Saturday, May 17, 2008

Restaurant Noah's Ark

I've been neglecting my blog due to an Adventure By Disney trip to Hollywood and Disneyland, followed by a four-night cruise on the Wonder. To read about the California trip, visit, where I posted my trip report. It was loaded with backstage experiences, including a visit to Walt's apartment and a viewing of Soarin' from behind the screen, as well as a visit to Imagineering (trust me, seeing an Audioanimatronic stripped of its skin and performing a Joe Cocker song is scary...I now know that from person experience).

But now I'm back home and pondering life here in Celebration. One of the flukes of living in Touristland just struck me today: in terms of restaurants, it's a lot like Noah's Ark. Out on the glitzy neon strip of 192, the fast food joints tend to come in pairs. Thus you can find two Ponderosas, two Golden Corrals, two Starbucks, two Wendy's, two IHOPS, two McDonald's, two Dunkin' Donuts, two Taco Bells, two T.G.I. Friday's, two Perkins, two Waffle Houses, two A & Ws, and two Cracker Barrels within relatively close proximity to each other.

This causes some confusion among the uninitiated. One day I was lunching at Perkins and noticed a rather impatient man at a nearby table. Over time, the reason for his agitation became clear. He mentioned to the server that he was waiting for someone and they were now half an hour late. "They definitely said Perkins," he lamented. "They said it was right here on 192 by Old Lake Wilson Road." Oops! The server gently pointed out that that was the other Perkins.

I tend to keep the various eateries straight in my mind by thinking of them in terms of East 192 and West 192, with Griffin Road being the unofficial dividing line. I also use landmarks to tell them apart. When we're heading to Cracker Barrel, Red Lobster, or Friday's, I ask my husband, "The 'Old Town' one or the other one?"

There are also some locations that we simply avoid by tacit unspoken agreement due to prior bad experiences. The best example of that is IHOP; there is one right across from Celebration, but we eschew it in favor of another that is farther down 192. That's because, on our last visit there, our food took literally an hour to show up. It should have been a hint when we heard others complaining about the length of time as we took our seats, but sadly we didn't heed them. Then I went into the restroom, where one toilet was dismantled, with the lid off and the tank naked and bubbling, while another was stuffed with a toilet paper foundation holding up the world's largest crap sculpture. The only good thing about my restroom trauma was that it caused me to lose my appetite, thus making the hour wait a little easier.

Some of the chain restaurants on 192 are "singles." My favorites among those are Logan's and Ruby Tuesday. Logan's in particular seems to be a favorite of many Celebrationites. But hey, they have good steaks at reasonable prices, sweet potatoes as a side dish option, wicked-good spiked ice tea drinks, and the world's most addictive rolls. What's not to like? I sure wish Logan's did have a doppleganger...that might alleviate some of the crowd that descends there in the evenings. Oh well, considering the number of other pairs, that just might happen someday.

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