Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Easter Exodus

One of the great things about moving to Vacationland U.S.A. is that you'll never get too lonely. Even if your friends still live up north, they're bound to come to Florida sooner or later. Since my husband and I enjoy Disney World, that means many of our friends do, too, so the visits tend to be sooner rather than later.

This year, Easter is a popular time. I guess that our friends from Chicago are tired of the long, cold, dreary winter and itching for an early taste of spring/summer. Two sets of our friends will be in town for the holiday, so it's going to be like Old Home Reunion Time.

We have spare rooms and futons, but our friends will all be staying at other locations in the Orlando area. In one family, there is a cat allergy that would make it difficult to bunk with three long-haired (and continually shedding) felines. Thus, they are splitting their trip between the Gaylord Palms and Reunion. The other family has a timeshare in the area.

I have never been to Reunion, although I am very curious about it because it's another of the Celebration wanna-bes, albeit with several differences. The most notable is that it is gated, and supposedly they are also going to be building an equestrian center. Horsey places are always of interest to me, since my horse Figment is going to join me here in Florida one of these days. I do have some experience at the Gaylord, as my husband and I stayed there once via Priceline while our house was being built. Whenever we came to visit the construction site, we would bid resort-level properties. William Shatner sent us all over, from the Hilton and Hyatt at Downtown Disney to the huge Gaylord Palms convention complex. Even though we got it at a bargain rate, they still gave us a premium room with a view of the Key West section.

Actually, we'll be on the go ourselves this week. Tomorrow (Thursday) morning we leave on our 43rd Disney cruise. It's just a short one, from Thursday to Sunday, but it's always nice to have an escape at sea. It's been a busy, busy week between my regular job, where a major project is going on, and my travel agency. Between the two jobs, I've had both of my laptops running for the last two weeks, with the telephone glued to my ear. I can't even remember the last time that my husband and I were at the theme parks. We work hard, but we play hard too, so now we'll be loafing on our verandah, getting pampering treatments at the spa, and soaking up the sun and swimming through the ocean on Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

When we return on Sunday, there will still be more holiday fun in store. In the morning, when we return from Port Canaveral, we are joining our neighbors for church and lunch. In the evening, we are meeting some of our Chicago friends for Easter Dinner (at the China pavillion, of all places!). My poor husband has to fly back to Chicago on Monday morning, but I'll be joining our other friends at Disney World during the week.

It's been interesting to see how the swarm of tourists has been steadily swelling. The spring break crowd, which built up steam over the past two or three weeks, has melded seamlessly into the hordes of people on an Easter exodus. The weather was a bit chilly over the last two weeks, but now it's warming up and the humidity level is rising. Those from cold and snowy environments will relish an early taste of summer.

My husband is busy packing for tomorrow's journey to the port. For a man, he is very domestic, so I happily leave the luggage to him. I handle the big picture, planning and organizing the trips. He attends to the small details, like how many t-shirts and swim suits and what sort of shoes and dress clothes to bring.

After years of flying into Orlando International Airport and taking a towncar to the ship, it still feels strange to drive our own car. Once, a long time ago, there was a family from Florida at our dinner table on one of our Wonder cruises. I remember how I envied them when they said they'd be packing up on Sunday morning and jumping into their car for the short jaunt home. I thought, "How wonderful it must be to live right near Disney World and the ship!" Little did I know that the Fates were nodding their heads together with some special plans for me; I'd be a Floridian myself much sooner than I ever thought possible.

Someday I want to drive out to Jetty Park near the port and watch the cruise ships pull out of Port Canaveral. When the weather is nice, it's amazing to see how many people line the shore to wave bon voyage as the massive ocean liners head out to sea. I think it would make a lovely weekend outing to head out to the beach and then wave goodbye to the Magic or Wonder (depending on the day of the week).

But tomorrow I won't be on the shore; I'll be one of the lucky people on board the ship. Although I enjoyed waving from my verandah, this time around I plan to be in the spa, in a pleasant semi-coma from the relaxing effects of a massage.

Soon enough, the holiday weekend will be over, and it will be back to business as usual. But for now, I'm looking forward to making the temporary switch from full-time Floridian to part-time tourist and losing myself in the vacation fun.

I can be reached via email at

My Celebration website is

No comments: