Rob's spring break trip
Posted 13 April 2006 - 12:59 PM
While I was talking to the cast member (Mary), she stopped me at one point and asked "Since you're here, would you like to take this call?". I said, "Sure", and after she briefly spoke to the host she handed me the phone. However, not until after I picked up a bit of what she was saying to the host and I thought I heard her say something about angles. I don't recall ever being tipped off to the nature of the question in the few previous phone-a-stranger attempts I've had, but in this case I was sure that I had just been given a clue as to what to expect. In my mind I thought that the question would likely have something to do with obtuse and acute angles. I now had the phone to my ear and the host asked me to identify myself. I told him that my name was Rob and he said that the contestant, Randy, had a question and two possible answers and needed some help. I said something to confirm my intent to help and then Randy read me the question which was "An angle of 45 degrees is considered what?" or something like that. The choices he had left were obtuse and acute (now where have I heard those before?). I confidently said that it was acute. At that point, either Randy or the host asked how confident I was and I responded that an obtuse angle would exceed 90 degrees and an acute angle would be less than 90 degrees. As I'm saying this I can hear the roaring laughter of the crowd and the host interrupting me to say something about it sounding like I knew it. I considered adding that I was a former million point winner, contestant from the show, father of a 6th grader who had homework not so long ago about this very subject, or some other tidbit, but felt that I had sold him on the answer well enough. I later thought that perhaps I should have told a joke about how I always felt that a 30 degree angle was a much acuter angle than one of 45 degrees, but fortunately that also didn't slip from my mouth at the time.
Anyway, I was then handed my "I was a complete stranger" button and continue to wait for the show to conclude. Once the show let out, some friends from Florida joined us and filled us on additional details such as the fact that the question I assisted with was worth 8,000 points and that Randy had subsequently made it to the 32K or 64K level.
There were two shows remaining in the day, so we attended them both. I told my friend Tim before the first of those shows began that I would be sandbagging it as we were all quite tired from the trip down and that way the kids would have a better shot of getting in the Hot Seat. However, apparently even when I sandbag my Millionaire instincts are too good because when they showed the results of the Fastest Finger competition my seat number was in fourth place. As a result, I further slowed down my responses such that I would continue to be right, but very slow. Unfortunately, nobody in our group made it into the Hot Seat during either of the two shows.
We had dinner reservations for after the last show and we headed on over to eat. I thought the food was as good as usual, but both Debbie and her mother complained a bit about their choice of pot roast. I had the meatloaf. After that we headed back to our resorts to get some rest.
(End Day 1)
For our first full day at the parks, we had made arrangements to meet Tim and Erika at Disney-MGM Studios shortly after the parked open and well before the first show of Millionaire. However, they were nowhere to be bound when we arrived. Eventually my cellphone rang and it was Tim calling to report that they would be late as their rental car had died. He said that they for sure would miss the first show so he'd call back after that to give me an update. We none made it into the Hot Seat during that show and on the way out I turned my cellphone back on just in time to hear from Tim again. He was now saying that Triple A was saying it would be 3 hours before they got to him, so needless to say he wasn't sounded very happy. They would have headed over by bus, but they would need the car fixed for the drive home that night so he needed to wait. We wished him luck and headed on into the second show.
This was the show that had the compass points Fastest Finger question that I reported earlier. When one of the group of three audience members who had been sitting together all wearing 32K point polo shirts declined, the second place person got into the Hot Seat, me!
I had decided this trip that I wanted to have more fun with the game this time, so I went into it answering quicker and wittier than usual. Not sure if that attributed to my short run or not, but it was shorter than usual. I breezed through the first five questions as usual, but did crack a joke or two along the way. My first question asked me to identify the governor of California. The distractors included Jim Carrey and Ozzy Osbourne. I remarked that while they were all excellent choices the correct answer was A. Ahh-nold (in my best Austrian accent), final answer. I later got a question asking me to give the product of 8 times 3 and I said that unless there was some new math involved it would have to be 24.
