Top to bottom along the East Coast
Bob and Terry on Tour 2016
New York to Florida, and points in between
Days Four, Five, Six and Seven – Florida – On to Orlando and a few perfect days of nothing


On day one we drove more than eight hundred miles from north to south to arrive in Myrtle Beach for a few days. (Check out the diary of days one, two and three) Our original plans were a two night stay before driving about four hundred and fifty mile drive to Ocala.

Weather enjoys hearing about your plans.

Hurricanes change things… an extra night in South Carolina (though not one filled with attempts with detailed plans or massive expectations, because… you know… hurricane)… and here we are. Not a day three departure from Myrtle Beach. It’s day four of the trip, kicking off the second section of our tour diary with five hundred miles ahead of us and a destination of Orlando.

Day Four – Saturday, September 3, 2016

We’ve been in touch with Richard, and everything is going to work out on that end… we are tentatively set to see him tomorrow (Sunday), and fully expect him to join us in Orlando later in the week.

This trip was designed to be something completely different from the very beginning… the amazing things have been how wonderfully different everything has been considering the circumstances for the changes. We’ve really adjusted schedules, such as adding Rhode Island on at the end and staying an extra night in South Carolina due to weather. We’ve moved some get togethers, such as reaching out to a dear friend (one who had offered the guest room of his home for a planned stay of at least one night). Somehow though… every moment has been more of a doorway and never a brick wall. We haven’t been stopped by anything, we’ve just figuratively moved along into a new room.

Today kicks off where day one began to wind down… with a stunningly numbing stretch of South Carolina road.

Road? Roads? Should it be roads, plural? Was it one or several? Probably several. Doesn’t matter… it was about one hundred and fifty miles of speeding up and slowing down and trying in vain to come up with how a major vacation destination like Myrtle Beach could feel so isolated when it comes to travel by automobile.

We ran into this for the first time on Wednesday during the initial eight hundred miles of driving. We finally reached the point when it was time to swing off of a major highway and begin moving toward the coast and the mecca that is Myrtle Beach. What we discovered was it can take for-e-ver to cover sixty to ninety miles of driving along routes such as South Carolina 501.

This morning, now headed out of Myrtle Beach using different stretches of highway as we continue our overall journey southward, looking to rejoin 95 a bit further on from where we left it, we’re learning that apparently each and every road in to Myrtle Beach is a minimum of an hour away from anything and everything. It should have been incredibly scary… but something else is going on. Let’s start by setting the scene with the scary possibility.

Have you ever seen those movies where people, for reasons supernatural and eerie or humorous and silly, begin moving in circles? Magical time travel loop circles or directionally impaired circles. Whatever. Suddenly arrives wisps of realization, where those involved begin noticing landmarks are repeating, everything looks way too familiar, and according to need the story hopefully becomes quite scary or really funny for the audience.

That’s what the drive this morning seems like. A few road signs do change, and the GPS is guiding us along with not even a hint of “recalculating” to be heard, and things are telling us we’re moving. Moving in the right direction. Making progress.

But yeah, a stretch of twenty miles here and twenty miles there separated by a stretch of twenty miles in between. All of them leading from Myrtle Beach to destination-wherever looks remarkably the same mile after mile. It’s nice and fine and pleasant. There’s nothing to complain about.

Still… if you had something going on that was adding pressure and tension (say a malfunctioning GPS, or a need for a restroom or gas or food)… it would be really easy on these roads to see yourself as having entered a never ending loop.

But not today. Not even close. Even with the repetition of scenery.


Well… we don’t need gas, and as I mentioned all of the stuff from signage on is saying we’re moving along quite nicely. And most importantly…

We’re distracted. Really distracted.

It’s the storm. Or rather… that there really isn’t a single hint that a tropical storm moved on by yesterday.

At several points on Friday, it almost felt like South Carolina was going to be washed into the Atlantic Ocean. Rivers flowing along the beach. Surging waves sweeping across the streets. Water and water and more water all around.

We left the hotel thinking that the first stretch of our drive might bring us to several places with detours and warnings and puddles and deeper puddles and really very deep puddles and more. Instead… not so much. It’s been a pretty nice morning, and along the sides of the road are very few indications that heavy rain and strong winds tormented the region less than twenty-four hours ago.

