Saturday, February 21, 2009

DISNEY: AIE Grand Finale

Today after work, I went home, quickly mowed half my lawn (it was enough), put my overnight bag in the car, then left for Orlando. The goal was to make the AIE grand finale show at DHS, because there won't be many times for me to be at the parks in the evenings (I'm getting older and can't stay out that late).

The drive over was fine; I listened to the latest Netcot podcast (about TSMM) and am so glad that Van's back on top of it. And I actually drove like a sane person and made the trip in 70 mins... not bad.

I was in the gates by 6:15pm and considered Star Tours but didn't want to risk missing the show. The preshow videos were actually quite entertaining, and the warm-up guy, Tom, was again so hilarious! He's my favorite, and I want a picture with him! When he explained how to use the voting devices, he told an audience member that the numbers on the keypad will light up blue -- but not the "blue lights" he was probably used to... *groan* (Ha!)

Anyways, the finale show was really good. With 7 singers to perform, the pace was much quicker. And with each of the performers having already won a preliminary round, the chance that we'd see some real talent was greater. And there were a couple really good singers -- #3 Gabe Gonzales "Superstition" and #7 Adam Ezegelian "Old Time Rock and Roll".

First, Gabe. It took me a while to realize that he was singing because it seriously sounded like a radio; the quality of his performance was fantastic and took me by surprise. He got the crowd involved early and everyone was enthusiastically clapping/cheering the Entire time. Amazing. Even the "Simon-esque" judge said that "That was outstanding!".

As for Adam, he was funny and also managed to connect with the audience during in his short pre-performance interview - he didn't seem to take the competition 100% seriously, which actually came off as genuine. I was initially skeptical about his song choice (semi-cliche, difficult, and repetitive) but he really rocked it -- surprisingly great voice, stage-presence, and root-for-ability. The Simon judge said "You're funny. You can sing. If you learn to breakdance, you'll put Swiffer out of business!"

When it came down to it, Gabe and Adam were the last two standing. And even though I voted for Gabe, I was perfectly fine with Adam winning. He had a fun personality and could really sing.

After the show, all of the guests were directed to the exit (the rest of the park was already closed), and it was a strange but nice feeling not to be able to wander around after "park hours". Traffic in the parking lot wasn't bad at all, and instead of heading up to town right away, I went to the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney to pick up my Annual Passholder's gift -- a free pair of lanyards with pins.

At DTD, I was starting to really dig the new "What Will You Celebrate?"/"Celebrate Today!" theme-ing. I discovered that Disney was having another sale... 35% off toys, 25% off plush dolls and jewelry and timepieces (I was tempted), 20% off novelty hats, 15% off ballcaps, etc. I didn't buy anything there but did put down $50 at the "$10 & less" store... plush Stitches and other stuff I'm giving away as gifts.

I headed to town after that. I-4 was busy but the drive was easy. While my Camry's in the shop, I'm driving my parents' 2000 Camry and it seems to run "heavier"... 70 mph feels like 80... so I'm now driving at a more sensible speed. *shrug* (yay?)

Anyways, I stopped by the Teahouse on the way to my friend's house and had a side of German potato (mmm bacon) and an iced & sweetened blueberry-lavender tea. It's always nice to see my friends there and meet new people. I also caught up on my Orlando gay news (Watermark) and food/movies/SavageLove (Orlando Weekly).

When I got to my friend's house, she was already in bed, so I made my place on the sofa where sheets were ready for me and went to bed before midnight.

I was really glad to have made it over to DHS for the AIE grand finale show instead of staying at home. It was definitely worth staying up for, plus I was glad to have made the stop by DTD and the teahouse. Also, it's back to the parks tomorrow, so... yay! :)

I had a difficult time narrowing down the number of pics for this short visit. But anyways, they're after the itinerary.
Here's what I did this visit:

- American Idol Experience (7:00pm Grand Finale)

CAR to DOWNTOWN DISNEY (Marketplace)

A Full Schedule

I want to vote for Tom!

Out of 1000 people, Me and 45 others voted '2'
(I know that was bad grammar, but it just sounds better)

Our tall and lovely host

The Slate of Performers

The Golden Fastpass
(the host has Bebe eyes)

The Line-up

The Final Two: Adam and Gabe

And the winner is Adam! :)
Go Swiffer!


I'm really liking this year's theme-ing :)

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