The middle tier also was going well until the 16K point question. The question was "Denzel Washington got his start on what television show?". The choices were ER, Chicago Hope, Medical Center, and St. Elsewhere. While ER and Chicago Hope seemed too recent and Medical Center seemed too early, I couldn't be sure it was St. Elsewhere as I truly had never watched any of these shows. Yes, medical and law shows are a weakness of mine. However, the ask the audience lifeline gave me a clear direction and so I went with St. Elsewhere and saw the 32K question. Sadly, that was the last question I saw, so no new polo shirts for me this trip. The question had to do with a space vessel and what it had been the first to do. I should have been able to reason it out, but somehow even after using my 50-50 my brain had simply shut down and I chose incorrectly.
I left the stage, but took the opportunity to talk to the cast member in the prize room about life in Florida. Afterwards, we left the show just in time to meet up with Tim and Erika who had just arrived. We went straight to lunch while I recounted my sad performance to them.
After lunch at the ABC Commissary, we went back to the next four shows. In one of the later shows, Debbie made the Hot Seat after coming in third during a Fastest Finger question. The people in the first two spots were both in the "group of 3" and had to decline. Her stack was a little better suited to me as I knew the first 9 of her questions cold and was fairly confident of the 32K question as well. She used the audience at 16K and then used both the stranger and the 50-50 for this 32K question: What is the first name of Robert Louis Stevenson's character Mr. Hyde? The choices were A. something I don't recall B. Edward C. John (or something that started with a J) D. Henry. The stranger said he wasn't sure. The host advised them to ask anyone passing by and several people in the background shouted out Henry. The stranger then said he thought it was Edward but the consensus seemed to be Henry. Debbie then used the 50-50 to leave Edward and Henry. She thought the name might be alliterative and went with the background crowd's response of Henry Hyde. Of course the answer was Edward. Henry was Jekyll's first name. As she left the stage the horn sounded and the leaderboard was displayed showing my seat in the first position and our son's seat in the second position.
In what I believe was the next to last show of the day, a woman got a great stack and ended up missing at 500K. Her first lifeline was used at 250K and it would have been my first as well. They asked her which two teams faced off in Rose Bowl 2003 (I think that was the year). When the question came up, there was a lot of cheering from the audience, especially from a couple of people near where we were sitting. Strangely, neither of them punched anything in, so maybe they just were excited to hear the word Bowl or something. Anyway, she used the audience and got it correct. She then was asked which president was the first to marry while in office.
She used the phone a stranger who I believe suggested Millard Fillmore. The contestant was also leaning that way. She decided to use the 50-50 which left Fillmore and John Tyler. She went with Fillmore and never got to see the million point question.
After that show we made the mistake of stopping at the restrooms and by the time we got out the line was out the door and all the way down to where the Fast Pass machines used to be. Soon an announcement was made that only the next 25 people would be let inside, so we left and made our way towards our dinner destination.
At dinner I spoke to Tim some about job searches and such. He gave me some good advice to follow and I thank him for that. Hopefully all this will pay off in the near future.
We then said our good-byes and headed back to our resort as Tim and Erika left for home.
Knew I'd forget the important stuff. Throughout the day I continued to talk to cast members about the possibility of moving down there and maybe even working for Walt Disney World in some capacity. I also spoke to what I believe to have been the most senior cast member at the show and inquired about the rumors of a pending closure. He indicated that he knew of no such plans. He did mention contract negotiations sometime this Summer (June or July). He also said that the attraction is still quite popular (note that we couldn't even get into the last show of the day) and that Meredith likes to come down there and tape. Of course, with the recent announcements, that may no longer help them stay around.
(End Day 2)
The third day was spent at the Magic Kingdom. As packed as Disney-MGM Studios had been, the Magic Kingdom was naturally much worse. Actually, while there I heard someone say that since the opening of Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, the Animla Kingdom park had become the second most popular behind Magic Kingdom.
