So after travelling on smaller, more intimate planes, the return to commercial airlines was a bit of shock, especially in economy class sitting next to a 6’11” (2.12 m) tall professional basketball player from Berlin with size 56 shoes. However, the stress was only 9 hours and Orlando and the Disney Magic Kingdom (“the happiest place on earth”) was beckoning.
A swim with dolphins was the first port of call at the “family” theme park (no thongs allowed) called Discovery Cove, where the carefully timed half hour dolphin “experience” culminates with a swim on the dolphins back – a great encounter but personally, I would have rather swum with the trainer. Interestingly was the number of sales opportunities that such a park takes advantage of – the path to the “experience” passes a camera, bathing trunk, shoe, postcard, film, hat, drinks and pastry shop.
Then off to do a bit of work, followed by a couple of days of theme park bliss, having met up with a couple of friends I had not seen for about 4 years. Despite rainy weather we had a thoroughly enjoyable time, especially as my boss was staying in one of the park hotels, his room key proved to be “magic” allowing us to push in at the front of every queue and accomplishing all the good rides in 2 parks in one day. With my spider sense was tingling, and we managed to net a front row seat in most of the roller coasters that were running (the rest were closed due to inclement weather).
Friday night, after a delightful meal at that chic restaurant Hooters (famous for their big breasted, shorts wearing waitresses) and an exhilarating round of mini-golf, it was off to the book store to get a fresh first run edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Entering the bookstore, you were handed a ticket with your number in line, at 11:50 pm we were blessed with 805. This ticket system was necessary as fist fights broke out when book four was released – and thus the waiting began (and now tickets 1-25 please come to the register…). The flight back the following day was a breeze as Harry kept me company, as he did most of the other passengers, as well as the stewardess responsible for our area. I just hope the pilot was not a fan…