As an added bonus, it is very pleasant. Gorgeous morning. Easy driving pace. Nice setting and scenery.

The drive ends up being fairly uneventful. We pick up some peaches while in Georgia. A fast turn of the weather provides a few thunderstorms as we approach, circle, and leave the Jacksonville area. And we manage to have a license plate game run that brings our remaining needs for this trip down to Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, Idaho and Nevada.

We pull in to Orange Lake at around 6pm. And the always amazing fun of the check-in at a time share game begins.

We have zero intentions of heading in to any of the theme parks on this trip. A portion of this is me… I’m still recovering from a broken ankle and really not feeling that any day involving miles of walking will be a happy day (or, more to the point, even if the day of walking goes well it is certain to be followed by ice, elevation, and pain meds). A portion is Terry… one of her knees is acting up thanks to problems before we set off, causing her to favor it and now her other knee is screaming at moments as well. So… no desire for lots of walking (at least not on a visiting a theme park level of walking). Another portion is dollars… as noted, this is a trip on a budget.

Because of this stuff specifically (and a few other assorted minor ideas piling on as well), we really aren’t looking to attend any of the time share presentations. Not looking to buy… not looking for discount tickets or other rewards for attending… not looking to invest the time involved in going through the process.

There are multiple desks set up for checking in. I am being led more or less around what is probably best described as a really large lobby zone here in the main building at Orange Lake. And the words large and zone really do work for the description. There are desks and counters and stanchions leading to staff and information and opportunities to learn about time share purchases, theme parks and area attractions, resort amenities, and all sorts of other wonderful things. As Arlo Guthrie might say: flyers and handouts, with circles and arrows and paragraphs with descriptions on the back of each one.

I pass on pretty much everything, collect the materials I need, and head back to the car. We drive to our unit, drop off our bags, and make a decision to head out to a nearby Chili’s for dinner.

Here’s a little tip for those of you considering a trip to Orlando. If you have any gift cards, you are quite likely to be able to use them here. Because not only are most restaurants represented… they’re pretty much all represented twice.

Disney World is the center of everything in Orlando, as you would expect. One main road, Irlo Bronson, runs east and west and uses Disney as a center of sorts… referring to things more or less with designations such as Main Gate East and Main Gate West according to which side of Irlo Bronson you happen to be compared to the Disney exits. And in a brilliantly funny design quirk, Irlo Bronson pretty much has the same run of restaurants and shops on both the east and west sides.

Terry and I happened to have a few gift cards in the house, so we brought most of them since we knew there were locations near Orange Lake. Chili’s was one of them. Dinner is served.

We stop at Publix on the way back to the room to pick up a few things, like juice, milk, cereal and bagels.

After a long day of travel and a few errands, we wind down with some cards. Tigg pulls off a monster comeback to win the evening.

Day Five – Sunday, September 4, 2016

A great day is ahead of us.

We’ve been having a blast so far. But… honestly… for the first time, we wake up with nothing swirling around us. No change of where we’ll be sleeping that night. No storm clouds to watch. The first four days included more than thirteen hundred miles of driving and adjusting plans around a hurricane.

Our initial stop actually was based around thirteen to fourteen hours of driving, spending the next day in Myrtle Beach seeing a few things and attending a show, and then leaving the day after that. Not really enough time to dig into a suitcase, never mind unpacking it. And when we extended the stay to include a third night at the Crown Reef, it was because of the storm and we really bounced around wondering if the storm was still far enough away that we might find a place open to get lunch.

To give it a bit of a summary… we didn’t set the alarm or check the weather last night… we are not looking at our watches today.

We do have a slight bit of driving ahead of us though. Today we are going to Ocala, where we will be spending some time with Richard. We are also going to see Sam and Mia again. It means slightly more than an hour… about 80 miles… on the road. (Which… 80 miles… after what we’ve covered so far, that feels like barely enough time to turn on the radio and adjust the AC.)

As some of you may know, our dear friend Ellen passed away last year around this time. This is the first trip Terry and I have made to Ocala since then, and it’s something the three of us have in our thoughts. As we get out of the car to greet Richard it’s clear we are all happy to be together and there’s something more to the day in a positive way as we remember her.

