One of the things that properties like this are selling is escape: Escape from the sometimes-gritty reality of urban living. This brings me back to the cities vs. suburbs issue. Cities, as opposed to suburbs, generally include some form of public transportation, and also require that you walk quite a bit. As I’ve said before, I am NYC-born and raised. I like to walk. I like—and use—public transportation, which I've done throughout North America and Europe. Unfortunately, the Lynx bus service is Orlando’s idea of public transit and is far from convenient. Google it, and you’ll see some hilariously sad comments about it.
Without a car, I was reliant on shuttles to go any distance greater than a 10-minute walk within the resort. To visit any sites outside the resort, I would need to hire a shuttle or taxi, or rent a car. I found it disingenuous to be told when I checked in that there was a supermarket nearby where I could buy food, only to find out that it was not walkable from my villa AND that the resort shuttle did not go there. The resort shuttle could drop me off a quarter mile from the supermarket, Gee, that kinda gives lie to the concept of “nearby”.
Luckily, I was within walking distance of one of the three main restaurants on the resort, so rather than cook for myself, I relied on the restaurant and snack bar for dinner and lunch. I purchased a box of Raisin Bran ($8!!!) and a bottle of milk at the “Marketplace” attached to the snack bar/pizzeria which gave me a week’s worth of breakfasts.
There was a chain pharmacy/market across US 192 from the main security gate. I did venture forth one day in order to get some OJ and batteries. On the far side of the crosswalk, there was a little memorial in flowers to what I presumed was a pedestrian who had been mowed down trying to cross the six-lane highway. With the traffic light, one has about half-a-minute to make it across. Thankfully, the crossing lights do count down the seconds remaining, however, that was the only time I dared make the journey.
I got to know my little corner of the resort—everything within a 5- to 10-minute walk inside the gates—quite well.
The salesmen had tried to make “membership” in this Club attractive by telling me that I could go to any of their resorts around the world and know what I was getting. I would have an American-style room, paid for in American currency, at a resort run by people who, I guess, would be American. Now, on the one hand, that’s not the worst thing. Travel can be a disconcerting experience, and the familiarity of a hotel chain that one frequents can help the journey feel more safe and secure.
However, the whole point of visiting other cities is to experience what life is like in other cities. The resorts this company offers are all outside of major cities. I asked to see on the salesman’s tablet where their resorts in Edinburgh and Paris were located. All of the ones “in” Edinburgh were well outside the city. The one in Paris was far from the center of town, and in an arrondissement that I would not consider safe.
The other thing that these resorts sell is a certain idea of luxury. The first salesman mentioned “casually” a couple of famous names who stay in the premium suites on occasion. He did not know, and I did not divulge that after years of working in and around so-called big names in and outside the media that I do not impress as easily as I once did. Feet of clay and all that. Nor do I desire a life marked by exclusivi-Tea and conspicuous consumption. Heck, even circumspect consumption bothers me!
Returning to the comment that broke the sales spell, I have A LOT to look forward to: getting Madison’s and my show up and running; publishing the second chapbook of Madisonnets; finishing my MSLIS and to getting real pay to do real work that I really enjoy. I look forward to having a home of my own one day, and I look forward to more travels. Heck, I even look forward to the day when Monorail systems go beyond the borders of Disney World!
Speaking of Disney World, the reward for surviving the trial-by-fire was a $400 voucher that covered the cost of tickets to Disney World and Universal Studios.
TO BE CONTINUED