Welp, we definitely must have been sleep deprived because we slept from 9:30pm until 8am! After being lazy for a little while, we got ready to start our day and just as we were getting ready to go down to the lobby to meet Quinn, we got a call on our phone – Quinn had out “welcome package” stuff and could he come up to the room? Well, sure! And not 10 seconds later, there was a knock on our door (grin). Cell phone as SO cool, hehehe. Anyway, he requested that we still come down to the lobby in a half-hour or so, to choose what we wanted for our lunch at the Henson Studios’ cafeteria tomorrow.

Our welcome package had some cool and not-so-cool stuff. Adventures by Disney-branded luggage tags, foldable bag, ball point pens, cooldanas, “Welcome Back” pins (we’re not “pin people” but the special touch of “welcome back to ABD”, as opposed to “Welcome to ABD” didn’t go unnoticed), some H2O-brand crap (already in the circular file), cheapo mister fans, and I forget what else.

After examining our stash, we went down to H&H to make a visit to Starbucks (as always, not as good of coffee than what I make, but at least it’s consistent) and then we caught Quinn in the lobby. I noticed his hair and wondered how it stood up so much better than “Sexy Cruise Joe’s” (grin).

After picking out lunch, we were on our own until 4pm. “Sleeping Beauty” was playing at El Capitan, so we went across the street and bought tickets for the 12:15pm showing. However with about an hour and a half until show time, we decided to go on a guided tour of the Kodak Theater. However we still had about a half hour before our tour started so we wasted some time in the Virgin Megastore. Wound up getting the Xanadu DVD and CD set for an insanely low price and, even better, not one but TWO new additions to my blasphemy collection. Go me!

The Kodak Theatre was built in 1991 and is the exclusive home of the Academy Award Ceremonies. Our tour guide brought us around the facility, offering stories of how the awards began, what the stars do on Oscar night, and brought us into their private lounge area and the actual theater. We couldn’t take any pictures inside the building but we all got postcards of the inside of the theater – I’ll scan it when we get home.

Our timing between the end of the tour and the beginning of Sleeping Beauty was perfect, even though it meant we had to miss about 10 minutes of the guy playing the Wurlitzer. Anyway, the movie was great – all digitally enhanced and clear as a bell – much better, I’m sure, than when I saw it on the screen when I was 6 or 7 (a local theater where I lived played virtually every Disney movie to date during the summers that I was 6 and 7). Pity the other people in the theater had no clue about movie etiquette…there was the busload of kids who continually were playing with their plastic wrapped something or others and the 2y/o who was running up and down the aisle next to me…both without any instructions from their respective adults to knock it off. Then there was the woman who insisted on taking FLASH pictures of the movie screen. I mean really, WTF??? Distractions notwithstanding though, we really enjoyed the movie.

We walked around for a little bit after the movie, to get a light bite to eat. We eventually settled on The Grill on Hollywood, where we shared a half wedge of lettuce and a herbed and broiled chicken breast…just what we needed to tide ourselves over until dinner.

We went back to the room and hung out for a little while and when it got close to 4pm, went downstairs to The Twist (the hotel’s lounge) to the ABD Meet & Greet.

We had already met Quinn but Julie was our “other” tour guide and she introduced herself while we picked up lanyards and ABD stickers with our names on them. There were snacks available, including crudite vegetables, fruit, cheese, crackers, soda and bottled water. After some quick socializing time, Quinn and Julie took control of the room to introduce themselves (both were DL CMs before coming on board with ABD, Quinn’s been with the company for almost 15 years, Julie for nearly 4) and then had each of us introduce ourselves, tell where we were from and what we were most looking forward to on the tour. Just as last year, we were among the youngest in the group, with most people in their later 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Almost all were, of course, Disney dorks or if not, are spouses/friends/travel partners of one. And one, coincidentally enough, is a patient of Joe’s! (I think he was kind of pleased that for once HE was the one who was recognized, instead of me, the Mean, Scary, Little Lady hehehe) Anyway, they also explained the rules about photography during the tour, since we would be in some places where cameras were off limits.

Once the meet & greet was over, we walked to Trastevere for dinner. It was an Italian restaurant in the H&H complex and we had a small banquet room to ourselves.

For entertainment and to act as something of an icebreaker, we had a DJ named Matt, who helped 4 volunteers compete in a Disney trivia contest (I didn’t volunteer because I’ve forgotten more Disney trivia than I remember, but most of the questions turned out to be really easy).

Dinner was plates of bread, salad and antipasto, with a choice of Chicken Marsala,veal, salmon or pasta with tomato sauce. I got the chicken while Joe got the salmon…both were good. We all had tiramasu for dessert.

Before we split up for the evening, Quinn and Julie gave us the low-down on where and what time to meet tomorrow and then, as a goodbye for the evening, we got “Backstage Magic” pins exclusive to this tour. Whoop-dee-doo.

So it’s 6:45pm and we have nothing on the schedule until 7:45 tomorrow morning. What to do, what to do. Joe had noticed before we went away that the soon-to-be-on-Broadway show, “9 to 5 The Musical”, was in previews and after some quick phone calls to make sure that tickets were available (and then order same…row N, seats 50 and 51), and talking to the Concierge to figure out how to get to the 8pm show as quickly and cheaply as possible (take the Red Line of subway/Metro and exit at the Civic Center), we were on our way.

We got to the theater with about 20 minutes to spare and started laughing when reading the Playbill…there were SO many people in the show we had seen before and/or had “Kevin Bacon” relationships with…

–We had seen Ann Harada in Avenue Q in London (but, amazingly, not during any of the 5 times we saw it on Broadway – she was either pregnant, off, or, the last time, gone)
–We saw Marc Kudisch is MANY shows on Broadway and Kurt introduced us to him when he gave us the backstage tour of Chitty.
–We saw Stephanie Block in Wicked at least once, possibly twice.
–Michael Mindlin was an Inventor in Chitty, which meant he knew Kurt.
–We saw Jessica Lea Patty in Chorus Line, which also meant she knew Nadine.

The entertainment industry is SO tiny!

Anyway, we really, REALLY like the show, as well as the music (pity they didn’t have an OBC recording yet), and are pretty confident it will do well on Broadway. It struck me as a shoe-in for a traveling production one of these days, but time will tell for sure.

Getting back to our hotel was a piece of cake (OK, except for taking the wrong train for one stop and then waiting for our train again, grin) and bed was calling. With a 6:30am wake up call, we listened!

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