Most of our visit is pretty basic. Richard has been working on several projects, so we’re looking at a few of the rooms he’s redone inside while also walking around the outside a bit. He has a couple of questions for Terry about some things, and Sam is bouncing off the walls trying to play.

One thing I do is head out in back to get a few pictures of a palm tree in his yard. I have plans to release a new book in November (Something Old, Something New), and Richard has agreed to let me use a picture on the front cover of him and Ellen walking along a path at Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia. I want to use the palm tree shot from their home as an image on the back cover.

Dinner for the three of us involves a trip to Bonefish Grill. It’s a place we kind of fell in love with when the four of us were in Ocala during Ellen and Richard’s 2011 move. Terry is about as close to addicted as one can be to the corn chowder with lump crab. (Richard and I both really like it as well.) For our meal… Richard: salmon with the pan Asian sauce, Terry: lobster stuffed shrimp, and Bob: orders of calamari and wagyu beef & ginger potstickers.

This was a fabulous visit. I hate phrasing it this way, but it explains the situation – After the trip in 2015 that involved Ellen’s passing and memorial, the three of us always knew there would be some firsts we needed to face without her. As I think many of you can understand and relate with, that idea is difficult. You don’t want those moments to be depressing, quiet and sad, but memories and emotions are strong factors during them.

Seeing Richard… playing with Sam… watching Mia… walking around the house and yard… hugs and smiles and love. Awesome. Meant a lot.

Terry and I encounter some strong thunderstorms on our way back to Orange Lake. Strong enough that for a few moments we consider pulling to the side of the road. But they quickly weaken enough to continue along our drive. We’ve had a terrific day, made plans to see Richard again later in the week, and have absolutely no plans for tomorrow. Things are looking really good.

The cards are brought out on our arrival at the resort, and I win basically running away.

Day Six – Monday, September 5, 2016

I’ll admit it… for a travel diary… this trip along the east coast, featuring South Carolina and Florida, is pretty stripped back and basic.

No national parks.

No theme parks.

No roadside attractions or quests to find the best burgers.

With that in mind, this day in particular makes a great place to point out two important things about my travel writing.

Important thing number one about my travel writing

I am a HUGE believer in capturing memories, making scrapbooks, taking pictures and more. I love family and friends. I treasure shared experiences.

I sincerely hope you enjoy reading about our adventures… I really, really do. I have been thrilled to hear from people that have used materials on my web site and in my travel books to join us on our journeys, enjoy the tales about our groups, and apply some of our experiences to their travels. (It’s pretty awesome to hear about an experience someone else enjoyed as a result of a recommendation we made.)

At the foundation though, I approach these journals and columns and more from a somewhat personal and perhaps even greedy stance… chronicling my/our experiences, preserving my/our thoughts and opinions, and doing so from my point of view and notes. I want to share them with friends. I want to share them with you. But there will always be a part of the effort attempted selfishly for me.

I make no apologies for that, as I believe it encourages an honest and detailed perspective. In turn, I think the honesty and details improve things for you. Still… it’s there… and should be recognized when considering presentation.

Important thing number two about my travel writing

I have said it before… I will say it again… and the thoughts remains every bit as true today as always – I do not present this material as a travel professional. I do not pretend that we saw everything, or know everything, about a specific location or event. What I do present is our travels, some tips and tricks and thoughts, along with an invitation for you to come along for the ride.

And those two items lead me to today’s entry, where I hope to acknowledge something that travel writers—and pretty much anyone going on vacation—understand to be true, but never truly come around to admitting.


Things change when you venture away from home.

I know. You’re not shocked, and perhaps a bit underwhelmed by the revelation. But remember, I never claimed it was a surprising thought. I told you it was something we all understand to be true.

Instead, consider the point I’m making is that vacations and how they remove us from our home routine is something taken for granted by most of us.

Of course we’re going to be eating differently, at unusual times and often at restaurants. Of course swimming with dolphins or a sunset wine cruise or a Halloween party in the Magic Kingdom is, for most of us, not a daily occurrence.

