We were planning on doing some mini-golf today; most likely the Winter Summerland course at WDW, so we could get a little bit of Disney jones dealt with. But then, in yesterday’s mail, a magical item arrived: my “Maingate Pass”. The pass allows me to take up to 3 people into any of the theme parks with me, up to 12 times per year. So we took advantage of that instead, and went to the Magic Kingdom for a few hours.

The lines were longish, since it was a weekend day and the MK had the longest operating hours. It was more crowded than we were used to. We didn’t ride all that much stuff, but it was wonderful just being there. We rode the mountain range. We had lunch at Starlight Ray’s Cosmic Cafe, and listened to the dulcet tones of Sonny Eclipse, the audio-animatronic lounge singer. We also rode the People Mover, as we always do, and got a special surprise — where it passes through Space Mountain, we were all, “This is so weirdly bright!” Turns out that Space Mountain was having issues, so they had all the lights on. So we got to see huge floodlights illuminating a depressing bunch of gray steel on gray supports against a gray background. Awesome cool!

I know I post a lot about how weird and surreal it all is, but it’s just so strange to me that I can leave the house, drive a few minutes to Disney World, walk around the Magic Kingdom, then leave there and go to the grocery store before coming home. Something that used to be an amazing faraway thing is now in my backyard, and I don’t know how long it will take to get used to that.

Week 1 Done! First Show Done!

Wow, what a week that was.

Other-newbie-David and I each did our first real show last night — I ended up in the first show (by pure chance) and David did the second. Everyone did the opening rock n’roll song, I introduced and handled the bell for Shoulda Said (aka Say Again), was one of the three experts in a Panel of Experts scene, and everyone did the closing blues number. It was an incredibly fast 40 minutes.

Everyone else in the cast was so supportive and nice! And the stage manager told me afterward that another manager from some other property came by to see my show — he hadn’t seen one of our shows for a while, so like three of us were unfamiliar to him. He asked my manager, “When are your new people performing?” When told that one of the newbies was in the show he just watched, the guy said, “Really? Which one were they?” So either everyone sucked, or I fit in well.

David’s show went very well too. We then put our street clothes back on and watched two of the later shows, complete with drunker audiences and their dirtier suggestions. Charming! We also got to sit in on notes, which were short and uneventful.

After this luxurious weekend, we have one more week of reherasals left. We’ll mostly recap the choreographed songs, as well as learn the rest of the scenes that get played. Most of them are familiar; it’s just a matter of finding out what they call the games here, or what subtle differences they use. We’ll also be doing live-audience shows all next week, starting with one show each on Monday, and ramping up to three or four by Friday. Then next week, we start our regular schedules.

Weirdest difference so far: in the warmup game “Zoom Schwartz Pafigliano”, the actions of Zoom and Pafigliano are reversed. Which really throws me off.

Work Day 4: Whew!

This week has been both really short and really long. Strange how that works. I can’t believe it’s Thursday already, and yet it feels like I’ve been in rehearsals for a fortnight. Today we went over the last couple of musical styles (including Doo Ron Ron, which is done here with musical accompaniment) and did some actual scenework. Most of the scene-games that are played are similar if not the same as games I already know; the names are just different.

Tomorrow is the big day — David and I will each perform in one show. We still have to flip a coin or rock-paper-scissors to see who gets first show and who gets second show; I kind of want to go first to get it done in a ripping-off-the-bandage kind of way, but I think David feels the same way. We’re also both going to put in a little overtime and stay for all 5 shows, so we can sit in on notes (happens after show 3 at around 11pm) and get a feel for the later, drunker audiences.

My costumes came back from the tailor, and all of the pants are now too short. So they’re going back to be lengthened by another inch. Why don’t they make women’s pants in a variety of lengths, like men’s? Why can’t we have lengths by inches? Curse you, fashion industry! Why you gots to be that way?

Tomorrow morning I plan on going out to the DMV to get Florida plates for my car — the title arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. I’ll also take the scooter title to get local plates for that little guy.

Scott hasn’t heard back about a position yet — he has a call in to his casting guy, so hopefully we’ll hear something tomorrow. He’s already been fingerprinted and had his background checked, so he’s ready to be hired; they just need to find the right job to put him in.

Work Day 2: Costumes!

We had a 12-hour day today. First we met Larry the costume designer out at the mall at 10am; then we spent the next 3-1/2 hours buying costumes for me and David. Larry was friendly and cool, like every other person I’ve dealt with here. I’m still waiting to meet the jerks, although maybe they’ve been weeded out already.

Anyhoo, I ended up with 4 pair of pants, 5 shirts, some camis, and a pair of shoes. We didn’t spend all of our budget, so we’ll probably go out again in a couple of months for short-sleeved stuff. All of my pants are going to be tailored for length, as well as one pair being taken in a little at the waist. Larry had us get bright colored shirts so we’ll pop against the muted background of the stage. Nifty.

Then after lunch we headed back to the theater. We tackled another couple of choreographed songs and did some recap on the songs we’d learned yesterday. Rhyming is easy — remembering when to start clapping and when to move where is the hard part. But we’ll get it. We’re both expected to do one show this coming Friday, so at least we can pick which song structures we’re most comfortable with for each of our shows.

The stage manager, Bill, got us both set up with usernames and passwords on the Disney intranet (supposedly we get our email addresses tomorrow). As with yesterday, we watched two shows, then headed out a little after 10pm. But on the plus side, that means 4 hours of overtime. Whoo-ha!

