Celebrate Good Times Come On! (Celebration and Orlando)

None of my friends had ever heard of Celebration. The town I mean, we’re not having a party deficit. It’s a bizarre purpose-built town, built by Walt Disney. It’s meant to be The Ideal Town; some sort of utopia.

Well, The Ideal Town did not have The Ideal Signage, as we got lost several times and only found our way to the centre by sheer perseverance! However this meant we got a nice scenic tour of the suburbs of Celebration. These were Desperate-Housewives style mansions with white picket fences. It was pleasant but in a very purpose-built way, with none of the organic growth of normal towns.

Houses in CelebrationThe centre of Celebration revolves around a large lake which had signs saying “beware of the alligators”. I couldn’t get my head around this and thought it was a joke. Luckily I didn’t test this theory by going for a swim 😉 I presume that if there could be alligators in this lake, that any of the lakes at Disney could also have alligators in them? I find it hard to comprehend there could be anything more sinister in what looked to me like a duck-pond… but having said that, as we saw in the Everglades, THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!!

Celebration has an area with fountains for kids to play in and you can tell it’d be nice in hot weather, but typically when we went it was raining. We had a little look around but it was a small town so we had lunch and then headed off.

Celebration LakeCelebration Main StreetCelebration FountainsWe headed into International Drive in Orlando and tried to go to “Wet n Wild” (a waterpark) and I have never seen my boyfriend run faster than he did to get there – he was a dot on the horizon. It turned out that the waterpark was closed on account of the massive storm we’d had the previous night in Clearwater, which had obviously followed us to Orlando. It was heart-wrenching to watch my poor boyfriend standing up against the gates clutching the bars, looking sadly at the closed rides, like a kid at the zoo 😦

Instead we wandered down International Drive, where I was confused to find that several people offered to sell us used Disney tickets, and offered to buy our un-used Disney tickets before we went home. I had understood that Disney fingerprinted people on the way into the parks, so I have no idea how this would work. I hope that families don’t buy these tickets and then not get into the parks. We steered clear – I’d rather pay full price and actually get into the park.

We also toyed with the idea of timeshare presentations – if you attend one of these then you can get free tickets into Disneyworld. My boyfriend’s parents have attended these in the past and said that the people are very very persistent in trying to get you to buy a timeshare. Now as my boyfriend and I are very stubborn, I can’t imagine that there is anything they could do or say to make us buy a timeshare (short of torture). So I wanted to go as a kind of mental sport, like Sudoku. However we felt it would take up too much time – you can’t leave until they have finished with you and given you your Disney tickets, so Timeshare Sudoku would have to wait for another time.

We later drove to an outlet mall with the intention of buying me a Mickey Mouse t-shirt. If I have to accompany my boyfriend to Disneyworld then I will at least get a new t-shirt out of it. As it happens, we spent hours in the mall and visited approximately 5000 shops in my search for my t-shirt, only to end up in a Walgreens next to the hotel where the Mickey t-shirts were “$15 for 2”. I asked how much one was, and the shop assistant looked at me like I had mental difficulties and said “$7.50”. OK matey, I thought maybe there was an incentive to buy more than one…!!  I weighed up this purchase and eventually said “hmmmm… I was hoping to get one with Minnie standing at a different angle…” at which point my boyfriend’s never ending patience reached its limit and he pretty much forced me to buy it so we could get the hell out of the shop!

We visited Downtown Disney that night, which my boyfriend Loved with a capital L. I found the “Disney Police” quite amusing. If you commit a crime do they run up and say “Stop!” and hold up a giant white comedy Disney hand? No? 🙂 Anyway, we had a stroll and the boyfriend looked at the restaurants and so forth. There is basically a lot of gift-shops, restaurants, and other places to spend your money. Not that I’m cynical or anything. My favourite thing was finding a colouring-in table in one of the gift shops, where you could colour in an outline of Micky Mouse (which looked like a bear). I enjoyed this but soon more adults joined us and the shop assistants looked annoyed and I realised it was probably meant for kids.

Next blog: Disneyworld (Magic Kingdom), Florida

Previous blog: Clearwater, Florida

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