But it’s so obviously not the norm that we can get swept away by it. We want to hear about those dolphins and sunsets. Not so much the bowl of cereal in the hotel room for breakfast. The danger is that when you may be trying to simply get away… inexpensively and looking only to relax… the approach is still to look for the fireworks and flash and neon signs. And travel writers, almost universally and without exception, want to deliver the excitement.

(Plus… side note… for some writers, producing travel material is a game. Think of it like a movie review for a second. While a good number of film critics do approach things professionally and without bias, there are plenty that have reasons to produce a specific type of review. Maybe they work for a group associated with the company releasing the film… perhaps they’re friends with someone working on the picture and need to maintain that relationship… perhaps they can be influenced since a positive review can mean being mentioned in promotional materials, which in turn reverses the spotlight and recognition back to the critic. Same idea with travel writing. People looking for free trips and bonuses of that sort… people writing with the claim and authority of being the official guidebook or source or whatever for a certain place… and more. The results of such biased worked? Well, potentially sloppy, unhelpful, and even the extreme of deceptive presentations. Heck… I would LOVE to have some sponsors for my travel writing. I will gladly disclose them to you if and when that happens. The biggest dangers come when those associations aren’t revealed. If anything, just understand, all opinions and reviews and experiences you come across should never be accepted as perfectly truthful, reliable and accurate. I’ve said it before: Consider the source.)

There are no fireworks on today’s schedule. In fact, there is no schedule. Today begins with breakfast in our room from the shopping we did a few days ago… it involves a pool at the resort… it moves along to dinner at the nearby location of a national chain… and, sure, it includes a visit to the tourist property of all tourist properties.

More than anything else though, it began as a basic, relaxing, nothing on the calendar so just roll with it day. And I’m going to present four areas first, where each allows a bit of looking around and just enjoying what happens. It captures planning for nothing, while understanding that it is different than being at home. It kicks off with breakfast…

Bagels at the ready

We’ve been spoiled.

We first stayed at Orange Lake with Ellen and Richard back in 1999. In less than twenty years, we were fortunate to travel several times with that tremendous couple while enjoying suite-like units in places such as Las Vegas (twice), Savannah and Fort Lauderdale, and returning more than a handful of times to Orange Lake in Kissimmee.

Terry and I have also been to places with kitchens and kitchenettes several times in our adventures together.

The point being… much more than a small fridge and a microwave… we have benefitted from hotel units where cooking and entertaining was a viable option. Full kitchens. Separate bedrooms. Multiple bathrooms. We could make dinners. We could spread out and play cards, even while others were watching television. We had privacy.

Even in this day where hotels are trying to offer a bit more to stand out in a competitive market, not every traveler… not every vacation… comes with a room offering more than a single queen-sized bed, a bathroom, and a television with a remote (that may or may not work).

Still… even when I was a kid… I remember bringing some cans of soda back to the room. I remember using a plastic bag to line the container and heading out to get ice. I remember selecting a few snacks to have in the room.

Orange Lake is incredible for many reasons, and one is the Publix right on the edge of the property. We have a few things to eat in the room, including the bagels and orange juice making up the start of our day.

Whether you have a true fridge or not… a stove or not… or even plan on eating in the room at all, there are a few things like water and such that you should at least think about having around. And recognizing what you may or may not do… what you may or may not be able to do… from your hotel room can be incredibly powerful knowledge.

Up a lazy river

At Orange Lake, the area is actually referred to as River Island. However, that name covers an entire section of the resort property, and not just the connecting pools and lazy river attraction. Regardless… it is a beautiful spot, and it is where we decide to spend some time today.

On most days during our visit, if we’ve elected to head into the sun, check out a pool, and stay on property, we will head out to some of the quieter pool locations around the resort. And this is something to keep in mind, since it’s not just kids that enjoy time in the water.

Knowing what your hotel, motel, inn, resort, whatever type of property offers is huge. (And yes, I have an example beyond the every-kid-only-wants-to-know-about pools.)

Shuttle service.

Whether Orlando and Disney World or Las Vegas and the casinos, I have become fascinated by the shuttle services offered by many places. Some are offerings of where we’ve been staying… some have been investigations as the concept rattled around in my mind. They run to and from airports. They run to and from attractions. And when a car rental, cab ride, or other hire involves the wallet, a shuttle bus offering is worth checking out.

