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.
enjoys hearing about your plans.
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.
Four – Saturday, September 3, 2016
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.
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.
kicks off where day one began to wind down… with a stunningly
numbing stretch of South Carolina 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
not today. Not even close. Even with the repetition of scenery.
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…
distracted. Really distracted.
the storm. Or rather… that there really isn’t a single hint that
a tropical storm moved on by yesterday.
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.
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.
an added bonus, it is very pleasant. Gorgeous morning. Easy driving
pace. Nice setting and scenery.
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
pull in to Orange Lake at around 6pm. And the always amazing fun
of the check-in at a time share game begins.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
stop at Publix on the way back to the room to pick up a few things,
like juice, milk, cereal and bagels.
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.
Five – Sunday, September 4, 2016
great day is ahead of us.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Richard… playing with Sam… watching Mia… walking around the house
and yard… hugs and smiles and love. Awesome. Meant a lot.
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.
cards are brought out on our arrival at the resort, and I win
basically running away.
Six – Monday, September 5, 2016
admit it… for a travel diary… this trip along the east coast,
featuring South Carolina and Florida, is pretty stripped back
roadside attractions or quests to find the best burgers.
that in mind, this day in particular makes a great place to point
out two important things about my travel writing.
thing number one about my travel writing
am a HUGE believer in capturing memories, making scrapbooks,
taking pictures and more. I love family and friends. I treasure
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.)
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
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.
thing number two about my travel writing
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.
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
change when you venture away from home.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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…
at the ready
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.
and I have also been to places with kitchens and kitchenettes
several times in our adventures together.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
a lazy river
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
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.
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
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.
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.
heading to Orlando. Staying on the Disney property. How does the
shuttle to and from the airport work?
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.
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.
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.
options and awareness
Monday. Amore Monday, to be exact.
actually Carrabba’s talk. The restaurant chain has special deals
that they offer on Mondays. Terry and I have enjoyed them over
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
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.
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.
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.
isn’t perfect, and change is the constant
am not a fan of Disney Springs.
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.)
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.
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.)
have cloudy visions of family vacations that included swings around
the shops in Lake Buena Vista.
loved Pleasure Island. (Gone.)
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.
bringing all of these thoughts and topics together…
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.
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.
are two things that everyone should consider before arriving at
a definitive opinion about any situation.
the dollars. Money drives the bus, so to speak. And not just any
bus. EVERY bus.
the specifics of the situation that you know for certain.
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?)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
food in hand.
driving into the parking lot to the point of ordering… more
than an hour.
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.)
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.)
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.)
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
though… man, I have my doubts (and plenty of frustrations).
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.)
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.)
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.
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.
as we arrived, I was looking to get close to the curb near the
World of Disney store. And… I… couldn’t do it.
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.
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
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.
right. It’s not bad. Not perfect. But it works smoothly enough.
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
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.
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.
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
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:
is private property, and you cannot lie to justify doing whatever
for a moment. Ok…)
real bottom-line problem… easy to explain… being polite goes a
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
not what happened.
“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
we’re in the car and on the way back to our unit.
day closes with some Canasta. Terry races out to a huge lead,
then holds on late to win.
Seven – Tuesday, September 6, 2016
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.
up… played cards. (I won big.)
made a run to the post office, came back, and we headed off to
the East Village pool at Orange Lake.
head over to Kobe’s for dinner… Kobe Japanese Steakhouse being
a long-standing tradition for our visits… and we enjoy a phenomenal
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.
day finishes up with more cards (and another win for me).
key. Slow pace. Lots of smiles.