Plan B Vacation

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I mentioned I was going on vacation and you almost made it a whole week without me.  Did you miss me?

Well, here’s the deal.  We had a whole vacation planned to a nice Caribbean island with sun and the ocean and tropical breezes.  Had the flight, the hotel and the car all worked out.  Had finished all work related stuff, breezed out of the office, picked up the dry cleaning (I like my shirts to look neat, so sue me) and dropped the dogs at the kennel.  I’m going to do the online check in and they need me to enter my wife’s passport date … and it expired in October.  To be fair to her, I didn’t notice when I booked the tickets in January.  But, to quote an overused quote, “Houston, we have a problem.”

The quickest we were going to get a new passport was one business day and that wasn’t going to help since we were only 12 hours from our flight time.  Ruled out trying to re-book on a later date since the passport was still an unknown variable.  Besides, it would have meant going back to work and I was in vacation mode.  So scrap the flight, the hotel and the car.  The hotel and car were easy.  The flight gives us a credit that we may be able to use later so no major losses.

But now we need to assemble a plan B on a Friday night for a vacation to start on Saturday.  Limited to sites within the US of A, we opted for the warmest place we could think of and to a place we’ve been before so we wouldn’t need to expend a lot of thought around hotels and sightseeing.  Which is why we are now in the Magical World of Disney in sunny Florida.  Assembling the trip was quite the adventure, let me tell you.

It is kind of funny to think about two introverts in what has to be one of the most crowded vacation destinations.  Wall to wall people and cast members who are all the bubbly excited type.  The other thing about this place is that it is so totally for planners.  There must be people who plan their vacations to the nearest millisecond.  I mean you can get those Fast Passes for attractions and book restaurants and all kinds of things.  Oh and these people must do this way in advance because there weren’t a lot of choices left for us.  Not the best place for two committed “P’s” on the Myers/Briggs scale.  We kind of like to meander around and see what looks interesting.

I should point out that neither of us are in to “thrill” rides so missing out on the big attractions isn’t that big a deal for us.  The part about Disney that I really like is the detail they put into everything.  If you can slow down and just walk around the park, there are so many little things to see and experience.  For someone like me, who likes to spend a lot of time in my own head, it is easy to fall for the magic and imagine you are in another place.  For example, in the Haunted Mansion, they have somehow created the smell of an old musty attic which just adds to the fun.

My favorite park is the Animal Kingdom – animals don’t you know.  We’ve done the safari ride four times this week.  But the Africa and Asia sections are just so detailed.  They’ve got fake buildings that don’t seem to house anything but they add to the look of being in East Africa or some part of Asia.  Granted it is Disneyfied version but it is still magical in its own way.

Epcot would be second on the list.  The World Showcase being my favorite part again because of all the little details they put into the various areas.  Plus, they seem to have placed several quite out of the way areas that you can sit and recharge a bit.  Found one in the Japan pavilion which was quite nice.  It was also the start of their flower and garden show and I’m all about flowers so that was an added bonus.

The studio was probably my least favorite.  Again, I loved the parts that were set up to look like old Hollywood.  We found a nice little place to eat where they were playing big band swing music because it was supposed to be Hollywood in the 40’s and who doesn’t love listening to big band music?  But since Disney bought the rights to Star Wars, they are milking that for all its worth.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked the first Star Wars but I got no sense of nostalgia for seeing Han Solo as a very old man in the last set of movies.  Besides, Darth Vader in the first set of movies was pure evil (except when he got soft and saved Luke at the end of the third) and was the best villain.  I just can’t wrap my head around the guy who played him in the prequels becoming the Vader I know.  He just seemed like a whiny little kid who threw a tantrum and turned to the dark side.

Since I’ve gone off on a serious digression, let me continue.  If you were at the Magic Kingdom or Epcot in the 80’s, there is much that is the same but much that is different.  Tomorrowland now seems hopelessly dated.  I think that Walt had some ideas for the future and he wanted kids to be excited about that so he designed a lot of the stuff at Epcot to be “futuristic”.  Rides that tried to teach.  There is still some of that but now it seems like most of it is tied to some Disney movie.  Which is why the living seas is now Nemo themed and the Norway pavilion is all about Frozen.  Nothing wrong with that I guess except it just seems a little different from the initial vision.

The other thing this week has offered is some amazing people watching.  I do try not to judge but it can be so hard at times.  For some reason, there is an explosion of people wearing matching t-shirts.  When did that become a thing?  So you get Mom and Pop and the kids and sometimes grandparents and even aunts and uncles and they’ve all got the same shirt with their names on it.  I have to wonder.  Do they get different shirts for each day or do they have to wear the same shirt for the entire week?  And, really, what’s the point?  Why do you want people to know that this is some family vacation.  Isn’t everyone there on vacation?  What makes you so special?

Last little thing which kind of bugs me.  Saw a couple of people at Epcot with shirts saying something like “drinking squad” or some similar thing.  I guess getting drinks at each of the countries has become a thing.  Seriously?  Who thinks this is a good idea.  In  my opinion, there was way too much alcohol there.  Saw people drinking at 11 AM.  Excessive alcohol and the hot Florida sun is not a good combination.  On this, I don’t try very hard to not be judgy.  Got no problem with having drinks with dinner (even though I rarely do that).  But to spend the kind of money you’d spend at Disney to drink around the world?  Just go Whole Foods or some swanky grocery story and you can buy a six pack of beers from around the world for a lot less money.

So we didn’t get the ocean.  And, we’ve walked a lot more than I expected to.  But it has also been sunny and in the 80’s all week which is better than the cold rain I left behind.  Truth be told, I would have preferred our original destination but Plan B hasn’t worked out that badly.

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