Look… you’re in Vegas and old enough to enjoy adult beverages. (Or, sure, move a few glasses beyond enjoy into overindulge.) Being responsible… nice to know about rides to and from your room so you aren’t driving. (Stunning to share: Not everyone stays inside the same one building when in Vegas.) If you’re narrowing down your choices on room selections, and they don’t involve an option in the center of it all, knowing how often shuttles run, where they drop off and pick up, cost… good to know.

You’re heading to Orlando. Staying on the Disney property. How does the shuttle to and from the airport work?

And I can tell you, without hesitation, that you will be stunned to see the differences. In Orlando, this is especially true off of the Disney property. Some have brilliant operating hours. Others… not so much. Same deal with pricing.

On one of our trips to Orlando, we were looking to see how our resort picked up and dropped off at Disney. At that time, they ran on a schedule that involved three runs over to Disney and three runs back. Nothing wrong with that. The shuttle obviously wasn’t heavily used, nor was it a massive priority for the resort. It was a guest service. However… they also charged about $10 per person for the ride. And those times? The rides over began hours after the park gates had opened in the morning, and ended before the gates closed on most nights. If you wanted to be there as the day began, or see fireworks as the day ended, the shuttle bus wasn’t for you.

Some things your resort offers are not going to be exactly what you expect. Some will be awesome. Some will be limited and possibly even confusing. Either way, your visit will be better because you at least spent a few seconds learning a bit about them.

Dining options and awareness

It’s Monday. Amore Monday, to be exact.

That’s actually Carrabba’s talk. The restaurant chain has special deals that they offer on Mondays. Terry and I have enjoyed them over the years.

I’m not going to be the one to tell you yes or no on any meal plan. Some work. Some don’t. But there are a lot of positives to be found in exploring new and local restaurants when traveling, and there are a lot of positives to be found in comfortable and familiar menus.

My favorite trick? Asking people nearby. At the front desk. In a gift store. While having a really casual, brief conversation. (“We’re thinking of getting some lunch. Where would you go around here for sandwiches or something different?”) Ask. You don’t need to go to the recommended spot. We have had more great meals, often within blocks of where we were standing, in a location we had never heard of and wouldn’t have found, just by asking.

Winking Lizard in Cleveland, Ohio. Cameron Trading Post in Cameron, Arizona. Even Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room in Savannah, Georgia, was an experience that developed thanks to a conversation with some folks while wondering around a shop. All awesome.

We’ve also benefitted from familiar spots. Chain locations. One time, Ellen, Richard, Mike, Louise, Terry and I had a fabulous meal in an Orlando area Outback Steakhouse.

Disney isn’t perfect, and change is the constant

I am not a fan of Disney Springs.

Not today. Maybe, after a few visits, things will grow on me. Perhaps I will come around and love Disney Springs. (It is true that there are places there that I do love, have enjoyed many times over decades, and they remain part of the area. So, more like probably that I will come to love it.)

The shopping area of Disney World is so huge that I have found new things on every visit now dating back almost forty years. They begin in the days of stores set up as Lake Buena Vista.

Much as with any area around Disney World, change is constant. (There are times when I think the Main Gate during the drive in shouldn’t just be a magical welcome to Disney World, it should also have a permanently mounted traffic sign offering some legendary Disney form of a “pardon our appearance while we add something magical” disclaimer. Nothing specific. Just an indicator that virtually every zone of the property, every theme park, every hotel, everything, is in some way undergoing a redesign.)

I have cloudy visions of family vacations that included swings around the shops in Lake Buena Vista.

I loved Pleasure Island. (Gone.)

Now there are parking garages. And I get it. It can be ridiculously busy. There wasn’t enough parking. But, at least to our experiences, it hardly feels as magical.

Ok… bringing all of these thoughts and topics together…

Monday is a simple and fun day for us. We wake up and make bagels in the room. After a bit, we head over to the Orange Lake Lazy River area… do some reading… enjoy the water… relax. Back to our room, change, and off to Carrabba’s for dinner.

