would have been more interested, but he was too young for me. I stepped away when my drink was ready, and he ran off to catch up with his buddies (without buying a drink).
About 8pm I got in line for the 8:15 show. Frankie & the West End Boys started performing on the West End Stage, and were good as usual. I chatted with a nice couple from Ft Lauderdale to pass the time. I was seated in the front row, center. Actually these seats are not as good as a couple rows back, because youre almost under the actors. If youre in the dental field I guess its fun to look at the actors dental work (upper teeth), but you cant really get their full expressions from these seats. Layden started off the show, which confirmed what I thought
from the schedule. The show was great, and when it was over I left immediately to get back in line for the 9:20 show. This time I was further back in line, but there was a single seat available down front and thats where they sent me. Phillip started off this show. Hes fairly new, came from the Adventurers Club, and is REALLY funny. Hes kind of wild, over the top, and sometimes blurts out things that theyre not supposed to say, which leaves the cast & the audience laughing until theyre practically in tears. Last trip he was doing a routine with Layden when he suddenly blurted out Im screwed! Screwed is NOT a Disney approved word, and the stunned look of disbelief on Laydens face and then when Phillip realized what he said was priceless! They did the Story routine this show, where the audience kills an actor when they mess up. The actors were really hard to kill tonight, they were that good, and it ended with a tie - both Layden & Matt just didnt make a mistake.
When the show was over I stood off to the side, since I needed to give Layden the tape. He came out & waved or something to me, and stood in his spot to greet the leaving guests. I stayed where I was until they were all gone, and then went over. Jennifer (another actor) was there too, and the 3 of us chatted about a bunch of different things, including the dvc resort at Hilton Head - Layden & others were sent there for a month to train/set up the streetsmosphere type characters there. We all talked about a bunch of other stuff too, and Layden recommended a particular restaurant for my December trip to HH. Before I left I gave him the tape & briefly explained what was on it (45 min of Com Whse & 15 min of Doug Live). Jennifer was all excited & wants to watch it, so hopefully the whole cast can enjoy it. I purposely included the best I had of as many different actors as possible, and told Jennifer she was on the tape too. We said our goodbyes and I drove back to the Hampton Inn.
Its about midnight now - hopefully Ill get to bed by 1am. Tomorrow Ive got meetings all day, and the first comedy show isnt until 9:20 so Ill probably head to Epcot for the early evening.
Different thing for today - going to Church Street Station. I felt like I was cheating on Disney, but since I was there to spend time with Bob I guess it was ok. Id never interrupt the WDW portion of a trip to go over there, though.
Total miles walked: 5.23 (didnt start until I got to AK)
DAY 5 - TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1999
Today Im not going home after all - Ill be spending tonight here, have meetings all day tomorrow, and will drive home tomorrow night. Since tomorrow wont have any WDW time though, I wont bother with a day 6 report - but will try to post a short summary.
I left the hotel around 8, and arrived at the meeting about 8:30. The purpose of meeting the next 2 days is to develop a plan to implement massive changes in the structure of State government, specifically administrative services. Im on the financial management group. The downside to all of this is up to half the employees working in this discipline statewide will be affected by their job either being eliminated or relocated to some other city - including many of us in this meeting. I wont get into the details (its secret anyway, so staff dont start quitting too soon), but wanted to lay the foundation to help understand how badly Ill need my WDW/Comedy Warehouse time later tonight!
At these meetings I always hang out with my close friend Tom, whos in the same position as me but at the institution in Gainesville. Weve been good friends for about 12 years now, and he & his wife were one of the couples on my okw grand villa birthday trip last year. He has a history of teasing me mercilessly about my love of WDW (and I tease him about his love of golfing), but now theyre in the process of becoming dvc members & he doesnt make fun nearly as much! We had lunch at the food court in the mall. Tom just had a taco salad from Taco Bell. I got my usual from a place called Hovan Gourmet. Its armenian flatbread, rolled up with turkey, lettuce, tomato & some sauce they make. The small is about $2.50 & gives you 3 slices about 1 inch wide each.