Sunday & Schedule

It’s Super Bowl Sunday! Last year at this time, we were in Florida on vacation. We stayed in our hotel room that evening and watched the Seahawks play. Little did we know where we would be a year later!

I got an email from my new Stage Manager with a few details about week after next, when we start rehearsals. I’ll be starting most days around 2:30pm, and rehearsing and/or watching shows until 10pm. On one of my rehearsal days I get to go out “costume shopping” with a costume designer (as this show involves wearing basically “business casual”). Friday of the first week I’ll do one show, then the following week I will (based on my comfort level) ramp up one show per night until I do four shows the second Friday. My weekends are preliminarily scheduled to be Monday and Tuesday.

According to online tracking, our possessions are currently sitting in Atlanta, Georgia … ready for dispatch to the Orlando distribution center. We expected the cube Tuesday or Wednesday, but we may well get it tomorrow. Crazy!

Adventure Update

More worrisome things have been tackled, causing the excitement v. terror balance to swing even more toward excitement.

Our “ReloCube” is reserved, and we have the OK from the apartment building to put it in a parking spot next to the building over the last weekend of the month.

I checked with our car insurance (Allstate), and we’re well-covered on the new car. Also, even though we’ll need to switch to another agent when we move, our coverage is good to go for the long drive and the time it takes to set up residency.

Scott’s heart is lighter, because I found out that there are approximately 3500 open jobs right now at WDW (with current full-time openings in Attractions [ride operators], Monorail, Downtown Disney Ticketing and much more), and tons of apartments to be had. Heck, one lady I contacted wanted me to fill out and fax back an application without even seeing an apartment — they want new tenants that desperately. So we shouldn’t have a problem when we go a-hunting.

After their terrifying vet ordeal yesterday, where they each shed a ton of hair, the cats are incredibly soft and smell really good. Weird how that works.

The Plan So Far

This is the best plan we’ve come up with, considering a couple of absolutes: we want to fly the cats across the country, not drive them (and we want them to be in a furnished home as long as possible); and we want to take my car with us, as it’s more financially feasible to take it than it would be to sell it here and buy a new car in Florida.

January 13th or 14th – begin driving from Seattle to Florida. We’re actually looking forward to this — driving across the country together, the kind of adventure you talk about but never do.

January 18th or 19th – arrive in Orlando. Spend the next few days finding an apartment, signing a lease, and getting the keys. Buy a few staples (toilet paper, etc.) and leave them in the new apartment.

January 24th – park my car near the Orlando airport, fly from Orlando to Seattle. Get a rental car for a week.

January 25th-29th – pack a moving pod with belongings. Have a small party, say goodbyes.

January 30th – fly with the cats from Seattle to Orlando. Car is at the airport, ready to go; apartment is waiting with a few staples, ready to go. Rough it for a week until belongings arrive.

We’re still mulling over some of the details, but our flights on the 24th and 30th are booked. Yeah, it means the cats will be alone at home here for 10 days … but it’ll be days spent in the home they know, instead of in an empty strange apartment on the other end.

El News Grande

Yesterday I was offered, and I accepted, a contract as a full-time improviser at the Comedy Warehouse at Walt Disney World’s Pleasure Island.

We’ll be moving to Florida in late January/early February, and my first day of work is February 12th.

I’m giddy and terrified all at the same time.

Pensive Week

I left a message for the Disney casting guy, since he specifically told me to call him “in a couple of weeks” for an update. So now I play the waiting game.

Scott is waiting for some stuff of his own, specifically a piece of mail that should hopefully arrive today, so I’m keeping an eye out for the mailman. His big thing is under wraps right now (heh, that sounds dirty) — but should be public in the next fortnight or so.

Waiting sucks. Waaah, I want instant gratification!

Disney World Trip

All right … since we’re still kind of on Eastern time, we were up at 5:45 this morning. I tackled the photo editing and commentary, and it’s not even lunchtime. Long story short, even though it was a short trip, we had a fantastic time.

The business portion of the trip went amazingly well. I had two callbacks on Friday: one at 9am for the Comedy Warehouse, and one at 1pm for street actors. Only 6 of us were called back for the Warehouse, which was cozy. We were joined by three Warehouse performers (two of whom I remember from 10 years ago) and a pianist. We ran through some of their games and songs, pretty much standard improv stuff. We mixed it up playing with auditioners and performers, which was nice. The big joy was that since it was a callback, nobody was sucky.

The street stuff callback had 14 people, but it’s a much larger scope show. We did some character warmups in a group, then went in one by one to do some individual character work. Basically, we were given instructions like, “You were once a huge movie star, but now you’re more of a washed-up Norma Desmond type,” and then we had to interact with the guys behind the desk. I was the second-to-last to be called in, so I got to chat with lots of people while we waited. Most of them do several jobs throughout the parks (and over at Universal too) — one, for example, does Cruella DeVil as well as hosting Fear Factor Live.

They told me they’re making some casting decisions in the next couple of weeks, or at the latest by the end of the month. The senior VP made sure I had his card and told me to call him anytime and he’d keep me updated. They also thanked me profusely more than once for coming so far to make the callbacks — it was me, a chick who drove down 15 hours from Indiana, and a bunch of people who already live in Florida.

So we’ll see — they seemed to like me, but who knows. I may be offered something full-time, or part-time, or I may not get an offer at all. But if I don’t get anything at this time, I’m pretty sure they’ll keep me in mind for other upcoming stuff.