Gabby took care of us at Carrabba’s. (Gabrielle) Great waitress. She did a wonderful job assisting us in reinventing our meal. I know… reinventing the meal… sounds strange. But we’re not strangers to ordering with the Carrabba’s Amore Monday promotion. We’re not strangers to discussing sharing options and expanding our dining experience. We had questions though… cravings and ideas about making it a bit different this evening… and Gabby took the time to listen to our wants before adding in her suggestions. And we enjoyed the resulting selections of chicken marsala, fettuccine weesie, and other assorted plates.

Now… Disney.

There are two things that everyone should consider before arriving at a definitive opinion about any situation.

First… the dollars. Money drives the bus, so to speak. And not just any bus. EVERY bus.

Second… the specifics of the situation that you know for certain.

This evening we head over to Downtown Disney. Over the years, this area of Disney World has been designed, redesigned, named, renamed, and in general has been home to more changes than quite possibly any other part of the property. (Hyperion Wharf, anyone?)

I have, many times in the past, experienced the difficulties of finding parking at Downtown Disney. And, honestly, I really couldn’t do much better in explaining things than my description from a 2013 travel journal:

Disney has announced plans for the area. Basically, expansion and further development. Granted… we’ve heard this before… and plans have come and gone, with many changes ultimately realized and developed not being exactly what was announced or even outlined. Some beloved places have faded into memories. But this time… the future of Disney Springs has all the marks of a development on the way to reality.

The new project promises parking garages (bringing MUCH needed additional spaces to the area). It also calls for an incredibly expanded World of Disney store. And there are other surprises as well.

Honestly… Downtown Disney is the craziest part of the Disney World property. It is organized chaos, and only just-this-close bordering on the inside of the outer edge of organized. (More like justthisclose.) Busy? That doesn’t even scratch the surface.

Here’s a good example – If you went from your car directly to Earl of Sandwich, and we started the clock as you pulled off of Buena Vista Drive, there are many days when you could spend well over an hour just trying to park and place your order.

Not eat. Eating isn’t included in that time. Heck, getting your order served isn’t included in that time. I mean arrive at Downtown Disney, drive around and look for a spot… look for a spot… drive into a different area… look for a spot… realize a car is leaving from the first lot you had been in and work on getting back there… look for a spot… give up on the first lot a second time… look for a spot… find a spot… park… spend a few moments in quiet celebration and reflection… walk to Earl of Sandwich… get in line… wait, wait, wait, wait… wait… order… and at that point an hour or more has gone by.

No food in hand.

Not lunch finished.

From driving into the parking lot to the point of ordering… more than an hour.

(And here’s the kicker… people that know what they are about to get at Earl of Sandwich spend that hour SMILING. I defy you to describe and explain this phenomenon. And that isn’t limited to Earl of Sandwich. It’s a Disney phenomenon. Go into other places around Disney World, stores and restaurants and theme parks, and even with the lines and bumping and frequent “we don’t have that _________________” (size/color/etc.) or “items like that are at _________________” (different store, etc.) or whatever, people are still smiling.)

This is one of the biggest money-generating locations around Mouseland. And if you don’t believe that, then head over to World of Disney during any its hours of operation. (Remember? Follow dollars? Ok. Part one of why change things up answered. There are dollars here, and a chance to make even more dollars by adding parking.)

I have no understanding of how Disney makes designs for their property. I hear the reasons. I see the logic often. I appreciate it all. But they do not call me to ask for input or share concepts ahead of time. Why a parking garage? Why two parking garages? I don’t know. (Second item… situational circumstances for decision making.)

So… for me… I’m limited in what I can say about the sweeping efforts to overhaul, update, and unleash Disney Springs. Hey—simply put—I told you they needed to address the parking, and they did address the parking.

Tonight though… man, I have my doubts (and plenty of frustrations).

It sure seems like the orange and lime garages… and yes, that’s accurate, with a virtually unlimited supply of naming options, Disney Springs went with Orange Garage and Lime Garage… are a bit out of place. I cannot readily think of any other location on the Disney World property that uses garages for parking. I’m sure they exist… just not connecting right now. (In fairness on the naming, virtually everything around including the open lots uses citrus (or, more accurately, fruit) designations.)

