Saturday, October 22, 2005

Party Naked

When most people think of vacation spots in the Orlando/Kissimmee area, Disney World immediately comes to mind. Rack your brain further and you might think of Universal/Islands of Adventure, Seaworld/Discovery Cove, and maybe even some of the lesser-known luminaries like Water Mania, the Holy Land and Old Town. But unless you're a member of the American Association for Nude Recreation, it's probably a safe bet that nudist colony wouldn't pop into your mind.

Well, let me assure addition to Mickey Mouse and Shamu, our little corner of the Sunshine State is also home to an au natural resort. It's called Cypress Cove, and it's only about 15 miles away from Celebration, located near the Horse World riding stable in the Kissimmee/Poinciana area. If you don't believe me, click here to visit their website (and be sure to check out the pictures!).

I don't know if we have many nudists here in Celebration, but whoever spends the Cypress Cove advertising dollars must think so because they have a long-running ad in our local newspaper. When I first saw it, I did a double-take. There, among cheerful articles about wholesome community events, was an ad inviting readers to get naked.

Intrigued, I visited their website, which made nudism sound just as wholesome as soccer games and potlucks. Here is a quote:

"First time visitors to Cypress Cove discover that people do come in all shapes and sizes and that, as far as our bodies are concerned, all of us have nothing to hide. You may adjust at your own pace, letting the weather and comfort be your guide. Once you've socialized in the nude, you realize what an enormous impact what we wear has on who we are. Clothing can lock us into expected roles and behaviors, contributing to the tensions of daily life. We dress and undress, for comfort. Nudity is accepted and encouraged throughout the resort and is required in the pool and spa areas."

No matter what they said, I couldn't help envisioning bronzed hard-bodies parading their perky bosoms, tight buns, and sculpted muscles. Surely there would be no drooping or sagging; I figured that only the most gravity-degying bodies would be on display.

Recently, Cypress Cove ran an ad for a "Naked Art Festival" in October. That sounded like it had a lot of potential; the public was invited, and the normal admission charge was waived, so it would be a perfect opportunity for curiosity seekers. And who better to satisfy their curiosity than the intrepid Mickey Mommas?

For those who might not have read my earlier blog entries, the Mickey Mommas are an all-female division of the Bunny Brigade. We don't always wear odd garb on our heads, but we do always manage to have a great time. The Mommas might be found doing just about anything, from watching a screening of the Stepford Wives to stalking Davy Jones at Epcot to riding the monorail (or, more properly, momma-rail) at Disney World and hitting a bar at every stop.

This weekend, we decided to broaden our cultural horizons and take a field trip to Cypress Cove. We had no intention of shedding our clothes, but in most of the areas clothing is optional, so we planned to check out the birthday suits while remaining covered ourselves. Since is was art show weekend, we figured that the number of clothed people would probably be higher than usual.

First, we stopped at Chili's for lunch and drinks; somehow, it just seems appropriate to imbibe in a little alcohol before heading out on your first visit to a nudist colony. To our surprise and delight, we discovered that margaritas were two-for-one, which definitely doubled our pleasure. Once we were sufficiently fed and inebriated, we piled into the van and headed off to Cypress Cove (the Mommas are always safety-conscious, so we had a designated driver to pilot the vehicle and to make at least a token attempt to keep us under control).

Spirits were running high as we drew closer to our destination. Finally, we noticed a solid black fence ringing a group of trailers...could this be it? Sure enough, there was the sign: Cypress Cove! We pulled up and produced our drivers licenses; I'm not sure why ID was required, but I'm having paranoid visions of being placed on all sorts of nudist mailing lists.

The guard eyed us rather warily as he jotted down our information, but eventually he let us through. We drove cautiously down the road as though we expected naked hordes to jump out and accost us at any moment. Then the squeals of, "Look! Look!" started...there were nude people all around! Some were sitting in chairs outside of their campers, while others strolled nonchalantly down the walkway. Amazingly, none of them were hard bodies. All of them showed ample evidence of nature's handiwork without one bit of self-consciousness.

We parked in front of a block of villas, and the van was immediately surrounded by a group of naked revelers wearing nothing but mardi-gras beads. All we could see was bare boobs and bellies pressing up against the glass. It was quite an initiation! We huddled in our seats, unsure of what to do, feeling like the new kids on the cell block when all the other prisioners are chanting, "Fresh meat!" But we quickly realized that our new friends meant no harm. They had apparently been partying and were feeling no pain, and this was their way of welcoming a carload of newbies.

They introduced themselves with handshakes and, in one memorable case, a big, sweaty hug. The recipient of the embrace was a brand-new Momma, so hopefully it didn't frighten her off...she probably thinks we're a bunch of crazies, but most of our outings are much more low-key. Somehow I don't think we'll ever top the toplessness (and bottomlessness) that we witnessed at Cypress Cove.

The group of reveleres encouraged us to get naked, but we decided to stick to our clothes. They headed off for more fun in their villa, and we made our way to the art show. It was on the shore of a lovely little lake, and we even noticed a boatload of naked sailors on the tranquil blue water. Virtually all of the art featured naked subjects; my favorite booth was the one exhibiting the works of the Cypress Cove camera club. Like the resort itself, it featured people of every conceivable body type.

Many of the people manning the booths were naked, as were most of the patrons. It may sound strange, but within a very short time it seemed quite natural to be among people in their birthday suits. I had thought it might be awkward talking to them while trying to avert my eyes, but I soon realized it was no different than any other conversation. If you're not the type to stare at crotches in everyday life, you probably won't feel compelled to do so at a nudist colony (or at least not after the initial shock and novelty wears off).

We were hoping to have a drink at the bar, appropriately named Cheeks, but there was a private event going on and nudity was mandatory. We weren't ready to make that leap (vouyerism is one thing, but getting buck-naked is quite another), so we wandered around a bit and then piled back into the van.

Even though we'd indulged in two-for-one margaritas, our experience at Cypress Cove was quite sobering. It was also quite a self-esteem builder. I tend to be comfortable with my body, but I know that it could use some improvement, and I never could have imagined parading it around in public. But at the resort, I saw more wrinkles and paunch and sagging than I ever believed was possible. In comparison, I'm not doing too bad! And none of the people were shy; in contrast, they seemed quite proud to openly display what God had given them without any regard to its condition.

This has certainly been the most interesting Mickey Mommas event so far. Every time I see the Cypress Cove ad in the local paper, I'll no doubt flash back to all that naked flesh pressed up against the van windows. It might have been a bit shocking, but as their website proclaims: "It's just as nature intended."

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