Our departure plans to Florida were delayed. In the interim, a snow storm blew in. We were inundated with accumulations of around a foot of the white stuff.
Pretty to look at, but paralyzing our town. Everything shut down. People were told to stay home and off the roads. Chris kept busy shoveling our driveway, clearing an opening to tow the Airstream through on our departure.
And then, the Arctic Vortex hit. Two days of sub-zero temperatures. Everything froze. The Airstream was a virtual igloo. We couldn’t pack it until temperatures rose above zero. Chris shoveled some more, ten minutes outside, then ten minutes indoors–thawing out. On the third day, temperatures rose to a balmy 20 degrees. We wasted no time, loading perishables and liquids in the trailer. The following morning as a cold dawn was breaking, we closed up our house and carefully pulled out through the snow. We were finally on our way . . . heading south . . . to the warmer climes of Florida.
Disney World was our first destination. We hadn’t been there in more than 25 years. Back then there was only the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Lodging consisted of the Contemporary Hotel and the Polynesian Village. We knew there had been additions made in the intervening years, but we really weren’t prepared for what we’d find there today.
Fort Wilderness Campground is part of the Disney properties. We pulled in and found a wonderful site reserved for us. Full hookups, paved pad, pine trees for shade and a creek flowing behind us. Chris wasted no time getting into the character of the place.
We met up with Chris’ brother, Dave, and his wife, Karen, who would be joining us for the Disney experience. Being resident Floridians, they were well-acquainted with the parks’ layouts and attractions. For the next four days they made the perfect guides, directing us to the highlights of this place.
The Magic Kingdom and Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom . . . we took them all in. The attractions were multifaceted—thrilling rides, entertainers and performers, parades and Disney characters. We were on the go from morning until way past dark. We were mightily impressed with everything we saw and experienced. Disney World certainly lives up to its reputation.
It was not surprising to learn that Disney World is the most visited attraction in the world. Average attendance rounds out to about 52.5 million people annually. Even though our time there was considered one of its “slowest times of the year,” we still contended with crowds during the peak times of the day. Covering 25,000 acres, the complex includes 4 theme parks, 2 water parks and 24 themed resorts. Everything is top-notch and perfectly executed. Facilities and landscaping are immaculate. Employees and cast members were polished, polite and very friendly. “Have a magical day” is the modus operandi.
And magical it was. We had four sunny and comfortably warm days in the resort. Our memories of the frozen, snowbound place from whence we came grew dimmer with each passing day. It is no wonder so many people travel south this time of year. Life is easier to enjoy when cold blustery winds aren’t blowing.
Our Florida Tour is just beginning . . . and what a start it was! We pulled out of Fort Wilderness, leaving good times behind. We’ll be meeting up again with Dave and Karen later in our travels. Until then, we’re heading further south . . . looking forward to new places to see and learn about. And always soaking up that warm and delicious Florida sunshine.
From the magical place that is Disney World . . .
Chris and Melinda