Anyway, I think our son was a bit disappointed that we weren't going back to Millionaire anymore, but Debbie's mom wasn't too happy to have spent as much time there as we did, so we were trying to take in as many different things as we could. We hit Fantasyland first and managed to get in most everything there. Then we went to Tomorrowland before heading to Frontierland for lunch at Pecos Bill's. After lunch we went in the Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents and eventually headed over to Adventureland. We ended up back in Frontierland to have dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern before retiring for the evening.
(End Day 3)
On our last full day at the parks, we went to EPCOT Center. Unfortunately, we had a bit of trouble getting there. We had flown down and not gotten a rental car, so we were at the mercy of the buses. We got to one of our resort's bus stops early and watched as a Disney-MGM Studios bus and a Magic Kingdom bus departed. We figured that meant the next bus would be for EPCOT. Alas, that was not the case. Instead, we watched several more buses come and go, including at least two more for each of Disney-MGM Studios and Magic Kingdom. After an hour of waiting, we finally got on a bus heading for our destination.
Since we arrived much later than we had planned, we spent only a little while in Future World before heading to the Canada part of World Showcase for lunch at Le Cellier. This is one of the highest rated restaurants on property and we usually love it, but this time around our daughter and I were the only ones not complaining about the meal. After dinner we hung around World Showcase awhile longer before hitting the things we wanted to in Future World and heading back to our resort early. We ate dinner once we arrived and since everyone seemed too tired to do much I chose to try to get to a computer to try my luck at the World Series Of Pop Culture test. This was an on-line game show test that would only happen this one particular night. Our resort didn't have a business center, but they told me that most of the more expensive resorts on property did have them, so I hopped a bus to the Magic Kingdom so I could walk to the Contemporary Resort. Debbie chose to accompany me, so the two of us made our way through the Contemporary looking for the business center only to discover that it had closed at 6 pm. It was now about 6:25 pm. So, we went up to the Contemporary's monorail station and hopped on to take a quick ride to the Polynesian Resort. Once there we again searched for the business center only to learn that they didn't have one. We were told to head over to the Grand Floridian to use theirs so back on the monorail. By the time we got there, it was right at 7 pm. I figured it was too late, but walked quickly hoping it wasn't. Well, my bad luck held as their business center closed at 5 pm. So, though I would have loved to have taken the test, it wasn't to be. Ironically, it was also this week that the Jeopardy! test was held on-line. The moral of this story is never allow yourself to be at Walt Disney World without a laptop during week's where you need to use a computer for anything.
(End of Day 4)
After spending the last few days at Walt Disney World, we went on the Disney Cruise that Hayley had won from March 30-April 2. The weather was terrific for the entire trip. Having been on a previous cruise, we also enjoyed this one more since we knew what to expect and the "ins" and "outs".
We started out on a bit of a potential sour note though. We had been staying at the Port Orleans-Riverside resort at Walt Disney World, and had to travel by bus from there to Port Canaveral. Counting us, there were 4 families that would be leaving from that resort to the boat on that day. We lined up the way we were supposed to and a Disney cast member came up to each of us asking if anyone had a fever or vomiting in the last 72 hours (I think that was the amount of time). Anyway, the woman next to us said that her oldest daughter and vomited the night before but they think it was something she ate as she had been fine since that time. The cast member said something about remembering that her husband had contacted them about it. Meanwhile, the husband was sitting nearby shaking his head no. Uh oh, two of the other three parties apparently had people who had been sick. I am a major germaphobe and didn't like the sound of that.
The next problem was the bus service. Several Disney Cruise Line busses drove past, but somehow none of them were there to pick us up. I think we were between 30 and 60 minutes late in getting away. Once we were about halfway to Port Canaveral I heard an odd noise and turned just in time to see a young girl putting her head down and an adult scrambling to get a bag under her. This was not looking good. Fortunately, despite the rough beginning nobody in our party ever was sick. Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that we probably washed our hands about 20-30 times per day.
