The bulk of my vacation time is spent in Florida either at Walt Disney World or on the beaches of South Walton. I am just going to come out and say that I hate Disney. I only indulge a WDW vacation for the sake of my wife and kids who are Disney aficionados…not Disney Geeks…but aficionados. But I feel the need to back up my disdain for the swampy resortland that is WDW. As I sit on my balcony with a cool gulf breeze tickling my head stubble, sipping a pomegranate-citrus mojito I have had a chance to organize my thoughts as to why this is the case. SO….here are my top five reasons (in no particular order) of why the beach is better than Disney.
1. COST. I don’t care whose mouse butt you’ve been kissing, there is no such thing as an affordable Disney vacation. Whether it is lodging, meals, park tickets or all the extra crap, a WDW vacation will be sure to send you into debt snowball hell and cause Dave Ramsey to vomit incessantly on your behalf. Forget all the talk of special deals, meal plans, etc., WDW vacations are expensive beyond belief and I honestly don’t know how most people afford them. The beach on the other hand is about simple pleasures. The only parades you will see at the beach are of cosmetically enhanced southern women trying to be sexier than their teenage daughters. But I digress. We don’t need theme parks or nightly firework/lightshow displays to be happy. Give us the crashing waves and a nice walk on the beach. The other day we rode a roller coaster that had to be pushed by the attendant by hand to get started. No joke! The scariest thing was wondering whether the whole thing was going to come crashing down. The only castles you will see are built by hand…by children. Nobody is a princess (except for those southern women) or prince…everyone is a dude. That is what is good for the soul…and the bank account.
2. LINES. I am admittedly one of THE most impatient beings in the entire world. If I had to wait in line to get into Heaven I would opt for purgatory or Hell just to avoid the line. That said, WDW is a special kind of hell for me. Where else can you spend ridiculous amounts of money to spend probably a third of the time waiting in line. It’s egregious. Sorry folks, the Haunted Mansion ain’t worth a 90 minute wait! And FASTPASS my ASS! These are not the answer. They are too restrictive. What WDW really needs is a VIP pass that gets one to the front of the line ALL DAY LONG- no restrictions. I would actually pay good money for this as I would actually be able to get my money’s worth out of the theme park instead of waiting in line all damned day.
3. FOOD. Everywhere you go there is food and not the good kind. My wife and I are fairly health conscious but ferchissakes one can only resist a Dole Whip or Mickey Ice Cream Bar for so long. And don’t get me started on those turkey legs. Damn! They look and smell so friggin’ good but my wife has threatened me with divorce if I ever ate one in public….so. WDW is not the place for healthy eating. At the beach it’s all about freshness. We have twice weekly farmers’ markets, fresh seafood and fish tacos….I repeat… FISH. F&^%ING. TACOS.
4. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Not only am I eating like a king at WDW but I’m deprived of my most basic of human needs…a WORKOUT! I am a triathlete so I am pretty versatile in how I can exercise but WDW seems to have a way to prevent me from doing pretty much everything. The resorts are land locked by insanely busy highways which make running or cycling outside difficult at best. There is not a pool anywhere in the greater Orlando area that is remotely hospitable to lap swimming. I suppose I could avail myself of a spin class at the resort health club but that’s about as lame on vacation as it is in real life. I’ll pass. In contrast, the beach begs me to be active. I can run, ride my bike, swim in lap pools or the gulf. Hell, just playing out in the surf with my kids for a few hours burns enough calories to entitle me to snow cone or two.
5. SCHEDULES. I spend my entire working life getting up early, working late, tied to my desk. I have meetings, lectures and other commitments. Oh and let’s not forget all the scheduled family activities such as sports, etc. Vacation is supposed to be break from that. So explain to me how getting up at 6am so I can be at a 7am character breakfast and in the park by 8am is the least bit relaxing. I much prefer ‘beach time.’ You get up whenever. Maybe you go to the beach. Maybe you go to the pool. Maybe you ride your bike. You wanna crack a Dale’s Pale Ale at 10am…go ahead. There are no schedules at the beach. It’s five o’clock somewhere…all….the…time…at the beach.
OK…so there it is. Maybe you agree or disagree. Maybe I secretly long for a ride on the Rockin Roller Coaster. I’ll never tell.