The first and most enduring memory of my trip to Walt Disney World with my kids 15 years ago is of the shuttle bus ride from the Orlando airport to the hotel.
Prior to my trip I had thought that the entertainment wouldn’t start until we actually arrived at Walt Disney World (aka The Costliest Place on Earth). Thanks to the gratuitous disbursement of alcoholic beverages by the airline, the early entertainment was provided by a representative of a Pittsburgh chemical company who flew to Orlando on “business.” It’s a good thing he took a shuttle bus because I’m sure that after the flight Mr. Pittsburgh had no business being behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. He barely had any business being allowed in a motor vehicle. The fumes he was giving off could have been lethal if we couldn’t have opened the windows.
His partner was a bit more inhibited, but seemed to be, to the endless amusement of Mr. Pittsburgh, an avid cell phone person. Mr. Pittsburgh’s partner was either trying to call his wife, or trying to sell his motorcycle, (which I overheard is listed on cyclevantage.com). Each time the more sober of the two was cut off from his wife on the cell phone, Mr. Pittsburgh would repeatedly shout, “Oooo…Ooooo Call her back! Oooo…Ooooo Call her back!” (He was attempting a poor imitation of the Gwen Stefani song Hollaback)
At one point he became so agitated in his Rainman-like chanting that he literally began banging his head on the window of the van. Our driver, Jose, was very alarmed by this.
Sensing Jose’s concern Mr. Pittsburgh would occasionally shout, “Hey Jose! How much longer?” He must have asked this at least 4 times in a 30 minute span. After I suggested that my kids watch the ponds and rivers by the road for alligators, Mr. Pittsburgh shouted, “Hey Jose! Are there alligators or crocodiles here?” The one other apparently sober passenger who wasn’t part of my family, a woman travelling alone, pointed to Mr. Pittsburgh and whispered deadpan, “I wish there were alligators here.”
15 years later that still makes me laugh. Sometimes it’s the things you don’t plan for on vacation that are the most memorable. As you read this on Saturday morning, this time next Saturday I’ll be again heading to Walt Disney World. My kids may have outgrown Disney World, but my wife has not.
Have a great weekend and safe travels! ~Phil