On the first night, we had dinner at Triton's and the waitstaff was great. We mentioned to them that they wouldn't see us the next night as Debbie and I had reservations at Palo's. We had intended to find something beforehand to feed the kids, but the waitstaff insisted that we bring them to the Animator's Palate and that they would take care of them and even take them back to the room afterwards. Anyway, after dinner we went to the Mickey Mania Gameshow. They choose four teams from the audience consisting of one parent and one child. Hayley and I tried to get on as a team while Debbie and Donny also tried to be a team. Unfortunately, neither of our teams were chosen. The first round of questions consisted of short answer Disney trivia questions. Once a team correctly answered the question, a bonus question was thrown out to the audience and if a member of the audience got it correct the team on stage got bonus points. The first question asked for the names of Donald Duck's nephews. After the red team correctly answered Huey, Dewey, and Louie, the bonus question was thrown out to the audience. That question asked for the names of Daisy Duck's nieces. You could have heard crickets chirping in the audience the room was so quiet, except for one voice shouting out April, May, and June. Yes, that was me doing the first of my good deeds on board.
The red team waved out to me in thanks and I responded in like manner. The rest of the bonus questions were apparently more common knowledge as several people were shouting out the answers. After round one came a round of questions involving video clips. They would show a clip from a Disney animated film and then the contestants would be asked to write down on paper what happened next. Two of the teams, one of which was the red team, were pretty good at this. The other two teams, who barely had any points from the first round, were horrible. One was making up stuff that couldn't possibly have been right. The first clip was from "Alice in Wonderland" where Alice was in the White Rabbit's house and was about to eat a treat with the words "eat me" on it. The clueless team suggested that what happened next was Britney Spears drove up in her car and picked Alice up to go shopping. The third round also utilized videos, but only still images. They would show a distorted image of a Disney character and slowly make it look more correct. The first team to buzz in and correctly identify the character got the points. One of the characters was identified and counted correct as being Jasmine from the film "Aladdin". Debbie and I were shouting from the audience that it wasn't Jasmine but in fact Esmerelda from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", but the host didn't hear us. In the end, the red team was triumphant and received Olympic like medals and some type of certificate. There was a later running of the show again that night, but we didn't return to see it.
(End Day 5)
The second day we were in Nassau. We did a bit of shopping on the island and just general wandering around. Mostly we tried to avoid the locals who were constantly trying to encourage us to buy something or take one of their taxi or car services to other parts of the island at much cheaper prices then we would find elsewhere.
Back on board for lunch, Debbie was thwarted by her nemesis the dessert cop. For some reason, at this particular lunch buffet, they had someone stationed at the desserts who would plate for you whatever you wanted. However, he did so in a way that discouraged you from taking what you would have otherwise. In this case, she wanted to take small pieces of several things. She apparently took too long strategizing how she could make this happen, so he finally just put a piece of carrot cake and a piece of some other type of cake on a plate and handed it to her. She didn't even want the carrot cake, so she wasn't too happy with him. The day before we had eaten lunch at the same buffet and had no trouble taking whatever we had wanted.
A bit later we went to the Walt Disney Theater for a special screening of The Shaggy Dog. I'm now on a mission to get my kids to watch the original version as this one was downright dumb. It did have a few funny moments, but most of it was unwatchable.
At dinner time, we dressed up and escorted the kids to dinner at the Animator's Palate where the waitstaff was delighted to see them. We were still a bit nervous about leaving them to dine alone, but we did it anyway and headed up to Palo's. The meal was just as good as we recall from our previous trip. However, I mostly wanted to get to the dessert to see if the panna cotta was as good as I recalled. It was! I took small bites to make it last as long as possible. Very smooth and delicious.
