disney world

No so happiest place on Earth

This week’s post was going to be a happy column about how this weekend’s reopenings of both Gatorland and LEGOLAND Florida (Winter Haven) and next week’s openings of Universal and the just announced reopenings of SeaWorld Orlando/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and the Walt Disney World Resort (in phases) meant that live in Central Florida is slowly returning to normal.

Well, it’s not.

The virus remains as dangerous as ever, but so does being a person of color in the United States. Yes, I’ve been the victim of both racial and homophobic discrimination (including assault and property damage) both in Florida and Maryland, but the difference is I’m actually able to type this, George Floyd is not. Neither is Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice or even Freddie Gray.

Sure, I could go into detail about being harassed for doing as little as they did, but having my camera ripped away from me and taunted as it’s broken in front of me is considerably different than being held against the ground with a knee to the throat and dying of asphyxiation as three other officers hold him down. To even compare the two experiences is an insult to the memories of all the victims of needless police violence.

So would equally vapid, ineffective forms of “solidarity” I’ve seen online like changing my profile photo for the day or posting some memes with a viral hashtag. It didn’t heal Paris, and it’s not rebuilding Minneapolis. Such lazy, feel good activism doesn’t do anyone any good.

However, with the massive crowds of people protesting in the street across the country – and around the world – there are now fears of spreading the virus that has kept these same people inside for the past two months, maybe lazy, ineffective means of protest aren’t all bad.

Yes, waving signs in a public place is a perfectly valid form of communication… but so is staying at home and typing from the safety of my sofa. The parks will open whether I’m there to cover them or not…

 

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Baltimore, Busch Gardens Tampa, Coronavirus, disney world, editorials, Health, LEGOland Florida, news, Orlando, politics, protests, SeaWorld Orlando, Tampa, Universal Studios, Winter Haven | Leave a comment

Quarantine diaries: week 2

Day 7: I bought milk this afternoon. The store wasn’t particularly crowded, and, unlike the Walgreens next door, it was relatively well-stocked (and grocery stockers are getting very good hours lately). I had to laugh that they were short on beer except Corona Extra… and Heineken. What the heck did Heineken do, lol?

I saw a news story when I got back that both ICON Park and FunSpot America (in Orlando and Kissimmee as well as their park in Atlanta) are “closing indefinitely” as of Monday. Disney, Universal and SeaWorld closed last weekend. This means that everything fun in this city is officially closed. The I-Ride Trolley, is still running though (as Publix, CVS and Walgreens are still open)

Day 8: I spent the morning looking at apartment listings online. There are several new units available in both Baltimore and Bethlehem (PA) that are available within my timeframe… but they are not holding “open houses” nor can I schedule a “showing” due to the virus.

I spent the afternoon paying bills (because no-one else is going to) even though they legally cannot shut off my electricity/water service due to the quarantine. I also filled out the Census form online. It took slightly longer than they promised as I accidentally tossed the envelope with the “log-in” information. However, since I am the only person living at this address, it only took me about 10 minutes to complete.

Day 9: Woken up by landscaping crew (who usually work on Wednesdays) a full hour before my alarm went off. Also, “valet trash” is still being offered. Nice to see at least some things remain the same in these uncertain times.

I didn’t particularly want to do it after the disastrous delivery on Thursday, but I bought milk off Instacart (and due to their “minimum purchase” guidelines, I ended up buying a lot of junk too). While they didn’t have the kind of milk I wanted, everything else was in stock and the items arrived an hour ahead of schedule with zero notification from the app of this happening until the driver knocked on my door, but, then again, it did arrive, so I can’t complain…

Day 10: Next week is April 1st. Which means I need to find something fun to do that won’t piss off my followers (like, ahem, last year’s post). It also means I have to prepare one or more “Autis-meme” posts. I have more than enough memes for ten of those posts… but the truth is, I’d only curate them not because I “want” to but because it feels like I HAVE to. However, it is a nice change from constant virus coverage…

Speaking of change, I just received an email notifying me that the complex I’m renting at is going to be run by a different management company. That by itself isn’t necessarily bad news, but experience shows it’s rarely good news either. It’s also pretty strong motivation to keep up the apt search.

Day 11: Quite a lot of activity (and noise) on the sandlot at 8 o’clock this morning, pity it was a full hour before my alarm goes off. However, it will stop suddenly around 10am, and then nothing will happen for the rest of the week.

And I called it, so I went back to bed…which means I laid there uncomfortably staring at the ceiling with my eyes closed for about two hours wondering why: If I was so tired, why I wasn’t asleep? The same thing will happen tonight, but it will be for six hours.

Day 12: I ordered milk (and a few other things to meet minimum purchase price) off Instacart… which was good timing on my part as not only did I get my items in less than 2hrs, but, more importantly, I found out that their workers are planning a “general strike” on Monday for higher pay and actual health benefits – kind of important in times like this.

Also, Disney and LEGOLAND Florida have pushed back their opening dates until midway through the month. Meanwhile, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld are now closed “until further notice” and have furloughed 90% of their workers (possibly so they qualify for Unemployment benefits).

Day 13: Woke up today feeling like I had a moderate cold, but that seems to have at least partially cleared up since then. I don’t have a fever, so it could be allergies. The point is, I probably don’t have the virus. Even then, it’s not like I’m going anywhere this weekend anyway…

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, apartment hunting, Autism, Coronavirus, disney world, florida, Health, Orlando, Orlando Eye, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Studios, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

A Simba assault

I went to Animal Kingdom this morning to get out and try to get a few new photos (this is still nominally a photo blog). Then it was time to move onto something more serious – lunch.

