Thinking “outside the box” after facing the wrath of Hurricane Irma in South Florida, my wife Ruth and I decided to celebrate my mother’s 91st birthday with a two- day escape to Walt Disney World this week. Realizing that she would not be physically comfortable with long walks in touring theme parks, we opted to maximize “quality time” together by planning a less ambitious agenda. Thus, our planned itinerary would blend hotel-hopping in mid morning, shady siestas in the afternoons, and leisurely dinners in early evenings. In retrospect, our “Plan B” decision proved wise under these circumstances.
Arriving in early afternoon, our spacious suite at the All Star Music Resort would set the tone for a relaxing visit. Admiring the colorful murals of musical artwork, and well preserved landcapes of native vegetation, I immersed my mind in picture taking “heaven”. To insure privacy for all, my mother would also enjoy her own bedroom while we “made do” with living room, sleeping accommodations.
A few years ago, my wife and I experienced the Victorian grandeur in the Grand Hotel of “Somewhere In Time” movie fame on Mackinac Island , Michigan. Observing that Disney World built a well conceived replica of this iconic resort at the Grand Floridian Hotel, we decided to treat her there with an elegant, dining affair there on our first night. Taking in historic ambience offering a glimpse of American nostalgia for the Victorian American past, we thus imagined ourselves living lavishly as time travelers in this much revered era without paying the $500.00 and up daily booking rate.
On our second day, Disney’s free transportation options for visiting key attractions proved helpful as the idea of slowly traveling by boat seemed the most relaxing option. Embarking from the riverside dock at the Port Orleans resort, we imagined ourself surrounded by French Quarter balconies of Bourbon Street today and Mississippi River plantations from the antebellum past . Arriving at Disney Springs Outdoor Marketplace before noon, we ambled slowly in search of shopping bargains, thus avoiding the tourist crowds and rising heat of the afternoon. With thoughts of fresh seafood entering our mind as we returned to our New Orleans theme point of origin, we would end this relaxing day by indulging in a sumptuous buffet of endless crab legs for dinner at the Beach Club Resort.
“Think like a kid”, “good triumphs over evil”, “beauty defeats beast”, welcome home”; These enduring testaments of the Disney brand brought over 30,000,000 visitors to Magic Kingdom and Epcot alone last year. For this curious follower of the present mindset, each Disney visit arouses my desire to seek childlike play amidst such pleasurable fantasies. For good reason, then, the Disney brand for me remains a much valued commodity, even when I indulge at a much slower pace.