When we finished our meal, we headed back to our cabin to see how the kids had fared. We were surprised to find the cabin empty. I told Debbie that I'd walk up to the restaurant to see if they were still there only to nearly run into them in the hallway. The assistant server was bringing them back to the room, just as he had said he would do. We talked with him briefly and he reported on how well they had behaved and how Hayley had even made a new friend. Sure enough, she had met a girl who was roughly her age and became fast friends. It turns out that the girl and her family live in Tampa, so now Hayley is even more insistent that I find a job in Central Florida when I leave my present one this summer.
We wandered the ship a bit to see what else was going on when we ran into her friend and her family. We talked in a hallway for quite awhile to get better acquainted before heading up to the deck to join the pirate party. At the party, characters and cast members performed on stage while everyone was out on a dance floor which was covering a pool. Eventually Captain Hook took control of the party before everyone was rescued by Mickey Mouse who swung down from a cable. The party ended with a big fireworks show that we all enjoyed. We called it a night after that.
(End Day 6)
The third day, April Fools Day, was upon us. We had moved on from Nassau and were now on Castaway Cay. We spent awhile on the beach where I had horrible visions of the future. Seeing all of these not-yet-legal girls in their overly skimpy swimwear is enough to scare any father of a daughter. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of arguing about what type of clothing is appropriate in a few years.
We had lunch at Cookie's on the island. The food consisted of things like burgers, hot dogs, ribs, salads, chips, cookies, and ice cream. It was all quite good. We returned to the ship a bit later as the sun was quite warm. However, we continued to look around and we enjoyed watching the schools of fish swimming around in the ocean.
In the afternoon, we attended the meeting about our return to the US and exiting the ship through customs. Immediately after the meeting, the kids who had attended any of the various courses offered on board with counselors were brought on stage for a brief show. Neither of ours really wanted to participate, but they did and they got a t-shirt and mouse ears made to look like a graduation cap as a reward.
Afterwards, we went back to the cabin and dressed up for dinner. This time we were at Parrot Cay, which we had skipped on our previous cruise. Hayley was worried when the table next to ours stayed empty for so long, but eventually her friend from the previous night showed up. Several people came up to us and remarked about just how good our kids had behaved the night before. Since we feared that we may have people coming up to us threatening to report us to social services, we were quite happy to get the thumbs up.
After dinner, in addition to the usual tip envelopes we left for the waitstaff, Hayley handed them each a pin from Play It! to remember us by. We have so many of them at home, we thought it would be a cute thing to do. They seemed appreciative and they kept telling us how they are going to tell everyone they know about our family.
When dinner was over, we went to Shutters to review the various photos that had been taken of us on board and at Castaway Cay. We then headed over to the Who Wants To Be A Mouseketeer show where Hayley's friend was supposed to meet us with her family. The last time we were on the cruise we went to this show and none of us got picked, but I was hoping that this time would be different. They only use Disney related questions and only 5 at that. If you get all 5 correct, you receive a crystal with the show's emblem. There are 2 lifelines, ask the audience and 50:50. They choose contestants by computerized random draw. Everyone gets a number handed to them when they walk in the door. They handed us an extra one, so we had numbers 48-52.
The first number that was drawn was number 53, which naturally just missed me. A boy went up and took his aunt with him as the host said that they could take an adult for assistance. The two of them made fairly quick work of the stack and won the grand prize. Additionally, just for getting chosen you get a pin with the show's emblem on it. Both the pin and crystal are exclusive to the show.
The last time we attended the show, I think it only ran for about 25 minutes and had 3 contestants. This time I think it was about 45 minutes and had 5 contestants. One of the contestants made it to the last question with both lifelines when they were asked which of four characters was not in the film "The Sword in the Stone". The choices were Archimedes, Wart, Merlin, and Lancelot. They 50:50'd down to Archimedes and Lancelot. Still not knowing, and being that they still had a lifeline to use for this last question, they asked the audience. This is done through applause. The host asked how many people thought the correct answer was Archimedes and the room exploded with applause. Then the host asked how many people thought it was Archimedes and I started applauding as loudly and fanatically as I could to try to encourage people to join me. The host clearly knew what I was trying to do because he said that it didn't seem like there was a clear answer from the audience and suggested that he ask again. This time, though many still applauded for Archimedes there was a much louder response for Lancelot. The contestant went with Lancelot and won the grand prize. Once again I did a good deed and won the game for someone.
