It was an accident, or rather it was a mental slip on my part.
My wife and I were camping in a nice campground near Disney World. This had nothing to do with our wanting to go to that giant entertainment complex that eats up so much of Orlando.
In fact, we are old enough to have taken our children there many years ago, and we are old enough to have taken a number of our grand-children there, more recently.
So, I know what the place is like, and honestly, I recommend it for any family that has never been there.
But, we are RV people who just happened to be camping near there.
Well, my wife and I were planning a night out ad a good restaurant and she found a review of this place that sounded interesting. It was actually a restaurant attached to the Disney World complex.
As we all know, you need tickets, in fact very expensive tickets to get into Disney World itself, but they have built a number of nice restaurants that are attached to DW but you do not have to go into the complex itself.
So, I figured this couldn’t be too much of a problem and I put the address into my Garmin. It came back with a planned route that was only supposed to take 25-minutes for us to get there. My wife called and made a reservation for us, and we were ready for a nice night out.
Well, the day of our reservation, we already knew Disney traffic could,at times, be terrible, so we left an hour and a half ahead of time. We figured we would just sit around in the waiting area, or at their bar and have a drink until they could seat us.
So, we hit the road as planned and eventually, we folded into the traffic I expected, but I was stull confident that we would still have plenty of time. I mean, we had left an hour and a half early for a 25-minute drive; Right?
As we followed our Garmin’s commands we slowly ate up our extra time but we were still OK in my mind. Once we were within a mile of our destination, I started seeing hundreds of construction cones along the road. It turns out that as usual, Disney was either tearing down some older attraction, or were building new one, and most of the streets were being redirected.
Now, the people at the restaurant never told us about this little detail, and after several “re-directs’ I was realizing I couldn’t get to the restaurant because the entrance road was torn up and closed to traffic. Finally, I got to a parking garage and pulled in there and desperately flagged down a person with a badge.
He laughed when I told him my problem and he told me to ” just pull into the parking garage, get a parking permit and it’s only about a 15-minute walk to that restaurant”.
I looked down at my watch and just smiled and drove out of the garage. We were only ten minutes away from our reservation time, and we had already been told that if you are late for your reservation, even five minutes, they put your name at the end of a waiting list that usually takes close to two hours to get a seat.
We had lost our seating time and we decided to head out and away from DW to find a place to eat.
That’s when things got even worse for us. You see, Disney owns all of that land surrounding their complex, and the streets are Disney streets. They can change things anytime they want and they can put signs anywhere they want.
I have to say, my Garmin did try to get us away from DW, but it kept putting us on streets that either went nowhere, or that went directly to a guardhouse at the entrance to some hotel or resort or whatever.
After another 45-minutes of driving around and not being any closer to getting out of the DW complex, I was at another guardhouse, and I asked the guard just how the Hell to get out?
He was a kind gentleman, and he laughed at me for a moment and gave me a set of those directions you get from everyone who knows what they are doing, even if you don’t have a clue what they are talking about.
You know what I mean, go down to the xxxx, take a left then go about one mile, and take a right at the yyyy and then go two lights and take another left ……….”. After the third turn, your brain locks up and you’re no longer are listening, just smiling at this guy and trying to away and try to take the first two directions he gave you, hoping you you can then figure out where you actually are.
We did finally get away from the great Disney world complex, but I learned a valuable lesson. I will not go there again, unless I an going with grand-children and I am staying for the ridiculously priced day. No expectations of a quick trip into, or near DW for me.
Life is too short to spend it in an automobile surrounded by thousands of other frustrated tourists trying to get their family to some over-priced attraction so they can have a new “memory”.
Like I said, we finally broke free of the DW complex and ended up on public roads owned and managed by the state of Florida, thus thy were accurately portrayed on my Garmin.
Once free, it was only a ten minute drive to what turned out to be a really nice restaurant. And, we had a nice evening out.
Over the next few days, I watched as DW ran commercial after commercial coaxing me to com on over and have a great time. I got several days of laughs watching them for a while. Eventually, I lost all interest.
Just saying! Enter this constantly changing complex of private roads at your own risk.
by Don Bobbitt, October, 2015
Copyright, DonBobbitt, October 2015, All Rights Reserved.