Our stay in Orlando will amount to pretty much exactly 48 hours, which is, I suspect, unusual for most people who visit here. In our case, we thought it would be nice to have a brief stopover at Disney World before continuing up the East Coast towards New York.
We left Miami on Wednesday morning; the train departed promptly at 8:20am. The journey from Miami to Orlando is only five hours, and we had regular coach seats which are equivalent to business class on an airplane – deep recline, leg & foot rests, long tray table, power at your seat, etc. The scenery was a mix of the coastal communities on running up from Miami, and then more open green spaces and orange groves in central Florida.
Orlando, of course, is unique unto itself with the proliferation of theme parks and resorts. We’re staying at the Dolphin Hotel at Disney World, mainly because we got a very good online deal. It will be the most opulent place we will be staying at on our trip. And while it is nice, I think we all feel that our style is a little bit more Miami hostel-hotel then Orlando resort.
With only one full day here, we decided a while ago that we would go to one of the water parks – cheaper and also appropriate in this summer heat (today it was 94Â°F = 34Â°C). It was a great day, sadly without pictures as I didn’t bring the camera to the park (I only brough the essentials as we didn’t rent a locker). We were there early enough to be first in line when they dropped the rope to let you walk briskly to the water slides of your choice. They also have a huge wave pool that generates 7-foot waves every 90 seconds — it is a memorable experience rising high on a wave seeing this sea of people below you about to be engulfed.
I will admit that I’m a bit of a Disney fan; these theme parks hold many fond memories for me as a child and it’s particularly enjoyable to pass that along to my own kids. Having said that, I’m glad we’re not staying longer – while Walt Disney may be the poster boy for the American Dream, I think there are many more places for us to explore that are more real and also undoubtedly less expensive. This is the first place I’ve ever been to where they made you pay a mandatory 13% service charge… at a cafeteria.
Tomorrow we leave Orlando for the overnight train to New York. I now have my iPhone set up and I hope to do a bit of live blogging as we make our way North.