Florida Interlude, Part 1: Disney Adventures

It’s time for a travel post! It’s been a while, and it feels weird to write about Florida, a place I’ve visited dozens of times. But really, especially when one lives in the Northeast, Florida is a different country. So let’s get to it.

This visit was brought to you by my new employer, From the Top, as we traveled to Miami Beach for a recording at the incredible New World Center (more on that later).

The adventure began with a 3am wake time and a 6am flight. I have just one word for this. Ugh.

Upon arrival in Orlando, I was greeted by my parents, who are enjoying a well-deserved retirement at their country club residence, also known as Camp Grownups. It’s telling when your parents, who smeared you with sunscreen for years and issued dire warnings about skin cancer, take a look at your white legs and say “you need some sun!” Luckily, Florida was happy to oblige, with summer-like temps and blue skies.

Since it was my birthday a week or so ago, I used guilt tactics to bully my parents into taking me to EPCOT Center for an afternoon. It’s the International Flower and Garden show (through May 18th), so it was, well, glorious. Here are a few of my favorite topiaries. Don’t you just love that word?

Duck butts and flowers

Duck butts and flowers

Good form!

Good form!

Where's Peter Pan?

Where’s Peter Pan?

The parentals with Mrs. Potts and Chip. <3 this one.

The parentals with Mrs. Potts and Chip.

Who are the Seven Dwarves? Sneezy, Dopey, Sleepy, Grumpy, Doc, Happy...and? We couldn't remember!

Who are the Seven Dwarves? Sneezy, Dopey, Sleepy, Grumpy, Doc, Happy…and? We couldn’t remember!

I'm not a Snow White fan, but come on, isn't this pretty?

I’m not a Snow White fan, but come on, isn’t this pretty?

In case you didn’t know, I am a huge Disney fan, in particular the Disney Parks. There are those who say the parks are TOO clean, the stories TOO pat, the brand TOO wholesome, but I have always been a fan of the cleanliness, the magic, the friendly staff…excuse me…cast members (especially the parking lot people). In business school, everyone studies Disney, because, well, they have customer service down to an art, or science, or whichever you prefer. They know how to do it.

Consider this story from my visit. Remember that 3am wakeup thing? I blame it for the ensuing drama.

While wandering EPCOT’s World Showcase, we stopped at Great Britain to buy some tea, and in France I scored some Calvados (apple brandy from the Normandy region that I and my friends discovered on our trip there last winter). We also stopped for a bathroom break near Morocco. And somewhere in there, I lost my ID.

Now, normally this is just a hassle. However, when you are going to be getting on an airplane soon, this tends to be a bit more alarming, and you start to concoct elaborate schemes like…how can I somehow entice my dog walker to find my passport and FedEx it to the hotel I haven’t checked in to yet…yeah. Not good. So, we retraced our steps, and in each place were told to go to Lost and Found at Guest Services. Now, normally, this would mean sayonara to my id.

But this is DISNEY, y’all. This is the place that has gone through garbage to find someone’s wedding ring. Apparently, Disney’s MO when an id is found is that the employee must walk it immediately to guest services, where it’s catalogued and waits to be retrieved. So we headed over to Guest Services with faint hope that maybe it would be there.

When the Guest Services gal asked how she could “assist” me, I threw in with karma, put on my cheeriest smile and said “I’ve lost my ID, and I’m just checking to see if it found it’s way here.” Off she went. My dad and I waited, speculating, and just as I said, “I don’t have a lot of hope for this,” she came around the corner with a tiny grin on her face and her ID in my hand.

Needless to say, there was much rejoicing.

Faith in humanity (and in really good employee protocols, and employees who follow them) restored.

Even though we went home that night and watched the Badgers lose a heartbreaker in the Final Four, it was a good couple of days, topped off with a viewing of Frozen, another Disney product that was pretty well done.

But wait! There’s more to this adventure! Next up…the Beznoskas take Miami. Stay tuned.

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One thought on “Florida Interlude, Part 1: Disney Adventures

  1. Bashful. Aww shucks. He’s easy to forget. Disney World never seems to lose it’s charm, even for grownups. Flower shows, wine festivals, good food…and people in weird costumes. Perfect.

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