From the quiet beaches of the Gulf Coast we headed inland to meet our friends Mike and Laura at Disney in Orlando.
When I tell you that it was easy to find our way to Disney, and to the Camp Wilderness Campground, it’s an understatement… Disney’s roads and signage are the best anywhere.
We were greeted enthusiastically, checked in quickly, and there was even a place to unhitch our tow-car. Disney also thinks of everything. In just minutes we were backed into our cozy spot among the tall pines. When I looked around, I was a little surprised it was so crowded.
The next morning we walked two blocks to the shuttle-bus stop, and in minutes we were at the docks to catch a ferry across the lake to Magic Kingdom – Mike had planned an easy day of wandering around. He has been a vacation-club member forever, and he really enjoys off-season times. We were excited to have him as our tour guide, and I was excited to spend time with Laura.
Disclaimer: If you can think of nothing you enjoy more than taking your kiddos, or your grands, to Disney for a few days… bless you. And, skip the next three paragraphs.
If, however, you’re of the other school of thought, read on.
Disembarking the ferry and heading toward the security gate into Magic Kingdom, I noticed there were lots of families, with lots of little ones, and all with strollers. LOTS and LOTS of them. Maybe it wouldn’t be as crowded as this was looking… Spring Break was over, after all. Right?
But when we got through security and turned the corner onto Main Street, USA, there were thousands of people already inside! I was hit with a wave of claustrophobia, and I needed a minute to regain my composure. We’d obviously miscalculated.
I took a photo, and texted my sister, Andee: “I WAS WRONG. THERE IS A HELL.”
With her usual sarcasm (a trait we share) she replied: “What the hell are YOU doing there when the WHOLE WORLD is on Spring Break?” That was a darn good question.
In an attempt to get out of the fray – strollers can be lethal weapons – we looked for an upscale restaurant where we could have a calm lunch and a cocktail. The meal was disappointing, to say the least, and made even more so because the restaurant didn’t serve wine or beer.
Texting my sister again, “Andee, they don’t seem to serve cocktails here… ”
“Of course not!” she replied. “And probably a good thing… parents would all get drunk!” I could see why.
We’d just finished lunch when Mike and Laura arrived, and we set off to do more adult-oriented things. We had dinner reservations at the Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant inspired by the one built in CA in 1928. We took a shuttle from Magic Kingdom to Hollywood Studios and then strolled around taking it all in. There was so much to see, including a farmers market!
We arrived at Brown Derby early, and decided to sit on their outdoor patio, have a drink, and people-watch. The service, the ambiance, and the quality of the classic cocktails were all perfection. When we went in for dinner, I saw that the walls are covered in B&W caricatures of old Hollywood stars. Laura and I stood there trying to name as many as we could. We were shown to a very comfy booth, which was quieter, enabling us to carry on a conversation. And the food. I owed it to my sister to take a photo and tell her, “I am in HEAVEN!”
I will say that starting off thrown into Disney’s Magic Kingdom made us appreciate the other parks even more. And I learned a valuable lesson: find out when Spring Break or Christmas Break ends for all of the eastern states before scheduling a trip here.
Unless, of course, you can think of nothing you’d enjoy more.