Friday, January 06, 2006

Let There Be Light (One More Time)

Slowly but surely, I'm still coming down from my Christmas/New Years high. As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, it's easier to do that here in the Orlando/Kissimmee area, since the theme parks and tourist traps draw out the holiday as long as they can.

Even though it's the Epiphany already, my husband wanted one more Christmas fix. To appease him, I accompanied him to Disney-MGM to see the Osborne lights for the last time this season. They stay up until January 8th, and then they disappear into a warehouse somewhere till next November.

We made reservations for dinner at the Brown Derby, planning to enjoy a good meal before strolling through the light display. We figured the park would be crowded, since the annual marathon is being held this weekend, so we weren't going to try to ride anything; we'd come late, eat, check out the lights, and bail.

We left the house around 5:30 p.m., and even though I had expected a crowd, I was amazed at just how crowded the parking lot was. Fortunately, we have a AAA Diamond Parking Pass, so we were able to park just past the handicapped spots. Those passes are worth their weight in gold for Florida residents!

We hiked through the front gates and towards the Brown Derby. I absolutely love their Cobb salads, which are made of finely chopped lettuce, egg, bacon, egg, tomato, bleu cheese, and turkey. It is sooo good! My husband and I always split one as an appetizer, since it's large enough for two.

When we got to the restaurant, it was the most crowded I've seen it in a long time. We checked in and waited with our pager. As I watched endless streams of people pouring in through the door, I began to suspect that someone had parked a clown car outside. I have no idea how that many people managed to fit in the building!

We had to wait a little while, but soon enough we were led to our table. As always, we ordered a Cobb, and besides that, I had a noodle bowl with coconut crusted tofu, and my husband had tuna. We had a lovely meal, marred only slightly by the large party seated across from us. The apparent patriarch yammered on and on non-stop in a voice bordering on a yell. I know more about him that I know about some of my personal acquaintences, including his views on the cost of maintaining granddaughter vs. grandsons and his theory that it's okay to "embellish core truths to make them more interesting."

After dinner, we headed off to the Osborne display. It was resplendent in its full glory, despite the late date. They even had soapy snow falling and Christmas music blaring on the speakers. Much of the crowd had gone off to see Fantasmic, so we had the streets almost to ourselves.

As we wandered through the display, I noticed many little details that I'd never seen before. I loved the lit-up basketball net, and I even noticed that there was a Christmas Story leg lamp in one of the windows. It was quite a chilly night, which lent a further air of authenticity to the wintery holiday scene.

Finally we tore ourselves away from the lights and headed out of the park. We got caught in the mass exodus of the Fantasmic crowd, but finally we made it out to our car and headed back to Celebration. The drive home is usually almost as amusing as visiting the theme parks. I love to watch the tourists jockeying for position and trying to figure out just where to go. You'll see many of them driving along with their interior lights on, their nose buried in a map as they try to simultaneously interpret it and control their car in unfamiliar territory. At various points you'll see vehicles stopped in the middle of their rode; sometimes, they even have their flashers on, but usually they're just sitting there.

We made it through the tourist maze and back to Duloc Manor. My house still seems rather plain to me now that my Christmas decorations are down, but at least I'd gotten a bit of a fix. Christmas may be gone, but the Osborne lights live least for two more days.

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