Ahh Orlando, Home of the Mouse

Now that we have the accommodations out-of-the-way, let’s get back to the activities.

I was in my rental car on I4, the main highway from the airport to my little home away from home, when my cell phone rang. My friend Joe was on the line. After he assured me that it was legal to talk on the phone and drive in Florida I agreed to listen to what he had to say.

My friends Saralyn and Tim (not a couple) had both arrived in Orlando earlier in the day. I was the last to make it and they were just waiting for me to go to dinner. I guess I’m not going to get a chance to recover from the travel. I made some feeble protests that I was tired and needed to get checked in and wanted a shower but the most I got was a concession to “wait for me”.

Well, I have to eat anyway so I might as well enjoy the meal with friends. I hadn’t seen Saralyn or Tim since we went on a cruise about 8 years ago. We stayed in touch (infrequently) via Facebook. My friend Joe, who I see more than that and usually speak to once a week, is the hub around which the 3 of us seem to orbit. It was for his birthday that we all went on the cruise and now here we were all gathered together again due to his efforts.

Joe said they were going over to the Irish Pub in Downtown Disney and to just meet them there.

Check-in at the resort went smoothly and I was in my unit in no time. I tossed my suitcase in the corner and ran out to the Winn-Dixie to pick up a few essentials that I chose not to pack. Then it was off to Downtown Disney.

Downtown Disney isn’t too far from my resort and I lucked out in the parking area. I entered the park near the T-Rex restaurant and immediately asked a park employee for directions to the pub. It was right around the corner! I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d known where I was going!

If finding the pub was easy, finding my 3 friends was not! There was a waiting line inside and tons of tourists passing by outside. Mass confusion reigned. I managed to get into the Pub and walked around looking for them at all the tables. An Irish band was playing and Irish Step dancers tapped away on 2 stages. It was pandemonium.

I tried calling Joe but his phone went to voice mail. I stepped back outside where it was marginally quieter and noticed that I’d missed several calls too…all from Joe. I tried him again and this time I got him. They were in line waiting for a table. He told me to stay put and he’d come to me. Minutes later I saw him approaching and he led me back to where they were waiting in line.

Hugs all around and Saralyn handed me a “Birthday Button” to wear. She and Tim each had one too. Saralyn’s birthday was in December, Tim’s had just passed in January and mine was right around the corner in February so Joe had gotten these Birthday Buttons for all of us. Joe works at Disney so he knows all the ins and outs of the place.

Joe and I chose the excellent fish and chips and Saralyn and Tim went more traditional with “Bangers and Mash”. The band entertained all through dinner with several shows by the Irish Dancers. As the meal wound to an end our waiter brought out a bread pudding for us to share. He had spotted the Birthday Buttons and wanted  to give us a dessert to help celebrate the occasion.

After dinner we wandered a little but we all wanted an early night because Joe had booked us on a backstage tour of the Magic Kingdom and we had to be there bright and early.

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