During the afternoon we worked in our groups. Tom was in different one of the 6 workgroups - each one covering a different area. My group elected me as presenter, so in the morning I get to do a hour presentation on our plan so far. Plus, it turns out these groups are expected to meet at least monthly now, which concerns me because I have no spare time for the next several months. At least if we meet in Orlando I can console myself with an evening or 2 at Comedy Warehouse. My group finished for the day at 5, and I worked on my presentation on my way back to my hotel. There are lots of traffic lights, so I just scribbled some notes at each red light. Ill finish up in the morning, or just wing it! Hey, if I do poorly maybe I can get replaced .
Tonight the Comedy Warehouse actors are being sent to provide entertainment at a convention during the first 2 showtimes, so the first comedy show tonight at the club will be 9:20. Therefore, I wont go to PI until closer to that time. I left the Hampton Inn around 6:20 or so & drove to Epcot, arriving around 6:35. I was surprised at how many people were entering the parking lot and the park at this hour - but then Im usually at Pleasure Island so wouldnt really know what to expect, I guess.
I headed straight for World Showcase, and saw theyd put up the Lights of Winter thing (but not lit). I always like to see those lights at night with the Christmas music. Since Tapestry of Nations was still going on I rode the boat to Morrocco rather than fight my way through the crowds. Once there I got a glass of the Ksar white wine $2.00 and wandered over to the Tangierine Cafe again. I thought about getting the tomato salad (diced tomato, cucumber & onion in a vinagrette sauce - $1.25), but I just wasnt hungry at all. This salad forms the foundation for the Oasis Chicken Salad that I love - on the lunch menu in Restaurant Marrakesh.
I took a nice walk around World Showcase, enjoying the music, the smell of the different foods, and my wine. Along the way I picked up a few recipes from the Food & Wine booths - not sure why, since I dont cook, but you never know. At Southeast Asia I wanted to get some chicken satay since it would be my last opportunity, but I did not feel like eating for some reason - so I picked up the recipe and kept on walking. I had about hour to kill before heading to PI, so I rode Journey Into Imagination again, and then did Space Ship Earth. I kept almost falling asleep - not because SE is boring, but because I was pretty wiped out from the long hours & all the meeting stuff. Good thing I only did the one glass of wine!
At Downtown Disney I parked in the usual area (near Planet Hollywood) and walked to the Virgin Megastore to get the Millennium cd. Unfortunately, the listening station was not working & I was aggravated by that & left the store without buying the cd....if I remember correctly I probably muttered something distinctly non-Disneylike as I stomped out of the store in a huff - lol!
I entered Pleasure Island around 8:45 and went to the Adventurers Club. It was pretty crowded, and I wasnt into it
tonight, so I looked at some of the artifacts upstairs and then left within about 10 minutes. The band Lizzies House Party was performing on the West End Stage, so I got in line at the Comedy Warehouse & listened to them while waiting for the 9:20 show. I dont really care for this band as much as the others. Since I was so tired Id decided this would probably be my only show...and luckily I got a great seat, Layden was in the show, and the show itself was very good. When it was over & most of the guests had left I chatted with Layden about the play hes in, and some other stuff. We said our goodbyes, until my next trip, and I left PI.
I was back in the hotel before 11, and made a cup of cappuccino (decaf) and ate 1.5 pieces of biscotti since I was finally hungry. The news came on, and Bob was on tv. Orlando is making history it seems by putting foster kids they cant find foster parents for in hotel rooms. Recently a couple of 13 yr olds got into a fight in the hotel room, and the kids are saying they hate being in a hotel. Keep in mind these kids are in foster care for their protection from their parents...really sad. This area has 2200 foster bed placements but has 2600 kids needing placement, so theyre 400 beds/homes short and are trying to find more placements by recruiting more foster parents. This part of Florida has some serious problems - despite being the land of WDW.