They finally called one last number and suddenly there was excitement behind me from Hayley and her friend. It turns out that the friend's number had been called, but she didn't want to go up. Next thing you know Hayley is taking off to the stage but I stopped her saying that if it wasn't her number then she shouldn't go up. Well, apparently the other girl was too shy to go up so Hayley dragged her up with the girl's little brother right behind them. The girlfriend climbed into the Hot Seat and the other two were standing there beside her. The host, by the way, had suggested they all go up, so there was no issue there.
As you may recall, when I helped Hayley at Play It!, she teased me about how much I was shaking by the time we reached the last question. Well, the whole time she was up there helping her friend, she was shaking like a leaf. The friend didn't know any of the answers, but fortunately Hayley knew the first two or three herself. There was a little bit of assistance coming from the audience for the fourth question, so I moved forward to where Debbie and the girl's mother were at to assist on the last question if I could. They had moved up to take photos. Anyway, the last question asked what Disney resort was originally going to be named the Cypress Lodge. I immediately thought of the Wilderness Lodge, but hoped that the Polynesian wouldn't come up as a choice. It did, as did Wilderness Lodge. After a debate as to whether to use the 50:50 or the Audience, they chose to use the 50:50 leaving the Polynesian and Wilderness Lodge. They then asked the audience and a slim majority chose Wilderness Lodge. They went with it and were correct. So, even though technically we still haven't made it to their Hot Seat, I kind of feel like we did. As a thanks for helping out, the other girl's parents suggested she give the pin to Hayley. So, they have the crystal and she has the pin. The parents were remarking how great the kids did and how proud they were. It really was something to see. Of course, I'm not about to let Hayley forget how much she was shaking.
That night, we packed everything up and set the clocks ahead one hour. That just about killed us considering how early you have to be off the ship anyway. The next day we got up early, had breakfast, and got off the ship. We checked in at port with Delta and boarded the bus back to the airport. This was a bit of a hassle as the retired lady cast member tried to put us on the wrong bus, however that got straightened out and most of the rest of the day was spent either at airports or on the plane. After landing in Louisville, we stopped for dinner and then went home, arriving there around 7:30 pm. Just in time to unpack a few things and get to bed so we could return to work and school the next day.
Posted 13 April 2006 - 03:53 PM
Engaged July 17th, 2008 @ Sunset Point
3/3/09 - Sunset Point Wedding
Glenn is my hero!!
Posted 14 April 2006 - 10:02 AM
Posted 14 April 2006 - 11:33 AM
She also missed at 32K as I described:
"After lunch at the ABC Commissary, we went back to the next four shows. In one of the later shows, Debbie made the Hot Seat after coming in third during a Fastest Finger question. The people in the first two spots were both in the "group of 3" and had to decline. Her stack was a little better suited to me as I knew the first 9 of her questions cold and was fairly confident of the 32K question as well. She used the audience at 16K and then used both the stranger and the 50-50 for this 32K question: What is the first name of Robert Louis Stevenson's character Mr. Hyde? The choices were A. something I don't recall B. Edward C. John (or something that started with a J) D. Henry. The stranger said he wasn't sure. The host advised them to ask anyone passing by and several people in the background shouted out Henry. The stranger then said he thought it was Edward but the consensus seemed to be Henry. Debbie then used the 50-50 to leave Edward and Henry. She thought the name might be alliterative and went with the background crowd's response of Henry Hyde. Of course the answer was Edward. Henry was Jekyll's first name. As she left the stage the horn sounded and the leaderboard was displayed showing my seat in the first position and our son's seat in the second position. "
Posted 04 May 2006 - 08:59 AM
LOL, you know I mostly just carry it around. However, yes I have some photos. I'll have to try to find time to scan and post them.