On this visit, I found the valet parking and bus stops far more apparent around Downtown Disney. (Side note: Should I be stunned when, after this redesign that added levels of free parking, I found the clearest signage seems to direct one toward the fee-based valet parking stations? Probably not.)

One thing you should know about this stop was that we were only looking to spend a bit of time in the World of Disney shop. No intentions of wandering around much on this evening.

Another thing, as I mentioned a short time ago, Terry had hurt one of her knees before we left, which in turn triggered pain in both knees. And I was only a few months removed from surgery on my three-fracture broken ankle.

So, as we arrived, I was looking to get close to the curb near the World of Disney store. And… I… couldn’t do it.

One-way runs of road… new traffic flow patterns… entry points changed… and on and on and I’m suddenly way on the other side of the place, roughly near the Rainforest Café.

I head back out to Buena Vista Drive and start another run. Different turn here… different turn there… adjust directions for the compass in my head that points at World of Disney… left at a signal light… and… back in the area with the buses again, roughly near the Rainforest Café.

I pull over to speak with a uniformed attendant. I explain what’s going on, and he directs me to the valet signs in front of us. He quickly covers what I’m going to see and how I should proceed, and says that when I arrive at the actual valet station I’ll be at the curb next to World of Disney. He wishes he could help me out, but it won’t be free parking there. Instead, just let one of the attendants at the valet station know he directed us that way. I can drop off Terry, and the drive to get into the Lime Garage should be pretty clear from there. And, he continues, later on I can pretty much reverse it, let the attendants know, and I can pick her up at the same spot.

He’s right. It’s not bad. Not perfect. But it works smoothly enough. Until…

I park and walk over to World of Disney. Meet Terry. After spending some time in the store. I leave her in line a short time later and head back to the garage to pick up the car. My cell phone rings.

It’s Terry, and she is fuming. She needs me to double-back and meet her so she can come to the garage. (Remember… she didn’t walk in with me and doesn’t know exactly how the garage connects to the walkways around Disney Springs.) She has a lovely story for me once we are together again.

While I was fetching the car, she went right back to where I dropped her off and someone from security told her she couldn’t stand there. She explained I was picking her up. He said that wasn’t allowed. As she started explaining that we were told we could do that by the guy over in… he cut her off.

This Disney cast member called Terry a liar, and said in no uncertain terms that no one from the Disney staff told either of us any such thing.

Regardless of our knowing we had in fact been told that very such thing, the experience itself left a really bad taste with us. It wasn’t the parking, the changes, or anything else. It was the person from security and the accusations of us not being told exactly what we had been told. I even have a quote in my notes that I wrote down immediately after we reached the car. He told Terry:

“This is private property, and you cannot lie to justify doing whatever you want.”

(Pause for a moment. Ok…)

The real bottom-line problem… easy to explain… being polite goes a long way.

Perhaps a quick apology (even an apology he didn’t mean) followed by saying we shouldn’t have been told that or an offering of an alternative. We do understand how the scenario can spiral into problems… after all, if you have procedures and policies in place, and aren’t going to follow them, the result will often be chaos. So… maybe inconvenient… maybe annoying…but, yeah. Tell us we can’t drop off and pick up in an area not designated for drop offs and pick ups.

That’s not what happened.

And “private property”? In a fully open to guests area of Disney World? Without debating the legal definitions and aspects of the term, he might as well have offered something closer to trespassers being prosecuted.

Anyway… we’re in the car and on the way back to our unit.

The day closes with some Canasta. Terry races out to a huge lead, then holds on late to win.

Day Seven – Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Today was an absolutely perfect example of everything this trip was designed around. Some fun. Some excitement. Some plans. And a whole lot of beautiful nothing in a gorgeous setting.

Woke up… played cards. (I won big.)

I made a run to the post office, came back, and we headed off to the East Village pool at Orange Lake.

We head over to Kobe’s for dinner… Kobe Japanese Steakhouse being a long-standing tradition for our visits… and we enjoy a phenomenal meal.

On the way back down Irlo Bronson, we stop to do a bit of shopping for some kids. During the drive we add license plates for Idaho and South Dakota to our tally, which leaves just Hawaii, Alaska and Nevada unseen on this trip.

The day finishes up with more cards (and another win for me).

Low key. Slow pace. Lots of smiles.


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