We were welcomed to Florida by torrential rain, thunder and lightning, tornado warnings and timeshare salesmen. We were warned about the poisonous snakes,
but nobody mentioned the deadly bite of the timeshare salesman, common to central Florida.
Florida likes tourists who bring dollars to their economy. Tourists are building them a new highway system for central Florida. They stopped us every 500 feet, not to thank us, but to collect another toll.
We were visiting Orlando, home of Mouseland USA and the Disney princess makeover. Signs warned us not to feed the birds as they might become aggressive. However, the birds were not nearly as aggressive as the flocks of screaming kids dressed as their favorite Disney fairy tale princess, complete with gowns, jeweled tiaras, and glitter in their hair extensions.
In order to further enrich their economy, we decided to visit a Disney Theme Park. We chose Disney Animal Kingdom, which is part zoo, part amusement, and part
hang-out for teenagers. There are an extraordinary number of foreign tourists at Disney World. They all wear identical warm-up suits and follow a guide with a tall flag. More languages are spoken there than at the U.N.
Since we didn’t like Disney Animal World much, we decided to visit Disney Epcot later in the week. Notice how everything in Orlando starts with the word “Disney?” At Disney Epcot, everyone rode the rides except me. I held my aching back and all the cameras and purses while everyone else had fun.
The highlight of the day was when I got my picture made with Mickey Mouse himself. My sister had a picture made with the Chip & Dale chipmunks – not to be confused with the Chippendale dancers.
After visiting two parks, we were getting in the spirit and decided to visit yet another park that I had not seen before, Universal Studio. The main similarity of the parks was that all the rides ended in gift shops. I expected to see Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck, but apparently they are not Universal property. Instead I saw Hulk, Spiderman, and the Cat in the Hat.
At some point while walking down Hollywood Boulevard, we realized that my man was missing. After we looked everywhere, he finally turned up at the front entrance. I suppose it could be worse — we could have lost him in Jurassic Park among the dinosaurs.
Probably it sounds as if all we did is visit theme parks; however, we did other things as well, such as shop for over-priced souvenirs. Put Disney or Mickey Mouse on anything and the price is automatically doubled. No wonder it is called the Magic Kingdom. We could have gone to a real magic show, but since we had already made my man disappear once, we decided to pass on it.
My sister knew about a State Park where you were supposed to be able to see manatee, aquatic animals something like walrus or seals, except they are vegetarian and like warm waters. We went on a boat tour to see them. We saw a lot of exotic birds, turtles, alligators and some grey streaks in the water that were supposed
to be manatee.
On the way to the State Park, we had stopped at a combination grocery store and gift shop. Everything is part gift shop and part something else. There are fast food gift shops, gas station gift shops, theater gift shops, and just plain gift shops.
Anyhow, that was my Florida vacation. As the cartoon bubble said at Universal Theme park, “I need a vacation from my vacation.”