Along the 115 mile drive from my family’s farm in Micanopy to Orlando, Florida there are, I believe, approximately 4,172 billboards, hawking discounted Disney tickets, timeshares and apparently awesome retirement homes (these invariably featured a giddy elderly person playing golf or baseball while promising everything you could ever want out of life. Ok, I get that ads are occasionally exaggerated, but baseball? The last time my Grandmother picked up a baseball bat it was to whack my Grandfather. I just don’t see her merrily rounding the bases.)
One of the retirement billboards shares space with an ad promising “We Bare All.” Soo assured me they were two separate ads, but this one briefly freaked me out.
The wall to wall billboards do relieve you of the burden of having to admire the beautiful landscapes along your drive, allowing you instead to focus on fishing out change for one of the multitude of toll booths ringing Orlando. We donated to three of them before finally reaching our hotel, the famous old Dolphin at Disney.
The Dolphin is lovely, if pastel is really your thing, and is located very near both Walt Disney World and Downtown Disney, which is convenient, seeing as Cirque du Soleil in Downtown Disney was the primary reason for our visit to Orlando.
There are about 30 different Cirque shows around the world, and I’ve seen most of them. Soo, however, has never seen one, and I was excited to take her to her first. I spent great wads of time telling Soo about how utterly mesmerizing the Cirque shows are and how awe-struck she’d be. I bragged that I’d gotten us excellent tickets, front row center, and even hinted that she might be pulled up on stage by one of the clowns.
By the time we checked into our hotel she was veritably bouncing with excitement.
Observant readers will note that I wrote “Soo has never seen one”, instead of “Soo had never seen one”, as I might have done after taking her last night. Regrettably for Soo, she’s dating a moron.
As we prepared to leave for the show I glanced at our tickets and noted they listed the show time as 9:00pm Saturday. This was odd, since it was Sunday. I chuckled as I wondered what fool had accidentally printed “Saturday” on the Sunday night tickets. Ha! I was sure that guy was embarrassed!
We went to the ticket office and handed over our e-tickets. The bored-looking attendant scanned them, then worriedly looked at me, then looked at Soo, then handed them back.
“Um, sir, these are for last night’s show.”
I decided blaming them was my best bet.
“I see that. Clearly you people made some error. I purchased tickets for Sunday night, but somehow you gave me these.”
“I’m pretty sure you didn’t purchase tickets for a Sunday night show, sir.”
“Oh, really now? And why is that?” I haughtily demanded.
“Because we don’t have a Sunday night show, sir.”
I began to suspect the “it was your error” routine wasn’t going to work.
Soo quietly giggled as I went quickly from feigned indignation to outright begging. I believe I made 9 or 10 different excuses for my mental deficiency before the attendant cut me off and asked if we wanted a gift certificate for a future show.
Soo rolled her eyes at me and accepted the certificates.
This was not my most impressive performance.
Having a suddenly free evening Soo and I headed over to Universal Studios. 2010 is the 20th anniversary of their “Halloween Horror Nights,” which features 8 differently-themed haunted houses, 6 “scare zones,” 4 rides and 2 shows. Admission is very reasonable, especially by Orlando theme park standards, and we decided things might have worked out just right!
The average weight of the park’s visitors appeared to be about 350 lbs, and few seemed fans of antiperspirant. Their obvious love of buffets could be overlooked, but the 10-year-old girl shorts into which many had wedged themselves could not. Note to large women everywhere – if you require 2 or more friends to peel your shorts out of your bum after a night out, you’ve selected the wrong size, and will likely have made sick anyone forced to stand behind you in line. Really – this is not a good look, not even with furry boots and a halter-top half-covering your rebel flag tattoo.
Soo and I spent 5 hours wandering around, trying many of the attractions, playing at some of the carnival games and even visited the psychics to see if we should buy lottery tickets this week.
We shouldn’t, but the large, jolly man at whose table we sat did stun us by immediately nailing details about Soo. I was so impressed in fact I began to re-think my total disdain for the whole psychic industry. Thankfully, our psychic friend flubbed nearly everything else, allowing me to retain my pompous skepticism.
At the end of the night Soo and I decided to have one of those corny caricatures done of us. We were seated with our backs against a flimsy divider as the artist worked. About half-way through a couple sat on the opposite side of the divider and apparently started break-dancing. The couple, a young Puerto-Rican woman with 2 small kids and her redneck, seemingly steroid-obsessed massive boyfriend, were moving around so much I thought I’d be sea-sick. I finally barked “stop rocking the boat” and shoved back against the divider.
There was a pause before we heard the woman, in heavily accented English, gasp “I can’t belibe he said dat in fron mah keeds!”
The humongous man, so enraged by my comment, announced he was going to kill me immediately. He apparently meant it. It took two of his friends holding him back and whispering sweet nothings in his ear for five minutes before he was calmed enough to sit back down.
350-lb women in tiny boy-shorts and near death by steroid rage; ah, yes, nothing like a night in Orlando!