I continue around Asia into Dinoland USA, where I saw a cool Lion King (2019) refillable travel mug which I should have gotten right there, but I didn’t because I didn’t feel like carrying it around with me all day. Oh, and they were out of fresh popcorn, and told me to come back later (even though they kept serving people behind me).

I decided to head back to Discovery Island. Disney likes having their merchandise in multiple locations, so I should be able to find this Lion King mug in one of them…right? Apparently, as the Cast Member I asked about it said (after leading me back to the coffee mug wall I was just looking at) “beverage mugs are only available in restaurants. Check there.”

Fine, I’ll go back to the hotel to eat. Then when I got back to the room, I fell asleep and woke up in time to find dinner, so since DAK closes early, I’d make a surgical strike: get photos, get the mug and most importantly get dinner. I approached Flame Tree Barbeque, outside the entrance to Dinoland, and stood in what I thought was a line while I decided what to get.

I eventually realized it wasn’t actually a line, but just guests just doing exactly what I was doing. Once I figured both things out, I made my way to the long legitimate line. My cashier, Kendra, was friendly and efficient. However, when I moved forward in line, I realized I was essentially blocking the exit row (or, at least, the people in front of me were using it as such). So, after the second or third family tried to get past me, I decided to look for another, slightly less in-the-way row to stand. The row to my right was empty and the one on my le…

“Okay, buddy, you give me receipt,” an old man with a thick accent snapped at me, literally snatching said receipt from my hand. He looks at it, scoffs and says: “Buddy is in wrong line.”

I need to have a word with this “buddy” character, he keeps getting ME into trouble.

“No, he was in MY line,” Kendra said.

Either he didn’t understand her or he chose to ignore her because he grabbed his buddy by the shoulders and pushed him into what he thought was the correct line (which, coincidentally, was the empty one on the right).

“Buddy is all right now,” he said proudly, slapping my bad shoulder on his way back to his station. Yes, you read that right, he was PROUD of his boorish behavior.

Well, Buddy was decidedly NOT happy with the way he was treated, but was doing his best to move on without being a jerk about it.

However, if I understand straight, Neurotypical behavior correctly, I should have been like “wow, he slapped my shoulder and called me ‘buddy!’ OMG, that means he is completely 100% legitimately my best friend in the entire world and therefore him grabbing me by the shoulder and pushing into the next line wasn’t ‘aggression,’ it was…” I don’t know, this peculiar brand of logic doesn’t make sense to me, and – bonus – it looks stupid typed out.

I finally got up to the counter, gave the friendly young woman my receipt, she tore it the top of it and handed it back to me. A moment later, she returned with a tray with my food on it. I have reason to believe she saw what her colleague did or not (though she couldn’t do anything about it anyway).

I tried to forget this whole incident and try and find that refillable mug, but first I went to get a drink at the coffee kiosk (creatively called “Isle of Java”), but the band playing on the stage a few feet away made ordering anything next to impossible, so I went back around towards the Starbucks (renamed “Creature Comforts” on the map) next to the bridge leading to Africa.

However, in front of the round building was an adorable Asian guy with one arm standing under a blue “Guest Experience” umbrella. After explaining my problem to him, he said “I’m sorry that happened to you… but there’s nothing I can do for you. That’s a Food & Beverages Services issue, so you’ll need to talk to a supervisor at the location you came from. Sorry. Next!”

Yep, that was exactly the answer I was afraid he’d give me, and he gave it to me. I’m lucky that way.

Not only do I have to backtrack, but I also get to be that jerk customer who holds the (now considerably shorter) line up while the counter agent goes searching for a supervisor. In fact, when the cute 20yo boy (whose badge said “Andrew”) came out from the back and asked my name (presumably for “follow-up reasons”), I was half-tempted to say “Karen.”

“I’m sorry that happened to you,” he said with a slight shrug. “That was definitely wrong on his part… but there’s really nothing I can do about that.”

Not sure if my hearing is going or if there’s an echo in this park.

“Let me see your receipt,” Andrew asked. “Okay, so you paid in cash? Good. That means I can just go over to the register and get your money back. I’ll be around in a moment…”

That went a lot easier than I was expecting. He didn’t even ask for the name of my assailant (I told him he could “check the CC” as I’m sure he would recognize him). However, what bothers me more is that as I was walking away, I remembered I completely forgot to mention Kendra in my story… and as I headed out of the park with my coffee, I remembered I also forgot to get that mug from Dinoland, USA.

 

Update: I took time out of my rainy and miserable Valentine’s Day to go back to Animal Kingdom to get said mug. Upon closer inspection and a needlessly convoluted (and increasingly frustrating) back and forth with the man running the stand, I decided it was ugly (in fact, it may actually have been a different design than the one I saw earlier) and not particularly worth the effort. However, I forfeited my day at DHS to come back here, plus his co-worker had already rung it up, so I was stuck with it.

For the record, I ate at Restaurantosaurus for my V-Day dinner.

 

Categories: adventures, Autism, disney world, florida, holidays, Orlando, photography | Leave a comment

Photos: Christmas Eve at Disney Springs

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Photo: That feeling when someone likes my blog

I love this shot. I just wish I was smiling.

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Photo: Princely perspective

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Photos: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort

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Photos: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Photo: A broken spaceship…

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Block out dates

cantkeepcalm

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