Tomorrow is the last day of my meeting, and Ill be driving home in the early evening. There wont be anything WDW-related to report. Im not ready to tackle a summary at this time, so Ill post a brief summary & final thoughts in a day or 2.
Total miles walked: 3.5 (only counted Epcot time)
This trip was unusual in that I was offsite the entire time. While other people may not mind, to me it really diminishes (almost destroys) the magic. My Comfort Inn stay was nothing special at all, but the Hampton Inn was very nice - it just isnt Disney. Since I wast paying for that room though, I shouldnt complain. At least I was close to Pleasure Island!
It was great seeing the new Millennium stuff. Who would ever imagine that someone who comes as often as I do could have so many things to see for the first time, especially when my last trip was September 19th - less than 2 months ago! Epcot is definitely more crowded than normal, but it was only really noticeable at night. The Food & Wine Festival was GREAT for someone like me who prefers smaller portions of both food and wine! I could see where it would get expensive for someone with a larger appetite, though.
This trip I didnt skip the Magic Kingdom again - I went over and rode a single ride, lol. I went to MGM and didnt even do any rides or shows - just bought my marshmallow thing. I didnt get into the pin trading thing, but saw several guests with lanyards full of pins. Id say most guests did not get involved, though - it was relatively few.
My nights at Pleasure Island were lots of fun, even when I left fairly early. Finding out that so many people there know me (either by name, by sight, or as the Bye Bye Blues person) was pretty cool, and Ill continue to be friendly to all the cms to ensure I keep getting treated well. Just as I appreciate what the actors do to entertain me, its nice that they appreciate me coming so often to support them. Layden continues to be my favorite (gee, what a surprise), and Im learning that hes just as nice offstage as he is funny & talented onstage.
As for packing the way I did - a garment bag holding 5-6 days of clothes plus a freedom bag type thing for toiletries...I didnt really like it, because that garment bag was very heavy. The clothes didnt wrinkle, and it was nice not having anything to unpack, but it was a pain carrying it to the room(s). Maybe next time Ill try using the garment bag with wheels - and see if that works better...or Ill stay somewhere that I could have bell services deliver the luggage .
Surprisingly, this trip ended up costing me nothing. In fact, it looks like my travel reimbursement for the business portion of the trip will exceed my actual spending (including the stuff from Belz) by $2. This is partly due to the fact that we receive a per diem for meals, and receive a flat rate per mile driven. The food & wine festival really saved me money, as it was cheaper (& quicker) than doing the usual sit-down meal in a restaurant. The fact that other people bought me meals a couple of times and I didnt need to buy breakfast helped, too.
My next trip will not be a Disney trip ::GASP::! I try to do 1 non-Disney trip per year - not sure why, but I guess theres no real harm in a limited amount of non-Disney vacationing. We leave a week from Saturday on a 7 night cruise on Holland America Line - my favorite cruise line. Ill be posting that report on a the Holland America board, and probably on the FTN board where the dvc members post reports. If it gets removed by the monitors then Darla (iluvdvc) has agreed to put it on her web site.
The next Disney trip will be mid-December. Well spend 7 nights at WDW (2 at Dixie, 5 at Old Key West), and then will move to Disneys Hilton Head Island Resort for another 7 nights. Weve got guests coming with us & it should be a fun trip.
THE MAGICAL MOMENTS
Tapestry of Nations parade was different from traditional Disney parades, and very cool!
As always, spending time with friends I only see at WDW is always special. Linda, Nancy, Kathy, and Bob are all special people Im glad to have as friends, and even just hanging out or wandering aimlessly through a park is great fun. My solo trips are never lonely, thanks to friends like them. Getting to know Layden better (as a FRIEND - you people are too funny sometimes) has been great also. At some point I could end up having more friends at WDW than I do at home or anywhere else!
The last safari of the day on 11/8 - with lots of stops to photograph the animals, and seeing more active animals than Id ever seen before.
Thanks for reading, and as always - if you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me! Sue Holland